Allgemein, P, P - T, Reviews

Review: Pet (Akwaeke Emezi)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

„It wasn’t like the angels wanted to be painted as heroes, but the teachers wanted the kids to want to be angels, you see?“

Wow… this book caused me to think about so many things. I don’t even know where to start but I think we’ll just go with the writing style first because it’s very unique but also kind of perfect to convey this important story to the reader. We see everything from Jam’s perspective and this was done so well. I mean Jam is a black trans girl that doesn’t speak and uses sign language instead (I think this is called selective mutism) so the language she uses to describe things and feelings is very different to those of other people. I really liked this about the book and it gave me a lot of “A Monster Calls” vibes.

”That was something she’d taught Jam – that a lot of things were manageable as long as they were honest. You could see things clearly if they were honest; you could decide what to do next, because you knew exactly what you were dealing with.”

Just like in “A Monster Calls” we have a very serious topic that is hard to put into proper words. It’s a tough one to understand for kids and I really liked that the monster helped Jam and Redemption to approach the topic. I think in some way the message is easier to convey if you have the help of a monster to do it, because after all you expect monsters to know about monstrous things, right?! What I really liked about the book is how it shows that even in a seemingly perfect world there can still be monsters. And if you don’t call them out and allow yourself to be lulled into a false sense of security you give them the power to do whatever they want to without them ever facing the consequences. After all there are no monsters in Lucille, at least not as long as you overlook their dark deeds and neither confront yourself or them with the truth.

”It was no small thing to try to restructure a society, to find the pus boiling away under the scabs, to peel back the hardened flesh to let it out. Jam had heard stories of how horrifying it had been to see the truth of how many monsters there were in Lucille – the public ones, the private ones, the chameleons, the freestyle solitary ones, the charismatic smiling ones.”

So the monsters in Lucille were seemingly normal people that did horrible things and the angels were also just normal people that rooted out those monsters. Alone this concept was already very intriguing because the so called “monsters” were actually human beings and didn’t look any different than everyone else. I felt really sorry for Jam and Redemption because they were the only ones that saw the monster for what it was and because the adults refused to believe in monsters this made it even harder for them to reveal the truth. They were both hurting so much and I wish I could have taken that pain away from them.

”She didn’t like keeping a secret from Redemption, but it wasn’t time to tell him about Pet, not yet. Not that telling would even work – you had to see Pet to accept that it was real in this world; the telling would never be enough. Words are never enough for a lot of things.”

I could understand why Jam felt so conflicted about telling Redemption because telling him would have made it real and who wants things like that to be real? But then again if no one found out about the truth others might have gotten hurt as well so yes it was horrible and exceptionally painful to reveal the monster, but it was necessary as well. To close your eyes to reality never helped anyone and it’s exactly this kind of lesson our two MCs had to learn. >_<

“You want many things, you are full of want, carved out of it, made from it, yes. But the truth does not care about what you want; the truth is what it is. It is not moved by want, it is not a blade of grass to be bent by the wind of your hopes and desires.”

Serious topics aside, another thing I really loved about the book was the diversity and the amazing representation. I mean everything in here was so natural and casual. When Bitter and Aloe found out that Jam was a girl and not a boy, they just took it in stride and made sure that she got all the help she needed in order to transition into a girl. And this was super wholesome and extremely amazing to read about! I wish every parent of a trans kid would react like that. Plus can we acknowledge the awesome and effortless polyamorous relationship between Redemptions parents?

„His mother, Malachite, was punching down bread dough in a large ceramic bowl, the sleeves of her linen shirt rolled up to her elbows, her mouth open in a laugh and her eyes crinkled. His father, Beloved, was sitting on a stool across from her, sketching her face while the recipient of her smile, Redemption’s third parent, Whisper, juggled three oranges and a grapefruit, their eyes focused on the fruit, tongue sticking out in concentration.“

Not to mention the fact that Whisper, the third parent, went with they/them pronouns and it was the most natural thing ever! I loved that so much! <333 Plus Whisper was continuously non-binary. We never got any hint about their original gender and that was so damn wholesome. I mean there are so many books in which the original gender (or the body parts) of non-binary characters are revealed but I really loved the fact that it wasn’t done in here. Whisper was non-binary and that was it! Just amazing! ❤

”Everyone, everything deserved some time to be. To figure out what they were. Even a painting.“

4

All told I really enjoyed “Pet” and I was totally absorbed by the story. I constantly wanted to know how it would continue and this even though I knew the ending would hurt. (And it DID hurt, boy did it hurt…) A very important book that didn’t only tackle serious topics, but also confronts the reader and forces her/him/them to make the right choice even though it is difficult. Highly recommended if you already read “A Monster Calls” and survived the heartbreak.

Allgemein, P - T, R, Reviews

Review: Rule of Wolves (Leigh Bardugo)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”Men who see too much have a way of losing their eyes.”
“And queens who trust too little have a way of losing their thrones.”

Don’t you love it when those bitter truths are thrown in your face? *lol* Queen Makhi and Yerwei were quite the duo and they continued to cause a lot of trouble in the second book. Despite that they weren’t an all too huge part of it though and I guess that was okay?! I have pretty mixed feelings about this series because on the one hand I absolutely adore Nikolai, Zoya and Nina, but on the other hand I always had the feeling that there could have been more?! It’s really hard to put this into words but I guess what it ultimately comes down to is that I didn’t enjoy the “King of Scars” duology as much as I thought I would.

I know I’m probably the only unpopular opinion here (at least when you look at all those raving 5 star reviews) but at the end of the day all I can do is to add my two cents and to hope that people will understand where I’m coming from. I mean 3,5 paws rounded up to 4 is still a great rating, because I DID enjoy the book, it just wasn’t what I expected? Hoped for? Wanted? XD Of course Leigh Bardugo can write her story the way she wants to, she’s the author after all, but I personally think there was a lot of potential that was lost somewhere along the way. No matter if it’s the storyline of the Starless Saint or how everything worked out with the Fjerdans in the end. There were so many possibilities how things could have developed and changed but most of them weren’t even used or used in a way I couldn’t get behind.

I know it’s always tough to write a good and well-rounded ending and I guess there were just too many things to handle after the final pages of the first book, but I still wish some of them would have been done differently. Anyway! My ship sailed, Leigh killed me once again and the conversations and easy banter were amazing and fun as always. So yeah, there were many things I enjoyed and that caused me to give this book four stars in the end. Before I go on and on I better just head to my spoilery characters section though and write all those mixed feelings down over there.

2

Ravka is probably not the best place to be on a vacation right now, but we still hope you’ll enjoy our hospitality. Discover our new inventions and don’t get too close to our spoiler machine. It’s not functional yet and might vomit spoilers all over you! But who knows? Maybe this is exactly your cup of tea? Wanna step a little bit closer?! ;-P

Nikolai:

”How unfair. I have plenty of faith,” Nikolai objected.
Tolya raised a brow. “In what?”
“Good engineering and better whiskey.”

Me too, Nikolai, me too! *lol* I really love Nikolai Lantsov and he’s one of the most precious beans of the entire Grishaverse. (The only other bean at least as precious is Wylan. ;-P) Unfortunately my boy had a lot to deal with in this book and his character development definitely was more on the grim and serious side, which is understandable if you have to fight for everything your entire life. And boy did he fight! Nikolai gave everything for his country, his blood and sweat and tears, but in the end a small rumour was enough to kick him off his throne. I hated this so much because, yes his father was Opjer but his mother was still the queen of Ravka and he was more of a king than anyone else that claimed their right on the throne. It was unfair but I suppose that’s how people are. Just because he wasn’t the king’s son and had a demon within him they turned their backs on him and decided they wanted another leader. The injustice of it all… I’m still not over it and it makes me so angry!! T_T My precious Nikolai deserved better than this. After everything he did for his country… he deserved better than this… *sobs* I mean yes, he’s still somewhat the consort of the new queen but urgh he almost died for them, he bled for them and that’s how they thank him for it?! >_<

”War was like fire – sudden, hungry, and easiest to stop before it had taken hold. He would do all he could to contain this blaze. He feared for his country and for himself. He’d be a fool not to. But some part of him, maybe the privateer, maybe the demon, maybe the prince who had clawed his way to the throne, was itching for a fight.”

”Maybe the gift of being human is that we do not give up – even when all hope is lost.”

”He was meant to be the wise king, the good king, but right now, he didn’t know how to be wise or good, only angry, the wound inside him burning like the city below. The demon’s presence made it easier to bear.”

”All over Os Alta today, there are funerals. People are grieving. We are facing a new and terrible challenge, a different kind of enemy and a different kind of war, but just as we grieve together, we’ll face this new enemy together. We will fight just as we grieve, side by side.”

”He was happy to pick up a sword or a pen on Ravka’s behalf, to go without sleep or comfort in order to see a mission through. But kings didn’t take action – not the way that a privateer or even a general could. Being a king meant second-guessing every move, considering countless variables before making a decision, knowing that each choice might have consequences that others would pay for.”

Zoya:

”She could never be sure if it was her own voice or Juris’ that spoke in her head. She only knew that his presence within her was real. No figment of her imagination could be so irritating.”

Ahh Zoya! My queen had a really nice character arc and I’m very thankful for that. I loved to see how she forged her own path and figured out how to resolve her issues. I think the most important thing for her was to accept herself and to learn how to love herself, because if you don’t do that you’re not open to let other people into your heart. The only person that stood in her way was Zoya herself and I’m glad she finally opened up to others and allowed herself to be human. It didn’t only make her stronger but also a better person. Or dragon?! I cannot not talk about her turning into a fierce dragon because OMG!!! That scene was totally amazing! Ravka’s new queen is quite literally a fire breathing dragon saint! *lol* Also I have no idea why their people accept a dragon on the throne but not the kind of monster Nikolai has become, because erm yeah… both not exactly human, but okay?!

Sweet words and grand declarations were for other people, other lives. She brushed the hair back from his face, placed a kiss on his forehead. “I would stay forever if I could,” she whispered. He wouldn’t remember anyway.

”Did she want to forget? What a gift that would be. To never feel as humans did, to never grieve again. Then it wouldn’t be so hard to leave this room. To shut the door on what might have been. To say goodbye.”

”And if something happened to him on that battlefield? She’d been too afraid to say yes to him, to show him the truth of her longing, to admit that from the first time she’d seen him, she’d know he was the hero of all her aunt’s stories, the boy with the golden spirit full of light and hope. All Saints, Zoya wanted to be near that light, she wanted to feel the warmth of it for as long as she could.”

”She would forever be a bloodthirsty, furious girl, but she might allow herself to be something else too. If she had helped to earn peace for Ravka, then maybe she could grant her own heart a bit of peace as well.”

”This is what love does. In the stories, love healed your wounds, fixed what was broken, allowed you to go on. But love wasn’t a spell, some kind of benediction to be whispered, a balm or a cure-all. It was a single, fragile thread, which grew stronger through connection, through shared hardship and honored trust.”

Nina:

”Her friendship with Hanne had helped to heal that wound. This mission, this purpose had helped, but the pain was still there and she suspected it always would be. His life had been stolen from him, and Matthias had never had the chance to find his own purpose. I served it, my love. I protected you. To the very end.”

So while Zoya and Nikolai fought for Ravka, Nina continued to be the spy in their enemies’ home. Which was a necessary role but still didn’t satisfy me? I mean I get why Nina remained in her role as a spy but I really wish her character’s story would have gone in a different direction. Especially at the ending. I mean she lost so much and all this just because of Brum and the Fjerdan’s old beliefs that Grisha are witches, yet she still stays in Fjerda to change the country for the better and this even as Mila and not as herself. *sighs deeply* I don’t know why Nina and Hanne being doomed to be in someone else’s skin for the rest of their lives is getting to me so much… but I think it has to do with me feeling good in my own skin? I remember being upset about Wylan posing as Kuwei and how much I hoped for him to be tailored back into his old self. It’s just… it doesn’t sit well with me. Maybe it’s because I’m gender fluid and it took me so long to understand myself and to be able to express my male and female side. The fact that you’d be stuck in a body that isn’t yours and this for the rest of your life? It’s just… argh!  *shudders* I don’t like this idea. At all.

”You are the lowest form of man. Without honor, without integrity. Djel djeren je töp.” Djel turns his back on you.
“Mila!” Ylva gasped.
Brum’s lips flattened. “You are no longer welcome in our home.”
Nina laughed. “I don’t keep company with vermin. My place is with the wolves.”

The Darkling:

”Human life is worth preserving. But human lives? They come and go like so much chaff, never tipping the scales.”

And here is another plot line that could have been so good but ended up being a wasted opportunity. I mean what exactly was the point in bringing the Darkling back into the game? Aside of the nice talk he had with Alina and Mal he didn’t really add anything important to the story. His followers were in no position to give him the power he craved for and his fruitless journey to sainthood was pretty disappointing, dull and unnecessary. The only thing his character was good for in the end was to stop the plague from spreading. And he did it willingly… I mean the most egoistic and notoriously pitiless character ever just allowed them to spike him on a huge thorn in order to stop the blight?! Suffering for eternity and going through immeasurable and excruciating pain. Did I miss a memo?! Apparently he only came back to fulfil that purpose but it was a story line I just couldn’t wrap my head around, especially because his sudden willingness to sacrifice himself for others was so out of character. >_< Why Leigh?!

”He would go to the Fold. He would find those who followed the Starless Saint.
He would teach the world awe.”

Prince Rasmus:

”It’s hard to believe in a god that would deny me breath.”

The Prince of Fjerda and his servant Joran. Pff… another storyline I have to pick a bone with. I really liked the idea of the prince of Fjerda having a good heart and understanding the needs of his people because his health has been bad ever since he was born. He could have had such a unique outlook on things and strengthened by Hanne’s powers he could have changed Fjerda for the better. But nope, that’s not the story we got. Rasmus turned out to be an even worse tyrant than his father and Brum and in the end he died because Hanne was forced to kill him. I dunno about you but for me this was like a slap in the face. XD Not happy about Hanne and Nina posing as the prince and Mila for the rest of their lives. I mean Hanne might be okay in his body (she could have tailored herself male though and she could have still been herself) but Nina in Mila’s body and this until she dies… Okay I won’t say more.

”I know the way people talk about me. I know they wish I hadn’t been born at all and that my little brother could be the one to inherit.”
Hanne’s face was fierce. “Well then, you must stay alive to spite them.”

3

Zoya & Nikolai:

”What they had endured on the Fold had connected them in some way, and he knew he would see Zoya when he turned – yet the sight of her struck like a sudden change in the weather. A drop in temperature, the crackle of electricity in the air, the feeling of a storm coming on.”

Zoyalai!!! My ship finally sailed and gosh was I happy about it! Those two were killing me with their tender moments, soft touches and easy banter. <333 Whenever they were in a scene together you could basically feel their chemistry crackling on the pages. I’m kinda sad we didn’t get even more of their moments because they were all so special and sweet, but I guess it’s better this way, because otherwise this would have turned into a lovey dovey romance and we all know Zoya isn’t exactly the romantic kinda girl. XD We’ll leave that to Nikolai because I’m sure he’ll spoil her senseless. *lol* Still, it took so long for Zoya to admit her feelings for him and I was so angry at her after the talk they had on the ship. I mean it almost took Nikolai dying for her to realize that she could have lost him forever. Then again this was totally in character for her so I can’t be mad at her. XD Also ADKFASLDFJSALKDF why is Nikolai so soft!!?? I can’t with him. I want a Nikolai Lantsov in my life! <333

Zoya sat down beside Nikolai on the bed, trying not to jostle him.
“You must be still,” she murmured.
“Don’t go.”
He shut his eyes and gripped her hand in his. Zoya knew the Healer had noticed it, knew he would probably gossip about it later. But she could weather the gossip.

”All Saints, are you saying I haven’t seen you at your worst?”
Zoya tossed her hair. “If you had, you’d be under the covers, gibbering prayers.”
“A unique way of getting me into bed, but who am I to question your methods?”

”Don’t pretend to shrug this off. You’ve barely looked at me since I returned.
Because I am greedy for the sight of you. Because the prospect of facing this war, this loss, without you fills me with fear. Because I find I don’t want to fight for a future if I can’t find a way to make a future with you.

”I would give you a crown if I could,” he said. “I would show you the world from the prow of a ship. I would choose you, Zoya. As my general, as my friend, as my bride. I would give you a sapphire the size of an acorn.” He reached into his pocket. “And all I would ask in return is that you wear this damnable ribbon in your hair on our wedding day.”

She raised her hand and let her fingertips trace the line of his beautiful jaw. He closed his eyes. “We would go on, you and I. If I couldn’t be queen, you would find a way to win this battle and save this country. You would make a sheltering place for my people. You would march and bleed and crack terrible jokes until you had done all you said you would do. I suppose that’s why I love you.”
His eyes flew open and his face lit in an extraordinary grin. “All Saints, say it again.”

She didn’t want to ask. Her pride forbade it. But her damn pride had cost her enough. She looked away. “And if … if I wished for more?” She felt his fingers on her chin, turning her head. There was an unwanted ache in her throat. Zoya forced herself to meet his gaze. In this light, his hazel eyes looked almost golden.
“Then I would gladly be your prince, your consort, your demon fool.”

Nina & Hanne:

”This stinks of the Hringsa. If there are Grisha in my streets, in my capital, I will find out.”
There are Grisha in your house, Nina thought gleefully.
“Don’t get cocky,” murmured Hanne.
“Too late.”

Their ship was okay in here but I’m still not convinced by it, which is such a shame because I’m usually the first one to support an f/f ship. For some reason this one just didn’t do it for me though?! I had the same problem with Mia and Ash when I read “The Nevernight Chronicles” and I can’t exactly put my finger on it but their relationship just didn’t work for me. It was too sudden, too convenient; there wasn’t enough chemistry between the two. It all just felt very… flat and not passionate enough?! I dunno. Considering they were hiding their love in front of their enemy’s eyes, there should have been a firework of emotions and all-consuming passion but there just wasn’t?! I dunno. Still feeling pretty meh about that ship. >_<

”I know all the things that aren’t good for me. And I want them just the same.”
Nina’s throat was dry. “Do you?” she asked quietly. “Want them?”
Hanne’s copper eyes glowed like topaz. Slowly she nodded. “Since the moment we met. Since you charged into that clearing like a girl I had dreamed into being.”

”Can you love a murderer?
“I might ask the same.”
Hanne hesitated. “And can you love me in this body?”
“It is your heart I love. You know that, don’t you?”

Genya & David:

”You will sit yourself down and let me make sure you don’t have a concussion. Then you will have a cup of tea. And then, if I’m feeling generous, you can talk to David about things that explode.”
“You do realize I’m the king?”
“Do you?”
Nikolai looked to David for help, but David just shrugged. “I don’t argue with my wife when she’s right.”

All I can say to that is: LEIGH WHY????!!!!! WHY???!!! WHY??!! I don’t get it! Why did David of all people have to die?! Genya suffered so much already and now you take the love of her life?! David’s death was at least as needless as Matthias’s death and I don’t know why Leigh insists on killing off sweet and gentle characters!! I will never be okay with that… Never!!! T_T *cries an ocean full of tears* Genya and David would have deserved to be happy. T_T I can’t say more than that….

”The things the Darkling asked me to do … I did them mindlessly, thoughtlessly. I helped put the collar around Alina’s neck. I created the lumiya that allowed him to enter the Fold without her power. Without my help, he never could have … I won’t be responsible for this too.”

Nikolai & The Crows:

”He’d have sussed out Vadik Demidov’s origins, raided the Fjerdan treasury, and placed himself on the throne in the time it took Nina to braid her hair. On second thought, probably best Kaz wasn’t here.”

Don’t you love it how everyone is against Kaz’s plan but once he says it’s for Inej they are all in?! Ahh the Crows will forever be my favourite gang. <333 I loved Nikolai’s and Zoya’s interactions with them and I would have been happy to read even more. XD To see them in another book of the Grishaverse always gives me life. Also I gotta say it: I want more scenes with Kaz and Nikolai because those two could be such a great duo!! Just imagine them going on a heist together. The legendary Kaz Brekker and the infamous Sturmhond together on one team?! Ohh what trouble they would cause! *lol* I’d be totally down for a book full of short stories of them teaming up together or even an entire trilogy just letting them do their thing. XD Can we have that, Leigh?! Please?! =))

”Better to get fat on information that starve on good manners.”

”One question,” said Wylan. “What are you going to use the titanium for?”
“Why does it matter?” asked Nikolai.
“Because unlike Kaz, I have a conscience.”
“I have a conscience,” said Kaz. “It just knows when to keep its mouth shut.”
Jesper snorted. “If you have a conscience, it’s gagged and tied to a chair somewhere.”

”I have a gift for order and a taste for chaos.”
Kaz raised a brow. “The man with the monster inside.”
“I see the wheels turning in your head, Mister Brekker, wondering what you might do with this information. I would ask, one liar to another, that you keep it to yourself.”
“I find secrets are the most reliable stocks. The longer they’re kept, the more their value rises.”

4

Despite being in one hell of a reading slump when I started to read “Rule of Wolves” I really enjoyed the book once I got out of my slump and actually picked it up. The characters are all close to my heart and I adore them so much. Still, there was a lot of lost potential and I just couldn’t overlook it. I mean yes, when it comes down to it, the book was still amazing and enjoyable to read, I just would have wished for a little bit more when it came to certain characters and their development/character arc. All told, this was still a fun ride and if you loved the Grisha trilogy and “Six of Crows” you’ll definitely like this one as well.

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

The Sea of Monsters – Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Rick Riordan)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”We did all the standard numbers: ‘Down by the Aegean´, ´I Am My Own Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandpa´, ´This Land is Mino’s Land´. The bonfire was enchanted, so the louder you sang, the higher it rose, changing colour and heat with the mood of the crowd.”

Sounds like a really nice night at Camp Halfblood, right? I mean who wouldn’t want to sing “This Land is Mino’s Land”? (On a side-note: Uncle Rick if you read this, can I please have the lyrics for those songs? *lol* I’d love to read them!!!) Unfortunately not everything is as it seems, and Percy isn’t only plagued by strange dreams of his best friend wearing a bridal gown (Hey there Grover, you’re looking good! ;-P) but also by a few ancient monsters that apparently feel a need to attack his home.

But worry not! We all know that for every problem there is a solution and of course Annabeth already figured it out. I guess to have a daughter of Athena at your side really comes in handy sometimes. 😉 Especially if you’re a very practical and down-to-earth person like Percy.

”I’ll give you a hint. What do you get when you skin a ram?”
“Messy?”

See, very practical indeed. *lol* Otherwise he probably would have never figured out that you don’t only get messy but also get a “Golden Fleece” as well. (Of course only if your sheep actually happens to be a golden sheep, but that’s another story for another day. ;-P) Anyway, moving on. Camp Halfblood is in trouble and the only thing that’s able to help them to restore their protective barrier is the Golden Fleece. So our favourite demi-gods do what they do best: They go on a dangerous quest! XD

”I thought about it. It did seem a little weird, but, I mean, doughnut shops weren’t really high on my list of sinister forces.”

I totally agree with you Percy, but what about the dangers of the sea? Sirens, hydras, a sinister sorceress, a woman with six dog heads or a sea monster that swallows entire ships? What about guinea pigs? Guess they all count as sinister forces. (Yes, even the guinea pigs! *lol*) Well, I’m pretty sure by now you all realized that Percy’s quest is rather adventurous and I admit it, even perilous. Our favourite hero wouldn’t be our favourite hero if he wouldn’t be able to circumnavigate all those lethal dangers though, (pun, totally intended! XD) and in the end …

4
Well, what did you expect? Did you really think I’d spoil you? *lol*
Nope, I won’t. You’ll have to find out for yourself. ;-P
I’ll only tell you as much: It was a fun ride once again and after that mean cliff-hanger I can’t wait to get a hold of the next book! =)

”Families are messy. Immortal families are eternally messy. Sometimes the best we can do is to remind each other that we’re related, for better or worse … and try to keep the maiming and killing to a minimum.”

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

The Lightning Thief – Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Rick Riordan)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

“The real world is where the monsters are.”

Believe it or not, but this was actually my first Rick Riordan book!!!

AND

I really enjoyed it!!! *lol*

This was such an epic adventure and I loved the countless hints and references to Greek Mythology! XD Rick Riordan’s approach definitely was a more than just funny one and I couldn’t help but had to laugh out loud whenever Percy opened his mouth!
I swear that young boy is the embodiment of sass and the more I read about him, the more I got attached to this awesome boy! ❤ I want to adopt Perseus and if Poseidon doesn’t want him it’s his own fault! XD

After reading the first book I don’t really feel a connection to Annabeth, but maybe this is going to change?! She seemed to be an interesting character and I liked their easy banter, altogether she was just too reserved for my taste though, which is pretty sad because I’m more than just certain that she’s actually a very cool girl! (On a side note: I really loved that she gave Percy the nickname “Seaweed Brain”! *lol* I’m fairly certain it could have been worse! ;-P)

And Grover? Well, I guess I liked Grover as well! His habit to eat tin cans was a little unsettling but hey, I’m not going to judge him for his rather questionable diet. XD After all his heart is in the right place and when it comes down to it, this is everything that counts! ;-P I just hope he’ll survive his personal quest and I can’t help but wonder if we’re going to see him in one of the next books!

Since my jump on the “Percy Jackson” train seems to be more than just a little delayed, I finally decided to leave it at that. I guess there is really nothing I could write or say that hasn’t been said already! I mean there are actually 73.916 reviews on goodreads! (Yes, I looked it up! ;-P) So yeah, I guess that says it all! XD

4
If you haven’t had the pleasure to read the book yet I recommend you to do the following though:
Get a copy of “The Lightning Thief”, snuggle into your soft and comfy bed, ignore the bad autumn weather and enjoy the freaky ride! ;-P

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, S

Review: Sorcery of Thorns (Margaret Rogerson)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

Book 37 on My Book List 2022

”Books, too, had hearts, though they were not the same as people’s, and a book’s heart could be broken: she had seen it happen before. Grimoires that refused to open, their voices gone silent, or whose ink faded and bled across the pages like tears.”

This book was brilliant and absolutely amazing! Legit the best book I read in in 2022 so far and definitely one of the biggest bookish surprises I ever read. I mean I knew I’d enjoy “Sorcery of Thorns” because alone the idea of libraries full of grimoires – books that talk and feel and can turn into monsters and therefore need to be guarded – sounded too awesome not to pick it up. What really surprised me actually wasn’t the world building (even though I’ve to admit that it’s marvellous considering the fact that this is a standalone) but the great characters that live in this unique world!

Honestly I totally fell in love with all of them and Elisabeth, Nathaniel and especially Silas own my heart! ❤ I never read a Margaret Rogerson book before but you can bet that I’m going to pick up her other books as well. 😉 I just loved that we had Magisters (sorcerers) and wardens as well as demons and grimoires in this story. It’s a combination I’ve never seen before and this made the world building very intriguing for me. Still, what I loved the most were the characters and I was kind of blown away by them being so multi-layered and complex. This book could have easily been turned into an entire series and I would have gobbled it up like nobody’s business. *lol*

Which brings me right to the only thing I didn’t like about “Sorcery of Thorns”: There just wasn’t enough of it!!! The world building would have had so much potential to be even more lush and elaborate and the characters… they could have easily carried a second, a third, maybe even a fourth book. WHY MARGARET!? Why isn’t there more of this beautiful and amazing story that swept me off my feet!!?? Especially with THIS ending!!!! AKSDFASDJFASDFJASKFD! Okay, I’m good again. Just needed to let it out. *lol* I guess I’ll just head to my characters section – aka the spoilery spoiler section – now and rave over there. 😉

2

Welcome to Austermeer! Our lovely country that’s full of Great Libraries, grimoires, sorcerer’s, wardens and demons. Be our guest and enjoy everything we have to offer. Well, maybe not everything: Don’t accept deals with demons, it won’t only cost you precious years of your life but also will give them the means to relentlessly spoil you with their knowledge! You’ve been warned, this is the point of no return. ;-P

Nathaniel Thorn:

”I’m going to turn you into a salamander.”
“You can do that?” she whispered. “Truly?”
“Of course.” A wicked gleam entered his eyes. “But I only turn girls into salamanders on Tuesdays. Luckily for you, it’s a Wednesday, which is the day I drink a goblet of orphan’s blood for supper.”

Haha! Nathaniel was such a great character and exactly my cup of tea! *lol* I mean a young, powerful, funny and handsome sorcerer with rough edges but a heart of gold who tries to keep everyone away from himself in order to protect them! Yep, totally the kind of character I usually dig. I should have loved Nathaniel and I did, but funnily enough I didn’t love him as much as I loved Silas. XD Because, well, Silas!! ❤ Anyway! Nathaniel was great and I absolutely adored him and could see why Elisabeth as well as Silas liked him so much. Also he definitely had one of the best lines in the book and even turned out to be a bi icon!!! Seriously, I screamed when he delivered that line to Elisabeth!!! *lol* I really wish we could have seen more of him, but even though he’s clearly one of the MCs in the book, he actually didn’t have a lot of scenes in the story?! Which was sort of refreshing because he is a solitary and secluded character and spends a lot of time in his study and therefore didn’t socialize with the others. I think this added to his credibility and made him feel like a real person. So kudos to Rogerson for making him that way!

”I like girls too, Scrivener.” Amusement danced in Nathaniel’s eyes. “I like both. If you’re going to fantasize about my love life, I insist you do so accurately.”

”But you stayed with me. And selfishly, I was glad – I had never wanted anything more in my life. Damn you,” he said. “You unmanageable, contrary creature. You have made me believe in something at last. It feels as wretched as I imagined.”

Elisabeth Scrivener:

”But who would believe her? She now understood that the world wasn’t kind to young women, especially when they behaved in ways men didn’t like, and spoke truths that men weren’t ready to hear.”

Ahh Elisabeth! The fierce and compassionate heroine of the story! Elisabeth was the MC of the book and it was told through her POV. She was one hell of an amazing character and I loved that she refused to be intimidated by her enemies. She always stood her ground and did what felt right for her even though this often caused her a lot of trouble and made her life extremely dangerous and difficult. She had integrity and stood up for her convictions and she didn’t allow herself to be guided by her prejudices. What a WOMAN! <333 Can we have more female MCs like her?! =)

”You’ve been attacked, violated, tormented, left on the streets to starve. The odds you face are impossible. If you continue down this path, you’ll die. Why won’t you just give up?”
She stared. Was that a thing people did – just gave up? When there was so much in the world to love, to fight for? “I cannot,” she said fiercely. “I never will.”

”She thinks he acted under Nathaniel’s orders. And as simply as that, Elisabeth realized no one would ever appreciate Silas’s final act. It was not a story that anyone would believe. He had vanished from the world like mist, leaving nothing behind except rumors: the dreadful creature that had served House Thorn.
The injustice of it overwhelmed her, stung her eyes like needles. For a long time she sat in silence, her head bowed, blinking back tears.“

Silas:

„I am a demon,“ he said. „You cannot see me as anything more.“

And now we come to the secret star of the book and the person who owns my heart, my body, my soul and my entire being: Enter Silas, Nathaniel’s demonic servant! <333 I AM IN LOVE WITH SILAS!!! Because he’s the most precious soul and I just want him to be happy! He should be with the people he loves but even this comes with a price and because it’s in his nature he can’t do anything against it. It broke my heart to see how deeply he cared for Nathaniel and how much it hurt him to take those years of his life from him. T_T He’s such a complex and intriguing character because despite all odds he started to care for Nathaniel and even loved him. In my eyes Silas is no demon but an angel and I really hope the ending means what I think it means!!! Also it left an opportunity for a second book and I so, so, so, so want a second book!!! I can’t emphasise this enough! Can we have it? Pleaseeeee!!! XD *dies*

”Yes,” he whispered, as if she saw the truth at last. “You see, there is no absolution, no penance, for a creature such as I.” His eyes shone bright with pain. “You could strike me down and the blow would only harm another.”

3

Elisabeth & Nathaniel:

”You used a demonic incantation to pack my stockings!”
He raised an eyebrow. “You’re right, that doesn’t sound like something a proper evil sorcerer would do. Next time, I won’t fold them.”

Those two gave me life and their interactions were hilarious! It started with their first meeting at the library and only continued to be funny from there. I swear they had some of the best conversations in this book and they never ceased to amuse me. The fact Elisabeth thought Nathaniel was an evil sorcerer led to a lot of misunderstandings and hilarious observations and I lived and breathed for them. Of course Nathaniel couldn’t help but add fuel to the fire and this quite often caused me to chuckle while I read the book. Due to Nathaniel’s secluded nature and his efforts to stay away from Elisabeth they didn’t have a lot of scenes together but whenever they did Margaret Rogerson made sure to make them count! They always packed a punch and if you ask me that’s great story writing right there! 😉 Also I loved that the characters stayed true to their nature because even when Nathaniel admits his feelings for Elisabeth he still continues to be his grumpy self and calls her a creature and terror. *lol* Love the dynamic of those two. ❤

„I see you’ve been spending a great deal of time alone with Magister Thorn. Has he declared his intentions?“
„I wish he would,“ Elisabeth said. „He hardly makes sense half the time. Knowing his intentions would be helpful.“
Nathaniel made a choking sound.

”She didn’t want him to stop. She had never been touched like this before. His hands left impressions across her skin like the trails of comets, urgent and tingling, her body yearning for more. A breathless ache filled her chest. The intensity of the sensation overwhelmed her.”

„Beneath her touch, a tremor ran through him. He looked at her as though he were drowning, as though she had been the one to push him, and he did not know what to do. “Elisabeth,” he said, her name wrong from him as a plea.“

Nathaniel’s brow furrowed. He turned his face to the side and blinked several times. “Thank god,” he said finally. “I don’t think unrequited love would have suited me. I might have started writing poetry.”
Elisabeth continued stroking his hair. “That doesn’t sound so bad.”
“I assure you, it would have proven more unpleasant for everyone than necromancy.”

Elisabeth & Silas:

”What sort of dreadful things?” she whispered.
Without any effort, Silas lifted her into his arms. “It is better if you do not know,” he murmured, almost too softly for her to hear.

I loved how they formed such a strong bond! Silas hid his love for Nathaniel (and Elisabeth) extremely well but Elisabeth was a very perceptive character and easily saw through him. They had so many lovely and touching moments together but I think my favourite scene was when Nathaniel was knocked out cold and they had that talk in the kitchen. Such an ordinary scene yet it was extraordinary because of the impactful message it conveyed. This was such a simple and powerful moment – I adored it so much! Also I loved how gentle and considerate Silas was. At first he extended his love for Nathaniel to Elisabeth and saved her because he knew Nathaniel cared about her but gradually we can see the change in his feelings and how he starts to appreciate Elisabeth as well. How he slowly but steadily begins to love her too. <333 So beautifully written, I can’t even! If you can read between the lines their friendship is everything!

”Silas,” she gasped. “I’m so glad to see you.”
„Curious. That is not what people usually say to me at a time like this.“
„What do they usually say?“
„Generally they cry, or wet themselves.“

”You aren’t well,” he said softly. “How long have you had this fever?”
When she didn’t reply, unsure, he began to unbutton his jacket. She shook her head as he moved to tuck it around her. “I’ll get your clothes dirty,” she protested.
“It matters not, miss. Up you come.”

Nathaniel & Silas:

”Since when do you care about the welfare of a human being?”
“I am not the one who cares,” Silas said softly.
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“You care about her, master, more than I have seen you care about anything in years. Don’t attempt to deny it,” he added when Nathaniel opened his mouth.

MY HEART!!! It was attacked by the deep love those two felt for each other and sometimes it even took my breath away! Like ARGH!!! Seriously, you’d think the most interesting relationship in this book would be the ship of Elisabeth and Nathaniel but nope! The most interesting relationship in “Sorcery of Thorns” was actually the bond between Nathaniel and Silas! They aren’t just bound by their pact but also by their mutual love and trust for each other and it was so beautiful to behold. Like so, so beautiful to see!!! They both suffered so much and they both did it in different ways but I absolutely adored that they still stayed together. Silas was tormented by his nature and the fact that he didn’t only have to kill Nathaniel’s father but that he also had to take 20 years of his new master’s life and Nathaniel was tantalized by the memories of his father’s death and his traumatic childhood. They both hurt and they lost so much but what kept them going was their love for each other. <333 The only other relationship I can think of that was equally deep and meaningful and that was between two male book characters is the one between Will Herondale and James Carstairs. So yes, that says A LOT!! GAH! I just adore them! ❤

„Nathaniel drank. When he finished, he squeezed his eyes shut and slumped back against the headboard. His face twisted as if he were trying to stop himself from weeping, and his hand sought Silas’s and clasped it tightly.”

”First, I learned to make tea,” he said finally, speaking more to himself than to her. “When humans wish to help, they are forever offering each other tea.”

”The snow had begun overnight, shortly after Nathaniel had woken screaming and delirious from a nightmare, and then subsided shivering in Silas’s arms.”

4

Every year there comes a book that knocks it out of the park for me and as it seems this year it was “Sorcery of Thorns”. Yes, I heard a great deal about how amazing this book is and many people raved about it, but I never expected to love it as much as I did! I enjoy reading standalones every now and then, but I never seem to enjoy them as much as I enjoy series. Well, I guess this book taught me that I can get addicted to standalones as well. XD I loved this and if Margaret Rogerson ever decides to go for a second book I’ll be faster than “The Flash” and buy it for my private collection! You just watch! ;-P

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Gilded Ones (Namina Forna)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Trigger warnings: xenophobia, misogyny, abuse and sexual abuse, rape (off page), graphic murder, torture, body mutilation

”The truth is, girls have to wear smiling masks, contort themselves into all kinds of knots to please others, and then, when the deathshrieks come, girls die. They die.” I glance from one bloodsister to the other. “The way I see it, we all have a choice right now. Are we girls, or are we demons? Are we going to die, or are we going to survive?”

So this is one of those rare books that caused me to have really mixed feelings about it. I guess everyone who followed my updates knows that I wasn’t all too happy about how the first half of “The Gilded Ones” played out. Maybe it’s just one of those “it’s me not the book” cases because I read way too many YA books and notice the similarities between them.  A lot of YA books have the same tropes and start out the same way so I wasn’t really surprised about the initial plot line of the book.

”Every girl knows it by heart. We recite it whenever we enter a temple – a constant reminder that women were created to be helpmeets to men, subservient to their desires and commands.”

I mean we have a patriarchal system and girls aren’t even allowed to walk on the streets if they don’t have a man with them. The women wear masks in order to hide their faces and it’s seen as an honour to wear them after they went through the blood rite and became full members of society. Their only goal in life is to get through the blood rite and to serve their men and they are devoutly religious. So yeah, this was nothing new for me and I’ve seen this particular kind of trope in a lot of books. Truth be told after everything Deka went through at the beginning of the book I had a hard time to comprehend how she could still hold on to the beliefs  of her people.

”Even some of the little girls here wear half masks, visible representations of their family’s wealth moulded in gold and silver. A pang of sadness passes over me whenever I see them. I’ll never wear a mask now, never be able to adorn myself in the sacred coverings of purity.”

Then again, change comes slowly and I think this was portrayed really well in here. Because the longer Deka stays with her fellow alaki, the more she finds out about their world and why they are shunned from society. And the more she knows the easier it becomes to let go of the cultural beliefs that have been indoctrinated into her ever since she was a little girl. This said I really liked the friendships in this book and the fact that those girls became true warriors and didn’t take any bullshit anymore. XD I absolutely loved Deka’s friendship with Britta and those two were amazing together!

”I’ve learned many things these past months, and if there’s one thing I know, it’s this: Britta is my dearest friend, and my kinship with her is the foundation I stand on.”

As for the love interest:  I saw this one coming from miles away and I was not surprised that they became a couple in the end. Still, even though I knew they would end up together I really liked that this was a fairly slow burn and that they started out as enemies that became friends and then developed into something stronger and more. I know some people said that it was insta-lovey for them but I guess that’s just because the time line and the world building weren’t all too elaborate. I knew there must have passed quite some time between their training and missions but some pointers as to how much exactly would have been very welcome. XD

His eyes seem to glow as he glances sideways at me. “Am I your friend, Deka?”
“Do you want to be?” I say this part so softly, I don’t think he hears it.
But then he whispers in my ear, his breath stirring the short mop of curly hair above it. “I think I’m something much better. I’m your uruni, now until the day of our deaths.”

Another thing I liked was that the trauma of the girls and how they were coping with it was addressed. A lot of them were abused, raped and hurt in the worst way possible and this just because their blood ran gold and they were considered to be impure. It was good to see that they grew into their strength, that they didn’t succumb to their horrible experiences and fought their way back into life instead. They remembered and they got out of it even stronger than before.

”The physical body – it heals. The scars fade. But the memories are for ever. Even when you forget, they remain inside, taunting you, resurfacing when you least expect.”

White Hands made for a very intriguing character and I kinda liked that we were left in the dark for so long. (Even though I’ve to admit that I still could anticipate a lot of the plot twists. XD) And last but not least I’ve to mention the addition of Ixa to the team! I loved Ixa so much and I hope he’ll be an even bigger part in the next book. As for the ending:  I have no idea where the second book is going to head. I mean yes, I know the general direction but there are so many different ways in which it could play out. There’s – quite literally – a world of possibilities.

4

This said I really liked “The Gilded Ones”! Yes, at first I was very sceptical when I started to read this book but in the end the book surprised me and I started to enjoy it more and more. Despite the rocky start Namina Forna eventually persuaded me to pick up the second book as well and I’m already very curious if I’ll enjoy it even more than the first one. I guess I’ll just have to find out. 😉

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Neil Gaiman)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 26 of My Book List 2022

”I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled. I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from things or people or moments that hurt, but I found joy in the things that made me happy.”

You know, the more I think about this book, the harder it is to review it properly. “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” is definitely one of those books that – for lack of a better word – smoulders after you finished the last page. It’s one of those stories that needs to sink in and slowly but steadily digs its claws into your mind. It’s kind of funny how you don’t even notice the effect while you read the book but experience it afterwards once you have time to actually think about it. The book is a pretty fast read and it didn’t take me long to page through it, the “aftereffects” are an entirely different matter though.

”Nobody actually looks like what they really are on the inside. You don’t. I don’t. People are much more complicated than that. It’s true of everything.”

It are wisdoms like that, which cause you to think and to reflect on the story. I’m sure a lot of people already wrote about a million of words about this book but I guess I’ll just throw in a couple of thoughts I had after finishing “The Ocean at the End of the Lane”. The first thing I noticed is that the story has a lot of fairy tale like elements. We have a boy that sees the world with different eyes than the adults around him and because of that the grown-ups don’t believe him. The narrator of the book might only be seven years old, but in a lot of ways he’s more open-minded and perceptive than all the adults around him.     

”Adults follow paths. Children explore. Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences.”

For me the fight against the antagonist of the story was so frustrating because basically no one of the adults believes the boy when he says that the person is bad. And I guess it’s something a lot of adults do. They don’t understand the thoughts of their children and most of them don’t even bother to try to understand their perspective. Quite honestly, if my kid would tell me that there’s a horrible person that is evil I’d ask why? And yes, I’d try to see it through my child’s eyes. I haven’t lost that inner child of me yet and I hope I never will. I still make up stories and live in a fantasy world with my kid and I think it’s very important to give them this precious room to grow into themselves. They learn things playfully and it’s crucial to take them seriously when they are so insistent on something. As a parent you should protect your child and the things that happened to the poor boy in this story. Well, for me some of the scenes were extremely shocking.

”She was power incarnate, standing in the crackling air. She was the storm, she was the lightning, she was the adult world with all its power and all its secrets and all its foolish casual cruelty.”

This quote! It sums up everything I just said. Children might live in their own world but to them our adult world is at least as mysterious and incomprehensible as their world is to us. I hated Ursula Monkton with a passion, because she was the embodiment of the cruel adult world. She represented everything that made life complicated and miserable. It’s very interesting that Ursula wasn’t actually a bad person/being, she wanted to make people happy but she was ignorant to the fact that happiness always comes with a price. You can’t make everyone happy because one person’s happiness will probably turn out to be the cause of another person’s misfortune. There’s a balance in life and if you disrupt it things will get out of hand. 

”Childhood memories are sometimes covered and obscured beneath the things that come later, like childhood toys forgotten at the bottom of a crammed adult closet, but they are never lost for good.”

And before that could actually happen, Lettie Hempstock and her mother and grandmother stepped in. Those three women were so interesting and I love what Neil Gaiman did with them. I mean it’s kinda obvious they stand for the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone. All three of them have been around as long as the universe itself and time has absolutely no meaning for them. Their existence in the book was very particular because they neither lived in the narrator’s world nor in the adult one. They lived somewhere in between and no matter how hard the boy tried to understand what they were talking about he couldn’t really grasp their world. Which was such a nice and subtle way to describe the discrepancy between childhood and adulthood. At least for me it did. I’m pretty sure a lot of people might have a different opinion about this aspect of the book and I’m also convinced that every take on this is valid. How you interpret and rate books is completely subjective so the same book will mean different things for everyone who reads it. 😉

”You don’t pass or fail at being a person, dear.”

As for the ending? Well, it made me sad. It’s obvious the things that happened changed the course of the narrator’s life and it’s not entirely clear if it was for the better or for worse. And I’m sure this is exactly what Neil Gaiman wanted us to wonder about. Some experiences are good and some are bad, but you always grow through them and they change and shape you into the person you are now. Some things you can influence and others are beyond your influence and just happen to you. It’s always up to you how you deal with it though.

”I make art, sometimes I make true art, and sometimes it fills the empty places in my life. Some of them. Not all.”

4

All told, I really enjoyed this book and to say it was thought-provoking would be an understatement. I guess you can already tell by my review that “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” will stay with me for a long time and that I’ll continue to think about it for quite some time. It was a very strange book, but also a good one. I definitely didn’t expect it to be so creepy but I suppose adult life can be pretty grim and creepy as well so it kind of fit the mood of the story. If you like books like that I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one too. =)

 

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: Tweet Cute (Emma Lord)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 38 on My Book List 2021

“You know, for someone named Pepper, you’re pretty salty about losing.”
She groans at my pun as she shoves her hair back into the cap, but then counters, “For someone named Jack, you’re pretty bad at knowing when to hit the road.”
“Wow, Burger Princess, sick burn.”

Haha! I really loved those two and their “enemies-to friends-to lovers” relationship was amazing! This is how it’s done, people! ;-P Still, before I go into more detail about this book I’ve to give you a fair warning: Don’t read this when you’re hungry because you’ll regret it! I didn’t have such strong cravings for sweet food ever since I read “Heartless”! And I mean it!!! All the talk about Monster Cake or Kitchen Sink Macaroons! AHHH!! *drools* See! I’m already craving sweets again. XD So whatever you do, don’t read this when you’re hungry!

”Just one more bite?”
I grin into my locker door, so he can’t see. “You sound like a junkie.”
“I might be one now, and it’s kind of your fault. So you have a responsibility to keep supplying. Or I’ll go into withdrawal.”

Please can someone supply me too? Haha! Anyway! Regardless of my cravings this book was super cute and the characters were extremely adorable together. When I started to read this I wanted a light rom-com that would be fun and fast to page through and I guess I got exactly what I needed. Well, truth be told, I got a little more than that though. Some of the topics that were addressed in here were actually pretty serious and I’ve to give Emma Lord kudos for including them so effortlessly into the plot.

”And that’s my grandma’s legacy. That’s my entire family’s livelihood. Don’t you dare stand there and tell me it isn’t personal.”

So aside from the fierce Twitter war that’s been going on throughout the entire book “Tweet Cute” also tackled a lot of topics you wouldn’t expect. Like for instance the matter of a family business when you have two heirs that could inherit it. The troubles of one sibling that always feels left out because the other one seems to be the centre of the universe everyone is revolving around, the struggle of getting by with a small business, and the struggle of maintaining a huge business while trying to remember your roots and originals. Not to mention all the family dynamics that are a big part of this book as well. 😉

”It’s the fact that my dad can flip from telling me he expects me to run this place and then treating it like a punishment in the next heartbeat that really gets me. To me, it’s yet another spoken confirmation of an unspoken thing – that Ethan’s the twin destined for greatness, and I’m the one who will stick around and deal with whatever he leaves in his wake.”

If I’m entirely honest I kind of disliked Pepper’s mother for a long part of the book because I just didn’t understand her actions and why she would let her teenage daughter deal with such things. Even after finishing the book I still think that the relationship between Pepper and her mom was imbalanced and somehow off. I mean I would have never done that to my daughter. She expected so much of Pepper and put her under a lot of pressure without even thinking about what this would entail. And even when she realized her mistake she blamed Pepper’s bad grades on her friendship with Jack instead of acknowledging the big elephant in the room, namely that her obsession with the Twitter account was responsible for Pepper slacking off at school. Like how can you be so blind and unfair? I guess I’ll never become a fan of her.

My mom holds up a finger. “Hush. I’m having a moment over here.” Pepper snorts as my mom finishes having said moment, and then turns to Pepper, her fingers still sticky with cake, and says, “You are welcome to this kitchen any day of the week for the rest of your damn life.” Before Pepper can respond, she turns to me and says, “But if you don’t clean up this disaster, yours, my dear, is over.”

Jack and Ethan’s mom on the other hand! *lol* I loved that woman to bits and pieces! ❤ She was such a great mom and she really tried her best to be there for her sons while running a business and providing for her kids. Their father was okay too but he obviously made quite a lot of mistakes. Unlike Pepper’s mom he learned from them though and tried to make it better. Also can we acknowledge the amazingness of Grandma Belly?! That granny is made of awesome sauce and she always made me laugh! <33

”They’re here for your grilled cheese,” I told her.
She fixed me with a look, crossing a leg on the massive armchair she spent most of her time in and raising a single eyebrow at me. “Not unless you changed my secret ingredient to cocaine, they’re not.”

You just gotta love her directness and no bullshit attitude! *lol*

4

All told, I really enjoyed “Tweet Cute” and it was exactly what I needed. I was looking for a cute and light rom-com and that’s what I got. The fact that it also touched on more serious topics was the icing on the cake! And now excuse me when I finally give into my cravings and eat a delicious cupcake. ;-P

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Gravity of Us (Phil Stamper)

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Rating: 3 Pfoten

”Look, I’m sorry you won’t be able to play on social media anymore, but this is real life.”
I choke back a laugh. “Real life? I have to give up my journalism, plus my entire life, because a reality show says so. You really think what I do is less ‘real’ than StarWatch?”

I think in many ways “The Gravity of Us” was different than I expected it to be and after thinking about it for a while and letting the book sink in I decided to give it 3 stars. Don’t get me wrong, 3 stars is still good and when you look it up in my rating system it will say that the plot and the characters were good but that I had some minor issues with the book. Which is exactly what happened in here. I really enjoyed the book but there were also some things I can’t overlook and need to address in my review. I have no idea if other people already did that but since this was Phil Stampers debut I’ll just add my two cents and hope that if he ever stumbles upon this review it will help him to write even more amazing books in the future. Because when it comes down to it “The Gravity of Us” was really good and a great debut. =)

So this said let’s talk about the awesome things in the book! First of all I’ve to say that I loved to get an inside look into press work. We didn’t just get a good glimpse at what it means to be an influencer/journalist on social media but also an idea of how big TV channels handle the stories they talk about. I really liked the ambivalence of a social media channel that is focused on telling the truth and trying to give people an inside look at the scientific facts vs. a TV show that only aims to get the hottest gossip and the highest click rate. And I’m not gonna lie, John Farrow and his Shooting Stars show really made me angry. It’s the perfect example of how inhuman people can become if they only see dollar signs. (view spoiler)

”I start taking note of everyone’s expressions: crisp, practiced, perfect. Are they all that good at faking it? Or do they actually buy into all this? I’m looking for a flaw, but I can’t find the reality behind the show.”

The second recurring theme of the book I really enjoyed was the background history of space travel and all the science that was a part of the story line as well. Whenever his father spoke about NASA and the history of space travel you could feel his enthusiasm and what it meant for him to be a part of this Mars mission and project. I found this to be very interesting and as someone who only heard the legends of the moon landing but never really knew about all the details – like for instance the fact that there was an entire village for the astronauts and their families – this was super intriguing. “The Gravity of Us” got me so curious that I decided to dig a little bit deeper into the history of space flight and to find out more about it. It’s definitely an interesting topic to dive into. =)

”But with Leon, the burning in my chest has never been so perfectly bright. So clear.”

As much as I enjoyed the focus on media, science and history I still have to say that this was probably also the reason why some of the other topics of this story fell kind of flat. For instance the love story between Leon and Cal felt very insta-lovey and didn’t have a lot of substance. I’m aware there’s only so much you can do when you want to write a believable relationship in a 300+ pages book, but those two were just going way too fast for my taste. Plus Cal never asked Leon if he was okay with revealing their relationship like that and consent (especially when all eyes are on you and you belong to the LGBTQ+ community) is very important. Another topic I would have liked to read more about was the mental health representation (anxiety & depression). It was broached with Cal’s mother and with Leon but Stamper never really dug any deeper. It was mentioned on the surface but in the overall story it was more like a footnote than an actual rep. I mean they both got help and therapy which is a good thing, but considering how severe the anxiety of Cal’s mom was I found it a little bit unrealistic? I know I’m probably a bean counter now, but I think that if you bring up a topic you also have to dare to address it and to dig deeper. Then again this is probably personal preference and I’m sure a lot of other people didn’t see it as an issue.

”I’m the one who does the fixing. I’m unfazed, unbothered. My resolve is a freaking rock.
But the rock is breaking. It’s cracked and worn, and I know it. But if Dad comes home and things get okay again, I can handle it.”

Which brings me right to the characters. I know Cal had a lot on his plate but I still can’t get over the fact that he basically ignored his best friend from the moment he became part of the Mars mission. I mean Deb was his bestie and went through so much but he didn’t even think about her? It’s something I really couldn’t relate to because my besties know about everything that happens in my life. (I’m being a bean counter again, aren’t I? *lol*) Anyway! The last thing I need to mention is the relationship between Cal and his father. I still don’t know how I feel about it because there was such a massive shift in where it started and where it ended that I have no idea if I liked it or not. I mean at the beginning of the book I couldn’t understand how Cal’s father could disregard his son’s life and social media presence so much because fathers should always support their children. But at the end of the book I realized that Cal and his mother didn’t support the dream of Cal’s dad either. They didn’t even believe that he would be able to become a part of the mission and when he did they were angry at him for uprooting them from their lives. So yeah, I understand both sides and I don’t know on which one I would stand. I guess it’s good I don’t have to choose sides because it worked out well for everyone in the end?! *lol*

4

All told “The Gravity of Us” was a really good story and I read it pretty fast. It’s was an enjoyable read I could pick up whenever I felt like it and no matter how long it took me to get back to the book, I never lost the thread. XD I loved the science, space travel history and the social media angle and I’m definitely looking forward to Phil Stampers next book! He’s an author to watch out for and I’m sure his next book will be even better! =)

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Lost Apothecary (Sarah Penner)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”The apothecary was a friend to all of us women, the brewer of our secret: the men are dead because of us.
Only, it did not happen as I intend’d.
It was not her fault, the apothecary. It was not even mine.
I lay blame unto my husband, and his thirst for that which was not meant for him.”

“The Lost Apothecary” is one of those books that is hard to describe. I mean the overall story is pretty simple: We have a pharmacy in 1791 London and we have a woman that helps other women to get rid of their men. The apothecary. What was super intriguing about this book was the way she went about it. Every poison she gives away is only meant for men and there are so many different reasons why the women that come to her want to poison them. I’m not gonna lie, the idea of killing your husband because he’s unfaithful felt truly wrong and even though I understood where those women were coming from I was still revolted by the idea of murder.

I mean if we’d poison every man who ever cheated on his wife, had an affair with a married woman or lusted after someone he shouldn’t lust after, well, I guess we’d have to get rid of at least 50% of our male population. XD (Mind you, women can also be unfaithful and do all of those things. ;-P) Of course to live as a woman in 1791 was way different than to live as a woman now, some of the troubles never seem to change though, no matter in which time you live.

”Why did we suffer to keep secrets? Merely to protect ourselves, or to protect others? The apothecary was long gone, dead for more than two hundred years. There was no reason for me to stand guard over her.”

Which brings me right to the second time line we have in this book. It’s modern day London and the story revolves around Caroline who found out that her husband has an affair. To add insult to injury he even had it while they were trying to go for a baby. Of course Caroline doesn’t want him around her anymore and needs time to think which results in her going on their anniversary trip to London on her own. She leaves her husband behind and goes “mudlarking” with a tourist group and stumbles upon one of the apothecary’s vials in the mud of the Thames. And this is the moment where the two storylines connect. 😉

”For many of these women,” Nella whispered, “this may be the only place their names are recorded. The only place they will be remembered. It is a promise I made to my mother, to preserve the existence of these women whose names would otherwise be erased from history. The world is not kind to us … There are few places for a woman to leave an indelible mark.”

On the one hand we have the story of Nella – the apothecary – and Eliza a young girl that was sent to get a poison for her mistress’s husband and on the other hand we have Caroline who is trying to find out where the vial originated while figuring out what she’s going to do now that she knows the truth about her husband’s infidelity. Both women have their own struggles to deal with and I was very intrigued by the concept of this book. I loved that Nella and Caroline had totally different lives yet they were connected somehow. What made this book really interesting was the moral dilemma I faced while I read it. I understood Nella and the pain she went through. I got why she decided to help all those women by selling them poison, I pulled for her and didn’t want her to be exposed, yet at the same time I couldn’t condone what she did. And I think to some degree not even Nella could stomach the truth of what she did to those men.

”The discomfort in my joints had crawled through my body for years; it had grown so severe, I lived not a waking hour without pain. Every poison I dispensed brought a new wave of it upon me; some evenings, my fingers were so distended and stiff, I felt sure the skin would split open and expose what lay underneath.”

I don’t want to go into too much detail because this book had me really glued to the pages and I don’t want to spoil anything. I went into it mostly blind when I borrowed it from my library and only knew the basics of the plotline because one of my favourite BookTubers spoke about it in one of her wrap ups. XD Also can we briefly acknowledge how gorgeous the cover of this book is? It immediately drew me in and whenever I picked up the book I had to look at it! =)

”The best apothecary was one who knows intimately the despair felt by her patient, whether in body or heart. And though I could not relate to this woman’s place in society – for there were no gatehouses or footmen to be seen in Black Alley – I knew, firsthand, her inner turmoil. Heartache is shared by all, and favors no rank.”

4
All told I really enjoyed “The Lost Apothecary” and the fact I managed to finish it, even though I was in one of the biggest reading slumps I ever experienced while reading it, should already tell you enough. The idea of the story might sound simple but the interesting writing style and the characters kept me engaged until the very end. I really wanted to know how the story ends and I guess when it comes to books you can’t ask for more than that. 😉