Allgemein, P - T, R, Reviews

Review: Radio Silence (Alice Oseman)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

Book 33 on My Book List 2019

”Hello. I hope somebody is listening.”

I think by now this quote made its way into the most epic quotes of all time and I can totally understand all the hype this book got. When I joined goodreads back in 2017 “Radio Silence” was all over my feed and people were raving about it like crazy. I had no idea what all the fuss was about but three years later and countless books in between I finally get it. XD Alice Oseman’s book is amazing, epic, brilliant and most of all it’s relatable af!

As an author it’s not easy to capture the voice of a generation but I think Oseman did it masterfully. Truth be told, it’s more than the voice of a generation, it’s the voice of many generations that all went through the same thing. Did I lose you already? What I’m trying to say is that this book is timeless because it speaks to every teenager and young adult that ever went through adolescence.

“Radio Silence” tackles the strong bonds of friendships you only seem to have as a teen, it addresses the insecurities of young adults, the urgency and intensity of emotions, it shows that our educational system is far from perfect and that good grades aren’t everything in life, it makes room for individualism and it demonstrates that parents can influence their children in the best but also in the worst way possible. It plays with the idea of the internet as a medium that can connect people all over the world but it also illustrates how easy it is to hurt people and their privacy.

Seriously, this book gives so many thought-provoking impulses it’s hard to write it all into a summary, which only seems to emphasise my earlier statement of Oseman’s skill to capture the voice of a generation. People are complex, relationships are complicated and the way to your true self is paved with plenty of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. So just another ordinary day in the life of a young adult, right? ;-P

trigger warnings: emotional parental abuse, depression (implied),  suicidal thoughts (heavily implied), online bullying, teens drinking alcohol

2

This is my spoilery spoiler section and if you haven’t already read the book: Well, pirates ye be warned! ;-P This said: Welcome to Universe City, I’m sure you’ll have a lovely time with Radio and his sidekicks!

Frances Janvier:

”Being clever was, after all, my primary source of self-esteem. I’m a very sad person, in all senses of the word, but at least I was going to get into university.”

I really liked Frances! I mean I was never as good at school as her but I kind of admire her for getting good grades while following her obsession with “Radio Silence”. It’s no small feat and I really appreciated the idea of a character that’s good at school but also has a very creative streak. =) For some reason this is pretty rare in books and I don’t know why. XD Also the distinction between “School Frances” and “Normal Frances “ was amazing and very relatable. As a teen a lot of us are insecure and act differently when they are around their friends so this was such a great way to represent that sentiment. Also now is the moment I have to mention that I want Aled’s and France’s wardrobe! *lol* Seriously, their clothes are amazing! ❤ I would have loved to get my hands on them. Haha! Anyway, back to Frances as a character! I loved her compassion and that she always tried to do the right thing and was very responsible. Plus she was a really great friend! I hope we’ll see more of her in other books but I’m not sure she’s going to be in one of the others?! Guess I’ll have to find out.

”I couldn’t quite believe how much I seriously loved Aled Last, even if it wasn’t in the ideal way that would make it socially acceptable for us to live together until we die.”

Aled Last:

”it’s honestly fine!!!! what’s up?
if you’re feeling crap it’s always better to talk about it“

I really wish Aled would have taken his own advice! I know he’s the silent, withdrawn and broody kind of type but a lot of his problems could have been tackled if he would have just talked about them. Then again his mother certainly didn’t make it easy to develop some self-esteem, let alone to talk about his problems. (I’m so angry at his mom btw!!!) I felt so, so sorry for him and I was glad Frances and Daniel were able to see the true Aled. My heart really bled for this boy and it made me so sad that his mother couldn’t see how beautiful he was! ❤ I mean he made a podcast thousands of people followed and listened to, they even made fanart of it and yet his mother had nothing better to do than to destroy every little piece of him. >_< It killed me. Really. Aled suffered so much and I wish I could have jumped right into the book and saved him! He didn’t want to go to university and he was drowning in despair, which got more and more apparent with every episode he made. Those last few episodes? It just hurt… because they were a reflection of his true life and helplessness. T_T

”Sometimes I think if nobody spoke to me, I’d never speak again.”

”I can take a little beating now and then. I’m a tough one. I’m a star. I’m steel-chested and diamond-eyed. Cyborgs live and then they break, but I’ll never break. Even when my bone dust drifts over the City walls, I’ll be living and I’ll be flying, and I will wave and laugh.”

Daniel Jun:

”We were so important to each other. We’d tell each other everything and anything. We were each other’s first everything. First and only everything. He’s – he’s an angel.”

Daniel might have appeared to be a study machine but deep down he was a really nice guy and it was pretty obvious that he cared about Aled. With his neat appearance and orderly life he’s the complete opposite of Aled, yet he still enjoyed being with his friend. Daniel was so focused on school that it wasn’t easy to see his true self but the longer I read the more I began to warm to him. XD Guess I made the same experience like Frances. 😉

Carys:

Carol raised an eyebrow. “Well, it is how it is. I’m not here to see you and, frankly, I don’t want to. I want to talk to my real child.”
“I don’t think you deserve to,” said Carys, and I could feel the inaudible gasps of everyone in the room.

Okay, I admit it: There was a moment when I wanted to punch Carys in the face! I mean if it would have been my brother suffering so much I would have run to him in a heartbeat. But then again she thought that she was the problem and that Aled would be fine. Thankfully Frances could persuade her to seek him out and the moment she realized her mother was destroying Aled she became the lioness I wanted her to be! XD I loved how she defended Aled and that she gave her mother a run for her money because quite honestly this was what I wanted her to do the entire book! I’m so glad Aled and her reconciled and I was glad Frances and Carys got a chance to talk about the night she vanished.

3

Frances & Aled:

”So why have you been talking to me then?” he said. At the exact moment he said, “I’m so unimpressive,” I said, “Because you’re cool.”
We looked at each other.
Then he laughed softly and shook his head. “This is so weird.”

Boy their relationship was one hell of a rollercoaster! When they got to know each other and started to work on “Universe City” I was so happy for them but the more Aled’s mother and the fandom of Radio interfered, the more their friendship got under attack. I really would have loved for them just to do their own thing and not to be bothered by anything but of course life had other plans. I mean it’s no wonder Aled kind of broke under the pressure. Between the constant emotional abuse of his mother and the personal attacks of the fandom it would have been hard for anyone to keep on swimming. So bless Frances for always trying to reach out to him! Heaven knows Aled’s condition and his character didn’t make it easy to get through to him, but she never gave up on him and that’s what true friends do! Even though I’ve to admit that he said quite hurtful things to her and it’s no wonder she was insecure about their friendship. Still, at the end they found together again and I was very glad they did! =)

He laughed again and hid his face under the blanket.
“Why are you so nice to me?”
“Because I’m an angel.”
“You are.” He stretched out his arm and patted me on the head. “And I’m platonically in love with you.”
“That was literally the boy-girl version of ‘no homo’, but I appreciate the sentiment.”

He wrenched his hand back. “It’s fine. She’s always like this.”
“Does she hurt you?” I said. “Tell me if she hurts you. Right now. I’m serious.”
“No. I swear she doesn’t. He waved his injured hand. “This was an accident.”
“That’s not right. She can’t just – She just – What the fuck, I mean …”

”I’m just the replacement. You’re obsessed with me. Just the same as Carys, and you’ve managed to fuck up the only thing I had, the only good thing I fucking have, just like you managed to fuck up Carys’s. D’you fancy me as well?”

”Do you want to be famous?”
“I just … want to be special.”
“You are special.”
He laughed and said, “Shut up.”

Frances & her mum:

”Don’t let him escape!” said Mum. “This could be your only chance at securing a spouse!”

I swear Frances’s mum is kick-ass! I strive to be as cool as her once my little one is in her teens! I mean that woman wore a unicorn onesie and was basically an angel! I loved that Frances could talk with her about everything and that she always listened to her daughter’s troubles. She didn’t judge and let Frances figure out things for herself and most importantly: She accepted her the way she was!!! Even when Frances told her that she didn’t want to go to university she was totally okay with it and respected her daughter’s decision! I just loved that she was so supportive! She was the total opposite of Aled’s mum and I really liked that parents weren’t just mentioned as a footnote in “Radio Silence” but actually were a part of their children’s lives! =) This is really rare in YA and I appreciated it immensely!

”I don’t think I want to go to university.”
“Oh, Frances.” She didn’t sound disappointed. “That’s okay.”
“Is it okay?” I asked, because I wasn’t sure.
“Yes,” she said. “It’s okay.”

Aled & his mum:

”She looked terrifying, in that classic white, middle-class mum sort of way. Dyed cropped hair, slightly round physique, a smile that said ‘Can I get you a cup of tea?’ and eyes that said ‘I will burn everything you love.’

I really hated this woman! So, so much! GRRR!!! She stands for everything a parent shouldn’t do and be and URGH! I just couldn’t with her! I mean who ruins their children’s life? Who takes a scissor and cuts their son’s hair even though he said he doesn’t want to cut it?! Like seriously!?? And don’t even get me started on her changing Aled’s room! That was his personal space his safe haven and she destroyed it because she thought it was too messy?! WTF?! YOU. DON’T. INVADE. YOUR. CHILD’S. PRVIVATE. SPACE. EVER.!!! You let them put up posters, you let them scribble poetry on a white board, you idk give them room to breathe and to be who they are!! You don’t destroy their home! And then the thing with Aled’s dog Brian?! WTH?! Which mother does things like that?! I’m outraged and furious about this behaviour from a person that should lover her child unconditionally! The emotional abuse this woman put her children through isn’t normal and it’s extremely appalling! She might have never raised her hand against them but the emotional scars her actions left are at least as severe as if she would have hit them. All throughout the entire book I just wanted to call the youth welfare office! >_< I can’t with this woman. I just can’t! I’m so glad Carys and Aled aren’t with her anymore. They suffered enough! And this from a woman that birthed them and should have loved them… *shakes head*

”Aled was going to cry when he saw this.
She had taken his private space – his home – and destroyed it.
She took everything he loved and ruined it.”

”But we were sitting under the streetlamps and Aled was shaking in my arms and this was real, this was happening. She was taking everything Aled had and burning it. She was burning him, slowly, until he died.”

Daniel & Aled:

”I think we were so caught up in each other that we just… missed all the heteronormative propaganda that’s thrust at you when you’re that age.”

Ahh those two were actually kinda cute! Daniel broke my heart when he spoke about their relationship with Frances though. I think for him it must have been very difficult to deal with Aled. On the one hand he was his best friend and knew him better than anyone else but on the other hand he had no idea how he truly felt about him. I could understand why Aled was insecure about outing himself as demisexual. A lot of people never heard of it and he had only just begun to figure out what this meant for him as a person. I’m sure he didn’t want to hurt Daniel and so he rather pushed him away instead of talking things out. Anyway. It made me happy that they eventually managed to speak about it and I hope that one day they’ll reach the moment when they’ll both feel comfortable enough to show the world. =)

”It was all just for us in private, like we had to protect it, because we didn’t want the rest of the world to ruin it. I don’t really know why… I guess it didn’t feel like we were in a relationship at all. Because we were best friends, first and foremost. So we never knew how we’d explain it to people.”

”I think everyone’s a bit bored with boy-girl romances anyway,” he said. “I think the world’s had enough of those, to be honest.”

The reps and diversity:

This is an Alice Oseman book so the reps and the diversity were amazing! We have Frances who’s bisexual and English/Ethiopian; then there is Aled – the second MC – who is demisexual and his best friend/boyfriend Daniel who is South Korean and gay! Rain a friend of Frances is Indian and last but not least there’s Carys – Aled’s sister – who is a lesbian. So you just gotta love the diversity in this book! Also I think Aled is showing signs of depression but it’s never really verified. (though pretty much implied!)

4

This is probably the best contemporary book I ever read and considering it’s a genre I rarely dive into this should tell you enough! Alice Oseman is a genius and the characters she created, their struggles and friendships, their hopes and dreams, their fears and doubts; they all felt real and more than just a little relatable! “Radio Silence” is the accurate voice of numerous generations, describing the one thing every one of us has to experience in order to become who we truly are: Adolescence! 😉

Allgemein, P - T, R, Reviews

Review: Ruin and Rising (Leigh Bardugo)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”They will starve for you, lay down their lives and their children’s lives for you. They will make war without fear and die rejoicing. There is no greater power than faith, and there will be no greater army than one driven by it.”

Three books and I still hate the Apparat! *lol* Guess that says enough about him and his despicable character. XD Despite everything he unfortunately has a point though. Now that Alina has become Sankta Alina for so many people they think that she’s the answer to all their prayers and hopes and to say this is quite a burden for a girl that considers herself to be ordinary isn’t even getting close to the truth. There’s a lot of pressure on our young heroine and even though she’s coping with it way better than she did in the past, this still doesn’t mean that she’s ready to do what is necessary.

Mainly to destroy the fold and to dethrone the Darkling. To be entirely honest I can’t even blame her for it. The Darkling and her have some special connection and no matter how misguided he’s become, our favourite villain still has a good heart. It’s hidden more than just well in this final and last instalment but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t there. *sighs deeply*

Also, am I crazy for still loving all those boys? *lol* Because no matter how much I think about it, I still like Mal, I still adore Nikolai and I still want more of the Darkling. XD And this after reading all three books! ARGH! Leigh why do you have to write such good characters? *lol* It’s just not fair! Well, anyway I’ll head to my characters section now because there is a lot I need to get off my chest and I don’t want to spoil you already! ;-P

2

”None of them were easy or soft or simple. They were like me, nursing hurts and hidden wounds, all broken in different ways. We didn’t quite fit together. We had edges so jagged we cut each other sometimes, but as I curled up on my side, the warmth of the fire at my back, I felt a rush of gratitude so sweet it made my throat ache.”

You are entering the Fold! If you don’t want to be spoiled or eaten by the volcra (which truth be told might be pretty likely) you better leave now. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! You’re entering at your own risk! *volcra howls in the distance* ;-P

Alina:

”You are on your knees,” I said. “We are not negotiating.”
His lips thinned, but after a moment, he dipped his chin in assent.

Okay, I admit it. Alina was pretty cool in this book! *lol* I loved how she decided to take her fate into her own hands and no longer aimed for compromises. It was all or nothing for her and I really, really liked this! For once she was no longer a chess piece in the game but turned into one of the leaders instead. AND I enjoyed it! XD It was about time she got her own voice and I’m glad she finally realized that it’s up to her to change things. Plus, if we’re entirely honest to run away never really worked out for her anyway! The Darkling would have never left her alone and it was about time she fought back. 😉

”Maybe love was superstition, a prayer we said to keep the truth of loneliness at bay.”

”This was what Ravka did. It made orphans. It made misery. No land, no life, just a uniform and a gun. Nikolai had believed in something better.”

Mal:

”For all my talk of vows and honor, what I really want is to put you up against that wall and kiss you until you forget you ever knew another man’s name. So tell me to go, Alina. Because I can’t give you a title or an army or any of the things you need.”

Three books and I still don’t get all the Mal hate!!! I mean seriously, why do so many people hate him so much? I think he’s a really nice and down-to-earth guy and I could understand each and every single one of his actions. Yes he turned Alina away; he only did it because he knew she needed more than just a soldier who had nothing to offer though. In my opinion he was only realistic and let’s face it, if Alina wouldn’t have lost all her powers in the end she would have never been happy and content in a relationship with him. AND Mal was ready to sacrifice himself in order to save their world so I really, really don’t get why anyone wouldn’t like him!? I never had the feeling that he’s annoying, quite the contrary so yeah: #IStillLikeMalAndI’mNotSorry

Nikolai:

”Saints, Alina. I hope you weren’t looking to me to be the voice of reason. I keep to a strict diet of ill-advised enthusiasm and heartfelt regret.”

OMG!!! If that is even possible I actually loved him even more than I loved him in book 2! Nikolai is the BEST and he deserves the world and so much more!!! <333 I just admire and adore him and I really don’t get how Alina was able to resist his charms! I would have accepted his proposal in a heartbeat! *lol* But then again I’m not Alina who is obviously besotted with Mal. XD It made me kind of sad that we didn’t get all too much of him in this final book, but I see the logic behind it. AND I’ll never forgive the Darkling for what he did to my precious baby!!! I didn’t expect him to turn him into a monster and when it happened I was gripping my book so hard and yelling at the pages that I was very thankful I read it at home. *lol* (Just imagine I would have read it in the train… XD) I can’t wait to hold “King of Scars” in my greedy and grabby hands and I NEED to know what happens next! >_<

”Nikolai had made a fool of the Darkling, and now the Darkling had taken my polished, brilliant, noble prince and made him into a monster. Death would have been too kind.”

”He’d mobilized all the remaining units of the army to secure the borders, sent messages to the coast to rally Sturmhond’s fleet, and had apparently managed it all on no sleep and two fractured ribs. No one else would have had the ability, let alone the nerve – certainly not a younger son and rumoured bastard. But Nikolai had been training for this his entire life, and I knew he had a gift for the impossible.”

The Darkling:

”I have lived a long life, rich in grief. My tears are long since spent. If I still felt as you do, if I ached as you do, I could not have borne this eternity.”

I might never forgive him for what he did to Nikolai but I still love him?! *lol* The Darkling is just one of those amazing villains I love to hate and despite everything he’s done there is still something good in him. His power and age made him ruthless and caused him to be detached from the world around him, but deep down in his heart he isn’t really bad. I guess you might say he is doing the wrong things for the right reasons. All he ever wanted was a united Ravka in which Grisha could live peacefully and together as one and for a while he even managed to give his country some sort of stability. He had a wonderful dream but he never realized that he became the one thing that stood in its way. The Darkling was a very complex villain and I’m so glad I read this series because villains like that are so rare to find. XD For that alone I’ll always cherish him. But that moment when he asked Alina to say his true name!? T_T I am deceased!

”Once more,” he said. “Speak my name once more.”
He was ancient, I knew that. But in this moment he was just a boy – brilliant, blessed with too much power, burdened by eternity.
“Aleksander.”

Genya:

”Na razrusha’ya. E’ya razrushost.” I am not ruined. I am ruination.

Boy, did I adore Genya for her guts!! <333 She stood up for herself and faced the king head-on and she didn’t just give him a piece of her mind but also accepted the consequences the truth might entail! THAT WAS SO DAMN BRAVE for so many different reasons!! I always knew why Genya is my Queen! XD I love that despite her scars she’s comfortable in her own skin and I’m so happy that she finally got the love she deserves! <33 After everything she went through she deserves a man who treats her right and David seems to be the perfect man to give her everything she needs! 😉

”Beauty was your armor. Fragile stuff, all show. But what’s inside you? That’s steel. It’s brave and unbreakable. And it doesn’t need fixing.” He drew in a deep breath then awkwardly stepped forward. He took her face in his hands and kissed her.

3

Alina & Mal:

”We’re going to be travelling together for who knows how long. Eventually, you’re going to have to talk to me.”
“I’m talking to you right now.”
“See? Is this so terrible?”
“It wouldn’t be,” he said, gazing at me steadily, “if all I wanted to do was talk.”

I know at least 50% of the people who read this series will be all like “NOOOO!!!” now but: I SHIP IT!!! Yes, you read right! I’m happy with the ending and them being together! I mean Leigh made it pretty clear that Mal is Alina’s one true love and I’m so on board of the “The childhood friend gets the girl” train! *lol* Because this NEVER EVER happens in YA!!! And I’m grateful Leigh actually made it happen for once! XD It might sound ridiculous but this is something new and I’m always there for new things in a genre I already know so well. Plus Mal and Alina had a great chemistry and I loved that they were always able to joke about their situation. They knew each other inside out and for me it was logical that they could be together! I mean it’s basically like in real life. I know so many couples that started out as friends (some even best friends) and then became a couple because they realized they love each other. So there’s that! I ship it and I’m content with the ending! Enough said! ;-P

”All at once, the pain in my chest was so bad it nearly bent me double. Because this was what Mal had been coming to show me. Because that look – that open, eager, happy look – had been for me. Because I would always be the first person he turned to when he saw something lovely, and I would do the same. Whether I was a Saint or a queen or the most powerful Grisha who ever lived, I would always turn to him.”

”He watches her the way Harshaw watches fire. Like he’ll never have enough of her. Like he’s trying to capture what he can before she’s gone.”

”I wanted more for you,” he said. “A white veil in your hair. Vows we could keep.”
“A proper wedding night? Just tell me this isn’t goodbye. That’s the only vow I need.”

”They had an ordinary life, full of ordinary things – if love can ever be called that.”

Alina & Nikolai:

”First vomit, then tears,” Nikolai said, coming up beside me. “Don’t tell me I’ve lost my touch.”
“I’m just happy you’re alive,” I said, hastily blinking my eyes clear. “Though I’m sure you can talk me out of it.”

Their friendship was so amazing!!! I always knew they wouldn’t end up together but I loved that they developed such a great friendship in the end. They are proof that a friendship between a man and a woman can work just fine and their easy banter was so entertaining to read. If they would have married it would have merely been an alliance though and they both deserved better than that. I’m glad Alina can be with Mal now because I know Nikolai’s story isn’t over yet and I’m sooo curious to find out who’s going to be his love interest. XD A lot of people think it might be Zoya but I never saw chemistry between those two so there would have to be a lot of build-up in order to make that happen. Maybe Nikolai will even have a coming-out as being bi?! (I swear it could be possible!) Well, that certainly would be something I’d love to read. *lol* Whatever happens and no matter if it will turn out to be a straight romance or a gay one, I’m so ready for “King of Scars”!!! <333

”I owe you, Alina. Ravka owes you. This and more. Do good works or commission an opera house or just take it out and gaze at it longingly when you think of the handsome prince you might have made your own. For the record I favour the latter option, preferably paired with copious tears and the recitation of bad poetry.”
I laughed.
He took my hand and pressed the ring into it. “Take it and build something new.”

Alina & The Darkling:

”If only I’d known you’d prove such an apt pupil.” His voice was genuinely admiring, almost surprised.

Ohhh I lived and breathed for their scenes! Their cat and mouse game was just too intriguing to read! They gave each other a run for their money and none of them yielded an inch! *lol* ARGH! Their relationship was so twisted and dark but damn was it awesome to witness! XD I think in a perverted way they both loved each other, but it just wasn’t enough to save the Darkling. It broke my heart that he had to die but the way Leigh wrote it I was okay with it. (Not like in “War Storm” when I was so damn disappointed about how it all ended …) The Darkling died with dignity and he died being loved by his opponent… It was a coherent ending and it was the ending he deserved. ❤

”It’s true,” I said softly. “You are stronger, wiser, infinite in experience.” I leaned forward and whispered, my lips brushing the shell of his ear. “But I am an apt pupil.”
His eyes flew open. I caught the briefest glimpse of rage in his gray gaze before I severed the connection.

”There will be nothing left,” I whispered.
“No,” he said gently as he folded me in his arms. He pressed a kiss to the top of my hair. “I will strip away all that you know, all that you love, until you have no shelter but me.”

4

“Ruin and Rising” was a good and solid ending for a rather unconventional YA series! It kept me entertained and always caused me to wish for more. By the end of this book I got really attached to some of the characters and considering how many YA books I already read, that’s certainly no easy feat. 😉 So if you’re looking for a typical YA series that’s still able to surprise you every once in a while, “The Grisha Trilogy” is what you’re looking for. XD Happy Reading!

Allgemein, P - T, R, Reviews

Review: Ruby Red (Kerstin Gier)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 36 on My Book List 2020

Part of my „German speaking Authors Year“ challenge.

”Ready for the next adventure, Princess?”
“Ready when you are,” she said softly.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Kerstin Gier fan and to be honest my main motivation to reread this book was to make sure that more people become aware of it. At the beginning of the year I made 2020 my „German speaking Authors Year“ and decided to give a special shout-out to rather unknown (German/Austrian) authors that write great books! Well, Kerstin Gier certainly is one of them! 😉

I’ve read many of her books already but I’ve to admit that this series has a special place in my heart. I just love everything about it. I mean we have a strong heroine, an arrogant love interest, a super interesting time travel element (An inherited time travel gene?! Give it to me! *lol*), mystery, suspense, action, LONDON and a misogynistic, horrible antagonist I really want to kick in his – let’s keep this child-friendly – private parts! ;-P

Plus the friendship between Gwen and Leslie is so relatable that you can easily find yourself and your bestie in them! Admittedly the pacing in this first book is pretty slow, but if you ask me that’s mostly due to the fact that Gier tried to build up her world, characters and ideas first before she decided to dive into the main story line. Which truth be told, isn’t a bad thing. Quite the contrary, if anything it makes everything even better. =)

Still, there was one thing that irked me big time and I just couldn’t ignore it. I don’t know why they did it but they changed the MCs first name from Gwendolyn to Gwyneth and that’s not only ridiculous but also makes absolutely no sense! Especially because they left all the other names exactly like they were in the German version. We still have her mom Grace and her grandma Lady Arista, and all the other original names but they changed Gwendolyn to Gwyneth yet they also insist on using her nickname Gwen? O_o Don’t get me wrong Gwyneth is a beautiful name, but when you’re used to Gwendolyn it’s kinda weird that they felt a need to change it.

Anyway, enough of my pet peeve and back to my review! =)

2

This is the moment when we’ll use your blood in order to read it into the chronograph! From now on you might have safe passage through the centuries, but you’ll also be spoiled like crazy! So think twice before you take that step. You’ve been warned! 😉

Gwendolyn AND NOT GWYNETH:

”Why couldn’t I remember when Jack the Ripper had prowled the streets of London? And where? Surely not the elegant surroundings of Mayfair, I hoped.”

Haha! Gwen is such an amazing character and definitely one of the pioneers when it comes to strong heroines. I remember reading this book 11 years ago and how much I loved her for being so strong-willed and unimpressed by all those misogynistic men of the lodge! She was completely taken by surprise when her time travel gene kicked in but that certainly didn’t stop her from being true to herself. Unlike Charlotte she never allowed them to use her as a tool and I lived and breathed for her defiance. Yes, she’s scared and has no idea what is happening to her, this however still didn’t stop her from going her own way. Plus she gave Gideon hell for being such an arrogant, prejudiced snob and this alone was worth reading! XD

”Oh, so it’ll pass?” I made myself speak very slowly and distinctly, although I really felt like screeching. “And so if I’ve just killed a man, will that pass, too? My entire life has been turned upside down today – will that pass? Will the fact that an arrogant, long-haired, violin-playing creep in silk stockings can’t think of anything better to do than order me about, even though I’ve just saved his stupid life, will that disappear as well? If you ask me, it’s not surprising that I feel like puking. And just in case you’re wondering, you make me want to throw up too!”

Gideon:

”The young guy had dark, curly hair that fell almost to his shoulders, and such bright green eyes that I thought he must be wearing colored lenses.”

Haha! Okay, I admit it, Gideon might be nice to look at and a welcome sight for sore eyes, but in this first book he’s really obnoxious! The funny thing is that he’s completely different when he’s around Charlotte and their interactions help to see the true person behind all his insufferable behaviour. His heart is in the right place, but all the men in his family and at the lodge had a huge impact on the way he was raised and as it seems he needed a girl like Gwen to reprimand him for his demeanour. Thankfully she’s more than just ready to take up this particular kind of challenge. *lol* I feel that despite him being the future love interest I actually can’t say a lot about him. His role was more that of a side-character but I’m really looking forward to the second book when we get to know him a little bit better. =)

”Anyway, there’s no need,” said Gideon. “I can do it all far better on my own.”

Charlotte:

Charolotte’s eyes had sparkled with fury as she looked at me. “It’s not a stupid gene, it’s a gift. Something very special. And it’s simply wasted on someone like you. But you’re too childish to even understand that.”

I don’t like Charlotte and I think that will never change. Yes, she gets nicer as the series proceeds; this still doesn’t mean that she’s a great character though. I never warmed up to her and I think that’s mostly due to her being insufferable. *lol* I can understand why she’s so pissed that Gwen is the carrier of the time travel gene but it’s not like she took it away from her. Quite the contrary, I’m pretty sure if given the chance Gwen would hand it to her in a heartbeat. So instead of snapping at her cousin she should try to understand how horrible it must be for Gwen to be involved in all this mess. Especially without being prepared the way she was for years. >_< Nope, I’m definitely no Charlotte fan.

Charlotte sighed. “We had fun, didn’t we?”
“Yes, but think of all the new opportunities open to you, Charlotte! I envy you that! You’re free now. You can do anything you like.”
“I never wanted anything but this!”

Count Saint-Germain:

”I’d say the female blood is considerably more sluggish than ours. Just as the female mind is inferior to the masculine intellect. Would you not agree with me, girl?”
Male chauvinist pig, I was thinking as I kept my eyes cast down, stupid, pompous, boring old chatterbox.

YES, GWEN! Give him a piece of your mind! *lol* Gosh, how I hate that man! Seriously, Count Saint-Germain is such a horrible person I can’t even! He’s not only a totally misogynistic a** but also never misses a chance to point out how weak the fair sex is. In his opinion women are just decoration and nice to look at but serve no other purpose than to bear children and to obey their men. Which makes me so damn furious! ARGH!!! I just can’t with this douchebag! Let’s get rid of him and move on! XD

3

Gwen & Gideon:

”I’d call that an entirely superfluous warning, Uncle Falk,” said Gideon, crossing his arms. “She’s definitely not my type.”

Teasing is a sign of affection! And those two are teasing each other like crazy! *lol* Come to think of it they might even be the reason why I’ve become such a huge fan of the “enemies to lovers” trope. It’s pretty obvious that they don’t like each other at the beginning of the book and except of being attractive there’s nothing else Gideon seems to have going for him. Still, despite their initial animosity there’s a lot of chemistry between those two and it’s a pleasure to witness it whenever it occurs. ;-P I loved how Gideon remarked on Gwen’s classmate being able to touch her while she was busy watching him with Charlotte! I mean the fact alone that Gideon knew he had touched her even though he was talking to Charlotte at that time should have told her everything, but *lol* of course Gwen didn’t notice the implication of that statement. *shakes head* I can’t wait to read “Sapphire Blue”, because I know this is going to get better and better! <333

”Didn’t I tell you to wait in the coach?” I didn’t react, so Gideon took my arm and pulled me to my feet. His face was completely drained of color. “That was incredibly reckless and … dreadfully dangerous and …” He swallowed hard and stared at me. “And, dammit all, rather brave of you.”

”So if he’s not your boyfriend, how come he can touch you?”
“He can’t. To be honest, I hadn’t noticed he was doing it.” I hadn’t noticed because I was fully occupied watching Gideon exchanging sweet nothings with Charlotte.

Gwen & Leslie:

”Where are you now?”
“Oh, Lesley, still in Duke Street. I’m walking as fast as I can.”
“Okay, we’ll stay on the phone until you get to your front door, and the moment you’re home, you have to talk to your mum.”

This conversation sounded so much like something my bestie and I would say! *lol* I’m sure she would have been worried sick as well and would have told me exactly the same thing! It’s adorable how much Leslie cares about Gwen and their friendship warms my heart! Leslie is the best friend ever! I mean she investigates everything and tries to help Gwen as best as she can. She might not be able to time travel herself but I’m pretty sure that Gwen would have been lost without her infos! XD What can go wrong if you have a bestie who’s got your back like that? <333 Exactly! Nothing! 😉

4

This might have been the second time I read this book but I still loved it as much as the first time around! ❤ Great characters, an amazing time travel element, historical London and an awesome “enemies to lovers trope” made “Ruby Red” an irresistible temptation for me! I hope after reading this you’ll be tempted to give it a try too! 😉 Happy reading!

Allgemein, P - T, R, Reviews

Review: Red Seas Under Red Skies (Scott Lynch)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 23 of My Book List 2020

”I’d lay even odds that between the people following us and the people hunting us, we’ve become this city’s principal means of employment. Tal Verrar’s entire economy is now based on fucking with us.”

Now if that isn’t an accurate assessment I dunno! ;-P In fact this is a pretty good summary of the entire book and I could probably leave it at that. Since I’m me and since I always feel an almost overwhelming need to put in my two cents I’ll go a little bit more into detail though. (Don’t say you didn’t see that coming! ;-P) So apparently the shit hit the fan in “Red Seas Under Red Skies” – big time I may add – and Locke and Jean are neck-deep in trouble once again.

How they managed to infuriate an entire city? Well, I think you’ll have to find that out for yourself, all I’m going to say is that they seem to have a special talent to attract the unwanted attention of bigger fish. And I’m not talking about sharks here, I’m talking about sea monsters. *lol* Both figuratively and quite literally speaking. XD They have more enemies than you can count and if this wouldn’t already have been enough the Bondsmagi of Karthain are still pissed off because of their – let’s say – quite unique way of dealing with one of their own. I swear the scene at the market gave me the creeps. *shudders*

I’m sure Locke and Jean can’t drink enough Lashani Blue to get their warning out of their heads. XD I might be able to though, so if any of you know where to get a bottle of this hellish stuff I’m ready to buy it and share! ;-P It sounded truly delicious! Anyway, let’s not have one over the eight and focus on other things instead! XD For instance the plot: What I really enjoyed was that the book started with another planned heist but went in an entirely different direction after more and more players came into the game. At first I wasn’t all too sure if I liked that change but damn did Scott Lynch persuade me to board that new ship! Quite literally once again, because they were actually heading out to the Sea of Brass. *lol* And the rest? Well, the rest will hopefully become your next bedtime story. ;-P

2

Welcome to Tal Verrar! The city of gambling where winning will get you to the next level! At least in the questionable establishment of the Sinspire which truth be told, actually sounds like a legendary place to be! *lol* Selendri and Requin the owners of said gambling den don’t mess around though so prepare to be spoiled at every gambling table! Spoiled AND robbed of course! Keep your enemies close and your money closer! ;-P

Locke Lamora:

”And I miss them,” he said, his voice nearly a whisper. “Gods, I miss them. It’s my fault they’re dead. I can’t… I can’t stand it –“

I swear the Locke at the beginning of this book had my heart bleeding! I never thought I’d see him so broken but after what happened at the end of the last book I should have known that he wasn’t going to recover quickly. =( I’m really glad that Jean was with him and forced him to face his problems because otherwise he would have never come back! And come back he did! *lol* I loved to watch his journey and how he changed during the book. The loss of his friends made him stronger and more serious but every once in a while there were moments when the old Locke reappeared. His sass and his charming personality will always cause me to root for him and I just love this man, okay?! XD He could charm the last penny from my pockets and steal my heart all at once and I still wouldn’t mind it! <33 And if he wouldn’t already be such a great thief and con man I’d totally be ready to read stories about Captain Orrin Ravelle! *lol*

”Oh,” sighed Jean. “Well, aren’t you the clever little bastard.”
“Yes on all three counts, actually.”

”Captain Orrin Ravelle,” said Locke, drawing a dagger and placing it against the captain’s throat. “Of the good ship Tal Verrar is Fucked! You stop in and let them know I’m in the neighbourhood!”

”Once a Big Lie was let out in the world, it seemed to grow on its own and needed little tending or worry to bend to the situation.”

Jean Tannen:

”When I get this door open, you’re dead, Jean!”
“When you get that door open? I look forward to many long years of life, then.”

Jean is THE BEST!! ❤ I loved how he dealt with morose Locke and his creativity was quite impressive! Who would have known he had it in him? XD I think Jean changed a lot in this book too and I really liked his character arc. To lose his fellow Gentleman Bastards was bitter pill for him as well, but he dealt with it in an entirely different way than Locke did. Jean tried to build something new and watched out for Locke which is so typical for him. He’s the best friend you could possibly have and despite his grief he never lost hope. Still, it’s undeniable that his priorities changed and this led to quite a few arguments between him and Locke. I think Jean only wants peace now but as it seems this just isn’t in the cards for them. >_<

Ezri Delmastro:

”Touch a weapon, or try to take one from one of the crew, and I guarantee you’ll die on the instant. We’re touchy about that.”

I ADORED this woman! Ezri was so amazing and I’m very thankful Scott Lynch decided to invent her character and to make her a part of this book! She’s definitely a girl that doesn’t take any shit from anyone and I just loved her for it! Ezri is a formidable fighter and the men on her ship listened to her. I loved that she had the respect of the crew and that she was able to fight for herself. No damsel in distress here, just a strong woman that knew exactly what she wanted and took it! That’s how awesome female characters are done! I loved how unapologetic she was and seriously, when I grow up I want to be like her! *lol* She could be very compassionate and gentle though and I can’t believe it had to end like that!!! WHY SCOTT LYNCH??!! WHY??? Ezri deserved so much better than that! T_T I’ll never get over her sacrifice… never. >_<

”Del, if it’s not too much trouble, we’re planning to attack that ship just ahead of us, so could you-“
“Oh, yeah, the fight for our lives. I suppose I could help you out for a few minutes, Captain.”

Captain Zamira Drakasha:

”Oh good,” she said a moment later. “Because after that, Mummy needs to fetch her armour and her sabres. And then she needs to go and board that lying motherfucker’s ship and sink it like a stone.”

A female pirate captain and she owned it!!! Zamira was such a strong character! I really liked that she had two children and was a caring and loving mother as well as a total badass when it came to boarding an enemy ship! Some might say that her children were her weakness but I think her love for them only made her even stronger. She saw through all of Locke’s lies and wasn’t fooled by him and that led to him being honest with her which was amazing! I think Locke needed an honest friend like Zamira and someone that brought out the best in him. And in some way or another she did exactly that! At the end of the book Locke and Jean left her ship but I really hope that she’ll reappear in one of the other books. The world sure as hell needs more characters like Captain Drakasha!!!

Stragos – The Archon:

”The Bondsmagi distort our world with their very presence. They rule us in many ways that have nothing to do with politics; the fact that we can hire them to do our bidding is immaterial. That little guild looms over everything we plan, everything we dream.”

Now that man was quite a nuisance! Stragos is one of those privileged people that buy their mercenaries and alchemists, but have no idea how to use them properly. I must admit he got the better of Locke and Jean when he made them drink his wine, but if it wouldn’t have been for his dangerous little games he would have been no threat to them. He seemed to be the kind of man that loves to plan things and sets them into motion, but ultimately has no foresight to predict unexpected events, let alone to take them into account. His plan to use Locke and Jean in order to stir the pirates was pretty half-baked and it was no surprise that it didn’t work out. If you ask me he got exactly what he deserved and hopefully his current predicament will teach him a valuable lesson!

Selendri & Requin:

”I wonder if there is anything that you don’t distrust.”
“Distrust everyone,” she said, “and you can never be betrayed. Opposed, but never betrayed.”

Now those two were the real deal! They were quite the antagonistic pair and I kind of liked their attitude. Those two didn’t mess around; they were a force to be reckoned with and definitely even more of a threat to Locke and Jean than Stragos ever was. You wouldn’t have thought it by just looking at them but they were quite formidable and skilled. 😉 The interesting thing about them is that no one would have assumed them to be so clever. They were highly underestimated which ultimately benefited them in the end. Also can we please acknowledge how interesting the Sinspire was? I would have loved to take a closer look at that place and to spend a night there! *lol* And don’t even get me started about the irony at the end! XD Requin’s final move was artfully done indeed. ;-P Something tells me that we haven’t seen the last of them yet and that this Duo Infernale will reappear in one of the other books. A girl can always dream, right? *lol*

’Difficult. “Difficult” and “impossible” are cousins often mistaken for one another, with very little in common.’

”All that remains,” said Requin, “is for your other judge to concur that you are still a risk worth taking.”
“Other judge?”
Requin gestured toward Selendri. “You’ve heard everything, my dear. Do we put Leocanto out of the window, or do we send him back down to where you fetched him from?”

3

Locke & Jean:

”Maybe I’ll just hold fast after this bottle,” said Locke.
“Hold fast is a nautical – “
“I know,” said Locke. “I’ll kill myself later.”

Their friendship is still everything and I can’t believe that Locke doubted him for even a second! Then again he might have thought he wasn’t worthy of his friendship anymore – because let’s be blunt here – he truly acted like an idiot at the beginning of the book. He was grieving though and Jean being Jean knew that it was Locke’s way to cope with things. It certainly wasn’t the best way but it’s probably the only one Locke ever knew. Still, with Jean’s love interest there came an interesting and new dynamic into their friendship and I think Locke had to get used to his best friend being in love. It’s something we all have to deal with when we grow up and it might have happened rather late with those two but it did happen nevertheless. 😉 Jean’s priorities might have changed over the course of the book but this didn’t mean that he was wrong. There was nothing wrong about wanting a quiet and easy life and Locke eventually realized this too. Hell, at the end he wanted this kind of life as well and was ready to take a shot at it with Ezri and Jean. It’s such a pity that Stragos didn’t let them have it. =((( And URGH!!! I don’t know how often I used this sentence for books already but THE ENDING!!!! >_< It kills me to think that Locke might die a slow and painful death now but I can totally understand why he did what he did! <333 Jean means everything to him and is his family and after all the things he did for him he just wanted to make sure that he’d be alright. That bastard! You can’t even blame him for taking away Jean’s choice because it was such a noble and right thing to do. T_T ARGH! I swear, one day Locke Lamora will be the death of me! ❤

”Fuck you. You’re ten pints of crazy in a one-pint glass.”

”He is extraordinary,” Locke whispered. “He continues to save my life, time and time again, even when I don’t deserve it.” He returned his gaze to the Orchid’s roiling, glowing, monster-haunted wake. “Which is always, more or less.”

”He realized that he was strangely disquieted that Jean hadn’t followed him, relentlessly at his heels, looking after him as always.”

”It is a favour,” said Locke. “A favour to me. You saved my life all the time because you’re an idiot and you don’t know any better. Let me… let me do it for you, just once. Because you actually deserve it.”
“I don’t understand any of this,” Jean whispered. “You son of a fucking bitch, how can you do this? I want to hug you. And I want to tear your gods-damned head off. Both at once.”

Ezri & Jean:

”It is a fine match. Maybe you could do better –“ Locke grinned to let Jean know that there was no actual need to knock his brains out of his skull. “but I know for a solid fact that she couldn’t. Ever.” So saying, he squeezed Jean’s hand. “I’m happy for you. You’ve gone and stolen something back from this whole dead-end distraction Stragos has shoved us into. Hold it tight.”

*sighs* I adored them so much! They were really damn cute and I found myself grinning when they interacted. Yes, they were that sweet! They were a fine match indeed which made it even sadder that Ezri died while saving them all. That woman was so perfect for Jean, I swear! She gave her life for her friends and family just like Jean would have done. And I think the worst thing about it all is that Jean can’t even be angry at her because if given the chance he would have done exactly the same thing. >_< I’m actually kind of pissed off myself and have an axe to grind with Lynch as well! How dare you to introduce such a great woman just to kill her off again? It’s not fair!! *sniff* I shipped them really hard but I also knew that it wouldn’t last. Truth be told I was afraid Ezri would die the moment Jean really fell for her. It was too good to be true. T_T

”Always a way to attack,” Jean mused between kisses, “always a way to escape.”
“Of course,” she whispered. “Hold fast, and sooner or later you’ll always find what you’re after.”

4

When I thought that Scott Lynch couldn’t surprise me anymore he proved me wrong and took this book in an entirely different direction. I would have been content to follow their Sinspire heist but Lynch had other plans and I’m really thankful for it! This book had everything I love: Intriguing and clever characters, a deadly gamble, a heist, pirates, strong female MCs, an amazing plot and last but not least a wonderful world I could get lost in. If you’ve already read the first book and loved it, do yourself a favour and read this one too! I’m 90% certain you won’t regret it. 😉

Allgemein, P - T, R, Reviews

Review: Red, White & Royal Blue (Casey McQuiston)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

”He wants to set himself on fire, but he can’t afford for anyone to see him burn.”

This sentence, this book, the topics that are tackled, the honest and blunt way they are dealt with and approached?! This was everything!!! I love this book so much, I can’t even put it into words. <333 Well, I loved it and some little, tiny, infinitesimal part of me might haven even hated it for being so perfect! Because the way subjects are approached in here? Gods, I wish everyone would be as open minded as the characters in this book.

That sentence at the beginning of my review? It hit close to home, it pains me to read it, yet I still love the fact that Casey McQuiston wrote it down on paper! That she had the guts to give this particular kind of feeling her own voice and words. How many people who are forced to be in the closet have felt like that? How many children were afraid to come out to their parents? How many still didn’t do it and never will, because they know exactly what their parents might say? How they will react… How many of us have felt alone and were weighted down by the truth?

This book, this supposedly romantic comedy, it touched me in a way books rarely do. It ripped out my heart, it made me laugh, it stomped all over my feelings, it smacked me across the face, it forced me to confront me with myself and it gave me something I didn’t even know I was missing: It gave me hope.

Hope that there IS a better world out there.

Hope that one day people will accept others the way they are.

Hope that people can change.

Hope that we’re all equal and that our actions count more than our outward appearance.

Hope that our future in this world is worth fighting for.

So if you decide to read this book, enjoy it! Laugh and cry, appreciate the politics and scheming, adore Henry and Alex for being the way they are, fall in love, enjoy their freedom and youth, but most of all find yourself in those pages and try to keep this feeling even after you closed the book. 😉

2

Do I even have to mention that you’ll be spoiled into oblivion if you dare to cross this line?! *lol* This is my characters section and I wouldn’t be me if I wouldn’t gush like a crazy little teen! XD So you’ve been warned! Dare to move on or leave it at that. Your decision, your choice. ;-P

Alex:

”Alex’s image is all charisma and genius and smirking wit, thoughtful interviews and the cover of GQ at eighteen; Henry’s is placid smiles and gentle chivalry and generic charity appearances, a perfectly blank Prince Charming canvas. Henry’s role, Alex thinks, is much easier to play.”

I didn’t like Alex at the beginning of the book! I know this might come as a shock but I really felt like he was sitting on his high horse and didn’t even bother to think about how other people felt. Or in this particular case how Henry felt. In his mind he gave him a role and never even looked beyond the horizon. But then the accident with the cake happened and Alex was forced to spend some time with Henry and he finally realized what a dumbass he actually was. I loved how Alex realized that he likes him and I adored him for being so unapologetic about his bisexuality. He just accepted it as a part of himself, he wondered about it, he explored it but he never felt bad about being who he truly was! And this was amazing! I wish there would be more bi representations like that; I wish that everyone would be as cool about being bi as Alex was. As his friends and family were! It was a huge part of him but it didn’t define him or is actions. This was so wholesome and such a nice way to deal with your own sexuality. Then again Alex is a very confident and brazen character so to deal with it like that fit him perfectly. XD

”It’s unpredictable and it’s intoxicating and it’s fun, because Alex has never met a challenge he didn’t love, and he – well, Henry is a challenge, head to toe, beginning to end.”

”He shouldn’t feel wronged deep in his gut. But that everyone seems enamored, when the only difference between the lie and the truth that would burn up Fox News is the gender involved … well, it fucking stings.”

”Sería una mentira, porque no sería él.” It would be a lie, because it wouldn’t be him.

Henry:

”Hmm,” Henry says, making a show of thinking hard. “I always liked Luke. He’s brave and good, and he’s the strongest Jedi of them all. I think Luke is proof that it doesn’t matter where you come from or who your family is – you can always be great if you’re true to yourself.”

I FREAKING LOVED, LOVED, LOVED and LOVED, Henry! *lol* This boy is adorable and kind and sweet and gentle and everything anyone will ever need! <333 I mean he’s a Warsie and Potterhead!!! He ships Lupin with Sirius and he loves to watch Bake Off because it’s so soothing??!! Where the freaking hell is my Prince Henry!!??? *lol* I definitely need this fluffy biscuit Prince in my life! Like yesterday! XD But there’s also a wild side to Henry, a defiant one and boy did I ever live for those little snippets of his personality! I adored his character arc so much! I mean at the beginning of the book he was the shy and reserved prince and by the end of it he eventually found his own voice and shouted his innermost thoughts into the world. Still, it was so sad that his father died when he was so young and I felt Henry’s grief like it was my own. T_T I could understand why his mother decided to withdraw from the world, but I was really glad that she accepted her son the way he was and fought for him in the end. =)

”It’s just so soothing,” Henry says. “Everything’s all pastel-coloured and the music is so relaxing and everyone’s so lovely to one another. And you learn so much about different types of biscuits, Alex. So much. When the world seems awful, such as when you’re trapped in a Great Turkey Calamity, you can put it on and vanish into biscuit land.”

”A curious thing about grief is the way it takes your entire life, all those foundational years that made you who you are, and makes them so painful to look back upon because of the absence there, that suddenly they’re inaccessible. You must invent an entirely new system.”

”What are we even defending here, Philip? What kind of legacy? What kind of family, that says, we’ll take the murder, we’ll take the raping and pillaging and the colonizing, we’ll scrub it up nice and neat in a museum, but oh no, you’re a bloody poof? That’s beyond our sense of decorum! I’ve bloody well had it. I’ve sat about long enough letting you and Gran and the weight of the damned world keep me pinned, and I’m finished. I don’t care. You can take your legacy and your decorum and you can shove it up your fucking arse, Philip. I’m done.”

”I’ve been gay as a maypole since the day I came out of Mum, Philip.”

Nora:

”Numbers on me being into dudes?”

That pulls Nora up short, before she cocks her head to the side and says. “Seventy-eight percent probability of latent bisexual tendencies. One hundred percent probability this is not a hypothetical question.”

I loved Nora’s analytical mind and her conversations with Alex. It was obvious they were great friends and knew each other better than anyone else. XD And don’t kill me for this but: WHAT EXACTLY WAS GOING ON WITH NORA AND JUNE???!!! There was something there, right? I didn’t imagine this unresolved sexual tension, did I? *lol* Want to hear my thoughts on it? I think there was some sort of threesome going on the night they celebrated at the karaoke bar. Pez, Nora AND June! All three of them, feel me? *wriggles eyebrows* Unfortunately this is a mystery that was neither tackled nor resolved so my imagination will have to continue to run wild and I’ll blame it all on Casey McQuiston! *lol* ;-P

Alex’s parents:

”How many times do I have to tell y’all not to discuss your murder plots in front of a sitting president?” their mother interrupts. “Plausible deniability. Come on.”

Haha! This sentence instantly made me love the President! XD She was such a cool woman and Alex was so lucky to have her as his mum! It was amazing how she could be all business but at the same time always watched out for her kids. They were her first priority no matter how important her job was and she would have done anything to make them happy. Yes, she had a lot of responsibility and tried to perform damage control, but that was mostly due to her feelings for her son. She didn’t want Alex to get hurt and she wanted to protect him. I mean she was a public figure and we all know how those games are played. Well and as it turned out, Richards played very dirty indeed. >_< Also can we appreciate how Alex’s dad reacted to him being bi and loving Henry? I wish more parents would say words like that to their queer kids! Because it’s true, it’s not different when it’s your own kid, you still love your child and want the best for it. (At least it should be that way!!!) You want it to be happy, right? See, that’s exactly what I meant when I said this book gave me hope. =)

His dad slaps him on the bicep with the spoon, leaving a splatter of crema and cheese behind. “Have a little more faith in your old man than that, eh? A little appreciation for the patron saint of gender-neutral bathrooms in California? Little shit.”
“Okay, okay, sorry!” Alex says, laughing. “I just know it’s different when it’s your own kid.”
His dad laughs too, rubbing a hand over his goatee. “It’s really not. Not to me, anyway. I see you.”

”Diaz, you insane, hopeless romantic little shit,” says the voice of the President of the United States, muffled in the bed. “It had better be forever. Be safe.”

”I am your mother. I was your mother before I was ever the president, and I’ll be your mother long after, to the day they put me in the ground and beyond this earth. You are my child. So, if you’re serious about this, I’ll back your play.”

”I’m not giving them shit,” Ellen cuts him off immediately, not even looking up, “especially not after what they did to you. This is real shit. I’m taking this motherfucker down. It has to stick.” She finally puts her highlighter down. “We’re leaking it to the press.”

3

June & Alex:

”You have so much in you, it’s almost impossible to match it. But he’s your match, dumbass.”

Haha! I loved this sibling relationship because seriously, it was just so realistic! *lol* June and Alex were typical siblings which basically means that they were blunt and honest to a fault and didn’t hesitate to call each other out! XD I loved how June noticed that her brother was obsessed with Henry and I’m glad Alex had such a great sister! She supported him and even went into a fake relationship with Henry to keep them out of trouble! That’s the love and sacrifice of a loving sibling! <333 I wish we would have seen more of June, but maybe there’s going to be a second book? About June, Pez and Nora? Maybe? Some day? Mhmm, mind to do your fans a favour, Casey? XD *lol* ;-P

”Ugh! Men!” she groans. “No emotional vocabulary. I can’t believe our ancestors survived centuries of wars and plagues and genocide just to wind up with your sorry ass.” She throws a pillow at him, and Alex scream-laughs as it hits him in the face.

Henry & Alex:

”Let’s get it over with.”
“I’d rather be waterboarded,” Henry says, smiling back. The camera snaps nearby. His eyes are big and soft and blue, and he desperately needs to be punched in one of them. “Your country could probably arrange that.”
Alex throws his head back and laughs handsomely, loud and false. “Go fuck yourself.”
“Hardly enough time,” Henry says.”

I could have quoted the entire book, I swear!!! There were so many amazing quotes, countless sweet and tender moments, about a thousand ways they told each other that they are in love. ❤ Easy banter, sassy retorts, just everything you could possibly wish for. One of my personal highlights was the Turkey Gate though. *lol* And their e-mails, hell, their e-mails killed me! T_T I loved how they swore so much in their normal conversations but wrote so beautiful messages to each other. And considering that to write a message takes time and that you think long and hard what to write this was very realistic too. They were utterly, truly and madly in love and you could read it in every line! I felt so sorry for them though. It must have been so tough to be exposed like that and to deal with the press and consequences. Alone the fact that Richards leaked their relationship and didn’t even give a damn about their feelings. They were outed by others and it was NOT their own decision! And this is wrong!!! If you decide to out yourself it’s a personal thing, it’s something you decide, something that should be in your hands! You should be able to decide when you come out to your family, your friends or the world. If you never want to come out that’s okay too, but it is YOUR DECISION to make and no one should take this away from you! GRRR!! *grizzly bear mode* I guess you can already tell that this is a very important and touchy subject for me. XD But I feel about this strongly, because not everyone is ready to come out and for many people to take this step means to give up the life they are used to. Not everyone is as understanding as Alex’s family and not everyone accepts a person the way it is… Anyway, those two are sharing the first place with Baz and Simon now. *LOL* Because I love both of those m/m couples so much and can’t decide which one is the better OTP! XD Their level of cuteness is just off the charts!! <333

Henry’s whole face grimaces in frustration, his eyes casting skyward like they’re searching for help from an uncaring universe. “Christ, you are as thick as it gets,” he says, and he grabs Alex’s face in both hands and kisses him.

”Should I tell you that when we’re apart, your body comes back to me in dreams? That when I sleep, I see you, the dip of your waist, the freckle above your hip, and when I wake up in the morning, it feels like I’ve just been with you, the phantom touch of your hand on the back of my neck flesh and not imagined? That I can feel your skin against mine, and it makes every bone in my body ache? That, for a few moments, I can hold my breath and be back there with you, in a dream, in a thousand rooms, nowhere at all?”

”I fucking love you, okay?” Alex half yells, finally, irreversibly. Henry goes very still against the mantelpiece. Alex watches him swallow, watches the muscle that keeps twitching in his jaw, and feels like he might shake out of his skin. “Fuck, I swear. You don’t make it fucking easy. But I’m in love with you.”

”but I’ve kissed your mouth, that corner, that place it goes, so many times now. i’ve memorized it. Topography on the map of you, a world i’m still charting. i know it. i added it to the key. here: inches to miles. i can multiply it out, read your latitude and longitude. recite your coordinates like la rosaria.”

”I hate this so much. I know. But we’re gonna do it together. And we’re gonna make it work. You and me and history, remember? We’re just gonna fucking fight. Because you’re it, okay? I’m never gonna love anybody in the world like I love you. So, I promise you, one day we’ll be able to just be, and fuck everyone else.”

”I don’t know if I’ll ever be allowed to tell the world, but I … I want to. One day. If there’s any legacy for me on this bloody earth, I want it to be true. So I can offer you all of me, in whatever way you’ll have me, and I can offer you the chance of a life. If you can wait, I want you to help me try.”

”Henry takes a moment to respond, but his voice is level. “I don’t know if I would have chosen it yet, but it’s out there now, and … I won’t lie. Not about this. Not about you.”

Bea & Henry:

”I was, what, eighteen? I drove there and she was sitting on the back steps, high as a kite, and I sat down next to her and cried and told her she wasn’t allowed to kill herself because Dad was gone and I was gay and I didn’t know what the hell to do, and that was how I came out to her.”

Those two were amazing together as well! Henry loved Bea so much and he tried to keep her out of trouble, did his best to make her realize that her life was worth living for. And in exchange for that she loved him back… unconditionally and exactly the way he was! They gave each other strength and hope and this is so important! ❤ Bea really knew Henry and was aware of his inner struggle and when Alex came into his life she did one of the best things a sibling can do: She accepted Alex but also warned him that she might kick his ass if he ever hurt her brother! Which fills me with so much love that I could burst! *lol* That’s the true love of a sibling! <33

”You need to understand this to be with Henry. He is the most loving, nurturing, selfless person you could hope to meet, but there is a sadness and a hurt in him that is tremendous, and you may very well never truly understand it, but you need to love it as much as you love the rest of him, because that’s him. That is him, part and parcel. And he is prepared to give it all to you, which is far more than I ever, in a thousand years, thought I would see him do.”

The crew of the White House:

”That’s why you – Oh my God, I thought you were getting into international relations or something.”
“I mean technically –“
“If you finish this sentence, I’m gonna spend tonight in jail.”

Zahra gave me life!!! Haha! It might be weird that I mention the crew of the White House but they definitely deserve to be mentioned! They were always with the kids and a part of the family. You know, like that grumpy old aunt you love because she’s always ranting about things. *LOL* I adored the way they treated each other and they legit had some of the best scenes in this book! ;-P

4

“Red, White & Royal Blue” was one of my most anticipated reads this year and I wasn’t disappointed! This book was everything I wanted it to be and it made so, so happy! McQuiston tackled a lot of serious topics and they varied from loss and depression up to homophobia and political schemes. This book was an amazing composition about love, hate, ignorance and prejudices. Some might say it’s a modern fairy tale and I’m inclined to agree. What made this book truly outstanding is its final message though: You are perfect just the way you are! You are beautiful and you are allowed to love yourself! Or to say it with Alex’s words:

”Take everything you want and know you deserve to have it.”

Allgemein, P - T, R

Review: Red Rising (Pierce Brown)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”Brave pioneers, always remember that obedience is the highest virtue. Above all, obedience, respect, sacrifice, hierarchy…”

It’s been quite a while I last dove into a science fiction series but “Red Rising” definitely was worth it!

This book was so well made and always forced me to think ahead, to anticipate what would come next and to try to figure out how the MC would handle the situation! Just like Darrow I constantly found myself wondering who was going to stab him in the back and who would try to support him! And let me tell you this: There were really, really many unexpected twists and turns!!!
Jeez! There were already so many changes in the first 100 pages, it was really crazy!!! I mean seriously crazy! *lol*

“Red Rising” was dark, it was brutal, it was cunning, it was sneaky and unexpected! But oh boy, did I love it! XD
It was an incredible rollercoaster that left me gasping for more and of course I already ordered the second book! ;-P

To explain this book in a few sentences is definitely more than just hard, but I’m going to try to do it anyway. Because, well, Pierce Brown deserves it! =))

The plot:

”We’re to sacrifice for the good of men and women we don’t know. We’re to dig to ready Mars for others. That makes some of us nastyminded folks.”

Darrow is a sixteen year old Red and a Helldiver, one of the many Red miners that risk their lives in order to extract elements from Mars’ barren earth but also one of the few who’s truly respected. Not everyone has what it takes to be a Helldiver and Darrow no doubt is one of the best Mars has to offer. For a hundred and fifty years millions of Reds have tried to make the planet habitable, yet they still haven’t managed to live on the surface. Well, at least that’s what they’ve been told! The truth is that it’s all a sham and one big lie! A lie the Golds have told them to make them obedient and to keep them under their thumb, and a lie that cost Darrow everything! As a boy who has nothing left to lose and everything to gain Darrow decides to make a stand, ascending from the depths of Mars, his only aim the destruction of the society that has betrayed them for so long.

”I would have lived in peace, but my enemies brought me war.”

The characters:

This wouldn’t be one of my reviews if I wouldn’t point out that the characters section is going to be full of massive spoilers! So yeah, consider yourself warned!!! *lol* ;-P

Darrow:

”We sweat and we laugh and try to forget the anger. We grew together, and now are grown. In her eyes, I see my heart. In her breath, I hear my soul. She is my land. She is my kin. My love.

I love Darrow! This boy is amazing! I loved the way he thought about Eo and how much he adored her! He always tried to be a good man but then they killed his wife and everything went to hell! It was painful to watch him evolve and to see how much he changed throughout the book. Not just physically but also mentally! Deep down within him he’s still a good and honourable person but he now lives in a world where he doesn’t have the luxury to be kind. I hated to see him struggle with his destiny and sometimes I just wanted to reassure him that everything was going to be alright. There were so many powerful moments in this book and they all shaped him somehow! Julian’s death, Titus’ resistance, Cassius‘ betrayal, Pax’s unconditional loyalty that cost him his life… They were all pieces of a puzzle that formed him into something new and if I’m entirely honest I don’t even want to know how much he’s going to suffer in the next book. Scratch that, Hell I definitely want to know!!! *lol*

”Dancer, Darrow is like a stallion, one of the old stallions of Earth. Beautiful beasts that will run as hard as you push them. They will run. And run. And run. Until they don’t. Until their hearts explode.”

”Let me dig in the earth. Let me sing the songs of my people and leap and spin and run along the walls. I would never sing the forbidden song. I would work. I would bow. Let me wash dirt from my hands instead of blood. I want to live with my family. We were happy enough.
Freedom costs too much.”

”I hope his pain fades in death. I did not love him till he was dead; and he should be dead, but he is still my brother. So I pray he finds peace in the vale and that I will see him again one day and we’ll embrace as brothers as he forgives me for what I did to him, because I did it for a dream, for our people.”

Mustang:

”Fancy a roll in the mud, do we? Well, how about I promise to let you up here with me if you give me more clues as to where your castle squats? Towers? Sprawls? I can be a kind master.”

Finally an awesome female MC!!! Gosh how much I adored her! She was so self-confident and cheeky!!! AND I loved the way she thought! She is a Gold by birth but she was as fierce as a Red and that only caused me to like her even more. It was pretty clear that deep down within her she actually dislikes the system she was born into and is willing to change it! So yeah I think she’s the perfect love interest for Darrow and I can’t wait to see more of her! Plus, her true name is Virginia! *lol* I’m not biased… not at all! ;-P

”There’s pain when I hold her, but it comes from the past, not from Mustang. She is something new, something hopeful. Like spring to my deep winter.”

”Oooo. I am Reaper. God of wolves. King of strategy.” Mustang pinches my cheek. “You are just too adorable.”

Cassius:

”Well, I do believe I am the lightning,” Cassius declares. “And you, my brooding friend, are the thunder.”

I never liked Cassius, I respected him and valued his intelligence but just like Darrow I never truly trusted him. I can understand why he was so furious and wanted to kill Darrow, but it really wasn’t like Darrow would have had a choice. It was either him or Julian and even though his approach might have been brutal this still doesn’t mean that he enjoyed killing Cassius‘ brother. After everything they’ve been through I really hoped that he’d think before he did something stupid, unfortunately he didn’t though. =((( So yeah, I guess after his declaration in the war room there’s going to be a lot of trouble in the next book!

”I didn’t have a choice,” I tell him. “I hope you know that.”
“You will rot in hell, you manipulative son of a bitch,” he cries. “You allowed me to call you brother!”

”The spark in his eye has cooled. Time and space away from this place are what his souls needs. Months of siege. Months of anger and defeat. Months of loss and guilt have drained him of all that makes him Cassius. What a poor soul. I feel sorry for him. I almost laugh. After he put a sword in my belly, I pity him.

Roque:

”And violent hearts set harshest flame,” Roque murmurs from his knee.

I liked that boy right from the beginning and I think he was the perfect counterweight to Darrow and Cassius. He was always the voice of reason and kind of complemented their triumvirate. *lol* Since he was such a kind boy I couldn’t help but wonder how he survived the passage, he obviously did though! XD I liked that he was so loyal to Darrow and that he decided to keep his secret. Roque was a poet with principles and in my eyes that made him more than just an interesting character. 😉 I really hope that he’ll play some part in the next book as well!

”A thin boy I hardly recognize delivers it to me. But when he grabs me in a skeletal embrace, a hug so hard it hurts, I know who he is.
A silent sob echoes in my chest.
He is quiet as he hugs me. Then his body shudders like Pax’s did as he met death. Except these shudders come from joy, not pain.
Roque lives.

Sevro:

Sevro shrugs. “We’ll take Minerva’s standard.”
“W-wait,” Cassius says. “You know how to do that?”
Sevro snorts. “What do you think I’ve been doing this whole time, you silky turd? Wanking off in the bushes?”
Cassius and I look at each other.
“Kind of,” I say.
“Yeah, actually,” Cassius agrees.

That sassy, cunning and cocky little wolf!!! I LOVE HIM SO FREAKIN MUCH!!! *LOL* I think I’m probably the only person that developed a little crush on him, but Holy moly that boy was incredible! XD He definitely was my favourite character and when I found out that he was Fitchners’ son I actually laughed! This boy is nothing but awesome and I can’t wait to see more of him!!! Please my beloved book gods let him make an appearance in the other two books as well! I need more Sevro in my life!!! ❤

”Why, if it isn’t my belly buddy!” Tactus drawls. “Why the limp, my friend?”
“Your mother rode me ragged,” Sevro grunts.
“Bah, you’d have to stand on your tiptoes to even kiss her chin.”
“Wasn’t her chin I was trying to kiss.”

The Jackal:

”Humans are always negotiating. That’s what conversation is. Someone has something, knows something. Someone wants something.” His smile is pleasant, but his eyes… There is something wrong with him. A different soul seems to have filled his body since the time he was Lucian. I have seen actors… but this is different. It is as though he is reasonable to the point of being inhuman.

Oookay, the Jackal was probably one of the scariest book villains I ever came across! *lol* The scene when he cut his hand off? OH GOD! It gave me the creeps and made me feel sick! Seriously that boy is just downright insane and creepy! I have absolutely no clue how Virginia and him can be related, let alone be twins!!! I don’t even want to know what he’s going to do in the next book and I’m afraid I might get nightmares if I think about it all too much! >_<

”The Jackal is halfway done when he looks up at me with a sane smile that convinces me of his complete insanity. His teeth chatter. He is laughing, at me, at this, at the pain. I’ve not met anyone like him. Now I know how Mickey felt when he met me. This is a monster in the flesh of a man.

All things considered “Red Rising” was a more than just intriguing read and never ceased to keep me on my toes! I’m already looking forward to read the second book and I can’t wait to find out what’s going to happen next! =)