Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Kingdom of Back (Marie Lu)

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Rating: 3 Pfoten,5

”Music is the sound of God, Nannerl, he would say. If given the talent, it means God has chosen you as an ambassador for His voice. Your music will be as if God has given you eternal life.
My father, God … there was little difference between them to me. A frown from Papa might as well have been a frown from Heaven, for what it did to my mood.”

This story was unlike anything I ever read by Marie Lu and even though her tale about Mozart’s sister Nannerl had a couple of weaknesses I still enjoyed this beautiful book. As someone who comes from Mozart’s country and basically grew up with his legend ever since I started to think, Marie Lu certainly didn’t have it easy with me. I mean it’s always difficult to write about a topic if there’s an audience that knew about it before they were even out of their diapers. Mozart’s tale is such an integral part of our history and culture that little kids like my own already know about him and collect stickers for their sticker album. So yes, Marie Lu definitely didn’t have it easy with a critical audience like me, she did manage to capture my interest though.

His smile widened at that. He looked like he had heard every thought unspoken in my mind. “It’s immortality you seek, then,” he said. “You burn with the ambition to leave your voice in the world. You fear your father will forget about you if you cannot do this. All your life, you have ached to be seen.”

I think the fact that she only lent the characters and wove a unique story around them worked in her favour here. It’s historical fiction after all and with that in mind it was easier to overlook some of the historical facts being bent or not entirely accurate. I don’t know if Marie Lu ever visited Austria and actually went to see Mozart’s birth house in the Getreidegasse but she managed to write about it convincingly and to me it almost felt like I was there myself. (I actually was there myself so knew exactly what she wrote about) The only thing that was extremely jarring was the use of “Woferl” instead of “Wolferl”. If you look up Mozart on Wikipedia “Woferl” is mentioned as one of his nicknames but let me tell you this (and this says an Austrian who grew up with Mozart) no one over here would ever call him like that. If you talk about Mozart in Austria people will always say “Wolferl”. It comes from Wolfgang and “Wolferl” is the nickname everyone here would use. I guess Marie Lu might have used “Woferl” because it’s probably easier to pronounce for people that don’t speak German but for me, personally, it got kind of annoying. My brain always automatically corrected it to “Wolferl” and even when I reached the ending of the book I just couldn’t get over the use of this nickname. I’m not saying it’s wrong, because Wikipedia clearly states it as one of his many nicknames, none of us Austrians would ever call him like that in a conversation though. Just to get this out there into the world because correct representation is so important. I don’t know if Marie Lu’s editor or publisher ever asked a fellow Austrian to proof read this but I’m sure if any of them did they would have pointed this out to them. Well, at least I would have. 😉

”He made Woferl play so late into the night that my brother could not concentrate anymore, then slapped Woferl’s hands when he saw my brother’s eyes drooping at the clavier.”

Anyway! This out of the way we can go back to focusing on the story instead. I really loved how Marie Lu turned this into a magical tale and added so much depth to it. I mean for one we have a mysterious land named “The Kingdom of Back” in which a faerie princeling desperately tries to reclaim his throne. Hyacinth was such an interesting character because he represented so many different things. On the one hand there is his function as Nannerl’s patron and confidant and on the other hand he is a person Nannerl doesn’t really trust and is weary of. I just loved how Hyacinth had the role of conveying Nannerl’s deepest feelings and thoughts. Without Nannerl’s jealousy and resentment the faerie princeling wouldn’t have been more than a passing thought, but the more the young girl gives into her feelings the stronger he becomes. It shows in the way the Kingdom is growing and thriving and I really have to give kudos to Marie Lu for this amazing allegory. The more Nannerl resents her brother, the stronger Hyacinth becomes and once she realizes what he’s really up to its almost too late.

”He tells you to play, so you play. He tells you to curtsy, so you curtsy. He tells you what you are meant to do and what you are meant not to do, so you do and you do not do. He tells you not to be angry, so you smile, you turn your eyes down, you are quiet and do exactly as he says in the hopes that this is what he wants, and then one night you realize that you have given him so much of yourself that you are nothing but the curtsy and the smile and the quiet. That you are nothing.”

The thing is, nothing of it was ever Wolferl’s fault and I’m sure if their father wouldn’t have been so strict she would have never even been tempted to make that Faustian bargain with Hyacinth. What Nannerl truly wants is to be recognized for her talent and to be appreciated, but because she was a girl her father didn’t even find it necessary to give her the means to develop and evolve. While her brother gets the best tutoring and tools to improve and work on his music Nannerl has to fight for every little scrap. It was so unfair to see their different treatment but unfortunately it was a pretty realistic representation of the difference between women and men at that time. While men had all the opportunities and the world was open to them, women were only seen as future wives and mothers. Their only value in how well you were able to marry them off. Nannerl is fighting against that tooth and nail and almost breaking under the pressure.

”You and I are one, Nannerl. I am your friend. Firends help each other, and dislike seeing each other in distress. I can help you become what you want to be, help you heal, or I can let you die tonight, mourned only by your father and mother and brother. But I can only be your guardian if you let me help you. Now, what is it you want?”

Torn between what she wants for herself and what is best for her brother she is forced to make a decision and it’s definitely the hardest one she ever had to make. I just love how Marie Lu turned “The Kingdom of Back” into an extension of Nannerl’s inner turmoil, how Hyacinth represented her envy, anger and jealousy and how she’s ultimately forced to confront herself. Because in the end all that matters is if you’re able to live with the decisions you make and if you got there by yourself or if other’s forced your hand. The kingdom itself is such a beautiful place, all the potential Nannerl holds showing in every character and the unique music they emit. This was something I really loved about the book. Every single person Nannerl encounters in the kingdom has their own melody and voice and the descriptions were so lovely.

”Her touch, colder than the wind of a winter night, froze me in place. I wanted to cry out. Instead I focused myself staring at her, overwhelmed by the sound of music that came from deep in her throat. The melody flowed through her body and into my hand, wrapping itself around my skin, refusing to let go. I closed my eyes, unable to tear myself away from her.”

I swear sometimes to read this felt like the combination of a fever dream and a fairy tale. The scenes in the kingdom were an integral part of the story, yet at the same time they were few and far between. The biggest part of the narration was still playing in the real world and showed the struggle of the Mozart family while they tried to make a living of their talents. Still, the moments between Nannerl and her father always had an urgency to them and even though the story was a rather slow one you could always feel the tension in the air. Honestly, the injustice of Nannerl’s situation really got to me and it was kind of sad that the further the story progressed the harder it became for her to catch a break. Whenever she went to the Kingdom it felt like a fever dream and I didn’t know if I wanted to continue to dream on or would have rather preferred to wake up instead.

”And what if something were to happen to me? I can do everything that he can!” I had started to shout my words now. I no longer cared. “I can take care of our family! There are those in the audience who love me too, and who I can please. We are the same, Papa! Why do you not take me with you?” Papa slapped me. I gasped, suddenly dizzy, and touched my cheek with my hand.

4
The story might have been slow in general but it was relentless in its urgency and eventually turned into a crescendo. I don’t know if I liked the ending but I know that despite the magical nature of the story its end actually turned out to be realistic and comprehensible. Nannerl and Wolferl got older and grew up and this was reflected in the outcome of the story. Was it a good ending? I honestly don’t know, but I suppose it was at least one I could live with. So there’s that.
All told I really enjoyed “The Kingdom of Back” and ended up liking Marie Lu’s take on Mozart’s tale. If you love music, magic and fairy tales this might actually turn out to be a good pick for you. 😉

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Fever King (Victoria Lee)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

Book 32 on My Book List 2021

”Governments didn’t have to listen to the people until the people made it hurt not to listen.”

The backlog of reviews I still have to write is no joke; I mean I finished this book in May and only managed to sit down and write my review now. Regardless of my review backlog I really wanted to write about “The Fever King” though because WOW, this book deserves a proper review! I wanted to read this book for ages and it always reappeared on my feed with people raving about it. So I was intrigued enough by the plot to put it on my TBR and when I discovered that my library actually had a copy, I couldn’t help but borrow it! And let me tell you this: I regret absolutely nothing!

This was amazing and legit one of the best books I read in 2022 so far! I didn’t expect to fall head over heels for this story and its characters but at some point I realized that all my thoughts revolved around this book and that it stayed with me even when I didn’t read it. And this even though the story line is nothing new. I mean, people with special abilities is a trope that’s been used very often in YA literature. One of the main differences in here is the fact that those abilities come with a virus that either kills the people it infects or grants them special powers if they survive. That concept alone was already very intriguing and definitely made this an interesting story to read. What really made this special were the characters though.

So many secrets, so much political intrigue, such interesting and complex characters and two very broken boys that tried their best to survive in a cruel world. I just loved everything about it. Noam and Dara were just wow! I love it when books make me think and cause me to feel conflicted about the characters and this was exactly what happened in here. I had no idea which side I was on and this was great. XD Anyway, before I accidentally spoil anything I’ll just head to my characters section and continue to rave over there. 😉

2
Welcome to Carolinia! Where manipulation thrives and political intrigues are a daily occurrence! Take care and beware not only of the virus but also of all the spoilers! They’ll get you when you least expect it! ;-P

Noam Álvaro :

”And I meant it when I said I wasn’t gay,“ Noam said.
Ames looked disbelieving, but she didn’t pull away.
Noam smirked. „Bisexual isn’t gay.“

Where to start with Noam?! I really liked his character and it was interesting to follow his POV. I felt the same confusion Noam did when it came to Dara’s and Lehrer’s relationship and I tried really hard to understand it. There are so many things Noam isn’t aware of and we get to experience everything through his eyes. I felt really sorry for him though because he tries his best to find his way in a world that hasn’t been kind to him and as a refugee and the son of undocumented immigrants his life has never been easy. Well, and then his father dies and Noam is basically an orphan with super powers he has no control over. I swear Noam is the embodiment of a lost boy and I really liked his character. Also can we appreciate that he’s openly bisexual and calls people out when they assume his sexuality?! XD I really loved that about him because despite all the things he’s been through he knows exactly who he is and where he stands and this is pretty amazing! =)

”Everything worth doing had its risks.
And sometimes you had to do the wrong thing to achieve something better.
Noam was willing to gamble with Lehrer’s persuasion if it meant securing a future for Atlantians. What kind of person would he be if he didn’t?”

Dara Shirazi:

„Dara’s eyes were black wells, pupils bleeding into iris.
„You can study all you want,“ he said softly. „It isn’t going to make a difference.“

Oh Dara, my beautiful, beautiful Dara!!! T_T My heart breaks just thinking of him and I can’t even fathom what he must have gone through all his life. His character was written so well and you know that something about him is off but you can’t exactly pinpoint it and you keep wondering until the end. And then BAM! Oh my! The more I read about his character the more I got on the right track but to actually read it and to have all my suspicions confirmed was an entirely different thing. Dara just tried to protect himself and Noam and he did it the only way he could. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough and the ending had me reeling! I really need to know if he’s okay and if he survived and I’m planning to read book two very soon because I just can’t wait any longer! I’m very scared of what I’ll read in the next book though because I’m pretty certain we’ll get more details and uff… this is going to be tough. I just want to hug Dara and tell him everything is going to be okay. T_T

He hesitated for a moment, darting a quick glance at Noam from beneath his lashes. Then: “I’d like to live out on a farm somewhere. With a garden, and maybe some goats. Somewhere I can see the stars.”

”There was so much more to Dara than the cold, bitter facade he’d presented. He was that, too, but he was also Dara: the effortless genius, the political critic and poker cheat, the boy who analyzed everything he read according to poststructuralist theory and kept fresh flowers in a vase on his bedside table. Dara, who claimed he hated everything but secretly dreamed of counting the stars.”

Calix Lehrer:

”Clever?” Lehrer said. “So are you. And you’re curious, as I was. You’ve lost a great deal, as I had. And you believe, as I did, that if you are powerful enough, no one will ever be able to hurt you again.”

Lehrer…. THIS manipulative, horrible man!!! I always knew that something about him was weird and extremely off, but urgh nothing prepared me for the revelations at the ending of the book. Damn! Some part of me admires how well he crafted his net of lies and machinations and yes, I admit it, I can’t help but marvel at his manipulations as well! But boy! This man is so, so, so bad and everyone is dancing after his pipe even though they don’t know it. What a brilliant and manipulative son of a b*tch! I think Adalwolf was totally right when he said that Calix’s trauma did irreparable damage to his mind. He clearly has no regard for people’s lives anymore and he uses them like he’d use chess pieces to win a match. I hate him. I despise him. But I can’t help but be intrigued by him. ARGH!!! Thanks for making me a conflicted mess Victoria Lee! *lol* Still, I think in his twisted mind he thinks he’s actually doing the right thing and truly believes that he cares about Carolinia. The things that happened to him though… my heart broke for the little boy he was. T_T It was horrible and inhuman and those scientists created a monster…

”Adalwolf was of the belief,” Lehrer said, “that what I experienced in the hospital made me ill suited for leadership. He believed the trauma did irreparable damage to my mind.”

”Now, even though he occupied one of the most powerful positions in the world, Minister Lehrer could walk into the courtyard of the government complex utterly alone, without bodyguards, and not spare a thought for safety. He was untouchable, more myth than man. To look at Lehrer was to see a man who was everything Chancellor Sacha was not: Revolutionary. Principled. Witching.”

”I used my power on Sacha because he had to be stopped,” Lehrer said. “At any cost. I care about nothing as much as I care about this country. I was there when this nation was born, Noam, and like hell will I watch it die at the hands of a baseline.”

3
Noam & Dara:

”What did Lehrer tell you?”
“He said you were troubled and that I should stay away from you.”
Dara’s smile was bladed. He had Noam captured there as thoroughly as if he’d tied him down, because Noam couldn’t imagine moving when Dara was looking at him like that.

My two soft boys!!! T_T I really loved them together! Even though they kinda made me mad! *lol* There was so much tension between them and so many little gestures, but they both didn’t know how to be close to each other because their entire life they always tried to protect themselves from harm. To see their struggle was so heart-breaking. They wanted to be together but at the same time they couldn’t. There was so much distrust between them and they felt so conflicted about their feelings. Noam as well as Dara were hurt in so many ways… two broken boys that tried their best to get through the day and then Lehrer added even more fuel to the fire by manipulating them both. This only made it even harder for them to understand and to trust each other. From Dara’s POV it must have been so heart-wrenching because he knew exactly what Lehrer was capable of but he just couldn’t do anything against it. >_< My poor boy!! Also: I can’t believe we went from “I love you.” to “I hate you and don’t care about you.” right to “I love you.” again! Phew! Their relationship was such a rollercoaster and I really hope it will have more consistency in the next book?! Gosh, I just hope Dara survived the virus! T_T

”There was no way to look without sliding off his armrest and moving into Dara’s space. But Dara seemed to want that. His hand caught Noam’s wrist and tugged him closer, until Noam was leaning over him with his free hand braced against the windowsill, Dara’s left thigh perilously close to Noam’s groin, and, fuck.”

”I know you. And I love you.”
Two weeks ago, Noam would have been the happiest person in the world. Now those words were poison. Noam tasted venom like heat on his tongue.
“So read my mind,” Noam said, brandishing a hand toward his own temple. “I believe you, Dara. I just don’t care.”

”He was crying, Noam realized. Dara was crying.
Very carefully, Noam wrapped his arms around Dara’s body and just … held him there, while both of Dara’s hands took fistfuls of his shirt and clung on tight. He was feverish hot; Noam could feel it even through the sweater Dara wore. It was like holding on to a live coal.”

”I know,” Noam said. He tried to grin, but it felt weak. He said, “I love you too.” and he grasped Dara’s face between both hands and kissed him on his shocked mouth. Dara didn’t resist. Dara didn’t say a word, even when Noam pushed him back and into the car and slammed the door shut behind him.

Noam & Lehrer:

”I can’t be anywhere near this. You know that,” Lehrer said, hand tightening slightly on Noam’s wrist. “It has to be you.”

URGH!!! I absolutely hate how Lehrer manipulated Noam. We get to see everything through Noam’s POV and it was so … I dunno. Disgusting to read about how Lehrer found a way into his mind and nudged his thoughts in the “right direction”. I felt so violated just reading about it and I don’t even want to know how Noam feels. Lehrer’s power… it’s horrible and the worst thing is that you only realize it very slowly. A little thought here and a small seed there and before I even knew it Noam and his thoughts were completely manipulated by him. Nothing he did at the ending was of his own will and I hated this so much!! ARGH!! Lehrer is such a cruel piece of … ! The only thing that was truly Noam was when he saved Dara and organized a transport for him. The rest… well it was all Lehrer and considering how much he hurt Dara and manipulated him I don’t even want to know what he’s going to do with Noam in the next book. T_T I’m afraid I’ll be in for a world of suffering and pain. >_< Or well, Noam will be and I’ll live through it alongside him.

Dara & Lehrer:

Dara, sick with fevermadness, his hands on Noam’s face. Saying, “You have to listen to me.”
Over and over.
Lehrer, pulling Dara away like it was easy.
Dara screaming. Don’t let them and Please and Noam’s name, like someone praying the Shema.

This scene broke my heart into tiny little pieces! Noam was the only good thing that ever happened to Dara and Lehrer made sure to take him away from him as well. My poor boy! Dara was so ill and weak and he couldn’t even fight him. Did I already mention that I hate what Lehrer did to Dara?! I always got bad vibes from Lehrer and he failed my vibe check the moment I read about him. What finally settled it was that disturbing scene with the dead bird though. After that I was totally on guard when it came to Lehrer. And the abuse Dara suffered from Lehrer… It wasn’t just physically but also mentally and I have no idea how he could live like that for so long. No one ever noticed and it’s just so horrible. To think that Lehrer should have been his guardian and parent – a person he could trust and rely on – and what he did instead. And we only just discovered the tip of the iceberg. I’m sure there’s so much more to come in the next book and I really don’t think I’m ready for it.

4
I rarely say this about books but “The Fever King” was really such a well thought-out book. The characters were multi-layered and complex and the storyline kept me on my toes. All the intrigues and secrets caused me to constantly rethink and readjust my theories and thoughts and the love story between the two MCs broke my heart. I guess you can already tell that this was definitely a 5 paws read for me. Highly recommended if you’re like me and appreciate character driven books that feature political intrigues and give you a headache because you’re trying your best to figure out the MCs motives. 😉 I can’t wait to dive into book two, but I gotta admit I’m kinda scared of reading it too.

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Scorpio Races (Maggie Stiefvater)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

”Somewhere close by, a man is moaning; he’s been trampled or thrown or bitten. He sounds resentful or surprised. Did no one tell him that pain lives in this sand, dug in and watered with our blood?”

I really don’t know where I should start with this review because just like any of Maggie’s other books this one wasn’t only magical but also so damn atmospheric that it’s more than just hard to put my feelings into proper words. There is something in the way she writes that always captures the emotions and the essence of a certain season or time. In “Shiver” it was winter, in TRC it’s that foggy, otherworldly atmosphere of Cabeswater and in “The Scorpio Races” it was autumn and the daily life on an island.

I swear I could feel the cold autumn wind on my skin and I could smell the leaves and the sea with my nose while I read this book. It was done so perfectly that I immerged into a totally different world and just like Puck and Sean (and Craig ;-P) I couldn’t help but fall in love with the capaill uisce. Those water horses were so awesome, I can’t even! <333

”The capaill uisce plunged down the sand, skirmishing and bucking, shaking the sea foam out of their manes and the Atlantic from their hooves. They screamed back to the others still in the water, high wails that raised the hair on my arms. They were swift and deadly, savage and beautiful. The horses were giants, at once the ocean and the island, and that was when I loved them.”

I love how Maggie described them and I also love that she researched the myths and folklore of water horses. They are indeed very fascinating and if you want to delve a little deeper you just have to look them up under “cabyll-ushtey”. Anyway, back to the actual water horses of this book! They were amazing and I loved their beautiful, violent and graceful nature! It’s kind of obvious Maggie has some experience with horses because I think otherwise she would have never been able to write about them so convincingly. There’s a deep respect in her words and you can feel it whenever you read Sean’s or Pucks POV! And tell you what? I loved that aspect of the book! It made it so good and realistic that I was almost convinced those horses actually exist. *lol*

And this ultimately brings me right to the two main characters of “The Scorpio Races”. Puck Connolly and Sean Kendrick! <333

”And then I see him. A dark-haired boy who is made of all corners. He is standing next in line by the counter, silent and still in his blue-black jacket, his arms folded across his chest. He looks out of place and wild in here: expression sharp, collar turned up against the back of his neck, hair still windblown from the beach.”

”My mother always said that I was born out of a bottle of vinegar instead of born from a womb and that she and my father bathed me in sugar for three days to wash it off. I try to behave, but I always go back to the vinegar.”

I adored them both! XD Sean Kendrick was a mystery to everyone but himself and Puck Connolly was an open book that had its own secrets. They were two really intriguing characters and before I even knew it, I was already pulling for them. *lol* Even though they both had a rather rough life they still decided to fight for their dreams and they truly did everything possible in order to achieve their goals. They really dealt with every blow that came their way and they did it with fierce determination! ❤

”The truth is this: for eleven months of the year I make myself valuable to Malvern, and then for one month, I make myself invaluable. Would he be willing to give up that one month to keep the other eleven? Am I willing to risk it?”

”Why is it that going away is the standard? Does anyone ask you why you stay, Sean Kendrick?”
“They do.”
“And why do you?”
“The sky and the sand and the sea and Corr.”


This is such a perfect quote because Sean and Puck ARE the embodiment of the island. They are deeply rooted in its sand and unlike so many of the islands other inhabitants they can’t even imagine to leave it one day. It’s their heart, their home and the place they belong to and I think Maggie conveyed that feeling more than just well. =) Still, the island is its own entity and there are people that make it hard to enjoy the wilderness of this land. First and foremost Benjamin Malvern and his demon of a son called Mutt.

”And I told you before, I’ll sell you any of the thoroughbreds.”
“I didn’t make any of those thoroughbreds. I didn’t make them what they are.”
Malvern says, “You made all of them what they are.”
I don’t look at him. “None of them made me who I am.”


”Mr Kendrick was born on a horse and he’ll die on one, and maybe that’s not something you can breed for. He’s one of those rare men who can make a horse work for him but never asks for more than they have.”

It was so obvious that Benjamin Malvern had a deep respect for Sean, yet at the same time he refused to let him go. Ever the business man he tied him to his stable making him just another one of his precious horses. I hated Benjamin Malvern so much for that and I despised him even more for being aware of Sean’s talent and keeping him under his thumb. And I don’t even want to speak about Mutt Malvern that – excuse my crude language – sadistic douche bag! Gosh, there were moments I wanted to slap some sense into him and I am a pacifist and actually never slapped anyone. (My only weapons are words! *lol*) ARGH! Just to think about Mutt makes my blood boil, such a despicable a******!!! >_<

”At the sound of them, the red stallion flinches, as if the bells are physically painful, and I find myself unexpectedly blinking away tears.
Sean Kendrick turns his face away.
There’s something so wretched in that that I can’t just leave him there by himself.”


I swear Sean and Puck had to put up with so many things before the races and I loved them so much for never giving up! Plus I also liked that Puck was the first woman to ever take part in the races! Thank you Maggie for inventing a strong female character people are able to look up to! We still need more of those! ❤ And last but not least another thing I’m very thankful for: A slow, realistic burn and a relationship that was built on mutual respect and the love for their horses and home!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THAT!!! <333

I say, “I will not be your weakness, Sean Kendrick.”
Now he looks at me. He says, very softly, “It’s late for that, Puck.”

4
All told I really loved this book! “The Scorpio Races” was an awesome “ride” and the ending was as bittersweet as dark chocolate with a pinch of salt in it. T_T
Highly recommended and definitely once again an amazing Maggie Stiefvater book! 😉

Since this was another buddy read with my amazing Sugar Bun I want to use the chance to thank him for this cool and funny BR! I think our next one is already pending. Do you still have a copy of “Linger”? *lol* I have the feeling that you’ll need a yucky romance soon. Haha! ;-P

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Titan’s Curse (Rick Riordan)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

My mother pursed her lips. “I’m telling you that … you’re getting too old for me to tell you what to do. I’m telling you that I’ll support you, even if what you decide to do is dangerous.”

And this kind of settles in which direction this third book is heading. If you’re already familiar with Percy Jackson (which I’m pretty certain you are, because otherwise you wouldn’t read this review, right? *lol*) you know that the first two books were fun and had a lot of jokes in them. The third one? Not so much. Whilst it’s true that “The Titan’s Curse” was very entertaining and full of Uncle Rick’s trademark adventures I still have to point out that it was way more serious than its predecessors.

”It’s cool. No sword. See? No sword. Calm thoughts. Sea grass. Mama cows. Vegetarianism.”

Yes, we still have Percy’s funny remarks but just like the Harry Potter series this series is growing as well. The characters get older and their quests get more dangerous and grim. The stakes are higher and our characters are forced to realize that not everyone can be saved by a hero. For instance we’re barely a few chapters into the book when Annabeth disappears with the enemy. There’s no trace of her left and for all they know she even might be dead. Not that Percy would consider such an outcome! He has to save Annabeth because he just knows that she’s still alive! 😉 So what to do when you’re stranded on a cliff? Right, you call for the sun gods help to hitch a ride. XD

”Wow,” Thalia muttered. “Apollo is hot.”
“He’s the sun god,” I said.
“That’s not what I meant.”

I totally agree with Thalia btw! *lol* I loved that Apollo was a recurring part of this book and I can’t wait to read his series! He seems to be such a fun guy and I was more than just intrigued by his character. ❤ Artemis and her Hunters were a great addition to the cast as well, and the Di Angelo twins? I think we’ll read more about them in future books! 😉 I’m really looking forward to this because I already like little Nico and took him to my heart! The true star of this story is Bessie the cow serpent though and if you don’t know who that is you better read the book and find out! *lol*

”This is why I don’t use mortals,” Luke said. “They are unreliable.”
“They are weak-minded, easily bought, and violent,” the General said. “I love them.”

But of course there need to be real enemies in “The Titan’s Curse” as well and this time around they are pretty decent and smart. Next to Luke we have to face the General and this adversary is as dangerous and cunning as they come. Knowing my myths I wasn’t surprised about the story behind the man, but as a kid I probably would have been shocked. *lol*

Anyway, there was a short appearance of a character that helped Percy and I’ve to admit that I’m pretty curious about Rachel Elizabeth Dare. I can’t help but wonder if she’ll make an appearance in later books. The way she was introduced seemed to be very significant and Uncle Rick usually has a reason if he does things like that so… yeah. ;-P

”Seven hundred feet tall,” I said. “Built in the 1930s.”
“Five million cubic acres of water,” Thalia said.
Grover sighed. “Largest construction project in the United States.”
Zoe stared at us. “How do you know all that?”
“Annabeth,” I said. “She liked architecture.”
“She was nuts about monuments,” Thalia said.
“Spouted facts all the time.” Grover sniffled. “So annoying.”
“I wish she were here,” I said.

This moment was so great because it showed how much those characters love and care about each other even if they occasionally get on each other’s nerves. *lol* It made me sad that Annabeth wasn’t a big part of this story but considering the main plot it was okay that she only played a minor role. Let’s just hope she’ll play a bigger part in “The Battle of the Labyrinth” again. =) And last but not least I want to say how much I love Percy! XD

”Fight us,” I said. “And let’s see.”
“Have the gods taught you nothing? An immortal does not fight a mere mortal directly. It is beneath our dignity. I will have Luke crush you instead.”
“So you’re another coward,” I said.

Haha! Is it just me or is there actually no god he didn’t challenge already? XD No matter which goddess or god appears, Percy seems to be ready to fight them all and I love it! ;-P I think by now he’s so pissed that he just doesn’t care anymore. At this point he might even take them on for just looking at him the wrong way. *lol* I can’t help but wonder what this means for the next two books and I’m so ready to read “The Battle of the Labyrinth”!!! Next one, please! XD

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Map to You (Rachel Stockbridge)

Trigger warnings:parental neglect, drug abuse, addiction (of a parent), heavy drinking

 

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

**I got this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much for giving me a chance to read this book! All the quotes mentioned in my review are from the ARC and might not be in the final version of the book.**

Kinsey allowed herself a slight smolder as she leaned in another inch. “What would you do if I was?”
“I – What?” Sasha stammered, her gaze dropping to Kinsey’s lips.

When I requested the ARC for this book I wanted to read a fluffy and light f/f romance and the cover of the book looked like it would be exactly the kind of book I was searching for. So the big question is: Did I get fluffy and light-hearted? Well, yes , to some extent I did, but I also got some serious topics I didn’t expect and this certainly made the book an even more interesting read. At least for me it did. I always enjoy it if bookish characters have a background story and both characters; Kinsey as well as Sasha delivered on that front. Both in a very different manner, but still in a way that added quite some substance to the story.

”She just had to focus. Stay in control. Get Kinsey to Charlotte, stop being so damn weird, and maybe she could stop things from deteriorating further. Or at least refrain from grabbing Kinsey by the waist and kissing her as best she knew how.”

What I really loved about this book was the flirty and easy banter between the two MCs. It’s so rare to see an f/f couple flirt like that on page and I personally lived and breathed for it. Honestly, there could have been even more of those scenes and I’d have been an even happier camper. The author made sure to give us the right mixture of push and pull though so I can’t really complain about it. Another thing I liked was the fact that Kinsey and Sasha were friends long before they became a thing and since the friends-to-lovers trope is still so rare in literature I really appreciated that the author went for it. It was extremely wholesome to see a couple that knew each other’s habits and quirks and had absolutely no problems to handle them. =)

”The Hans were everything Sasha always wished her own family could have been. Everything she’d given up on. That feeling of belonging. Of safety. Of easy, unconditional love. She’d stopped wishing for it so long ago she’d forgotten how much she’d wanted it.”

But of course not everything in the book was sunshine and rainbows and the darker and serious topics were a constant presence that wove like a red thread through the entire storyline. Sasha’s bad experiences made her the person she was though and they made her character even more real and complex. Whenever Sasha’s past was mentioned I felt really sad for her and I think no kid should ever have to suffer the way she did. Of course it was also very frustrating to see how she tried to shut everything out and sometimes I became as exasperated with her as Kinsey. There were really some moments I just wanted to make her listen so that she’d finally understand, yet at the same time I totally got where she was coming from. With a past like that it’s not easy to trust others and Sasha’s constant struggle to open up and to fight against her inner demons wasn’t only comprehensible but also palpable throughout the entire book. 

4

All told I really enjoyed reading “The Map to You”! I didn’t expect the book to have such heavy topics and some parts were really stressful to read, the strong friendships and the two MCs did a great job at managing to balance the serious topics though. So if you want to read a book with a cute love story that also has some rough edges to it this one might be the perfect fit for you. 😉

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, 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