Allgemein, Reviews, U - Z, Y

ARC Review: You’ve Reached Sam (Dustin Thao)

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Rating: 3 Pfoten

*I received this ARC from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to read this book!*

When I got an ARC of “You’ve Reached Sam” I had a lot of mixed feelings. On the one hand I was looking forward to read this book because I was very intrigued by the concept and the idea of being able to talk to your loved one even if the person is already dead, but on the other hand I was also worried because I was pretty certain this would hit close to home. I won’t go into detail here but suffice it to say Julie and I have way more in common than I’d like to admit.

This said “You’ve Reached Sam” had the potential to be a great book and in some ways it was, but in others it unfortunately didn’t live up to my expectations. There were a lot of things I liked about this book, like for instance the realistic portrayal of the different ways to grieve. Everyone is different and therefore everyone grieves differently. There’s not just one way to grieve, there are about a million. Some people might throw away the things of their loved ones because they can’t stand to look at them, others might collect every little item that had to do with them and cherish it for the rest of their lives. Some might withdraw from the world and others will decide to live life to its fullest. Everyone is affected differently and every person tries to cope as best as they can. There’s no right way to grieve and I loved that Thao gave us multiple reps and ensured that this was addressed. It was a very realistic approach and I’m thankful for it!

Another thing I liked was that we had an Asian rep in here and that it was done nicely. It’s rare to come across Asian reps in books but Thao provided us with a couple of Asian characters and I’ll always be happy about that! =) The portrayal of the character cast’s healing process was great as well and I loved some of the metaphors that were hidden throughout the book. In many ways this was an easily readable book that kept my attention until the end.

Still, there were some things that didn’t work for me, one of them the simple fact that the storyline began one week after Sam’s death. For me this was way too early and yes, you can criticize me for this statement all you want, but I think it made the entire story less believable. A lot of the characters were already at a point you only reach after a couple of weeks or months have passed, so for me this resulted in the fact that the timing was totally off. There are seven stages of grief and Julie was already at 3 and 4 when the book began. Mind you, we’re talking one week after Sam’s death. Some people might take that at face value and it’s okay if they do, but as a person who basically went through the same thing Julie did, this felt wrong to me. A week after almost everyone is still at stage 1 and to be honest some remain at that stage for a couple of weeks or even longer. (I’m no psychiatrist, I only speak from personal experience here.)

So for me, personally, the timing was off. There were a lot of things about Julie’s behaviour I couldn’t relate to and I’m sure if some time would have passed between Sam’s death and her actions everything would have been more realistic. Maybe due to that the story didn’t hit me as hard as I thought it would. This had all the makings to cause me to cry into my tissues but instead of crying my eyes out I found myself kind of emotionally detached. I had the feeling the entire story was just touched at the surface; that we got to see the tip of the iceberg but that we never got deeper than that. Of course this could also be an “it’s me not the book thing” but I guess we’ll never know.

All told, “You’ve Reached Sam” is still a great book with a diverse character cast and a lot of different and well done grief representations. This book might not have had the impact I expected it to have, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t good. Thao’s writing style isn’t only effortless but also easy to read and I’m definitely looking forward to read his next book. For a debut novel this was actually pretty good.

Allgemein, Reviews, U - Z, W

Review: White Hot Kiss (Jennifer L. Armentrout)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 29 on My Book List 2021

There was a demon in McDonald’s.
And it had a powerful hunger for Big Macs.”

This is quite a way to start a book and I was immediately intrigued by it! *lol* I mean a demon at McDonalds? What a funny, unique and weird way to begin a book. So yes, the first line already captured my interest and the characters and the plot that followed did the rest. 😉 I remember reading this for the very first time a couple of years ago and it was one of those series that’s highly addicting and that just makes you want to devour all those books exactly the same way that demon ate its Big Macs. XD

I mean we could argue that “White Hot Kiss” follows all the typical YA stereotypes. We have two super-hot love interests aka a love triangle, an innocent pretty heroine, sizzling tension, a big mystery and a couple of troubles and issues that need to be resolved. What made this really enjoyable was the new setting of a war between wardens – who are basically gargoyles that protect humans – and demons. And well, the already mentioned sizzling tension between the MCs.

I didn’t read all too many books that featured gargoyles and demons so for me that was something new and refreshing. And of course the same goes for the characters powers and the world building. So yes, it might be tropey but I think this series can stand on its own. Especially because Armentrout’s writing style isn’t only captivating but also effortless. 😉 And because I love the characters so much I’ll just head to my characters section now.

2
Welcome to the world of Wardens and Demons! Both of them have secrets and it’s up to you which side you’ll join. Make sure to choose wisely because no matter which path you decide for I can guarantee you’ll always be spoiled. Are you sure you’re ready? ;-P

Layla:

”I met the man’s stare, held it and felt my lips curve into a smile. My heart raced, my skin tingled and flushed. I wanted his soul – so bad my skin wanted to peel itself off my bones. It felt like waiting for a kiss, when your lips were moments away from joining, those breathless seconds of anticipation.”

So Layla is actually a pretty interesting character. She’s not only half warden but also half demon and she’s constantly fighting her own nature which tells her to eat the souls of human beings. She can’t only rob people of their souls though; she can also see their auras. Some of them are already very tainted and others are still pure. And what makes her especially valuable for the wardens is that she obviously can see demons and tag them. So yeah, Layla has a lot going on and she still somehow manages to keep up with school. *lol* At the beginning of the book her world is only black and white and she’s very innocent but the more time she spends with Roth the more she realizes that there are all shades of grey and that the world is more complex than she thought. I really liked her character arc in this book and I can’t wait to see the Layla of book two! XD

Roth:

”For the love of all unholy things, why must you be so difficult? I apologize for calling you a prude. I’ll even apologize for yesterday. I scared you. I threw your cell in a toilet. See, I was raised in Hell. You could say I’m socially awkward.”

Okay, I’m going to be blunt here: Roth is super-hot boyfriend material! Like super, super hot boyfriend material! He isn’t only gorgeous (golden eyes, dimples, a six-pack, tattoos and black hair – gosh, that boy has a lot of things going for him! Haha!) but he also has a heart of gold! I’m such a sucker for this demon and if given the choice between him and Zayne it will always be: Zayne who?! *lol* I really love Roth and I think his character arc was beautifully done as well. He started out as a dubious character and became such a great and reliable constant. I loved that his blunt and sassy demeanour didn’t change while he was still growing as a character. It’s a feat not many authors accomplish, but Armentrout certainly did! I can’t wait for him to appear in book 2 because his story isn’t over yet and he just has to be a big part of it! XD

”People with the purest souls are capable of the greatest evils. No one is perfect, no matter what they are or what side they fight for.”

”I am only the next Crown Prince. That’s what I am – all I am.”

”It’s okay,” he whispered against the corner of my lip. “This is about you. Yeah, this is totally about you.” He sounded surprised by his own words, and when he spoke again, his voice was hoarse as he pressed his forehead against mine. “You undo me. You have no idea how you undo me.”

In that tiny moment of time, just a flicker of a second, his golden eyes met mine. “Free will, huh? Damn. It is a bitch.” And then he smiled – he smiled – at me, a real smile, revealing those deep dimples. “I lost myself the moment I found you.”

3
Layla & Roth:

”Do you know anything about her – about your heritage, Layla?” he said, and then his arm slipped around my waist, fitting my body against his. “Do you know anything about what you are?”
“Do you know anything about personal space?” I snapped.
“No.” He smirked, and then his eyes seemed to turn luminous. “But I do know that you really don’t mind me in your personal space.”

Haha! Those two were amazing! They have this really sizzling and strong chemistry and I just couldn’t get enough of them. I kinda loved that Roth always gravitated towards Layla and just couldn’t seem to be able to keep his hands off her. He’s always pulling her closer and touching her and I think this is so damn cute. ❤ Can someone give me a cuddly Roth? I think after Covid times I really need that in my life. *lol* Anyway, let’s move on! I really liked that he always gave her a choice. Layla might not have seen it like that but in fact Roth actually tried to give her some space and to let her sort out things on her own. Plus he always protected her and put her well-being above his own. And even more important he supported her and her decisions and accepted her for who she was! With him Layla never had to apologize for being a demon and he helped her to accept this half of her as well. She is both after all and to suppress one side like she did because of the wardens clearly wasn’t healthy for her. >_< They are both good for each other and I can’t wait to read more of their scenes together! <333

He moved without me realizing, his warm breath dancing over my cheeks, my lips. The air hitched in my lungs. His lips parted, and I wondered what it would be like to run my fingers across them, to feel them.
“What are you thinking?” he murmured, his eyes fluttering down.

”Layla, look at me. You don’t want to go down that road.”
With effort, I focused on him. “I’m sorry. It’s just so hard.”
His brows furrowed. “You don’t need to apologize for something that is natural to you, but taking a human’s soul… You can’t go back from that.”

”One second he was standing a good three feet away from me and the next his hands were gently clasping my cheeks. There was an instant when I wondered how something so strong and deadly could hold anything so carefully, but then he tilted my head back and lowered his own. My heart rate kicked into hyperdrive. He wasn’t going to kiss me. No way – Roth kissed me.”

”We’re talking.” He dipped his head, brushing his cheek against mine.
“This is not talking.” Not that I didn’t enjoy it. “And I really do have questions.”
“So ask away. I can multitask.” He tugged me forward, circling an arm around my waist. Dipping his head to where my neck sloped, he inhaled deeply. “Can’t you?”

Layla & Zayne:

”I’m not replacing you, Layla. It was an honest mistake.”
“But you are replacing me!” Realizing what I had said, I clasped my hands over my mouth and backed off.

I know there are a lot of Zayne fans out there but I honestly don’t get why anyone would prefer him over Roth. I mean except of looking good and being some sort of big brother for Layla there isn’t a lot that speaks in his favour. From my perspective he didn’t treat Layla any better than all the other wardens and constantly gave her the feeling to be inferior. It started with him telling her that she’s better than a soul eating demon even though he knows how much she is struggling and goes right to him telling her what she should and shouldn’t do. I get it. There is this strong big brother vibe but he really isn’t treating her well. If my sister would have been in a car accident I’d have eaten a huge big breakfast with her the next day! Just saying. Yes, he obviously cares about her but he certainly doesn’t accept her the way she is and because of that he’ll always get a red flag from me. #SorryNotSorry

”It doesn’t matter right now,” he said. “What does is that the bastard was right. We haven’t been keeping you safe. And if he’s truly the one who has, then there is something messed up about that.”

”How badly are you hurt? Do you need to go to the hospital? Have you been out all night? Should I –“
“I’m okay.” My voice cracked as I wrapped my fingers around his wrists. I’d never seen him like this before. “I’m okay.”
He stared at me, and I suddenly recognized the emotion churning in his eyes. Horror. “God, Layla, he … he hurt you.”

”You’re not a demon, Layla. You’re a Warden. You’re better than this.”
I felt my lower lip begin to tremble. Don’t cry. Don’t cry. My voice came out broken and small. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to. I just wanted him to stop and –“
“Shh…” Zayne closed his eyes and a muscle popped in his jaw. “I know. It’s okay.”

Layla, Abbot & the other gargoyles:

”Petr knew I’d get in trouble, and there was more than a hint of cruelty in his pale eyes. Worse yet, I knew that he saw nothing wrong with what he was doing. His actions would never taint his soul, because it was pure, no matter what he did. It was like a free pass to him. Petr pressed forward, his breath too warm against my cheek.
“You’re going to wish Abbot had snuffed out your miserable little life when you were a baby.”

Let me say this directly: The majority of the wardens suck! *lol* I know they are supposed to be the good guys but seriously, everyone who turns a blind eye to Petr and his father hurting and treating Layla like shit isn’t worth anything in my eyes! Abbot as well as Zayne and all the others KNEW about Petr, yet they still left Layla unguarded when he was around? How stupid and ignorant can you be? Petr deserved everything he got and Abbot isn’t any better than him if he allows him to things like that. Father figure my ass! I mean who would allow anything like that to happen to a child they consider to be their own kid? Also them constantly giving Layla shit for being half demon! As if it would be her fault! That poor girl had such a hard time suppressing her nature and they didn’t even give a damn about it. They should have accepted her for who she is and not held down something that is part of her as well. So yep, I’m no big fan of the wardens right now and if they don’t change their attitude soon I’ll side with the demons. They actually seem to be more human and compassionate than the wardens anyway. *lol*

”If I looked up the definition of intimidating, it would show a picture of Abbot. As the clan leader, he had to be fierce, stern and, at times, deadly. He represented the clan, was the one who met with human officials, and if any of the Wardens messed up, it was Abbot who took the fall. A lot of weight rested on his shoulders, but his back never bowed under the pressure.”

”You have been doing nothing but lying since you met this demon! Why would I assume there was one truth mixed in among the lies?”
I don’t know what he said that did it, and maybe it was a combination of fear and frustration because I couldn’t get a single sentence out, but my control snapped. I shot to my feet so fast Abbot stood and backed up – he actually backed up from me.

Stacey & Layla:

”Are you coming on to me or something?”
Stacey grinned evilly. “I’d go gay for you.”
Digging out Sam’s notes, I snorted. “I wouldn’t go gay for you. Eva Hasher? Maybe.”
She gasped, clutching the front of her shirt. “That stung.”

Stacey is amazing and everyone needs a Stacey in their life!! This girl is made of awesome sauce and I loved her so much! *lol* She was such a great side-character and definitely stole the show whenever she appeared on page! Some of the things she said were just hilarious and remembering my own teen days she was a super relatable character. At some point in our life we all have a friend like her that is super blunt and nudges us in the right direction. XD Also her surprise and shock whenever she realized that Layla is super innocent was priceless. ❤ So yep, Layla might not want to date Stacey but if Layla doesn’t want her Stacey can always come to me. ;-P

”You need to get over him and get with a hottie.” She paused, nodding at the door. “Like him, for example. He’d leave you crying for a whole different reason.”
“I wasn’t crying over – “ I cut myself off when I realized she was gesturing at Roth. “Wait, how would he make me cry?”
Stacey’s eyes widened. “Are you for real? Do I need to spell it out for you?”

”Our bio class just got a billion times more interesting. And hotter, lots and lots hotter. Holy mother, I want to have his babies. Not now of course, but definitely later. But I’d like to start practicing soon.”

”Now go. Make mama proud.”
“Proud how?” I shouldered the bag.
Stacey arched a brow. “Use your imagination. Just remember, you can only be young and dumb once. And that is a fine specimen to be young and dumb with.”

4
I reread this as fast as I read it the first time and I’m still super enthusiastic about this series! I almost forgot how much the ending threw me and I can’t wait up to pick up book two to continue with this series. Jennifer L. Armentrout might have followed the YA formula but she gave it her own touch and this made this a truly addictive and enjoyable read.

Allgemein, Reviews, U, U - Z

Review: Unravel Me (Tahereh Mafi)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

I can’t. I just can’t deal with all those feels!!!
I finished reading this book about two days ago, yet my feelings are still too muddled and my mind is spinning and I just can’t seem to be able to think straight. XD

I swear that book killed me and if Mafi’s third book “Ignite Me” is going to be as good as this one – I seriously don’t even dare to think that it might be even better – it actually might be the death of me! *lol*

All I can do is to try to write a halfway coherent review of “Unravel Me” and considering all the feelings and the emotional rollercoaster I went through “to try” actually seems to be the right choice of words.

I loved that book! I loved it so much I decided to buy the entire “Shatter Me” series in paperback just so I can mark all my favourite moments!! *lol* Okay admittedly most of them will be Warner moments but then again that boy is A.W.E.S.O.M.E.N.E.S.S on two legs! No doubt, you know exactly what I mean! *wriggles eyebrows*

Anyway you wanted a review and I promise I’ll try my very best to give it to you! So yeah, we better get this started right?

1

The storyline begins with Juliette’s life at Omega Point and her constant struggle to become a part of the community. Knowing our young heroine it’s not all too hard to guess that she’s doing a rather awful job at adapting to her new circumstances and even though Adam tries his best to keep her grounded things unfortunately aren’t as easy as they seem to be. If I would have to sum it up I’d say that plot-wise there actually doesn’t happen a lot. Mostly because the rebels are just hiding at Omega Point and try to prepare for war. Considering the love story, there happens so much that you barely get a chance to breathe though. So yeah if you’re a sucker for love stories this book will tear you apart and scatter your remains in all four cardinal directions. If you’re not into YA love stories, teen angst and heart palpitations I’d not only advise you to give this book a wide berth but also would suggest to read another book of your – no doubt long – “to be read” list! ;-P

2

WARNING will contain spoilers and many quotes! XD

Juliette:

I loved how much she has grown in this book. At the beginning of “Shatter me” she was so insecure and frail, already scratching her sentences before she even got a proper chance to think them to an end. Now she has so many different thoughts that she can barely contain them, constantly thinking about everything that’s happening, second-guessing her own decisions, second-guessing other people’s decisions, second-guessing her relationships with Adam and Warner. It was refreshing to see that she’s finally beginning to think about the things she wants and that she actually realised that not everything is black and white. Especially not Warner! *lol* 😉

“I took what I wanted. I knew better and I took it anyway. Adam couldn’t have known, he could never have known what it would be like to really suffer at my hands. He was innocent of the depth of it, of the cruel reality of it. He’d only felt bursts of my power, according to Castle. He’d only felt small stabs of it and was able and aware enough to let go without feeling the full effects.
But I knew better.
I knew what I was capable of.”

“I think about glasses half full and glasses to see the world clearly. I think about sacrifice. And compromise. I think about what will happen if no one fights back. I think about a world where no one stands up to injustice.
And I wonder if maybe everyone here is right.
If maybe it’s time to fight.”

“Maybe it’s because he’s broken and I’m foolish enough to think I can fix him. Maybe it’s because I see myself, I see 3, 4, 5, 6, 17-year-old Juliette abandoned, neglected, mistreated, abused for something out-side of her control and I think of Warner as someone who’s just like me, someone who was never given a chance in life.”

“All I know is that it’ll never be safe for me to rely on someone else again, to need constant reassurance of who I am and who I might someday be. I can love him, but I can’t depend on him to be my backbone. I can’t be my own person if I constantly require someone else to hold me together.”

Adam:

Meh, I don’t know! While I really liked him in the first book and even kind of shipped him with Juliette, my sympathy for him now seems to have vanished. I understand that he hates Warner and that he desperately wants to be with Juliette. His actions and the way he deals with things definitely don’t get my approval though. I mean he could have easily saved them a lot of heartbreak if he just would have been honest to his girl and he’s so blinded by his love for Juliette and his hatred for Warner that he doesn’t even try to understand their point of view. I’m not saying that he should be all like “we’re one big happy family” but I really would have wished that he would have paused for a moment and would have used his brain! *lol* There are damn good reasons why Juliette decided to steer clear of him and I’m sure that if he would have given her some space and time, she probably might have even reconsidered her decision. I mean it’s obvious she loves him but with his actions he’s just pushing her away.

“How is it possible,” he says, “that I’m this close to you and it’s killing me that you’re still so far away?”

“Because it takes a lot more than blood to be family,” he says. “And I want nothing to do with him. I’d like to be able to watch him die and feel no sympathy, no remorse. He’s the textbook definition of a monster,” Adam says to me. “Just like my dad. And I’ll drop dead before I recognize him as my brother.”

Warner:

“He’s a vision of emerald and onyx, silhouetted in the sunlight in the most deceiving way. He could be glowing. That could be a halo around his head. This could be the world’s way of making an example out of irony. Because Warner is beautiful in ways even Adam isn’t.”

All good things come in threes, right? XD I already said it and I say it again: Warner is just amazing! I still love this boy and he’s easily become one of my all-time favourite book boyfriends!!! I probably could gush forever and still wouldn’t be able to put everything into words so I’ll just try my best to form coherent sentences that might be interrupted by high-pitched girl squees! *LOL* Just to let you know and warn you in advance! ;-P
Okay, here we go! Warner is probably one of the most complex characters I ever had the pleasure to encounter and believe me I read so many YA books that this actually means something!!! XD Over the course of the book he’s actually a prisoner at Omega Point, but since Juliette and Warner seem to have a “special connection” Castle just decided to assign her to interrogate him. There were so many scenes I loved and even though I can’t seem to be able to choose, Chapter 45 and Chapter 62 literally, I mean LITERALLY caused me to whimper!!! I had to read those two chapters twice because I was so overwhelmed I couldn’t even… Jeez I still can’t process it!!!

“ I told you I hated you.”
“Yes,” he says. He nods. “Well You’d be surprised how many people say that to me.”
“I don’t think I would.”
His lips twitch. “You tried to kill me.”
“That amuses you.”
“Oh, yes,” he says, his grin growing. “I find it fascinating.” A pause. “Would you like to know why?”
I stare at him.
“Because all you ever said to me,” he explains, “ was that you didn’t want to hurt anyone. You didn’t want to murder people.”
“I don’t.”
“Except for me?”
I’m all out of letters. Fresh out of words. Someone has robbed me of my entire vocabulary.
“That decision was so easy for you to make,” he says. “So simple. You had a gun. You wanted to run away. You pulled the trigger. That was it.”

In case you wondered why this is a spoiler! Because for me it’s exactly the moment in which everything changes! 😉

I love everything about Warner, his honesty, his sweet words, his gentleness when he’s with Juliette, his anger and defiance when he’s around all the others, his broken heart, his fear, his insecurity, his self-confidence, his insolence, his intensity, his cheekiness, how he was able to quote Juliette’s journal, his protectiveness, his bravery his tattoos!!! (OH MY GOD HIS TATTOOS), his thoughts, his mind, his cleverness, his laughter…. See what I’m talking about?! XD

“Finding this,” he says, his voice soft as he pats the cover of my notebook, “was so” – his eyebrows pull together – “it was so extraordinarily painful.”

Let’s just say it and be done with it: I am Aaron Warner trash through and through and if Juliette doesn’t take him I’ll have absolutely no qualms to snatch him away from her! *LOL*

“He stands there, bearing the pain, blinking fast, jaw so tight, staring at his father with absolutely no emotion on his face; there’s no indication he’s just been slapped but the bright red mark across his cheek, his temple, and part of his forehead. But his arm sling is more blood than cotton now, and he looks far too ill to be on his feet.
Still he says nothing.”

“Do you know,” he says, closing the cover of the journal only to lay his hand on top of it. Protecting it. Staring at it. “I couldn’t sleep for days after I read that entry. I kept wanting to know which people were chasing you down the street, who it was you were running from. I wanted to find them,” he says, so softly, “and I wanted to rip their limbs off, one by one. I wanted to murder them in ways that would horrify you to hear.”

“I want to be the friend you fall hopelessly in love with. The one you take into your arms and into your bed and into the private world you keep trapped in your head. I want to be that kind of friend,” he says. “The one who will memorize the things you say as well as the shape of your lips when you say them. I want to know every curve, every freckle, every shiver of your body, Juliette – “

“Please.”
He says “Please don’t shoot me for this.”
And he kisses me.

“ The truth,” he says, “is a painful reminder of why I prefer to live among the lies.”

Kenji:

I really like that he’s kind of become Juliette’s best friend and as a side character that boy really never fails to lighten up the mood. He’s funny and hilarious but at least after chapter 10 we realise that he can be more than just intense as well. XD That boy knows exactly what he’s doing and his mind definitely is at least as sharp as Warner’s. ;-P

“I shake my head, try to bite back my amusement. Kenji is a walking paradox of Unflinchingly Serious Person and 12-Year-Old Boy Going Through Puberty all rolled into one.”

I turn to face him. “Listen, I’m grateful you’re going to help me train now – really I am. Thank you for that. But you can’t go around proclaiming your fake love for me – especially not in front of Adam – and you have to let me cross this room before the breakfast hour is over, okay? I hardly ever get to see him.”
Kenji nods very slowly, looks a little solemn. “You’re right. I’m sorry. I get it.”
“Thank you.”
“Adam is jealous of our love.”

“Yeah, bro.” Kenji puts his utensils down. “You are moody. It’s always ‘Shut up, Kenji.’ ‘Go to sleep, Kenji.’ No one wants to see you naked, Kenji.” When I know for a fact that there are thousands of people who would love to see me naked – “

Anderson:

I hate him!!! I loathe him and I really wish that someone would finally put a stop to his cruel games! That man is just despicable and neither Adam, nor Warner nor James deserve a father like that!!!! I really hope the Reestablishment and Anderson fall together and that said I just can’t wait to read the next book! ;-P

“But then,” he says, laughing a little, “just as I began drafting my plans, my son came to me and begged me not to kill you. Just you.” He stops. Looks up. “He actually begged me not to kill you.” Laughs again. “It was just as pathetic as it was surprising.”

“Anderson’s gun is no longer pointed at me. He forgets me long enough to press the barrel of his gun into Warner’s forehead, twisting it, jabbing it against his skin as he speaks.”

Oh well, as it seems my review finally has come to an end! *lol*

For everyone that actually managed to read until now:
Thank you! I really hope you enjoyed my review and I’d be glad if you’d stay tuned for my thoughts about “Ignite me”. ;-P

And before I forget: This was a buddy read with Megha!!!
We’re going to rock „Ignite me“ as well! 😉

Allgemein, Reviews, U - Z, W

Review: Wicked Lovely (Melissa Marr)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 30 on My Book List 2020

“Faeries could make themselves seen or not seen at will. And when they took people they took body and soul together.”

Before I start this review I’ve to be honest and tell you that I’m super biased when it comes to this series. *lol* It was the first faerie book series I ever read and I loved it so much that I bought all five books and even the accompanying novellas. XD Funnily enough I started this series all wrong and actually read “Ink Exchange” – the second book – first. Back then I found it in my library, was intrigued by the cover and after reading the blurb I just borrowed it, completely unaware that it was already the second book in a series.

Well, after reading the first couple of chapters I realized that I was right smack in the middle of a series but I was already way too hooked to stop reading. And looking at it in retrospective this was actually a good thing! “Ink Exchange” made me WANT to read this series and if I’d have picked up “Wicked Lovely” first I’m not sure if I’d have continued. Not that “Wicked Lovely” isn’t good. It’s great in its own way, but it’s definitely a really slow start. After reading it for the third time I can appreciate its beauty and recognize what a nice job Melissa Marr did. There is just a lot of info in this first book and most of it only starts to make sense when you continue with the series and get to know the world better.

This said, I think “Wicked Lovely” is some sort of series that slowly grows on you. If you make it through the technicalities of the first book you’ll most likely enjoy the rest as well! Plus if you read it once and reread it again, you’ll find so many interesting hints you missed the first time. XD Like for instance the brief appearances of Irial and Niall. 😉 I really can’t wait to review this properly so I’ll jump right into my characters section and relish that I’m finally able to gush about this!

2

You asked for the Sight and I’ll grant you your wish! Be aware that everything I do has its price though. If you consent you won’t only be able to see through the glamour of faeries but you’ll also see a lot of spoilers! Don’t say I didn’t warn you! It’s your choice, so I’d recommend choosing wisely. ;-P

Aislinn:

”She leaned against him, needing his comfort, his support. She was afraid, but she couldn’t just sit around waiting for someone to save her. She had to try to save herself, try to figure it out.”

I have no idea why I never liked Aislinn. *lol* I mean considering it all she’s actually a great character and I love that she isn’t just accepting everything fate is throwing at her. She might have no choice when it comes to her being the Summer Queen but I think it’s really amazing that she decided to do it on her own terms. She isn’t giving in because Keenan seduced her; she’s giving in because she knows she has no other choice than to do what is best for her and her people. Maybe that’s exactly what made her the Summer Queen. She’s the only one that didn’t fall for Keenan and his charms and decided to take up the staff because she actually wanted to. She wanted to help him and she didn’t want to be a summer girl or a wraith so she chose the only choice she could live with. And just as a side note: There are worse things than being the Summer Queen. *lol* ;-P

”Simply willing it away had never worked with the Sight, and she was beginning to believe that this was much the same. She knew she was changing, despite how much she’d been trying to deny it.
I’m one of them.”

”While he stood there, fighting not to falter under the chill Beira had released, Aislinn pulled him down and kissed each of his bruised cheeks, her lips soft as balm on the painful bruises. “I can’t stand a bully.”

Seth:

”He was lovely, tempting in ways so different than Keenan: dark and still, shadows and paleness.”

I LOVE Seth!! I mean I always loved Seth but when I read this series for the first time I only realized how amazing he was when I read “Fragile Eternity”. This time around I already appreciated him in the first book and I realized that I adore him. I mean this boy is basically the embodiment of a bad boy with a heart of gold. He has lots of piercings and the respect of a lot of people, he loves to read and he listens to great music so OMG! He’s like perfect! Plus he never pushes Ash! He always lets HER decide what to do and this is just awesome. The world needs more guys like Seth! I mean who wouldn’t want to date a gorgeous, caring, selfless and intelligent boy? =))

”He didn’t move any farther, didn’t close the distance between them. He might tease, flirt, but he didn’t pursue her. It was her choice. In a world where so many choices weren’t hers, it was a wonderful feeling.”

Keenan:

”He glowed faintly all the time, as if hot coals burned inside him. His collar-length hair shimmered like strands of copper that would slice her skin if Aislinn were to slide her fingers through it – not that she would.”

I think in many ways Keenan is exactly the opposite of Seth. He pushes Ash and wants to sway her in his favour. He tries to score with his charms and good looks and yes, he’s kind of selfish. Or at least he seems to appear like that. There’s more to Keenan than initially meets the eye and everything he does, he’s doing because he doesn’t have a choice. For him there’s no grey. He either finds his Summer Queen or his people die and the world is going to drown in endless winter. With all those responsibilities it’s really no wonder he’s so pushy. Keenan is desperate and when he said that hope is all he lives on I really felt sorry for him. He is a good and nice person, but Beira definitely didn’t make it easy for him to show his sweet side.

”What makes you think I won’t resent it today?”
“Hope. It’s what I live on …”

”I wish it didn’t trouble you. But I’m begging you to accept me. Simply tell me what you want, and I’ll try.”

Donia:

”Donia still wasn’t sure whom she resented more: Keenan, for convincing her he loved her, or Beira, for killing that dream. If he’d truly loved her enough, wouldn’t she be the one? Wouldn’t she be his queen?”

Ahhh Donia! My fierce, stubborn and upright winter girl! ❤ I hated how much she doubted herself because of Beira and her bitter fate still gnaws at me. She was the only one who had the guts to take up that staff and in the end the cold claimed her. What happened to her wasn’t fair and I really would have wished things would have turned out differently. Donia is such a great character and even though she could have been corrupted by Beira’s blackmail she didn’t even think about betraying Keenan. I’m kind of glad she’s the Winter Queen now. It will make things between her and Keenan even more complicated but I’m sure she’ll be strong enough to handle it. 😉

The words came to her from the white world, sliding through her lips like a winter wind, “I am the Winter Queen. As those before me, I will carry the wind and ice.”

Beira:

Beira let go of the staff and wrapped her arm around Donia, holding her up, and whispered, “If you fail me, it’s well within my power to take away this body of yours. He can’t stop me. You can’t stop me. You’ll be a shade, wandering, colder than even you can imagine. Think about it.” Then she let go.

Beira is such a WITCH!! I swear that woman is as cold as her icy exterior. How a person like her got a son like Keenan is beyond me. Also Beira’s relationship with Keenan was super abusive and I really felt for him. The worst thing about her was that she relished hurting others and abused her powers. She even turned against her own people and tried to cheat. The rules of how Aislinn would become the new Summer Queen were pretty exact, yet Beira still tried to interfere. It’s good that she died and that Donia is the new Winter Queen now. I’m sure she will be a way better monarch than Beira ever was. XD

”Mortals are such fragile things. Just tender feelings walking around exposed in their delicate shells … Easy to crush.”

3

Ash & Seth:

”Talk to me.”
She stood up, but he caught her hand before she could walk away again. He pulled her closer.
“I’m here. I’ll be here. Whatever it is.”

I really liked the chemistry between those two! Seth is one hell of a guy and the fact he wasn’t jealous when Aislinn told him that Keenan wants her to be his Summer Queen is actually quite amazing! All he said was that Keenan has bad timing! *lol* Like seriously!!! Find yourself a Seth! Also I’m still not over the fact that he waited 7 months!!! for Ash to finally admit to her feelings for him! That boy is PATIENT!!! If I’d have been Ash nothing would have been able to keep me away from Seth. XD I really love that boy! <333 So yeah, those two had quite a lot of sizzling moments and I can’t wait for more of them. Totally on board of this ship. 😉

”He lifted her onto the counter where she’d sat and talked to him countless times. But this time her hands were in his hair, wrapping her fingers in it, pulling him closer.
It was the most perfect kiss she’d ever had until she realized, Seth. This is Seth.”

”Since you don’t seem the jealous sort, I’m guessing she was a faery.”
“Wings and all.” She went over, pulled him down to her, and kissed him. “But I might be a bit more the jealous sort than I realized.”
He grinned. “Works for me.”

She shook her head. “No. But when he, it’s not him, it’s some faery thing ….”
He tipped her head up. “Don’t give up. Don’t leave me before you’re even here.”

Ash & Keenan:

”You’d be surprised at what I know about you. And you know what? None of it impresses me. Not one little bit.”
He laughed then – joyous and free, like the anger that’d flared in his eyes hadn’t existed. “Then I shall try harder.”

Aislinn definitely didn’t make it easy for Keenan to win her over. Sometimes she was just downright rude and I felt really sorry for him. I mean that boy is trying really hard and it’s not like he could do anything against it. His hands were bound and Ash giving him hell for it must have been tough. I guess they both tried to deal with the situation as best as they could and considering both of them are already in love with someone else will only make it even harder to cope with their new roles. Keenan is trying to play the long game with Ash though so this is going to be interesting. After all Seth is a mortal still. 😉 I think it’s good that Keenan accepted Seth at Ash’s side and that her happiness is more important to him than forcing a relationship. They are both fey though and their chemistry is there even if they don’t want it… Mhmm… XD

”I thought you’d be angry if you woke up with me, and” – he paused, mouth curled in a sardonic half-smile – “and I don’t want you angry.”
“I don’t want you at all. Why can’t you just leave me alone?”

”Keenan looked at Aislinn, curled up against Seth, seeming happy. It was what he wanted for her, happiness. There was little she could ask that he’d deny – even if that meant she would be in another’s arms for now.”

Donia & Keenan:

”Go away, Keenan. I don’t like you any more today than I did yesterday, or the day before that, or the –“ He interrupted, “But I still like you. That’s the beauty of this, isn’t it? I still miss you. Every single time we do this, Don.” He lowered his voice to try and hide how close it was to raw. “I miss you.”

The epitome of star-crossed lovers! I’ve to say that I felt really, really sorry for Keenan this time around. It’s obvious he loves Donia and the fact that she turned into the Winter Girl had nothing to do with his love for her. I know Donia thought that he just didn’t love her enough but as we could see with Ash love had nothing to do with becoming the Summer Queen. Keenan loved Donia for decades and she hated and resented him because she thought it was his fault that she turned into the Winter Girl. I certainly didn’t envy him his position as the Summer King. Poor boy! Despite of their new roles I can’t wait to see more of this power couple and I’m so ready to read the other books! =)))

He moved farther away from her – crouched on the floor, head bowed – where they couldn’t touch. He sounded as broken as he looked. “If you stop Aislinn, I lose everything. If you don’t, you die. What am I to do?”
“Hope I lose,” she suggested softly.

”He stroked her face, gently, as if she were something delicate and precious. Tears ran down his cheeks and dripped onto her face, melting the ice that still clung to her. “I thought I’d lost you. I thought we were too late.”

Ruling the Winter Court had come easily; she could be just, fair, to her fey. But having power over Keenan – that was a dangerous thing. She wanted him to sway to her wishes as she’d done so long to his. She licked her lips and was rewarded by a flash of darkness in those summer eyes.
He moved closer, hesitantly, but the look in his eyes was hopeful. “Why are you here?”
“For you.”

4

I still love this series with every fibre of my heart and I’ll continue to love it until I die. It was the first faerie series I ever read and therefore will always hold a special place in my heart. Yes, the first book is slow-paced but it’s still great and I’ll never get tired of recommending this series. <333

I can’t wait to read “Ink Exchange” and to be reunited with Irial, Niall and Leslie! XD

Allgemein, Reviews, U - Z, W

Review: War Storm (Victoria Aveyard)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Maven, Maven, Maven
more Maven that’s all I need!!!

I don’t care
about Mare.

Don’t give a damn
about Cal
that caveman!

I couldn’t care less
about Kilorn
that little a…

Maven, Maven, Maven
more Maven
that’s all I’m living for!!!

Maven, my precious Maven,
I hope you liked my lore!

*bows*
And I’m out! <333

___________________________________

”Love can be exploited, I guess, used to manipulate. It’s leverage. But I would never call loving someone else a weakness. I think living without love at all, any kind of love, is weakness. And the worst kind of darkness.”

And boy was this book dark because all the main characters tried to ignore their feelings and actually hoped they could live without the love of their life. *lol* This book was so heavy in so many different ways (yes even in the sense of actual weight ;-P) that it took me about 2 ½ months to read it and if I’m entirely honest I still don’t know how I feel about it. I mean I finished „War Storm“ about two weeks ago, but did I love it? Did I hate it? ARGH! I just don’t know! >_<

It was realistic. I mean, for a fantasy and YA book this series was damn realistic. Not when it came to the special abilities or the world they lived in, but when it came to human relationships, feelings, the dark abyss of people’s minds, driven characters and the things that move and motivate humankind. Well, if you take that into consideration then this book was brilliant and the ending was more than just fitting. Still, as much as I admired Victoria’s decision to give us a realistic ending, I still can’t bring myself to like it. *lol* Is that weird? XD I guess it is, because for once I actually didn’t want realistic. Haha! I wanted it all to work out nicely, but Victoria didn’t grant me that wish so yeah…

I hurt and I probably will do so until I get over that ending, which in all honesty might never happen. Guess I’ll have to learn to live with the ache and the countless “what ifs”.
Damn this book left me with so many questions, I can’t even! T_T

Anyway, let’s get back to the actual review! =)

1

”This world is a storm I helped create. We all did, in ways big and small. With steps we could not fathom, paths we never thought to walk.”

2

Welcome to my spoiler section! 😉 If you don’t want to be spoiled I suggest you skip the rest of my review and don’t even bother to take a peek! You most certainly will regret it if you still want to read the book! I’m a relentless “Spoiler Queen” and this section is going to be full of them! Don’t say I didn’t warn you! XD

Mare – The Lightning Girl:

”Break his crown, break his throne, rip his monarchy apart.” I stare up at her with as much strength as I can muster. The lightning in my blood responds with fervor, begging to crack loose. “But Tiberias lives.”

I really liked Mare’s character development and I think she eventually managed to come to terms with herself. In this book she knew exactly what she wanted, what she aimed to achieve and how far she would go to reach her goals. She didn’t make any compromises, it was all or nothing and I loved her for it!!! Finally!!! I’ve waited for her to be strong for so long, to cut her own path and to do what she needed to do! Yes, she was still broken by what Maven did to her, but she refused to give into it, to give him power over her! She fought back and stood her ground and I think this was one of the best things about this book! Mare you’ve come a long way and I’m proud of you! =))

”Even after Maven, my long months of imprisonment, all the death and destruction I’ve seen or caused. My broken heart, still bleeding inside me. The unending fear for the people I love, and the people I want to save. It all remains, a constant weight. But I won’t let it drown me.
I can still hope too.”

”Lightning has no mercy. Neither do I.”

Cal – Tiberias Calore:

”Tiberias still wears no crown, but I see it on him just the same. In his shoulders, in his eyes, in his slow, firm manner. He is a king as much as anyone can be. To the blood. To the bone.”

Haha! I was right! Cal didn’t change in this book! He was still not ready to give up his crown, he still wanted to be the king of Norta and he was clinging to his crown so stubbornly it was horrible to watch! URGH! What’s even worse is that he could have changed everything but just flat out refused to do so. I mean alone his situation with Evangeline! Why marry a woman that wants nothing more than to kill me in my sleep? A woman that loves someone else and doesn’t want me? For an empty throne? For a destroyed kingdom? I swear if I would have gotten a Euro for every time I wanted to yell “CAL YOU NUMPTY WAKE UP!” I’d be more than rich by now. *lol* So sorry, but I still don’t like him and I don’t get how anyone could love that egoistic and narrow-minded princeling. *grrr* #SorryNotSorry

”But every passing second makes my decision more difficult as I’m reminded of what I’m going to lose when the time comes. What I lost for so many weeks. Not just her love, but her voice. Her sharpness. The push and pull of a person who has no regard for my blood or my crown. Someone who sees me, and no one else in my place.”

Maven:

”He lays the flower on the railing, petals up, and fusses with his fingernails. They’re short, worn by teeth and anxiety. I would expect a king to keep his nails finely manicured, suited to the arms of a throne. Or maybe roughed by Training or combat, as I’m sure his brother’s are. Not ruined by nervous habits better suited to a child.”

Oh Maven… *shakes head sadly* I’m sorry to say it but I have to agree with all the people who told me that Victoria ruined his character. Yes, she did. Gosh, he had so much potential, but it was all wasted when he died. T_T I loved the Maven POVs but I really wished there would have been more to them. Don’t get me wrong, we actually got a good glimpse at his mind but it definitely lacked the cunning and cruel side of him. All I saw was a broken and tortured soul but I’d have loved to see more. I can’t describe it but Maven was always such a complex character and even though he was the villain he wasn’t entirely bad. There was a part of him that was still good and Victoria destroyed it. I mean I get that Maven eventually had to die. I actually expected it, but the way it happened? No, I didn’t like it. *sighs* He was nothing but a typical villain in the end and all the fine nuances I loved about him were suddenly gone. I don’t know what I expected but he should have gotten at least a small chance to redeem himself. Like for instance what if he would have hesitated to kill Mare, if he would have realized what he’s doing and Mare would have seized the chance and would have killed him? For me this would have been a better ending. But there was no hesitation, no remorse and that felt so… dissonant with his character. Urgh! I dunno! *cries a river for Maven’s tortured soul* T_T

”Mother’s voice has grown fainter as time passes, but she never truly recedes. Sometimes I wonder if she planted a seed in me, leaving it to bloom only after her death. I don’t know if whispers can even do that. But it’s an easy explanation for the murmurs and the mutters that rattle around in my skull.”

”At least her voice is gentle today. When I falter, when I slow down, it turns sharp, a fraying, splintering shriek, steel on steel. Glass popping in the heat of flame. Sometimes it’s so awful I check to make sure my eyes and ears aren’t bleeding. They never do. Her words never exist beyond the cage of my head.”

”The electric energy is a tease at best. Beyond my reach, beyond the sphere of Silent Stone. I ache for my ability the way I ache for Mare, for Thomas, for who I was supposed to be.”

Iris :

”Maven, his kingdom, they’re a shield, but a sword too. We have to use him, even though he’s a danger to us all.”

I know some people will say “WHAT?!” now, but I really started to like that manipulative and cunning sea lake witch. *lol* Iris and Maven certainly were equal when it came to their machinations and intrigues and their conversations always dripped with venom. I kind of liked that they were at each other’s throat and haha by betraying dear Maven to the enemy Iris definitely showed some serious backbone! *lol* I didn’t think she had it in her but to manipulate the “King of manipulation” definitely is an achievement! 😉 Still, I can’t help but wonder what is going to happen to the Lakelands now. The ending of the book left me with a lot of questions and I’m afraid I’ll never get any answers to them. =S

”In spite of my better instincts, I feel the smallest pang of pity for Maven Calore. He is not of his own making. Not entirely. Someone else perfectly cut him apart and poorly put him back together.”

Evangeline:

”In a flash, I envision the life he wants for us all. The life he would subject all of us to. The crown on my head, his heart in her hand. My children threatened every second by any child she might have. My days spent bending to his will, no matter how gentle it might be. No matter how many days he might let me spend with my Elane, as long as he can spend his with Mare.”

I don’t even dare to say it but I think I love her?! *lol* I mean I always kind of liked her even though she was so bitchy and mean to Mare but during the last three books she really started to grow on me. XD Her character development was awesome and even though some part of her still thinks that Silvers are superior to the Reds she started to learn that not everything is black and white and that change is possible. I guess a lot of her dislike for Reds was due to her upbringing and I’m sure given half a chance she’ll question everything she believed for so long. Well, in fact she already started to question everything in this book and boy was I proud of her when she decided for love in the end!!! She did something Cal never managed to do and I adore her for it!!! <333

”I think the war has done something to me. Put a fear in me I never had before. Not for myself, but for Ptolemus and Elane. The ones I love most, and would kill to protect. Sacrifice everything to keep safe and close. I’ve tasted a crown now, and I know it doesn’t compare.”

”I try to read her thoughts on her face, her carefully worn expression of thoughtfulness. Is she remembering our lives a year ago? When we thought we would be happy beneath the Nortan throne together, living in a future built on our secrets? As if we were ever truly a secret to anyone with eyes.”

3

Mare & Cal:

”I love you is a promise we both made, and we both broke. It should mean I choose you above all else. I want you more. I need you always. I cannot live without you. I will do anything to keep our lives from parting.
But he wouldn’t. And I won’t.
I am less than his crown, and he is less than my cause.”

Mare and Cal! ARGH! I swear no couple ever made me feel so frustrated! Their constant back and forth was horrible and if you ask me Cal is still a coward!! And a numpty!!! I mean let’s face it, they both made their POV very clear, they drew the lines in the sand and both of them didn’t want to budge. They were determined to do what they thought they had to do and not even their love for each other was strong enough to change that. And then Cal finally loses his kingdom and everything he fought for and chooses Mare?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!! Was it even a choice if he had nothing to lose anymore?!! It was like: Oh, worst case scenario happened and I lost everything, but wait now I can be with Mare! YOU NUMPTY COULD HAVE HAD HER ALL ALONG!!! Seriously, this was sooo stupid and what is Mare doing? She ACTUALLY TAKES HIM BACK!!! ARGH!!! After everything that happened, after everything Cal did!! SHE. TAKES. HIM. BACK!!! I can’t even… no I just can’t!!! They’ll never be my OTP!!! Sorry! But no way! All Cal would have gotten from me would be a certain finger right into his face! Guess it’s good Mare is more forgiving than I. *lol*

”Try as I might, I can’t stamp out the hope still burning in my heart. I still want him to choose me. And I would still forgive him if he admitted his mistake. That hope refuses to die, stupid as it might be.”

”But I also can’t –“
Stay away. Keep doing this. Denying ourselves in the face of always-looming death.
Tiberias hisses out a breath. “Neither can I.”

”I’m done with crowns,” he murmurs to the top of my head.
“Finally,” I whisper.

Mare & Maven:

The full force of his gaze almost knocks me out of my seat. “And I want to die the way my mother did,” he says plainly, as if asking for an extra blanket. Again I feel too stunned to think. All I can do is keep my jaw locked in place so my mouth won’t gape open in shock.
“Ripped apart by your fury,” he pushes on, his eyes horrible, unforgettable, searing into me. The brand on my collarbone seems to burn. “And your hatred.”

Their relationship was always cruel, dangerous and crazy but I still loved their dynamic. XD Those two never gave each other an inch as well and even though Maven was the villain I still think that he loved Mare even more than Cal. I mean for Cal his kingdom always came first, for Mare the Red Guard always came first and for Maven? He had the throne, he lost the throne but he always wanted Mare. She was his main motivation and even though his love for her was twisted, obsessive and wrong, it was still love. His mother made him into the person he became and changed him so much that he lost himself in the process. It was not voluntarily, she just did it without his permission. I’m with Farley on that one, he might have been a decent human being if not for his mother’s poison. I really wish it wouldn’t have ended that way and I can only hope that Maven met Thomas again. After all he was the first domino that fell and Maven’s love for him was genuine. *sighs deeply*

He smiles. “That’s enough for me. A better good-by than I deserve.”
“And what do I deserve, Maven?”
“Better than we ever gave you.”

”We’re alike in some ways, too many ways. I’ve tasted darkness, and he lives in it. He represents what I could become, without my family, without an anchor, if I’m pushed into the abyss.”

Maven & Cal:

”The impossible. Part of me still refuses to believe that. My brother is not a lost cause. He can’t be. I won’t allow it.”

Well, and that’s about the only thing I liked about Cal! *lol* His love for his brother! His hope that Maven might still be saved! Cal knew what Maven’s mother did to him and he always tried to find a solution that would not end with Maven being killed. Unfortunately there was no way to undo what Elara had already done and we all know how it ended. T_T Still, I have to give Cal kudos for never giving up on his brother. Even when the end was near, he still hoped that he would change and that they’d find a cure. He loved him until the bitter end and I couldn’t help but love him for it. Even though I actually don’t like him. *lol* Talk about confusing feelings. XD

”We grew up knowing I would be king and he would stand at my side. My strongest ally, my most fervent supporter. My best adviser, a shield and a crutch. A second opinion. A sanctuary. Not once did I question the arrangement, and I never thought he did either. How wrong I was.”

”Maven,” I sigh, shaking my head at his blindness. “The last person who loves you isn’t standing in this room. He’s out there. And you burned that bridge to ashes.”

4

Despite being able to clobber someone with this huge book I still liked it and enjoyed to read the many different POVs. Sometimes it felt like there were just too many political discussions going on and like the plot didn’t move an inch and then something unexpected would happen and everything would go way too fast again. I have very mixed feelings about this book because I think a few pages less and a little more characterization would have been desirable, it’s just my personal opinion though. All in all it was a good ending to a great series and even though I might feel conflicted about some of the characters choices and their development it ultimately was Victoria’s decision to make.
So all told this leaves me with 3,5 paws rounded up to 4. 😉

Allgemein, Reviews, U - Z, V

Review: Vengeful (V.E. Schwab)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

Book 29 on My Book List 2020

“Some people were matches, a bit of light and no heat. And some were furnaces, all heat but little light. And then, once in a blue moon, there was a bonfire, something so hot and bright you couldn’t stand too near without burning.”

I loved this so much!! And I’m saying this not only because I’m Victor Vale trash – which I obviously am – but because V.E. Schwab knows how to tell a story! The way “Vengeful” was told is nothing but amazing. We have four weeks ago in the present, we have the past and the longer the story proceeds the closer we get to the actual present events and the final climax of the story. And yes, I chose my words carefully here because while reading the book I couldn’t help but find parallels to Victor’s condition.

“Vengeful” builds up like one of Victor’s energy charges and after the discharge you’re as drained and dizzy as him. This book however isn’t only about Victor but also about Eli, Sydney and Mitch. There are a lot of new players that enter the scene, like for instance Marcella, June and Jonathan. Not to mention all the countless EO’s EON found and arrested as well as the ones Victor found and … well you know Vic doesn’t do things by halves. ;-P Neither does Eli, so it was only a matter of time until our old friend began scheming once again.

This time it’s not all about Victor and Eli though and I was really happy to discover that we got a lot of female power to counterbalance our two boy’s ongoing feud! XD Believe me when I say that every single one of those characters has their own agenda and that they are not squeamish when it comes to enforcing their ambitions. We basically get a gathering of ruthless and powerful people who literally walk over dead bodies in order to achieve their goals and do I even need to say it? Yes? Well, my inner faerie had a field day! *lol* And before I go on and on, I better head to my character’s section and gush over there! 😉

2

You know what they say about Rome? All roads lead to Rome. Well, in this case it’s Merit so: Welcome to Merit! The city in which Victor Vale and Eli Ever started their vicious and vengeful vendetta. Tread carefully when you enter, you might get right smack into the middle of their fight and parts of spoilers could hit you at every corner! Consider yourself warned.

Victor Vale:

”He had craved a lot of things – power, revenge, control – but sex was never one of them. Even with Angie… he’d wanted her, of course, wanted her attention, her devotion, even her love. He’d cared about her, would have found ways to please her – and perhaps found his own pleasure in that – but for him, it had never been about sex.”

First things first: I still LOVE and ADORE Victor Vale. <333 His character was every bit as intriguing and morally grey as it was in “Vicious” and it was such a pleasure to watch his mind at work. I was glad to discover that his habit of using text markers to blot out words hadn’t changed, even though I’ve to admit that – in this context – it broke my heart. Victor is all about logic and control and in “Vengeful” the two things he always relied on were taken away from him. He has no control over his body’s degeneration and even though he knows that he’s doomed the solution-oriented part of him just can’t accept his predicament. He’s a man on a mission and once he sets his mind to something he just can’t let it go. The truth is Victor clings to his life because he actually wants to live! He doesn’t want to leave Sydney or Mitch behind and he’s desperate to find a cure. It hurt to see him struggle and to know that he was just a shadow of his former self, but after that ending I have hope again! Maybe Victor will have a comeback in book three?! Please?! *asks nicely*

”You’re such a weirdo sometimes.”
“Only sometimes?” asked Victor. “I’ll have to try harder.” Those blue eyes flicked to Eli. “Normal is overrated.”

”Look at me,” he said coldly, catching Sydney’s chin in his hand. “The next time you point a gun at someone, make sure you’re ready to pull the trigger.”

”Victor was used to being the strongest person in the room, and it was both familiar and unsettling to see that confidence on someone else.”

Sydney:

”Victor haunted her. His pain haunted her. His dying haunted her.
Because it was Sydney’s fault.”

Ahh little Sydney has grown so much over those last five years! It was good to see that she became a part of Victor’s little family and that they got along so well. (Well is a loosely used term though because they are a super dysfunctional family but it somehow works? *lol*) If you ask me I don’t think that Sydney doesn’t age, I think that she does, but she does it very slowly. Maybe it has to do with the ice? It could have slowed down her metabolism and therefore she’d age really slowly? The concept of cryo-preservation exists for a reason after all. 😉 Also it was good that she worked on her abilities. I’m curious to find out what she might be able to do after she had some years to get accustomed to her powers. Hopefully I’ll be able to see it in the third book. XD Plus, I think now that she made peace with Serena’s death it might be easier to handle her powers. The emotional trauma of losing her sister might have influenced her abilities and I can’t wait to see her really grow into them.

Eli Ever:

”Eli’s faith had faltered in that room.
He had found Hell in that room.
And the only sign of God was that, no matter what Haverty did, Eli continued to survive.
Whether he wanted to or not.”

I hate that I feel sorry for him, but since this was obviously Schwab’s intention I can blame it all on her. *lol* No, seriously. No one deserves to have a Dr. Haverty in their life and what he did with Eli was just cruel and inhuman. It was torture and no matter what Eli did it was wrong to experiment on him. Of course to some degree a person like Haverty was necessary to find Eli’s weaknesses and to explore them, because otherwise there would have been no way to stop him if he ever escaped. Which he ultimately did and Dr. Haverty was there to provide a solution. So yeah, I actually saw that one coming so I wasn’t surprised by the ending. Still, there were other things I didn’t expect: For instance Eli’s past. I began to wonder if he might have become a different person if his father wouldn’t have hurt him so much. How many of the things he believed were indoctrinated? How would he have turned out if his father’s religious fanaticism wouldn’t have shaped his thinking so much? It boggles the mind if you think about it too hard. In the end Eli was nothing but a little boy that got hurt by his own father and this actually made me really sad. =((

”He prayed that the pastor would stop seeing whatever he saw, while he carved new feathers into the torn wings of Eli’s back.”

Marcella:

”How many men would she have to turn to dust before one took her seriously?”

Now, if Marcella wasn’t the embodiment of a femme fatale, then I really don’t know! XD That woman was burning like a wildfire and consuming everything in her path. And just like a wildfire she wasn’t put out easily. 😉 Which quite honestly, only made me love her character even more. *lol* I liked the idea of a strong and independent female villain that strove for more than life was willing to offer her and I was glad she posed a real threat to Stell. Hell, Marcella even posed a threat to Eli and he was basically what you would call “extremely hard to kill”. Plus that woman had style! She took what she wanted and did it openly without hesitation. It’s rare to find a villain like that, especially a female one, which is just one more reason to love her for it! XD It’s a shame Eli managed to kill her, but without Jonathan she would have never been able to hold out for so long.

”She was done playing by other people’s rules. Done hiding. If you lived in the dark, you died in the dark. But stand in the light, and it was that much harder to make you disappear.”

”And what happens then?”
“Oh,” mused Marcella, tracing the veins in the stone, “I imagine that Director Stell will decide I’m more trouble than I’m worth.”

”Jesus, Marcella, anyone ever told you that you’re batshit crazy?”
Marcella pursed her lips. “Several times,” she said. “It’s an insult men love to aim at ambitious women.”

June:

”I saw became I think I saw became I couldn’t have seen became I didn’t see. Eyes were fickle. Minds were weak.”

Okay, let me say it: HOW COOL ARE JUDE’S POWERS???!!! OMG! A living shape shifting voodoo doll!!! Gosh, I’d love to have abilities like that!!! She can’t only change into every kind of person she wants to be, no, she also can’t be hurt while she wears that person’s skin! That’s like a Mystique 2.0 version and I’d be so ready to have superpowers like that! XD Of course I’d try not to get killed while wearing another person’s skin, because really, that would be more than just unfair to the poor person who would have to die. Still, the sheer possibility of being a different person every day or choosing your favourites to change every once in a while, just amazing! It doesn’t really surprise me that Jude became an assassin with skills like that; I can’t help but feel like there is way more to her character than we ever got to see though. I still have so many question marks when it comes to Jude and the more I read about her the more intrigued I became. I just hope that some mysteries will be solved in the third book because for now I’m left wondering and I’m getting a serious headache whenever I think too hard about it. *lol*

”Was it worth it? Syd had asked her that night, when she confessed to giving up her face, her life, herself. And it was, it was, but that didn’t stop June from craving the light of recognition in someone’s eyes. The comfort of being seen, being known.”

3

Victor & Sydney:

”Sydney, I am alive because of you,” he said firmly. Tears spilled down Syd’s cheeks. Victor reached out and touched her shoulder. “You saved me.”
She met his eyes then, ice blue laced with red. “But I broke you.”

Aww those two! I loved to see Victor’s gentle side and no matter how much he tried to deny that he loved Sydney, he actually did/does! Syd felt terrible for causing him so much pain, but funnily enough Victor never held it against her. He always knew that her powers are limited and he tried to protect her from the truth. Well, at least as long as he could. It had to come out eventually and my heart broke for both of them when it did. >_< To leave her with Mitch and Dol was the right decision even though it hurt to see them part. But Sydney knew because she’s probably the only person, aside from Mitch, who knows when Vic is lying. T_T I just hope that Victor finds a solution and that they will reunite at some point. Their story isn’t over yet and I’m convinced they’ll meet each other again. ❤

”He could read the question in her face. It was the same one crashing through his own head.
What have I done?”

”There’s something I have to do.” Sydney was already shaking her head, but Victor reached out and put a hand on her cheek, the gesture so strange, so gentle, it stopped her cold.
“Syd,” he said, “look at me.”

Victor & Eli:

”It frightened and thrilled Eli, to be seen, and to see himself reflected. Not all of himself – they were still so different – but there was something vital, a core of the same precious metal glinting through the rock.”

How come those two men barely had any page time together, but their chemistry was still off the charts?! It’s so damn obvious that in some twisted sort of way they are in love with each other. Their obsession and the fact they can’t let go is indication enough. I mean Eli thinks Victor is dead but still talks to his ghost?! You usually only do that with loved ones! And I swear, I could feel Eli’s relief when he found out that Victor isn’t dead. He wants to kill him once again? That’s just an excuse to see him! They both need each other, they give each other purpose and I wonder what’s going to happen with Victor now that Eli is truly dead. Or is he? I’m still not all too convinced that he’s really gone! I mean what if Dr. Haverty’s drug didn’t take?! Or its effect weakened? Is it possible for Eli to heal even if he’s dead? Would he be able to come back? ADFKASDKFADJSAKLMNÖ! Talk about things that boggle the mind. I guess I’ll only get answers once I read book 3! >_< (whenever it will come out. Ahhhhh! T_T)

”Victor wondered if that was why EON hadn’t gotten closer. Not because their pet had failed to see Victor’s hand in the killings, but because he had.”

”Victor stared at the wall as if it were still a window. “He doesn’t know how patient you are,” he said. “Doesn’t know you like I do.”
Eli cleaned the blood from his hands.
“No,” he said softly. “No one ever has.”

”Run, thought Victor, and he could see the response in Eli’s coiled frame.
Chase me.”

”Victor.” A pause. “You were supposed to stay dead.”
“It didn’t take.”

Sydney & June:

”June could think of a dozen reasons to make sure Victor was dead, and only one to stay her hand.
Sydney.”

So what exactly has been going on between those two? I have a lot of theories about June’s motives but I don’t know if any of them hits close to home. My first theory is that she’s in love with Sydney and a lot of the things she thought seemed to confirm that suspicion. I mean she referred to Syd as “her girl” and she didn’t only want to protect her but also wanted her to choose her over Victor. A person she knows Syd loves. Mhmm… but then again with the little we know about her past she could also be related to Syd? I don’t know how exactly but it could be possible? ARGH! I have no idea, seriously for all I know June could be her grandma and I’m not even kidding here. *lol* June is the most opaque character I ever encountered because we got NOTHING about her background. Well, at least nothing tangible. I get the feeling Schwab made her like that on purpose and I’m sure we’ll see a lot of her in book three. Considering Syd deleted her number from her phone it might take some while until they meet again though. >_<

4

This sequel was everything I hoped for and even more! ❤ I loved to read about all the new players that came into the game, I was happy to read about the old ones and I still can’t get enough of their morally ambiguous stance on certain things. The world needs more books like this and I’m so ready to read them all! And yes, I’m going to admit it: I’m Victor Vale trash and I’ll never be sorry for it! *lol* Can we have book three now, Victoria? XD

Allgemein, Reviews, U - Z, W

ARC Review: When You Get the Chance (Tom Ryan)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

*A huge thank you to NetGalley and “Perseus Books, Running Press” for providing a free ARC*

This book has been on my radar for quite a while and the moment I saw the cover I really wanted to read this. I just love how queer this is and the skyline of Toronto in the background as well as the blurb only added to my already high expectations. If you ask me the world needs more covers like that and I’d be happy to buy them all. This said, the most important question is: Did “When You Get the Chance” live up to my expectations or not?

Truth be told, this isn’t as easy to answer as some might think. The beginning of this book was pretty slow and about half of the book deals with their stay at the family cottage. It’s only about the 50% mark that things actually start to get interesting when they finally hit the road. From there on out I really enjoyed their journey though and I think Tom Ryan did a great job at capturing the spirit of Pride. The feeling of being a part of all those people, of the respect, acceptance, support and safety they offer. It felt like I was there along with them and made new friends while we walked the streets of Toronto.

Another thing I truly appreciated was the diversity we got to see in this book. Mark is gay, Talia is a lesbian or pan (she’s questioning her sexual orientation because she dated Erin who is non-binary) and of course there are a lot of other queer characters as well. 😉 Speaking of the characters themselves I can’t say that I connected with any of them. Well, none except of Paige! Mark’s ten years old little sister is such a ray of sunshine and I swear she was the best character in the entire book! I loved how she saw the world and tried to understand it and I absolutely adored her stance on being queer. For her it was so normal to have a brother who’s gay and gosh how I want more people like that in the world. Ten year old Paige gave me hope in humanity and I can’t thank Tom Ryan enough for that!! For me she represented a generation that grew up with LGBTQ+ rights and accepts everyone who’s under the rainbow and I really hope that one day we’ll actually get there. =) Still, there was a moment when one of the MCs got outed by Paige and I was very glad this issue was broached and challenged. No one should out you except of yourself!

As for Mark and Talia?! Mark might have been outgoing but he was also self-centred and more than just a little egoistic! I couldn’t with him and even though some of his actions later on in the book obviously tried to redeem him, I really can’t say that I liked his embodiment of the entitled white male. Then again I’ve to admit that it was good to have a character like Mark in this book, because quite honestly not everyone can be a sweet fluffy cinnamon roll and the world is made of more complex characters than that. 😉 Talia on the other hand, was the complete opposite of Mark and more on the calm and distant side of things. Whilst Mark didn’t seem to care about deep feelings and only wanted fun, Talia was a very deep and emotional character who had difficulties to accept that her partner had changed without her at their side.

I could probably go on and on about this book but I think I’ll leave it at that. The only thing that truly bothered me was that the characters apparently had no decency regarding their situation. I mean their grandfather just died and their grandma ended up in hospital; you’d think they would have thought about other things than the fastest way to pride. I suppose some of their behaviour could be explained by them being teens and having no tangible idea of the concept of mortality, but even then I would have felt bad for my actions if I’d have been in their shoes. (I felt really sorry for Talia’s dad and Mark’s mom.)

4

Regardless of everything I just mentioned this was still a fast and enjoyable read. Sure, there were some important topics that were only brought up but never truly addressed, since this book had only 272 pages I had no problem to overlook those little weaknesses though. There’s only so much you can put into a 250+ pages book and considering this Tom Ryan actually did a good job! All told this leaves me with 3,5 paws rounded up to 4 and the hope that my next Tom Ryan book will be another pleasant read.

Allgemein, Reviews, U - Z, W

Review: We Are Okay (Nina LaCour)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

”I wonder if there’s a secret current that connects people who have lost something. Not in the way that everyone loses something, but in the way that undoes your life, undoes your self, so that when you look at your face it isn’t yours anymore.”

This book was one of the most beautiful books I ever read. Not only because the writing style is amazing but also because there is so much truth in it. The truth can be beautiful, it can be bittersweet, it can be painful and excruciating, it can hurt you but it can also give you hope. The truth of “We Are Okay”? It does all those things and even more.

”No one will know if you stay in bed all day. No one will know if you wear the same sweatpants for the entire month, if you eat every meal in front of television shows and use T-shirts as napkins. Go ahead and listen to that same song on repeat until its sound turns to nothing and you sleep the winter away.”

There’s a sadness in this book, on every page, in every single line. It seeps from the pages, it’s a tangible and breathing thing. It makes it hard to pick up the book and it stays throughout the entire story. A silent and looming companion, something to be afraid of but also something that keeps you going, something that accompanies you, for better or for worse. There were so many things I could relate to and I think my personal experiences made up a big part of the story’s appeal.

”I’m just afraid that one day something’s going to catch me by surprise. Stale coffee. Squares of American cheese. Hard tomatoes, so unripe they’re white in the center. The most innocent things can call back the most terrible.”

How can anyone who hasn’t gone through loss even comprehend how hard it is to remain a living, functioning and acting part of this world? The answer is simple: They can’t. Grief is something that changes you, it turns and twists you, you might look the same on the outside but on the inside you’re shaken to your core. Once grief found you, it leaves its mark and it’s something you carry with you for the rest of your life. You can’t get rid of it and you recognize it in people that made the same experiences.

”But I know that there’s a difference between how I used to understand things and how I do now. I used to cry over a story and then close the book, and it all would be over. Now everything resonates, sticks like a splinter, festers.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m always glad for the people who never experienced such a profound loss. They still have some sort of innocence to them; they’ve never been shattered like that and don’t have to try to fit together the pieces of a puzzle they didn’t even know existed. It’s not easy to come back from this kind of grief and it doesn’t only take away your innocence, it also steals your youth.

”In the kitchen, I put a pot of water on the stove. Before the water reaches a boil, he will be here. I dropped pasta in and set the timer. Before the then minutes are up. I melted some butter. I wasn’t hungry, but I would eat it anyway, and by the time I was done, he would walk through the door and call out my name.”

*sighs* How I could relate to this part of the book. The waiting, the hoping that her grandfather would turn up. The ingrained KNOWING that he wouldn’t. That utter and deafening sense that something is wrong but you can’t do anything to make it right. You’re helpless, desperate and frantic and you just don’t know what to do. Until, well, until someone eventually confirms your biggest fears. Until someone shatters your world forever.

”And Hannah kept saving me. She saved me with never asking questions, with instead reading to me about bees and botany and evolution. She saved me with clothes she loaned me and never took back. She saved me with seats next to her in the dining hall, with quick evasions when people asked me questions I couldn’t answer, with chapters read aloud and forced trips off campus and rides to the grocery store and a pair of winter boots.”

But thankfully there are people like Hannah out there. People that watch out for you, that don’t turn away from you but embrace you with all your shattered parts. I’m pretty sure Hannah might have experienced loss too because she stuck with Marin and in my experience only people that went through it will react like that. The others? Well, those who are fortunate will have never experienced anything like it, so they’ll say how sorry they are, they’ll try to cheer you up, but when you fall into that black and endless rabbit hole of grief. Well, they’ll eventually lose interest after a few days or weeks (if you’re lucky) and then move on. Without you…

It took Marin months to speak about her loss; it took me an entire year to open up and to speak about mine. A year that changed me forever, a year I’ll never get back. I really wish I would have had this book when I was seventeen and I hope and pray that everyone who experiences the very same thing will stumble upon it. That they’ll find solace and hope in Nina LaCour’s words and that they’ll eventually find the strength to move on. Because the truth is: Life is merciless and it doesn’t pause for the living.

If I learned anything then it’s this and that you’ve to live your life like there will be no tomorrow.

Make your experiences, don’t regret anything, recognize your loss, stay true to yourself, keep on fighting, keep living, because it’s worth it. Life is so worth it and you only have one chance! Make it count! 😉

This said, I love this book with all my heart and I’ll recommend it to everyone who ever experienced loss! This, this is your book! Your voice! Your thoughts on paper! Read it and heal! ❤

„Say yes.“

Allgemein, Reviews, U - Z, W

Review: What If It’s Us (Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

This apartment isn’t home for either of us, but we’re home to each other, and that’s what makes every wall fall away so I only focus on him.”

When I heard that Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera were writing a love child book together I instantly knew that I needed this in my life. XD Okay, it might have taken me a little while to get to it and I guess I kinda missed the hype train, but maybe this was good because I could focus on my own opinion instead of reading the opinion of others on my feed. 😉

And after finishing the final page let me tell you this: My opinion about this book is quite a strong one! *lol* I know there are a lot of people out there that ended up not liking “What If It’s Us” and I’m the first one to admit that it wasn’t exactly what I expected. If you’re looking for a fluffy and cute contemporary book you might be disappointed. Because yes, there is some fluff and cuteness going on but in this one it’s actually taking a backseat. At least it felt like that for me.

”But there were only so many hits to the heart I could take before I needed to step away. I gave him a lot of chances – I gave us a lot of chances. I just wasn’t good enough to remind him love could be a good thing.”

So what did Albertalli and Silvera try to achieve with this? If you ask me I think they wanted to write something realistic! And if they tried to do this, well, then they certainly nailed it! I mean at first I was a little bit disappointed about where this was heading too. I was hoping for a sweet romance and then I got Arthur and Ben! *lol* One of them some sort of innocent and naïve country bumpkin that only lives in the big city for the summer and the other a pretty disenchanted guy that is grumpy because his first love didn’t work out the way he hoped it would.

I swear, I never read about a couple that would have been worse for each other than those two! *lol* And I’m meaning this in the best way possible. At first glance they have nothing in common and just don’t fit together, but as the story continued to unfold I realized that this was okay. They are two different people that don’t have a lot in common but despite their obstacles, their misunderstandings, their troubles and personal sensitivities they still work somehow.

”…, and our voices don’t ever really become one, but I like how we sound together.
Like two people trying to make it work.”

I loved this quote because it’s so true! If you’re in a real relationship nothing is perfect. It’s easy to be in a relationship when you both still see things through rose-coloured glasses, but once this first stage of infatuation wears off a relationship is a lot of work. In Ben and Arthur’s case they just had to face those problems way earlier than others, they both tried to understand each other though and if you ask me I think this was a very mature approach. Speaking of which, another thing I really liked was the fact that both of them were already out of the closet. Ben’s entire family knew and Arthur told his people before he moved to New York.

”Yeah. I put up an Instagram post on Thanksgiving a couple years ago. Said that I was thankful for all the people in my life who are cool enough to love me as I am. And everyone else could unfriend me online and in real life. I had even checked my follower count before posting.”

Gosh, how I wish everyone could be as brave as Ben! But then again, not everyone has a family and friends like him. Not all of us are fortunate enough not to be unfriended after a statement like that. No matter if it might be on Instagram or in real life. >_< Still, I liked that they were both comfortable with being who they truly are and it’s really rare to read an LGBTQ+ story in which the characters are already out. So kudos for that! Well, for that and for the amazing portrayal of realistic friendships! XD

Dylan claps. “Okay. I’m sold. I am shipping you with the boy you met when you were supposed to be shipping relationship relics to your last boy.”

I loved Ben’s and Dylan’s friendship so much! They were amazing and their innuendos and jokes kinda reminded me of my bestie and me. *lol* I swear, when it comes to that we’re exactly like those two and it was so refreshing to see a friendship like ours represented on the pages of a book. Alone for that I couldn’t help but adore this story! I would never ever say anything like Ben to my bestie though. Phew! That was a really hurtful comment and I swear if my bestie would have said something like that to me I wouldn’t have talked to her either! I’m just glad Ben got his act together and apologized to Dylan in the end. XD

Samantha takes a step away from him. “A lightning bolt is going to burst in here any second now and shut you up.”
“I eat lightning for breakfast.”

Samantha and Dylan were amazing too! ❤ They weren’t only made for each other and a truly perfect match, but also so damn funny that I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. 😉 Some people might say that Dylan was a little bit over the top, but let me tell you this: there are actually real Dylan’s out there in this world and if you’re very lucky one of them is a part of your life! XD

4

At first I was a little bit disappointed because this went in an entirely different direction than I expected. The longer I read the more I got captivated by the story though. I began to appreciate it for its realistic and honest approach and with time all the characters and their individual flaws started to grow on me. If there is one thing I have to criticize then it’s THE ENDING!!!! I mean OMG!!! To quote the Duke from Moulin Rouge: “I don’t like this ending!”
WHY, Becky and Adam?!! WHY??!!! I think I’ll never get over this ending and like so many others before me I demand a “do-over”! (See what I did there? *lol*) I’ll miss my two disaster gays so much and I’ll always want a sequel. #SorryNotSorry ;-P
This said: Happy Reading!

Arthur is tearing up. “Thanks for this. For everything. This morning. This summer. I know I’m a lot, and you’ve been so cool about it.”
I laugh a little. “We’re the worst. I mean, we’re the best. But we’re the worst. You always think you’re too much, and I feel like I’m not enough.”

Allgemein, Reviews, U - Z, W

Review: Wonder Woman: Warbringer (Leigh Bardugo)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”As I breathe, your enemies will know no sanctuary. While I live, your cause is mine.”

The more I thought about this book, the more I realized that “Wonder Woman” is one of those books you could easily transform into a movie. There were just so many scenes I could picture in a movie and even though this made my entire reading experience very vivid and highly entertaining, it unfortunately also meant that a little bit of my enjoyment went missing.

“Why is that?” you might ask and I’ll try to give you a proper answer. When I read a book I want my own fantasy to kick in and I don’t only want to imagine those moments but I also want to be surprised. So if I can picture them so easily this ultimately means that I already have a similar scene in my mind and this is never good. *lol*

Don’t get me wrong! I really loved this and it was a lot of fun, the “movie factor” was just too strong for my taste though. XD Especially because I recently saw the movie with Gal Gadot and always thought, I really would have loved to see this book as the movie instead of the actual movie. *lol* Because let’s face it: Leigh’s script was way better than the run of the mill Hollywood screenplay.
Yes, you read right and I stand by it. ;-P Leigh Bardugo is queen and even one of my four star reviews won’t change that. *lol*

On a more personal note: I started this book as a buddy read with my online bestie but about 10% into the book he dropped out of our BR and I had to finish it on my own. It’s sad we couldn’t read the book together but I understand his reasons so yeah, there’s that. >_<

And now onwards to one of my more lengthy reviews. 😉

2

Here’s your turning point! Either you move on and leave the safety of Themyscira (what a difficult word!!) or you decide to stay on the island and miss the opportunity to be spoiled! It’s up to you, choose wisely my young warrior! ;-P

Alia:

”Warbringer. Procatalysia. Haptandra. They could call it whatever they wanted. It sounded a lot like monster.”

Alia… Mhmm what to say about her? I think in this story she kind of represented the typical heroine. I mean she didn’t want to be a Warbringer and she would have rather preferred to die than to be the reason for the 3rd world war. So her character definitely went along with the characteristical attributes of a martyr and she had that sacrificial victim vibe down to a T. *lol* Unfortunately this also meant that we barely got to know her as a person. I mean yes, we get that she was a brainiac and a shy outsider but that’s about it. Which is very sad, because I really would have liked to see all of her different facets and for an MC this just wasn’t enough for me. >_<

Diana:

”We cannot spend our lives in hiding, wondering what we might accomplish if given the chance. We have to take that chance ourselves.”

Come to think of it the same could be said for Diana. She’s one of those super strong and righteous characters that throw around life lessons and quotes like nobody’s business! Haha! I’m not gonna lie, I kinda liked that about her, but it also made her a pretty innocent and bland character to read about. There were no rough edges and I was somehow reminded of Alina in “Shadow and Bone”. I can’t shake the feeling that Diana would have turned out to be a really great character if she would have been given a chance to thrive in a sequel. *lol* As far as I know there doesn’t exist a second book though, so I suppose I’ll just have to accept the fact that her character won’t be fleshed out and that this is everything we’ll ever get. XD *sniff* There would have been so much potential…

”We can’t help the way we’re born. We can’t help what we are, only what life we choose to make for ourselves.”

Nim:

”For all my big talk, I’ve never brought a girl home. I’ve never even hinted at that stuff to my parents. I’m afraid if I do, it will all fall apart.”

Boy, could I relate to Nim!!! I loved this girl so much and considering that she was just a side character, she and Theo actually saved the book for me. It’s kind of interesting how the side characters got a chance to shine in “Wonder Woman” and how I ended up thinking that the MCs were nothing special. *lol* But here it is and I accept it. XD Whilst I missed the depth in Diana’s and Alia’s character I got plenty of that with Nim. 😉 She was an amazing sidekick and her comments were priceless! XD You might call it the “Nikolai Lantsov” effect and Nim as well as Theo had plenty of it. *lol*I loved how fierce and independent Nim was and even though she stood on her own feet and was able to defend herself she still had a vulnerable and insecure side that was revealed throughout the course of the book. I really would have loved to read even more about her but unfortunately my wish wasn’t granted, which made me very sad because the world needs more Nim’s for sure! T_T

”What’s a supermodel?” Diana asked.
Nim stared at her.
“Uh, Diana’s homeschooled,” said Alia.
“Under a rock?” asked Nim.

”Because the whole world loves to tell us what we can’t do, that we aren’t good enough. The people in your own house should be on your side. It’s the people who never learn the word impossible who make history, because they’re the ones who keep trying.”

”Maybe it feels easier that way, just being invisible instead of always worrying what people think of you.”
Nim’s voice was surprisingly emphatic. “But that’s a choice, too, right? Because people are always going to look. They’re always going to judge, so you can say nothing or you can at least answer back.”

Jason:

”Is that stupid?” he asked. It was the first time she’d seen him look anything less than sure of himself. “To want a chance at greatness?”

Urgh! Jason! You can bet your lovely behind on the fact that I knew he was one of the bad guys the very moment he opened his mouth for the first time. *lol* I wasn’t fooled by him… not even for a second. XD He made a very bad villain though because his motives were really stupid. I mean yes, he wanted to get a chance to shine. So what? You’re going to risk your life in a war that will drag the entire world into mayhem just to get a shot at greatness? Who’s going to remember you when the entire world is descending into chaos? I think there are enough wars already and humanity is doing a great job at killing itself without the additional help of a Warbringer. At some point of the book Alia and Diana tried to tell him too, but of course he didn’t listen. XD Well, in the end he got what he deserved and even though the way it was executed made my eyes roll and sort of reminded me of the ending of “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (except of the getting old and crumbling to dust part) it was still kind of fitting for him. *lol*

”Humans can’t hold to peace, Diana,” Jason said. His gaze was steady, certain, and in his words she heard the echo of her mother’s voice. “We’re brutes and have been since our beginning. If we can’t have peace, then at least give us a chance at a beautiful death.”

Theo:

”You mean we’re all going to join hands and sing folk songs?”
“That sounds unpleasant,” said Diana.
“Come on!” said Theo. “Peace, love, the Age of Asparagus.”
“Aquarius,” corrected Nim.

*LOL* Theo, this brilliant little piece of sh**! Haha! I can’t say how much I adored him. Yes, he was a nerd but he was a sexy nerd and I could totally understand that Alia had the hots for him. XD I completely fell in love with him and his pointy shoes as well. *lol* ;-P He provided the easy banter and the funny moments of this story and I can’t understand why Jason wanted to kill him! I mean he was his best friend, he stood by him and even though everyone suspected him of being the villain he took it in stride and proved them wrong! He could have been offended by them suspecting him but instead he tried to understand them and overcame his hurt. =) Plus even though he might have been a skinny son of a gun he had his heart at the right place and managed to be cool when you least expected it. 😉 So yes, I’m a Theo fan now! XD

”Diana,” said Nim. “Kick Jason’s ass.”
She frowned, confused. “Specifically his ass?”
“Yeah.”
“Why?”
Without looking up from the keys, Theo said, “New York tradition.”

3

Alia & Diana:

”You are being hunted.”
“Hunted,” Alia said flatly. “For my silky pelt?”
“Because you are haptandra.”
“Say again?”
“A Warbringer.”
“I’m not into gaming.”

Haha! The dialogues between those two! ❤ They sure as hell made an interesting team, yet they still worked out somehow. *lol* I really liked their strong bond and friendship and I wish they would have gotten a chance to spend more time with each other. After everything that happened the ending felt rather rushed and when I closed the final page of the book I couldn’t help but wish for a little bit more time with those two. I didn’t like that Diana had to go back to her island immediately and to me it felt like they didn’t get a decent chance at closure. I mean Diana would have deserved to be with them, even if it would have been for just a little while. >_<

Alia & Theo:

”I drove,” said Theo. “Once.”
“That was a golf cart,” said Alia.
“So? It had four wheels and went vroom.”
“You crashed it into a tree.”
“I’ll have you know that tree had been drinking.”

Ahhh I loved how well they knew each other and yet they still never went for a romance. *lol* I guess they both might have waited for the right time and as it seems it finally arrived. Thank the gods! Because those two fit together perfectly! XD I knew they’d be awesome the moment Theo was introduced and I longed to read about their first kiss! Which didn’t happen!!! Like OMG!!! WHY LEIGH??!!!! A little kiss never hurt nobody! >_< Guess I’ll just have to picture their happily ever after in my mind. *sighs*

”The night of the party at the Met, how come you complimented everyone but me?”
He grinned. “Because you in that gold dress turned my brain to mush.”
She rolled her eyes. “Right.”
He took a couple of steps, then paused. “Alia?” he called back.
“What, Theo?”
“That night, at the party? You looked like buried treasure.”

Diana & Jason:

”You’re pretty enough, Jason Keralis. But hardly intimidating.”
His eyelids stuttered. “Pretty?”

Pff, I didn’t get to witness my Aleo ship but unfortunately I had to watch the shipwreck of Dison! *lol* This relationship was doomed right from the beginning because I didn’t feel any chemistry between those two! They danced, they laughed, hell, they even spent a night together yet they didn’t even evoke a shred of emotion in me. >_< I guess their impeccable behaviour made it kind of hard to enjoy their relationship. They were both too bland to make a decent couple and I could only roll my eyes whenever they were supposed to have a romantic moment. *sighs deeply* Nope, those two just didn’t work for me. #SorryNotSorry

”I think you’ve grown too used to people saying yes to you.”
“Have I?”
“But you have no idea how much I enjoy saying no.”

Nim & Theo:

”Nim, you look like a delicious confection, a walking, talking – probably poisonous – petit four.”
“In that case,” said Nim, “bite me.”

Now that’s what I call a perfect frenemy relationship. Haha! I wonder if it was just Alia’s Warbringer influence or if they kept up their banter after the happenings at the spring. *lol* I like to believe that they started to like each other and developed some sort of love-hate sibling friendship over the years. XD In the book they were like cat and mouse and their entertainment effect was very high. If it would have been up to me there would have been even more crazy conversations between them but I guess it was perfect the way Leigh decided to handle it. 😉

”We’re the villains! It’s always cooler to be the villain. You get to wear black and have a lair and brood. Besides, girls can’t resist a bad boy.”
“You are such an idiot,” said Nim.
He tapped his temple. “It’s not my fault you lack the vision.”

4

“Wonder Woman – Warbringer” was a highly entertaining book that reminded me a lot of all those modern blockbusters you can watch at the movies. There was plenty of easy banter and a great and diverse cast of MCs and side-characters alike. I loved that a lot of myths and legends weren’t only mentioned but also woven into the story and if there was one thing I didn’t like, then it was the fact that the MCs didn’t really convince me. In my opinion the side characters were more intriguing than the MCs and this in combination with the rather abrupt ending ultimately caused me to rate this book with only four paws. If you’re looking for an easy and funny read this definitely should be able to satisfy your hunger though. 😉