Allgemein, Bookish Fox Knowledge

July Wrap-Up

Wrap Up

July was… quite something! I wish I could say something good about July but I was extremely busy at the beginning of the month because I finally started my educational sabbatical. *lol* For the first time in years I actually had to study and even had to do lots of homework. Which was something totally new for me after such a long time out of school. XD I’m enjoying my educational sabbatical though and so far I aced every homework and always got the best grade! (Honestly this is something new because after I turned 15 I never was a straight-A-student. Haha I mean I wasn’t super bad but I had to work really hard for good grades!)

So, yeah my educational sabbatical started out pretty well. Unfortunately my hubby got ill during the second week of July and even though I kept my distance to him and even slept on the sofa for a couple of days he still managed to „gift“ me his tonsillitis. I swear I was so ill you have no idea. I basically spent 3 days having a 39,5+ fever and couldn’t do anything except of sleep. When I finally managed to go to the doc I got a prescription for antibiotics and had to take them for 10 days straight. I got so tired from the antibiotics I basically didn’t do a lot for the rest of July. I took my last one on Saturday but I’m still kinda exhausted from being ill. Like I’m not at a 100% and it’s starting to get annoying. *lol*

I really hope that sooner or later I’ll be back to full health but for now it seems like I’ll have to live with about 60 – 70%. Who knew a tonsillitis would kick my butt like that? *shakes head* So yep, this was my July and I’m behind on everything. My backlog on reviews is huge because I had to prioritize and of course my studies came first. I eventually managed to get back on track now but all the rest, my BookTube channel, IG, reviews, reading, etc. suffered. Well, I hope I’ll at least be able to get up my August TBR video soon. If I wouldn’t have started some of the books in June already and wouldn’t have had those first two healthy weeks of July I probably wouldn’t have read anything. Haha! Anyway! Speaking of books, let’s just do this wrap-up and be done with it! 😉

Books read: 4 (4 books & 0 webcomic, I actually managed to read four books! Yay!)

Pages read: 1.879 (I think this is the most I read in a long time. It might have only been 4 books but 3 of them were 400+ pages long)

Average rating: 4,38 (Those 4 books were so different but I really enjoyed them all so much.)

Books that were on my reading list: 2 ( 0 from 2020, 1 from 2021 and 1 from 2022. I can’t help being a mood reader, but I’m getting better! )

July Reads:

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Spinning Silver: 4 Pfoten

It took me forever to read this book, but not because it was bad, I guess I was just in a bad reading slump when I picked it up in February. >_< Once I started to read it it for real I actually finished it in a couple of days. XD I kinda loved the story and the different characters. The Tsar and Irina had me totally intrigued and the Staryk king and Miryem were super interesting too. Plus I had no idea how the book would end and that’s always a good thing in my book. =)

House of Sky and Breath: 4 Pfoten,5

THIS BOOK!!! ADFKADLFASKDFAJSDFKASDFJ! If I’d have known how it ends I would have waited until the 3rd book is out because damn to wait for the next book is going to be pure torture! T_T Thankfully I read this book as a buddy read with the lovely Jessi @ Plot Twists with Jessi and now we can both suffer together. *lol* A problem shared is a problem halved. Or so they say. *sobs in a corner* Oh yeah, before I continue to sob: There will be a full and proper review about this book in the future. 😉

Death Note – Volume 3: 4 Pfoten

I’m so behind on writing reviews and my backlog isn’t normal anymore, but I actually wrote one for „Death Note – Volume 3“ and you can read it here! I really love this manga series but I have no idea how the author is going to keep the arc of suspense throughout the entire series because damn… Vol. 2 and Vol. 3 were already so tense! I’m in awe of the cat-and-mouse game between L and Light and boy… I can’t wait to see where this is heading. I doubt it will have a good end though. Someone is going to get hurt and I have no idea who it will be. XD

The House in the Cerulean Sea: 5 Pfoten

„The House in the Cerulean Sea“ was my first TJ Klune book ever and I read it with a couple of people while I hosted my #Klunealong! It’s really one of the most wholesome books ever and when I did my second vlive last Sunday I couldn’t help but gush about the book while we discussed it! Such an amazing story and I really love all the characters so much! If all of Klune’s books are like that I can’t wait to go for part 2 of my Klunealong in August! We’ll start to read „The Extraordinaries“ on August 6th! And if you want to join you can always follow the link above to my first #Klunealong Announcement. I’ll make sure to get up the new video soon so that’s why I don’t have a link for „The Extraordinaries“ yet. You can always send me a comment as well though and I’ll send you the details. If you really want to join I’m sure we’ll find a way to get in touch.;-)

Rankenzeile

This said: How was your July? Did you read a lot of books? I hope you were healthier than I was and were able to enjoy the good weather. (Over here it was really hot and sunny! XD)  Did you read any of the books I read as well and if yes did you enjoy them? Which book was your highlight of July? Do you want to take part in Part2 of my #Klunealong?!

Talk to me and let me know! 😉

And as always take care and stay healthy and safe!

*hugs’n’kisses*

Sig.V.Ronan

The Sassy Library Fox

Allgemein, P, P - T, Reviews

Review: Pet (Akwaeke Emezi)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4

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

Allgemein, K - O, M, Reviews

Review: Mexican Gothic (Silvia Moreno-Garcia)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”I am Catalina Taboada. CATALINA. Cata, Cata come out to play. I miss Noemi. I pray I’ll see you again. You must come for me, Noemi. You have to save me. I cannot save myself as much as I wish to, I am bound, threads like iron through my mind and my skin and it’s there.”

If I’d have to describe “Mexican Gothic” with just one sentence I’d say: “It was fun.” Fortunately or unfortunately (it always depends on whether you like my reviews or not) we all know that I’m incapable of keeping my reviews short and simple so as always you’ll get a lot more from me than just one sentence. ;-P This said: What is the book about? Well, if you break it down to the basics “Mexican Gothic” is about Noemí Taboada who is sent to her cousins’ house in order to find out what is wrong with her. After marrying an English man and moving into his house named High Place, Catalina wrote a very disturbing letter and her father entrusts Noemi with taking care of the matter. Or in short he wants her to find out if Catalina needs the care of a psychologist or not.

”She thought that men such as her father could be stern and men could be cold like Virgil, but women needed to be liked or they’d be in trouble. A woman who is not liked is a bitch, and a bitch can hardly do anything: all avenues are closed to her.”

Once Noemi arrives at High Place it seems like her cousin is getting over a heavy illness and that everything is going to be okay, well at least at the beginning. The longer she stays the more crazy things happen. Haunted by reoccurring nightmares Noemi soon realizes that her cousin’s letter might not have been written while she experienced a psychotic episode but actually might turn out to be the truth. Confined to the dark halls of High Place she sees the well maintained facade of the Doyle family crumble and the secrets she discovers behind the walls are enough to unnerve even the bravest socialite.

”A woman’s function is to preserve the family line. The children, well, Virgil is the only one left, but she did her duty and she did it well.”

I can’t even tell you how much I hated Howard Doyle, the patriarch of the family. He was such a horrible and vile man and all his talk about Eugenics, superior races and the roles of women made me sick to my stomach. Not that his son Virgil was any better. The more I saw of his true nature, the more I detested him. Florence, the only female Doyle member, was horrible as well and I loathed her so much for bending to Howard’s and Virgil’s will. This woman was mean and cruel and had no backbone to speak of. And Catalina? Well, her poor cousin barely seems to be able to get out of bed so Noemi is on her own and has to fight for both of them.

She thought Howard looked like an insect and Florence was an insectivorous plant. But Virgil Doyle, he was a carnivore, high up the food chain.
“Florence is right. You deserve to be slapped and taught a few lessons,” he muttered.
“If anyone is slapped in this room, I assure you, it won’t be me.”

The only family member I really liked was precious and frail Francis Doyle. Florence’s son and the only person that truly seemed to care about Noemi’s well-being. I couldn’t help but like Francis but I also felt kind of guilty for trusting him? *lol* I mean at a place where nothing is as it seems and where you find enemies at every corner, would you trust a nice and gentle soul? I for my part had a really strong trust problem when it came to Francis but at the same time, just like Noemi, I wanted to be able to rely on at least one person in this creepy house. XD

”You are right to think that I was grown like an orchid. Carefully manufactured, carefully reared. I am, yes, like an orchid. Accustomed to a certain climate, a certain amount of light and heat. I’ve been fashioned for a single end. A fish can’t breathe out of water. I belong with the family.”

As for our MC Noemi Taboada: I absolutely loved and adored her! This woman is fierce and she never backed down! I really enjoyed to follow her journey and to discover the secrets of the old house alongside her. This woman has guts and I was very glad she gave the Doyle family a run for their money and didn’t allow them to intimidate her. The Doyle’s, especially the male family members, definitely needed someone to reprimand them so I was happy about every word that Noemi uttered with her sharp tongue. *lol*

”This time his gaze lingered on her for one long minute before, skittish, he stepped back and rounded the table again, returning to his original position. A bundle of nerves is what he was. A heart, raw and bleeding, she thought, and the image lingered in her mind.”

4
All told “Mexican Gothic” was a really interesting horror book and I enjoyed it even though I’m a scaredy fox and usually don’t read in the genre of horror. At least not all too often. 😉 Still, I loved the atmosphere of High Place, the cemetery next to it, the impenetrable fog surrounding the old house, it’s cold and cruel residents and its desolate walls harbouring dark secrets. If you like books that are mysterious and not all too creepy, books that give you a slightly gross vibe. Well, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one too.

A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

Review: After You (Jojo Moyes)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

 

”Sometimes I felt as if we were all wading around in grief, reluctant to admit to others how far we were waving or drowning.”

Okay, before I start this review I have to admit three things:

1.) “After You” wasn’t what I expected it to be and headed into a completely different direction than I assumed.
2.) I think Jojo Moyes was very brave to go into this kind of direction and I appreciate her realistic approach.
3.) This might turn out to be a rather personal and subjective review.

I know it would be easy to say that I didn’t like Louisa in this book and a lot of reviewers before me actually did. They said they didn’t like how much she changed, that the happy girl was gone, that she wasted the gift Will had given her, that she was merely existing and not living her dream. Not doing, what Will wanted her to do before he died.

“Live boldly. Push yourself. Don’t settle. Just live well. Just live.”

But what a lot of readers didn’t get – and I’m glad they didn’t seem to get it because I’m speaking from personal experience here and I truly wish no one to make an experience like that– is that she was grieving. Yes, Will’s death didn’t come unexpected. It was planned, they all knew it would happen but that didn’t change anything about the fact that she loved him and that he still decided to go. I wasn’t surprised that Lou is a mess at the beginning of this book, I wasn’t surprised, that she didn’t see the world like she planned to, that she didn’t live her dream. Because honestly: How could she? The person she loved, her first and one true love was dead and there was nothing she could have done to stop him, nothing that would have changed his mind.

”How could I explain to this girl what Will and I had been to each other, the way I felt that no person in the world had ever understood me like he did or ever would again? How could she understand that losing him was like having a hole shot straight through me, a painful, constant reminder, an absence I could never fill?”

To lose the person you love? It changes you, it alters your perception, it makes you realize how short life is, it forces you to acknowledge that you won’t live forever, that everything could be over in nothing but a second. You know that you should move on, because life moves on regardless if you want it to or not. If there’s one thing death teaches you, then it’s that life is merciless and doesn’t pause for the living!

”So what was the hardest part?” Mr Gopnik said.
“I’m sorry?”
“Of working for William Traynor. It sounds like quite a challenge.”
I hesitated. The room was suddenly very quiet. “Letting him go.” I said. And found myself unexpectedly biting back tears.

So, yes Louisa is a mess! She’s still so very young and innocent and has to deal with the loss of the man who stole her heart. Of course this experience changed her, of course she isn’t the same person she was before and yes, she is fighting depression! But she is doing everything she can in order to deal with his loss and that’s admirable and needs to be acknowledged.

I know a lot of readers might have wanted the book to go in another direction and truth be told I wanted to see a happy Louisa too, but that’s not how things work, that’s not how mourning works. That would have been unrealistic and it would have devalued the love Lou felt for Will. So, is this book an intermediate phase? Yes, it is! But it is necessary! Lou has to grieve in order to be able to move on and to heal and she ultimately does! Boy, how she does!

It might have been sad to read her journey, it might have been depressing but it was realistic and wholesome and I can’t thank Jojo Moyes enough for this kind of representation! Because that’s what happens when you lose the person you love! You try to get back on your feet, you try to live on, you fight to be able to enjoy your life! You learn how to cope with your loss, to turn it into something positive! There are days you take one step forward and two steps back, but you learn to be thankful for the fact that you’re still alive! That life is still ahead of you! That the time you spent with your loved one – no matter how long or short lived it might have been – was precious and a gift! And eventually… well eventually you accept your loss and you move on. You finally live the life you know your loved one wanted you to live all along.

I could write about Lou’s love interest or the rather unexpected twist that happens right at the beginning of the story. I could write about Lou’s funny family and all their antics, but I think I’ll just leave it at that.

For me “After You” is a book about grief and healing. About learning how to live with your scars and about accepting them as a part of you. The loss of a loved one might push you into the abyss but it’s up to you if you fight and crawl out of them or stay there and get lost. It’s a fight no one can help you with, a fight you have to battle on your own. But let me tell you this, it’s a battle that’s always worth it. 😉

So thank you Jojo Moyes, for tackling such a sensitive and serious topic with genuine humour and tentative prudence. Thank you for giving us hope. I can only speak for myself here, but my teenage me really would have needed and appreciated your book! It might be too late for me, but I’m sure many other people will find comfort in your words!
And sometimes, well sometimes that’s already enough. =)