Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky (Mackenzi Lee)

Rating: 4 Pfoten

”Someday, you little twat, I’d tell him, it’s going to be more. It’s going to be better, and so will you. Where we start doesn’t have to be where we end up.”

This might have been a very short novella but it was so good and kinda heart-breaking but also very hopeful?! I really loved to be back in the Montague sibling’s world and it was so good to see more of Percy and Monty. This story played right after the events of the first book and we got a brief glimpse at their lives on the island. They are still waiting for the ships departure and Felicity as well as Scipio’s crew are a part of this short story as well. As for what it is about:

”It’s only been a month.”
“Only?” She arches an eyebrow. My regret that I even toed this subject with her intensifies. “I expected that once you and Percy were in agreement about living in sin, you would lean hard into it.”

Haha! Yeah it’s basically about Monty and Percy finally going for the huge task of spending a night together. Seriously, Felicity’s and Monty’s conversations always give me life and those two siblings are just hilarious. It’s kinda sweet to see that despite them being super awkward around each other when it comes to the topic of love, they still find a way to talk about it anyway. Neither Felicity nor Monty are keen on exploring that topic with anyone, but their sibling bond is strong enough to be able to talk about it together. And this was extremely heart-warming and wholesome to see. =)

”I was almost always with someone because I was bored and hated myself, and it was something to do that wasn’t thinking about either of those things. I’ve never been with anyone because I loved them and wanted something more together. So this has never required any sort of emotional component, and I don’t know how to do that. I don’t even know if I can. Maybe I’m too far gone.”

But oh, Monty’s trauma runs so deep it was really sad to hear him speak about his feelings and initial motivations for sexual encounters. T_T I could understand why he felt nervous about spending a night with Percy and it made me very sad to hear him talk about himself. For someone who always came across as extremely confident there are a lot of hidden wounds our poor boy has to heal. I still haven’t read the last book but I’m kinda afraid I will come to dislike their father even more. And I already hate him with the fierce fires of hell for everything he did to Monty! *GRRR*

”You don’t owe me sex. You don’t owe me anything. I’m with you because I want to be. And if we’re together, it’ll be because we both want to be. And we are going to London together because we want to. And it’s going to be a disaster. But that’s all right, because we’ll have each other, and there’s no one on this goddamn planet I’d rather be a disaster with than you.”

I’m just glad Percy and Monty are so close they can talk about everything because boy, for a minute there I was really worried about how things would develop. *lol* It’s so rare to find a relationship like the one of those two and it was so, so, so good to finally have two YA characters that actually TALK about their problems and don’t fall for the typical miscommunication trope. Honestly, it was very refreshing to see how they solved their troubles. And the way Monty feels about Percy!? It was so beautiful I almost cried! I really wish we would have gotten Percy’s POV too but I suppose you can’t have everything. XD

”I want to breathe him, let him fill up my chest until my ribs strain and I break open like ripe fruit beneath a paring knife. I would be raw. I would freckle and blister in the sun. I would teach my body to regrow my heart each time I gave it to him, over and over and over again. Heart after heart after heart – every one of them his.”

We did get a little bit more about Scipio though and I swear this man is my hero! Why can’t the world have more Scipios? I absolutely adore this man and the way he talks to Monty! I wish Monty would have had him as a father instead of the vile and cruel creature that actually fathered him. But then again I guess that Scipio is more of a father to Monty and Felicity than their real father ever was. He is accepting and kind and he has his heart at the right place. Get yourself a Scipio and his crew to support you! ❤

I laugh – one short, humorless burst. “What would I have said – could you vacate the apartments for a while so Percy and I can engage in illegal activities?”
“Not illegal.”
“They are where I come from.” I shake my head, staring down at my feet. “I couldn’t have. I’ve been struck too many times.”
“Then maybe I should have said it to you sooner – you needn’t hide around us,” he says. “I’m sorry you ever felt you had to. And that the world makes you feel as though you have to.” I finally mange to look up at him, and he smiles. I almost start to cry.

4
This said I really enjoyed this short story and I loved to be back in their world! It was so good to see more of Monty and Percy and to find out how they eventually ended up in London in book two. “The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky” was the little puzzle piece I needed in order to fill in the blanks and to go happily into book 3! If it’s not already on my TBR I’ll place it there for 2023! 😉
All told, I can recommend reading this novella because it ultimately will end up giving you all the warm and wholesome vibes you wanted to get after finishing book one.

A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

Review: All the Light We Cannot See (Anthony Doerr)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 31 on My Book List 2021

”Why bother to make music when the silence and wind are so much larger? Why light lamps when the darkness will inevitably snuff them?”

This book was a dark, dark book, but then again it were extremely dark times and all our two main characters Marie-Laure and Werner were trying to do, was to survive them. To be honest I really don’t know how I feel about “All the Light We Cannot See”. It was a good and thought-provoking book and the story was written beautifully. Still, after all the reviews I read I thought this story would hit me harder and that it would be one of those books that would leave me crying in the end. None of that happened though and even though the plot was well-crafted and the prose was lyrical I still couldn’t help but feel a little detached from the characters and their fate.

I think I’m just not used to historical fiction anymore. The writing style in books like this one is very different to what I usually read and even though you follow the characters, you’re not exactly in their heads which is probably one of the main reasons  why I didn’t connect all too much with them. Also I was in a huge reading slump when I started to read the book in April and only picked it up in August again. I did finish it in a couple of days then though so yeah. It definitely had me engaged and I wanted to know what was going to happen next, I just wasn’t as attached to the characters as I usually am when I read other books.

”I want to be an engineer. And you want to study birds. Be like that American painter in the swamps. Why else do any of this if not to become who we want to be?”
A stillness in the room. Out there in the trees beyond Frederick’s window hangs an alien light.
“Your problem, Werner,” says Frederick, “is that you still believe you own your life.”

I however will admit that some scenes in this book hurt. Badly. No matter if it was Marie-Laure who struggled to survive in a world that was ever-changing and had no room for people with disabilities or Werner who just wanted to become an engineer and was forced to go to war instead. Their stories were so different, yet they both were connected somehow. Werner’s childhood and his very brutal education in one of the German military schools, Marie-Laure’s life as a blind person in times that made it even harder to navigate through them because nothing ever stayed the same. Two different sides of a coin but both connected in ways you could only grasp if you closed your eyes and let yourself sink into the story. The older they got the harder their lives became and the stronger the war around them raged. To see the world through Werner’s eyes and Marie-Laure’s ears was at least as fascinating and unique as it was heart-breaking.

”Frederick said we don’t have choices, don’t own our lives, but in the end it was Werner who pretended there were no choices, Werner who watched Frederick dump the pail of water at his feet – I will not – Werner who stood by as the consequences came raining down. Werner who watched Volkheimer wade into house after house, the same ravening nightmare recurring over and over and over.”

But it wasn’t just about Marie-Laure and Werner. There were so many other side-characters that stuck with me but I think Frederick and Volkheimer were the two people I still think about the most. It’s kinda funny how sometimes the side-characters actually leave a deeper impact on the reader than the main characters themselves.

I mean Frederick… oh Frederick. His story moved me the most and I still feel anger boiling deep in my stomach whenever I think about it. In Germany of World War II there was no room for honourable people like Frederick and it still hurts to think about this precious boy. I suppose there was no room for boys like Volkheimer or Werner as well. Volkheimer who was the best soldier because he was burly and did exactly what he was told, but still was so gentle with Werner whenever he was ill. Their friendship was everything and I couldn’t help but like Volkheimer even though he did what he did. Talk about conflicting feelings. >_<

Volkheimer definitely saw the potential in Werner and appreciated his talent and gifts. Truth be told, I think Werner was a genius that never got a chance to shine because all his talent went into the war machine and for me this makes him an even more tragic character than he would have been already.

”Go,”  says Volkheimer again. Werner looks at him a last time: his torn jacket and shovel jaw. The tenderness of his big hands. What you could be.
Did he know? All along?

I think this quote emphasizes it pretty well. Anyway, there’s one thing I still need to address before I wrap up my review and this is the supposed love story in this book. When you read the blurb you automatically think that there will be a love story between Marie-Laure and Werner but this is not the case. There is no love story between them and they only meet once in the entire book. So if you’re going into this book because you expect a romance you better be aware of this. I totally expected there to be a love story between them and was pretty disappointed when I discovered that there was none. Maybe I would have enjoyed the book even more if I would have known that from the get-go.

”Open your eyes and see what you can with them before they close forever.”

4

This said “All the Light We Cannot See” was a very good and thought-provoking book. It’s a slow story that takes time to unfold and to grow which is in total contrast to the fast-paced world and the time it plays in, but I think this was actually a big part of its charm. If you’re looking for a good historical fiction book that plays in World War II and packs a subtle yet strong punch you definitely should pick it up.

A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

Review: A Small Hotel (Suanne Laqueur)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

Every time I finish one of Suanne Laqueur’s books I can’t help but wonder if I finished the book or if it finished me? I can never speak about her books because they always touch me on such an emotional level that it becomes exceptionally difficult to talk about them. Some might say I need time to “digest” the book first and that’s actually pretty accurate. Still, I finished reading “A Small Hotel” months ago and I still haven’t figured out how to write about it, which in its own way is testimonial to Laqueur’s amazing writing skills.

And she can write. Boy, how she can write. Right from the first moment of the book we’re already thrown into the middle of the Fiskare family and to take in everything that was happening was quite a challenge. The Fiskare family isn’t only a huge family but also a loud one and it takes a little time to get to know all the different members. Especially because almost none of them is called by their actual name which was such a relatable thing if you come from a huge family in which everyone is named after their father or mother. You get creative with nicknames and I loved that the author made this a part of her book. It gives a personal touch, it makes you relate to the characters and it causes you to love them like your own family. By the end of the book you feel like you’re a part of the family and you’re heartbroken when you have to leave them behind.

See, that’s what I mean with Laqueur’s great writing style. You get so immersed in the story by all those little details and you can’t help but fall head over heels for her characters. But that’s not all; the historical aspect of the story was done so amazingly as well. The research that went into this book must have been extremely extensive and I can only salute the author for fighting through all the historical books she must have read in order to write this. The names and dates of all the fights the characters had to go through, the historical accuracy when it comes to the route the soldiers took, from the way gay soldiers in the army were treated, right to the ammunition and rifles they used. As someone who’s interested in history and read their fair share of history books as well, I can’t help but be in awe of the author.

What Laqueur truly excels at is the emotional aspect of her stories though. You feel with the characters, you cry with them when a comrade falls, you’re angry on their behalf when you see them suffer, you want to pick them up and hug them tightly. I swear, there were moments I just wanted to jump into the book and tell them that everything would be alright. And all the while you wonder if all the boys of the family will make it back home, if they’ll survive the war they were thrown in, if they’ll be able to embrace their father and siblings again. And in Kennet’s case if he’ll finally end up with the person he loves.

I swear, the love story between Kennet and Astrid was so heart-breaking and the strong and healthy relationship with his father and siblings had me crying more than once. This family is as thick as thieves and my heart bled for all of them. The brotherly bond between Kennet and Minor actually had me weeping and for a while I wasn’t even able to see the pages of my book. But Suanne Laqueur doesn’t end her book with the war. She continues to tell her character’s story, she gives them room to process the war and to work through their traumas and even more importantly she gives them time to heal. We get the chance to witness their recovery and for me – as a reader – this was so important.

4

All told “A Small Hotel” was an emotional roller coaster that hit me with the force of a hurricane, knocked the breath out of me and caused me to blink away my tears. I’m still not sure if I finished the book or if the book finished me, but quite honestly it doesn’t matter. I fell in love with the Fiskare family and they’ll always have a special place in my heart.  And in the end, that’s actually all that matters.

Allgemein, K - O, N, Reviews

Review: Now I Rise (Kiersten White)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”Secrets gave everything more power, more potential for devastation and destruction.”

And the secrets in here were huge, which is the reason why the destruction was so big at the ending of this book. >_< Both, figuratively and literally. I swear to read this was … quite an experience. I mean I already knew that this series is character driven and that the scheming and plotting never ends but I think “Now I Rise” raised this to the next level. If you know me, you know that I love this in my books though so to read this story was perfect for me. XD

What was very interesting was that we don’t only have two different POVs in the second book but also two different storylines that are a little bit delayed. We follow Lada who is in Wallachia and desperately tries to become the prince of her country and we are with Radu as he follows Mehmed’s order to infiltrate Constantinople as his trusted spy. Both siblings struggle with their tasks and with what is needed in order to achieve their goals. And while Lada continues to be the ruthless dragon that we know her to be, Radu’s heart seems to fissure under the constant weight of pressure.

I swear, the Dracul siblings couldn’t be any more different even if they tried but they still have such a strong connection and you can feel it on every page. Just like in the first book the longing in here is real, but whilst the main focus of this yearning was Mehmed in “And I Darken” it becomes something different in here. It turns into a longing for peace, for hope, for belonging and into a longing for knowing your place in the world, an almost palpable yearning for acceptance and better days. But before I write even more I’ll just get to my characters section and explain all my thoughts in there. 😉

2

You are now entering the lost city of Constantinople. Where people fight bravely against all odds and spoilers. If you don’t want to fight against a spoiler at every turn I strongly recommend you to leave this place. It isn’t too late; you can still make it out in time. 😉

Lada:

”Lada smiled. She knew that should not please her, but it did. The prince thought her a big enough threat to warrant an assassin. She still had a chance. Where there was fear, there was power.”

My fierce and reckless dragon child! Gosh, I love Lada. I really dislike a lot of her actions and I disagree with her methods but I still can’t help but love this girl. I think I rarely felt so torn about a fictional character but Lada Dracul is definitely something else. Just like in the first book she knows exactly what she wants and she’s still not afraid of doing whatever is necessary in order to achieve her goals. I just gotta admire her tenaciousness and intransigence. This woman knows the price she’ll pay and yet she’s still not afraid of going through with the bargain. Lada still wants Wallachia more than she wants anything else and I think her and Mehmed are pretty similar when it comes to the craving for a country/city. They would do anything to get it and no price would be too big to pay. Even if it took their souls as payment, they would still readily sacrifice them. Lada is already at the point where she’s crossing a line she’ll never be able to return from and I’m kind of worried what that will do to her in the last book. >_<

”Tonight, she felt the full weight of that loss. The loss of a brother who would have stood at her side and fought this battle of manners and politics for her. The loss of a man who would have laughed at her dress and her hair but also been desperate to be alone so he could undo it all for her.”

”For years Lada had nurtured only hatred for her father, to take away the pain that loving him had left her with. But that night in her tent as she drifted to sleep, she let some of it go. Because she, too, was grateful for who she was. She would not wish any part of herself away.”

”Running and abandoning those who needed her as the weakest, lowest thing possible. Lada would not do that. She could not. Whatever else she was, Lada was nothing like the class who could go on living after turning their backs on those who depended upon them.”

”Without a word she shifted and plunged it into the chest of Toma. The man who had used we to talk about their plans, when he meant himself and a foreign king. The man who had thought that through words and advice, he could take Lada’s soldiers, Lada’s power, Lada’s country without ever fighting her. She watched his face as he died, committing it to memory.”

Radu:

”Hope was an arrow that never ceased piercing his heart.”

My precious Radu! In my review of “And I Darken” I described him as “beauty with a sting” and that description still holds true, in “Now I Rise” his character changed a lot though. His armour started to crack and to hide his true feelings got more and more difficult. Mehmed asked him to go to Constantinople and to work as his spy and at first Radu is willing to do what he can in order to offer Mehmed Constantinople on a platter. The longer he stays at the city the more he gets involved in the community though. He makes friends and gets attached to Cyprian, Constantine and his family. He suffers alongside them in the siege and he fights against his own people that try to invade the city. Radu starts to question his role and his blind loyalty to Mehmed, but in the end is forced to realize that neither Mehmed nor Constantine deserve his faithfulness. Both of them would have been able to spare their people’s lives, but their pride didn’t allow them to do what would have been the best for their subjects. Radu is so torn by his own actions and the actions of Mehmed and Constantine that he’s breaking under the pressure. At the end of the book he’s a broken man and I was grieving his lost innocence. T_T I really just want my Radu to be happy! Is that too much to ask for?

”What did he hope his future would be? To stand forever at Mehmed’s side, beloved friend, trusted advisor? He had told Nazira it would be enough. It would never be enough.”

”Radu did not know which filled him with more despair – that everyone had heart this rumor except him, or that the mere suggestion of Mehmed loving women and men was seen as evil. His feelings for Mehmed had never felt evil or wicked. They had been the truest of his life, bordering on holy. To hear his love so casually profaned made him sick to his stomach.”

”Again you have never met my sister. She responded to our torments by getting harder, crueler, further away. It made her stronger, but it was breaking me. So when Mehmed – the sultan – offered me kindness, it was like someone had offered me the sun in the midst of the longest, coldest winter of my life.”

”Where was his heart? Where was his loyalty?”

”Radu had been wrong. There were no good men in this city.
And there were no good men outside of it, either.”

3

Lada & Mehmed:

„Mehmed moved from her lips to her neck, his hands in her hair. “When you left, you took my hear twith you. Kill me, Lada,”he said, with so much longing she could not keep her own hands off him.“

Okay, we legit only got one scene between those two and their sexy time ended rather abruptly when Lada found out that Mehmed could have supported her but didn’t because his own goals were once again more important than Lada’s. I honestly don’t blame Lada for leaving his tent in haste and hating him with a fierce passion. It’s not all hate though and I feel kind of sorry for her because she truly loves him but she can’t get out of her own skin. Those two are the epitome of star-crossed lovers and however their story will end. It won’t end well. >_<

”You could have trusted me and given me those forces instead. Were there ever any troops? Did you ever mean to help me?”
“I am helping you! You are destined for bigger things! With me.” He stepped toward her and she put her hands up.

”She closed her eyes, because she had worked so hard not to think of it. But as soon as she allowed the memories back in, she wanted to kill him. And she wanted to be with him again.
She did not know which impulse was stronger.”

Lada & Radu:

”I ask only what he is willing to do. Nothing more.”
“Then I do know him better, you fool. Radu would do anything for you.”
Mehmed looked away, a dark flush spreading across his cheeks.
“You know…” Lada’s eyes narrowed to thin slits, her fists clenched so tightly they ached. “You know that he is in love with you.”

I love Lada for hating Mehmed because of Radu! *lol* I blame it all on the Slytherin sleeping peacefully inside of me. ;-P But seriously, their sibling relationship is one of the best things about this series. Because they are true siblings in every sense of the word. I hate that Mehmed is still standing between them and I hope that one day they’ll realize that their relationship is more important than any man. Even if it’s the sultan! I really hope they’ll make amends once they meet each other and the Slytherin in me hopes that they’ll both tell Mehmed to go to hell! *lol* I can dream, right?! I guess if it wouldn’t have been for Mehmed their petty rivalry from their childhood would have already been a distant memory, but since they are still fighting for the attention of the same man they aren’t where they are supposed to be. At least not sibling relationship wise. I just hope they won’t realize their mistakes too late.

”Where was he? Was he safe? Of all the things she held against Mehmed, jeopardizing Radu’s safety was the greatest. If Radu was hurt, she would never forgive Mehmed. Radu was not an acceptable sacrifice, not for any city.”

Radu & Cyprian:

”Be careful,” Cyprian said, running a finger as soft as a whisper along Radu’s palm. “We need these hands.” Cyprian looked up and Radu found himself unable to bear the intensity of his gaze. Cyprian released his hands, laughing awkwardly. “We need all the hands we can get.”
“Yes,” Radu murmured, still feeling Cyprian’s finger tracing his palm.

Now that … oh my! Where do I even start?! Radu has got to be one of the most unfortunate book characters I ever came across. This boy has absolutely no luck when it comes to love. At first he fell for Mehmed who only uses him and then he falls for Cyprian whom he betrayed for Mehmed. I can’t with this ship! Honestly! Cyprian and Radu were such a lovely ship and slow burn but ARGH did it kill me to know that Radu was betraying Cyprian every step of the way. It killed Radu too. Obviously! Truth be told, Cyprian is too precious for this world. The mere fact he agreed to protect Nazira and to take care of her even though he was fully aware that Radu betrayed him and was responsible for the death of Constantine… I have no words! Cyprian is an angel! <333 And I really, really hope that he will find forgiveness for Radu in the next book because Radu needs someone like him in his life. But still, the betrayal!!! T_T GAH! Why is their relationship so doomed?!

”I feared for your safety.” Radu embraced Cyprian again, both because it was warm and comforting against the weariness of this long night, and because it was the only way he could hide how touched and sad he was that Cyprian’s first fear had been for Radu’s traitorous life.

”He will not kill me,” Radu repeated, waiting for Cyprian to understand. The foundation in Cyprian’s eyes crumbled like the walls around them.
Cyprian stumbled back, shaking his head. “All this time,” he whispered.

Radu & Nazira:

”You do not need to worry about me.”
“I do not worry because I need to. I worry because I care about you. I want to see you happy. And I do not think Edirne holds any happiness for your.” She emphasized Edirne, making it clear that it was not the capital she spoke of, but what – or rather, whom – that capital held.

Those two! They might only have a fictitious marriage but their friendship and their affection for each other is true and real. I love how deeply they care about each other and how they want each other to be happy! Radu is always watching out for Nazira and tries his best to keep her safe and Nazira has his back and tells him the things he needs to hear. They work so well together and even though their marriage is fake I still think they have a truly beautiful relationship. Nazira is such a precious character as well and I love her so much!! <333 Everyone should have a Nazira in their life. She’s such a nourishing, kind and caring character. XD I love her!

Radu drew her close. “You know I will make certain you are taken care of. No matter what.”
Nazira laughed sadly against his chest. “There you go again, assuming I am worried for myself. You never account for others loving you for you, Radu, rather than what you can do for them. It is my greatest prayer that someday you will know enough of love to recognize when it is freely given.”

”You do not know him. Besides, I do not wish anything more from him than his friendship.”
“You are welcome to lie to me, but please stop lying to yourself. Whatever your hopes are with him, I promise they will never be realized.”
“You have found love.”
“Yes. With someone who could return it. But you refuse to let go of this festering love for a man who is incapable of loving you.”
Radu blinked back tears. “Do I not deserve love?”
She put her hand on Radu’s cheek. “Sweet Radu, you deserve the greatest love the world has ever seen. I simply do not think Mehmed is capable of loving anyone the way you love him.”

”When I am with Fatima, what I feel is pure and good. I cannot imagine a god who hates anything that is love, any way we find to take tender care of each other. I want you to find that same love, and I never want you to hate yourself for any love that is in you.”

”I know it is not rational. None of the people here were responsible for what happened to Fatima. But their mindless hatred of us, their demonizing of Islam, is what let those men do what they did. It was wicked of me to come here with so much hatred in my heart. Hatred makes monsters of us all.”

”You almost make me believe in fate, for how unfortunate yours is.”

Radu & Mehmed:

”I am glad you are here,” Mehmed said.
Radu smiled bitterly. “That makes one of us.”

I hate Mehmed so much for leading Radu on! I guess some part of me always knew that Mehmed was aware of Radu’s feelings for him but to actually get solid proof! To hear that Radu was just the means to an end he used in order to get Constantinople. ARGH! He used and abused Radu’s love and trust and I can’t with Mehmed anymore! Such a foul move! He knew Radu would do everything for him because he loves him and he shamelessly used that love to his advantage. How vile of a creature can you be? Honestly, at this point I just want Mehmed out of the picture so that Radu can finally get the love he deserves. I’m afraid as long as Mehmed is alive Radu will always return to him though. And IT. KILLS. ME.!!! Radu needs to be free of this man but he’s always drawn to him like a moth to a flame.  >_< I have no idea how the last book will end but I hope it will end with a happy Radu.

”I thought this would feel different,” Mehmed said, melancholy shaping his words like a song. He leaned against Radu, finally giving him the contact he had craved for so long.
“So did I,” Radu whispered.

”The ambassador, you mean? He quite liked you. I could see it at Edirne.”
Radu realized with a sickening lurch of his stomach that Mehmed was dancing around a question, trying to determine whether or not Radu cared for Cyprian in the same way. Which meant that Mehmed knew Radu had the feelings for men that he was supposed to have for women.
Which meant Mehmed could not possibly be unaware of the feelings Radu had nurtured for him all these years. Shame welled up in him, but a new feeling came, too. Radu felt … used.”

Lada & her men:

She had left behind love and ridden off to a future devoid of power. “I have nothing,” she whispered.
Nicolae nudged hi horse even closer to hers, until their legs brushed. “You still have us,” he said, his voice soft with understanding. “We will figure something out.”

Did I ever mention that I love Lada and her men? I’m so glad she has them with her and they are truly one hell of a nice company. *lol* Nicolae is definitely still my favourite and I really hope that he’ll survive the last book as well. As for Bogdan: I’m  afraid sooner or later he’ll realize that Lada is only using him and can’t return his feelings for her and I’m kind of worried how this will end. Love and hatred are two emotions that are close to each other and I just hope Bogdan’s unrequited love for Lada won’t kill her. XD Stefan is so precious too! ❤ Anyway, I’m sure Lada’s men will be loyal in the last book too, but I’m worried about Nicolae and Bogdan. >_<

Lada laughed, patting Bogdan’s knee. Then she tossed a handful of dirt and dry evergreen needles at Nicolae. “No one asked for your opinion.”
“My opinions are gifts I distribute freely, asking neither permission nor payment.”
“Take your gifts elsewhere,” Bogdan grumbled.

”What we do now, we do so that someday mercy will be able to survive here.”
“But the children.” Nicolae’s voice was as empty as a boyar’s promise.
“You said you would follow me to the ends of the earth.”
“Gods’s wounds, Lada,” he whispered, shaking his head. “Someday you will go further than I can follow.”

Lada & Hunyadi:

”Hunyadi’s love and trust was a valuable thing; it meant more to Lada than she had thought possible. But he could not get her the throne. And she did not feel the pull of Constantinople that all the men in her life seemed to. Hunyadi, she cared about. Constantinople was only a city.
Wallachia, though. Wallachia was everything.”

I never expected Hunyadi to become some sort of father figure for Lada but it actually happened and I really liked their relationship. It’s a shame Hunyadi died because he was one of the few people that saw Lada’s true self and accepted her the way she is. She would have needed him to stay at her side for a longer time, but unfortunately he died because of Mehmed’s war strategies. I think with Hunyadi’s guidance she would have never come to the point she is at now, but his influence on her is gone and without it I’m kind of worried of what will become of Lada. >_<

”That is how we are alike. We saw everything that was not ours, and we hungered. Do not lose that hunger. You will always have to fight for everything. Even when you already have it, you will have to keep fighting to maintain it. You will have to be more ruthless, more brutal, more everything. Any weakness will undo everything you have accomplished. They will see any crack as evidence that they were right that a woman cannot do what you do.”

4

I enjoyed the second book at least as much as I enjoyed the first one. Maybe even more because the pacing felt a little bit faster than in “And I Darken”. It was interesting to see how the characters developed and how they grew.  The character arc of Radu and Lada… chef’s kiss! Even though I suffered with them I still love how Kiersten White managed to let them grow. This said: If you already liked the first book I’m sure you’ll love this one as well! XD