Allgemein, K, K - O, Reviews

Review: Kate in Waiting (Becky Albertalli)

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Rating: 3 Pfoten,5

”If I could stop this crush, I would. I’d slam that brake so hard, with the full force of my brain. It’s just that I know it won’t work. I don’t think my brain’s in the driver’s seat.”

The first thing I have to admit before I go into this review is that I have a difficult relationship with Becky Albertalli’s books. I absolutely loved “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” and I really enjoyed “What If It’s Us”, but I was no huge fan of “Leah on the Offbeat” and the other books I read of her were just mostly okay, I think. So yeah, difficult relationship. I never know if I’ll love her books or if they are just going to be an okay read for me. With “Kate in Waiting” it seems to be even more complicated, because I enjoyed it enough to page through it, but there were some things that I think weren’t handled that well?!

And this gets me in a difficult spot, because how to keep this review spoiler free without going into the things that – in my personal opinion – didn’t sit well with me? >_< I guess at the end of the day all I can do is try to explain why the book got the rating it got and to hope that I manage to convey my feelings. I’m going to try to do exactly that, so please bear with me. I think it’s always easier to start with the good things first and because of that I’ll talk about the friendship between Kate and Andy.

”It kind of bugs me, though, the way people get weird about our closeness. If we were a couple, no one would even blink. But people are always saying that if they didn’t know Andy was gay, they’d never believe we were just friends.
It’s such bullshit. First of all, we’re best friends.
Second of all, there’s no just. Friendship isn’t a just. Yes, Andy’s gay. No, we’re not a couple. But Anderson Walker is the most important person in my life, hands down.”

I really loved their friendship and I think it was portrayed well. They both care about each other deeply and it’s obvious throughout the entire book. They are a found family of their own and I really loved how Kate thought about their friendship. That quote above nailed it because I have a male best friend too and nope he isn’t gay like Andy. He actually has a lovely wife now and a kid and we’re still in contact and close. I was at their wedding last summer. XD I think what I’m trying to say is that it’s possible to have a friendship like that and that it’s really one of the best things if you’re so close that gender and sexuality don’t even matter. So to see this on page was amazing and I could relate to a lot of the things Kate thought about Anderson. Still, to see them giving each other the cold shoulder and the fact they were jealous about the time the other spent with Matt made me really sad. I mean they are teens and they are both in love with the same guy. Their feelings get the better of them. I get it, but even when my bestie and I liked the same guy (talking about a different bestie than before) we would just agree that the guy decides in the end.

”Katypie, I’m so sorry. I’m done being an asshole.” He leans over the gearshift and wraps his arms around me tight. “I love you so much. None of this matters. the Matt stuff? Doesn’t matter. I love you.”
I lean into his hug, my eyes prickling with tears. “I love you, too.”

The mere fact they were competing about Matt’s attention and trying to get some alone time with him didn’t sit well with me. I mean it’s okay that they both wanted to spend some time with him, but I didn’t like that they just assumed that Matt would either choose Kate or Andy. Like I mean, come on! There were so many other students at the school, what if Matt decided he didn’t want to be with any of them and just went for someone completely different? Now that would have been a plot twist. *lol* I personally think there should have at least been the possibility of an outcome like that, because it would have been way more realistic than Matt actually being with one of them.

Plus considering the closeness of Kate and Andy I would have thought they would have been able to set their Matt-differences aside, because if life taught me anything then it’s that teen romances come and go, but your true friends? Well, they are the ones that will always stick with you no matter what.

I guess what it comes down to is that I really liked their friendship but that their competition and jealousy didn’t fit with the close friendship they should have had. If that makes any sense? I honestly would never ever think about stabbing my bestie with a paint brush just because she was talking with my crush. And yes, not even in my teens! But maybe that’s just me. I dunno. I liked to read about Kate’s conflicting emotions, because they felt real, but I think her thoughts and actions sometimes were way too dramatic. But hey, at least Kate seemed to have some sort of conscience. We never got to see Andy’s POV but I honestly didn’t like a lot of the things he did. Kate at least tried to keep it civil but Andy? Wow. Never in a million years would I have treated my bestie like that. And I’m not just talking about his obvious jealousy whenever Kate spent time with Matt and the way he completely shut down and gave her the cold shoulder. I’m talking about

spoilerthe shit show that was their conversation in the toilet room. ”Are you serious right now?” I hear Andy step out of his stall, slamming the door behind him. “What was I supposed to do? Matt wasn’t out! How could I have told you?” “You said you thought I knew!” “I did! But I wasn’t sure. And, Katy, it wasn’t my thing to tell.” I agree with Andy that it wasn’t his thing to tell her Matt is gay, but I absolutely and totally don’t get why he ghosted Kate and didn’t even talk to her even though he knew Matt was gay and in love with him?! Yes, Matt is the one to decide if, when, where and how he comes out to other people. It is his decision, his life, his prerogative. BUT why did Anderson have to ghost Kate and ignore her? A sensible friend would have agreed to keep it on the low and to let Matt figure things out. I understand that Andy wanted to spend time with Matt, but he could always have kept it casual at first and still spent some time with Kate. If I’d have been Kate the fact he ghosted me and made me feel like shit would have been even worse than finding out that he didn’t tell me that crucial thing. But no, Kate is angry at Andy because she thinks he told Matt about her crush on him. That’s the only thing you’re angry about girl?! Not that your bestie decided to shut you out of his life because he just wanted to spend some time with his new bf who wasn’t officially out yet?! I know a lot of people might disagree with me here, but I stand by my opinion: If your bestie has a crush on the gay boy you’re secretly dating and that gay boy isn’t ready to come out yet, you tell your bf that you want to give him time to figure things out and that it’s best to keep things casual until he’s ready to come out because you don’t want to hurt your friends feelings by lying to them. There problem solved! He wouldn’t even need to mention Kate’s crush on Matt because to lie to your friends is already a bad position to be in. I’m sure Matt would have understood. But Anderson didn’t do any of those things and I got the feeling if it would have been the other way around Kate would have held back for his sake. So uff. Also the book plays during a time span of, I dunno, 3 or 4 weeks?! And Andy knew for about 2 weeks before Matt told Kate. You’d think he could have kept it casual and on the low for 14 days, right?! It’s not like we were talking about months or years.

Another thing I would have liked to see more of isn’t just Kate’s relationship with her brother but also her relationships with her other friends. I mean Raina and Brandie were her friends too but they were such superficial side-characters that they had no character at all? There would have been a lot of potential to make them more three-dimensional, especially with Raina’s background. And Matt? Why exactly did they like him in the first place?! What made him so unique that they both were crazy about him? The only thing I gathered about Matt was that he was sweet, a good actor and gorgeous. Period. There is no more to the main love interest than those three words. We never find out about his hobbies, why he doesn’t get along with his dad, if he’s good at sports or what actually happened that weekend he spent with his dad. And I mean more than the short answer he gave about it being horrible and him not enjoying to spend time with his father. The best character of the entire book was actually Noah Kaplan and no one can persuade me otherwise.

Noah blinks. „Why are we talking about testicles?“
„You brought them up.“ I blush. „I mean, not up, physically-„
„This conversation needs to be, like, a hundred percent less literal,“ says Noah.

I loved that boy and he was the sweetest thing. His character was multi-layered and funny and I loved the trio dynamic between him, Ryan and Kate. Honestly, Noah Kaplan’s existence saved a huge part of the book for me and I’m very thankful he was a solid part of it even though I think he deserved better than he got.

spoilerI mean it’s obvious that there is something between Kate and Noah, they have chemistry. But I think the change of Kate falling for Noah instead of Matt was too abrupt?! It felt like the moment she found out Matt wasn’t available because he’s gay and in love with Andy she just decided to go for Noah?! Am I the only one who feels like that? She had a crush on Matt for about 80% of the book and then just goes for Noah?! I think the transition of falling out of love with Matt and falling for Noah should have been more transparent and more pronounced. To mention that Noah was cute every once in a while didn’t make me believe that Kate actually had feelings for him. You don’t just fall out of a crush for a boy you had feelings for, for months. It’s not realistic. It’s not how things happen. Up to 80% of the book Kate wanted to be with Matt and after Andy told her that he’s his bf she got used to that fact in 24 hours?! Seriously?! Feelings don’t work like that. You can’t just switch them off. Nope. This sudden development was unrealistic and it made me feel like Noah was always there and had a crush on Kate for years and she just took him because the other guy she wanted to be with wasn’t available. And Noah deserves better than that!!!

4

After getting this all off my chest the only question is: Did I like “Kate in Waiting” or not?! Well, I mostly did. It was a fast and enjoyable read, the chapters are short and the writing style is easy to get into. I liked some parts of the friendship representation and I adored Noah Kaplan. The musical aspect was done nicely as well and I liked to read about how they got their show together. As with most of Becky’s Albertalli’s books there were some things that bugged me though and I just couldn’t overlook them. I have strong opinions (as you all know.*lol*) and when there’s something I didn’t like in a book I just talk about it. All told “Kate in Waiting” gets 3,5 paws from me. Not the best book I ever read but not bad either. I just wish I wouldn’t always feel so conflicted about Becky Albertalli’s characters and the choices they make. >_<

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, S

Review: Solitaire (Alice Oseman)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Trigger warnings can be found at the end of the review! 

”And who are you, Victoria Spring?”
I can’t think of anything to say because that is what my answer would be really. Nothing. I am a vacuum. I am a void. I am nothing.

To write a review about “Solitaire” turns out to be more difficult than I thought it would be. Mostly because I still don’t know where I stand with the book or rather on which side I came out of? About half of the people who read it loved it and the other half seems to dislike it pretty strongly. There rarely seems to be anything in between and I totally get why the opinions about this book are so varied. It’s not an easy book to like, because Tori Spring is not your typical MC. And I don’t even mean that she’s an anti-hero, she’s just not someone you’d like to be friends with and her life and the people she surrounds herself with are all pretty bland and uncongenial.

”There’s a time and a place for being normal. For most people, normal is their default setting. But for some, like you and me, normal is something we have to bring out, like putting on a suit for a posh dinner.”

But well, I guess that’s exactly the point of the book. You’re not supposed to like Tori, you’re expected to question her life, you’re meant to challenge her decisions and you’re expected to scrutinize the way she interacts with her environment. Alice herself wrote that Tori is battling undiagnosed depression and you can feel it on every single page. The people she surrounds herself with don’t get it and Tori herself doesn’t expect anything from life which only makes everything even worse. You can see the spiral she’s in but she’s unable to get out of it herself and so she falls deeper and deeper into it. The people around her notice that she’s unhappy, but they don’t see to which extent. And they decide to ignore her moods instead of confronting her about them because whenever they do she shuts herself off and withdraws.

”I’m not in a biscuit mood today.”
“Well, I’m still coming over, Tori.”
“You don’t have to come over. I’m completely fine.”
“Don’t lie.”

The only person that calls her out on her bullshit and challenges her is Michael Holden, because Michael Holden knows how she feels. He gets her in a way no one else does because he’s angry about a lot of things and he doesn’t know how to get rid of that anger. He learned to cope with it and to live with it, but it’s never truly gone.

Just like a depression, of course you can have good phases in which you’re not depressive and feel positive and good about the world, but there’s always the risk of falling back into a depression. It starts slowly and then more and more things happen and in the end you spiral so hard you can’t get out of it anymore. At least not without any help. And just in case you wondered, yes I’ve a background in psychology, which is probably the reason why I got what Alice Oseman was trying to do with this book. I’m pretty certain the 50% that came out loving “Solitaire” either have a background like that too or they themselves went through it as well. We can relate to Tori, we can understand why she is the way she is and therefore see the book for what it is and what it’s trying to tell us. I’m not saying that the other 50% that disliked the book were wrong, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to things like that, I’m just trying to explain that they probably never had to fight depression and don’t know the signs. If you’ve never dealt with depression and read this book you’ll most definitely think that it’s a super dark one, that everything in Tori’s life is shitty and mediocre and that the book has absolutely no storyline or central theme. Well, for me it does because it shows how Tori lives with her depression and tries to fight it with self-irony, dark humour and by holding onto the good moments in life.

“I don’t want people to try and understand why I’m the way I am, because I should be the first person to understand that. And I don’t understand yet. I don’t want people to interfere. I don’t want people in my head, picking out this and that, permanently picking up the broken pieces of me.“

All the things that happen in the book are what lead to the ending. No matter if it’s the sudden appearance of Michael Holden and Lucas Ryan or the mystery about Solitaire that runs through the entire book like a golden thread. No matter if it’s Tori’s complicated relationship with her mother and friends or her closeness to Charlie and the things she had to witness. They all come together in the end and they collide. I guess you could say all those things and especially Michael Holden and Solitaire work as some sort of catalyst that inevitably leads us to the ending of the story. Just like a musical crescendo. It builds and builds until it finally explodes.

He chuckles again and rubs his eyes. “You do know me.” And he’s right. I do know him. Just because someone smiles doesn’t mean that they’re happy.

As for the way Tori sees her world, I was surprised that despite everything she witnessed with Charlie she still thought that he had a great life and that he’s popular. Sometimes reading her POV felt like I missed a memo, because Charlie certainly wouldn’t have been driven to do the things he did if his life would have been as perfect as Tori thought it was. Then again that discrepancy and stark contrast of what Tori saw and what was the actual truth only emphasized the inconsistency of her perception of the world. (Uff, I never meant that review to turn out so factual and technical. Sorry! XD)

”And you would think that it would be someone like Nick who was at the top of Truham – loud, attractive, house captain, rugby player. But no. It’s Charlie.
What I’m trying to say is that Charlie is a nice person and, despite everything I’ve just explained, everybody seems to love him. And I think that is a modern miracle.”

On a different note: It’s good to know Ben Hope is still a hopeless case (pun totally intended) and as horrible as ever. The things he said to Charlie. Wow. Internalized homophobia that turns against yourself is really bad and if that boy doesn’t come to terms with his sexuality soon he’s going to be in a really bad place. I don’t know if Alice Oseman will ever address his character development but for Ben Hope’s sake I genuinely hope that he’ll have an epiphany one day. This said the last thing I need to address and want to talk about is that it says: “This is not a love story.” on the blurb and I think that this is something that’s up for debate. I personally think that it might not look like one, but that it actually IS one. Or in different words: It isn’t until it is?! *lol* Do with that statement what you want. ;-P

4
Honestly if you read this entire review and followed my reasoning you deserve a medal. I never intended this to be such a serious review but I guess “Solitaire” tackled a couple of serious topics and after reading some of the other reviews I wanted to give my two cents as someone who has a little background knowledge in psychology. So the burning question is: Was “Solitaire” as good as all of Alice Oseman’s other books?
And my candid answer is: Yes and no. I think you just can’t compare it to any of her other works because for one thing it’s her debut novel and for another it’s an entirely different writing style. At least for me it is, because it’s extremely immersive and you see the world through Tori’s perspective and POV. Of course you could argue that you do that with every book and MC you read about but I think this time it was different. You saw the darkness with Tori’s eyes and yes, this is unpleasant, it doesn’t make you happy, it drags you down; it makes it a chore to get through the book and it’s exactly the reason why I think “Solitaire” is brilliant in its own way. I’m a sanguine person, but I appreciated to get a different glimpse at the world and it’s always good to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. A little bit of sensitivity never hurt anyone. With this in mind: Four paws. No more and no less.

Trigger warnings: 

spoilerdepression, self-harm, eating disorder, arson, bullying (on page), suicide attempt (implied) and thoughts of suicide (mentioned on page), homophobia (also internalized), obsessive-compulsive behaviours (on page), assault (on page)
Allgemein, K - O, L, Reviews

Review: Lore & Lust (Karla Nikole)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten,5

”Life handed him lemons. Instead of making lemonade, he packed his suitcase and left the fruit rotting on the counter.”

It’s been a while I read “Lore & Lust” but I still wanted to add my two cents, because this was one of those books that came exactly at the right time. I wanted to read an m/m vampire slow burn romance in which I could get lost for a little while and that’s exactly what I got. Haruka and Nino were such an amazing couple and I absolutely adored how their relationship went from reluctant acquaintances to friends, best friends and ultimately caused them to end up as lovers. What I really enjoyed in here was the slow burn because right from their first meeting it was pretty obvious that they were both dawn towards each other.

Nino reaches out, his hand firmly resting over Haruka’s fingers. The physical contact abruptly shifts Haruka’s knotted aura again and he inhales sharply. Startled, he snatches his hand away from Nino’s grasp.”

Instead of giving into their nature, they both did their best to hold back though and we slowly but steadily find out the reasons for their restraint. There’s a lot of attraction between those two, yet neither of them wants to give in. It takes a while for the reader to find out why both of them aren’t inclined to go for a relationship and actually would rather prefer to ignore their feelings instead of giving in. Both, Haruka as well as Nino, have been hurt in the past and it’s not easy to get over a severe trauma like that. Honestly, my heart broke when I heard about little Nino’s ordeal and boy, did it break for Haru too. What he survived. Phew! I’m not surprised he tried to steer clear of any sort of romance and would have preferred not to be mated to anyone for the rest of his existence. His special powers made it very hard to avoid other vampire’s advances though and I felt really sorry for him.

”You don’t always need to be perfectly composed and polite,” Nino assures him. “I hope… that after all this is over, you would consider me as a friend? With friends, you can let your guard down.”

What I really loved about this book wasn’t just their close friendship and how they slowly let their guard down around each other, but also how they always spoke about everything. Their communication was amazing and I honestly wish more couples would address their thoughts, feelings and problems as directly as them. They were an excellent example of how important it is to talk when you’re in a relationship and I adored them for it!

Nino sits up straight, focused. “Haru, how … do we feel about sex?”
“Considering my behaviour this morning, I think my feelings should be obvious –“

And most of all what I absolutely loved and appreciated about their relationship was the CONSENT! The freaking consent!!! I mean they both knew about each other’s trauma and they were so very careful with their feelings. No matter what happened between them they always spoke about it and asked if it was okay to take that next step. You have no idea how awesome it was to see a relationship like this on page. They both have been through so much but both of them made an effort to make this work as well. They talked things through; let each other know what worked and what didn’t work for them. Spoke about what was allowed when they were intimate with each other and what wasn’t and they always made it very clear what would be considered to be a red flag. CONSENT. I loved it! Can we have more books like that?

”Haruka gently pulls to feed from him, and in exchange, Nino clearly senses his mind. Warm, quiet thoughts of gratitude and affection are being poured into him. The tenderness of it floods his body, making his breath short. It’s wonderful and singularly the most intimate thing Nino has ever experienced.”

”But he resists. Strictly suppressing the urge each time. Haruka prides himself on his ability to control his nature, and he and Nino are friends. He deeply values their relationship and would never jeopardize it. Haruka has never known anything like it.

It was really nice to read both of their POVs and to see what was going on in their minds while they were together. It helped to understand their feelings and motives and showed how much they truly cared about each other. The book was mostly focused on the development of their slow burn though and if you expect a lot of plot or world building you’ll probably end up being disappointed. Since this is the first book in a series I’m pretty certain that some of the things that were mentioned in here and happened along the way will turn out to be more important in the second book, though. Also I’m convinced that we’ll get to know more about Cellina and Nino’s brother. The chemistry between those two was NICE and I’m sure they’ll end up together as well. Plus I’d really love to hear more about Asao! He was such a cool character and very loyal to Haru which immediately cause me to like him. Yuna however can go to hell! I hate that woman for what she did to Haru and for all I know she can burn in the fierce pits and never return.

”I don’t want us to be apart,” Nino lowers his head, staring down at his thighs. “Is there any way for us to stay together? Would you want that?”
Haruka swallows, his throat tight. “I do want that. But Nino, I would never ask you to uproot your life and established business for me, especially considering… I cannot promise you that we would form a bond.”

4

“Lore & Lust” might not have had the best world building or storyline but boy, did it deliver on the slow burn front. I really enjoyed this so much and I honestly cared more about Nino’s and Haru’s relationship development than about the rest of the story, which is probably the reason why this worked out so well for me. *lol* If you want to go for a quick and pleasant read that won’t force you to overthinking things too much I can totally recommend to go for this book. Also the slow burn and consent in this book are impeccable and if you love tropes like that you should definitely pick it up. 😉

Happy reading!

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Extraordinaries (T.J. Klune)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

„Nicky, no.“
“Nicky, yes.”

If I had to sum up the entire book with just one quote it definitely would be the one above, because it’s so accurate and describes the vibe and energy of “The Extraordinaries” so well. I mean the entire book lives of Nicky trying to become an Extraoridinary and his friends trying to keep him out of trouble during this endeavour. And let me tell you this: It was hilarious to read this book! I so rarely laugh when I read a story because I usually tend to read about more serious topics and have a deep love for morally grey and problematic broken boys. So I guess it’s safe to say that my books are mostly pretty sad, thought-provoking and tough to read.

“The Extraordinaries” however had me gasping for air and wheezing from laughter. Seriously at some parts my hubby gave me a raised eyebrow because I was chuckling so hard he couldn’t help but wonder about my reactions. But honestly, I just couldn’t with Nicky and his antics! That boy was so, so, so damn funny and I loved to explore that side of T.J. Klune’s books. “The House in the Cerulean Sea” already hinted at Klune’s great humour but it excels in this series and takes it to an entirely different level. I legit laughed tears!

Despite all those hilarious scenes Klune still managed to bring in his typical brand of serious topics and thought-provoking issues and I really love this about his books. No matter how funny they are, they always have a solid core and it wasn’t any different with “The Extraordinaries”. The plot might have been less intense than the story line of “The House in the Cerulean Sea”, this doesn’t mean that it wasn’t fun to read about Nicky and his friends, though. I really loved them all and I can’t wait to dive into my character section! I have lots of things to discuss so come along for the ride! ;-P

2

Welcome to Nova City! One of the few cities that actually has two Extraordinaries fighting against each other! To live here can be dangerous and there might lurk spoilers at every corner. I wouldn’t count on Shadow Star or Pyro Storm to save you so if you can’t handle spoilers you better leave our nice city asap! Consider yourself warned!

Nicky:

”His dad had been a cop for longer than Nick was alive and had instilled in him a sense of duty. Of honor. You protected those who needed it. And not that Gibby needed it, exactly, but the principle was the same.”

Oh, Nicky! Where do I even start with him? *lol* That boy is chaos walking on two legs and I loved him so much for it! Like, he has a heart of gold and all the right intentions but the way he goes about reaching his goal to become an Extraordinary… it was so. I have no words. Nicky is such a chaotic, precious, endearing, naive, reckless, fierce, oblivious and iconic character! Honestly, I’d love to be friends with him just to see what he’s going to do next. Haha! AND to try to save him from himself because boy, does he need it. XD I’m just glad he already has Gibby, Jazz and Seth. Also I totally liked how Klune tackled the ADHD and grief rep through Nicky’s character. I don’t have ADHD so I don’t know if this rep was accurate but the way he described how Nicky felt was very understandable and I got a good impression of how it might feel to have ADHD. So for me it was a good rep. As for the grief rep: Amazingly done! And this says a person who just recently got a degree as a grief counsellor. Nicky’s grief after losing his mother, him missing her and trying to fill that void that was left after she died. It was on point and I really felt for him and his dad. I always like it when grief is explored in books and Klune definitely knows what he’s writing about. Kinda makes me wonder if he experienced grief like this too or if he’s just amazing at doing research. Either way Nicky’s character was so realistic and multi-layered that I couldn’t help but be charmed by him. I love Nicky and I really hope to see lots of fluff for him in the next book. He deserves it!

”But that doesn’t mean you still can’t be a good person, right? Just because you did something wrong doesn’t mean that’s who you are. And even if you keep doing the wrong thing, you can still be saved. Maybe they just need someone to listen to them, to hear the storm in their heads.”

”I can do this,” he told her. “You don’t have to help me if you don’t want to. And that’s okay. But I can be more than I am. I can become something better. Something more.”
She looked troubled. “Why do you have to be an Extraordinary to be better? Why can’t you just be extraordinary with what you already have?”

„It was the look. Like Nick had spoken too much. Or had gone too far. Or had said something so stupid and crazy and out there that it was impossible to understand how such words could have come out of a normal, sane person. Yeah, Nick had gotten that look from many, many people in his life, but never from those he loved.
Until today.
Dad. Seth. The two people he counted on most.“

”There were days when everything felt like it was dialed up to eleven, and he didn’t know how to stop it, no matter how hard he tried. For the most part, he’d accepted that some people were born to be Extraordinaries, and some people were born to be medicated so they didn’t spin out of control. Fair? Not really, but Nick was learning that his brain could do things that others couldn’t. In a way, he had his own superpower, even if it was called a disorder.”

Seth:

”It’s not a game,” Seth snapped, slamming his hands on the table. Nick struggled not to move away. “And even when you try your hardest to do good, there are always going to be people suspicious of your motives. Wondering what you’re really trying to do. And it doesn’t help that there’s going to be some jerk who appears out of nowhere and thinks he’s your archnemesis, and does his best to make everything worse.”

I think the first thing I have to say about Seth is that he is so damn PRECIOUS I can’t even!!! The way he was looking after Nicky and tried to help Owen even though he basically did everything possible in order to antagonize him. And then the entire world thinking that he’s the baddie in this story?! My poor, poor baby! I gotta be honest here: I always knew that Pyro Storm and Shadow Star were Seth and Owen. I mean it was so obvious! How couldn’t Nicky see that? *lol* The plot twist however kinda threw me, because just like I was supposed to I actually thought that Seth is Shadow Star. So kudos to T.J. Klune for misleading me like that. Also I can’t believe Seth just watched Nicky moon over Shadow Star for so long and even helped him with his fanfic?! Like OMG! That man is so altruistic and good! Still, in retrospective it was extremely hilarious to think of all those tidbits when Nicky admired Pyro Storms thighs in his fanfic. Haha! I can’t wait to see in which kind of direction the second book will go with him.

3
Nicky & his dad:

Nick barely stopped himself from throwing his fork at Dad’s head. “Why are you like this?”
Dad grinned at him. “Because your adolescent angst brings me joy as a parent.”

THOSE TWO!!! I swear their father-son relationship gave me life! *LOL* I burst into laughter whenever they were on page together and I had chuckle attacks that just wouldn’t stop and lasted for minutes! Minutes! Their interactions were so hilarious, yet extremely wholesome at the same time. You could see how much they loved each other and how hard Nicky’s dad tried to be a good parent for him. His job as a cop didn’t make it easy to be there for him but he really did everything possible to make it work. Also Nicky seemed to be a pretty challenging son at times (alone the things he did in this book. *lol*) and it couldn’t have been easy to raise a child alone after his mother died. After all his dad had lost his wife too, so he wasn’t only grieving as well but also had the responsibility for a young child that depended on him. If you ask me Nicky’s dad is a hero! Truth be told, I so rarely read about good parent-children relationships in YA books and books in general so this was amazing and I was a happy camper. Nicky’s dad tried, he really did and that’s more than most of the parents in other books do. Most of the time they are just standing on the sidelines and not even an active part of the story. In Klune’s books they always play an important part for the MCs though and I just love this! Can’t wait to see more of their hilarious interactions in the next book, now that Nicky and Seth are a thing it will be fun to watch them. But I’m not gonna lie, I’m also worried because sooner or later Nicky will find out that his father didn’t just lie to him but also suppressed his superpowers and I’m really afraid of how this will turn out. It’s such a breach of trust that it will be more than just tough to swallow. T_T His dad might have the best intentions but still…

”I’m sorry I’m such a disappointment to you,” Nick said bitterly, wiping his eyes.
“Dammit, kid. First it was Owen, and I let it go. And then it’s this – this Shadow Star, and this weird obsession you have with him. I just don’t – why do you have to be this way? Why do you have to be the way you are?”
Nick knew the power of words. He knew that sometimes when they landed, they exploded with the force of a carelessly tossed grenade.

„Nick knew his dad loved him, and oh, did he love him fiercely in return. When Before became After, when he went from two parents to only having one, he’d become almost obsessive about keeping his dad safe and healthy and whole. Losing one had almost destroyed him. Losing another would finish the job.“

”Yes, Dad, oh my – I mean no, I’m not having sex, why would you even say that?”
“If it were with a girl, I’d be telling you the same thing. Wrap it, Nicky. Always wrap it before you stick it anywhere.“ He tilted his head and squinted at his only son. “Or if it’s stuck in you. It don’t matter to me one way or another. What’s that called? Bottoming?”

Nicky & Seth:

”Sometimes, Seth worried too much about nothing at all, and it frustrated Nick to no end, because it meant there was something making Seth feel bad that Nick couldn’t tear apart with his bare hands.”

I’ve rarely seen such a love disaster! *LMAO* But boy did it entertain me! I just couldn’t with them! Nicky’s brain is so hilarious when he’s flustered and I can’t believe he didn’t realize Seth’s love for him. That boy would have done anything for him and vice versa. The way they both watched out for each other and how their world seemed to revolve around each other! HOW COULDN’T THEY SEE IT?! I think everyone in the book already knew and yet Nicky was so damn oblivious. Haha! It takes a special brand of obliviousness not to realize how besotted Seth was with Nick so I was extremely frustrated with our adorable moron! *lol* And I have to give special thanks to Bob Gray here because without him spelling it out for Nicky that boy probably would have never gotten it! XD Still not over Bromeo and Dudeliet! I laughed so much I cried tears. ARGH! My babies were so awkward but bless them and their feelings for each other. Their relationship only started at the ending of “The Extraordinaries” though so I’m ready to see how they are going to act in “Flash Fire”. Some part of me is secretly hoping for even more cringy moments because I just love them too much. T_T

”Seth was what he needed, though, and he’d been late, but then the door had burst open, and he’d stood there, cheeks flushed, chest heaving, eyes wide as he searched the living room until he found Nick. Nick made a wounded sound, wanting to get to Seth as soon as possible, but unable to move his arms.
Seth knew, though.
Somehow, he’d gotten Nick upstairs and put him to bed, climbing in behind him and curling around him protectively. Nick remembered thinking that he was safe, then. He was safe, and though everything Before would now be After, Seth was there with him.”

”And then the most extraordinary thing happened, something that caused all Nick’s thoughts to come to a screeching halt.
Seth leaned down and kissed his cheek. Nick felt the quick, hot pulse of breath against his skin, the scrape of lips and then- He turned slowly to look up at Seth.
Seth, who looked horrified by what he’d just done. “I- uh- Holy crap, I’ve got to go.”

Nick stared at him in horror. “That’s not going to happen. I’m going to be with Seth forever.”
Bob’s lips twitched. “How… expected. And if he said the same to you?”
Nick blushed furiously. “I. Um. That would be. Neat?”
“Oh, so I guess the fact that he’s in love with you would –“
“Robert Gray!”

”O … kay,” Seth said. “Thanks. I think.”
Nick nodded so hard, he felt bones crack. That probably wasn’t good. “Yep. Just looking out for my best bud. My bro. My brotato chip. My pot-broast. We’re just Bromeo and Dudeliet.” Nick actively forced his mouth shut before he could make things worse.

Jazz & Gibby:

”Now, here’s how this is going to go,” Jazz said, apparently able to ignore the fact that everyone in the cafeteria was staring at her. You didn’t mess with Jasmine Kensington, especially not during lunch. And if you did, you certainly didn’t insult her friends at the same time. “You’re going to apologize. And after you apologize, I will let you go. If any of that sounds too much for you, we’ll see how far your fingers can bend before they snap.”

Gosh, I loved those two so much! ❤ First of all I’ve to point out how nice it is to see an f/f couple as side-characters that actually are an ACTUAL part of the plot. I’m so tired of authors using LGBTQIA+ quota side characters to be able to claim that their books are diverse. *looking at a very particular author here* So to have Gibby and Jazz in this book was so refreshing and extremely satisfying. They are real characters that have their quirks and own thoughts and I lived and breathed for it. Plus their relationship dynamic was amazing. They weren’t just a great couple but also always there for Nicky and I really appreciated this. Also Jazz is such a badass! How could you not love that girl? I can understand why Gibby fell so hard for her because this girl is a freaking QUEEN!!! <333 The way she handled this tragic loser at lunch break? Well, Gibby wasn’t the only one who felt some heat. Okay, let’s stop here before it gets uncomfortable. Haha!

„Aside from the emotional trauma that will probably rear its head when I’m thirty-seven and working at my cubicle in a dead-end job that I hate, just fine,” Nick babbled, unsure why the words coming out of his mouth were the ones his brain deemed necessary to speak out loud.
„I’m fine,“ Gibby said mildly. „Any trauma I might have had is being washed away by the tragic comedy occuring right in front of me.“

Nick shrugged. “A lot beat up.” He swallowed thickly, trying to stay in control. “I didn’t mean to leave.”
“I don’t think anyone’s mad at you for that,” Gibby said. “And if they are, they’ll have to get through Jazz and me first.”
“I can beat up men twice my size,” Jazz said. “I got your back. And your front.”

Owen & Nicky:

”Who punched you?”
Owen smirked at him. “Careful, Nicky. You’re beginning to sound like you care, and we can’t have that, can we? I already broke your heart once. Don’t think we need to do it again.”

Okay, Owen was an ass in many ways but he still was a very intriguing boy and I found it so interesting how Klune played with his character. When you read about Owen in his real life you automatically know that he’s the baddie but as an Extraordinary you thought he was the hero? That was such a good plot twist and I can’t help but admire Klune for what he did there. Good vs. bad and bad vs. good. So well-done. Owen’s relationship with Nicky is pretty fascinating as well and I’m fairly certain that Owen actually loves Nicky in his own weird and twisted way. I mean he wanted him to become an Extraordinary and tried to help him with reaching his goal and I doubt he did it out of pure malice. No, Owen is more complex than that and there are more ulterior motives at work. Very curious where his story will head.

Owen threw his head back and laughed. “Oh, Nicky. Never change. I’m sure it was painfully awkward and so, so sweet. But why in the hell would you want to be an Extraordinary? It seems like such a big responsibility.” He reached out and traced his finger along the back of Nick’s hand. “Think you could handle it?”

4
I loved this book so much and after reading my second T.J. Klune book I can say that he’s becoming one of my favourite authors pretty fast. At this point I’ll just auto-buy every Klune book ever and be happy with it because I know he won’t disappoint. “The Extraordinaries” was an extremely hilarious book that still didn’t shy away from serious topics and themes. For me Klune is legit one of the best authors out there and the fact his books always have wholesome friendships and relationships only makes me love them even more. Not to mention a really healthy dose of LGBTQIA+ reps which I’m always so grateful for. Highly recommended if you want to have a good laugh! I can’t wait to pick up “Flash Fire” next year!

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The House in the Cerulean Sea (T.J. Klune)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

„They don’t see the children,“ she said. „Not for who they are, only for what they’re capable of.“
“They should be given a chance, as all children should. What hope would they have to be adapted if they’re treated as something to be feared?”

To say “The House in the Cerulean Sea” is hard to review would be an understatement because I’ve thought about writing this review for months, yet I’m still not able to come up with a good way to talk about this marvellous book. How to write about it? How to convey all the feelings I had while I read it? Well, I might just start at the beginning and take it from there and hopefully to write this down will help me to figure things out. Sometimes the beginning is the hardest part. 😉

”They fear what they don’t understand. And that fear turns to hate for reasons I’m sure even they can’t begin to comprehend. And since they don’t understand the children, since they fear them, they hate them. This can’t be the first time you’ve heard of this. It happens everywhere.”

This all out of the way, I’m probably the last person on earth who read this book so I won’t waste a lot of time by speaking about the plot. I guess by now everybody and their grandma knows that “The House in the Cerulean Sea” is about a social worker named Linus Baker who is sent to an orphanage on an island that is taking care of children with magical abilities. His company (DICOMY) sent him there in order to find out if the children on the island are dangerous and if the orphanage needs to be closed. So much for the storyline and what the book is about.  Well, this doesn’t sound all too spectacular, right? Wrong. The story might be pretty unspectacular but believe me the implementation of it is not. There are so many important themes packed into this 400 pages book, it’s really hard to talk about them all. I’m going to try to touch as many subjects as possible but I’m sure no matter how hard I try, I won’t be able to do this book justice so please bear with me. I touched a lot of topics when I did my vlives though so if you’re interested I’ll put the links down below so that you can watch them after reading this review. 😉

”And so when faced with a perceived threat, and even though everything felt topsy-turvy, Linus did the only thing he could: He moved to protect the children.”

Okay, so first things first: This was actually the first TJ Klune book I ever read and I was totally blown away by Klune’s writing style and the way he tackles important topics. It was really easy to get caught up in the flow of the book and to follow Linus’ journey. The thing about Linus is that he might work for DICOMY and follow the rules but he still managed to keep his compassion. He moved within the rules of his company, but he never lost himself. He had a purpose and he wanted to fulfil it so he didn’t just blindly follow the rules but also thought about the consequences of his actions. Honestly, Linus was such an intriguing and honest character and I really loved to get to know him better. DICOMY the company he works for? I hated it with a fierce passion and alone the slogans caused me to get goose bumps. I mean “A Quiet child is a healthy child.” or “We’re the happiest when we listen to those in charge”?! *shudders* DICOMY was extremely totalitarian and of course being the rebel that I am I just couldn’t with this company. I couldn’t help but wonder how Linus was able to work at DICOMY for so long though and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that he probably wanted to make a difference from the inside. Unfortunately his boss Ms. Jenkins as well as Extremely Upper Management made it really hard to bring about that change. Truth be told, even Linus neighbour Mrs. Klapper was horrible and if you ask me he lived in an extremely toxic environment before he went to the island.

He took the offered hand in his own. The skin was cool and dry, and as the fingers wrapped around his own, Linus felt a little curl of warmth in the back of his mind. “It’s a pleasure to meet you,” Mr. Parnassus said. “Regardless of the reason you’re here.”

Which leads me right to the orphanage on the island: I adored all the children so much!! They were all different and each and every single one of them had a distinct voice. I think Klune did an amazing job at describing them and their differences. Those children didn’t just look like children and had their own voice, they all acted like children too and I absolutely loved this about the book. It’s not easy to find a realistic child representation in a book but Klune did it with a lot of passion and a good eye on the details. Even the way they spoke was typical for children and that made me feel like they were actual people. The logic of children is a lot different than those of adults and to see this reflected in the story added such a nice touch and made me enjoy it even more.

She cocked her head at him. “But what about your cat? Don’t you want to find her before she gets eaten and all that’s left is her tail because it’s too fluffy to choke down?”

”When she handed over the bowl, he thanked her quietly before heading toward the table. The others cheered at the sight of him, scooting over to make room. He sat next to Lucy, putting an arm over his shoulders and pulling him close. Lucy laughed and looked up at him, eyes bright. Sal’s arm stayed right where it was as they ate.”

Seriously, I love those children with all my heart and would defend them with my life and I’d do the very same for Linus, Ms. Chapelwhite and Arthur as well. Ms. Chapelwhite had a heart of gold and Arthur. Arthur is the best thing that could have ever happened to those kids! He loves them fiercely and like a father and he did such an awesome job at raising them and supporting them in every way he could. Arthur is incredible and I don’t have enough words to describe the kind of beautiful person that he is. I’m a parent myself and to see how Arthur accepted his children and how he responded to their individual needs and gave them a nourishing environment that was able to catch them whenever they struggled. Ahhh! My heart is so full just thinking of Arthur. <333 Legit the most wholesome and amazing person ever! I adore him so much, you have no idea!

„Hope?“ Linus said stupidly.
“Hope,” Mr. Parnassus repeated. “Because that is what we must give him, what we must give all of them. Hope and guidance and a place to call their own, a home where they can be who they are without fear of repercussion.”

”And I know sometimes you see things when you close your eyes that no one should ever see. But there is good in you, Lucifer, overwhelmingly so. I know there is. You are special. You are important. Not just to the others. But to me. There has never been anyone like you before, and I see you for all that you are, and all the things you aren’t. Come home. All I want you to do is come home.”

The relationship between Arthur and his charges is legit one of the most wholesome things I ever had the pleasure to read about and I probably could go on and on, filling this review with remarkable and brilliant quotes. Not that Linus’s relationship with them isn’t at least as beneficial as Arthur’s. I loved how Linus came to the island, not only afraid of the children but also trying to keep his distance and objectivity, just to be won over by them with every passing day. The kids were so sceptical at first as well and didn’t want Linus to snoop around their home, but the more time they spent in each other’s company the more they began to trust each other and this was such a beautiful thing to read about! I think most of my favourite scenes were with the kids and Linus, because it might have been gentle and brief moments but they were incredibly beautiful and heart-warming at the same time. So precious and important for him and the kids. T_T No matter if it was Phee, Chauncey, Lucy, Sal, Talia or Theodore, they all formed a deep connection with Linus and I was so there for it.

Linus shook his head. “I could never be mad at you. Not for this. If I sound angry, it’s at this … this man, not you.”
“Oh. Because you like me, huh?”
Yes. God help him, yes. Very much so. All of them, really. „Something like that.“

”Did he tell you that?”
“No. I don’t think he’s allowed. But we know. We all know. Just like we know what you both did when you left the other day. He’s one of us. Just like you.”
„I’m afraid I don’t have magic.“
„You do, Mr. Baker. Arthur told me that there can be magic in the ordinary.“

My heart!! Seriously, I’m going through all the feels again while writing this review, but I need to get it out of my system so I’ll keep on writing and talk about the last thing I need to speak about when it comes to this lovely book: The relationship between Arthur and Linus! ❤ I swear, those two killed me! If you like a slow-burn then this book is definitely for you, because it mostly focuses on the kids but there are also a couple of sweet and gentle moments between Linus and Arthur and I lived and breathed for them. Their affection for each other is so subtle and cute I soaked up every moment between them like a rare sunray on a rainy day.

„I meant what I said.“ Arthur’s voice was hushed.
“About?”
“Liking you the way you are. I don’t know that I’ve ever thought that more about anyone I’ve ever met.” Linus gripped the door knob. “That’s … thank you. That’s very kind of you to say. Good night, Arthur.” Arthur chuckled. “Good night, Linus.” And with that, Linus fled the bedroom.

”They listen to every single thing you say. They look to you because you are their family. You are their –“ He stopped, breathing heavily. He shouldn’t say it. It wasn’t right. None of this was. It wasn’t – “You are their father, Arthur. You said you love them more than life itself. You have to know they feel the same about you. Of course they do. How can they not? Look at you. Look at what you’ve made here. You are a fire, and they need to know how you burn. Not only because of who you are, but because of what they have made you into.”

I probably could go on and on about “The House in the Cerulean Sea” but I think I’ll draw the line here before my review gets out of control. XD There are still so many things I would have liked to talk about but I’m afraid if I do you’ll never hear the end of it so this is where I write down my final thoughts and hope that it will be enough.

4

“The House in the Cerulean Sea” was definitely one of the most wholesome and precious books I ever read and this despite the fact that it tackles so many serious topics. No matter if it’s xenophobia, prejudices, abuse or fascism Klune tackles it all with a fierce determination that’s not only unique but also demanding. He challenges his characters to do the right thing, to look at situations from a different angle and to follow their own heart and he does it with so much finesse and care that it’s difficult to pinpoint when their change actually began. Well done, Mr. Klune! Well done! This might have been my first TJ Klune book, but it definitely won’t be the last. 😉

Allgemein, Bookish Fox Knowledge

November Wrap-Up

Wrap Up

Who am I even? It seems like my reading slump is finally over and I managed to read another 6 books in November. Admittedly two of them were mangas and one was a short poetry book, but the other 3 books were pretty huge so I actually managed to read the most pages I read in a month this year. I’m genuinely surprised I read so much. *lol* I think if I keep it up like that the last quarter of the year will become the best one of 2022. And this even though I was so ill at the beginning of November.

No kidding. I got the worst cold ever and I was knocked out cold for an entire week and it didn’t only take me about 3 more weeks to feel halfway healthy and normal again but I also got exhausted pretty fast. To be honest, I’m still coughing at night and in the morning so whatever I had, it was a bitch and kicked my butt big time. XD Let’s hope I’ll arrive at a 100% soon. So far it’s been a struggle, but well, this also had the benefit that I got a lot of reading done once I felt a little bit better. I guess the fact that two of the books I read were the best books of 2022 helped with being able to finish them fast too. I was and still am OBSESSED! But more to that later on. 😉

Since I was ill for so long I had troubles to keep my BookTube channel running and I had a lot of catching up to do with my studies as well. I’m currently trying to work through all the chapters I should have read already and hopefully I’ll be able to get ahead of my studies again. I really just want to have Christmas holidays without having to think about anything so I’m trying my best to fight through the content of my curriculum. This said I’ll head to my monthly wrap up now!

Books read: 6 (6 books & 0 webcomic, Okay, I never thought I’d be able to read 6 books but I did?!)

Pages read: 2.317 (I really thought I’d have a low page count because of the mangas and poetry book but guess the other three 500+ pages books balanced it out? *lol*)

Average rating: 4,08 (I read two 5 paws books in November and both turned out to be my faves of 2022! What a reading month!)

Books that were on my reading list: 3 (from 2020, 0 from 2021 and 2 from 2022. All three books I read were on my reading lists so that’s great! 😀 )

November Reads:

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Black Butler: 3 Pfoten

This was the first volume in the series and I don’t know how I feel about it. I mean it was interesting enough to read, but it didn’t really sweep me off my feet?! If that makes sense? I’m kinda undecided if I want to continue with the series tbh. Right now I’ll just leave it at this volume and see if the mood to pick up volume two will ever hit me. *lol*

Wolfsong: 5 Pfoten

ADASFDKASDLFJASDFKAJSDFL! I absolutely loved and adored this book and its characters! I AM OBSESSED with the Green Creek pack and I honestly just want to be a part of this amazing queer werewolf bunch! XD Like this was so, so, damn good! By now I read three T.J. Klune books and this one. Boy, this one was the best and I loved it so much! Joe and Ox are everything and I don’t have enough words to talk about this amazing book here! I’ll have to write a proper review asap! For now I can definitely say that this is one of the rare books I’d throw at people to read! I mean: READ IT!!! 😛

Death Note – Vol.4: 4 Pfoten

I’ll never get tired of admiring Tsugumi Ohba for what he’s doing with this manga! Like wow! I have no idea how the writer manages to keep the suspense up like this! And I’m in awe of the intelligence it needs to write a manga and characters like Light and L. This is such a complex manga series and every time I think it’s not possible to make it even more interesting Tsugumi Ohba throws me for a loop. I honestly can’t wait to get my hands on volume 5!

Autobiography of Red: 3 Pfoten,5

It’s rare for me to read poetry books (and this even though I love poetry and write it myself, go figure. *lol*) but this one came highly recommended by one of my fave BookTubers and his friend who happens to be a literature professor. So I had to give it a try and I really liked it. Don’t let the rating fool you! XD I just couldn’t give it more paws because the ending left me wanting more so yeah. 3,5 paws it is. If you want to read my full review and all my thoughts you can do it here!

The King’s Men: 5 Pfoten

I’m fine. I’m fine. I mean it. AFASKDFLADFJALDFJASLDFJL! THIS BOOK CAUSED ME TO DIE A MILLION DEATHS AND I’M NOT MAD ABOUT IT! I would have loved to read even more and if Nora would decide to write a fourth book I’d buy it faster than you could say: „Oh!“ I love my Foxes and I adore Andreil! Those two killed me and I… I … I have no words how much I love them! ❤ I fell down the fanart and fanfic rabbit hole so hard you have no idea. I still didn’t hit the bottom though and I hope I never will. I am OBSESSED! So obsessed that I even took multiple tests to find out which AFTG character I am and if you wondered: I’m Neil. Every single time. *LOL* But I love my baby Neil so I’m happy with that! XD

The Final Empire: 4 Pfoten

It took me 10 months to pick up this book for real because I never was in the right mood to tackle epic fantasy. But I finally got in the right mood in November and I’m glad I finally read „The Final Empire“. I can see why so many people love Brandon Sanderson and I’m very curious about all his other books now. I hope it won’t take me as long to pick up „The Well of Ascension“ as it took me to pick up the first book, but you never know. The world was definitely unique and the magic system was complex and superb. Still can’t believe the book ended like that, though. O_o

Rankenzeile

This said: How was your November and how is your December going? Do you have to study a lot too? I hope you weren’t as ill as I was and had a better time. Did you read any of the books I read last month and if yes, did you enjoy them? How many books did you read it November? Were they any good? And are you arleady stressed about Christmas or is it actually the quiet time of the year it’s supposed to be?

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

A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

Review: Autobiography of Red (Anne Carson)

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Rating: 3 Pfoten,5

”Words bounce. Words, if you let them, will do what they want to do and what they have to do.”

The thing with poetry books is that they always leave up a lot of things for interpretation. You cannot go into them expecting them to make a distinct point. Poetry meanders, comes back to its originals just to leave them again and to throw another question at your feet. It challenges and forces you to deal with everything that’s mentioned and hinted at. No, to read poetry is definitely no easy feat, yet I still love to do it every once in a while. It keeps me on my toes and causes me to think outside of the box and that’s always a good thing in my book.

”The red world And corresponding red breezes
Went on Geryon did not”

This said I really enjoyed reading “Autobiography of Red”. Carson has a unique way to tell her story and to follow Geryon’s character was extremely intriguing. It takes a while to get into the story but once you found the rhythm and flow of the tale you can’t help but wonder where it will take you. I found Carson’s choice to take Greek mythology and to put it into our modern world pretty impressive and bold. It’s a noteworthy choice and gave the entire story an edge I would have never been able to anticipate, yet the themes that are tackled could be found in ancient mythology as well.

”The world poured back and forth between their eyes once or twice.”

“Autobiography of Red” follows Geryon and his life on earth. In Greek mythology Geryon was a red winged monster that was slain by Herakles, in this poetry novel he’s a person who is trying to figure out his life and sexuality. There are many different topics that are tackled in this short book, sexual abuse, bullying, sexual identity and disfigurement just to mention some of them. If you read between the lines there are plenty of things to discuss, for instance the relationship between Geryon and Herakles as well as their relationship with Ancash a mutual friend.

„The effort it took to pull himself
away from Herakles‘ eyes
could have been measured on the scale devised by Richter.”

As I already said poetry leaves a lot of room for subjective interpretation but what I could gather from the story and how I interpret it is that Geryon is a very lonely person. His mother is affectionate but doesn’t know how to support her son. She’s not only unaware of the bullying at school but also doesn’t notice the ongoing sexual abuse by Geryon’s own brother. Geryon’s world is pretty dark and the atmosphere of the book makes sure to convey this feeling every step of the way. When Geryon meets Herakles and falls in love with him he begins to question his sexuality and this starts his process of finding himself. The relationship between Geryon and Herakles feels kind of toxic because even though their feelings seem to be mutual at first Herakles leaves him with a broken heart and this ultimately causes Geryon to fall into a depression.

„He saw the doorway
the house the night the world and
on the other side of the world somewhere Herakles laughing drinking getting into a car and Geryon’s
whole body formed one arch of a cry – upcast to that custom, the human custom of wrong love.

Years later they meet in Peru and Geryon’s conflicting feelings begin to overwhelm him once again. Geryon is aware of all the prying eyes and tries to keep his distance, but Herakles won’t let him be, taking the role of a predator that wants to seduce him. Ultimately Geryon is too weak to push him away. This was a really interesting shift in their dynamic because in the original myth Herakles is the hero that kills Geryon. Carson reverses their roles and makes “the monster” the victim which forces her readers to think outside of the box. I personally think it’s also a nod to the original Greek myth, because in fact Geryon was Herakles’s victim in the tale as well. Geryon was only killed by Herakles because it was his tenth task to steal Geryon’s herd of red bulls and after Herakles slayed Orthos and Eurytion Geryon challenged him to a duel which ended with his death.

„Aren’t you cold?“ said Geryon to Ancash who had no coat on. No, said Ancash.
Then he looked sideways at Geryon.
Well actually yes. He smiled. Geryon would have liked to wrap his coat around
this feather man. They walked on.”

As for the role of Ancash, their mutual friend in Peru? I’m still not all too sure what to make of his character, but I think Carson created him to point out Herakles’ abuse. Ancash doesn’t approve of Herakles’ advances and Geryon’s feelings for him, but I also got the feeling that he was jealous?! His character certainly acted as some sort of catalyst and pushed the story along. Honestly, if any of you read “Autobiography of Red” I’d love to hear your thoughts on Ancash. I still don’t know how to place him. XD

4

All told, to read “Autobiography of Red” was a very weird, yet at the same time intriguing experience. I still don’t know what to make of the ending but I guess Carson left it that way on purpose. It’s the reader’s choice how to interpret it and I think that’s good the way it is. 😉

Allgemein, F - J, I, Reviews

Review: Into the Drowning Deep (Mira Grant)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”It’s beautiful,” breathed Daniel, and while there were those who would have objected to the reverence in his voice, none of them corrected his statement. It was beautiful, in its own terrible way. So many monsters are.

This book was something else and I have no idea how I survived reading this! XD I’m really such a scaredy fox and all I knew about “Into the Drowning Deep” was that it’s about killer mermaids and an expedition to the Mariana Trench. Well, and that there is an f/f relationship in this book because otherwise it wouldn’t have landed on my #Rainboween list. 😉 So far so good, right? Well, yeah, I suppose?! Nothing of those aforementioned things prepared me for the creepy story I was going to read, though. And boy, let me tell you this was quite something!

”We forgot about them, but they never forgot about us. They always knew that somewhere out there they had competition, strange and soft and walking on two legs and defenseless in the water. Most of all, they never forgot that we were delicious.“

I think I could have lived with gory scenes and bloodthirsty sirens, but what made this a really intriguing and exceptional story was the fact that those mermaids were extremely intelligent and had no qualms to use their knowledge to their advantage. They knew what they were hunting (humans in case you wondered) and how to get to it and in contrast to the humans they just took what they craved. Namely, meat and plenty of it. If you want to say it in a drastic way you could also say that the Melusine was some sort of all-you-can-eat buffet for them and you wouldn’t be wrong, because to be entirely honest those humans were basically put on a platter with a nice bow.

”So you think they’re watching us?” Luis glanced over the rail. The water was very dark and very clear at the same time, like looking through a window into infinity. A cold hand seemed to run along his spine, sending chills all through him.
„Mr Martines, I know they’re watching us. The only question is from how far away.“ Dr Toth smiled thinly.

So we have intelligent and ruthless sirens, scientists that want a piece of the cake without either realizing or caring that they ARE actually the cake and all the makings for a journey that will turn into a bloodbath. Nice! What I really liked about this story was the fact that we didn’t just get gory and bloody but also a lot of science and philosophy. Due to all the scientist on board of the ship there are a lot of tests and experiments happening but I think it was never over the top and woven so effortlessly into the tale that it always felt very natural and didn’t disturb the flow of the story. Also the atmosphere in this book was amazing! It was creepy, eerie and oppressive! And it was so suspenseful that it sometimes quite literally had me at the edge of my seat!

”This was not where she belonged. This had never been where she belonged. Humanity had chosen the land over the sea millennia ago, and sometimes – when she was letting her mind wander, when she was romanticizing what she did and how she did it – she thought the sea still held a grudge. Breakups were never easy, and while humanity was hot and fast and had had plenty of time to get over it, the oceans were deep and slow, and for them all change had happened only yesterday. The seas did not forgive, and they did not welcome their wayward children home.”

Fun fact I’ve to mention here: I always wanted to become a marine biologist when I was a kid but my asthma and the fact that I live in a landlocked region kind of killed that dream before it even got a chance to grow. Despite all that I was always fascinated with the sea, the Mariana Trench, reefs and everything else that lives in those depths though. And I think this made me enjoy “Into the Drowning Deep” even more because there is this scientific puzzle and every single person on that ship tries to solve it in their own way. Experiencing the story alongside the scientists and watching them while they made new discoveries and tried to understand those creatures that attacked them so relentlessly was extremely intriguing for me. I was probably as fascinated by them as Dr. Toth was and I wanted answers to how they were able to survive too.

”Dr Wilson is correct: the problem with trying to define nature is that nature is bigger than we are, and nature doesn’t care whether we know how to define it. Nature does what nature wants.”

As for the characters: I really liked most of them and actually prayed that they would survive. *lol* But quite honestly not even the ones I didn’t like would have deserved to die the way some of the mermaids victims did. *shudders* I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Some deaths were really gruesome and caused me to take a deep breath in order to be able to read on. Tory – Victoria Stewart – was one of the likable characters and I really liked that she and Olivia got closer during the journey. Tory was definitely a driven character and I really liked her and the way she tried to find answers to her sister’s death. Olive… Olive was amazing and I think it was great to see an on-page character that was autistic and had social anxiety as well. Olivia’s POV and rep added so much depth to the story and I think we need more representations like that in books!

”If one of the mermaids had taken him – one of those deep horrors, with teeth like daggers and the hands designed to catch and keep – then he hadn’t drowned, because he wouldn’t have had time. He would have died before his body hit the water.”

I don’t think I can say a lot about Theo because he represented Imagine and was actually a pretty blank character. His wife Dr. Jillian Toth however, was awesome and I really loved her dry humour and that she went on the journey knowing full well that she was most certainly going to die. Yet that still didn’t stop her because she wanted to see all her life’s work about mermaids put into practice. I’m pretty certain Dr. Toth would have tried to study the sirens even if they would have chewed and feasted on her already. *lol* Yep, that woman was badass and I really liked her, because despite all her fascination for those creatures she was still compassionate and kind. The twins Holly and Heather and their sister Hallie were all pretty interesting characters too. Every single one of them had their own voice and even though they worked in completely different niches (organic chemistry, deep sea diving, linguistics) they were a family and a lively bunch.

“Do I think they found mermaids? Yes. Of course I do. And I think the mermaids ate them all.”

4

All told, I really enjoyed “Into the Drowning Deep” and the story’s slow decent into tension, havoc and madness. When the book started I wasn’t all too sure if killer sirens would be able to scare me but once the shit hit the fan and the atmosphere got more and more deadly and dire I couldn’t escape the pull of the book anymore. This was horrifying, suspenseful and thrilling and if there was one thing I didn’t like it was the rather abrupt, horror movie like ending. But I guess you can’t have everything so I’ll take it as it is and be glad I never actually met those lethal sirens. 😉

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 - E, Allgemein, B, Reviews

Review: Blackout (Dhonielle Clayton)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

What can I say about this collection of short stories? Well, I might just start with the basics and take it from there. 😉 For me this was a really nice collection and I enjoyed reading a different story each night. I loved that there were stories with LGBTQIA+ reps as well and that all of the stories were pretty diverse and varied. They all played during a blackout in NYC that was caused by an extreme heatwave and it was very interesting to follow the characters around while they all tried to make their way to a party in Brooklyn. I suppose NYC truly never sleeps, even when it’s dark. *lol*Anyway, considering the format I decided to talk a little bit about every story so without further ado let’s just jump into them:

“The Long Walk” by Tiffany D. Jackson

”That’s the thing about finding the right person to love. When someone loves you, all their hang-ups don’t really mean much. Because loving that person is a choice you have to make every day, even when that day isn’t what you expect.”

This was a nice tale about Kareem and Tammi who are exes and meet rather unexpectedly before the Blackout begins and throws everything into darkness. Throughout the entire book they try to make their way to the party in Brooklyn and their story kinda functions as the glue between all the other stories. 😉

“Mask Off” by Nic Stone

Tremaine and JJ meet again on the subway train that is stuck in the tunnels during the blackout. They haven’t spoken with each other for years but they went to the same school and JJ knows about Tremaine’s problems. Should he help him or keep his distance?
A really sweet love story about two boys that find each other in the dark. 😉

“Made to Fit” by Ashley Woodfolk

Nella is visiting her grandfather in Althea House, a senior living facility, when the Blackout starts. But she isn’t the only teen. Soon after the Blackout begins Joss and her dog Ziggy arrive in Althea House as well and Nella is forced to spend some time with a girl that is too gorgeous to be true and might be able to steal her heart if only given the chance.

“All the Great Love Stories … And Dust” by Dhonielle Clayton

”The truth: Everything we do together is a memory I never want to forget. Each joke, each touch, each experience. My notebooks spill over. Too big to hold all that is him … all that is me … all that is us together.”

Lana and Tristán have been best friends for ages always teasing each other and trying to win a bet. This time however their bet might turn out to be more than they bargained for. Skimming through the bookshelves of the NY public library during a blackout while looking for the best love story ever written turns out to be quite the challenge, especially with long harboured feelings getting in the way…

“No Sleep Till Brooklyn” by Angie Thomas

”Your heart will never lead you wrong, but it can be hard to hear it. You have to give it space to speak. That’s a form of love, too.”

How do you know you want to spend the rest of your life with someone? Kayla and Tre’Shawn have been long-term sweethearts for ages and are happy together, but Kayla can’t help but feel an attraction towards Micah, another boy in her class. Feeling conflicted by her own heart Kayla has one hell of a bus ride ahead of her.

“Seymour and Grace” by Nicola Yoon

What do you do if you’re on your way to a party and your taxi driver turns out to be a handsome philosopher? Grace has no idea especially because she actually wanted to get to Brooklyn in order to make her ex jealous. To spend some time with her attractive Ryde driver Seymour definitely wasn’t part of the plan, but it might actually turn out to be exactly what she needed. 😉

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This said: I really enjoyed all of those six love stories and they all had their own voice. The ones I liked the most were definitely “Mask Off”“All the Great Love Stories … And Dust” and “Seymour and Grace”. The writing style in “All the Great Love Stories… and Dust” was so beautiful and the other two stories were super cute! =) Also I usually love Angie Thomas’s books but this time around her short story just didn’t work for me. All told I liked reading this short stories collection and had a very good time! Happy reading! =)