Allgemein, Reviews, U - Z, W

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

49202877. sy475

Rating: 4 Pfoten

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

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

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

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

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

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

4

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

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Dream Thieves (Maggie Stiefvater)

20257177

Rating: 5 Pfoten

”All of us have secrets in our lives. We’re keepers or kept-from, players or played. Secrets and cockroaches – that’s what will be left at the end of it all.”

Oh god what can I say about this book?
I loved it!!!
I loved it with all my heart and even though I never wanted it to end I still wanted to know what would happen next! XD

Seriously, there is something about the way Maggie Stiefvater describes her world, how she expresses the countless feelings of her characters. With Maggie things are never perfunctory. They are deep, deep like a well or an ancient ocean! Her words drag you into the water; they carry you out into the raging sea!
Every gesture, every single moment, every sentence, they all have some meaning and if you’re perceptive enough you can read between the lines. I adore her writing style and I just can’t seem to get enough of her characters!
They’re all special in their own way and every one of them is just so tangible and real! I felt like I was part of her story, like I knew those boys and their troubles and thoughts.

I can’t seem to be able to describe what Maggie’s books do to me, all I can say is that they are magical and credible and always force me to feel!!! And oh boy, how they force me to feel!!! XD
To read “The Dream Thieves” was incredible and I don’t know if it’s even possible, but I think I love all those different boys even more than I did before!!! <333

1

”Ronan Lynch, keeper of secrets, fighter of men, devil of a boy, had told them all that he could take objects out of his dreams.”

Well, I guess that quote already explains it all! The second book of the Raven Cycle is dealing with Ronan Lynch’s ability to take things from dreams and if you know Ronan, you also know that he has many secrets and isn’t as tough as he comes across! XD Still, even though the main focus lies on Ronan and his family, the other characters play a huge part in the book as well! So don’t worry, there’s still a lot to read about the other precious Aglionby Boys and Blue! ;-P

2

”But the boys were not looking at the scenery. They stood in a close circle: Adam Parrish, gaunt and fair, Noah Czerny, smudgy and slouching; and Ronan Lynch, ferocious and dark.”

Here we go with my typical spoiler warning! From now on you’ll find yourself bombarded with spoilers and quotes! So beware and tread carefully!!!

Gansey:

”She would see a rich boy dressed like a mannequin and coiffed like a newscaster – but his eyes were like the dreaming pool in Cabeswater. He hid the insatiable wanting well, but now that she’d seen it once, she couldn’t stop seeing it.”

Richard Gansey the III, the golden boy who seems to have everything but is so lonely that it hurts! Oh boy did I feel sorry for him throughout the entire book! He always tried to fix everything and his friends are like brothers to him, yet he’s never able to tell them how he truly feels. It was so frustrating to watch him, to see how he struggled and couldn’t put his thoughts into words! Gansey is such a delicate soul but for some reason no one seems to get him. T_T He would do everything for his boys and I think he proved that more than once; as it seems they all have their problems to accept his help though. Still, I liked that we finally saw some other parts of Gansey’s personality as well! For instance his wild side and how he became friends with Adam! XD I love Gansey but he’s so lonesome and driven by his need to find Glendower that it’s sometimes almost painful to read his POV! >_<

”Once, he had dreamt that he found Glendower. It wasn’t the actual finding, but the day after. He wouldn’t forget the sensation of the dream. It hadn’t been joy, but instead, the absence of pain. He couldn’t forget that lightness. The freedom.

”There were many versions of Gansey, but this one had been rare since the introduction of Adam’s taming presence. It was also Ronan’s favourite. It was the opposite of Gansey’s most public face, which was pure control enclosed in a paper-thin wrapper of academia.”

Blue:

”Blue was a fanciful but sensible thing, like a platypus, or one of those sandwiches that had been cut into circles for a fancy tea party.”

I still like Blue but there were some things that caused me to be annoyed at her. For instance the fact that she didn’t want to tell Adam why she would never kiss him. I mean, I understand her reasons to keep it from him, but I think she could have chosen her words a little more carefully. I know Adam kind of drove her into a corner, I’m pretty certain that he would have understood it if she would have told him sooner though! But then again she is young and inexperienced and has no idea how to deal with boys so I guess this kind of works in her favor. *lol* Still, this was already the second book and I still have the feeling that I don’t know her! I really hope this is going to change in the next book!!!

Blue put a hand on his chest and pressed. “I don’t want to kiss you. It’s not going to be you and me.”

Adam:

”As always, his features intrigued Blue. They were not quite conventionally handsome, but they were interesting. He had the typical Henrietta prominent cheekbones and deep-set eyes, but his version of them was more delicate. It made him seem a little alien. A little impenetrable.”

Adam Parrish destroyed me!!! This boy broke my heart in so many different ways I can’t even count it anymore. My heart ached and bled for him!!! It was devastating to watch his decline!!! And oh god, that moment when he ran away and didn’t even remember Gansey’s phone number?!! I can’t even!!! It killed me to see him like that, to know that he was so broken and couldn’t seem to be able to fix it!! Hell, even Adam knew it!!! He was completely aware of his degeneration and that made it even harder to bear!!! I was so glad that Persephone helped him to find himself and encouraged him to make peace with Cabeswater! Their relationship was amazing and to know that Adam finally found his way and became “The Magician” filled me with joy!!!! =))) I bet he’s going to be powerful in the future and I can’t wait to see it happening!!! XD

”It was nothing, but it was Adam Parrish’s nothing. How he hated and loved it. How proud he was of it, how wretched it was.”

”Do you think you’re a train wreck?”
“That would mean I was on the tracks to start with,” he replied.

”He would be Cabeswater’s hands and Cabeswater’s eyes, but he wouldn’t be Cabeswater.
He would be Adam Parrish.”

Ronan:

”And Ronan was everything that was left: molten eyes and a smile made for war.”

Ronan Lynch is my precious boy!!! I love him to bits and pieces!!! The fact this book was about him and his family made me so happy and to read his POV was just amazing!! I love that he’s a walking and talking oxymoron and even though he seems to be so tough he’s actually a softie on the inside! *lol* AND OMG!!! I knew it!!!! I knew he was gay and had feelings for ADAM!!! YASSSS!!! There were so many hints in this book and the conversations with Kavinsky definitely helped to figure it out! We finally got to see the real Ronan and I’m thankful for every second of it. He cares about his family deeply (well everyone except of Declan of course ;-P) and to find out about his nightmares was more than just a revelation. I mean the fact Ronan tried to kill himself never set well with me and I couldn’t imagine him to commit suicide. So to find out that it had been the monsters of his dreams was kind of relieving but also disturbing. *lol* Also I’m pretty certain that Declan and him are at odds because he’s gay. There’s no palpable proof yet, but I think I read it between the lines! ;-P

”His gaze followed his brother’s leg to where it rested on top of Adam’s and his expression tightened.”

”Don’t fucking swear,” Ronan said.

”That’s not what Gansey is to me,” Ronan said.
“You didn’t say you don’t swing that way.”
Ronan was silent. Thunder growled under his feet. “No. I didn’t.”

Noah:

”The last six minutes, the ones that took place after Noah had first fallen but before he actually died, were excruciating. Blue considered herself a fairly steadfast, sensible girl, but no matter how many times she heard his torn-up breath seizing in his throat, she felt a little teary.”

I really wish we would have seen more of Noah, but since he’s connected to the ley line and Kavinsky and Ronan made it a habit to mess with it through the entire book, there really wasn’t any chance to get to know him better. Still, I love this boy and the kiss between him and Blue was so bittersweet!! It broke my heart into tiny little pieces and I think I’ll remember this moment forever! Oh god, how I wish that Noah could be happy! That he’d find someone who loves him and accepts him the way he is! As a wonderful and lovable ghost that never got a chance to live!!! Maggie please let him be happy in the next two books!!! Because my heart bleeds for this amazing boy and I couldn’t take it if he’d be unhappy for the rest of his undead life!!! T_T

”I know somebody you could kiss.”
“Who?” She realized his eyes were amused. “Oh, wait.”
He shrugged. He was maybe the only person Blue knew who could preserve the integrity of a shrug while lying down.”

”I’d ask you out, if I was alive.”
Nothing was fair.
“I’d say okay,” she replied.
She only had time to see him smile faintly. And then he was gone.

Kavinsky:

Ronan replied, “Not such a thief tonight.”
“Some nights,” Kavinsky said, all teeth, “you just take it. Consent is overrated.”

He’s such a numpty but I still liked him somehow? I don’t know! XD There was something about him that made him really intriguing and even though I knew that he was bad I still had the irrational hope that he would be able to change for the better. It was so obvious that he was unhappy with his life and would have needed some help, yet I’m still sure that he would have never accepted it. He definitely was gay and he SOOO had the hots for Ronan!!! *lol* His death might have been unnecessary but it certainly wasn’t unexpected… RIP Joseph Kavinsky! >_<

”After a moment, he heard the hood groan as Kavinsky leaned over him. Then he felt the ridged callus of a finger drag slowly over the skin on his back. A slow arc between his shoulder blades, drawing the pattern of his tattoo. Then sliding down his spine, tensing every muscle it moved over.”

”The world’s a nightmare.”

The Gray Man:

”The king of swords, master of his own emotions, master of his own intellect, master of reason, gazed out at them, expression inscrutable.”

Ha! That man gave me anxiety!!! *lol* I was so worried that he’d hurt Ronan and after the scene with Declan I actually feared for Ronan’s life!!! But then the Gray Man met Maura and everything changed! XD The chapters from his POV were really interesting and I liked the idea of him being a hit man! 😉 He was a great addition to the cast and I can’t wait to see more of him and Maura! Because truth be told, they actually were cute as hell!! *grins like a Cheshire cat*

”I’m sorry no one saved you.”
Was he unsaved? Would he have ever ended up any other way?”

Maura kissed the back of his hand. “You’re going to have to be brave.”
The Gray Man said, “I’m always brave.”
She said, “Braver than that.”

3

Adam & Gansey

”If Adam was stupid about his pride, Gansey was stupid about Adam.”

I hated that they quarrelled so often but I loved it when Gansey spoke with his friend Malory and made Adam laugh!!! Their friendship was really tense in this book, but I think it was good this way. They had to work things out and realise where they were standing and without conflict they would have never even gotten that far! Sometimes it needs friction to find out who you are and to say there was a lot of it between Adam and Gansey certainly would be the understatement of the century. *lol*

”He hated the careful way Gansey had asked him about it. Tiptoeing, just like Adam had learned to tiptoe around his father.

”Gansey couldn’t shake the image of Adam by the side of the interstate, walking, walking, walking. Knowing he was forgetting what he was doing, but unable to stop. Unable to remember Gansey’s number, even when people did stop to help.”

Ronan & Noah

”Adam thinks he saw an apparition at his place.”
Ronan eyed Noah. “I’m seeing an apparition right now.”

Those two were hilarious!!! *LOL* I loved it when Ronan threw Noah out of the window!!! They have such a close relationship and it’s awesome that Ronan treats Noah like he would treat any other boy! (Well, except of throwing him out of the window of course! XD) Noah knows about Ronan’s feelings for Adam but he respects Ronan’s wishes and that’s amazing!!! <333 He’s a really good friend and I hope I’ll see more of their interactions in the next book! =)))

”Noah,” Ronan said tenderly, placing his palm on top of Noah’s cold, seven-years-dead hand, “you’re starting to piss me off.”

Ronan & Gansey:

”There was never a time when that could’ve been you and me. You know the difference between us and Kavinsky? We matter.”

Love those two boys! I think it’s kind of funny that Ronan thinks Adam tamed Gansey, because it’s actually what Gansey is doing with him! *lol* Gansey is the voice of reason and they complement each other so perfectly it’s kind of beautiful to watch! 😉

”His face went somber for half a second, and then it dissolved into an absolutely wonderful and fearless laugh. The old Ronan Lynch’s laugh. No, it was better than that one, because this new one had just a hint of darkness beneath it. This Ronan knew there was crap in the world, but he was laughing anyway.”

Gansey & Blue :

”In some parallel universe, there was a Gansey who could tell Blue that he found the ten inches of her bare calves far more tantalizing than the thirteen cubic feet of bare skin Orla sported.”

It’s somehow amusing that Gansey sees Blue as a glorious and fearless animal! Haha! But then again that’s just Gansey’s typical way to describe the people around him! XD I loved their telephone conversations and their easy banter!!! And I was happy that they called each other whenever they felt troubled and alone! PLUS that almost kiss between them GAVE ME LIFE!!!! <333 Oh my, how my heart skipped a beat when I read that scene!!! XD

”He pressed his eyes closed. Just the sound of her voice, the Henrietta lull to it, made him feel uneven and shattered.”

”Ha! Adam’s communing with trees and Noah keeps re-enacting being murdered and Ronan’s wrecking and then making me new cars. What’s new with you? Something terrible, I trust?”

”He leaned towards her – her heart spun again – and pressed his cheeks against hers. His lips didn’t touch her skin, but she felt his breath, hot and uneven, on her face. His fingers splayed on either side of her spine. Her lips were so close to his jaw that she felt his hint of stubble at the end of them. It was mint and memories and the past and the future and she felt as if she’d done this before and already she longed to do it again.”

Ronan & Adam aka Ronam!!! (I know the official ship name is Pynch but for me they’ll always be Ronam! <333):

”Ronan sometimes dreamt of Adam, too, the latter boy sullen and elegant and fluently disdainful of dream-Ronan’s clumsy attempts to communicate.”

I still want to know how Ronan tried to communicate!!! *LOOOL* All those little moments between those two gave me SO MUCH LIFE!!! They still kept their distance and didn’t say anything, but oh boy what they thought and how they acted around each other!!!! By the end of the book I was nothing but a babbling mess and the epilogue literally killed me!!!! OH GOD!!! I’M STILL NOT OVER IT!!! I knew Adam was Ronan’s second secret and I WANT to see more of them!!! Their interactions at the Barns were so explicit! That moment with the mask and when Adam said that he couldn’t kill Ronan’s demons! They know each other’s soul and they are just meant to be together!!! Knowing Maggie this love is going to be a slow burn though and I really don’t know if my tortured and tormented soul will be able to take it! XD

”And he was the boy with the most beautifully interesting car and the most savagely handsome of friends, Ronan Lynch.”

”The mask clattered to the floor. Adam, startled, stared at where Ronan’s hand gripped his wrist. Ronan could feel his own heart pounding and, in Adam’s wrist, Adam’s.”

”Adam looked up at Ronan. “I know it was you,” he said. “I figured it out. The rent.”
He held Ronan’s gaze for just a moment longer, until something inside Ronan unwound and he almost said something.

”Ronan’s second secret was Adam Parrish. Adam was different since making the bargain with Cabeswater. Stronger, stranger, farther away. It was hard not to stare at the odd and elegant lines of his face.”

4

THIS BOOK WAS INCREDIBLE!!!! I loved it even more than “The Raven Boys” and if it would be possible to give more than five paws I wouldn’t even hesitate to do it!!!
Maggie Stiefvater knows exactly what she’s doing and to say she’s doing it perfectly wouldn’t even get close to the truth! 😉

P.S: This was a buddy read with the amazing Lior!!! Seriously, I probably wouldn’t have survived to read this book if I wouldn’t have been able to fangirl with you!!! ❤

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (Mackenzi Lee)

37880094

Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 19 on My Book List 2019

”With a chunk of his finger missing, Callum is the most interesting he has ever been to me.”

Well, that sentence certainly got my attention and my first reaction was: RUN, FELICITY, RUN!!! *lol* Because let’s face it, if that’s the only thing that’s attractive about your partner you better leg it and don’t look back. XD Which is exactly what Felicity did and I was so proud of her. XD

I’m getting ahead of myself here though so let’s start with my thoughts after reading this book: Zounds, this was great! ❤ And after thinking about it for two weeks I still stand by it. ;-P This book was so very different than “The Gentleman’s Guide” but I loved it nevertheless! I guess that’s mostly due to the fact that Monty and Felicity are such different characters but also due to the topics that were tackled and the time in which those books play in.

As a girl Felicity had to face completely different challenges than her brother and it was so amazing to follow her journey to herself. Also can we please note that I still think that Sim, Johanna and Felicity should have started a pirate girl gang!? They would have been awesome and the bane of every male pirate’s existence! *lol* Or, well, of every man’s existence in general! ;-P

This said: There’s nothing better than a book full of strong women that know exactly what they want and how to fight for it. ❤ And now, let’s finally head to my character section so I can gush some more! 😉

2

You may board this ship but be aware that my crew is kinda rough. Their manners leave much to be desired and they can be quite rude throwing spoilers at your feet! Landlubbers ye be warned! ;-P

Felicity:

”I was sorry that my great plan hadn’t worked out. Sorry I was here relying on my brother’s Christian charity – what little he had to spare – because my plan for my future had lost its footing at every mile marker. Because I was born a girl but too stubborn to accept the lot that came with my sex.”

Felicity is such a great character and every time she was so down I wanted to tell her that she’s perfect just the way she is! I could relate to her hunger for knowledge and the curiosity that comes along with it and to some degree I even found myself in her. I’ve always been fascinated by nature and the human body as well, and for a very long time I actually wanted to become a surgeon or marine biologist. If you would have asked 5 – 15 year old Gin about her future job, she certainly would have given you that answer. *lol* Unfortunately life caught up with me when I got older and I realized that I could become neither of those two. >_< Well, anyway! I could understand Felicity and her desire to be a part of this world. To be more than what all those men saw in her and to remodel and reshape their world into a better place! There was so much she could give and those biased men just didn’t want to see it! *grrr* Still, she eventually tried to work with the tools she had at hand and if you ask me she did a marvellous job of it! ❤

”Half my heart is this hunger. My being is constructed by an aching to know the answers to every mystery of the frail ligaments that connected us to life and death. That wanting feels a part of me. It has seeped into my skin like mercury injected into a vein to trace its shape through the body. One drop colored my whole being. It is the only way I can see myself.”

”This work is mine. If it is selfish to want, then selfishness shall be my weapon. I will fight for everything that cannot fight for itself. Block the wind and keep away the wolves and put supper on the table. I am suddenly swollen with more than wanting to be known – I want to know.”

Johanna:

”I’m not telling you how you feel, I’m telling you how you make me feel. I felt so silly for so long because of you. But I like dressing this way.” She spreads her arms. “I like curling my hair and twirling in skirts with ruffles, and I like how Max looks with that big pink bow on. And that doesn’t mean I’m not still smart and capable and strong.”

At first I didn’t know what Felicity saw in her but the more I got to know her, the better I understood why Johanna acted the way she did. Johanna loves to be a woman and she embraces everything that comes along with it, yet she doesn’t want to be defined by her choice of clothes. She’s basically the embodiment of beauty and brains! Unfortunately the men in her vicinity only wanted to see her as a docile girl and didn’t appreciate her intelligence. So you might say that Felicity and Johanna faced exactly the same problems because they didn’t fit in the common mold of their time. Johanna wanted to get noticed for her intelligence and not only for her love for frilly dresses. Much to her chagrin people apparently couldn’t be bothered to see beyond her clothing style though. Poor girl!! >_< Despite everything she still didn’t let anyone get her down though, and that makes her a very strong woman and a truly amazing character! ❤

Sim:

”That’s the lie of it all. You have to be better to prove yourself worthy of being equal.”

Aww how I felt with Sim! She’s the third girl in the gang and even though she’s kind of a pirate princess she still has to deal with the same problems Felicty and Johanna had to deal with. Her father didn’t see beyond her being a girl and even though she would have deserved to be his heir her brother would have taken over if anything would have happened to him. Which is so unfair! Because just like Sim said: As a woman she always had to be better than her brothers in order to prove that she was as qualified as them. I loved that Mackenzi addressed that topic because I think that despite all the decades that are between Felicity’s time and ours this still holds true for many of us. >_<

”I’m sorry your father doesn’t see it.”
“See what?” She raises her eyes to mine, and we trade a look that feels like a dare.
“How bloody brilliant you are,” I say.

Platt:

”I’m a little disappointed it isn’t blood your dress is covered in. I would quite like to see a lady surgeon at her post.”

What a SLIMEBALL!!! I hated Platt with a fierce passion and his character stands for everything that is wrong in their time. He likes intelligent women? My ass! I would have loved to throw that man into the sea and to watch what the dragons would do to him! *lol* Heaven knows he would have deserved it! Such a conniving, opportunistic, misogynistic and disgusting person! *throws darts at a picture of Platt* XD

3

Felicity & Monty:

”I’ve missed you. Both of you.” I can hear the soft smile in his voice when he replies, “I won’t tell Monty.”

Haha! Their relationship is still everything! I love them! <333 They’d never admit that they care about each other but when push comes to shove they’ll always have each other’s back! The two are such realistic siblings I can’t even! Mackenzi clearly outdid herself with this sibling rep and I can’t emphasise enough how much I love her for writing them this way! I’m sure many people who have siblings can relate to that and I’m definitely one of them. XD Also Monty and Percy are still so precious!!! I want to hug them for eternity! ❤

”Do you want me to marry Mr. Doyle because you think I need a man to protect me? Or complete me? I’ll pass on that, thank you very much.”
“No,” he says. “I just wish you had someone cheering for you all the time, because you deserve it.”

Monty points at me. “That one’s got a squint like she reads too many books.”
I shall break into a thousand pieces with the effort it requires not to roll my eyes at him. He’s taking such great pleasure in his clandestine crowing that he’s going to give us both away.

Felicity & Johanna:

When she looks at me, I am disarmed. “Well then,” she says, and I don’t know how I shall survive these next few days without drowning in her. “Lucky you’re not me.”

Well, those two had a lot of issues to work through but I’m glad they never gave up and actually worked on their relationship! It’s obvious that Felicity apparently feels more than just friendship for Johanna but she never acted on it which is okay the way it is. I mean as far as I could tell Johanna is straight and Felicity seems to be a biromantic asexual? (Just a guess here… I can’t say for sure.) So this ship never would have sailed anyway.*lol* They have a more than just wonderful friendship though and if you ask me this is even more perfect than any relationship would have ever been. XD Gosh, I just loved those two! <333

”How is it, I wonder, that the brain and the heart can be so at odds and yet have such a profound effect upon the functions of the other?”

”I’m so pathetic,” she says, and I can’t tell if she’s laughing or crying. “I’m soft and selfish and sentimental.”
“You’re nothing of the sort, Johanna Hoffmann,” I reply. “You are a shield and spear to all the things you love. I’m glad to be among them.”

Felicity & Sim:

”And I’m not a crocodile. If I am to be an animal, I would like to be a fox.”
“Well then, foxy.” She whips the cloak off from around my shoulders, then smooths the collar of my dress, her hands lingering on my breastbone. “You’ve only got one chance at this, so make it count.”

And now we come to the ship that might or might have not sailed. *lol* I admit it: I wish it would have sailed full force, but I understand and respect why it didn’t. Sim was crushing really hard on Felicity which she never hid and openly admitted and Felicity had feelings for Sim too. So I really dunno if they became a couple in the end but I’m sure if they did it would have been on equal terms. Sim tried to understand Felicity and was very curious about her being ace/aro and I’m convinced that she would have never pushed her to do anything she didn’t want to do. Though I’m also certain that Sim probably would have wanted more out of a relationship with Felicity. I mean she kissed her so there’s that… I guess we’ll never know what happened in the end. Or, well, we eventually might. *lol* There will be a third book after all! ;-P

”Or maybe I would be a flower. But a really tough flower.”
“A wildflower,” Sim says. “The kind that are strong enough to stand against wind, rare and difficult to find and impossible to forget. Something men walk continents for a glimpse of.”

”That oil slick of a smile spreads over her lips, and I want to touch a candle to it and watch her smolder, this dangerous, gorgeous, wildfire of a woman.”

”And would we be happy?” I ask.
“Ecstatic,” she replies.

The feminism & diversity:

”You deserve to be here. You deserve to exist. You deserve to take up space in this world of men.”

Ohh the feminism was strong in this one and I LOVED it! It was so amazing to see how those three girls took their fates in their own hands! <333 They might have had doubts and there were a lot of obstacles in their way but in the end they always continued to fight! Also, Felicity telling off that guy at the reception was one of my fave things ever! *lol* Way to go, girl! XD And can we please note the diversity in here as well?! I mean we have Johanna who’s a feminist even though she loves to dress up and has mastered the art of using make-up! We have Felicity who doesn’t give a damn about her clothes, is ace/aro and can gush about medical theories like a pro and we have Sim who’s a queer muslim pirate princess! (I say queer because I don’t know if she’s the L, B or Q in the LGBTQ+ spectrum. She might be pan, it’s never mentioned so I can only guess.) So THIS was everything!!! <333

”I have as much claim to this world as anyone else. No one will offer Johanna and me permission to make this work ours, to take up her mother’s maps and follow their headings to the horizon’s edge, where the sea and the sky smoke together. First of our name, first of our kind.”

”Really? First girls, and then young lady? That’s how you feel it is appropriate to refer to us? Like children?”
“Your current comportment is excessively so,” he replies.
“And your current comportment doesn’t give me much reason to believe your brain is your best asset,” I reply.

The ace/aro rep:

”I want friends,” I say. “Good friends, that make up a different kind of family.”
“That sounds lonely.”
“It wouldn’t be lonely,” I reply. “I’d like to be on my own, but not alone.”

I think the ace/aro rep was really great in this one but since I’m not ace/aro you’ll have to take my words and opinion with a pinch of salt. The way it was described, it just felt like I understood what Felicity was trying to put into words. Like she loves her family and friends deeply but she has no desire to get physical with them. For instance she doesn’t like hugs (I’m such a hugger! *lol*) and her kiss with Sim was okay but not as earth shattering as it might have been for people with another sexual orientation?! Does that make sense? If you’re ace/aro and read this please correct me if I’m wrong. XD Ultimately the rep was done in a way I could grasp, it made being ace/aro more tangible for me and so I think it was done well. =)

”Did that work any sort of magic?”
“Not really.”
“That’s a shame.” She settles back into our little nest of cloaks, pulling the collar higher around her face. “It worked for me.”

4

What’s not to love about this book? From the reps to feminism, from the strong girl gang that took on every obstacle that was placed in their way up to the mystery of the dragons and the conflicts that were dealt with this was a more than just amazing journey to read! Mackenzi Lee took all those different topics and mashed them together into one huge book! And if you ask me she did it masterly! If you like crafty, strong and stubborn women that don’t take any s*it from anyone, do their thing and go their own way “The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy” might be the perfect tale for you. ;-P

”I’m learning there is no one way for life to be lived, no one way to be strong or brave or kind or good. Rather there are many people doing the best they can with the heart they are given and the hand they are dealt. Our best is all we can do, and all we can hold to is each other.
And, zounds, that is more than enough.”

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Upside of Unrequited (Becky Albertalli)

32596757__SY475_

Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 3 of My Book List 2020

”Falling in love is terrifying.”

This book was definitely better than “Leah on the Offbeat” but it still wasn’t as great as “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda”. So I guess that means that for me it’s somewhere right in the middle. There were many things I loved about “The Upside of Unrequited”, but I also had some issues I just couldn’t seem to be able to ignore. Which is kinda good, because I like to address my issues head-on. (and I need to write something into my reviews after all, right? They would be boring without a little bit of controversy. *lol*)

”This is going to sound weird, but I think I need to be rejected. I think I need it like I need a flu shot. Or like those therapists who make you hold snakes until you’re not afraid of snakes anymore.

So keeping that in mind let’s talk about the things I loved first: I really liked that Molly was such a relatable teen. I mean she was super insecure and didn’t know how to act around guys she liked and she was crushing on 26 boys and nothing ever happened with any of them! I don’t know about you, but I think this was a really healthy rep! Yes, Molly is seventeen in the book and never kissed a boy, let alone held his hand. It’s often mentioned that she feels stupid and childish because of it, but it’s also implied that this is totally okay. And it is!

She looks at me. “Wow. Like, you can’t. You actually can’t admit it.”
I cover my face.
“This is so sad and adorable.”
“I’m twelve years old. I know.”
“You seriously are.” She laughs. “Which is okay! But you’re gonna have to turn thirteen.”

These days it feels like teens have to deal with this enormous pressure of having a bf/gf in order to be valued and accepted. It was already bad when I was a teen but looking at the next generation now I can see how much this has changed. A teen that’s seventeen and has no romantic experience? Almost impossible. Most of them seem to have their first bf/gf at the age of 12 or 13 and there are some that are even younger. So I’m glad that Molly was a character that only crushed but never followed through with it. It’s okay to have crushes and to wait for the right person, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! 😉

”Because that’s the thing about change. It’s so painfully normal. It’s the most basic of all tragedies.”

Another topic that was dealt with was the power of change and the problems that come along with it. Molly and her twin sister Cassie start to go into different directions because they both make new
experiences, fall in love and start to have a life outside of each other’s orbit. Which is so “coming of age” that it was actually pretty painful to watch. The chasm that opened between them felt very realistic though and even though it hurt to see their sisterly bond getting stretched so much, it was still a great rep. I think everyone who has a sibling can relate to that and I was reminded of the time my sister got her first bf.

”I remember when she got a boyfriend, and she just fell off the grid. It sucked.”
“Yeah.”
“And no one warns you about this. No one tells you how hard it is, because, yay, love! And we’re so happy for them! But there’s this sharp edge to it, right? Because yeah, you’re happy for them. But you’ve also lost them.”

Those words from Patty rang so true! No one warns you what happens when your sibling starts to date someone and yes, it is some sort of loss. I remember when my sister started to date her first bf. We always used to hang out in our room and watched our favourite TV show together. And well, when she got her first bf I found myself making some comment about the show, turning my head towards her bed just to realize that she wasn’t there anymore. I think what I’m trying to say with this is that you have your rituals and once another person comes into your life, those little rituals sort of die. They are replaced with new people, new experiences and other new rituals. To grow up means to change and you have to accept that change and go with it in order to keep in touch.

”It’s just I’m having trouble balancing this. I’m not used to having another person be this important to me.”
She’s staring at her knees, tears pooling in her eyes.
“And I don’t want to lose us, you know?”

I liked that the issue was addressed in the end but I still think they should have talked more about everything that happened. For twins that were so close before, they actually didn’t do a lot of talking and this led to many misunderstandings and problems during the book. So I found myself being annoyed that they just couldn’t seem to be able to talk about their issues. *lol* I’m a very direct person though so I guess this might count as my subjective opinion. 😉

”I KNOW! She fell asleep watching Harry Potter. Side-eye emoji.
I write back frantically. WHAT? That is the worst. She is the worst.
She’s a squib, he writes. Which makes me smile all the way to Woodley Park.”

Next to the great diverse cast (we have two moms, twins, a pansexual Korean-American character, a gay character, a medical anxiety rep etc.) the friendships in “The Upside of Unrequited” were definitely among my favourite things about this book! XD I loved how Molly and Simon bonded not only over their friendship with Abby but also over their mutual love for Harry Potter. *lol* Those two were just great and I really enjoyed reading about their short interactions. =)

”And I always tell Molly: you’re a little zaftig, of course, but you have a lovely face. Isn’t she lovely?”

So I think now that I talked about the many things I liked, it’s finally time to tackle the problematic topic I had issues with: I really didn’t like that Molly considered herself to be a “fat girl”. So what? She’s not a skinny size zero mannequin and actually has some curves. What’s wrong with that? Nothing! If anything the only thing that’s wrong, is the fact that her grandma made her feel bad about not being skinny. Her grandma was called out on her behaviour though and it was shown that she had her own problems and issues to deal with, but ultimately was a good person. (Which was great because it made her a complex and realistic character.) Still, what I really had issues with is the fact that Molly thought that “girls like her” don’t get boyfriends and apparently needed one to tell her that she’s beautiful before she could accept herself.

”Even if he likes me, I’m not sure he’d like me naked. I hate that I’m even thinking that. I hate hating my body. Actually, I don’t even hate my body. I just worry everyone else might.”

I didn’t like that Leah in “Leah on the Offbeat” always thought about herself as a “fat girl” and I still didn’t enjoy seeing this kind of self-perception in here. It’s like Becky tries to show us that everyone is different, that there are girls with curves out there and that this is okay, yet at the same time they always seem to have problems to accept themselves. Which, with all due respect, is bulls*it! It’s okay to have a normal body, everyone has their problem areas and no one is as skinny as all those models in magazines! For once I’d love to see a normal character in a YA book! (I’m not talking about the “I’m so plain but everyone still loves me because as it turns out I’m actually pretty special- trope” here) And if you truly want to write about girls with curves, then please, please, PLEASE, let them be content with them for once!!! I mean, hell, there are actually people out there that are okay with their body. It would be really sad if all of us would hate themselves like Molly does.

I can only speak for myself but a couple of years ago (yes, I was a teen back then) I posted a picture of myself on social media and there was a guy that commented: “You look great but your boobs are too small.” So what? Yes, my butt is probably bigger than my boobs. I know that and I’m fine with it. *shrugs* And just in case you’re interested in my answer. I told him the following: “Thanks, I’m content with my boobs!!!” Well, apparently some people found this answer so hilarious that they actually founded a group called: “I’m content with my boobs.” But that’s a story for another day. *lol*

To get back to the topic at hand: There are people that love their body, stand by it and accept themselves exactly the way they are! And it would be really refreshing to read about a YA character that doesn’t have issues with its size. I hated that Molly needed a boyfriend to feel good in her skin and the message that was conveyed with that was really wrong. Like only a bf or gf can make you feel beautiful and valued. *shakes head*

4

“The Upside of Unrequited” was a great book and once I started to read it I found myself rushing through the pages. There were many things I loved: For instance the diverse cast, the different reps and the undeniable fact that it made me feel all giddy and happy at the end. (Which, if you ask me, seems to be a typical Becky Albertalli trade mark. ;-)) Unfortunately there were also some things I had issues with and so this ended up being a 3,5 paws (rounded up to 4) book for me. Still, it was a fast and nice read and it tackled a lot of important topics that are rarely mentioned in other YA books. So for this alone “The Upside of Unrequited” is definitely worth a try. 😉 Happy reading!

Allgemein, Reviews, U - Z, W

Review: We Are Okay (Nina LaCour)

28243032

Rating: 5 Pfoten

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

„Say yes.“

Allgemein, Reviews, U - Z, W

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

39704614__SY475_

Rating: 4 Pfoten

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4

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

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

Allgemein, P - T, R, Reviews

Review: Red, White & Royal Blue (Casey McQuiston)

41150487__SY475_

Rating: 5 Pfoten

”He wants to set himself on fire, but he can’t afford for anyone to see him burn.”

This sentence, this book, the topics that are tackled, the honest and blunt way they are dealt with and approached?! This was everything!!! I love this book so much, I can’t even put it into words. <333 Well, I loved it and some little, tiny, infinitesimal part of me might haven even hated it for being so perfect! Because the way subjects are approached in here? Gods, I wish everyone would be as open minded as the characters in this book.

That sentence at the beginning of my review? It hit close to home, it pains me to read it, yet I still love the fact that Casey McQuiston wrote it down on paper! That she had the guts to give this particular kind of feeling her own voice and words. How many people who are forced to be in the closet have felt like that? How many children were afraid to come out to their parents? How many still didn’t do it and never will, because they know exactly what their parents might say? How they will react… How many of us have felt alone and were weighted down by the truth?

This book, this supposedly romantic comedy, it touched me in a way books rarely do. It ripped out my heart, it made me laugh, it stomped all over my feelings, it smacked me across the face, it forced me to confront me with myself and it gave me something I didn’t even know I was missing: It gave me hope.

Hope that there IS a better world out there.

Hope that one day people will accept others the way they are.

Hope that people can change.

Hope that we’re all equal and that our actions count more than our outward appearance.

Hope that our future in this world is worth fighting for.

So if you decide to read this book, enjoy it! Laugh and cry, appreciate the politics and scheming, adore Henry and Alex for being the way they are, fall in love, enjoy their freedom and youth, but most of all find yourself in those pages and try to keep this feeling even after you closed the book. 😉

2

Do I even have to mention that you’ll be spoiled into oblivion if you dare to cross this line?! *lol* This is my characters section and I wouldn’t be me if I wouldn’t gush like a crazy little teen! XD So you’ve been warned! Dare to move on or leave it at that. Your decision, your choice. ;-P

Alex:

”Alex’s image is all charisma and genius and smirking wit, thoughtful interviews and the cover of GQ at eighteen; Henry’s is placid smiles and gentle chivalry and generic charity appearances, a perfectly blank Prince Charming canvas. Henry’s role, Alex thinks, is much easier to play.”

I didn’t like Alex at the beginning of the book! I know this might come as a shock but I really felt like he was sitting on his high horse and didn’t even bother to think about how other people felt. Or in this particular case how Henry felt. In his mind he gave him a role and never even looked beyond the horizon. But then the accident with the cake happened and Alex was forced to spend some time with Henry and he finally realized what a dumbass he actually was. I loved how Alex realized that he likes him and I adored him for being so unapologetic about his bisexuality. He just accepted it as a part of himself, he wondered about it, he explored it but he never felt bad about being who he truly was! And this was amazing! I wish there would be more bi representations like that; I wish that everyone would be as cool about being bi as Alex was. As his friends and family were! It was a huge part of him but it didn’t define him or is actions. This was so wholesome and such a nice way to deal with your own sexuality. Then again Alex is a very confident and brazen character so to deal with it like that fit him perfectly. XD

”It’s unpredictable and it’s intoxicating and it’s fun, because Alex has never met a challenge he didn’t love, and he – well, Henry is a challenge, head to toe, beginning to end.”

”He shouldn’t feel wronged deep in his gut. But that everyone seems enamored, when the only difference between the lie and the truth that would burn up Fox News is the gender involved … well, it fucking stings.”

”Sería una mentira, porque no sería él.” It would be a lie, because it wouldn’t be him.

Henry:

”Hmm,” Henry says, making a show of thinking hard. “I always liked Luke. He’s brave and good, and he’s the strongest Jedi of them all. I think Luke is proof that it doesn’t matter where you come from or who your family is – you can always be great if you’re true to yourself.”

I FREAKING LOVED, LOVED, LOVED and LOVED, Henry! *lol* This boy is adorable and kind and sweet and gentle and everything anyone will ever need! <333 I mean he’s a Warsie and Potterhead!!! He ships Lupin with Sirius and he loves to watch Bake Off because it’s so soothing??!! Where the freaking hell is my Prince Henry!!??? *lol* I definitely need this fluffy biscuit Prince in my life! Like yesterday! XD But there’s also a wild side to Henry, a defiant one and boy did I ever live for those little snippets of his personality! I adored his character arc so much! I mean at the beginning of the book he was the shy and reserved prince and by the end of it he eventually found his own voice and shouted his innermost thoughts into the world. Still, it was so sad that his father died when he was so young and I felt Henry’s grief like it was my own. T_T I could understand why his mother decided to withdraw from the world, but I was really glad that she accepted her son the way he was and fought for him in the end. =)

”It’s just so soothing,” Henry says. “Everything’s all pastel-coloured and the music is so relaxing and everyone’s so lovely to one another. And you learn so much about different types of biscuits, Alex. So much. When the world seems awful, such as when you’re trapped in a Great Turkey Calamity, you can put it on and vanish into biscuit land.”

”A curious thing about grief is the way it takes your entire life, all those foundational years that made you who you are, and makes them so painful to look back upon because of the absence there, that suddenly they’re inaccessible. You must invent an entirely new system.”

”What are we even defending here, Philip? What kind of legacy? What kind of family, that says, we’ll take the murder, we’ll take the raping and pillaging and the colonizing, we’ll scrub it up nice and neat in a museum, but oh no, you’re a bloody poof? That’s beyond our sense of decorum! I’ve bloody well had it. I’ve sat about long enough letting you and Gran and the weight of the damned world keep me pinned, and I’m finished. I don’t care. You can take your legacy and your decorum and you can shove it up your fucking arse, Philip. I’m done.”

”I’ve been gay as a maypole since the day I came out of Mum, Philip.”

Nora:

”Numbers on me being into dudes?”

That pulls Nora up short, before she cocks her head to the side and says. “Seventy-eight percent probability of latent bisexual tendencies. One hundred percent probability this is not a hypothetical question.”

I loved Nora’s analytical mind and her conversations with Alex. It was obvious they were great friends and knew each other better than anyone else. XD And don’t kill me for this but: WHAT EXACTLY WAS GOING ON WITH NORA AND JUNE???!!! There was something there, right? I didn’t imagine this unresolved sexual tension, did I? *lol* Want to hear my thoughts on it? I think there was some sort of threesome going on the night they celebrated at the karaoke bar. Pez, Nora AND June! All three of them, feel me? *wriggles eyebrows* Unfortunately this is a mystery that was neither tackled nor resolved so my imagination will have to continue to run wild and I’ll blame it all on Casey McQuiston! *lol* ;-P

Alex’s parents:

”How many times do I have to tell y’all not to discuss your murder plots in front of a sitting president?” their mother interrupts. “Plausible deniability. Come on.”

Haha! This sentence instantly made me love the President! XD She was such a cool woman and Alex was so lucky to have her as his mum! It was amazing how she could be all business but at the same time always watched out for her kids. They were her first priority no matter how important her job was and she would have done anything to make them happy. Yes, she had a lot of responsibility and tried to perform damage control, but that was mostly due to her feelings for her son. She didn’t want Alex to get hurt and she wanted to protect him. I mean she was a public figure and we all know how those games are played. Well and as it turned out, Richards played very dirty indeed. >_< Also can we appreciate how Alex’s dad reacted to him being bi and loving Henry? I wish more parents would say words like that to their queer kids! Because it’s true, it’s not different when it’s your own kid, you still love your child and want the best for it. (At least it should be that way!!!) You want it to be happy, right? See, that’s exactly what I meant when I said this book gave me hope. =)

His dad slaps him on the bicep with the spoon, leaving a splatter of crema and cheese behind. “Have a little more faith in your old man than that, eh? A little appreciation for the patron saint of gender-neutral bathrooms in California? Little shit.”
“Okay, okay, sorry!” Alex says, laughing. “I just know it’s different when it’s your own kid.”
His dad laughs too, rubbing a hand over his goatee. “It’s really not. Not to me, anyway. I see you.”

”Diaz, you insane, hopeless romantic little shit,” says the voice of the President of the United States, muffled in the bed. “It had better be forever. Be safe.”

”I am your mother. I was your mother before I was ever the president, and I’ll be your mother long after, to the day they put me in the ground and beyond this earth. You are my child. So, if you’re serious about this, I’ll back your play.”

”I’m not giving them shit,” Ellen cuts him off immediately, not even looking up, “especially not after what they did to you. This is real shit. I’m taking this motherfucker down. It has to stick.” She finally puts her highlighter down. “We’re leaking it to the press.”

3

June & Alex:

”You have so much in you, it’s almost impossible to match it. But he’s your match, dumbass.”

Haha! I loved this sibling relationship because seriously, it was just so realistic! *lol* June and Alex were typical siblings which basically means that they were blunt and honest to a fault and didn’t hesitate to call each other out! XD I loved how June noticed that her brother was obsessed with Henry and I’m glad Alex had such a great sister! She supported him and even went into a fake relationship with Henry to keep them out of trouble! That’s the love and sacrifice of a loving sibling! <333 I wish we would have seen more of June, but maybe there’s going to be a second book? About June, Pez and Nora? Maybe? Some day? Mhmm, mind to do your fans a favour, Casey? XD *lol* ;-P

”Ugh! Men!” she groans. “No emotional vocabulary. I can’t believe our ancestors survived centuries of wars and plagues and genocide just to wind up with your sorry ass.” She throws a pillow at him, and Alex scream-laughs as it hits him in the face.

Henry & Alex:

”Let’s get it over with.”
“I’d rather be waterboarded,” Henry says, smiling back. The camera snaps nearby. His eyes are big and soft and blue, and he desperately needs to be punched in one of them. “Your country could probably arrange that.”
Alex throws his head back and laughs handsomely, loud and false. “Go fuck yourself.”
“Hardly enough time,” Henry says.”

I could have quoted the entire book, I swear!!! There were so many amazing quotes, countless sweet and tender moments, about a thousand ways they told each other that they are in love. ❤ Easy banter, sassy retorts, just everything you could possibly wish for. One of my personal highlights was the Turkey Gate though. *lol* And their e-mails, hell, their e-mails killed me! T_T I loved how they swore so much in their normal conversations but wrote so beautiful messages to each other. And considering that to write a message takes time and that you think long and hard what to write this was very realistic too. They were utterly, truly and madly in love and you could read it in every line! I felt so sorry for them though. It must have been so tough to be exposed like that and to deal with the press and consequences. Alone the fact that Richards leaked their relationship and didn’t even give a damn about their feelings. They were outed by others and it was NOT their own decision! And this is wrong!!! If you decide to out yourself it’s a personal thing, it’s something you decide, something that should be in your hands! You should be able to decide when you come out to your family, your friends or the world. If you never want to come out that’s okay too, but it is YOUR DECISION to make and no one should take this away from you! GRRR!! *grizzly bear mode* I guess you can already tell that this is a very important and touchy subject for me. XD But I feel about this strongly, because not everyone is ready to come out and for many people to take this step means to give up the life they are used to. Not everyone is as understanding as Alex’s family and not everyone accepts a person the way it is… Anyway, those two are sharing the first place with Baz and Simon now. *LOL* Because I love both of those m/m couples so much and can’t decide which one is the better OTP! XD Their level of cuteness is just off the charts!! <333

Henry’s whole face grimaces in frustration, his eyes casting skyward like they’re searching for help from an uncaring universe. “Christ, you are as thick as it gets,” he says, and he grabs Alex’s face in both hands and kisses him.

”Should I tell you that when we’re apart, your body comes back to me in dreams? That when I sleep, I see you, the dip of your waist, the freckle above your hip, and when I wake up in the morning, it feels like I’ve just been with you, the phantom touch of your hand on the back of my neck flesh and not imagined? That I can feel your skin against mine, and it makes every bone in my body ache? That, for a few moments, I can hold my breath and be back there with you, in a dream, in a thousand rooms, nowhere at all?”

”I fucking love you, okay?” Alex half yells, finally, irreversibly. Henry goes very still against the mantelpiece. Alex watches him swallow, watches the muscle that keeps twitching in his jaw, and feels like he might shake out of his skin. “Fuck, I swear. You don’t make it fucking easy. But I’m in love with you.”

”but I’ve kissed your mouth, that corner, that place it goes, so many times now. i’ve memorized it. Topography on the map of you, a world i’m still charting. i know it. i added it to the key. here: inches to miles. i can multiply it out, read your latitude and longitude. recite your coordinates like la rosaria.”

”I hate this so much. I know. But we’re gonna do it together. And we’re gonna make it work. You and me and history, remember? We’re just gonna fucking fight. Because you’re it, okay? I’m never gonna love anybody in the world like I love you. So, I promise you, one day we’ll be able to just be, and fuck everyone else.”

”I don’t know if I’ll ever be allowed to tell the world, but I … I want to. One day. If there’s any legacy for me on this bloody earth, I want it to be true. So I can offer you all of me, in whatever way you’ll have me, and I can offer you the chance of a life. If you can wait, I want you to help me try.”

”Henry takes a moment to respond, but his voice is level. “I don’t know if I would have chosen it yet, but it’s out there now, and … I won’t lie. Not about this. Not about you.”

Bea & Henry:

”I was, what, eighteen? I drove there and she was sitting on the back steps, high as a kite, and I sat down next to her and cried and told her she wasn’t allowed to kill herself because Dad was gone and I was gay and I didn’t know what the hell to do, and that was how I came out to her.”

Those two were amazing together as well! Henry loved Bea so much and he tried to keep her out of trouble, did his best to make her realize that her life was worth living for. And in exchange for that she loved him back… unconditionally and exactly the way he was! They gave each other strength and hope and this is so important! ❤ Bea really knew Henry and was aware of his inner struggle and when Alex came into his life she did one of the best things a sibling can do: She accepted Alex but also warned him that she might kick his ass if he ever hurt her brother! Which fills me with so much love that I could burst! *lol* That’s the true love of a sibling! <33

”You need to understand this to be with Henry. He is the most loving, nurturing, selfless person you could hope to meet, but there is a sadness and a hurt in him that is tremendous, and you may very well never truly understand it, but you need to love it as much as you love the rest of him, because that’s him. That is him, part and parcel. And he is prepared to give it all to you, which is far more than I ever, in a thousand years, thought I would see him do.”

The crew of the White House:

”That’s why you – Oh my God, I thought you were getting into international relations or something.”
“I mean technically –“
“If you finish this sentence, I’m gonna spend tonight in jail.”

Zahra gave me life!!! Haha! It might be weird that I mention the crew of the White House but they definitely deserve to be mentioned! They were always with the kids and a part of the family. You know, like that grumpy old aunt you love because she’s always ranting about things. *LOL* I adored the way they treated each other and they legit had some of the best scenes in this book! ;-P

4

“Red, White & Royal Blue” was one of my most anticipated reads this year and I wasn’t disappointed! This book was everything I wanted it to be and it made so, so happy! McQuiston tackled a lot of serious topics and they varied from loss and depression up to homophobia and political schemes. This book was an amazing composition about love, hate, ignorance and prejudices. Some might say it’s a modern fairy tale and I’m inclined to agree. What made this book truly outstanding is its final message though: You are perfect just the way you are! You are beautiful and you are allowed to love yourself! Or to say it with Alex’s words:

”Take everything you want and know you deserve to have it.”

Allgemein, K - O, L, Reviews

Review: Leah on the Offbeat (Becky Albertalli)

36531619

Rating: 3 Pfoten

Book 26 on My Book List 2019

“Imagine going about your day knowing someone’s carrying you in their mind. That has to be the best part of being in love – the feeling of having a home in someone else’s brain.”

If you know me and my reviews you also know that I’m not one to beat about the bush so I’ll say it directly and without detour: I really wish I would have loved this as much as I loved “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” but I didn’t and that’s kinda sad. =(

I mean it was a good book and nice to read! There were a few fluffy and cute moments and I loved that we got to see Simon and Blue again. It was nice to find out what happened after the ending of “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” and of course I loved all the HP, Sailor Moon and Fruits Basket references that made an appearance throughout the entire book. Despite all that I somehow still didn’t enjoy this as much as its predecessor though, and I’m sorry to say it, but I think it was mostly due to Leah’s character and her POV.

I know not everyone can be a special snowflake like Simon Spier and that there are characters that have rough edges. No matter how much I tried to keep that in mind, I still didn’t warm to Leah though. There were just too many issues I had with her as a character and they ultimately led me to have issues with the book as well. >_<

Don’t get me wrong: I still enjoyed this! It was entertaining and easy to read and I lived and breathed for all those tiny and sweet Simon and Blue moments. But I guess in the end this was actually the very reason that caused me to give this book only three stars. In contrast to “Simon vs. THSA” I didn’t really feel the romance of the two MCs. Call me picky but if the side characters have more chemistry than the main protagonists of the story it’s never a good sign. Well, at least not for me. *lol*
So yes, I had a good time reading this sequel but I didn’t feel the same magic I felt when I read the first book! XD

2

And here comes the moment when I tell you that you shouldn’t read on beyond this point! If you haven’t read the book yet you’ll be spoiled like crazy, so you better think twice before you continue your journey through my characters section! Take it or leave it, but whatever you do, don’t say I didn’t warn you. ;-P

Leah:

”I think I hate the concept of needing space. What it really means is that the person’s mad at you, or hates you, or doesn’t give a shit about you. They just don’t want to admit it.”

*sigh* I had really high hopes for Leah’s character and since I liked her in “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” I thought that I might like her in this book too. Unfortunately that didn’t happen and I found myself disliking her immensely. And this comes from a person who loves morally grey characters and is a huge fan of bookish villains! It’s just… idk. There were so many little things that I didn’t like about her that it resulted in me not liking her at all. For instance I didn’t like how she treated her mom and her boyfriend. I mean damn that poor woman was 35? So only 4 years older than I and according to Leah she shouldn’t be dating? Hell, give your mom a break! 35 is still young and after raising you as a single mom that did everything possible in order to make you happy you could at least try to be nice to her boyfriend! Sure, Leah is a teen and they get annoyed by their parents on principle (;-P), but the things she did and said to her mom? Phew! Not nice! Plus it wasn’t just her mom, she was also rude, presumptuous and unfriendly to other people and I just couldn’t deal with that. It’s one thing to have a bad day or to be in a bad mood, but to take it out on others? Nope. *shakes head* I probably could rant about her for ages but I’ll stop here and continue with the rest of my review. *lol*

”I can’t help it. I’m a Slytherin.”
And I’m the worst kind of Slytherin. I’m the kind who’s so stupidly in love with a Gryffindor, she can’t even function. I’m the Draco from some shitty Drarry fic that the author abandoned after four chapters.

Abby:

”Why do you need a reason?”
“Because it sucks that there wasn’t one. I just wasn’t feeling it. At least not as much as I should be? Like, I’m sad about it, but it doesn’t wreck me, and I really feel like it should wreck me.”
I glance at her sidelong. “You want it to wreck you?”
“Do I want to love him enough that leaving him would wreck me? Yeah.”

I still love Abby and she definitely was a character I could relate to. She always tried to do the right thing and she followed her gut feeling when things got a little bit tricky. You might argue that the way she ended her relationship with Nick was pretty uncool, but then again to end a relationship is never easy. There are always two people and at least one of them gets hurt. It was more than just obvious that she cared about him deeply though and that she was very sorry for breaking his heart. Sure if you’re the one whose heart got broken this doesn’t give you any comfort but at least she was honest to him! I really liked that she always tried to look on the bright side and that she did her best to figure things out. In the end Abby is a really cheerful, compassionate and sweet character and you could read it on every single page! =)

”I guess it’s like, I forgive her, but I don’t really know if I can trust her again. Does that make sense?”

Simon:

”Sorry, Simon, but you’re too precious. If you weren’t gay and taken, I’d totally marry you. And let’s be honest, marrying Simon would be amazing – and not just because I had a sad, secret crush on him for most of middle school.”

I LOVE and ADORE Simon Spier!!! When it comes to that I can totally agree with Leah! He’s just too precious for his own good! *lol* It made me so happy to see him and Bram together and I loved how he interacted with his friends. He’s such a charming character and I would have loved to read even more about him. Aside from the countless adorable moments with Bram, the action with his mobile phone was probably the best thing in this book though! *LOL* I loved that Abby caused his phone to go all “50 Shades of Grey” on April Fool’s Day and Simon’s reaction to his hacked AutoCorrect was priceless!!! <333 XD

”And then there’s Simon in the middle, glancing back and forth like we’re a street he has to cross. I don’t think I’ve ever met a person so nervously attuned to conflict.”

3

Leah & Simon:

My phone buzzes with a text from Simon. FUCK. My. Life. Leah. Oh God.
“Okay, I better go,” Mom says, setting my yogurt down. “Have fun today.”
I say good-bye to her and turn back to my phone. I can’t fuck your life, I’m monogamously fucking my own life.

Their friendship is so amazing and one of the few things I really liked about this book! ❤ Leah and Simon are two very different characters, but this still didn’t change anything about the fact that their friendship is strong! Their conversations and messages felt real and I loved that they understood each other without having to explain anything. It was obvious that they’ve been best friends for a long time and the way they acted around each other was natural and easy. This was a really lovely friendship rep and I was so here for it! <333

”You know I’m going to lose my mind without you, right?”
“Me too,” I say softly, leaning into his chest.

Leah & Abby:

”Are you asking me to prom, Leah Burke?”
“Yes,” I say flatly. “We’re literally standing five feet away from your boyfriend, and I’m asking you to prom.”
She raises her eyebrows, like she can’t decide if I’m kidding. So that’s a twelve out of ten on the awkward scale.

Where to start? *lol* I didn’t ship them and I felt no chemistry between them. Leah had the weirdest thoughts when she was around Abby and I couldn’t help but wonder why Abby fell in love with her. It was easy to understand why Leah was in love with Abby but no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t understand why Abby would fall in love with Leah too. I mean would you fall for a person that constantly gives you the feeling that she doesn’t like you? That attacks you for things you can’t control? Hell, even when Leah defended her against Morgan she still claimed that she only did it because Morgan had been racist. Yes, Morgan’s statement was wrong and it was good that Leah called her out on it, but would she really have lost her face if she would have admitted that she also did it because she’s Abby’s friend? Nope! So, why Abby? Sure, you could argue that love is something that just happens, but in Abby’s case this isn’t enough for me. Also where did that romance suddenly come from!? I spent the entire first book hoping that Abby and Nick would eventually find each other and they did. Well, and then all of a sudden Abby breaks up with him? This came out of nowhere and the explanation that she did it because she doesn’t want to have a long distance relationship was so flimsy! I know some of you will argue that she was in love with Leah all along and therefore broke up with Nick but after reading the first book I’m not convinced by this theory. Nick and Abby really were in love and they were a great couple! Feelings change? Yes, they do, but usually not that fast! They were crazily in love in the first book and then this? XD I know I’m ranting here but DAMN IT, I just don’t understand it!!! I’m sure this might be an unpopular opinion but to me it felt like the author wanted to write an f/f relationship and decided that Leah and Abby would do. There I said it! *lol* I’m sorry, but I really wasn’t convinced by their romance and whenever they had the possibility of having a sweet moment Leah’s attitude ruined it for me. >_<

”I had a dream once where she kissed me on the collarbone. Softly and quickly – barely a thing. I woke up aching. I couldn’t look at her all day.”

”So what, now you think you’re bi?”
“You make me think about it.”
My heart skids to a stop.

”You keep running away.”
“You keep finding me.”

The bi & non-binary rep:

”Leah, you would love them. They’re a drummer.”
That casual singular they. It isn’t even my pronoun, but it feels like a hug. Because if Caitlin’s unfazed by her enby friend’s pronouns, she’d probably unfazed by me being bi.

First of all I have to say that the mention and short appearance of a non-binary character was my personal highlight of this book! It’s so damn rare to find a non-binary rep and my heart sang when I read this quote! I love Becky Albertalli for including them in her book and I can’t thank her enough for giving them room!! That was awesome Becky!!! <333

As for the bi rep… I’m sorry to admit that I wasn’t really happy with it. There were a lot of things that rubbed me the wrong way and I’ll try my best to explain why I felt the way I did. To some of you this might sound crazy but it really bothered me that Leah had so many crushes. I know some of you will say: What’s wrong with having crushes? And my answer is “nothing”. But in that context with her being bi it just felt like the thousandth repetition of a prejudice I heard way too often. Yes, being bi means that you’re attracted to men and women but this still doesn’t mean that you find everyone attractive!!! Just because you’re bi you don’t have a crush on everyone! Just because you’re bi you don’t “choose” the best of both sexes!! I’m sure most of the readers didn’t even notice those offhand comments about her crushes but I did and it made me unhappy. The thing that truly got me were Leah’s and Abby’s discussions about being bi though. I’m convinced that Becky Albertalli only tried to point out some prejudices and did her best to set them right by Abby and Leah discussing them but for me this didn’t work. Were their conversations important? Yes! Did they make me cringe inside? Double yes! I mean just take this quote:

I shake my head. “Lowkey bi, a little bit bi. Just be bi. Like, come on.”
“What? No.” She draws herself up. “You don’t get to decide my label.”
“It’s not a real label!”
“Well, it’s real for me.” She exhales heavily. “God, sometimes, I don’t even know…”

Whilst I agree with Leah that there is no such thing as “lowkey bi” or “just a little bit bi” I still don’t think that it’s okay to attack Abby like that. I mean that girl is trying to figure herself out and is confused and Leah had nothing better to do than to push her into a certain direction and to tell her that the current definition of her sexual orientation isn’t valid! WTF?! Leah is bi too so she of all people should know how difficult it is to come to terms with yourself! I know some of my friends argued that Leah was insecure herself but the more I think about it, the more I come to the conclusion that I won’t accept that as an excuse. Because NOPE she’s not insecure! I was barely a few pages into the book when she admitted that she’s bi and she even came out to her mother. Of course her friends didn’t know but it was obvious that she was comfortable with being bi. It never felt like she was insecure about it, if anything she was insecure about her feelings for Abby and worried that Abby wouldn’t reciprocate them. Still, just because she’s afraid of being rejected she shouldn’t have tried to label her! (And I’m once again cringing inwardly because I really don’t like the word “label”….) Plus and here comes another thing I didn’t like: When Abby said that she came out to her family I was like: WHAT?! Because let’s face it, to me this felt really unrealistic. Who would come out to their family before even defining their sexual orientation? Why come out to your family when you’re still insecure about who you truly are? This just didn’t make any sense to me. Take it from me: You don’t just come out like that! There are about a thousand questions you ask yourself first! You notice that you like boys AND girls! You wonder why it is like that. You imagine kissing a girl and realize that this feels okay to you. You do internet-research because you want to find out more! Maybe Abby did all that and I missed it but I doubt that she truly questioned herself. And let me tell you this: If you don’t fit into the norm and realize that your sexual orientation isn’t straight you automatically do this! So, this aspect of the story felt really unrealistic to me and since Abby defined herself as “lowkey bi” right after she admitted that she came out to her family I can assume that she didn’t go through that process yet.

Phew… that was a long paragraph! *lol*
Sorry for the rant but it had to get out of my system. XD

4

“Leah on the Offbeat” might have been a page turner but I couldn’t seem to be able to connect to the MC and that took away a lot of my enjoyment. In addition to that I had many issues with the way certain topics were addressed and tackled. I really wish I would have loved this more, but maybe my expectations were just too high after reading “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda”. I’m sure many people will love Leah’s story as well, in my case it unfortunately didn’t work out though.

Allgemein, Viennese Strolls

A Saturday afternoon out – Of Sushi, Heat and Rainbows

Hey there, my lovelies!

I spent last Saturday in Vienna and since I had such an awesome day I decided to share it with you. I know I didn’t write an awful lot in my “Viennese Strolls” category lately, but that was mostly due to my busy life. It has a tendency to get in my way and I’m sorry if I neglected this category. I promise improvement and I’m starting with it now. 😉

So what did I do last Saturday?

Well, my closest friend and I went to eat Running Sushi at the Lugner City and it was amazing! If you want to go for Running Sushi in Vienna this is actually the best place to be! They don’t only have sushi but also avocado maki and a lot of different warm dishes. You’ll find calamari and shrimps as well as potato croquettes, salad, duck, noodles, rice and sweet desserts like Tiramisu and coconut milk. In short: They have a huge variety and I can totally recommend them!

Plus: If you hit the restaurant before 5 p.m you still pay the lunch price! 😉

I don’t know how much time we spent there but after we were full and happy we decided that it was about time to hit the main library of Vienna! Unfortunately and to our great chagrin it’s partly closed right now. T_T As it seems they are currently renovating the floors and their furniture which means I won’t be able to get into my precious English section until the end of July! I don’t know what I’m going to do now that I can’t pre-order my English books anymore, but I’m sure it will be a tough time for me. I mean… I might actually… I might actually have to read the books I own!!! *facepalm, insert Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” here*

So yeah, after that big shock we resolved that we needed to eat ice cream! There’s nothing, really nothing, a huge ice cream can’t fix! 😛

No sooner said, than done, we took the subway to the “Stephansplatz” and went to our favourite ice cream parlor. It’s on the way to the “Schwedenplatz” and so it happened that we didn’t only buy ice cream but also ended up eating it in the middle of the Rainbow Parade that just happened to pass us as we made our way to another subway station.

Do I even have to mention that we became a part of the parade and waved our rainbow flags? *lol*

Nope? Well, I just did, didn’t I? XD Anyway, it was awesome and so much fun! I always wanted to go to the Rainbow Parade but I never dared to do it because I didn’t want to go there alone. This time however it worked out because it was a rather spontaneous decision and my friend was with me. 😀

I can’t even put into words how much it meant to me to just be there and to celebrate with all those kindred spirits. According to the media it were about 500.000 people that took part in the parade and they were all so nice and cheerful! I even saw a grandma in a wheelchair that had a rainbow flag drawing on her cheek! ❤ Which was very kick-ass and damn cool! XD

Despite the hot temperatures we still had a very good time and I really wouldn’t want to miss this experience! I think it was about 6:00 p.m. when the parade ended and we decided to sit down somewhere because our feet couldn’t carry us any longer. Guess all the dancing and the heat took its toll after all. *lol*

If we would have had a little more energy and more time we probably would have explored the first district even more, but in the end we just took a little walk through some of the rather unknown alleys and enjoyed the warm summer night. I swear Vienna actually has some sort of Italian flair, you just have to know where to look for it. 😛

Rankenzeile

Anyway! How was your Saturday? Do you like Running Sushi as well? Did you ever go to a rainbow parade and was it as awesome as the one I attended? Is your library closed as well and how do you cope with it?

Tell me and let me know! 😉

*hugs’n’kisses*

signature

The Sassy Library Fox

 

P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (Taylor Jenkins Reid)

33160963

Rating:  5 Pfoten

Book 5 on My Book List 2019

”Evelyn always leaves you hoping you’ll get just a little bit more. And she always denies you.”

This book was so, so, so GOOD!! I swear I was barely two pages in and already knew that I’d love it with all my heart! ❤ There’s just something about that golden Hollywood era that captivated me right from the beginning and once Evelyn entered the scene I was a goner. I just loved the way her story was told!

We didn’t only get the interviews with Monique but also were able to read news articles about her life and this made everything so much more intriguing. I mean “Hollywood Digest”, “Sub Rosa” or the “New York Tribune”, they all wrote about Evelyn’s life and those articles give an authenticity that makes this book feel real. It could have happened, Evelyn could have been a real Hollywood Star and people could have been as fascinated by her as by Marilyn Monroe or Marlene Dietrich.

I think to some degree Taylor Jenkins Reid might have even had Marilyn Monroe in her mind when she wrote Evelyn’s character and knowing how awesome Marilyn was this really doesn’t come as a surprise. XD Another thing I appreciated was that every husband got a part of this book and even though there were seven of them, who all influenced Evelyn and left a mark on her character, none of them actually was her one true love. It’s a very particular approach to a great story and I loved the way it was carried out.

Still, after I read the ending my mind was reeling and my feelings were so mixed that I had a tough time coming to terms with everything that was revealed. There were so many things I felt conflicted about and even now, after more than a week has passed, I still didn’t manage to sort out my feelings and I still don’t know what to do with them. Maybe I’ll have to get used to the idea that to think about Evelyn Hugo and her seven husbands will always make me feel conflicted and that there’s no such thing as making peace with an ending like that.

And maybe, just maybe, that was Taylor Jenkins Reid’s plan all along. 😉

2

Welcome to my characters section, aka “The spoilery spoiler zone”! If you didn’t read the book yet and still want to be surprised by its revelations you better don’t continue to read my review. I’m worse than any tabloid mentioned in this book and I’ll spoil you relentlessly! If you still want to read my gossip, go ahead, but don’t say I didn’t warn you! ;-P

Evelyn Hugo:

”And I didn’t say I was confessing any sins. To say that what I have to tell is a sin is misleading and hurtful. I don’t feel regret for the things I’ve done – at least, not the things you might expect – despite how hard they may have been or how repugnant they may seem in the cold light of day.”

Oh, Evelyn! Where do I even begin? I loved that woman so damn much, I can’t even! <333 It’s so rare to meet such a complex character in a book but damn Evelyn just had it all! She was neither white nor black, and if anything she was all different shades of grey. I loved that she was so ruthless, that she did what she had to do in order to get what she wanted, that she was unapologetic about her decisions and behaviour and that she never held back and just wanted it all! Celia was right, at times Evelyn could be really awful and egoistic, but damn did her good qualities make up for it.  Compassionate, caring and protective of the ones she loved she would have done everything possible to keep them safe and happy. Gosh, WHAT. A. WOMAN!  I think I might be in love with her! <333

”Did I want to make as much money as Don? Of course I did. I wanted to get the paycheck and mail a copy of it to him with a photo of my middle finger. But mostly I wanted the freedom to do whatever I wanted.”

”I told her every single day that her life had been the world’s greatest gift to me, that I believed I was put on earth not to make movies or wear emerald-green gowns and wave at crowds but to be her mother.”

”I regret every second I didn’t spend with her. I regret every stupid thing I did that caused her an ounce of pain. I should have chased her down the street the day she left me. I should have begged her to stay. I should have apologized and sent roses and stood on top of the Hollywood sign and shouted, ‘I’m in love with Celia St. James!’ and let them crucify me for it.”

Celia St. James:

”I really like you. I like watching you on-screen. I like how the moment you show up in a scene, I can’t look at anything else. I like the way your skin is too dark for your blond hair, the way the two shouldn’t go together and yet seem so natural on you. And to be honest, I like how calculating and awful you kind of are.”

Now here’s the thing, I know that Celia was the love of Evelyn’s life and I could see that they loved each other deeply, but – and here comes the huge BUT – I had the feeling that I could never truly connect to her. I don’t know what it was that kept me from adoring her the way I adore Evelyn but I think it might have been the sum of thousands of little things that ultimately left a bad taste in my mouth. For instance I hated that Evelyn always seemed to feel like she had done something wrong and that it was her responsibility to set things right again. I mean Celia threw a lot of awful things at her too, but in the end it always seemed to be Evelyn that blamed herself for it. Also I didn’t like that Celia wasn’t only self-righteous but also more than just a little judgemental. You’d think a person who represents the “L” in LGBTQ+ would be more accepting and open-minded when her partner is bi, but nope Celia was almost as bi-phobic as the men in Evelyn’s life and that made me really sad. =(

”That was how it was with Celia. When you denied her what she wanted, when you hurt her, she made sure you hurt, too.”

”So I told myself that the spark between Celia and me was just a quirk we had. Which was convincing as long as it remained quirky. Sometimes reality comes crashing down on you. Other times reality simply waits, patiently, for you to run out of the energy it takes to deny it.”

Harry Cameron:

”I want to be with someone I love. I want to have a companion. I’d like to bring someone home to my family. I don’t want to live alone anymore. And I want a son or a daughter. We could have that together. I can’t give you everything. I know that. But I want to raise a family, and I’d love to raise one with you.”

Aside from Evelyn, Harry Cameron was truly the best thing about this entire book! <33 I loved this man so much and I think he’s an angel! He was always respectful and supportive and even more important he accepted Evelyn exactly the way she was. I loved that he and Evelyn always tried to solve every problem together and I hated to see him so sad after the death of John. T_T Harry’s grief broke my heart and even though he was drinking way too much he never did anything stupid. I mean he never hurt Evelyn or got frustrated with her, he only tried to compensate his grief without hurting anyone else in the process. Even when it came to this he was considerate and kind. =(( Poor Harry, though. It made me so damn sad that he had to go and I admit it, I actually shed some tears when he died. T_T

Monique Grant:

”Why, until this moment, did I not realize that the issue is my own confidence? That the root of most of my problems is that I need to be secure enough in who I am to tell anyone who doesn’t like it to go fuck themselves? Why have I spent so long settling for less when I know damn well the world expects more?”

To say their relationship was complicated would be putting it more than just mildly! It was really interesting to see Monique’s character arc though. I mean at the beginning she was a shy mouse that didn’t dare to say anything to her boss and by the end of the book she was a young successful woman who stood up for herself and finally had the guts to make decisions she never even dared to consider. I think that to get to know Evelyn and to find out the truth behind her father’s death was necessary to find her happiness and I’m convinced that both of those things were able to give her some closure. I could understand her anger towards Evelyn, her hurt when she found out what she had done and the inability to truly hate her for it. Because she got to know the person behind the movie star and she knew how broken Evelyn was on the inside, how much pain she had suffered, how much loss she had endured. =( Still, that scene when she pondered whether to get on the train or not, the thoughts that crossed her mind, her inner struggle how to deal with the situation at hand. Damn, this was one of the best book moments I ever had the pleasure to read. Well done, Taylor Jenkins Reid, well done! I had goose bumps following that inner conflict. *shudders*

”I’m Evelyn.” She reaches out and takes my hand, shaking it. It strikes me as a unique form of power to say your own name when you know that everyone in the room, everyone in the world, already knows it.”

”I insist that you be ruthless in your negotiating, Monique. Make them pay you what they would pay a white man. And then, once you’ve done that, every penny from it will be yours.”

3

Evelyn & Celia:

”I wanted to give her a lot of things. I wanted what I had to be hers. I wondered if this was what it felt like to love someone.”

Those two were the death of me, I swear! Their ups and downs, their struggles and fights, their love and dreams, their hopes and shattered realities. ARGH! It was so obvious they loved each other, yet they could never be together. Because the world didn’t let them and wouldn’t have understood, because they didn’t want the same thing, because they weren’t ready to be in a relationship and unable to make arrangements. Because…  just BECAUSE! There was always another reason why they couldn’t be happy, another misunderstanding that tore at their foundations, another bump on the road that caused them to drift apart. They loved and lost and loved and lost again. It was so heart-breaking to watch! And Celia, she killed me. With everything she said to Evelyn! I knew she loved her, yet she hurt her so much! >_<  I just wished she would have had more sympathy for Evelyn’s outlook and I really wish she would have tried to understand Evelyn’s sexuality. So many of their problems could have been solved, they could have gained so many years if they just would have allowed themselves to be who they are. Their love was so tragic… more tragic than any of the movies they produced over the years. And it really made me sad. T_T

”Evelyn, who was your great love? You can tell me.”
Evelyn looks out the window, breathes in deeply, and then says, “Celia St. James.”
The room is quiet as Evelyn lets herself hear her own words. And then she smiles, a bright, wide, deeply sincere smile. She starts laughing to herself and then refocuses on me. “I feel like I spent my entire life loving her.”

”It’s not wrong,” Celia said. “It shouldn’t be wrong, to love you. How can it be wrong?”
“It’s not wrong, sweetheart. It’s not,” I said. “They’re wrong.”

”If you love someone enough, you should be able to overcome anything,” she said. “And we have always loved each other so much, more than I ever thought I could be loved, more than I ever thought I could love. So why … why couldn’t we overcome it?”
“We did,” I said, turning towards her. “We’re here.”
She shook her head. “But the years,” she said.“

”There’s a difference between sexuality and sex. I used sex to get what I wanted. Sex is just an act. Sexuality is a sincere expression of desire and pleasure. That I always kept for Celia.”

Evelyn & Harry:

”You do not know how fast you have been running, how hard you have been working, how truly exhausted you are, until someone stands behind you and says, “It’s OK, you can fall down now. I’ll catch you.”
So I fell down.
And Harry caught me.“

Their friendship was everything, absolutely E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.!!!  Gosh, I loved their relationship so much, I can’t even!!! They were so perfect together and understood each other better than anyone else. They were so close it sometimes felt like they could read each other’s mind and I think of all the husbands Evelyn married over the years, Harry definitely was the best! <333 (Of course her last hubby was awesome too but if you ask me no one was able to hold a candle to Harry!) I know Harry was gay and had no sexual desire for women and I know that Evelyn loved Celia but damn those two made so much sense! They shared a love that is sometimes even harder to find than the once in a lifetime love we all crave for and they were so much more than just friends. They were business partners, equals, best friends, partners in crime, confidants, soul mates and kindred spirits. And most importantly, they loved each other deeply! <333 It’s so rare to find a friend like that, so rare to have a connection like that, to be loved liked that… ARGH! I just LOVED them!!! This was such a wholesome representation of a deep friendship and I’m incapable to put it into words. *breaks down and sobs*

”I promise I’ll do whatever I can. I promise you we will figure this out.”
“OK,” Harry said, and then he squeezed my hand back and walked out the door. “We will figure this out.”

”I want you to stay, Harry. We need you. Me and Connor.” I grabbed his hand tighter. “But if you have to go, then go. Go if it hurts. Go if it’s time. Just go knowing you were loved, that I will never forget you, that you will live in everything Connor and I do. Go knowing I love you purely, Harry, that you were an amazing father. Go knowing I told you all my secrets. Because you were my best friend.”

The bi rep:

”It really makes you think, doesn’t it? That people were so eager to believe we were swapping spouses but would have been scandalized to know we were monogamous and queer?”

And now we finally come to one of the most important subjects of this book: The bi rep! And let me tell you, it was spot-on! Evelyn is a bi icon and for the rest of my life I’ll never get tired of emphasizing how important this kind of representation is! Throughout the entire book Evelyn is confronted with bi-phobia but she always took it in stride! She accepted herself the way she was and she did an amazing job at trying to explain her sexuality. I know some of you might say that it shouldn’t even be necessary to explain your sexuality to others and I’m inclined to agree, but the bitter truth is that we have to explain it no matter if we want to or not. I can only speak from personal experience here but usually straight people have a hard time understanding how you can love both sexes equally and make no difference, while lesbian or gay people might just try to label you as one of their own. What Celia did?! It happens! It happens way too often and even though her actions and behaviour left a bitter taste in my mouth it still represented one of the many facets of reality. I loved the way Taylor Jenkins Reid gave Evelyn a voice though. Evelyn Hugo didn’t accept those prejudices, nope, she gave us her honest opinion, her point of view and made the other characters acknowledge her for who she was! And this was wholesome and healthy and might help a lot of people to accept themselves! So thank you Taylor Jenkins Reid! Thank you very much! <333

”Being bisexual didn’t make me disloyal,” Evelyn says. “One has nothing to do with the other. Nor did it mean that Celia could only fulfil half my needs.”

”I hated being called a lesbian. Not because I thought there was anything wrong with loving a woman, mind you. No, I’d come to terms with that a long time ago. But Celia only saw things in black and white. She liked women and only women. And I liked her. And so she often denied the rest of me.”

”Wow,” he said. “Incredible. I married a dyke.”
“Stop saying that,” I said.
“Evelyn, if you have sex with women, you are a lesbian. Don’t be a self-hating lesbian. That’s not… that’s not becoming.”

4

The more I think about this book, the more I love it! This is such an important read! I know Reid tackled a lot of problematic topics in this book, but she did it in such a positive and sensible way that I’m convinced everyone who reads “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” will learn something good from it! I’m usually not the kind of person who throws a book at you and says you should read it but in all seriousness: Read this one! Live and suffer with Evelyn, enjoy her good moments and cry with her when the world throws her for a loop! Hate her, love her, accept her the way she is. And most importantly, learn from her mistakes and don’t hesitate to show the world your true self. 😉

I know this review has been already way too long but I still want to thank the ever charming Ashley for this wonderful buddy read! We both didn’t have it easy while reading this book together, but we always managed to find a compromise and were able to continue once our lives started to become a little less hectic. *lol* I’m glad we could read this together and I hope sooner or later we’ll find another book to buddy read again! =)