Allgemein, Bookish Fox Knowledge

January Wrap-Up

Wrap Up

Dare I even say it?! Well, I guess I’ll just have to get it out: January was actually a pretty good reading month for me!  😀 I know, right?! OMG! Who would have thought I’d say that about the start of the new year?! I certainly wouldn’t. *lol* But it is the way it is and I read 5 books I enjoyed immensely. Okay, not all of them, but most of them! There was only one 3 paws read and that’s because I always read Becky Albertalli’s books even though they are kinda hit-and-miss for me. XD I never know how I’ll come out of it at the end.

As for the life stuff: 2023 already started pretty bad on the health front. I mean I was ill the entire Christmas holidays and went ill into 2023. After two weeks and when work started again we actually thought we’d be over it but then my hubby relapsed and was ill for another two weeks. Thankfully my kid and I were already immune against the virus because we had it too during the holidays. So there was that at least. Still, I had to keep things running while my hubby was out of commission so to speak and it wasn’t easy. *sighs*

Plus another one of my courses ended and I had to get the paper work done to apply for the next and last one while still studying for the current one. They give a maximum of 7 days to finish one course and to start with the next one and this time is always so stressful because you have to finish the former course while applying and getting everything on track for the next one. And if you want to do the exam you’re already in the next course but still need to finish the old one and for a time both overlap and it’s really all just one huge stressful mess. *lol* Kinda glad this was the last time I needed to apply for a new course but also sad that my educational sabbatical will be over in 5 months. =(

Anyway! Let’s talk about the nice things of life instead and focus on my reading statistics for January!

Books read: 5 (5 books & 0 webcomic, I did pretty well in January as it seems? Guess it helps to have a library deadline for books you absolutely want to read. *lol*)

Pages read: 1.909 (I’m pretty sure that’s a strong start into the new year. XD)

Average rating: 4,3 (I had two 5 paws reads and one 4,5 paws read so this month was pretty amazing! )

Books that were on my reading list: 3 (from 2020, 1 from 2021 and 1 from 2022. I’m amazed about the fact I actually read 3 books from my TBRs!)

January Reads:

       

   

The Silvered Serpents: 4 Pfoten,5

I knew this book was going to hurt and that’s why I procrastinated and never was in the right mood to pick it up. But at the end of the year I finally wanted to finish it because it had been on my „currently reading“ on Goodreads since March 2022 and I wanted a clean slate for 2023. So I didn’t quite manage to finish it in the old year but it was the first book I finished in 2023 and it was as painful as I thought it would be! Maybe even more so! T_T I swear every time I read a couple of chapters this book killed me. Laila and Severin were the death of me and Hypnos and Enrique weren’t any better. Like uff!! Add to that all the other things that happen and you’re on an emotional rollercoaster that hurts. Big time. Still, this was great and I loved every second of it. XD I can’t wait to read „The Bronzed Beasts“!

Kate in Waiting: 3 Pfoten

As I already said at the beginning of my Wrap-Up Becky Albertalli’s books are always a hit-and-miss for me. I never know if I’ll love them or if I’ll dislike them so I pick them up and hope for the best while I keep in mind that there is always the possibility that it won’t work for me. I guess in some ways „Kate in Waiting“ worked better for me than some of her other books, yet at the same time it wasn’t as amazing as „Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda“. Maybe it’s a case of „It’s me, hi, I’m the problem, it’s me.“ (Yes, shamelessly quoted Taylor Swift here!! *lol* ) I dunno! All I know is that I was through it very fast, that it was enjoyable to read but that it didn’t quite hit the mark for me. If you want to read my full review you just have to follow the link above. 😉

The Hidden Oracle: 5 Pfoten

I absolutely loved this book!!! ❤ And I adore Apollo as a narrator! He’s so funny but he’s also in so much pain and I loved to see that other side of him. I think he already changed a lot in the first book and I can’t wait how much more he’s going to change during the entire „The Trials of Apollo“ series! I loved how he cared about his children and knew them all by name and how he started to defy his father Zeus. Meg and him had a great friendship arc and I lived and breathed for his interactions with Percy. *lol* Plus we got to see a lot of Will and Nico in this one and I hope this trend will continue in the other books! I need my Solangelo!!! XD

This Savage Song: 5 Pfoten

„This Savage Song“ has been on my TBR for a very long time. I think I put it on my 2020 TBR list but never got around to reading it. I always borrowed it from my library and then was forced to give it back unread, so this time around I decided to read it even though I just had one week to do so. Well, turns out I didn’t even need 7 days. I was done after 5. *lol* This was AMAZING!!! Capital letters! I never thought I’d get so obsessed with this series but OMG! I loved and adored the two MCs and the world building was excellent! Also after the halfway mark the book picked up pace and I couldn’t put it down anymore. It felt like watching one of those super fast paced action movies and it was awesome! Can’t wait to read the second one!

Darius the Great Is Not Okay: 4 Pfoten

This book was such an interesting and fascinating read! I think I’d definitely call it a coming-of-age story but it also has a very educational aspect because you learn so much about Iran and Persian culture while you read it. I loved that! It’s always so interesting for me to hear about other cultures and the way Adib Khorram explained things was very perspicuous. Plus he tackled a lot of topics like bullying, depression and father-son-troubles. Definitely a book I can recommend.

Rankenzeile

This said: How was your January? Did you read many books? Were you ill during the holidays or were you lucky enough to enjoy them? =) Which kind of books did you read last month and can you recommend me any? Also did you already read the ones I read and if „yes“ did you enjoy them? What’s been going on in your life?

Talk to me and let me know! 😉

And as always take care and stay healthy and safe!

*hugs’n’kisses*

Sig.V.Ronan

The Sassy Library Fox

Allgemein, K, K - O, Reviews

Review: Kate in Waiting (Becky Albertalli)

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Rating: 3 Pfoten,5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4

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

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, S

Review: Solitaire (Alice Oseman)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trigger warnings: 

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

Top Ten Tuesday:  New-to-Me Authors I Discovered in 2022

TTT was created by The Broke and Bookish and moved to That Artsy Reader Girl (click here for upcoming TTT topics!).

Today’s Topic is: : New-to-Me Authors I Discovered in 2022 (If you didn’t read books by 10 new authors, share new-to-you authors whose books you added to your TBR in 2022. Get creative, if needed!)

1.) T.J Klune

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I’ve read my first TJ Klune book in July and hosted a Readalong named #Klunealong to finally dig my claws into one of his books. Well, in the end I read 2 more books from him and there is no end in sight! I just love his books so much and they are funny, heart-breaking, amazing, suspenseful, wholesome, sad, bitter-sweet, and all the other adjectives you can think of. Just amazing! And thankfully he wrote a ton of books so it will take me a long time to catch up to all of them. YAY! *lol*

2.) Margaret Rogerson

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„Sorcery of Thorns“ was my first Margaret Rogerson book but I really like her writing style and I absolutely adored the characters in this book. So I’m looking forward to read her other works and to find out if she might even have a series I can get lost in. This was a standalone and recently she released a sequel novella which I’m definitely going to read too.

3.) L. Philips

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I’ve never heard of this author but one day „Sometime After Midnight“ ended up on my goodreads feed and I got curious about the book. Honestly for such an unknown book this story was amazing and I was a sucker for the music element in here. I’m convinced L. Philips is making music herself because the way she described the two MCs making music together?! It was perfect! Such a surprising and awesome book! I loved every second of it! ❤

4.) Victoria Lee

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And here comes another author that totally surprised me! „The Fever King“ and Victoria Lee as an author have been on my radar for ages and I wanted to read this book for a very long time. Well, and then one day in spring I found it at one of my libraries and finally picked it up. And wow!! This story, the world and the two MCs got me good! I really can’t wait to read book two because I need to know what’s going to happen to Dara and Noam!!!!

5.) Naomi Novik

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Naomi Novik is one of those authors that was always recommended to me but I never read a single one of her books before last year. In 2022 I decided I’d finally try out one of her books and chose „Spinning Silver“, which apparently was a good choice because I enjoyed it a lot. Not gonna lie I loved the fairy-tale aspect of this and the strong female MCs but I was kinda thrown off by the ending. It felt like the book was over but then it wasn’t so I’m kinda careful with the next Novik book I’m going to pick up. *lol*

6.) Tracy Deonn

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This book was amazing!!! I never tought I’d enjoy „Legendborn“ as much as I did but wow!! I was such a sucker for this arthurian retelling you have no idea! The entire world, all the diverse characters, the strong female lead character, the grief rep and especially SELWYN KANE!!!! soo persuaded me to pick up the second book. I need more of Sel. Really! And I can’t wait to dig my fingers into „Bloodmarked“!

7.) Karla Nikole

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This book was exactly what I needed! An m/m vampire romance with a slow-burn and with one of my new favourite tropes „consent“ on both sides! *lol* I still dunno if you can call „consent“ a trope but for me it is because I love this in my books and I’ll never get enough of it. XD So Karla Nikole totally hit that spot for me and I can’t wait to read the rest of this series. Haru and Nino are two really awesome MCs and they fit together perfectly. I definitely want to see more of them and their world soon!

8.) Mira Grant

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Deadly mermaids that will rip your throat out as soon as they see you?! YES! I gobbled this book up like nobody’s business and had a lot of fun while paging through it! *lol* Mira Grant is a master at creating a creepy atmosphere and even though this was also gory af all the science we got in here definitely made up for it. It was just the right mixture of gore, horror, suspense and science and I loved it! ❤ Can’t wait to dive (pun totally intended) into the next of Mira Grant’s books. 😉

9.) Brandon Sanderson

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I finally read my first Brandon Sanderson book and I really enjoyed it. Admittedly it took me ages to get into the right mood to read „The Final Empire“ but that’s mostly a „it’s not the book, but me thing“ because I’m such a mood reader and I wasn’t in the right for epic fantasy for a while. *lol* But hey, once I got into the right mood I really loved this. It left me with so many questions though and I really hope that some of them will be answered in „The Well of Ascension“. *fingers crossed*

10.) Libba Bray

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I heard a lot about Libba Bray and her Diviners series but I never picked it up until one of my fellow BookTubers asked if someone wanted to read it with her. Well, of course I said yes and I had one of the best buddy reads ever! This was creepy, eerie and gruesome to read but also very entertaining and atmospheric?! I really enjoyed that it played in the 20ies and the characters were super interesting. Very curious where this series is going and I already agreed on a buddy read of book two with Victoria! (who is the aforementioned BookTuber that read the first book with me.)

Rankenzeile

So what about you? Which authors were new to you in 2022 and which books of them did you read? Do we have any books in common or did you actually read some of them already? And if yes, did you enjoy them?Did you discover different authors than me? And can you recommend books by them?? =)

Talk to me and let me know!

And as always take care and stay healthy and safe! ❤

*hugs’n’kisses*

Sig.V.Ronan

The Sassy Library Fox

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Final Empire (Brandon Sanderson)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 22 on My Book List 2020

”His anger was quiet, not as fierce as it had been the night he’d killed Lord Tresting. But he felt it still, felt it in the itch of his scars and in the remembered screams of the woman he loved. As far as Kelsier was concerned, any man who upheld the Final Empire also forfeited his right to live.”

So I think I’ll be one of the few unpopular opinions when it comes to this book and that’s okay, because to every pro there also needs to be a contra and I guess this time around I’ll be that voice. Not that “The Final Empire” wasn’t a good book, it was actually pretty good, but it also wasn’t exactly what I expected after I went into this series. With all those raging reviews about the amazing world-building and magic system and the talk about a Kelsier and Vin – the strong heroine – my expectations didn’t quite match with what I actually got.

”Plots behind plots, plans beyond plans.
There was always another secret.”

The world-building was quite interesting and I liked the idea of the Lord Ruler winning the war and therefore being their new leader who suppresses the masses. By now it’s not an entirely new concept though because a lot of dystopian books start with the baddies at the pulse of power and with rebels overthrowing them. Still, the world was very vivid and described in detail and it was easy to get lost in it and the mist. (pun totally intended) As for the magic system, I personally wouldn’t say that it’s some sort of magic system. I know lots of people say Allomancy is one of the best magic systems they have ever read about but in a strict sense and from my point of view it’s rather some sort of science instead? I mean we have 10 metals and the elusive 11th metal no one is sure even exists and if it does what it’s supposed to do. The pushing and pulling of the metals, the way Kelsier described Allomancy and taught Vin about it. It sounded more like they have supernatural abilities that are fuelled by the different metals and because of that it didn’t really feel like a magic system to me. Because when I think of magic it’s of the not tangible kind of sort and comes from within the people without having to use any devices to fuel it. To be honest I think for me this book falls more into the category of superheroes and powers. Considering all the other reviewers that talk about Allomancy as a magic-system I’m probably the odd duck, though. I suppose you could start an entire discussion about this, but I’ll just leave it at that and say for me it’s super powers fuelled by metals and science. 😉

Kell leaned forward again. “But, you weren’t born an aristocrat. You’re not noble, Vin. You don’t have to play by their rules – and that makes you even more powerful.”

Vin, Kelsier and all the other characters in the book are definitely a class of their own as well. *lol* I liked the easy banter and how we got to know a couple of personal things about all the different characters. Unfortunately I ended this book feeling not really close to or attached to any of the characters. I don’t know how to express it but to me it felt like Sanderson kept a lot of the characters on a need-to-know-basis. You just get the bits and pieces that are necessary to move the plot along and the rest of it is kept in the dark and whilst this was probably intended as a plot device to keep the reader in suspense it just didn’t work in my case. Because I DO like to get to know the characters I read about and I want them to be multi-layered and complex and to have an interesting background story. I want to understand why they act the way they do, what moves them, which motives they have and how they feel. There were so many characters Dox, Ham, Marsh, Sazed, Breeze, Spook, Elend etc. and even after reading 647 pages the only character I got a good grasp of was Vin. And this only because we see everything from her point of view. Kelsier, his entire background story and his time in the pits is still a mystery to me and I don’t think this will change anytime soon.

”You know,” he said, “it amazes me sometimes that we even try. With everything they’ve done to us – the deaths, the tortures, the agonies – you’d think that we would just give up on things like hope and love. But we don’t.”

I wish we would have gotten so much more about all of the characters, but I guess I’ll have to be content with what I got and see if there will be more in the second book. Two of my favourite characters were definitely Elend and Sazed and they made the bunch of characters even more interesting. Also Elend is truly precious and I wish we would have gotten more of him. I mean his relationship with his father is quite horrible but aside from superficial glimpses we never dove any deeper into their conflict. When I read a 600+ book I usually talk about the individual characters but as I already said, after reading “The Final Empire” I feel like I don’t know any of them nearly enough to write a good analysis about them. Except of probably Vin. She was a special brand of heroine for sure and I really liked that she started out as a street gang member and then became so much more. At the beginning of the book she’s shy, timid and distrustful, but the more she gets to know Kell and his crew the more she becomes strong and independent. The relationship between Kelsier and Vin was actually done pretty nicely and I liked the father/daughter vibe they gave off whenever they were together on page.

”Kelsier,” Vin said quietly. “He’s a good man, isn’t he?”
Sazed smiled. “A very good man, Mistress. One of the best I’ve known.”
Vin nodded slightly. “A good man…” she said softly. “I don’t think I’ve ever known one of those before.”

Another thing I really liked about the book was the heist element and all the intrigues, schemes and plot twists. There were a lot of things I didn’t see coming and it was interesting to see how the crew went about the nearly impossible task of overthrowing the Final Empire. They set themselves a goal that was almost unfeasible but they still worked around all the bumps in the road and made it work somehow. No matter what happened there was always a plan B, another route to go or like Kelsier thought: “Plots behind plots, plans beyond plans.” In some way Kell’s masterplan and his mind kinda reminded me of Kaz Brekker and of course I enjoyed that immensely. 😉

”There was a grim mirth about them – as if they understood that they had a better chance of making the sun rise at night than they did of overthrowing the Final Empire. Yet, they were still going to try.”

4
“The Final Empire” was different than I expected it to be and because of the complex world-building it actually took me quite some time to get into the story. It’s been a while I last read epic fantasy and at the beginning of the book there was a lot of name-dropping and lots of explanations about the world, the social classes and Allomancy. Once you get over that and the story actually starts to move along it was very easy to follow Vin’s journey, though. There weren’t a lot of action scenes but the ones we got were all great and it was fun to read them. I really just wish that the characters would have been more developed. Still, after the ending I really want to know what happens next and maybe Sanderson will dig deeper into the characters and their background stories in the next books. Guess the only way to find out is by picking up “The Well of Ascension” soon. 😉

”… he smiled because that was what he did. That was how he proved to the Lord Ruler – and to himself – that he wasn’t beaten.
No, he wasn’t going to walk away. He wasn’t finished yet. Not by far.”

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Midnight Library (Matt Haig)

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Rating: 3 Pfoten

Book 34 of My Book List 2022

”Between life and death there is a library,” she said. “And within that library, the shelves go on for ever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be different if you had made other choices… Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?”

And this is basically already the short summary of “The Midnight Library”. The concept of the book is easily told and it’s not hard to follow Nora Seed’s journey and to get lost in all those different lives she chooses for herself. At the beginning of the book Nora is going through a strong depression and nothing seems to make sense anymore, so she chooses the only logical option for herself and tries to end her life which ultimately causes her to end up in the Midnight Library. In there she finds Mrs Elm, a librarian that was kind to her when she was a kid and that helped her through some tough times.

”You don’t have to understand life. You just have to live it.”

So Nora is leaving her “root-life” behind and trying out new and different lives for herself. What if she would have married her ex-boyfriend? What if she would have become a swimmer? Said yes to the music deal her former band was so close to finalize? Every choice alters her path and brings forth a different life but are those lives any better than the one she just left? Will she be happy in them, will she live longer? I really enjoyed how Matt Haig played with all those possibilities and let Nora explore her different lives. Some of them were over pretty fast, in others she stayed a little longer and took her time to find out more about herself. I personally would find it pretty jarring to jump from one life to the next, always knowing that this wasn’t my “root-life” and that I might be stealing the life of another me. If that makes sense?! Also the moment Nora feels disappointment in the life she’s currently living she’s automatically kicked out of it and ends up back in the library.

”Want,” she told her, in a measured tone, “is an interesting word. It means lack. Sometimes if we fill that lack with something else the original want disappears entirely. Maybe you have a lack problem rather than a want problem. Maybe there is a life that you really want to live.”

At first Nora is pretty certain that she doesn’t want to live in any of the lives that are available to her, but the more time she spends in them, the more intrigued she becomes. Could there be a life she actually wants to live? The problem is there are just too many options and in every single one of them her choices have an effect on the people she loves as well. It’s not just her life she’d choose, she’d also make a choice for the people she loves and cares about which ultimately leads to an ethical dilemma. If your own happiness would mean that someone you love would suffer, would you still go for it?

„To be a human was to continually dumb the world down into an understandable story that keeps things simple.“

To be honest this was one of the most fascinating things about the book. As someone who’s currently studying psychology it was extremely interesting to read about all those philosophical approaches and psychological theories. I don’t know if Matt Haig has a psychological background but the way he wrote about those things made me curious about the author behind the book. Nora obviously had a philosophical background so maybe he just did his research? It would be really interesting to know. (Psychology and philosophy are mostly studied to together, just to clarify that here.) Anyway, let’s get back on track. 😉

”Every second of every day we are entering a new universe. And we spend so much time wishing our lives were different, comparing ourselves to other people and to other versions of ourselves, when really most lives contain degrees of good and degrees of bad.“

To watch Nora go from one life to the next, always searching but never finding what she wanted to. To see her come to terms with some of the decisions she made, to follow her journey of figuring out what she wants from life and what is truly important. To see how her regrets got less and less. It inevitably causes you think about your own life choices and if you’re happy with them. And this is – if you ask me – exactly the point of this book. “The Midnight Library” is supposed to make you think, to force you to look at your own life and to consider if you’re happy, if you would do anything differently, if you have need for action to live exactly the kind of life you want to live. It’s not a fast paced book; it’s actually rather gentle while it leads you to come to your own conclusions and it’s definitely a book that makes you think.

“The only way to learn is to live.“

4
All things considered, “The Midnight Library” was an interesting and fascinating journey through all the different lives of Nora Seed. It’s a thought-provoking and very philosophical book and due to that it might not be for everyone. Considering the book tackled such a deep topic, it kind of lacked a little bit of depth for me though. It felt like a lot of the things that happened were only discussed on the surface and handled superficially. Still, if you’re interested in philosophy and psychology, if you like to think outside of the box, if you’re open-minded and enjoy reflecting on your decisions, then this book will most likely be the right choice for you. As for the question if Nora found THE perfect life for herself? Well, I won’t spoil anything. If you really want to know you’ll have to pick up the book and find out for yourself. ;-P

Allgemein, Bookish Fox Knowledge

December Wrap-Up

Wrap Up

And here I thought my reading slump was over! *lol* It’s kinda funny how my November-Me read 6 books yet at the same time my December-Me barely managed to finish 3. Haha! Also it’s kinda hilarious how I spoke about being ill in November and just had to realize that I was ill once again?! Like seriously, how often was I ill in 2022?! I must have been ill every two months or so. XD Really, let’s just hope 2023 will be a healthier year because I honestly don’t want to have another year like last one.

I suppose it might have been the stress before Christmas this time around because at first I studied a lot and tried to get ahead of my study schedule so that I could have two weeks off during the holidays. Of course there were lots of things to organize as well and shortly before Christmas my mum had to go to the hospital and had a surgery. Like legit, right before Christmas. We didn’t even know if we’d be able to celebrate it together. Thankfully everything turned out fine and we could celebrate as a family, but then I woke up ill on the 25th and today is January 11th and I’m STILL. NOT. FULLY. RECOVERED. XD

I had a respiratory infection and after a couple of days I thought it would get better but then it moved to my ears and I got a really horrible ear infection. So yeah, I’m still coughing at night and my ear is kinda cracking and closing off every once in a while. I wonder when that will stop. Anyway! I really hope that I won’t talk about any illnesses in my January Wrap-Up! Wish me luck! *fingers crossed* Haha! Let’s just talk about the books I read in December. Shall we? 😉

Books read: 3 (3 books & 0 webcomic, I only read 3 books but December was a stressful month. *lol*)

Pages read: 1.283 (Guess the page count isn’t so bad.)

Average rating: 3,5 (I think I didn’t have such a lowe average rating for a while.)

Books that were on my reading list: 1 ( 0 from 2020, 0 from 2021 and 1 from 2022. Well, at least one of those 3 was on my TBR. ;-P)

December Reads:

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The Midnight Library: 3 Pfoten

A lot of people have read this and it has been all over my feed. Even RM of BTS read „The Midnight Library“ and he kinda persuaded me to pick it up when I found the book in my library. Nora’s journey was interesting and the different lives she lived were fascinating. The concept of being able to live a completely different life by just making a different choice or decision was very intriguing and I liked that there were so many philosophical and psychological approaches in the book. Despite the deep topic it somehow lacked some depth for me though so in the end it turned out to be a three paws read. Not entirely blown away, but not bad either which means I’m right in the middle. 😉

The Diviners: 4 Pfoten

I read this as a buddy read with a fellow BookTuber and we both enjoyed to read „The Diviners“ together. For some reason we both didn’t think the book would turn out to be so creepy, eerie and gruesome, though. *lol* I legit had to start reading this during the day because some of the murder details and how the murderer went about killing his victims was pretty horrid. Despite to experience the 20ies through Evie’s eyes was amazing though. I didn’t really get used to the lingo but the roaring twenties must have been a fun time with all those hidden bars and speakeasies. I dunno if Evie as a narrator won me over but Theta and Henry sure did. Loved those two and I hope to see more of them in the next book. XD

Solitaire: 3 Pfoten,5

This book came as a surprise because it turned out to be different than I thought it would be. „Solitaire“ was pretty dark and Tori was a very unusual MC. There were some things I didn’t understand fully but I guess it’s because we got to see Tori’s POV and she doesn’t really seem to have a grasp on how Charlie’s life actually is. I’ll definitely touch more of that in my review. All I’ll say for now is that I love Michael Holden! He’s my hero and I could relate to a lot of the things he thought and said. ❤

Rankenzeile

This said: How was your December? Was it a good reading month for you?

Talk to me and let me know! 😉

And as always take care and stay healthy and safe! ❤

*hugs’n’kisses*

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The Sassy Library Fox

Allgemein, Bookish Fox Knowledge

Top 15 of my bookish 2022 – The Awesome, The Meagre & The Series + Book Recs from You?!

Hey there my lovelies!

2022 is finally over and I genuinely hope that 2023 will turn out to be a better year! At least health-, life-, and reading-wise. *lol* I really hope your 2023 already started well and that you’re having a good time those holidays. =) This said I want to begin the new year with a look at the old one once again. My „The Awesome, The Meagre & The Series“ blog post are another tradition by now and as every year I want to give you a brief overview of 2022! My initial goal for this year was to read 45 books and even though I managed to hit that number in November I still had a very though time to finish my challenge because I was in another horrible reading slump at the beginning of the year. It started in January and stuck with me until August (The statistics for everyone who’s interested: January – June: 23, July – December: 28. Guess you can see how bad it actually was.) Considering I read a whopping 15 books in the last quarter alone this says A LOT about my reading slump over the year that was 2022. XD

Anyway! I’m out of my slump now and I hope it stays that way! *lol* Let’s do this and go for the traditional summary of my reading year 2022! Read about „The Awesome, The Meagre & The Series“! 😛

I hope you’ll enjoy it!

The Awesome:

– „Wolfsong“ by T.J Klune

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Everyone, literally EVERYONE I know was raving about TJ Klune’s „Green Creek“ series and here I was not even having read a single book of Klune. Well, I rectified that in 2022 with my #Klunealong and started to read his books and let me tell you this: I missed out big time!!! I loved all of his books I read but I absolutely adored „Wolfsong“! I am obsessed with this werewolf found-family and I was so damn glad that this book had almost 600 pages because damn, every single one of them was worth it!! This book! THIS BOOK! It broke my heart in tiny little pieces, had me gasping for air, had me laughing so hard that I had to clutch my stomach and then mended my heart in the best way possible again. Joe and Ox, Ox and Joe! They are everything and I can’t wait to read the next book!!! ❤

– „The King’s Men“ by Nora Sakavic

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I was so damn heart-broken after finishing „The Raven King“in 2021 that I didn’t dare to pick up „The King’s Men“ until it was already November 2022. But OMG!!! I’m so glad I did because it had all the Andreil moments I wanted to see!!! It almost killed me to read this book, not gonna lie! It was a lot to stomach especially around the middle of the book and I was crying and gasping and dying inside while I read this part of the book, but the ending. It was so worth the pain. I’m obsessed with the Foxes and with Andreil and I’ll never get tired of them. To finish the series left such a huge void in my heart that I went on a fanart and fanfic binge and even though I finished reading the book at the end of November I’m still obsessed and I’m still in my fanfic rabbit hole. It’s comfy here. If you need any recs, ask me! ;-P I think Andreil are my new OTP now. No regrets! ❤

„Sorcery of Thorns“ by Margaret Rogerson

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When I picked up this book it was during the worst months of my reading slump and despite this it had me glued to the pages. Honestly, „Sorcery of Thorns“ gave me hope again! It totally surprised me and made me believe in the power of great books again. And for that this book will always hold a special place in my heart! Also Elisabeth, Nathaniel and Silas were an amazing trio and I think Silas easily became one of my book bfs! *lol* Yes, he’s a side-character but he is AWESOME and I’d defend my precious Silas with my life! ❤

„A Small Hotel“ by Suanne Laqueur

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Suanne once again killed me with one of her books and I’m not mad! Nope, quite the contrary. I love to die reading her books because she’s one of the most amazing authors out there and if you haven’t read a single one of her books yet, you’re definitely missing out! I can’t emphasize it enough: Suanne Laqueur is one hell of an author and this book once again proved it. It played during WW2 and it was so painful to read, but the family bonds were awesome and my heart… oh my heart! ❤ Just read it! Not a lot of authors manage to be historical accurate and to hit in the feels at the same time but Suanne does and that makes her truly special. 😉

„The Fever King“ by Victoria Lee

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And here’s another book that surprised me! I wanted to read this one for ages and had it on my TBR for a very long time (I think I added it in 2019), but never picked it up. Which is a shame because this was honestly so damn good?! Noam and Dara totally won me over and the dystopian setting with a blood fever that kills about 98% of the people it infects and leaves the ones who survive with special powers and abilities was pretty cool. Also there were so many political intrigues going on and I’m always a sucker for political intrigues and horrible villains. Well, and the one in „The Fever King“ was horrible so it delivered on all fronts. Can’t wait to pick up book 2 even though I’m afraid it will hurt. >_<

The Meagre:

– „The Cousins“ by Karen M. McManus

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So, I gave this book 3 paws and that’s exactly what it was for me. I mean I really love Karen M. McManus’s books and read almost all of them by now, but this one just felt like a copy of all her other books that came before. I can’t even remember the main three characters names but they felt like a rip-off of Bronwyn, Addy and Nate and I wasn’t happy about that. It felt like I was reading a different story in a different setting with the same characters all over again and I really would have liked the characters to be more individual. Maybe that’s a me problem, but oh well. It is the way it is.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

– „Whispers Underground“ by Ben Aaronovitch

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Another 3 paws read and once again a book that didn’t live up to my expectations. „Whispers Underground“ was already the third book in the „Rivers of London“ series but it held no surprises for me and the plot was kind of idling along. This series has so much potential but if it’s not used the best series can fall flat. I like to pick up urban-fantasy every once in a while and this series isn’t bad. Unfortunately it’s not exactly awesome either and I dunno if I’ll continue to read it. I guess I’ll just read book 4 and if it’s underwhelming I might have to consider if I’ll dnf the series altogether. I mean there are 9 books in total and if I’m not feeling it…

„Children of Virtue and Vengeance“ by Tomi Adeyemi

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It truly pains me to say this but aside from a very long title I can’t seem to be able to remember, this book also turned out to be THE WORST BOOK I read in 2022. Legit the worst! I’m sorry to say this because I really enjoyed the first book and I was looking forward to read this one because I saw the potential this series held and I was convinced the author would make use of it in the second installment. But nope! This book… it was all over the place and the characters… oh gods! They all made a 180 degrees turn and I couldn’t comprehend any of their actions. One second they were screaming „BLOODY MURDER“ and the next they wanted peace?! Like WTF!!?? This book was legit one of the most inconsistent books I ever read, filled with even more inconsistent characters and left me with a major and questionmark sized WTAF above my head and a headache made in hell. I so rarely ditch entire series but this one… I won’t pick up book 3. I don’t even care that this book ended on a cliff-hanger. I might be alone with this opinion but I stand by it. Two paws and that is generous! XD

„All the Light We Cannot See“ by Anthony Doerr

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I gave „All the Light We Cannot See“ four paws but it was more like 3,5 for me. I heard so many great things about this book but in the end I wasn’t nearly as much invested in this story as I thought it would be?! I mean it had all the potential to be a great story and to cause me to cry buckets of tears. But it didn’t?! I mean, the plot wasn’t bad and it was a very sad story but for some reason I wasn’t as emotionally invested in this as I should have been? Maybe my expectations were too high after hearing everyone rave about it? Who knows. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

– „Black Butler“ by Yana Toboso

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This was the first volume in the „Black Butler“ manga series, but it didn’t really persuade me to pick it up again. I mean it wasn’t bad but it also wasn’t good enough to sweep me off my feet. Normally when I read a manga the first volume makes me want to dive deeper into the series but this time around this didn’t happen so I guess I just won’t continue to read this series.

The Series:

– „Legendborn“ by Tracy Deonn

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And once again this was a book that turned out to be a big surprise! I didn’t expect to love this arthurian retelling as much as I did but „Legendborn“ had everything I love in my books. An amazing plot, LGBTQIA+ reps, great world-building, an awesome grief rep and most of all Selwyn Kane!!! I love Selwyn and even though Nick is a great guy I’ll be #TeamSelwyn all the way. I’m going to die on this hill and I can’t wait to read book two! ❤

„Lore & Lust“ by Karla Nikole

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I’ve heard a lot about this series before I picked it up and I was a really happy camper when I finally read it. Nino and Haru were amazing and I loved them together. The consent and their from-strangers-to-allies-to-friends-to-lovers relationship was everything! ❤ I love consent in my books and those two were such a great example. Also it’s been a while I read a vampire book and the fact this was m/m made it even better. Very curious about book two which I’m convinced will focus more on the plot this time around.

– „The Extraordinaries“ by TJ Klune

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I legit laughed tears while I read this series! It was one of the most hilarious books I ever read! Just last year a friend of mine and I spoke about how I’m always reading books that are more serious and only have the occasional witty banter, but that I never read books that actually make me laugh. Well, TJ Klune made me laugh so damn much with this super heroes series, you have no idea! I loved it and can’t wait to pick up book two this year!

– „The Heroes of Olympus“ by Rick Riordan

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2022 was the year in which I finished reading „The Heroes of Olympus“ series and I had a blast with those last two books. This series was way more serious than the original Percy Jackson series but I think it fit the age of the characters and I was happy to be introduced to so many new and amazing characters. Leo Valdez and Nico Di Angelo will always be my faves but Hazel was awesome too and Percy and Annabeth will always be great. ❤ I’m so ready to start with „The Trials of Apollo“ this year. XD

– „House of Sky and Breath“ by Sarah J. Maas

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Oh boy did this book kill me! I gotta give it to Sarah J. Maas, this woman can write. I might get annoyed by her excessive use of the word „mate“ and how her characters always seem to lose their individuality once they are mated but she’s still a great writer and her world-building and character development are top-notch. This book might not have blown me away as much as „House of Earth and Blood“ did, but it was still amazing and I think I’ll give it 4 or 5 paws. Not sure yet. Maybe 4,5? I still need to write my review so the jury is still out on that one. *lol* The wait for book 3 is definitely pure torture, though. Uff! According to Goodreads it will be released in 2023 so let’s hope for the best. *fingers crossed*

Rankenzeile

So this was my year 2022 in 15 books! How was your 2022? Was it a good reading year for you? Did you manage to read all the books you wanted to read? Or did you fall into a huge reading slump as well? Are there some books you didn’t manage to read in 2022 and took into 2023?  Let me know in the comments! 😉

And because this has become a tradition too: Just like in the years before I want to give you a chance to throw in some of your book recommendations for My Book List 2023! My goal is to read 45 books in 2023 and the last 5 spots are up to you! Just write me your book recs in the comments and I’ll throw them in a bowl and pull out 5 of them! 😉 

This said I wish you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR and I hope that your 2023 will be awesome and way better than 2022 ever was! ❤ I mean it gotta be better, right?! Right? *lol* And because it’s so important these days: Aside from happines, success, contentment, luck and lots of love I also wish you good health!

Please take care an stay healthy and safe!

*hugs’n’kisses*

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The Sassy Library Fox

Allgemein, K - O, L, Reviews

Review: Lore & Lust (Karla Nikole)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten,5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4

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

Happy reading!

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Extraordinaries (T.J. Klune)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

„Nicky, no.“
“Nicky, yes.”

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

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

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

2

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

Nicky:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seth:

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

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

3
Nicky & his dad:

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

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

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

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

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

Nicky & Seth:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jazz & Gibby:

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

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

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

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

Owen & Nicky:

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

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

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

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