Allgemein, K - O, O, Reviews

Review: One Last Stop (Casey McQuiston)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten,5

Book 26 on My Book List 2021

”Does it ever, like … I don’t know. Make you lonely? To love somebody who can’t meet you there?”
She regrets it immediately, but Annie laughs.
“Sometimes. But, you know, that feeling? When you wake up in the morning and you have somebody to think about? Somewhere for hope to go? It’s good. Even when it’s bad, it’s good.”

Let me get this off my chest before I dive right into my review: I really loved this book! There were so many good topics in here and the found family trope was so strong it made my heart feel full! ❤ Funnily enough despite all that, I didn’t write down all too many quotes and I can’t say a lot about the individual characters. When I read RWARB I had so many quotes and wrote such a long review but when I read “One Last Stop” I didn’t feel like marking all too many passages? I think this is mostly due to the fact that RWARB was a very political book (I mean with a relationship between the son of the president of the USA and the English prince it kinda has to be, right?!) and therefore tackled a lot of important topics. Not that “One Last Stop” didn’t do this too. It was just more subtle and woven into the story so effortlessly that you had to pay attention to actually see the fine nuances. Also this story was definitely more focused on the mystery of Jane’s former life and how she ended up on the train than it was on taking a political stance on important themes.

”I wasn’t a builder. I wasn’t a leader. I was a fighter. I cooked people dinner. I took them to hospital. I stitched them up. But I only stayed long enough to take the good, and I always left when the bad got bad.”

I think this quote just about sums it up! As a lesbian Jane was a part of historical change and basically lived and breathed LGBTQIA+ history before she got stuck on the Q line. This is part of her and her life but it wasn’t the main topic of the book and the question of how exactly Jane landed in a time loop on the train was definitely the focus of the story. This made the book very enjoyable to read and it was easy to page through it and to get carried away by the current of the tale. If you ask me this was actually some sort of mystery with a romance element because even though this book is about August’s and Jane’s love story it’s also about solving Jane’s dilemma of being stuck.

”August’s mom saved one tupperware tub of files on her brother and not a single one of August’s baby pictures.”

Of course there are other plotlines as well and August’s relationship with her mum was one of them. It made me really sad to read about the effect her missing uncle had on their lives and the portrayal of people who never get closure was very realistic. If someone goes missing you can’t say goodbye because you always hold on to the hope that the person is still living so while I understand August’s mum, I still couldn’t help but feel sorry for August. The impact on her life was extreme and it’s no surprise her and her mum didn’t have a good relationship.

The top of Wes’s head pops up from under the table, along with one accusatory finger.
“Nobody asked the fucking Long Island Medium.”
Niko smiles. “Lucky guess. My third eye is closed tonight, baby. but thanks for confirming.”
Wes gapes at him. “I hate you.”

Thankfully August moved in with a bunch of adorably crazy people and I loved them ALL! I swear the found family in this was amazing and I really would have loved to be a part of their group too. Alone their conversations had me cracking up so much and the dynamics between them were chefs kiss. *lol* Niko and Wes were so hilarious and Myla was just precious! I think of all of Augusts friends Niko was my favourite. I loved his humour and the fact that he was such an all knowing medium. XD Niko is also a transgender boy and it really made me happy how unproblematic this revelation was. It was so, so nice to see that brief interaction between him and August. It was a quiet and gentle scene and done so well.

And now comes the topic no one ever seems to talk about when they are talking about “One Last Stop”: The awesome drag queen rep! I mean the queens and their community are a constant part of the entire book and yet I’ve never heard anyone talk about the rep! Not only is there something going on between Wes and Isaiah (aka Annie Depressant) but they play such an important role in the plot as well! I absolutely adored finding out about all the different queens and their performances and how they lived off-stage. They were all Queens and I loved each and every single one of them so much! <333 I kinda loved how McQuiston didn’t only tackle different LGBTQIA+ reps but also let us know about their history and just embedded it into the story. This is great storytelling right there! 😉

”Before August can get the threat out, Jane twists her around, backing her into the doors of the train. She pins August at the hips, shoulders braced against hers, hand wrapped around her racing pulse at the wrist, and August can feel Jane like lightning in her veins.”

And now to the part you probably waited for: The romance between August and Jane! First of all, I loved Jane and I can’t blame August for falling for this girl! I mean Jane is the full package! She’s kind, she’s funny and cheeky, she is bubbly and so many other things, plus I could relate to her. That scene when she danced in the train… could have been me. Honestly. *lol* And secondly, I was such a sucker for the f/f rep! Finally a realistic rep between two women! Usually f/f relationships in books feel wooden or sterile to me but this one was amazing! You could feel their love and longing and I gobbled it up like nobody’s business. XD So thank you Casey McQuiston for gifting us with this awesome representation! Finally an author who knows how to write f/f relationships. ❤

”I look at you, and it feels like I’m realer than I’ve ever been, from right here.” She covers August’s hand with hers. “So big it burns. God, August, it’s beautiful, but it hurts so bad.” And, damningly, “You’re the reason I feel like this.”

Still, I feel like I need to warn you about the PDA in this book because some people might not be okay with it. I mean the book plays on a subway train because Jane is bound to it and it’s a romance so it’s pretty obvious that the MCs are spending all their time together in public. I know some readers might be sensitive to content like this so I decided to mention it in my review as well. For me, personally, it worked. I mean yes, they are kissing and touching and one scene was a little bit too intense for my taste (at least when it’s done like that in public) but the other occupants of the train never seem to notice or care and the real steamy scenes actually almost always (except of that one exception) happen when the train is empty and they are the only passengers. If you pick up the book you should be aware of this! 😉

4
All told I enjoyed “One Last Stop” immensely and I can highly recommend it if you’re in search of a good f/f rep! The paranormal element brought a very unique and nice touch to the story and even though it was a fairly slow tale it still managed to keep me interested. The little newspaper articles and reports at the beginning of every chapters added a realistic depth to the story and I really liked to read them and to find out more about Jane’s past. Also the writing style is easier to get into than it was in RWARB. I loved this and I’m sure a lot of people will end up enjoying this book too! =)

Allgemein, Reviews, U - Z, X

Review: XOXO (Axie Oh)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 6 on My Book List 2022

”A silky shirt clings to his shoulders, and his long legs are clad in smooth black pants. His left arm is in a cast, but a Rolex glints from his right wrist – and are those sleeve tattoos?”

If you’re BTS ARMY and didn’t immediately think of Jungkook when you read this description of Jaewoo then I really dunno. *lol* It was my first thought and from then on out I always pictured JK when I read about him. Don’t judge me, I needed to live vicariously through Jenny’s POV. ;-P I mean which k-pop fan doesn’t dream of meeting their idol and actually being together with them? XD Okay, so this out of the way we can finally talk about the actual book.

”If you need help, you only have to ask.”
There’s a short pause, then he says softly. “If I asked you to save me, would you?”
My heart breaks a little. “I can try.”


I absolutely loved how Jenny and Jaewoo met. I mean a karaoke bar is so fitting for a k-pop idol and those two spent quite a nice night together. Their meet-cute was extremely sweet and I can’t believe Jenny didn’t know who he was. She found out soon enough though and to say the revelation kinda threw her would be an understatement. Jenny was such a great character though and I really liked the way she thought about life and idols in general. Her stance on how fans should respect their idols and their wishes was amazing and I really wish the hard-core fans in the fandom would see it like that too.

”I mean… not exactly that. More like, you need to be strong for yourself first, be healthy and happy for yourself first, before you can be strong and give happiness to others. The healthier and happier you are, the more you can give to your fans, right? They should want that for you.”

I think the majority of k-pop stans (and when I say majority I mean about 90%) want their idols to be happy no matter what they do or who they end up with. I’m no exception to that rule because honestly if any member of BTS would find their significant other I’d be super happy for them. They deserve it! They did so much for ARMY and all I want for them is to be happy and healthy. ❤ Unfortunately not everyone in the fandom is like me though and there are the ugly sides of being an idol as well. Stalker fans (saesangs) and people in the fandom that criticize everything their idols do. People that think they can dictate what their idol wears, who they date or even what haircut they should get. (Let alone all those people that constantly give idols hell for getting tattoos or piercings. They are adults and grown women/men and it is their body! They can do whatever they want! You either love them as they are, because tattoos and piercings are an expression of themselves as well or you just don’t stan them. Period!)

I look up to see Jaewoo walk into the cafeteria … with Sori.
I’ve never seen a more striking pair. They look like they stepped out of a catalogue.
“Is it weird if I take a picture?” Angela asks. “Like as a souvenir for myself. I’ve never seen such great visuals.”


So yeah, sorry about that but everyone who is familiar with k-pop knows that there is a darker side to the fandoms as well. It’s not all bad though and there is an even bigger and lovely side to the fandoms as well. As I said before, about 90% of their fans will support their idols no matter what and will always have their back. 😉 I think the book portrayed the good and the bad sides of the fandoms so well and really captured the essence of being a k-pop fan. Alone the quote above with the visuals was so damn relatable.*lol* And don’t even get me started on the shipping. Haha!

”You’re my boyfriend. Don’t think for a second I haven’t seen all your videos, even the fan-made ones that point out all the evidence that you and Nathaniel are a couple.”
“That’s embarrassing,” Jaewoo says. “And here I thought we were being careful.”


I mean that quote!!! It’s every k-pop group that has a fandom! There will always be ships no matter if it’s among the members in the group or with members of other groups. XD And speaking of the k-pop bands themselves. The representation of XOXO as a k-pop group was more than just accurate too! The way the band members cared about and supported each other was so heart-warming and relatable. Everyone who’s a fan of a k-pop group will know that the members are basically family and that they spend a lot of time together. Most of the times even their youth because they become trainees when they are still very young and the other band members kind of compensate for their real family. So by the end of their trainee days and when they have their debut they are actually already a found family that gives each other strength. =)

”He means so much to a lot of people,” Sun continues, “not just to his family, of course, but to everyone here at Joah. He started training at the company when he was twelve years old. It’s been difficult for him, away from his family for all those years. But he kept on working hard. He’d spend hours in the studio training his body and voice.”

And here’s the moment when I have to admit that I loved XOXO and that I’d definitely become a fan if they’d be a real k-pop band! *lol* All the four members were amazing and no matter if it was Jaewoo, Nathaniel, Sun or Youngmin all of them totally gave me family vibes. =) The description of their roles in the group was typical k-pop too and I had a really soft spot for Youngmin (the maknae) and Sun (their leader and rapper). Of course Nathaniel and Jaewoo were amazing as well and they all complemented one another and made their group unique.

”I have to go make apologies on behalf of the group. Of course that’s my job as the leader, to protect our members. I’ll always protect them, even from themselves.”

This all out of the way, I guess it’s finally time to speak about the elephant in the room: The love story between Jenny and Jaewoo! Those two were super adorable and I really can’t blame Jenny for dating Jaewoo in secret. I suppose for k-pop idols that’s the only way because as I said not everyone in the fandom will be happy about their idol dating. Not that it’s a lot different in Western countries, but I think it’s become more normal for stars to date people and even though there is always a huge fuss about who is dating who they usually don’t get death threats or shit storms for it anymore. K-pop idols don’t have love interests though (at least not according to their label and in public) and therefore would have to hide their relationships from their fans.

I hook my arms around his neck. “What are we stealing?” I can feel Jaewoo’s grin against my lips.
“Time?” he suggests. He must mean it as a joke, but it’s actually the very thing we’re trying to steal. Moments like this are so few and far between.


I think that’s actually the only negative thing I can say about “XOXO”, it was too realistic! *lol* Jenny and Jaewoo sneaking around and kissing secretly in a broom closet always trying to make room to see each other and to make their relationship work. It was too damn realistic! I wanted to see more of their relationship and what I got was reality smack right in the face. XD They had different schedules and other responsibilities and their little moments were few and far between. So exactly the way it would have been if a real idol would have dated a cello prodigy. On the one hand I really appreciated this realistic approach but on the other hand it kinda dampened my enjoyment of the book a little because I was always left wanting for more. This ultimately resulted in the fact that I got the feeling their relationship developed way too fast for the couple of little moments they actually spent together. Maybe there happened a lot of things off-page but those moments on page were the things I actually wanted to read about and I think because of that imbalance I didn’t ship them as much as I ship other bookish couples.

”You have a schedule too. We need to practice or we won’t be ready for the showcase. I thought you said you needed something unique to stand out in your portfolio. Are you really going to blow your chances of a future, a long-term one, for a guy who can never, I mean never, put you first?”

Don’t get me wrong, they were super cute, but their relationship didn’t really sweep me off my feet and I didn’t get all those gushy sweet romantic feels I usually get when I ship a couple. *lol* You know all those “Awww” or “AKDFASDFLJASLDFAJSDFKS!” moments. XD Speaking of relationships: I really appreciated Jenny’s and Sori’s friendship as well but I didn’t really understand where Sori was coming from when it came to Nathaniel. 

spoilerI mean that boy was crazy for her and definitely wanted to date her and be her bf but she didn’t give in because she was an idol herself?! It was so obvious that Sori had feelings for Nathaniel too and I just couldn’t understand how those two couldn’t date. I mean I got where Sori was coming from but if Jenny and Jaewoo managed to date, they could have easily done the same thing. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. I really didn’t get it. Still don’t.

4

“XOXO” was a really great book and a very realistic one at that. I loved all the Korean phrases, food and k-pop knowledge that went into the story and I lived and breathed for the glimpses of Seoul life! The fact that the book didn’t just address the positive but also the negative sides of the k-pop industry was amazing and I really liked all of the characters and their different personalities! If you’re a k-pop fan (or a music trope fan in general) this book is definitely for you and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as well! Happy reading! =)

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Map to You (Rachel Stockbridge)

Trigger warnings:parental neglect, drug abuse, addiction (of a parent), heavy drinking

 

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

**I got this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much for giving me a chance to read this book! All the quotes mentioned in my review are from the ARC and might not be in the final version of the book.**

Kinsey allowed herself a slight smolder as she leaned in another inch. “What would you do if I was?”
“I – What?” Sasha stammered, her gaze dropping to Kinsey’s lips.

When I requested the ARC for this book I wanted to read a fluffy and light f/f romance and the cover of the book looked like it would be exactly the kind of book I was searching for. So the big question is: Did I get fluffy and light-hearted? Well, yes , to some extent I did, but I also got some serious topics I didn’t expect and this certainly made the book an even more interesting read. At least for me it did. I always enjoy it if bookish characters have a background story and both characters; Kinsey as well as Sasha delivered on that front. Both in a very different manner, but still in a way that added quite some substance to the story.

”She just had to focus. Stay in control. Get Kinsey to Charlotte, stop being so damn weird, and maybe she could stop things from deteriorating further. Or at least refrain from grabbing Kinsey by the waist and kissing her as best she knew how.”

What I really loved about this book was the flirty and easy banter between the two MCs. It’s so rare to see an f/f couple flirt like that on page and I personally lived and breathed for it. Honestly, there could have been even more of those scenes and I’d have been an even happier camper. The author made sure to give us the right mixture of push and pull though so I can’t really complain about it. Another thing I liked was the fact that Kinsey and Sasha were friends long before they became a thing and since the friends-to-lovers trope is still so rare in literature I really appreciated that the author went for it. It was extremely wholesome to see a couple that knew each other’s habits and quirks and had absolutely no problems to handle them. =)

”The Hans were everything Sasha always wished her own family could have been. Everything she’d given up on. That feeling of belonging. Of safety. Of easy, unconditional love. She’d stopped wishing for it so long ago she’d forgotten how much she’d wanted it.”

But of course not everything in the book was sunshine and rainbows and the darker and serious topics were a constant presence that wove like a red thread through the entire storyline. Sasha’s bad experiences made her the person she was though and they made her character even more real and complex. Whenever Sasha’s past was mentioned I felt really sad for her and I think no kid should ever have to suffer the way she did. Of course it was also very frustrating to see how she tried to shut everything out and sometimes I became as exasperated with her as Kinsey. There were really some moments I just wanted to make her listen so that she’d finally understand, yet at the same time I totally got where she was coming from. With a past like that it’s not easy to trust others and Sasha’s constant struggle to open up and to fight against her inner demons wasn’t only comprehensible but also palpable throughout the entire book. 

4

All told I really enjoyed reading “The Map to You”! I didn’t expect the book to have such heavy topics and some parts were really stressful to read, the strong friendships and the two MCs did a great job at managing to balance the serious topics though. So if you want to read a book with a cute love story that also has some rough edges to it this one might be the perfect fit for you. 😉

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, S

Review: Sorcery of Thorns (Margaret Rogerson)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

Book 37 on My Book List 2022

”Books, too, had hearts, though they were not the same as people’s, and a book’s heart could be broken: she had seen it happen before. Grimoires that refused to open, their voices gone silent, or whose ink faded and bled across the pages like tears.”

This book was brilliant and absolutely amazing! Legit the best book I read in in 2022 so far and definitely one of the biggest bookish surprises I ever read. I mean I knew I’d enjoy “Sorcery of Thorns” because alone the idea of libraries full of grimoires – books that talk and feel and can turn into monsters and therefore need to be guarded – sounded too awesome not to pick it up. What really surprised me actually wasn’t the world building (even though I’ve to admit that it’s marvellous considering the fact that this is a standalone) but the great characters that live in this unique world!

Honestly I totally fell in love with all of them and Elisabeth, Nathaniel and especially Silas own my heart! ❤ I never read a Margaret Rogerson book before but you can bet that I’m going to pick up her other books as well. 😉 I just loved that we had Magisters (sorcerers) and wardens as well as demons and grimoires in this story. It’s a combination I’ve never seen before and this made the world building very intriguing for me. Still, what I loved the most were the characters and I was kind of blown away by them being so multi-layered and complex. This book could have easily been turned into an entire series and I would have gobbled it up like nobody’s business. *lol*

Which brings me right to the only thing I didn’t like about “Sorcery of Thorns”: There just wasn’t enough of it!!! The world building would have had so much potential to be even more lush and elaborate and the characters… they could have easily carried a second, a third, maybe even a fourth book. WHY MARGARET!? Why isn’t there more of this beautiful and amazing story that swept me off my feet!!?? Especially with THIS ending!!!! AKSDFASDJFASDFJASKFD! Okay, I’m good again. Just needed to let it out. *lol* I guess I’ll just head to my characters section – aka the spoilery spoiler section – now and rave over there. 😉

2

Welcome to Austermeer! Our lovely country that’s full of Great Libraries, grimoires, sorcerer’s, wardens and demons. Be our guest and enjoy everything we have to offer. Well, maybe not everything: Don’t accept deals with demons, it won’t only cost you precious years of your life but also will give them the means to relentlessly spoil you with their knowledge! You’ve been warned, this is the point of no return. ;-P

Nathaniel Thorn:

”I’m going to turn you into a salamander.”
“You can do that?” she whispered. “Truly?”
“Of course.” A wicked gleam entered his eyes. “But I only turn girls into salamanders on Tuesdays. Luckily for you, it’s a Wednesday, which is the day I drink a goblet of orphan’s blood for supper.”

Haha! Nathaniel was such a great character and exactly my cup of tea! *lol* I mean a young, powerful, funny and handsome sorcerer with rough edges but a heart of gold who tries to keep everyone away from himself in order to protect them! Yep, totally the kind of character I usually dig. I should have loved Nathaniel and I did, but funnily enough I didn’t love him as much as I loved Silas. XD Because, well, Silas!! ❤ Anyway! Nathaniel was great and I absolutely adored him and could see why Elisabeth as well as Silas liked him so much. Also he definitely had one of the best lines in the book and even turned out to be a bi icon!!! Seriously, I screamed when he delivered that line to Elisabeth!!! *lol* I really wish we could have seen more of him, but even though he’s clearly one of the MCs in the book, he actually didn’t have a lot of scenes in the story?! Which was sort of refreshing because he is a solitary and secluded character and spends a lot of time in his study and therefore didn’t socialize with the others. I think this added to his credibility and made him feel like a real person. So kudos to Rogerson for making him that way!

”I like girls too, Scrivener.” Amusement danced in Nathaniel’s eyes. “I like both. If you’re going to fantasize about my love life, I insist you do so accurately.”

”But you stayed with me. And selfishly, I was glad – I had never wanted anything more in my life. Damn you,” he said. “You unmanageable, contrary creature. You have made me believe in something at last. It feels as wretched as I imagined.”

Elisabeth Scrivener:

”But who would believe her? She now understood that the world wasn’t kind to young women, especially when they behaved in ways men didn’t like, and spoke truths that men weren’t ready to hear.”

Ahh Elisabeth! The fierce and compassionate heroine of the story! Elisabeth was the MC of the book and it was told through her POV. She was one hell of an amazing character and I loved that she refused to be intimidated by her enemies. She always stood her ground and did what felt right for her even though this often caused her a lot of trouble and made her life extremely dangerous and difficult. She had integrity and stood up for her convictions and she didn’t allow herself to be guided by her prejudices. What a WOMAN! <333 Can we have more female MCs like her?! =)

”You’ve been attacked, violated, tormented, left on the streets to starve. The odds you face are impossible. If you continue down this path, you’ll die. Why won’t you just give up?”
She stared. Was that a thing people did – just gave up? When there was so much in the world to love, to fight for? “I cannot,” she said fiercely. “I never will.”

”She thinks he acted under Nathaniel’s orders. And as simply as that, Elisabeth realized no one would ever appreciate Silas’s final act. It was not a story that anyone would believe. He had vanished from the world like mist, leaving nothing behind except rumors: the dreadful creature that had served House Thorn.
The injustice of it overwhelmed her, stung her eyes like needles. For a long time she sat in silence, her head bowed, blinking back tears.“

Silas:

„I am a demon,“ he said. „You cannot see me as anything more.“

And now we come to the secret star of the book and the person who owns my heart, my body, my soul and my entire being: Enter Silas, Nathaniel’s demonic servant! <333 I AM IN LOVE WITH SILAS!!! Because he’s the most precious soul and I just want him to be happy! He should be with the people he loves but even this comes with a price and because it’s in his nature he can’t do anything against it. It broke my heart to see how deeply he cared for Nathaniel and how much it hurt him to take those years of his life from him. T_T He’s such a complex and intriguing character because despite all odds he started to care for Nathaniel and even loved him. In my eyes Silas is no demon but an angel and I really hope the ending means what I think it means!!! Also it left an opportunity for a second book and I so, so, so, so want a second book!!! I can’t emphasise this enough! Can we have it? Pleaseeeee!!! XD *dies*

”Yes,” he whispered, as if she saw the truth at last. “You see, there is no absolution, no penance, for a creature such as I.” His eyes shone bright with pain. “You could strike me down and the blow would only harm another.”

3

Elisabeth & Nathaniel:

”You used a demonic incantation to pack my stockings!”
He raised an eyebrow. “You’re right, that doesn’t sound like something a proper evil sorcerer would do. Next time, I won’t fold them.”

Those two gave me life and their interactions were hilarious! It started with their first meeting at the library and only continued to be funny from there. I swear they had some of the best conversations in this book and they never ceased to amuse me. The fact Elisabeth thought Nathaniel was an evil sorcerer led to a lot of misunderstandings and hilarious observations and I lived and breathed for them. Of course Nathaniel couldn’t help but add fuel to the fire and this quite often caused me to chuckle while I read the book. Due to Nathaniel’s secluded nature and his efforts to stay away from Elisabeth they didn’t have a lot of scenes together but whenever they did Margaret Rogerson made sure to make them count! They always packed a punch and if you ask me that’s great story writing right there! 😉 Also I loved that the characters stayed true to their nature because even when Nathaniel admits his feelings for Elisabeth he still continues to be his grumpy self and calls her a creature and terror. *lol* Love the dynamic of those two. ❤

„I see you’ve been spending a great deal of time alone with Magister Thorn. Has he declared his intentions?“
„I wish he would,“ Elisabeth said. „He hardly makes sense half the time. Knowing his intentions would be helpful.“
Nathaniel made a choking sound.

”She didn’t want him to stop. She had never been touched like this before. His hands left impressions across her skin like the trails of comets, urgent and tingling, her body yearning for more. A breathless ache filled her chest. The intensity of the sensation overwhelmed her.”

„Beneath her touch, a tremor ran through him. He looked at her as though he were drowning, as though she had been the one to push him, and he did not know what to do. “Elisabeth,” he said, her name wrong from him as a plea.“

Nathaniel’s brow furrowed. He turned his face to the side and blinked several times. “Thank god,” he said finally. “I don’t think unrequited love would have suited me. I might have started writing poetry.”
Elisabeth continued stroking his hair. “That doesn’t sound so bad.”
“I assure you, it would have proven more unpleasant for everyone than necromancy.”

Elisabeth & Silas:

”What sort of dreadful things?” she whispered.
Without any effort, Silas lifted her into his arms. “It is better if you do not know,” he murmured, almost too softly for her to hear.

I loved how they formed such a strong bond! Silas hid his love for Nathaniel (and Elisabeth) extremely well but Elisabeth was a very perceptive character and easily saw through him. They had so many lovely and touching moments together but I think my favourite scene was when Nathaniel was knocked out cold and they had that talk in the kitchen. Such an ordinary scene yet it was extraordinary because of the impactful message it conveyed. This was such a simple and powerful moment – I adored it so much! Also I loved how gentle and considerate Silas was. At first he extended his love for Nathaniel to Elisabeth and saved her because he knew Nathaniel cared about her but gradually we can see the change in his feelings and how he starts to appreciate Elisabeth as well. How he slowly but steadily begins to love her too. <333 So beautifully written, I can’t even! If you can read between the lines their friendship is everything!

”Silas,” she gasped. “I’m so glad to see you.”
„Curious. That is not what people usually say to me at a time like this.“
„What do they usually say?“
„Generally they cry, or wet themselves.“

”You aren’t well,” he said softly. “How long have you had this fever?”
When she didn’t reply, unsure, he began to unbutton his jacket. She shook her head as he moved to tuck it around her. “I’ll get your clothes dirty,” she protested.
“It matters not, miss. Up you come.”

Nathaniel & Silas:

”Since when do you care about the welfare of a human being?”
“I am not the one who cares,” Silas said softly.
“What is that supposed to mean?”
“You care about her, master, more than I have seen you care about anything in years. Don’t attempt to deny it,” he added when Nathaniel opened his mouth.

MY HEART!!! It was attacked by the deep love those two felt for each other and sometimes it even took my breath away! Like ARGH!!! Seriously, you’d think the most interesting relationship in this book would be the ship of Elisabeth and Nathaniel but nope! The most interesting relationship in “Sorcery of Thorns” was actually the bond between Nathaniel and Silas! They aren’t just bound by their pact but also by their mutual love and trust for each other and it was so beautiful to behold. Like so, so beautiful to see!!! They both suffered so much and they both did it in different ways but I absolutely adored that they still stayed together. Silas was tormented by his nature and the fact that he didn’t only have to kill Nathaniel’s father but that he also had to take 20 years of his new master’s life and Nathaniel was tantalized by the memories of his father’s death and his traumatic childhood. They both hurt and they lost so much but what kept them going was their love for each other. <333 The only other relationship I can think of that was equally deep and meaningful and that was between two male book characters is the one between Will Herondale and James Carstairs. So yes, that says A LOT!! GAH! I just adore them! ❤

„Nathaniel drank. When he finished, he squeezed his eyes shut and slumped back against the headboard. His face twisted as if he were trying to stop himself from weeping, and his hand sought Silas’s and clasped it tightly.”

”First, I learned to make tea,” he said finally, speaking more to himself than to her. “When humans wish to help, they are forever offering each other tea.”

”The snow had begun overnight, shortly after Nathaniel had woken screaming and delirious from a nightmare, and then subsided shivering in Silas’s arms.”

4

Every year there comes a book that knocks it out of the park for me and as it seems this year it was “Sorcery of Thorns”. Yes, I heard a great deal about how amazing this book is and many people raved about it, but I never expected to love it as much as I did! I enjoy reading standalones every now and then, but I never seem to enjoy them as much as I enjoy series. Well, I guess this book taught me that I can get addicted to standalones as well. XD I loved this and if Margaret Rogerson ever decides to go for a second book I’ll be faster than “The Flash” and buy it for my private collection! You just watch! ;-P

A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

Review: A Small Hotel (Suanne Laqueur)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

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

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

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

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

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

4

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

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: Tweet Cute (Emma Lord)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 38 on My Book List 2021

“You know, for someone named Pepper, you’re pretty salty about losing.”
She groans at my pun as she shoves her hair back into the cap, but then counters, “For someone named Jack, you’re pretty bad at knowing when to hit the road.”
“Wow, Burger Princess, sick burn.”

Haha! I really loved those two and their “enemies-to friends-to lovers” relationship was amazing! This is how it’s done, people! ;-P Still, before I go into more detail about this book I’ve to give you a fair warning: Don’t read this when you’re hungry because you’ll regret it! I didn’t have such strong cravings for sweet food ever since I read “Heartless”! And I mean it!!! All the talk about Monster Cake or Kitchen Sink Macaroons! AHHH!! *drools* See! I’m already craving sweets again. XD So whatever you do, don’t read this when you’re hungry!

”Just one more bite?”
I grin into my locker door, so he can’t see. “You sound like a junkie.”
“I might be one now, and it’s kind of your fault. So you have a responsibility to keep supplying. Or I’ll go into withdrawal.”

Please can someone supply me too? Haha! Anyway! Regardless of my cravings this book was super cute and the characters were extremely adorable together. When I started to read this I wanted a light rom-com that would be fun and fast to page through and I guess I got exactly what I needed. Well, truth be told, I got a little more than that though. Some of the topics that were addressed in here were actually pretty serious and I’ve to give Emma Lord kudos for including them so effortlessly into the plot.

”And that’s my grandma’s legacy. That’s my entire family’s livelihood. Don’t you dare stand there and tell me it isn’t personal.”

So aside from the fierce Twitter war that’s been going on throughout the entire book “Tweet Cute” also tackled a lot of topics you wouldn’t expect. Like for instance the matter of a family business when you have two heirs that could inherit it. The troubles of one sibling that always feels left out because the other one seems to be the centre of the universe everyone is revolving around, the struggle of getting by with a small business, and the struggle of maintaining a huge business while trying to remember your roots and originals. Not to mention all the family dynamics that are a big part of this book as well. 😉

”It’s the fact that my dad can flip from telling me he expects me to run this place and then treating it like a punishment in the next heartbeat that really gets me. To me, it’s yet another spoken confirmation of an unspoken thing – that Ethan’s the twin destined for greatness, and I’m the one who will stick around and deal with whatever he leaves in his wake.”

If I’m entirely honest I kind of disliked Pepper’s mother for a long part of the book because I just didn’t understand her actions and why she would let her teenage daughter deal with such things. Even after finishing the book I still think that the relationship between Pepper and her mom was imbalanced and somehow off. I mean I would have never done that to my daughter. She expected so much of Pepper and put her under a lot of pressure without even thinking about what this would entail. And even when she realized her mistake she blamed Pepper’s bad grades on her friendship with Jack instead of acknowledging the big elephant in the room, namely that her obsession with the Twitter account was responsible for Pepper slacking off at school. Like how can you be so blind and unfair? I guess I’ll never become a fan of her.

My mom holds up a finger. “Hush. I’m having a moment over here.” Pepper snorts as my mom finishes having said moment, and then turns to Pepper, her fingers still sticky with cake, and says, “You are welcome to this kitchen any day of the week for the rest of your damn life.” Before Pepper can respond, she turns to me and says, “But if you don’t clean up this disaster, yours, my dear, is over.”

Jack and Ethan’s mom on the other hand! *lol* I loved that woman to bits and pieces! ❤ She was such a great mom and she really tried her best to be there for her sons while running a business and providing for her kids. Their father was okay too but he obviously made quite a lot of mistakes. Unlike Pepper’s mom he learned from them though and tried to make it better. Also can we acknowledge the amazingness of Grandma Belly?! That granny is made of awesome sauce and she always made me laugh! <33

”They’re here for your grilled cheese,” I told her.
She fixed me with a look, crossing a leg on the massive armchair she spent most of her time in and raising a single eyebrow at me. “Not unless you changed my secret ingredient to cocaine, they’re not.”

You just gotta love her directness and no bullshit attitude! *lol*

4

All told, I really enjoyed “Tweet Cute” and it was exactly what I needed. I was looking for a cute and light rom-com and that’s what I got. The fact that it also touched on more serious topics was the icing on the cake! And now excuse me when I finally give into my cravings and eat a delicious cupcake. ;-P

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Gravity of Us (Phil Stamper)

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Rating: 3 Pfoten

”Look, I’m sorry you won’t be able to play on social media anymore, but this is real life.”
I choke back a laugh. “Real life? I have to give up my journalism, plus my entire life, because a reality show says so. You really think what I do is less ‘real’ than StarWatch?”

I think in many ways “The Gravity of Us” was different than I expected it to be and after thinking about it for a while and letting the book sink in I decided to give it 3 stars. Don’t get me wrong, 3 stars is still good and when you look it up in my rating system it will say that the plot and the characters were good but that I had some minor issues with the book. Which is exactly what happened in here. I really enjoyed the book but there were also some things I can’t overlook and need to address in my review. I have no idea if other people already did that but since this was Phil Stampers debut I’ll just add my two cents and hope that if he ever stumbles upon this review it will help him to write even more amazing books in the future. Because when it comes down to it “The Gravity of Us” was really good and a great debut. =)

So this said let’s talk about the awesome things in the book! First of all I’ve to say that I loved to get an inside look into press work. We didn’t just get a good glimpse at what it means to be an influencer/journalist on social media but also an idea of how big TV channels handle the stories they talk about. I really liked the ambivalence of a social media channel that is focused on telling the truth and trying to give people an inside look at the scientific facts vs. a TV show that only aims to get the hottest gossip and the highest click rate. And I’m not gonna lie, John Farrow and his Shooting Stars show really made me angry. It’s the perfect example of how inhuman people can become if they only see dollar signs. (view spoiler)

”I start taking note of everyone’s expressions: crisp, practiced, perfect. Are they all that good at faking it? Or do they actually buy into all this? I’m looking for a flaw, but I can’t find the reality behind the show.”

The second recurring theme of the book I really enjoyed was the background history of space travel and all the science that was a part of the story line as well. Whenever his father spoke about NASA and the history of space travel you could feel his enthusiasm and what it meant for him to be a part of this Mars mission and project. I found this to be very interesting and as someone who only heard the legends of the moon landing but never really knew about all the details – like for instance the fact that there was an entire village for the astronauts and their families – this was super intriguing. “The Gravity of Us” got me so curious that I decided to dig a little bit deeper into the history of space flight and to find out more about it. It’s definitely an interesting topic to dive into. =)

”But with Leon, the burning in my chest has never been so perfectly bright. So clear.”

As much as I enjoyed the focus on media, science and history I still have to say that this was probably also the reason why some of the other topics of this story fell kind of flat. For instance the love story between Leon and Cal felt very insta-lovey and didn’t have a lot of substance. I’m aware there’s only so much you can do when you want to write a believable relationship in a 300+ pages book, but those two were just going way too fast for my taste. Plus Cal never asked Leon if he was okay with revealing their relationship like that and consent (especially when all eyes are on you and you belong to the LGBTQ+ community) is very important. Another topic I would have liked to read more about was the mental health representation (anxiety & depression). It was broached with Cal’s mother and with Leon but Stamper never really dug any deeper. It was mentioned on the surface but in the overall story it was more like a footnote than an actual rep. I mean they both got help and therapy which is a good thing, but considering how severe the anxiety of Cal’s mom was I found it a little bit unrealistic? I know I’m probably a bean counter now, but I think that if you bring up a topic you also have to dare to address it and to dig deeper. Then again this is probably personal preference and I’m sure a lot of other people didn’t see it as an issue.

”I’m the one who does the fixing. I’m unfazed, unbothered. My resolve is a freaking rock.
But the rock is breaking. It’s cracked and worn, and I know it. But if Dad comes home and things get okay again, I can handle it.”

Which brings me right to the characters. I know Cal had a lot on his plate but I still can’t get over the fact that he basically ignored his best friend from the moment he became part of the Mars mission. I mean Deb was his bestie and went through so much but he didn’t even think about her? It’s something I really couldn’t relate to because my besties know about everything that happens in my life. (I’m being a bean counter again, aren’t I? *lol*) Anyway! The last thing I need to mention is the relationship between Cal and his father. I still don’t know how I feel about it because there was such a massive shift in where it started and where it ended that I have no idea if I liked it or not. I mean at the beginning of the book I couldn’t understand how Cal’s father could disregard his son’s life and social media presence so much because fathers should always support their children. But at the end of the book I realized that Cal and his mother didn’t support the dream of Cal’s dad either. They didn’t even believe that he would be able to become a part of the mission and when he did they were angry at him for uprooting them from their lives. So yeah, I understand both sides and I don’t know on which one I would stand. I guess it’s good I don’t have to choose sides because it worked out well for everyone in the end?! *lol*

4

All told “The Gravity of Us” was a really good story and I read it pretty fast. It’s was an enjoyable read I could pick up whenever I felt like it and no matter how long it took me to get back to the book, I never lost the thread. XD I loved the science, space travel history and the social media angle and I’m definitely looking forward to Phil Stampers next book! He’s an author to watch out for and I’m sure his next book will be even better! =)

Allgemein, F, F - J, Reviews

Review: Felix Ever After (Kacen Callender)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten,5

Book 14 on My Book List 2021

”If the world was perfect, maybe we wouldn’t need labels. But the world isn’t perfect, and labels can really be a source of pride – especially when we’ve got to deal with so much crap.”

I rarely say this about books, but every once in a while – when a book is really, really good – I make an exception and actually tell everyone and their grandma that they should read this book! So I’m sure you already guessed it: “Felix Ever After” is exactly that kind of book! It is so, so, so good and I want everyone to read it because it’s not only important but also tackles so many different topics. Every issue, every rep and every single topic that is addressed in here is handled so carefully and with so much respect that I couldn’t help but fall head over heels for this book!

Kacen Callender didn’t just write a book, they also wrote characters that will stay with me for a long time and I find myself unable to express how meaningful this is! “Felix Ever After” was such a thought-provoking story and it made me think a lot about my own identity and how others perceive me, how I see myself and how I want to be seen by others. If that makes sense?! My poor Yoongi received a lot of very deep WhatsApp messages (sometimes at the oddest hours) while I read this book because it really made me reflect on my own identity and how I define myself! XD

I have no idea if other people who read this made the same experience but for me it was definitely somewhat cathartic?! *lol* Also I think that Kacen might be ARMY because they mentioned BTS twice in this book and the message of “love yourself” is very strong in “Felix Ever After”. And everyone who knows BTS knows that they have been preaching to “love yourself” for years! ❤ No matter if Kacen is truly a fan of BTS or not, I really loved the strong message of accepting yourself the way you are and of not being afraid to show the world your true self! =) So alone because of this “Felix Ever After” is amazing and needs to be read! This said let’s finally head to my characters section, because I have lots of things to talk about!

2

I don’t know if I still have to say this but for everyone who’s new to my reviews I’ll just give the usual warning: Welcome to my spoilery spoiler section in which I talk about the characters in depth and discuss important parts of the book! If you don’t want to be spoiled: Well, that was your official warning. Make haste! ;-P

Felix:

”I mean, I WANT to be in love. That’s something I’ve always wanted to feel. What’s it like, to be in love and have that other person love you, too? Is it another level of friendship? Another level of trust, vulnerability, always telling that person your thoughts and feelings, sharing every little thing with them so that you’re so in sync that it’s like you’re one person? Is it like every time you see them, your heart goes wild, and you can’t think because you’re so effing happy?”

Felix Love was such a sweet character! I loved the way he saw the world and how he could get lost in his art! Felix’s longing to fall in love and to find out who he truly is was so palpable and I found myself rooting for him so much. He had to deal with a lot of crap just because he wanted to be who he really is and I admired him for his strength to go through with it and to stand firm to his opinions and believes. What I really could relate to was his journey of self-discovery and that he continued to question his identity. I think that’s such an important thing to do if you’re uncertain where you stand on that huge spectrum called LGBTQAI+! We are all so diverse and it’s so important to make peace with yourself and to accept yourself. Sometimes you need labels to do that I was glad Felix found the perfect definition for himself. =)

”I was hurt this summer, hurt more than I thought I ever could be. It could’ve been easy to say I was hurt because I’m trans, because someone singled me out for my identity, but there’s something weird about that – something off, about suggesting that my identity is the thing that brought me any sort of pain. It’s the opposite. Being trans brings me love. It brings me happiness. It gives me power.” Ezra’s biting his lip as he grins at me. I shrug a little. “It makes me feel like I’m a god. I wouldn’t change myself for anything.”

Ezra:

”Never mind,” I say quickly, hiding my head in my folded arms, lying down on my stomach.
“No, hey,” Ezra said. “Okay, I don’t really know what you mean, because I’ve never really questioned my gender identity before – but that doesn’t mean I’m not listening. It’s okay to keep questioning, isn’t it?”

Okay, I admit it: I am in love with Ezra!!! He’s one of the best besties I ever read about. Like seriously! Everyone should have a bestie who is as supportive and loyal as Ez! No matter what happened, he always got Felix’s back and he did it without expecting anything in return. This is the definition of unconditional love and if you look it up in the dictionary you should see Ezra’s name next to the word! Even when he didn’t exactly get what Felix meant or where he was coming from he still tried his best to understand him and that’s #friendshipgoals right there!! The only time he was acting awkward, was when his feelings got in his way and quite honestly I can cut him some slack there because he’s just human and it couldn’t have been easy to deal with everything that was on his plate! Ezra is the best! Period!! Go find yourself a bf like him! *lol* <333

Declan:

”I look at the moon, and I can’t help but think of everyone else on the planet who’s looking up at it, too, and how alone I am, even though we’re all here on the same Earth. I think about the fact that we should all be connected, but we’re not. We’re too preoccupied trying to hurt each other. It makes me think of how hypocritical I can be, and the mistakes I’ve made, and the ways I’ve hurt people, too.”

I think Declan might be the epitome of “Still waters run deep.”  At the beginning of the book I would have never thought that he would be such a deep person but the more we got to know him through Felix’s chats with him, the more I started to like him. He was just a very confused and lonely boy and he basically wore his armour in front of everyone else so no one could get to him and hurt him. I think Declan is a very tragic character because his dysfunctional relationship with his parents caused him to shy away from the world. His grandpa made up for all of his parents faults though! Gosh, I loved his grandpa and how he supported his gay grandchild with everything he had! Please, the world needs more grandparents like that! <333

”He was pretty abusive. Not physically, but emotionally. He always made me feel like I was worthless, you know?  He does the same shit to my mom, and she doesn’t fight back. She just does whatever he says. She didn’t fight for me when he kicked me out. It took a while to heal from that. I’m still kind of healing, I guess. And it’s stupid, but – even though he hurt me so much, and even though I know he isn’t healthy for me, I still want him to love me. It’s so fucked-up, I know it is.”

grandequeen69:

”I heard that your mom abandoned you.
I would, too, if I had a daughter that was pretending to be a boy.”

I hated grandequeen69 with a fierce passion and I can’t believe how the person behind the account could write things like that! They were hurtful and disrespectful and just cruel and mean! How could you do something like that to a person who’s just trying to be who they are?! UGH! I don’t get it! I was not surprised about the identity of the person behind grandqueen69, but I was very surprised that someone who has to fight against prejudices every day would actually believe and say things like that. It was disappointing and just like Felix I felt this like a physical blow. >_<

Marisol:

”Well,” she said, “you deciding to be a guy instead of a girl feels inherently misogynistic.” She told me, “You can’t be a feminist and decide you don’t want to be a woman anymore.”

And once again I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read this! I mean Marisol is a lesbian! How could she even believe something like that?!!! What does being a woman have to do with being feminist??!! You don’t have to be a woman to be feminist! I know plenty of men that are feminists and support women and their rights! Like what the hell!!!?? And how is transitioning into a man misogynistic?! I mean EXCUSE ME LADY BUT I’M GOING TO KICK YOUR BUTT FOR A STATEMENT LIKE THAT! Seriously if I would have been Felix I would have given her hell for this. I was really glad Ez did that for me! XD

3

Felix & Declan:

”I hope you tell me who you are.
Because this is what’s weirdest of all. Sorry in advance.
But I think I might be falling for you.”

I had the slight feeling that this ship wouldn’t sail and I was right. Felix and Declan were just too contrary and the way their “love story” began was too complicated to actually go for the real deal. I mean Declan had every right to be hurt by Felix’s actions and if you go into a relationship with preconditions like that nothing good can come out of it. I was a huge fan of their developing friendship though and I really hope that they’ll be friends in future. =)

”He’s watching me again. I’ve never seen anyone look at me like that – so unabashedly, so unapologetically, so like he doesn’t give a fuck that I know he wants me, like he’s almost laughing at me, because he knows I want him, too.”

Felix & Ezra:

”Ezra sees me clutching myself against the ice-cold air, so he puts an arm over my shoulders. He’s my best friend – only friend, since I started at St. Catherine’s three years ago. We’re not together like that, not in any way, shape, or form, but everyone else always gets the wrong idea.“

I LOVED THOSE TWO SO MUCH!!! <333 Alone the way they acted when they were around each other. They were so familiar with each other and the way the other moved, they knew exactly what the other needed when they were stressed and they were so gentle and sweet! Like OMO! They were totally in sync and I basically shipped them from page one when they were in the subway and everyone thought they were a couple. *lol* Truth be told I was kind of surprised Felix never realized that Ez is in love with him, because for me as a reader it was so obvious! Then again it probably was supposed to be like that. XD Also can we appreciate the slow-burn from friends to lovers trope in here! Which is one of my favourite tropes ever but is so rarely portrayed in books! ❤ Kacen did an amazing job with those two and they gave me all the butterflies in my stomach! Ahh Felix’s and Ezra’s relationship/friendship was so wholesome I could cry! T_T

„I don’t want Ezra to see, but of course he notices. He throws an arm over my shoulder, pulling me close to his side, making it difficult to walk as I keep stumbling into him. He doesn’t say anything. Just kisses the top of my head.“

”I love Ezra. I know that I do. It’s been a slower realization, since Ezra told me he has feelings for me – a realization that just as long as Ezra’s been in love with me, I’ve probably been in love with him. The sort of love I have for Ez – it’s the kind of love that fills me so much that I can’t stop thinking about him. It’s the sort of love that makes me wish that I could touch him, hug him, kiss him again.”

”I liked the way my heart started beating harder, liked Ezra’s fingers on my waist… Now, suddenly, everything feels different.”

”I wanted to fall in love, but I didn’t want to risk the kind of love that’d fill me with excitement and joy. I know that love. It’s the kind of love I feel when I think about Ezra – when he laughs one of his loud-as-fuck laughs and when he says stupid shit when he’s high and when he holds me to his chest while we sleep. I love Ezra. I love him so much, it scares me.”

Felix & his father:

”We never talk about it. How he doesn’t like saying the name Felix out loud. How he’ll always slip up and use the wrong pronouns, and not bother to correct himself. How some nights, when he’s had a little too much whiskey or beer, he’ll tell me that I’ll always be his daughter, his little girl.”

I know Felix’s father might have had his faults but at the end of the day he’s still a good father because he supported his son with everything he had. He might not have been able to understand the importance of Felix transition and how crucial it was for him to be addressed with the right pronouns but he was trying really hard to do everything he could in order to support his son. I guess if you’re a parent it’s not easy to come to terms with your child’s gender or identity. At least if you’re the old generation that didn’t know about things like that. Yes, he misgendered his son, but he never did it on purpose and I think it’s important to acknowledge that. He didn’t do it out of spite or because he wanted to hurt Felix, it just happened because he had a daughter for so many years. It’s easy to judge people for things like that but I think you should always keep in mind that it is a change for them too. I mean I’m gender fluid and I’m addressed with the wrong pronouns very often because not everyone can tell when I’m in a female/male or neutral mind-set. I don’t hold it against people though because quite honestly my gender is so fluid I really can’t blame them for not always getting it right. So I think what I want to say is that we have to be patient with the people in our lives. Change happens slowly and if we want others to accept us the way we are, we also have to accept that it might take some time for them to adapt and to actually change their patterns. It might take a little while and a lot of effort on both sides, but it will be worth it in the end! 😉

”It’s easier, I think, to love someone you know won’t love you – to chase them, knowing they won’t feel the same way – than to love someone who might love you back. To risk loving each other and losing it all.”

”I’m trying,” he tells me. “I’m trying to understand. I want to understand. There’s a lot that I don’t know, and I’ve been slow. I know I’ve been slow to get it, and I know it’s been frustrating for you, so I’m sorry. I really am. I’m sorry if I’ve hurt you. I’m sorry if you think my slowness has something to do with how I feel about you. Because I love you , kid. Don’t ever think that I don’t love you.”

”You’re happy. And brave. You’ve been so courageous, just by being yourself, even knowing that the world won’t always accept you for who you are. You refuse to be anything but yourself, no matter what. I look up to that. I admire that.”

The transgender rep:

”It took a lot of convincing, and my doctor’s help, but almost a year ago now, my dad even helped me get top surgery. I know how lucky I am for that. Not everyone who wants surgery can afford it. My dad had to do a lot of paperwork with letters and providers and everything, and he had to figure out my health insurance to make it happen.“

I’m not transgender so here comes my usual warning to take everything I say with a grain of salt. XD So this said I’m going to say that I think the transgender rep was really good and very realistic. I really liked that we got a glimpse at how much effort it takes to get surgery and that Felix knew how lucky he was for being able to go for one. I think a lot of people underestimate the work and money that go into the preparation for a transition and I really liked that Kacen Callender acknowledged this in their book. In most of the books with transgender MCs I read the characters already had surgery and it was never even mentioned. I think it’s an important side of the rep though so kudos to Kacen for giving it room in their book. Also the problems, prejudices and issues a black transgender person has to deal with were portrayed very well as well. Kacen has all my respect for writing about such important topics in a sensible and palpable manner.

”I always see it on the news. The ways the government is trying to erase me, the ways politicians try to pretend transgender people don’t exist, even though we do exist, and always have, and always will. I see the articles, the stories about transgender people being refused health care, students like me bullied and forced into the wrong bathrooms, teens my own age being kicked out of their homes, adults being fired from their jobs just for being who they are, so many of us attacked and killed just for walking down the street – so many of us deciding to take our own lives because we aren’t accepted.

Finding your identity rep:

”Changing this world, yes – we need people who will fight for our rights, fight for justice in the courts so that it will be better for the next generation. But creating our own world, not just for ourselves in our bubble, but one that can spread to those who need it most – one filled with our stories, our history, our love and pride – that’s just as beautiful. That’s just as necessary. Without that, we forget ourselves. Crumple under the pain of feeling isolated, unaccepted by others, without realizing that, above all else, we need to love and accept ourselves first.”

I swear that moment when Felix finally found out as what he/they define himself/themselves, was relatable af! I remember myself sitting in front of my computer and feeling so relieved. Like finding a missing puzzle piece you’ve been looking for ages and there is a single word, an explanation for who and what you are and it’s so liberating you could cry! I was there with Felix and I felt as excited and thrilled for him/them to find out as I was excited and thrilled when I found out myself. XD I really loved that aspect of the book and I adored the discussion about identity and labels. It was very respectful and it caused me to think about how other people find their identity, how some people don’t want to label themselves while others thrive when they finally figure out who they are. Kacen did an amazing job at representing every aspect of finding your identity and loving yourself and I lived and breathed for it!! <333

”I smile a little. I smile, and then outright laugh, and I might even begin to cry a little, because I know what Bex was talking about now. The confidence that spreads through me. I know that this is right. It’s kind of amazing, that there’s a word that explains exactly how I feel, that takes away all of my confusion and questioning and hesitation – a word that lets me know there are others out there who feel exactly the same way that I do.”

4

“Felix Ever After” is an amazing and very important book! I loved every second of it and the fact that it caused me to think about so many things only made me adore it even more. The reps were great, the discussions and debates it stimulated were thought-provoking and Kacen’s gentle but steady approach of difficult topics was inspiring. In short: I absolutely loved this and it’s definitely among my favourites of 2021!!

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: To Kill a Kingdom (Alexandra Christo)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”You are a little heartless today, aren’t you?”
“Never,” I say. “There are seventeen under my bed.”

I asked for a blood thirsty, dark and twisted siren that lures princes and collects their still warm and dripping hearts. And I wanted a strong human prince that hunts wicked sirens and sea witches for sport. Well, I guess “To Kill a Kingdom” did a great job at delivering all this and even more. ;-P

”Technically, I’m a murderer, but I like to think that’s one of my better qualities.”

I went into this book expecting a fast and enjoyable read and if you’re looking for a story like that this book definitely is the right choice for you. I know the reviews for this are about 50:50 when it comes to the ratings but I think that’s mostly due to the expectations you have when you go into a book. If you’re looking for a mind-blowing reading experience you might be disappointed because this story is a lot of things but certainly nothing that will cause you to rethink your life choices. It’s fun, it’s easy, it has plenty of snark, banter and a really great character cast. In short it has everything you need when you want to escape your own world for a little while.

”Lies aren’t answers.”
“But they sound so much better than the truth.”

This said I really liked our two MCs and I was a huge fan of their interactions. Those two were both confident in their own skin and it was really refreshing to have two characters that know exactly what they want. Lira wants Elian’s heart and Elian wants to destroy all sirens. The best makings of a good partnership, right? XD Well, almost! If their attraction wouldn’t have gotten into their way things certainly might have been a lot easier. 😉 But I AM a sucker for the “enemies to lovers trope” and it was done really nicely in here so I have nothing to complain about. *lol*

”They’re eyes of lost innocence, greener than seaweed and constantly searching. Even the empty ocean is prey to him, and he regards it with a mix of suspicion and wonder.”

Prince Elian was quite something and to me he was the perfect embodiment of a lost boy. There was no way I wouldn’t love him and his easy nature as well as his love for his crew and ship immediately made him my favourite. Yes, I admit it, I’m a sucker for handsome, sassy and broken pirate boys. They are as much my kryptonite as redheads are so I wasn’t really surprised I ended up liking him so much. Lira on the other hand was pretty awesome too! That girl might have been turned into a human but that did nothing to disguise the feral and deadly siren inside of her. And this brings me to another thing I really enjoyed about this book: Lira and Elian might have been deadly enemies but they still had mutual respect for each other and acknowledged their weaknesses and strengths.

”How wicked this one is, stripped of the innocence I’ve seen in all the others. This is not a prince of inexperience and anxious potential, but one of war and savagery. His heart will be a wonder to behold.”

”I could have killed her, but I didn’t, because she’s a wonder. A creature that has eluded me for so long and then, finally, appeared. Let me be privy to a face few men live to speak about.”

They were fascinated with each other and it showed throughout the entire book. Also can we take a second to appreciate how self-aware they were? Both of them knew exactly what they were capable of and where they would draw the line and even though they questioned themselves and their own decisions they always knew who they were. And the banter!!! Did I already mention the delicious sarcasm and banter? *lol*

”Lira,” I say. “I don’t suppose you’d be kind enough to translate?”
“I’ve never been accused of kindness before.”

”What would you be losing?” he asks.
“If I married you?” I stand to tower above him, pushing away the unraveling thing inside me. “I suppose it would be my mind.”

I loved that they didn’t give each other an inch. They were equals and it wasn’t only easy to see but also palpable. I don’t know how to describe this but there are a lot of books out there that make it seem like the couples in them are equipollent when in fact they are not. Even with kick-ass heroines the male MCs are always stronger somehow. It’s something I noticed in many books and I hate that those amazing women can’t stand on their own feet once they fall in love with their “true love”. It’s something that didn’t happen in here and I was very grateful for it! Lira might have fallen in love with Elian but that didn’t make her go all mushy and lovey-dovey. In fact it only made her even more adamant and relentless, which was AWESOME to behold! XD

4
All told “To Kill a Kingdom” was exactly the kind of quick and entertaining reading experience I needed and I’m glad I finally decided to give it a shot. It took me long enough to get here but it definitely was worth the wait. And just in case you wondered: Yes, I rediscovered my love for “Ariel – The Little Mermaid” once again. *hums under the sea and leaves the room* ;-P

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Michelle Hodkin)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 3 on My Book List 2021

”I wanted to scream, but I closed my eyes and forced myself to breathe. Claire was dead. She was not in my bathroom, and there was nothing to be scared of. My mind was playing tricks on me. I was going to go to a party tonight, and I needed to get dressed. One thing at a time.”

I heard so much about the “Mara Dyer” series before I picked it up and because I’m always curious about books that seem to be so controversial I decided to satisfy my curiosity by just reading it. So what did I think about it? Well, the book was published in 2011 and obviously was on the hype train with all the other YA books that were released back then. The interesting thing about this book was that it might have been full of the typical clichés but it actually kinda made fun of them? For me this was a really refreshing approach and I found myself enjoying it even more because of that. I mean we have the “not like other girls” trope and Noah Shaw having that “bad-boy with a heart of gold” vibe going for him. *lol* Plus: Mara is the only girl he’s interested in even though he’s mysterious and drop-dead gorgeous. And of course Mara is the new girl at their school.

There was an edge to his voice that I didn’t like. „My God, you’re like the plague.“
„A masterfully crafted, powerfully understated, and epic parable of timeless moral resonance? Why, thank you. That’s one of the nicest things anyone’s ever said to me,“ he said.
„The disease, Noah. Not the book.“

Still, there’s something disarming about Noah’s charm and I couldn’t help but love his character. We all know I love MCs that know their literature and it’s almost impossible to resist a character that has his own library and can quote books by heart. XD I know a lot of people think that Noah is very demanding, arrogant and full of himself. Which admittedly he is, but of course he is hiding his true self behind his attitude. 😉 So yeah, this is as stereotypical as it can get. *lol*

”Noah drove girls crazy, and I was already crazy. I needed to let it go. Let him go. As Jamie had so astutely said, I had enough problems.”

As for Mara: She’s one hell of an unreliable narrator and I really loved that! Mara has no idea what happened and why her friends died in an accident. She was the sole survivor of that night and the asylum they visited turned into dust while it took the lives of her friends. At first it seems like Mara lost her best friend, boyfriend and his sister, but the more she remembers and the more memories come to the surface, the more we realize that things weren’t as amicable and easy between them as we might have thought. So Mara Dyer isn’t only suffering from a severe memory loss and PTSD but also has flashbacks and sees her dead friends and things that aren’t real. Add a lot of strange happenings and sudden deaths into the mix and you get the basic idea of the plot. XD

”Dark thoughts swirled in my mind and time slowed to a crawl. I stood up from the chair, knocking it over, but my hands trembled too much to pick it up. This was – this whole thing was beyond unfair. And I was becoming unhinged.”

The mystery element in “Mara Dyer” is strong and I’m very curious what is going to happen next. The ending of the book kind of left me in shocked surprise because I certainly didn’t expect it to end like that. I have no idea how Noah fits into all of this and what is happening exactly but I’m definitely ready to find out by reading the next book.

”If you do this,” he said slowly, “you’ll become someone else.”
I looked up at Noah. “I already am someone else.”

4
All told “The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer” was an interesting start to a new series and I’m intrigued enough to continue with it. There might be a lot of stereotypes and inconsistencies at the moment but I hope that as the series proceeds some of them will be addressed and challenged. Plus I want to know how Mara’s character arc is going to play out. The same goes for Noah of course! I have so many questions, let’s hope book two will be able to answer them. 😉