Allgemein, K - O, O, Reviews

Review: One of Us Is Next (Karen M. McManus)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”Phoebe Lawton, you’re up first! Text back your choice: Should I reveal a Truth, or will you take a Dare?”

Guess after “One of Us Is Lying” we all know that you better take the dare, right? Well, if you want to find out what Phoebe did you’ve to read the book, because this review is going to be spoiler free. ;-P
So this out of the way, what is “One of Us Is Next” about? It basically plays one year after Simon’s death and the events that followed. This time around there are three different POVs though. One of them is Maeve Rojas (Bronwyn’s sister that already was a side-character in book one) and the other two are Knox Mayers (Maeve’s best friend) and Phoebe Lawton. In this second instalment the plot is all about Truth or Dare. There is a mysterious person named Unknown who threatens to expose a secret of the chosen people if they don’t take the dare. So you either take the dare or your secret gets spilled and everybody and their grandma will talk about it.

”And then I remember why About That was so popular for so long. Because even though I hate Unknown, and it freaks me out that they revealed a secret I thought would never get out, and the idea of another Simon Kelleher prowling around Bayview High is straight-up nauseating – I can’t help being curious.
What’s going to happen now?”

Well, and that’s basically the concept on which this book is built. Who is going to be next and will they choose truth or dare? I’ve to admit this was an intriguing concept and that I really liked the characters. I already loved Maeve in “One of Us Is Lying” and Knox and Phoebe were two really likable voices as well. I loved that Phoebe was a very unapologetic and straight forward character and that she challenged the narrow-minded perception of people. She’s actually a feminist and I loved that about her. XD

”Really? Let me see if I have this straight. If I do what you want, I’m a slut. If I don’t do what you want, I’m a tease. What I want doesn’t count, but you’re the big man at Bayview no matter what. Does that about sum it up?”

Another thing that made me happy was to see more of the Bayview Four and how they did after all the events that happened in the first book. It was so wholesome to see where they are standing now and that despite everything that happened they were all doing good and leading a happy life. =) Also Bronwyn and Nate!!! AHHHH! Still, I kinda wish I would have reread the first book before this one though, because I couldn’t really remember Luis and had a tough time to place him in the events of “One of Us Is Lying”. But that’s just personal preference and doesn’t take away any of the enjoyment. 😉

”I was thinking about this stupid game last night, and how it has everybody dancing like puppets on a string. Whoever’s behind Truth or Dare is on a massive power trip. And the thing is, we’re giving them that power. By caring. Reacting. Spending all our time worrying about who’s next and what’s true. We’re feeding the beast and I, for one, am done.”

4
All told this book was great and entertaining. What made me like it slightly less than its predecessor was the mystery element, though. While I could guess and rack my brain in the first book I didn’t really get a chance to do that in here. I was able to unfold about 50% of the mystery but I would have never been able to discover the other 50%. There just wasn’t enough information to reveal everything properly and this was kind of a letdown. Still, “One of Us Is Next” was a nice book to read in between and I don’t regret it. I just wish I would have gotten a chance to wrack my brain a little more. *lol*

A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Benjamin Alire Sáenz) 

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

”Why do we smile? Why do we laugh? Why do we feel alone? Why are we sad and confused? Why do we read poetry? Why do we cry when we see a painting? Why is there a riot in the heart when we love? Why do we feel shame? What is that thing in the pit of your stomach called desire?”

I think I rarely read an introduction to a book that touched me as much as this one did. It were exactly questions like that I asked myself when I was a young and confused teen. I was always more serious than the other kids and there were things they just didn’t understand. When I was seventeen life was tough for me, at least more tough than for other people my age. I asked myself questions they wouldn’t ask themselves for decades and I had to ask those questions because life and my personal experiences kind of forced me to.

Just like Ari, I was thinking about so many things, wondering about my place in this world. Why did some things have to end? Why did others start? Why did my heart hurt so much? Gosh, I really wish I would have had this book in my teens, because it definitely would have made me feel better. “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” certainly is a book that’s important and needed! It’s one of those reads that is able to change you, to help you and I really, really wish I would have had it back then. XD It captured the problems of adolescence so damn well and because of that, it’s easily become one of my all-time favourites. =)

”Sometimes I think my father has all these scars. On his heart. In his head. All over.”

The problem about those scars is that no one can see them and most people don’t even bother to try to understand. I loved that Ari truly wanted to know what his father felt and that he wanted him to tell him about his feelings and thoughts. But just like Ari (and basically everyone else on this world) his father was a creature of his experiences and his environment. The war he had fought had changed him and the experience with his eldest son had shaped him as well. It’s never easy to talk about things that are so close to our heart, but Ari’s father made an effort and I think that counts for something.

”You were looking for me,” he said.
I looked at him.
“In your dream. You were looking for me.”
“I’m always looking for you,” I whispered.

”I got to thinking that poems were like people. Some people you got right off the bat. Some people you just didn’t get – and never would get.”

I guess in some way this sentence explains a lot about the book. There were people Ari didn’t understand and there were people who understood him pretty well but couldn’t seem to be able to convey it. For instance his parents and Dante. Dante understood him more than anyone else and I think in some way he might have even hated him for it. At least at the beginning of the book. The more time passed the less he saw him as a threat. It’s just that Dante always asked the right questions, he is honest and very outspoken and therefore the complete opposite of Ari who always keeps his feelings and words to himself.

While Dante admits that he loves Ari (and this pretty early on in the book), Ari isn’t only unable to accept his own feelings but also incapable to voice them properly. He’s overwhelmed and he feels helpless. So basically just like any other teen, right? *lol*

”I love swimming,” he said again. He was quiet for a little while. And then he said, “I love swimming – and you.”
I didn’t say anything.
“Swimming and you, Ari. Those are the things I love the most.”

And even though Ari tells him not to voice those thoughts it’s still obvious that he feels the same way about Dante as well. Call me crazy but in some way this was really beautiful to watch. XD I mean we have a boy who knows exactly what he wants and we have a boy who questions everything and doesn’t even know who he is. Still, there’s no doubt Ari loves Dante too, because even though he can’t admit it, his thoughts speak their own language.

”And it seemed to me that Dante’s face was a map of the world. A world without any darkness.
Wow, a world without darkness. How beautiful was that?”

Despite all this, it was still amazing to see that their friendship was able to survive every blow of fate that was thrown their way. I just loved their dynamic and the fact that they knew each other inside out. Their friendship was #friendshipgoals and it were always those little, to some people rather insignificant moments, which touched me the most and automatically warmed my heart.

”How many burgers did you flip to buy the book?”
“That’s a very Dante question,” I said.
“That’s a very Ari answer,” he said.
And then we started laughing and couldn’t stop.

Also can I say how much I loved the way Ari described his relationship to his mother? Those two had me close to tears more often than once and I just adored the way they spoke with each other, how open and extremely honest they were. Ari’s and Dante’s moms definitely are #momgoals and I strive to become an awesome mother like that too! ❤

”I could feel my mom listening to me. She was always there. I hated her for that. And loved her.”

”And I knew that there was something about me that Mrs. Quintana saw and loved. And even though I felt it was a beautiful thing, I also felt it was a weight. Not that she meant it to be a weight. But love was always something heavy for me. Something I had to carry.”

All told, I really loved this book and I can recommend it to every teenager who feels lost and alone. “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” is a wonderful and exceptionally beautiful read. It’s full of poetry and the important questions of life, it’s a journey with a beginning and an end and it’s so damn relatable that you can’t help but fall in love with it.

I’m sure young and old will enjoy it and I hope everyone who reads it will discover the secrets of the universe as well. Sometimes the journey is everything that truly matters. ;-P

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, S

Review: Sawkill Girls (Claire Legrand)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”Beware of the woods and the dark, dank deep.
He’ll follow you home and won’t let you sleep.”

This sounds like the perfect horror book, right? Well, yes and no. “Sawkill Girls” is one of those books that have a rather deceiving blurb and when I read the summary I thought that I’d be in for a very creepy read. I mean yes, this book was creepy at times but it was also so much more than that. Quite honestly I never expected to get so invested and to love it that much when I picked it up. I thought it would be one of those books you read in between when you want something different but in the end it was the book that had all my attention. And this is no easy feat. 😉

”There was a magnetism to the Mortimer women, and they knew it, and they used it. It was their right, this witchery; they’d given up their souls for it.”

The sheer amount of topics that was tackled in here had my head spinning and I totally loved all the characters. Those three girls were amazing and even though they were all so different and didn’t always get along this was one of the things that really made me want to continue to read the book. There were a lot of moments when I couldn’t predict the story line and to say this was super intriguing would be putting it mildly! I love when an author manages to surprise me and Claire Legrand certainly did. Truth be told, this book is actually pretty dark at times and there were some scenes that creeped me out big time.

The three main characters were all very interesting as well and I loved how Legrand managed to make me pull for them even though they all had their flaws and were pretty morally grey. Especially Valerie and Zoey were two MCs that weren’t all too likable, yet I still loved them for just being who they were.

”Val swayed where she stood, her eyes falling shut. A fierce warmth expanded in her chest and slid down her belly, her thighs, her legs. Her traitorous body – groomed to serve him, birthed to anchor him – responded gleefully to his approval.”

Another thing that totally caught me off guard was the fact that “Sawkill Girls” was super diverse and even had LGBTQ+ reps. I mean we have Zoey who is black and asexual, Marion who is bisexual and has curves and Val who is pan or bi (at least I got the impression that she is). As someone who’s always watching out for LGBTQ+ books I was very surprised when I figured that this book actually has decent LGBTQ+ reps. I never read this in any of the other reviews so I decided to mention it in mine. 😉

Zoey’s laugh was bitter. “Oh, and we poor delicate girls are vulnerable and desperate, is that what you’re saying?”
“What I’m saying,” Marion said, now looking right at Zoey, her gray eyes bright, “is that girls hunger. And we’re taught, from the moment our brains can take it, that there isn’t enough food for us all.”

And this automatically brings me to all the other important topics that were addressed in here. I loved how the topic of misogyny wasn’t only addressed but also challenged. No matter if it’s Val, Marion or Zoey, they all have a “no bullshit” attitude when it comes to men telling women what to do. *lol* I totally loved that about them and I was so happy when they put those misogynistic men in their place and gave them a piece of their mind. It’s surprising how well it all fit with the horror element of the Collector abusing, violating and suppressing the Mortimer women for so many years and feasting on the pure souls of innocent girls. You really gotta give Legrand kudos for inventing such a multi-layered story around the initial horror element that started it all.

Also can we appreciate the fierce friendships in this book! I loved the strong friendship between Zoey and Marion and the closeness between Zoey and Greyson. Those characters would have done everything for each other and this even though they weren’t always on speaking terms. Still, true friends will stick with you no matter what and this was exactly the kind of message this book spread. =)

”Come for a while, reads the sign at Sawkill’s ferry dock, and stay forever.”

4
All told I really loved this and enjoyed the story immensely! I was pleasantly surprised by how attached I got to these characters and by how strongly I pulled for them. If you’re looking for a moderately creepy Halloween read, if you love books with strong female characters and decent LGBTQ+ reps, if you like atmospheric books, well I guess then you’ll enjoy this one as well. =)

Trigger warnings:emotional and physical abuse by a parent/ child abuse, aphobia, grief, racism, murder, violence, abuse, blood, gore, the death of an animal, self-harm, loss and trauma

A - E, Allgemein, C, Reviews

Review: Champion (Marie Lu)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 16 on My Book List 2021

“Sometimes, the sun sets earlier. Days don’t last forever, you know. But I’ll fight as hard as I can. I can promise you that.”

I just wrote down that quote and I’m already bawling my eyes out… again! T_T Marie Lu certainly killed me with that ending. It’s like a shot in the heart and I’m still not over it and this even though I finished “Champion” about a month ago. Jeez! A month and my feelings are still all over the place. Yes, it was THAT good! T_T I don’t think I’ll get over it anytime soon. Well, maybe if I borrow “Rebel” from the library and replace the ending of this book with new information from the fourth instalment.

Seriously, I hope this will work because I can’t live with the ending of “Champion”. Does this sound a little bit too dramatic? Well, for me it is! Anyway, let’s get back to the overall review. When I began to read this book I thought that it would be mostly about June and Day because Commander Jameson and Thomas were finally out of the picture. Unfortunately the Colonies decided they wanted a piece of the cake that is the Republic and used the plague as a cause to invade it. Which basically meant that our infamous OTP is forced to fight against them while Day’s health is slowly deteriorating. And this just broke my heart! T_T

Of course there were a lot of plot twists I didn’t see coming even though I probably should have known better because Marie Lu is very adept at throwing them with the biggest impact. This said, the pacing of the book was slower this time around and there wasn’t as much action as in the first two books. I think this was realistic though because 1.) This book was more character driven than its predecessors and 2.) Day’s condition just didn’t give enough room to go for unrealistic action scenes. Still, despite all that “Champion” was a great finale and I can’t wait to dive into my characters section, which I’m going to do right now because I have feelings that need to pour out!

2

You are entering Antarctica the country of modern technology and progress. Be careful, though, not everything is as shiny as it seems and there might be backstabbing spoilers ahead of you. 😉

June:

June sees the hesitation on my face and knows it’s a confirmation of her fear. She bites her lip. “It’s my fault,” she says, as if it’s just simple logic. “And I’m not sure I will ever be able to earn your forgiveness. I shouldn’t.”

June broke my freaking heart. She stabbed me with her knife and left me bleeding all over the floor and the thing is, I can’t even be angry at her?! It might have killed me but she grew so much as a character and I can’t really hold it against her. She knows that her actions were unforgivable and that they hurt Day, yet she can’t change anything about it. Add Anden and his advances to the picture as well and you have a really confused girl that doesn’t know what to do. XD I kinda liked to see that side of her though because it was in total contrast to the girl she was in the first book. She learned to deal with her emotions while still being a badass soldier and the combination of both is just sexy. *lol* Still, the sacrifice she made in the end killed me and I basically yelled at the pages! >_<

”Now fate has handed the solution to me on a silver platter – Day survived his ordeal, and in return, I need to step out of his life. Even though he looks at me now like a stranger, he no longer has the look of pain and tragedy that always seemed to come with the passion and love he gazed at me with. Now he is free.
He is free of us, leaving me as the only bearer of our past’s burden.”

Day:

”I feel so out of place among these aristocrats, with their bank accounts and posh manners. No matter how much money the Republic throws at me, I will forever be the boy from the streets.”

*screams in heartbreak* Day crying alone in the abandoned kitchen of his family’s old house was legit one of the saddest moments in this series. T_T Gosh! Where to start?! Day suffered so much in this series already and to see how he got weaker and weaker with every passing day just killed me. I think after finishing “Prodigy” I was kind of in denial and thought that his brain tumour might just be a cruel way to keep him in line. But no… Marie Lu actually went through with it and I died about a thousand deaths. To see how his health deteriorated was so painful and yet still he worried about Eden and June and the people of the Republic. If anyone ever needed proof that Day is an angel: Well, this is it! I mean despite everything he still fought for what he believed in and gave it everything. I just can’t with this precious boy! <333

”What makes me lose my breath, though, is that he’s leaning heavily on a pair of crutches. How long has he been here? He looks exhausted, pale, and distant. I wonder what new drugs the doctors are trying on him. The thought is a sudden, stabbing reminder of Day’s waning life, the few seconds he has left, slowly ticking by.”

”My heart’s been torn wide open, just like I feared it would be, and i have no willpower to close it back up. Any barrier I might’ve succeeded in putting up around myself, any resistance I might’ve built up against my feelings for her, is now completely gone. Shattered.”

”Help me,” I whisper desperately to the empty room. “I can’t do this.” I want to, I love her, but I can’t bear it. It’s been almost a year. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just move on?”

”The Republic is weak and broken.” I narrow my eyes. “But it is still your country. Fight for it. This is your home, not theirs.”

”You and I will probably never get a chance to meet. But I know you. You have taught me about all the good things in my life, and why I’ve fought for my family all these years. I hope for great things for your own loved ones, that they can go through life without suffering the way mine have.”

Anden:

”I don’t want to hear anyone else right now. I want to hear you. You are the heart of the people, Day – you always have been. You’ve given everything you have in order to protect them.” Day stiffens beside me, but Anden goes on. “I fear for the people. I worry about their safety, that we’ll be handing them over to the enemy just as we’re starting to put the pieces together.”

You know, Anden is actually a very decent guy. I really liked him and I appreciated that he trusted Day so much. He’s exactly the kind of elector the Republic needed and I’m sure he will do a great job at guiding his country into the future. If anyone can do it, it’s him! He cares for his people and he only wants the best for them. This makes him already very different to his father and I loved that about him. Plus he’s a good loser! He knew exactly that June’s heart was with Day but he never resented her for it. Quite the contrary, he accepted his defeat with dignity and there aren’t many people who would have been able to do so. I guess I’m an Anden fan now. =)

”I envy Day, you know,” he says, his voice as soft as ever. “I’m jealous that he gets to make decisions with his heart. Every choice he makes is honest, and the people love him for it. He can afford to use his heart.”

”You are a soldier, Ms. Iparis, through and through – but it has been an honor to see you as a Princeps-Elect.” The Elector of the Republic bows to me. “Whatever happens from here, I hope you remember that.”

3

June & Day:

Half of my heart is breaking at the pain on her face; the other half, I realize guiltily, is swelling with happiness to know that she still cares. There’s love in her tragic words, in the folds of that thin metal ring. Isn’t there?
Finally, I take a deep breath. “Sometimes, the sun sets earlier. Days don’t last forever, you know. But I’ll fight as hard as I can. I can promise you that.”

Talk about star-crossed lovers! I swear Marie Lu is a master at giving us star-crossed love stories. She seems to love to kill us and I have yet to come across a Marie Lu series that doesn’t stab me with the feels. I mean THOSE TWO… I CAN’T!!! T_T My freaking heart got stabbed repeatedly just to shrivel into a little black pea at the ending of the book. Because unlike the majority of this planet named earth I JUST CAN’T with bittersweet endings like that! Like ARADKAFJASDFKASJFAKSDFJSDADKF! 10 YEARS??!!! Are you freaking kidding me?!! I’m having a déjà vu now because I just remembered the ending of Pirates of the Carribean 3. And my reaction back then was basically the same. >_< Didn’t we suffer enough already, Marie!? Why did you have to do this?!! ARGH!!!! *has a mental breakdown* Okay, I’m fine. *says it like Neil Josten* Also is it just me or did June really never tell him that she loves him?!! ARGHIIIIIIIIIIIII! If she doesn’t say it in “Rebel” I’m probably gonna die! Yep, I’m THAT invested! I mean I understand why June didn’t and let him go in the end but still… I’m fine. Totally. T_T

”Has it really been so long since the last time we kissed? Have I really missed him this much? Have all the problems threatening to crush us both weakened us to the point where we are gasping for breath, clinging desperately to each other for survival? I’ve forgotten how right it feels to be in his arms.”

”Why do I do this to myself? I see you and feel such – “ He has tears in his eyes now. The sight is more than I can bear. He takes two steps away from me and then turns back like a caged animal. “Do you even love me?” he suddenly asks. He grips both of my shoulders. “I’ve said it to you before, and I still mean it. But I’ve never heard it from you. I can’t tell. And then you give me this ring” – he pauses to hold his hand up – “and I don’t know what to think anymore.”

Day just smiles at me, an expression so sad that it breaks through my numbness, and I begin to cry. Those bright blue eyes. Before me is the boy who has bandaged my wounds on the streets of Lake, who has guarded his family with every bone in his body, who has stayed by my side in spite of everything, the boy of light and laughter and life, of grief and fury and passion, the boy whose fate is intertwined with mine, forever and always.
“I love you,” he whispers. “Can you stay awhile?”

”I can feel his presence here in every stone he has touched, every person he has lifted up, every street and alley and city that he has changed in the few years of his life, because he is the Republic, he is our light, and I love you, I love you, until the day we meet again I will hold you in my heart and protect you there, grieving what we never had, cherishing what we did. I wish you were here.”

”It’s you,” he whispers. There is wonder in his voice.
“Is it?” I whisper back, my voice trembling with all the emotions I’ve kept hidden for so long.
Day is so close, and his eyes are so bright. “I hope,” he replies softly, “to get to know you again. If you are open to it. There is a fog around you that I would like to clear away.”

Tess & Day:

”What were my last words to her … back when we had botched the Patriot’s assassination attempt on Anden? Please, Tess – I can’t leave you here. But that’s exactly what I did.
I turn away, taking another drag on my cigarette. Do I miss her? “Every day,” I reply.

I’m so glad they resolved their differences and finally had this dire needed talk! They had to sort their feelings first and needed to talk things out properly. Also it made me happy to know that Tess was there for Day and accompanied him on his difficult way. To be honest it was kind of sad to hear that they didn’t have as much contact ten years after, but then I guess that’s life and it was very realistic that they kind of grew apart over time. I mean they obviously still kept contact but it was different than their super close relationship as teens. Still, I’ll always be happy they reconciled. =)

I swallow hard and look down. “but I don’t love you the way you want me to. I’m sorry if I ever gave you the wrong impression. I don’t think I’ve ever treated you as well as you deserve.” My heart twists painfully as the words leave my mouth, striking her as they do. “So don’t be sorry. It’s my fault, not yours.”

”When the entire world turned its back on me and left me to die, you took me in. You were the one person who cared about what might happen to me. You were everything. Everything. You became my entire family – you were my parents and my siblings and my caretaker, my only friend and companion, you were both my protector and someone who needed protecting. You see? I didn’t love you in the way you might’ve thought I did, although I can’t deny that was part of it. But the way I feel goes beyond that.”

June & Thomas:

”Your brother froze, like I thought he would. There was complete stillness. We drew apart, the silence heavy around us, and for a moment I wondered whether I’d made a huge mistake, whether I’d simply misread every signal from the past few years. Or perhaps, perhaps he knew what I was up to. I felt a strange sense of relief at that thought. Maybe id’d be better if Metias figured out Commander Jamesons’s plans for him. Maybe there’s a way to get out of this.”

I didn’t think it would be possible for me to despise Thomas even more but boy, “Champion” really made me hate him! How could he do this to Metias?! A person he obviously loved?! Or he wouldn’t have kissed him. Thomas was such a FOOL! He’s the living and breathing epitome of ignorance! How could he be so thick in the head?! Like seriously?! How can he live and breathe every single day knowing he killed the only person who ever loved him?! My only explanation is that Thomas was an unfeeling robot. His death was random and stupid and truth be told exactly the kind of death his character deserved. No tears for Thomas just one sentence: Good riddance! XD

”I could’ve chosen Day’s route. I could have become a criminal. But I didn’t. I did everything right, you know. That was what Metias loved about me. He respected me. I followed all the rules, I obeyed all the laws, I worked my way up from where I started.” He leans toward me; his eyes grow more desperate. “I took an oath, June. I am still bound by that oath. I will die with honor for sacrificing everything I have – everything – for my country. And yet, Day is the legend, while I am to be executed.” His voice finally breaks with all his anguish and inner torment, the injustice he feels. “It makes no sense.”

Day & Eden:

”Man, look at us,” I reply. My laughter turns into coughs. “What a team, yeah?”
Eden finds me by placing a tentative hand on my head. He sits beside me with his legs crossed and gives me a wry grin. “Hey – with your metal leg and half a brain, and my four leftover senses, we almost make a whole person.”

Day’s unconditional love for Eden will always tug at my heartstrings. This boy loves his family so damn much and since Eden is the only one who is left of it his baby brother means the world to him. <333 I just loved those two and their close relationship and gosh, when Day carried Eden even though he was shot by Commander Jameson I was covering my mouth and praying that June would take out that cold hearted bitch before she could shoot him a second time. This boy really gave everything for his family and people. T_T I just hope Day and Eden will always have such a close bond. As it seems they are still close 10 years after all the happenings in “Champion” so there’s that, right?

A lump rises in my throat. “Eden,” I begin, “we’ve lost Mom and John. Dad is gone. You’re all I have left. I can’t afford to lose you too. Everything I’ve done so far, I’ve done for you. I’m not letting you risk your life to save the Republic – or the Colonies.”
The defiance fades from Eden’s eyes. He props his arms up on the railing and leans his head against his hands. “If there’s one thing I know about you,” he says, “it’s that you’re not selfish.”

”A small, bittersweet smile tugs at the corners of my mouth. Day, the champion of the people, the one who can’t bear to see those around him suffer on his behalf, who would gladly give his life for those he loves. Except it’s not his life that we need in order to save Tess, but his brother’s.”

”You did good,” I reply. “I’m proud of you.” And I am. I’m prouder of him than I’ve ever been of myself – I’m proud of him for standing up to me.”

4

And here I hoped Marie Lu would give me an ending that wouldn’t break me. I should have known better. She’s famous for her bittersweet endings and this one was as bittersweet as they get. I definitely need to get my hands on “Rebel” and I hope it will be able to ease my mind because right now it’s still reeling. 4 weeks after finishing “Champion” I can say that the book finished me instead. My heart is still bleeding. >_<

A - E, Allgemein, C, Reviews

Review: Cress (Marissa Meyer)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”Kiss her, she thought. Isn’t that what people did after they survived thrilling, near-death experiences together? She was sure it wasn’t an appropriate suggestion, but this close, it was all she could think about.”

Ahh, Cress is such a romantic! ❤ The way she swooned over Thorne was just adorable! But let’s not get off topic here and focus on the overall review instead! This said “Cress” was already the third book in “The Lunar Chronicles” and basically everybody and their grandma told me that it’s the best book in the series. Of course there were also a couple of voices that said it’s the weakest book in the series so I decided to just read it and form my own opinion. (As always. Did you expect anything different from me? ;-P)

So did “Cress” live up to my expectations or not? Well, the answer is: Yes, I think it did. It was very entertaining and I loved to see how the story of all those different characters came together in the end. What I really liked about this book was that we got some background info about all the characters and that some of them finally got a chance to confront not only each other but also their personal problems as well. No matter if it’s Cinder, Thorne, Cress or Wolf, they all experience things that force them to act and ultimately lead them to finding themselves and their own path in this (by now very) huge storyline.

Interestingly enough Queen Levana didn’t have an all too big part in this instalment but I’m actually glad she had a secondary role. It gave our protagonists room to plan their next moves and to come to terms with their destiny and their individual parts in the game. The introduction of Princess Winter and Jacin was interesting as well and I can’t wait to read their story. Considering Winter’s mental state I’m sure it’s going to be quite something though. XD For now let’s get down to business and talk about the MCs of “Cress”!

2

If you dare to take a trip to the Sahara be my guest! It’s wise to be careful though, there are many dangers that can be found in the desert and mirages and spoilers are just two of them. ;-P Consider yourself properly warned. That’s all I can do for you, my friend!

Cress:

Cress glanced up, and though his expression was sympathetic, she thought he was probably mocking her. ”I’m not crazy. I know she’s just a computer. It’s just … I programmed her myself, and she was the only friend I had. That’s all.“

Okay, Cress is probably one of the most innocent characters I ever came across in a book but considering she spent almost her entire life on an isolated satellite this doesn’t really come as a surprise. (On a side note: You just gotta love how Meyer turned the initial tower into a satellite. ;-P) She is definitely a cinnamon roll and it’s no wonder she had troubles to adapt to the life on earth. I suppose everyone would have troubles to adapt to life in a desert though so I think she actually did pretty well! Also I kinda liked the contrast of her being a hacker wizard on the keyboard and knowing nothing about the real world. XD I’m very curious where her character arc will head. Still, to find out Dr. Erland was her father was really quite the plot twist. It makes me sad that he died before they could get to know each other. T_T

”She tried to swallow down the rising panic, this sensation that her existence was as small and unimportant as the tiniest fleck of sand blowing against her shins. There was a whole world – a whole planet. And she was stuck somewhere in the middle of it, away from everything. There were no walls, no boundaries, nothing to hide behind. A shudder swept over her, goose bumps crawling across her bare arms.”

Thorne:

”Yeah, I guess you’re right,” he said, squeezing. “Maybe there’s a little bit of a hero in me after all. But … really, Cress. Only a little.”

Poor boy had it really rough in here. He lost his sight due to the satellite crashing and I was really worried about him. I think it was amazing that he never gave up though. You could tell that he was struggling with his fate and had trouble to adjust to a life without his eye sight but he did what needed to be done and he helped Cress as best as he could. Some might say Thorne is arrogant and self-assertive but I know he isn’t. It’s just a way to hide his insecurities and he is indeed the misunderstood hero Cress thought him to be. I loved to get a glimpse at his true thoughts and to see his character arc was really amazing. ❤ Thorne came a long way and I think his journey isn’t over yet.

”She was a girl. A living girl, smart and sweet and awkward and unusual, and she was worth far more than they could ever realize.”

”It seemed like hours since he’d so flippantly said good-bye to Cress, when she was still in the bath, when her singing was still echoing in his ears. And he’d left her. He’d just left her – and why? To show off his gambling skills? To prove that he was still self-sufficient? To prove that he didn’t need anyone, not even her?“

Cinder:

”Of course I will. I’m the rightful heir!”
She drew back, stunned by her own words. She didn’t think she’d ever felt so invested in her identity, and determined to claim her place. It was a strange feeling, bordering on pride.

Cinder actually accepted her powers, but she still feels conflicted about them and I think that’s a good thing! I loved to see how she got stronger and started to see the Lunars as her people and came to terms with her identity. She had to make a lot of difficult choices though and I was really afraid that she might break under the pressure. To think you’re just a cyborg that works as a mechanic and to realize you’re the rightful heir to Luna… I can’t even fathom how tough this must have been. It’s no wonder she’s so insecure, but she has a lot of people that love and support her so I’m sure she’ll make her way. =)

”Standing on the hotel step, with sixty guns trained on her, Cinder realized she was no better than that thaumaturge. This really was war, and she really was in the middle of it.
If she had to make sacrifices, she would.”

“News flash: I have never manipulated you. And I hope I never have to. But you aren’t the only one with responsibilities and an entire country of people who are relying on you. So I’m sorry, Your Majesty, but you are coming with me, and you’re just going to have to figure out whether or not you can trust me when we’re not so pressed for time.”

”You want to know another secret? The biggest secret?” She sat, splaying her legs like a broken doll in front of her. “I’m scared, Kai. I’m so scared.” She thought it might feel better, to say the words out loud, but instead they only made her feel pathetic and weak.

Kai:

”Excellent. And have you given any thought to your wedding vows?”
Kai snorted. “Delete anything that has to do with love, respect, or joy, and I’ll sign on the dotted line.”

Seriously whenever I read about Kai’s and Levana’s upcoming wedding I felt dread! >_< I really, really, really didn’t want him to marry her and ahhh the mere idea of their wedding was already enough to cause me to scream and tear at my hair! He still defied her though and I’ll never get tired of this boys defiance! *lol* Kai is the best and I love him so much! <333 The things he did for his country and people were amazing and I hated to see his self-doubt and insecurity. He did everything he could and it’s not his fault Levana was cunning enough to plan this invasion for years or even decades. It could have happened to his father if he wouldn’t have died of the plague so I really hope he stops blaming himself for everything that happened. It’s not his fault. T_T

”He hated Levana. He hated himself for giving in to her. He hated that his father had managed to keep her and her threats of war at bay for years and years, and within weeks of Kai taking the throne, he’d let everything fall apart.”

”Maybe she’s trying to help me. Cinder knows that if she finds the princess, it could be the end of Levana’s rule. I wouldn’t have to marry her. She would probably be executed for treason. Cinder risked her life going to that farm, and she did it … she may have done it for me.”

”He would never tell Torin that a part of him hoped Cinder would be safe. And he would never tell a single living soul how terrified he was, every moment of every day. How afraid he was that he was making an enormous mistake.”

Iko:

”Aaaaw,” squealed Iko. “Did Wolf just say that he loves Scarlet? That’s so cute!”

Iko fangirling over Scarlet and Wolf was one of the best things in this book! *lol* She’s basically the embodiment of every shipper and the comical relief of this series. XD Also I almost choked when she spoke about Adri and Pearl. Haha! I just adore Iko and I’m so glad she got a new body now. Thorne really picked the perfect robot. It’s a shame she got hurt when she tried to help them, but I’m sure Cinder will find a way to fix her. =)

”See? Injustice. Here we are, risking out lives to rescue Kai and this whole planet, and Adri and Pearl get to go to the royal wedding. I’m disgusted. I hope they spill soy sauce on their fancy dresses.”

Jacin:

”Because Thaumaturge Mira was preoccupied with your operative. Otherwise, I would have been the same brainless mannequin that I usually am.” His tone was self-deprecating, but Cinder could detect bitterness beneath it. Nobody liked to be controlled, and she didn’t think anyone ever got used to it.

Now here’s a new character that has me intrigued. Mostly because he’s still one big question mark and we all know how much I love question marks. XD But please, Jacin! I don’t believe you a single second that you’re not in love with Princess Winter! He so is! It was pretty obvious. After what I saw from Winter I can’t help but wonder about their relationship though. Is his love one-sided, does she reciprocate? I need answers and since the last book is named “Winter” I’m sure I’ll get them soon. 😉

”Do you … do you love her?”
He glared at her, disgusted. “Don’t try to push your swoony psychodrama on me. I’m sworn to protect her. Can’t very well do that from down here, can I?”

3

Cress & Thorne:

”Carswell Thorne wasn’t a heartless scoundrel at all. If anyone bothered to get to know him, they would see that he was compassionate and chivalrous.
He was exactly the kind of hero Cress had been dreaming about her entire life.”

Those two are such an unlikely pair but they still worked somehow. XD I loved them together and they were pretty cute. I mean Cress is super innocent and Thorne well, let’s just say he has a lot of experience with women and all sorts of crimes. *lol* Despite everything they are still kind of perfect for each other. I loved that Cress brought out the compassionate and chivalrous side of Thorne and that he didn’t care about who she was or how she looked like. The fact that he couldn’t see her might have helped to see her inner values more clearly but that was exactly what it was supposed to do so yeah. Also Thorne protecting Cress and taking care of her was legit the cutest thing! She saw his true self long before he saw it and I think her believing that he’s a good person might have helped to actually make him one. Plus can we appreciate that Thorne is super gentle and caring with her. He’s kind of a rake but he got all protective and considerate with her. So, nope, I don’t agree with Dr. Erland. I think Thorne is exactly what Cress needs! <333

”But you’re a prisoner,” said Thorne.
“I prefer damsel in distress,” she murmured.
One side of Thorne’s mouth quirked up, into that perfect half smile he’d had in his graduation photo. A look that was a little bit devious, and all sorts of charming.

He rubbed her shoulder. It was the kind of touch that would have filled her with giddiness and yearning if she hadn’t been too tired to feel anything. “You have to trust me, Cress. I’m going to get us out of this.”

”Good idea,” he said, wrapping an arm around her waist. “How could they not think that we’re in love?”
“How couldn’t they?” she murmured. She squeezed her eyes shut and tried to memorize the exact feel of him.

Knees suddenly weak, she reached for his forearms to stabilize herself. “You came for me.”
He beamed, looking for all the world like a selfless, daring hero.
“Don’t sound so surprised.” Dropping the cane, he pulled her into a crushing embrace that tore her away from Wolf and lifted her clean off the floor.

”While Cress’s thoughts continued to churn through the horrible things that could happen to her, she felt herself being suddenly sprung around and dipped backward, a supportive arm scooping beneath her back. She yelped and caught herself on Thorne’s shoulder.
Then he was kissing her.”

Cinder & Kai:

”Right. And what if I’d said, oh, sure, Your Highness, I’d love to go to the ball with you, but first you should probably know that I’m cyborg. And then what?”
Kai looked away.
“You never would have talked to me again,” she answered for him. “You would have been mortified.”
“So you were just going to keep it hidden forever?”
“Forever?” Cinder waved her arm toward the window. “You are the emperor of an entire country. There was never going to be a forever.”
He was surprised how much the words stung. She was right.

I was so glad they finally got a chance to talk!!! This conversation was so overdue and I was damn happy when they eventually had their confrontation! Also I remember wishing that Cinder would kidnap Kai before he marries Levana when I wrote my Scarlet review and well, it happened! *lol* Marissa Meyer actually threw me a bone here! YAY! XD I guess now that Cinder cleared things up and Kai knows that she’s Princess Selene they got closer to getting their happily ever after and I can’t wait for it to happen!!! <333 I ship them, HARD! Both on their own couldn’t do a lot against Levana but Cinder and Kai together? They’ll crush her! I know they will because they have the potential to be a power couple! 😉 And it definitely helps that they both know how it feels to be responsible for an entire nation. They can support each other and push through their doubts together and I’m so ready to see that!!! ❤

He lifted his gaze. “Just to be clear, you’re not using your mind powers on me right now, are you?”
She blinked. “Of course not.”
“Just checking.”
Then he slid his arms around her waist and kissed her.

”Arms wrapped around her. Cinder pressed her face against his silk shirt. There was some sort of cologne or maybe soap there – so faint she hadn’t picked up on it before.
“I know exactly how you feel,” Kai said.
She squeezed her eyes shut. “Not exactly.”
“I think pretty close.”

Scarlet & Wolf:

Cupping his chin, Scarlet tilted Wolf’s face away from her and pressed a kiss against the wound. He inhaled sharply, but otherwise became as still as a rock – an unusual feat for him.”

They broke my freaking heart!!! T_T I can’t believe Scarlet got kidnapped by Sybil and ended up as a prisoner on Luna. I felt so sorry for both of them because Wolf knew exactly what they’d do to her and Scarlet suffered so damn much. >_< Poor girl!!! I could understand why Wolf considered her to be dead because the torture she went through physically as well as mentally will leave its scars and make her a different person than she used to be. Ahhh! I feel so damn sorry for Scarlet! To lose her grandmother was already horrible enough but now this?! T_T I really hope Meyer gives my girl a break in the next book! Wolf and her deserve to be happy and neither of them are right now and it’s just not fair. =(((

”She suppressed the voice out of nervous panic that her mistress would sense her confusion. She did not want that. There was no confusion.
She knew precisely where she wanted to be. Precisely who she wished to be serving.”

”But then Wolf’s breath hitched and all the fury drained out of him with a shudder. Like a man shot fatally through the heart, he collapsed over his knees, covering his head with his good arm like he wanted to block out the world.”

”The illusion and the pain vanished, but the horror lingered. The rawness of her throat. The damp salt on her face. Scarlet rolled onto her side, sobbing in the middle of the playroom floor, grateful that the boy couldn’t maintain the brainwashing while he was distracted.”

4

All told “Cress” was one of those sequels in which most of the plotlines come together and finally turn into one central theme. The only loose thread that’s still left is Winter’s and Jacin’s story and I’m already very curious about it. I really liked that some of the character’s problems were addressed, resolved and smoothed out. This lays a good foundation for the final book and I’m ready to read it soon! =)

Allgemein, F - J, I, Reviews

Review: I Wish You All the Best (Mason Deaver)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 27 on My Book List 2020

”If you’re queer, your life has the potential to become one long coming-out moment. If I ever want to be called the right pronouns, I’ll have to correct people and put myself out there first and who knows what could happen.”

When I first heard about “I Wish You All the Best” it was August 2019 and I desperately wanted to get my fingers on a copy. Unfortunately at first the book was only sold as an expensive hardcover on Amazon and considering the fact that I don’t have all too much space in my flat I decided to wait for a paperback or ebook version. It was a long wait but I got my copy. Eventually. XD

So I’m sure the question you’re asking yourself now is: Was it worth the long wait? Yes, yes it definitely was! There are so many reasons why to read this was great and the fact that there is (finally!!) a non-binary MC is just one of them! I don’t know many books that feature non-binary characters and the few that did only featured them as side-characters but never truly gave them the spotlight. Mason Deaver however did and I’ll always be thankful they decided to write this book. =) We need more non-binary reps in this world and the mere fact “I Wish You All the Best” exists is already a great achievement. I genuinely hope this book will help to pave the way for a lot of other books that feature non-binary reps and I trust that more and more of them will have non-binary MCs.

It will be a long way but we’ll get there, I’m sure of it. 😉 This said “I Wish You All the Best” has so much more to offer and aside from a great non-binary rep we also got a very diverse and relatable cast. No matter if it’s Mariam who is Shia and wearing a hijab or Meleika who is Korean-American (just to mention two examples) the diversity in this was great! Plus the portrayal of anxiety and mental health as well as the representation of friendships and relationships in this book were very well done as well. The friendship/family dynamics were pretty interesting and it’s definitely a very character driven book. Well, I guess this is the clue to head to my characters section so this is exactly what I’m going to do!

2
I guess by now you all know that this is my spoilery spoiler section but for everyone who’s new to my reviews: This is my spoilery spoiler section, in which I usually gush, rant and talk about all the characters in detail! So if you don’t want to be spoiled: Now is your last chance to opt out. ;-P

Ben De Backer:

”I can do this, it’s going to be fine. Everything is going to be okay and this is most definitely the right thing to do. I know my parents, they know me, they deserve to know this thing about me as well.
And I want to tell them, I really, really do.”

I felt so sorry for Ben because what happened to them was really not okay. Here they were trying to open up to their parents and to tell them the truth about being non-binary and what did those parents do? They kicked their own kid out of the house! Like really kicked them out. In the middle of a cold winter night without any shoes or proper clothes! GRRRR! I was so angry when I read that scene. No wonder Ben had trust issues after receiving such a treatment. I felt so much for them and I just wanted to hug Ben and tell them that everything would be okay. My heart bled so much for Ben and the fact that they were hiding their true self after getting kicked out because they were afraid no one would accept them for who they are. T_T Thankfully they made new friends and had a great sister who tried to help them as good as possible. ❤

”I sort of became the punching bag for all of Dad’s issues. He didn’t actually hit me, but overnight, I essentially became an only child, the focus of anything and everything. If I did something wrong, it was blown way out of proportion.”

Nathan Allan:

”Come here.” He pulls me in. At first, I don’t want to move, but he’s so warm, and I’m desperate for a touch right now. His touch. He rocks us both back and forth a little. “If anyone should be apologizing, it’s me.” He’s sniffling. Is he crying too? “I just spent the last half year misgendering you, and you’re apologizing to me?”

I swear Nathan Allan is one of the most precious cinnamon rolls I ever read about! This boy! <333 Seriously! I loved how supportive he was of Ben and how he always tried to get them to talk about things without prying too much. Nathan was so respectful and yet at the same time he showed that he cared. I think everyone should have a Nathan Allan in their life and I’m sure the world would be a better place if everyone did. XD Also I could totally get why Ben chose the colour yellow for Nathan’s portray because it fit so good to his personality! He’s a bright sunray and needs to be protected at all costs. ❤

Hannah:

”And I’ll be in the waiting room if you need me. If you want to leave early, if you need me to sit in there with you, anything at all.”

Hannah was the best sibling ever and even though she left Ben to fend for themselves (?! please tell me if I used that wrongly) I still think she made it up to them in the end. She was very patient with Ben and gave them room to grow into themselves and to become the person they truly were. Also I loved how supportive Hannah’s hubby was. I mean Ben was basically a stranger yet they both just took them in and provided everything for them. Hannah and Thomas deserve and award for being that kind and gentle with Ben! ❤

”Because even when I finally got out of that goddamn house they still had a hold on me. And it’s breaking my heart to see you going through the same thing, Ben.”

3
Ben & Nathan:

”Whatever happens” – his grip tightens a little – “I wish you all the best, Benjamin De Backer.” He says it with a smile. “You deserve it.”

I loved the super slow burn romance between those two. I mean it was pretty obvious that Nathan liked Ben, at least for me it was because you don’t make innuendos like that if you don’t like the other person. *lol* I guess Ben just needed time to realize it though. I mean there was a lot going on in their life and they had to come to terms with everything first and sort things out before they could fall in love and I just loved it. This was such a realistic and healthy approach and I wish everyone would love themselves first before going for a relationship. In YA books this happens way too often. That a character can only love and appreciate herself/himself/themselves if someone else does. And this is the wrong message. I think you should love and accept yourself first. You should know who you are and who you want to be before you go into a relationship because only if you’ve accepted yourself you will be ready to love and accept someone else. So to watch this play out in the book was amazing and to see how those two finally found each other was very sweet! ❤

Me: You’re serious? It’s like two houses away.
Nathan: Alright, but let it never be said that I’m anything short of a gentleman.
Me: Noted. Will you lead the search party if I get lost?
Nathan: Are you kidding? I’ll hang up flyers of that handsome face all over town!”

”Why did you pick yellow?” he asks.
I’m answering before I can stop myself. “Because it’s bright and hopeful.” I wait a beat. “Like you.”

”We’ll have to figure a lot of things out, won’t we?”
“Yeah.” His grip on me tightens. “But at least we can do it together, right?” He leans in and kisses me again, and I never want him to stop.

Ben & Hannah:

”So, what are your pronouns?” she asks.
The question strikes me. Not in the bad way. It’s just weird. Hannah is the first person to ask. The first person who had to ask. “They and them,” I say, trying to sound confident, but even I can tell I’m failing miserably.
“All right. Well, it might take some getting used to, so I want you to correct me when I mess up, okay?”

I just loved Hannah!! She was so great! And she definitely falls into the category of #SiblingGoals! Was it wrong of her to leave Ben like that? Yes, it was and Ben has every right to be angry. Was it the right thing for her to do at the time: Yes, because she needed to do it. We could judge Hanna for leaving her baby sibling in the clutches of their parents but considering what she went through it was best for her to cut the ties. There are moments in life when you have to watch out for yourself and when you’re so emotionally instable that you just can’t take care of others. So when you reach that point you need to accept the help from others and take care of yourself first before you can take care of someone else. Well, and Hannah back then was very young. She was basically a child too and was totally out of her depth. So yes, it was wrong to leave Ben but she felt like she had no other choice than to leave and I can acknowledge that even if it hurt her sibling. Well, even Ben acknowledged it but it didn’t change anything about Ben’s feelings, which is totally legitimate and okay. Still, at the end they managed to overcome their past and began a new part of their lives together and that was really nice and hopeful.

”But that was it. A phone number I couldn’t call, and an address to a place I couldn’t get to. I understand that you had to leave. That you couldn’t take it anymore, I’m not mad at you for that.” I wipe my eyes with my sleeve, and Dr. Taylor slides the box of tissues toward me. “But I was alone. I was alone and scared, and I didn’t really know what’d happened to you. You knew how bad they could get, and you just left me to fight for myself.”

Ben & their parents:

”Please.” I begged them both. “Don’t do this.”
Dad led me to the door, and Mom followed on his heels. I just kept begging and begging, but they never did anything.
“Mom! Please!”
“God doesn’t want this for you, Ben.”
I begged her not to say that, and then I started crying. But that must not have been enough. The door closed, and I wanted it to open back up.

You know, when I read that scene the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. Like URGH!!! What does God have to do with this?! Why wouldn’t God love Ben for being non-binary? Like WTH?! I hate it when people justify their narrow-mindedness with religious beliefs! I am part of the LGBTQ+ community and however you call the higher power you believe in, it created us the way we are so it wanted us to be the way we are! Period. Okay, my rant is over. XD This said I really disliked Ben’s parents. A LOT! They treated being non-binary like it was an illness that needed to be cured and you don’t even want to hear what I have to say about people that tell us something must be wrong with us because we are part of the LGBTQ+ community. *lol* Ahh lots of touchy subjects here. No wonder I loathed Ben’s parents so much. What they did was really unforgivable and I can’t even comprehend how someone would throw their own kid out of their house. I’m a parent myself and I would NEVER EVER do such a thing to my kid! I love my child more than anything and I’d do everything for her! <333 So yeah, why parents would do such a thing… I’ll never understand it. *shakes head* No wonder, Ben didn’t want to go back to them and chose to live with Hannah instead.

”You’ll come home after you graduate,” Dad says, and I notice it’s more of a command than a request. „We’ll take you to the therapist we’ve been seeing, maybe he can help you work through some of the things you’ve been dealing with. And help you with this nonbinary business.”

Ben & Mariam:

I don’t know much about Mariam’s parents, but they’ve never had any problem with them being nonbinary or pansexual, so Mariam never really had to worry about hiding their sexuality or their identify from their parents.”

The friendship between Mariam and Ben was so amazing! I loved those two and their conversations and I was very thankful that Mariam was a steady part of Ben’s live. They needed someone like them and I was glad Mariam was able to ground Ben somehow. Also there need to be more Mariam’s in the world as well because people who have some influence and openly advocate for the LGBTQ+ community are still very rare. To be honest, Mariam’s parents sound like #ParentGoals to me and it was really nice to see a positive parent representation too.

”Mariam, how do you get someone to like you?”
They let out a little squeal and I have to put them on mute before Hannah or Thomas think something is wrong. “Sorry, I’ve just been waiting for this day for forever.” They pretend to wipe away a tear.
“Love the vote of confidence,” I add.

The non-binary rep:

”Such a contrast to the other nonbinary people I’ve seen online. Their smooth, hairless, acneless faces, their trimmed hair that always seems perfect. These things I could never be. Because no matter how hard I will it, my body isn’t how I want to see myself. Not that there’s anything wrong with those kinds of enby people, I just … it’s hard to describe. Bodies are fucking weird, especially when it feels like you don’t belong in your own.”

Since this was an own-voices book the non-binary rep was great and I totally understood where Ben was coming from. It’s not easy to make peace with your body, especially if you’re in between somehow. And I should know because being gender-fluid isn’t easy as well. 😉 So yeah, I think the non-binary rep was spot on and accurate. (Take this with a grain of salt though because I’m not non-binary and would never dare to speak for the people who are.) Truth be told, the only thing I had a little trouble with was the fact that Ben got offended whenever someone used the wrong pronouns. I mean it wasn’t like they were out and how were people supposed to know? Sure, it can make you feel sick to be addressed with the wrong pronouns but you can’t hold it against others if you don’t come out to them and correct them. So I kinda would have liked Ben to tell Nathan that it wasn’t his fault for misgendering them. Because honestly, it wasn’t! He couldn’t smell it, right? I personally never hold it against people if they misgender me because I feel like I can’t expect them to know. (Especially because my pronouns constantly change) But oh well, that’s just me so maybe I’m too lenient with others? I dunno. *shrugs*

”Boys aren’t supposed to wear dresses. Even if I’m not a boy, even if clothing shouldn’t be gendered. Whenever anyone looks at me, that’s all they’ll see.”

4
All told I really liked “I Wish You All the Best” and I appreciated the non-binary rep. To find a non-binary MC is really rare so I can’t thank Mason Deaver enough for this book. I loved the diversity and the fact that a lot of topics were tackled in here, not to mention that they were always addressed in a very sensitive and genuine way. This said I’m definitely looking forward to read Mason Deaver’s next book. =)

Allgemein, F - J, I, Reviews

ARC Review: If This Gets Out (Sophie Gonzales)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten,5

A huge thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for the eARC!

How do I even describe how it felt to read this book? When I first read the blurb of “If This Gets Out” I immediately wanted to read it, because it had all the tropes and topics I crave to read about in a book. A successful boy band that is playing the biggest venues, strong friendships, an LGBTQ+ representation, the best-friends-to-lovers trope with a forbidden love spin and a road-trip through Europe in form of the band’s tour. In short: This sounded too good to be true and I desperately wanted to read it!

Needless to say I was over the moon when I actually got an ARC! I was so ready to dive into this book, you have no idea! Of course I had very high expectations as well and I was a little worried the book wouldn’t be able to live up to them. Looking at it in retrospective, I shouldn’t have worried because this was perfect! I got everything I wanted and even more!

I adored how the close friendship between the band members was portrayed. They laughed and joked, they quarrelled and had arguments, but they were always watching out for each other as well. They were like a family and I lived and breathed for their interactions. Another aspect that was brought into the book were the relationships of the band members with their parents and I was more than just happy to read about actual parents that care about their kids and only want the best for them. Of course not all parents are alike and there was a representation of a dysfunctional parent-child relationship as well.

Truth be told, I was surprised about the sheer amount of serious topics that were addressed in “If This Gets Out”. Drug abuse, emotional abuse, power games, band/label dynamics, the pressure of being famous, band life, the dark side of the music industry and the branding of bands and their individual members that has nothing to do with the real person behind the scenes. And I didn’t even talk about Zach and Ruben’s relationship yet. Which was nothing but amazing!

I loved to see how the feelings of the two MCs slowly started to change and how their friendship grew into something more. It was really well done and I found myself smiling so often that it started to hurt. I shipped those two so hard it was almost like they were an actual couple and not just two fictional characters. Also can we talk about their awesome communication?! Sure, they both had troubles to put their feelings into words and sometimes there was some miscommunication but when push came to shove they always tried their best to talk things out. I can only imagine how hard it must be to realize you have feelings for your best friend, let alone to deal with the pressure of being famous and the fear of somebody finding out. To come out should always be up to you, no matter if you’re famous or not. So I could relate to Ruben and Zach’s struggle.

Their character arc was done so well, though, and I couldn’t help but cheer for them when they finally decided that they had enough and wanted to tackle their problems head-on. They were aware of the consequences but they knew they had to do it order to live the way they wanted to and to witness how they took control of their situation wasn’t just a sight to behold but it also had me at the edge of my seat crossing my fingers for all of them.

4

All told “If This Gets Out” was an amazing book that didn’t only live up to my high expectations but even managed to exceed them! Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich succeeded to write a great story that addresses a lot of the issues people in the music industry have to face and they did it in a sensitive and respectful manner. The romance between Zach and Ruben was everything I ever wanted and even more and the Zuben ship is definitely one of my favourite ships now. 😉

So if you’re a fan of music, if you ever shipped members of a band, if you’re a part of a fandom, if you like books that tackle serious issues, if you love the found-family trope, if you like character driven stories and enjoy great character arcs. Well, then I’m sure you’ll enjoy this immensely.

Allgemein, Reviews, U - Z, W

Review: White Hot Kiss (Jennifer L. Armentrout)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 29 on My Book List 2021

There was a demon in McDonald’s.
And it had a powerful hunger for Big Macs.”

This is quite a way to start a book and I was immediately intrigued by it! *lol* I mean a demon at McDonalds? What a funny, unique and weird way to begin a book. So yes, the first line already captured my interest and the characters and the plot that followed did the rest. 😉 I remember reading this for the very first time a couple of years ago and it was one of those series that’s highly addicting and that just makes you want to devour all those books exactly the same way that demon ate its Big Macs. XD

I mean we could argue that “White Hot Kiss” follows all the typical YA stereotypes. We have two super-hot love interests aka a love triangle, an innocent pretty heroine, sizzling tension, a big mystery and a couple of troubles and issues that need to be resolved. What made this really enjoyable was the new setting of a war between wardens – who are basically gargoyles that protect humans – and demons. And well, the already mentioned sizzling tension between the MCs.

I didn’t read all too many books that featured gargoyles and demons so for me that was something new and refreshing. And of course the same goes for the characters powers and the world building. So yes, it might be tropey but I think this series can stand on its own. Especially because Armentrout’s writing style isn’t only captivating but also effortless. 😉 And because I love the characters so much I’ll just head to my characters section now.

2
Welcome to the world of Wardens and Demons! Both of them have secrets and it’s up to you which side you’ll join. Make sure to choose wisely because no matter which path you decide for I can guarantee you’ll always be spoiled. Are you sure you’re ready? ;-P

Layla:

”I met the man’s stare, held it and felt my lips curve into a smile. My heart raced, my skin tingled and flushed. I wanted his soul – so bad my skin wanted to peel itself off my bones. It felt like waiting for a kiss, when your lips were moments away from joining, those breathless seconds of anticipation.”

So Layla is actually a pretty interesting character. She’s not only half warden but also half demon and she’s constantly fighting her own nature which tells her to eat the souls of human beings. She can’t only rob people of their souls though; she can also see their auras. Some of them are already very tainted and others are still pure. And what makes her especially valuable for the wardens is that she obviously can see demons and tag them. So yeah, Layla has a lot going on and she still somehow manages to keep up with school. *lol* At the beginning of the book her world is only black and white and she’s very innocent but the more time she spends with Roth the more she realizes that there are all shades of grey and that the world is more complex than she thought. I really liked her character arc in this book and I can’t wait to see the Layla of book two! XD

Roth:

”For the love of all unholy things, why must you be so difficult? I apologize for calling you a prude. I’ll even apologize for yesterday. I scared you. I threw your cell in a toilet. See, I was raised in Hell. You could say I’m socially awkward.”

Okay, I’m going to be blunt here: Roth is super-hot boyfriend material! Like super, super hot boyfriend material! He isn’t only gorgeous (golden eyes, dimples, a six-pack, tattoos and black hair – gosh, that boy has a lot of things going for him! Haha!) but he also has a heart of gold! I’m such a sucker for this demon and if given the choice between him and Zayne it will always be: Zayne who?! *lol* I really love Roth and I think his character arc was beautifully done as well. He started out as a dubious character and became such a great and reliable constant. I loved that his blunt and sassy demeanour didn’t change while he was still growing as a character. It’s a feat not many authors accomplish, but Armentrout certainly did! I can’t wait for him to appear in book 2 because his story isn’t over yet and he just has to be a big part of it! XD

”People with the purest souls are capable of the greatest evils. No one is perfect, no matter what they are or what side they fight for.”

”I am only the next Crown Prince. That’s what I am – all I am.”

”It’s okay,” he whispered against the corner of my lip. “This is about you. Yeah, this is totally about you.” He sounded surprised by his own words, and when he spoke again, his voice was hoarse as he pressed his forehead against mine. “You undo me. You have no idea how you undo me.”

In that tiny moment of time, just a flicker of a second, his golden eyes met mine. “Free will, huh? Damn. It is a bitch.” And then he smiled – he smiled – at me, a real smile, revealing those deep dimples. “I lost myself the moment I found you.”

3
Layla & Roth:

”Do you know anything about her – about your heritage, Layla?” he said, and then his arm slipped around my waist, fitting my body against his. “Do you know anything about what you are?”
“Do you know anything about personal space?” I snapped.
“No.” He smirked, and then his eyes seemed to turn luminous. “But I do know that you really don’t mind me in your personal space.”

Haha! Those two were amazing! They have this really sizzling and strong chemistry and I just couldn’t get enough of them. I kinda loved that Roth always gravitated towards Layla and just couldn’t seem to be able to keep his hands off her. He’s always pulling her closer and touching her and I think this is so damn cute. ❤ Can someone give me a cuddly Roth? I think after Covid times I really need that in my life. *lol* Anyway, let’s move on! I really liked that he always gave her a choice. Layla might not have seen it like that but in fact Roth actually tried to give her some space and to let her sort out things on her own. Plus he always protected her and put her well-being above his own. And even more important he supported her and her decisions and accepted her for who she was! With him Layla never had to apologize for being a demon and he helped her to accept this half of her as well. She is both after all and to suppress one side like she did because of the wardens clearly wasn’t healthy for her. >_< They are both good for each other and I can’t wait to read more of their scenes together! <333

He moved without me realizing, his warm breath dancing over my cheeks, my lips. The air hitched in my lungs. His lips parted, and I wondered what it would be like to run my fingers across them, to feel them.
“What are you thinking?” he murmured, his eyes fluttering down.

”Layla, look at me. You don’t want to go down that road.”
With effort, I focused on him. “I’m sorry. It’s just so hard.”
His brows furrowed. “You don’t need to apologize for something that is natural to you, but taking a human’s soul… You can’t go back from that.”

”One second he was standing a good three feet away from me and the next his hands were gently clasping my cheeks. There was an instant when I wondered how something so strong and deadly could hold anything so carefully, but then he tilted my head back and lowered his own. My heart rate kicked into hyperdrive. He wasn’t going to kiss me. No way – Roth kissed me.”

”We’re talking.” He dipped his head, brushing his cheek against mine.
“This is not talking.” Not that I didn’t enjoy it. “And I really do have questions.”
“So ask away. I can multitask.” He tugged me forward, circling an arm around my waist. Dipping his head to where my neck sloped, he inhaled deeply. “Can’t you?”

Layla & Zayne:

”I’m not replacing you, Layla. It was an honest mistake.”
“But you are replacing me!” Realizing what I had said, I clasped my hands over my mouth and backed off.

I know there are a lot of Zayne fans out there but I honestly don’t get why anyone would prefer him over Roth. I mean except of looking good and being some sort of big brother for Layla there isn’t a lot that speaks in his favour. From my perspective he didn’t treat Layla any better than all the other wardens and constantly gave her the feeling to be inferior. It started with him telling her that she’s better than a soul eating demon even though he knows how much she is struggling and goes right to him telling her what she should and shouldn’t do. I get it. There is this strong big brother vibe but he really isn’t treating her well. If my sister would have been in a car accident I’d have eaten a huge big breakfast with her the next day! Just saying. Yes, he obviously cares about her but he certainly doesn’t accept her the way she is and because of that he’ll always get a red flag from me. #SorryNotSorry

”It doesn’t matter right now,” he said. “What does is that the bastard was right. We haven’t been keeping you safe. And if he’s truly the one who has, then there is something messed up about that.”

”How badly are you hurt? Do you need to go to the hospital? Have you been out all night? Should I –“
“I’m okay.” My voice cracked as I wrapped my fingers around his wrists. I’d never seen him like this before. “I’m okay.”
He stared at me, and I suddenly recognized the emotion churning in his eyes. Horror. “God, Layla, he … he hurt you.”

”You’re not a demon, Layla. You’re a Warden. You’re better than this.”
I felt my lower lip begin to tremble. Don’t cry. Don’t cry. My voice came out broken and small. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to. I just wanted him to stop and –“
“Shh…” Zayne closed his eyes and a muscle popped in his jaw. “I know. It’s okay.”

Layla, Abbot & the other gargoyles:

”Petr knew I’d get in trouble, and there was more than a hint of cruelty in his pale eyes. Worse yet, I knew that he saw nothing wrong with what he was doing. His actions would never taint his soul, because it was pure, no matter what he did. It was like a free pass to him. Petr pressed forward, his breath too warm against my cheek.
“You’re going to wish Abbot had snuffed out your miserable little life when you were a baby.”

Let me say this directly: The majority of the wardens suck! *lol* I know they are supposed to be the good guys but seriously, everyone who turns a blind eye to Petr and his father hurting and treating Layla like shit isn’t worth anything in my eyes! Abbot as well as Zayne and all the others KNEW about Petr, yet they still left Layla unguarded when he was around? How stupid and ignorant can you be? Petr deserved everything he got and Abbot isn’t any better than him if he allows him to things like that. Father figure my ass! I mean who would allow anything like that to happen to a child they consider to be their own kid? Also them constantly giving Layla shit for being half demon! As if it would be her fault! That poor girl had such a hard time suppressing her nature and they didn’t even give a damn about it. They should have accepted her for who she is and not held down something that is part of her as well. So yep, I’m no big fan of the wardens right now and if they don’t change their attitude soon I’ll side with the demons. They actually seem to be more human and compassionate than the wardens anyway. *lol*

”If I looked up the definition of intimidating, it would show a picture of Abbot. As the clan leader, he had to be fierce, stern and, at times, deadly. He represented the clan, was the one who met with human officials, and if any of the Wardens messed up, it was Abbot who took the fall. A lot of weight rested on his shoulders, but his back never bowed under the pressure.”

”You have been doing nothing but lying since you met this demon! Why would I assume there was one truth mixed in among the lies?”
I don’t know what he said that did it, and maybe it was a combination of fear and frustration because I couldn’t get a single sentence out, but my control snapped. I shot to my feet so fast Abbot stood and backed up – he actually backed up from me.

Stacey & Layla:

”Are you coming on to me or something?”
Stacey grinned evilly. “I’d go gay for you.”
Digging out Sam’s notes, I snorted. “I wouldn’t go gay for you. Eva Hasher? Maybe.”
She gasped, clutching the front of her shirt. “That stung.”

Stacey is amazing and everyone needs a Stacey in their life!! This girl is made of awesome sauce and I loved her so much! *lol* She was such a great side-character and definitely stole the show whenever she appeared on page! Some of the things she said were just hilarious and remembering my own teen days she was a super relatable character. At some point in our life we all have a friend like her that is super blunt and nudges us in the right direction. XD Also her surprise and shock whenever she realized that Layla is super innocent was priceless. ❤ So yep, Layla might not want to date Stacey but if Layla doesn’t want her Stacey can always come to me. ;-P

”You need to get over him and get with a hottie.” She paused, nodding at the door. “Like him, for example. He’d leave you crying for a whole different reason.”
“I wasn’t crying over – “ I cut myself off when I realized she was gesturing at Roth. “Wait, how would he make me cry?”
Stacey’s eyes widened. “Are you for real? Do I need to spell it out for you?”

”Our bio class just got a billion times more interesting. And hotter, lots and lots hotter. Holy mother, I want to have his babies. Not now of course, but definitely later. But I’d like to start practicing soon.”

”Now go. Make mama proud.”
“Proud how?” I shouldered the bag.
Stacey arched a brow. “Use your imagination. Just remember, you can only be young and dumb once. And that is a fine specimen to be young and dumb with.”

4
I reread this as fast as I read it the first time and I’m still super enthusiastic about this series! I almost forgot how much the ending threw me and I can’t wait up to pick up book two to continue with this series. Jennifer L. Armentrout might have followed the YA formula but she gave it her own touch and this made this a truly addictive and enjoyable read.

Allgemein, K - O, O, Reviews

Review: On the Come Up (Angie Thomas)

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Rating: 3 Pfoten,5

Book 6 on My Book List 2021

”You’re gonna face a whole lot of Longs and Tates in your life, baby. More than I’d like. But you never let their actions determine what you do. The moment you do, you’ve given them the power. You hear me?”

So I thought long and hard about what to write about “On the Come Up” and to be completely honest I’m none the wiser. I mean I liked the book and read it pretty fast, but unfortunately that doesn’t mean that I didn’t have issues with it. I know, I know. A lot of people will be like: “WHAT?” now and I don’t blame you guys for it. I can only give you my honest opinion though and so that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Let’s hope I’ll be eloquent enough to put this into words.

”This Glock, yeah, I cock it, and aim it,” I write. Wait, no, something should come before that. Aim it. Ain’t it. Frame it… Claim it.”

This said, first things first. There were a lot of things I enjoyed and one of them was Bri’s thought process and how it was portrayed. I definitely found myself in this because for someone who started to write poetry as a young teen this was very relatable. The way she came up with lines and words and then rearranged them in order to give them an impact and meaning was pretty amazing and for me it was obvious that Angie Thomas is a great lyricist as well. You can’t come up (see what I did there ;-P) with lines like these if you don’t have a feeling for the rhythm and flow of poetry.

”Jay really did leave me and Trey at our grandparent’s house. She couldn’t take care of us and her drug habit, too. That’s when I learned that when people die, they sometimes take the living with them.”

Another thing I enjoyed were the little bits of wisdom you could find throughout the entire book and of course the representation of the characters. Just like in “The Hate U Give” there were a lot of different topics that were explored. This time around the theme of police violence was only broached lightly and the focus was more on drug dealing/abuse, the perception of people, their prejudices and how they react to the characters. No matter if it was the incident with Tate and Long that bullied and picked on black kids in Bri’s school or how the Crowns reacted to Bri’s rap lines, all those moments showed that there’s still a lot of work to do.

”I bite the inside of my cheek. I could take these, but the moment I walk out of here with them, I’m fucked. We’re fucked. It means we’ve gotten to the point that we need shoes that someone decided to give away.
I don’t wanna be that person. Yet I think I am that person.”

Also the representation of being poor was very well done, too. The initial bitterness and shame people feel when they are forced to ask for help, yet they know that they have no other choice than to seek aid. If you ask me, it’s the first step in the right direction though. I’ve been working at an NGO for years now and I know this first step is always the hardest to take. To ask for help is tough, because it means you have to acknowledge the fact that you can’t solve your troubles on your own and it takes a lot of courage to admit this to yourself. I really loved Jay’s character because she did everything she could in order to give her kids what they needed. There is no shame in being poor and about 98% of the human population aren’t born with a silver spoon in their mouth.

”So, Ms. Reporter,” I say, “and anybody else who wanna call ‘On the Come Up’ this, that, or whatever the hell else. Do it. Hell, get the song taken down if you want. But you’ll never silence me. I got too goddamn much to say.”

So this all said let’s come to the part of the book I didn’t like and that left some sort of bitter taste in my mouth. The first thing I’ve to mention is that I couldn’t really relate to Bri and her actions. I found myself agreeing with her mother and her brother and even though I know that she was angry and hurt by their situation I still think that the way she reacted only made everything even worse. Of course we can say, she’s just a teen, impulsive and doesn’t know better but quite honestly, to go at the reporter like that, to attack that guy in the studio, if she would have just thought about it for a second she would have known that all those actions would only be for her detriment. Plus even her friends, who are the same age as her, told her that it’s not okay, yet she still insisted that her way was the only way. Bri was stubborn, juvenile and completely incapable to reflect on what she did. If everyone in your family and every single one of your close friends tells you, you’re doing something wrong, well, then you might actually DO something wrong! And what truly bothered me, is that there was no character arc that would have shown she realized her mistakes.

”Promise you gon’ get outta the Garden.”
“Huh? What are you talking about?”
“Promise that you gon’ do whatever you gotta do to make it. Promise like it’s the last thing you’ll ever promise me.”

Quite the contrary, the entire book she fights with her friends because they try to start a movement by using the official channels and work on changing things in a sensible manner, at times she’s downright rude to her mother and to be entirely honest here, she hung out with her aunt Pooh who is a drug dealer (I know she loved her aunt but she was still a drug dealer who obviously did real shady stuff on a regular basis) and even worse she told her aunt about the gang members, knowing exactly how she would react. What did she expect? That aunt Pooh would go to them and ask them nicely? Gangs don’t do things the nice way; it always ends in blood. No one can tell me that Bri wasn’t aware of the consequences this would entail and yet she still did it. I know a lot of people will disagree on this with me but it felt that way while I read the book and this is my opinion. You don’t have to like it or to agree with it, I just want you to respect it.

”If I’m nothing else, I’m them, and they’re me.
That’s more than enough.”

4

All told this was a solid and good book! It tackled a lot of important topics and Angie Thomas did an excellent job at exploring them. She portrayed poverty, injustice and prejudices and conveyed the message that you should always make use of the power of your voice. Unfortunately for me Bri’s voice wasn’t as relatable and strong as Starr’s and I had quite some trouble to understand her actions. There happened so many things in here yet oddly enough I found myself not as emotionally engaged as I was when I read THUG. I guess we could always say it’s not the book it’s me and maybe that’s right, but maybe it’s not. 3,5 paws and a lot of mixed feelings on top.

Allgemein, F - J, I, Reviews

Review: Ignite Me (Tahereh Mafi)

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Rating: 5 Pfoten

”Words, I think, are such unpredictable creatures.
No gun, no sword, no army or king will ever be more powerful than a sentence. Swords may cut and kill, but words will stab and stay, burying themselves in our bones to become corpses we carry into the future, all the time digging and failing to rip their skeletons from our flesh.”

Do you still remember my review of “Unravel me”?
Yes?!
Okay! Then let me tell you something:

“Ignite me” was so much better than the last book!!!!

I don’t know how Tahereh Mafi did it but she killed me!!!! I died about a thousand deaths while I read this book and I have absolutely no clue how I even survived to read this!!! Gosh, that book left me reeling and laughing and gasping and crying and swooning and drooling and I had absolutely no idea what to do with all those feels!!!
I bit my nails, I was desperate, I was hopeful, I wanted to smash the book against a wall – which would have been pretty bad because I read it on my e-reader and I’m quite certain it wouldn’t have survived this special kind of treatment *lol* – I wanted to shake some of the characters, wanted to yell at them, I wanted to laugh with them, I wanted to punch some sense into their heads. (Yeah, Adam it’s you I’m talking about!!!) And most of all I really, really wanted them to be happy and fine!!!

So yeah, I think you get the idea! 😉
It was an emotional rollercoaster and I actually loved every second of it! *lol*

That said I guess I can finally jump to the actual review! I hope you manage to read until the end. If not: You’ve been brave and I don’t blame you! ;-P

1

„My eyes are filling fast with tears and I blink and blink but the world is a mess and I want to laugh because all I can think is how horrible and beautiful it is, that our eyes blur the truth when we can’t bear to see it.“

The book basically starts where “Unravel me” left off. Juliette has been saved by Warner and was brought back to base while she was unconscious. In the first chapter we learn that Omega Point has been destroyed completely and that Warner had no other choice than to smuggle Juliette into his private quarters. Of course our heroine is not happy about the bad new and wants to find out what truly happened and if anyone is still alive. So yeah our golden boy and our lethal girl decide to take a trip to the place where Omega Point used to be and it’s actually there, where the plot thickens and everything gains momentum! 😉 Since I don’t want to spoil you I decided to leave it at that, I’m pretty certain that most of you have already read the entire trilogy though.
So for everyone who’s already read the books and for everyone who doesn’t want to be spoiled:

The character’s section is going to be full, I repeat, full of spoilers!!! So beware my fellow readers! Ye be warned!!! ;-P *lol*

2

Juliette:

I loved how self-confident and strong Juliette has become. She’s finally capable of forming her own opinions and she doesn’t take – forgive me my crude choice of words – shit anymore! *lol* The old Juliette would have cowered and accepted the way Adam treated her, the new Juliette kicked ass!!! Quite literally as well! XD I was so proud of her! She finally had the courage to stand up for herself and her beliefs and she didn’t only make her own decisions but also made sure to follow through with them! It was amazing to watch her transformation and I was so glad she finally found herself!!! There was only one thing I didn’t like about her and that was how she let Warner suffer! How dare you Juliette! How dare you to break his wonderful and gentle heart!!!! I mean jeez I know you had to think things through, but seriously!!!! It’s WARNER we’re talking about!!!! That awesome hot guy who’s crazy and madly in love with you!!!! XD Open your freakin eyes!!! *lol* Okay, okay enough of the rant, everything is fine! 😉

”Or,” I say to him, “I leave, find your father, kill him, and deal with the consequences on my own.”
Warner fights a smile and fails.
He glances down and laughs just a little before looking me right in the eye. He shakes his head.
“What’s so funny?”
“My dear girl.”
“What?”
“I have been waiting for this moment for a long time now.”

„I can’t be that girl anymore.
For so many years I lived in constant terror of myself. Doubt had married my fear and moved into my mind, where it built castles and ruled kingdoms and reigned over me, bowing my will to its whispers until I was little more than an acquiescing peon, too terrified to disobey, too terrified to disagree.
I had been shackled, a prisoner in my own mind.”

”I remember it so well.” I hesitate. “Dying. It was the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced. I couldn’t scream because my lungs were torn apart or full of blood. I don’t know. I just had to lie there, trying to breathe, hoping to drop dead as quickly as possible. And the whole time,” I say, “the whole time I kept thinking about how I’d spent my entire life being a coward, and how it got me nowhere. And I knew that if I had the chance to do it all again, I’d do it differently. I promised myself I’d finally stop being afraid.”

”This isn’t about Adam or Warner,” I tell him. “This is about me and what I want. This is about me finally understanding where I want to be in ten years. Because I’m going to be alive, Kenji. I will be alive in ten years, and I’m going to be happy. I’m going to be strong. And I don’t need anyone to tell me that anymore. I am enough, and I always will be.”

Adam:

Well, I think I’ve to take that back. Nothing is fine when it comes to Adam. Adam… that name… I just have to think about him and I become aggressive. Oh man, I seriously have issues with that boy!!! I already wanted to slap some sense into him while I read “Unravel me”, reading about his character in “Ignite me” I was actually tempted to punch him in the face! Gosh!! That stupid, stupid, stubborn, selfish, obnoxious and incorrigible jerk!!! And that’s actually me putting it more than just mildly! I hate him, I loathe him, I want to scratch him with my fingernails! How dare he to be so egoistic and mean!? When I read chapter 27 I was so angry I wanted to slap him in his stupid pretty face!!! Saying that he was happier when he thought Juliette was dead?!!?? I mean seriously!!??? WHAT THE FREAKIN HELL!??!!! Don’t you have any decency?! And then he even has the nerve to throw her out and to keep his relation to Warner a secret? *grrrrrr* I could go on and on about how much I despise him now, but I think I’ll just leave it at that. ADAM is dead to me and the fact he decided to get to know Warner in the end still doesn’t change anything about my opinion! What a stupid fool!!!

”It’s not charity,” I snap. “He cares about me – and I care about him!”
Warner nods, unimpressed. “You should get a dog, love. I hear they share much the same qualities.”

What do you know about being alive?” he demands. “You wouldn’t say a word when I first found you. You were afraid of your own shadow. You were so consumed by your grief and guilt that you’d gone almost completely insane – living so far inside your own head that you had no idea what happened to the world while you were gone.”

You don’t even know what you’re saying,” Kenji tells him. “You’re acting crazy – “
“I was happier,” Adam says, “when I thought she was dead.”
“You don’t mean that. Don’t say things like that, man. Once you say that kind of shit you can’t take it back –“
“Oh, I mean it,” Adam says. “I really, really mean it.” He finally looks at me. Fists clenched. “Thinking you were dead,” he says to me, “was so much better. It hurt so much less than this.”

“And right now, I can’t say I know what Adam would do if I were dying in front of him. I’m not sure if he would save my life. And that uncertainty alone makes me certain that something wasn’t right between us. Something wasn’t real.
Maybe we both fell in love with the illusion of something more.”

Warner:

He’s standing at the front door, hands shoved casually in his pockets, no fewer than six different guns pointed at his face.”

Oh Warner… *sighs dreamily* With every book I read I loved that boy more and more! He still is awesomeness on two legs and if possible he got even more awesome throughout the book. Gosh, how much I love him!!! I’m Warner trash, I want to have his babies, he’s the perfect man and he’s easily become my no.1 book boyfriend. (Well, truth be told Will and he seem to share that place now. *LOL*) We finally saw more of his vulnerable side and I loved E.V.E.R.Y single S.E.C.O.N.D of it!!! I loved how he came to Juliette rescue when Adam and her had that argument back at Adam’s house and I was so heartbroken when he tried to hide his scars in chapter 32. And good god, I swear when I read chapter 50 it broke my heart into tiny little pieces. I was crying so hard I was even forced to take a break. That chapter literally killed me! I was so overwhelmed by my emotions I could barely breathe. My heart ached so much… that poor lost boy, to read that chapter was pure torture and just to remember it is actually enough to cause me to weep again. *sniff* Warner suffered and hurt so much throughout the entire book and all I wanted to do was to cradle him and to take his pain away. No one deserves to be so miserable and alone and I really hated Adam for hiding his and James’s true identity. If I’m entirely honest I also kind of hated Juliette for being so indecisive and when they finally hit it off I was so happy I grinned the entire time. =))))))

I’ve said it before, love, and I’m sorry I have to say it again, but you do not understand the choices I have to make. You don’t know what I’ve seen and what I’m forced to witness every single day.” He hesitates. “And I wouldn’t want you to. But do not presume to understand my actions,” he says, finally meeting my eyes. “Because if you do, I can assure you you’ll only be met with disappointment. And if you insist on continuing to make assumptions about my character, I’ll advise you only this: assume you will always be wrong.”

“He wasn’t trying to patronize me.
He was enjoying himself.
Aaron Warner Anderson, chief commander and regent of Sector 45, son of the supreme commander of The Reestablishment.
He has a soft spot for fashion.”

”I have no one to impress,” he says. “No one who cares about what happens to me. I’m not in the business of making friends, love. My job is to lead an army, and it’s the only thing I’m good at. No one,” he says, “would be proud of the things I’ve accomplished. My mother doesn’t even know me anymore. My father thinks I’m weak and pathetic. My soldiers want me dead. The world is going to hell. And the conversations I have with you are the longest I’ve ever had.”

Warner takes a hard, shaky breath. “Then what did you say to him?”
Seven seconds die between us.
“Nothing,” I whisper.
Warner stills.
I don’t breathe.
No one speaks for what feels like forever.
“Of course,” Warner finally says. He looks pale, unsteady. “You said nothing. Of course.”

”The bed is empty.
Warner has collapsed in the corner.
He’s curled into himself, knees pulled up to his chest, arms wrapped around his legs, his head buried in his arms. And he’s shaking.
Tremors are rocking his entire body.
I’ve never, ever seen him look like a child before. Never, not once, not in all the time I’ve known him. But right now, he looks just like a little boy. Scared. Vulnerable. All alone.”

”It’s the only way I know how to exist,” he says. “In a world where there is so much to grieve and so little good to take? I grieve nothing. I take everything.”
I stare into his eyes for what feels like forever.
He leans into my ear. Lowers his voice. “Ignite, my love. Ignite.”

Kenji:

I think that boy is the most complex side character I ever had the pleasure to come across. *lol* He’s funny and serious at the same time and he cares so deeply for his friends that it’s sometimes even kind of painful to watch. I loved how he cared about Juliette and how he tried his best to support her. It was pretty obvious that he didn’t agree with her opinion about Warner, yet he still accepted her decision and tried everything possible in order to understand her motives. I really wish there would be more Kenji’s out in the world and I truly hope that Kenji finds true love in the next book. Do you hear me, Mafi? I want Kenji to have a girlfriend in “Restore me”!!! He deserves it, he sooo does!!! XD If you haven’t written a girlfriend for him already, you still got plenty of time to change this!!! 😉 So yeah, do it!!!!! Oh and by the way: That’s an order and no request!!! *LOL*

“You’re not bothered by all the heavy breathing going on over here?” He makes a haphazard gesture towards us.
I jump away from Adam reflexively.
“No,” James says, crossing his arms. “Are you?”
“Disgust was my general reaction, yeah.”
“I bet you wouldn’t think it was gross if it was you.”
A long pause.
“You make a good point,” Kenji finally says. “Maybe you should find me a lady in this crappy sector. I’m okay with anyone between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five.” He points at James. “So how about you get on that, thanks.”

“Good for you. I’ll buy you a balloon the minute the world stops shitting on itself.”
“Thank you,” I say, pleased. “You’re a good teacher.”
“I’m good at everything,” he points out.
“Humble, too.”
“And really good looking.”
I choke on a laugh.

“It just gets really heavy sometimes.” He looks away. “Too heavy. Even for me. And some days I don’t want to laugh,” he says. “I don’t want to be funny. I don’t want to give a shit about anything. Some days I just want to sit on my ass and cry. All day long.” His hands stop moving against the mats. “Is that crazy?” he asks quietly, still not meeting my gaze.

”Who’s Bruce Lee?”
“Who’s Bruce Lee?” Kenji asks, horrified. “Oh my God. We can’t even be friends anymore.”
“Why? Was he a friend of yours?”
“You know what,” he says, “just stop. Just – I can’t even talk to you right now.”

James:

Oh that little boy was just so adorable and I had to laugh so hard whenever he spoke with Warner! Those two brothers had such an awesome chemistry and I loved how open and unprejudiced James was! Unlike Adam he actually saw the good in Warner and I just loved him for it! XD

Warner studies Jame’s face with rapt fascination. He bends down on one knee, meets James at eye level. “And who are you?” he asks.
Everyone in the room is silent, watching.

”Why do you call her ‘love’?” James asks. “I’ve heard you say that before, too. A lot. Are you in love with her? I think Adam’s in love with her. Kenji’s not in love with her, though. I already asked him.”
Warner blinks at him.
“Well?” James asks.
“Well what?”
“Are you in love with her?”
“Are you in love with her?”
“What?” James blushes. “No. She’s like a million years older than me.”
“Would anyone like to take over this conversation?” Warner asks, looking around in the group.

”So, wait – then you’re not the bad guy,” James says all of a sudden. “You’re on our side, right?”
Warner turns slowly to meet James’s eyes. Says nothing.
“Well?” James asks, impatient. “Aren’t you on our side?”
Warner blinks. Twice. “So it seems,” he says, looking as though he can hardly believe he’s saying it.

Anderson:

Thank god he was finally shot and didn’t even get a proper chance to say anything! I swear everything that man ever said revolted me immensely and I’m just glad that it’s over and that no word is ever going to escape his lips again. XD

”And shoot him in the forehead.
Twice.
Once for Adam.
Once for Warner.”

So yeah, I loved the entire book and if there is one thing I didn’t like than it’s just the fact that the trilogy is over and that the ending was too fast. I would have liked to see more of the aftermath and I kind of hoped for some sort of epilogue, but considering the fact that Tahereh Mafi is going to write three other books I don’t feel the urge to complain! *lol*

All told, I highly recommend the “Shatter me” trilogy and if you haven’t read it already you definitely should!!!! 😉

And last but not least: This was a buddy read with the awesome Megha and I was sooo damn glad I was able to talk about all those feels!!! Thanks a lot! You rock!!! XD

”You know,” he whispers, his lips at my ear, “the whole world will be coming for us now.”
I lean back. Look into his eyes.
“I can’t wait to watch them try.”