Small Worlds by Caleb Azumah Nelson (ARC/Book Review)

Small Worlds by Caleb Azumah Nelson

PublisherA button to add a book to the platform "The Storygraph"A button that says "Add book to Goodreads": Penguin UK
Page Count
: 240
Release Date: May 11, 2023

*I was provided with an eARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!*

CW: depression, racial profiling, police brutality, grief, death of a loved one

Caleb Azumah Nelson’s debut Open Water was one of my favorite bookish discoveries last year and my appreciation for his writing has only grown after reading his sophomore novel. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Small Worlds hit me even harder and has cemented him as an auto-buy author for me. 

Dealing with music and family, love and loss, Small Worlds follows Stephen through various life stages in three consecutive summers. While we still get the author’s signature second person POV in parts of the novel, most of it is written in first person and brings us all the closer to Stephen’s world of emotions. As always, the poetic prose is just so beautiful to read, but at the same time there was an added element of repetition that really served to highlight how cyclical life can be. It also makes you feel everything tenfold – Caleb Azumah Nelson never fails to make his characters’ experiences feel authentic and relatable, be it joy and laughter or pain and sorrow. It is the balance of all these elements – and the way they intertwine – that makes Small Worlds work so well.

I especially enjoyed the focus on family in this one. Family is a complicated beast and Small Worlds truly showed every facet of that. I liked the way sibling-, parental- and mother/son or father/son relationships were depicted. It felt so nuanced, layered and steeped in generational history.

I gaze at my parents, and see that a world can be two people, occupying a space where they don’t have to explain. Where they can feel beautiful. Where they might feel free.

Tender, vulnerable and refreshingly open, I always enjoy Caleb Azumah Nelson’s portrayal of Black culture (in the UK). This one felt special in particular to the many music references, which gave it an extra spark of life. Truly, everything this man writes is just a big recommendation from me!

Fazit: 5/5 stars! No notes – this was a stunning book!

Rating: 5 stars

Previous reviews of Caleb Azumah Nelson’s work:

Do you plan on reading Small Worlds? Have you read the author’s debut? Let’s chat!

April 2023 Wrap-Up

April Wrap-Up

April – on the blog – didn’t really go as planned. It really took me a lot of time to get some content out, but towards the end, I managed to post a bunch of reviews. I’m pleased to still (sorta) be on track with my reading. Let’s dive into what I’ve read this past month! It’s quite the random collection, if I dare say so myself:

As per usual, click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! OR find me on StoryGraph, which I adore more and more as an alternative. My own reviews you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above, if there are posts for them.

I think it’s fair to say that I have established a regular reading habit by keeping up my streak of reading at least one page per day for 57 DAYS now! It might not seem like the longest stretches of time, but we all have to start with the little steps to get there. I’m definitely not the fastest reader anymore, but I am consistent. Here’s what my April looked like in terms of pages:

A chart showing the daily pages read in April 2023

In terms of my reading goals, that means I’m right on track with the number of books and still wildly behind when it comes to the number of pages. Reading just 2-4 pages might keep my streak going, but it does not do much to help with my 15,000 page count goal. Maybe I did just aim too high … OR I will make it later this year.


In Other News

April came and went like so many other months. The year started out so slow, but now everything just keeps passing me by. While there were some really stereotypical April days, I think the spring-like weather helped with my mood and just generally spend more time outdoors. That, in turn, helped lower my stress levels and I feel like I ended the month much calmer and with a generally better attitude than in a long time. I just wanna believe that good things are happening.

I Went to Another Book Event

I don’t get to go to very many bookish events where I live, so this was another special one for me. Abla Alaoui is a successful German musical actress with Moroccan roots, who happened to publish her first novel. She currently playing Esmeralda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame musical in Vienna and luckily also did her first ever reading there.

With about 70 people present, it still felt like a very intimate affair with loads of her friends from the musical business stopping by. She read quite a few parts of the book and all of them sounded funny and relatable. I’m really looking forward into diving in – which is a rare occasion with German books for me.

You can find more info on “Bissle Spätzle, Habibi?” here.


I (sorta) Participated in Camp NaNo

I signed up, I wrote the first couple of days and then I just forgot about it? I don’t know if you can call it participating or not, but I have 3,721 words more than I had before the month of April, so I will count it as a success. I’m eager to get the first three chapters done as I want to share those with a select few readers before diving further into the story. We shall see how that goes …

I Got a Bit Obsessed with TikTok

Yeah, I downloaded TikTok. Yeah, I now have an account (which you can find here) and it really sucked me in the way I always knew it would. Since I’m not really focused on creating content – I’m just messing about with that part a little bit and have already managed to have terrible timing with the videos I did make – I really like what the algorithm has put together for me. So far, it’s fun! I think, as long as I don’t let it take over my life, it should be fine!

I Fell in Love with Movies Again

This might sound weird, but I don’t know if any of you actually know what my job in Berlin was. Either way, to this day, it was my favorite job I ever had. I was part of the distribution chain for movies and I loved going to the cinema. I’ve lost that sense of wonder about movies a little in the past couple of years, but I got to watch an Austrian film and I just fell in love all over again. I found a trailer with subtitles and it’s a really quirky one, but I’m so glad I got to see it on the screen and see my city be utterly romanticized.




I hope you’ve had a fantastic and relaxed start into the month of May! Did the uptick in sunshine hours also help you get some motivation back? Let’s chat!

Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind by Molly McGhee (ARC Review)

Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind by Molly McGhee

PublisherA button to add a book to the platform "The Storygraph"A button that says "Add book to Goodreads": Astra Publishing House
Page Count
: 272
Release Date: October 17, 2023

*I was provided with an eARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!*

CW: depression, suicide, poverty, death of loved ones, emotional abuse

I’m pretty sure I heard about Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind via Twitter. It didn’t have a cover yet – and I can’t say that this is the cover I pictured for it – but I immediately added it to my TBR and jumped at the chance of reading an advance copy. So, I’m grateful for that opportunity.

From the beginning, the narrator’s voice is quirky and presents Jonathan Abernathy with all his lovable traits and flaws to us. Abernathy is quite the indecisive and passive character, an anxious yet optimistic people-pleaser on top of that. All of which makes sense considering his history, while simultaneously making him quite infuriating at times. Possibly that is why I found it hard to connect with him and the other characters. Or, maybe, it’s because we were being told so much of what was happening.
Don’t get me wrong, some stories need you to tell instead of show things. I totally get that, but here I felt we were told everything – even the things that didn’t end up happening.

Regardless of how much I actually connected with the characters, I thought that the concept was really fascinating. As a vivid dreamer myself, I loved exploring other peoples dreams and what taking them away meant for them. Even if all of this is fiction, I can see some truth behind it. Add the hard-hitting realities of poverty and capitalism, and you have quite the mix. I definitely mean it as a compliment when I say that I got Black Mirror and Severance vibes while reading the novel, albeit Abernathy tried to keep it more upbeat.

In the end, I found the story and its themes really interesting. It was a quick read that muddled reality and dreams in the later stages, offering a hard-hitting resolution. I wish I had connected with it a bit more, but I still think it offers a lot of food for thought. Maybe I’ll even dream about it …

Fazit: 3/5 stars! Interesting for sure!

Have you heard about Jonathan Abernathy You Are Kind before? I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed a book so early on … Anyway, the official April wrap-up is coming tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Kat’s Weekly TV & Movie Recap #65

Where I ramble about all the TV shows and movies I’ve watched in the past week ….

Can’t believe the month is almost over, like … where has time gone? In true me-fashion, I’ve watched a ton of stuff again, despite some shows having taken a break this week. Let’s talk!


Firefly Lane (Series Finale)

I was kind of spoiled for the ending of the show by people who have read the book, so it probably didn’t hit me as hard as it would have if I had had no idea. I always related more to Kate than Tully, so it definitely bummed me out either way, but I like that it all came full circle. 

A lot of the time, in this final season, it felt like the flashbacks to the past weren’t as vital for the storytelling as they had been previously. I definitely considered having all the necessary pieces for a full picture from mostly just the present timeline. 

Either way, glad Netflix let them tell the whole thing, that’s super rare these days. It’s a corny show, but I enjoyed it. They really managed to show that you can have ups and downs in all your relationships and that doesn’t mean they are bad or over forever. I appreciated that most of all.


Will Trent (Season 1)

I knew that Will would see right through Angie’s charade about what happened. Didn’t expect the season finale to be a two-parter about a serial killer targeting orphans from Will’s home though. This show sure has my attention.

Ted Lasso (Season 3)

Season 3 of Ted Lasso sure has hit its stride now. It took them a minute, but the wait was well worth it, because we’re in it now! Season 1 me would have never believed that Trent Crimm (our dork) and Jamie Tartt would be my absolute freaking favorite characters, yet here we are. 

I loved that we got to meet Sam’s dad and it broke my heart to see what they did to his restaurant. When the team showed up to help clean and the name of the restaurant was explained – I shed some tears!

9-1-1: Lone Star (Season 4)

They really tricked me with that teaser last week, because I was fully ready to believe that this woman was a black widow.

Good Trouble (Season 5)

The family episodes, where really EVERYONE is there, can sometimes get a bit overwhelming, but I think they handled it well. I was happy to see so much growth and communication in the group as a whole.

9-1-1 (Season 6)

Ravi really is back and I love that so much for me. I can already tell that a huge chunk of the fandom doesn’t care about Buck’s new love interest. All I saw on my Twitter timeline was people showing Eddie confused when Buck said that he finally found someone, who saw him for him, and like … honestly. Eddie sees you bro. 


As always, don’t forget to add me on Letterboxd if you want to be up to date on all my movie experiences! 

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

I was SO excited for this movie and I guess that’s where my downfall came from. It’s not that it let me down exactly, but I wasn’t vibing with it as much as I had hoped to. While there were some absolutely lovely moments and I thought a well-balanced view on relationships, there was one thing that didn’t click with me.

The two leads have amazing friend chemistry and I truly believed that they had grown up together, knew each others quirks and had a history, however, the romantic side of it wasn’t as prominent to me. The whole movie is based on the premise that you probably shouldn’t marry someone you don’t have a “romantic spark” with, but somehow that was exactly the thing lacking with the main characters? Zoe and Kaz only really showed that there was more than platonic feelings rather far along in the movie and at that point it was kind of too little too late for me?

Also, there’s no way Zoe made a cinema-quality documentary the way she worked … no way!

A Pinch of Portugal

It’s a Hallmark romance movie, what more am I supposed to say? I initially watched it because of my darling Heather Hemmens and stayed for the feel good vibe. These movies aren’t necessarily the most realistic, but no one is watched a Hallmark movie for realism. It was nice, but obviously a very copy-paste-concept.

The Portable Door

Do you ever watch a movie and just think that everything about it screams that it was based on a book? The Portable Door is that kind of movie. I’ve not read it, so I can’t compare, but I immediately knew that there was rich worldbuilding somewhere out there and they wanted to make it into a film – I think they succeeded.

I had a really fun time watching the movie, it was weird and funny and quirky. They managed to get an absolutely amazing cast! The thing I couldn’t shake was the color grading? Something about the way that was handled made the film seem outdated to me, because it felt like it was produced such a long time ago, when it’s really a recent release. Anyway, it’s a nice distraction for a lazy Sunday at home!

Did you watch anything I’ve watched? For all my German-speaking folks, I also watched “Dr. Nice” and can recommend it. Are there some more movies/shows I should take a look at? Let’s talk about that!

I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki by Baek Se-hee (Book Review)

I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki

PublisherA button to add a book to the platform "The Storygraph"A button that says "Add book to Goodreads": Bloomsbury UK
Page Count
: 209
Translator: Anton Hur
Release Date: June 20, 2018

CW: depression, mental health issues, body shaming

When I saw this book – a very colorful hardcover with a quirky illustration – in the store, I thought it sounded like it could potentially be heavy, but I also knew I had to have it. I wouldn’t necessarily say that I regret buying this book, but I do think that the cover led me astray a little bit.

Let me start by saying that this is non-fiction. Everything in book is either a transcript from a therapy session the author had or a summary of their thoughts on certain themes. I understand that this is deeply personal and don’t feel like I can judge the content all that well. However, there were a few components that I struggled with and that I would like to convey to you:

  • I’m not sure if it’s the English translation or because the content was shortened, but the conversations between the author and her therapist felt incredibly stilted. I couldn’t imagine people actually talking like this in sessions, making fairly big generalizations and barely ever digging deep.
  • Speaking of the therapist – they gave a diagnosis after like three sentences exchanged and I didn’t find that particularly professional. I, personally, consider it a bit of a red flag when someone tries to diagnose you after not even a whole session – and does so with certainty and authority – but again, I’m not sure how much of the actual conversations was cut.
  • The book was marketed as part memoir and part self-help-book and I don’t really think it was either. Again, I want to point out that this was a very personal book, I’m sure, and that there might be some cultural differences that I don’t fully understand, but it all just felt a bit … adrift. There was no real direction and I didn’t feel like the author received actual guidance or coping mechanisms that could potentially help them or others.

As someone who can understand anxiety and wanting to please people etc. I thought that I would find this book more relatable, but only parts of it really resonated with me. I can still see it benefiting others, but it wasn’t a good fit for me. If this helped you and you feel comfortable talking about it, please feel free to share your experiences in the comments!

Fazit: 3/5 stars! Unfortunately, not a hit with me.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Have you read this book? Do you plan to? What is a non-fiction book you’ve picked up lately?

You and Me on Vacation by Emily Henry (Book Review)

you and me on vacation by emily henry

PublisherA button to add a book to the platform "The Storygraph"A button that says "Add book to Goodreads": Penguin UK
Page Count
: 368
Release Date: May 11, 2021

CW: sexual content, death of parent, grief, mention of bullying

Look at me go, I finally read an Emily Henry novel! While some of you are probably familiar with the title “You and Me on Vacation“, others might now the same book by the name “People We Meet on Vacation“. I, personally, don’t know why they didn’t stick to the same title in all territories, but I prefer the UK one, since it feels more fitting for the story (and it’s the one I read).

Mixed between present tense and past, we get to experience Alex and Poppy’s relationship and how they went from friends to strangers and back again with some added romance. I love a good friends to lovers story and I also – not so secretly – enjoy when people are a bit too silly to realize they’ve been in love all along. Basically, there’s mutual pining for no other reason than these people not communicating well. Their feelings felt authentic and I definitely understood why they were so drawn to each other.

Like, I really understood their connection and enjoyed these seemingly mundane interactions. They were two deeply lonely people, who didn’t realize they were lonely until they met each other and just … clicked. It’s a beautiful thing to find someone you can be so unabashedly yourself with.

“I wish I could bottle this moment and wear it as a perfume. It would always be with me. Everywhere I went, he’d be there too, and so I’d always feel like myself.”

What I had some issues with was the main conflict. They really were propping up that fall out from two years ago and it takes a very long time until you find out what actually happened and it’s … so dumb. I, to this day, can’t believe they stopped talking over this. It feels weird that that was the “breaking point” of sorts and it felt disproportionate to other things that have happened.
The thing is, their issues were valid and real. They had to work on themselves in order to work together again, but the last minute therapy sessions and confession were rushed and odd. I was rooting for them for most of the book, but would have wished for a differently structured third act. It’s always the darn third act! *shakes fist at the sky*

“And that’s how it is in real life too. You can love someone and still know the future you’d have with them wouldn’t work for you, or for them, or maybe even for both of you.”

Anyway, I had fun reading You and Me on Vacation, just not the most fun ever. It did make me want to go on vacation though.

Fazit: 3.75/5 stars! It was good, but it could have been better.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Now, here’s a little insight as to why I actually picked up the book. You know me, you’ve probably been here for a while, and I simply cannot resist a book to screen adaptation that might include an actor I love.

Well, rumor has it that Calahan Skogman – also known as Matthias Helvar from the Netflix adaptation of Shadow & Bonemight play Alex. I don’t think he necessarily looks like people imagined the character, but I could 100% see him embody Alex. It’s mentioned like so many times how fit and tall Alex is and Cal is that for sure. Add to that Midwestern charm and that kind of quiet but secretly weird personality, he got this.

I’m not quite sure how people honed in on him potentially being Alex, but Emily Henry and Calahan certainly follow each other on instagram and have interacted a lot. Now … I definitely wouldn’t be mad if Danielle Galligan were to play Poppy either, but that’s probably wishful thinking on my part. Do you have thoughts on the potential casting?

Have you read this book? Are there other Emily Henry romances I should check out? Let’s talk!

Kat’s Weekly TV & Movie Recap #64

Where I ramble about all the TV shows and movies I’ve watched in the past week ….

I technically finished two books this week, but somehow didn’t write a single post. I was going to say that I didn’t have time, but when you see what all I watched, you might not agree … 


Jury Duty (Season 1)

Jury Duty is one of my new all time favorite shows! They really went and Truman Show-ed a dude and somehow they managed to find the most wholesome person for the job. As the trailer showed, everyone except one person is an actor – Ronald – and during the entire trial he thinks he is part of a documentary and not an actual reality show. 

Granted, it’s a little mean to trick a person like that, but Ronald is, as already mentioned, just plain good. He embraced the oddballs and was supportive, patient and kind. The show wouldn’t have worked without him and was equally as sweet as it was plain hilarious. I laughed so hard and can only imagine how tricky it sometimes must have been for the actors not to break character. I guess I’d now suspect a camera behind every mirror my whole life, but nothing brought me more joy than to see Ronald be good and it pay off for him. To this day, he’s still friends with the cast and now a famous boy.

Abbott Elementary (Season 2)

We all are well aware of the fact that I love this show. It’s funny and has just so much heart. It shows all the flaws and beauty of the American educational system, uplifting the people that put in so much work and are never appreciated enough. Quinta Brunson really did something special here and I’m so happy to see the show continue.

In my eyes, the show really focused on the development and slow burn of Janine and Gregory and I AM SO HERE FOR IT! They’re done so well and I cannot wait to continue the slow torture until they finally get together. 

The Mandalorian (Season 3)

Frankly, this wasn’t my favorite season of The Mandalorian. While I don’t mind a focus on the people of Mandalore as a whole rather than Djarin (who would have thought that’s his first name, eh?) and Grogu, I felt that the storytelling was a bit disjointed. We got to see so many glimpses of different parts of the universe, which is fine, but it didn’t fit together as smoothly as I’d have liked it. Either way, it was worth it in the end, because that was wholesome stuff right there. Loved seeing that ending for real, because I know we were all stressed about that finale.


Ride (Season 1)

I want cowboys in my life, but I might have to drop this show. I’m just not as invested as I’d like to be.

The Company You Keep (Season 1)

Sad to see this season end so soon, because it has been so much fun. I genuinely love all the cons and family dynamics.

Fire Country (Season 1)

I don’t like that there are drugs at the camp now. No one mess with that crew, they’re trying so hard!

Will Trent (Season 1)

I guess GBI officers can go undercover as well, but somehow I didn’t expect to have Will do that. Really glad to have him back either way, although Angie’s storyline is crushing me. Also, they really gotta stop with all the breaks between episodes. It’s so annoying.

Ted Lasso (Season 3)

I didn’t expect this episode to be so divisive, because except for Ted’s storyline, I thought this was one of the best episodes of the season. I don’t want to rile up any TedBecca stans, but I’m glad to see Rebecca have such chemistry with someone else, I just see her more as friends with Ted. The best part to me was 1. Colin finding someone to confide in with Trent (I cried) and 2. Jamie and Roy’s growing friendship. There was genuinely so much good stuff there!

9-1-1: Lone Star (Season 4)

How often I had to explain that I don’t know why a fire captain with a lot of training would attempt CPR on a frozen man has made me lose count. Either way, weird writing choice … but also … is the widow a stone cold killer? Owen never finds normal women.

Good Trouble (Season 5)

There’s a lot going on at this point and I’m not sure I’m loving any particular storyline a 100%. As long as we don’t separate Davia and Dennis, I should be good. I feel like there’s something weird going on with her co-stars though.

9-1-1 (Season 6)

Eddie being kind of smitten with the woman his aunt set him up with is a blow for all Buddie fans out there, but I highly doubt it’s ever going to happen anyway. I LOVED that we’re getting Ravi back though. I know the actor went on to be on a season of “Never Have I Ever”, but it still felt weird the way his character just disappeared without explanation, when he was supposed to be the next Buck. He better be back for good now.

Station 19 (Season 6)

When they intertwined the Carina/Maya shower scene with the house collapsing, I was in disbelief. Who makes a choice like that?

Grey’s Anatomy (Season 19)

Lucas not being able to Simone’s man of honor, because he’s in love with her – that’s what I’m here for! Bailey getting doxxed had me so stressed out though. As someone who worked in customer service, I’m telling you that none of these phone calls would have run this smoothly and I love the idealism behind it, but it’s not realistic to me.


As always, don’t forget to add me on Letterboxd if you want to be up to date on all my movie experiences! 


Can I buy into Chris Evans being a goofy farmer boy? Yeah, I can. Do I believe that Ana de Armas is capable of being a badass spy? Also, yes. Where it gets tricky is the concept of their first encounter basically being an entire argument, them bickering all the time, spending one night together and then sorta doing stalker-y stuff. In reality, none of this would be cute and they seem utterly incompatible. Sure, this is a movie, so what does it need to be realistic for, but it just felt so silly.

They went so overboard with cameos and action sequences, they sometimes didn’t know what genre exactly they wanted to be. Is it an action romance, is it a romantic comedy … like, what do we want? And I still don’t know why Ana de Armas had that terrible wig … I guess, I just expected more, but I did like a lot of the music selection.

Did you watch anything I’ve watched? Are there some more movies/shows I should take a look at? Let’s talk about that!