A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik (eARC Review)

Publisher: Del Rey Books
Page Count
: 336
Publication Date: September 29, 2020

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

CW: a bunch of really murderous monsters of various kinds

This was my first Naomi Novik book and I had an absolute blast with it. From the premise alone, I already had a strong feeling I would enjoy A Deadly Education, the first book in the Scholomance series, but I wasn’t prepared for just how much fun I had with it.

From the beginning, Galadriel, who is usually just going by the name of El, was a hilariously snarky narrator. She finds very little to like about the people around her or the situations she finds herself in. Where other people try to see the good to get by, she is utterly prepared for the worst and expects nothing from no one. The amount of times she described herself as not being able to stop seething almost felt like a running joke at some point, because she really did have the hardest of times feeling anything but angry, which makes the moments she feels vulnerable all the more special.
However, what could have easily been an annoying trait after a while, worked incredibly well for her. Death seems to be a constant companion at the school and everyone is way too okay with more than half the class dying until graduation. It felt so callous and cold. All I wanted from El was for her to actually care for someone, to break that carefully crafted facade, and during the course of A Deadly Education, that’s exactly what you get, which is what makes it such a joy to read.

The strong suit of the story is definitely El’s interaction with her fellow classmates, be it with enclave kids she hates, the few kids that tolerated her or, most fun of all, shinning knight and do-gooder Orion. If I had to describe him, I’d say he was a classic example of a himbo – not the brightest bulb out there, but a boy with a heart of gold … and not bad to look at either. His banter with El was really EVERYTHING! If you can give me a good “Why are you being nice to me? Are you mad at me?”-kind of dynamic, I am hooked! I don’t really want to speak more to the nature of their relationship, because I don’t even know if I can call it fake dating or not, but it’s hilarious.

Where the novel struggles a bit is the world building. I never really found myself confused by the concept of the school, the international aspects with students from literally all over the globe being in this one void place or the onslaught of murderous monsters. What I did struggle a bit with was the enormous info dumps though. El is telling everything from her point of view (with a really interesting 4th wall break at some point), with long paragraphs of inner monologue and little else, which establishes her voice nicely, but also just means info on info on info in some sequences of the book. I wish there had been a sleeker way to introduce all that to us, but it kept happening throughout the novel, even after the initially very info-dump-heavy first chapter.

What really throws you for a loop is the final line of the book though! Honestly, this could have easily been an interesting standalone book (with only a couple unanswered questions left), but with that one last line, it turns your whole world and the experience you just had upside down. Now I am really full of questions and anxious to find out what the frick is going on!

Fazit: 4/5 stars! Absolutely loved this and am already so looking forward to the sequel!

Do you intend to read A Deadly Education? Have you read other books by Naomi Novik? Let’s chat!

Again Again by E. Lockhart (eARC Review)

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Page Count
: 304
Publication Date: June 2, 2020

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

This is not a love story, or, at least, not a romantic love story.

I feel like that’s what the cover might suggest and what you could interpret the blurb to be, but it’s not. Maybe it is part of why I went into this book with a sort of wrong idea, but then, I learned a long time ago to never truly expect E. Lockhart’s books to be any specific way to begin with. I quite enjoyed her earlier chick-lit-esque work (for those of you who followed her career and are fans of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, you’ll get a fun little easter egg) but was truly the most enamored with We Were Liars, which was what I would consider more in the mystery genre. Now, Again Again, doesn’t really fit into either category and proves once again that E. Lockhart won’t be confined to any genre.

Again Again is partially written in verse and takes place in a multitude of universes, although mainly two. I think this approach could go over either way with the reader. Sometimes it felt repetitive in a tiresome way, other times it showed you how one moment can unfold in such vastly different ways that you yearn for a different outcome. It definitely takes time to get used to this unconventional style of storytelling, although I think the visual formatting helped get the point across. Still, I’m really torn on this matter myself, because I would be lying if I told you that the final universe wasn’t my favourite and I was so very relieved that it existed – imperfections and everything – whereas I really struggled with the others.

As far as the characters go, I found it a bit difficult to really fall for Adelaide. She was putting on this bubbly front of happiness, which didn’t reflect her inner sadness and turmoil at all, bordering on obsession in so many departments of her life. Her erratic behaviour made me dislike her sometimes, especially when she was impulsive and neurotic about boys that were only an escape, but not a solution. I understood why she acted the way she did.
Grieving for someone, even if it wasn’t the kind of grief related to death, and being burdened by constant worry will change you. It makes you act strange and impassive and everyone deals differently, but even though I got that on some level, it didn’t prevent me from getting frustrated with her sometimes. I appreciated the realness of her brokenness, while also resenting it. I am contradictory that way.
I did really like her creative side though! I would love to see some of the stuff she made in this book in real life!

However, as I said at the very beginning of this review, this is not a romantic love story, because all these boys (which were really only three) couldn’t have been more inconsequential, if I’m being completely honest. The most important relationship in this book, at least in my eyes, is the one between Adelaide and her brother Toby. Theirs is a love story of a different kind, because loving a family member can be just as hard and disappointing and necessary. Them finding their way back to each other was the only thing that really mattered to me.

Lastly, I just want to mention that I always love it when dogs are in the mix! I want to warn all of you that a dog gets punched in the face in this book (out of defense), but that they also seem to be able to talk to the main character in a way and that was surprising and quirky and I still don’t know what to make of it.

Fazit: 3.5/5 stars! Hit and miss in a lot of ways.

Do you want to read Again Again? Have you read previous books by E. Lockhart? Let’s talk!

The Movie Version by Emma Wunsch (Arc Review)


Publisher: Amulet Books
Page Count
: 368
Publishing Date: October 11, 2016

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

I read this with fellow Blogateers Cátia and Cristina, which is a good thing, because there was a lot of ranting to be done. And when I say “a lot”, I really mean it this time! Their reviews aren’t up yet, but you should check back on their blogs (by clicking on their names) to read about their experience with the book.

I am just going to say it straight away, this book is about mental illness, schizophrenia to be exact. I feel like that’s something you can’t really gather from the synopsis, which is a shame, because then you go into The Movie Version with completely wrong expectations. There’s nothing wrong with the topic itself, I usually quite appreciate books that take on such an important and quite frankly complex theme, but it simply didn’t work for me here.

Right from the beginning something felt off. Most of it is probably due to me not connecting with the main character, Amelia, at all. She lived in this oblivious bubble of her movie-life. More than once I wondered, if she chose to ignore her brother’s alarming behaviour, if she really didn’t think it was all that odd or if she thought she was actually “protecting” him. I do understand that siblings are supposed to cover for each other, but what she did was in no way helpful. Then, when her brother Toby finally got diagnosed and the help he needed, I could stand her even less. Again, I tried to understand her actions, telling myself that there would probably be a period of denial and then she would get on the case and educate herself about schizophrenia. But nope, that was not the case and it was maddening.

Bildergebnis für shame gif

Everything was about her and how this ruined her life, not once did I read her thinking how this must be a terribly difficult time for her brother as well. All her friends, even the most flaky ones, knew more about schizophrenia than she did, simply because she refused to talk about it. Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed for, yet that is exactly how she acted. She lashed out at anyone who wanted to talk and maybe comfort her, telling them and herself that they wouldn’t understand, even though they were far from overbearing and really just concerned. She showed a little growth towards the end, which justifies my 2-star-rating, but ultimately her behaviour just made me sad. I even cried while reading, because I was so disappointed in Amelia. Yes, this is difficult for the family members as well as for the person concerned, but she didn’t even try to talk to Toby or try to understand what was happening. She just wanted her old brother back.

Amelia’s side-story about her love-life wasn’t helpful either. At most times it felt random or awkward at best. I did not feel any chemistry and she kept complaining about a certain feature of his, that I could not imagine being such a big deal. One thing is for sure, this book did not show the movie-version of life. However, I don’t think it portrayed reality either, at least I really don’t hope so.

Fazit: 2/5 stars! Not what I would have wanted to get from a story like this.


Would you read this book? Have you read any books that dealt with schizophrenia better than this one did? 

Gone Wild by Jodi Lundgren (Arc Review)


Publisher: Lorimer
Page Count
: 176
Publishing Date: September 1, 2016

**I was provided with an eArc by the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**

This book is extremely difficult to review in my opinion. I read it together with Cátia @The Girl Who Read Too Much and we honestly finished this within a couple of hours, it was so short! Definitely watch out for her review in the next couple of days!

Both main characters are relatable in terms of their lives being tough and you feeling bad for them almost immediately. However, that does not excuse for some of their stupidity. They had their reasons for running away from home, but they went so utterly unprepared. You cannot simply go into the woods without food, water or proper attire. Brooke was a little more prepared than Seth, but it took them forever to meet and there were some really dangerous situations they couldn’t even handle together.

My mediocre rating is not based on me not enjoying the story, but more on the fact that there was little to no development. Of course the characters had some epiphanies and knew that they had to change their lives, but I am not really sure they made the right conclusions.

This was a short review for a short book. If you are up for something like a novella about two teens trying to figure out their lives in the woods, this might be for you, but don’t expect too much of a conclusion. I preferred Seth’s ending to Brooke’s, simply because he got something, while we just left her wherever and did not get to see how she dealt with her family and her boyfriend.

Fazit: 2.5/5 stars! I did not hate it, but it was too short to really treat the topics with the attention they deserved.


Have you heard of Gone Wild? Would you read it? 

Player by M.L. Sparrow (Arc Review)


Release Date: September 1, 2016

**I was provided with an eArc by the author in exchange for an honest review**

This is my second book by M.L. Sparrow (you can check out my review for Ghetto here) and it was a complete change of genre, going from dystopian to NA. I’ve actually already posted a cover reveal for Player, which you can find here, but I hadn’t read the book by that time. Now, if you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll have noticed that I have read some NA books, but I am far from being an expert on the topic. I like trying new things though, so when I was asked to review this one, I took the chance and said yes.

In my opinion, the set-up was fairly standard for Player. We have the beautiful, bookish girl, who knows that she’s pretty, but sometimes lacks confidence nonetheless and the rugged, popular boy with commitment issues. What was interesting though was the fact that Chloe was from England and Parker was a real Southern boy with a drawl. It took me forever to get that image in my head and to hear their distinct voices in their separate accents, but it was a still cute and sexy. Their relationship in general was amazing. Barely any unnecessary jealousy, but a lot of protectiveness and fierceness towards intruders. There was a bit of a rocky start, but then, to me, everything just seemed easy.

And that is the point where I struggled a little. There definitely were conflicts, but I never felt like the stakes were that high. To me, their issues either didn’t seem to be an irremovable obstacle or where placed at a part of the book that didn’t make me fret for their relationship status. Generally the story was fast-paced and covered a lot of ground quickly, but the balance of what happened when was just a tiny bit off for me.

However, I did get invested a little and there are a lot of open storylines for the side-characters that I would like to explore further. Player is only the first installment in the “What Happens on Campus”-series and at the end there was already a little tease for the next book, which seemed interesting as well. I can see about three more love stories unfolding before my inner eye already, so even though I didn’t fall head over heels for this one, I will definitely check out the rest of the series!


Fazit: 3/5 stars! A good start to the series!


Do you intend to read Player? Have you dabbled in NA as well?