Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour (Book Review)

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Page Count
: 272

CW: parental neglect, emotional and physical abuse, grief, ghosts

Nina LaCour is one of my auto-buy authors and I don’t even need to read the blurb to buy her books. However, when I first heard about this one, I was immediately drawn to it. I knew that once again, Nina LaCour would create an impeccable atmosphere that would eventually emotionally wreck me – and that’s exactly what happened, but more about that later!

I see this book being classified as Young Adult and I’m not sure I would necessarily agree with that. Mila, the protagonist, is 18 at the beginning of the novel and turns 19 during the course of it. She goes to live on a remote farm, where she works as a teacher and helps with the harvest as well as Sunday markets. Her life and her struggles very much came from the past, and thus her younger self, but it still felt like it could have just as easily been classified as an adult novel. That’s not to say that I minded the more grown up approach, but I just think it’s something to be mindful of when you pick up this book.

There’s something about Nina LaCour’s writing that just transports me into a whole different world. Usually, rooted in a lot of trauma but still very much in reality, Watch Over Me was a surprise with its literal instead of metaphorical ghosts.

Had we been telling the truth, he would have said, The place where I’m sending you – it looks beautiful, but it’s haunted.
Okay, I would have said.
It will bring everything back. All that you tried to bury.
I understand.
It’s going to make you want to do bad things.
I have experience with that.
And how did it turn out?
Terribly. But I promise to do better this time.

Mila yearns for something in her life. I would say for a family, a place to call home and someone or something to belong to. In her desperate need to hold on to these new people she is meeting on the farm, feelings of jealousy and self-doubt creep in. While I understood entirely where she came from, it was such an intense longing tied to strong emotions on her part that it sometimes felt off-putting. That’s not to say that she was unlikable, but she surely contained multitudes behind her quiet and pleasant demeanor.

When I read a LaCour book, I often associate it with very strong emotions of my own. While Everything Leads to You wasn’t all happy, I still associate a warmth and admiration for it due to its setting being in film. With You Know Me Well, I had found one of my favourite feel-good-books and We Are Okay drowned me in a world of sorrow. Watch Over Me is a bit harder to categorise. I could have easily read it in one sitting, it is poetic and beautiful and flows nicely. But something about it is also very eerie and strangely tied to a sense of dread, sorrow and grief. It made me sad to the core and sometimes I cried at passages that didn’t even seem so sad.

“Do you like it?” Julia asked. But I didn’t know what she meant. All I saw was the deep blue-green water, the white foam against dark rock. The wildflower-studded cliffs, and the tall grasses in the wind. “Because it’s magnificent,” she said. “But I don’t like it. It scares me.”

There is no explicit romantic storyline in this book! While there are hints that a character may be attracted to more than one gender, it is not discussed or a focal point of the story. Although, the relationships Mila forges and nourishes are definitely worth talking about. To me there are four worth talking about here (without giving away too much):

  • Her mother and Blake: the trauma she has to face on the farm mostly stems from them. There is guilt and relief, sadness and so much strength that was bred in that relationship. It’s what’s really haunting Mila.
  • Terry and Julia: they are basically the parents Mila never had and always wanted. They have taken in over 50 kids and fostered them, which put them on a pedestal in Mila’s mind.
  • Billy and Liz: as I said, there’s no romantic storyline, but I feel like there was definitely an air of possibility for a throuple here as Mila seems to be attracted to both of them and fantasizes about them.
  • Lee: Lee is Mila’s 9-year-old student and anchor during her first weeks. She feels like they are both outsiders in this family and she clings to him tightly. I often felt torn about their relationship, because I loved how close they grew, but I also hated the emotional baggage she put on that kid sometimes.

“I’ll never leave you,” I said to him. I closed my eyes. I felt his body relaxing, heard the slowing of his breath. “You’ll have to grow up and leave me first.”

Sometimes I didn’t realise just how much time had already passed on the farm. It went from days to weeks really fast and I think that’s why I sometimes struggled with the depth of attachment the characters already had to each other. When I turned that last page, I wouldn’t have been able to give you a timeline at all. However, I did feel like I had just been on a journey with Mila. I didn’t understand everything that had happened, but I doubted that she did either. The farm is a magical place that only becomes the bad kind of haunted if you let it.

Fazit: 3/5 stars! I feel like I just went on a whimsical journey of sadness and grief.

Do you plan on reading Watch Over Me? Have you read other books by Nina LaCour? Let’s talk!

Normal People: Book vs. TV Show

Normal People has been all the rage when it first released with people binging it up and down. Since the book it’s based on is also a bestseller, I can only say I missed out on that hype as well. Late to the party, as I tend to be quite a lot sometimes, I really wanted to catch up on the phenomenon and indulged in both recently. So, what else would be the perfect subject for yet another book vs. TV show post?

General Plot

Connell and Marianne have known each other since school, running in different circles and yet finding and undeniable connection between them. Even when life takes them into separate directions, they find themselves gravitating towards each other continuously. Told through snapshots of specific moments and turning points in their lives, often with time jumps of several months in between them, you get to witness their unending love, their platonic and romantic entanglement.

TW: emotional, physical and sexual abuse, depression, suicide and suicidal ideation, anxiety/panic attacks (+for the show especially: graphic nude scenes, full frontal nudity)

Book

Normal PeopleI went into this book without any sort of expectation. I might have come across the trailer at that point, but I’m consuming so much media, I hardly remembered anything. I was a blank slate going into Normal People.

Reading it ended up being exhausting and frustrating and intimate and soul-crushing and strange. I was not ready for the harshness that the reality of the situations brought with them. In the beginning, I was too distracted by the format and lack of quotation marks (which I really, really missed) to realise just how deep this story was going to cut.

It’s rare that you find someone you click with on such a profound level. Connell and Marianne could be their best and their worst selves with each other and I found very little judgment that came with it. They were infuriatingly frustrating in that they lacked the communication skills to just tell the other person outright what they wanted, when all they seemed to need was each other, happy. A connection like that is nonetheless rare and even when they, once again, messed everything up with each other and hurt deeply, it was undeniable that they preferred to be in each other’s lives.

It’s a tough read, because it feels truthful and real in a frightening way. The situations were always portrayed as vulnerable and ugly, but also warm and hopeful in far fewer but still existing moments.

This book carves a hole into your soul and leaves you with an empty pit inside you. There’s simply nothing there afterwards and you want to fill it with something, but just like the characters have proven time and time again, it’s really difficult to find something that will actually make you feel better instead of just more miserable. I don’t know if this open end was genius or the final cruel gut punch. It leaves it up the reader to interpret whether happiness is fleeting and we should appreciate the moments we get, or whether this is not the end. Not truly at least.

Fazit: 4/5 stars! The only reason I subtracted a star is because this book made me feel miserable in so many moments, but that’s a very personal reason.

Page Count: 290
Publisher: Faber & Faber

*click on the cover to get redirected to Goodreads*

TV Show

For those of you who know me, you are well aware that I watch a lot of shows and movies that have been adapted from books (sometimes even vice-versa), but this one truly hit me in an unexpected way. It’s rare to see something so flawlessly translate to the screen, where the vibe, the expressions, the dialogue, the atmosphere and the feeling remain exactly the same as I had felt them during my reading experience.

The casting of (at least to me) rather unknown Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones was a bold choice that paid of in its entirety. The show hinges a lot on their talent, but they were magnificent in their roles. Their performances felt authentic and raw, dragging you into the tumultuous emotional life of the characters even deeper. There was something so utterly intimate in the way they portrayed Connell and Marianne, I would have believed they were those people instead of acting if anyone had claimed it to be the case.

There’s a couple things that are hard to watch. All these moments are existent in the book as well, but there is something so very different about imagining it and seeing it actually happen in front of you.

The only real difference I could spot was maybe Marianne’s mother. It’s not that she was necessarily a better person, but while I found her completely uncaring and cruel in the book, I thought she had glimpses of thought and care for her daughter on the show.

I must give great credit to the various directors of the episode, editors and just all crew involved. Whoever did the score (actually let me look that up real quick to tell you) … it’s several people, but the score is comprised of mostly acoustic and instrumental tracks, with some covers here and there that fit the atmosphere perfectly. So, whoever did the song selection, you also did a phenomenal job! Everything about the show managed to convey emotions, be it in the framing of the shots, the music, the silences, the colors, the set design or looks interchanged between the actors. Everything felt intentional and there’s very few instances that don’t manage to hit home.

From the massive response the show has received, I can tell that there is a certain want or need for a second season. This sequel would be completely unrelated to the book, because it finishes the exact same way as the show has. Open, free to interpretation, mournful. I would be interested to see this end on a happier note, although I am not sure that’s what the story is destined to be. For now, the cast has said there is no definite talk of a continuation. Maybe that could change with the increased interest?

Until then, you can lust after Connell’s chain with me and the rest of the internet. I love how iconic it has become and that it has its own Instagram profile. Even more so do I love the fact that Paul Mescal is raffling off one of his chains for a good cause. You have until the 8th of June, 2020, to try your luck here. Paul chose a great organisation, Pieta, which provides free therapy to those engaging in self-harm, with suicidal ideation, or bereaved by suicide in Ireland.

Conclusion

There is no better or worse in this case. I have rarely encountered such a faithful adaptation that doesn’t just match the actual dialogue, but also manages to convey the exact same vibe of the story. While I do think that the book adds a bit of inner monologue that’s helpful in some scenes, and I’d therefore recommend reading it first, they are equally as good as the other.


Have you read Normal People? Have you watched it? Are you as obsessed with Connell’s chain? Let’s chat!

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord (Book Review)

Publisher: Wednesday Books
Page Count
: 368

I can’t believe I read this brand new 2020 release, but it was one of the easiest tasks ever to convince me to pick it up! Twitter wars, teen banter, copious amounts of Gossip Girl and Mean Girls references, grilled cheese and all the sweet goods one could imagine as well as the enemies-to-lovers trope – this book basically consisted of all the things I love and adore.

When you go into Tweet Cute, I feel like you very much know what to expect and that’s not a bad thing at all, because the execution is what matters. I went into it having quite a lot of the story elements that would be used in mind already, but I was still surprised when some of them were used. Sometimes a certain plot point would arrive much sooner and I’d be surprised by how much of the story was still left. Nonetheless, I never felt like the story was dragging on or stretching out parts of it too much, everything flowed nicely and made sense in the grand scheme of things.

This won’t be a very long review in total, just because there is very little to say other than my utter adoration for Tweet Cute. The characters were fun, the setting was cool (I like some preppy uptown New York academy), the banter was hilarious, but what I loved the most was the complex family dynamic. The pressure you sometimes get from wanting to please your parents, the rivalry that can ensue with a sibling because of different treatment and the fierce loyalty one might still feel, even when things are not at their best at the moment. All those things make a story feel real and relatable.

Now, can someone please make me a grilled cheese?? I am hungry!

Fazit: 5/5 stars! Such good fun! (Caution: Do not read while hungry or craving food!)

Have you read this book also? Have you seen it swarm around the blogosphere as much as I have? Let’s chat!

The Crown by Kiera Cass (Book Review)

Crown

Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count
: 278

I was debating whether to write a review for this book or not, since I haven’t written one for the rest of the Selection series (which I read kind of before all of this turned into a book blog), but here I am. I think this will be rather short though, because it’s the finale and I don’t want to spoil anyone and I don’t think this will make all too much sense for people who haven’t read any of the books at all.

First things first, I hated Eadlyn in The Heir. I kid you not, she was selfish, arrogant and didn’t have an ounce of empathy in her little finger. How could such a cold person be the main character we were supposed to root for? I didn’t want any of those sweet suitors to win, simply because I didn’t want any of them to suffer living next to her side for the rest of their lives. And then The Crown came

I don’t know what happened … well, I guess I do know a little bit of what happened, but Eadlyn has changed so much. She is compassionate, considerate and truly listens to others, which I just didn’t expect of her. It felt like she was too good all of a sudden, which was entirely confusing at first. However, it did help with the whole me-wanting-her-to-find-the-right-partner-and-lead-a-happy-life. It’s been a while since I had read the prequel to this book, so it took me a little to remember all the guys and who’s who. What felt off the entire time was that Eadlyn, unlike her parents, had no clue who she should choose. She went on several dates with all those guys and there was no discernible feeling as to who she liked best. In the end, I am very glad she chose the guy I had already sort of rooted for in The Heir, but of course I am not going to tell you who that is, just that I think it was a brave choice.

All in all, Eadlyn made A LOT of good choices in this book. Up to a point where she was so selfless, she would have lead a miserable life herself just to do the best for her people, which is just too much. I think the political situation could have been addressed a little more, but it was handled decently. Ultimately, I just can’t give it a super high rating because I really just read this book to finish the series. It could have been so much worse though, which is a happy consolation!

Fazit: 3/5 stars. A nice conclusion for the series I suppose.

3stars

Have you read the entire Selection series as well? What did you think of the finale?

Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry (Book Review)

nbhAn unforgettable new series from acclaimed author Katie McGarry about taking risks, opening your heart and ending up in a place you never imagined possible.
Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she’s curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.
Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They’re the good guys. They protect people. They’re…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club’s most respected member—is in town, he’s gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it’s his shot at his dream. What he doesn’t count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.
No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Page Count:
 496

Before Nowhere But Here I have only read one book by Katie McGarry and I loved it. Now, neither NetGalley nor Goodreads could clearly identify whether this book is NA or YA and I think it is one that sort of dabbles in the grey area in between. I’ve put off this review for a while, because I am not really sure what to say though and I don’t understand why, because I had a blast reading it.

It starts off really funny, with Emily being thrown into this biker-world she clearly knows nothing about. At first, I thought she deserved some of the uncomfortableness (Is that a word? I say it’s one now), because I wasn’t sure how much I truly could relate to her or simply liked her. She seemed to have fears about basically everything and even about things I did not fully understand and then she just shut people out who were really trying. Yet, given her history and the time to get to know her made me really like her. Same with Oz. Those characters are brazen and confident and ridiculously good-looking. The whole story is not exactly an every-day-kind-of-occurrence, so it isn’t something everyone can relate to.

Despite the lack of realism, I love those kind of books. They may be full of over the top drama, but they still talk about topics that matter where it counts. Nowhere But Here was about truth, family, love and overcoming fear. There were some twists and turns I could guess and others I did not see coming in exactly that way. It was steamy and sweet and a great beginning to a new series. We already got to know the male MC for Walk the Edge, the second installment, and I can’t wait to pick that one up as well.

Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! Don’t put too much thought in it while reading and just enjoy the wild ride!

5stars

Have you read any of Katie McGarry‘s books? Do you intend to take a look at the Thunder Road series?

Ghetto by M.L. Sparrow (Book Review)

Ghetto - D2BMy name’s Sunny Grace Beaumont. Branded SGB/2/6895/03.12.93. Only child, self-taught computer geek and cancer survivor. Oh, and did I mention my dad’s the President? As you can imagine that’s sometimes a little problematic, especially when I want to sneak out. But it never got me into quite as much trouble as the night I ventured into the Ghetto – don’t ask me why I was there in the first place… it was stupid. Everyone knows that the Ghetto is where hardened criminals are sent to live out the remainder of their lives. At first the men that kidnap me are just as I’d imagine, mean and thoughtless, but slowly I begin to have doubts.

I meet a guy. His name’s Sin, he has no Brand – a crime punishable by death – and he’s the rebel leader. I should hate him… but I don’t. Instead he opens my eyes to a whole other side of the Ghetto, where people are innocent of the crimes they’re accused of and helpless children suffer dreadful poverty. Is it possible that I’ve been lied to my entire life… that the governments been deceiving everyone? And how can I challenge the law my own dad is adamant to uphold?

Page Count:
 227

**I was provided with a copy by the author in exchange for an honest review!**

When I first read the blurb for this book, I was instantly intrigued. I’ve read my fair share of YA Dystopians, but this one seemed to fit right in line with what I like. It sounded familiar in some ways and new in so many others – I was sure to give it a try. And my gut feeling didn’t betray me! Despite the quick rundown in the summary above, we get eased into the story very nicely. The world-building is well done, without being too over the top or overly complicated, which I can definitely appreciate.

Sunny, the main character, is good girl with a rebellious streak. She is smart and talented, but you instantly know that she is in trouble and definitely out of depth when she enters the Ghetto. From this point on things change fairly quickly. You realise that the system isn’t working and that a lot of people have innocently been convicted. It is nearly impossible not to feel for the people of the Ghetto and their terrible fate and Sunny soon turns from captive to accomplice.

That was the most fun for me to read really! There is this slow part where she realises she doesn’t feel trapped anymore, that she enjoys the company of some of the people and at one point even that she doesn’t want to leave anymore. It’s the same thing that makes the romance so charming. She seriously considers her developing feelings being some sort of Stockholm Syndrome at first and it’s so adorable and funny to see her relationship with Sin, as well as with his men and Maya, develop. All those characters, they just grow on you so fast! Sin especially didn’t really seem like a person who could warm my heart in the beginning, but the more I found out about him, the more I liked him.

There are a couple twists and turns I didn’t see coming and the final pages were gripping, because I had no idea how everything could be resolved. Ghetto is one of the books where I am grateful to have gotten a happy ending though. Especially with dystopians where the whole system is corrupt, I often wonder if something could realistically be changed in the following years and we thankfully become a great conclusion to that question of mine.

Ultimately, I don’t really have anything to complain here! The only thing I sometimes could have done without was the slang spoken in the Ghetto, but that’s just me not being a native English-speaker and sometimes feeling like it disrupts my reading – because I definitely know that a differentiated slang from the city to the Ghetto is a sign of great world-building.

Fazit: 4/5 stars! A thrilling read that will make you want to change all the injustice in the world.

4stars

Now, if you want to check out an excerpt of the story yourself to see whether you want to read it, too, you can head over to M’s website: http://mlsparrow.wix.com/mlsparrow! And if you have already read it for yourself, tell me all about your thoughts in the comments!

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (Book Review)

simonSixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Publisher: Penguin
Page Count:
 303

So, I went a little off the rails and didn’t stick to my crazy initial TBR. But reading a lot of Fantasy with complex worlds and a gazillion different characters one book after the other gets a difficult after a while. So, instead I decided I needed a break and chose a book I was most likely going to like. Seriously, people have been pushing me to read this for a long time now and I never had a reason not to. Except for maybe lack of time and money. I have read increasingly less Contemporaries lately, which is weird, because I love them. The whole point of this rambling, I am glad I finally got to read it!

Simon is an incredibly fun character! I can’t say that I always related to him 100%, but he made some incredibly good points. So many topics, that could easily weigh a story down, were touched upon in such a natural way that it just seemed to flow right with the story. We had everything from sexuality, bullying, the complexity of friendship and family as well as skin colour. And speaking of family, that’s another thing I am very fond of. So many YA books barely feature parents (mainly because the MC probably wouldn’t be able to experience all the adventure he/she does with them around …), but they were a part of the story here, without being overpowering.

I couldn’t quite follow Simon’s logic on finding out about Blue though. Obviously I get that he wanted to find out who he was, but I am talking about his real life identity. I am happy to say that I guessed it right, but it was very well played, with not a lot of clues to go by. Still, I feel like Simon was very far off the truth sometimes, more seeing what he wanted to see. Then again, that is something so typically human, I can’t really argue with it being realistic. And they were so adorable in general! I was really always looking forward to their mails, which were awesomely getting bolder and bolder, as if I were getting them myself!

In the end, I think the only reason I am not giving this 5 stars is because I’ve heard so much about the book and the pressure was definitely on when I read it. I don’t like it, I tried to ignore it, but when I got to certain quotes and I remembered them from other people’s posts, it just didn’t have the same effect it would have had if I had gone into this blind. It doesn’t change the fact that this was a great, heartfelt, adorable, hearts-in-the-eyes-kind-of story. Definitely recommendable!

Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! I am still all warm and giggly inside from this read! It was a fantastic ride and exactly what I needed!

5stars

So, since I am one of the few people in the bookish community who hadn’t read it yet, hit me with your thoughts on it! Did you love it too? Or was I not as alone as I thought and are still people who don’t know about Simon’s awesomeness out there? 

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard (Book Review)

glassswod

If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.
Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.
The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.
Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.
But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.
Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count:
 444

This is the sequel to Victoria Aveyard‘s Red Queen and if you haven’t read the book, I do not suggest you read on. I won’t spoil the content of Glass Sword, but it will still give things away for the series as a whole, especially the first part.

I should probably start by saying that I was one of the people who absolutely loved Red Queen. I rated it 5 stars, not because I thought it didn’t have any flaws, but rather because I valued the entertainment factor that much. Now, I wish I could say the same about Glass Sword, but somehow it was a real let down.

We actually start right back in the action with Mare and Cal trying to flee from Maven (who I still hold a candle for). It was exciting, it was exhilarating, but unfortunately it doesn’t last for very long. Mare’s main goal to find others like her is a commendable one, but it makes for a slow story. There was a lot of traveling, a lot of Mare not trusting anyone and going in circles with her thoughts. And I can tell you that the repetitiveness of the book wasn’t really something that spoke to me. Every now and then there would be a spark of excitement, something intriguing happening, just for it to last a maximum of 10 pages and then go back to the slow pace.

I think the main issue here was that we had no real concept of the size or the areas of Norta and the surrounding kingdoms. They traveled miles and miles, introduced a ton of new people, but without seeing a map and having a real connection to any of the newbies, it was a little difficult to keep track.
Another thing that bothered me was Mare herself. I get that the betrayal from Red Queen made it difficult for her to trust people, but even when they actively prove her otherwise, she believes she is all alone. I’ve read enough about dystopian heroes and heroines to know that that’s bad. You can never make it alone and that made her behaviour so frustrating. She clearly wanted the people around, but kept pushing them away at every turn – lying to them and to herself.

However, enough with the bad stuff, there were a lot of things that I liked too. A lot of characters get a more page time, like Farley, but as I mentioned new ones were introduced as well. Some of them really stood out and I am certain they will play a bigger role in the future. I enjoyed seeing how everyone changed with time and ultimately also grew up. I have to admit that I am still super intrigued by Maven. He is sort of becoming a reverse Warner from Shatter Me and that gives me hope that he’s not all evil … I don’t know why I still carry a torch for him. The new abilities were also really cool, even though I still think that Mare’s ability to create electricity out of nowhere is among the best.

The main reason for this not being a flat out 3 stars, but 3.5 were the last 50 to 60 pages! They broke my heart, had me crying and angry at the same time. Even though the book really dragged in parts, those final pages were what really got to me and what assured that I will definitely pick up the next books. Yet I cannot help but wonder if it was really necessary to broaden this series from a trilogy to four books …

Fazit: 3.5/5 stars! It had it’s moments but unfortunately it wasn’t nearly as gripping in total as the first installment. I am hoping for a better sequel.

3stars

Have you read the series? What are your thoughts on Glass Sword? Does the book suffer from second-book-syndrome?

A Million Worlds With You by Claudia Gray – Cover Reveal

So, yeah, I know the cover reveal was last week, but I was busy, okay!? If you haven’t read my reviews of the first two parts of the Firebird series yet, you can check out A Thousand Pieces of You here and Ten Thousand Skies Above You here! The last book ended on a devastating cliffhanger that I am still not okay with, so I am massively excited for the release of A Million World With You on November 1st!

The blurb is as follows:

A million universes. A million dangers. One destiny.
The fate of the multiverse rests in Marguerite Caine’s hands. Marguerite has been at the center of a cross-dimensional feud since she first traveled to another universe using her parents’ invention, the Firebird. Only now has she learned the true plans of the evil Triad Corporation—and that those plans could spell doom for dozens or hundreds of universes, each facing total annihilation.
Paul Markov has always been at Marguerite’s side, but Triad’s last attack has left him a changed man—angry and shadowed by tragedy. He struggles to overcome the damage done to him, but despite Marguerite’s efforts to help, Paul may never be the same again.
So it’s up to Marguerite alone to stop the destruction of the multiverse. Billions of lives are at stake. The risks have never been higher. And Triad has unleashed its ultimate weapon: another dimension’s Marguerite—wicked, psychologically twisted, and always one step ahead.
In the epic conclusion to Claudia Gray’s Firebird trilogy, fate and family will be questioned, loves will be won and lost, and the multiverse will be forever changed. It’s a battle of the Marguerites . . . and only one can win.

And now without further ado, the cover:

amwwy

It all sounds very intense and I am both glad and sad that it will come to an end now. On the one side, I want to know how it ends, on the other, the series has really grown on me. I am still secretly openly rooting for Theo, so I hope there’s at least something good in store for him in the finale. But now on to the cover. We all know that they ALL look gorgeous and this one is no exception! It is, however, the first one that doesn’t “just” feature well known cities. I am intrigued by the outer-space-look of it all!

What are your thoughts? Have you read the series? Do you want to? Isn’t it beautiful to look at?

Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini (Book Review)

trialThis world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in her hometown of Salem take for granted, which is why she is determined to enjoy her first high school party with her best friend and longtime crush, Tristan. But after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class, Lily wishes she could just disappear.
Suddenly, Lily is in a different Salem—one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruelest of them all is Lillian . . . Lily’s other self in this alternate universe.
What makes Lily weak at home is what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. In this confusing world, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can’t hope to shoulder alone and a love she never expected.

Publisher: Macmillan
Page Count:
 373

This was quite honestly one of those books that I saw and didn’t know what it was about AT ALL (besides witches obviously), but I was so fascinated by the cover, I had to have it. Man, am I glad I followed through on that gut feeling, because I am really surprised this isn’t a more popular series.

First off, I really have to give Trial by Fire credit for its originality. Lily Proctor is allergic to … well, everything! So, the book starts off with her vomiting and is followed by other strange incidents. I was frankly a little weirded out by the beginning of the story, but as soon as she was brought to the different Salem, everything simply fell into place.
New Salem is a mix between our world and a place where magic has survived and become the most important thing. The air isn’t clogged, there is no pollution – just imagine how great that must be! Every machine and the drawbacks and dangers that come with them in our world weren’t ever even invented there, because it could all just be handled with magic. And the magic is so wonderfully scientific! Everything has it’s own rules and purpose and I thought it was so well put together. The most intriguing part to me were the willstones (basically a necklace that lets you channel your powers, but is like an additional limb or organ at the same time) and I hope to explore the customs for those even more in the following installments.

One thing I was really glad about was the fact that there was no insta-love. Rowan hates Lily because he thinks she’s Lillian, her evil-doppelganger in New Salem. He kidnaps her and doesn’t even care when she gets hurt – you can feel in the hostility on both sides! And then there is another person who existed in Lily’s world as well, whom she trusts much more than Rowan. So, instead of rushing into this, the feelings that they experienced were the kind that transcends dimensions, a love that develops with time. It is even sort of a mix between cosmically-belonging-together and enemies-turned-lovers, which was great to read.

The dialogue in general was quite funny and all the characters multi-faceted, even the evil ones. There is still a lot to explore, though they’ve covered a lot of ground in Trial by Fire. What I hated a lot of course was the cliffhanger – I can’t deal with those!

I guess there really isn’t anything bad that I could say about the book, but somehow I still can’t give it 5 stars. I want to know more about Lily, Rowan, Tristan, Juliet, Lillian and all the others. I don’t even know if the next book will take place in the same dimension and it drives me crazy! As I’ve said in the beginning, I wish that more people would read this series. It is definitely underrated! Why haven’t you read it yet!?

Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! A very fascinating spin on witches and the world of magic, yet with another cruel cliffhanger!

4stars

Could I convince you to give Trial by Fire a try? Do you enjoy stories about witches? Why don’t I have the sequel right here with me, can you tell me that? At least I can check off another book from my TBR!