Evidence of the Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid (Short Story Review)

Publisher: Amazon Original Stories
Page Count
: 115

We all know that I haven’t exactly been reading up a storm these past couple of months. Even when I have been interested in the different stories, it was just hard to find the time and energy to really focus on it and keep at it. However, this book was offered for free on Kindle and is told entirely through letters (one of my favourite forms of storytelling if you remember this post), so I just couldn’t resist.

Evidence of the Affair feels like such a simple story, but managed to really get across a lot of emotion in its limited amount of pages. It’s always such a shame when I connect with a short story and then just want it to go on for 300 more pages. And that’s not to say that this book had a terrible ending at all, it was quite fitting and yet, it still left a lot to the imagination. I think that I would have personally preferred just a bit more, but I’d like to imagine that the next thing happened away from letters and notes and that makes it all the more beautiful in my mind.

Carrie and David’s struggles were so relatable throughout, I just wanted them to lead their best lives and be happy too. Even as someone who hasn’t been in a long term relationship, I could understand their doubts and fears.

Often, I feel overwhelmed by this sinking feeling in my heart that I will never be enough.

But those characters were definitely enough and their short story was too. I am a greedy reader, I always want more, but this is a great book if you need a change of pace or a quick way out of a reading slump.

Fazit: 5/5 stars! This is the perfect little palette cleanser and story to wet your appetite for more reading.

Have you read this little nugget of a story? Would you like to? What are your thoughts?

My First Experiences with Audiobooks!

When I was little, I used to love to listen to cassettes of fairy tales and little audioplays (not really something that was just narrated, but rather had an ensemble cast play different characters and such) as I was falling asleep. Those stories were often intentionally short, because I was a child and my attention span probably wasn’t the greatest to begin with, but they were also easy to follow in terms of story. Now, being much older (but not necessarily wiser), I thought it was time to try actual full length audiobooks.

There’s been a lot of discussion online about whether audiobooks should be considered real reading and that’s not even something I ever worried about. Of course, to me, if you have heard the story, it counts just as much as if you have read the words on the page. Also, it’s just a bit ableist if we are being honest, because not everyone can see and read words. So, this is not what this post is about at all.

This post is more about how I personally feel about audiobooks and why I think they do or don’t work for me. I found myself having two credits for free audiobooks on Audible and went with very different options to test my theory – one was a contemporary thriller (I wasn’t quite ready to dive into anything that was removed from reality) and the other was a non-fiction book by a British comedian. Here’s a bit more on those books:

Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman

Something in the Water Something in the Water is a thriller that starts out with a seemingly regular woman burying a dead body in the first chapter and you subsequently find out how she got herself into that predicament.

If you’ve followed my blog for a while now, you know that I am not huge on thrillers or crime stories. However, I was a bit overwhelmed with the sheer amount of possible audiobooks, I wanted something new and as soon as I saw Catherine Steadman and that she narrated her own book, I just pressed the “buy” button. 

For those of you who don’t know, Catherine Steadman isn’t just an author, she is also an actress (currently starring as Eliza Gestalt in The Rook) and because I knew her and her voice, I was intrigued. With audiobooks, it’s important that you like the voice and intonation of the narrator. With Catherine, I knew that she would be great due to her acting abilities and that she was invested in the story too. Alas, I was not disappointed in her narrating skills. The story is another thing though …

I was so annoyed with the main character sometimes. It’s not that she was a bad person, but she made some really dumb decisions. Also, it’s pretty much a cautionary tale on what greed will get you. Anyway, my main issue though was that I simply couldn’t keep paying attention to the story and kept spacing out even if it was interesting. I learnt that I listened the most while I was walking around outside and didn’t do ANYTHING else, but had troubles as soon as I so much as glanced at my phone screen or attempted an activity that required as much as a single brain cell. So, I figured, maybe I needed something even more rooted in reality and turned towards non-fiction with my next book.

James Acaster’s Classic Scrapes by James Acaster

James Acaster's Classic Scrapes

James Acaster is one of my favourite comedians. This doesn’t necessarily mean much, because that list is pretty long (I like to laugh, okay!?), but it made getting his audiobook an easy choice. He obviously also narrated the book himself, which is probably best, since it’s like him telling short stories that happened in his life. The foreword is by Josh Widdicombe, also a funny dude, so what’s not to like?

Well, I knew some of the stories from James’ stand up program and his various visits on panel shows. Also, I once again just really had trouble not getting distracted. So, if a comedian with a funny accent and funny stories couldn’t hold my attention? What did that say about me?

THE RESULT

I think in the end I just have to accept that maybe audiobooks aren’t for me. I have real troubles focusing on what’s being told to me and I learned that I just prefer having the words in front of me. There is a consideration of maybe reading along AS someone tells me story, but I don’t have the funds of buying an audiobook as well as an ebook or physical copy. I am not that rich! It was worth a shot and I do get people who enjoy audiobooks. It’s so much faster to get through a book, but I can honestly say that I did not retain as much information from what I read this way than I did when I read the actual letters myself.


What’s your take on audiobooks? Do you like them? Do you loathe them? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman (Book Review)

Publisher: Titan Books
Page Count
: 400

It has been a while since I posted a book review on here, or since I have read a book in general if we are being real. I remember the days when I, no matter how busy I was, could just gulp up one story after another, but somehow that has just not been possible these past couple of months. I don’t blame the books for it. They are still filled with all the magical words! However, something about me and how I spend my time has changed and made it increasingly hard to focus on all the writing and retain the information it tries to convey after a long day at work. Who know? Maybe it will change again soon, but for now I am afraid you are stuck with less output in that department.

I am not exactly sure what drew me to picking up the Devouring Gray. The neon pink on the cover with the misty mountains definitely helped, but the promise of it being beautiful yet also terrifying and filled with magic was probably what sealed the deal. Having now read the book, I kind of get why everyone kept comparing it to the Raven Boys. However flawed that series might have been, I still loved it a whole lot and while reading The Devouring Gray, it kept popping up in the back of my mind constantly. I think it has something to do with how the group is set up and how the relationships among the different members are portrayed. I am not saying it is all love, but there are deep ties with the main four characters that will very likely continue to intertwine and strengthen and change in the follow up books.

Overall though, I can’t say that loved this read. I have definitely had worse and would probably pick up a sequel, but something didn’t quite click with me. I am still torn whether it had to do with the way it was written (which sometimes felt a little clumsy to me) or with me not entirely connecting to the characters. Too often, I felt like I was told how the people feel towards each other and how their pasts shape them instead of letting me naturally discover it. Everything was very direct and on the nose, even the secrets didn’t feel like anything I had just found out and gotten surprised with but rather like I had known all along and therefore didn’t care much now.

“People could hurt each other without being monsters.
And they could love each other without being saints.”

Still, it has some interesting family dynamics and the overall mystery with the monster remains. If I had to ship anyone (I know that I don’t have to at all, but since almost every second character in this book is bi, I feel like I am allowed to), I’d want the two broken beings that are Violet and Isaac to mend each other. The spark that usually makes me adore a read just wasn’t here with this one, but as I have mentioned before, I would maybe pick up any follow up books just to see how this plays out.

Fazit: 3/5 stars! Intriguing but not quite there for me.

Have you read The Devouring Gray? Do you want to? What are your thoughts on it?

March 2019 Wrap-Up

I originally intended to be more active this month, but a couple hick-ups along the way and some generally not so fun events have made me a little apathetic towards everything that wasn’t sleep. I’m better now though and hope to get more passionate about writing posts and reading and watching TV (yeah, not even that was very entertaining at times) again.

While The Wicker King and its novella didn’t get the highest rating of my reads this year so far, I still very much enjoyed reading the books. I think my approach of reading less or really only the things I truly gravitate towards is doing wonders. Most of the books I have picked up this year were amazing and I had a lot of fun (or other emotions) with them.

If you want to read my review for The Wicker King as well as some short thoughts on The Legend of the Golden Raven (which is the companion novella from Jack’s POV) click here.

I didn’t feel like cancelling the book section of this post entirely, but I might in future posts if I really only read about one book per month. For now, fingers crossed I’ll pick up something that’s a super quick read though. If I can finish it in a day or on a weekend, I might just be up for it.

There’s not really much to tell other than that. Part of my family has come to visit Berlin this past weekend and it was really fun to play tourist with them for a bit. Aside from being super tired from walking around (and I did less walking than they did), I don’t think I would have seen as much or tried some things if they hadn’t been here with me. I am really grateful for that experience! One thing I would definitely recommend is the German Spy Museum! Even when it’s pretty full, you get to do loads of interactive stuff such as learn morse code, look for bugs in a room, do a laser maze or try how you’d fare at a job interview for a secret intelligence service (in this case the Australian one, which I now know how to nail. You can try it yourself here). Even if some of the things may have been targeted at kids, who didn’t ever want to be a spy when they were younger and just likes pretending now too?

THINGS I LIKED THIS MONTH

Apart from discovering some more of Berlin, I really just stuck with my Skam remakes again this month. It’s so interesting to see the German approach to the Isak/Even season, especially since they REALLY changed things up. I am so happy to see them include a trans character played by a trans actor and just generally do a lot of callbacks to the original show as well as small references to the other remakes, but always do their own thing as well.

The French version has just ended their Isak/Even season and jumped right into the next one without so much as a break. My inner fangirl rejoices at stuff like that. Although I am going to miss Lucas and Eliott like crazy, they had an amazing run. I was just constantly blown away by the acting, especially that of Axel Auriant. He has quickly become one of the young talents I am definitely going to look forward to seeing in more projects in the future. What he does just feels so real! (I mean, he did actually hurt his hand while punching a wall, so … part of it is real, I suppose).

MY POSTS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

TRAILER POSTS

I hope you had a good month and that we can all start into April without too many pranks (I just really don’t like April Fool’s Day, cause I fall for everything). 

The Wicker King by K. Ancrum (Book Review + The Legend of the Golden Raven Novella)

Publisher: Imprint
Page Count
: 305

CW: hallucinations, unhealthy co-dependency, negligent treatment of children, harmful behaviour and self-endangerment 

I’ve wanted to pick up The Wicker King ever since I saw a finished hardcover copy of it in a store in Canada almost 1.5 years ago. If you are a sucker for beautiful covers and extravagant design inside and outside of books, you will have a hard time resisting this one. Although I try to get better at not just buying books because of their beauty, the Wicker King definitely paid off.

All the superficial details aside, I honestly am glad I finally read the book. It’s not an easy read for sure, but it has lovely characters and such an important story to tell. I don’t want to spoil anything, but you don’t necessarily wonder as much about what is fantasy and what is reality as it might seem at first glance. I’ve had my fair share of books that mastered the art of completely bending your mind with the possibility of what might be happening, but there were very few doubts about the going ons in the Wicker King for me, which is probably why it was almost scary to read sometimes.

August and Jack are wonderful characters and I often just wanted to jump into the story and mother them, hug them and protect them. I did not agree with all the choices they made nor the behaviour they sometimes showed, but those boys did the best they could and deserved so much better. It’s not that I believe their parents didn’t love them, but they did a terrible job at it. Circumstances can make life hard and people crumble and break at times, but if you have kids, you really have to power through regardless. I know it’s easier said than done from where I am comfortably sitting childless behind a computer screen, but wow, did I wish that I could somehow help them and care for them, because their parents sure didn’t. In the end, it was good that they took care of each other, even if they could have done with a guardian in their lives.

There are a couple reasons I didn’t fully adore this book though and I think those are just very me reasons. While I love myself some short chapters, I was confused about the POV in the beginning (which is August’s by the way) and then felt like they hindered me from really connecting in some moments. I also didn’t love the continued hook ups, but my main sore point of the book was the relationship between August and Jack somehow. I liked that it was ambiguous in the beginning, because I am not the kind of person who just puts a romantic label on things just because I can. However, the longer I read on, the more I got afraid for them. They were so important for one another, so entangled in each other’s lives. The presence of August was like a necessity to Jack and vice versa. I understand that it’s one of the main points of the book, but it almost seemed unhealthy to me and therefore I couldn’t 100% root for them to be together. As I said though, this is a very me thing and maybe that worked perfectly fine for other people.

Fazit: 3.5/5 stars! Definitely worth a read even if I didn’t click with every part of it.

If you know me, you also know that I am not much of a novella person, but The Legend of the Golden Raven was free for Kindle, I got it and really enjoyed it.

In only 40 pages, The Legend of the Golden Raven shows Jack’s condensed view of the events of The Wicker King. I thought that was a really neat addition to the main book and was happy to see a whole lot more magical/fantastical elements included. Obviously, the author couldn’t go into detail with it, but it still fills some gaps and rounds up the tale nicely.

It’s most likely not a must-read, but if you enjoyed the Wicker King, then I would recommend this as well.

Fazit: 4/5 stars! 

 

Have you read The Wicker King and it’s companion novella? Do you want to? Let’s talk about it!

February 2019 Wrap-Up

This month surely had its ups and downs. I’ve been sick to the point where I missed 1.5 weeks at work, which has never happened to me ever before and drove me slowly nuts. Nonetheless, I tried my best keeping up with my shows, the blog but I only read one single book. The Light Between Worlds was an absolute joy, and if you haven’t checked out my review of it yet, you totally should (click here). There wasn’t even a doubt in my mind that I would give it 5 stars, but I don’t think it should take up more space on this wrap up. I am instead going to talk a bit more about what else happened this month.

I am not sure all of you know, but my contract at work and therefore my internship would have run out this week, but I extended it for another 6 months and will be in Berlin until the end of August. Everything after that is still pretty hazy. I have some vague ideas of where I want to go and what I want to do, but I have given myself permission to just live my life until May and figure things out after that.

THINGS I LIKED THIS MONTH

(Because I have lost the ability to narrow it down)

For those of you who know me well, it comes as no surprise that Hozier is one of my favourite artists. I’ve been lucky enough to been to his concerts twice already, I met Andrew after the one in Berlin last November and now I got to attend an event that was just the cherry on top of it all! I got guest list tickets to an exclusive Hozier album listening experience. Wasteland, Baby! will be released on March 1st, however, I already had the privilege to listen to it in its entirety last Friday (so a week in advance), with Andrew/Hozier present, with him answering questions and a brief meet and greet photo opportunity. My favourite tall bean remains the kindest and most humble being. His music is magical and perfect as always! I can’t wait for you all to be able to listen to the new songs. They are quite more upbeat than the past album.

Also, look at that glow up from November 2018 to February 2019. We looked happy in the cold, but the professional photographer really pays off.

Something you will most likely also have noticed if you follow me on Twitter is that I have become very invested in SKAM … or more truthfully it’s German and French adaptations, Druck and Skam France. I don’t even know how this started. It was something about me wanting to watch more web series, my colleague knowing an actress on Druck, me checking it out and just being swallowed by it all. I still haven’t (and probably never will) watched the original, but I do adore what I’ve been seeing thus far. Also, I have been on a war path with the French language for years now and Axel and Maxence have managed to convince me to give it another try by portraying soft but cool and sometimes dumb Lucas and Eliott. I love them so much for it! (I talked more about this, but especially Druck, in my Galentine’s Day post!)

Lastly, there are probably a couple more shows that would deserve a shout out as they got me through my sick days, but I’ve already given you so many recommendations on what to watch anyway. I am sure I will include a lot of it in future binge-watching posts anyway.

MY POSTS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

TRAILER POSTS

I hope you had a less turbulent month than me! Did you read something nice? Did you check out some of my posts? Let’s talk!

The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth (Book Review)

Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count
: 352

TW: depression, self-harm, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicidal ideation

You all thought I was raving about Echo North, didn’t you? Well, my enthusiasm for that one pales in comparison to all the feelings I have for The Light Between Worlds. I did not expect to relate to this book as much as I did and I definitely didn’t expect for tears to keep flowing for 100+ pages straight. I hope I can find the words to describe to you why The Light Between Worlds has managed to impact me so deeply. The book plays with your perception of reality, by adding fantasy elements in place of events that could be easily substituted by more ordinary things. So, you read something out of this world, but at the same time, your brain tells you that similar things happen for real all the time. You wonder about the meaning behind things and know that there is more to it.
I wasn’t ever whisked away to a Narnia-esque land, but I have lived and shared my life with people in other countries and on other continents. And sometimes, you leave a bit of yourself behind, you find home away from home but there are ties you cannot shake to your past regardless and it takes time and courage to find who you are at the end of the day. All the Hapwells struggle with finding themselves and keeping up appearances after something massive has happened to their lives.

“We’re all a bit frayed around the edges, aren’t we? It doesn’t surprise me and it doesn’t frighten me, finding out you’re only human like the rest of us.”

It was really easy for me to dive into the story, because the characters made it so easy to relate to them. This is a book for all the people who enjoy a good sibling-story (there aren’t nearly enough of those out there if you ask me). Family is always complicated and never easy and Evelyn and Philippa were the perfect example of that. Their love for each other went so very deep, but there are times when you have to take care of yourself and can’t continue to be the lifeboat the other might need. I wish they had included Jamie a little more in the tale, but I understand that the sisters had a special bond altogether. Still, he was an intriguing character nonetheless.

Once upon a time, I knew all the right words to say to Jamie, to my darling older brother who worked so hard to prove himself in the Great Wood, and who can’t quite stop feeling like he’s failing here. Now all I do is hurt him, when I want to offer words that heal.

Lastly, I also want to give a little shout out to the love interests in that book. These boys were so darling and kind and open-hearted. I wish I would meet more people like them in real life. Somehow they were there when needed, gave them space when necessary, understood being broken but still offered so much hope for what was yet to come. Love (especially the romantic kind) doesn’t fix everything, and the book in no way implies that, but if I needed a shoulder to lean on, these characters would be more than welcome.

I’ve seen war and death and darkness, but I’ve never before walked home with a boy, heart in my throat, knowing that at the end of the walk will be people who love him and who will take a measure of me.

I don’t know how else to tell you that I adore this book, except maybe by mentioning it’s brilliant use of paintings and poetry as metaphors and imagery that added to the story. It was a real treat of a read!

Fazit: 5/5 stars! Used up my entire reservoir of sticky notes, because this book is just full of magic words.

I hope I could give you at least a little bit of a taste of what The Light Between Worlds is about. Have you read it? Do you want to? I am definitely here to talk if you want to!