Are Tom Hiddleston and I compatible (readers)?

Disclaimer: I do NOT know Tom Hiddleston. All the information is taken from various interviews and could potentially be outdated.


Welcome to the first of hopefully many installments in this brand new feature! I’ve already teased this “little” reading experiment in my May Wrap-Up post and am so excited to finally share it with you. When I was trying to think about something new and fresh that would fit well into the theme of the blog and also be a very me-thing to do, this was the very first thing that came to mind.
It basically boils down to me picking an actor or actress of my choice (Tom Hiddleston in this case), doing a little deep dive on their favorite books and then comparing how I feel about them. I think that a person’s taste in books reveals a lot about them and turning it into a sort of compatibility test felt like a neat idea. So, I hope you will all enjoy reading this as much as I did creating it!


Read More »

Thursday Movie Picks: Worst Book to Movie Adaptations

It’s Thursday and I’m back with a new Thursday Movie Picks feature post. This series is hosted by Wandering through the Shelves and offers you a weekly prompt to post some movie recommendations/talking points according to the theme. Usually, you are supposed to post about 3-5 examples, which I find a very manageable amount.

Today we are going to talk about the worst book to movie adaptations! I’ll probably always be in the minority on this, but I really enjoy adaptations for the most part. Even when the material isn’t adapted super faithfully, I just love seeing it come to life, but … as with all things, not everything turns out great. This topic was suggest by Becks @The Punk Theory and I hope you’ll all enjoy it!

*I’ll stick to books I’ve actually read here, but know that I know there are a lot more bad examples of adaptations*

Fallen

Oh boy, it’s a long time that I’ve read and/or watched this, but it was not great. I’m pretty sure they fully intended for this to become the next Twilight, just with angels, but they missed the mark by a lot.

Inkheart

The Inkheart trilogy is one of my all time favorite childhood book series and I was elated when they decided to make them into a movie. Paul Bettany as Dustfinger and Brendan Fraser as Mo were really great casting choices, but other than that … I found very little to like about what they did with my beloved material. It’s a shame, because so many cast members were really top notch, but somehow they couldn’t portray the whimsy and magical setting or even the beautiful complexity of the characters.

My Sister’s Keeper

The book and movie are both sure to make you cry with their devastating premise, but by changing the end of the film, I felt like they undermined one of the key elements of the book. It’s not a bad movie exactly, but I felt like they lost a really important message along the way.

The Wave (1981)

This was a movie made for TV and it really showed in its quality. Based on the book that is based on a real life experiment a teacher underwent with his class, this movie just felt fake and corny. I remember having to watch it in school and just shuddering at the bad performances.


What are book to movie adaptations you were not happy with? Let’s talk!

May 2021 Wrap-Up

Time’s just flying by and I have lost all track of what’s happening. I did, however, read an astonishing amount of books this past month, which was only possible because some of those were no more than 40 pages and included a lot of poetry collections, but still … I read a bunch! I love that for me. Let’s check out what was on my list:

  • The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin (3 stars)
  • On the Shortness of Life by Seneca (3 stars)
    It is astonishing to me that, after 2,000 years, we still struggle with similar problems. This series of short essays wasn’t always something I agreed with, but it raised some very interesting points.
  • Love Looks Pretty on You by Lang Leav (4 stars)
    This poetry collection was so easy to get into. I found a lot of passages I could identify with, while others were so specific that it almost felt like intruding on someone’s personal life.
  • The Hill We Climb by Amanda Gorman (5 stars)
    This is “just” a printed version of the inaugural poem Amanda Gorman wrote, with a foreword by Oprah Winfrey. Nothing beats watching her perform it though.
  • Where Hope Comes From by Nikita Gill (5 stars)
    Another poetry collection, this one with a focus on the year 2020. I found it very emotional to read and do not recommend it if you don’t want to be reminded of the pain of the pandemic (which we’re still in).
  • Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid (4 stars)
  • Galatea by Madeline Miller (3 stars)
    Miller’s short story – Galatea – is bound to break your heart, like most of her writing will.

The Nature of Witches  On The Shortness Of Life: De Brevitate Vitae (A New Translation with Image Gallery and Seneca Biography) (Stoics In Their Own Words Book 4)  Love Looks Pretty on You  The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem  Where Hope Comes From: Poems of Resilience, Healing and Light  Malibu Rising  Galatea

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! My own reviews (where there is one) you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above if there are posts for them.

So, what’s new? I have further reduced my time on social media (although it’s still easy to reach me via DMs if there’s ever something I need to know or you want to talk about) and it has been very freeing. I barely check my timeline, I tweet something every other day and then log off again and just enjoy not giving my opinion on all things? It’s not that I have nothing to say or talk about, but … does the whole world need to know? The answer is likely “no”, so I reduce my interactions mostly to brief reactions about what I’ve watched recently. It honestly works for me.

I haven’t drawn or done much creatively once more and I’m not sure June will be the month for that either. It’s going to hold a lot of changes for me and we shall see how that might also affect my blogging schedule (been going “strong” with at least 2 posts each week minimum). For now, it looks like the Canada thing needs to be buried, which saddens me but is something I’ll just have to deal with. I think a lot of lives have been interrupted/disrupted/changed during the past year and if letting go of that dream is what it means for me, then it could have been much worse I suppose.

During the past months, my blogging friend Stephanie @Adventures of a Bibliophile has really inspired me with her reading experiments. Be it about books she read based on her zodiac sign or letting Buzzfeed decide her next reads, it is always sure to be fun and a unique to her experience. Now, I’m not saying I’m going to copy her, but I have started my very own reading experiment. I wanted it to be something that felt very true to me and that you would all hopefully enjoy as well. I’m not ready to disclose what exactly my post will entail, but having written about it here will give me that accountability to go through with it! I’M SO EXCITED!

MY FAVORITE THINGS

Since I spent less time on social media apps, you might think I spent less time in front of screens, but that’s not entirely true. I still watched a whole lot, for example also the TV adaptation of Panic by Lauren Oliver. Fair warning, I forgot everything there was about the plot, except for random details, but I had a good time. The concept of the game within the story is pretty reckless and stupid, all of it is a very teen angst filled show, but I was entertained.

I’ve also started to delve into fan fiction a bit, just because I think it’s such an amazing outlet for all the creative people out there. I love reading my friends’ takes on Charmed (which are often better than canon) such as katasstropheee‘s or amandapanda425‘s works (to just name a few). But also all things Marvel related, where I’m especially excited to see the Why Me? fic continued once the Loki show will air. Reimagining already existing worlds can be so satisfying and I might try my own hand at it while my motivation for my original novels is lacking.

MY OTHER POSTS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

THURSDAY MOVIE PICKS

VARIOUS BOOKISH STUFF

TRAILER POSTS


What are some things that shaped your May? What are you looking forward to in June? Let’s chat a little bit and I hope you are all happy and healthy!

Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid (ARC Review)

Publisher: Ballantine Books
Page Count
: 384
Release Date: June 1, 2021

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

CW: alcoholism, parental abandonment, loss of a loved one, adultification, mention of drug use, cheating

Many of my friends would probably gasp at the statement, but Malibu Rising was my first full length novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I had always meant to check out her books, had made plans so many times before, especially because I had enjoyed her novella Evidence of the Affair a whole lot, but apparently never followed through. I’m so very glad I remedied that now.

As we follow the Riva family through the decades, it is somehow easy to fall in love with all these characters. They felt real and flawed and relatable. With so many mentions of people that actually exist(ed), you were almost tempted to look up if their story was based on someone’s actual life.

As you alternate between the siblings Nina, Jay, Hub and Kit as grown-ups in the 80s and their parents June and Mick falling in love in the 50s, it becomes clear early on how these people shaped each other. While I first worried that some of the characters would get lost, there was a great balance between all of them and it felt astonishingly easy to follow their tale. Character traits as well as relationships to others but also money make a lot of sense when you consider the decisions made by those who came before you. It is all interwoven and shows how you can become the person you want to be because of or despite of your upbringing. My heart broke for these characters over and over and over again. I really just wanted to hold them and was proud of how they continued to trust in people and gave their love so freely even after the hardships they endured.

I have to say, as much as the book had me in the first half, it kind of lost me at times in the second one. I was so invested in the fate of the siblings, in their life story, I didn’t even really care if there was a bigger plot to it all. Just following their struggles and growth, seeing them get through it together, was enough for me. However, as much as I had forgotten the big life-changing party was going to take place later on in the book, it still came barreling in in the second half.
While I thought it was already bordering on too many POVs when we just had the siblings as well as their parents, Taylor Jenkins Reid doubled down and introduced many one-off POVs to show just how crowded and wild the party was getting. I understood that some of the fleeting perspectives added to the atmosphere, but overall, they weren’t necessary to further the story in my opinion. It all just became a bit too much and too disjointed for me.

Still, I cannot help but feel touched by all of it! Family and all its intricacies is one of my favorite topics to read about and Taylor Jenkins Reid managed to really bring that home. Each of the siblings was unique in their own way, but it was easy to find part of myself in each of them. The style of writing is engaging and manages to capture the flair of the setting and time period perfectly. I could picture everything in my mind as if I was watching a movie from back in the day. It’s rare that I read about a bunch of siblings who all love to surf with all their heart (something I know nothing about) and still feel so very connected to them. Definitely a read I will continue to cherish!

Fazit: 4/5 stars! Very strong start with a bit of a jumbled second half, but still SO MUCH heart!


Do you plan on reading Taylor Jenkins Reid’s latest novel? What is your favorite one by her you’ve read so far? Let’s talk!

The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin (ARC Review)

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Page Count
: 362
Release Date: June 1, 2021

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

Advertised as “Practical Magic meets Twister“, The Nature of Witches immediately grabbed my attention when I first heard about it (those are legit two movies I adore with my whole heart). As much as I enjoy immersing myself in a high Fantasy concept, there’s something special about magic meeting our contemporary world, which this book does instead.
In this specific instance, witches have always lived among humans and helped them regulate the atmosphere and climate. But humans, as they tend to do in every reality it seems, wanted more. They went against the witches’ recommendations and tried to inhabit parts of the planet that should have been left to nature, always trying to push the limits further, until the Earth could take no more and the atmosphere became too erratic to be tamed by magic even.

As far as general premises go, this was something that interested me right away, because I loved the idea of mirroring our real life climate crisis in a magical way. However, the book only carried this idea as an underlying theme to propel the main character, Clara, further in her journey of accepting herself. Told from her POV, you mostly deal with her inner and very personal struggle. As an Everwitch, she can control magic no matter the season, whereas other witches are at their strongest or weakest depending on the time of year. Clara’s not just the only Everwitch there is, but because it has been so long since the last one lived, no one really knows what her powers entail, just that she is stronger and more dangerous and their only hope at counteracting the humans’ destruction. The danger in her abilities manifests specifically whenever she loses control, because her rampant magic seeks the people she loves the most and kills them, hence why she is reluctant to form any attachment to the people in her life.

While reading the book, I understood where Clara’s trauma came from. Imagine having powers you never asked for and that no one knows how to control, just to see them take every person you love from you at the slightest mistake. The conclusion that you would need to isolate yourself makes sense, but it still put the story in a repetitive loop, because not getting attached to anyone simply isn’t realistic. We are not even talking about romantic love here, but any kindness can make the heart grow fonder. Still, Clara focuses a lot on her romantic entanglements, which include her ex-girlfriend Paige and her current love interest Sang. I was personally more invested in Paige’s side of things, simply because she seemed like one of the few people willing to call out Clara when she was being self-centered and their history was really interesting. Sang, on the other hand, was one of the loveliest and sweetest characters. He was so supportive and exuded a calm that I wish I possessed too, but somehow I didn’t feel the depth of their love as much as it was described on the page.

All of this was a surprisingly quick read as you breeze through the seasons, but despite the dangerous situations the characters were put in, I didn’t feel the urgency of the plot. Usually, when it comes to magic, I try to just accept what I’m told, but I struggled a bit with the logistics. Here are a couple of examples that didn’t make sense to me entirely:

  • Every witch has their own seasons (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter) in which they are born, their personality is affected by and their magic is the strongest. However, seasons aren’t technically bound to certain months. They are marked by weather patterns and daylight hours, completely different depending on where you live on the planet. So, if a Summer witch didn’t want to see her powers wane after three months, wouldn’t they just be of better use in a different geographical area?
  • Clara had to live in a shed in the woods all by herself after a fatal incident with her powers, to make sure she wouldn’t get attached to any of her other classmates who lived together in dorms. This technically seems logical, but then they pair her with one person to train her alone, be it a teacher for years or a newly introduced person her age. If you spend time with someone in close proximity and they are your only close contact, you will form an attachment. People tend to grow on you over time, so this course of action was an odd choice for me, because it obviously counteracted what they were trying to do.
  • The big final plan (which I won’t go into detail about) was reckless, could have backfired so badly and was purely based on a hunch. Never mind that we don’t fully understand what happened or why it was necessary exactly, but it seemed to be a cure all.

Finally, this may not have been everything I’d hoped it would be, but the writing was beautiful, especially when it came to the weather and plant life. I also really liked the little quotes at the beginning of each chapter. They were a nice touch and I don’t want to reveal anything, but loved how it came full circle in the final chapters. Something about them worked so well as affirmations, you didn’t even have to be a witch to feel like they could be helpful to you as well.

Fazit: 3/5 stars! Very interesting concept and quick read, although it didn’t live up to my expectations!


Do you plan to read The Nature of Witches? What is your take on contemporary magical stories? Let’s talk!

First Lines from Books Currently on My TBR

I’ve seen a lot of people share the first lines to books they had just read/were reading/wanted to read and I thought I should finally join in on the fun! I think it’s so interesting to reflect on just that first sentence and whether it pulls you in or not. For today, I want to focus on books that I already have at home and plan to read in the near future aka stories that are already on my TBR!

IF WE WERE VILLAINS by M.L. Rio

I sit with my wrists cuffed to the table and I think, But that I am forbid / To tell the secrets of my prison-house, / I could a tale unfold whose lightest word / Would harrow up my soul.

If We Were Villains

That is what I call an intriguing start! Throw in some poetry, people already being cuffed and my interest is definitely being held. I try not to know too much about books before going in, because I like discovering those twists myself, but I do know that a lot of my friends loved this story, so, I’m excited to get to it. There’s definite promise here.

REBECCA by Daphne Du Maurier

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.

Rebecca

Okay, Rebecca is my effort of reading at least one classic novel every other year or so. If I hadn’t already seen the movies and enjoyed the Netflix adaptation, I doubt that one sentence would have caught my attention.

THE NATURE OF WITCHES by Rachel Griffin

Everything is burning, so many flames it looks as if we set the sky on fire.

The Nature of Witches

From what I’m understanding this is a novel about witches and climate change, so the first line seems very much on par with it. There was technically a quote preceding it, but I didn’t know if that counted, so I went with this phrase instead. It’s not the most revealing line yet.

THE ATLAS SIX by Olivie Blake

Perhaps it was a tired thing, all the references the world had already made to the Ptolemaic Royal Library of Alexandria.

The Atlas Six (The Atlas Series Book 1)

This is gonna be so packed with references and history. I just know it and that can always go one of two ways, with me 1.) loving the heck out of it or 2.) being completely overwhelmed with factual information that I then tend to ceremoniously skip through.

LEGENDBORN by Tracy Deonn

The police officer’s body goes blurry, then sharpens again.

Legendborn (Legendborn, #1)

Knowing that Legendborn is Fantasy and this is the first line – I am listening! 100%!

THE TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY by Alix E. Harrow

When I was seven, I found a door.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Going by the title, I’m gonna assume we are not in fact talking about a regular door here?

THE FEVER KING by Victoria Lee

Calix,
As I write this, they’re packing up the fighter jets.

The Fever King (Feverwake, #1)

Start a book with a letter and you have my attention. I don’t know if this will be a recurring thing throughout the book or just this once at the beginning, but I adore the incorporation of letters.

QUEEN OF THE CONQUERED by Kacen Callender

My mother kissed my forehead with a smile when I cried, upset that the party would carry on as I was sent away to sleep, and while I lay awake in my bed of lace, huddled beneath my covers and shivering in the cool trade-winds breeze, I heard when the tinkling piano stopped and when the laughter turned to screams.

Queen of the Conquered (Islands of Blood and Storm, #1)

And here I thought I was the queen of run on sentences! Despite this being very long in comparison to all the other examples, I think it definitely peaks my interest. I just want to know what happens next and isn’t that the absolute best outcome you can have with a first sentence?


Have you read any of those books? What do you think of my TBR and their first lines? Let’s talk!

April 2021 Wrap-Up

I can’t believe April is over already. I’ve had all these plans and ideas for the year, but once again, little of that is going according to said plans. Anyway, I managed to read/listen to three books and that’s what we will start this post with. It’s not a huge amount of reads, but my motivation in the reading department is a continuous flow and ebb.

  • Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin (4 stars)
  • The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas
    This book not having a rating has nothing to do with the quality of the writing, but simply with my decision not to rate and review books by friends and people I know. Elena is an old blogging buddy and I was so happy to see her dream of releasing her own romance novel come true. I HAD to support that and had a really good time reading The Spanish Love Deception. Romance isn’t my usual genre, so I don’t feel super qualified to comment on it anyway, but the banter between Lina and Aaron was so much fun.
  • The Sandman by Neil Gaiman/audiobook (3 stars)
    I still don’t know how people sit through audiobooks, because I’m apparently a very visual reader and completely space out after a while. The fact that The Sandman had a fantastic voice cast (with the likes of James McAvoy, Kat Dennings, Michael Sheen, Riz Ahmed and many more) and thus making it more of an audioplay than audiobook helped immensely. Still, I struggled with paying attention a lot … I keep trying this medium, but apparently it’s just not for me (as I’ve talked about before in this post)

Hana Khan Carries On The Spanish Love Deception The Sandman (Sandman Audible Original, #1)

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! My own reviews (where there is one) you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above if there are posts for them.

At the end of April, I took a little social media break and I’m basically still on it and it feels quite nice. It’s not that anything in particular happened that drove me away, but I did not enjoy being constantly glued to my phone and putting my entire energy into that thing. After a while, it also spiked my anxiety to voice my opinions, despite no one ever coming for me and I just decided to dip out for a while. I’m not completely gone and if anyone needs me, it’s fairly easy to contact me, but I just thought I’d let you know why my timeline is a little bit more quiet. It definitely helped in eliminating one of the many excuses I had created for myself in order to not pursue any of my creative ideas (be that writing, drawing or something else entirely).

For those of you who are interested in the status of my Canada-move, it’s still very much looking grim. I have decided to apply for another extension of the visa once that is possible (you can only do so 30 days before yours expires), but that I cannot put my life on hold for this any longer. I’m currently taking steps to figure out what I might be able to do instead and how I could move on, but it’s all a process. This really still is my biggest dream and giving up on it is soul crushing to even contemplate.

My creativity still isn’t at a peak, but I can feel some of it returning. I may or may not have splurged on some new materials that I’m excited to work with, even though I still have to get acquainted with a lot of them. I don’t think I will post any portraits or other drawings in the near future, but rather just try to get a feel back for myself without having to put anything of it out into the world yet.

MY FAVORITE THINGS

As much as I struggled with the fact that the finale of the Falcon and the Winter Soldier premiered on the same day and at the same time as Shadow and Bone, I loved doing those weekly reviews. They may not have sparked as much engagement and views as some of the WandaVision content, but it was nice to dig deep on content I feel so passionate about. I’m still unsure whether to go through the trouble for Loki, but at the same time, I felt a big hole this past Friday without anything to review. Please, let me know in the comments which other shows (besides Loki) you could imagine me doing weekly or in depth seasonal reviews for! I obviously can’t promise anything, because I don’t know if I will always have the time for it, but I enjoyed the routine and if you *want* me to talk about something in particular, I’d really like to know what, so I can at least think about it!

I’m all ears for your ideas!

MY OTHER POSTS

THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER REVIEWS/CONTENT

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

THURSDAY MOVIE PICKS

VARIOUS TAGS AND POSTS

TRAILER POSTS


Hope your April went well! What are some posts you enjoyed reading this past month? Did you encounter some great books and TV shows? Let’s talk!

Spring Cleaning Book Tag!

I’ve seen this tag around and I was like “Should I do it? Should I not?”, because I hate cleaning … BUT then the lovely Orang-utan Librarian tagged me for the Spring Cleaning Book Tag and I was all in. Originally, this tag was created by booktuber Jen @ Book Syrup. Let’s get started!

THE STRUGGLE OF GETTING STARTED: A BOOK/BOOK SERIES THAT YOU HAVE STRUGGLED TO BEGIN BECAUSE OF ITS SIZE.

A Little Life

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara has caught my eye a long time ago, but it’s massive! The edition I saw on Goodreads has more than 700 pages and I’m not going to lie to you, I struggle with 500 pages already. I used to devour books of that size when I was younger, seeing it as a challenge and validation to get through them, but now they just scare me. Still, many have praised the emotional impact of A Little Life, so … I’d like to read it someday.

CLEANING OUT THE CLOSET: A BOOK AND/OR BOOK SERIES YOU WANT TO UNHAUL.

I actually unhauled about 60 books these past months and managed to either give some to family or sell them via an online reseller for used books. I didn’t get a lot of money, but more than I would have likely managed to get at a flea market (which aren’t happening due to the pandemic anyway). So, it’s really difficult to think of books I don’t want to have anymore. Maybe I would let go of my Game of Thrones books. I read them a while ago, never finished the last one and just sort of feel like I am over the series, even if new books should release eventually. They are also just cheap paperbacks, so I am not attached to them because of aesthetic reasons either.

OPENING WINDOWS AND LETTING FRESH AIR IN: A BOOK THAT WAS REFRESHING.

The Summer of Broken Rules

I haven’t been super excited about books for a while, but this year has been great so far. I was especially fond of The Summer of Broken Rules, because it reignited my love for contemporaries. It was fun and emotional too and made me feel like I was really on vacation (which I could so need at this point). It might be a pretty regular formula for a book, but to me it was a breath of fresh air on my shelf.

Read my full review of the book HERE.

WASHING OUT SHEET STAINS: A BOOK YOU WISH YOU COULD REWRITE A CERTAIN SCENE IN.

Charming as a Verb

There is one scene in Charming as a Verb that made me so disappointed in the main character. It created one of the biggest conflicts, so it was obviously necessary for the story, but I just wanted Henri and Corinne to be happy. If that scene was rewritten, they’d have had the cutest story! Still, Ben Philippe has quickly become one of my auto-buy authors. I adore all his characters.

My full review of the book can be found HERE.

THROWING OUT UNNECESSARY KNICK-KNACKS: A BOOK IN A SERIES THAT YOU DIDN’T FEEL WAS NECESSARY.

This might be an unpopular opinion, but … I do not think the continuation of the Shatter Me series (hence everything after Ignite Me) was strictly necessary and even contradicted some of the earlier books. I’m not saying they are terrible, but I just didn’t connect to them as much. The writing style was different and the elements I liked most gone. Tahereh Mafi is still an excellent writer and I enjoy her books very much. Also, no shade on anyone who was into the series continuation, but it just wasn’t for me.

POLISHING THE DOORKNOBS: A BOOK THAT HAD A CLEAN FINISH.

The Dire King (Jackaby, #4)

I think I like books with ambiguous endings that still feel like they make sense. When everything is up to interpretation to you, but the journey there gives you clear indications of what you’re supposed to think? So, this question has me struggling a little bit, because apparently I’m messy.

I really like how the Dire King, the final book in the Jackaby series, ended and came together though. I’m obviously not going to go into detail because of spoilers, but the series as a whole is really worth the read!

My review for book 1 can be read here and for the final book here.

REACHING TO DUST THE FAN: A BOOK THAT TRIED TOO HARD TO RELAY A CERTAIN MESSAGE.

A Pocketful of Crows

I’m not sure A Pocketful of Crows tried to convey a message too hard, but I didn’t enjoy the message I was getting. Basically, this supposedly whimsical and poetic story was of the opinion that it’s fine to seek revenge, that it’s the eternal circle of life to punish those who wronged you. I did not agree with that one bit.

THE TIRING YET SATISFYING FINISH OF SPRING CLEANING: A BOOK SERIES THAT WAS TIRING YET SATISFYING TO GET THROUGH.

After an exhausting summer, where I missed my friends and turned to every distraction I could find, I binge-read the True Blood books. They were … not all great? Very repetitive in part, but unlike many, many, many others, I really enjoyed the final book. The ending made a lot of sense to me and I would have actually preferred the show to go a similar way, but yeah.


I TAG THEE

Whoever wants to do this! As you can see on the post I took this from, there’s actually a prompt to tag four people, but I’d rather give the option to whoever WANTS to do the Spring Cleaning Book Tag! It’s all yours!!


What did you think of my answers? Did you like seeing a book tag on the blog again? Let’s chat!

 

Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin (ARC Review)

Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Page Count
: 368
Release Date: April 13, 2021

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

CW: racism, Islamophobia, racially motivated hate crimes, loss of a loved one

Hana Khan Carries On releases soon and I cannot wait for everyone to get a chance to read this book. Set in one of my favorite places on this planet (Toronto), the book is a bold romantic comedy playing out in the world of rivaling halal restaurants, but it is also so much more than that. Let me explain!

Hana is a fantastic narrator, which makes sense as she hosts her own podcast and pursues a career in the radio industry. I loved following her thoughts and quarrels from the get go. We quickly learn that she is a South Asian Muslim woman in her twenties and daughter to immigrant parents, who juggles many things in her life even before the real drama starts. While there were always hints at what all this book would ultimately deal with, it starts out with all the makings of a romantic comedy that promises rivals to lovers excellence. There was an immediate attraction and familiarity between Hana and Aydin even when they clashed. They are not afraid to play dirty in order to come out on top, which leads to many a regretful decision. The fire and sparring between them was definitely fun, even when it was easy to guess the big revelation they’d both eventually have to face.

Around the halfway point of the book, the story shifts into something more serious though. As I said, the groundwork for this was laid, because this book was never going to be “just” a romantic comedy. While out with Aydin and her cousin, Rashid (who is visiting from India), Hana encounters a group of hate-filled racists and the situation soon escalates on a much grander scale than she could have ever anticipated. It’s never easy having to come to terms that there are people out there who want to harm you and push you out of a country you were literally born in. It was even more painful when no one came to Hana’s aid (please never be that person when you see someone being attacked. Not doing anything is being complicit), that is until she found the courage to seek refuge in her community.

As much as Hana Khan Carries On is about love and finding your place in the world, it is also about family – the one you are born with and the one you choose. This was an excellent example of how gratifying being part of a community can be and how they can help you through the darkest times. Hana always had to deal with people who were willing to talk over her (a boss using covert racism to undermine her ideas, a co-worker so desperate to fit in that they sold out and a myriad of other characters that show up and will have you wringing your hands not to punch them), but she also had people in her corner willing to go to bat for her and you were right there with them, rooting for her when she found her voice and spoke up. And that’s not an easy thing to do, to stand up to people knowing that it will leave you vulnerable. But she had a life made up of choices, choices she was very grateful to have, and she wanted to make the right ones.

I really loved reading this book and to follow along as Hana uncovers family secrets and finds her voice. I cannot possibly put myself in her shoes, but I was filled with pride and joy at her development regardless. There’s no denying that I would understand if people would rather not be faced with reliving that particular trauma when seeking out a romantic comedy, but I personally appreciated that there was no sugarcoating of racist situations like it happening still. Those parts will never get easier, but we’re not doing anyone a service by ignoring them either.

Fazit: 4/5 stars! An amazing romantic comedy, if you are also prepared for hard-hitting reality.


Would you like to read Hana Khan Carries On? I seem to pick up at least one “You’ve Got Mail”-esque book per year now and I have no regrets! Let’s talk!

March 2021 Wrap-Up

So, March was another month? I don’t even really know what to say about it, but let’s just start with what I always start with – the books! I actually read quite a lot considering what my usual monthly average was the past years and I also think I picked some great books! Let’s see what we’ve got:

  • Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (3 stars)
    I was on a roll when it came to the Grisha books and mostly read them in one day. Siege and Storm was not my favourite though. While I was never against Mal in the first book, the bad communication in this one drove me nuts. Still, the slow corruption of Alina Starkov had its draws and I generally enjoyed myself.
  • Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo (4 stars)
    What a satisfying ending! There really wasn’t many ways this could have gone and I personally liked it a lot. The book really had no right making me as emotional as it did in those final pages.
  • Any Place But Here by Sarah Van Name (4 stars)
  • King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo (3.5 stars)
  • The Summer of Broken Rules by K.L. Walther (4 stars)

Siege and Storm (Shadow and Bone, #2) Ruin and Rising (Shadow and Bone, #3) Any Place But Here King of Scars (King of Scars, #1) The Summer of Broken Rules

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! My own reviews (where there is one) you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above if there are posts for them.

I’ve been contemplating how to best tackle my life this past month. After some personal struggles as well as a lengthy recovery from dental surgery (still healing, but all good), I knew I couldn’t put off the Canada topic any longer – I had to act! Most of you know that there is little I want more than to go back to my beloved Vancouver. The only issue is – this pandemic! It has messed up literally all my plans, I have zero desire to travel anywhere in this climate, vaccine roll outs are slow where I live and my once so very open work permit now hinges on me finding a job offer before I actually get to enter the country anyway. I’ve been writing dozens of cold applications as well as trying to apply for jobs I saw online, even if they aren’t all in the industry I used to work for. It’s been a very frustrating process. Please, for those of you who care, keep your fingers crossed for me, because at this point, my dream coming true really is just a matter of ridiculous luck …

Should I not be able to secure a job offer before the end of June (and not get another extension for the visa), this is it. I can never apply for that work permit again (as you can only do so once and getting approved is seen as taking part, even if you never enter the country), which means I literally have to rethink my entire life plan, where I want to live and what I want to do. To say I’m panicking inwardly is the understatement of the century, because I really don’t want to give up on this, but I might have to come to terms with the fact that I have to (especially since I can’t keep doing nothing in Vienna … I need to work! I LOVE work!). Sorry for this very rambly and personal outburst …

As much as I’ve tried my best at *all of that*, I still haven’t gotten back any kind of motivation to keep doing anything creatively. I have posted a couple things on my art instagram, but I wasn’t really happy with any of it. I keep not enjoying the end result and it’s really demotivating. I hope I will get some inspiration/motivation back soon, because I’m tired of being tired.

MY FAVOURITE THINGS

Many of you have probably seen me freak out on Twitter about Shadow and Bone on the regular and I apologize in advance about the person I will become on April 23. However, to not just rehash my gushing from last month, I want to talk about my massive dilemma, because speaking of April 23 … that day is also the day of the final episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. (Links for the reviews to the first two episodes below!!!) I always, always enjoy Marvel content, but I didn’t expect to fall that hard for this particular show. Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan just have an incredible dynamic and the character work they’re doing is beautiful! I may also have gone on a slight binge of their interviews together …

Another thing I would like to highlight is Sofii @A Book. A Thought. and the incredible work she has done to compile a really extensive list of book bloggers. Especially with the blow bloggers received after finding out how willing publishing is to throw money at tiktokers (no shade to tiktokers!!! Go get that coin!), but still pay regular bloggers nothing but dust, I love to go on lists like that and support other bloggers with likes and comments whenever I can. It’s super handy. Click HERE to check it out!

MY OTHER POSTS

WANDAVISION + THE FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER REVIEWS/CONTENT

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

THURSDAY MOVIE PICKS

VARIOUS TAGS AND POSTS

TRAILER POSTS


I hope you all had a good March and are looking forward to April! I can’t decide whether time is rushing by or going really slowly in this odd odd year that is 2021 …