January 2019 Wrap-Up

For the first time in a long time, this section in the beginning that is always dedicated to books, isn’t completely empty. I’ve gotten a bit of my reading groove back and had a blast with most of the reads I picked. Not gonna lie, I have become even more careful with the selection of stories I actually read, just because I don’t want to end up in the slump that was the previous year again.

A Very Large Expanse of Sea  Dumplin’ Movie Tie-in Edition  Welcome to Lovecraft (Locke & Key, #1)  Echo North

Like in the olden days, click on the titles to get to my reviews and on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads!

January was a challenging month for me. I don’t want to get into the details as most of what happened was very private and took me a long time to come to terms with, so I’d rather not rehash it all. However, all of that made January feel like years and the blink of an eye at the same time. It was a strange one, so much so that I didn’t even hesitate for a second writing the date in the title. I am DEEP into 2019 already.

All that aside, I did actually post a couple new chapters in the Google Doc for the #witchyWIP that still roams my mind just … every single day. I haven’t had the time and energy to write the way I wanted to, but maybe going with the craze and switching to Comic Sans as a font did help a little bit. I have also decided to publish the existing chapters on wattpad in the near future. Any takers for that? (I hope so, because at least some people were interested in a little Twitter poll I did)

So, while I’ve been productive to a certain degree and able to balance some aspects of my life better than others, I am somewhat glad this month is over. It just wasn’t exactly a smooth start into 2019.

FAVOURITE THING OF THE MONTH

Hands down, it just HAS to be a tie between Halt and Catch Fire and the Roswell reboot on the CW. Both of those shows have completely enthralled me for very different reasons, so don’t make me choose!

Halt and Catch Fire has complex characters that aren’t really likable … at all. They are so very flawed, but as you watch, they grow on you big time and you cannot help but love them regardless. Also, it’s set in the world of computer programming and engineering in the 80s with excellent female badasses. 10/10 would recommend if you are into slow character studies (and a better Mad Men).

Roswell, New Mexico on the other hand is everything CW represents and I am here for it. It has beautiful actors and actresses, most of whom will look very familiar from previous shows on the network. It feels very current, with them not holding back on making political statements and trying their best at integrating LGBTQ+ characters (I say try, because sometimes they are misguided, but I give them A for effort). Most importantly though, I like this reboot so, so, so, so, so much more than the Charmed one (They lost me when they butchered the whole whitelighter storyline). Roswell, NM is nothing like the show from the 90s, but you DEFINITELY have the chemistry between the characters. It works that they are all aged up to adults and I feel like they all got more pressing conflicts than their High School equivalents did. It’s still early days, but I am in love.

MY POSTS

2018 IN REVIEW

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

TRAILER POSTS

That was a short recap of my month of January! I hope you had a less turbulent start into the new year and I am looking forward to chatting with you!

Mini Reviews: Dumplin’ and Locke & Key

I am actually one book ahead of schedule for my Goodreads reading challenge and that has me super pumped. I started out the year definitely less in a reading slump than before, but now that some urgent stuff at work has crept in and I have been distracted, it slowed down again. Anyway, I wanted to share with you a couple more books I read this month, so here we go:

Dumplin‘ by Julie Murphy

Dumplin’ Movie Tie-in EditionI knew of the existence of this book for quite some time, but I never really paid attention to it (my bad, I am sorry). However, after the Netflix trailer for the movie adaptation dropped, I kind of knew I had to read it and I am so glad I picked up this book.

Dumplin’ was such a relatable and heartbreaking yet heartwarming read – I had the best of times flying through the pages. I don’t want to necessarily compare it to the movie (which Netflix still hasn’t released in my current territory by the way), but it had a completely different focus in my opinion. While I really enjoyed seeing more of Bo on the pages (he’s seriously such a great love interest. He’s not without flaws, but I love how he never really gave up on Willowdean), I felt like the mother-daughter-relationship was actually explored in a bit more depth in the movie. Both still had very interesting explorations of grief, confidence, changing relationships, experiencing life at different speeds and body shaming of all sorts; I enjoyed it!

Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! Would recommend, especially if you are into trying Dolly Parton as your reading soundtrack while you are at it.

Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft (Vol. 1) by Joe Hill/Gabriel Rodríguez

Welcome to Lovecraft (Locke & Key, #1)Reading comics every now and then just makes sense to me. It cleanses my pallet, because there is so much less text and sometimes that’s just what I need. I picked this one in particular due to it being free on my Kindle at the moment of my reading it and because this is yet another comic book that is getting adapted for the small screen. By now I don’t think I need to explain that I have a thing for adaptations anymore.

The concept of the series is definitely fascinating. It opens up the doors for so many possibilities and I am more than curious to see how this will translate in the show they are making. I am a sucker for a good supernatural story after all! However, an issue I have found with quite a few comics lately is that I don’t enjoy violent content. Sure, it’s gritty and dark and often the igniting incident that propels the characters into a new life, but … I don’t particularly want to see that?

Fazit: 3.5/5 stars! Whenever we start telling stories without the gore, my ratings for comics will be higher than average.

That’s it from my side. I hope you’ve enjoyed those really rather short reviews! Let’s chat in the comments below!

Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer (Book Review)

Publisher: Page Street Kids
Page Count
: 400

I am on a roll, people! After flying through Dumplin’ and a comic book I picked up (mini-reviews coming for those at the end of the month), I feel like I really found my way back into reading with Echo North! I hadn’t realised just how MUCH I had craved a good Fantasy book until I started reading one. I have missed the genre, I have missed the escapism, I have missed exploring these beautiful and cruel made-up worlds. I have found my book haven again.

Before I get lost in my love for the genre in general though, let’s talk about Echo North instead. For those of you who say it sounds familiar and a little bit like a Beauty and the Beast retelling – I hear you. It does have that vibe, but it actually draws from many popular as well as less known tales while also simultaneously creating its entirely own story. I don’t mind finding familiar story elements in a book I read, as long as the writer is still able to make it their own and I think Meyer definitely succeeded in doing that. At one point, it even felt like the character in the book was breaking the 4th wall and it was such a great moment! It really makes you check the page twice in a way. (At least I thought that was very clever!)

“It is like any wild thing that has been tamed. It is sometimes safe, and sometimes not.”

One of my most favourite things (aside from the wolf, because I adore wolves and they are unrivaled) about Echo North was the magic house and its rooms. It had tame and dangerous rooms, spiders, snakes and poisonous flowers just as well as singing bears and an enchanted library full of mirrors that were actually books. I cannot imagine a reality in which I would not spend all my free time in that freaking room. Can you imagine walking through the silvery surface and being IN the story? Because I can and I would love nothing more.

“Wolf.” I stretched out a hand to touch the scruff of fur on his neck, and he didn’t pull away. I tugged the ribbon on the hat, thinking he hadn’t quite answered my question. “What did you lose? Who did you love?”

“Nothing. No one.”

But his eyes said Everything. Someone.

The book isn’t without flaws. I, personally, feel like the romance could have been a bit more developed. Don’t get me wrong, it was beautiful in its relentless power and the ever connected thread between the characters, but I maybe would have liked to read some more exploration of the feelings as they started blossoming. They went from being attracted to eternal loyalty in a heartbeat and in hindsight all of that makes sense, but considering the slow pace of the book, it would have been a nice touch.

“I made your life into something it never should have been.”

It wasn’t at all what I had expected. “Wolf, I’ve never blamed you.”

“Then why do you blame yourself?”

That was something I had no answer for.

But in the end, the writing, the characters, the story and the presence of enchanted wolves was all I could have asked for! I could not stop reading and I really didn’t want to either. What more could you possibly want from a book? A story that picks you up and wraps you up in its magic entirely. I think I am going to think of Echo North fondly for a long time and maybe some of you will pick it up as well and will want to chat about it with me.

Fazit: 5/5 stars! A new favourite of mine!

Have you read Echo North? Have you ever even heard of it before? Do you think this could be up your alley? Let’s talk about!

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi (Book Review)

Publisher: HarperCollins
Page Count
: 310

Tahereh Mafi is one of my all-time favourite authors. I haven’t read everything by her, however, most of what I have read was more in the dystopian (??? gosh, I am terrible with genres) category, whereas A Very Large Expanse of Sea is Mafi’s first YA contemporary! I wasn’t sure how her writing style would translate to this genre, but it was a truly amazing read!

Where to even start? Set one year after the terrible events of 9/11, it chronicles a particularly memorable time for Muslim teenager Shirin. You can immediately tell that it is a very personal story and while I don’t know all the specifics that went into this book, I am certain that Tahereh drew some parts of it from her own experiences. Even though I can’t say I was really a teen in 2002 just yet myself, I was slowly getting there, and it instantly brought back some memories from that peculiar time. I remember the news reports and the fear and all that even though I was living on an entirely different continent. But I also associate those years with a certain kind of nostalgia, when everything was getting more digitalised while not quite being there yet.

Aside from a setting I could easily wrap my head around, I was most enamored with the characters. Shirin is a no-bullshit kind of narrator and a really smart one at that. She manages to paint a picture of all the people in her life in a way that makes them seem real, even if you only meet them briefly on the page. Her growing relationship to Ocean was exactly how I picture teens in love for the first time. Everything happened fast but at the same time with caution and the awareness that the other person might just have the power to break their heart.

The entire story tackled so many different topics. This isn’t just a love story, although there certainly is a focus on it, but also a tale about family, friendship, finding your passions and having to handle racism and Islamophobia. It hurts deeply to know that there are such vastly ignorant and hateful people out there. I always wished that those parts of the story were fiction only, but unfortunately that’s not the case.

Lastly, Tahereh Mafi finished the story off in the most bittersweet way. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I am not going to go into the details here, but it felt right to end it in that certain way, while you also wanted so much more afterwards.

Fazit: 4/5 stars! This book was packed with so much in such few pages in comparison.

Have you read A Very Large Expanse of Sea? Is it something you’d be interested in? How did you feel about Tahereh writing in another genre? Let’s talk about it!

Top 18 Reads of 2018

Happy New Year everyone! What better way to start 2019 by looking back at some of the best books/shows/movies of the previous year. This is also my 1000th post, so it’s somewhat of a double celebration. Anyway, today I want to talk about my top 18 reads of 2018. Since I “only” read 36 books, that list might include some reads I did not love to the moon and back, but that were still enjoyable. And so I hope you will now enjoy this list (All books were rated between 3.5-5 stars):

18. Final Fall (Lock & Mori #3) by Heather W. Petty

Final Fall (Lock & Mori, #3)The entire Lock and Mori trilogy is a really interesting villain origin story of Moriarty in a contemporary setting. I’ve heard complaints that the drama is too teenager-esque, but the characters are literally teens and it is a YA book, so I had no quarrels with that. It still goes quite dark at times and the end was satisfying to me. Definitely a recommendation for Sherlock fans!

17. The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo (The Epic Crush of Genie Lo #1)While I laughed a lot during my read of Genie Lo, I also read it pretty early on in the year and have forgotten quite a bit by now, which is probably the reason it’s not higher up on the list. It was fun for sure! I am also really happy that a lot of people saw themselves and their culture represented in the book because that is always a beautiful thing!

16. Beastly Bones (Jackaby #2) by William Ritter

Beastly Bones (Jackaby, #2)This series is going to show up a couple times over the course of this list, because … well, I love it. I had so much fun getting to know the characters and I hope I will finish the fourth book before leaving for Berlin again. Anyway, this book was great, but in terms of the series my least favourite so far. Maybe it’s the second book syndrome or something?

15. Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi

Restore Me (Shatter Me, #4)To be honest, there’s a lot I’ve forgotten about the Shatter Me series. I remember loving the style of writing and the characters that Tahereh created, but the details? Blurry at best. At lot of it came back to me while reading Restore Me, but a lot of it also felt very different to the original trilogy. I love Kenji though and am way too curious not to continue with the books, but I am not afire for it the same way I used to be.

14. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Song of AchillesEveryone loved this book when they read it and I totally understand why. Personally, it was a bit too slow for me at time and I struggled to really get involved, but by the end I was as emotionally distraught as the rest of TSOA’s readership. One day, when I am less confused about my TBR, I will read Circe too.

13. Save the Date by Morgan Matson

Save the DateSo far, there hasn’t been a Morgan Matson book I haven’t enjoyed! The family-focus of this one was especially endearing. I just like reading about siblings and parents and all of them together with only a tinsy bit of romance sprinkled in. Romantic love isn’t all, you know? And somehow Matson managed to balance the two perfectly in this one.

12. Jackaby by William Ritter

Jackaby (Jackaby, #1)As promised, here it is again! Jackaby is quirky and has a main character that feels a lot like the Doctor (from Doctor Who) paired with supernatural elements such as nixies and vampires and whatnot. Totally loved it! Also, who can resist those beautiful covers?

11. Ghostly Echoes (Jackaby #3) by William Ritter

Ghostly Echoes (Jackaby, #3)This was my favourite part of the Jackaby series so far! I already told you some about it, so I am going to spare you more rambling.

10. Heart of Gold (Act I) by Eli Baumgartner/Viv Tanner

Heart of Gold Act II am honestly a little surprised that there aren’t more graphic novels on the list, but at least the one that made it is absolutely worthy of it’s place in the ranking. Heart of Gold is one of the most beautiful art out there. It talks about crisis of faith, has LGBT+ representation and is just generally fascinating to divulge.

9. Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3) by Amie Kaufman/Jay Kristoff

Obsidio (The Illuminae Files, #3)This series as a whole was really intense. I think they did great in how they tied all the loose ends together, made the books something special with the way they told it and kept the tension going throughout book #1 to #3. I was almost sad that it was over. (And to think I wasn’t even 100% on board when I first read Illuminae.)

8. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U GiveIf this book isn’t on everyone’s top list, then I don’t even know! I am sad that the movie wasn’t released yet where I live, because I really wanted to watch it (it’s the whole Love, Simon debacle again), but I will patiently wait anyway. THUG was some really powerful and necessary story telling. I am glad it got such a wide readership!

7. Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Dear MartinI have said it before and I will say it again, I am 100% in favour of books like Dear Martin being mandatory reading exercises in schools. Just like THUG, it’s tackling the hard topics in a great way. I am so here for more of Nic Stone’s writing!

6. Iron Gold (Red Rising Saga #4) by Pierce Brown

Iron Gold (Red Rising Saga, #4)You all know me, I was CRAZY into the Red Rising trilogy, which is now a saga. I am always fascinated by the world Pierce Brown has built, by the cruelty and darkness it inhabits, while it also creates some of the most amazing heroes I can imagine. I am worried where everything will go, because it will get worse before it all can get better again, but I still love every minute of it.

5. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)I have absolutely no clue whatsoever why it took me so long to read this book! I will eventually also read the sequels (especially now that Netflix confirmed they will do another movie), but this is about To All the Boys. It was so much fun, I stayed up reading all night and I haven’t pulled an all-nighter for a book in a long time.

4. To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

To Kill a KingdomSIRENS! Super badass sirens! And wannabe pirates that are really princes and a complex Fantasy world, but packed in a standalone book. This was such a refreshing change of pace, because I don’t know if I can invest in more series at the moment. (And again, sirens!!!)

3. Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Annihilation (Southern Reach #1)If you would have told me that a horror-sci-fi book would end up in the top 3 of my favourite books of 2018, I would have laughed at you … loud! But, what can you do? Annihilation was beyond amazing and scientific and creepy. I want to watch the movie but I also want to read the other books. It’s a struggle.

2. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African ChildhoodLooking at this entire list, I am happy to see so many different genres and styles of books represented. Born a Crime, a non-fiction autobiography by Trevor Noah, was enlightening and funny and educational and intimate and so very smart. Trevor is an amazing guy and I am glad the world gets to find out more about him and his home through this book.

1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer/Annie Barrows

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie SocietySometimes love doesn’t have to make sense. It’s the same with me and this book! Guernsey was neither the perfect read nor the most complex one. I am sure there were books on this list with a much more eloquent style of writing even, but this book touched me and I had a blast reading it. I put a gazillion sticky notes in, because there were so many quotes I wanted to remember and I absolutely fell in love with some of the characters. That’s most important, right?


Did any of my favourites make it onto your Top 2018 Reads list as well? Were there some surprises with the books I mentioned? Let’s chat!

December Wrap-Up – 2018 in Rewind

It’s no secret that I haven’t been reading much these past months. I am glad to say that I managed to read at least 3 books (two of which were comics) in December. It’s more than I have read in a long time, so I am still quite content. If you’ve missed my mini-reviews, you can read them all here.

  • Heart of Gold (Act I) by Eli Baumgartner/Viv Tanner (5 stars)
  • Venustransit by Hamed Eshrat (3 stars)
  • Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter (4.5 stars)

Heart of Gold Act I  Venustransit  Ghostly Echoes (Jackaby, #3)

Just like in old times, click on the book cover to get re-directed to Goodreads!

And even though there really isn’t as much to show as there was in previous years, I still want to share my reading statistics from Goodreads with you! (If you have a Goodreads account of your own, you should be able to find these stats on the right hand side of your profile.)

It has been the lowest amount of books in YEARS for me. As a bookworm/bookdragon, I am not entirely happy with that number, but then again, it’s the most I could have done in 2018. It may not be as much as others have managed, but there are people out there who read 1-2 books a year and they’d surely think I was crazy for reading so much. There’s always two sides to each story.

In addition, I am not surprised my shortest book was THIS short. I have started to read more and more graphic novels and comics and a lot of the time they don’t have an enormous page count. But tomes like Obsidian are rare for me anyway. I whole-heartedly agree with my average page number, because around 300 pages is truly what I feel most comfortable with length-wise with a book.

Lastly, my average rating has also gotten lower in 2018. I was usually somewhere just about 4 and this is the first year that I have ended up below that average. It’s nothing bad per se, it’s still a really high rating overall, but it also means that I wasn’t as good at picking my reads this year. Here’s to hoping 2019 I will get back on track!

2018 once again was a year of very irregular blogging for me. Aside from the trailer posts, I have really struggled to find a work-life-balance that includes this little corner of the internet. No matter how much I tried, I was unable to do more than the bare minimum and engage with everyone (especially on their platforms) the way I wanted to. Still, you showed up anyway and kept this blog from plummeting into nothingness and I am so very grateful for that! 

Just like 2017, this year was also a strange one. Some really amazing stuff has happened, but in the end, 2018 leaves a bitter taste behind. The general atmosphere was filled with loads of anxiety, stress, frustration and sometimes helplessness. I genuinely hope that 2019 will have an overall better vibe, because we all deserve a break, but I don’t want to leave it on a bad note and rather celebrate some really amazing milestones instead.

  • The blog currently has 2,267 WordPress followers, a number that kept growing even when my posts dwindled. Add the 31 people who follow me via e-mail and we are SO close to 2,300. What a nice number!
  • This is post #999, so I will start the new year with a fantastic milestone!
  • I really, really want to give a shout-out to my top commenters, because they are such lovely people and always brighten my day. Thank you Marie, The Orang-utan Librarian, Caro, Savannah, Beth, Marta and Rami!

MOST POPULAR POSTS OF 2018

(click on the title of the post to read it!)

Midnight Sun by Trish Cook (Book Review + Movie Trailer): I am honestly a little bit surprised that my most visited post is a book review, especially for a book that was written FOR a movie and not the other way round. I can’t say this was a favourite read of mine, but I am glad people seem to be curious about it nonetheless.

Still Star-Crossed: Book vs. TV Show: This review was actually written in 2017, but I think it actually got more views this year than when I actually wrote it. I guess people miss a cool historical show with POC characters. Who can blame them?

The Netflix Book Tag: We all love Netflix. No surprise here!

How I See Myself as a Fictional Character: This post was actually one of the most fun to write for me this year, so I am very, very happy to see it resonated well. Eden Rhodes will forever be my alter ego!

Your WIP in Gifs Tag: It seriously warms my heart to know that people want to know more about Arcadia. I don’t know if the success of the post is due to the gifs or not, but I am elated either way. (In case you missed it, I also did my WIP in Gifs for the #witchyWIP, click here to check out that post!)

MY (DECEMBER) POSTS

Lastly, here is what I’ve written this past month:

WRITING RELATED

TV SHOW RELATED

TRAILER POSTS

I hope you had great holidays if you celebrated and even more so, I hope you have a great start into the new year! Do you have any resolutions for 2019? I am going to do best of lists for 2018 in the upcoming days, with a special focus on TV shows and books. I hope you’ll enjoy those posts as well!

Mini Reviews: Heart of Gold, Venustransit and Ghostly Echoes

Coming home for Christmas, I managed to not only catch up on my reading, but surpass my (adjusted) reading goal for 2018. I’ve definitely read a lot less this year than in the previous ones, but overall I am still not unhappy with the outcome. So, there’s that!

Click on the covers to get redirected to Goodreads!

Heart of Gold: Act I by Eli Baumgartner/Viv Tanner

Heart of Gold Act II supported this graphic novel via Kickstarter and I am beyond happy I did. The final product is BEAUTIFUL with golden edges and a gorgeous sketch of one of the characters on one of the first pages for me. I adore it!

All the better that the content inside fits the great exterior. It’s such an interesting take on religion, damnation, love, faith and healing. It shows two entirely different approaches to those topics and keeps a mystery and tension going throughout the entire first act. The imagery is so beautiful and I honestly cannot wait to read more.

Heart of Gold is also available as a web comic here!

Fazit: 5/5 stars! I am 100% intrigued and here for it!

Venustransit by Hamed Eshrat

VenustransitVenustransit is a German comic about a guy who hasn’t quite figured out his life, gets dumped bis his girlfriend and is stuck in a job he hates. It’s set in Berlin and I can almost see the street I am living in on the cover (so close!). I like diving into things I know the setting of and can try and figure out if I walked the same streets. Stuff like that never gets tired to me (except when it’s only historical fiction … like so often with Vienna).

While I wasn’t as in love with the drawing style as I was with other comics I own, the story had a clear line and still took a lot of creative liberties. It was interesting and I am sure relatable to a lot of people out there.

Fazit: 3/5 stars! Gets plus points for the setting.

Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter

Ghostly Echoes (Jackaby, #3)Ghostly Echoes is the third book in the Jackaby series. I only did a mini review for the second book, Beastly Bones, as well, so I feel like I should stick to that format of reviewing for now.

This series legit just keeps getting better and better. The story is becoming more complex, with more dots to connect and still so, so much to discover about the characters. The writing style isn’t really anything over the top and it all seems like light fun in the beginning, but by now there’s a lot more serious stuff happening and you are so emotionally invested in the fate of the characters. And there is a lot to worry about! This book even included a little detour to the underworld!

If you are into Sherlock-esque mysteries with a supernatural twist, have at it with this series. I can only recommend it!

Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! Here’s to hoping the last book will be equally as amazing, if not more so.

Have you read any of the books/comics I mentioned? Are you interested in some of them? Let’s talk!