Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn/David Levithan (eARC Review, Dash & Lily #3)

Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Page Count
: 256

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

CW: depiction of anxiety/panic attacks

I’ve currently really been on a roll when it comes to Dash & Lily, reigniting my love for the characters by binging the Netflix show (several times) and following it up by reading the sequel and now this book that places them in London. It’s as if the authors allow you to watch them grow up a little more with each book and I appreciated that the most in Mind the Gap.

There was much I loved, but also a couple things that bothered me. A lot of it came down to one of my biggest pet peeves – bad communication. Despite being miles and miles apart, Dash and Lily really make the long distance thing work. They seemed so solid in their relationship that their troubles once they reunited felt … strange to me. Obviously, they were busy living their lives and struggling or thriving (depending on who you’re looking at) and didn’t talk about every little detail that happened while they were apart. Where Dash got disappointed by his own ambitions, Lily was turning into a little dog mogul without her family or friends noticing. All of that is understandable and just warrants a bit of time to talk it all out, catch up on the things you missed, but what does Lily Bear do? Once again she runs away. I was so frustrated with her, because poor Dashiell was just too overwhelmed.

Lily went to London surprising Dash without his knowledge. While he was glad to see her (because he is always glad to see her), it was also really bad timing. He didn’t want her to see him in this state of despair he found himself in. Oxford had drained him to the last drop and only his previously estranged grandmother, Gem, could raise his spirits. Instead of being glad that Dash had finally found a family member to connect with, Lily was jealous. She was legit jealous of Dash’ grandmother, a woman who is basically a slightly British version of Mrs. Basil E.

But once they got over those initial hick-ups, however annoying I might have found them, especially on Lily’s part, the book was really fantastic. I felt Dash’ state of being lost to the core. The way his world seemed to close in on him and he just did not know what to do now that what he had always envisioned for himself wasn’t as fulfilling as he thought it would be. I think that’s something a lot of young adults have to face. Their expectations of college/university aren’t always going to match up with reality and it takes a whole lot of strength to muster up the courage to find a new path.

Simultaneously, you have Lily’s own struggle with what the future holds. I think I found it a bit harder to connect to her here, because she is so much larger than life sometimes. Where Dash is relatable in his quiet despair, Lily has suddenly made mountains of cash (without her very meddling family knowing?) and has become a dog influencer who is even recognised on the street outside of New York City. I always knew her happy demeanor was contagious, but she basically had become a celebrity without the people in her life realising it. Maybe because she didn’t communicate clearly what she was doing and just how successful she was with it, her family kept pressuring her to go down a more traditional academic route. I enjoyed that she stood her ground in the end, but I never really had to worry about her not being okay. She was doing great for herself, Dash was much more worrisome.

The book ended with their relationship stronger than ever. While the story as a whole was not as fluffy and cutesy as the previous ones, it still filled my heart with a certain warmth that only Dash and Lily can provide. Those kids are not kids anymore and you just know they’re going to find their way.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars! It was lovely to see them grow up like this.


Do you want to continue on with Dash and Lily’s epic love story? Does it convey the holiday spirit to you as well? Let’s talk!

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab (Book Review)

agosFour months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.
In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.
But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.

Publisher: Titan Books
Page Count:
 508

A Gathering of Shadows is the second book in the Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab. I have not written a review for the first book (A Darker Shade of Magic), so I can’t really refer you to an older post to check it out. However, I do not recommend you read this review if you haven’t read the first book yet.

I am one of the very few people who didn’t love ADSOM. I know, shocking! I just didn’t find it as engaging as many others did, but I am happy to say that I enjoyed AGOS more! I still don’t think I will ever love this series as much as some other fans, but I definitely felt more involved this time around.

Lila is a really badass girl and her POV definitely proved that, but I enjoyed Kell and Rhy’s perspectives more (as well as the one of a certain new King in White London). The new bond, that goes far beyond the brotherly one they had before is just so complicated and I love it. Neither of their lives is truly their own anymore and it is heartbreaking to see the consequences of that. It’s the push and pull of what it means to be family, but also to have the responsibility of a whole kingdom – I just loved it! Throwing charismatic Alucard in the mix was the final blow to my feels! Everyone grew so much on me during the course of these 500 pages.

I still don’t know why it didn’t exactly click with me 100% though. I am going to try and put it in words, but bear with me in hopes that I don’t just ramble on. While Schwab‘s world-building is super intriguing, I can’t help but feel like everything is really slow and not a lot is happening, at least in the first half of the book. If you think about it, the story technically covers 4 months, but it takes forever until the paths of our main characters intertwine again. It could be that I am just an incredibly impatient person and that whenever I want something to happen, I want it to happen NOW, which of course doesn’t always make for a good story.

Also, the Essen Tasch – The Element Games – were made out to be such an important part of the story for example and they truly were exhilarating once they happened, but they didn’t even occupy a third of the book. Maybe the way they played out was exactly what made this book different from others, but I couldn’t help but feel like we were shown more of the characters reminiscing about events from the past than really living in the now and dealing with what’s happening. Especially a healthy balance with the aftermath of Black London wasn’t really existing.

Now, ADSOM didn’t answer all the questions back in the day, but it sort of ended on a note where you could live with not having the next book right away. It didn’t have a happily ever after ending, but it had a conclusion just as messy as life itself. AGOS is a whole other thing though! The entire story for the next book was set up before your eyes and then you were just left with torturous feeling of not-knowing. It’s terrible! I wanted to throw the book against a wall!

I realise that I’ve sounded less than happy in some parts of this review, but don’t be fooled, I really enjoyed reading AGOS! The character development was what made up for the shortcomings in other departments. We now have a deeper understanding of our heroes and villains and I am sure that we will profit from that once we get to the final installment!

Fazit: 4/5 stars! I need to have the next book – NOW!

4stars

Have you read this series? Are you interested in checking it out? Who do you like best in the books?

Downton Abbey Season 6 Premiere

So, the beginning of the end has started. As announced in my post about the Trailer for Season 6 of Downton Abbey, this will be the final season. If you haven’t watched the first episode of Season 6 yet, then beware of Spoilers!!

I don’t see the point of really reviewing the episode as such. I’ve always liked the pace and writing of Downton Abbey and I was glad to see that not much has changed in that department. Except for the fact that we are now already in the year 1925, it seems the show will approach the final season in its usual charming and calm style. My heart swells every time I hear the title theme and I am just so happy to have the show back. (Also, I am not giving up on the possible sequels in the shape of movies!). So, instead you’ll get a recap of what is going on with the different characters and my thoughts about it:

  • Times are changing and even the family at Downton can’t deny that. They need less and less staff and see their friends giving up on their estates altogether. I suppose this is foreshadowing of what we can expect to happen to Lord Grantham as well, seen as society is evolving and classes are broken down.
  • Thomas was so adorable with little George and Marigold. He gives them piggyback rides and entertains them the whole day. I am always happy to see a kinder and softer side of him.
  • Right in the beginning Mary gets blackmailed by a maid from the hotel where she had her little indiscretion. It is all handled by the Lord himself, who pays the lady and even acquires a signed confession. Mary is really lucky that her parents handle things like that for her, but it all just boils down to her not wanting to get with a man she doesn’t truly love. So, I am guessing that this season will be devoted to finding the right person for her.
  • Edith struggles with people not taking her serious as the owner of the newspaper and she’s currently considering moving to London. She sort of lives in the shadow of Mary at Downton, so I think it would be great for her to go her own way. However, I would be missing her at the estate. She’s really grown on me over the years, considering that I didn’t like her at all in the beginning.
  • Ms Hughes and Carson still haven’t set a date for their wedding, because Ms Hughes is afraid of the physical aspect of their relationship as soon as they’re married. But Carson handles it all great! Those two are an amazing couple and it is only sad to think that it took them so long to really get together.
  • At first it seems that Anna and Bates are still not happy, even though they would so deserve it. The unresolved issue with Anna’s rape charges weighs heavy on them and it seems that Anna has troubles getting pregnant. Bates is, as always, the perfect husband and reassures her in every way possible. By the end of the episode they hear that there’s finally a witness found and that Anna is safe. The whole house celebrates and they are happy for a bit, but I guess that the baby-topic will remain a subject in following episodes.
  • Lady Grantham and Ms Crowley are fighting over the future of the hospital and the Doc gets in the middle of it. Those two really have one of the most fun relationships on the show!
  • Mr Mason is about to loose his farm and Daisy strongly voices her opinion. It’s amazing to see how much she has changed and that she’s now truly standing up for what she believes (even if it gets her in trouble sometimes).
  • Ms Denkers is mean as always, spreading rumours among the staff and I actually wouldn’t mind if Lady Grantham let her go.
  • Since Tom and Rose are both currently in America, they were only mentioned in the episode. I missed them both dearly and hope that they’ll make a final appearance towards the end!

So, what did you make of the Season 6 Premiere? Who’s story are you most looking forward to this season?

Downton Abbey Final Series Trailer

I still can’t believe that’s it … on September 20 this year, the final season of Downton Abbey will air on itv. I love the show to bits and am really sad it’s ending, but there is always the consolation that there might be one or two movies with the cast afterwards, continuing the story at least a little bit.

So, as you can tell from the trailer below, it will be a very emotional farewell. Time to say goodbye …

There are surprisingly few Spoilers coursing through the internet about this. However, it is suggested that the Crawleys will probably have to sell off parts of their estate and let go some staff to adjust to the economy.

What are your thoughts on the final season? I bet tears will be involved …

Paper Towns Movie Review

Originally I planned to do one of my typical Book vs. Movie posts for Paper Towns, but it’s been so long that I’ve read the book that I couldn’t remember the details even if I wanted to. Instead you’re getting a simple movie review (with Spoiler-free and a Spoiler section)!

So, I got to watch the UK Preview Screening which did not just include the movie, but also footage from the Q&A that was done with John Green, Nat Wolff and Cara Delevigngne in June. They talked about their similarities with the characters, what the audience should take away from the movie and whether they ever did something as crazy as the road trip in the movie. It wasn’t very long, but it was the perfect way to start the movie.

Now, I don’t know how many of you read the book or watched the movie or just generally know the story, but this is like a little plot summary:

Ever since Margo Roth Spiegelman moved in next to Quentin, who everyone just calls Q, he’s been in love with her. But their lives developed differently and while Q made safe choices and led a fairly sheltered life, Margo threw herself into every possible adventure, becoming a myth herself in the progress.
We are in their Senior Year at High School and Q’s optimism for ever being part of Margo’s life again is low, until one night, when she enters through his bedroom window and makes him her revenge-plot-accomplice. The next day, Q has the feeling that everything has changed, but has to find out that Margo is gone. Now he has to decide whether he’ll continue his uneventful life or if he’ll go searching for her, following the little clues she’s left behind.

First, I want to say that Paper Towns is one of my favourite books of John Green. I know that a lot of people prefer Looking for Alaska, but in my opinion the books are very similar and I read Paper Towns first, so I have a feeling that that impacted my opinion. However, when I heard that the same people who adapted The Fault in Our Stars would do this movie, I was massively excited, because they did a great job with TFIOS. I wasn’t entirely sure about the casting, but ended up really liking everyone they picked! Cara is like a real-life Margo to me, Nat is perfect as Q and I never thought I cared that much about how the others looked but they were also a perfect fit! Especially Justice Smith and Austin Abrams had mad chemistry with their female counterparts as well as a strong bromance with Nat Wolff!

Another thing I absolutely loved was the Soundtrack! Again, the music (just like in TFIOS) was brilliant and I cannot stop listening to it. Whoever chooses the artists and songs, I applaud you!

Now, on to the not so great part. While I did really enjoy myself during the entire movie, it did not have the exact same vibe and emotional impact as the book. I get that they had to make changes and, as I mentioned above, I cannot remember it in that much detail anyway, so I don’t care about that. I liked the ending even though it’s supposedly different from the book, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I was really bothered by how quickly Q and the others figures out Margo’s clues. I do understand that the film might’ve been way too long if they showed the real struggle, but it seemed so easy. They found a clue and within a couple of minutes they knew what to do. From what I could remember those clues were so vague sometimes, Q racked his brain for days sometimes.

This is only a minor issue though and other than that I laughed a lot (who wouldn’t when Black Santas are involved) and generally enjoyed watching the friendship of everyone on screen evolve and grow. The road trip could’ve gone on forever if it were up to me!

SPOILER AHEAD!!!!!! DO NOT READ ON IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE MOVIE

I don’t really want to talk so much about the plot in the Spoiler-section as I want to talk about some cameos!
So, it was announced that John Green would have a cameo in the movie, but I didn’t see him. The thing is, you wouldn’t either. He doesn’t actually physically appear in the movie, he just voices the father of Becca’s father. That was not the cameo that nearly stopped my heart though. I read on Twitter that Ansel Elgort stopped by on set and now it all makes sense, but I did not even think about him being in the movie. I seriously started grinning from one ear to the other, I was so happy to see him.

SPOILER OFF 

All in all, I laughed, I almost cried and I really enjoyed the movie even though it has some flaws. People need to stop comparing it to TFIOS because of course those movies aren’t going to have the same emotional impact. One of them is about teenagers with a terminal illness, whereas the other movie is about not putting people on pedestals, taking risks and finding out who you are. What are your thoughts?

Downton Abbey Christmas Special 2014

Christmas wouldn’t be the same without a bit of Downton Abbey. As always a lot happens when it comes to the family and staff residing at Downton. Spoilers ahead!

Downton Abbey - ITV

No different than in any other episode of Downton Abbey, I am clueless as to where to start especially since this one was two hours long. So much happened and very little actually had to do with Christmas, but let’s get started:

  • Anna is in prison now and it doesn’t look too good for her. Bates of course can’t watch her getting convicted, so he signs a confession and flees to Ireland until they’re both proven innocent. Those two seriously never get a break. Anna can’t enjoy being back at Downton without her love, but then gets surprised by Bates at Christmas, after Molesley can prove that he wasn’t in London during the time of the murder. Now, I hope that Anna doesn’t get imprisoned again, but I also still wonder who actually did it.
  • Andy the footman who helped out in London now works at Downton.
  • Everyone in the family (except for Mary) knows that Marygold is Edith‘s daughter. I’m so happy for her and you can visibly see that a heavy weight was lifted from her shoulders when Lord Grantham “forgave” her. Their might even have been a new love interest for her in form of the agent from York, but I am not sure.
  • Speaking of love interest! Lady Mary has a new one in with the name of Henry Talbot (portrayed by the very handsome and dashing Matthew Goode). I very much approve, in fact I am jealous! She always gets the best love interests and that even though she’s still extremely mean to Edith, who’s been a lot nicer and a good person in general the past seasons.
  • The feud between Spratt and Ms Denkers is hilarious!
  • I am so glad that Rose and Atticus are still happy! Those two are lovely and they deserve it! Even Lord Sinderby now approves of Rose, even though I sincerely hope that it doesn’t blow up in her face one day that she helped him cover up an illegitimate child. Atticus surely won’t be too joyous when he finds out. But maybe he never will since he’s probably moving to New York with Rose sometime soon.
  • Barrow was once again at his best while scheming against the Butler at York. You definitely don’t want to mess with him!
  • The old Lady Grantham helped Princess Kuragin to come to Britain and therefore declined Prince Kuragin. While she still liked getting the proposition at her age, she just couldn’t go with it. We finally get the whole story between her and the Prince and that is great.
  • While I am sure that Doctor Clarkson isn’t too unhappy, I feel sorry for Lord Merton because Isobel keeps refusing him. She doesn’t want to have to deal with his disapproving sons, but I think that really shouldn’t be her main concern if Merton makes her happy.
  • It finally happened! I thought it never would and it was the sweetest moment ever! Carson asked Mrs Hughes to marry him! They are simply perfect for each other!
  • There was a slight scare that Lord Grantham might be sick and everyone was really concerned about it, but he just has to follow a strict diet and should feel better in no time. It’s a relief, because he really is a main component of this show!
  • Tom … my beloved Branson. It seems the time has come and he is actually leaving. It’s not like I don’t want him to succeed on his own, but I’ll terribly miss him, like everyone from the family will too. The most emotional moment from the episode was for me when he was in the childrens’ room and wanted to take a mental picture of everything. Edith and Mary joined him, they held hands and thought of Sybil. They were the ones supposed to grow old with her! While everyone did say their goodbyes to him, I won’t actually believe that he’s gone until he’s not at Downton anymore.

What were your thoughts about the Christmas Special? Did I miss an integral part?

Downton Abbey Season 5 Finale

Another show that tortures me with it’s departure until Christmas, but I’ll make this short and painless. This is the recap of Downton Abbey‘s Season 5 finaleSpoilers ahead!

Downton Abbey, series 5, episode 8, finale

The main topic of this episode was Rose’s wedding, the unveiling of the mysterious murder of Mr Green and as always a fair amount of side plots to be told. Here the storylines in more detail:

  • Rose and Atticus certainly don’t have it easy after their engagement, but they seem determined to manage everything together, which is just great. Atticus father and Rose’s mother are against the wedding, but young love prevails and they do get married after fighting over some intrigue, where photos of Atticus with a woman were sent to Rose. Let’s just hope they manage everything that is to come with such grace as they managed their first hiccup.
  • Edith, my dear Edith … she could barely part from Marigold, who finally lives at Downton. This made Lord Grantham very suspicious and he finally guessed that Marigold is actually Edith’s daughter. He reacted much more collected than everyone would have expected and promised Cora to keep it a secret for now.
  • There is a new footman called Andy/Andrew. He instantly gets played by Lady Grantham’s housekeeper Ms Denkers, but ultimately gets saved by Thomas. Mr Barrow is always good for a surprise when it comes to young men who need rescuing.
  • Daisy considered leaving Downton to educate herself in London, but finally gave up on the idea after seeing how much it would pain Mrs Patmore to lose her.
  • Mrs Patmore‘s nephew finally gets the recognition he deserves for his sacrifice during the war due to the help of Lord Grantham.
  • Prince Kuragin wants to spend the rest of his life with Lady Grantham, but she hesitates because it would be a very improper affair.
  • Isobel is still uncertain as to what she is supposed to do because of Lord Merton.
  • Mary faced Tony and his fiance and wonders if everyone is leaving her behind.
  • Anna got arrested for the murder of Mr Green. I somehow saw this coming, but sweet kind Anna – is she really capable of such a thing? I certainly don’t hope so! Why can’t she just be happy with Bates? They would so deserve it!
  • Last but not least, it seems my beloved Tom really wants to leave Downton for good. He makes plans to go to America after Christmas. I still have the hope that he changes his mind and that the Christmas Special won’t be his last episode. Edith, Mary and the rest of the family would certainly miss him!

That’s it! I cannot wait for the Christmas Special as I will be in extreme Downton withdrawal until then. Do tell me your thoughts and feelings about the episode below! I certainly don’t feel like it’s already over.

The Hundred-Foot Journey: Book vs. Movie

The movie doesn’t actually come out until August , so that part will mainly consist of my predictions based on the trailer. But let’s get started with the basics first!

When I first watched the trailer for The Hundred-Foot Journey, I decided that I absolutely had to see the movie. Most people might think that it’s because it stars Dame Helen Mirren or because it was directed by Lasse Hallström and produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, but my main reason is actually Manish Dayal. I still remember his performance as Raj in 90210 and how I really started caring about a character of that show for the first time. I cannot wait to finally see him in a major role in a Hollywood movie, especially if it’s with such a great team. So, after I found out that the film is based on a book, I read it as soon as I could get my hands on a copy with a movie cover.

The Hundred-Foot Journey is the culinary coming-of-age tale of Hassan Haji. I think that this one sentence actually sums it up quite nicely, because it should work for both the book and the movie, while I don’t think a lengthier description would be accurate for both, but I’ll get into that a little later. Let’s start with focusing on the book.

I really enjoyed reading about Hassan’s journey! It definitely brought me back to the time I was working in a hotel in France for a couple of months, and I love the book for being able to do that! The story (written by Richard C. Morais) is divided into four parts, each representing a different city/town (Mumbai, London, Lumière and Paris) and also part of Hassan’s life and growth as a person. The whole tale is told from Hassan’s perspective, although he starts the story with his grandfather’s life way before he was actually born. There were some amazing moments in the book where I really felt with the characters, but I did have some issues with the pace of the book. With a bit over 250 pages, it is not the longest book I’ve ever read, but it still covers (including the grandfather’s story) about 90 years. That’s a lot! I just wish the author would have focused on one period of Hassan’s life instead of flying through all of it. Which directly brings me to the differences that I predict for the movie.

From what I saw in the trailer, the movie especially focuses on Hassan’s time in Lumière, where he met Madame Mallory, and I think that’s a great idea. They generally seem to have changed the storyline a bit and Madame Mallory’s past as well, but I don’t think it is necessary to stay too faithful to the book to portray what’s important. Also, there seems to be more romance involved than there was in the book. In my opinion, it really looks like a perfect summer movie with a great cast and crew. But you can watch the trailer below and tell me what you think yourself!

Final tip from me: Don’t read the book or watch the movie when you are hungry!

So, what do you think?