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!

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!

Mini Reviews: Parsnips, Buttered and The Darkest Minds

It’s no secret that I have read very little during my time in Berlin so far. Being busy, tired and just generally occupied with other things will do that. I also have a very short way to and from work (which I love), so there’s not even really an opportunity to read on the train or so. But I am nonetheless quite happy I read something and here’s what that something was:

Click on the covers to get redirected to Goodreads!

Parsnips, Buttered: How to win at modern life, one email at a time by Joe Lycett

Parsnips, Buttered: How to win at modern life, one email at a timeEvery now and then, when the mood strikes, I like to dabble in some non-fiction books. And when I do, I am mostly drawn to works written by either actors or comedians I already know – Parsnips, Buttered was no exception to that.

People who have seen some of Joe Lycett’s work, know exactly what kind of ridiculous email-exchanges he gets himself tangled up in. This book is a hilarious compilation of some of his mischief, but it is by no means a guide or how-to-book. It’s just a little bit of short-lived fun that definitely got better with me hearing Joe’s voice narrate the whole thing in my head.

Fazit: 3/5 stars! I can see this working for some people and not at all striking the right chord with others.

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1)Some of you already know this, but I won tickets to see a preview of The Darkest Minds in August. Even though I usually try to avoid dubbed versions of movies, I didn’t even mind it as much for this one and really enjoyed the film. In my opinion, that movie would have worked a whole lot better a couple years back, because dystopian YA book adaptations just aren’t really that sought after these days and all the adult reviewers kept comparing it to the likes of Hunger Games and Maze Runner, even though it could have been its own thing.

I am rambling too much tough. What I meant to say was that I enjoyed the movie, but that made reading the book in hindsight a little more tricky. It’s not that I think one or the other is better per se, just that there are almost as many similarities as there are differences and therefore reading can get a little tiresome.

For me, the book filled in some questions that were left open after watching the movie, while I generally enjoyed some of the visuals better than reading about those events. I am curious where this story will go, but it is not exactly a priority of mine. Chubs is definitely one of my favourite characters now and the guy who played Liam in the movie is on my radar for young talent!

Fazit: 3.5/5 stars! Is it wrong of me to say that the prime of those kind of stories is past?

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Have you read either one of those? Did you read more installments in the Darkest Minds series? Did you see the movie and would you like a more thorough comparison from me? Let’s talk about it!

Mini Reviews: Comic Book Edition

Since the mini reviews were quite well received last month and I didn’t have the best of reading months in July, I just wanted to do a short round up of all the comic books I read. I hope you like reading those too!

Click on the covers to get redirected to Goodreads!

Deadly Class, Vol. 1+2

Deadly Class, Vol. 1: Reagan YouthDeadly Class, Vol. 2: Kids of the Black HoleI wanted to check out Deadly Class so bad before the show starts airing (check out the trailer here) and I got very lucky when a friend of mine decided to unhaul some of his comic books and I got them really cheap. I’ve heard so many people raving about this one, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I can definitely see the appeal in terms of the storytelling and dialogue, because it’s more than kids just beating each other up. It’s about depression, anxiety, moral ambiguity, tough circumstances and even tougher choices and all of it in a high stakes setting.

“This isn’t a dress rehearsal Marcus, you only get the one turn. Life is a series of unique opportunities. It’s our job to find the happiness in each one.”

Still, as I read on, I just found that the art style and the violence weren’t for me in this type of format. I think I can still see myself enjoying the show a lot, but as soon as I realised I was skipping panels because I really didn’t want to read or see what was happening, I gathered I probably won’t be continuing with the comics, even though I would like to know what will happen in the overall story.

Fazit Vol. 1: 4/5 stars! It was a wild trip!

Fazit Vol. 2: 3/5 stars! This kind of proved to me that I probably won’t be reading this on the long run.

Faith, Vol. 1

Faith, Volume 1: Hollywood & VineI gravitated towards this story because they want to adapt Faith for the big screen and I really wanted to check out what her character was all about. I can’t say that Valiant comics are what I usually strive for, so I kind of missed Faith’s origin story (which was in a previous series and not in this one) but I didn’t feel too disoriented.

As a character, I really loved Faith! It’s not often that you get to see a plus-size female superhero and such a funny, geeky and badass one at that. (The pop culture references were on point!) She charms you even when the story is only meh and you want to know more about her regular life, romantic entanglements and alliances.

On a side note, I am also very curious about the casting should they go forward with the movie! I can’t think of anyone from the top of my mind, which is sad if you think about it.

Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! I can see myself really following this character for a while.

Magritte: Ceci n’est pas une biographie

Magritte: This is Not a BiographyI don’t know if any of you know this about me, but René Magritte is one of my all time favourite artists. It’s not even all his paintings or themes, but he was one of the first artists I really discovered for myself and quickly learned to distinguish in exhibitions (Seriously, I can spot a Magritte a mile away). I don’t remember why, but we learned a lot about him when I was around the age of 10 and his life story just sort of stuck with me. I won this book and to get a whole graphic novel that’s basically a homage to his life, art and shortcomings as well as accomplishments was really great.

It’s a weird story for sure, but so was Magritte’s art. I liked that they kept the surrealist approach while making it their own and also educating people on parts of his life some might not have known about. It was really fun and with a certain unexpected ending.

Fazit: 4/5 stars! Such a nice short homage to Magritte!

That’s it for today! Have you read any of these or do you have thoughts on them? Let’s chat in the comments below!

Mini Reviews: Beastly Bones, The Song of Achilles, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

I love telling you guys how I feel about books! That is pretty much why this whole blog exists, so that I can rant and rave about all the things I am passionate about. However, sometimes I don’t have that strong of an opinion about my last read, or I simply don’t think it warrants a full review. That is why I took a page out of my good friend Marie’s book and am introducing mini reviews on the blog! That in no way means that there won’t be any more full length ones in the future, but every now and then I am just going to do a cumulative post of some of my recent reads with only a short summary of my thoughts.

Click on the covers to get redirected to Goodreads!

Beastly Bones by William Ritter

Beastly Bones (Jackaby, #2)Beastly Bones is the sequel to Jackaby, which I read and loved not very long ago. I legit ordered this one right after I finished the first book and have no regrets. This time around I enjoyed the mystery of the case a little more, as it seemed less predictable. We are now getting farther into the characters’ backgrounds and are starting to uncover some secrets as well as an overarching plotline for the rest of the series. As much as book-to-book cases would work for this format, I am kind of glad there’s also something more than the people connecting the story throughout the series.

The only reason I am docking one star is because I was frustrated with how little faith or interest Jackaby and Rook showed in each other’s investigation techniques. It took them forever to solve something they might have realised far quicker if they had listened to one another. They do acknowledge that mistake by the end, so I feel like it shouldn’t happen as much in future parts.

Fazit: 4/5 stars! A worthy sequel and … dragons!

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Song of AchillesFolks, I have to be real with you, I feel bad because I didn’t love this as much as apparently everyone else in my immediate friend circle did. I adore Greek Mythology, I like a good slow-burn gay romance, I am ALL for books that make the unreal seem real, but still … the book didn’t click with me the way I hoped it would.

First of all, it took me forever to really get into the story. I felt it was too slow, until it finally picked up some pace around the halfway point. Then I wasn’t too happy with a certain cheating plotline … but ultimately, while I know this is mainly a love story and rightly so, I felt like this would have just been utterly confusing in terms of names, places and events for people who are unfamiliar with Greek Mythology beforehand.

Having said that, The Song of Achilles is definitely quality content and a beautifully devastating story that will hit you right in the heart! I understand every single person who was emotionally distraught by the end of it, because so was I. 

Fazit: 4/5 stars! Takes you right to Ancient Greece!

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)This is another book everyone kept screaming at me to read and I actually had a signed copy for a while (that traveled with me through all of Canada), so I have no idea what took me so long. The only thing I do know is that the trailer was the thing that finally got me to pick it up for real and I am so grateful for that! To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before just made me all mushy and soft inside.

It has all the things I love in a YA contemporary, from pretend relationships to letters to adorable love interests to a strong focus on family – I honestly couldn’t have asked for anything more! I adored the characters and was excited to read a book with an Korean-American MC.

I don’t know what to say other than I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this book and once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down. I literally finished it in one swoop and stayed up until 2 AM to do so. Very few books have managed to make me want to miss out on precious sleep.

Fazit: 5/5 stars! A perfect YA contemporary with a more than promising Netflix adaptation that I cannot wait for!

So, how are you all feeling about the mini reviews? Do you like them or do you prefer the longer format? (Again, I am not giving up on regular reviews!) Have you read any of these books and have thoughts on them? Let’s talk!

The 100 S3 & DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (TV Review)

I just finished my list of TV shows for the day and feel like the season 3 Premiere of The 100 and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow are the most pressing ones to review. I guess this will be more of a mini-review since I am trying not to Spoiler anyone and I am not sure how good of a job I will do at that. It will mainly just be my reaction, but just in case I should is a Spoiler warning!

The 100

So, we all knew from the promos that the situation was pretty dire for most of our beloved characters and it’s true, but at the beginning some of them are off worse than others. The storyline is split between what is going on in Arkadia and how the people from the Arc are now trying to achieve peace with the Grounders, Murphy and Jaha’s continued search for the City of Light and Clarke dealing with the consequences of her actions all by herself. As always, I am least interested in the Jaha storyline, even though it is probably one of the most significant. While Clarke being away from camp hurts, it does make sense, however Jaha and Murphy are so far off from the rest of the people, it often feels like a completely different story altogether.

It seems that Clarke, Jasper and Murphy have to deal with the most, really putting their sanity at stake in my opinion. But they are not the only ones struggling with their identity (*cough* Octavia and Raven *cough*) and I can see where a lot of the conflicts will come from this Season. I do like the overall arc, which for me means Clarke’s redemption and trying to live together with the Grounders side by side rather than at each other’s throats. The only thing I will complain about are the new love interests for certain people. Just no! Get the people you already have to pair up, but don’t add bland new ones to the mix who don’t stand a chance against certain ships anyway!

Verdict: An interesting start for sure!

Side note: There was a nice surprise musical performance which I quite enjoyed, but don’t really know why they put in. Also, Zach McGowan has joined the cast and knowing how he acts on Black Sails, I think he’ll fit right in as a Grounder.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow

The show is a spin-off from Arrow and The Flash, which already guarantees it a fair amount of viewers from the beginning. I was quite excited about it, but even with all the promos swirling around didn’t exactly know what to expect. We’ve already met all of the heroes/villains/legends involved in the team, except for Rip Hunter, who was introduced in the pilot. I like them all, their dynamic is really interesting and they all have their own stories to tell. Yet, with so many people (nine altogether I think) the focus is bound to switch between individuals, because you simply cannot give everyone the same screen time in 45 minutes without loosing momentum.

The pilot mainly revolved around the building of the team as well as Rip, Hawkgirl and Hawkman in particular. I didn’t expect it to be equally hilarious as it was heartbreaking sometimes. I especially liked the vibes between Captain Cold and the White Canary, but it will take some time to really see where it is all going and if it will work on a weekly basis, especially on the long run (meaning when the main villain is defeated).

Verdict: I really enjoyed it and just think it is super fun. Also, seeing Arthur Darvill as a Time Master … it’s just so weird.

Did you check out the two shows? Tell me what you thought about them!

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell (Book Review)

I feel like I am the last person in the entirety of the blog community who has read Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. But hey, I did read other books by her, this just wasn’t the first one.

epTWO MISFITS. ONE EXTRAORDINARY LOVE.

It’s 1986 and two star-crossed teens are smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love–and just how hard it pulled you under.

 A cross between the iconic ’80s movie Sixteen Candles and the classic coming-of-age novel Looking for Alaska, Eleanor & Park is a brilliantly written young adult novel.

(source: Goodreads)

Where to begin? Eleanor & Park was equally heartwarming and heartbreaking. Extremely adorable and tragic at the same time. Never did I expect that it would take such a dark turn towards the end, but somehow it all makes sense.

That’s what I really liked about the book – everything made sense. Okay, maybe sometimes I was a little annoyed with Eleanor’s behaviour and her being so closed off, but other than that those people were just human. They acted like people – they were jealous, embarrassed, proud, defiant, mean, kind and everything in between. Every character felt like they had proper motives for their actions (except for Richie).

I also liked that parents played a role in the book. Often in YA fiction I have the feeling that those children just don’t have parents, or if they do they don’t give a damn about their kids. Granted, Eleanor’s parents were far from being role models, but Park’s were great! Sometimes there are issues and topics that cause tension in a family and I was just so happy to see that in the end, they were supportive of whatever he wanted to do.

When I started reading the book, I had no idea where it was going. There were awesome pop culture references along the way and I liked to see Eleanor and Park’s relationship blossom, but I still had no idea how it would end. That was the real surprise. I didn’t expect it to be sort of cliffhanger-y, but it suits the story. No one knows how exactly their story will end, but I do know that they had something real.

I am really looking forward to the movie to this. I can’t imagine it yet at all, but maybe that’s a good thing. And maybe we’ll get to see a little more in the end.

Fazit: 4.3/5 stars. As expected not my favourite Rowell book, but majorly fantastic nonetheless.