Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour (Book Review)

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Page Count
: 272

CW: parental neglect, emotional and physical abuse, grief, ghosts

Nina LaCour is one of my auto-buy authors and I don’t even need to read the blurb to buy her books. However, when I first heard about this one, I was immediately drawn to it. I knew that once again, Nina LaCour would create an impeccable atmosphere that would eventually emotionally wreck me – and that’s exactly what happened, but more about that later!

I see this book being classified as Young Adult and I’m not sure I would necessarily agree with that. Mila, the protagonist, is 18 at the beginning of the novel and turns 19 during the course of it. She goes to live on a remote farm, where she works as a teacher and helps with the harvest as well as Sunday markets. Her life and her struggles very much came from the past, and thus her younger self, but it still felt like it could have just as easily been classified as an adult novel. That’s not to say that I minded the more grown up approach, but I just think it’s something to be mindful of when you pick up this book.

There’s something about Nina LaCour’s writing that just transports me into a whole different world. Usually, rooted in a lot of trauma but still very much in reality, Watch Over Me was a surprise with its literal instead of metaphorical ghosts.

Had we been telling the truth, he would have said, The place where I’m sending you – it looks beautiful, but it’s haunted.
Okay, I would have said.
It will bring everything back. All that you tried to bury.
I understand.
It’s going to make you want to do bad things.
I have experience with that.
And how did it turn out?
Terribly. But I promise to do better this time.

Mila yearns for something in her life. I would say for a family, a place to call home and someone or something to belong to. In her desperate need to hold on to these new people she is meeting on the farm, feelings of jealousy and self-doubt creep in. While I understood entirely where she came from, it was such an intense longing tied to strong emotions on her part that it sometimes felt off-putting. That’s not to say that she was unlikable, but she surely contained multitudes behind her quiet and pleasant demeanor.

When I read a LaCour book, I often associate it with very strong emotions of my own. While Everything Leads to You wasn’t all happy, I still associate a warmth and admiration for it due to its setting being in film. With You Know Me Well, I had found one of my favourite feel-good-books and We Are Okay drowned me in a world of sorrow. Watch Over Me is a bit harder to categorise. I could have easily read it in one sitting, it is poetic and beautiful and flows nicely. But something about it is also very eerie and strangely tied to a sense of dread, sorrow and grief. It made me sad to the core and sometimes I cried at passages that didn’t even seem so sad.

“Do you like it?” Julia asked. But I didn’t know what she meant. All I saw was the deep blue-green water, the white foam against dark rock. The wildflower-studded cliffs, and the tall grasses in the wind. “Because it’s magnificent,” she said. “But I don’t like it. It scares me.”

There is no explicit romantic storyline in this book! While there are hints that a character may be attracted to more than one gender, it is not discussed or a focal point of the story. Although, the relationships Mila forges and nourishes are definitely worth talking about. To me there are four worth talking about here (without giving away too much):

  • Her mother and Blake: the trauma she has to face on the farm mostly stems from them. There is guilt and relief, sadness and so much strength that was bred in that relationship. It’s what’s really haunting Mila.
  • Terry and Julia: they are basically the parents Mila never had and always wanted. They have taken in over 50 kids and fostered them, which put them on a pedestal in Mila’s mind.
  • Billy and Liz: as I said, there’s no romantic storyline, but I feel like there was definitely an air of possibility for a throuple here as Mila seems to be attracted to both of them and fantasizes about them.
  • Lee: Lee is Mila’s 9-year-old student and anchor during her first weeks. She feels like they are both outsiders in this family and she clings to him tightly. I often felt torn about their relationship, because I loved how close they grew, but I also hated the emotional baggage she put on that kid sometimes.

“I’ll never leave you,” I said to him. I closed my eyes. I felt his body relaxing, heard the slowing of his breath. “You’ll have to grow up and leave me first.”

Sometimes I didn’t realise just how much time had already passed on the farm. It went from days to weeks really fast and I think that’s why I sometimes struggled with the depth of attachment the characters already had to each other. When I turned that last page, I wouldn’t have been able to give you a timeline at all. However, I did feel like I had just been on a journey with Mila. I didn’t understand everything that had happened, but I doubted that she did either. The farm is a magical place that only becomes the bad kind of haunted if you let it.

Fazit: 3/5 stars! I feel like I just went on a whimsical journey of sadness and grief.

Do you plan on reading Watch Over Me? Have you read other books by Nina LaCour? Let’s talk!

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power (eARC Review)

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Page Count
: 352

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

CW: death, murder, arson, vomiting, unplanned pregnancy

I was supposed to read this book about two months ago, before it’s release in early July, but it was a struggle getting here. I want to start by saying that I have not read Wilder Girls and therefore had no expectations concerning the author’s writing style or way of storytelling. All I thought this would be was a family drama, which it was in part, but there is definitely so much more to it that I feel like I didn’t sign up for.

I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts for a while now, but can’t seem to make sense of it all yet. I think my main issue was that I went into this book thinking I’d get a twisted tale of a torn family, but really, it was more along the lines of horror? Those of you who know me, realise that in 9 out of 10 cases, I would not pick up a horror book on purpose and it was off-putting here as well.
I was prepared for an otherworldly, thick with the scent of buried secrets atmosphere (which Power manages to create quite well), however, I was not prepared for it to be so decidedly not our world in the end. When you start this novel, the characters take some getting used to, but it seems like we are here, in our reality. It takes almost half the book to come to the conclusion that you are not and at that point you are just confused.

This book features queer characters, a strained family relationship, a rural/small town setting – all factors that would usually entice me to read a book! So, why exactly didn’t it work for me?

Burn Our Bodies Down is told through the inner monologue of the main character Margot. She is a strange girl with very intense mood swings, something that didn’t always make it easy to follow her thought process. We get snippets of her personality as well as a bit of exploration of her sexuality (is she a lesbian? bisexual?), but it all gets dropped in favor of the “mystery” of the plot. And that mystery is really all that kept me propelled to keep reading, because I surely wasn’t able to connect or like any of the characters very much. I wanted to know how it would be resolved. I had my guesses early on and even though at that time, I had still thought this was just regular reality, I was right. That just added to me not feeling very satisfied by the pay off, because what else could it be?

Before I end this review for good, I just want to say that I saw a lot of people enjoy this book. It’s probably a very me-thing that I didn’t and which I mostly base on the inability to connect to any of the characters while reading. I highly recommend you check out varying reviews if you are still unsure whether you want to read this book or not.

Fazit: 2/5 stars! This was not meant for me.

Have you read this book? Do you want to? Have you read Wilder Girls? Let’s talk!

Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag 2020

I have not done this tag regularly, but a lot of my friends are apparently way more devoted to (book) blogging than me and are blessing my timeline with their takes on the Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag every single year, which is a look at our reading so far! So, I wasn’t technically tagged this time around either, but I saw so many people do it, that I just decided to join in on the fun (as I tend to do bi-annually). I have seen the questions vary a bit, but simply went with the ones I used in my 2018 version of this.

BEST BOOK YOU’VE READ YET IN 2020

Normal PeopleI didn’t give Normal People the highest rating, but it sure is the one book that just sticks with me. I’ll just go about my day and be reminded about it in some way and then find myself thinking about the characters for hours again. It sure has made an impact. (Read my review here)

BEST SEQUEL YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2020

Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy, #2)I haven’t read very many series this year so far, which thankfully makes answering all the easier. I read both the first book in the series, Wicked Saints, as well as the sequel, Ruthless Gods, in 2020 and I have no regrets. I don’t know what exactly it is about these books that fascinates me so much, but I am having the time of my life getting tortured by them.

NEW RELEASE YOU HAVEN’T READ YET BUT WANT TO

A Song Below WaterAlright, let’s not pretend that I am not always perpetually late to the party when it comes new releases. I almost want to call myself the queen of backlisted reads, but that would also not be entirely correct. I just don’t keep track of when things release, but just trust that I will find the right stuff eventually?
Anyway, I want to read A Song Below Water! I mean, yes please, set it in one of my homes away from home (Portland, Oregon) and fill it with sirens. I am so here for that!

MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR

Watch Over MeThere are a couple, but not a huge amount, of auto-buy authors out there for me. Nina LaCour is someone I’d read anything from. Give me a shopping list and I’d gladly take it. However, we are getting lucky and will have another emotionally charged and character driven release of hers coming up this year – Watch Over Me! I seriously cannot wait!!

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

Again AgainIt wasn’t the worst thing on the planet, but I really expected more from Again Again by E. Lockhart. Having read several of her previous books, this was such a letdown in comparison. Something about it just didn’t connect. (Read my review here)

BIGGEST SURPRISE

Anna K: A Love Story (Anna K, #1)Describing why this was a surprise is a little difficult, but having neither watched or read Anna Karenina before and associating with an old-timey classic had me surprised how much I liked Anna K. But it was always obvious to be set in modern day and just be a fresh take in general, so I don’t know why I was a bit nervous? (Read my review here)

FAVOURITE NEW AUTHOR

Ben Philippe totally charmed me with his Field Guide to the North American Teenager and had me fall in love with his easy-flowing style of writing. He has another book scheduled to release later this year (Charming as a Verb) and yet another one for early 2021 (Sure, I’ll Be Your Black Friend) and I am just here for all of it. I am so glad I picked up his book!

Ben Philippe (Author of The Field Guide to the North American ...

NEWEST FICTIONAL CRUSH

Sorry to have to double down on an answer, but I kind of fell hard for Connell from Normal People. He was quiet and kind, genuinely just wanting people to like him and being afraid of what others might think of his choices. Sure, he had his flaws, but that just made him more real. The fact that they cast him perfectly in the TV adaptation with newcomer Paul Mescal was just the cherry on top.

NEWEST FAVOURITE CHARACTER

I don’t make character aesthetics (except for my own peeps) very often these days, but Darlington from Ninth House got one. That means A LOT in my book! I just like charming boys with the potential for darkness they don’t want.

There’s a lot of other characters I liked too, such as Serefin from Wicked Saints, Madison from The Field Guide to the North American Teenager, Pepper from Tweet Cute … I am bad at picking faves.

BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY

Tyler Johnson Was HereI don’t think I cried because of a book this year yet, but Tyler Johnson Was Here had me close to tears multiple times. The subject matter is bound to do that to you for sure. (Read my review here)

BOOK THAT MADE YOU HAPPY

Tweet CuteTweet Cute made me so happy. I found it during my peak obsession with Bon Appetit videos, so, the food component, twitter feud and flirty banter was EVERYTHING to me. The characters were so funny and I just had a great time with that book. (Read my review here)

FAVOURITE BOOK TO FILM ADAPTATION

I watched Little Women this year and even if I haven’t read the book, it’s my favourite adaptation and film and overall story. I just love it with all my heart.

FAVOURITE POST YOU HAVE DONE THIS YEAR

I loved doing a series of posts where I talked about which book, movies and TV shows I made you watch and read. It reminds me that what I am doing here isn’t just shouting into the void, but actually talking to people and sharing interests. It warms my heart every single time.

MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK YOU’VE BOUGHT THIS YEAR

Aphrodite Made Me Do ItExcuse me while I lust over the cover for Aphrodite Made Me Do It. Poetry collections often have the prettiest designs! Obviously, this book is also great on the inside, but I find the cover to be a real eye catcher.

WHAT BOOKS DO YOU NEED TO READ BY THE END OF THE YEAR

If We Were VillainsDark Age (Red Rising Saga, #5)As always, I continue to work on the physical copies I have at home. There’s books that might remain unread on my shelves forever, but some I REALLY want to get to this year are If We Were Villains and Dark Age. Let’s hope that Dark Age doesn’t actually take me the entire year …

I TAG THEE

I tag whoever wants to do this as well! YOU!!!


What did you think of my answers and the general mid-year reading recap? Let’s chat!

The Changeup by Nicole Falls (Book Review)

Publisher: Self-published
Page Count
: 144

CW: explicit sex scenes

Lately, a lot of conversations have centered around black pain, but there are also many stories of black joy out there and we should talk about them as well! When I saw the cover of this book and read the blurb, I was immediately reminded of one of my all time favourite sports dramas on TV, Pitch (seriously, if you haven’t watched that show yet, it’s SO good! It’s now streaming on hulu and if it makes numbers we might get another season even after FOX cancelling it). Having a black woman make it in Baseball is just always something worth writing and talking about. There was no way I could pass up on this book based on that alone and I am glad I read it, because it was such a cute story.

As you could likely tell from the very short page count, this is a fast read. You accompany Geffri on a whirlwind of a summer where things just get progressively more awesome for her. It’s rare for me to read a book where the main character has to face so few struggles, but I am definitely not complaining. It’s refreshing to not be confronted with unnecessary drama and miscommunication, but just a wave of support and good things happening.

I loved how deep it went into Baseball sometimes. While I enjoy the idea of this particular sport, I don’t know heaps about it, but I never felt overwhelmed or confused by anything I was reading. Obviously, I cannot attest on how accurate any of it was, but I could sense a deep appreciation and fondness for the sport, which makes me think that the author knows what they are talking about.
Geffri had that really special talent and I liked when we went a bit into how she struggles with praise and pressure as well. She seemed so cool and collected most times that those moments grounded her. I think we’ve all felt like that sometimes and stood in our own way.

Being singled out for excellence always caused me to put undue pressure and stress on myself which ultimately led to me being … where I was currently – plagued by doubts of whether or not I could really pull this off.

Another thing that was really cute, were the various relationships. I feel like some things were teased only and could result in spin-off books, but maybe that’s just the vibe I was getting. Geffri had such a great group of friends and such a deep and loving relationship with her very supportive dad. I loved that for her!

Again, I am sorry for comparing it to Pitch, because I do realise it’s very much its own story, but it’s really just a huge compliment from my side. Geffri and Noah, with their competitive flirtation, definitely gave me Ginny and Mike vibes (if Mike hadn’t been a slightly older white dude). There was mutual respect and common ground that would have likely been a great base for a friendship, but those folks were just too darn attracted to one other to keep their hands off each other. The progression of Geffri and Noah’s relationship was pretty quick, but not in an uncomfortable or rushed way. Sometimes you just hit it off with a person and while it got steamy, they also just talked a lot and got to know each other, so I have no quarrels with that at all.

There really isn’t that much more to say. I liked reading this story and I think we can all need something that is just so effortlessly positive in our lives every now and then. While I do think that it could have gone into depth more in certain areas had it been longer, I have no regrets in picking it up.

Fazit: 3/5 stars! If you enjoy happy romance set in the world of sports, this is for you!

Do you think this book might be for you? Were you as obsessed with Pitch as I was back when it first aired? Let’s chat!

The “I Should Have Read That” Book Tag

I wasn’t very consequent with my Friday is tag day proclamation, but the lovely Kirstie Ellen @Upside-Down Books tagged me for the “I Should Have Read That” Book Tag and it seemed deliciously fun. I feel like I’ll have to expose myself with some of those answers, so, I want to thank her for the opportunity and hope you all enjoy it!

RULES

  • Thank the person who tagged you and link back to their post
  • Link to the creator’s blog (booksnest.co.uk) in your post
  • Answer the questions below
  • Tag 10 others to take part (I’ll just leave this up to whoever wants to do it)
  • ENJOY THE TAG!

A book that a certain friend is always telling you to read

Beartown (Beartown, #1)Alright, so, Lois never specifically urged me to read Beartown in any way, but she knows me so well and every time I see her talk about it, I just want to pick it up right away … I just haven’t even bought it yet …

For real though, it’s a small town sports drama with deep human emotions and I just know I’d be so here for it!

A book that’s been on your TBR forever and yet you still haven’t picked it up

Testament of YouthI actually have briefly picked it up, because I adore the movie with all my heart, but I never made it all the way through Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain. It’s quite heavy and since they are her diaries, it’s all real life stuff and I just couldn’t … I think I’d rather rewatch the movie.

A book in a series you’ve started,  but haven’t gotten around to finishing yet

Dark Age by Pierce Brown is still chilling on my shelf. That book scares me SO much! I don’t know why, but it’s just MASSIVE and I haven’t really read any big books like that for a long time and I know it’s likely going to wreck me emotionally on top of it all too.

Just look at it compared to some other books on my TBR …

A classic you’ve always liked the sound of, but never actually read

War and Peace? I don’t know … it’s just that I know quite firmly that I don’t enjoy very many classics, but I quite like movie adaptations of Russian materials, so that’s one of the few I could think of.

A popular book that it seems everyone but you has read

HA! I know that one! Harry Potter, and I truly mean the entire series. Sometimes (looking at you Percy Jackson), I start a series and then life gets in the way and I forget to continue, but I’ve literally never picked up the Harry Potter books and at this point, I just don’t see it happening.

A book that inspired a film/TV adaptation that you really love, but you just haven’t read it yet

The GoldfinchLet’s not go overboard by saying I really loved loved The Goldfinch, but I loved the trailer? I enjoyed the movie, I just thought it would have been a better fit for a limited series or some other longer format. Anyway, haven’t read it, but can definitely see the appeal.

A book you see all over Instagram but haven’t picked up yet

The Priory of the Orange TreeHmmm … a confession that wasn’t even prompted her but that is coming regardless is that I’m not really in the bookstagram realm. A book I kept seeing everywhere, especially on Twitter too was The Priory of the Orange Tree and it’s another very daunting size.

 

 

 

 


I TAG THEE

I haven’t really been up my blogging game, so I’d like to leave it up to anyone who sees this tag and wants to do it. CONSIDER YOURSELF TAGGED!


What did you think of this post? Can you relate? Are you shocked? Let’s talk!

Lowest Rated Books (According to GR) I’ve Read

I thought it was very interesting to dig into my Goodreads archives last week to take a look at some of the highest rated books I’ve read according to the average star rating on the site. Now, this week, I’d like to try the reverse and see if I disliked the lowest rated books as much as the general public! I’m usually more on the generous side with my ratings, so this will be interesting, at least for me. (But hopefully also you!)

**Disclaimer: I chose to focus on novels here and exclude comics and graphic novels again. Last time I went from highest to lowest rating and I will do so here as well (aka the lowest of the lowest rated book is the last one) **

Anything You Want

Anything You WantAverage rating: 3.35
My rating: 5 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: Woah! First one and the opinions already differ. I remember how I knew a lot of people that didn’t enjoy it as much, but I had a great time with my buddy-reading-group. Maybe I wouldn’t feel as enthusiastic about it now, but back then, it struck a chord.

Snow White & the Huntsman

Snow White & the HuntsmanAverage rating: 3.34
My rating: 3
Thoughts: Hear me out! This is a screen-to-book-adaptation and not the other way round. I was really in love with the aesthetic and soundtrack of that movie back in the day and was intrigued by the idea of learning more about the characters in the book. That didn’t happen, it was super mediocre, BUT unlike in the first movie, Chris Hemsworth’s character has a name in the book.

Find Me

Find MeAverage rating: 3.34
My rating: 1 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: Do you know how often I give 1-star-ratings? The answer is: close to never. I was so in love with Call Me By Your Name (I do realise it has its flaws and I found out about the author being a weirdo very late, but I loved the writing) and was so excited but I HATE Find Me with a passion. Hate it! I wish it had an even lower average rating …

The Colorado Kid

The Colorado KidAverage rating: 3.32
My rating: 3
Thoughts: I don’t read Stephen King books, because 1) a lot of them are massive and I’m not feeling that and 2) I don’t enjoy being scared. However, I was a huge fan of the TV show “Haven” (still am) and it’s based on that book. It’s so loosely based on it that I didn’t really find much enjoyment in the book at all. I do realise that it’s not representative of King’s work in general.

Almost Adulting

Almost Adulting: All You Need to Know to Get It Together (Sort Of)Average rating: 3.32
My rating: 3.5 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: Books by YouTubers are always tricky! I didn’t hate this one, but I found that it wasn’t exactly what it advertised to be. It felt more like an autobiography than a fun self-help book about how to adult.

The Movie Version

The Movie VersionAverage rating: 3.30
My rating: 2 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: First of all, the book advertised something completely different and made you go into it believing it was going to be cute and fun, when in fact, it was about a serious topic such as mental health. The representation was terrible and the main character insufferable. It’s a real shame.

Sweetbitter

SweetbitterAverage rating: 3.29
My rating: 2 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: Oh wow, did I have things to say about that book. I did a very detailed comparison to the TV show (which went on for two seasons) and couldn’t find much love for either. There was just something toxic about it all.

Her Fearful Symmetry

Her Fearful SymmetryAverage rating: 3.25
My rating: 2
Thoughts: I blocked out a lot of what happened in this book, but after liking The Time Traveler’s Wife so much, this book felt like an utter disappointment in comparison. The premise of this one was so absurd, I don’t even want to talk about it.

The Pisces

The PiscesAverage rating: 3.22
My rating: 1 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: Look, I knew in the opening chapters that it wasn’t for me and because I’m a super stubborn person, was determined to finish it anyway. I know a lot of people actually liked it a lot, but I wanted something far less crass and more traditionally merman-esque. I was blinded by the cover …

The Film Club

The Film ClubAverage rating: 3.18
My rating: 4
Thoughts: I actually quite enjoy slowly told family stories without much plot. You want to reconnect with your son through movies and write about it? Sure, I’m here for it.

This Song Is (Not) For You

This Song Is (Not) for YouAverage rating: 3.13
My rating: 3.6 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: It sure wasn’t perfect, but I found a poly-amorous relationship with an asexual partner explored in a rather positive light to be rather interesting. The characters are often still judgy hypocrites, but yeah … it wasn’t the worst.

Anne & Henry

Anne & HenryAverage rating: 3.03
My rating: 2 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: This book had so much potential, being a modern day teen retelling of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII, but they completely blew it. If you are a fan of Tudor history, spare yourself!

Stealing Candy

Stealing CandyAverage rating: 2.86
My rating: 2.5 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: This book … the main character … basically, it’s about a girl who falls in love with her kidnapper. It’s not the first time that story is told and it probably could be done well? But Candy, she fell in love THE MOMENT he abducted her but had a nice jawline … come on!

Gone Wild

Gone WildAverage rating: 2.73
My rating: 2.5 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: I have a hard remembering much about the book other than that it was very short. I think the characters were relatable enough, but there just wasn’t much time to see any development and that irked me.

 

 


What are your thoughts? I feel like I mostly went with the trend again? Were you surprised to see some books have such low ratings? Did you find you didn’t know as many of these books as you did in the highest rated list? Let’s chat!

Highest Rated Books (according to GR) I’ve Read!

I was inspired by my friend The Orang-utan Librarian, who wrote a fantastic post, which was in turn inspired by something they saw on Thoughts of a Reader. So, I really hope no one will mind that I am going to take a look at some of the highest rated books (according to Goodreads) that I’ve read and how I saw them in turn. It should be a fun exercise to see if my taste goes against the grain or not! Let’s go!

**Disclaimer: I chose to focus on novels here and exclude comics and graphic novels. That’s a topic for another day maybe? Also, whenever the list was dominated by a series, I just picked the highest rated part instead of all the separate books.**

Fleabag Scriptures

Fleabag: ScripturesAverage rating: 4.83
My rating: 5
Thoughts: I think Phoebe Waller-Bridge is one of the great script writers we get to enjoy this decade, so I absolutely loved getting the opportunity to relive the Fleabag series in written format. It gives you a great insight into how she writes and what television scripts look like. Also, I’m not surprised by the high rating, as I suspect only fans will even check it out.

A Court of Mist and Fury

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #2)Average rating: 4.65
My rating: 5 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: I don’t like Maas writing and her books as much as I used to, but I was in love with the way it defied my expectations of how this sequel would turn out. I really liked the switch of who was the bad guy in the scenario.

Crooked Kingdom

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)Average rating: 4.60
My rating: 5 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: I loved my heist gang and know that many, many Leigh Bardugo fans do too. I think we’re all pumped for the Shadow and Bone Netflix series.

Clockwork Princess

Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)Average rating: 4.58
My rating: 5
Thoughts: The Infernal Devices is my favourite series in the Shadowhunter universe so far/out of all the ones I’ve read. I found the end here weirdly satisfying and even got to love a love triangle.

A Storm of Swords

A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, #3)Average rating: 4.54
My rating: 5
Thoughts: I’ve definitely struggled with the Song of Ice and Fire books and just straight gave up somewhere in the fifth, but this was a good one. Maybe the best of the series, so it makes sense.

Obsidio

Obsidio (The Illuminae Files, #3)Average rating: 4.53
My rating: 4.5 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: According to my rating on Goodreads, I liked this more than Gemina … and yet, in my brain I liked Gemina best. Memory is a weird thing, but maybe I deducted points for Gemina because some of the later pages were almost illegible due to dark font on dark paper.

The Hate U Give

The Hate U GiveAverage rating: 4.51
My rating: 5
Thoughts: Hands down, I think this book was so necessary and important and I loved the impact it has had. I would also love for Dear Martin and All American Boys and similar reads to get equal attention, because I’ve seen so many people have their eyes opened due to them.

Morning Star

Morning Star (Red Rising, #3)Average rating: 4.49
My rating: 5 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: I’m offended on behalf of the Red Rising series that it hasn’t shown up before and with a higher average rating. Literally one of my favourite series in this world. I’m not sure Morning Star was my favourite installment, but they are all fairly equal.

Born a Crime

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African ChildhoodAverage rating: 4.46
My rating: 5 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: As an equal fan of Trevor Noah as a person and him as an autobiographical writer, I’m all for him showing up on this list! Born a crime was a feast in my eyes.

Hamilton: The Revolution

Hamilton: The RevolutionAverage rating: 4.46
My rating: 5
Thoughts: I took this book everywhere with me for weeks and it’s not small. Also, it’s perefection. PERFECTION!!!

We Should All Be Feminists

We Should All Be FeministsAverage rating: 4.45
My rating: 5
Thoughts: I found this to be such a valuable read! Enough said.

Ignite Me

Ignite Me (Shatter Me, #3)Average rating: 4.41
My rating: 4
Thoughts: I liked this series a lot and would have been fine with this book being the end of it all. Not as fond of the continuation to be honest.

It Ends with Us

It Ends with UsAverage rating: 4.40
My rating: 4 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: This was a tough read for me, but I know how big of a fanbase Colleen Hoover has.

The Martian

The MartianAverage rating: 4.40
My rating: 5 (click here for my review)
Thoughts: Mark Watney is only one of THE best fictional characters. I’m not biased at all.


Are you surprised by me going with the flow so much? I always found that I was rather generous with my ratings, so it’s not that much of a shock to me. Although, I really thought that there would have been at least one or two books with a completely different rating from me. Oh well … did you miss any big books or series here?

Books That Inspire Wanderlust!

At lot of us have been stuck inside for extended periods of times lately and it can get stifling for sure. So, I decided to compile a list of books that have taken me to places all over this earth as a means of distraction and escapism. Therefore, even if we may not be able to go there in real life right now, maybe this will be a nice way of planning for when this will eventually be over.

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Amy & Roger's Epic DetourI wanted to start with something easy – a good, old-fashioned road trip through the USA. Morgan Matson is one of my favourite contemporary Young Adult authors and I really adore all her books. This one in particular is one of her earlier works though and just so much fun. While she always manages to have an emotional component and some depth to her characters, I definitely just wanted to get into a car with a potential love interest and drive around for a while after finishing the book …

Again, but Better by Christine Riccio

Again, but BetterThis is a read I finished only very recently. You’ll know that I had some points I didn’t absolutely love about this book, but if you want to imagine what it’s like to go explore Europe as an exchange student, this might just be something to look into regardless.

The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais

The One-Hundred Foot JourneyIt might not sound like a conventional travel book, and it’s not. The Hundred-Foot Journey focuses heavily on the culinary journey of a young man originally from India, however, you follow him around as you explore his life in his home country and later on in the UK and France. This is also one of my picks that is available as a movie, just in case you want to get really hungry from all the delicious food they are cooking on-screen.

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

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie SocietyI have talked about this book a plenty, but it was just such a lovely read. Who says that every vacation or travel experience has to be packed full of excitement and rushes around every corner? If you maybe are longing for some calmness on the beautiful island of Guernsey, I wouldn’t fault you! (The book is set shortly after WWII and does explore the topic, just to be clear)

Memories of the Eagle and the Jaguar Series by Isabel Allende

From what I heard, Isabel Allende is really more known for her adult fiction, however, I was obsessed by this series as a kid/young teen. It follows teenagers Alex and Nadia through their adventures from the Amazon to the Himalaya and lastly to Kenya. It didn’t feel like it was written for very young readers, but it definitely was marketed as Young Adult. There are some really heavy themes explored and the books get more adult as the characters age. Still, I have very fond memories of it and therefore picked it as my only fantasy-inspired read.

City of the Beasts (Eagle and Jaguar, #1) Kingdom of the Golden Dragon (Eagle and Jaguar, #2) Forest of the Pygmies (Eagle and Jaguar, #3)

Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman

Call Me By Your Name (Call Me By Your Name, #1)Do I even have to explain myself? I know this book has flaws, but to me the writing was magic and I felt like I had just spent a summer in the countryside of Italy myself. What more could you possible want? Maybe it’s time for me to check out the movie as well?

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest TrailWe are now entering memoir territory! This was not an easy read but since Cheryl Strayed had gone through all of it herself, it was very hard to rate. When you decide to go on the Pacific Crest Trail (from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State) all on your lonesome self, you have a lot of time to think and work on past trauma. This book deals with all of that!

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pray, LoveNow, we all know that this isn’t the most relatable journey for the majority of people. Very few of us can afford to just go travel all over the globe for a year, yet I found Elizabeth’s travels from Italy to India to Bali such a rewarding read. Depending on where you are in life, I think you might find yourself more interested in one specific part of Eat, Pray or Love in the book and that is totally valid. It will not connect with everyone, but I had some really enlightened moments during the whole affair.


These were all books I have read myself, but I am sure there are many I have missed. What are some books that have inspired wanderlust in you? I especially have taken care of mostly using real life settings, but are there some fantasy worlds you like to escape to? Let’s chat!

October 2019 Wrap-Up

It’s been a month! (You can interpret that any which way you want.) I am not even trying to compare my Goodreads goal to my actual reading status, but I am proud to say that I have read two books last month.

Both, Dear Evan Hansen and Pan’s Labyrinth, are books that have been written AFTER they’ve become successful as another medium (in this case, musical and film). I tend to like to do read this kind of stuff, just like I am one of the few people who really enjoys book-to-movie adaptations, especially when I am a bit familiar with the casting and may have already seen a trailer. The only thing I am bad at is reading these books if I know too much about the story already. Then it can quickly become boring, even more so if it’s a faithful adaptation. I had a lot of fun with the books last month though and they both rated somewhere in the 4-star-area.

Dear Evan Hansen     Pan's Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun

As per usual, when you click on the covers, you’ll get re-directed to Goodreads and when you click on the titles, you’ll get to my reviews!

I am currently, at this very moment, not working anymore. I had my last day of work late October and it coincided with a movie premiere my company hosted and it was a really nice farewell. I say that like I haven’t been to the office twice since then again, but now it’s just for lunch dates with former colleagues and to individually say goodbye to everyone. I don’t think it has really sunk in that I am no longer going to work there, it just feels like I am finally on a vacation (which I deserved, let’s be real). After 14 months, it will be so strange to go back to Vienna, stay in my childhood bedroom for a bit, but I have plans! I don’t want to jinx it, but something is in the works and if that works … it will be big!

Another thing we’ve been talking on here for a while, which I was simply too busy for is me doing reaction videos on YouTube. I’ve made a channel, I shot a video but … due to copyright claims I cannot upload it. I want you to know that I freaking TRIED! My original video was 31 minutes and I edited it down to 14 minutes but still had copyright claims. I figured if I cut any more, the video wouldn’t make any sense. So, I am going to try it with different episodes of the same show, but if that doesn’t pan out, I am going to try a new show altogether. If you have anything you’d like me to react to, just let me know!

THINGS I LIKED THIS MONTH

If you didn’t see it coming that my absolute favourite thing of the month was Charmed (once again), then I am not sure you know me at all. I put so much fangirl energy into this show, it’s becoming a little ridiculous, but I have to say that they are doing an AMAZING job with season 2. It’s almost as if they have a whole new set of showrunners (which they do and I have already talked about before … ).

I made two fan edits (and I am really no good at that at all), the latest one you can check out here;

What I am pretty happy to have gotten back into is my art though. I have been back using watercolours and also did some practice with regular pencils, all for my favourite Charmed ship – Hacy. I don’t know what has me so obsessed, but I’ve been known to channel all my energy in TV stuff if I don’t have anything else going on.

MY POSTS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

TRAILER POSTS

I hope you had a good month! Sorry that I couldn’t post any Halloween pictures, but I didn’t think my costume through very well. Turns out it was too cold to run around in a Scoops Ahoy uniform …

August 2019 Wrap-Up

This post is so long overdue, but I’ve just been super busy and haven’t really been able to do much blogging in the past weeks (which you probably noticed due to the lack of activity on my part). However, I do think that August went a lot better overall. I started strong, but then it just sort of fizzled out again. I am now on one of those very long train rides again and hopefully, if the wifi doesn’t crap out on me, I will be able to do this post … hence, if you’re reading this, all went well.

In August, I read a lot more than in previous months. At least, that’s what it felt like, even if page counts would probably tell you otherwise. First of all, I tried audiobooks for the first time in my blogging career. It could have gone considerably better, but now I know what I am talking about when I say that they aren’t for me.

I also read a lovely novella by Taylor Jenkins Reid, who only just about everyone in the community seems to adore. That felt like a really good palette cleanser and I thought I had gotten back my reading spirits, but alas, life through me another curve ball. Time really wasn’t an easy commodity to come by, so I went for an easy route – comics! Seen as Disney introduced a whole lot of their upcoming content, among them the Eternals, I felt it was my duty to read up on them. There’s some really cool content there, but I also am intrigued by the fact that some characters seem to be gender swapped and that the ages have also been changed quite a bit. The casting is high quality for sure, so I cannot wait to see which story they are going to with.

These are the volumes I have read (so not the Neil Gaiman ones) and you can check them out on Goodreads by clicking on the covers:

Eternals: To Slay A God: v. 1 (Eternals (2008-2009))   Eternals: Manifest Destiny

What else is new? I’ve been working a lot, so I didn’t really put in the necessary time to go looking for a new job. I still want to say thank you to all of you who keep inquiring and sending me job advertisements that reminded them of me. It’s much appreciated and I so very much love the gesture, even if I don’t end up applying for all of them. I wish there was more to tell, but I am not sure where to start?

When I am not at work, I’ve been trying really hard to get out of the house and just DO stuff more often. Sometimes I am successful at that and I have had a great time at several movie premieres and open air concerts and such in the last couple of weeks, but in the end they are never so much about meeting anyone new. That’s still something I don’t really know how to do exactly.

THINGS I LIKED THIS MONTH

I suppose at some point I had to stop talking about The Rook, so I reluctantly did. Instead, I switched to bombarding everyone with tweets about Four Weddings and a Funeral (the TV show), because it is really, really lovely. Mindy Kaling hits home with me about 80% of the time and I enjoy the content she creates for us and she was heavily involved in the making of this show. It’s super sweet, heart-warming but also heart-breaking. It’s square in the old-school RomCom genre but with far more diversity. I just loved it so, so very much, even if it was heavily predictable at times, because it was so reminiscent of all the things I used to love but that don’t get produced the same way these days anymore. It’s proof that you can still make these silly romances but keep them up to date. And for real, the most unrealistic part about the show isn’t that everyone meets their ideal love interest, but rather that these people seem to work and live in different countries on a whim without having to go through mountains of paperwork, visa and work regulations …

Also, if you are a Duffy – hit me up! I’d like 100% date someone like him and I am not really a Maya at all, so no heart breaking from me. Words I have spoken: “That stupid dork is like my ideal guy”

MY POSTS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

TRAILER POSTS

How was your month? Was summer as busy for you as it was for me? Let’s chat a little bit!