The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn/David Levithan (Book Review, Dash & Lily #2)

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Page Count
: 226

**This is the second book in the Dash & Lily series. Please proceed with caution if you haven’t read the first one yet!**

I feel like I should start this review with a little disclaimer. I have read almost every single Rachel Cohn-David Levithan-collaboration there is. Honestly, I think there’s only one book missing, and I have enjoyed all of them. However, Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares was always my very favourite one. Now that Netflix released it’s series adaptation of the material, I realised just how much I had forgotten about the book though. I watched and I adored the show, but I couldn’t remember much more than the general premise it turned out. Still, I wanted more, so, I turned to this little sequel, that I never actually intended to read, because I was quite fond of whatever the first book gave me. So, what I am trying to say is, my knowledge from the first book is basically non-existent at this point (am I getting old?) and I completely based off my feelings for the characters etc. on what I had seen on the show.

Here’s a look at what Netflix has done. I can really only recommend it to get you into the spirit:

Now on to the actual bookish thoughts for The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily!

When I learned what the sequel was going to be about, I actually thought it sounded like a neat idea. Adding an element of angst that would lead to the characters having to grow up a bit as well as giving them a chance to repeat the formula from the previous book sounded promising, but it wasn’t delivered in the right.

I feel like the book could have been a lot more clear cut in its timeline. Albeit maybe a bit formulaic, I would have loved to actually see them embrace the twelve days of Christmas theme, but it was abandoned after day one in favour of lots and lots of miscommunication and sulking. Dash and Lily were on the brink of breaking up so many times that, at some point, I actually wanted them to take a break in order to see clearly again. While I do understand that they are teens and maybe have some misconstrued ideas about love, it was ridiculous how Lily expected Dash to read her mind and say all the right things, when everyone else could see that he was trying his very best to DO the right thing at all times.

The grand gestures felt a bit strangely placed this time around and often ended in disaster, but I will give them that they really made it work in the end. The message came through clear and that’s something that saved the book for me. It was right then that I felt like we were finally at a place that was interesting and where the characters were more themselves again, but that’s also right when the story ended. (And how cruel it did end, they are SUCH a tease!) Dash and Lily really do have that annoying habit of making you want more of their cutesy love, so, on to Mind the Gap I go.

Rating: 2.5/5 stars! The ideas were all there, but the execution wasn’t it for me.


Have you read this sequel? Do you want to? How about watching the show? Feel free to chat in the comments!

Mini Reviews: The Dire King, Defy Me, Find Me

You won’t believe it, but I have read THREE books THIS WEEK!? It’s been such a long time since I have done this, but it feels like old me. I am not saying I am back to my old form completely, but this is a really good thing. I missed books! (I mean, I love TV shows and movies, but there’s just something about creating a whole world just in your head. Still, because I don’t want a massive hold-back on reviews and I don’t actually have a huge amount to say about each book, I am just going to do mini reviews for them. Here we go:

The Dire King (Jackaby #4) by William Ritter

The Dire King (Jackaby, #4)

The Dire King is the last installment in the Jackaby series, a book series I mainly started due to cover lust, but never really regretted picking up. We are going to ignore the fact that it took me a year to finish this book, because I didn’t want to take it to Berlin with me and only read bits and pieces when I came back to visit, because overall, I really enjoyed this series.

The things I struggled with most, were probably during the crucial “finale battle” scenes. I had a hard time following descriptions of places and couldn’t really picture where characters were at what point during the fight – which is not ideal, to say the least. However, I loved how it all came together in the end! I don’t think this is my favourite part in the entire series, but I liked the thought process behind the end we got, because you could really see how it had all been building up to this.

Also, twains kind of rock!

Fazit: 3.5/5 stars! Not a bad ending as far as they go!

Defy Me (Shatter Me #5) by Tahereh Mafi

Defy Me (Shatter Me, #5)I may have given the previous installment in the ever growing Shatter Me series a good rating, but in all honesty, I was disappointed with it. The characters were barely recognisable and the writing style had changed drastically, although it had been one of my favourite components of the original trilogy. I struggled, to say the least. However, something brought me back into the fold with Defy Me.

I could see how this part of the series might split people into two camps, because nothing much happens. The events that took place during the 370-something pages could have probably be told in half that, but I am glad Tahereh Mafi took her time. I loved being back deep into the character’s minds. I loved getting all the angst and complexity that didn’t come from silly romance fails but from decades of abuse and the terrifying task of piecing a broken mind back together. It felt dark and like I couldn’t believe all the things that had happened to bring us to where the book is now.

Maybe, just maybe, not everything ties in nicely with the OG trilogy and I am a little sad at that too. But moving forward with these new books, you’ll just have to accept things or maybe don’t pick up the sequels at all. I was definitely much more on board with this than Restore Me (except for the last 3-4 chapters, because they were sappy and there was legit something that made me question if I just read a whole paragraph wrong with someone’s gunshot wound just disappearing from one chapter to the next …).

Fazit: 4/5 stars! My interest for this series is back again.

Find Me (Call Me By Your Name #2) by André Aciman

Find Me (Call Me By Your Name, #2)For those of you who have followed me for a while, you know how much I adore the Call Me By Your Name book. I love to quote from it, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and all that despite knowing that it has some issues (nevermind the ones concerning the author himself), so when a sequel was announced, I was on board! BIGGEST. LITERARY. DISAPPOINTMENT. OF. MY. LIFE!

This was definitely marketed as a sequel. The blurb on the book (On Goodreads it does mention the dad in the synopsis, but not on the book!) just talks about Elio and Oliver and their love echoing through time, but you know what? That’s not what this book is about, because in the 260 pages I just read, Elio doesn’t show up until after 100+ pages and Oliver past the 200+ page mark. The time they have actual page time together isn’t even noteworthy. Instead, you get to watch Elio’s now divorced dad catch a bad case of instalove (yes, not just instalust, which I would get with this book) for a woman half his age on the train. And then you get to watch Elio do the same just in reverse at a concert.

Hear me out, I am okay with age differences in consenting adult relationships. You do you! I was, however, bugged by the constant mention of casual cheating, like monogamy is just the worst. I don’t mind people in polyamorous or open relationships, but that’s just not what these characters were in at the time of their story. I don’t even want to get started on the aphobic comments that were made either. It’s just not what I signed up for with this book! I was promised the continuation of an epic love … and I only got a rushed fake happy ending for them. I think I am just going to pretend I never read this …

Fazit: 1/5 stars! I regret getting this book so much.

Have you read any of these books or do you want to? Let’s talk about that!

Obsidio by Amie Kaufman/Jay Kristoff (Book Review)

Publisher: Knopf Books
Page Count
: 615

I may not always be up to date with all the latest book releases, but I really was looking forward to the finale to the Illuminae Files. I previously reviewed Illuminae (review here) and Gemina (review here) on the blog and even though I really struggle with talking about sequels, I could not pass up the chance to rave a little about this one. While there won’t be any spoilers for Obsidio, I do think it’s better if you have read the previous books in the series before continuing on.

I should probably start by saying that I was not one of the many people who hyped Illuminae. I enjoyed reading it, but it was really only during Gemina that I came fully on board with this series. Obviously the format is a lot of fun and the characters definitely grow on you over time, which makes Obsidio such an enjoyable conclusion to it all. Whereas the previous books mostly focused on one couple during the story and only lent cameo roles to the others, Obsidio truly brings it all together. In my opinion, it took away the spotlight from Asha and Rhys a little bit, but not enough to really make me mind since I was already invested in what the other characters were up to.

What I enjoyed most about reading Obsidio was the fact that you really get answers for all your questions. It adds another layer of depth to the characters (AIDAN is still my fave and I won’t back down on that – I have a soft spot for AIs), provides a lot of action, gives you the necessary conclusion, but still doesn’t close the door on this universe forever. It really was a wild roller coaster to read this book and I devoured it in one day, but sometimes I almost wished the stakes were higher or that the consequences were more devastating and lasting. That’s not to say that you won’t have a wide array of emotions coming your way while reading, but that tiny evil voice in the back of my mind just maybe expected even more cruelty (at least targeted towards the main characters). But if I ignore that tiny detail, and that’s really all it is, then it ended absolutely beautifully. I love when my series end as if they were tied up with a neat little bow, making sure I won’t have to worry about the people in it, even if I will always love reading more about their lives.

I realise this is a super short review, but books like this are always best experienced first hand. Just get ready for some hard hitting moral questions and a final adventure that really does the Illuminae Files justice.

Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! A very satisfying conclusion to the Illuminae Files!

Have you read Obsidio or other books in the series? Do you plan to? What are your thoughts?

King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard (Book Review)

Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count
: 528

King’s Cage is the third book in the Red Queen series (click here for my review of Red Queen and here for my review of Glass Sword). Admittedly, I pushed this one back on my priority list for quite a while, mostly due to me not having liked Glass Sword at all. It was confusing and lacked intrigue and direction. Maybe Glass Sword just suffered the typical second book syndrome, but even after several of my fellow bloggers assured me that King’s Cage did not have the same problems, I wasn’t too eager to pick it up. Well, I guess it is time for me to join the ranks and say that King’s Cage is in fact better than Glass Sword, but I am still not fully back on board with the series.

The first time I opened the book, I immediately noticed a vast improvement. The book has a map! I remember being completely lost in terms of the country’s scope and the different towns and the travel time between destinations in the previous book. I was bored with the amount of moving back and forth and my lack of understanding where anyone was going, so this was a big plus already.

Then we are right there with Mare, still prisoner to Maven. The torment and weight of the situation was palpable throughout the entire time. It gave us a vulnerable Mare, which was direly needed in my opinion, because no one person can do everything, but it also gave us real insight into Maven and why he is the way he is. I enjoyed those chapters a lot, despite the slightly repetitive nature of the scenarios that played out. I know that Maven isn’t a good person and I am not making excuses for his behaviour, despite understanding that it might not be entirely his fault, but he is still the person I like to read about most in this series. (Yes, once again, the villain is my fave – what a surprise!) I think it really helped to see his side of things and Mare’s reactions to his confessions.

King’s Cage brought about another change though and it’s one I am still not sure how to feel about. There are multiple POVs this time around and just for the sake of keeping some surprises, I won’t tell you who they were from. I am not going to lie though, it took me quite some time to even remember who this person was and to this day, I still only have a hazy memory of them. This seems to be a reoccurring theme with the series. Aside from the people that appeared in the first book, I have troubles remembering anyone, just because there are too many people that are very insignificant for long-term plot developments. The names and abilities start to blend together, so I actually needed these constant reminders of who did what for what house and which color belonged to whom etc.

Overall, I liked the direction the book went into. Stakes were upped again, I started to like Mare better again as well, even though she is still not one of my faves. Cal is just cancelled, there’s something about him that just rubs me the wrong way. Maven is still my wicked darling. And I really had a change of heart when it came to people I previously disliked whole-heartedly *cough*Evangeline*cough*. I still don’t believe this series has a strong priority in my mind, but I am curious to see how it all ends. I think there is the real possibility to not go the classical route and insert some great twists instead.

Fazit: 4/5 stars! Improvement from Glass Sword for sure!

Have you read King’s Cage? Or the Red Queen series as a whole? What are your thoughts?

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel (Book Review)

Publisher: Michael Joseph
Page Count
: 320

At the beginning of 2017 I read Sleeping Giants, the first installment in the Themis Files series, so it is only fitting that I sort of closed the year with its sequel Waking Gods. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the series is a kind of darker and more adult version of Illuminae (set on Earth but still dealing with space stuff). I will never tire of the format being in protocols, journal entries and interviews.

Honestly, I remember how it took me a while to get into Sleeping Giants at first, with the writing having felt very clinical and detached, but I didn’t have that issue at all with Waking Gods. In the contrary, even after all this time, I could jump right back in and quickly remembered where we left off and I guess the ten year time jump helped with that as well. Everything happens a lot faster, though, and I think that is due to a whole new rush of information. Just like the humans in the book don’t know how to handle it all, the readers themselves get swept up in the stress and panic a bit. There are definitely some decisions made that I didn’t agree with and consequences that I would have had no clue how to react to.

While this sequel is still very dark and won’t let you get too attached to anyone, it felt like it was a tiny bit less disturbing than the previous book. The new cast additions were nice and didn’t take away from the focus on people we already were familiar with. I felt like we didn’t spend as much time with certain characters as we used to, which made events that I cannot describe in detail due to spoilers less impacting. In general, it seemed like the author attempted to give everyone their time to shine and didn’t go as much in depth as we used to before.

Nonetheless, I still very much enjoyed this book! I like the science behind it and often wonder if parts of it are true (aside from the aliens, there’s obviously no huge alien robot terrorizing us). The story still manages to surprise with its twists and turns and always leaves on a note that keeps you craving more. I can only recommend this series!

Fazit: 5/5 stars! I am just so excited for what is to come next!

Have you read the Themis Files? Would you be interested?

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab (Book Review)

Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Page Count
: 510

Our Dark Duet is the second and final book in the Monsters of Verity duology (you can read my review for the first book, This Savage Song, here). While I will try to avoid spoilers for this part as best as I can, I don’t recommend you read on if you haven’t read This Savage Song.

Back in 2016, I talked about this series all the time. So much so, that I pre-ordered the hardcover copy of Our Dark Duet, fully knowing that I’d be in Canada by the time it would arrive and therefore also buying the ebook version for my Kindle. All of that because I truly loved This Savage Song. I loved how quietly exciting it was, how original the creation of the monsters was. But most of all, I loved the characters and that’s what lead me to put off reading the book for such a long time. I was worried about their future and their livelihood and rightly so, because Monsters of Verity doesn’t have a happy end, but it might just have a hopeful one (even if it comes at a price, as Schwab so deftly put it in her acknowledgements).

To me, Our Dark Duet was a lot … well, darker. Whereas Kate’s opportunity at a family and a place where she belongs got once again taken away, August tried to embrace his supposed purpose in life and lost himself in the process. They had to grow up even more than in the last book and it just made me feel terribly sad for their circumstances. Only when the two are together, they can allow themselves to be themselves. I am very protective of my son August, but Kate grew even more on me here than she did in the last book. They see each other for who and what they are and that’s such a vital and beautiful quality whether it’s in friendship or whatever else they were having. It’s my favorite part about their relationship, while I simultaneously hated that they spent most of the book apart.

The book didn’t just deliver more of the same old, it had quite a lot of new elements  a terrifying monster and a new Sunai, by the name of Soro. The latter, in particular, was quite the enigma to me, which leads me to a final statement I want to make with this review: There’s still a lot of unanswered questions. It’s not like the book ended on a cliffhanger and I won’t survive, but there is so much more that this world has to offer, so many characters that we could still explore and I truly want to spend more time with. I don’t know if that is an option, or if Schwab is truly done with this world, but I, for one, would really enjoy some sort of spin-off or continuation in Verity and its surrounding areas (aka maybe a Prosperity spin-off???).

A lot happens in the book, we get several different POVs and there was a lot of heart in the story. My heart broke and hurt for hours after I was done. It’s always that way when I truly loved something and I just need to establish it one more time – if I could, I would adopt August and coddle him for life!

Rating: 5/5 stars! I am sad it is over, but this story was freaking fantastic.

Have you read the Monsters of Verity duology? I am telling you, it is totally worth it!

Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray (Book Review)

ttsayEver since she used the Firebird, her parents’ invention, to cross into alternate dimensions, Marguerite has caught the attention of enemies who will do anything to force her into helping them dominate the multiverse—even hurting the people she loves. She resists until her boyfriend, Paul, is attacked and his consciousness scattered across multiple dimensions.
Marguerite has no choice but to search for each splinter of Paul’s soul. The hunt sends her racing through a war-torn San Francisco, the criminal underworld of New York City, and a glittering Paris where another Marguerite hides a shocking secret. Each world brings Marguerite one step closer to rescuing Paul. But with each trial she faces, she begins to question the destiny she thought they shared.

Publisher: HarperTeen
Page Count:
432

This is the second book in the Firebird series and as such I don’t recommend you reading on if you haven’t read the first one (you can find my review for it here). Also, I don’t intend to spoil anyone, but if you want to go into this blind, which I would also understand, I don’t suggest you read this review!

Ten Thousand Skies Above You is the second book this month that I’ve read with Marie @Drizzle and Hurricane Books. It’s so nice to have someone to fret about the story and characters together. We intend to do this more often in the future, so if you ever want to join in, just give us a shout out and we are happy to include you! Definitely don’t forget to check out her review of the book once it’s out!

It’s been a long time since I’ve read the beginning of the Firebird series, but somehow Ten Thousand Skies Above You manages to get you all caught up and nostalgic for parts of the first book before the real action starts. I remembered that the first book was completely different from what I expected it to be. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. Now, Ten Thousand Skies Above You changed that! I thought that this story would be similar to the last one, mainly about Marguerite and Paul, and while that wasn’t wrong of me it was a whole lot more too. As the blurb already tells us, Paul’s soul is being torn apart, called “splintered” here, and hidden away in distant dimensions where Marguerite now has to find and save him. I would have liked to get an explanation on HOW they actually do the splintering, but it allowed for some interesting developments to the story, namely Paul not being there all the time.

Quite honestly, I was really glad he wasn’t that big of a part this time, at least not by physically being there. The story needed to move forward and this way it could. It gave Theo the chance to shine and actually made me think that the love-triangle here was a real possibility – even so much so that I was rooting for him rather than Paul sometimes. Marguerite uses the time in this book to make up her mind about her feelings and about their other selves in different dimensions. Even though I found her conclusion a little disappointing, it made sense. Still, this wasn’t what most of the book was about!

We constantly find out about so many new things and background information we didn’t have before, it was exhilarating. Conley wants to rule the multiverse, but there are so many more people involved. My belief and trust in certain characters was shattered multiple times! I loved getting to see different universes again, although I remain of the opinion that there is still potential for even weirder worlds. There were so many twists and turns I really didn’t see coming and then it just ended. I know that cliffhangers are there to hook you, but there was no need for that! I was already dead-set on reading the third book by the time I reached the last page and that cliffhanger was just cruel. Now I will have to just sit around and wait for the conclusion to this epic tale that stretches across dimensions … not fair!

Fazit: 5/5 stars! The faster pace and the constant twists made this a fabulous read! If it weren’t for the cliffhanger I’d be SO happy right now.

5stars

I’m having a great reading year so far, slaying my TBR one book at a time! Have you read the Firebird series yet? What’s your take on it?