Soulswift by Megan Bannen (Book Review)

Publisher: Balzer+Bray
Page Count
: 480

Honest question: Why has no one told me about this book before!?!?

I’m definitely not the most up to date person when it comes to book releases, but after reading the marvel that is Soulswift, I can whole-heartedly say that this book deserves more attention. I’m going to do my very best to not spoil anything for you, while still trying to convince you to pick up this book in the near future!

First off, I want to point out that Soulswift is a standalone fantasy, which is a rare bird to come across anyway (pun fully intended). So very often, you have to brace yourself for multiple volumes to release over an extended period of time to get to your conclusion, but somehow Bannen managed to pack a fully formed story, neither rushed nor dragging, into this one single book. I am in awe of that woman’s writing!

Stories about faith, even made up ones, are never easy in my opinion. There is such a fine line between religious fanaticism that feels harmful and a naivete towards the world and other beliefs that might be frustrating and annoying at times (although it didn’t feel annoying to me here), but offers great potential for growth. Bannen allowed us to draw our own conclusions, hearing different aspects and exploring the various angles. It felt very natural for the world she created and I loved that I knew that there were always going to be three sides to the belief system: Gelya’s version, Tavik’s story and the truth.

Why should I worship something that cares so little for me, or for you?

As I moved through Soulswift, I found myself attached to Gelya and Tavik more and more. Their enemies to friends to lovers dynamic and banter was endearing like nothing else, but they were also great characters on their own accords. They both have to overcome a vast amount of prejudice and yet their bond is so strong and frankly beautiful. You will weep for these characters, without a shadow of a doubt, because they are so strong and dedicated and devoted. By the end, it’s just a question of who to.

Aside from really enjoying the religious aspect, the created world and the characters, it was the small things that made this novel stand out for me. It challenged gender norms and stereotypes without throwing it in your face, but rather letting the characters question their world view through dialogue and realistic situations. For example, I cannot recall another Fantasy novel where a character got her period while on the road, which wasn’t dismissed here, but also not made into this awkward big deal. I really appreciated that!

Life and Death
All things in balance.

Why wouldn’t this book be for you?

Aside from the topic of faith, which might not be everyone’s cup of tea, be it fictional or not, the ending isn’t something every reader will love either. I’m fully in the camp “a good ending doesn’t mean a happy ending”, but if you seek a story that will leave you warm and joyful, this is not it. I’m not saying it ends it utter devastation, because everything makes sense and is very beautiful in its own way, but also tragic. So very tragic and sad. I cried.

fly, little soulswift, fly

Fazit: 5/5 stars! 100% one of my new all-time favourites!!!


Could I convince you to take a look at Soulswift? Was it on your radar before? Let’s talk!

Rikki by Abigail Strom (Book Review)

Rikki (Hart University, #1)Ever since junior high and an ill-fated game of seven minutes in heaven, Rikki Eisendrath and Sam Payne have hated each others’ guts. But when they end up at the same college—and the same dorm—they figure it’s time to declare a truce.
They even become friends . . . sort of. But when Sam asks Rikki to model for his sculpting project, they start spending more time together—and her feelings for him get more complicated.
She tries to focus on the guy she’s been crushing on instead. But Sam’s the one she can’t stop thinking about, even though their arguments are starting to heat up as much as the chemistry between them.
With antagonism and attraction this intense, there’s bound to be an explosion. But when the dust settles, will Sam and Rikki be enemies, friends . . . or something more?

(Goodreads)

I was provided with an eArc from the author through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of the contemporary and YA/New Adult genre, sprinkle it with a lot of romance and you definitely have my attention. That’s what first drew me to Rikki and I have to say I was not disappointed.

The novel is very fast paced, especially in the beginning it almost felt rushed. However, as soon as I settled in a bit, I really enjoyed it. While the plot – rivals falling for each other – may not be the most original one, it is well executed and features great characters that you care about. I thought that I would be frustrated with them not realizing that they have feelings for each other sooner, but I liked watching their fights and the development of their relationship. I could identify with Rikki so much, by the end of the book I was questioning some of my life choices because they were so similar to hers.

Another thing I really liked was the no-judgment vibe and the diversity of the novel. I think that it had some great messages concerning being open and responsible when it comes to sexuality.

There were a couple of things that I didn’t enjoy as much though. Being pretty impulsive and getting angry very easily can be a tad of an annoying trait, but I understood it because that behaviour is still sort of justifiable at 18. Yet, denying that you are jealous and obviously feel physical attraction towards someone is just silly. Also, Sam did something before they went to Hart University that just weirded me out. I don’t want to give it away here, but people who have read the book probably know what I mean. I am still surprised as to how casual Rikki reacted to it in comparison to his mistake towards the end, which wasn’t cool either, but I get why it happened – not so much the other thing though.

In the end, Rikki was a really fast, cute yet also very sexy read. It’s the first part of the Hart University books and I would gladly take up the next one to see where it is going. Maybe it will feature some of the side characters, since they didn’t get much spotlight this time around.

Fazit: 3.7/5 stars! If you enjoy New Adult Romance, you should definitely take a look!

The Infernal Devices Book Review

I know I am pretty late to the party when it comes to the Infernal Devices, but I have reasons for that … not any good ones, but still reasons … I’ve read the City of Bones trilogy (at least that’s what I believed it to be at the time) years ago – so many years, I don’t even remember. I read them in the German translation, so clearly the phase where I read everything in it’s original language hadn’t started yet. So, I was reluctant to buy anything associated with the series in English and I simply couldn’t get myself to continue reading it in German. But at some point I just couldn’t resist any longer. They look so pretty and they are about Shadowhunters – I mean that’s just cool!

Bildschirmfoto 2015-05-19 um 14.59.43

I’ve thought about this for a long time and I find it extremely difficult to do this without Spoilers, therefore there will be two parts to this review: one for everyone and one for the people who’ve read the book as well!

Spoiler-free section coming up!

The Infernal Devices is about the journey of Tessa Gray – about her encountering a world beyond what she thought was possible and of her realising what a special place she has in exactly that world. It’s a story about love, family, loyalty, honor and duty.

I like the universe Cassandra Clare has created. Opinions tend to differ on this one; some people just never really get into it and that’s okay too. But I wasn’t one of those people, I got sucked in and loved it. Not many authors manage to develop a story with so many side characters, you barely know who you want to keep track of most.

There was literally no one I didn’t like (except for the villains, who you still understood to some extant)! That doesn’t mean the characters are perfect, because as she states in the book “perfect is dull”, but they all have their quirks and habits that make them really lovable. Another plus: my all-time-favourite from City of Bones/Glass/Ashes Magnus Bane is in the books!

The pace of the story felt exactly right for the time period it played in and all the references to “A Tale of Two Cities” were great! Overall I enjoyed it very much and could’ve spent decades more with the characters.

Now Spoilers ahead!

All in all I liked all three books quite equally, although the ending was most superb. Clockwork Princess bothered me sometimes because the actual Mortmain-storyline was so minimal, but then again it was the best of the three books in terms of showing where all the characters will end up, who they truly love and what they are capable of becoming. But as always, I am just going to divide this part into the characters/pairings in order to get some structure into this whole thing:

  • Whoever said “You can’t have it all!” has clearly never read the Infernal Devices, because besides the immortality issue, Tessa Gray has about one of the best lives on the planet and she gets to live a whole and fulfilled life with both her true loves. I mean who gets to do that? Normal people have to choose!
  • I understand that everyone loves troubled Will Herondale and it’s not like I don’t like him, but I don’t seem to have been as affected by him as others. The only scene I absolutely adored and that shattered my heart was when he thought Jem was dead and his parabatai-rune faded. Other than that I think he’s fun and funny, has great taste in books and apparently looks quite handsome.
  • James Carstairs aka Jem is my second favourite character in the Shadowhunter world (next to the infamous Magnus Bane). I kind of preferred him to Will and hope people can live with that. When I thought he was dead I felt devastated and like a part of my heart was missing as well. Never would I have thought he would die, which essentially he didn’t, but I didn’t know that at the time. Very well played Ms Clare!
    I’m so glad he got to be with his Tessa in the end as well and I’ve read about a little sequel called “After the Bridge” which tells us more about what happened after the Epilogue of Clockwork Princess. I have to get my hands on that somehow!!
  • Sophie, dear stubborn Sophie, I was so happy to see her become a Shadowhunter herself and find her love in Gideon Lightwood. He was smitten by her from the first second and that was just so lovely.
  • Henry and Charlotte have to be the most adorable people ever! I love how strong of a person Charlotte is and even though I felt sorry for Henry getting injured, it doesn’t seem like a big issue and that’s great. Also, Charlotte is the perfect example of female empowerment for the time period.
  • I still think it’s a little weird that Gabriel fell in love with Cecily because of his past with Will and her resemblance to him. Still, she made him a better man for sure.
  • I have never heard Bridget sing, but her songs sound fascinating. I can imagine though that they would get on my nerves after a while.
  • I feel sorry for Jessamine (although I’ve never particularly liked her) and hope she will find peace, even as a ghost.

Oh my stars, this has become a looong post. What do you say? Any thoughts on the Infernal Devices from your side?

Side note: I would like to see THAT becoming a movie or TV show!!! Until someone makes that happen, I will contend myself with the Shadowhunter show.

Testament of Youth Review

A while ago I watched the Trailer for Testament of Youth and I knew I wanted to know more about it. I bought the book or rather the memoirs of Vera Brittain, which the movie is based on, but I haven’t managed to finish it yet. Nonetheless, I finally decided to watch the movie and I do not regret not having waited any longer! I will keep this post Spoiler-free but I cannot say the same about the comments!

Here some basic facts:

Genre: Biography/Drama/History

Length: 129  minutes

Cast: Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Colin Morgan, Taron Egerton, Hayley Atwell, Emily Watson, Dominic West, Miranda Richardson …

Director: James Kent 

Testament of Youth is the real account of Vera Brittain’s life and keeping that in mind, the movie was just so much more heartfelt and heartbreaking than I thought it would be. I can tell you that they did not stick to the book a 100%, but that was a thing of impossibility anyway. What fascinated me so much about it though, was that the point of view wasn’t from someone at the front, someone involved in the actual fighting, but rather the view of a person who got left behind. Vera does everything possible to be of help, joining the volunteers as a nurse and in that way she witnesses her own horrors of war.

I always have my problems with war stories. There are never any real winners. Yet, the movie shows why people joined up, what their course of thinking was – their motivation. It also shows how war changed them and in consequence also their lives, their thinking and the people they love. Towards the end Vera gives an impressive speech in front of a pro-war crowd and she makes it her duty to never forget what happened to the people she cared about. I think we can all agree that she succeeded in doing that.

The movie is so beautiful and sad to watch (I’ll admit to having cried … a lot). The combination of strong visual pictures and quite striking poetry was extremely touching. Everyone involved did an extraordinary job and I was delighted with the work of  Kit Harington (Game of Thrones), Colin Morgan (Merlin), Taron Egerton (Kingsman) and even Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter) whom I barely recognised at first. The real reason to watch is Alicia Vikander (Ex_Machina) though! She gives a strong, sympathetic and worthwhile performance, that I’ll be sure to remember.

Fazit: very recommendable!

Have you watched it as well? Have any of you read Vera’s memoirs?

Bitten Book vs. TV Show

Bitten is a TV show produced by the Canadian channel Space (shown on Syfy in the US), but it’s originally based on the “Women of the Otherworld“-series by Kelley Armstrong. The show started airing earlier this year and I just finished reading the first book of the 13-part-series by Armstrong two days ago, so I thought it would be fitting to compare the two by the end of this year. There will be a spoiler-free and a spoiler-y section, so beware as you read on!

First, let me start by saying that I love both, the show and the book. I like supernatural stuff and this series just really hit the right tone with me. I always thought that I wasn’t a big fan of werewolves, but since I watch Teen Wolf, True Blood (rooting for Alcide all along) and Bitten, there is really no use in denying that they are sort of cool. I think the problem I have with the visualisation of werewolves is that the CGI and visual effects are mostly terrible and unfortunately I can’t say that they are very good in Bitten either. But that is totally besides the point, because I still very much enjoyed the show. Let me try to sum it up for you:

Elena Michaels is the only female werewolf on the planet, but she never wanted to be turned. All Elena wants is to be normal, so she tries to live as normal a life as possible given the circumstances with her unknowing boyfriend in Toronto. She thought she’s finally gotten rid of her past, when her Pack Alpha, Jeremy Danvers, summons her back for a Meet. Not being able to ignore his call, she has to go back to her former home, Stonehaven. There she has to deal with her ex, her true nature and murderers of a different kind.

The story is mainly focused on Elena and how she has to deal with her two lives. Especially while reading the book, I thought that Armstrong was great at conveying Elena’s thoughts and feelings in a way that we could entirely understand her even though this is such a surrealistic topic. Bitten is fast-paced, thrilling, exciting, dark, violent, funny and lovely at the same time –  I can only recommend it!

I guess this is all I can say for the non-spoiler section, because from now on everything I say gives something away. In short: Spoilers ahead!

When I actually read the book, I was surprised at how faithful they stayed with the storyline throughout the show. Of course there are differences in appearances of the characters and the likes, but they totally managed to capture the gist of it. The various actors and actresses portray their characters so well, I can’t say anything other than that I’m really happy (especially because Steve Lund plays my favourite Nick Sorrentino just perfect!). The changes they did make, don’t actually bother me that much. Remember though, that I’ve only come as far as to read the first book. I don’t know what happens in the rest of the series (not yet!). Having said that, here are the most obvious things I noticed that differ between the book to the TV show:

  • In both, the book and the show, two major Pack members die. While it’s Logan and Peter in the book, Peter and Antonio are the ones to die in the TV show. I don’t know which combination I prefer, because I was truly sad in both cases. Since Nick is somewhat of my favourite, I was sad to see him having to deal with his father’s death, but it couldn’t have been easy for Elena to loose her best friend either. And Peter was just a really nice guy.
  • Speaking of Logan surviving, that of course opened up a whole new storyline (him getting his girlfriend pregnant and not wanting to give her up, etc.) in the show that will be important during the second Season as well. Also, Logan did keep in contact with Elena in both cases, but they didn’t actually both live in Toronto in the book. I guess while reading the book, I connected a lot more with Logan because I saw the show first though. Just wanted to add that.
  • Elena’s life in Toronto is a lot more detailed in the TV show than it is in the book. Because of that, Philip and his family play a far more important role as well. They are slightly different than they are in the book, even though the general constellation of Philip having two sisters stayed the same. Additionally, Elena has a different job. She’s a photographer in the show and a journalist in the book.
  • While Elena’s backstory wasn’t changed that much. The child molester turned mutt wasn’t her abuser in the book though, only in the TV show. But I think we got that she had a rough childhood nonetheless.

I love it when TV shows just add to the story instead of changing it entirely. I can’t wait for the next season, coming February 2015, and reading the rest of the books from the “Women of the Otherworld“-series. Let’s discuss in the comments! Did I miss something crucial?