May 2020 Wrap-Up

I usually start these posts by just jumping right into what I have read, but it wouldn’t sit right with me to do that amidst everything that’s happening. If you follow me on Twitter, the social media platform I’m probably most active on, I hope I’ve made it clear and obvious where I stand. I stand with Black Lives Matter and all intersecting identities and I beg of you to educate yourself and support Black people during this time. We are now entering Pride month, which obviously also deserves attention, but you can do both! You can show up for the LGBTQ+ community as well as people of colour!

Also, please, don’t add to the exhaustion and pain by demanding more emotional labour from them, but instead look up resources yourself. Staying silent in the face of oppression is complicity. There are so many links and threads all over the internet for you to get information from. Click here for ways to help right now and here for tips on allyship! (This is by no means all there is out there, but it’s a start.)

No one can do everything, but everyone can do something!

Having said all that, I’m now not so smoothly transitioning to the books I read. It wasn’t the most productive month in terms of reading, but my mind was really occupied with other things. For the first time since June 2017, I’ve actually reviewed an ARC though, so I don’t know if you want to count that as a win or not?

  • Lore Olympus (Season 1) by Rachel Smythe (5 stars)
    Lore Olympus is a web comic about the story of Hades and Persephone. It’s stylish, modern and drama-filled, but also cute. I loved it! You can check it out here.
  • Again Again by E. Lockhart (3.5 stars)
  • Normal People by Sally Rooney (4 stars)

Lore Olympus, Season 1 Again Again Normal People

As per usual, click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! My own reviews you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above.

I’m not going to lie to you, May was a tough month. I felt like there was blowback after blowback on a personal as well as global level. My country is actually reopening pretty much everything mid-June though and I’d like to think we are ready for that step. Still, I feel like this year will stay with a lot of people and no one will be able to escape it unscathed entirely.

Wow, I’ve rarely sounded this glum, but I’ve tried to stay as busy as possible, just finding activities for myself to do since I didn’t have a job to bury myself in. Like the month before, I’ve continued writing my Football WIP and am currently at 21.5K words. It’s not exactly double what I had last month, but’s progress and I’m very proud of it.

I actually did a thread of aesthetics for all my characters, even the ones that hadn’t been mentioned at the time. You can check it out here:

And then, on top of that, I also started drawing my own characters from the Football WIP. Some looked better than others, but I’m generally really pleased. It’s only three so far, but I think I’m going to continue with the rest of the Football team and other side characters.

I did some more drawings of various actors and actresses. You can check them out on my instagram account here. I am not too happy with the quality of the photos I take sometimes, as the colors often look washed out and less vibrant or clear than in real life, but I’m learning and maybe going to share close ups or random shots of my notebooks in the future, instead of a head on photo.

MY FAVOURITE THINGS

I’ve unfortunately not been as active as I would have liked to be on everyone else’s blog. If you are up for it, feel free to share one of your own posts that you consider one of your faves from this past month in the comments below! I’d love to check it out!! But here are a couple I liked:

  • The Orang-utan Librarian wondered if reviews can truly be unbiased (spoiler alert: no)
  • Marie @Drizzle and Hurricane Books is one of my oldest blogging buddies and she took a look at how much this community and platform of book blogging as changed in the past 5 years. (Yep, we are blogosauruses over here)
  • Lois @My Midnight Musings talked about SciFi and Fantasy books she would like to see adapted to the small and big screen and I couldn’t agree more with … ALL of it!!!
  • Trang @Bookidote clarified what it is a blogger actually does and how much work goes into it.

MY OTHER POSTS

VARIOUS POSTS AND TAGS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

TRAILER POSTS

I hope you are all taking care of yourselves and allow yourselves to take a step back when things become too overwhelming! Whatever June will be (let’s hope it’s good), we’re going to get through it!

April 2020 Wrap-Up

Something about time is just not consistent this year. Whereas the first couple months felt like years, April was gone in the blink of an eye. I guess we all got used to our current situations and that way it didn’t feel so endless? I don’t know … it’s just a working theory. Either way, April still gave me plenty of time to get back into my reading groove and I’m now halfway through my Goodreads challenge, which makes me super happy!

  • Again, but Better by Christine Riccio (3 stars)
  • Aphrodite Made Me Do It by Trista Mateer (5 stars)
    This is a beautiful and very personal poetry collection, where the poet talks to the Goddess Aphrodite about trauma and love and societal expectations and I adored it. It felt very intimate and I marked so many passages, but I don’t know how to review poetry really other than saying “THIS MADE ME FEEL SOMETHING”, so that’s why you didn’t hear much about it from me.
  • Deadpool Issue #20 (5 stars)
    You can read this issue for free here. Trigger warning for suicide!
  • Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan (4 stars)
  • Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel (3 stars)

Again, but Better Aphrodite Made Me Do It Deadpool #20 Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy, #2) Only Human (Themis Files, #3)

As per usual, click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! My own reviews you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above.

I went into this month thinking I could do … a lot? I soon realised that even if I was motivated, there were definite limitations. The more I wanted to do, the less I actually did and so I focused on a couple things. I started working out on the daily and have missed maybe one or two days this last month. I don’t do hours upon hours of workout, but I do feel better exercising a little bit and am starting (if very slowly so) to see some changes in my body.

Another thing I focused on was getting back into writing. I initially wanted to continue working on the #witchyWIP for Camp NaNoWriMo, but ended up not feeling it anymore. Instead, I started a completely new project where I have recently hit 12K words. It’s a YA contemporary story with a slight focus on Football, but also family drama and just all sorts of relationships (go friendships!). There is no pitchable blurb yet and I feel different about this project. You know me, I usually blab about my projects all day long, but somehow I feel like keeping this one close to my chest … at least for now.

Having been more into writing taught me that I cannot consume a lot of other media (books and TV and movies) or it will hinder my own creativity. I tend to get lost in all those fictional worlds and when that happens, it’s really hard to pull myself out of it and work on my own stuff. Which is what I want to do! So, I think all things considered, I did fairly well with posts and reviews, even though I felt I couldn’t read/watch as much as I sometimes wanted to.

However, something I tried to do more again to not get out of practice entirely is draw. When I have to pick my own reference pic, I will spend hours without getting anywhere, because I am super indecisive. Instead, I turned to my friends on Twitter and asked for characters they wanted to have drawn. If you have Twitter as well, feel free to comment with a pic of your fave. I won’t promise to draw anything, but I am trying to make it a more regular occasion and will turn to this pinned tweet for inspo!

The drawing I most enjoyed doing so far was of Melonie Diaz as Mel Vera from the Charmed Reboot!

But I am slowly but surely running out of watercolor paper (it’s ordered, but will take some time. I only have THREE pieces of paper left), which made me turn to practicing pencil drawings as well. Here is a grumpy Nick Miller from New Girl.

MY FAVOURITE THINGS

In turns of media consumption my two favourite things are very easy to identify as Friday Night Lights and the movie The Half of It! However, I talked about FNL at length in a separate post and do intend to talk about The Half of It in an upcoming one. So, instead, let’s check out some awesome content around the blogosphere:

  • Sophie @Me and Ink talked about some deliciously morally grey characters and I was all here for it!
  • Marie @Drizzle and Hurricane Books gave us an insight as to how to deal with a blogging slump. Let’s face it, it has happened to all of us at some point …
  • I really loved this look at Season 3 of Elite and what’s ahead over @MettelRay
  • The Orang-Utan Librarian had some quarrels with the adaptation of The Noughts and Crosses book series to screen (despite my dear Josh Dylan being in it).
  • My good friend Lois @My Midnight Musings does not just have a new layout on her blog, she was also completely smitten by The Kiss Quotient last month and did a great review on it.
  • Sophie Li and Jai Lynn both took it upon them to take part in my newly created Quarantine Write Tag! Check out their posts and stories – they are awesome!

MY OTHER POSTS

VARIOUS POSTS

WRITING TAGS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

TRAILER POSTS

This is it from me! I hope you had a good start into the month of May! I also hope you are staying safe and healthy. Take care of yourselves and be responsible <3!

Only Human by Sylvain Neuvel (Themis Files #3, Book Review)

Publisher: Michael Joseph
Page Count
: 350

Only Human is the third and final book in the Themis Files series. If you want to read my review of book 1, Sleeping Giants, click here and if you want to read my thoughts on book 2, Waking Gods, click here!

It has been a while since I read the previous books in the series, but my statement that this is like an adult and more Earth-centered version of the Illuminae Files still stands … sort of. I was surprised at how easily I found myself back in this world, remembering (almost) everything that had happened previously.

This story is still very much about humanity. However, a large part of this book didn’t take place on Earth and that was to be expected after the cliffhanger ending from Waking Gods, but I think I thought that the aliens would be different. I had a VERY hard time taking the aliens seriously. Something about them and their way of life just seemed silly (I really had a tough time with their language for some reason) and even when situations became really dire, it just did not feel that way. There were some serious life and death scenarios in the past that often didn’t end well and I appreciated this cold and almost detached analysis of “mistakes were made” and “wrong decisions were made”, but nothing in Only Human felt as severe as it should. Even some real blowbacks didn’t affect me at all and that was a real shame.

I don’t remember if that was the case in the previous installments, but I also struggled a bit with the copious amounts of time jumps. I guess it wouldn’t have worked to just tell it chronologically, but it just felt more scattered, whereas I always considered this series to be very focused. Also, certain scenes quickly gave off a repetitive vibe, as the same characters fought over the same topics over and over again, without making much progress or trying to see the other’s perspective. To say that ended in a couple useless fights is the understatement of the week …

As far as endings for a series go, this was really decent though. Questions that were asked throughout all books were (partially) answered or dealt with, no characters were forgotten or left behind. Everything sort of came full circle and that’s always enjoyable in a way, even if you don’t know every itsy bitsy detail about the character’s lives in the “after”. It leaves you with less of a sense of wondering about humanity as I expected though. We are and always will be judgmental and ready for a fight it seems, it just depends who we choose to see as our villain.

Ultimately, I don’t know if it’s due to me having stepped away from the series for so long or this just really not grabbing me as much, but Only Human was my least favourite part in the series. I still have no regrets reading it in general, even if a very big reason for it was me falling utterly and endlessly in love with the covers.

Fazit: 3/5 stars! A good but not brilliant ending to a very interesting series.

Have you read the Themis Files? Do you want to? Are you as in love with the covers as I am?

Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan (Book Review)

Publisher: Wednesday Books
Page Count
: 544

**Ruthless Gods is the second book in the Something Dark and Holy series! There are likely going to be SPOILERS for the first book. If you want to read my review of Wicked Saints click here!**

I was very excited about the release of Ruthless Gods and remain a big fan of this series, despite it being in a more horror-esque genre than I am used to. Still, I can see how these books keep dividing readers and there are a lot of people who absolutely do not enjoy it. All I want to say to that is, if you didn’t really enjoy Wicked Saints, I find it very unlikely that you will all of a sudden like this one?

Okay, on to the actual review. Ruthless Gods picks up a couple months after the last novel finished and usually I am always bit iffy about a lot of time passing and us not actually getting to see what happens on the page, but it was handled well here. I was a little worried, that this book might turn out to be some sort of filler, as it really didn’t feel like they were making much progress in the grand scheme of things and with another book on the way, they definitely wouldn’t resolve anything just yet. However, I was surprised by just how many pieces were moved and how much information was revealed in the end, because it sure didn’t feel like it halfway through the book.

Something I enjoyed very much in Wicked Saints and that still fascinates me is the belief system and the numerous gods and beings of power in this series. The more I read about them, the more I was filled with this deep-rooted feeling of dread and I was so very glad not to be in the shoes of any of the characters. People who had asked for this series to become darker sure got their fill!

Divinity and the concept of forever sometimes feel so beyond my small little brain and it’s also what makes this book so special. These characters have no idea just how big the scope of things are and how much they are in completely over their heads. It’s difficult to describe something that’s just beyond your grasp of understanding and I think Duncan does a masterful job of invoking curiosity in all the things left to discover, while also showing that it might be too big of a knowledge to grasp. If the characters can’t do it, why should the reader?

The gods were ancient and unfathomable. There were older, deeper things, but how much farther could a mortal’s brain comprehend than beings of forever? Nadya had so much more to learn about the gods who had touched her and led her down this dark and terrible path.

What I really loved about the first book was the dynamic between all the characters. I think I was very heavily focused on Nadya and Malachiasz last time, but this book my heart belonged to Serefin “moth boy” only. I was a little upset when the groups parted ways, because 1.) Serefin was in danger and all by himself and 2.) I just really enjoy his banter with everyone, but especially his peculiar relationship with Nadya. I am not saying I ship them, because they so very clearly are in love with other people, but I friend-ship them? None of the characters really chose the life they were thrust in, but something about Serefin’s fate particularly breaks my heart and all I want to do is protect that silly moth boy and give him a more peaceful life. (Let’s face it, most of these characters deserve better than the hand they were dealt, but it felt like there was the least agency and free will involved in Serefin’s mess.)

A Serefin-inspired aesthetic, because what else? I need everyone to keep my moth boy safe!

So many of the relationships in this series are beyond complicated and tainted and warped. I can see why some people think it doesn’t make sense for the pining to continue after one betrayal after another, but … I do? Something about this torturous cycle of lies and distrust and love and deep-rooted care foiled by other people’s or other beings’ plans just works. These characters are tied by something greater, finding their way to each other even under the most unlikely of circumstances, so yes, I can suspend disbelief and see how they cannot quit each other (be it friendships, lovers, confidants, whatever).

This was going to kill her. This, right here, this beautiful boy and his monstrous power and his lies and the knowledge that nothing mattered, they would always betray each other in the end.

In the end, the only thing I asked myself is: Will all of this have a happy ending? Will everyone be okay?
The most likely answer to that is: no.

Fazit: 4/5 stars! The horror increases as I keep worrying about all my favourite characters.

I can’t wait to see how all of this is supposed to pan out! Did you read Wicked Saints and Ruthless Gods? Do you find yourself interested in the series? Let’s chat!

Again, but Better by Christine Riccio (Book Review)

Publisher: Wednesday Books
Page Count
: 373

Again, but Better is a book with very mixed reviews, yet I felt absolutely compelled to pick it up for myself, because Christine Riccio was one of a handful of booktubers who inspired me to get into (book) blogging. (I even thought about doing the whole video set up, but then just was so disappointed with the light in my room, my lack of equipment, etc., I switched to plain writing my thoughts out on the blog) When it was announced that she was going to release her first book, I was all in! That book could have probably been a horror mystery thriller (a mix of all the things I do not like) and I still would have read it … maybe.

So, it shouldn’t be that big of a surprise to anyone that I did not read the blurb properly …

I just want to start out by saying that I thought and was pretty sure that this book was a contemporary YA … but it’s not? I would class this more in the NA age group, because the main character is definitely in her twenties, although it still has great coming-of-age characteristics that many of us YA readers like. But, that’s not the big shocker, I just really wasn’t prepared for there being any sort of magical element (despite it literally saying so in the blurb). It’s still very much contemporary, but it has a magically twisty component. With my expectations being so totally off for this book, I think I was just sort of thrown for a loop there. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, it just felt … off?

I debated for a long time how I could possibly review this book, but I think I just have to resort to the good old “things I liked/disliked”-list situation, because I really feel a lot of different things.

WHAT I LIKED

  • Shane is a lot like Christine and that’s a lovely thing! When you see Christine on the screen, it’s sometimes hard to believe that she is an introvert who struggled to talk to people at college or who didn’t date a lot. But … that’s also how I think some people see/saw me? I am pretty good at some social events and like to be upbeat and friendly with everyone, but it’s hard and took a lot of time to develop to the point where I become more confident. A big change has happened for me when I was on my semester abroad and so it makes a lot of sense to me that she would put herself in the shoes of her main character and live through her that way.

“It’s weird how we have to get a little older to realize that people are just people. It should be obvious, but it’s not.”

  • The Shane and Pilot banter was spot on from the first time they met to the very last page! In general, Christine’s writing is just a lot of fun to read. It flows super easily and had me laughing out loud several times.

“Shane. Interesting name for a girl,” he teases. I narrow my eyes. “Pilot. Interesting name for a human.”

  • I really, really liked that Shane hadn’t done it all at twenty. There are so many people who do not enter into romantic relationships at high school and it’s not even that they wouldn’t want to, it just doesn’t happen. It’s not that weird and I need everyone to know that, because it makes you feel like in this quote:

“The young women in all the YA books I loved were high-school age. By eighteen, the majority of them had saved the world, not to mention: kissed people, traveled, been in a relationship, had sex. At twenty I felt like a pathetic, unaccomplished, uncultured, virgin grandma. It sounds like a joke now, but at the time, around all these people my age casually discussing all of the above, I felt so small.”

  • The end of the book reminded me of my own book ending (Break Up Buddy, the only story I ever finished) and I thought that was hilarious.

WHAT I DISLIKED

  • A huge reason I was excited for this book was that I have done a semester abroad myself (as mentioned above). In fact, I have spent a notable time in other countries when I was 15 (the US), 16/17 (France), 18/19 (US again) and 23/24 (Canada) and like to think I know what I am talking about when it comes to those experiences. Of course, everyone is different, but some stuff just nagged me, e.g. when Shane and the others went to Italy on their first weekend in London. That’s just not realistic? No one I know would spend their first weekend in a new city NOT in the city …
    Other than that, I suppose I know a lot of people who really went someplace new every weekend. Especially in the EU, travel is easy, but that doesn’t mean it’s super cheap. For college students who were all living off of internships, I was floored by what they could all afford to do.

“I suck in a deep breath as I plop one foot over the line and then exhale, knowing I’m standing on both sides of the world at once.”

  • The relationship that Shane had with her parents felt very … wrong? I’d like to say borderline abusive. I am not here to excuse any of their behaviour, BUT I’d also like to point out why I was not siding with Shane in certain instances. Her parents have paid thousands of dollars for an education she does not intend to use, she also cons them into financing her semester abroad by telling them it is useful to her premed major in NY. I just can’t.
    Their relationship was very complicated and Shane obviously wasn’t in a place where she could tell her parents how she really felt, but that kind of money is no joke? IF she had financed the trip herself somehow, I wouldn’t have minded at all, but that wasn’t the case and therefore just really not cool. Having never spoken to her parents about her concern before, I understand that it resulted in disappointment.

“I’ve been trying to make you happy for six years now, hoping somehow that would make me happy too, but I don’t think it’s working. You’re not really happy with me because I’m not happy with you because I’m not happy with me.”

  • While it was a fast and easy read, something about the pacing didn’t feel natural sometimes. It was difficult to gauge how much time had really passed and sometimes it was just hours and then suddenly weeks.
  • WHY could this girl not get up from a chair, without it crashing loudly to the floor and her flailing about??? Or, you know, put down a glass?

Lastly, I want to add that there is a significant cheating plotline. I didn’t feel any certain way about it, other than obviously not being for it, but it also didn’t ruin the book for me. I just thought I’d mention it.

So, I liked the book, but didn’t love it. I found Christine’s writing style had a great flow and made it easy to breeze through the pages, but maybe I will enjoy her next attempt more.

Fazit: 3/5 stars! Solid debut book by a great booktuber!

Have you read Again, but Better? Was it on your radar? Let’s chat!

March 2020 Wrap-Up

It’s been a year! Oh, wait … it’s just the end of freaking forever-March. I really thought January was the never-ending month, but March sure dethroned it. A lot has been happening, and very few of these things (or none) were according to plan, but more about that later. The one thing that March allowed me to do was get back into reading again. I still can’t plow through 10 books a month, like I used to do in my late High School/early college years (wow, am I getting old?), but I am quite happy nonetheless, because I am just really enjoying diving into books again. I am DEFINITELY on track for my Goodreads reading challenge.

Anna K. The Last Wish (The Witcher, #0.5) The Aftermath

As per usual, click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! My own reviews you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above.

So, now let’s briefly talk about the obvious – the pandemic. I know, I know … we are all bombarded with it on a 24/7 news cycle and I can only imagine that you do not necessarily want to hear about it from me as well. I am not going to go into massive detail, but I just want to say that I hope you are all staying safe and at home (to the best of your abilities). These are trying times for everyone, but we need to remain patient and vigilant to continue flattening the curve. 

Having said that, I also want to say that it’s okay to mourn not being able to do something or see people you love. We are humans and therefore capable of more than one emotion. I can worry about the general human populace and still be sad about the fact that I had to cancel some important plans. As mentioned last month, I had planned to move to Canada this March with the work permit I acquired, but that has not happened. Not only was it my decision to cancel the flights and hotels I had already booked because traveling in this climate felt irresponsible, but a couple weeks later and literal all the borders are closed for non-essential travel. I am not going to lie, I threw myself a pity party and still am sad sometimes that I couldn’t do something I had worked towards for YEARS, but … in hindsight it might be for the better? I get to be with my parents right now. And even though it gets crowded sometimes, I am glad not to be entirely on my own an entire ocean away. It can get hard to find the positive, but I keep trying and just hoping that the more we band together (not physically, but by social distancing etc.) the sooner this will get managed.

Btw, don’t be like Vanessa Hudgens. Take this seriously!

Now, on to happier things! Life and Other Disasters has surpassed the freaking 2,500 follower milestone!!! I still can barely believe it, but I am so beyond grateful. As a way of looking back at years of blogging and which content stuck the most with you, my lovely readers, I published a series of posts titled “Kat Made Me Read/Watch It”. In it I listed all the shows, books and whatnot that you have told me you started watching or reading (partially) because of me and to this day, it’s one of the best things a blogger can hear. It makes our work feel appreciated and my heart sing. Here are the parts:

Aside from that, I don’t feel like I have been the most productive during this introspective time. I have barely picked up a brush, only honoring a couple actors for season finales or on their birthdays with a portrait. One was Ronen Rubinstein, who you will surely fall in love with just like I did once you watch 9-1-1 Lone Star (if you haven’t yet, what even are you waiting for?) and of course, the ever formidable Rupert Evans, who plays the whitelighter in the Charmed reboot.

I am serious, TK Strand will capture your heart (and not just that of hot police officer Carlos).

I thought it was especially cool that a friend of mine animated my drawing of Rupert, which made it eerily realistic and like it came to life!

MY FAVOURITE THINGS

I really had to think about this a whole lot, because I initially couldn’t think of something I had enjoyed over the top this month, but then it struck me! I absolutely 100% could not forget about Vampires. I mentioned it in this post, but to sum it up briefly. Vampirism is a matriarchy. This show creates vampires like humans (through birth) and deals with a girl who seems to be a hybrid. Her mother has broken off contact with the rest of the community, but when news gets out about Doina (the hybrid girl), they WANT her. It has a completely toxic ship, but one I am so here for? Like … I just need a second season to have Ladislas and Doina date. That’s literally all I want.

Now, it’s been a while since I’ve done this, but so many bloggers have been so very kind to me. They keep highlighting posts of mine and I always seem to have been too self-absorbed or busy to return the favour. So, here are a couple posts from around the blogosphere that I enjoyed.

  • Marie (Drizzle and Hurricane Books) talked about her book buying process and the fact that she HAS a real, several steps process is just wow! I love that girl!
  • Caro (Bookcheshirecat) has reviewed one of my all time hidden gems – Jackaby! You should really check it out if you haven’t yet.
  • Lois (My Midnight Musing) recommended some binge-worthy TV shows (including some shows that I absolutely 100% endorse as well), so give it a go if you need some more stuff on your quarantine watchlist.
  • Over at The Punk Theory, Becks has reviewed Season 1, Season 2 and Season 3 of Riverdale. That show is a trash fire that I once upon supported and now only hate watch. It’s beautiful to watch her confusion grow as she keeps with it … cause like a train wreck, you can’t seem to look away).
  • Maha (Sunshine n’ Books) made a plan for what she wants to accomplish during self-isolation. Since her to-do-list and mine are quite similar, I just felt the need to share it here too!

MY OTHER POSTS

VARIOUS TAGS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

TRAILER POSTS

As I said before, I hope you are all staying safe and healthy! Here’s to hoping that we will all be able to accomplish the tasks we set for ourselves this April! If you ever feel like chatting, I am here.

The Aftermath by Rhidian Brooks (Book Review + Movie Trailer)

Publisher: Penguin
Page Count
: 325

I am struggling with how to even start this review. You all know how torn I am when it comes to the topic of books set during or closely after World War II. Some of my favourite reads treat that topic (check out Wolf by Wolf or The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society for some great examples) and I was ready to love and get my heart broken by The Aftermath as well. But somehow, that’s not what happened at all.

Rachael could find no solace in other people’s tales of woe. Pain was uniquely one’s own, and undiminished by a democracy of suffering.

The Aftermath certainly offers a perspective not too often shown. It deals with former enemies living in close quarters. With legitimate resentment and unwillingness to forgive and forget, while simultaneously needing to move on and let go. There is a constant push and pull as the story is mostly told from the confines of the families Morgan and Lubert, one English and one German. And that’s the whole point. These families have never done anything to each other per se, but their nationalities and what those countries have done during the war has led to loss on both sides and that in term to suffering. There are no real winners in war, so pain exists everywhere.

That is exactly what the book tried to show from as many angles as possible. There are complex moral questions to answer as you get confronted with what surely was the reality for many people. I am in no way EVER going to excuse the atrocities Germany (or Austria for that matter) has committed during the war, however, how can you judge every single person of a country for what the government did? How can you decide who has a clean slate and just did their best to survive or who willingly and eagerly participated? What about the children who were taught a certain mindset, sometimes too young to question what was going on – is their resentment towards the occupation justified?

And that is not all! The people who now want to rebuild the country and set it on a rightful path again, how much are they allowed to interfere really? If they disdain the entire populace, are they really able to help or are they making things worse? 

I’ve not met a German who has difficulty believing that they have been defeated, Wilkins. I think they have, to a man, accepted it, gladly, and with some relief. The real difference between them and us is that they have been comprehensively and categorically fucked, and they know it. It is we who are taking too long to adjust to that fact.

I don’t feel in any position to give or come up with proper answers here, but I was glad to have the book shine a light on those intricacies. I am not going to lie, some parts really hurt to read about. My grandmother was a young girl during the occupation and she had bad memories that haunted her until the end. I am not here to judge anyone’s right or wrong-doings, but I liked that the book showed that things weren’t that simple, that every side had its flaws.

However, why did I not love this book then? Everything felt very clinical and presented to me. There weren’t just the families, but also the Trümmerkinder (children living in the rubble), who basically started and finished the book and felt detached from everything else (despite providing a pivotal turning point for the story). While everyone had their part to play in showing what was going on, I had an immensely difficult time connecting to anyone in particular. While I was on board with some of the pain and resentment, some people felt manic and others had me furious at their unwillingness to adapt.

My biggest issue was probably the fact that the story just trickled along and then threw everything at you in the final 40 pages. I don’t mind introspective, slow stories. I don’t even mind it when nothing monumental happens at all and you just get a glimpse at a moment in time, but rushed endings have the tendency to ruin things for me. They never quite feel as satisfactory as the slower and intimate moments suggested it would all be thoroughly explained.

Fazit: 2.5/5 stars! An interesting view at post-war Germany that failed to fully capture me.

Now about the movie. I haven’t watched it yet, but I intend to at some point, because an actor I know has a role in it. However, I thought I would still share the trailer with you. From what I could see, it mainly focuses on the affair between the British wife of the colonel and the German man living in their requisitioned house. I love Alexander Skarsgard, so I don’t exactly mind that they didn’t use a German actor for the role (even though Alexander’s German does not sound authentic). Still, I could see almost all the characters from the book appear at one point or another. The piano music (especially in the second trailer) is also very much in tune with the book. It looks faithful enough, but I suspect that there wasn’t enough room in that one film to really explore all angles.


Have you read The Aftermath? Have you watched the movie? Let’s talk!

The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski (The Witcher #0.5 Book Review)

Publisher: Gollancz
Page Count
: 280

It is a well known fact on this blog that I very much like the Netflix adaptation of the Witcher (it made a surprise entry into my favourite shows of 2019 list, because I couldn’t stop watching it upon its release). However, before that, I never played the games and honestly didn’t even know that the books existed. The Last Wish was originally published in 1993 (my birth year, or as I like to call it, the best vintage) and just completely escaped my notice until now. Upon closer inspection, it turned out that The Last Wish wasn’t a Witcher novel but a Witcher anthology instead, with everyone recommending to read it first. That truly explains a lot about this book!

Much like the show, you have to be prepared to not really know when things are happening and what their connection is. Reading The Last Wish, I felt like the show had done a great job, as I could clearly identify the contents of episodes 1 to 5 (not necessarily in that order) within the pages. Some character names were changed (why is Dandilion called Jaskier on the show?) and some might not have appeared yet (or will never appear at all?), but I think I had a grand advantage having watched the show before reading the book. I was prepared for the jumbled up timelines, for the messy tasks Geralt has to perform and for the characters that slowly crept into his heart.

I was especially surprised by the nonchalant mention of several well known fairy tales (such as Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel, Snow White, Rumpelstiltskin, etc.), because they weren’t just tales within that universe, they actually happened there (even though in an even more sinister way than most remember it). Some got their own chapter, others were just mentioned in passing, but the inspiration was very clear behind the use of those characters/tales. That really made me think that Geralt was always just a village away from all the nighttime stories I knew so well from my childhood. A strange thought, a bit of a funny one too, but also a befitting one for it helps build a familiarity with an utterly different world.

“Evil is evil, Stregobor,” said the witcher seriously as he got up. “Lesser, greater, middling, it’s all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I’m not a pious hermit. I haven’t done only good in my life. But if I’m to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

So, if you pick up The Last Wish, you will find a series of tales introducing Geralt to you. He will show his true character and keep you guessing at what kind of massive mess he has gotten himself into. It ends on such note, that you will want to know more about the (in this version not THAT stoic) witcher and the trials that await him. It’s exactly what was promised on the cover! However, you should not expect a traditional story with beginning, middle and end. There are hints at something that spans greater for sure, but it’s just really not what The Last Wish is.

I am definitely intrigued and would pick up further novels. My only problem for now is that I am an absolute cover snob and this is the only one Netflix has released with the TV show cover and I would like matching ones. There are about eight or nine books in total though, so I feel like the show still has a lot of material to draw from and will hopefully release the other books with the tie-in covers as well!

Never not proud of this drawing I made. Geralt, my foul-mouthed hero.

Fazit: 3/5 stars! Definitely worth a read if you are a fan of the show (or games too, I suppose)!

Have you read any of the Witcher books? Have you played the game? Loved the show? Let’s chat!

Anna K. by Jenny Lee (Book Review)

Publisher: Flatiron Books
Page Count
: 374

It’s time to make a confession: I have never read or watched Anna Karenina in all my life. Why is that little tidbit of info about me avoiding/being oblivious about a Russian classic vital to you in this very moment? Well, Anna K. is a the glorious modern retelling of said classic and I hereby freely admit that I have no way of comparing the two, but I hope that still gives me a “unique” view on the book. It definitely made me curious about the original novel, that’s for sure.

Every happy teenage girl is the same, while every unhappy teenage girl is miserable in her own special way.

This book really left me in some sort of emotional state of mind! It took me a bit to find my footing, but from the get go, Anna K. is a fast-paced whirlwind of amazing characters. A lot happens as you sort of play tag with the characters and switch from one POV to the next almost seamlessly. At first, I was a bit unsure of just the vast amount of characters, but they were interconnected beautifully and each had their own voice and personality and depth to them despite all of it being told in the 3rd person (to me that sometimes feels a little less personal, but not here). On the one hand, it felt like you were just observing the characters’ lives, but on the other hand, you had clear insight into all their motives and desires.

What I first believed to be a superficial glitzy love-at-first-sight teenage foolery, turned out to be so much more than that. I loved the upperclass Manhattan/Greenwich setting. I loved that Anna K. was a Korean-American teen and that her family’s tradition clashed and blended with American society standards. I adored the character dynamics and how everyone was connected in a more or less expected way. I loved how heightened and extra a lot of it was. At some point, there was one tragedy after the other and each time I thought my heart couldn’t possibly break any more, but then there was another one just around the corner. Yet, you don’t leave this book sad (maybe a little wistful), but rather full of hope and love for all these characters.

There’s not much fault one can find with this book in my opinion. The characters aren’t perfect paper cutouts, but actual human beings with faults and flaws. Anna and Steven even made it into my list of favourite literary characters and that’s not an easy one to get on. So, if you aren’t into cheating plotlines and characters using an excessive amount of drugs, maybe this isn’t the read for you. The love is also very … insta? Love at first sight in general comes quick to these characters. But if you want a Gossip Girl approach to a Russian classic (and I’ve been told Jenny Lee did a pretty remarkable job with the retelling) with a more diverse cast of characters, you should definitely check it out! I promise you will keep turning page after page in anticipation of what might happen next and how things could possibly go so terribly wrong for someone so lovely.

As a last thought, I would really encourage you to check out the Author’s Note at the end of the story. It really added even more spark to an already very entertaining and heartfelt rollercoaster of a read for me.

Fazit: 4/5 stars! A fun and emotional take on an old classic!

Have you read Anna K. or Anna Karenina for that matter? Would you be interested in doing so? Let’s chat!

February 2020 Wrap-Up

Even with a leap day, it felt like February passed us by at least double as quick as January did. A lot of things happened and I will talk about that in the news-section of the post, but first, let’s talk about reading! I happily proclaimed to have gotten my reading mojo back and despite “only” reading 2 books in February, I still stand by that statement! I have already read 7 books this year and am even ahead on my Goodreads Reading Challenge goal, so that’s a definite win in my book.

Tweet Cute  Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1)

As per usual, click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! My own reviews you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above.

So, I have actual NEWS! Some of you already know this, but I have neglected to really update anyone in much detail, because I was afraid of jinxing it somehow. It is final now though and I am happy to announce I will be travelling to Canada on the 26th of March and remain there for a year with a work permit. Ever since I left the country back in 2017, I have yearned to return and to get to stay there while also being able to earn money is the best outcome I could have hoped for. It’s “only” a year for now, but it feels like going back home in a way and I cannot wait to set foot in my beloved Vancouver again.

Other than that, I was occupied with a bum knee for a while (which is fine now, but the irony that I got a chronic injury based on too much sport did not escape me) and mainly trying to figure out the logistics of my travels. There’s still a couple things to do, but I am on a good track. Now I just need to stay healthy until departure day! (Yes, I have been getting paranoid about COVID-19, because I cannot afford having to cancel all my plans)

I know I promised to share more of my art in these monthly updates, but I was in a bit of a slump. So, I just experimented a little bit, but am not overwhelmed with the results. Here’s Liz from Roswell, NM and another shot at Henry Cavill (my unofficial muse).

There is one last thing I’d like to mention: I am about 4 followers away from getting 2.500 WordPress followers here on Life and Other Disasters and I can barely believe it. (We have crossed the limit with the email followers, but I like to count without them instead) I know there have been some dry spells on this blog, but so many of you have stuck with it or still discovered it later on and I am so very grateful for it! I have a blog post idea prepared once we hit the milestone and I hope you won’t be disappointed.

FAVOURITE THINGS OF THE MONTH

There’s a couple things I have really loved the past month. I am now caught up on basically almost all the firefighter TV shows out there. Be it 9-1-1, 9-1-1 Lone Star or Station 19, I KNOW what’s up and I am loving it. My brain is friend just a tiny bit, but at least I don’t feel the need to also get back into Chicago Fire (which I stopped because I never got the Gabby-Severide relationship I wanted, be it intensely friendship-y or otherwise), because that really could be too much.

Other than that, one of my main priorities was and IS the new Norwegian Netflix show – Ragnarok! Aside from me loving European Netflix content (if you ever want recs in that department, let me know!), I am also really into Norse Mythology. The show lends itself perfectly to theorise about everyone’s real identity and pairs it with modern day struggles, such as the climate crisis. Last, but nowhere least of all, it has the typical douche with a heart trope and I am now officially on the Fjor Jutul protection squad!

MY POSTS

VALENTINE’S DAY SPECIAL

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

TRAILER POSTS

That’s it from my month – I hope you have all been doing well and keep washing your hands! Here’s to a great start into March!