Carry On: My Review

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Carry On was published by Rainbow Rowell a while ago now, and was immediately recognized by her fans as the fanfiction from Fangirl, one of my all-time favourite books. I have to admit that at first, I was reluctant to read this book, as I wasn’t sure what to expect. All of Rowell’s previous books were contemporaries, while this one is very obviously a fantasy. And in addition, I wasn’t sure how much I had enjoyed the “fanfiction” parts in Fangirl, so I pushed back reading this one for quite some time. However, now that I have read it, I can tell you it was all I ever wished for. This book was brilliant, funny, moving and amazing, and you should definitely check it out.

Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: YA, Fantasy, LGBT+, borderline fanfiction
FOR OLDER READERS
Release: October 2015
My rating: ★★★★★ obviously

The story:

Simon Snow is the chosen one, he has always been told so. But not a very good chosen one apparently. He is supposed to save the magickal world, but how can he do so when he can’t even control his own powers, and when his enemy, the Hundrum, is going around wearing his face?

Simon is starting his last year at Watford, things are going rubbish with his girlfriend Agatha, and his nemesis and roommate Baz is not even there to make fun of him. And Simon is determined to find out why. It’s only too late when he realises he can’t stop thinking about Baz…

My thoughts:

Honestly, this book is everything I ever wanted, and I didn’t even know it. I gave it five stars without a second of hesitation. If you like Rainbow Rowell’s contemporary novels, then you will be pleased to see she is just as brilliant when it comes to fantasy and magic.

This book was beautiful, moving, but also funny and hilarious when it came to it. It also had its sexy moments, and managed to get more serious when necessary. It was a rather original story, with unexpected plot twists. The characters, though they may have seemed cliché at first, really grew on me and turned out to be full of surprises. I especially liked Simon’s best friend Penelope. And of course Baz, and Simon himself.

I really appreciated that we got to see the story through several points of view, especially that of Baz. His parts were a lot more emotional than Simon’s, and really were a great touch. I don’t always like stories told through several POV, but I have to say it was really well done here, and brought the best out of the story.

I liked the fact that this book was very unique, and had an original ending. I won’t say more because I want to avoid spoilers, but know that I enjoyed it from beginning to end. Never once was I disappointed or did I feel let down by this amazing, amazing story.

This book is an incredible diverse read, and if you haven’t checked it out yet, what are you waiting for?

Recommended for:

Fans of Harry Potter and fanfiction readers.

Life Update: I’m on semester break!

Hi readers, I hope you are all having a wonderful day!

I’m really sorry I haven’t been that active recently, both here and on my YouTube channel. It was the last week of the semester, and I had a lot to do for university. At the same time, as an Erasmus student, I see all of my friends leaving one after another, and I am trying to spend a lot of time together with those who are still here!

As for myself, I am transferring dorms at the end of the month, and I will then go home for a month, before coming back to Berlin for the summer semester. I am both worried and excited. It will also be weird to spend so much time with my family…

I still manage to read a lot these days, and I’m trying to write as much reviews as I can, and maybe try new things for my blog.

Last but not least, I have a request: I was looking at some LGBT+ books I had read to see which ones I liked most, and I realised that first, I haven’t read that much of them, but also that they are almost all M/M relationships. So please could you recommend me some more LGBT+ and F/F books in the comments? I would really appreciate!

Wires and Nerve: My Review

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Release date: January 31st
Genre: YA, Graphic Novel, Fantasy/Dystopia
My rating: ★★★★✩
Author: Marissa Meyer
Illustrator: Douglas Holgate

Wires and Nerve is a graphic novel, the first book in a new series by Marissa Meyer, following The Lunar Chronicles straight where they ended, and centring on Iko and her mission to rid the Earth of the wolf packs that were send by Levana as an act of war.

Through the series, we meet again our favourite characters as they help Iko on her mission, and we even get to see Kinney again, interacting with both Cinder, and of course Iko, as was very obviously implied in Winter. I am still unsure what to think of his character, but one thing I’m sure of is how adorable it is to see Iko all flustered by him whatever he does. Iko is a very unique android and I’m sure every reader grew fond of her during the series, and in Wires and Nerve we get to see her play an even important role, as she is on a solo mission, rather than part of the Rampion crew. As Cinder was (and still is in this book, though not as much as previously maybe) Iko is faced with a lot of prejudice, and people just considering her as an object – and a faulty one at that. I have to say, it is very heartbreaking: as I’m sure you did too, I consider Iko equally with the other characters.

We obviously also get to read more about the Wolf packs and I thought it was very interesting. When we first encounter them, they are really a mystery, and though Wolf is one of the main characters, there is really a lot of unknown surrounding them. We do learn more about them in Winter when the princess manages to rally some of them to their cause, and I thought it was definitely interesting. Here, we get to meet those who were stationed on Earth and have turned rogue, refusing to obey to Cinder/Selene’s orders. And even though their acts are honestly dumb and harming everyone, their reasons are valid: they want to be human again, restored to who they were before they were turned into the packs. We got glimpses of Wolf’s training in Stars Above and we saw how awful and dehumanizing it was. Of course it’s understandable that they want to put all of this behind them (and it’s also a very interesting plot device). But it’s not possible. Cinder doesn’t want to be like her aunt, and manipulate everyone, both with the Lunar gift and genetically. And the wolves say by acting like that she is exactly like her aunt: not listening to them. Except they forgot to consider that maybe she was telling the truth. One thing also that bothered me is the fact that no one considered that Ze’ev was actually like them, fought alongside Cinder, and found happiness. I don’t know, I thought it might be a pretty good example for the rogue packs!

One other thing I really enjoyed is seeing more of the relationship between Cinder and Selene. Through Winter’s POV we saw sooner in the series that they used to be very close as kids, and that she missed it a lot, so it’s really satisfying to see them reunited at last.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was maybe not as good as the rest of the series, but definitely still very enjoyable. I will never get enough of this universe, honestly, and I was obviously excited when I heard there would be a graphic novel sequel of sorts. And now that I have read it, I want more! It is also interesting to see the characters evolve in a new format. I’m not much of a graphic novel reader, but I really enjoyed the format, and seeing all the characters come to life in a different way. Even if it was not always the way I pictured them, I think it still leaves room for imagination, and I would definitely recommend Wires and Nerve to all TLC fans! If you have been reluctant to read it, I can understand that, but you don’t have to be! There is also going to be a sequel, and I can’t wait for it, as the book did end in somewhat of a cliffhanger…

You can also check out my review for Cinder, the first book in The Lunar Chronicles.

Thoughts On The “Pottermore Presents” Short Stories

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Last year, Pottermore realeased three ebook compilations of short stories related to all things Harry Potter, written by J.K. Rowling. They are called:

Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies
Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists
Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide

The three volumes are all around 70 pages each, and contain knowledge on many characters, as well as places from the Harry Potter series. I gave all of them 5/5 stars obviously, because I love this universe so much I couldn’t help it.

In these books, you will learn about Professor MacGonnagall and Remus Lupin, but also about Dolored Umbridge, Professor Quirrell, Peeves, Sir Cadogan and Sir Nicholas among others.

If you like diving into the Wizard universe over and over again, then this is definitely something you should check out. It gives out some great information about the wizarding world before Harry Potter, but also before the Marauders and before Voldemort himself, with a passage dedicated to Professor Slughorn among others.

And something I really loved, as a fellow Hufflepuff myself: throughout the series, Harry never got to see the Hufflepuss Common Room, located next to the kitchen. And in the third volume, we can learn more about it, which I really loved.

Overall, this is just more material dedicated especially to the fans, but if you are a Potterhead, then you will most likely enjoy those little stories and pieces of information as much as I did!

If you have read them, what are your thoughts?

More about Harry Potter:
Cursed Child Review
Thoughts on the Philosopher’s Stone
The Exhibition

Thoughts On TWATD Companion Novellas

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Author: Renee Ahdieh
Publication: 2016
Genre: YA, Fantasy

Three short stories for The Wrath and the Dawn duology have been released on Kindle, each taking place before or between the two books.

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The Crown and the Arrow is set right before the story begins, and follows Khalid as he learns that his new wife is actually a volunteer. He is trouble, and at first decides not to care, that she must be crazy, but eventually, he decides to meet her, and we all know how it ended up… I really enjoyed this story, and was really glad to be back into this magical (though bloody) universe. It was really great to read bits and pieces of this through Khalid’s eyes, as, especially at the beginning of TWATD, we don’t know much about him.

I gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

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The shortest of the stories, The Mirror and the Maze, takes place between The Wrath and the Dawn and The Rose and the Dagger, and it basically the moment when Jalal tells Khalid that he sent Sharzad with Tarik. Khalid is furious obviously. This story is a great addition, as once again, it is great to see things through Khalid’s eyes in addition to Sharzad for most of the duology. We also see Khalid deciding that he will dedicate himself to help his city and it is really beautiful. However, it was way too short for my taste!

I gave it 3 out of 5 stars.

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The last story of this set of novellas is actually the longest, and the first chronologically. It is called The Moth and the Flame. It takes place during Khalid’s first marriage, and is centered around Despina, how she got to work at the palace, how she met Jalal and how they got to know each other, and realise that they were exactly each other’s match. It was very beautiful and moving, and by far my favourite. I always wanted to read more about Despina and Jalal before, and see how they got together, how Despina grew up, got pregnant, and overall became the woman she is in The Wrath and the Dawn and The Rose and the Dagger. This answered most of my questions and more, and I am absolutely delighted I read it. Actually, I loved it so much I will probably reread it.

And of course, I gave it 5 out of 5 stars.

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Recommended for: Fans of The Wrath and the Dawn. You should definitely read those stories AFTER completing the duology (which I definitely recommend by the way!)

Similar reviews:
The Wrath and the Dawn
The Rose and the Dagger

A Quiet Kind of Thunder: My Review

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Author: Sara Barnard
Genre: YA, Contemporary
FOR OLDER READERS
Release: January 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

The story:

Steffi doesn’t talk. She has selective mutism, and avoids talking to people so much so that her step-mother started teaching her BSL. There’s only one person she is open to, her best friend Tem, who has always been there for her. But Steffi is starting Sixth Form and Tem has transferred school. Steffi hasn’t told anyone, but Sixth Form is not the only big change in her life: she also started taking medication. And on the first day, the principal decides to introduce her to a new student: Rhys. Rhys is deaf. She doesn’t talk, and he can’t hear. Little by little, they get to spend more time together, and Steffi realises she is comfortable around Rhys. And apparently, he likes spending time with her as well…

My opinion:

This book was a small ball of happiness, really. It was so cheesy and fluffy, and more importantly, extremely beautiful. I think I fell in love with it immediately. Steffi is an extremely relatable character for me. As a kid, I didn’t have selective mutism, but I never talked in class, I hated it. And it was always a struggle for my teachers. Even now, I always feel the need to mentally congratulate myself when I talk in class… And even when I get out of my room, for that matter. I know what social anxiety feels like, and it was wonderfully depicted in A Quiet Kind of Thunder. Truly, this book was really beautiful, and I believe it can really be an eye-opener if you have no idea what having anxiety feel like. I would definitely recommend it to anyone, as I find it impossible not to like it. And it really touched me personally.

The thing about this book, is that it really felt real. It’s not insta-love. It is cheesy, but not too cliché. It’s a relationship with ups and downs that is slowly built. You can see the struggles of high school – whether you have anxiety or not. How hard it is to talk to people. How hard it is to face your feelings, to confess, to confront someone. This book is about a character with mental illness, but also one with a disability. And it just shows how much like anyone they are. This books is about first relationships, about family, about growing up, about friendships. It is a wonderful, adorable love story, and also so much more. This book will give you confidence.

I especially liked the fact that it was clearly stated that Steffi did not get better because of Rhys. He obviously played some part in it, helping her get more comfortable in general. But she also put a humongous amount of work into it, with what of her therapy sessions, her medication, accepting herself and all of her efforts. And that is what makes this book so beautiful and amazing in my opinion. Because in reality, you don’t get better because you met a boy. The truth is, you need to take care of yourself before getting yourself into a relationship. That’s just how it works.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder depicts characters who are terribly human. They have flaws, they lack confidence, and they want to do better. And it’s extremely moving to read such a thing. Yes, I fangirled a lot while reading this book – as I said, it can get extremely cheesy – but it is also so much more than that. This book is not all about Steffi and Rhys, it’s also about her family and friendship, and that’s what makes it so real.

All these opinions are mine, obviously, and I could really relate to Steffi, in ways that some people may not understand. However, I will never stop thinking that everyone should read this book. I think so far, it is the best book I have read in 2017!

If you have read A Quiet Kind of Thunder, please feel free to share your opinion as – in case you hadn’t noticed – I would really love to discuss it with you! If you haven’t read it, what are you waiting for?