books of the month: september 2017

After the first two weeks I thought this would be a very unproductive month (when it comes to reading at least) but then school started and I realised how much I can read while waiting for my train(s) so that’s something!

I’m now at 47 books of my 50 books reading challenge. I guess I should update it but I don’t know to what amount. Hm.

The best

The Hate U GiveThe Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For some reason, I just can’t get around to write a proper review for this. But it’s so good. Probably in my top 10 best books I’ve read this year.

The Hate U Give was apparently highly anticipated and hyped (and as always I didn’t notice a lot of that) and every hype around this is certainly worth it! It’s such an amazing book in every way you can think of and I love it.

This book is about teenagers, about racism, about different neighbourhoods, about black lives matter and injustice.

It has the most amazing characters. Everyone – not just the main people but literally everyone – has a story and characteristics and a goal or something they are going through. Everyone is well written and super interesting and everyone brings something to the story.

The Hate U Give is a sad book – and it gets sad way quicker than I expected – but there’s also humour and fun moments and family life and, ugh, everything is just so complex and well-done, I love it.

The thing I like least is probably the romance but on the other hand, I really like how it’s not a big deal and just one of the many topics in this story.
Everything about the movement and the racism Starr and her people face is SO GOOD and so interesting and it made me so damn emotional. I wanted to get through this book quickly because it’s so captivating but I regretted reading almost all of it on public transport because I couldn’t cry. And I definitely wanted to.

Such a great book, so well-written, I recommend it to everyone, for sure.

The rest

The Crown's Game (The Crown's Game, #1)The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really liked the idea of a book set in 19th century Russia that has a bit of magic and I really liked the cover so of course, I had to buy this book. I knew from the beginning I wouldn’t love it but I definitely still liked it.

Vika and Nikolai are a bit annoying at times and they aren’t characters you can relate to and I didn’t enjoy the whole love triangle thing a lot but I really liked the story itself. For some reason, magical competitions are totally my thing. The ideas they brought into the game were quite creative and I liked seeing what they could do, I just wish the magic itself could be explained a bit more?
Saint Petersburg and the Russian Empire were explained so well, though, I really enjoyed reading about all these places.

I love the usage of a few French and Russian phrases, I’m a bit of a language nerd and that just makes everything better for me. Another thing that I appreciated a lot was the baking! So much cake and pastry and pastry + magic??? Amazing. Need more of that, please.

Closer to the end I got more into the story and some plot points came up that could be really interesting in the sequel! I’m also quite shocked and not really satisfied with the ending so… I guess I’ll have to read on!

The Full Spectrum: A New Generation of Writing About Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, QuestionThe Full Spectrum: A New Generation of Writing About Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Question by David Levithan
My rating:
3 of 5 stars

This was quite interesting! There were LGBTQ people (mostly young people) of all kinds telling their stories.

Some stories were really interesting and very well written, others a bit less so. Many of them were very hard to read (featuring homophobia, transphobia, self harm, suicidal thoughts, abuse,…), that’s why it took me a while to get through this book.

I found some of the stories a bit problematic? I don’t really want to go into details but hmpf.
I really wish there would have been more poetry because the few poems that were featured were really beautiful and interesting.

All in all, this book was quite nice to read but nothing really thrilled me.

What We LoseWhat We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really want to give this book four stars but it’s just not enough in some way.

This book isn’t written in long chapters but basically just in pages or paragraphs or very, very short chapters. That makes it quite fast paced and interesting and you are jumping around between different points in Thandi’s life and layout illustrates that in a way. I really liked that and I loved that there are a few parts of essays, photographs and graphs in this book! That’s not really usual for this type of novel, I’d say, and I always appreciate visually interesting things and when authors do something a bit different.

The story itself was interesting as well. Most of the book deals in some way with the illness and death of Thandi’s mother but that’s not everything. We get to know her and her best friend and her lovers and what happens to her after her mother dies.
The parts about grieving were so well written and so sad and they didn’t need long descriptions to be heart-wrenching.

I enjoyed reading this book but I also felt a bit disconnected from everything, especially in the second half. The part about Thandi’s relationship with Peter and everything that followed seem different from the rest of the book. I generally didn’t like this part as much, same with the ending.

It’s a good, rather short, story that’s definitely something a bit different and certainly interesting. Also, look at this beautiful cover!

View all my reviews

See you soon ❤

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and all their words for glory

and all their words for glory

Glory – a song by my favourite band, Bastille – is for me a song about friendships, road trips, having fun, getting a bit drunk and maybe forgetting everything else for a little while. In the past few weeks, I fell in love with this song more and more.

I spent most of 2017 not in work or school but either travelling, relaxing at home or being with friends. I made hundreds of new memories and experiences, I learned new things and I enjoyed most of it so much.

The last two or so months were even better than what came before. I again spent more time with the friends in my hometown, I talked more to them and we met and had fun, I went travelling to see some of my best friends in the world again, I saw new places and people and found amazing books and movies and music to occupy my time with.

Now, this probably best summer of my life has ended. This Tuesday, I went back to school and I’m probably going to be rather busy from now on. I don’t quite know what to expect and how it’s going to be and that’s both exciting and scary. So naturally, I’m getting quite emotional and melancholy now, thinking back and thinking ahead. September has always been a time for feelings like that, but for the first time in a few years, I truly feel more excited and… safe? … than scared.

I’m worried I won’t talk as much to my friends, all of them, but I also know communication is a two-way street so it’s not just my responsibility and it will probably be fine anyway. I’m worried school will be very stressful and tough but I also know I can be a rather good student and I just have to wait and see. I’m worried I won’t be able to do all the amazing ideas I have for next year but I know that even if I’m not able to do it all, something will always work out.

Back to the song Glory. If you watched the video – and if you haven’t, I encourage you to do it now – you can see two people on a road trip, recounting their stories, having fun, making everything a bit more dramatic and entertaining than it actually was and everything also has this beautiful aesthetic and colouring. This music video really resembles my current emotions in a way, I can’t tell you exactly why, but it’s the truth.

Sure, not everything I experienced since January was fun. I had problems with bureaucracy and I felt really insecure in certain moments and was worried I would waste this year. But I also did a lot and spent so much time doing things I love and enjoy and even if there were moments in between that weren’t as great (and there are always were some) I don’t think about those too much because they aren’t what’s most important.

What’s most important is that I had great times. And yes, thinking back to certain moments I do tend to glorify and dramatise them a tiny bit, but who doesn’t? I’m human, after all (I’m sure you wouldn’t have guessed) and we have always been unreliable narrators – just like Dan and the girl in the Glory video, who can’t decide on the right way to tell their stories.

So I suppose I’m going to be fine. I’m going to remember this summer and this year because I took many opportunities and because I had such great people around me. I’m sad it’s over but I’m glad everything happened the way it did. Now I’m just trying to be less fearful of what’s to come.

a weekend in Italy

a weekend in Italy

Last weekend I went to Italy (Lake Garda, to be more precise) with four friends to spend the weekend together, mostly just chilling and talking and spending time together.

We couldn’t really meet up recently with one abroad for a year and the rest studying (kind of). Also, two years ago we all went to London together and it was amazing and even though this trip was way smaller and shorter, it felt right to do something together again.

I can’t speak for the others, but I certainly had an amazing weekend! From singing German rap and Bastille in the car to taking horrible pictures of each other on a pedalo in the lake it was great and fun and the perfect end to my long break. This week I went back to school and I’m glad I could do this feeling happy, social and satisfied because I’m sure I won’t feel like that too much in school (only time will tell).

We ate loads of pizza and pasta, drank loads of Aperol Spritz and cheap beer (I think I’m liking beer more and more) and probably made our hostel roommates think we’re crazy with our stupid jokes and comments.

I’m getting quite melancholy now so I won’t write as much, this is supposed to be light and happy after all, but I’m just so glad I’m more in contact with these friends and I hope it will continue and we can do more trips or other things together in the future. They sure are great.

If you had a break as well, I hope it was loads of fun, and if you didn’t, I really hope you can rest sometime soon!

See you ❤

Berlin, still summer

Berlin, still summer

After my week in Warsaw, I went to Berlin to spend some time with my best friend. The weather was good, we had amazing things to watch and Berlin is a beautiful city, so what could go wrong, right?

But seriously, apart from that one incident I had such a great time and I’m now sad because I can’t go on a trip to these two cities again for a while and I’m going to miss my friends so much.

Day 1

  • We went to the Tierpark aka a zoo (not the zoo, there are several in Berlin) and watched the manatees, giraffes and loads of other cute animals
  • We also took loads of adorable pictures of each other, as you do when you finally have nice weather AND lovely backgrounds
  • I then visited the Alte Nationalgalerie (old national gallery) which contains paintings and a few sculptures from the 19th and early 20th century. It’s a beautiful building with so much beautiful art inside and I really enjoyed it!
  • Afterwards, we had sushi. I need to have sushi more often, I really loved it

Day 2

  • We watched a ton of stuff, videos, a musical, and like half a season of a TV show
  • Then we went to IKEA (yes, I already did that just a few days earlier) to have cake and waffles and to dream of our future homes
  • We also went to a cute little book shop called Buchhafen and I could finally enjoy a book shop with mostly English books again. I really miss this at home.

Day 3

  • We watched another musical and then made plans for the rest of the day. Those plans didn’t quite work out as planned… I’m not going into details but let’s just say not every food is still good after two days in the fridge…

Day 4

  • This day was spent recovering from the day before. Mostly by watching Brooklyn Nine Nine.
  • And then we went to Schiller Burger which is always a good thing to do!

Day 5

  • We first spent some time in the sun on the Flugfeld and then had some amazing falafel sandwiches
  • We then visited the Neue Museum (new museum = a really creative title) which has a huge exhibition on all things ancient Egypt and also China, Greece and other places during that time. I found it really interesting and the museum itself also looks quite impressive!
  • After some incredibly tasty (if slightly unhealthy, but who cares) cake in a cute café in a backyard I went to Dussmann too buy even more books that I would then have to somehow fit into my suitcase. I really don’t change or learn, do I?

I’m just at home for two and a half days before I go on a weekend trip to Italy. And right ater that school starts. Wow. I hope you’re also having a great time, whoever and wherever you are!

See you soon ❤

Warsaw, in summer this time

Warsaw, in summer this time

In February I went on a trip to Warsaw and Berlin, to visit some of my best friends. Since then I’ve had plans to see them again before school starts for me in September (so a week from now, help).

I was really excited to see my Polish friend again and I was also excited to be in Warsaw when I don’t have to freeze my toes off because it’s so damn cold. We had loads of fun, I got to see new places and we also just chilled.

My friend also got a kitten a few months ago and she’s the cutest thing in the world. Her name is Mella, she’s five months old (I think) and so tiny.

Day 1

  • We visited the Museum of Ethnology which was quite interesting but also full of weird music
  • The city centre is even more beautiful in summer! And no horrible winds!
  • We went to this small restaurant to have pierogi and chocolate cake and this lunch made me incredibly happy, it was so good

Day 2

  • Warsaw’s university library is more beautiful than any I’ve seen before. It has a beautiful garden in which you can just go in and enjoy the view from the top of the library. That way you can also see into the library which is great because you can’t easily get in as a tourist
  • The Museum of Modern Art was a very interesting one. The exhibition was basically about rave culture and it was weird and fun and loud but it also looked really cool

Day 3

  • We mostly just watched stuff all day, to be honest
  • But later we went to IKEA and I love this shop a lot and I still wish I could just take stuff with me but that doesn’t really work when you’re travelling
  • Then we went into the city centre for the fountain show which is every Friday and Saturday in summer and it was so beautiful! It has music and colours and so much water and you shouldn’t get too close or you’ll get really wet but that’s also just part of the experience

Day 4

  • We went to the zoo! It was full and very hot but we still had a nice time!
  • The rest of the day was spent recovering from that.

Day 5 & 6

  • … were spent watching tons of movies and videos and several editions of the Eurovision Song Contest. I loved it!

See you soon ❤

books of the month: august 2017

This month I’m away from home quite a lot so I didn’t have a lot of time to read (when this is going up I’m in Berlin again!) but the books I read were great and I hope I can finish those I started at some point.

Quick shoutout to paperfury aka Cait! Through her blog or Goodreads I first found out about A Darker Shade of Magic and now I’m dying. Thanks.

The Best

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2)A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For a book this amazing it took me way too long to read it! I really loved A Darker Shade of Magic and almost gave it five stars. The only reason why I didn’t was that the book didn’t really captivate me as much as I wanted it to and my favourite books need to do that. A Gathering of Shadows did that, especially after the first 100 or so pages.

Everything I thought about the first book just got stronger in this one and I love it so much. It got darker (in a way), the banter got more and better and just hilarious, the writing was incredible, and so on. I don’t even know what to say about this book, I’m currently in a state of “what do I do with the world now? why am I stupid and didn’t order book three right away?”.

Gosh, V. E. Schwab’s writing is so good. I love how quick but descriptive everything is, how she manages to build these worlds so perfectly and you get such a good sense for their differences and they seem so damn real. Her world-building is all I ever wanted. And now that we have different countries and more characters she manages to describe everyone so subtle but so well and I feel like I really understand their differences and ahhhh, I just love it. Need to read more.

I absolutely love the relationship between Rhy and Kell. They love each other so much and there’s so much joking but also so much darkness and emotions and I could cry so many tears about how they want to protect each other!
I also love Alucard. He’s the kind of character that I will always like, no matter what, because he’s mysterious and a flirt and skilled and also cares deeply about certain things and people. I’m so excited to see more of him.
Lila was honestly just amazing in this book. She’s so great, I wish I could read ten more books about her banter and her scenes with Alucard and about her fighting. She’s incredible and she grew so much and changed and learned more about her. I can’t wait until we figure out the mysteries around her (same for Kell, tbh. If we ever do that).

After the first book, I already wanted to wrap Kell in a blanket and hug him but now I just want to take him away and keep him safe forever. He’s totally a character for me, I love how caring and angry and emotional he is and I relate to him on more levels than I thought.

I honestly found the plot so cool and interesting. I love learning about different countries and uses of magic and all these things and we got so much in this book. I also love dying of agony when certain characters circle around each other for 400 pages. Be still my beating heart.

I think I must order the third book right away because NEED.

(hint, I did just that)

A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3)A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Honestly, wow. I was so, so excited for this book and I was so, so scared while reading and now I’m hurt and damaged but also happy and satisfied and ahh, why do you do this to us, Ms Schwab? This book was so good.

I’m still in that blank “I just finished a book series and what do I do with my life now?” state because I fell in love with this trilogy so quickly and deeply and in a way, I wish it would never end. But I’m also happy my darling characters don’t have to suffer even more. I’m trying to avoid all the spoilers not just because it’s the nice thing to do but also because I really enjoyed not knowing what’s going to happen and having my own ideas and all that.
I was super stressed out but whatever, it was worth it.

Characters:
– Kell, my love, still deserves more happiness but he was so great in this book and tried so hard and suffered so much and his bickering with everyone and his love for Rhy (and Lila) honestly give me life. He still needs to be wrapped in a blanket, please.
– Shoutout to Kell’s coat which deserves to be even more present. I want it. So badly.
– Lila might not be my favourite character but I definitely love her and she’s growing so much and is finally kind of dealing with her past and every scene with her and Kell killed me (on the boat…)
– Rhy is a precious darling and he has to go through so much and he’s also growing a lot because he has to and I just want him happy. His relationship with Alucard is so great and I wish we had gotten even more about them.
– I love Alucard and his banter with Kell. Scenes with those two and maybe Lila or Holland as well were just hilarious. I live for scenes like that. I liked Alucard since the beginning but in this book, my love just grew more and more.
– I know a lot of people love Holland and I never used to belong to them. I love the flawed characters who are dark and do some bad stuff, like Alucard or Lila, but I don’t tend to love the proper antiheroes. Holland grew so much on me during this book and I’m glad we learned a lot more about him. He is a great character and I feel so sorry for him.

Plot:
– So good. Gripping, captivating, interesting.
– There are twists and turns and so many flashbacks which give the characters more background.
– I still marvel at the world building. It’s just so good and detailed and I wish every author could do it as well as V. E. Schwab.
– A lot about magic and magical devices and that’s definitely something I’m here for!
– My worst fears weren’t made reality and you can’t guess how relieved I am about that.

About the ending:
View spoilers

In short, I absolutely loved this book, I think it was so well written and I got a lot of things I wanted and more that I didn’t want but that was so well done and so beautiful and honestly, this trilogy is special and I adore it.

Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too: A BookEveryone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too: A Book by Jomny Sun
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is probably the most adorable book I’ve ever read. It’s kind of a graphic novel or a comic or something like that so reading it doesn’t take long at all (I’ve already read it twice or two and a half times) but it’s so much fun and makes me so emotional.

This is a story about an alien who is sent to earth to research humans. He finds all kinds of animals and other creatures and talks to them. They become friends and the alien sometimes feels lonely and sad, but he’s also happy and hopeful. The characters range from the anxious egg to the stressed beaver and they are all adorable and lovely and show all kinds of different emotions we humans also have.

Even though none of the characters are human, the emotions they have and the topics they talk about are very human and very relatable and they all made me so happy, sad, inspired or hopeful and sometimes I just want to cry because the book is so pretty and lovely and important.

Lin-Manuel Miranda said about the book (the quote is on the back) that you should read it “if you want to feel more alive” and I think that summarises my feelings pretty neatly.

I also never thought I’d relate so much to an egg or an onion but you learn new things every day.

Jomny’s amazing Twitter

The Rest

Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, #2)Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll
My rating:
3 of 5 stars

This was quite adorable! I read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland two years ago, just in time for the 150th birthday and I loved that book way more than I thought I would. Since then I kind of forgot about the sequel but by chance, I saw the book again and finally got it.

I don’t like Through the Looking-Glass as much as the first book, unfortunately. The first one had a plot that I found quite adorable and fun but not so much this one. And there weren’t as many amazing puns either. It was still fun and not a bad read (obviously a quick and easy one) but I had hoped for a bit more.

View all my reviews

 

with yellow flowers 3
by freepik

 

See you soon ❤

Cardiff

Cardiff

I really thought I’d post regularly…. haha. Nope. But here I am, one more time, to tell you that I went on another trip! I spent a couple days in Cardiff, Wales, with a good friend of mine!

It was more relaxed than my last few trips and we spent some time watching Doctor Who and Torchwood and noticing where we run around the day before (so many places. SO MANY).

Most of what we did you can see on the photos, I wrote descriptions as always, and I’m not going to write a super long text for each day so feel free to just scroll down. For some reason, I put way more photos into this blog post than I usually do but I can’t find a way to narrow it down. Sorry.

Fun fact: in just a week I will be gone again, this time I’m kind of repeating my Warsaw and Berlin trip from February, just less cold and a bit shorter! I’m really excited to see my good friends again!

Day 1

  • Airline drama because if you fly with FlyBe from Munich there’s no online check in so every single person had to go via check in at the airport and there weren’t enough people and it took fucking forever and I was nervous for like three hours and I hated it.
  • Cardiff Airport is so smoll. Adorable.
  • Sleeperz hotel is amazing, mostly because it’s so close to everything and because we had a kettle and tea and coffee in our room. That’s everything I needed.

Day 2

  • I missed Pret-a-manger so much since November 2015. I was so happy to have breakfast there almost every day. I needed that.
  • The Doctor Who Experience is amazing and I can’t believe it’s going to close so soon! I had a ton of fun and it was really interesting!
  • It’s very easy to accidentally stumble across some places that appeared in various BBC shows!
  • So. Windy.
  • But the bay is very pretty!
  • So. Many. Seagulls.
  • Almost 19 years old and only now I realised that the Millenium Center has both the Welsh AND the English words on its front…

 

Day 3

  • The Castle is pretty and bigger than expected and they also shot about five thousand BBC scenes there….
  • Bute Park was full of people playing Pokemon Go. I was so surprised by this, you barely see anyone still playing it in Germany! And there were so many!
  • I love squirrels.

Day 4

  • For a city of only 360,000 residents, Cardiff has so many shopping centres. I really didn’t expect that! But great for us, we bought very nice things. I basically only bought books and my friend only clothes but whatever.
  • That AquaBus thing is adorable.
  • Watching kids not being good at sailing is very entertaining. So are the dozens of dogs enjoying the bay area!
  • Honestly, the walk around the bay was great, so many nice views!

Day 5

  • I finally got my art in the National Museum!
  • I never knew I wanted to see dinosaur babies so badly. They were adorable (even though long dead – obviously).
  • The whole area around the museum is really fancy with lots of nice buildings!
  • The weather was almost perfect until this day when it finally started to rain loads! I’m so glad it took so long!
  • Flying home was way less stressful and the airport is still super adorable.

 

See you soon ❤