I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman

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5stars

“Everyone’s normal, everyone’s weird, everyone’s just trying to deal with their own life and keep calm and carry on. And hold on to something what’ll keep them going.”

Title: I Was Born For This
Author: Alice Oseman
Number of pages: 395 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: Well portrayed mental health problems and tons of diversity and queer representation!
Bad things about this book: It gave me anxiety but that’s normal so it’s okay.
Do I recommend it? Yes, I do.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I think the truth is that everyone in the entire world is confused and nobody understands much of anything at all.

It was almost 2 am when I finished this book, and I had work the next day. I read for HOURS, non-stop. I couldn’t put it down. I wanted to know how it was going to end. I couldn’t leave these characters mid-journey. How could I? Each of them had something of me in them and they got me feeling shaken yet seen. Here. Understood. Overwhelmed. This was not an easy book to read, and I loved it for it. For its hard and true themes.

Angel is a super fan of a boy band called The Ark. She is spending a week with one of her best internet friends, Juliet, and they’re going to go to The Ark’s meet and greet and concert. This is going to be an amazing week for both girls. Wrong, of course, since nothing really is as easy as it’s supposed to be. Jimmy is one of the three members of The Ark and he has mental health problems he can’t deal with and keep at bay because he doesn’t have time for therapy sessions. The band is gaining a lot of fame and they are always on tour, or doing interviews, or in music shows. They don’t have a normal like anymore and it’s taking a toll in Jimmy’s brain. It’s bad. I really can’t imagine how it is to be someone so famous you can’t go outside, you get mobbed by crazy fans, you can’t trust anyone. It’s horrible.

I felt more for Jimmy than for Angel because a lot of his problems also were mine. They’re not as bad and I can deal with them by myself, for now, but I could relate to his anxiety and paranoia like I haven’t been able to do with any other character in the past. I, too, am afraid of being killed or dying and in my mind I have imagined every single scenario, trying to see unsuccessfully a way out. They always end badly. I’m on edge when I walk, when I’m in a car, when I take the train, the plane, etc. Everything triggers me a death vision. I have to live with it and because of that I think I know a little how hard it was for Jimmy. He needed professional help and he needed it as soon as possible.

I went into this book thinking it was going to be a romance novel. I was wrong and I was glad I was wrong because it was really perfect the way it was. The themes it touched were both important and difficult, and I liked how they were portrayed. I recognized myself in his struggles, and, as I do when I can’t deal with what I’m facing, I focused real hard to give him the strength he needed to get through an attack. I cared deeply about his wellbeing and I couldn’t put down the book until I saw a little light at the end of the tunnel. I knew things weren’t going to just disappear, he was not going to be suddenly okay, cured, but I wanted to see if he was going to find his balance and face the challenges the world was throwing at him.

Loved the diversity. A Muslim girl who was probably queer, a half Indian half Italian gay trans boy, a bisexual guy, a black guy, and a half Chinese girl. I’m a Latina woman living in Italy; I never see myself represented, my situation is not usually at the base of any book, but I settle with as much diversity as I can get. In my little town I look around and see 98% of the same kind of people and my eyes glow when I see someone different. Imagine if I lived in London and see around me so many different faces each one of them with a different and probably interesting story to tell. My story is boring as hell, but I like to imagine all the other not Italian people around me, has an incredible story worth listening to.

I keep thinking about the last chapter of the book and I keep smiling. It’s the perfect ending for this kind of story. I couldn’t have asked for a better closing chapter. Full of hope. And hope is exactly what we all needed.

I’m taking a break from books for a couple of days because I have read so much in just two days and my brain feels like it’s collapsing. But I’m extremely happy that my last book before this much needed break was this one. I recommend it to everyone.

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Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

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3stars

Title: Lincoln in the Bardo
Author: George Saunders
Number of pages: 353 (paperback edition)
Good things about this book: It’s a very interesting and peculiar written book.
Bad things about this book: The peculiarity of the narration is a bit confusing at times.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 3/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Trap. Horrible trap. At one’s birth it is sprung. Some last day must arrive. When you will need to get out of this body.

I chose this book because I liked the title. There was something in it that made me interested in seeing what this book was about. The two different covers I saw were just as interesting and, after some thoughts, I decided to give it a try. This decision was mainly made because it was going to be a book I could get for free so if I didn’t like it I was not going to feel bad about having spent money on it. Luckily it didn’t happen.

It was weird and a little confusing at times but I liked the idea and enjoyed this crazy night with these crazy and conflicted characters. It sure makes you think. And, even if I don’t think I’ll be reading more about Lincoln, maybe I’ll watch the movie to understand him better. I don’t remember studying anything about him because I went to school in Italy and there’s so much history here and in Europe that they mainly teach you what happened here and in neighboring countries. I only knew what I’ve seen in movies or heard in American TV shows; so only the usual, that he was shot and that he was a vampire slayer. That movie was weird.

He was not perfect; he was, remember, a little boy. Could be wild, naughty, overwrought. He was a boy. However – it must be said – he was quite a good boy.

The chapters about Willie’s death were tremendously sad. They were written in this form I have never seen before, yet it didn’t take anything from the deepness of the situation. The emotions it made me feel were real and the sadness and tears were so profound, they brought me back to the many events in my life that, just like Lincoln, have brought me to the verge of losing myself to grief.

How sad it is life that gives you love to give but then can take it away without notice. Sad, yet full of happy little moments.

As much as I enjoyed the whole graveyard events, there were some parts that were more confusing than others. Some chapters I thought were about Lincoln, I found out much later that instead were about someone in the graveyard. At first I didn’t realize and after so many chapters it was a realization I thought had to be clearer from the beginning. Maybe it was just me getting used to this type of narration. Maybe I wasn’t really into it at first and it took me a little to see things as they were.

I don’t regret having read Lincoln in the Bardo, on the contrary I was glad I satisfied my curiosity and gave this book a chance. It was a peculiar read and I will recommend it to someone looking just for that.

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Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

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5stars

I know all that is possible to know, and it’s increasingly unbearable.
Because I know next to nothing.

Title: Thunderhead
Author: Neal Shusterman
Series: Arc of Scythe #2

Number of pages: 504 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: It’s intriguing and it keeps you glued to the pages.
Bad things about this book: It’s not the last so we keep on suffering.
Do I recommend it? Yes, this series is becoming one of my favourites.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I knew it was going to be great but, did I know it was going to make my heart beat so fast because of anxiety? No. No, I didn’t. My poor heart is still beating like crazy and my brain is trying to come up with a lot of explanations and ways this story is going to end. So far I do not like any of the theories it has come up with. Please, let it be all flowers (artificially grown) and rainbows (created by the Thunderhead, of course). Nonetheless I loved it so much I will not stop recommending this series to everyone who will pay attention!

Each time I witness a cruel act by a corrupt scythe, I seed the clouds somewhere in the world, and bring a lamentation of rain. Because rain is the closest thing I have to tears.

Scythe ended with Citra becoming Scythe Anastasia and Rowan going rogue with the intention of ending all the corrupted scythes. Thunderhead starts with Rowan, as self-appointed Scythe Lucifer, punishing one of those scythes. Little did I know that, from that day on, things were going to get much more complicated than what my little brain could imagine. Anastasia and Marie are in danger; there’s a new character so important to the world that the Thunderhead makes complicated decisions to put him in the line of action; and Rowan finds himself in a weird and frustrating position. What is the fate of scythedom, and of the world, is something humans cannot predict, and maybe neither can the Thunderhead.

This book was one WTH after the other. Things that were already complicated seemed to get more so in just a few pages. I wanted to proceed but was afraid of reading and finding out I was not going to like what was written. I am heartbroken and that’s a fact, and now I’m curious to see how all the things that have started a chain of reaction will unravel in the third and last book. There’s just so much that can still go wrong and so much that maybe can put a stop to what has been angering the omnipresent Thunderhead. Humans just can’t behave and it’s infuriating.

How frustrating it is to have so much power, yet be so impotent to wield it when it counts.

It has come with no surprise whatsoever that the Thunderhead is, in the end, my favorite character. I don’t really know why I always find myself on the side of the artificial intelligent, be it good or bad. I just can’t help it. The intra-chapter bits of the Thunderhead were the parts I couldn’t wait to read because there was so much true in them and I loved the way it voiced its flawlessness and its choices. It sees it all but it can’t change human nature; it has done everything to ensure humans could live as immortals in a world made of commodities and everything they needed. Still, humans always find a way to ruin everything. It’s the sad truth.

The last book will be anxiously waited by yours truly and it will be read with my heart in my hand and a few tissues next to me, just in case. I’m sure I’ll need them.

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If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

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4stars

I thought about how every person could hold two truths inside of them, how impossible it felt sometimes to have your insides and outsides aligned.

Title: If I Was Your Girl
Author: Meredith Russo
Good things about this book: Amanda is a delightful and strong character!
Bad things about this book: Nothing bad just but check for triggers before reading.
Do I recommend it? I do!
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

This is a very difficult book to review because I will never understand what it means to be Amanda. I will never be in her position; to have the same fears she has, to not being able to be a 100% true to the people she knows and to herself. At the end of the book there is the note from the author explaining how it must be viewed, either if you are trans like Amanda or if you identify with the gender you were born with.

In the note the author writes about how she simplified the struggles Amanda has to face to made us understand her better without asking ourselves too many questions; can people tell she is trans? No, because she is very feminine. Will people see she is trans by mistake while entering the bathroom unannounced? No, because she could afford a surgery most people wouldn’t be able to pay. Will they see her as a girl even after knowing she wasn’t born with the body of one? Read the book and find out.

“You can have anything,” she said, “once you admit you deserve it.”

I know trans people but knowing them and seeing them transitioning doesn’t mean you understand everything they’re going through and what they are feeling. I can only be myself and see them how they want to be seen, how they are on the inside that they want to be seen also on the outside. So one day he is a guy’s name and the next day she is a girl and she stays a girl, so what? They tell me they have a new name, new pronoun to use and that’s that. From my part, I can’t see why it has to be hard.

People frustrate me. They give hate to the wrong people for no reasonable motive; they spend so much energy hating something so simply to understand with a little effort. Sometimes I think they want to be scared of something so badly to feel better with themselves that they don’t care to see they are “scared” for absolutely no reason. For example I can’t stop being angry for the “bathroom issue” and I smile every time a place doesn’t have different bathrooms for different genders. Little steps. Maybe too little sometimes.

We have three bathrooms at work. One is on the first floor and everyone can go because there is no sign on the door. The other two were mistakenly decorated with the male and female symbol on the door and if the male one is occupied, the male coworkers wait instead of going inside the other one. A simple sticker on the door plays so hard with their minds they are willingly waiting hours to pee instead of putting their masculinity in danger going inside the girl’s bathroom. The reason I’ve been told? “It feels weird, it’s for girls.” How dumb is that? It’s the exact same bathroom as the other two, only with a sticker on the door. A stinking sticker with zero value, zero utility.

This book made me see things differently, not only because it takes place in the USA and I live in Italy so many things don’t happen here or I simply failed to look closer. I don’t go out much so I only have three places to compare experiences: my workplace, my house and the LGBTIQA+ community I’m a member of. I don’t really know the real world and even if I had struggles growing up, being an immigrant latina in a white country, I have to say I’m privileged enough to have lived my life peacefully. That’s how it has to be for everyone else and we will keep fighting, we will keep marching, keep doing whatever we can, even if small, to make the world a better place for every single person living in it.

I realized, I wasn’t sorry I existed anymore. I deserved to live. I deserved to find love. I knew now—I believed, now—that I deserved to be loved.

I’m sorry I didn’t talk about the book, mainly to avoid spoilers also because some books need to be experienced without insights, but rest assured I liked it and I recommend it. It is hard, it is triggering (so, beware), it isn’t for everyone but if you want a book that gives you a point of view you are missing and you want to understand then this is a book you have to read.

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City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett

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5stars

What an ugly thing I am, he thinks. Why did I ever believe I could wreak anything but ugliness in this world? Why did I ever think that those near me would meet anything but pain and death?

Title: City of Miracles
Author: Robert Jackson Bennett
Good things about this book: Sigrud!!!
Bad things about this book: It is the final book of this trilogy.
Do I recommend it? Yes, 500% yes.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Third and last book of a trilogy I would have never read if it wasn’t for Goodreads and a fellow reader who wrote a review that painted this book worth of a try. And it was worth it, believe me. It contains a world building written with so much detail it constructs itself inside your head easily. I don’t know how to describe it to others but I want to be able to do it because this trilogy hasn’t as much readers as it truly deserves.

That’s the cycle of your life, isn’t it? You throw yourself into dangerous, hopeless situations. These situations punish you mercilessly. Yet you overcome them, and live.

After two books with two amazing main characters, now it’s time for my beloved Sigrud je Harkvaldsson to take the lead. I have loved him since the first book, City of Stairs, in which he worked alongside Shara Komayd against the danger of Divinities. He is a complex character, driven by anger. He has many layers and almost all of them are full of pain and suffering.

The second book, City of Blades, ended with Sigrud having to run away from Voortyashtan. Thirteen years have passed since then: years of Sigrud waiting for Shara to tell him it was okay to go back home, that everything that happened was somewhat being forgiven and, hopefully, forgotten over time. Years passed and no news from his friend until one day he hears Shara has been murdered; he is in shock and wakes from a sort of slumber and makes his way back to find out who did this to Shara, why and to avenge her.

I know how anything I tell is a potential spoiler and it was so good not having any when reading the book so I won’t write anything unnecessary, anything that can give you clues that are best not to have. It’s great to gasp at twists and smile when you finally understand what’s going on. Those are irreplaceable feelings!

What a stupid creature he is, driven by rage and emotion.

Being inside Sigrud’s mind is painful. He suffers a lot from what happened to him and also to all the people that he cared about and are not longer alive. Sigrud is supposed to be 63 years old. Sixty-three years old and looking half his age, it’s his cursed; new scars added to his person but not a single wrinkle decorating his face. His mind is a nest of bad thoughts but also resolution to get vengeance and to get rid of the new danger they are now facing. This villain is immature so he is erratic, driven by wrong reasons, his ego being the the mastermind of his plans; every time I turned a page I feared for the lives of everyone.

He remembers Shara again, twenty years ago, outside of Jukoshtan: Our work asks us to make terrible choices. But make them we shall.

The fact that Shara is dead and we know she is dead from the synopsis of the book doesn’t make reading about it easier. We knew Shara; we knew her values and what she did to make the world a better place. The way Sigrud thinks about Shara, the way he remembers her and what they did together, is so full of love and admiration and it kept breaking my heart.

They were closer than lovers—for love, of course, is a flighty, mercurial thing.

I cried when I finished the book. The last paragraph gave me the final blow. Saying goodbye is hard, I know that, but this felt different: they were happy tears. The kind of happy that comes from sadness but that knows it couldn’t have gone in any other way. It gives you peace and it gives you hope. I want these characters to be their better selves and live a happy life. That’s all I want.

Goodbye magnificent world of miracles and divinities. Goodbye characters that gave them all to make a difference. Goodbye friends we made along the way. Goodbye to you all and thank you.

We float upon a sea of moments, he thinks. And never are we truly free of them.

If you haven’t read this trilogy I recommend it with all my heart. I can’t explain why and maybe I won’t ever be able to put in words what makes me love these books, but like the review that convinced me to give it a try, I hope my review will do the same. Spread the love!

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Olive Juice by T.J. Klune

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5stars

He was sad. He knew this. He knew this more than anything else. David was sad, and he didn’t know how not to be.

Title: Olive Juice
Author: T.J. Klune
Good things about this book: It is hard and authentic.
Bad things about this book: Nothing.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I think it’s nearly impossible to write a review of this little book without spoiling it all. It has only 121 pages. It has only one long chapter. The story takes place during one evening. You start it, you finish it. There’s no other way to read and insert yourself into this book.

You ache, but you’re able to breathe. And if you can breathe, then you can take another step.

This story is sad right from the beginning. You have very little info about what happened to our mc, David; you only know that he is not well. You will have to keep reading and things will be revealed little by little. You will make a few guesses, some may be wrong, some close to the truth. All of these won’t happen without a sane dose of pain.

I shed tears. I was sad, angry, frustrated, hopeful. I had so many feelings for those two men, David and Phillip, reminiscing about a life that was not the same anymore. About something that has changed their lives forever.

He didn’t— he couldn’t run the risk of saying something he’d regret later. Because he’d already had a lifetime of regrets.

Until now I have only read humour books by T.J. Klune and I have loved every single one of them. That man has talent. I wanted to try one with a hard theme and this one, being as short as it is, was the perfect choice. I also loved that the main characters were over 50 years old; everyone deserves their story told. I didn’t regret losing sleep because I wanted to finish it. It was worth every minute spent reading it.

Since I can’t say anymore about this little jewel, I kindly invite you to buy it and read it. Prepare a couple tissues; train your heart to be strong because you will need it.

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[ARC] See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng

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5stars

Title: See You in the Cosmos
Author: Jack Cheng
Good things about this book: A lovely main character and a different kind of narration.
Bad things about this book: I can’t think of anything right now. I really enjoyed the book.
Do I recommend it? Yes, buy it as soon as it comes out.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

[ARC received via Netgalley]

When I requested this book I did it because it was about a kid in love with space. I love space but trust me I don’t love it as much as Alex does. That kid knows everything there is to know about rockets, planets and space in general. He even built his own rocket and is making recordings to send to outer space so that aliens can know in advance how is life on Earth.

Alex is only eleven years old but thirteen in responsibility years, or so he says and I believe him. He is one wise and mature young fellow. Smart and self sufficient, he takes care of his mother and his puppy named after his hero, Carl Sagan. He loves space so much he is going to New Mexico by himself to fly his rocket. He is going to put his Golden iPod inside with all the recordings he’s being doing. He is an adorable boy, really honest and straightforward. It’s only natural people want to help him and find themselves somehow involved in his adventures.

Alex is a special boy and he is very imaginative. You can’t help by love him and cheer for him to achieve whatever dream he wants to achieve. You need to know everything is going to be ok and when you start to understand his life isn’t without its complications you can’t help but be worried. I know I had wet eyes during a couple of parts and it was really hard holding back my tears. Alex deserves the world, or better, he deserves the universe and I was going to fight all the people putting obstacles in his way. I love you, Alex!

At first I didn’t know if the way this book is written was going to be of my liking. This book is written in recordings. Everything you read is part of the recordings Alex is planning to send to outer space. It was different, I can’t deny that, because you only knew what Alex told you, his side and interpretation of what he was experiencing but his voice was so pure that no matter how different it felt, it also felt right. After finishing the book I know I wouldn’t have wanted the story written in any other way.

A special story told by a special boy about what makes his life special. It was lovely and it made me happy. What’s better than that?

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Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

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4stars

“How nice – to feel nothing, and still get full credit for being alive.”

Title: Slaughterhouse-Five
Author: Kurt Vonnegut
Why you should read this book: Because it’s a very random story that needs to be read at least once in your life!
Do I recommend it? Yes, but I will tell you that this is a book that you’ll love or hate completely.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

This is a very peculiar book about a book about world war two, time travel, and aliens. Confusing? That’s what makes it nice. This was a very funny and interesting story written quite simple and that found me glued to the pages. At some point I realized I didn’t want it to end. I just wanted to keep reading about Billy closing his eyes and going back in different times of his life.

I did wondered why he wasn’t trying to change things and change his fate or the one of the people he knew who were going to die. But maybe he did say something about that and I just don’t remember.

Billy travels back and forth during all his life, all the events that have made him the person he is during his past, present and future. He knows how things are going to turn out and he doesn’t seem much affected by it. I think that’s because he has seen his death and the death of everyone he knows and has lived through all the events in his life so many times that everything is just plain ordinary.

“I let the dog out, or I let him in, and we talk some. I let him know I like him, and he lets me know he likes me.”

I have to admit that I will not make much sense and that this review will not be a real review. There is a reason, a very good reason why this is happening: I read half of the book on the plane to Tokyo and the other half three weeks later on my way back from Osaka. This can be confusing because I have a general idea of what happened in the first half of the book but then I did so many things every single day and things got a bit blurry. When I picked it up all those days later, I knew what I read but I wouldn’t have been able to tell anyone.

I know I liked the book. It has short sentences; it’s easy to understand even with all the time traveling and facts but in the end it has the kind of humor that amuse me the most. I found it really funny. I loved that every time he was talking about someone dead he finished the paragraph with “So it goes”. I don’t know why but it made me smile every single time.

“But the Gospels actually taught this: Before you kill somebody, make absolutely sure he isn’t well connected. So it goes.”

I liked how it made me wonder about the war, about what we really know about it. Only the ones who were in it can tell you how things were but you have to ask all the parts involved because the war isn’t a one-way thing; you need to see all the points of view. Do we really understand the reality of the war? I don’t think we will ever will. This is an anti-war book and it shows how soldiers were treated during that time. It shows different aspects and it’s not nice. How can that be? Something like that changes you and it changed Billy. He was only a child when he went to war and he came back still a child but only on the outside.

“Everything was beautiful, and nothing hurt.”

I also liked Billy adventures on Tralfamadore. Well, not really adventures since he was abducted and put in a zoo naked to be seen by aliens doing everyday tasks. He speaks of it so naturally and I don’t know how people thought he was going mad. How can you not believe the man? I believed him instantly. I do wonder about one thing that happened during his stay on that alien planet but it’s a spoiler and I won’t tell. I will still wonder about it, though.

“All these years I’ve been opening the window and making love to the world.”

Nobody recommended me this book. Me reading this book was caused by a series of coincidences. I kept finding the author’s name and this book’s title in every single book I’ve read recently. No matter the genre, someone still mentioned this book. It made me curious. Then a tv show I watch, Masters of Sex, mentioned it and I said to myself “that’s it, you’re buying it and you’re reading it”. And that’s exactly what happened.

I am really glad the universe pointed me to this book. I liked it a lot and will surely recommend it to people I know will enjoy it as much as I did.

“Farewell, hello, farewell, hello.”

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The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

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“Light is the left hand of darkness
and darkness the right hand of light.”

Title: The Left Hand of Darkness
Author: Ursula K. Le Guin
Why you should read this book: Because it’s set in space and it’s about aliens with very peculiar characteristics!
Do I recommend it? Yes, it can be a little complex but overall it’s a very nice and interesting book.
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I wanted to give this book 5 stars only because of Estraven but I can’t. The book is beautiful, well written and extremely fascinating BUT the stereotypes about men and women from our main character bothered me a little too much. So, it’s 5+ stars for Estraven, 4 real stars for the whole book! Maybe 4- when Genly starts complaining about Estraven being too feminine and that scares the hell out of him. Why?

I have to admit that the names and different language was a little difficult to read and pronounce in my head but after a bit I got used to it and enjoyed trying to figure out how where they pronounce. I still think I have mispronounced EVERYTHING!!

I have always loved a sci-fi book with a story, occasionally adventurous, in a faraway planet and aliens. Who doesn’t? This didn’t disappoint in all of what I was expecting and I got a lot more than I was bargaining for. It doesn’t have forbidden love, and it doesn’t have a traditional love story. There is love and there are feelings. No spoilers here, it’s in the synopsis.

“Light, dark. Fear, courage. Cold, warmth. Female, male. It is yourself, Therem. Both and one. A shadow on snow.”

We have an Envoy of a faraway planet on a planet inhabited by genderless humanoids aliens. These aliens go in kemmer once a month (kemmer is like being “in heat”) and randomly they become male or female and mate with one another resulting often in a pregnancy. This fact can be overwhelming but for our dear Genly it was almost the worst thing that could ever existed in the universe. He is really close-minded and I was annoyed by his remarks most of the times. Other times he was ok.

“It is strange. I am the only man in all Gethen that has trusted you entirely, and I am the only man in Gethen that you have refused to trust.”

The best thing about this book came in the shape of a tiny dark-skinned genderless alien with a soft and round body called Therem Harth rem ir Estraven. Yep, that’s his whole glorious name. His parts of the story were my favorite; parts in which we could read his journal. He is a very methodical person and has a clear opinion of certain facts. I can only describe him as sweet and peculiar. I was very angry at Genly every time he was rude to him. Estraven is nothing but a doll and you better realize is soon or I’ll slap you real hard! Estraven makes me emotional.

“The best food I’ve eaten on Gethen has always been in your company, Estraven.”

I have read only the Earthsea books by Ursula K. Le Guin and I loved them. I fell in love with the story, the magic, the dragons (of course) and in particular I fell in love with Ged. Ged is the main character of the first book and a recurrent character in the others. I love him! There is something in these characters she writes that get to your soul. They are not perfect. These characters are not heroes like the ones you are used to read about. They have a quiet personality and they are so much more than what they seem from the outside. It’s hard to understand but while reading about Estraven I had the same feelings I had while reading about Ged. I thought: “This is one hell of a character I’m going to treasure!”. Yeah, he went right inside my “favorite characters” treasure chest and he will stay there forever.

I haven’t really explained the book because it’s not easy. Months and months pass, sometimes the story felt rushed. A lot of things happen and some news maybe you wanted to know more about where explained in one or two lines. This is a must read if you love sci-fi. It’s surely a must read if you love Mrs. Le Guin. Beware that there may be lots of stereotypes because it’s an old book written by a mind of that time. They may bother you but I think these issues don’t ruin the story in its wholesome. I’ll give it a try!

“What does a man die of but his death?”

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Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo ☆

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“I’ve taken knives, bullets, and too many punches to count, all for a little piece of this town,” said Kaz. “This is the city I bled for. And if Ketterdam has taught me anything, it’s that you can always bleed a little more.”

Title: Crooked Kingdom
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Why you should read this book: Second and last book of this great duology, a must read!

Read the summary from Goodreads here

This riview contains many spoilers!!

I don’t think I will be able to write a review about this book because it was just too perfect. I loved everything, frustrating parts, happy parts, romantic parts, let’s kill everyone parts, everything. It’s difficult because I don’t have a clear way to express my feelings. I can be very incoherent and it is bad. I start talking about superfluous things and it’s not good.

So I decided to write about what I liked about the different parts of the story. Let’s see if this thing writes itself like I envisioned.

“Do you know what Van Eck’s problem is?”
“No honor?” said Matthias.
“Rotten parenting skills?” said Nina.
“Receding hairline?” offered Jesper.

Inej is kidnapped by that hideous man, Van Eck. Hideous man, I hate him so much! The gang of merry men is plotting thousands of ways to save her. Kaz thinks so many things at once; everything that happens is either exactly how he intended or fortuitously a nice coincidence. I am always in awe in front of Kaz’s intelligence. That man (I still refuse to believe he is a teenager, in my head he is 26, they are all from 24 to 27, don’t argue with me about that) is always a few steps ahead of everyone else and the few surprises and twisted don’t affect him much because he is already thinking of all the other ways to make things work his way. He is smart and deadly, perfect combination!

“I would come for you,” he said, and when he saw the wary look she shot him, he said it again. “I would come for you. And if I couldn’t walk, I’d crawl to you, and no matter how broken we were, we’d fight our way out together—knives drawn, pistols blazing. Because that’s what we do. We never stop fighting.”

Inej is saved and the real plan, the masterplan, is going to take place. Van Eck has to pay what he promised the gang and he is also going to pay for everything he’s done because he is a really bad man!
Twists here, twists there and I find myself afraid for everyone. Are they going to die, are they going to be badly hurt? What is going on? Why are the bad guys forming alliances?? This isn’t supposed to happen but of course it happens. It’s only half book and things are nowhere near done.

Another plan is thought (how does Kaz think these plans, anyway? I know he doesn’t sleep but still, that’s amazing) and things start moving. So many things happen and I can’t write everything down or else I start writing the whole book. I would love to do that because it’s a great book but I’m lazy and it takes a lot of time. More twists but are they really twists or are they fake twists to make us think things aren’t going as planned but indeed they are exactly how they were planned from the beginning? Come on, Kaz, share your secrets with us!

She rested her head on his shoulder. “You’re better than waffles, Matthias Helvar.”

I was sad about what happened to Matthias, one character I really loved in this book but I think I already felt he was the one who was going to be sacrificed. When I read someone maybe was going to die, the first name that came to my mind was his and it was indeed him. Too bad, he was starting to change, to grow and see things in a different way. I still want to cry, that’s not fair!

Seeing Kaz vulnerable is always painful. You see this dark figure plotting perfect plans, guiding his companions as safely as he can and then you see his fragility and all you think of is “that boy needs a hug and I’m going to give him one he’s not going to forget”. Same about Inej with her past and her insecurities. Such a strong girl, a survivor, and all you want to give her is the world and some piece of mind. It’s not much, right? They deserve happiness, all of them!

“Yes, yes, Nina Zenik is hungry. Now will someone feed me before I’m forced to cook one of you?”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” said Jesper. “You don’t know how to cook.”

Matthias and Nina. All the feelings. Matthias opening up, helping Nina with the jurda parem abstinence, with her body and power changing. Trying to make her eat, protecting her in every way he knows. A giant teddy bear! A hug for him, too! And of course a hug for Nina, she seems like a great hugger! Flirty Nina is one of the greatest gifts this book gave me! Thank you for Nina and her teasing!

“I’m teaching Matthias all about fun. He’s an excellent student. Diligent in his lessons.”
“Nina—” Matthias warned.
“Has problems with attitude. Shows room for improvement.”

Jesper and Wylan. OTP from the beginning, of course. How could they not be a very solid ship from the very first time it was mentioned they might be interested in each other? We are shown their pasts, the difficulties they had to endure and how much they still have to do to be whole. Wylan is Jesper’s rock in my opinion and he will help him be a better person. And Jesper will be Wylan’s rock, that’s pretty obvious. The first kiss was perfect and the kiss between Jesper and fake Wylan (damn you, Kuwei!) was hilarious! Poor Jesper!

“You’re stupid about a lot of things, Wylan, but you are not stupid. And if I ever hear you call yourself a moron again, I’m going to tell Matthias you tried to kiss Nina. With tongue.”
Wylan wiped his nose on his sleeve. “He’ll never believe it.”
“Then I’ll tell Nina you tried to kiss Matthias. With tongue.”

I wrote about everything and nothing at all. It’s a complete mess and since it has spoilers it won’t be helpful to convince you to read it because if you are reading this you have already read it or you have no interest in reading it (and I don’t understand why).

If someone is reading this, I’m sorry, I tried. I loved this book. This duology has a lot of elements I love in books. I was sure from the beginning that I was going to love it and I’m so glad I wasn’t disappointed. All the stars from me! Recommended to everyone!

Her heart was a river that carried her to the sea.

Do I recommend it? Yes, it is so great I really think you need to read it.
Rate: 5+++/5
☆: It made my “favourite books” list

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