Review: At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson

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Summary:Tommy and Ozzie have been best friends since second grade, and boyfriends since eighth. They spent countless days dreaming of escaping their small town—and then Tommy vanished.

More accurately, he ceased to exist, erased from the minds and memories of everyone who knew him. Everyone except Ozzie.

Ozzie doesn’t know how to navigate life without Tommy, and soon suspects that something else is going on: that the universe is shrinking.

When Ozzie is paired up with new student Calvin on a physics project, he begins to wonder if Calvin could somehow be involved. But the more time they spend together, the harder it is for him to deny the feelings developing between them, even if he still loves Tommy.

But Ozzie knows there isn’t much time left to find Tommy–that once the door closes, it can’t be opened again. And he’s determined to keep it open as long as possible.

Add on goodreads

book review - pink

★★★★

This was my first book by SDH and I’ve been so hyped about his work that this could have easily gone the “it didn’t live up to my expectations” way. But! It didn’t! I have no idea what I expected from this in terms of plot and characters but I can say that it was definitely worth the hype (I say hype but how come only around 1800 people have rated this on goodreads?? How???)

Anyway, I don’t have a copy of this anymore because I read it on Riveted, so this is a short review with no quotes or anything, but you should definitely go read this book.

So, Ozzie is the only one who remembers his boyfriend Tommy. Everyone’s history has been modified to reflect a world where Tommy was never born, But Ozzie knows he hasn’t just dreamed Tommy. Throughout the book we see some of the memories he shared with Tommy, but the main story takes place in the present, where Ozzie life moves on, more or less, without Tommy. His disappearance isn’t the only weird thing that’s happened. The universe is also shrinking, and again, only Ozzy seems to know.

I found the premise so intriguing that I was hooked on that alone from the start, but then as we learn more about Ozzie, his old friends Lua and Dustin and his new friend Calvin, I couldn’t stop reading.

The book touches on many difficult and dark themes that are a reality for so many young adults, so keep that in mind and look at the trigger warnings at the of my review to know some of the themes that are in this book (but keep in mind I might have missed some).

The cast is also very diverse with Ozzie being gay, Tommy being a black gay boy, Lua being genderfluid, Calving being questioning/bi, and Dustin being coded as ace (the author confirmed he is, but the word is not on page because Dustin doesn’t say it, so I guess he’s questioning at the time of the book).

I really don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll just say that reading this was great and especially the countdown of the size of the universe made it impossible to stop reading, as well as the question of why everything was happening.

I can only recommend everyone to read it and find out everything by yourself.

TWs: self harm, depression, sexual assault, abuse.

🌟🌠🌟🌠🌟🌠🌟🌠

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

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#T5W: Favorite M/M couples (+ mini rant?)

Top Five Wednesday is a book meme that Lainey started and I discovered through the lovely Samantha‘s videos. If you’re interested you can join the goodreads group to get the topics for each week.

This week’s topic:

February 7th: Favorite M/M Couples 
–Who are your favorite dudes loving other dudes? (Note: this isn’t specifically cis gay couples, but also applies to couples that include bi men, trans men, pan men, ace men, etc.)

OMG YAY I love this week’s topic and the next (F/F couples)! Also I want to mention that I’m only going to talk about couples that are canon because as much as I like making up headcanons for my fandoms, I don’t believe in queerbaiting my followers and I want to give canon queer couples the space they rightfully deserve!

So since these are all couples that become canon within the book/series/anime, be careful of spoilers if you don’t want to find out who ends up with whom!!!


  • 🌈 Damen and Laurent from Captive Prince: listen, if you know me you better have bet at least €50 on me mentioning D&L at the top of my list otherwise I’m gonna be very disappointed in you. THEIR LOVE IS SO STRONG!!! NO SCRATCH THAT! THEY INVENTED LOVE!!!!
  • 🏳️‍🌈 Victor and Yuuri from Yuri!!! On Ice260px-yuri_on_ice_hug_or_kiss hey nobody said this had to be strictly about books right..? I can’t not make a post about favorite M/M couples without mentioning Victuuri. Yuri On Ice still owns my ass after more than a year and I owe it more that I can ever begin to explain.
  • 🌈 Andrew and Neil from The Foxhole Court: oooohhhhhh boy ohh boy. It’s been one year since I’ve reread TFC and I seriously need to read it again because I can’t possibly have read my second favorite series only twice. All three books make me Feel Things and I miss the Foxes a lot. And Andreil are just so *clenches fist* theY’RE IN LOVE!!!
  • 🏳️‍🌈 Ben and Severin from The Darkest Part of the Forest: aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh I actually don’t talk about them as much as I should? My problem is that the fandom isn’t really big but even though I never RT fanart and such (because there’s like, none), just thinking about them makes my heart explode.
  • 🌈 Patroclus and Achilles from The Song of Achilles: *bursts into tears* it’s still too soon and it’s been more than a year since I’ve read them.

Honorable mentions:

🏳️‍🌈 Pynch!!!

🌈 Snowbaz!!!

Also I know this is probably not the right type of post to discuss this but I do what I want so here is your friendly reminder that if you ship M/M couples you better also support LGBTQIAP rights in every form and shape in real life, like, you know, when it comes to actual, real queer people, and I better not catch you calling gay sex sinful and be generally gross about M/M couples. Thanks for coming to my TED talk and if you feel yourself called out, GOOD, now please go google how to not be a shitty human to queer people and come back to this blog when you’re ready to stop fetishizing queer people.

Down the TBR hole #3

down the TBR hole

Down the TBR Hole is a weekly meme hosted by Lia @Lost in a Story. These are the rules:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

(I’m doing a softcore version of this, and some books will end up on my “maybe” shelf!)

TBR count after the last post: 488

Current TBR count: 504

(I…………found a lot of books I want to read in the meantime ok)


(I’m gonna skip several German books because I can’t find too many that I’m interested in and I just can’t afford to delete any from my TBR, so I’m only going to mention books that I want to read in English)

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini 77203

This sounds both really good and like something I wouldn’t get in the right mood for a while. It’s also one of those really famous books which I’m sure I’ll run into again on my goodreads feed or at the bookstore, so I’m not afraid of forgetting about it if I delete it from my TBR.

VERDICT: remove

 

 

19486412Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

This is a book I bought a while ago and then kind of forgot about, but it stayed in the back of my mind and now I saw a few very positive reviews from my trusted friends and it sparked my interest again. It’s supposed to be a very deep book masked as a chick-lit kinda novel and I am actually curious to read it, possibly soon-ish.

VERDICT: keep

 

 

Room by Emma Donoghue7937843

This is something I impulse-bought a while ago and since then I’ve seen the movie based on it and I can’t remember many details but I think I liked it. However, I don’t think I am interested in reading this anymore because of its heavy themes that might trigger me. It’s too bad I bought a digital copy because otherwise I’d try to sell it.

VERDICT: remove

 

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion 16181775

This sounds pretty cute and funny actually (although a bit cheesy) but I’m not an immortal with unlimited reading time sadly so I gotta keep only what I know I 100% wanna read.

VERDICT: remove

 

 

 

Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn 7908762

Fun fact, I actually don’t know how to read blurbs and I get bored after half a sentence so I couldn’t even read the blurb for this one, but anyway the first thing I check is always my friends’ reviews and literally nobody has read it, so this one goes.

VERDICT: remove

 

 

13455112Origin by Jessica Khoury

I was about to remove this but then I actually read the blurb and it sounds like something I’d love actually. Plus I’ve already read another book by the author and I remember loving her writing style.

VERDICT: keep

 

 

 

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab23299512

*sees Schwab book*

*skips reading reviews or blurb*

VERDICT: keep

 

 

 

29749098Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas

I actually still haven’t read any of the books in this series (I think I’ll straight up ignore the Batman one bc it doesn’t look great from the reviews) but you bet your ass I’m gonna read this, if anything only so I can count the times the verb “purring” is used.

VERDICT: keep

 

 

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner13138635

I can’t find recent reviews of my friends so eh. It sounds okay but I figure if I ever wanna get to it I’ll find it easily again since Amie Kaufman is on my radar after writing The Illuminae Files.

VERDICT: remove

 

 

26252859The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

Seriously. Apollo is the protagonist of this book and he’s canonically bisexual and his bisexuality is explored on page. Plus, I love Uncle Rick and I want to read all his books.

VERDICT: keep

 

 

 


FINAL TBR COUNT: 499 BOOKS

Have you read any of these? Do you agree with my decisions to keep/remove them from my TBR?

Mini review: Moon-Bright Tides by RoAnna Sylver

I was sent this book by the author but all opinions are my own.

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Summary: The night sky is very dark without a moon, and there hasn’t been one for decades. Without one to govern the oceans, it falls to Riven, reluctant sea-witch, to sail out alone every night across the midnight ocean to cast a spell to call in the tides.

She hates it. Hates the moonless dark, hates the endless deep, and hates the fact that without a witch to sing in the tides, sea and land alike would fall to ruin. Riven faces her worst fear every night for years – until she meets a mermaid. Her new friend is lost, starving, and just as lonely as she is. And now that they’ve found one another, neither of their nights on the midnight sea will be the same.

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book review - pink

★★★★

I was trying to find a reason to give this less than five stars but there simply isn’t one.

This short story is about a human witch and a mermaid who fall in love. They’re both alone for different reasons and they find company and eventually love in each other.

The witch, Riven, has the important and inescapable job of creating tides with her singing, since the moon has been missing for many years. This has affected the mer world and merfolk population, and Moonbright’s own life.

The story is very simple but I wouldn’t expect anything more complicated than this in such a short tale. What truly is remarkable and is immediately apparent are the author’s worldbuilding skills. For example, the mermaid’s name not being pronounceable by a human, the meaning of her name being something we don’t have a word for, and many other details… Those are small things but they tell me a lot about the author’s imaginative skills. It tells me that fantasy is absolutely their genre and it makes me want to read more by them, and honestly you should get intrigued about their work too.

 

Review: Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh

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Summary: Odessa is one of Karthia’s master necromancers, catering to the kingdom’s ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it’s Odessa’s job to raise them by retrieving their souls from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised–the Dead must remain shrouded, or risk transforming into zombie-like monsters known as Shades. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, the grotesque transformation will begin.

A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears among Odessa’s necromancer community. Soon a crushing loss of one of their own reveals a disturbing conspiracy: someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead–and training them to attack. Odessa is faced with a terrifying question: What if her necromancer’s magic is the weapon that brings Karthia to its knees?

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book review - pink

★★★★✩

I enjoyed reading this a lot! It’s been a while since I completely enjoyed a book while being aware of its (admittedly few) flaws (or at least of the things I don’t like about it).

☠️ World: 
The world was really interesting and although I wasn’t (and still am not) as in love with the concept of necromancers as everyone seems to be, I found the idea of a necromancer main character extremely cool and unheard of.

On this note, I loved the magic system overall. To sum it up briefly, everyone is born with abilities that are determined by eye color. Blue eyes for necromancers, green eyes for beast mages, brown for inventors, grey for weather mages and I forgot some but you get the idea. One still needs to train in order to be able to use their powers appropriately, and some careers are more popular (one of the least popular profession is being a necromancer) while others are downright outlawed (inventors).

This was a really unique concept and I love how even though the main plot is pretty much wrapped up there’s still more to be explored about the world and the magic system itself.

Another aspect I loved of this world was the cultural conflict of change vs stasis (and the Living vs the Dead) and loved that the villain has a lot of valid points and you’re actually meant to sort of side with their opinion (not with their actions).

💀 Characters: 
I don’t have too much to say here, mainly I just loved the characters, I thought they were well written and their voices original – they all had things about themselves that made them *them*, even the secondary ones.

The main character, Odessa, went through a lot for one book and I like how her overall arc was handled. One thing I didn’t like was how (view spoiler)

☠️ Themes: 
This book has a lot of heavy themes, including death and addiction. I thought both of these were portrayed well.

One of the other themes is the found family, which is one of my favorite things in fiction, but I felt like this aspect could have been improved. Odessa talks a lot about how these people are her family but then I found that sometimes she didn’t really act like they were.

Another theme I absolutely adored was the one I briefly mentioned above, which is something that molded the entire plot: change vs stasis, new vs old. In a world where the Dead are not only among the Living but the King himself is Dead, it’s not a surprise that change would scare them. We see this in old people all the time, and it can only become extreme for Deads who are centuries old. This means that nothing new can ever be made, regardless of its importance and use. It’s a little bit extreme and I would have maybe liked it more if there was a bit more nuance to this, but I really liked how everything was presented.

💀 Representation and romance: 
There are no labels on page but Odessa is bisexual; Meredy is not specified queer; Simeon is gay; Danial is not specified queer.

The main romances are m/f and f/f, and there’s a side m/m couple.

⇒ Minor spoilers in this paragraph:
Odessa is in a m/f relationship at the beginning of the book and in a f/f one at the end. When it comes to the second relationship, I liked it but I felt like it needed more development. Also the premise of how it started made me uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there’s anything problematic about it or anything like that, and I’m not saying it was unrealistic either, but personally I found that things happened a little too soon and with no other ground other than “we share a lot of traumatic stuff”. I eventually grew to like it well enough and it was a well done slow burn.
End of spoilers.

☠️ Writing: 
I think the writing was good enough but – and this is a completely personal preference – I don’t think the first person present tense narrative works well with this type of fantasy, especially when it comes to describing dramatic/action scenes. This was advertized to be very dark and it definitely was, but I think the MC narrating everything herself made it actually more dull and detached. I don’t know, I just can’t fully feel the dramatic parts if she also constantly has to describe, somewhat objectively, what’s going on around her. I don’t really know how to explain it well but yeah, I just felt like first person past tense or third person work better *for me* for this type of story, but as you see I still liked it a lot.

💀☠️💀☠️💀☠️

Overall I think this was a really good start to a series that promises to become relevant in the genre YA fantasy. I trust it will only improve from here!

TWs: drug abuse and addiction, violence, gore (I think?), talk of suicide, death

January wrap-up

BOOKS

Read:jan

DNF:

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On hold:

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This was overall a good reading month. Despite a few DNFs and On Holds. I made it a point to read as many ARCs as I could because I got to a point where I had 15 (!!!!) between Netgalley, Edelweiss and ARCs sent directly by the author. I managed to get it down to 7 and ideally I would have liked to read more but after starting a few bad ones (which I DNF’d because ain’t nobody got time for that) I just wanted to read something that wasn’t an ARC.

My highlights:

The Ship of the Dead (Series review to come!);

Norse Mythology (Mini review to come on the blog, read it on GR in the meantime);

Ace of Shades (Review);

Fence #3 (Review);

Always Human (it’s an amazing webcomic with a beautiful f/f relationship and you can and should read it here! Review to come).

I also started and finished reading my first ever audiobook and now I know that I can’t do without it. Adult life means having a lot of chores to do but at least I can multitask by listening to a book.

Currently reading:

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I’ve barely just started this but I’m already liking this a lot! I’m reading it on Riveted since it’s free for a few days. It’s my first Shaun David Hutchinson book so I’m really excited.

 

MUSIC

fall_out_boy_-_mania

M A  N   I    A came out and I’ve been listening to it a lot. I don’t think it’s my favorite Fall Out Boy album but the more I listen to it the more I like it. I’m actually considering going to see them on tour because they’ll have a gig in my town in a few months.

Other than that I haven’t really been listening to anything new, BUT I went to see Lady Gaga‘s concert in Milan and it was AMAZING 😭❤️

My pictures all suck basically but anyway here’s a few!

dav

sdr

sdr

It was an amazing evening and I had so much fun, I’m so happy I managed to go there even though I had to take a plane to get there.

 

TV SHOWS

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Yes San Junipero is the first episode I watched and it’s because I knew it was gay

I started watching Black Mirror in random order (basically just googling/asking friends what the best episodes are) and so far I really liked the few (I think it was only three) episodes we’ve watched (I can’t really watch it alone because I don’t wanna get too scared).

 

 

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They’re so messed up

 

 

I’ve also binge watched The End of the F***ing World in one sitting and I actually loved it. I had no idea what I was getting into when I started it but man I was hooked. That ending???? I don’t know if they plan to make a sequel but I think I actually would like it if it just ended like that. It’s sort of one of the few times when I don’t mind an open ending.

 

miraculous_ladybug_planner_previews_2
I…can’t believe they both have crushes on each other but with different identities wow just get your shit together

I started watching Miraculous Ladybug too and it’s so cute. I’m watching it in German because I’d have to watch it translated in any case and I might as well try to improve my German skills.

 

 

 

How was your January? How’s 2018 looking for you so far? Are you hydrated? Let me know in the comments ❤️

 

ARC review: Your One & Only by Adrianne Finlay

I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. 

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Summary: Jack is a walking fossil. The only human among a sea of clones. It’s been hundreds of years since humanity died off in the slow plague, leaving the clones behind to carry on human existence. Over time they’ve perfected their genes, moving further away from the imperfections of humanity. But if they really are perfect, why did they create Jack?

While Jack longs for acceptance, Althea-310 struggles with the feeling that she’s different from her sisters. Her fascination with Jack doesn’t help. As Althea and Jack’s connection grows stronger, so does the threat to their lives. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love?

Release date: February 6th, 2018

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book review - pink

★★★★

Althea-310 is one of ten Altheas of her generation (and one of the hundred Alteas from ten different generations, all simultaneously living at the time the book takes place). Her species calls themselves Homo Factus as opposed to Homo Sapiens, which went extinct three hundred years ago. Homo Factus started as a last hope for humans to continue their species when it was clear that the Slow Plague would wipe out every single one of them. A group of scientists modified human genes to be immune to this disease and started making clones out of the “better” DNA. When all the humans died, these clones took over and kept improving their species and created a society in which everything is strictly regulated in order to maintain a peaceful status quo.

However, things are changing during Althea-310’s late teen years, and a sign of it is the presence of Jack, a human boy (as in, a cloned Homo Sapiens, with no DNA modification). He’s literally a walking fossil and the differences between him and the “better” clones are many. He’s been brought up as closely as possible to how a human boy from three hundred years before might have been brought up, save for the fact that he’s had a very closely guarded childhood. However, in his teens he’s introduced to Althea-310’s generation and all sorts of problems start, mainly due to how different he is from everyone else in this society of perfected clones.

How foolish we were, to act as gods.

What might seem at first like a very good premise for a typical romance-heavy YA novel turns out to be a character and worldbuilding driven story. The romance is definitely atypical for your usual YA and it’s definitely not the main point of the story, and that only further improves my overall opinion of the book.

The story is, as I was saying, definitely character driven. The two point of views (Althea’s and Jack’s) work extremely well here since they’re technically two separate species (I’m not 100% sure of the scientific accuracy of my statement, but the clones do call themselves a different species than Homo Sapiens) with very different mindsets. That allows for an interesting study of what makes humans human, but it’s also not done in a cheesy way. It’s not a pretext for the idealization and idolization of humans and human society. The goods and bads of both sides are acknowledged and the ending brings enough answers for this to still be a standalone (which I believe it is, at least at the time I’m reviewing this) but with enough of a sort-of-open ending to allow for the reader’s curiosity to wander to these characters and world long after the book is over (and I have to say that if this ever turns out to have a sequel I will be happy).

This book is now one of my favorite dystopians ever and I’m so excited for more people to start reading it.