Review – Captive Prince by C.S Pacat

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Review – Captive Prince by C.S. Pacat

Rating: 2 out of 5

—- Contains Spoiler —-

Captive Prince is the first instalment in the Captive Prince Trilogy. It was self published in 2013 and later on published commercially in April 2015.
It takes place in the countries of Akielos and Vere. King of Akielos is Theomedes who dies before the story of the book really takes place. But instead of Crown Prince Damen, Kastor, the illegitimate son of Theomedes and half-brother of Damen becomes king after a coup against Damen. But instead of killing Damen he is shipped as a bed slave for the Crown Prince Laurent to Vere, a hostile nation in the north of Akielos. Gladly nobody recognises Damen and so he becomes the slave of the crown prince. But Laurent doesn’t take him to bed. Instead Damen is beaten after the first sign of sexual interest he shows towards Laurent.
The book isn’t really about what happens. It’s more about the characters. About Damen, a bisexual Prince who must learn to be a slave and to hide his real identity in a foreign land and about Laurent the Crown Prince of Vere whose uncle, the Regent of Vere, wants to kill him. And about the relationship between them. FYI, there is no love interest between the two. Damen shows a crush for Laurent because Laurent is Damen’s type but that’s all. 
Would the book just be about this it would be fantastic. The book is easy written. The story easy to understand but there are also some major problems:
First of all, this book is not racist even so Damen with his olive skin is a slave. But he was born Prince and there are also white servants.
Second, it includes lgbt content. But the gay and lesbian relationships in this book are seen more as pleasing one another sexually instead as really love interests. Maybe this will change in the other instalments of the series.
Third, there is a major problem with rape. Rape is seen as sports and as an activity for everyday. Men and women are getting raped all the time in this book and it is seen as socially acceptable. I have a major problem with that. Rape is a serious issue and a problem for society. But this book shows it as something that’s not worth to bother yourself with. 
And finally the worst part: for the court of Vere child abuse and pedophilia is totally acceptable. The boy isn’t even a real teenager yet but he is already the bed slave of the Regent. As an author you can’t just write that. It’s the worst anybody can do with a child besides murder. And you can’t just argue it’s a fictional setting. If authors show to the world this kind of behaviour is normal and then they get high ratings and good reviews on their books it will just  glorifie violence and abuse. In the real world children, men and women must endure this everyday and here the author displays it as a leisure activity. That’s not right.
So I just can’t give the book more than 2 out of 5. 

Review – An Illustrated History of Notable Shadowhunters and Denizens of Downworld by Cassandra Clare

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Before I talk about the book I just want to apologise for being inactive for more than a month. My real life and other engaments as well as the wish of spending less time on social media kept me away from blogging. But now I’m back. I’ll post reviews to the 12 books I’ve read so far this year in the next couple of days and then I’ll take it from there to post about books I’ll read as well as other bookish things.

Now to the book (it will be a short review):
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The book is like a collection of characters of all books set in the shadowhunter world. For every character, there is a short introduction or story about them as well as a drawing of them accompanied by the name of a flower and a prominent character trait.
Because the content of the stories are basically the same told in the real books I’m not talking about them. There isn’t really anything new here.
But I need to say that I love the drawings hence the high rating. I think they are fitting the characters really well. And the artist Cassandra Jean is so talented. I loved her already for her illustrations of the Bane Chronicles. And all the flowers and the character traits were splendidly chosen.
The only sad point here is that the author and the shadowhunter world is so highly problematic. 

Top 5 Reads of 2016

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— This blog post contains spoiler —

Yesterday I published my “Worst Reads of 2016” blog post which was easily written. I could immediately decide on a couple of books that weren’t that good. But deciding my “Top 5 Reads of 2016” was so difficult. I made a list with all the possible reads and it contained more than two dozen books. After days of reorganising and cutting I finally picked 5 books. I all rated them 5 out of 5 stars on goodreads. I read more with 5 stars rated books but I can’t include all. The blog post would just be to long. Anyway, here is the list:
  • The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
The Raven King is the fourth and final instalment in the Raven Cycle series. Boy, I love these books. They are about a girl, Blue, and 4 boys, Gansey, Noah, Ronan and Adam who experience the spiritual and psychic side of the world. I won’t say more about the content. You just have to read and love it yourself. This book includes bisexual, gay and polyarmorous representation, ghosts, psychics, trees who speak Latin, glitter and humans who turn into trees.
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
It’s about the life of a girl in Germany during World War II. She loses her parents and has to live with a foster family. She also loves books and reading. There is so much death included in this book. In fact, the story is narrated by the personified death itself. You, as a reader, just have to cry, not only about the dead but also about a kiss that was never granted and finally given to late.
  • The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
The first book of a new Percy Jackson series. This time Apollo gets kicked out of Olympus and turned into a mortal. It’s a fun, light and quick read. But the most important part is the representation of the characters: a bisexual maincharcter, different races, different members of the lgbt community and finally my most favourite otp finally becomes canon. 
  • The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan
It’s the second instalment in the Magnus Chase series. The books are about the adventures of Magnus Chase and his friends who have to deal with the Norse gods. We have a hijab wearing girl as a main character. Also there is Alex, a genderqueer teen. It’s the very first book in which I encountered a genderqueer character. And the crush Magnus has for Alex is the cutest (otp alarm).
  • Central Park by Guillaume Musso
I don’t know if this book was already published in English. I read the original French version. This book is about Alice, a Parisian policewoman and Gabriel who wake up in Central Park without knowing what happened last night or how they got to New York. I can’t tell you anything more about the content because I don’t want to give away to much about the ending but you should know that the entire story changes in the last 50 pages. Whatever you think happened may or may not happened. There is a reason for everything. You will be totally surprised. Also I can’t tell you which minority group it represents but you should know the book is diverse and deals with some form of disorder.
And finally, I want to present some honorary mentions of books I loved:
  • I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  • Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (reread)
  • Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz (reread)
  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  • Somewhere Towards The End by Diana Athill
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • And I Darken by Kiersten White
  • A Separate Place by John Knowles
  • The Surpremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat by Edward Kelsey Moore

Worst reads of 2016

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–This list may contain spoiler. Please decide for yourself if you should read it and get spoiled.–

In 2016, I read 109 books and so many of them were fantastic but I also read a handful that were bad. The following blog post is just a small overview about these books and doesn’t contain complete reviews. So here is a list of these reads.
  • Das babylonische Handbuch der Sprache by Olaus Faber
It’s really rare that I read a book in German even so my mother tongue is German. It usually happens when the book was originally published in German. That’s the case for this book. The book is about languages, linguistics phenomena like tongue twister and relations between languages. It was published in 2008 and until now never translated. This non-fiction book was written for the average reader and not a linguistics specialist like me but it was so boring and contained some mistakes that I will never recommend it to anybody. I gave it 2 out of 5 and on goodreads it has a 3,8 average rating after 5 ratings in total.
  • Captive Prince trilogy by C.S. Pacat
Especially the first one was really problematic and the sequels got just slightly better. The book is about 2 princes whose families are enemies but who also fall for each other. If the trilogy would have just be about this romance it would have been really lovely but it wasn’t. It’s highly problematic: racism, child abuse, rape, child prostitution, violence and more. I rated the first book with 2 out of 5 and the sequels with 3,5 out of 5 and I wrote a review for each of the books if you like to know more. 
  • The Kreutzer Sonata by Leo Tolstoy
If you know me a bit you already know that Leo Tolstoy is one of my favourite authors. I love War and Peace and Anna Karenina but this book wasn’t that good. It was already considered controversial when it was published in 1890 and I still would consider it controversial because it’s about Marshal whose wife has an affair and which drives him to murder.  I gave it 3 out of 5.
  • The Vegetarian by Han Kang
It was one of my last reads in 2016 and highly controversial and in certain ways problematic. It’s about Yeong-hye who decides to become vegetarian after having a dream and who has some mental problems. But the book also contains violence, abuse and mentalism. I gave it 3 out of 5 because the writing style and some characters and their interactions were beautiful.
  • The girl on the train by Paula Hawkins
I don’t want to talk about the content because it would give away to much but you should know that the first half was really boring, some of the content told by one point-of-view would have been better told by someone else and it is problematic: violence, abuse and mentalism. I gave it 3,5 out of 5 but I’m thinking about changing it for the worse.

Review – The Vegetarian by Han Kang

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Review – The Vegetarian by Han Kang

Rating: 3 out of 5
—-Contains Spoiler —-
The Vegetarian was first published in 2007, based on a short story by the same author: “The fruit of my Woman” (1997) and translated into English by Deborah Smith and published in the UK in 2015. In 2016, the drama novella won the Man Booker International Prize.
The drama novella contains 3 different parts, narrated by 3 different persons. Here a short recap of the three part:
Part 1: “The Vegetarian”
Narrated by Mr. Cheong, Yeong-hye’s husband. He tells the reader about his ordinary life which gets turned upside down when his wife Yeong-hye decides to stop eating meat, later on even milk and eggs. Her behaviour is not accepted by her family and at a family gathering her father forces meat into her mouth. Yeong-hye spits it out and cuts her wrists in an attempt to end her life. 
The first part shows many problematic characteristics like child abuse, rape, violence against women and minors and male superiority. Mental problems are called “mental abnormalities”.   
Part 2: “Mongolian Mark”
Narrated by the husband of In-hye, Yeong-hye’s sister. This part takes place about 2 years after part 1. Mr. Cheong has divorced Yeong-hye who was herself a while in medical care. Yeong-hye is still a vegetarian and has to deal with the rejection from her family and former husband. The husband of In-hye, an artist, lets Yeong-hye take part in a video project. Towards the end of part 2, they have an one-night-stand. In the morning In-hye caughts her husband with her sister and calls the mental institute. 
Part 2 shows signs of exploitation of mentally troubled persons. 
Part 3: “Flaming Trees”
Narrated by In-hye, sister of Yeong-hye. The story takes place about one year after part 2. In-hye broke up her relationship with her husband who disappears. Yeong-hye now lives in a mental institute. She refuses to eat and starves herself. Towards the end of the novella she sees herself as a tree and not an animal anymore.
Seen as one novella, it’s really difficult to give a rating to the three parts. The book tells us about mental problems and the reaction of society towards persons with such problems. The writing style is fascinating in such a way that it bounds you to the novella without seeing it just as fantasy but as real life problems. And I totally understand why the book gets so much praise. But I hate that we don’t know what’s going to happen to Yeong-hye. 
All in all, I would say everybody has to read it for themselves and decides if they like it or not. You can’t say “if you like this genre, you will like the book”. No, it’s a really personal decision.

Bookish New Year Resolutions 2017

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After I already saw a couple of posts about new year resolutions I thought it would be about time to do my own one. So here we go:

  • Set a smaller reading goal. 

    In 2016 I set my goal at 100 books and actually I even read more than a hundred books but because I had to read 2 books every week I mostly read shorter novels – about 200-300 pages long. It shouldn’t be that way. It took quite a lot of fun out of reading. So I’m setting my goal at 80 books and I’m going to read longer books.

    • Read more classics and non-fiction.

    I used to mostly read only classics and non-fiction books if I read any book at all. But last year I got (back) into YA and Fantasy and only read these books. In 2016 I read some classics and non-fiction books but just a few, not even a dozen. And because I own so many unread ones I definitely wanna read some more of them.

    • Reduce your physical tbr pile.

    This goes in hand with the previous point. I bought so many books in the last 2 years that my tbr pile now counts a couple of hundred books. I just have to reduce this pile. It’s getting out of hand. I don’t have the shelf or room space to put all this books in.

    • Don’t auto-buy all books talked about on social media.

    This one goes again hand in hand with the previous point. I bought so many books featured on social media (twitter, tumblr, instagram, goodreads, YouTube) and I just put them all on my tbr list on goodreads and whenever I saw one in a bookstore I bought them or I just ordered them online. I don’t wanna do this anymore. First of all, it costs me a lot of money and i can’t really afford this bookish life style. And second, my tbr pile keeps growing. That’s why I’m only going to buy the new releases of my favourite authors and the rest of the books have to wait till I have some money to spare or I really need some books because I don’t have anymore books to read (what probably isn’t going to happen because of my huge tbr pile). 

    • Don’t be present on social media around the clock.

    In 2016, I also got into bookish social media. In January, I created my goodreads pile. A tumblr blog I already had. In summer I added an bookstagram account, last month I deleted my personal twitter account and created a more bookish one, and just a couple of days ago I created this WordPress account. Additionally, I also have a fashion blog on Pinterest, an aesthetic photography instagram account and Snapchat. And actually I was planning on creating a booktube channel. And this is getting really out of hand. Especially because I’m online on every account every day and I’m trying to post on them every day. In 2017, I really wanna stop this. I’m pushing my plans for a YouTube channel back. And I won’t try to post every day. It’s not the worst thing in the world if I don’t daily post a picture on instagram or answer every comment and private message immediately. I should take more time of the internet to deal with my real life. 
    So for now that’s all. I can’t think of more things to do for the moment but I think if I’m going to follow all these resolutions I’m actually changing my life for the better. At least, I’m going to try. 

    Review – The 100 Rebellion by Kass Morgan

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    Review – The 100 Rebellion by Kass Morgan

    Rating: 4,5 out of 5
    —- Contains Spoiler —-
    The 100 Rebellion is the 4th instalment in The 100 series by Kass Morgan, first published December 6th 2016.
    The book is again told out of 4 different point-of-views: Clarke, Wells, Bellamy and Glass.  The story takes places about a month after the happenings in book 3. The village built by the Colonists gets attacked at the Harvest Fest by the so called Protectors. They are a cult dedicating themselves to Earth witch takes the part of the god in their scenario. They grow by stealing food, supplies and new members from other settlements to establish their view of the world as the only right one. During the attacks Wells, Glass and several other members of the Colonists and the Earthborns are captured and a search team including Bellamy and Clarke are sent out to get them back. I won’t spoil everything that’s happened to all 4 of them but in the end the Stone, the settlement of the Protectors and former Pentagon of the United States, gets destroyed and most of the captured men and women can return to their settlements.
    The book is not only action driven but also about the characters. The relationship between Clarke and Bellamy takes a step forward, Wells has to deal with Sasha’s death, Glass and Luke’s relationship deepens and Octavia finds herself a significant other.
    Even so the book isn’t super diverse we get a lot of representation: gay and lesbian love interests, different religions and believes, different skin colours. 
    Over all this book was a fantastic read and a real page turner. But one thing wasn’t adding up (that’s why it’s only 4,5 out of 5): Clarke’s parents where out in the world, trying to find a possibility to contact the Arch but they never met anybody else? According to this book there isn’t only the Earthborn’s Village from Mount Weather and the Stone, the Protectors settlement, but also more villages in the North and South and in the Mountains. So all around. And Clarke’s parents didn’t know anything about them? That doesn’t really work.
    But that is the only fault in this book. So if you love YA and dystopian books and are a fan of the 100 you should definitely read this book.

    Review – Kings Rising by C.S. Pacat

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    Review – Kings Rising by C.S. Pacat

    Rating: 3,5 out of 5
    —- Contains Spolier —-
    Kings Rising is the last instalment in the Captive Prince trilogy by C.S. Pacat, first published in 2015 and following Captive Prince and Prince’s Gambit.
    After Damen officially takes back his place as the King of Akielos, he and Laurent of Vere conquer the North of Akielos to hold several provinces of Vere and Akielos loyal to them. Leaving their armies behind they travel with just a small escort and some allies incognito towards Ios, the capital of Akielos where after some plotting and fighting Damen takes back his throne and Laurent takes back his kingdom after the Regent of Vere got executed because of treason and Kastor, half brother of Damen gets killed by Laurent.
    The story is really action and character driven because it’s not only about their actions but also about the relationship between Damen and Laurent. Laurent has to get over the fact that Damen is now officially a member of the royal family of Akielos again and that he killed Laurent’s brother. There is a lot of fighting and unresolved feelings but in the end they find a way to deal with everything. The relationship between the two really gets to you and causes some heartache which is pretty nice.
    But as always there are some problems with this book which I have to point out.
    First of all, we have to deal again with child prostitution and child abuse. It’s still not ok that the society of Vere accepts this and just being against it but never act against it never helps. Don’t just talk about it, do something. Save these kids.
    Another problem is incest. The Regent of Vere abused his own nephew. And even so the Regent gets executed for treason for killing his brother nobody ever stated that it’s also for what he did to his nephew. So there was no punishment.
    After I read all three books now, I can say that the storyline and the relationship of Damen and Laurent are really fascinating but there are just too many problems in this book and even so the second and third book (both 3,5 out of 5) were so much better than the first book (2 out of 5) I can’t give the series more than 3 out of 5 in total.

    Review – Prince’s Gambit by C.S. Pacat

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    Review – Prince’s Gambit by C.S. Pacat

    Rating: 3,5 out of 5
    —- Contains Spoiler —-

    Prince’s Gambit is the Second instalment in the Captive Prince Trilogie by C. S. Pacat. It was published in July 2015 following the first book Captive Prince.
    The Book is again about Damen who officially is still the bed slave of Laurent, Crown Prince of Vere. The story follows both of them while they are making their way from Arles, capital of Vere, in the North to the southern border of Vere. The book tells us about their experiences and adventures and about their deepening relationship. After only Damen showed a crush on Laurent in the first book we finally see them kiss and get some action.
    Considering everything the second book was so much better than the first book. To me it seems like the author herself saw that her first book in this series was really problematic.
    First of all, there are now same sex relationships that aren’t only seen as sexual satisfaction but as real love interests.
    Second, the whole rape thing, which was really big in the first book, was not mentioned once. Nobody got raped. Perfect!
    Third, the child abuse situation disappeared. The regent of Vere still is pedophil and has his boys to get on with his needs but the story is presented that way that the children aren’t getting raped or abused. But it’s still problematic. 
    Fourth, there is a small race problem. Damen’s skin tone is compared to food which must be considered as racist. Please don’t compare people’s skin tone to food!
    Fifth, they are murdering children, not only in war time but also as a massage. That’s definitely not ok.
    I still see this book series as highly problematic. Let’s see how the last book will go.

    Hey everybody

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    This is just a small introduction post.

    My name is Kevin. I’m 22 and a student from Germany. So German is my mother tongue. I’m nearly fluent in English and French and speak a couple of other languages as well.
    I’m a huge book nerd. My favourite authors are J.K. Rowling, Rick Riordan, Maggie Stiefvater, Leo Tolstoy, Stephen Chbosky.
    Where you can find me as well:
    Instagram: booksaremarvellous
    Twitter: booksrmarvelous
    Goodreads: booksaremarvellous
    Tumblr: booksaremarvellous
    Snapchat: kevinkrawietz1
    (I have Facebook and Pinterest too but I don’t use Facebook and my Pinterest isn’t about books). 
    I’m here for all bookish content. I’m going to write reviews for books I’ve read, collect tbrs and create recommendation lists.
    I’m open for every suggestion and ask. So just contact me.
    Lots of literary love XO