and welcome to my January wrap up. Very well into February, I finally managed to finish this post. It took me ages because I had no energy left in me to do anything else but work and read but I’m off work for a couple of days, finally getting both energy and motivation back!
So, let’s have a look. What happened in January?
what happened in January
I had a week off work and went home, the first time in months. I saw most of my family and friends and it made me realize just how much I miss home. Not only the people, but everything. There is this certain feeling of home, of belonging, of being at peace with my surroundings and myself. I feel comfortable there, truly and utterly comfortable. It was the first time in all those years since I moved away for university that I cried upon leaving.
Leaving home was the worst day I’ve had in quite a while. I can’t wait to go back home again in April. I can’t wait to see my friends and family again and by then I hope spring hit us with full force so I can go outside and enjoy nature.
Other than that week, not much happened during January. I worked, I read, I slept. My laptop broke (but it’s fine), I had a wonderful dinner with a friend.
BOOKS I READ
Jade Fire Gold by June C.L. Tan
Ahn is no one, with no past and no family.
Altan is a lost heir, his future stolen away as a child.
When they meet, Altan sees in Ahn a path to reclaiming the throne. Ahn sees a way to finally unlock her past and understand her arcane magical abilities.
But they may have to pay a far deadlier price than either could have imagined.
I really, really enjoyed this book! I was hooked from page 1, loved the mysteries and secrets and the characters’ banter and friendship (and more?). While the story takes a while to really get going, this just got me into the world and the book’s mood better. I had so much fun reading Jade Fire Gold and finished it within a few days.
Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong
These Violent Delights #2
The year is 1927, and Shanghai teeters on the edge of revolution.
After sacrificing her relationship with Roma to protect him from the blood feud, Juliette has been a girl on the warpath. One wrong move, and her cousin will step in to usurp her place as the Scarlet Gang’s heir. The only way to save the boy she loves from the wrath of the Scarlets is to have him want her dead for murdering his best friend in cold blood. If Juliette were actually guilty of the crime Roma believes she committed, his rejection might sting less.
Roma is still reeling from Marshall’s death, and his cousin Benedikt will barely speak to him. Roma knows it’s his fault for letting the ruthless Juliette back into his life, and he’s determined to set things right—even if that means killing the girl he hates and loves with equal measure.
Then a new monstrous danger emerges in the city, and though secrets keep them apart, Juliette must secure Roma’s cooperation if they are to end this threat once and for all. Shanghai is already at a boiling point: The Nationalists are marching in, whispers of civil war brew louder every day, and gangster rule faces complete annihilation. Roma and Juliette must put aside their differences to combat monsters and politics, but they aren’t prepared for the biggest threat of all: protecting their hearts from each other.
Reader, I cried. I put this book off because I had to be in the right mood for it. And finally, in the first week of January, the right mood struck and I flew threw the pages. The tension, the intrigues, the feuds and friendships and romances, all of it was again superbly written. Chloe Gong truly has written another masterpiece which managed to break my heart. I loved Our Violent Ends just as much as its predecessor, if not a bit more.
Verwirrung der Gefühle by Stefan Zweig
engl. title: Confusion
Einer der wichtigsten Coming-Out Texte der Weltliteratur und ein Klassiker von Zweig, dem Meister der feinsinnigen Charakterzeichnung: Ein 60-jähriger Anglist erinnert sich anlässlich einer für ihn verfassten Festschrift seiner Schüler an seinen eigenen Lehrer – und seine einzige große Liebe.
Die Herausgeber haben nach Sichtung aller greifbaren Handschriften und Vorstufen gestrichene und veränderte Partien im Kommentar exemplarisch vorgestellt. So wird ein Text wieder hergestellt, der ein beeindruckendes Zeugnis ist von der Schwierigkeit, ein Thema wie Homosexualität anzugehen, die zu Zweigs Zeiten strafbar war.
Confusion is a book I definitely need to reread. I listened to the audio book but missed a few parts because I find it hard to stay focused when I don’t have anything to look at. While I finished with a “that wasn’t such a good book”-feeling, I suspect that I’ll think differently when I reread it. The portrayal of homosexuality was both subtle while also being as clear as possible, how it was written was fascinating and surely scandalous in the time it was published. I did like the writing. I don’t want to give a final verdict just yet.
Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim
Shiori, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted, but it also catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother.
Raikama has dark magic of her own, and she banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes, and warning Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.
Peniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and, on her journey, uncovers a conspiracy to overtake the throne—a conspiracy more twisted and deceitful, more cunning and complex, than even Raikama’s betrayal. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. And she must embrace the magic she’s been taught all her life to contain—no matter what it costs her.
I LOVED this book! I read it in 2 days and loved every page. All the secrets and twists I didn’t see were so well woven into this story of magic and power and the love within a family. The writing was so good and so was the world building and the characters especially. I adored Shiori and her fierceness and her love for her family and how she’d do everything for them. She and her brothers are such a wonderful group and I loved reading about them and their journey so much. Can’t wait for the series to continue!
Orangen sind nicht die einzige Frucht by Jeanette Winterson
orig. title: Oranges are not the only fruit
Die temperamentvolle Jeanette wächst als Adoptivkind bei fanatischen Mitgliedern der Pfingstbewegung auf. Für ihre Stiefmutter ist sie eine »Auserwählte«, die mit ihr gegen die sündige Welt kämpft und eine Missionarin für die Kirche werden soll. Doch Jeanette erfährt einen unerwarteten Sinneswandel, als sie sich mit sechzehn in eine junge Frau verliebt. Von ihrer Gemeinde und ihrer Stiefmutter für diese Liebe geächtet und zunehmend unsicher, warum der Glaube über dem Verlangen stehen sollte, verlässt sie schließlich ihr Elternhaus und die Kirche, um selbstbestimmt ihr Glück zu finden.
I don’t really have any feelings towards this book. I read it and that’s it. It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t good, it was simply a book where I’m not sure what to think of it. It definitely wasn’t what I expected, it was definitely confusing. I was never entirely sure about the timeline or the age of the protagonist, never sure about what the fuck was happening. I expected something like a sapphic manifesto maybe, I don’t even know. But now I just don’t know what the message of the book was. Did it even have one? I simply don’t know about Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit. I’ve read it and now it’s in the past I guess.
Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn’t matter that the girls often die from the mental strain.
When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it’s to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister’s death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected—she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead.
To tame her unnerving yet invaluable mental strength, she is paired up with Li Shimin, the strongest and most controversial male pilot in Huaxia. But now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she will not cower so easily. She will miss no opportunity to leverage their combined might and infamy to survive attempt after attempt on her life, until she can figure out exactly why the pilot system works in its misogynist way—and stop more girls from being sacrificed.
*Bangs fist on table* PLEASE EVERYONE GO READ THIS BOOK. Seriously. Iron Widow was amazing and I already know it’s going to be one of this year’s reading highlights. Zetian is the kind of unhinged, fierce and determined protagonist I love. She doesn’t let anything or anyone stop her in her quest for freedom and power while she rages through the country. My god, if she was real, I’d probably worship her or something. Also, this book was very queer and has a poly relationship AND I AM HERE FOR IT. I AM SO HERE FOR IT. I am here for angry boys and soft boys and boys with an agenda and boys who love Zetian and also each other. That’s the good shit, truly. Iron Widow made me laugh and cackle and surprised me a lot and I read it within a day, staying up WAY too long before a work day but I just needed to finish.
Wow, what an explosion of a book. I am amazed and in awe and I love this book so much.
Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen
This is the story of a great love – a love that will threaten worlds and anger Gods.
This is a story that will change history.
Simidele is one of the Mami Wata, mermaids duty-bound to collect the souls of those who die at sea and bless their journeys back home to the Supreme Creator.
But when a living boy is thrown overboard a slave ship, Simi saves his life, going against an ancient decree and bringing terrible danger to the mami wata.
Now Simi must journey to the Supreme Creator to make amends – a journey of vengeful gods, treacherous lands and legendary creatures. If she fails, she risks not just the fate of all Mami Wata, but also the world as she knows it.
I feel like I couldn’t appreciate this book as much as it deserves. I read it right after Iron Widow and the problem with amazing books is that the book after has a hard time comparing to it. I absolutely loved the concept of Skin of the Sea, I loved the world building. I also liked Simidele, the protagonist, but had some troubles with Kola. I adored his friends a lot, though. All the magic and myths woven into the story came across really well but I could see what would happen from miles away which took a bit of the enjoyment away for me. I did enjoy the book and I also plan to reread it, maybe not right after an exceptionally amazing book so I can truly get into it.
books I got this month
Only a monster by Vanessa Len (ARC)
It should have been the perfect summer. Sent to stay with her late mother’s eccentric family in London, sixteen-year-old Joan is determined to enjoy herself. She loves her nerdy job at the historic Holland House, and when her super cute co-worker Nick asks her on a date, it feels like everything is falling into place.
But she soon learns the truth. Her family aren’t just eccentric: they’re monsters, with terrifying, hidden powers. And Nick isn’t just a cute boy: he’s a legendary monster slayer, who will do anything to bring them down.
As she battles Nick, Joan is forced to work with the beautiful and ruthless Aaron Oliver, heir to a monster family that hates her own. She’ll have to embrace her own monstrousness if she is to save herself, and her family. Because in this story . . .
. . . she is not the hero.
The Scum Villain’s Self-Saving System by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu
Half-demon Luo Binghe rose from humble beginnings and a tortured past to become unrivaled in strength and beauty. With his harem of over three hundred wives, and dominion over both the human and demonic realms, he is truly the most powerful protagonist—in a trashy web novel series!
At least, that’s what Shen Yuan, online alias “Peerless Cucumber,” believes as he finishes reading the final chapter in Proud Immortal Demon Way. But when a combination of rage and a poor meal choice leads to his death, Shen Yuan finds himself reborn into the world of the web novel, in the body of Shen Qingqiu—the beautiful but cruel teacher to a young Luo Binghe. Although as Shen Qingqiu, he now has incredible power and abilities as a cultivator, he’s destined to be horrifically punished for crimes against the protagonist, so this new Shen Qingqiu has only one course of action: get into Luo Binghe’s good graces before the young man’s rise to power. That’s the only way he’ll escape the awful fate of a true scum villain!
Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu
Wei Wuxian was once one of the most powerful men of his generation, a talented and clever young cultivator who harnessed martial arts and spirituality into powerful abilities. But when the horrors of war led him to seek more power through demonic cultivation, the world’s respect for his abilities turned to fear, and his death was celebrated throughout the land.
Years later, he awakens in the body of an aggrieved young man who sacrifices his soul so that Wei Wuxian can exact revenge on his behalf. Though granted a second life, Wei Wuxian is not free from his first, nor the mysteries that appear before him now. Yet this time, he’ll face it all with the righteous and esteemed Lan Wangji at his side, another powerful cultivator whose unwavering dedication and shared memories of their past will help shine a light on the dark truths that surround them.
Heaven Official’s Blessing by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu
Born the crown prince of a prosperous kingdom, Xie Lian was renowned for his beauty, strength, and purity. His years of dedication and noble deeds allowed him to ascend to godhood. But those who rise, can also fall…and fall he does, cast from the Heavens again and again and banished to the mortal realm.
Eight hundred years after his mortal life, Xie Lian has ascended to godhood for the third time. Now only a lowly scrap collector, he is dispatched to wander the earthly realm to take on tasks appointed by the heavens to pay back debts and maintain his divinity. Aided by old friends and foes alike, and graced with the company of a mysterious young man with whom he feels an instant connection, Xie Lian must confront the horrors of his past in order to dispel the curse of his present.
The Wolf of Oren-yaro by K.S. Villoso
Born under the crumbling towers of Oren-yaro, Queen Talyien was the shining jewel and legacy of the bloody War of the Wolves that nearly tore her nation apart. Her upcoming marriage to the son of her father’s rival heralds peaceful days to come.
But his sudden departure before their reign begins fractures the kingdom beyond repair.
Years later, Talyien receives a message, urging her to attend a meeting across the sea. It’s meant to be an effort at reconciliation, but an assassination attempt leaves the queen stranded and desperate to survive in a dangerous land. With no idea who she can trust, she’s on her own as she struggles to fight her way home.
We Contain Multitudes by Sarah Henstra
Jonathan Hopkirk and Adam “Kurl” Kurlansky are partnered in English class, writing letters to one another in a weekly pen pal assignment. With each letter, the two begin to develop a friendship that eventually grows into love. But with homophobia, bullying, and devastating family secrets, Jonathan and Kurl struggle to overcome their conflicts and hold onto their relationship…and each other.
The Toll by Neal Shusterman
Everything has changed in the world of the scythes. Citra and Rowan have disappeared. The floating city of Endura is gone. It looks like nothing else stands between Scythe Goddard and absolute power. Now that the Thunderhead is silent, the question remains: Is there anyone left who can stop him?
The answer lies in the Tone, the Toll and the Thunder.
Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen by Sarah Bird
Though born into bondage on a “miserable tobacco farm” in Little Dixie, Missouri, Cathy Williams was never allowed to consider herself a slave. According to her mother, she was a captive, bound by her noble warrior blood to escape the enemy. Her means of deliverance is Union general Phillip Henry “Smash ‘em Up” Sheridan, the outcast of West Point who takes the rawboned, prideful young woman into service. At war’s end, having tasted freedom, Cathy refuses to return to servitude and makes the monumental decision to disguise herself as a man and join the Army’s legendary Buffalo Soldiers.
Alone now in the ultimate man’s world, Cathy must fight not only for her survival and freedom, but she vows to never give up on finding her mother, her little sister, and the love of the only man strong and noble enough to win her heart. Inspired by the stunning, true story of Private Williams, this American heroine comes to vivid life in a sweeping and magnificent tale about one woman’s fight for freedom, respect and independence.
The Princess will Save You by Sarah Henning
When her warrior father, King Sendoa, mysteriously dies, Princess Amarande of Ardenia is given what would hardly be considered a choice: Marry a stranger at sixteen or lose control of her family’s crown.
But Amarande was raised to be a warrior—not a sacrifice.
In an attempt to force her choice, a neighboring kingdom kidnaps her true love, stable boy Luca. With her kingdom on the brink of civil war and no one to trust, she’ll need all her skill to save him, her future, and her kingdom.
Not the Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi
Lulu Saad doesn’t need your advice, thank you very much. She’s got her three best friends and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she’d nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It’s all under control. Ish.
Except maybe this time she’s done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can’t find her way out of this mess soon, she’ll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances, and wet clothing. She’ll have to go looking for herself.
Our Wayward Fate by Gloria Chao
Seventeen-year-old Ali Chu knows that as the only Asian person at her school in middle-of-nowhere Indiana, she must be bland as white toast to survive. This means swapping her congee lunch for PB&Js, ignoring the clueless racism from her classmates and teachers, and keeping her mouth shut when people wrongly call her Allie instead of her actual name, Ah-lee, after the mountain in Taiwan.
Her autopilot existence is disrupted when she finds out that Chase Yu, the new kid in school, is also Taiwanese. Despite some initial resistance due to the they belong together whispers, Ali and Chase soon spark a chemistry rooted in competitive martial arts, joking in two languages, and, most importantly, pushing back against the discrimination they face.
But when Ali’s mom finds out about the relationship, she forces Ali to end it. As Ali covertly digs into the why behind her mother’s disapproval, she uncovers secrets about her family and Chase that force her to question everything she thought she knew about life, love, and her unknowable future.
Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan
Growing up on the moon, Xingyin is accustomed to solitude, unaware that she is being hidden from the feared Celestial Emperor who exiled her mother for stealing his elixir of immortality. But when Xingyin’s magic flares and her existence is discovered, she is forced to flee her home, leaving her mother behind.
Alone, powerless, and afraid, she makes her way to the Celestial Kingdom, a land of wonder and secrets. Disguising her identity, she seizes an opportunity to learn alongside the emperor’s son, mastering archery and magic, even as passion flames between her and the prince.
To save her mother, Xingyin embarks on a perilous quest, confronting legendary creatures and vicious enemies across the earth and skies. But when treachery looms and forbidden magic threatens the kingdom, she must challenge the ruthless Celestial Emperor for her dream—striking a dangerous bargain in which she is torn between losing all she loves or plunging the realm into chaos.
what I blogged
- Miss Veronica und das Wunder der Pinguine von Hazel Prior Rezension
- Favourite book of each month of 2021
- Favourite books of 2021 that made me (almost) wail on the floor
- Bookish Best of 2021 + reading stats
- Exciting January releases
- Love is on Air von Sophie Sullivan Rezension
- Pondathon II sign up
blog posts I loved to read this month
I wanted to read SO MANY blog posts and then I simply didn’t have the energy. I really do hope I can read more blogs in February!
- Rezension zu Marie Graßhoff: Hard Liquor by Jenny @ The Beauty and the Book
- Rezension zu Stephanie Garber: Once Upon a Broken Heart by Anna @ Buchstabenträumerei
- Blogging vs. Social Media: Why having a book blog still matters by Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books
- 14 Awesome YA Books To Read Based On TV Shows You Like by Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books
- How to increase your book blog’s traffic: 7 easy ways to grow by Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books
- Why Reading and Writing Fanfiction is an excellent Way to Grow as a Writer by Charvi @ Not Just Fiction
How was your month? What did you read? What happened in your life?
Until next month,
I’m so glad you got to go home and spent some quality time with your family, I hope you can go back soon! I so get that feeling of… feeling like you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be and where it feels right, too. I hope you get that feeling back soon <3
I really need to try and read The Violent Ends duology someday, everyone loves it so much ahah:)
thank you! It’s kind of weird moving away from home but still feeling so rooted there. It’s been over 7 years for me but home still has that incomparable feeling of rightness.
These Violent Delights is definitely one of my favourite duologies! If you pick it up, I hope you’ll love it!