5★ books | wrap-ups

Read in June

08/07/2019

Hoohoo, guys.

After months of only posting book hauls (or nothing wrap-upish at all), I’m finally coming around to writing about the books I’ve actually read. And that is just because I’m procrastinating. Haha. Go me, I guess. Anyways, June was quite a good reading month for me and I read some great books. And I have to admit that I didn’t try to only read LGBT+ books for Pride month but the thing is… I mostly read books with queer characters anyways. You can see which books I read and what I thought about them below.

*WERBUNG/AD: Books with a red * are ARCs which I received in exchange for an honest review.


THE GILDED WOLVES BY ROSHANI CHOKSHI

Series: The Gilded Wolves #1 | Publisher: Wednesday Books | Released: 15th January 2019 | Pages: 388 | Genre: Historical Fantasy YA | TW: blood, death | rep: Indian, Jewish, bi, gay, Filipino | Rating: ★★★★/5

What’s it about?

It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.
To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.
Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive. (goodreads)

What did I think?

I loved this book. Even though the pace is a bit slow at some parts, I didn’t mind. The writing is beautiufl and detailed and lets you imagine Paris at the end of the 19th century in such wonderful, bright colours. The city is before you with colours, thieves and magic, with riches and smells and amazing people. The whole setting was just great, I loved it, the descriptions, the history and the magical twists. I also enjoyed the characters. The story is told from several POVs, letting you look into a character’s thoughts and whole being really well. Like that, nobody is really left out, we get background infos for everyone, their friendships and relationships, their thoughts and motivations. I really, really, really enjoyed this book immensely.


HOT DOG GIRL BY JENNIFER DUGAN

Publisher: Putnam | Released: 30th April 2019 | Pages: 306 | Genre: Contemporary YA | rep: bi, lesbian | rating: ★★★★/5

What’s it about?

Elouise (Lou) Parker is determined to have the absolute best, most impossibly epic summer of her life. There are just a few things standing in her way:
* She’s landed a job at Magic Castle Playland . . . as a giant dancing hot dog.
* Her crush, the dreamy Diving Pirate Nick, already has a girlfriend, who is literally the Princess of the park. But Lou’s never liked anyone, guy or otherwise, this much before, and now she wants a chance at her own happily ever after.
* Her best friend, Seeley, the carousel operator, who’s always been up for anything, suddenly isn’t when it comes to Lou’s quest to set her up with the perfect girl or Lou’s scheme to get close to Nick.
* And it turns out that this will be their last summer at Magic Castle Playland–ever–unless she can find a way to stop it from closing. (goodreads)

What did I think?

Overall, I really enjoyed Hot Dog Girl. I definitely laughed a lot. This book, and especially its main character Lou are the embodiment of second hand embarassment that either made me cringe, snort or laugh until I cried. That I read this book while eating and it now looks like Lou’s hot dog suit with food and fat inside (I’m sorry, book) should speak for itself. I got annoyed from time to time but Elouise is just so cute, I couldn’t stay mad at her for long. I loved her friendship with Seeley and generally the people in this story. I also really enjoyed the atmosphere of the story, the park, the summer, the not-knowing-what-comes-next. This is a perfect, light and fun summer read.


SAVE ME BY MONA KASTEN

Series: Maxton Hall #1 | Publisher: Lübbe Audio | Read by: Milena Karas, Michael-Che Koch | Released: 23rd February 2018 | Genre: contemporary YA | TW: drugs, drug and alcohol abuse, death of a loved one | Rep: wheelchair user, fat girl | rating: ★★/5

Um was geht’s?

Geld, Glamour, Luxus, Macht – all das könnte Ruby Bell nicht weniger interessieren. Das Einzige, was sie sich wünscht, ist ein erfolgreicher Abschluss vom Maxton Hall College, eine der teuersten Privatschulen Englands. Vor allem mit James Beaufort, dem heimlichen Anführer des College, will sie nichts zu tun haben. Er ist zu arrogant, zu attraktiv und zu reich. Doch schon bald bleibt ihr keine andere Wahl. (goodreads)

Wie fand ich’s?

*Enthält leichte Spoiler* Ich muss sagen, dass ich nicht über die Maßen begeistert bin. Um ganz ehrlich zu sein, wollte ich mehrere Male abbrechen, aber hab mich schlussendlich dagegen entschieden. Das Buch bedient einfach unglaublich viele Klischees, angefangen bei „braves, strebsames, armes Mädchen verliebt sich in reichen Bad Boy“. Ich kann dieses Trope einfach nicht mehr sehen, es geht mir so auf den Keks. Und natürlich verändert sie ihn mit ihrer Art und er möchte für sie besser sein als er es bisher war. Doch es passiert etwas schlimmes und er verfällt in sein altes Ich und alles geht den Bach runter. Ich mochte zwar Ruby als Protagonistin, sowie ihre Schwester, aber dann hört es leider auch auf. Zu den anderen Personen fand ich kaum bis gar keinen Zugang. Die Sprecherin des Hörbuchs fand ich ebenfalls super, den Sprecher irgendwie unpassend. Leider verspüre ich jetzt so gar keine Lust, Band 2&3 zu lesen. Aber ich muss unbedingt loswerden, dass ich das Cover wunderschön finde.


IN THE SILENCES BY RACHEL GOLD*

Publisher: Bella Books | Released: 15th May 2019 | Pages: 260 | Genre: contemporary Middle Grade/YA | rep: nonbinary, bi, lesbian, trans, gay, queer, black, Indian, Korean | TW: racism, queerphobia, queermisia | Rating: ★★★★★/5 | Own Voice Nonbinary

What’s it about?

When did life get so dangerous? Kaz Adams just wants to read comic books with her best friend, Aisha Warren. And maybe get up the nerve to ask her out, if Kaz turns out to be a gender that Aisha’s into.
Kaz figured she’d be the target of violence for her gender nonconformity, but a fatal police shooting thirty miles from their town opens her eyes to the realities of racism. She watches as pressures at school and in their social group mount against Aisha. Kaz would try to stop a bullet for Aisha if she had to, but she has no idea how to stop the waves of soul-crushing disapproval and judgment. When she talks to the other white students and adults in her area, they don’t seem to understand what she’s talking about.
Aisha has helped Kaz find a place in the world, but that was about Kaz’s gender expression. Kaz can’t magically change the world for Aisha, but something has to change in their school system or she’ll lose the girl she loves. (goodreads)

What did I think?

I love this book. So much. Everything about it. It’s about a nonbinary teen falling in love with their neighbour, a black bisexual girl. Together they face racism and queermisia, they learn about gender and race and the reader learns alongside them. I think this book is really important and you can read my full review here.


TRUST AGAIN BY MONA KASTEN

Series: Again #2 | Publisher: Lübbe Audio | Read by: Milena Karas | Released: 25th May 2017 | Genre: Contemporary NA | Rating: ★★★★/5

Um was geht’s?

In dem Moment, in dem sie Spencer Cosgrove zum ersten Mal gegenübersteht, weiß Dawn, dass sie ein Problem hat. Ein großes Problem. Spencer ist sexy, charmant und lustig, genau ihr Typ – und er beginnt augenblicklich mit ihr zu flirten. Doch Dawn hat sich geschworen, die Finger von Männern zu lassen. Zu tief sitzt der Schmerz, den sie empfindet, weil sie der falschen Person vertraut hat, zu groß ist die Wunde, die sein Verrat hinterlassen hat. Aber Spencer gibt nicht auf. Und als Dawn herausfindet, dass auch er ein herzzerreißendes Geheimnis verbirgt, wird ihr klar, dass sie keine Chance hat gegen die Art und Weise, wie er ihre Welt auf den Kopf stellt. (goodreads)

Wie fand ich’s?

Dieses Buch hat mich positiv überrascht. Nach Save Me war dies mein zweites Mona Kasten Hörbuch in diesem Monat und ich fand es sehr gut. Die Sprecherin war wieder super, ihre Stimme ist sehr angenehm und meiner Meinung nach passt sie gut zur Geschichte und der Protagonistin Dawn. Begin Again, den ersten Band der Reihe, habe ich gelesen, aber leider schon wieder ziemlich viel vergessen. Vieles kam dann aber beim Hören wieder und ich war froh, wieder in Woodshill zu sein. Die Charaktere mag ich alle sehr gerne. In diesem Buch gibt es keinen dieser Bad Boys, Spencer ist sogar sehr nett und irgendwie goldig. Ich mochte, wie sich die Beziehung von Dawn und Spencer entwickelt und wie beide immer mehr auftauen und aufblühen. Klar, auch hier gibt es Drama, aber was wäre NA ohne Drama? Alles in allem habe ich hier gerne zugehört und ich freue mich schon auf die nächsten Bände.


RED, WHITE & ROYAL BLUE BY CASEY MCQUISTON

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin | Published: 14th May 2019 | Pages: 423 (Paperback) | Genre: contemporary, romance, NA | Rep: bi, gay, trans, Mexican-American | TW: drugs mentions, alcohol, paedophilia mention

What’s it about?

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is the closest thing to a prince this side of the Atlantic. With his intrepid sister and the Veep’s genius granddaughter, they’re the White House Trio, a beautiful millennial marketing strategy for his mother, President Ellen Claremont. International socialite duties do have downsides—namely, when photos of a confrontation with his longtime nemesis Prince Henry at a royal wedding leak to the tabloids and threaten American/British relations.
The plan for damage control: staging a fake friendship between the First Son and the Prince. Alex is busy enough handling his mother’s bloodthirsty opponents and his own political ambitions without an uptight royal slowing him down. But beneath Henry’s Prince Charming veneer, there’s a soft-hearted eccentric with a dry sense of humor and more than one ghost haunting him.
As President Claremont kicks off her reelection bid, Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret relationship with Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations. And Henry throws everything into question for Alex, an impulsive, charming guy who thought he knew everything: What is worth the sacrifice? How do you do all the good you can do? And, most importantly, how will history remember you? (goodreads)

What did I think?

Wow, I enjoyed this book so, so much. It’s definitely become one of my new favourites. It is so much fun, full of chemistry and politics, friendship and romance. I loved the story, the characters, the queer. Everything. I wrote a longer review here.


TORN BY NATALIA JASTER*

Series: Selfish Myths #2 | self published | released: 20th June 2019 | pages: 326 | CW: graphic sex scenes, selfharm, scars | Rating: ★★★/5

What’s it about?

Anger is an exiled god. Banished for rebelling against the Fate Court and jilted by the goddess he can’t forget, he prowls the mortal realm with a bitter aftertaste on his tongue.
But Anger’s not as alone as he thinks.
In a celestial city where the stars shine brightest, immortal outcasts reign.
Merry is one of them.
She’s like no one Anger has ever met—a starry-eyed misfit hiding just as many forbidden secrets as he is.
As a revolution simmers between renegade deities and their ancient rulers, Merry is the key to Anger’s retribution. She’s the only one who can help him defy the Fates and reclaim his magic.
According to a dangerous legend written in the stars, she also has the power to mend his broken heart.
The price: In order to do that, he must break hers. (goodreads)

What did I think?

I did enjoy it. There were just a few things off for me. You can read my full review here.


THESE WITCHES DON’T BURN BY ISABEL STERLING

Series: These Witches don’t burn #1 | Publisher: Razorbill | Released: 28th May 2019 | Pages: 336 | Genre: Fantasy, contemporary YA | Rep: lesbian, bi | TW: blood, attempted murder | Rating: ★★★★/5

What’s it about?

Hannah’s a witch, but not the kind you’re thinking of. She’s the real deal, an Elemental with the power to control fire, earth, water, and air. But even though she lives in Salem, Massachusetts, her magic is a secret she has to keep to herself. If she’s ever caught using it in front of a Reg (read: non-witch), she could lose it. For good. So, Hannah spends most of her time avoiding her ex-girlfriend (and fellow Elemental Witch) Veronica, hanging out with her best friend, and working at the Fly by Night Cauldron selling candles and crystals to tourists, goths, and local Wiccans.
But dealing with her ex is the least of Hannah’s concerns when a terrifying blood ritual interrupts the end-of-school-year bonfire. Evidence of dark magic begins to appear all over Salem, and Hannah’s sure it’s the work of a deadly Blood Witch. The issue is, her coven is less than convinced, forcing Hannah to team up with the last person she wants to see: Veronica.
While the pair attempt to smoke out the Blood Witch at a house party, Hannah meets Morgan, a cute new ballerina in town. But trying to date amid a supernatural crisis is easier said than done, and Hannah will have to test the limits of her power if she’s going to save her coven and get the girl, especially when the attacks on Salem’s witches become deadlier by the day. (goodreads)

What did I think?

I had a few problems getting into it at the beginning, though that’s not the book’s fault. I had many things going on and couldn’t concentrate properly. But once I found the time, my eyes were glued to the pages and I read about 4/5 of the story in one sitting. I loved the magical concept of different witches and how they are organised and use their powers. I also enjoyed how the story developed, with some twists I really didn’t see coming. I was annoyed with Veronica most of the time though. She kept appearing at inconvinient times to just annoy the hell out of me. I really liked Hannah though and how she develops during the story. She grows a lot and  also learns a lot about herself and her surroundings. There were points in the book where nothing much happened, but these were well used for character development and to get the reader in a witchy mood. I very much enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the next book!


These are the books I read last month. What did you read? Do you know any of the books I’ve read?


Until next time,

  1. Bei Save Me geht es mir genauso, ich habe auch nur schwer bis zum Ende durchgehalten und werde auf keinen Fall weiterlesen. Es ist wirklich schön und ich denke beim Hype um das Buch hat das viele Leute beeinflusst 😀
    Trust again mochte ich dafür auch sehr, auch gerade deshalb, weil es keinen Bad Boy gab. New Adult mit netten Charakteren ist einfach viel zu selten. Ich freue mich schon total auf Feel again, weil das den meisten noch besser gefallen hat.
    Red, White & Royal Blue ist momentan mein Must Have und sicher das nächste Buch, das ich mir kaufen werde. Freut mich, dass es dir so gut gefallen hat!

    1. Huhu 🙂
      Freut mich, dass ich da mit meiner Meinung nicht allein bin. Ich habe so viele begeisterte Stimmen gehört, was mich ehrlich gesagt etwas verwundert. Aber da ich totale Cover-Käuferin bin, kann ich das auf jeden Fall verstehen 😀
      Ich bin schon sehr gespannt auf den Rest der Again-Reihe, da sie mir bisher wirklich gut gefallen hat 🙂 Red, WHite & Royal Blue ist super und definitiv eines meiner neuen Lieblingsbücher! Es hat alles von Spaß bis Spannung und Politik ♥ Ich liebe… liebe… ich liebe es! 😀

  2. I love that you managed to read so many LGBT+ books for Pride month! I unfortunately didn’t get to read all that many (or on purpose, anyway) due to my ARC pile and wanting to get those out of the way first, but I’m happy to have found out some of the ones I do own have great rep too! So a nice surprise overall 🙂
    Lovely wrap up, Kat <3 So glad to hear you enjoyed most of these! The Gilded Wolves are probably the highest on my TBR right now and I can't wait to read it.

    1. I’m working on my ARC pile right now as well! But I’m trying to read tbr stuff as well.
      I loved The Gilded WOlves, it’s such a beautiful book, inside and out ♥

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