The Good Hood, Bielefeld

the good hood bielefeld at
the good hood bielefeld at
the good hood bielefeld at

This lovely little place, the good hood, is a new restaurant that has opened in central Bielefeld. There are a lot of areas in town that are dull and grey, where you’re convinced nothing interesting will happen. And suddenly stuff changes. One such place is a former electronics shop not far from the train station, wedged between the railway and an overpass. It’s been abandoned since before I’ve moved here, and then suddenly: construction! Then: tables! Chairs! A new restaurant!

New places to eat are always exciting, especially since my former watering hole and safe space closed down a couple of months ago (which, by the way, I still haven’t found an adequate replacement for. Yes, I’m gutted. I don’t want to talk about it.)

It has apparently turned into a mixture of a restaurant and a club; I’m not too fond of clubbing (plus according a friend, they “don’t play any good techno”), but I did venture out with my mama for some good ol’ grub.

the good hood bielefeld at food they serve is freshly homemade — because I am me, I ordered the veggie burger, made with a tempeh patty, corn salad, cucumber, tomato, bbq sauce, and wasabi mayo (well, I subbed it for a lime-ginger one). Plus a side of sweet potato fries and a peanut dip. The burger was smaller than I’d expected, but all of that did only cost €8.50, soo I’m not complaining.

The chai I had was a bit more expensive than the average in town, but only by maybe 30 ct. And there’s not much to say about it; as far as I can tell, it’s the same kind of powder mix you get in most cafés (i.e. David Rio chai), and I don’t mind it at all. It was as good as anywhere else. They do charge more for dairy-free milk, which is a drag.

One thing that is definitely missing from the menu so far is any kind of dessert. Seriously. There’s nothing. All the small dishes that you might want to have if you just nip in for a coffee or so are savoury. They definitely need some sweet stuff. Plus, it says nowhere on the menu that they’re only serving the burgers from 5:00pm, which is a bit of an oversight as well.

What I adore about this place though is the decoration; there are flamingos everywhere. Well, flamingos are all over the shops at the moment as well, but I don’t mind that at all, I like them. There are a lot of cozy seats tucked into corners, some tables outside (and although it’s right by two noisy streets, it’s actually quite nice) and nice big windows.

All in all I’m excited about the good hood, and can’t wait to order my way through their menu. The curry sounds enticing. And if they actually decide to do some cakes and stuff, I will definitely come back.

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Three Months in Books: Quarterly Recap 2/2016

So remember when I was all “oh god, I’m reading too many books, I need to do monthly reviews instead so things don’t get too stuffed”? Yeah well, about that. I actually haven’t read that much these past three months. And as I’ve also missed the point to publish the reviews for April, I just decided imma rope them together for a quarterly thing again. So here we are!

The Infinite Sea (5th Wave Pt 2) | ★★★☆☆ 3/5

The Infinite Sea review at Rick Yancey
Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 300
Published:  16 September 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopia
Goodreads | Bookdepository

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.
Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate. (Goodreads)

This is the second part of Rick Yancey’s 5th Wave trilogy (here’s what I wrote about the first book). And it was … okay? I enjoyed coming back to the characters, and following their plots, but I felt this very much suffered from middle-book-syndrome, in that not an awful lot happens. It was an enjoyable read for sure, but ultimately it felt more like it was something to tide you over until the last book is released (which is out now, by the way! I would have bought it already if the only edition that’s out right now doesn’t fit the first two volumes … gotta think about my bookshelf aesthetics!!). A thing that I didn’t appreciate very much – mild spoilers ahead – is the cattiness between Cassie and Ringer. If anything, I want to see women (or girls in particular) stick together in a survival situation, and not be distracted by irrelevant personal stuff to bicker about. It seems to be mostly that Cassie feels like Ringer thinks she’s stupid, while Ringer, intelligent as she is in all other regards, simply doesn’t have the social prowess to be more tactful. I would like the girls to get over their differences in The Last Star.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying | ★★★☆☆ 3/5

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying review at Marie Kondō, Translation by Cathy Hirano
Publisher:  Vermilion
Pages: 248
Published: 3 April 2014
Genre: Non-Fiction, Self-Help
Goodreads | Bookdepository

Transform your home into a permanently clear and clutter-free space with the incredible KonMari Method. Japan’s expert declutterer and professional cleaner Marie Kondo will help you tidy your rooms once and for all with her inspirational step-by-step method.
The key to successful tidying is to tackle your home in the correct order, to keep only the things you really love and to do it all at once – and quickly. After that for the rest of your life you only need to choose what to keep and what to discard. (Goodreads)

Life-Changing? I don’t know. If you subscribe to this particular brand of minimalism and ‘professionalism’, then sure, yeah, I can imagine this book to be life-changing indeed. For me, it definitely inspires me to look at the things I own in a different light, and think about what I really want to keep, outside of emotional attachments or a distorted sense of responsibility towards old, useless gifts. Where it falls short, I think, is that it was ultimately written for a Japanese audience, and some things (like talking to your clothes, thanking them for their day’s work) seem a bit “wacky” for Western readers – and it’s also a bit elitist and judgmental at times. There’s a section where Marie Kondo pities a woman who she sees outside in slacks, saying she must not be very happy with her life/herself if she walks around like that in public. Excuse me? I gotta say, I didn’t really expect body shaming (or fashion choice shaming?) in a book about decluttering …
While I don’t think the ‘Konmari’ method as a whole is for me, I’ve definitely been taking some pointers from it in order to think about what I bring into my house/room/life.

We Were Liars | ★★★☆☆ 3/5

We Were Liars review at E. Lockhart
Publisher:  Hot Key Books
Pages: 227
Published: 13 May 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Goodreads | Bookdepository

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE. (Goodreads)

Oh man, so people have been raving about this book that I’m almost sad I can’t join them. It annoys me when a novel has a big Twist (with a capital T), and I call it midway through – the rest of the story just gets annoying, because the narration feeds you a bazillion instances of “oh no I can’t possibly give you the whole story now”. Something like this is great when it toys with your perception successfully, but when it doesn’t, it just gets exhausting to read. It’s kind of like this bigger kid that stole your … idk, your book, and holds it up too high so you can’t even reach it if you jump. You know the conclusion (or think you do), you can see it right there, but they refuse to give it to you and hold it just out of your reach, so all you can do is either give up and walk away, annoyed, or keep on jumping to catch it, err, I mean, keep on reading. On top of that – and maybe this is where I just fall short on empathy – I am just not that interested in reading about a bunch of privileged white rich kids (with one notable exception) and their problems, which all surround the fact that they are part of privileged white families that need to uphold a “good image”. Talk about first world problems. (That those first world problems can also end in heartbreaking tragedies is another thing.)

Feed | ★★★★☆ 4/5

FEED review at Mira Grant
Publisher:  Orbit
Pages: 599
Published: 1 May 2010
Genre: Science Fiction, Zombies, Dystopia
Goodreads | Bookdepository

The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beaten the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop.
The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED. Now, twenty years after the Rising, bloggers Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives – the dark conspiracy behind the infected.
The truth will get out, even if it kills them. (Goodreads)

I’ve read this book because my lecturer mentioned it as a nice supplementing read for our class on “Approaches to Zombie Culture”. (I’m doing a class on zombie narratives this semester, how cool is that??). And I’m far from disappointed! For me personally, this is a bit of a mix of the Gilmore Girls (if only for the fact that the bloggers join the press convoy of a Presidential candidate, much like Rory Gilmore at the end of season 7), Scandal (cause it’s all about a Good™ Republican presidential candidate and lots of intrigue) and, well, zombies. It’s well-written, engaging, and although the overall conspiracy plot is a bit predictable, it’s still fun and exciting to read. Most interestingly: there’s a total lack of a romantic love story. Well, there are relationships in this book – Georgia and Shaun’s parents, the senator and his wife, and then the third blogger of the pack starts dating someone as well – but there’s no overarching love story involving either of the two main characters, and you won’t believe how refreshing that is.

Asking For It | ★★★★☆ 4/5

Asking For It review at Louise O’Neill
Publisher:  Quercus UK
Pages: 346
Published: 3 September 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Feminism
Goodreads | Bookdepository

It’s the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O’Donovan is eighteen years old, beautiful, happy, confident. One night, there’s a party. Everyone is there. All eyes are on Emma.
The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can’t remember what happened, she doesn’t know how she got there. She doesn’t know why she’s in pain. But everyone else does.
Photographs taken at the party show, in explicit detail, what happened to Emma that night. But sometimes people don’t want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town’s heroes… (Goodreads)

Whew. This was such a difficult read. O’Neill toys with your perception, because she really doesn’t set up Emma as a very likeable character. I knew where the book was going, so I could fully tell what the author was doing, but holy hell Emma is set up as a despicable girl. She’s the kind of person who’d have bullied me at school. A horrible friend, competitive, judgmental, and bratty. And then she gets raped. Does that mean she had it coming, that she was asking for it? (Pssssst: NO SHE WASN’T). The first half was dreadful because you really can’t relate to Emma, and then the rest of it is awful because you witness her becoming a victim of rape culture. Everything’s in there. Victim blaming, her own denial that what was done to her was anything but her own fault, constant media coverage that she’s exposed to, her being ostracised for ruining the boys’ futures while they still strut around town … for a moment I naively called the validity of the plot into question, because surely, if there were pictures out there, where she was clearly drugged/zoned out and unable to consent, there’d be no question about whether or not it was rape … and then I remembered the case of Gina-Lisa Lohfink. There is video evidence of her rape, where she can be heard repeatedly telling her attackers to stop. She took them to court, and she’s just recently been sentenced to pay €24,000 in damages to her rapists. For slander.

The Book Thief | ★★★★☆ 4/5

The Book Thief review at Markus Zusak
Publisher:  Black Swan
Pages: 560
Published: 8 September 2007
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult, World War II
Goodreads | Bookdepository

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist – books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster-father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul. (Goodreads)

I’m not sure if anything I can say can do this book justice (and yet I’ve only given it 4 stars? What’s up with that?). It took me a while to get into, which is not unusual for me when it comes to books. What kind of threw me off though was that it’s an English book (originally written in English), written from the perspective of a German (Liesel). While Zusak does a way better job than the other book I know where this happens (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas), it was still odd. Especially since I don’t know anybody who uses or has ever used the word “Saumensch”, which must be the most common word in the book, but perhaps it’s just a very remote local (and old) dialect. Couldn’t find any information online to prove that, though. Anyway, as you would expect with war stories, this book is heart-breaking. It’s wonderfully crafted and has some really beautiful lines that are more poetry than prose. Plus, it’s narrated by Death! If you haven’t read this yet, please do yourselves a favour and pick it up. You won’t regret it, I promise.

So what have you been reading lately? Any recommendations? Have you read any of these books? xx

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Busy bumblebees – Photoset

You know how I have this wonderful DSLR lying around that I begged people to get me, to film videos and take lots of photos? That same camera that’s just sitting on my shelf collecting dust most of the time?
Well one of my goals this summer is to take loads more pictures. The sun was doing its thing and the bumblebees are loving the wild flowers my flatmate planted on our balcony – so I went and snapped a few pics, paparazza style.

Bumble bee on Phacelia tanacetifolia | Phacelia tanacetifolia | Bumble bee on Phacelia tanacetifolia |

Planting these was such a great decision. We fully expected them to be a colourful mix of different flowers though, as it looked that way on the label. The little sachet was called “Bienenschmaus” – German for “bee feast”. And it certainly is. Well, I haven’t seen any honey bees around just yet, but the bumblebees are loving itBumble bee on Phacelia tanacetifolia | Bumble bee on Phacelia tanacetifolia |

A little bit of research has revealed that the plant that has apparently defeated all other wild flowers appears to be Phacelia tanacetifolia, also called lacy phacelia or blue tansy. They bloom from early June (yup can confirm) til the end of September – which means they’ll be around for a while, yay! Bumble bee on Phacelia tanacetifolia | Bumble bee on Phacelia tanacetifolia |

I’m really curious to see if I can catch a honey bee feasting on the tansies, but maybe there just aren’t any around where we live? Or maybe we need to plant more flowers, hehe. Not that I’d mind, at all!Phacelia tanacetifolia |

All images © 2016 Daniela Struck. Do not use or distribute without permission.

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A Lil’ Health Update

A Lil' Health Update on

Let’s get personal! *cracks knuckles* Keen observers of my blog may have noticed that I haven’t published a new post in a month, and have been quieter than usual on other channels as well.

Truth be told, that’s because my health, both physical and mental, has kind of taken a turn for the worse. Nothing dramatic, don’t worry – but my weeks are currently riddled with headaches, dizziness and overall debilitating fatigue, to a point where I keep on cancelling doctor’s appointments, because I can’t leave the house to get to them. All while trying to keep up with my two part-time jobs and the new uni semester that has just started. Spoilers – I’m not really doing a great job at any of them.

I fear all of this could be due to my liver not being able to cope with my meds; this would mean an annoying journey to wean off my SSRIs, at a point in time where I’d really need that extra push to keep my mental health intact – which, truth be told, is kind of in shambles because of this whole ordeal. Being bed-bound and too low on energy to really communicate much has left me feeling unproductive and isolated. The amount of times I stare at my phone only to see the “No notifications” tab glaring at me is probably unhealthy.

All of this is making me feel like a downward spiral. I am too ill to work, I’m undoubtedly doing a rotten job at work and uni, I feel bad about it and get terrified I might lose my job(s) and will also never finish my degree, so my anxiety and depression gets super bad, which in turn wants me to rely on meds a bit longer, which might be what causes my physical health to be this horrible to begin with. I just don’t know the way out right now, because everything seems important enough to take priority.

I also keep beating myself up for the fact that I’m 25 and still haven’t finished my degree (or am even anywhere close to finishing it) and just generally living a pretty stagnant life. I’m stuck in a rut.

Ultimately, I know I just need to start somewhere and slowly solve problem after problem (until the next one comes along, and then the next …) and I know I won’t fail, but at the moment everything just seems so unattainable. I’ll figure it out somehow, I’m sure.

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3 Months in Books – Quarterly Recap 1/2016

Sooo I have this problem at the moment. Last year, I really didn’t read much, so I started this series of doing quarterly book reviews, where I do quick mini reviews of the books I read in the last three months. Well, come 2016, and I’m suddenly on a roll when it comes to reading. Probably mostly because I now combine audiobooks with physical books, so I am basically constantly involved in the story. So yeah, this post is long; in January, February and March, I read ten books! Woops. I need your input: should I keep doing  these (probably long) quarterly recaps or should I switch them to monthly instead? Let me know in the comments!

Robinson Crusoe | ★★☆☆☆ 2/5
3 Months in Books at

Author: Daniel Defoe
Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 337
Published: 6 Dec 2012 (first published 1719)
Genre: Classics, Fiction, British Literature
Goodreads | Bookdepository

Here is the novel which has inspired countless imitations by lesser writers, none of which equal the power and originality of Defoe’s famous book. Robinson Crusoe, set ashore on an island after a terrible storm at sea, is forced to make do with only a knife, some tobacco, and a pipe. He learns how to build a canoe, make bread, and endure endless solitude. That is, until, twenty-four years later, when he confronts another human being. First published in 1719, Robinson Crusoe has been praised by such writers as James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and Samuel Johnson as one of the greatest novels in the English language. (Goodreads)

Okay, I know last time around I said I’d dropped this book, but sometimes I get ambitious and determined about silly things and wanted to finish it. So I headed over to LibriVox and listened to it instead of reading. As an aside, did you know that LibriVox has a huge selection of classics with expired copyright as free audiobooks? I swear this isn’t sponsored, this site has just been such a lifesaver for me.  Woop, filling otherwise silent times with audiobooks! Now, this book is … uhh … definitely a product of its time. As soon as Friday appears, I was pretty much sat there rolling my eyes near-constantly. The imperialism is strong with this one.

The Vicar of Wakefield | ★★★☆☆ 3/5

Author: Oliver GoldsmithRobinson Crusoe 2/5 ★★☆☆☆
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Pages: 197
Published: 2008 (first published 1766)
Genre: Classics, Fiction, British Literature
Goodreads | Bookdepository

Oliver Goldsmith’s hugely successful novel of 1766 remained for generations one of the most highly regarded and beloved works of eighteenth-century fiction. It depicts the fall and rise of the Primrose family, presided over by the benevolent vicar, the narrator of a fairy-tale plot of impersonation and deception, the abduction of a beautiful heroine and the machinations of an aristocratic villain. By turns comic and sentimental, the novel’s popularity owes much to its recognizable depiction of domestic life and loving family relationships. (Goodreads)

I actually finished one of the assigned readings on time! Go me! Celebrate! … but only because I listened to it as an audiobook for the second half of it. I liked it! It is fairly predictable, as 18th century novels tend to be, but it was nicely written, and contrary to Robinson Crusoe or Joseph Andrews, you actually feel with the characters somewhat. Not necessarily all the time, because they also tend to be vain as hell, but you can at least empathise.

The Remains of the Day | ★★★☆☆ 3/5

3 Months in Books at Kazuo Ishiguro
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Pages: 258
Published: 2005 (first published 1988)
Genre: Historical Fiction, British Literature
Goodreads | Bookdepository

A contemporary classic, The Remains of the Day is Kazuo Ishiguro’s beautiful and haunting evocation of life between the wars in a Great English House.
In the summer of 1956, Stevens, the ageing butler of Darlington Hall, embarks on a leisurely holiday that will take him deep into the countryside and into his past. (Goodreads)

Such an utterly interesting read. This is my first Ishiguro, actually, but I think I rather like his writing style. As I’ve said in my previous post when I was still in the middle of reading this, I am really intrigued by unreliable narrators, and seeing his reality unfold in front of you is really fascinating.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime 1/5 ★☆☆☆☆

3 Months in Books at Mark Haddon
Publisher: Red Fox
Pages: 268
Published: 2004 (first published 2003)
Genre: Mystery, Young Adult
Goodreads | Bookdepository

Fifteen-year-old Christopher has a photographic memory. He understands maths. He understands science. What he can’t understand are other human beings. When he finds his neighbour’s dog lying dead on the lawn, he decides to track down the killer and write a murder mystery about it. But what other mysteries will he end up uncovering? (Goodreads)

Ugh. So many things wrong with this book. It’s not well researched in regards to autism and the narration feels condescending and infantilising. The boy is supposed to be fifteen years old and reads like a 9-year-old (and don’t tell me that’s because ‘he’s meant to be autistic!!’). I’ve already ranted about this book in other places, so I don’t really feel like going on about it any more, but let’s just say we are in dire need of more positive well-researched neurodivergent representation and this book is definitely not it.

A Simple Story | ★★★☆☆ 3/5

3 Months in Books at Elizabeth Inchbald
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Pages: 345
Published: 2009 (first published 1791)
Genre: Classics, Fiction, British Literature
Goodreads | Bookdepository

When Miss Milner announces her passion for her guardian, a Catholic priest, she breaks through the double barrier of his religious vocation and 18th-century British society’s standards of proper womanly behavior. Like other women writers of her time, Elizabeth Inchbald concentrates on the question of a woman’s “proper education,” and her sureness of touch and subtlety of characterization prefigure Jane Austen’s work. (Goodreads)

The last book I read for my class on 18th Century Novels. Again I listened to most of this as an audiobook on LibriVox whenever I had the time, but the recording for this was actually quite annoying; it was a joint project by 5+ different readers, most of which weren’t very good. The story, on the other hand, is quite interesting; it’s essentially split in two parts, the first two volumes talking about Miss Milner, the latter two about her daughter Matilda. Some characters completely change their personality (we’re talking 180° here) in the second half, completely unexplained, which was more than awkward, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. Even though it’s just another story about female virtue.

Gone Girl | ★★★★☆ 4/5

3 Months in Books at Gillian Flynn
Publisher: Crown
Pages: 566
Published: 2012
Genre: Mystery, Fiction, Thriller
Goodreads | Bookdepository

On the morning of their fifth wedding anniversary, Nick’s wife, Amy, has disappeared. Nick is weak, Nick is a liar, and maybe he’s not the very best of husbands — but is he a killer? Amy’s diary reveals turmoil over their marriage, strange sicknesses, and her deep wish to be a mother — but is she telling the whole story? As the evidence slowly mounts, and the police investigation deepens, Nick is incriminated in horrible ways. He swears he didn’t murder his beautiful wife and goes on the offensive to clear his name. The mystery of Amy’s disappearance only gets more tangled as secrets unfurl from the web of their knotty marriage, and it becomes clear that something may have happened more disturbing than death. (Goodreads)

Oh man, this book fucked me up. I mean, I’m sure it was supposed to. It is a thriller, you know. I don’t usually read thrillers, and now I know why. I don’t like the suspense. It makes me anxious. Anyway, this book was beautifully crafted. You really, really start to hate some people. Which is good, I guess. You’re supposed to hate psychopaths, right? Well, a bunch of the attitudes were horribly misogynistic, but that was to be expected when both main characters have this sort of “Not Like Them” attitude. Beautifully executed, at any rate. I liked it.

Carry On | ★★★★★ 5/5

3 Months in Books at Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Pages: 517
Published: 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance, LGBT
Goodreads | Bookdepository

Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything. 
Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story — but far, far more monsters. (Goodreads)

Oh, I was so skeptical about this book. So skeptical. I stayed that way for the first, I don’t know, maybe 50 pages? Because it’s Harry Potter, without being Harry Potter. It was weird. It put me off. And then this stuck up little vampire saunders into my life and ruins everything. Carry On is everything I have ever wanted from a Young Adult book. The magic works in a wonderful way – by using sayings and song lyrics. What a neat idea! I don’t want to say all that much about it, because I just know I’ll get too excited and spoil you all, but it’s safe to say that you need to read this book. Even if you don’t like YA. I mean, don’t even like YA that much. And if it feels like an awkward cheap HP knockoff in the beginning – don’t worry, that will pass. One thing I will say is that I listened to parts of it as an audiobook, read by Euan Morton, and he does this thing when he reads female point of views where his voice gets all nasally and aspirated/sing-songy, which I couldn’t take seriously – that was massively annoying, I don’t think it’s at all necessary when a man narrates a girl.

The 5th Wave| ★★★☆☆ 3/5

3 Months in Books at Rick Yancey
Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 460
Published: 2013
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Goodreads | Bookdepository

The Passage meets The Hunger Games in a gripping new series from Carnegie-shortlisted Rick Yancey. After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one. Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave. On a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, until Cassie meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan may be her only hope for rescuing her brother and even saving herself. […] (Goodreads)

Mh. MMMMMHHH. Well, first thing I can say about this book is that I enjoyed the audiobook a whole lot more. It’s narrated by Phoebe Strole and Brandon Espinoza, who definitely play the parts of the teenagers very well. Also, the whole ‘making everything female characters say sound ridiculous’ that I criticised in Carry On’s audiobook didn’t happen, which made me very happy. As for the story, it was actually quite interesting (and scary, truth be told). It’s a very recent book, so a lot of the behaviour that is described is very, very relateable. Especially what happens with the death of the smartphones (sob). It’s told from two perspectives, Cassie’s and Zombie’s. Zombie’s perspective started to bore me quite quickly, because for the most part it’s just him going through boot camp, which … I’m not all that interested in, and Yancy didn’t manage to make it sound very compelling, either (well, that was probably the point). And Cassie’s story seems to develop into a strange and not quite relatable love story. Girl gets the romance plot and boy gets the military plot? I don’t know. That being said, Cassie is a cyncical sass master and I love her. I think I’m definitely interested in reading the second and third volume of the trilogy.

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope 3/5 ★★★☆☆

3 Months in Books at Ian Doescher
Publisher: Quirk Books
Pages: 174
Published: 2013
Genre: Science Fiction, Humour, Poetry
Goodreads | Bookdepository

Return once more to a galaxy far, far away with this sublime retelling of George Lucas’s epic Star Wars in the style of the immortal Bard of Avon. The sage of a wise (Jedi) knight and an evil (Sith) lord, of a beautiful princess held captive and a young hero coming of age, Star Wars abounds with all the valor and villainy of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. ‘Tis a tale told by fretful Droids, full of faithful Wookiees and fearsome Stormtroopers, signifying… pretty much everything. {…] (Goodreads)

I had this book on my wish list, so my wonderful friend Janina gave me this for my birthday. It was a quick read, because I obviously knew the story beforehand, and it was funny to see it in all its Shakespearean glory! I immediately wanted to grab myself some actors and put the whole thing on stage. Some “classic” Shakespeare lines made it into the book, revamped into Star Wars style. Loved it. If you’re a Star Wars fan, and also like Shakespeare, I’d definitely recommend giving this one a go. Also, can I get the cover as a postcard/print please? It’s so pretty!

Sofia Khan Is Not Obliged | ★★★★☆ 4/5

3 Months in Books at Ayisha Malik
Publisher: Twenty7
Pages: 456
Published: 2015
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Goodreads | Bookdepository

“Brilliant idea! Excellent! Muslim dating? Well, I had no idea you were allowed to date.’ Then he leaned towards me and looked at me sympathetically. ‘Are your parents quite disappointed?’
Unlucky in love once again after her possible-marriage-partner-to-be proves a little too close to his parents, Sofia Khan is ready to renounce men for good. Or at least she was, until her boss persuades her to write a tell-all expose about the Muslim dating scene. 
As her woes become her work, Sofia must lean on the support of her brilliant friends, baffled colleagues and baffling parents as she goes in search of stories for her book. In amongst the marriage-crazy relatives, racist tube passengers and decidedly odd online daters, could there be a lingering possibility that she might just be falling in love . . . ? (Goodreads)

I read the last 300 pages of this in one day, which finally feels like I’m slowly turning back towards my binge-reading days. I’m not usually one for “chick lit” (though I despise the name, but “romance novels” make me think of topless men and frail women swooning in their arms on the cover, and “dating books” sound like self-help instructions), but this book got me hooked. The lovely Leena has called the book “our generation’s Bridget Jones” (coming from someone who adored those novels), but since I never really liked Bridget Jones myself, I have to say this is worlds better. Ayisha Malik (and by extension her focaliser/main character Sofia) is witty, sharp and a sass master. You know I always fall for the sass masters. I was pretty surprised by the ending (can’t say I didn’t like it though), and my pencil and I have found many-a-thing to underline. If you’re going to make any decision in life, be fearless about it. 
The only thing that really annoyed me at times is the fact that there are quite a few typos in the book. A forgotten quotation mark here, a missing word there – more than there should be in an edited and proofread publication. But as a proofreader myself, I know that things can go unseen no matter how many corrections it’s gone through.

Well! You’ve made it! These are the books I’ve read this year so far. What have been some of your highlight reads? And don’t forget to give me your input on doing quarterly or monthly recaps. 😉 xx

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