Celestiel University AU

Celeste is a lit student on scholarship at Oxford University – and one of many girls pining for Nate Prescott, the rich boy in her classes who’s very obviously out of her league – until one of their mutual friends convinces Nate to ask Celeste on a date.
Based on my characters Nathaniel and Celeste from my current vampire NA grimdark fantasy WIP “Escape the Night”.

Continue reading Celestiel University AU

Knight in Paper Armor | Review

☾ disclaimer

I was contacted by Nicholas Conley with the request to review his book. I was provided with a free e-ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
I am not being paid for writing this review, and Mr. Conley’s request to review his book in no way affects the opinion I have of his work.
However, due to the circumstance that Knight in Paper Armor includes some heavy topics I decided not to rate this book.
My review will also include spoilers and will go into detail about my feelings about this book.
For reader discretion, I advise you to check the list of trigger warnings below, which I have compiled to the best of my abilities. Should you find any of the there mentioned content triggering, please do not read this review and do not purchase the book in order to avoid trauma.

☾ about the book

Title: Knight in Paper Armor
(click here to view Goodreads and here to view Amazon)
Author: Nicholas Conley
Published: 2020
Format: ebook, novel
Pages: 393
Rating: not rated
Trigger Warning: racicm, sexism, antisemitism, slavery, (attempted) genocide, emotional abuse, on screen death, violence and substance abuse, mention of the holocaust, national socialism and terrorism, exploitation of children and minorities, blackmailing, substance abuse, guns, trauma

Continue reading Knight in Paper Armor | Review

What I Was Doing While I Wasn’t On Instagram

Dear Reader,
as you might have noticed if you follow me on Instagram, I haven’t been posting since the end of July.
There were a couple of reasons for that.
Keep reading to find out which ones, and what I did while I wasn’t posting things.

☾ reasons for my hiatus

☾ reason #1 – creative burnout

It took me a long time to find a filter and layouts that I really liked for my instagram, but when all you post is flatlays, it gets boring after a time.
Also, the algorithm on instagram tends to overshadow the smaller (but maybe more passionate) accounts and their work with influencers and people who just have a lot of followers, so at some point I was getting super annoyed with the fact that a lot of my instagram followers were ghosts and that any interaction I seemed to have didn’t feel genuine anymore – even though I had joined algorithm groups to help with that, so I decided to take a step back and focus on other things.

☾ reason #2 – i had moving plans

When I announced my hiatus, I had plans to move into a dorm in Cologne at the beginning of August.
However, I declined the room offer because I found that it didn’t meet my needs – so my move got postponed, but I still didn’t feel like jumping back on the instagram train, so the hiatus happened.

☾ reason #3 – reading slump

While I was in the process of graduating from High School, I slipped into another reading slump because my brain was just tired amd I prefered to spend my nights doing things that didn’t make me as unhappy as reading did at the time.

☾ reason #4 – i actually moved

Yeah, now the cat’s out of the bag.
I’ve been living in a dorm in Cologne for the past two weeks, which is why I ended up extending my hiatus to mid-September.
It took me a hot minute to get settled here, and to be honest, I still haven’t gotten used to the rhythm the drum beats to in a big city.
The public transport maps are confusing, if I stray too far from the parts of Cologne I know, I tend to get lost, which leads to a lot of walking, which in turn makes me tired because I’m not used to it, so yeah.
I decided I would take as much time away from Instagram as I needed, but I feel confident enough now to go back to posting.

☾ what i was doing while i was not posting

☾ lurking on instagram

I never planned to delete the app and just disappear for a month and a half, so most of the time I was still lurking on the app, watching stories, liking posts and interacting with people in the engagement groups.
I’m going to be honest, as tiring as some interaction on Instagram can be, I still need them from time to time, especially because I have yet to make friends here in Cologne.

☾ blogging

I restarted my blog.
I quit sometime last year, because I felt insanely stressed about blogging when it felt like I had no followers to read my posts anyway, and while that hasn’t changed, I’ve definitely regained some of my confidence when it comes to blogging and actively telling people that’s something I do these days.
So, if you’re reading this, consider pressing the follow button so you don’t miss out on my future posts

☾ reading

I would say that I’m still in a reading slump, but thanks to my hiatus, I stopped stressing about how many books I read in a month, and thanks to that, I ended up reading more again.
In the future, I think I’ll definitely stop posting number-focussed monthly wrap-ups on my Instagram feed.
After all, we’re all readers, no matter if we read one book a month or twenty.

☾ watching movies and shows

While I was on hiatus, I watched Camp Rock 1&2, Episodes I-IX of Star Wars and the two latest seasons of Miraculous Ladybug as well as Princess Diaries 2 and Black Panther.
I also got really into doing Netflix parties with one of my friends on Instagram so we could watch Ghibli movies together, which I find really relaxing.
So far, I’ve seen kiki’s Delivery Service, When Marnie Was There and Howl’s Moving Castle – but KDS is definitely my favorite so far!

☾ playing games on the nintendo switch

Don’t tell my parents, BUT I found a secondhand Nintendo Switch Lite online, picked it up in Cologne (and got lost while doing that) and finally got into playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
I’ve been … lusting after that game ever since it came out in March and I am beyond happy that I no longer have to play Pocket Camp, because that was eating my iPad’s battery.
Another game I’ve been getting into is Coffee Talk, and I’m really excited to play more of it.

Now you’re all caught up on my life since July!
I know the moving part sounds really exciting, but it’s so mentally and physically tiring that I’d rather not make a big deal out of it…
Have you ever taken a break from Instagram?
If not, would you consider it?
Let’s discuss in the comments!

The Tailor | Review

☾ about the book

Title: The Tailor
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Shadow and Bone Trilogy
Published: 2014
Format: ebook, novella
Pages: 18
Rating: ★★★★★
Trigger Warning: slavery, emotional abuse, implied sexual abuse

☾ the plot

The Tailor features a scene from Shadow and Bone as retold from Genya’s POV.
As Genya is entrusted with another letter to Mal and plans to deliver it to the Darkling, she remembers her relationship to the King and Queen of Ravka, and all the pain that she has endured and will endure with the prospect of a better life in mind.

☾ the characters

Genya Safin is a gifted tailor, and a member of the Corporalki. But the Darkling gave her as a gift to the Queen of Ravka, and with that, Genya has faced life in a gilded cage.
She finds a friend in Alina, but betrays her trust by reporting Alina’s attempted correspondence with Mal to the Darkling.
The Darkling is neither Genya’s friend nor foe. He makes false promises to her to getr her to endure the abuse from the hands of the King and Queen for just a little longer while telling her that by enduring it, she earns herself a better life in the future.

☾ the world building

The novella is set at the Little Palace in Os Alta, Ravka, where the events of Shadow and Bone take place.

☾ the magic system

The Tailor briefly touches on the magic that Genya can wield as a Tailor.

☾ the things i liked about this book

I just found out that this novella exists a few hours ago, and I was very happy to find it in the back of my copy of Siege and Storm.
Genya was definitely one of my favorite characters in the trilogy, but I actually jumped at the opportunity to read a little bit more Darkling content, since I am starving.
I think Genya’s POV is very interesting! It expands on a lot of things that the trilogy had briefly established but never really explained, like the fact that Genya was being abused by the rulers of Ravka, and I also liked the display of weirdly unsettling closeness between her and the Darkling, since that shed a different light on him.

☾ the things i didn’t like about this book

It was so short!
I could spend hours reading more of Genya’s POV!
But really, that’s just me being whiny, because – again – I’m being starved of GrishaVerse content.

☾ would i recommend this book

It depends.
If you’re a victim of sexual or mental abuse, no.
The abuse is, unfortunately but not very surprisingly, an integral part of Genya’s character and it is heavily influencing the way the events in this novella are told, so it will probably trigger you.
If you have not made any experience with abuse, I would recommend this book. It’s a fast read, and it takes you right back to the Little Palace while letting you see the world through an entirely different set of eyes, and that’s really cool!

5 Reasons Why You Should Watch Black Panther

Dear Reader,

the other day I was at my sister’s place, and we spent the evening eating Indian food and watching the Princess Diaries II on Disney+. After my sister went to bed, I continued to scroll through Disney+ which was advertising Black Panther to me in memory of the late Chadwick Boseman, who sadly passed from cancer late last month.
I don’t know why I waited so long to watch Black Panther – it’s been out for two years – but what can I say…
Better late than never.

☾ reason #1 – representation in modern media

We’ve all noticed that Black Panther means a lot to the Black community – it was there when the movie came out, and it’s come back now to commemorate Chadwick.
As a white person, I definitely feel like I owe the Black community some work – not only when it comes to representation in books, but also on the screen.
So if you consider yourself an ally to the Black community and the Black Lives Matter Movement and you have yet to see the movie, you need to change that.
This movie has so many important messages hidden in it, about being proud of where you come from and being proud of archievements, and I know for a fact that we can all cut ourselves a slice from that cake and learn.

☾ reason #2 – representation of culture and history

The beginning of the movie (or rather, Nakia’s mission) refers to the doings of an Islamist terrorist group called Boko Haram that is active in Nigeria.
Generally, the movie takes a lot of inspiration from African culture, which is noticeable in the costumes of the different tribes, their rituals, and the language spoken in Wakanda.
You can find an article on this topic by Quartz Africa by clicking here.

☾ reason #3 – stunning cinematography

The cinematography in Black Panther is STUNNING.
The last time I’ve seen colors like this on screen was when I was watching the original animated Lion King, and a compilation of colors used in the animated show Avatar the Last Airbender.
The colors in Black Panther are vibrant as nothing I’ve ever seen before, and they help connect the traditional nuances with the otherwise quite futuristic elements of Black Panther.
If you are someone who loves good visuals, Black Panther is a must watch!

☾ reason #4 – unique soundtrack

Black Panther’s soundtrack features artists like Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, SZA, and more, which makes for the perfect oportunity to jam along to some pop songs as you’re enjoying the movie.
The score, composed by Ludwig Göransson, is also guaranteed to send shivers down your spine.

☾ reason #5 – badass female characters and cast

Sure, Chadwick Boseman and Micheal B. Jordan make for some amazing leading men, and I can’t complain about the addition of Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis to the movie (they both really added something to the movie, too), but even remembering the fact that someone snapped their retainer because they saw M. B. Jordan shirtless couldn’t steer me away from the amazing female supporting cast.
Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright, Danai Jekesai Gurira and Angela Bassett make for an amazing team of supporting ladies.
I love that they all get to be independent ladies, and even though Nakia is supposed to portray T’Challa’s love interest, their relationship is never pushed in front of the actual conflict of the movie.
Okoye is just a badass. I find it amazing that she doesn’t need no man (even though she does have one) and that she’s ready to sacrifice those she loves because she knows they f*cked up big time.
Shuri is insanely funny, she definitely speaks to the millennial/gen z generation with the way she uses memes and is definitely a thorn in her mother’s and brother’s eyes – I’m sure she’s inspired a lot of girls to chase their dreams.

I’m pretty sure there are even more reasons to watch Black Panther, so if you can think of more, feel free to comment them below and I might just add them to this list!
Have you seen Black Pather? Is it also your number one favorite MCU movie? It sure as hell is mine!
Let’s chat about it in the comments!

Tiffany’s Coffeeshop AU

Tiffany posted a poll on twitter the other day, with a bunch of AU options and asking which vibes she gives off – I voted for Coffeeshop and decided to write her an AU.
It also includes Joel, one of Tiffany’s friends, as a side character.
Tiffany is a huge fan of Chen Kitay from The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang, but I don’t know that character, so I wrote her a Poppy War fanboy instead.

Continue reading Tiffany’s Coffeeshop AU

Little Knife | Review

☾ about the book

Title: Little Knife
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Shadow and Bone Trilogy
Published: 2014
Format: ebook, novella (can also be found in The Language of Thorns)
Pages: 32
Rating: ★★★★★
Trigger Warning: arranged marriage

☾ the plot

In this third Ravkan folk tale from Leigh Bardugo, a beautiful girl finds that what her father wants for her and what she wants for herself are two different things.A King sets out three challenges to find a husband for his beautiful daughter.
A simple Grisha man calls upon the river ‘Little Knife’ to help him win the challenges, and the girls’ hand.
But it turns out that the River has ulterior motives.

☾ the characters

A Princess, confined to her chambers because she is so strikingly beautiful that all the men of Ravka fight over her, is confronted with her father’s wishes for her to be healthy, rich, adored and loved.
A Materialki, who has had enough of his simple life, hoping for wealth if he wins the hand of the Princess.
A Prince, who has a thousand men to do his deeds, but no wits to him.
A river that holds the country together and serves as a pool of life, wanting nothing more than to leave in the company of a beautiful girl.

☾ the world building

The story is set in Ravka, where Grisha roam freely among the common folk and royals, and where magic doesn’t only live in humans.

☾ the things i liked about this book

I like fairytales and fables, so this was just perfect to me.
I also like a good novella I can use to get caught up (or ahead) in my goodreads challenge – bonus points because it was written by Leigh Bardugo and feels like an actual tale that may or may not be circulating in Ravka – one that parents tell their children.

☾ the things i didn’t like about this book

There was nothing I disliked about this book.

☾ would i recommend this book

It’s not a mandatory read – even if you’re a fan of the GrishaVerse, but if you, like me, like fables and fairytales, this may be worth checking out!

The Too-Clever Fox | Review

☾ about the book

Title: The Too-Clever Fox
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Shadow and Bone Trilogy
Published: 2013
Format: ebook, novella (can also be found in The Language of Thorns)
Pages: 32
Rating: ★★★★★
Trigger Warning: animal abuse

☾ the plot

The novella is set in the forests of Ravka, and follows Koja, a fox, who tries to outsmart the humans and animals that roam the forest.
But when he meets one particular human, he doesn’t immediately see that he’s met his match.
In Ravka, just because you avoid one trap, it doesn’t mean you’ll escape the next.

☾ the characters

Koja is a very scrawny and unseeming fox, who was abandoned by his mother because he was so ugly.
Ever since then, Koja has been scheming his way around the forest of Ravka, bargaining his way out of trouble.
With his bargains, he learns to help the animals, and when humans threaten the animals of the forest, Koja is quick to set up a plan to get rid of the hunter that kills animals – not knowing that plan would be his doom.
Koja befriends the hunter’s sister, a girl as unseeming as he is, and tries to convince her to kill he brother – or at least run away from him and aim for a better life.
But it turns out that all the girl wanted, was animals for trophies.

☾ the world building

The story is set in a Ravkan forest, one where animals can talk, and it is reminiscent of fables – stories that have a moral lesson as punch line and are often told with animal characters that have certain human qualities and characteristics to hide the fact that they are more than just stories.

☾ the things i liked about this book

I like fairytales and fables, so this was just perfect to me.
I also like a good novella I can use to get caught up (or ahead) in my goodreads challenge – bonus points because it was written by Leigh Bardugo and feels like an actual tale that may or may not be circulating in Ravka – one that parents tell their children.

☾ the things i didn’t like about this book

There was nothing I disliked about this book.

☾ would i recommend this book

It’s not a mandatory read – even if you’re a fan of the GrishaVerse, but if you, like me, like fables and fairytales, this may be worth checking out!

Serpent and Dove | Review

☾ about the book

Title: Serpent and Dove
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Series: Serpent and Dove
Published: 2019
Format: hardcover, novel
Pages: 512
Rating: ★★★★.5
Trigger Warnings: intense violence, cutting and self harm, sex (vague descriptions), physical abuse/assult, blood/gore, sexism

☾ the synopsis

Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.
Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.
Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.
The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.
And love makes fools of us all.

☾ the characters

Reid Diggory is a Chasseur – a witch hunter in the name of god.
He was abandobed by his mother as a baby and raised by the Archbishop of Cesarine to protect its population from the witches.
He agrees to enter holy matrimony with Lou, a woman he doesn’t understand, in order to protect his position among his brothers.

Lou fled from the Chateau where the coven of the Dame Blanches reside and fled to Cesarine, where she hides her identity as a witch, lives on the attic of a theater and tries to not get caught.
But her life turns around when she is caught stealing Angelica’s ring, a magic relic of her kind and forced to marry Reid Diggory to avoid being imprisoned.
Now, as she begins to fall for him, Lou must hide her secrets and be even more careful.

☾ the magic system

In the world, of Serpent and Dove, there are two covens – the Dame Blanches and the Dame Rouges.
The Dame blanches see magic in patterns and trade things for magic – an eye for an eye, and so on.
The Dames Rouges are blood witches. Their magic lives in their blood, and in order to use it, they must extract their own blood for their rituals.
Magic comes with a scent that normal people can smell, and it is what usually alerts the Chasseurs, a group of men trained by the church to protect the innocent from the witches.
Angelica’s ring is an ancient relic that belonged to Lou’s ancestor, a witch named Angelica. It can grant different powers, such as invisibility, if you place it in your mouth.

☾ the world building

The book is set in 15th century France.
Witches walk among people, and they must be burned, no matter the cost.
In Cesarine, this is done by the Chasseurs.
But soon, the Dames Blanches seem to out-do the Chasseurs in numbers as they prepare to sacrifice one of their kind to topple the Archbishop and the ruling king.

☾ what i liked about this book

I loved the setting.
It reminded me of classic fairytales, like Beauty and the Beast, or stories like Notre-Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo.
I also loved Lou – as a practicing pagan – or “heathen” as Reid would say – I saw a lot of myself in her.
Lou is an insanely humorous character, and you can tell she doesn’t need Reid for anything. She’s very independent, and I enjoyed reading about her very much.
The concept of the two different covens and the way magic can be wielded by each of them was very interesting as well.

☾ what i didn’t like about this book

This is a very personal thing, but I just cannot stand people who follow Christianity and rub their beliefs in other people’s faces like the Chasseurs and the Archbishop do in this book.
All this bible talk and ‘witches must burn’ part was very hard for me to read, and it is the only reason why I did not give this book five stars.
Other than that, it took me a very long time to warm up to Reid – damn, he really had a stick up his ass for about at least 3/4s of the book and I could not understand why people ship him and Lou for the most part.
Don’t even get me started on the Archbishop – what a hypocrite!

☾ should you read this book?

I definitely recommend this book if you haven’t already.
Again, if you like Beauty and the beast or The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, you will enjoy this book, and if you like witches, that’s even better.
I was very apprehensive about starting to read this book because I heard people making comments about how it’s fat-and transphobic and also racist.
Yes, Mahurin uses the word “ebony” to describe a character’s skin color, but I could not find any evidence of trans- and fatphobic content – I cannot speak for the trans community, but as a plus size woman, I would have noticed the fatphobia.
However, the contents are sexist, even mysogynistic. The witches in this book are being refered to as “it” and are of course, potrayed as the villains in this story.
That being said, it is important that we keep in mind that we live in the 20th century, and this book is set during the medieval ages, where the role of a woman was dictated by the church and religion played a big part in people’s lives – we simply cannot compare it to the way we live today.

Have you read Serpent and Dove? What are your thoughts? Be sure to keep them spoiler free!
Also, are you looking forward to the release of Blood and Honey?