Review: The Minimalist Home by Joshua Becker

The Minimalist Home: A Room-By-Room Guide to a Decluttered, Refocused Life

Series: Standalone
Genre: non-fiction
Diversity: not really
Trigger Warnings: ableistic, maybe more
Rating: dnf
Cover: I like the colour scheme
Links: Goodreads

Description: A popular minimalist blogger and author of The More of Less shows you how to methodically turn your home into a place of peace, contentment, and purposeful living.

One of today’s most influential minimalist advocates takes us on a decluttering tour of our own houses and apartments, showing us how to decide what to get rid of and what to keep. He both offers practical guidelines for simplifying our lifestyle at home and addresses underlying issues that contribute to over-accumulation in the first place. The purpose is not just to create a more inviting living space. It’s also to turn our life’s HQ–our home–into a launching pad for a more fulfilling and productive life in the world.

Review: Most stuff you can read about minimalism is really… extreme.

It’s either extreme in the sense of “get rid of everything and breathe at least 50% less than you did before!” (okay, slightly exaggerating) or it’s supposed to show really extreme and therefore unbelievable results.

I don’t know if this book ends up showing both extremes because I had to dnf it when the author featured a response he got from a woman. Becase said woman had to deal with postnatal depression but during that depression and with (at least) one baby she went minimalistic and guess what? She was cured!

If one could cure depression with decluttering stuff… why are we paying so much for therapists and medication? Why do some people have to live with depression their whole life?

So now I know that some people are like “that totally cured me! DO yoga at sunrise and your healed!” but should that be written in a book? It’s not like one is forced to write every little testimonial one gets. But the chosen quotes you do use for your book show what you think. And therefore I stopped reading because I have better things to read than that.


Last Words: I know it can help if you’ve got the energy for it to have a clean environment. But how about writing it that way?

Disclaimer: I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

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Review: River Queens: Saucy Boat, stout mates, spotted dog, America by Alexander Watson

Series: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary, Memoir
Diversity: LGBT (m/m)
Trigger Warnings: suicide mention, slight homophobia
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Cover: I love the feeling of calm I get whenever I look at those two
Links: Goodreads

Description: Two men and a spotted dog restore a vintage Chris-Craft motor yacht and launch across the American Heartland from Texas to Ohio. The restoration, the people they met along the way, and life in an America which few know exists are the story of River Queens: Saucy boat, stout mates, spotted dog, America.

Review: I know less than nothing about boats and I enjoyed River Queens very much. So if you’re a lover of boats you may be blown away by this book.

One of the things that I love about being a book blogger is the chance to discover non mainstream books. I don’t think River Queens would have appeared on any recommendations list for me because the main theme is not one I usually read. I do enjoy the occasional memoir or two but only of people I know and like. So even if it would have popped up I don’t know if I would have read it.

Luckily Alexander found my blog and saw it worthy to review River Queens. Luckily I trusted my gut feeling of “hey that’s something new for me, let’s try it!”. So here I am being very moved by a spotted dog and two men that I don’t know but for the review mails.

My grandfather owned a boat, named after his first-born grandchild (that would be me btw), and that’s everything that connects me to boats. But you don’t need a connection to boats to enjoy this book. You don’t even need an open mind for the LGBTQIA+ community (I judge you harshly if you’re not open-minded though!)

River Queens reads like a classic, one that my teacher could have chosen for class. It’s written rather down-to-earth but it manages to transport humour, curiosity, and grief in a way that it felt at times like my own emotions.

The last two years America’s image has been a bad one – at times very bad – and I have wondered time and time again why friends of mine don’t pack up and leave the country. I’m still wondering about this and if the social system of the US doesn’t change I’ll never stop wondering about this, but now I’m back to seeing the people as well. River Queens shows a different kind of mankind than the news and for that I am grateful.

Last Words: If you’re just a bit curious about adventure, about taking a chance on what you dream of, read River Queens.

Disclaimer: I got the book for free through the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

Review: Captive by Donna K. Ford

 Series: Standalone
Genre: Thriller, Contemporary, Romance
Diversity: LGBT (f/f)
Trigger Warnings: assault, rape mentions, maybe more
Rating: dnf
Cover: Very dramatic
Links: Goodreads

Description: Greyson Cooper is exactly where she wants to be in life when she sets out on a section hike of the Appalachian Trail. When she’s abducted and placed into slavery in a fight club, she isn’t about to be a part of their barbaric plan and does everything she can to upset the ranks, even if it costs her life.

Olivia Danner has worked hard for everything she has; all that’s left is her dream job and someone to share her life with. But her plans are cut short when a man who wants her as his personal prize kidnaps her.

Together in captivity, Olivia and Greyson become players in a game of deceit and violence. To survive and escape, they will have to figure out whom they can trust. If they can get out alive, the next challenge will be forging a path to lasting love.

Review: When applying for an ARC I don’t read other bloggers’ reviews of it.
But I kinda wish I had done that with Captivate because I would have spared myself from boredom.
I can’t tell you much about anything to be honest. The characters felt very one-dimensional, the budding romance was meh at best and… well, I really was simply bored. I would have struggled on – read: skim read – but having one of the MCs in a possibly very dangerous situation drinking alcohol and thinking about how she needs the whole bottle? Nope. That’s so far from realistic that I don’t want to know how much worse it’ll get. Human trafficking is a very serious and horrible theme. I want it to be handled realistic and responsible.
Before reading Captive I doubted how a Romance could be handled in this situation. But I kept an open mind and gave it a chance.
Last Words: Maybe you want to give it a chance as well. But I’d totally understand you if you don’t
Disclaimer: I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

Review: Three Stupid Weddings by Ann Gallagher

 Series: Standalone
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Diversity: LGBTQIA+ (m/m, asexual characters, aromantic characters, non binary characters, f/f), mental health (eating disorder, body image issues)
Trigger Warnings: emotional abuse, eating disorder, body image issues, slight LGBTQIA+phobia
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Cover: I love the ornaments.
Links: Goodreads
DescriptionOn the heels of a painful and long overdue breakup, what Victor Nelson needs is time to lick his wounds. What he doesn’t need is everyone in his family trying to play matchmaker so he can find someone new… which is exactly what they’ll do at the three stupid weddings he has to attend this summer.

Fortunately, it’s Dominic Lowe to the rescue. Dom is more than willing to come along to all the weddings as his best friend’s “boyfriend”… even if he’d much rather be there as Vic’s real boyfriend.

Convincing people they’re a couple is easy. The charade is miserable for Dom, though, after years of being madly in love with Vic. But maybe those three weddings are a rehearsal for the relationship he knows they could have for real.

Review: An ace romance without the being ace conflict.
Add the fake relationship trope into that and rest assured that I am very excited to read such a book.
Sadly my excitement didn’t survive very long. Now don’t get me wrong, Three Stupid Weddings is a nice enough romance but I won’t reread it I think. If you’re looking for something easy between books it might be a perfect fit but there is not enough depth in it for me.
There would have been the possibility of depth though because Vic’s ex boyfriend really left a lasting impression on him regarding his weight and eating habits. At first I thought that would get more… well simply more. And it kinda got more, at least it was not forgotten somewhere along the story and it was not downplayed but it still felt to me to be coped with too easily. Others might find them in that portrayal though.
Having them starting out as friends makes it easier to believe Vic and Dom’s romance but that as well could have gotten more depth. It too was too fast and easy and I didn’t feel their love. I did enjoy their geekyness and I loved how the different wedding invitations were put as a picture into the book.
Last Words: That detail added to the aspects I talked about before and I think I would have been very happy with this book.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy through the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

NOT going on a break but…

There hasn’t been much action on this blog these last few months, now has there?

There are many reasons for this but I won’t go into detail. Just some health stuff and then work stuff and now new work stuff.

So, I started working at a new work place at the beginning of september and there’s a lot I need to do right now and in a few months I really gotta study for my upcoming very important exams.

So I don’t have as much time to blog like I used to. I don’t have as much time to read like I used to either.

I do have some review notes in my notebook, I just need to write them. I plan on having at least 2 reviews a month, but 4 would be preferred. So theoretically I could publish one once a week to prove that I am not dead.

I do want to start this sentence this way simply to keep in that pattern I unknowingly established in this post. Sorry, I’m exhausted and therefore I find not funny stuff kinda funny right now.

Anyway.

I promise to be more active but not as active as I used to. I still love my blog and chatting with y’all about books!

Right now I’m reading a book that I love very, very much so that will encourage me to sit down my ass and write more reviews.

Review: Tactical Submission by Ada Maria Soto

 Series: Windsor Club (book 1)
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Erotica
Diversity: LGBTQIA+ (m/m, f/f, polyam characters)
Trigger Warnings: hostage situation (non explicit), (implicit) emotional child abuse
Rating: 4,5/5 Stars
Cover: It’s so beautiful!
Links: Goodreads

Description: SWAT commander Jack Burnside is haunted by his craving to kneel before another man. Of all the things he hates about himself – his overtly masculine size and strength, his blue eyes, his insecurities – it is the need to submit that he fears will destroy him.

Doctor Isaac Bard is close to achieving his perfect life. He has a great job with the Coroner’s Office and an open marriage to a loving wife who understands his needs better than he does. The only thing he is missing is a handsome young man to dominate, spoil rotten, and love.

Jack and Isaac might be a perfect match in the back rooms of the exclusive Windsor Club, but will the outside pressures of perception and duty tear them apart?

Review: Sequel! I want a sequel!
I’ll try to make sense of my review notes but honestly? They’re mostly “mmm yes!” And I don’t even mean that in the sexual sense. While this is an erotica and there is a lot of sex there… there somehow isn’t at the same time even though there is.
Hah. I don’t even understand myself, how are you’re supposed to? Okay, I’ll try again. There are a lot of sexual scenes in Tactical Submission. Too many for my taste. But what makes it special is that these scenes manage to make me believe Isaac and Jack’s relationship and how they fall for each other. Simply because they are so character-driven instead of “and they fucked”.
Speaking of characters. I’m unable to decide on a favourite. If I had to I’d chose Amelie because she is so awesome and fleshed out even though she is only a minor character. But I love Jack and Lydia and Isaac and Dan as well! And the Coven even though they don’t even have a speaking part – I’m still very sad about this.
A thing with most bdsm stories (and non bdsm m/m ones as well – let’s be honest) is that the taller guy is the more muscular is the dominating is the topping guy. And while I like these guys as dominant tops, I like them as submissive bottoms and every area between, too. Jack and Isaac are wonderful in breaking through clichés. Jack especially is not what you expect.
(…) but he learned early on that being a Dom had nothing to do with height and everything to do with frame of mind ~ kindle pos. 88
Communication? Check.
Introspection (or somewhat shrink kink-y – you know what I’m talking about if you’ve read a certain polyam bdsm universe)? Check.
Gentle domination? Check.
What’s not to like?
Last Words: There will be a sequel!

Review: Queer Magic by Tomás Prower

 Series: Standalone
Genre: nonfiction
Diversity: It’s queer
Trigger Warnings: none as far as I can recall
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Cover: I love that planet Earth
Description: Queer Magic and Mysticism in History and Today

Queer Magic provides nourishment for LGBT+ souls and their allies who are interested in learning about the significant presence and influence of queer folks throughout history. Explore fascinating insights into queer relationships and spiritual practices from different regions of the world. Learn about deities, heroes, and historical figures who embody the power of the queer spirit. Discover inspiring contributions from contemporary LGBT+ Pagans, Catholics, Buddhists, Muslims, and others as they share personal stories of their experiences as well as spells, prayers, and meditations from their own practices. With practical suggestions and enlightening perspectives, this book is a unique resource for LGBT+ spiritual seekers who want to experience the sustaining energy and strength of the worldwide queer community.

Review: I was so hyped for this book.
I remember how I sat on the balcony, enjoying the sun and thinking I was in for a great treat.
Well, I wasn’t. Now don’t get me wrong. It was interesting enough – at times. At other times I felt it was rather elitist and overall… it’s just so rushed!
The book rushes through time, through culture, through continents… It’s really sad, because I really enjoyed the queer eye used in Queer Magic. But I wasn’t able to get into a thing because there always was the next and the next and the next. I feel stressed just thinking back to it.
If one is looking for a starting point it may be the right book. It may not as well.
Last Words: An one time read.
Buy it now: Amazon.com*
Disclaimer: I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

Review: A Light Amongst Shadows by Kelley York and Rowan Altwood

 Series: Dark is the Night (book 1)
Genre: Paranormal, Historical, Romance, Young Adult
Diversity: LGBTQIA+ (m/m), Mental Health (addiction, possibly PTSD)
Trigger Warnings: abuse, corporal punishment, rape mention, opium addiction
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Cover: Don’t let its non-threatening appearance fool you
Description: James Spencer is hardly the typical “troubled youth” who ends up at Whisperwood School for Boys. Instead of hating the strict schedules and tight oversight by staff, James blossoms, quickly making friends and indulging in his love of writing, while contemplating the merits of sneaking love poems to the elusive and aloof William Esher.

The rumours about William’s sexuality and opium reliance are prime gossip material amongst the third years. Rumours that only further pique James’ curiosity to uncover what William is really like beneath all that emotional armor. And, when the normally collected William stumbles in one night, shaken and ranting of ghosts… James is the only one who believes him.

James himself has heard the nails dragging down his bedroom door and the sobs echoing in the halls at night. He knows others have, too, even if no one will admit it. The staff refuses to entertain such ridiculous tales, and punishment awaits anyone who brings it up.

Their fervent denial and the disappearance of students only furthers James’s determination to find out what secrets Whisperwood is hiding… Especially if it means keeping William and himself from becoming the next victims.

Review: After tweeting
Trust Kelley York to write a ghost story that has me sitting teary eyed at a train station. I can’t read it at night because those ghosts are creepy af!
I tried to leave behind my excitement and enthusiasm about A Light Amongst Shadows. I’ve tried for weeks because I didn’t want to be all “adsfgnjhgjn YOU HAVE TO READ THIS! NOW!” but… I think I have to be that way. I’m still not finished loving this story. Now don’t get me wrong, if I love a book I’ll love it forever but after some time the love stops bubbling to the surface every day.
Since I do not want to spoiler you, I won’t tell you much about the story itself (go read it and then come gushing about it to me!), but I will take you on a ride through my notes about it:
– Such soft story telling
– Ew here comes the creepiness. Luckily it’s gentle
– Flirtation by poetry FUCK YES!
– Squeal like a child instead of like a girl that’s right
– NOT SO FUCKING GENTLE ANYMORE!!!
– It’s so fucking creepy but oh the tears, the tears
– THIS WILL BE A SERIES?!?!?!?
Ahem.
Am I embarrassed by my not eloquence? Maybe a little. But those notes really show how I felt while reading. I came in excited because Kelley York Y’all and it was such a nice and soft ride that I simply fell in love with the story and its characters. And then there were the ghost-y parts and I was like ‘yeah, I can do that, this is great’ (I’m a chicken, sue me). I was further lured in by the developing romance and the feministic touch and then? Then my heart exploded because of adrenaline and fear but that was not enough, oh no, now you want to make be bawl like there is no tomorrow?!
Last Words: I want to go on this ride again. Please give me the second installment now!
Buy it now: Amazon.com*
Disclaimer: I received a free copy through the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

Review: Madam Tulip and the bones of chance by David Ahern

 Series: Madam Tulip (book 3)
Genre: Mystery, Crime, Paranormal, Magick
Trigger Warnings: none
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Cover: I love its colours
Description: A surprise role in a movie takes actress Derry O’Donnell to a romantic castle in the Scottish Highlands. But romance soon turns to fear and suspicion. Someone means to kill, and Derry, moonlighting as celebrity fortune-teller Madam Tulip, is snared in a net of greed, conspiracy and betrayal.

A millionaire banker, a film producer with a mysterious past, a gun-loving wife, a PA with her eyes on Hollywood, a handsome and charming estate manager—each has a secret to share and a request for Madam Tulip.

As Derry and her friend Bruce race to prevent a murder, she learns to her dismay that the one future Tulip can’t predict is her own.

Madame Tulip and the Bones of Chance is the third Madam Tulip adventure.

Review: I didn’t know what I expected but this was not it.
Because it was better. When I accepted this arc I thought I’d get an ordinary mystery, be somewhat entertained and never think about Madam Tulip again. And to me it’s okay if that happens, because reading just to pass time is nice, too.
But it’s been 2 months since I read The Bones of Chance and my life’s been more than simply stressful so there are quite a few reasons why I should’ve forgotten about Madam Tulip, but I did not.
I can’t even put my finger on why that is. Because while the mystery was alright it wasn’t the greatest thing I’ve ever read and at times it really was over the top – but that somehow fits perfectly? Maybe/probably it’s the main character Derry/Madam Tulip. I feel like I know her irl and like I’ve talked to her many times before. Maybe even have her read my cards.
I probably like this book so much because of the way the mystery and the paranormal come togehter without fighting over who comes out on top.  I could’ve done without the romantic aspects though.
Last Words: I’ll read the others parts some day as well.
Buy it now:  Amazon.com*
Disclaimer: I received a free copy through the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

Review: A Tiny Piece of Something Greater by Jude Sierra

 Series: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Diversity: LGBTQIA+(m/m), mental illness (cyclothymia)
Trigger Warnings: suicide attempt mention, self harm, mental illness
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Cover: I want to be there.
DescriptionReid Watsford has a lot of secrets and a past he can’t quite escape. While staying at his grandmother’s condo in Key Largo, he signs up for introductory dive classes, where he meets Joaquim Oliveira, a Brazilian dive instructor with wanderlust. Driven by an instant, magnetic pull, what could have been just a hookup quickly deepens. As their relationship evolves, they must learn to navigate the challenges of Reid’s mental illness—on their own and with each other.
Review: I admit, a certain someone over at From Top To Bottom Reviews had me really (and I mean REALLY) hyped for this book.
What can I say? Annie does rec the best books.
So why do I love A Tiny Piece of Something Greater? It is rather difficult to explain without spoilering, but I’ll manage:
  • the title. I love its ambiguousness
  • content warnings. Fuck yeah!
  • the realness of its portrayal of mental illness
    • and to me it’s not even triggering
    • People with BPD are not portrayed as the most-deserving-to-die-humans-there’ll-ever-be. FUCK YEAH!

Let’s take a better look at the last bullet point, shall we?

I’m pretty sure you’ve gathered that I’m mentally ill and if you’ve read reviews of mine about books that feature mentally ill characters you know how important this portrayal is to me and how often it’s done horribly wrong. I wasn’t afraid of this here because it’s #ownvoices.

But I not only got a not ableist book, I got a wonderful book that’s full of pain and memories and all the little things that you may live with if you’ve got certain mental illnesses. But most of all I got hope.

This is not a story about a mentally ill character, this is a story with a mentally ill character and I like this approach way better than the first option.

I may enjoy a different thing even more though: Joaquim isn’t a means for Reid to heal. There is no magic-love-cure. Instead Joaquim is a person of his own, with his own thoughts, feelings, fears and dreams.

So why am I rating it 4.5 instead of 5 stars? The reason is rather small and it may have to do a little bit with the book’s formatting. There are at times very unexpected jumps that left me sort of confused until I found into the new scene. And sometimes the story felt somewhat rushed for me. This ties perfectly to my last words, because more (in-detail?) story means more to read. Now I’m gonna go back to nursing my book hangover because I really don’t want A Tiny Piece of Something Greater to end.

Last Words: No really, why did it have to end?
Buy it now: Amazon*
Disclaimer: I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.