A touch of reality…

If you dive a little deeper and roam further around my blog you’ll find that I have freshened things up a bit. I guess you can say I’ve made my blog slightly more official or mature. I can’t pick the right word.

Last month was the third anniversary of my work here on this blog. So, I would like to thank everyone who has been here from the start and supported me, as well as everyone who has joined recently or is stumbling upon me right at this moment. Thank you!

I want to continue providing you with quality reviews, but also, I would love to hear from you –

  • What else would you like to read?
  • Is there a specific book you would like me to review?
  • Do you have any constructive criticism?

The comment section is open for business and I would love if you occupied it for at least one minute!

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Susana Fortes – Quattrocento | Review

167956164Where do I even start?
With a disclaimer, I guess. Since this book hasn’t yet been translated in English all the quotations are my translations of the book. So they might not be the best, but I tried my best to give you the ambiance and the point the author tried to send.

Quattrocento by Susana Fortes is a partly historical, partly fiction novel in which we follow an art graduate Ana Sotomayor who is writing her dissertation on the topic of a renaissance painter Pierpaolo Masoni and the Pazzi conspiracy in which they tried to assassinate the Medici family. Also, we follow through the second storyline the painter Pierpaolo Masoni and his apprentice Luca as they get intertwined in the conspiracy.

So far it wasn’t translated in English and maybe it is for the best because this is one of the worst novels my critical eyes have encountered. I am deeply disappointed since have been tracking down this novel for a few years and have become quite invested in finding it. Maybe it was the universe telling me not to read it?! However, recently I finally acquired it. Also, I decided to give annotating a try and this is the book I picked to be my victim. I have never made a better decision in my reading history.
And there I was, pen in hand, wide-eyed and opening the book I was ready to put on my favorites’ shelf. What a journey. On the second page, I put down the first question mark in the margin.
What followed was pages and pages of historically inaccurate descriptions of Florence in the early renaissance. Fortes described the town filled with buildings built years, even centuries later and sometimes even invented buildings that simply could not have existed in Florence. Such as churches which were described very closely as something out of medieval, precisely gothic France. This is simply not possible. This all would not such a big deal if the author herself didn’t claim to be a historian. Also, the dynamic of people living and the political scene in the historical part of the novel was not even remotely close to what really went on. In a way, it was described as through the eyes of a child.
Furthermore, to give you more examples of the pure idiocy of this novel, she claimed that around the year 1460 people regularly used flintlocks in wars while they weren’t even close to being invented. Also, she then claims that the Swiss Guard participated in the Pazzi conspiracy which took place in 1478. when the Swiss Guard wasn’t established until 1506.
All of this makes me so angry. I expected so much more out of a historical novel written by a historian.
One of the main reasons it makes me angry is the fact that many people will read this book and believe the historical „facts“ Susana Fortes presents without thinking about it twice. My major in university is art history. And I am specializing in the renaissance and baroque period. I hate that someone who is interested in this subject will be surrounded by pure bullshit!

Let’s now distance ourselves from this problem and step into another. The characters. Such bad character building that my heart ached as I read. The characters changed personalities on every page. They would be moral and humble on one page and then start fucking their university professor on the other with no warning nor character development that would precede it. Just an example. Also, the protagonist Ana Sotomayor would on one page be described and through dialogue seem completely foolish and then suddenly become wiser than her twenty years older university professor.

The plot. Predictable. Unexplained. Something would happen and Fortes would describe is so meticulously with sentences sometimes half a page long, as if we were reading a Proustian stream of consciousness novel. And then the event would be forgotten and never mention again.

There is a moment in which a character is raped. It is slipped into the storyline for only a very short paragraph and never mentioned again! There was no need to put it into the story! Not if you weren’t going to spend some time and words on the topic… also, it is described as if nothing bad has happened simply because the victim was male. So he must be content with the occasion.

Also, the fact that Susana Fortes decided that the best idea ever was to write a cheap version of Dan Brown’s DaVinci’s Code simply offends me. She didn’t provide intelligently argumented theories and stole some of the locations and situations from Dan Brown’s book. Such as the visit to a crypt beneath an old church which held an important secret where the protagonists were then entrapped by the villain and put in danger.

Then, I must talk about the writing style, which was horrifying. I was sometimes scared that Fortes’ completely idiotic descriptions in which she would use extremely long and „intelligent“ words that made no sense in the situation nor one with another would scar me forever. My favorite examples must be when she wrote: „I stood with my both feet.“. Also, she then spent half a page describing the love interest eye color which we all know bring nothing to the narrative nor to the characterization. I simply must share the description with you: „His eyes now seemed to have the shade of  a pitcher filled with wine when a ray of lighting passes through it, with ribbons splattered with amber, malachite and lapis lazuli, the things that were present in his irises in interchangeable variety, changing also with his mood and the way lighting hit his eyes. Sometimes they shined with a golden pigment that could sometimes be found on Italian renaissance paintings.“ What? What does that mean? She here took almost every color that exists, but then as the icing on a very bad cake she made things even worse and said, in the last chapter, that the protagonist „held his face and looked into his eyes intensely even though she didn’t even know the color of them“. What is the point?

I thought of stopping now, but why? I am at the point of no return…
The henchmen of the bad guys were described, one as Gomez Addams and the other as Danny de Vito. Danny de Vito’s name was actually written in the description of the character. This is something I found really funny, even though it wasn’t supposed to be funny.
And now, the reason I decided to flip through the whole book one more time, just for all of you. I don’t know why there are so many pop culture references, but there was one I decided to count how many times it was used. Susana Fortes decided to mention Tom Waits six, and I repeat SIX times. Why? Please, tell me why.

And here I will stop. I will leave this unforgettable novel behind. I don’t recommend this book to anyone unless you are looking for something to make fun of and read almost every passage out loud to your friends so you can ridicule it even more.
Here, I thank the amazing writer Susana Fortes for writing this truly heartbreaking book and certainly breaking my heart and my soul as I read it!

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Trista Mateer – Aphrodite Made Me Do It | Review


43819413Aphrodite Made Me Do It is a masterpiece poetry collection written by Trista Mateer. It deals with abuse, rape, the value of a woman and many other topics that are currently in the spotlight.

To sing of love

is almost always

to sing of war.

I believe these are all things that ought to be talked about and I especially appreciate the manner in which Trista Mateer talks about them. I love that she didn’t go the political route! She presented all these issues and worries in a way that didn’t present political arguments, but what it did show was a wound on her soul. And then it revealed a wound on my own soul. I felt deeply for what she wrote.

It was my blood that made the roses red.

Did they tell you that?

My pain shaped the whole world.

k (2)I find this poetry collection unique! The way the author intertwined her own voice with the voice od Aphrodite is amazing. What is more amazing is the fact that it seemed so natural, so meant to be.

This is the poem that hit me the hardest because I believe sometimes people forget:

People expect all stories of abuse
to be loud and angry
but they’re not.

Sometimes they’re quiet and cruel
and swept under the rug.

The wounds presented on these pages are open and raw. The words are impactful and strong. And they hit me right in the face! This may de facto be a new addition to my favorite modern poetry collections.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Angie Bailey – Texts from Mittens: The Friends and Family Editions | Review

43821555._sx318_Angie Bailey’s Texts from Mittens: The Friends and Family Editions is a fantastic little book. I love the idea of a cat sending texts and communicating with its friends and family in that way. Some jokes were absolutely funny and some were a bit stretched. However, in its entirety this way incredibly cute and charming.
I can certainly see myself buying this for a friend!

There isn’t much more to say since the concept of this book is so simple, yet unique.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Katie Vaz – The Escape Manual for Introverts | Review

42785086._sx318_Katie Vaz’ The Escape Manual for Introverts is a cute graphic novel which provides many ways to escape uncomfortable social situations.
It is divided into five categories:

  1. Friends
  2. Relatives
  3. Coworkers
  4. Acquaintances
  5. Strangers


The art style is very cute. I really like the palette chosen for this graphic novel – everything is pastel colored. I think it is very fitting.

The escape routes provided in this graphic novel range from realistic to absolutely outrageous and even crazy. It is all very fun!
I think that everyone would enjoy this book. It is a pageturner and simply entertaining.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Patrick Ness – A Monster Calls | Review

amcA Monster Calls is a beautiful, heart-breaking story about a boy whose mother is seriously ill. Patrick Ness leads us through the last few weeks of life that his mother shares with Conor. He has a really hard time dealing with the unavoidable future. So then, one night, after waking up from a terrible nightmare that has been haunting him for quite some time, he hears a strange noise in his room. And so begins an interesting friendship (if you can call it that) between a boy and a monstrous tree.

I deeply enjoyed this book. At first, I didn’t think it would affect me at all, but as the end started getting near I found myself with teary eyes. I am quite affected by this story!

The story is very beautiful itself, but more than anything else, I enjoyed the relationships and dynamics between characters. I believe they were written in an amazing way, truly capturing people in pain such as this one. Everyone had a different way of dealing with the situation and the pain… and none of them could sincerely understand each other’s way of dealing with it.

Furthermore, I must say that the Monster’s stories were maybe my favorite part of the narrative. They were interesting and the endings were twisty!

I can’t think of anything more to say. I would love to discuss this book with someone, so if anyone is into it – you can easily contact me!

I recommend this book to everyone. It is true. It is raw. And it is going to touch your soul. It has, at least, touched mine.

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Lilah Pace – Asking for It (Asking for It, #1) | Review

23398817Asking for It is the first book in Lilah Pace’s book series of the same name. It is a deeply disturbing erotica novel that brings us into the life of Vivienne Charles. Vivienne has a very specific sexual fantasy which stops her from having a healthy romantic relationship. She believes her twisted fantasy can never be brought to life until she finds Jonah Marks, a man as twisted as her.

Reader Advisory: Asking for It deals explicitly with fantasies of non-consensual sex. Readers sensitive to portrayals of non-consensual sex should be advised.

While reading this book I was on edge almost all the time. The way everything was portrayed was disturbing. I am not saying the book is badly written, just that sometimes I simply had to put it down to distance myself from it.

I believe the characters and their traumas were written well. I stumble upon many reviews that said Vivienne had to be strong, independent and such because she was a rape victim. That she should have been a character that shows in the best way that a person can overcome such a ghastly thing. Why? Why should she be strong? Why should she be something every rape victim can “look up to”?
This makes me angry. Firstly, because not everyone can overcome rape in the “best” way possible (whatever that means). Secondly, not every character who suffered such a thing has to be a “role model” for others. Thirdly, it is so much better to have a glimpse into the life of a person who hasn’t yet learned to deal with it, than to read about someone strong again. I want to see how she is doing so that I can feel less alone because I am not perfect!

Asking for It is a book that left me with many dilemmas. Some of them were resolved through the book. However, I can sense that some of those questions and thoughts will remain with me for a long time.

I don’t know what to say about the writing and the characterization and everything else since I was so focused on the plot. And I think that it is better this way. Because this book offered me a story so dark that I had nothing to do but to read.

I still don’t know how to rate this book and I am thinking to maybe leave it unrated. You’ll see for yourself. Now I think I’ll distance myself from this topic for a while because I can feel the scar on my skin left by the pages of this book.

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