Hector and the Search for Happiness by François Lelord

English translation published by Gallic Books – 2010 (originally published in 2004) – 164 pageshector happiness

Hector is a successful psychiatrist. But next to people with actual disorders, he treats many others who are unhappy without anything in their lives being really wrong. Dissatisfied and unhappy himself that he can’t help those, he sets off on a journey to find out what really makes people happy (and sad). Meeting old friends and making new ones, Hector not only learns about others but also learns some important lessons himself.

The only shadow on my happiness is when I tell myself sometimes as it’s all going well, it can’t last, that one day things won’t be so good.

This book is part of the series Hector’s Journeys with other books in the series being called Hector and the Secrets of Love or Hector and the Search for Lost Time and a bunch more that haven’t been translated into English (available in French and German though).
I usually wouldn’t have picked this book up but I saw it at a charity shop and it seemed familiar to so I got it. Turns out it’s familiar because a movie (with the same title) came out in 2014 starring Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Stellan Skarsgård and more, directed by Peter Chelsom. Although I haven’t seen the movie, so if you’ve seen it let me know in the comments what you thought about it!

Sometimes happiness is not knowing the whole story.

Psychiatry is such an interesting field but I really don’t like books or movies with psychiatrist in major roles and I’m sorry that this book wasn’t able to prove me wrong. I’m a fan of Simon Pegg so having in mind that he played Hector, book Hector disappointed me alot. Unfortunately he wasn’t likeable at all. He kept talking about beautiful woman and how he can’t look at them when they talk because they are so pretty and then he simply stops listening to them whenever they talk and there were some generally sexists and “old-fashioned” statements made, too (fine, mind you that was first released in 2004 before the new wave of feminism, but boy it’s still the 21st century).

The basic mistake people make is to think that happiness is the goal.

Now, I actually checked a couple times whether this isn’t a children’s book, it isn’t, because the way it was written felt so much like it. The sentence structures were very easy and things kept being repeated how they do for children who only just start reading, and the book kept posing questions that it would answer straight away and it was just so weird. I don’t mind reading children’s book from time to time but this book had none of the charm Dahl books have, for instance.
Oh, and having sex is called “the thing people do when they love each other” which again is wrong on so many points. If it isn’t a children’s book why talk around it like that, and it isn’t mentioned only once but like a lot on Hector’s travels, although he has a girlfriend back home. Also, you can love each other without doing the do and vice versa.

Many people see happiness only in their future.

All in all, there were some nice parts in this book but nothing life-changing. I didn’t enjoy the style, and the characters were all very generic and had no depth (it is a very short book but still no excuse). Now that I look at it it’s obvious to me that I never enjoyed these kind of books so I really don’t even know why I picked this up, oh well.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

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The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson

Published by the Penguin Young Readers Group – 2004 – 370 pages

Nina, Avery and Melanie, who form the Bermudez Triangle, have been best friends for life. bermudez traingleHowever, this summer they will be seperated for the first time. While Avery and Mel stay and get a summer job, Nina attends a program at Stanford. When Nina comes back after ten weeks nothing’s the same anymore. While Nina tries to keep up a long-distance relationship with Steve whom she met at the program, Mel and Avery became more than friends. There are secrets and lies, the friends grow distant just to grow toegether again. It’s a whirlwind of feelings, finding your identity and learning to forgive.

You might have figured by now that characters are the most important thing for me in a story, so a big part of this getting such a low rating from me is due to them. None of the three main characters is in any way likeable. Avery never takes responsibility for her actions and runs away from everything, Mel is clingy, naive and never understand what is going on around her and Nina is self-centered and obsessively in love with a person who treats her horribly. Now, I know these are all traits we all may have at times, too and I’m all for characters being real and not always being perfect and agreeable, but in all of the 370 pages each of the girls might had one scene in which she was bearable. The only nice character that I enjoyed was Parker, but even he made a horrible joke and was into like three girls in the course of the book. But all in all, the boys were generally more bearable (gosh, I hate saying this, but it’s true in this book). Johnson is great at writing boys. She’s horrible at writing girls.

You know how you can sometimes tell when a person might like you? There’s just something about the way they look at you or the way they keep trying to talk to you?

Let’s move on to the relationships. So, they’ve been best friends for pretty much their whole lives and I honestly barely felt any real connection between them. Like when Mel tells Nina something that’s really important to her and Nina has to fake her interest because she can’t stop thinking about her boyfriend/ex-boyfriend. Yeah, best friend award definitely won’t go to any of these girls.

 Irony is the word I forget the meaning of immediately after I look it up, but I kind of feel like I live in a constant state of it.

Now to the LGBTQA+ part, or well rather just the L and the B. This book was written over a decade, this has to be noted, and representation is great. Now, I can’t judge how accurate all of that was, I’ll leave that to people who actually relate to it. I did think it was great that one of the characters seemed to struggle with the whole “gay” thing and questioned and denied it, because I suppose that does happen to people, too. And it was great that Mel wasn’t the “stereotypical lesbian” but then there’s a scene where they go to a dance for lesbians and guess what EVERYONE HAS SHORT HAIR!!! yeah great way to ruin it all.
And then there’s Nina who’s asking herself after everything she says or does “omg is that/am I homophobic??”. And when she dances with a girl at a party (as you would dance with any of your friends) “omg it happened, am I gay, too. Will people think I’m gay??”

Sorry, this review is so messy but this book was really messy, too. Everything was pretty predictable. There were some nice scenes and moments, but most of it was just enervating.
Anyhow, I was gonna give it 3 stars at first but so many moments that just made me shake my head happened in the last 80 pages, and the last impression is the lasting one so…

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

Blogger Recognition Award

blogger recognition

First of all a big thank you to the lovely Stevie @ Stevie’s Bookshelf , Inside My Minds and Going Through Books for nominating me for this nice award, do check out their respective posts (and their whole blogs!).

Here the rules:
Write a post to show your award.
Give a brief story of how your blog started.
Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to


HOW MY BLOG STARTED

Sorry to disappoint but there isn’t much of an exciting story here. I’ve been having Twitter for years now but I never used it for book related stuff, I’d occasionally tweet about me reading something etc., but it’s more of a general account where I want to be able to tweet about everything. So when I felt like being able to talk about books more I knew I didn’t want to use Twitter primarly because I personally use it for something else. Then I tried Instagram because I saw that there was a quiet big book community on there. But who was I kidding? Instagram and me? It doesn’t really fit. I don’t really like taking pictures and am also not very creative in that perspective, since I just don’t enjoy it. And I always found it so weird to post a picture and then having a caption that totally didn’t fit with it, and I find long captions on Instagram weird. So that wasn’t for me either. But I saw a few people on Insatgram linking to their WordPress blogs and I found that I really enjoyed reading them. I was first hesitant to start one myself, but then thought that if I want to talk about book (which I do), then a blog is the best way for me personally. And now here I am.

LET ME GIVE YOU SOME ADVICE...

As for advice, I’m sure you all have heard it a hundred times before but liking and especially commenting and just generally engaging with other bloggers is the most important thing. Get to know people, be interested and they’ll be interested, too. And really, isn’t that the point of blogging anyway, to talk with other people and share?

And as second point, don’t try to imitate other blogs and bloggers. Sometimes you’ll see a blog that you absolutely adore and you might be tempted to try and make yours look like theirs, but don’t. You might love when someone uses a lot of gifs but personally don’t like using them yourself, so that’s okay, don’t do it. Find your own style in writing, the look of your blog and your posts. Sure, some inspiration for posts is fine and even needed sometimes but still try to always give it a personal twist. People come to your blog to see you and read your writing, not that of others.


I feel like most people I know on here have done this one already, so I’m not tagging anyone for now.

Epic Reads Tag

epic

Hello! I saw this tag a few weeks ago on Going Through Books (loved her answers, click to get to her post) and thought I’d give it a go. It should be a fun one. Hope you enjoy.


If you could invite one author and one of their fictional characters to lunch, who would you invite and what would you serve them?
Oooh so many, I think Markus Zusak would be fun, since I practically know nothing about him personally and I feel like he’s got some great stories to tell. And I would ask him to bring Rudi from The Book Thief with him (SPOILER: it would be great to see him alive again) and I would like to think that he grew up (I know, I know). It sure would be a funny evening with him. We’d get a nice steak since I don’t think Rudi’s seen much meat during the war and after it (I know, living in denial here).

What book do you wish the author would write a prequel for?
I think prequels make most sense with dystopias and sci-fi since with contemporaries and such there wasn’t really “happening” much before, to be harsh. And I feel like most of the books were prequels are really exciting already have one (The Maze Runner, Throne of Glass…). So, I’d go with Divergent. Maybe about how they started the whole “project” from the perspective of Tris’ mom.

Which two characters (not from the same book) would make a good couple?
Kenji from the Shatter Me series and Nehemia from Throne of Glass. Just because Kenji is an absolute amazing and loveable guy, although he doesn’t always seem like it. He likes to cover up his feelings with humour and I feel like Nehemia could totally deal with him and get him to talk about personal stuff. And I feel like they’re quiet opposites so they have what the other needs but also have enough in common.
This is the first time I ever thought about this, but I actually do think they fit! Where’s the fanfiction?

If you ran into your favorite author on the subway and only could say one sentence to them, who is it and what would it be?
I would never just talk someone up in public, even if they were my favourite celebrity ever. I wouldn’t know what to say at all, especially not in one sentence only.

What book made you a reader and why?
I’ve been a reader since I can remember, so it wasn’t any book in particular. Already in kindergarden I’d spend a lot of time looking at (and trying to read) books. I’d always go to the library a lot and pretty much read everything that was for my age. But of course, as for so many 0f my generation Harry Potter was very important.

Your bookshelf just caught fire. Show the book you’d save.
What a nightmare. I’d try to grab as many books as possible tbh. But one of the favourite ones I own is definitely my copy of Clockwork Princess which is signed and is generally just beautiful and shiny and that I’ve actually held so often, hah. And to cheat a little, also the boxset of the first four Harry Potter books that I’ve had since I was a kid (by the time I could read well enough the first four books were out already I suppose).

Which dystopian world would you want to live in if you had to choose one? Why?
Dystopia? Honestly? None. They’re all horrible to actually live in. I’m not nearly badass enough to survive in any of them for even a day. There are some pretty nice fantasy worlds, but dystopia definitely not.

What is your most epic read of all time?
Hmm, well some of my favourite books I definitely wouldn’t describe as “epic”, they’re rather quiet but in the best way possible. As for epic, I think it must be The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, which everyone who’s read it knows that this doesn’t need an explanation. It’s pure magic.


Aaaaand that was it. Either this tag is older already and that‘s why I haven’t seen this tag around much or not many people have done it. Anyhow I’ll nominate a few, feel free to do it or not:
Kayla @ kdrewkthebookworm
Calliope @ Calliope The Book Goddess
Louise @ geniereads
Ashleigh @ A frolic through fiction

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Published by Indigo – 2013 – 419 pages

Most big cities have  a quarantined part called Coldtown. In them vampires live but also humans who got infected, hope to be turned or simply want to be part of the big and glamorous party world, that is being streamed live out of the Coldtowns. After a party in the “real world” Tana’s life has been turned upside-down. She has to learn whom to trust and decide what she really wants. Shecoldest girl takes all the risks but will she be able to protect the people she loves, and herself?

I started this book a few years back when it only just came out and was all over. I loved the title and still believe it’s so intriguing. However, I must have been in some really bad reading slump because I only made it a few pages in and then abandoned it for another time. Therefore, I was quiet hesitate about starting it again remembering how badly I did with it before. In the end, curiosity won, and I picked this up again after 3 years.

First of all, I lovelovelove when books have a quote at the beginning of each chapter but the font was so adorned and curvy some words were so hard to read which was simply maddening. Why would you chose a font you can barely read when there are so many beautiful ones out there that you CAN read? I know, Holly is friends with Cassie Clare and the quotes at the beginning definitely reminded me of her (though she didn’t invent that of course) and there’s also a character that reminded me of Simon Lewis, oh well.

Every hero is the villain of his own story.

While the cover says it is not suitable for younger readers the writing style reminded me of Middle Grade books, which makes sense since Black has written books for children before. There wasn’t much going on sexually either, well excpet for some kissing and seductivelly getting bitten. However, me being a Person that hates needles and having their blood drawen and really can’t think about much worse Things than a needle going into my veins or seeing it happen to anyone else, some scenes for me were a bit like “make it stop. make it stop. make it stop”. But that’s a personal thing, generally I don’t believe there’s much of anything explicit or triggering in this book.

Clever girl. You play with fire because you want to be burnt.

Now, the idea in general and some passages were really good, but I don’t feel that this book really lived up to ist potential. Some of the secondary characters I loved and wished to get to explore their story a bit more, but the main characters were quiet flat in my opinion. Seriously, what is it with all those teenage protagonists having such a death wish?

So, as I mentioned there were some really nice and interesting parts and this book definitely had potential but it wasn’t done well through all the parts. And the writing style was too childish for me (although, I do love MG) and some parts simply made me cringe.

Rating: 3 out of 5

The Neverending Story: Books I Didn’t Finish

neverending

Hello people! Listen, I’m one of those people that are quiet fussy and like everything to be orderly and finished a and therefore, it doesn’t happen often that I DNF a book, even if I hate it. So today’s list won’t be too long but I thought it might still be interesting to see. Especially since it seems me DNFing a book has a lot to do with what else is going on in my life and my general mood, and doesn’t always have to do with the book itself, though sometimes it does.

So, ironically, the book that gave this post its title is The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (I read it in the original German: Die Unendliche Geschichte), which for me indeed is neverending since I never finished it. I started reading this as a kid (maybe some 8 years ago?) and I honestly don’t know why I didn’t manage to finish this one. It is exactly the kind of story that I like (Fantasy) and I never had problems with long books (this one is around 500 pages). All I remember is that I did like it and that I read pretty much every day and yet I never seemed to make progress, so I ended up ditching it. And up to that time it was the first book I ever didn’t finish, so it must have been really frustrating. So it wasn’t that I didn’t like the book really. I think I might come back to this one, one day.

Now to a book that I actually did hate and therefore DNFed pretty early on: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I’ve seen the movie (which was hyped a lot) before I read the book (or didn’t read it) but it doesn’t really Count since I’ve only seen like the first 15 to 20 minutes. At one point my mom and I just looked at each other and said “Shall we watch another movie?” The story just didn’t seem to go anywhere, which I think is just the worst in movies. Before I tried watching the movie I picked up the book at a second-hand shop. So afterwards I was curious to see whether the book was better. I really thought I might understand the movie better then and it all would make more sense. But the book was pretty much the same for me. I couldn’t get into it at all. And I’m all for suspense obviously, but this book just almost didn’t tell you anything. A lot of people I know also enjoyed this book a lot, but it just makes me shake my head.

A book that I didn’t mean to DNF but it just so happened: Brisingr by Christopher Paolini, the third book in The Inheritance Cycle, or as I just call it The Eragon Series. It must have been around 6 years ago I started reading this (having loved the two previous books in the series) and it was right around the time we moved house. And everyone who’s already moved knows how much work it is, how much time it consumes and how tired you are all the time. So, after everything was finally more or less set in my room I somehow randomly flipped through Brisingr and found a bookmark in the middle of it. I had completely forgotten that I was reading it, and had no time at all to read during the weeks and months of the move (including preparation). Excitedly, I wanted to continue but it was so hard to get into. Everyone who’s read the series knows how many names (and complicated ones at that) and places there are, and I simply didn’t remember them all anymore. So I had to decide to stop reading it. Now, even a fourth book came out, so I’ll definitely have to read the whole series from beginning again one time.

And lastly, one I do not regret leaving unfinished: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I was so excited to read this one, it was a bit before the movie was annoucned, I believe. But I in all honesty just couldn’t get past the first 30 pages, God knows why. I usually don’t give up a book very quickly (and certainly not even 30 pages in) but I just couldn’t read it and I have no real explanation for it.

Anyhow, people, it’s okay not to finish a book or not to like a book. Just because everybody else seemed to love it it doesn’t mean something’s wrong with you if you’re not liking it, it’s absolutely okay. Life’s too short to read books you don’t enjoy, since there are so many books out there that you will enjoy!

What books did you DNF and out of what reason? Do you also have books you didn’t finish but actually enjoyed? Have you read any of the books I DNFed?

NY-Times By the Book Tag

NY times

Hello, I’m back with another Tag Tuesday. For once I was actually tagged and that by the gorgeous Lauren @ Wonderless Reviews so have a look at her post with some really great answers!
The tag was created by the booktuber Marie Berg so have a look at her original video.
This one has a lot of questions and long answers so grab some drinks and food, lean back and hopefully enjoy!



What book is on your nightstand now?

Well, for once since pretty much 3 months Film Art – an Introduction by Bordwell and Thompson is on there since I have to read this 500 pages monster for a course at Uni and the exam is on friday (only a few pages left now,phew). If any of you guys are interested in how movies are made, what decisions directors face, why we understand that a flashback is a flashback etc etc etc, this is a really good introduction!
As for more light reads I just got The Jewel by Amy Ewing from the library (I haven’t gotten books from the library in such a long time, feels weird but somehow comforting).

What was the last truly great book you’ve read?
I had to look through my read books on Goodreads since I don’t think there’s been one very recently.
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson I adored, it was brave, maddening and heart-breaking and had everything in it that I want in a book.

If you could meet any writer – dead or alive – who would it be? And what would you want to know?
Aaaah, this is a tough question. And I feel if I actually met any of them I wouldn’t get a single word out.
I’d probably go for someone who’s been dead for a long time since we don’t really know much about them on a personal level. Maybe, Jane Austen? And I’d just want to have a very personal chat, not ask her anything about her books but rather trying to get to know her.

What books might we be surprised to find on your shelf?
I haven’t been blogging for very long yet so you guys might be surprised by a lot, I don’t know. I have a lot of history books, non-fiction as well as historical fiction, mostly about Marie Stuart (whom I love).

How do you organize your personal library?
I don’t really. Since I have one of those IKEA bookshelves that has like compartments I’m just trying to fit as many books into one as possible. I do put all the books of one series next to each other but otherwise, other books by the same author can be at a different place. I once tried to do the rainbow thing and I liked it a lot at the beginning but then it started to bother me. I like it the most when it looks random, so I just stack it randomly, too. Although, lately I tried to put all the books that I have read and those that I haven’t yet seperately so I have a better overview.

What book have you always meant to read and haven’t gotten around to yet?
There definitely are a lot of classics, I’ve caught up on a few but there still are some that I’ve been wanting to read for years. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, for sure. As for more modern books, I saw The Archived by Victoria Schwab at a bookstore probably some two years ago and really wanted to pick it up but somehow ended up picking up other books. But the synopsis sounded so interesting and the cover was beautiful.

Disappointing, overrated, just not good: what book did you feel you are supposed to like but didn’t?
I loved To Kill A Mockingbird, and (as a lot of people I believe) I unfortunately didn’t enjoy Go Set A Watchman at all, it was very disappointing. Also, Eat, Pray, Love after having seen the movie for a few times I really expected the book to be great but I kinda have to say that I hated it.

What kind of stories are you drawn to? Any you stay clear of?
Oh, I do read pretty much everything. I especially love Fantasy and Sci-Fi, but I’ll also read historical fiction and biographies, crimes and mysteries. I’d say I probably enjoy contemporaries the least, once in a while I like to read some but for me they’re often too “ordinary” and make me cringe, welp.

If you could require the President to read one book, what would it be?
The answer should probably be something with morals and whatelse. But honestly, I’d just tell him, “mate you read whatever you want. Tell me what genres you like and I’ll hit you up with some recommendations.”

What do you plan to read next?
I’m bad at planning I usually just pick up whatever I feel like reading right now. But I think I’ll either pick up Anna and the French Kiss or The Song of Achilles next. But who knows…


*Wipes sweat off forehead* congrats you made it to the end!

And I nominate:
Hannah @ Mortal Reader
Lisa @ The Not So Secret Life Of A Fan Girl
Nina @ By Page or By Plane

And as always, no pressure.