Flowers Are Blooming And The Bookshelves Are Booming: My Spring Reading

old books with pink flowers
Now that the colourful scheme of blue, yellow, green, and pink has been replaced the hot blaze of the summer sun it is time to round up the books that I read in spring 2019. Overall, I managed to read 9 books - which is not the best one could hope for. Nevertheless, 5 of those had been given to me in exchange of an honest review. These are marked with a *.

Furthermore, while I usually read in English and sometimes in German, this season, I managed to engage in another of my foreign languages. I read a book in Spanish:

Abanico español 

by Mercedes Mateo Sanz

This one is published by dtv Verlag and targeted towards Spanish learners who's mother tongue is German. It is not a "full" Spanish novel, instead, it is one step further than an easy beginner's novel but still offers you a crutch to lean on. The left page always offered you the text in Spanish while the right was in German. This way, you can read it in Spanish and should a sentence make no sense whatsoever, you could read it on the other side as well for better understanding. This helped me to read in a comprehensive manner rather than just translate each sentence word by word.

The book gave you an insight into Spain and Spanish culture: how many hugs and kisses when greeting a new friend, mannerism, and even the cuisine. It was a fun read and a great learning experience.

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life

by Benjamin Alire Sáenz 

I stumbled over this book in a LGBTQ+ book shop, and since I had already read "Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe" I knew that the author would deliver a compelling read. 

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
"The Inexplicable Logic of My Life" follows Sal, who is the adoptive son of a gay and Mexican father. Throughout the pages, we get to watch him grow, manage his anger, and explore more sides of himself and life.

Despite picking this up in an LGBT+ bookshop, the amount of "gay" is quite different to the Ari and Dante story line. Instead of being the main plot, it functions as two side plots: Sal's violent reaction to homophobic slurs and getting his father to open his heart again. Otherwise, it is a typical coming of age novel. The writing is simple, since we follow Sal's thoughts, and at times, I felt that the plot wasn't really going anywhere at all.

Over all, it remains an average book but has some heart and touching moments. 

Lies Behind The Ruin*

by Helen Matthews 

After leaving their lives in Great Britain behind, the Willshire family starts again in rural France. While this premise has a similar touch to "In Foreign Fields: How Not To Move To France" the set-up could not be more different:

Nothing works as it had been planned, and Emma even has to leave her son with his biological father. Things only go from difficult to dramatic when Paul's lies start to catch up with him and endanger this new life they are trying build.

This sounds like a thriller that could get you hooked right after the first page. However, like one in five men, this book also has starter problems: While it is compellingly written, it does take a while until the plots unfolds. Paul's dark past is shown to the reader quite soon but until something is done with it, it takes much more time ... The pace increases dramatically towards the end but at that point, I felt that it had been too later.


by Olga Gibbs

... marks the second part of the Celestial Creatures series. In this one Ariel's adventure continues and her sole motivation shifts to protecting her sister.

Hallow by Olga Gibbs
This is not the only thing that shifts in Hallow. Gibbs' writing has taken a huge step forwards when compared to "Heavenward", I even dare to say that it almost sounds poetic. Then she made the choice to walk down a darker alley with this book, the topics are sadder and the scenes contain more gore. The only downside is that the characters are not reintroduced, so there are a few moments of confusion when someone comes back and you can't recall who that might be.

Nevertheless, "Hallow" is a worthy successor of the first book, and I can't wait to see what number three "Harbringer" has in store.

All We Knew But Couldn't Say*

by Joanne Vannicola 

Vannicola is a Canadian actor known for their roles in "Being Erica" and "Human Remains". Unlike most books from actors, this one does not tell the story of their journey until they "made it." Instead Vannicola wrote a memoir which discusses growing up on an abusive household, and coping with being queer in a world that favoured a "don't ask, don't tell" rule.

Due to this, "All We Knew But Couldn't Say" includes heavy and graphic scenes that regard abuse, violence, suicide, and eating disorders. And yet, the book has an uplifting and uniting message.

Overall, it is a highly emotional and raw read and I would recommend you to read it without thinking twice. I wrote an in-depth review here. 

Mourning Dove*

by R R Campbell

Mourning Dove by R. R. Campbell
"Hallow" isn't the only second part of a book series that I read in Spring. "Mourning Dove" picks up where "Imminent Dawn" ended:

After the catastrophe during the EMPATHY study, everyone has to pick up the pieces now. Ty wants to use his knowledge for the good, Chandra can't form sentences or make herself understood anymore, while Hallmann is trying to escape a prison sentence.

"Mourning Dove" is clearly a transition book that focuses less on plot and more on the characters, their emotional world and what makes them tick. It also has touches of a courtroom and conspiracy novel. This slight shift slows the pace down but I still enjoyed reading it as a new part of the series as well as wetting your appetite for the next book to come.

Good Omens

by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

After amazon's release of the Good Omens (TV? Streaming?) series, everyone knows what the story is about: an angel and a demon who love Earth so much that they want to stop the apocalypse but are so hopelessly incompetent that they even mix up the devil's baby ...

"What's so funny about the end of the world?" is what is one of the first questions raised at the beginning. However, Good Omens manages to be funny by being absurd, sarcastic and filled with a lot of dry humour. There were moments in which I had to hold back laughter because I had been in public at the time.

However, this does not cause the book to lose its heart. When all comes to an end - maybe literally, maybe not - the story is about transcending loyalties and expectations. This often shows throughout the book, and it is one of the few that celebrates humanity as it is: silly and flawed but brilliant.

And yet, I hadn't been able to follow the book hype 100%, and you can read why in my full review here:

Kaerou Time to Go Home*

by B. Jeanne Shibahara 

Ms. Shibahara sent this novel to me because she noticed that I had previously reviewed another book that takes place in Japan. The premise seemed promising: Meryl wants to return a Japanese flag to the family of the fallen soldier. To do such, she has to embark on a journey of a life time. Thus, she discovers more of the county, relationships and herself.

While the plot and the idea behind this novel sounded good and had promised, I felt that it had been let down by a bad execution. I really wanted to like this one but ... no matter how much I tried, it wasn't possible. Information is only given out in blocks, you'll spend more than 20 pages learning all about a character only for them to disappear three pages later. There was a point where I was not quite sure if the flag was the main plot at all.

To be very and brutally honest, there were times I considered DNF-ing with an apology to the author. However, the book has its good sides as well. Some of the background stories have heart and soul, and there are funny moments. Furthermore, I really like the idea to show how the relationship between individuals and nations changed over the years and after the war.

Falling Into Place

by Sheryn Munir

This was my first read for Pride Month. Thus, it comes as a small surprises that it contains a lesbian love story between Tara - the girl who claims that relationships are just not for her and she can control if she falls in love at all - and Sameen - the other side of the coin, who is in a relationship and while supportive of the queer community, thinks of herself as straight until the heart eyes happen.

The plot is quite simple: two girls fall in love and then what? The story is build up slowly and you can watch their relationship develop from awkward beginnings to a steady friendship and more.

Furthermore, "Falling Into Place" takes place in India and as such, it brings up the topic of LGBT+ issues and the legal situation in the country. It does treat this topic with care and even shows the impact it has on the mindset of a queer living there.

Despite this, I was not quite happy with the typical queer trope of "I think my crush is straight" or similar to it: "I was straight until I met her and what am I now ?!" "Falling Into Place" did not handle this one badly - even though it was shy to put the label "bisexual" on Sameen - this is just a personal preference because it is an overdone sub-plot.

"Falling Into Place"  is set up in a cute way, and thus provides a sweet read should you be lounging on the beach-side, or in my case in a tent at Le Mans.

Summer always marks the time for holiday, which also means that my reviewing work is taking a few days off, thus I decided for the first time ever, to re-read books that I loved a few years back. Even before Collins announced a prequel to The Hunger Games, I wanted to read the trilogy again, this seems like the perfect chance to do so.

What are your reading plans for this summer? And did you read any of those books? Let me know in the comments below! 


  1. You managed to read an interesting lot of books. I wish I could read in another language. Maybe that's something for my bucket list.

    1. My Spanish is very rusty but I dare say that my English is decent. 😉 It just comes down to regular usage and being stubborn.

      (German is my mother tongue 😅)

  2. I definitely want to read Hallow and Good Omens.

  3. That is a good list of books!

  4. You have an lgbt+ book shop nearby? I'm not jealous at all lol. I've never heard of Falling Into Place, but I'll check it out now. And your blog is stunning!

    1. Yes, there is one in Vienna. It's pretty much my favourite queer space 😊

  5. I envy your language dexterity, I barely manage one ;)

  6. Great list of books. Most I hadn't heard of before.

  7. Lots here that I haven't heard of. Well done for reading 9 books.
    Gemma @ Gemma's Book Nook

    1. Thank you! Maybe I'll manage 10 next time 😂😉

  8. I still think it's great you read 9 books & 1 in a different language! The Celestial Creatures series sounds interesting & so does Falling Into Place. I like that Kaerou Time to Go Home is set in Japan, but it's a shame that the book is poorly executed.

    Tales of Belle

    1. Thank you! Sadly, Kaerou is one of those books that you really want to like but ... you can't :/

  9. I loved Ari & Dante when I read it years ago and have been tempted to read the author's newer book but haven't got round to it yet but I'm going to add it to my list along with Good Omens as I just finished the Amazon Prime series!
    Sarah x

    1. I kinda fancy re-reading Ari & Dante now because it's been almost a decade since I read it. Oh my ... please read Good Omens!

  10. I haven't read any of these books (wow, you read one in another language, kudos!) but it's an impressive list. I need to sort myself out some books to take away on holiday soon: probably going to be some historical reference books that I've had on my TBR pile for ages, specifically about the Crusades, my new favourite topic :) Lisa x

    1. Fun fact: I can read and write in three languages - perks of not having English as a mother tongue. BUT ANYWAY ... I hope you are going to enjoy your holiday reading :)

  11. You've read so much this spring and many genres too! I loved Good Omens as a TV show and I really want to read the book!

    1. I always seem to read a little bit of everything genre wise. Oops

  12. There are so many great books on here but the one which I haven't read and honestly I really want to - especially so I can watch it's TV show afterwards is Good Omens. I've heard so many great things and the TV show looks funny too. Great post!

    1. do read Good Omens. Personally, I enjoyed the show a little more but the book has a lot of character and is super fun in places. Even I am tempted to re-read it even though I only read it a few months ago. The struggle ...

  13. Having watched the TV series, I want to read Good Omens, it's just a case of finding the time! I'm also very interested to hear that there is going to be a prequel to the Hunger Games!

    1. Please read it! And I know the issue of not finding time, I mostly read on my commute to and from work.

  14. I love the range of books mentioned here! All We Knew But Couldn't Say sounds like a really great read, and I like the sound of Falling Into Place being set in India and what that brings to the story. Thanks for the suggestions x


  15. You read such a range of books! Some of these really stand out to me!



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