What I Read in May 2022

Happy Friday, everyone!

We’ve made it to June! Which means I have two weeks off for Pentecost break starting tomorrow πŸ€— I mean, I will probably need that break to catch up on all the stuff I need to do for work, but still… When given the choice between a busy break and no break at all, I think I’ll happily take the busy break!

Some May highlights, featuring: Stranger Things 4, absolutely adorable boarlets (πŸ˜πŸ—πŸ˜), and a very blurry picture that my no longer entirely sober colleagues took of me at our local Kerwa

Anyway, to put it briefly, my May was horrible. Thanks to the even greater horribleness that was the entire year of 2019, it doesn’t quite rank as one of the worst months of my life, but it comes close enough that I really don’t feel like dwelling on it too much. Although I suppose the month did include a few good things that deserve a mention, namely:

#1 Stranger Things 4, Part 1 came out! Although I spent most of this week in a zombie-like state because I binge-watched all seven episodes very late at night on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I have no regrets whatsoever πŸ˜‡ I loved being back with these characters, coming up with theories, and, since this is me we’re talking about, analyzing the Russian! Of course I was in seventh heaven about all that extra language content!

#2 I discovered that a family of boars lives in the forest behind my apartment. And I’ve fallen in love with how cute they are! πŸ₯° Seriously, now that I know they exist, it takes a whole lot of self-restraint to not neglect everything else I am supposed to be doing and just go stay in the woods all day…

#3 COVID-restrictions have been reduced to a bare minimum, and Bavaria is back to being… well, Bavaria. The town I live in is currently caught up in full-on Kerwa craziness – for non-Germans, think “big fair with lots of rides, food, bands, and beer” or “Oktoberfest but without the tourists” – and, to celebrate the approaching break, several of us younger teachers decided to go together. After almost three years of no big celebrations whatsoever, the whole experience felt kind of surreal, but I can’t deny that it was nice to have a bit of a break in routine and also get to know my colleagues better outside of work! (Also, they had these chocolate-glazed strawberry skewer things that I’m absolutely crazy about but that you can only ever get at fairgrounds and Christmas markets… πŸ€€πŸ“πŸ˜)

#4 I’m going to Poland today! I guess that’s technically a June thing and not a May thing, but since my mom very spontaneously announced that we were going on this trip back in May, I have decided it counts. Besides, I am a) super excited because I’ve never been to Poland before and b) not sure what my Wi-Fi-situation is going to look like, so if I suddenly go radio silent over the weekend, at least you now have an explanation as to why.

But enough with the life stuff! Although I had abysmally little reading time in May, I did manage to squeeze in four books. So here are my thoughts on them!

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr (3/5 Stars)

Before now, I’ve always adored every single Anthony Doerr novel I crossed paths with. All the Light We Cannot See in particular is one of my all-time favorite books, so of course, I was beyond excited to get to Cloud Cuckoo Land! The only reason I didn’t read it sooner was that I was counting on my family knowing this and giving me a copy for my birthday or Christmas, but to my severe disappointment, they ended up forcing book-buying-banned me to rely on Scribd instead…

In retrospect, though, I’m kind of relieved I don’t own a copy πŸ˜… While Cloud Cuckoo Land was interesting enough, I just didn’t love it as much as I’d been expecting to and don’t see myself ever rereading it.

A multi-perspective novel following five different protagonists across three different time periods, Cloud Cuckoo Land is interconnected through a lost Ancient Greek tale about a man called Aethon, who dreams of becoming a bird and discovering a magical land in the clouds. Over 500 years in the past, we follow Anna, an orphan living in 15th-century Constantinople just before the collapse of the Byzantine Empire, and Omeir, a farmer’s boy who is shunned for his deformed face and forced to march on Anna’s city with the Ottoman army. In the present, we follow Zeno, an old man staging a children’s play at his local library, and Seymour, a troubled teenager who is about to enter the building with a gun and several bombs. And, in the future, we follow Konstance, a girl on an interstellar spaceship en route to an exoplanet called Beta Oph2.

And, in the beginning, I was sold! Anthony Doerr’s slow-moving, lyrical writing style is something I’ve always vibed with – especially since he uses it in a way that puts a lot of focus on his protagonists’ emotions – and Cloud Cuckoo Land immediately delivered on that front. I was mesmerized by the characters, by the weird situations they found themselves in, and by the strange manuscript that somehow seemed to play a role in all of their lives.

But then, as the book went on, I found myself growing increasingly bored with some of the timelines. Since there were so many characters, I felt like Anthony Doerr had kept each of their story strands relatively simplistic, and gosh, I just wasn’t particularly interested in reading about Omeir and Anna! All Omeir did was constantly walk around with his oxen, and Anna’s life wasn’t exactly the epitome of excitement, either… And, considering the fact that Konstance lived on a spaceship, it sure took a ton of time for her storyline to pick up! I just found myself more and more impatient to get back to Zeno and Seymour – Whom I loved!! πŸ₯° – and didn’t see why I had to read so many pages about Omeir’s oxen or Beta Oph2 in between all of that.

(Yes, I realize I am admitting to the fact that my favorite character in this book was a gunman planning a mass shooting… I don’t even know what that says about me πŸ™ˆ Even after Uvalde happened, shocking me to the core midway through reading this, I just couldn’t stop loving Seymour! Can I just blame Anthony Doerr for writing him so damn relatably?? 😫)

Overall, I did really like how introspective Cloud Cuckoo Land was and how all the storylines eventually came together. I would gladly have read hundreds more pages about Seymour and Zeno. But the rest of this book, in my opinion, simply dragged on and on unnecessarily. If you’re going to have that many characters, they’d better get more than a simple one-strand plotline! Otherwise, I’m just not going to care all that much…

First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers by Loung Ung (5/5 Stars)

I randomly stumbled across this memoir while preparing lessons for my 11th-grade English class. We’ve been spending the past few weeks covering dystopian fiction, and since I wanted my students to compare the futuristic scenarios we’ve been reading about to past and current events in our own world, I decided it probably wouldn’t be the worst idea to not be completely unknowledgeable about this topic myself. As a result, I kind of fell into a rabbit hole researching the history of totalitarianism across the globe… Which, among other things, led me to Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge regime, and this book.

In First They Killed My Father, Loung Ung recounts the story of her childhood and how she survived what is now known to be one of the biggest genocides in modern history. Between 1975 and 1979, the Khmer Rouge wiped out an estimated 25-30% of Cambodia’s population – and changed five-year-old Loung Ung’s life forever. Forced to flee from their hometown Phnom Penh by the invading army, Luong’s family eventually ended up in labor camps, where they were separated, starved, killed, or, like Luong, forced to train as child soldiers.

A harrowing narrative told from the perspective of a child, First They Killed My Father is a story of unimaginable war crimes. Of a little girl’s refusal to give up. Of a family’s unfaltering love for one another, even in the face of extreme brutality. Of terror, desperation, courage, and hope.

It is beautifully written and unflinchingly honest. Informative, but also character-driven. I can only highly recommend you go read it!

The Girl Behind the Door by John Brooks (2/5 Stars)

I specifically picked this book up because I’d heard it was a memoir of a father trying to come to terms with his daughter’s suicide and thought it might be a heart-wrenching reminder of the effect a death like that could have on a person’s family. (Don’t even ask πŸ˜…)

However, instead of the sob-inducing pain I was bracing myself for, this book left me a) quietly simmering in anger and b) eternally grateful to my parents for the way they raised me and my siblings. Everything about how The Girl Behind the Door is written just put a really bad taste in my mouth, and if it hadn’t been for the fact that the story itself is quite engaging and that I genuinely believe John Brooks is shedding light on a topic that deserves attention, I would have rated this even lower.

After beginning with the morning John wakes to find his daughter Casey’s suicide note, the memoir flashes backwards to tell the story of Casey’s childhood: How the Brooks adopted her from Poland as a baby, how she was always a troubled child growing up, and how she eventually got to the point that she wanted to take her own life. The second part of the memoir then focuses on John’s quest for answers – and his discovery that Casey probably suffered from attachment disorder, an affliction that is common among children who were abandoned and neglected as infants.

To be frank, what bothered me a ton about this book was the portrayal of Casey. John Brooks spends the entire book describing how badly behaved she was, how she would talk back to her parents, how he should have seen that something was wrong with her and acted sooner. I didn’t get the impression that I was reading about a father who deeply loved his child at all – instead of depicting Casey as a nuanced, complex person who brought her parents both joy and frustration, it was almost all frustration. Which, considering this book was written in honor of Casey’s memory, struck me as strange to say the least! Casey was reduced to a problem that her father had, unfortunately, been unable to solve in time.

Even more annoying, though, was the enlightened way in which John Brooks preached the “revelations” he had about parenting a child with attachment disorder. Like, that it could be damaging to shout at, spank, or ground such a child if they misbehaved because that misbehavior probably had a very good reason that it would instead be helpful to talk about. Or that you should be truthful to your child about their past. Or that you shouldn’t continuously search their room because that could be seen as an invasion of privacy and make them feel unsafe. Seriously, the book was full of quotes like these:

“Instead of parking her stroller in front of a blaring TV – something she’d probably never seen before – we should have taken her into bed with us, held her and soothed her.”

“As a toddler, we tried to teach Casey manners, patience, and independence. When she acted out inappropriately and threw temper tantrums, we scolded and punished her. But we failed to see what was at the root of her outbursts, and our reactions only made matters worse. Rather than sending her off by herself, we should have stayed with her, helped her calm down and self-soothe.”

“So we read books such as Raising Your Spirited Child, tried reward systems and used TV, the computer, and playdates as leverage for good behavior. […] We didn’t realize that the provocation and aggression we saw in her may have been caused by her anxiety about further rejection, something she may not have understood herself.”

WOW, YOU DON’T SAY, JOHN!!! I’m so glad you were able to share these valuable insights with us because, of course, you can’t use parenting methods like these with children who may have had a traumatizing past. Though you should, most definitely, use them on “normal” children. After all, there’s nothing like a bit of yelling, emotional neglect, and corporal punishment to ensure that your child grows up to be a well-rounded, independent person… πŸ™„

So yeah – overall, I was not a fan. I was invested in Casey’s story and genuinely felt for her, but her father’s self-righteous way of blaming his daughter’s death solely on the neglect she had faced pre-adoption and on how he and his wife had been ill-equipped to deal with that seriously rubbed me the wrong way. I mean, sure, the guy is grieving, so maybe I should cut him some slack. But somehow, I’m just not entirely convinced of John Brooks’ parenting expertise…

Nick and Charlie (Solitaire #1.5) by Alice Oseman (3/5 Stars)

Due to the extreme Nick-and-Charlie hangover that watching Heartstopper over and over again had put me in, I decided it was high time I read this! However, while I did enjoy Nick and Charlie, it unfortunately didn’t live up to the absolute amazingness of the graphic novels for me.

The novella takes place about two years after the events of the Heartstopper, Volume 1 – and outwardly, things couldn’t be better. Charlie and Nick are still going strong, Charlie has started to come to terms with some of his inner demons, and Nick is excited to be starting university soon. Nonetheless, there’s part of Charlie that can’t help but feel like Nick is leaving him behind. While his boyfriend is venturing out into the adult world, Charlie still has one whole year of school left. And everybody always says that long distance relationships never work out…

Overall, I thought Nick and Charlie was cute and loved getting more of these characters! However, the story was also a tad too simplistic for my tastes. Maybe it’s just me – after all, this is a problem I have with most novellas πŸ˜… – but I really wish the plot had been more complex! All of it depended on a rather banal case of miscommunication that could easily have been resolved if the characters had just talked to one another…. And judging by what we learn about Charlie and Nick‘s relationship from Heartstopper, I just found it kind of unbelievable that they wouldn’t have done so much sooner.

So yeah – if you’re simply here for more Nick and Charlie fluff, I guess this book delivers! But if you want a bit more depth, you’re probably better off sticking to the webtoon/graphic novels and the Netflix adaptation.

Considering I reduced my blog-hopping to a bare minimum this past month, this section has turned out surprisingly full. Which I suppose is a tribute to our community’s incredible creativity and writing skills! Can I just steal some of you guys’ brains, please?! πŸ™ƒ Anyway, here are some of my May favorites from around the blogosphere:

  • Rachel @ A Bookworm’s Paradise gave us a chaotic jumble of excited Heartstopper thoughts – and they were absolute perfection!! 🀩 Her enthusiasm immediately made me want to watch the series all over again, even though the number of times I’d seen the episodes was already beyond ridiculous…
  • Line @ First Line Reader basically spent the entire month discussing books I love, which means she’s getting annoyingly many pingbacks again today 😁 Even if you didn’t fully appreciate The Golden Fool, Line, your apology cupcakes and that lengthy The Girl in the Tower discussion more than made up for it!!
  • Carl @ The Pine-Scented Chronicles wrote a wonderfully long review of Hanya Yanagihara’s To Paradise. And even though we don’t agree on much, I loved hearing his thoughts on it! 😊
  • Anoushka @ Dipped in Ink and Ash @ Ink Words and Ash created Pretty Deadly Words, a meme for writers to share thoughts on their writing processes! πŸ“š All contributions I’ve seen so far are super interesting, so I am very excited to see what else the two of them have in store for us!
  • Moi @ Bookish Blunders blessed us with an ingenious review of Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses – and almost made me choke to death due to a combination of contemptuous snorting and laughter 🀣 Please, please, please, can you read the rest of the books and review them, too, Moi?
  • Since May was Eurovision month, I was expecting to be graced with interesting musical content. 🎢 But the blogosphere went all out this year and gave us a bunch of cool book-related Eurovision content, too!!! Posts that definitely deserve a mention here are Line @ First Line Reader and Maria @ The Character Study‘s takes on paring their favorite Eurovision songs with books, which instantly put me into fangirl mode again, and Azucchi @ The Book Nook‘s “Eurovision Outfits as Fantasy Book Covers”, which was so hilariously creative that just thinking about it has me grinning again!
  • As far as discussions on controversial topics are concerned, Emily @ Frappes and Fiction is an absolute pro. This time, she decided to dive into cancel culture within the book community, and, like always, she more than delivered! πŸ€“
  • Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books wrote one of the most relatable posts I’ve ever read – a discussion on why she blogs in English. If you’ve ever wanted to know why I so heinously neglect my native language and have only ever written one blog post in German (despite starting this blog with the intention of doing that regularly πŸ™ˆ), look no further!
  • Saima @ Stories with Saima gave us a carefully curated list of dark academia recommendations. Being obsessed with the genre to an almost unhealthy degree, I obviously very much appreciated this!! πŸ€—
  • Mint @ Mint Loves Books also has the whole writing-discussions-thing down! Her posts on why she’s uncomfortable with marketing books as #OwnVoices and why she doesn’t use StoryGraph were so interesting that I procrastinated replying way too long, just so I would have the time to write out all of the things I wanted to say in response πŸ˜…

Which brings us to the end of this wrap-up! Let me know how your May went down below; and if you’ve read any of the books I mentioned here, I’d love to hear your thoughts on them!

Or on Stranger Things 4, for that matter… Did you guess the big twist at the end? (Because I did and am insanely proud of this πŸ˜‡) Do you have any predictions as to what will happen in the rest of the season? My siblings are taking forever to finish watching those episodes, and I need somebody to talk to!!!

Also, for anyone who is impatiently waiting: I will be posting my emoji quiz answers a bit later today, so keep your eyes peeled!

42 thoughts on “What I Read in May 2022

  1. Nehal Jain says:

    Oooh i hope you have fun in Poland! Do share some pics 😍.
    For some reason whenever I think of Poland I’m always reminded of world war 2 πŸ˜‚.
    Also your fav character being a gunman just shows how evil you are Neigh-mi πŸ™‚.
    My reading life hasn’t been all that great in May too, in fact it hasn’t been good all year not gonna lie. Let’s hope June is better even though I’m sure it’ll just be worse.
    Nice wrap!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Will do! At least, if I actually get there; all I could offer you at the moment are pictures of horribly overcrowded German trains… But we’ll be crossing the border soon, so progress is being made! πŸ˜‚

      I’m not so sure whether Poland would be the first country I’d think of when it comes to WWII, though… But I suppose it’s a nice change to only hearing people associate that war with my own country, so sure, if you say so, Neigh-hal! 🀣

      Seymour was such an interesting gunman, though! And he loves owls πŸ¦‰πŸ˜ I mean, I was pretty much a goner after reading that πŸ˜‚

      But yeah, hopefully June will be better for both of us! Seeing you around again is definitely a promising start! πŸ’™

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Riddhi B. says:

    I hope you’ve fun in Poland Naemi!
    Also, happy to discuss Stranger Things with you-most of my friends haven’t watched it either! As for the ending, I’ve no idea what’s going to happen, but I’ve a terrible feeling that one of the main characters is going to die- I wouldn’t mind it very much if it will be Jonathan but my heart will break into literal pieces if it’ anyone else!

    Loved reading your wrap-up!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thanks, Riddhi! I fully intend to! πŸ€—

      And trust me, you’re not alone in thinking that! I’m also terrified someone is going to die, but also, with the close shaves some of these characters have had, it’d be kind of unrealistic if no one ever did… πŸ˜… A death would make the finale heartbreakingly epic! 😭😭😭

      Jonathan is also getting on my nerves in this one, though… I mean, I understand him, but can’t he do a bit more than just smoke weed? Where is his agency?? πŸ™„ Besides, as much as I was on Jonathan’s side in Season One, I’ve just grown to love Steve so much that I kind of think he deserves to have the girl of his dreams. Even though the blatant pushing of that relationship by the show was also a bit annoying… πŸ˜…πŸ₯°

      Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      IT WAS SO FRUSTRATING!!! I mean, not that I have any parenting experience myself, but seriously??? 😳🀯 That father-daughter relationship came across as the most manipulative thing ever!!!

      And thank you – I fully intend to!! πŸ€—

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Definitely Moi says:

    Ooh, Poland! Sounds great! Hope your trip is going well!

    I recently read quite a lot about the Khmer regime in Cambodia and how the perpetrators of the crime themselves were victims of a strict authoritarian rule. It was an interesting test on morality. I should check out this book soon…

    And your summary of The Girl Behind The Door and the snippets you shared made me stay wary of this book!

    Aw, thanks so much for including the ACOTAR review! Now that you’ve asked for the other books, I can’t refuse, can I? I guess I’ll put myself through torture just for the sake of content. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      So far, it’s mostly been full of delays, but we’re getting closer πŸ˜‚ I’m definitely excited to spend the weekend exploring!

      And if you found that topic interesting, I think you’ll probably enjoy First They Killed My Father – it definitely raises those morality questions surrounding authoritarian regimes as well, even if its focus is more on the suffering of the civilian population.

      The Girl Behind the Door, though… πŸ™„

      And of course you should put yourself through torture for the sake of content, Moi! πŸ˜‡ I mean, I wrote an entire reaction log to A Court of Silver Flames, so I think it’s only fair to expect you to at least catch up up until that book 😜 Particularly since you haven’t yet had the opportunity to see Rhysand in his full mate-y element… πŸ™ˆ

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Line @First Line Reader says:

    Thank you for all the many shout-outs today! πŸ₯°πŸ€— I haven’t read any of the books and don’t really plan to either BUT I finished Stranger Things 4 Saturday morning so let’s talk about that instead! So a warning for SPOILERS for anyone else reading these comments, I guess.

    I guessed the twist at the end too! Well, mostly. I hadn’t connected Peter to the boy (Henry?), but when he was introduced I remember thinking it was odd they had cast a boy who looked so much like Jamie Campbell Bower πŸ˜…πŸ™ˆ So I was halfway there. Had I not watched everything so fast, I might have gotten there. But I thought it was cool how the season kind of went back and explained some stuff so that the seasons feel more connected, so I generally really liked it! It was a little awkward in the storytelling, though, with all the groups in different locations not being equally important. I know you cared about all the Russian, but whenever we switched to Hopper and Joyce, I kinda zoned out. It felt like filler to me. I would say the same about the California crew but they had Will (and Mike πŸ‘€) so I’m able to excuse them not doing the most important things. But why were they not in the final episode?!? They spent like three episodes trying to find out where El was being held and we don’t even see them go there!
    As for theories for vol. 2, I only know that I need Will to stay very, very, very far away from Hawkins… 😬

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Well, you can’t exactly post Realm of the Elderlings and Winternight content and not expect me to get excited about it… So those shout-outs were well-deserved! πŸ₯°πŸ˜‚


      I also didn’t make the connection to Victor Creel’s son until the very last episode (and I have no clue what his name was either, but Henry sounds right to me πŸ˜‚), where I guessed it like two minutes before the reveal came πŸ˜… But I knew who One was straight away and made the Vecna connection around Chapter 3, so I’m definitely proud πŸ˜‡ Even though all of my theories were based more on hand gestures and general evil vibes than people actually resembling each other…

      And I really loved how the season explained more of the background, too! Those Eleven and Victor Creel flashbacks were some of my favorite parts! Other than that, I also thought the Hawkins storyline was by far the strongest. If it hadn’t been for the Russian, I probably would’ve gotten bored of Hopper and Joyce, too, but this way, I was RIVETED 🀩🀣 Plus, I love Enzo… He’s such a great addition to the cast and I just loved every love/hate bromance moment he had with Hopper πŸ₯° In my opinion, it was the California storyline that was by far the weakest, but like you said, it had Will, so I WILLingly watched it! (Sorry, I know that pun is terrible, but I just couldn’t resist 😁) Will is by far the most relatable character in this entire series, so I’m going to love anything that has him in it, even if all he does is passively sit there. But yeah, it would’ve been nice if the California crew had at least gotten SOME screentime in Chapter 7!

      As for theories, I am also very scared that someone is going to die πŸ˜… I’m really hoping they’re not going to go the “easy” way out and get rid of Jonathan to make room for Steve because that would be the laziest storytelling I’ve ever seen. In general, I think it’s a bit weird how blatantly they’re pushing the Nancy/Steve angle, even though I have to admit that Steve has also won me over at this point… However, I can also see them going for Nancy. Or Eddie. Or Eleven. Basically, I have no trust that anyone is safe because after that gruesome slaughter of Bob (whom I loved 😭πŸ₯°) I DON’T TRUST THE WRITERS!!!

      And also, I’m really hoping for more information on the Upside Down. Like, did Vecna help build it? Where exactly did the Mindflayer come from, and is it somehow still linked to Will? Or maybe El? Why is the Upside Down stuck in that moment in the past when Will disappeared? I feel like there are so many answers waiting for us and can’t wait to learn more!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Line @First Line Reader says:

        I think I made the Vecna/Peter connection before the One-connection because it was only when they started talking about One (still pretty early on) that I remembered I should probably look for him and then it wasn’t hard. But that Vecna and Peter was the same was obvious the moment Peter appeared. Vecna didn’t look like CGI so I was sure it was a real person that we would be introduced to in his more normal form, and then Peter comes in all creepy and calling El sleepyhead repeatedly 😏

        I didn’t pay that much attention to Enzo but I liked the actor from Game of Thrones so I didn’t hate that they added him πŸ˜„ But I’m glad you understand that Will is the best character so I’ll tolerate the terrible pun πŸ˜‰ And I mean, he does deserve some downtime! Screentime in this series often means a character is in mortal danger, so it was also totally fine to just see him on this silly road trip. I’m so nervous for him in the last part of the season!

        Also YES, I don’t understand pushing Steve and Nancy again! We’re were all done with that! I don’t think Jonathan is going to die in this season (but maybe the next?) because they introduced Argyle. Jonanthan is his only connection to the group so I feel we need Jonathan at least until Argyle isn’t just comic relief anymore. I’m more worried about Steve though whose death I will not get over if it happens! They’ve done a lot with his character over the seasons so they might feel like his arc is about to be over. And they’ve literally got his replacement ready in Eddie.

        But yes, I’m also very curious to know more about Vecna and the Upside Down. Like, now we know El had some experience with him from the start that we didn’t know about. Maybe Will does too?

        Liked by 1 person

        • abookowlscorner says:

          I didn’t even think about considering logical movie making decisions such as where to use CGI as evidence, so I’m extremely impressed πŸ˜‚ But I was on the lookout for One from the get-go, particularly since the kids seemed to be numbered according to age. So when I saw Peter, I immediately thought “That’s got to be him!” Peter being super creepy and casually mentioning One to El just confirmed my suspicions πŸ˜‡ And then when I saw Vecna kill again, it suddenly clicked where I’d seen those kinds of gestures before – when Eleven was using her powers! After that, I was basically just waiting for the One=Vecna reveal to happen already, which is probably why I completely forgot to put too much thought into the whole Victor Creel backstory πŸ˜„

          And I’m not sure if agents showing up at your house and shooting at you while your mom is off to who knows where and your friend and best friend’s girlfriend was taken away by the police after nearly murdering a fellow student with a roller skate counts as downtime, but sure 🀣 I guess compared to Hawkins, everything is preferable… πŸ€”πŸ˜… I really doubt they’re going to kill Will or Steve though. For one thing, I would be so upset that I refuse to consider it! For another, Will has already been through so much that I don’t think they’re going to throw death at him, and Steve is such a fan-favorite that I doubt they’re going to risk it. Hawkins without Steve just wouldn’t be the same! 😭 Eddie is NOWHERE as cool as him, so if someone has to die, can’t it be him? I can totally see those stupid vigilante basketball players killing him off once the real threat is vanquished and everyone feels safe – you know, like another Crooked Kingdom moment πŸ˜…

          Liked by 1 person

          • Line @First Line Reader says:

            Well, I didn’t pay attention to hand gestures although that was probably the way I was supposed to figure it out πŸ˜…

            And yes, I know that was a pretty violent thing they experienced but since that was the only thing, that counts as downtime by Stranger Things standards πŸ˜‚ And that wasn’t even the worst thing that happened to Will in those episodes! The worst was him going for a hug with Mike but Mike just awkwardly pats him on the shoulder 😭 I tell you, I had a physical reaction to that because I think I wanted to jump into the screen and give him a hug myself!
            But yes, I also doubt they’re going to kill Will because they’ve had so many opportunities at this point and they haven’t done it. I’m very worried about Steve though because I don’t think his status as fan-favorite is going to protect him because we’re four seasons in. It’s just going to be something that hurts more. And I’m actually glad you say that you’d sacrifice Eddie instead because the internet seems to be in love with him and I’m just not seeing it πŸ€”

            Liked by 1 person

            • abookowlscorner says:

              I guess that’s fair – I’d probably also rather face those agents than Vecna πŸ˜‚ Emotionally, though? That failed hug was definitely way worse! 😭 And it gets even more terrible when you consider that Mike wrote El all of those letters, never even once thought to write to Will, and then treated him like an awkward third wheel all day when he finally deigned to visit… And then when Mike didn’t acknowledge Will’s feelings at all and blamed him for all the lying El had done, I was about to cry! I have never hated Mike quite like I did in that moment and also wanted to give Will a hug so badly! 😭

              And now you’ve made me terrified we might lose Steve!! 😨 Because, yeah, development-wise, his arc is probably rounded off the most… BUT I JUST WANT HIM TO LIVE!!! (I do like Eddie, too, though – but that’s mostly because he’s nerdy and loves Dungeons & Dragons πŸ˜„ Other than that, he hasn’t really done much and is a bit whiny at times, so my level of attachment to him goes nowhere near as deep as to the other characters. So yeah, I’d be fine with him dying… 😁😈)

              Liked by 1 person

              • Line @First Line Reader says:

                Will is mistreated a lot! I didn’t hate Mike for doing those things because if the writers are going in the direction it looks like they’re going (that Mike has feelings for Will too), then those actions would just be Mike being scared and I would understand that. So I guess I’m waiting to pass judgment πŸ˜„

                And I’m sorry I’ve passed my worries onto you! πŸ˜… I also don’t hate Eddie but like… *gestures towards everyone else* why do people love him the most all of a sudden??

                Liked by 1 person

                • abookowlscorner says:

                  Well, in my defense, I only hated Mike in the moment… (I love him too much to ever truly stay mad at him πŸ₯°) But even though I do think he has understable reasons for acting the way he did, I don’t think that excuses his actions – even without bad intentions, you can still really end up hurting people, and since Will was on the receiving end, I’m judging Mike for it 😁

                  And I’m also not sure yet how to read the whole Will/Mike situation. I’m actually pretty convinced Mike might have feelings for Will but is refusing to acknowledge that himself – Like, otherwise, why can’t he just tell El he loves her? – but I’m not as sure whether Will is in love with Mike… I can also see him as not having romantic feelings for anyone and really loving Mike platonically. Which would also explain a lot about why the recent cooling off of that friendship is hitting him so hard. When you’re already feeling left behind because people around you are experiencing things you aren’t a part of, and then your best friend suddenly disappears from your life because he’s “replaced” you with his girlfriend and no longer seems to value the relationship that means everything to you, it’s pretty shitty, too… But I’m fine with the writers taking this in either direction and am definitely interested to see where they decide to go with it! At least, as long as it doesn’t involve Will dying… πŸ˜…

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Line @First Line Reader says:

                    Now I have to rethink everything because I feel the completely opposite about the Will/Mike situation πŸ˜„ Like, I still think Mike is talking about El a lot when he’s with Will but maybe I’m just not picking up on the subtleties. It’s only his sudden awkwardness around Will when he came to visit that makes me suspect something but I’m definitely not convinced he has feeling for Will yet. But I’m pretty sure Will is in love with Mike and at this point, I feel like my biggest argument is that goddamn drawing he’s been carrying across the country that we aren’t allowed to see! I just can’t imagine what it would be if not Mike-related. And if Will has drawn Mike and no one is allowed to see it, he doesn’t love Mike platonically πŸ˜… But you’re right. It can still go either way at this point. Will just can’t die!

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • abookowlscorner says:

                      Well, like I said, I’m not convinced of anything, either, so don’t let my vague theories throw you off too much… I guess it does really all depend on that painting! πŸ˜‚ For all I know, it could just be a picture of Will, Mike, Lucas and Dustin playing D&D together as kids, which would fit with the friendship theory πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ Then again, I’m not ruling out that it’s just Mike, either… So yeah, they’d better show us the picture in those last two episodes!!

                      Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Well, you never know – maybe it’ll be more up your alley than mine! It definitely wasn’t a bad book, and I often have issues with multiperspective novels because I end up loving some characters way more than the rest and end up becoming bored of the others… πŸ˜… So I’d recommend still giving Cloud Cuckoo Land a try of you thought it sounded interesting!


  5. Anoushka says:


    I’m sorry may turned out to be so bad, BUT FINGERS CROSSED THAT JUNE SHALL MORE THAN MAKE UP FOR IT!
    ALSO! THE POLAND TRIP sounds so interesting, I HOPE YOU LOVE IT!!!! (and i CANNOT WAIT to hear all about it πŸ‘€) AND ALL OF THOSE PICTURES ARE GORGEOUS!! (the!! BOARLETS!! 😍)
    and ahhh the synopsis for Cloud Cuckoo Land actually sounds so good??? SAD THAT PARTS OF IT TURNED OUT TO BE REALLY BORING THOUGH 😭 but 100000% going on my tbr (I AM CURIOUS ABOUT YOUR NEW FAVORITE CHARACTER MOSTLY)
    also also! First They Killed My Father sounds so so good?? I NEED IT NOW. I’m so glad you liked it!! AND I AGREE WITH LITERALLY EVERYTHING YOU SAID ABOUT NICK AND CHARLIE!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Although I’m seriously wondering why you guys haven’t been scared off by my crazy rambling yet, I’m so happy to hear you like my wrap-ups, Anoushka!! 😊 And that there is someone out there who appreciated the boarlets because yes, THEY ARE SO CUTE AND DESERVE ALL THE LOVE!!! πŸ₯°πŸ—πŸ₯° The picture doesn’t even do them justice – because when they sniff and their noses go up and down and they make all of these adorable grunting noises, your heart simply MELTS!! 😍There is nothing you can do about it!

      Also, I really hope you enjoy Cloud Cuckoo Land and First They Killed My Father if you do end up reading them! I’m not gonna pretend I’m not excited fot you to meet Seymour (πŸ€—), and First They Killed My Father is just soooo good in the most brutal, heart-wrenching way possible!! 😭 So yeah, I think everyone could do well reading that!!

      And I’m so relieved to hear I’m not alone with my Nick and Charlie opinions!!


  6. Maria @ The Character Study says:

    Aaah, enjoy your time in Poland!! I’ve never read Nick and Charlie and, honestly, all I see about it makes me scared to pick it up. Lots of people, just like you, point out that they act out of character, so I don’t really know if I’m interested enough in it. Thanks for including my post hehe, it was a fun one to write!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thanks, Maria! πŸ’™ I definitely have been, so be prepared for plenty of gushing about all things Polish next Friday! πŸ˜‚

      As for Nick and Charlie – yeah, it definitely could have been better πŸ˜… But it still wasn’t a bad book or anything, and had plenty of Nick and Charlie adorableness. So I wouldn’t necessarily write it off completely! But yeah, compared to the graphic novels, it is a bit mediocre…

      And of course I had to include your post! It was about Eurovision AND included loads of interesting books! πŸŽΆπŸ“šπŸ€— Thank you for writing it!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Emily @frappesandfiction says:

    Thank you so much for linking my post!
    First They Killed My Father is also on my tbr, we really don’t learn much history in American schools and I want to inform myself.
    Also, have fun in Poland! I want to go there one day. I also want to go to Germany

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      You’re welcome! Your discussions always get me thinking, and I absolutely love that about them πŸ₯°

      Also, I really hope you enjoy First They Killed My Father! We also didn’t learn a whole lot about the Cambodian genocide in school, so reading First They Killed My Father taught me a ton. Although even apart from that, it’s a very good book that I would highly recommend!

      And thank you! I had a great time, but am unfortunately already on my way home again… πŸ˜₯ But I guess I’m lucky that I live so close to other countries that spontaneous weekend trips like this one are possible, and I definitely intend to come back and do some more exploring! πŸ€— Poland is certainly well worth a visit and I hope you get the opportunity to go one day! And if you ever make it to Germany and want travel advice, just say the word πŸ˜‰


  8. jan says:

    Ooh I’m glad you enjoyed stranger things!! I haven’t watched any of the seasons (I rarely watch horror but I know the story bc one of my friends insisted on narrating the whole story one day) and it has some pretty amazing actors!!
    This is the first time I’ve heard of the book first they killed my father. I’d keep it in mind to read later (I did a bit of research about the Khmer rouge for school and it scarred me for life)
    I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy nick and charlie as much as you meant to! I’m scared to read that book because everyone I know has the same opinions as you about that book.
    Enjoy your time in Poland, and hope you have a great month ahead, naemi!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Way back in the day, I was actually wary of watching Stranger Things as well because I normally HATE horror – I am a tremendous scaredy cat and will already die of fright if there’s a curtain fluttering or something 🀣 But I’m so glad some friends forced me to watch the first episode with them because now I am hooked and it’s one of my favorite TV shows ever! πŸ₯° It’s definitely not your typical horror show and focuses a lot more on the characters and their relationships than providing creepy jump scares, so I can only highly recommend giving it a chance!

      And First They Killed My Father was a real surprise for me, too! I’d also never heard of it but am so glad I stumbled across it – it was a truly moving, heart-wrenching, and informative story, and I can only recommend it, particularly if you’re interested in the Khmer Rouge.

      As for Nick and Charlie – yeah, it could unfortunately have been better πŸ˜… But it was by no means bad and did have plenty of cute moments, so I wouldn’t write it off completely! It’s just that, in my opinion, the graphic novels are miles better…

      Thanks for stopping by, Jan, and I hope you have a great June as well! πŸ’™

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Suhani says:

    Ahhh I hope you enjoy Poland!!! And nooo I’m so sorry to hear that May didn’t go that well!! But I’m with you on that one haha, it was a pretty terrible month overall😭 but hey SUMMER is here so June better make up for the misery endured in May.
    I-I’ve never watched stranger things…? *RUNS AND HIDES* ONE DAY I WILL GET TO IT I PROMISE
    And omg I completely agree with you on Nick and Charlie!! Even though I loved the characters and it was so nice to see them again I just needed more plot I guess??πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
    Hope you have an amazing June!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • abookowlscorner says:

      Thanks, Suhani! πŸ’™ Poland was great, so prepare yourself for loads of gushing in future posts!! πŸ€—

      But yes, hopefully, June will be a lot better for everyone! I’m all for banning May 2022 into the past and having it stay there…

      YOU NEED TO WATCH STRANGER THINGS, THOUGH!!! NOT HAVING SEEN IT IS UNACCEPTABLE! 😜 Seriously, though, in my opinion, it is one of the best shows out there, so you’re really missing out! πŸ₯°

      I’m so relieved I’m not alone with my thoughts on Nick and Charlie, though! I thought it might just be my cynicism talking, and that I might be a tad overly critical… But after the graphic novels, I was just expecting more than mere cuteness! 😭 (I still loved getting more of Nick and Charlie, though 😁πŸ₯°)

      Anyway, an amazing June to you, too!!


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