Saturday, October 22, 2016 10:06

Review 269. Rosamund Hodge – Bright Smoke, Cold Fire.

28448239Title: Bright Smoke, Cold Fire (Untitled #1)
Rosamund Hodge
Pages:  448 pages
Published: September 27th 2016 by Balzer + Bray
Source: Edelweiss and publisher, thanks!
When the mysterious fog of the Ruining crept over the world, the living died and the dead rose. Only the walled city of Viyara was left untouched. The heirs of the city’s most powerful—and warring—families, Mahyanai Romeo and Juliet Catresou share a love deeper than duty, honor, even life itself. But the magic laid on Juliet at birth compels her to punish the enemies of her clan—and Romeo has just killed her cousin Tybalt. Which means he must die. Paris Catresou has always wanted to serve his family by guarding Juliet. But when his ward tries to escape her fate, magic goes terribly wrong—killing her and leaving Paris bound to Romeo. If he wants to discover the truth of what happened, Paris must delve deep into the city, ally with his worst enemy . . . and perhaps turn against his own clan. Mahyanai Runajo just wants to protect her city—but she’s the only one who believes it’s in peril. In her desperate hunt for information, she accidentally pulls Juliet from the mouth of death—and finds herself bound to the bitter, angry girl. Runajo quickly discovers Juliet might be the one person who can help her recover the secret to saving Viyara. Both pairs will find friendship where they least expect it. Both will find that Viyara holds more secrets and dangers than anyone ever expected. And outside the walls, death is waiting.

The thing about this book is that the blurb pretty much tells you the entire story. It only fails to deliver the message that this is written from the point of view of Runajo and Paris Catresou – two characters that both failed to make an impression on me.

The tale starts, and has several flash backs, at the moment where Romeo and The Juliet meet and decide to be together. The Juliet (because this is not her actual name, but a title) is bound to her oath to kill her enemies, but she decide to sneak her way out of it with Romeo so they can get married. Things all fall apart when Paris throws himself in the middle of the situation, which ends up with The Juliet dead and him bound to Romeo.

Runajo is part of the Sisters, who oversee the feeding of the magic around the city that protects them from zombie-like people. She has the idea she could save the only city that is left in the world, by diving into the Archive of the Library that is overflown by the Ruined (although I'm not sure if that's what you call them. I must admit that I was pretty bored at that point) She does something stupid and she ends up saving The Juliet from dead, which binds the girl to her.

Both storylines never meet at the end of the story, which made it all feel pretty pointless, and the switching distracted me. The author also threw in a Necromancer with an evil plan, where The Juliet apparently needs to play a big role, and there are also different terms like Mahyani. At some point I could not keep track of who belonged where and what every title meant.. This was definitely not helpful, because I also couldn't care less about any of the characters. They were bland and especially Romeo got on my nerves. Runajo and The Juliet had the most potential, but failed to fully deliver.

Shame, shame, shame, because I still count Cruel Beauty from this author as one of my favorite books and I hoped I could add this story to that list. Now it will go on the DNF-series pile. The ending might have been interesting enough to make me want to pick up the sequel, but based on how bored I was.. I don't think I will remember much of the story once it is published. 2 stars for the gorgeous cover, the fact I did finish the book and the approach of the original tale.

Once upon a time, she believed she was only a sword. Now she fears she is only a girl.
Saturday, October 15, 2016 10:18

Review 268. Ransom Riggs – Hollow city.

20455954Title: Hollow city.
Author: Ransom Riggs.
Pages: 396.
Published: January 17th 2014 by Quirk Books.
Sort: Miss Peregrine’s home for Peculiar children #2.
Part 1. Miss Peregrine’s home for Peculiar children.
Having escaped Miss Peregrine’s island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises.


I loved Miss Peregrine and the unique use of photographs. There is something about books that use this method, like The cure for dreaming & In the shadow of blackbirds that fascinate me. It adds an extra dimension of creepiness to the story and it’s really effective for this book filled with Peculiar children and monsters. It creates the right atmosphere and it feels like I get to know the characters in a different way, because now you can literally see them.

This story takes off right after the end of the first book. The Peculiar children are fleeing from their island with Miss Peregrine captured in bird-form. They must find a way to get her back before it is too late. They need to travel through other time-loops to find the last person who can help them: Miss Wren. During their hopping through time-loops they find out that Peculiars are disappearing. There is something dangerous going on and they need Miss Peregrine back.

I liked the different places and people they see on their journey. The author put a lot of work in creating a big cast with diverse characters. They go from place to place, which made it easy to fly through the pages and I found it hard to put Hollow City down, but keep in mind that the plot still is slower than the average book. You need to be able to appreciate Riggs way of telling the story, because I can also see how this series is not going to work for some people.

Miss Peregrine’s home for Peculiar children feels more like a set-up in comparison with Hollow City. This book is filled with action and it’s far more fast-paced. The Peculiar children are on the run and they have to use their unique talents to stay out of the hands from the Hollows - and what a scary figures are those!

I liked that we see more of each individual character. The first book introduces us to a lot of people, with Jacob as main character, but they all get their time to shine now. It made me feel more connected to the storyline, because they don’t feel so distantly anymore. The way they have to work together to achieve their goal was nicely done. It’s great when people need each other and how everyone plays their own role. The only downside is that I don't care a lot for Jacob and I'm also not a fan of the sort-of-romance that is thrown into the story.

The ending was great and I want to know what is going to happen right now.

“Strange, I thought, how you can be living your dreams and your nightmares at the very same time.”

Have you watched the movie from Miss Peregrine? Did you like it? I hope to see it soon! 
Tuesday, October 11, 2016 20:01

Review 267. Cat Winters - The Steep and Thorny Way.

22838927Title: The Steep and Thorny Way.
Author:  Cat Winters.
Pages:  352 pages
Published: March 8th 2016
Source: I received an ARC copy from the publisher Amulet books, thanks!
A thrilling reimagining of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, The Steep and Thorny Way tells the story of a murder most foul and the mighty power of love and acceptance in a state gone terribly rotten. 1920s Oregon is not a welcoming place for Hanalee Denney, the daughter of a white woman and an African-American man. She has almost no rights by law, and the Ku Klux Klan breeds fear and hatred in even Hanalee’s oldest friendships. Plus, her father, Hank Denney, died a year ago, hit by a drunk-driving teenager. Now her father’s killer is out of jail and back in town, and he claims that Hanalee’s father wasn’t killed by the accident at all. The only way for Hanalee to get the answers she needs is to ask Hank himself, a “haint” wandering the roads at night


Cat Winters has been on my favorite list ever since I read In the shadow of blackbirds. She followed up with the fantastic The cure for dreaming and The uninvited. The Steep and Thorny way did not fail to impress me and Cat continues to blow me away.

Hanalee Denney is the daughter of a white mother, Greta, and an African father, Hank. Her father died in an accident caused by Joe Adder and her mother remarried Clyde Koning, the doctor who treated her father the night he died. When Joe is released from prison, Hanalee pays him a visit with a gun to get her revenge, but instead, she returns home with information that change everything.

This book, a reimagining of Hamlet, is set in a time where the Klu Klux Klan is spreading hate through Oregon. Both Hanalee and Joe have a lot to fear from them, especially when Hanalee finds out that her father wasn't killed by the accident. Joe told her that he did not kill Hank, but that something else is going on and Hanalee is set to find out what truly happened that night. There is also has a LGBTQI subplot, which creates a powerful story with a paranormal touch.

Cat is a master in creating strong heroines and Hanalee is no exception. She is a brave, fierce girl who will not rest until she figures out why her father was killed. I did not feel a lot of connection with Joe, but his subplot added more tension and truly shows the reach and effect of hatred from close-minded people. 

I felt like the supernatural aspect could have been more prominent, but overall it was a perfectly blended into the story. It is also obvious that the author, again, did a lot of research before writing this book and I love that they continued to use old photographs. It definitely sets her books apart from others, together with her signature writing-style. Highly recommended.
Friday, October 07, 2016 21:42

Bulletjournal adventures | September.

Naamloos_thumb[5]Bulletjournaling has become more important in my life and I want to share it with you guys! I already started a series where I write down all the information I have gathered over the past few months, but from now on I will also showcase pictures (that I also post on my Instagram) and talk more about what keeps me busy.

Setting up September.
Septemberread and watch

I talked about collections in my second post about Bulletjournaling and I always love doing this. I like to pick 2 colours and stick with them throughout the entire month. For September I went with purple and green. Flowers are my favorite type of decoration, so I drew a half flower wreath.

I suck at completely TBR piles, but I still like to make one every month and see how far I can come. Most of the times I include the review copies I HAVE to read at some point. I also like to create a list with possible movies/TV shows for that month.

I ended up reading V.E Schwab - The Savage Song and L. Frank Baum - The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. If you try really hard you can see that I planned to watch Reign and Stranger Things: did both things and decided to DNF Stranger Things. 

Bulletjournal challenges.

Like with Bookstagram, where you have tons of challenges on Instagram, there are challenges for Bulletjournaling as well. It is a good way to practice new set-ups, collections or to simply practice with your handwriting and different fonts. Another thing I would recommend if you want to practice your writing is to look for Lettering challenges, because they can help to give you inspiration.

Sometimes I want to practice, but drills can get boring, and these challenges give me ideas to use. I like to participate in #Rockyourhandwriting and #Planwithme. This month I tried a new lay-out for Rock your handwriting (inspired by Alexandra_plans) and it worked great. I'm going to keep it. I'm not strict with Plan with me, but I like to join some of the prompts and it is a great way to find new Bulletjournalists.


Here are two examples of how I filled some of the prompts. I did learn a lesson, as you can see with day 8 where I had to write my name several times; I need bigger squares. I could fit 6 days on one page by making 5x8 squares. I think 8x8 will be better for some prompts.

Dailies_thumb[2]Disney themed_thumb[2]
I'm always switching up the designs for my daily spreads, depending on how I feel that moment and I like to try new things. I tried to fit all my dailies on one page during a week with few tasks – and I decided to add more Disney in my life by making an Inside Out spread. Sadness is my favorite, who do you like most? I will definitely keep this up, because it was fun to do.

Setting up October.
Red Bubble_thumb[2]
I love the the last days of the month, so I can start to set up for the new month. For October I messed up the initial 'October', so I added an adorable Zootopia sticker I ordered from Redbubble and created a new header around it. I also added black/white flowers at the bottom and this is my new obsession at the moment.

DoodleHeader doodlesDoodle2Doodle3

I love making doodles. It is fun and relaxing! And what I love most about it is that you can make mistakes, because in the overall pictures, you will hardly notice them. I highly recommend picking up a pen and just go with the flow. Don't overthink it. Perhaps start with a few scribbles and see how you can make shapes with them.

The first two pictures are drawings I made in my Bulletjournal. I kept continued the black/white flower theme and I thought it was time to add another motivational quote, so I went with 'be gentle to your precious, little soul.' It's important to remind myself not to be too harsh on myself. Then I made a page where I practiced different headers and I've used it a few times so far. It's easy to refer to when I don't know what to use. The next one I'm going to make is a page with divider ideas.

The last two doodles are made in my sketch book. I decided to draw the same flower over and over again and then I used 5 different shades of blue. The next doodle I did included different elements and I decided to stick with a white border.

That's it for this Bulletjournal recap. Did you like this post and would you like to see more of them?
Friday, September 30, 2016 23:49

Monthly Recap September '16 | Food, food and let's see, more food.

Monthly-recap_thumb6This post recaps my month: my personal life, all the books I’ve read & bought, movies and TV shows I’ve seen and my journey in the world of Bulletjournaling.
OUAT_thumb3The trend of talking about a lot of food in my recaps continues.

At the beginning of the month we had a barbecue at my grandparents' house. The weather was amazing, more a mix between Spring and Summer than Autumn, so we took the opportunity to barbecue on their balcony.

I went to the market with my mother and a friend of the family. I came home with bags filled with fruit. In the afternoon we went to a foodtruck festival and we ended up at the beach for a Pokémon hunt. Five grown-ups walking around, being overjoyed when a new Pokémon popped up; fabulous!

To celebrate the good weather, my boyfriend and I decided to go to a park where we hired a rowing boat. It was great to spend some time together, because he has been very busy with school and his internship. The day after we went to a Mexican restaurant together with my sister and her boyfriend. I discovered a new favorite place! Such a nice atmosphere and you get so much delicious food for an excellent price.

I had my first weekend shift, where you have a slightly different working method, and I nailed it! We also went out for a farewell dinner from one of my colleagues.

I also went to a restaurant with my other grandparents, my parents and sister. I hadn't seen them in a while, so it was nice to catch up while eating good food. We went to a restaurant that has a Japanese water garden, which creates a relaxed atmosphere. You can choose (all inclusive) the classic French kitchen, Japanese sushi and Sashimi, the Mediteranian kitchen or Asian wok dishes. And the best of all perhaps is that there are (unlimited) slush puppies!

Tonight: book club! Yeay! We had a LOT of food and for some reason they decided that my vegetarian lasagna could use fries as a side-dish. There was enough food on my plate to feed another person, haha. We had some nice rants about real-life and bookish frustrations, so that was nice!

I know.. I know.. I was planning to buy less books, but that obviously did not happen this month (and spoiler: it's probably not going to happen next month either).

Review copies thanks to HarperCollins international.

And books I bought, without picture:
Christina Henry – Alice.
Christina Henry – Red Queen.
Lisa Maxwell – Unhooked.
Rae Carson – Like a River Glorious.

And Debby got me a copy from Anna Ursu - Breadcrumbs. Thank youuuu!


The e-books from:
Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies.
Short stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists.
Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unrelieable Guide.
Read_thumb51. V.E Schwab – This Savage Song.
2. Sarah J. Maas – Empire of Storms.
3. L. Frank Baum – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
4. Rhiannon Thomas – Kingdom of Ashes.
5. Rosamund Hodge – Bright Smoke, Cold Fire.

Empire of Storms took up some time and I was in a very creative mood, so that's where most of my time went.
Hail Caesar, this was a big disappointment, but that's also because of my wrong expectations.
Central Intelligence, funny. Bit cliché, but it made me laugh.
Walk of shame, funny.
Mockingjay part 2, better than part 1 and I will never ever get over the part where one of my favorite characters from that series dies.
Ridiculous 6, so so bad, but I still had some good laughs.

TV shows.
Finished season 4 from New Girl.
Finally continued watching season 2 from Reign.
Officially decided I'm not going to continue Stranger Things. So many people were raving about it, but 6 episodes in and it was still not working for me.

How was your September?
Monday, September 26, 2016 10:49

Let it go | Boring, okay and amazing.

Let it go is my new feature, where I will spotlight all the books I DNF and the ones I read, but don’t want to review. And yes, the name is based on the wonderful song from the movie Frozen, hence the snowflake and the reindeer. This feature is based on several other DNF features.

2495567Title: The name of the wind.
Author: Patrick Rothfuss.
Pages: 722.
Published: 2007 by DAW.
Sort: The Kingkiller Chronicles #1.
Source: Christmas present from Daisy.
Rating: 2 OUT OF 5.
Innkeeper Kote narrates most of his tale to the Chronicler. Kvothe, when his family troupe of traveling players is massacred, spends years starving, beaten beyond count, in a crime-ridden city, then daringly enters a legendary school of magic.
This book was such a let down and I’m disappointed I didn’t love it like almost everybody. I guess I’m the black sheep here, because if there is one thing I can say about this book it would be ‘boring.’ Utterly boring. I thought this book would be filled with magic and perhaps even epic battles, but all I got was the terribly slow and uninteresting story told by an arrogant show-off. Kvothe really thinks he is a big deal, because he is supposed to be so intelligent, but he makes some pretty stupid decisions if you ask me. I don’t give a shit about Kvothe and this series is now on my ‘DNF-series list’ 722 pages was a struggle (to be honest, I only finished it because I got it as a present) and the sequel is close to a 1000 pages. No, thank you very much.

17622948Title: Witchstruck.
Author: Victoria Lamb.
Pages: 320.
Published: September 24th 2013 by Harlequin Teen.
Sort: Tudor Witch #1.
Source: Netgalley & Publisher.
Rating: 3 OUT OF 5.
If she sink, she be no witch and shall be drowned. If she float, she be a witch and must be hanged. Meg Lytton has always known she is different;that she bears a dark and powerful gift. But in 1554 England, in service at Woodstock Palace to the banished Tudor princess Elizabeth, it has never been more dangerous to practise witchcraft. Meg knows she must guard her secret carefully from the many suspicious eyes watching over the princess and her companions. One wrong move could mean her life, and the life of Elizabeth, rightful heir to the English throne. With witchfinder Marcus Dent determined to have Meg's hand in marriage, and Meg's own family conspiring against the English queen, there isn't a single person Meg can trust. Certainly not the enigmatic young Spanish priest Alejandro de Castillo, despite her undeniable feelings. But when all the world turns against her, Meg must open her heart to a dangerous choice.
Witchstruck was one of those books that manage to take historical events and twist them into something new. I'm a huge fan of everything that has to do with The Tudors, so when I found this book with a paranormal twist I knew I had to read it; and I'm glad I did!

The first thing I liked were the characters. Elizabeth is exactly how I imagine she would be. Deep down she is soft and hungry for love, but she puts on a strong mask and she has the proud and arrogant way from her mother. I like how she's never truly bowing down to the will of her half-sister.

Then there is our MC, who embraces her gifts as a witch without hesitation. I thought she was a clever girl and I like how she refused Marcus no matter what. (That was one creepy guy) While the plot is pretty basic and there aren't many climaxes, I had a great adventure with this book.

Author: Noelle Stevenson.
Pages: 272.
Published: May 19th 2015 by Harper Collins.
Sort: Stand-alone comic.
Source: Edelweiss & Publisher (but is also free on: Gingerhaze)
Rating: 4 OUT OF 5.
Nemeses! Dragons! Science! Symbolism! All these and more await in this brilliantly subversive, sharply irreverent epic from Noelle Stevenson. Featuring an exclusive epilogue not seen in the web comic, along with bonus conceptual sketches and revised pages throughout, this gorgeous full-color graphic novel is perfect for the legions of fans of the web comic and is sure to win Noelle many new ones. Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are. But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona's powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.
It has been a while since I've read a comic and I was delighted by Nimona. I wasn't blown away by the drawing style in the beginning, but I warmed up for it and was sucked into the story. I read it in one sitting and I liked the story behind Nimona and how Ballister turned into a villain.

Nimona is a kick-ass girl with an interesting past. She is feisty and her shape shifting abilities are amazing. One moment she is a girl with pink hair, the next moment she has turned into a shark. It was fun how she acts like a true villain ("why don't you just kill him, that is what villains do?") while Ballister is more into thwarting the Institution. There is one thing sure: you don't want to mess with her! Ballister is also a complex character and I liked his relationship with his arch nemesis Abrosius. I was totally shipping them to be honest, haha.

The only downside is that the ending might have been a bit abrupt. I would have liked to see a little more closure, because there are some minor questions left. I believe the author said that a sequel isn't ruled out, so I have my fingers crossed. I want more Nimona!
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