Christina Henry – Alice.

TitleAlice.
Author: Christina Henry.
Pages: 325.
PublicationPublished June 28th 2016 by Titan Books Ltd
In a warren of crumbling buildings and desperate people called the Old City, there stands a hospital with cinderblock walls which echo with the screams of the poor souls inside.In the hospital, there is a woman. Her hair, once blonde, hangs in tangles down her back. She doesn't remember why she's in such a terrible place-just a tea party long ago, and long ears, and blood...Then, one night, a fire at the hospital gives the woman a chance to escape, tumbling out of the hole that imprisoned her, leaving her free to uncover the truth about what happened to her all those years ago.Only something else has escaped with her. Something dark. Something powerful.And to find the truth, she will have to track this beast to the very heart of the Old City, where the rabbit waits for his Alice.
RATING:

Warning: this book contains rape and a lot of violence. It is dark and graphic. I will mention these aspects in my review. I would classify this book as a mixture of horror and retelling.

Alice is trapped in an asylum after she mysterious disappeared and returned – covered in blood with no memories of what happened. She becomes friends with the guy in the next cell called Hatcher. They both manage to escape when the asylum burns down and they have an important mission: find the sword to kill the Jabberwocky.

Alice has no idea what is going on, but she is thrown into dangerous situations alongside Hatcher, who believes she is the one. They meet several characters who are extremely dark and twisted, like the Caterpillar who mutilates girls in his brothel to make them exclusive and the Walrus who eats girls while he rapes them.

This aspect gave me mixed feelings. I've always found Alice to be a pretty messed-up fairytale and this book really plays in on that feeling. It twists it in an even darker version that portrays how sick this 'Wonderland' can be. On the other hand, it is gruesome and quite graphic at times, which made it intense and not exactly enjoyable. This makes it hard to say I liked the book; I did, but not in the way you say you like a contemporary book where everything is fluffy and happy.

The fight against the Rabbit and the Jabberwocky was a bit of a let down. Alice and Hatcher have to make their way through deaths and situations that are harder, so I expected more of it. It felt like they got away easy there, like the author had used up everything in the way leading up to the battle.

When it comes to Alice and Hatcher and their sort-of-romance.. Alice and Hatcher are both unpredictable and highly flawed characters. Alice is a tough girl with a broken mind and Hatcher is unstable. It makes them different from many books I've read so far. I can't say I have fallen in love with either of them, but they do fascinate me. It was nice to see how they support each other and drag each other through the hardship, but I couldn't get on board of their growing feelings. I'm curious about the sequel and how this romance is going to play out.

"If you let grief in, it might consume you."

Reading Challenge | The Reading Quest.

The Reading Quest Character Card Creator

The quest will take place between Sunday 13th August to Sunday 10th September, 2017. This fabulous reading challenge is hosted by Read At Midnight.
There are four different characters you can pick from. I'm going with Bard for my first quest!
BARD: While the bards may not engage in direct combat, they make up for it with their intimate knowledge of songs and stories. They will travel through the Fifth Down path on the quest board, reading famed tales and singing lost songs.
The stats you start with: Level 1. EXP: 10. HP: 10.

+EXP: each finished book +10.
Book by marginalised author: +20.
Finish quest: +50.
Every additional quest: +30.

+Level: every 50 EXP.

+HP: every 10 pages +1.
Tweeting #TheReadingQuest +1. Max +20.
Photos #TheReadingQuest +1. Max +20.
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Books I am planning to read:
A book that has a TV/movie adaptation: The DUFF.
A Fairytale Retelling:
A book cover with striking typography: Given to the Sea.
A book translated from another language: Inkheart.
A banned book: 

Potions, book by 2+ authors: Gemina.
Time Warp, book set in past or future:
Expansion, companion novel or short story:
Multiplayer, buddy read a book:
Grind, a book with 500+ pages:
Respawn, read a previous DNF:
Animal companion, reference to animal in title:
Mini game, graphic novel, novella or poem collection:
Open world, read whatever you want:

Fairytale News | A new beginning.


Hello hello!

It has been while since I really sat down to write a blog post for my blog. I've been typing down many reviews, which I posted mainly on Goodreads, but my passion for blogging was gone for a long time. I talked about feeling uninspired in March and how a lot of it had to do with feeling disconnected from the community. This feeling is starting to get better. I have taken a step back from Twitter, but I have started to spend more time visiting other blogs and reading their posts.

I decided to spice things up by getting a new design, which was also necessarily after the shut down of Photobucket. I don't know if you've noticed it, but for a couple of days my blog design had notifications that 'this image is no longer available.' I still feel a lot of love for my old design and how it was completely me, but sometimes change is a good thing too.

I bought my design on Etsy, from the webshop BloggerTemplate. It is such an affordable design that I can customize to my own taste. I'm still playing around with all the features, but for now I have settled down on this look and I love it! It is simple and I could use one of my favorite colors, so I'm a happy blogger. I'm currently working on making new headers - this here is one of them! All the others you currently see are place holders until I have designed something better.

I have to admit that the excitement I felt in the beginning, around the time I started my blog, still hasn't returned completely, but I feel motivated again. I have a few ideas for blog posts, so perhaps my inspiration is slowly returning.

I can't promise that I will post more regularly like I used to, but I think I might be able to post more. We will see! But for now, I at least feel the need to sit down to write a post every now and then.


Audio book Adventures | Two short stories.


Also: I'm not sponsored by Storytel. They don't even know who I am. Note that this is a Dutch website, another version of Audible. It is basically Netflix for audiobooks, because you pay 9,99 euro per month and can listen to as many audiobooks as you want.


I have listened to three books so far and I'm currently in the middle of one (Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, narrated by Dan Stevens) I love the fact that Storytel allows me to go from audiobook to audiobook, because I'm quite picky when it comes to the narrator. I have found out that I enjoy listening to males more than females, so that is where I will focus on right now.

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Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs. Read by Simon Callow. Listen on Storytel.
This audiobook was fabulous! This book has different stories set in the world of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. There is a princess with a fork-tongue, there are friendly cannibals and a boy who turned into a locust. Each story had something magical and strange about it and I loved them all. The narrator did a fabulous job of using different voices, which made the stories come alive. Highly recommended.

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaimain. Read by Neil Gaiman. Listen on Storytel.
There is something special about authors who narrate their own book and Gaiman has a pleasant voice to listen to. This is a short, middle grade story about a father who spins a tale around the fact he returned late from the store to get some milk. This book is really entertaining and I think young children will love the adventures!

Bulletjournal adventure | What I use for bulletjournaling.


If you are new to bulletjournaling: it is basically a wish list, to-do list and journal – and what I like to do is decorate it with doodles, handlettering, stamps and washi-tape. I have two informative posts about my step into this bujo-world and setting up collections.

Today I want to talk about all the materials I use for my bulletjournal. Almost everything I get is bought on a Dutch website called Penstore. I am not sponsored, but simply enjoy using this website. It is easy to navigate, with different sections, and they provide fast shipping. For my Dutch followers: if you want there are also Notitieboekplaza, de Inktpot, Writersplaza, de Kwast and Liefde voor Papier.

You don't have to use anything that I mention in this post. Bulletjournaling is all about what works for YOU. So if you use a regular 1 dollar notebook and only a pencil, that is fine too! I just want to show you all the materials that work for me and it might give you some inspiration.


Recap June '17 | More new books.

OUAT_thumb3Bookclub! I was the only one who finished the book, but most of our conversations are about other things anyway, haha. Daph gave me a birthday present that took ages to arrive and it is this gorgeous Grimm's Fairytales picture book. It looks great in my growing Fairytale book collection. I haven't shot a photo of it yet, but it will follow!

Travel agency. We are busy with the planning of our vacation (we really need to start booking something..), so we went to an agency for travels with the train to get some information. Looks like we might visit Venice after all! I'm so excited and hope to share our booked plans soon.

Shopping. Because what else would you do when you get your vacation money from work? Haha. I'm building a new wardrobe, so every month I buy some new pieces and this time I discovered a new favorite store.

Family. My mom and dad celebrated their birthday together and it was fun to hang out with everyone. My father got a special tablet for photo editing and we treated our mom by going to La Cubanita. On one of the hottest days, Father's day, we went to the park and I had a barbecue over at my grandparent's house.

Music festival. There's always a free music festival, with different stages and lesser-known bands. Unfortunately, it started to rain really hard that day, so we only went there for an hour. We visited our friends and even took a walk in the woods after we had some delicious ice cream (Tony Chocolonely flavour!)

Team building. This year we went with Insights, which is a personality test that shows your percentage for certain colors – and those are assigned to certain personality traits. The test also makes some sort of story about you, with different subjects like 'strong and weak points' and 'the way you interact with others'. Some things were spot on, but I also noticed a few wrong elements that made me sound really harsh and cold. We had some team building elements, followed by a barbecue, so I had a great time.

Harry Potter. Twenty years of Potter magic! Seventeen years ago I discovered this fandom and it has never let me go. I can't believe it and it makes my heart so happy to see Harry Potter is still alive, especially now with the Fantastic Beasts franchise.

HP magic

Rainbow Rowell – Attachments.

Title: Attachments.
Author: Rainbow Rowell.
Pages: 357.
PublicationPublished February 2012 by Orion.
It's 1999 and the internet is still a novelty. At a newspaper office, two colleagues, Beth and Jennifer, e-mail back and forth, discussing their lives in hilarious details, from love troubles to family dramas. And Lincoln, a shy IT guy responsible for monitoring e-mails, spends his hours reading every exchange. At first their e-mails offer a welcome diversion, but the more he reads, the more he finds himself falling for one of them. By the time Lincoln realizes just how head-over-heels he is, it's too late to introduce himself. After a series of close encounters, Lincoln eventually decides he must follow his heart... and find out if there is such a thing as love before first sight.
RATING:

This is one of those books I wasn't planning to read, until it was nominated and picked for our bookclub. I am someone who is pretty open-minded when it comes to reading books outside my comfort zone, so I bought it (I like the cover) and I dived right into it. I must say, I wasn't blown away, but I didn't hate it either.

The main character, Lincoln, is living his life without enjoying it. He is 29, recently moved back into his mother's house and he is doing a job that clearly doesn't excite him. He works at night, spends most of his day eating and sleeping, and the only social interactions he gets are when he plays Dungeon & Dragons with some friends. We see glimpses of his previous relationship and how it all stranded, leaving a mark on him.

Lincoln was a difficult character and at the end I'm still not sure if he grew on me. His work is checking emails and making sure that it is not used for personal use and that there are no inappropriate content/words. When Jennifer/Beth's email exchanges get flagged, he decides to read them and for some reason, he never sends them a warning message. Instead, he keeps reading their conversations and he is completely invested in their lives. I thought it was creepy, especially when he starts to fall for one of them..

I don't know. Maybe I'm just not romantic enough, but falling in love with someone because they write funny isn't something that speaks to me. The fact that we get to know Jennifer/Beth only through their emails also made it hard to feel connected to them, although I was quite fascinated by all the things they went through. Beth is in a relationship and is desperate to marry, Jennifer is happily married and feels the pressure of having a baby, but she believes she is not (perhaps never) ready for it.

I liked Lincoln's development and how he starts to get out of his shell, but the way he pretty much stalks the girl he starts to fall in love with.. I liked to read about his previous relationship, but I did not really care for the romance and that's a shame, because in the end, that's what this story is all about.


"I want someone whose heart is big enough to hold me."

Let it go | Collection of books.


Patrick Ness- Release. 
RATING: 2/5.
Patrick Ness' books always make me feel stupid. It's like I'm not clever enough to truly grasp his intentions, because I can't figure out how the two stories combine. It felt like I was reading two books at the same time and they didn't mesh together in my head.

31194576The first story is about Adam and how he deals with his homosexuality and his family, who are very religious and believe it is something he can be cured of. They try to avoid the topic, but whenever they can they make it clear they aren't willing to accept him. No matter what he does, it is always wrong. The moment his father tells him that is is hard to love him, but that the tries, my heart completely shattered for Adam. The fact that there are people in the world who think like that is just unbelievable to me. Love = love, no matter what, as long as it makes you happy.

Adam's romantic moments with his boyfriend made me melt and it was good to see he was so supported by him. The sex scenes were nicely done. Also his friendship with Angela! That was one amazing girl.

The other story is about a Queen and a Faun. She is possessed with the spirit of a girl that was strangled to death and she is now on the hunt to get justice. The Faun is hopping along to sort of protect her? The story was really poetic, but I struggled with it. I didn't understand what this story had to do with Adam.. and why it was there in the first place. I just don't see what it adds to the overall story.

So yeah. I'm starting to believe Ness' work is just not for me?

Recap May '17 | Being active again.


May was a great month for sure. I became a little more active and it feels good. The awesome sunny weather makes it easier for me to go outside, so I hope to keep it up.
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1. I went to a yoga class with friends and it was so relaxing yet intense. I love this way of toning your muscles and getting relaxed, so I need to get over my fear of going alone. First step was taken, now it is time for me to be brave..

2. I had a short vacation with my boyfriend's mother, sister, brother their boyfriend/girlfriend. We stayed at a bungalow house from Friday to Monday and we had some great activities and fantastic weather! The first day we swam in the subtropical pool and I got injured after I bumped my head really hard under water in the wild-water course. Nothing too bad though, but it shocked me and I had a monstrous headache that night.

The next day we had a parcour in the trees, about 6 meters of the ground. It was scary at times, but it felt so good to complete it without falling! After it we went into an Egyptian themed escape room, which we completed with 3 minutes left. Everyone went for another swim in the pool, but I stayed back home with my mother-in-law and finished a book.

The next day we went for a round of paintball. The guns were bad, but it was fun to do and afterwards we did a few adventure golf courses, which was challenging. Board game night!
On Monday we had to leave the bungalow at 10:00, so we went to the pool and stayed there until 14:00. We ate some ice cream, I played pool with my boyfriend (and won of course ;P) and then we went home.
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3. I had a sport event with work. Archery tag, Lasergame, Volleybal, Estafette and Bubble football. We didn't win anything, but it was fun to hang out with some colleagues after work.

6. De-coloured my hair! It turned green, but after I washed it with ketchup and more Head & Shoulders it slowly turned back into blonde. I have to say; the purple hair adventure was great and now that I know it will wash out relatively easy, I will return to it!


Erin Summerill – Ever the Hunted.

Title: Ever the Hunted.
Author: Erin Summerill.
Pages: 392.
PublishedDecember 27th 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers.
Source: Publisher on Netgalley, thanks!
Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer. However, it’s not so simple. The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.
Ever the Hunted is a story with potential that let me down, because it didn't manage to be something special. There are many cliches that don't have to be problems, but I couldn't overlook them in this book. The writing itself was good and the reason I decided to finish this book instead of DNF-ing it. It's fast and easy, but the true problem is the plot.

There is nothing wrong with a basic plot; it only starts to form a problem when the author truly keeps it basic. The story fails to deliver something more. The characters are only so-so, the plot is predictable and the pacing is on the slow side. It all felt flat and uninspired to me.

Britta's father, the official Bounty Hunter of the King, has been murdered and her best childhood friend is the suspect. When Britta is caught poaching she has two choices: die or join the hunt for Cohen. If she finds him, she will get her freedom back. On her way Britta discovers clues that make her aware Cohen is around; and eventually they meet and run away together. Cohen vows he didn't kill her father and it is up to them to discover the truth.

Britta and Cohen are both unmemorable characters. In the beginning I imagined her to be a little like Meria from Brave, but that really isn't the case. She is great at tracking and she knows her way with the bow. Her father has taught her many things, but most of the times she seemed clueless. There was nothing special about her and she had a slight damsel in distress syndrome. She faints and cries a lot. While I don't object to anyone displaying these emotions (because no, crying doesn't make you look weak), Britta doesn't seem to be able to pick herself up without having a guy around. She is always second-guessing herself and needs a lot of affirmations from the people around her.

Cohen also lacks traits that make him stand out. He is the typical boy-next-door, so I didn't give a crap about their plain romance. I always like the friends-who-turn-into-lover-trope (although I prefer sarcastic/hate-to-love romance), but not if both characters bore me to death. There was also too much emphasis on their growing feelings.

The ending sort of made up for it, but the overall story wasn't enough to make me want to pick up the sequel.
“Bravery is a choice that is yours to make. Don't let fear steal your will.” 

Audio book Adventures | Discovering Storytel.


I have tried to listen to audio books in the past, but for some reason it never managed to grab my attention. This was before I found out that I can listen, and enjoy, audio books on my way to work. Sitting in the bus with an audio book is the best thing ever! I still can't concentrate on audio books when I do something, but the bus ride is so much more fun now. 

This month I discovered Storytel and since it offers a 14-day free trial, I decided to give it a shot. I can already tell you that I've paid for my first month now. It is basically a Netflix service for audio books. For €9.99 a month you can listen to as many audio books as you want. You don't buy them, so when your cancel your subscription you'll not be able to listen to your previous audio books. I think this is a great deal. Also: I'm not sponsored by Storytel. They don't even know who I am. 

C.J Redwine – The Wish Granter.

Title: The Wish Granter.
Author: C.J Redwine.
Pages: 432.
PublishedFebruary 14th 2017 by Balzer + Bray.
Source: Publisher on Edelweiss, thanks!

The world has turned upside down for Thad and Ari Glavan, the bastard twins of Súndraille’s king. Their mother was murdered. The royal family died mysteriously. And now Thad sits on the throne of a kingdom whose streets are suddenly overrun with violence he can’t stop. Growing up ignored by the nobility, Ari never wanted to be a proper princess. And when Thad suddenly starts training Ari to take his place, she realizes that her brother’s ascension to the throne wasn’t fate. It was the work of a Wish Granter named Alistair Teague who tricked Thad into wishing away both the safety of his people and his soul in exchange for the crown. So Ari recruits the help of Thad’s enigmatic new weapons master, Sebastian Vaughn, to teach her how to fight Teague. With secret ties to Teague’s criminal empire, Sebastian might just hold the key to discovering Alistair’s weaknesses, saving Ari’s brother—and herself. But Teague is ruthless and more than ready to destroy anyone who dares stand in his way—and now he has his sights set on the princess. And if Ari can’t outwit him, she’ll lose Sebastian, her brother…and her soul.

I fell in love with The Shadow Queen – and hereby I declare it as one of my favorite retelling of Snow White – so I was extremely excited about The Wish Granter. This book is part of the series, but they have separate stories. While I didn't fall in love with it as much as I did with The Shadow Queen, I think it is a fantastic retelling of Rumpelstiltskin.

Alister Teague is cursed and he uses all his wit to break free. If you come across him and you make a deal with him, it means you are screwed. Alister is a foul player and that is how he manages to use Thad's desperation against him. He forces the boy into becoming King and in return, Alister will keep Thad's sister Ari save from their murderous family. Ari isn't happy with this change of life and together with Sebastian, she tries to come up with a plan to get rid of Alister.

Ari is feisty and intelligent. She knows something is up with Thad and the mysterious Teague and she's not going to wait to see what is going to happen. Instead, she is doing her own research and this leads her in the arms of Sebastian, the new blacksmith with a story of his own. Piece by piece Ari finds out what has transpired between Thad and Teague and what this will mean in the future. Her plan to release Thad is dangerous and shows her loyalty for her family. I adored the fierce love between her and her brother. It was nice to finally have another book with a healthy brother-sister relationship. It was my favorite aspect of the story.

Thad and Sebastian are both solid character. Neither of them are really memorable on their own, but I liked their role in the plot. The blossoming romance between Sebastian and Ari was adorable. It's not one of those I SHIP THIS HARDCORE ship, but I liked their chemistry and how supportive they were.

The plot is fast-paced and the writing-style is so smooth and easy to read. This is the type of book you could read in one sitting. I still liked The Shadow Queen more, but I can't wait to see what more stories Redwine is going to write in this world.

"Sometimes having courage means the hardest tasks fall onto your shoulders."

Bout of Books 19 | Sign-up & progress post.

Bout of Books
Yesterday I realized I have participated in 7 editions of Bout of Books already, so I also signed up to be an Expert. This means you really commit to spread some love on accounts of participants. I always enjoy hopping around, but I haven't felt really like it lately, so I hope this will give me some extra motivation. Let's see if I can make it on the team.

Edit May 2nd: accepted!

I will be away for the weekend though and I will mostly participate through Twitter, but I still wanted to make an official blog post where I can keep track of my progress. My aim is to read 3 to 4 books, but my main goal is to simply read as much as I can/want.

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 8th and runs through Sunday, May 14th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 19 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team.

Recap April '17 | Birthday, YALFEST and book club sleep-over.


April is always one of my favorite months, despite the funky weather. It was definitely a great month! I've done so many fun things; which meant I had less time to read, as you can see..

OUAT_thumb3 I went to Beauty and the Beast in the cinema twice. Once was in IMAX 3D and what an experience! You can see my thoughts about the movie in my review, but in one word: MAGICAL. I definitely shed a few happy tears and the songs are on repeat. The first time I went with friends, the second time with my family and we combined it with going out for diner. Talking about food, hehe, I went with my boyfriend, sister and brother in law to a Dim Sum restaurant. Delicious!

I participated in something we call 'Duinenmars' which is a yearly event where you can walk different distances and get a medal or a new pin. Every medal holds 3 pins. This was my 5th time, so I got a new medal. We had amazing weather; it was incredibly sunny and warm. I've also picked up running (again), but this time I see myself improve and that is motivating.

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I celebrated my birthday (26 years already, eek!) I had a lot of healthy snacks, I got a beautiful birthday cake made by my talented sister and I got really thoughtful presents. I felt loved :)

I had two fun bookish events. I went to YALFEST with a girlfriend, which is a pretty new book event hosted by different Dutch publishers. It was great! There were eight authors (Amy Ewin, David Arnold, Lesley Livingston, Megan Shepherd, Donna Freitas, Veronica Rossi and Victor Dixen) who were interviewed and then we got time to get our books signed + a picture. I had a workshop about translating books from English to Dutch and there were different stands with activities, like making your own buttons or getting a temporary bookish tattoo. I'm definitely going again next year.

The other event was our book club sleep-over, which is actually for the Dewey 24-hour read-a-thon, but lately ends up as a day/night where we watch really (and I mean REALLY) bad book adaptations. This time we picked Fallen and The Fifth Wave. I think we were all pleasantly surprised by The Fifth Wave, but maybe it is because you can't get anything worse than Fallen. This movie is by far one of the worst movie I've ever seen. Every scene takes 100 hours and is filled with cringe-worthy sentences, broody looks in the distance, swoony staring in each other eyes and terrible special effects. It was hilarious. Hanging out with these girls is the best.

Beauty and the Beast retellings.

Since I'm on a roll with content that has something to do with Beauty and the Beast, I decided to list down my five favorite retellings for you. These are the books I've read over a couple of years, so believe me when I say these come highly recommended.

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Whistling Tor is a place of secrets and mystery. Surrounded by a wooded hill, and unknown presences, the crumbling fortress is owned by a chieftain whose name is spoken throughout the district in tones of revulsion and bitterness. A curse lies over Anluan's family and his people; those woods hold a perilous force whose every whisper threatens doom.
If you know me well, this first pick will be no surprise. I always use every opportunity to show my love for Juliet Marillier. There is something enchanting and magical about the way she writes stories. Her heroins are all strong in their own ways, the romances are so romantic and the plot moves with exactly the right pace. If you haven't picked up any of her books, you are missing out. My review for Heart's Blood.

“With courage and hope, we can conquer our fears and do what we once believed impossible.”

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Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him. With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

I read this book in 2014 and I still can't stop thinking about it. It is definitely time to reread this stunning book. The writing-style is lush, the blend of mythology and fairytales is intricate and the characters are flawed and fascinating. My review for Cruel Beauty.

“Where you go, I shall go; where you die, I shall die, and there will I be buried.”

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Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life. Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.
This story is a perfect blend of several folktales and Beauty and the Beast. I fell in love with the writing-style, plot and characters. The plot is interesting and has a rather creepy setting. There is a wonderful girl-girl friendship and Agnieszka was delightful. My review for Uprooted.

“There was a song in this forest, too, but it was a savage song, whispering of madness and tearing and rage.”

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Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them. Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

This is the newest Beauty and the Beast retelling I discovered last month and let me tell you this, it was simply the best!  Yeva was fabulous and it didn't take me much time to fall in love with her personality and voice. There is much development into the character of Beast and there was enough time to warm up for the romance. My review for Hunted.

“She wept because she did not know what she wanted, and because she wanted everything.”

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16096824When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.
I have read a few reviews that talk about the problematic issues in this book and I will not deny that there are definitely aspects that could have been better. That being said, it's still a really entertaining, well-written story and I love Feyre. My review for A Court of Thorns and Roses.

“Don't feel bad for one moment about doing what brings you joy.”

Beauty and the Beast: the movie (Spoilers!)

Before I start this long post where I will gush about my love for this movie, there is one thing I want to say: I LOVED IT SO MUCH. MY HEART IS OVERFLOWING WITH LOVE. I CRIED HAPPY TEARS AND I AM NOT EVEN ASHAMED ABOUT IT.

Now, on to the more serious business about this review. I will talk about different aspects, so I can show you all the reasons why I love this movie more than almost anything else in the world. If you want to go into this movie without knowing anything, please skip this post :)

The Prologue. 
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The moment I heard the beginning tunes of the movie, I had shivers. I'm so happy that they kept true to most of the prologue from the animated movie – but what made me even happier is the fact they included more background story. I LOVED the scene that shows off how prosperous and arrogant the Prince lives before he is punished by the Enchantress. I LOVED how they included her more into the story and how she sets everything in motion. The Prologues is tied into a deeper story about the Prince when we see a flashback to his younger self. I thought it was brilliantly done and it gave the Beast more depth as a character. It also takes away some of the questions the animated movie raised.

The Songs.
I would say that the songs always have been the Heart of the movie. They say so much about every character, from Belle's longing to adventure to Gaston's amount of self-love. And Oh My God, did they blow me away with these songs. All the original songs are there and the new songs they included? Absolutely my favorites ones of all time. I can't pick one I loved the most, but Evermore by the Beast has to be one of the best they have added. I never realized I missed a song by the Beast so much until now. Also, Days in the Sun beats Human Again. Goosebumps every time I hear it and How does a moment last forever destroyed me.

The Cast.
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I don't think I could have asked for a better suited cast. Every character is simply brilliant and exactly how I imagined them. Okay, Lumière's French accent might have been a little rusty at times, but Dan Stevens (Beast), Luke Evans (hunk Gaston), Josh Grad (Lefou) and Belle (Emma Watson) stole the show. One thing I always find really important is the Beast's voice and Dan NAILED it. Such a warm voice. Luke pulled off the whole crazy-obsessed guy vibes (and damn, he is gorgeous) without making him look like a card board villain. Emma's personality fit so well with Belle, it didn't even feel like she was acting, and her voice wasn't too bad in the songs. Josh was fantastic and his chemistry with Luke made Gaston's song better than the one in the animated version. It's a shame that they skipped the 'covered in hair' part.

The CGI.
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The castle was gorgeous. All the characters like Lumière, Cogsworth and Mrs. Pott were beautiful and I loved the Victorian touch. The Beast was done so well and they really made his blue eyes stand out. He was so detailed and real looking. I recently read the Special edition from Entertainment Weekly where they talked about all the work that went into the CGI. How Dan had to shoot his scenes twice; once walking around with a grey suit on stilts, the second time only his face to really capture his emotions - and it shows!

The Changes.
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1. Lefou
. I know there was a lot of discussion around his character, but wasn't it obvious already that his character was gay? I mean, look at his admiration for Gaston and how he accepts everything he does. The fact that they put more emphasis on this was the best. I also think they did a great job with his portrayal, especially when he starts to question Gaston's methods. He (and Luke) really gave the movie that something special, with their comical touch.
2. The Enchantress. Like I mentioned in the Prologue, she plays a bigger role now and that was a good move. I've always wondered if she would stick around to see if the Beast was able to change and now we get those answers. The fact that they gave the Beast more background story; sublime choice.
3. Gaston. They changed some of the scenes between him and Belle, which worked quite well. I did miss their talk about her book and how she could read anything with no pictures in it, but I'm happy they changed the scene where he is thrown into the puddle of mud. I don't think that would work with a live version. A lot of people talk about the fact that the Beast was punished, but Gaston never was; and I wonder how they can think like that. Gaston was set on marrying Belle, a person who would never marry him, and in the end he died because of it. How is that not punishment? He could have changed, but instead he was consumed by this obsession with 'conquering' Belle, and it was the end of him. LeFou changed before it was too late for him.
4. The book that lets you travel to another world. It was the perfect way to show what happened to Belle's mother and why they are so different from the rest of the town. They were outsiders from a big city with less small-minded people. That's probably why Belle does read - and why people don't accept it when she is teaching another girl how to read.

The Clothes.
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I really loved all the clothes Belle wears and how they made minor changes to make it fit to her personality. Also, credits for making her an inventor! I loved that. A lot of people complained about the dress and while it might not be as gorgeous as the original one, I would still wear it and treasure it. I thought it suited Emma and the dancing scene *swoon*

There wasn't anything I didn't love. I'm sorry for overusing all these words to show my excitement, but the fact that Disney delivered again makes my heart happy. Seeing my all time favorite fairytale and animated Disney movie coming alive like this is all I could have wished for.

The Beauty and the Beast.

30166719MinaLima, the award-winning design studio behind the graphics for the Harry Potter film franchise and the creators of the illustrated Jungle Book and Peter Pan, reimagine the beloved French fairy tale The Beauty and the Beast in this deluxe unabridged edition illustrated with stunning full-color artwork and nine 3-D interactive features. 

Generations of readers have been bewitched by the epic love story of a beautiful young girl imprisoned in the magical castle of a monstrous beast.

Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, MinaLima (Illustrator), James Robinson Planché (Translator). Published January 31st 2017 by Harper Design (first published 1740)


The moment I laid eyes on this book, I knew I had to get it and I was not disappointed by it. My love for Beauty and the Beast knows no limits, but this book reminded me of the fact I never read the original tale *gasp*

It was interesting to see the story Disney worked with and I must admit that I am happy with the changes they have made. They turned every character into a more likable figure, but what I did love in this book is the background story of the Beast. It felt like I was reading another story inside a story, which is something I missed in the animated movie. It made him a more solid character. We all have to admit that the time line around Beast's life in the Disney movie is a bit flawed and that is no problem in this book.

I really missed the talking objects though. There is no Lumière, Mrs. Potts or Cogsworth. Instead there are different themed room, like one with Monkeys who become friends with Belle. My image of Beauty and the Beast is so wrapped around Disney that I couldn't stop missing my beloved extra characters.

The best thing about this version is the beautiful leather-bound cover, the illustrations and the interactive features. Those 3d features weren't extremey special, but still added something fun to the story. The illustrations were to die for, especially those at the beginning of every chapter. I spend a lot of time looking at them, soaking in all the details, and it really made the story come alive.

Highly recommend this book if you are a fairytale lover like me.

March '17 | London (first flight!) and lots of food.


This truly was an amazing month! And what is my monthly recap without mentioning the fact I ate some delicious food?
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The best thing that happened was my trip to London with Debby and Daphne. It has been.. 8, perhaps 9 years since I first been to London and I fell in love all over again. I had an amazing time with my friends and I believe they got to see a side of me they didn't know yet, haha. I definitely can't wait to return any time soon, because there are still so many things left I want to see/do!

Highlights of the trip were: (check out my Instagram for more pictures)
tHE SONG RISINGLes Miserables

-We went to Les Misérables, which was an amazing experience.
-We saw Seven Dials after we met Samantha Shannon, for her book signing for The Song Rising. She was lovely! She promises us a lot of pain in the upcoming books. I'm ready to endure all of it.
-British Museum, Natural History Museum (They moved Dippy, I WAS SO DISAPPOINTED), Victoria & Albert, where we also ate scones. Walked across the Tower Bridge, posed in front of Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, saw the whispering Gallery in St. Paul's and we bummed over the fact Westminster Abbey was closed for a special service. Also had a glimpse of 9 3/4 on King's Cross.

Big BengNatural History Museum

-All the bookstores. Debby showed me the wonderful store Forbidden Planet. I'm in love.
-All the food. We tried pies, English breakfast, fish & chips, the best cookies, ice cream surrounded with candy floss, a real Sunday roast, Scottish Eggs, Sushi, yuuuum. We also had the worst restaurant experience ever, so thanks Kimchee, never again.
-My first flight. Yep. It finally happened and I survived thanks to the support and beautiful serenade of Debby and Daph in the middle of the airport. We went with the train to London and went back flying. It was interesting. I did NOT like the start, but the middle part was okay (had to stop thinking about the fact you are floating around) and I liked the landing.
-A ride in a Double decker. I love those things.

PhoneboothSt. Paul

I had a fun bookclub meeting. I finally had a house-warming for two friends, because things kept coming in between, and we went out to get hamburgers (I had a delicious hot dog) We went over to our friends to celebrate a birthday (I love the fact I can finally give someone books for her birthday!)  and I got addicted again to playing Mario on my Nintendo 3DS.

I'm getting more responsibilities at work, which is scary and really exciting. I have a feeling I might get a permanent contract at the end of this year *fingers crossed*