Recap October '16 | Food and review books.

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This 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 food theme continued and I'm loving it! I had a lot of family time this month and I needed it. When everyone is busy, it can get easy to get swept away, but we made sure to have a lot of quality time this month.

Good work-related news: I got a renewal for another year! The last few months I had it in the back of my mind: will they keep me? What if I have to look for another job? But one day I got THE letter I was waiting for; to tell me I can stay for another year.

I went to lunch with my sister and we had French toast and a croissant French toast, which I never had before. It was quite good! Then I went shopping with her and my brother-in-law and we ended up in one of my favorite places: Bagels & Beans.  I went out for dinner with my boyfriend, sister and brother-in-law. We had nachos, burgers with fries and a delicious chocolate cake. I took the veggie burger and it was really tasty.
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Yesterday we had my parents come over to play board games. We made fresh mushroom soup with homemade bread, followed by a fish dish and homemade chocolate chip cookies. I also spend an entire day over at my grandparents and I stayed for dinner.

I sort-of-participated in the Bout of Books event and I ended up finishing two books. It felt good to spend an entire day dedicated to reading.
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This was a month where I was pleasantly surprised by all the review copies I received. A few months ago I joined the Quirk squad to help them out on social media to promote their books. I never expected to receive any books, but I got a surprise Halloween package in the mail.

Quirk books 
I made a new contact with a Dutch bookstore. I couldn't attend their event, but then they told me they could send a few review copies to me. Before I knew it I ended up with a stack of new books.
-Kendare Blake – Three Dark Crowns (loved this one.)
-Cinda Williams Chima – Shadowcaster.
-Maria Headley – Aerie.
-Erika Johanson – The Fate of the Tearling.
-Katharine McGee – The Thousandth Floor.

And then I was also lucky enough to receive a gorgeous copy from Roseblood by A.G Howard from Abrams. They even added a few (fake) rose petals, such a nice touch.

Van DitmarAbrams 

I think I did a great job when it comes to buying books. I received my Bookly Bird subscription box, which had Wax by Gina Damico in it, and I only got Samantha Shannon – The Bone Season, The Mime Order and The Song Rising, because I wanted to get the books with the old cover before they go out of stock.

Bookly bird
Read_thumb5 1. Kendare Blake – Three Dark Crowns. 3.5/5.
2. J.K Rowling – Pottermore: Power, Politics & Pesky Poltergeists.
3. J.K Rowling – Pottermore: Hogwarts: an incomplete and Unreliable guide.
4. J.K Rowling – Pottermore: Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies.

5. Leigh Bardugo – Six of Crows (reread)
6. Leigh Bardugo – Crooked Kingdom. ALL THE STARS.
7. Kasie West – By Your Side. 4.5/5.
8. Cat Winters – Yesternight. 2.5/5.
9. Tahereh Mafi - Furthermore. 3.5/5.

I loved the Pottermore short stories, especially Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies, because it talks about Remus Lupin. It was a fun way to get extra insight into the wonderful and magical world of Harry Potter, but I could use even more information. "

Crooked Kingdom absolutely blew me away. The plot was fantastic and I feel so much love for the characters and the world. To keep myself from hating the next fantasy book, because of the hang-over, I decided to dive into a contemporary and Kasie West never fails to deliver. By Your Side was adorable. It is about a girl and boy who are trapped in the library. She deals with an anxiety disorder, which gave more depth to the story. I loved it.  
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Movies.
1. The Nice Guys. Subtle comic tone. I liked it. "A mismatched pair of private eyes investigate a missing girl and the mysterious death of a porn star." – IMDB.

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2. Noah. Terrible. I wasn't sure what I was expecting, but nope.
3. The Legend of Tarzan. First thing, I love Christoph Waltz. Second, I was bored.
4. Big Momma: Like Father, Like Son. Typical comedy, nothing too special.
5. The Intouchables. WOW. I was blown away by this story. I don't watch many foreign movies, but this one is SO worth it. Such a feel good movie with a great sense of humor in it.
6. The Secret Life of Pets. Not bad, but also not fantastic.
7. Corpse Bride, one of my favorite movies.

TV shows
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1. The Office (US) season 1, a few episodes to introduce my sister and brother-in-law to this amazing series.
2. Reign S02, I'm on episode 12 now. It's all over the place, but I still enjoy watching it.
3. Marco Polo S02, I'm on episode 5. It's slower than the first season, but I like the plot.

How was your October?

Let it go | Rumplestilskin and Castle behind thorns.


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. 

Today I'm going to highlight two fairy tales. One is a fun twist on Rumpelstilskin and the other is a not-so-good attempt for a Sleeping beauty retelling.

18826266Jenni James –Rumpelstiltskin. Published September 15th 2013 by StoneHouse Ink. Faery tale collection #3. FINISHED3 flowers.
A young prince crippled by a witch— When Fredrico watches his cruel family mourn his false death and announce to the kingdom their cursed prince has died, is the day he truly embraces his new life and new name Rumplestiltskin. How could he be known by anything else? —His skin is completely rumpled and stilted now. He hides away from the king and queen and grows up as a crippled servant in the castle. Years later, his younger brother, Marcus, becomes king and humors Aubrynn’s father when he boasts that his daughter can turn straw into gold. Intrigued Marcus locks the distraught maiden in a tower and declares to the kingdom that if she can transform the straw, he will marry her, but if she cannot he will kill her father. Rumplestiltskin is determined to help Aubrynn save her father and marry the king. Now, if only he can remember to keep his real identity a secret and not fall in love with her himself…
Interesting twist on Rumpelstilskin. I like how he is punished for the crimes of his family in the hope of changing him. His family never embraces him as crippled and they fake his death. Rumpelstilskin takes a new name and hides inside the palace. I felt so sorry for him and his lonely life, but when a desperate father boasts about his daughter ability to turn straw into gold, Rumpelstilskin decides to help her.

He becomes friends with Aubrynn – and they even start to feel more – but he will give up on her when his brother Marcus wants to marry her. Despite everything, he is still loyal to his family and I appreciated that trait in him. Like most stories in this series, the romance is a little fast, but it wasn’t so bad. There was an instant chemistry between them and they are both lonely, so I could understand their strong connection. Aubrynn is a sassy, clever girl and I was rooting for them all the way.

18365279Merrie Haskell – The castle behind thorns. Publication: May 27th 2014 by Katherine Tegen Books (Edelweiss). FINISHED2 stars.
When Sand wakes up alone in a long-abandoned castle, he has no idea how he got there. The stories all said the place was ruined by an earthquake, and Sand did not expect to find everything inside-from dishes to candles to apples-torn in half or slashed to bits. Nothing lives here and nothing grows, except the vicious, thorny bramble that prevents Sand from leaving. Why wasn't this in the stories?
To survive, Sand does what he knows best-he fires up the castle's forge to mend what he needs to live. But the things he fixes work somehow better than they ought to. Is there magic in the mending, granted by the saints who once guarded this place? Unexpectedly, Sand finds the lost heir, Perrotte, a girl who shares the castle's astonishing secrets and dark history. Putting together the pieces-of stone and iron, and of a broken life-is harder than Sand ever imagined, but it's the only way to gain their freedom, even with the help of the guardian saints.
Disappointing. I was constantly hoping for me, but this book was never good enough. Sand woke up in a castle surrounded by thorns. His first attempt to escape ends up in being very sick; the thorns seem to be alive. Sand finds out that he has a gift when he wakes up the princess Perrotte. She is a horrible girl in the beginning. Spoiled, arrogant and unkind, but I liked her development. When her past is revealed I could understand her a little better, but I was never connected to them. The plot of the story is also a bit thin, so the book could have used less pages. I sometimes lost my attention.. Shame.

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

28448239Title: Bright Smoke, Cold Fire (Untitled #1)
Author
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.
Rating:

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.

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.


Rating:

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! 

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

Rating:


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.

Bulletjournal adventures | September.


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.