Tuesday, June 21, 2016 21:14

TTT | favorite books of 2016 so far.



I've 'only' read 42 books, but I have found some books I would highly recommend to you. I don't count re-reads for this list. It is a mix of different genres and like always, I surprise myself by including a contemporary.

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Far from you by Tess Sharpe.
This is a contemporary/mystery book. The main character's best friend is murdered and everyone thinks it happened because of a bad drugs deal. No one listens to Sophie, so she decide to go on her own to find out what truly happened the night she lost the girl she loved.

Stars above by Marissa Meyer.
I love this series. I'm not a big fan of novella's, but Meyer managed to make me fall in love with all her short stories. They give more insight into the characters and the last novella is the one we've all been waiting for: a wedding!

The shadow queen by C.J Redwine.
There are mixed reviews about The shadow queen, but I personally loved everything about it. Lorelei is a kick-ass girl, there are great twists in the plot and the villain is an interesting character. Snow White has never been my favorite princess, but if she was a little more like Lorelei, she would be in my top 3.

The mirror king by Jodi Meadows.
What an ending! I fell in love with The Orphan Queen and The mirror king was the perfect ending in this duology. Wilhelmina has stolen my heart. This series has everything: a smoldering romance, an important quest and a sassy, kick-ass heroine.

Girl against the universe  by Paula Stokes.
I feel like I repeat myself, but I am not a big contemporary reader. This book, however, shows me that there are stories that I can fall in love with. Maguire is such a powerful, inspirational character, but the book never felt too heavy. Her story actually inspired me to take certain steps in my own life and that makes this book precious to me.

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A gathering of shadows by V.E Schwab.
GENIOUS. Hands down one of the best fantasy series I've read in a long time. Schwab is a master in spinning a fascinating tale, filled with all these amazing, fleshed out characters. The basic of this book is that there are several versions of London and Kell is – together with Holland – the only one able to travel between them. On one of his trips he meets Lilah, a girl who dresses up as a guy with a dream to become a pirate. It's fabulous.

The vanishing throne by Elizabeth May.
The falconer blew me away and I loved this sequel even more.  The author even gets away with something that could have turned into a cliched mess.

The steep & thorny way by Cat Winters.
This author is on my auto-buy list for a reason: she knows how to craft good characters. All her female protagonists are strong in their own way. In this Hamlet inspired book, we see the story of Hanalee and how she lives in a time where the KKK is coming up.

Ruined by Amy Tintera.
There were definitely things in this book that made me think I should not love it as much as I do, but it has stolen my heart. Emelina was ruthless, I liked the hate-to-love romance and the ending was brutal.

Ink and bone by Rachel Caine.
Last but not least, this book about a time where the library from Alexandria did not burn down. Owning certain books is a crime. Jess used to be a book smuggler, but he is now in the competition to become a scholar for the Library.

Have you read any of these books and did you love them as much as I do?
Monday, June 13, 2016 21:09

Retelling June ‘16 | Meaning behind fairytales.


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Don't forget to tweet and Instagram with the hash-tag #fairytaleRC.

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REVIEW – book title @ your name/blog name.

Sorry that I kept you waiting for so long. It's a combination of wrong time-management and a busy life at the moment. I was also waiting for a guest post, but that's going to take some more time.

Today I want to talk more about the meaning of fairytales and how they translate to our modern society. This also ties in together with my post where I defended some of the Disney princesses. I think one of the magical things about these tales is that there is always a hidden (or sometimes quite obvious) message. That’s why I love it when nowadays authors take these messages and create something new with them in their retellings.

1. Life lessons.
“Deeper meaning resides in the fairytales told me in my childhood than in any truth that is taught in life.” ~ Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller


Beauty and the beast tells us that it’s not about beauty on the outside; you have to appreciate personality. That is what love is all about. The tale of Mulan shows us that one person can make a difference. Cinderella shows the true meaning of kindness. As long as you keep an open mind and believe in your dreams, things might come true.

Red Riding Hood is there to warn us. Parents might not always be right, but sometimes you better listen to their advice. Never stray from the right path or you might get in trouble; and definitely don’t trust every stranger.  Aladdin is also about appearances. Jasmine falls in love with him for who he is, because she doesn't like him when he portrays to be a rich guy. Dumbo always did something to me. He is different and therefore, he is teased, but in the end that’s what made him special and unique.
Pinocchio is definitely a clear message that you must not tell lies or hang around with the wrong kind of people. Sometimes you have to go after what you want and make your dreams come true, but that doesn’t mean you have to change yourself in the process, according to Ariel. Your actions have consequences.

It’s also starting to get obvious that you don’t accept food from everyone. Before you know it, you might choke on it, you start growing/shrinking or you end up in a cage being fed by a witch until you are fat enough for her meal.

I love these messages behind the tales and I think that's why these stories are so powerful and still important in our daily lives.

2. Hope. “Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.” - G.K. Chesterton.


What I love about fairytales is that they show us that there is always a happily ever after even if it’s different from what you envisioned. The road is not always easy and sometimes it might feel you are on the wrong track, but in the end it will be all right. This is especially present in all the retellings that are being published lately.

And I want to end this post with a fantastic quote:
 
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairytales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairytales.”–Albert Einstein
Friday, June 10, 2016 14:51

Get to know me | Favorite childhood animation movies.



 You already know I’m a huge Disney + Pixar fan and I shared my top 3 favorite Disney movies and 3 of my favorite forgotten Disney movies. I also talked about some of my favorite animations movies of all time, but today I want to specify the movies I watched over and over and over again when I was younger.

Movies I watched on repeat when I was younger:

The swan princess.
This is one of the movies people often see as a Disney movie, but it’s not. Odette and Derek dislike each other from the moment they meet, but then she is cursed and he is the one to break it. She turns into a swan at day and temporary back to herself in the night. She is feisty and I love the art and songs. There are three movies and I love them dearly (the first one is the best though)

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Little Nemo: adventures in slumber land.
This movie always had a few scary moments. Nemo is invited in his dreams by the King of Dreamland to become a playmate for the Princess. The King gives Nemo his throne and a key that he can use to open every door in Dreamland; except for one. But Flip, a naughty new friend from Nemo, manage to persuade him to open the door anyway and this releases the Nightmare King.

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The princess and the Goblin.
Princess Irene is left with Lootie, while her father is away to attend affairs of state, and she runs away. Irene gets lost in a forest and her kitten Turnip is seized by claws that burst through the earth. A song drives them away and that is how she meets Curdie. The Goblins are getting ready to seize power and Curdie and Irene are the only ones to stop this.

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Anastasia.
(Also not Disney!)
SHIP! Dimitri and his friend are two con men who want to find the ‘true Anastasia’ so they can deserve money. When they stumble on Anya, they think she resembles her close enough and they persuade her to go with them to reunite her with the Dowager Empress. Anya has no memory of her past and it swept away in their promises. Meanwhile, undead Rasputin is seeking Anastasia’s death. Beautiful song: Once upon a December.

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A troll in central park.
Gus is a really bratty boy who slips away when his parents are too busy to take him to the park. His little sister Rosie, who adores her big brother, follows him. Rosie meets Stanley, a friendly troll with a green thumb that can grow all kinds of nature. He was exiled, because his gift is unwelcome in the dark troll world where the evil Queen Gnorga rules. I always loved Stanley.

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Thumbelina.
(Yep, no Disney either)
Thumbelina is no bigger than her mother’s thumb and she feels alone, until she meets the Prince of the fairy’s. Thumbelina is kidnapped by a toad and when she tries to find a way home, she finally makes friends she always wanted.

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The nutcracker prince.
Clara gets a nutcracker on Christmas from her Uncle Drosselmeier en he tells her a story about how the Nutcracker became the Prince of the dolls. But then everything happens in real life and Clara is trapped in the Nutcracker’s battle against the Mouse King.

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Quest for Camelot.
Another ship. Kayley’s father, A Knight of the round table, is killed by Sir Ruber who steals Excalibur and threatens to seize Camelot from King Arthur. She teams up with a two-headed dragon and knight-aspirant Garrett to brave the Enchanted Forest and retrieve the magic sword. This movie is EVERYTHING.

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Do you know any of these movies? What are your favorite animation movies?
Sunday, June 05, 2016 12:37

Review 259. Sarah Ahiers - Assassin's heart.

21421609Title: Assassin's heart.
Author:  Sarah Ahiers.
Pages:  420.
Published: February 2nd 2016 by HarperTeen
Sort: Part one of Assassin's heart.
Source: I received an ARC from HarperCollins INT, thanks!
Goodreads 
In the kingdom of Lovero, nine rival Families of assassins lawfully kill people for a price. As a highly skilled member of one of these powerful clans, seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana has always trusted in the strength of her Family. Until she awakens to find them murdered and her home in flames. The Da Vias, the Saldanas’ biggest enemy, must be responsible—and Lea should have seen it coming. But her secret relationship with the Da Vias’ son, Val, has clouded her otherwise killer instinct—and given the Da Vias more reason than ever to take her Family down. Racked with guilt and shattered over Val’s probable betrayal, Lea sets out to even the score, with her heart set on retaliation and only one thought clear in her mind: make the Da Vias pay.
Rating:

A pretty cover and the premise of assassins: I was ready to get swept away and to fall in love, but unfortunately I ended up being disappointed. I expected a lot from Lea, who is sketched as skilled assassin in the first pages, and eventually made terrible beginner mistakes throughout the book. Perhaps the fact that the romance was my favorite part of the book shows how terrible the rest of the story is, because that is 9 out of 10 times my least favorite aspect of a story.

The world-building started out all right, with a bit of a Romeo & Juliet vibe. There are nine rivaling Families of assassins who are lawfully allowed to kill people. Lea comes from the Saldana Family, the most powerful one that is sort-of in charge of the others and she is in love with Val from their enemy clan, the Da Vias. Soon I started to notice that the world does not make any sense, because why didn't all the Families just kill each other to get rid of the competition? They don't know the locations of each other's houses, but everyone is walking around with bone masks with special markings to show their identity; so if you are such a good assassin, you could easily follow one and then kill of their entire Family?

So, those masks did not make ANY sense, because everyone knows who you are. Why would you hide your face then? Also, saying that you killed someone with a good reason because you get paid for it, is a ridiculous way to justify a murder. I did not like this message at all, because sometimes they had to kill someone simply because he said something mean. How is that okay? But here comes the most messed up part; they all do it because of their Goddess of Death and everyone they kill is resurrected in a new life. Yeay, now it is all right! *cough*

Right, in the end The Da Vias do kill Lea's entire Family and now she is out for vengeance. She has to find her uncle, who was thrown out of the Family after a shameful event, so he can help her locate The Da Vias. Here is where Lea shows that she is not a gifted assassin after all. She makes dumb mistakes that eventually lead to her capture by a creepy police guy. She was just so amateurish and clueless. The entire book she runs around without a real plan, she keeps whining that it is all her fault and hoping that Val has nothing to do with it.. Girl, get your head out of your ass.


Let's be honest, it was an unexpected betrayal from her lover, but I think it was understandable that The Da Vias made their move… But perhaps that is just because the dynamics between Lea and her Family showed that she was not really close with her parents, so I could not care less.

The shining part of the story, the one that kept me entertained enough to not give up, was the fact that Lea and Les are cute together. Les was by far the highlight. He was dorky and adorable. Raised up by Lea's uncle after living on the street, he is now trying his hand at being a clipper (and about that, what a stupid word! Why would you call yourself a clipper if you are a freaking ASSASSIN) He wants to help Lea out if she trains him and all she does is turning him away, because she believes she is able to handle it all by herself. Les definitely deserved more, but their developing relationship was nicely done.

The twist at the ending with the trope that should have never existed makes sure I will not pick up the sequel. I am perfectly fine with the conclusion.
Tuesday, May 31, 2016 20:45

Monthly recap May '16 | Sadness, celebrations & Mumford and sons.

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 links to posts that interest me.
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May really left me with mixed feelings.

Two days ago I got the news that a friend got killed in a car accident. I'm still in a state of confusion and shock. It seems so unreal. The last time I saw him was when had our graduation together. Such a happy moment. He had this silly type of humor that often made us roll our eyes, but that is also something that made him for who he was. Four years of friendship and despite the fact we did have less contact these past few months, I will miss him and his updates on Facebook. Only twenty two and now he can never live up to his full potential. It makes me angry and sad.

Back to the other things I did in May..

We celebrated two birthdays: my sister turned 22 and my grandfather achieved the awesome age of 80. I feel even more blessed that I have him (and my other grandparents) still around. For my grandfather's birthday we went out for dinner to a wok restaurant. Good food!

I went to Jungle book (loooved it) and a fair with my boyfriend, where we tried to win some stuffed animals (and failed of course, haha). He gave me some beautiful roses to celebrate  he fact we are together for 7.5 years. We visited a Japanese garden, but it wasn't as pretty as it was in Autumn. We had a lovely walk though and it reminded me to do this more often.

I saw MUMFORD AND SONS with my sister. It was one of the best nights. Such good music, such a beautiful voice and so much energy. It has been my favorite band for quite some time now, so seeing them live was like a dream come true. They definitely settled their place as favorite, because they are so freaking good. We heard one of their newest songs and they invited Babaa Maal, so that was special! There will be time. According to someone in the comments, his text means: You are my only love. Your love makes me loves this world. Let me tell you that I really love you .Let's stop all the hate and gossip and focus on love.
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Wednesday, May 25, 2016 21:14

Part 1 | My step into the bulletjournaling world.

Fairytale newsReminder: I'm a newbie at this. I've been using my bulletjournal since February this year, so I'm still in the middle of figuring everything out. I just thought I would give you a look at my method.

I don't even know how I came across the concept of bulletjournals, but I probably found it on Instagram or Pinterest. I'm always looking for ways to be organized and I love making lists. I am a big fan of the app called Wunderlist, but when it comes down to organization I prefer to use notebooks. There is something about writing everything down and crossing of that motivates me more.

So, when I was introduced to the concept of bulletjournaling I was really curious about this and a bit hesitant. I know that I can easily get carried away by something and I was afraid to take the plunge, but eventually I went with it and I love it. It is a modified to-do list, but the whole concept around it with extra logs made me realize I wasn't effectively using my to-do lists before.

Bulletjournaling is also not only a way to keep track of everything I have to do in my daily life and blog schedules, but it also gives me rest in my head. I have an anxious nature, but the fact that I can write anything down and can make lists of everything that might bother me is really calming.

Back to the basic of what bulletjournaling is. It is a bullet system, an analog system, that helps you to create order by "tracking the past, organizing the present and planning for the future." It is created by Ryder Carroll. It is a way to rapid log what you have to do.

There are four key concepts.

1. Index. You number all your pages, so you can organize those entries in your index page.
2. There are several logs you can use in this system, like a Future log, monthly log and daily log.
Future log: events occurring in future months (example: birthdays)
Monthly log: events/notes and tasks.
Daily log: a spread with day to day tasks.

For your daily log:
First step is writing a topic on the top corner of the page, like the date. The next step is to add short-formed notations, organized into three categories: Tasks, events and notes. A task is a simple dot and it has the following key:
  • X = Task Complete
  • > = Task Migrated
  • < = Task Scheduled
Events are a simple circle; O. Notes are a simple dash: –.

You use signifiers in front of these Bullets to give them extra context, like a ! to show that it is a very important bullet. For more information I recommend the official Bulletjournal website. I went ahead and changed these to my preferred keys, but this is the main idea.

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My keys.

3. Collections are a group of related ideas. This means you can make lists of everything you can think off. Here are two examples of pages I came up with: a wishlist of all things non-bookish and a spread for my classic-reading challenge.

WishlistClassic project

4. Migrating tasks. At the end of the month you look at your Monthly log/daily logs and you look at undone tasks. You assess them and migrate them if you still want to do them or cross them off if they no longer have value.

You can go as simple and minimalistic as you want with these key concepts, but I like to go all out with decorations, drawings, banners, dividers, quotes and random doodles. I've always been artistic/creative, but the last couple of years I've been too busy with other things. Bulletjournaling helps me to bring out that side again. I'm also a bit obsessed with lettering, so it is a good practice. Here is an example of a random doodle page I added:

Doodle


My tips for starting one:
1. Look at some examples and try to come up with a system that looks useful to you. Like: do you want a monthly spread, weekly, daily or all of them? What extra pages would be of benefit to you? I will take more about this in the next part.

2. Don't get carried away: if you like to keep it simple, stick with it. If you want to go all out: go for it. It is easy to fall in love with all the pretty creations some people make and I've seen jealousy and negativity surrounding it. Just do what you want to do and don't compare your bulletjournal with someone else. There is no right or wrong way.

3. Buy a dotted journal. My first one I used had lines, but dotted really is much nicer to use. I'm using the Leuchtturmn 1917 and I love it. The paper has a nice quality and doesn't bleed so much. I've also heard good things about the Moleskine dotted notebook.

Next part:
LAY-OUT.

Do you have any questions? Do you use to-do lists?
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