Monday, March 30, 2015 23:20

Monthly recap | March '15. New internship.

recap
This post recaps my month, from personal life to books I’ve read & bought, movies and TV shows I’ve seen and links to posts that interest me.

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This has been the most exhausting month so far, but I’m having a great time! I started my last internship at the hospital where I’m working alongside all the other microbiology analysts on the laboratory. This means I’m suddenly working days from 8 to 17 and when I get home I just collapse in my chair. I haven’t been able to do a lot of commenting & blog work, but let me adjust and I will get back to more blog activity soon

Back to the work: All the paperwork is signed so far and I grow more confident every day. I have worked on two different 'lists' so far and I even got to work by myself. (If you are interested: I have done urine cultures and pus) I truly enjoy what I am doing and I’m so happy to see I have made the right decision to study this.

I spent a lot of time my boyfriend and family this month. I went to the tattoo shop with my father to give him mental support and the result is stunning. I did nothing really memorable, it was just quality time at home, which is fine with me. It was great to have a relaxed month. I haven’t been able to sport often, since I’ve been feeling a little sick lately, but I hope to pick it up next month (my birthday month, yeaaaay!) The book club was fun like always and we had sushi - you can't go wrong with that.
Sunday, March 29, 2015 06:00

Blog Tour: Maria Snyder – Shadow Study.

16130758
Title: Shadow Study.
Author: Maria Snyder.
Pages: 384.
Published: February 24th 2015 by Mira
Sort: Study series #4 and Soulfinders #1.
Study #1. Poison study.
Study #2. Magic study.
Study #3. Fire study.
Source
: Netgalley & Publisher.
Once, only her own life hung in the balance. Oddly enough, when Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. But she'd survived to become a vital part of the balance of power between rival countries Ixia and Sitia. Now she uses her magic to keep the peace in both lands and protect her relationship with Valek. Suddenly, though, they are beset on all sides by those vying for power through politics and intrigue. Valek's job - and his life - are in danger. As Yelena tries to uncover the scope of these plots, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked. She must keep that a secret - or her enemies will discover just how vulnerable she really is - while searching for who or what is responsible for neutralizing her powers.
Rating:

It takes place six year after the end of Fire Study, the third book in the Study series. Technically this is the fourth book in the series, but they decided to call it a spin-off with a new title called Soulfinders. It was amazing to return to this world and the characters I’ve grown to love. The story was also written in such a way that it wasn’t too hard to recall what happened in the previous books; quite an achievement!

I was invited for the blog tour band I was more than happy to be part of this, because it’s a very solid fantasy series that I highly recommend. This review is spoiler free for the entire series.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 20:43

Fairytale News | Personal vs professional reviews.


'Mel on reading' is a little feature I created as part of my Fairytale news. It's my way to show my thoughts on topics that go from pet peeves in reading to my favorite things in books.

I love the change in blogging I see lately. People are trying out their own memes/features, bloggers change the way they write their review and there is diversity in what they post. One of the things I notice is that bloggers start to get more personal. We share things that happen in our daily lives en we include them in our reviews.

I absolutely love it. I think it’s great to know more about the blogger. It makes them feel like a person instead of a someone behind a computer screen in another part of the world. I like being able to read the voice of the blogger who writes the review. I'm not per se talking about fangirling, screaming or raving reviews, but more the way bloggers link their personal experiences to a review. It makes them stand out to me. The personal touch also makes it easier for me to see if I am going to like or dislike the book, especially if I’m close to that blogger.

At the same time I think that there are people out there who wish it would be more professional. Reviews only based on rational, objective things rather than talking about how a book makes you feel or think. They want to be able to create their opinion without being influenced by the feelings of the blogger. I can understand that side of the story too, but professional reviews always gives me the impression that they aren't completely genuine. (I know that it's just a writing-style and I appreciate how everyone writes, but that's just how it sometimes feels to me) I feel like personal reviews go more in depth and highlight different aspects, which tells me more about a book.

I’m very curious to see what you guys think. Are you someone who likes emotional, personal reviews or do you like the professional ones where they only talk about aspects of the story itself without the reviewers opinions?
Friday, March 20, 2015 20:31

Burn, rewrite or re-read tag.

I was tagged by the lovely Meg from Adrift on Vulcan. You are supposed to pick three random books. I first thought about random books from my read-shelf on Goodreads with a random number generator, but then I decided to be a rebel and make my own rules.

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There are three rounds and I picked fairytales as my genre for this tag (suprise-surprise!). Then I went to Goodreads to the Listopia page. I opened the YA fairytale list and that's where I picked my random books from.
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 17:53

Review 220. Leah Cypess – Death marked.

18803194Title: Death Marked.
Author: Leah Cypess.
Pages: 400.
Published: March 3rd 2015 by Greenwillow Books
Sort: Death Sworn #2.
Death Sworn #1. Death Sworn.
Source: Edelweiss & Publisher.
At seventeen, Ileni lost her magical power and was exiled to the hidden caves of the assassins. She never thought she would survive long. But she discovered she was always meant to end up, powerless, in the caves as part of an elder sorcerer’s plan to destroy the evil Empire they'd battled so long. Except that Ileni is not an assassin, and she doesn't want to be a weapon. And, after everything, she’s not even sure she knows the truth. Now, at the very heart of the Empire—its academy for sorcerers—the truth is what she seeks. What she finds challenges every belief she holds dear—and it threatens her fledgling romance with the young master of assassins.
Rating:

I think it was a good decision to keep this as duology, because the story got thin and stretched in this conclusion to Death Sworn. I wasn’t blown away by the first book, but in the end I decided to give the sequel a shot (because it’s another series to cross off my Mission impossible). I wasn’t completely let down. There was still not enough action and magic for my taste, but I liked the tension between the assassins and magicians – and how Ileni is stuck between both camps.

There are no spoilers for Death sworn.
Saturday, March 14, 2015 10:05

Review 219. Nova Ren Suma – The walls around us.

18044277Title: The walls around us.
Author: Nova Ren Suma.
Pages: 336.
Published: March 24th 2015 by Algonquin Young Readers
Sort: Stand-alone.
Source: Netgalley & Publisher.
The Walls Around Us is a ghostly story of suspense told in two voices—one still living and one long dead. On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement. On the inside, within the walls of a girls’ juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom. Tying these two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries. We hear Amber’s story and Violet’s, and through them Orianna’s, first from one angle, then from another, until gradually we begin to get the whole picture—which is not necessarily the one that either Amber or Violet wants us to see.

 (Quote from the blurb)
“Ori’s dead because of what happened out behind the theater, in the tunnel made out of trees. She’s dead because she got sent to that place upstate, locked up with those monsters. And she got sent there because of me.”

The moment I started this book, I knew I was up to something good. This was one of the best beginnings I’ve read in a long time. The writing-style is gorgeous and I was immediately curious about the mystery around the juvenile detention center and Orianna. This is a story about guilt, lies and dealing with a situation that’s not in your control. Through the eyes of two girls, Amber and Violet, we get to know the story behind Ori’s conviction.
Tuesday, March 10, 2015 06:00

TTT 41. For readers who like to find new favorite books.


Let’s forget the most obvious one: J.K Rowling – Harry Potter. I tried to focus on books I see myself re-reading over and over again; the books on my ultimate favorite list. I hope I can help you find some to add to your list too!


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There she is again. I’ve been in love with Juliet Marillier’s books for years now. This story has a special place in my heart, because Daughter of the forest is the first book I read by her. I am actually re-reading this series this year, so I can finally post my reviews for it. Her books always have an amazing cast with strong female protagonists, interesting love-interested and the atmosphere is magical.

This is also a book you should be familiar with. I always try to spread my love for Markus Zusak – The book thief. His writing-style is gorgeous, the POV is unique and the story always makes me cry. Set in World War 2, you follow the story of Liesel, a girl who likes to steal books.

If you have to ask me one of my favorite fairytales I will immediately think about Jodi Lynn AndersonTiger Lily. The storytelling is beautiful and this is also one of the few books that can make me shed some tears.

Robin LaFevers is a genius and I feel a lot of love for this series. I even forced it upon my book club members (with success) and I will always adore all the characters she created. Dark Triumph is my favorite installment though, because of how broken and flawed Sybella is – yet deadly and you better not underestimate her. Her relationship is my ultimate OTP. Plus, nun assassins.

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Rae Carson – The bitter kingdom is the last book in the girl of fire and thorns series and it’s by far my favorite book in the series. I love the character development and relationship between Elisa and her lover.

This is another fairytale I will think of if you ask my favorite retelling. Rosamund Hodge – Cruel beauty has an AMAZING world-building, where she uses mythology to create one of the most unique retellings of Beauty and the beast. You definitely need to meet the flawed, dark MC.

Lady Thief by A.C Gaughen is another fairytale retelling (if you are surprised I have so many of these on my lists you are clearly a new follower, haha) I love Scarlet and her sassy mouth and spunk. She doesn’t take crap from anyone, but she also has a certain vulnerability.

The dream thieves by Maggie Stiefvater was simply the best. The diverse cast has captured my heart. Bad-ass Blue and her friendship with The raven boys; I can’t get enough of them.

And of course, Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. This is the best book in the series if you ask me. I loved the story and the fact that we got to meet Scarlet, Wolfe and Thorne.
Saturday, March 07, 2015 18:09

Review 218. Abigail Haas – Dangerous boys.

22907937Title: Dangerous boys.
Author: Abigail Haas.
Pages: 336 pages.
Published: August 14th 2014 by Simon & Schuster Childrens Books
Sort: Stand-alone.
Source: A gift from Ellis.
It all comes down to this. Oliver, Ethan, and I. Three teens venture into an abandoned lake house one night. Hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding. The other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder ...? Chloe is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece the story together - a story of jealousy, twisted passion and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful faces.
Rating:

I heard a lot about Dangerous girls, so I added the books on my wish list and didn’t look at it again. Luckily, Ellis send me a copy and right after finishing Dangerous boys I ordered Dangerous girls. What a mind-fuck! I was very satisfied how this story was told and how it tied together in the end.
Thursday, March 05, 2015 17:48

Review 217. Zoë Marriott – Daughter of the flames.

13075856Title: Daughter of the flames.
Author: Zoë Marriott.
Pages: 361.
Published: July 2012 by Walker Books.
Sort: Part #1. Ruan (second book is a companion novel)
Source: This book was gifted to me by Kristen.
What if your deadliest enemy were the only one who could save you?
Inside an ancient temple in the mountains, fifteen-year-old Zira trains in the martial arts to become a warrior priestess who can defend the faith of the Ruan people. Bearing a scar on her face from the fire that killed her parents, the orphaned Zira is taught to distrust the occupying Sedornes. Terror strikes when the forces of the tyrannical Sedorne king destroy the only home she knows. To survive, Zira must unravel the secrets of her identity, decide her people’s fate — and accept her growing feelings for a man who should be her enemy.
Rating:

My first experience with Zoë Marriott was her lovely retelling The swan kingdom. From that moment I knew I had to read more from her and the sweet Kristen gave this copy to me. Thanks to her I’m now aware that I really like Marriott’s stories and I’m going to hunt down a copy from the companion novel called Frostfire. You can download the first chapter for free if you like to try it out: Zoë Marriott.
Monday, March 02, 2015 06:00

March retelling link-up | Fairytales are over?

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It is March already, can you believe it? How is your progress so far, are you on schedule? Here is the master sign-up post. At the end of this post you can put links to your challenge page/post and every review you post on your blog. Please make this easy to navigate by putting it like this:

UPDATE  @ your name/blog name.
REVIEW – book title @ your name/blog name.

Don't forget to check out Away to whimsical fairy tale land. In this event people will analyze fairy tales and their meaning & retellings. This sounds perfect to me! I also want to link back to a post I made a while back, you might be interested in it: a fairytale survey. Also, don't forget to use the hash tag #FairytaleRC so I can keep up with all your tweets.

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“The realm of fairy-story is wide and deep and high and filled with many things: all manner of beasts and birds are found there; shoreless seas and stars uncounted; beauty that is an enchantment, and an ever-present peril; both joy and sorrow as sharp as swords.” - Tolkien.

Today I want to start a discussion about the fact that a lot of people feel that fairytales have lost their magic or that they should be forbidden because of the wrong message they give to children.
UChicago scholar of Renaissance and contemporary culture and early-modern Italian literature Maggie believes that fairytales have lost their magic. He calls it an ‘exhausted art-form’ and now I quote from the Uchicago article: “The glass slippers and poison apples, the evil stepmothers and fairy godmothers and princes charming—and the kisses that lead to happily ever after—these things no longer exert much imaginative or intellectual force.” He feels it’s time for new stories, because “It’s just that the stories we’ve been using—mythic stories, fairy tales, legends—they’re not working anymore. We need something new. What we long for is a remythologization of reality.”

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