Wednesday, December 30, 2015 21:55

Yearly recap 2015.

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Every year has amazing and less-amazing moments, but I can look back at a lot of beautiful memories I created with my friends and loved ones. I have taken many new opportunities this year and I feel like I’ve continued my growth from 2014. I become more confident every day and while I still struggle with things, I don’t let them bother me that much anymore. I feel like I am becoming the person I am meant to be and this year helped to shape me even more. I also got some great blogging possibilities this year and I have a really positive feeling about 2016. (Plus: look how many awesome books are being published! And movie/TV show releases I can’t wait for!)

This is my last post of 2015. HAPPY NEW YEAR LOVELY FRIENDS!

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Here is a round-up from some of the things I believe are highlights of my year of 2015.

January
: I had a diving instruction. I’ve always wanted to do one and it was everything I thought it would be. I can’t wait to do it again.
February: surprised my boyfriend with a Valentine’s dinner. I nailed my thesis defence.
March: Started my second internship and I had a blast.
April: I celebrated my birthday. One of my presents was the musical for Snow White.
May: We planned a surprise party for my sister’s 21st birthday.
June: I ended both internships with fantastic grades, which led to my graduation! I still can’t believe that this part of my life is over. I am now officially engineer Melanie, Bachelor of applied science.
July: Three wonderful weeks in Spain together with my loved ones. I bought my DSLR camera.
August: Simply sucked.
September: Landed my first, yet temporary, job. It was not my dream job, but at least I found something in a short period and I learned some new techniques. I also went to two food truck festivals for the first time, delicious!
October: I went to my first book event ever (Leigh Bardugo) and it was AMAZING. I had a book club sleep-over with my wonderful friends.
November: I went out to dinner with my boyfriend to celebrate our 7th anniversary and I found THE job in my own field! An official Microbiological technician in a hospital, for at least a year.
December: I found a (rental) house with my boyfriend! We are finally moving in together. Christmas was wonderful and of course, the start of a new, fresh year.

It was also another year filled with book club meetings and I’m grateful that I have these girls in my life. *Daph isn’t in the photo, but this is the only one we have from part of the group*

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Sunday, December 27, 2015 12:51

Monthly recap December ‘15 | A new house!

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. OUAT_thumb3December is not over yet, but I won't have much time to post this recap at the end of his month, so here you go. There is one more post left for 2015 (yearly recap) and then we will be in the New Year. Isn't that crazy?

I signed my one year contract at the hospital. I’m finally starting to realize that this is really happening. It’s all so exciting. It feels like it has taken far too long to find something that suits me, so I can’t wait to get started in January.

That being said, we immediately started house hunting and within 2 weeks we found a house! I seriously can’t believe it. It all went so fast and easy. This is a new step in our life and it’s an amazing feeling. We get the keys next Tuesday, so we are incredibly busy with taking care of buying all the things. After signing the contract we went ice skating with a friend and I was reminded that I'm really bad at it. I didn't fall (almost crashed into a guy at the side-line though), so that's a win.

We celebrated Sinterklaas, where I got some nice presents (two of them were books).

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Christmas tree @ my parents and my 'Ugly Christmas sweater'

Then Christmas! My favorite Holiday of the year.
The first day we went to my parents house, with my sister and her boyfriend. We played board games, exchanged gifts (so many! I love all of them) and ate way too many food.
The second day was at my boyfriend's mother, with his sister, brother + girlfriend and grandmother. We made the entree course and went with mushroom soup based on home-made chicken stock. It was delicious! There was a lot of talking and lots of other good food.
'Third Christmas day' is something we unofficially started a few years ago. Today we are getting together with both grandparents and my sister's mother in law at my parents house to celebrate all the good things that happened this year.

New Year's eve will be spent at my parents house with a few friends. Nothing too special, just being around loved ones and eating good food.
Thursday, December 24, 2015 10:56

Let it go | Massive edition.

Let it go is my feature, where I will spotlight all the books I DNF and the ones I've read and just want to talk about. The name is based on the wonderful song from the movie Frozen, hence the the reindeer. This feature is based on several other DNF features.

I want to get rid of all the reviews I have yet to post on my blog before 2016 starts, so I'm going to throw them all together in this post. You can scroll through all the categories and select what you want to read. They go from best rating –> worst rating. There are no spoilers for the books or sequels in the series. Here we go:

Fairytale retelling.

Marissa Meyer – Winter.
RATING: 4.5 out of 5.
It was fantastic and I read more than 500 pages in one sitting, but the ending still left me with a little disappointed feeling of I want more. It feels like there was still some story left to tell. Perhaps in the novella bind-up with the Epilogue to Winter? I HOPE SO. The main story is wrapped up neatly, so perhaps it's because I'm just not ready to let go of all the characters I fell in love with throughout the series. I could read about them forever and I'm satisfied with all the ships and the overall conclusion of the story. My only problem was the fact I didn't like how villainous Levana was and how I couldn't care about her 'reasons' for all the things she did.

Shannon Hale – Princess Academy.
RATING: 4.5 out of 5.
Miri lives in the valley near the mountain where everyone works to collect linder (stone). The prince is looking for a new bride and she will be picked from the girls in her village. They are all sent to a special Academy to be trained, so they can impress him. Miri is spunky, yet a bit insecure and she has a quick mind. She has a way with words and she is definitely not waiting to be trained for a prince. I loved how her family played a role in the story and how it stays away from the cliche story line. Don't let the promise and the fact that it is middle grade fool you.

Virginia Boecker – The witch hunter.
RATING: 2.5 out of 5.
This book caught my attention when it was pitched as magic from Graceling meets political intrigue from Game of thrones. While I don’t agree with those comparisons, I sort of liked it. Elizabeth is one of the best witch hunters. until she is accused of witch craft herself. She is sentenced to death, but saved by someone who was her biggest enemy: the powerful wizard Nicholas.
Elizabeth was okay. She is by no means a perfect character and I think I will forget about her soon, but being able to look in her head wasn't so bad. She is trust into a confusing time and I liked how she dealt with the situation. She is struck between her old life and the new information. I could understand how hard it was to change her believes, but she switches rather quickly. The writing-style was engaging. I don't know what it was, but it made me keep reading. I also think I ended up liking this book more because of my low expectations. I was left to believe it would be a boring, terrible book, but I don't think it was THAT bad.

Alethea Kontis – Dearest.
RATING: 2.5 out of 5.
Naked guys are sleeping in a room. Friday finds them and falls in love with one of them right away. Because…. Not for that reason ;) but I thought it was rather strange that she is standing there, observing this boy and wondering what color his eyes are. Okay guuurl. I am left disappointed by this series. The first book was stunning. I loved the combinations of fairytales and how it made me guess which stories she included. The second book was already less interesting and I found myself a little bored by this book. The characters in this book were a bit bland, although I did like the approach of Six Swans. I have high hopes for the next one, because I think I will like Princess Thursday much more.

Dakota Chase – Mad about the hatter.
RATING: 1 out of 5.
This book was simply too much. The author tried SO hard to make everything sounds funny and hilarious, that it felt too forced. I understand that she tried to copy the whimsical feeling from Alice in Wonderland, but to me, she failed to deliver it. I loved that the romance is between Hatter and Henry, brother from Alice, but it went incredibly fast. Hatter went from 'what an annoying boy' to 'oh, such luscious lips, I want to kiss them!' The same with Henry, who went from 'I must be crazy, this can't be real' to 'what a delicious man.' The story itself is also pretty much wandering around Wonderland, because Hatter must take Henry to the Queen of Hearts. I liked the addition of the King of Hearts and the talk about abusive relationships.

Monday, December 21, 2015 10:39

Annual end of the year survey | 2015.

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Hosted by: Jamie from The perpetual page-turner. I did this survey in 2014 as well.

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Number Of Books You Read: I’m typing this December 18th and I’ve read a total of 113. Not as much as last year (152), but still pretty amazing. I hope to make it to at least 115 books.
Number of Re-Reads: I particpated in the re-read challenge, so I know that I’ve re-read a total of 11 books.
Genre You Read The Most From: I need to update my spreadsheet, but I think the result will be the same: Fantasy, with 1 book difference with Fairytales & retellings. (Surprise *cough*)

Friday, December 18, 2015 15:21

Reading and Blogging resolutions 2016.


Every year I like to set myself some challenges. I will talk about my personal resolutions in my Yearly recap post that will go online at the end of 2015, but today I want to share my goals for Reading and Blogging.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015 20:28

TTT | 20 books from 2015 you should read.




I'm going to cheat here and list my top 20 favorite books that I read this year and that were also published in 2015, separated into different categories. I am talking about my favorite series starters, stand-alones, sequels and series conclusions.
Saturday, December 12, 2015 10:23

Review 248. Cammie McGovern – A step toward falling.

A step toward fallingTitle: A step toward falling.
Author: Cammie McGovern.
Pages: 368.
Published: October 6th 2015 by HarperTeen.
Sort: Stand-alone.
Source: Edelweiss.
Emily has always been the kind of girl who tries to do the right thing—until one night when she does the worst thing possible. She sees Belinda, a classmate with developmental disabilities, being attacked. Inexplicably, she does nothing at all. Belinda, however, manages to save herself. When their high school finds out what happened, Emily and Lucas, a football player who was also there that night, are required to perform community service at a center for disabled people. Soon, Lucas and Emily begin to feel like maybe they're starting to make a real difference. Like they would be able to do the right thing if they could do that night all over again. But can they do anything that will actually help the one person they hurt the most?
Rating:

I fell head over heels in love with Say what you will. I was ready to be blown away by this book, but that didn’t happen. There was something about this book that prevented me from completely loving it. I had the same problem with the recent Just my luck.

Belinda lives together with her mother and grandmother. Her mother is depressive and Belinda has development disabilities. One day she is attacked and two people see it happen: Emily and football player Lucas. Both of them decide to do nothing. This story is about the effect of this event and their choices on all three of them.

The story switches POV between Belinda, Emily and Lucas. I think my main problem was the fact I didn’t feel connected with them. Belinda had a distance in her voice, which was understandable, but that made it hard to feel anything for her. It was sad that she had to endure the attack and it's terrible her disabilities prevent her from completely understanding what happened. This resulted in chapters about her obsession with Pride & Prejudice, her love for the theater and her growing friendship with another disabled boy, instead of an emotional process.

The realization of what happened and the aftermath of the assault was much bigger on Emily and Lucas, who have to deal with their guilt. They are both signed up for community service with challenged teenagers. I liked their development throughout the story and how they deal with their wrong decision. It’s obvious they are both shocked by their reaction in the situation. Despite that, I didn’t care much about Emily or Lucas. They never spoke to me and I already can’t think of one thing that makes them stand out to me.

I think it’s a good plot that made me think. How would I react in a situation like that? It's hard to say, because I completely understand why both Emily and Lucas turned their head away. I think many people quickly decided 'someone else is probably going to take care of it.' I think I would not immediately do something about it, but I would call someone, like the police - or in this case one of the teachers.  The disconnection from the characters made this book less impressive than Say what you will though.

What about you? How do you think you would have responded in this situation?
Tuesday, December 08, 2015 10:57

Review 247. Patrick Ness – The rest of us just live here.

The rest of us just live hereTitle: The rest of us just live here.
Author: Patrick Ness.
Pages: 336.
Published: October 6th 2015 by HarperTeen.
Sort: Stand-alone.
Source: eARC from the publisher on Edelweiss.
What if you aren’t the Chosen One? The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death? What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again. Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life. Even if your best friend is worshiped by mountain lions.
Rating:

What a refreshing story! This book is extraordinary despite it’s ordinary nature. This book isn’t about the people with special, hidden talents. This is a story about you and me; the ones on the background while the Hero saves the day.
Saturday, December 05, 2015 13:36

(Fairytale) Retelling challenge 2016 | Sign up post.

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This year I will be hosting the Fairytale challenge for the second time. Let’s go through the details:
  • The challenge runs from January 1st to December 31st 2016.
  • You can sign up on your blog, Goodreads, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter: whatever suits you. Make sure you link to a specific post/tweet/photo/etc, instead of a regular link to your account. (Or have some proof by posting the banner in your sidebar!)
  • The goal is to read fairytale retellings, but if you want you can also pick other retellings. Think about mythology, myths, legends and folk tales. It's all up to you!
    Here are a couple of books you can pick from:
    my bookshelf with fairytale retellings.
    Listopia best books of mythology.
    Listopia mythologies and retellings of fairytales & classics.
    Listopia mythology/folklore.
    Listopia myths/legends/folktales.
  • You can read Middle Grade, Young Adult and Adult books for this challenge. 
  • Obviously, the book doesn't have to be published in 2016 and re-reads count.
  • Physical, e-books, Audio books and novella's all count.
  • Cross-linking your books from/with other challenges count.
  • There are 6 different levels you can aim for:

    -Enchanted Moura: 1 – 4 books.
    -Goose Girl: 5 - 9 books.
    -Evil Queen: 10 – 15 books.
    -Wise princess: 16 – 20 books.
    -Kuma Lisa: 21 – 25 books.
    -Cheshire cat: 26+ books
    .
  • Every beginning of the month I will make a link-up post where you put all your reviews and update posts. These link-up posts will have informative/fun introductions, just like last year. I will also focus more on other retellings and there will be a giveaway in December. You can win extra entries throughout the entire challenge.
  • Format for the link-up:
    UPDATE  @ your name/blog name.
    REVIEW – book title @ your name/blog name.
  • Use the hash tag #fairytaleRC on Twitter and Instagram.
The official retelling challenge button.

Also new, you can now showcase a button if you have reached a level!

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Enchanted Moura: a supernatural being from fairytales of Portuguese and Galician folklore. She often appears singing and combing her long hair; which is golden as gold or black as the night. She promises treatures to whom sets her free by breaking her spell.
Evil Queen: also known as The Wicked Queen of Queen Grimhilde from Snow White.
Goose girl: Princess is betrayed by her maid and has to work as a Goose girl until she can prove she is the real princess.
Wise princess: about a princess who knows everything, except about true happiness. She dies in the end, but she has managed to find happiness and that makes her the most wise of all.
Kuma Lisa: is a fox from Bulgarian and Russian folklore, who usually plays the role of the trickster as an archetype.
Cheshire cat: from Alice in Wonderland.

I can’t wait guys, let the sign-up begin! You have until February 1st.
Wednesday, December 02, 2015 18:35

December retelling link-up | Bingo-card!

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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 tweet with the hashtag #fairytaleRC

As last post I wanted to do something fun to inspire you for your last chance to complete your challenge. Are you still on schedule or will it be a battle against time? Hopefully, this will give you another push, but also don’t forget: there is no such thing as failing. Even if you don’t meet your set goal, I just hope you had fun during the year and that you have found some great books.

I contacted Bekka from Pretty Deadly Blog (and you also know her as co-blogger on Great Imaginations) about her bookish bingo cards. She was kind enough to give me permission to use this idea for my event. So *drumrolls* I present my fairytale bingo card. It’s not nearly as pretty as Bekka’s cards, but I simply suck at designing stuff, haha.

Bingo fairytale card

Here are some ideas:

Book with a queen.
-R.C Lewis – Stitching snow.
-Marissa Meyer – Cinder.
-A.C Howard – Splintered.

Autumn colours.
-Jodi Lynn Anderson – Tiger Lily.
-Juliet Marillier – Daughter of the forest.
-Jessica Day George – Princess of glass.

Winter-themed.
-Eowyn Ivey - The snow child.
-Anna Ursu – Breadcrumbs.
-Cameron Dokey – Winter’s child.

A quest.
-Heidi Schulz – Hook’s revenge.
-Jane Nicherson – The mirk and the midnight hour.
-McCormick Templeman – The glass casket.

Beauty and the beast retelling.
-Naomi Novik - Uprooted.
-Juliet Marillier - Heart’s blood.
-Rosamund Hodge – Cruel beauty.
-Sarah J. Maas – A court of thorns and roses.

Siblings.
-Juliet Marillier – Wildwood dancing.
-Heather Dixon – Entwined.
-Jackson Pearce – Sweetly.

Unpopular fairytale.
-Sarah Maguire – Valiant (the little, clever tailor)
-Renee Ahdieh –The wrath and the dawn (thousand and one nights)
-Claire Legrand – Winterspell (Nutcracker)

Gender-bender.
-Stacey Jay – Princess of thorns.
-Cameron Dokey – The wild orchid.
-A.C Gaughen – Scarlet.

RULES:
-This Bingo card is meant for December to February 2016. If you enter, you will earn an extra entry in the giveaway I will host in December 2016.
-Have fun!

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