Saturday, August 17, 2019

Happy Book Lovers Day!

Hey, all! 

Happy book lover's day! (A week late, I know, but I've been running around a lot)

For this occasion, I decided to create a tag! Feel free to complete it, you are all automatically tagged! 

1. Which book are you currently loving? 
I just finished loving The Luxe by Anna Godbersen! It was a lovely and elegant about the New York high class in 1899. A review will be posted soon!

2. Which books do you love the most? 
The series closest to my heart is most likely Percy Jackson and the Olympians, by Rick Riordan. My love for these book is immeasurable. 

3. You can hug any book character - which do you choose? 
James Carstairs ok? I'll say it over and over again. 

4. Which book did you not love so much? 
I had a really difficult time with The Truth and Lies of Ella Black, by Emily Barr. However I'm really curious about another one of her books! 

5. What is the most bookish habit you have?
The second-hand book section at the bookstore has become my second home. Unless it's a release I've been anxiously waiting for, I will likely wait to see it on a second hand shelf and/or online before I buy it. I know it's not the best habit, but I'm a student, okay? Money's a thing. 

6. Who's your bookish OTP?
Maybe not my top one, but one that should be discussed nonetheless. I loved America and Maxon's relationship in The Selection. They're so perfect together it's almost too much! 

7. Describe your ultimate book: genre, format, tropes, etc! 
I would love to read a magical realism book that's light on the magic, with a beautiful yet simple hardcover. No insta love or love triangle, more a relationship that's not obvious yet is still beautiful. Maybe a fallen hero story? I don't want battle scenes that are too extensive, but definitely do want conflict and intrigue. 

8. Which book do you think everyone should read? 
The Giver, by Lois Lowry. Again, I'll say it over and over. 

9. Honestly, do you ever buy books because of their cover? 
All the time, did so just two days ago! 

10. Tag some other booklovers! 
I tag you all! <3 

I hope you enjoyed this little tag I put together! 
Stay bookish! 

Monday, July 29, 2019

A Booklover's Guide to packing for vacation

Hey, all! 

Tomorrow, this home-dweller's going to America for three solid weeks! While I'm excited to see loads of new things, I forgot how tricky packing for a big trip can be! The last large trip I did was when I went to Australia three years ago on exchange.

A few years ago, I wrote this post about preparing for a day trip, and I really enjoyed writing it! Thus, I decided to write another one about packing for a larger trip. 

1. Plan ahead, plan ahead, plan ahead
  • Book Early!
    • I can't stress this point enough - as far as transport and hotels go, the earlier, the better. Not only do you have a guarantee of having a place to sleep at night and places together on the plane, but also you'll probably have lower prices! Plus it makes it a million times easier to... 
  • Figure out who and what you want to see 
    • Do you have old friends in the place you are visiting? Family? Do you want to see the chocolate museum you've heard of once in class? Check to see how close/far you are from these things and see if you can make a day around it! Vacations are meant for experiencing other places than home. If you go far, it's all the more reason to go see things you want! 
  • What's on your bucket list? 
    • Bucket lists are the ultimate to-do list. One of the things you wish to do in life. In my top ten is going out to a remote part of California to look at the Milky Way! Bucket list things should be something you make special time to do, and that you should do everything to not miss out on. 

2. Week before
  • Print/Download all of the tickets
    • Just do it. Doing that last minute is a nightmare, especially because technology can smell fear and just knows when you're in a rush. 
  • Double-check all reservations
    • Nothing worse than thinking you're leaving on a Tuesday but you're actually leaving that Monday. It happens, just check that you know what you're doing, and that all reservations still stand! 
  • Start coming up with a 'packing plan'
    • If you're going with a group, are you all bringing XL suitcases? How are you organising your shoes and souvenir space? Are you allowed to bring carry-on luggage? 
  • Eat all the food in your fridge
    • There is nothing worse than coming home with food still in your fridge, that has turned to a questionable color and consistency. I've seen food go bad in a shared fridge, it's not pretty. 

3. Day before
  • Finish all the food in your fridge
    • This should speak for itself...
  • Packing time... 
    • Oh no oh no oh no... 
    • Ok if packing stresses you out, hopefully this will help you out. Pack enough clothes for about a week at a time (if you have access to a washing machine). And make sure to have...
      • everyday comfy clothes
      • clothes you know you can walk in several kilometres comfortably
      • something that looks good 
      • one fancy set (just in case!) 
      • pyjamas (I've forgotten them once, not nice) 
      • Sandals, walking shoes and nice shoes
      • underwear including socks (I've forgotten socks on a hike. was bad) 
      • Some kind of jacket
  • Check your wallet 
    • ID, money, passport. The golden trio. 

4. What NOT to forget! 
  • Arrange your house
    • Make sure your windows and shutters are closed, that your electric devices are turned off, that every sink and faucet is turned off and leak-less, and that your bed is made. Trust me, coming home to a made bed is the best
  • Little items
    • Electronic devices chargers
    • Battery pack 
    • Sunscreen 
    • At least one pen 
    • Sunglasses 
    • Hand sanitiser for on the plane, at least 
    • Travel minis
    • headphones 
    • a journal/notebook 
    • camera 

4a. Choosing your books
  • This is something that's always been challenging for me BUT I think I've figured out an algorithm of some kind for this trip! 
    • Download any of your e-books on your phone. If you have ARCs from Netgalley, make sure to have them with you. Inter-country travel usually includes a lot of travel time and thus is the perfect time to read books that take up no physical space. 
    • Audiobooks supposedly are nice but I've never tried any. In any case I do have the Harry Potter audio books on my computer. 
    • Bring a book that has a relation to where you are going. We are going to the Air and Space museum in Washington DC, thus it's the perfect time for me to read Hidden Figures! 
    • Bring 2 books you really want to read. 

5. On the trip 
  • Noise-cancelling headphones (or just headphones) are a lifesaver, as is gum and books. I do like bringing video games as well. 
  • If you have work to do, have your computer with you on the trip - you are stuck in one place, unable to move. It is easy to get a TON of work done! 

6. BONUS: What I shouldn't forget but that you may find useful as well (or totally useless, depending on you yourself and thy)
  • My situation: I need to work on an internship over the summer, wear glasses and have varying levels of anxiety depending on the day. If any of these resonate with you, you might want to consider... 
    • Fidget cube
    • Glasses and glasses cleaner 
    • Your work notes and calculator 
    • Python programming handbook 
    • load music on my phone 

Hopefully this may prove useful to somebody out there! It did help me clear my thoughts! 

Stay bookish and have a lovely summer/winter!

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Mini Reviews 4

Hey, all! 

I've had the opportunity to read many books recently, but due to lots of events, I haven't taken the time to review hardly any of them! Thus here's a new round of the surprisingly-enjoyed Mini Reviews! 

1. The Ruined, Amy Tintera 
I read this absolute ages ago! The Ruined is a fun story, I liked how the personalities of the characters were written. However it wasn't always done in a way that made sense, as far as I remember. The main character was interesting, however made quite predictable choices. It definitely was fun, and I will read the next book, but for me it was a 3/5 star read :) 

2. Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo
Shadow and Bone was really amazing! I absolutely loved the world building, and was just amazed at the magic system, and really loved all of the characters and their interactions. It's been a while since I read it, but I remember really loving it, more than I had hoped for! I can see it's gonna amaze me even more though, so I'm giving it a 4/5. 

3. And I Darken, by Kirsten White
Aa this was a recent finish and I have a lot of thoughts about it! It's not easy for me to follow politics in books, to be honest. However all of the side plots and intrigue were very gripping to me. The end especially blew my mind! However I was confused about how the author portrayed the ages of the characters. There were moments when a characters' actions were so out of line with their age that it really broke the narrative, in my opinion. It was an odd mix of love-and-confusion, thus I gave it a 3.5/5 stars. 

4. Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes
One of my favourite contemporaries ever, Me Before You was adorable yet, of course, heartbreaking. I absolutely love Jojo's writing style so will certainly be reading After You once I pick it up! This book is full of amazing characters with very different ways of life and thinking, making it very easy to get very attached to the story. 5/5 stars. 

5. Magus of the Library, by Mitsu Izumi 
Magus of the Library is a manga I just picked up, that I really enjoyed! It is absolutely beautifully drawn, and has an amazing setting. Imagine a mix between 1001 nights, in a place where books are reserved for the elite and are essentially worshipped. The first chapter of this series was heartwarming and very hopeful in every important way. I just bought the second chapter, I cannot wait to read it! 4/5 stars. 

6. Beyond the Clouds 3, by Nicke 
I really love the Beyond the Clouds mangas! It's a fantasy/steampunk blend that is all overlaid in a childlike fantasy. This third instalment was a little bit of a letdown, if only because it was wholly focused on one plot point. However it was still lovely so I gave it 3/5 stars! 

Stay bookish! 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag - 2019

Hey, all! 

Can you believe we are already halfway through 2019, or only 6 month until it's the 20's again? I could have sworn New Years Eve was yesterday. So far, 2019 has been a really descent year for me, fingers crossed that the second half of the year will be lovely as well! 

As every year's midway point approaches, book tubers and bloggers galore are taking part in the Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag. What is it you ask? Just a list of prompts trying to get you to say what you think of the books you have read so far! 

Disclaimer: if you manage do to this without referring to your Goodreads page, you are a sorcerer and I am impressed and want your powers.

1. Best book of the year so far
My best discovery of the year was certainly Caraval, by Stephanie Garber! For some reason, reading it reminded me of that feeling I had when reading The Hunger Games! I just received books 2 and 3 so cannot WAIT to read them this summer!
2. Best sequel read so far
I haven't actually read many sequels this year! Does Clockwork Princess count? I have read it before, but it seems to be the only 'sequel' I have read this year! 
3. New release I haven't read but really want to 
Finale by Stephanie Garber! See question 1 for reasons as to why... 
4. Most anticipated release
I'm gonna be kinda predictable and go with Shadow Frost by Coco Ma! I read the first e-ARC version, now I have an updated physical ARC... this book will be out in October and I cannot wait to see what Coco came up with! 
5. Biggest Disappointment 
The Truth and Lies of Ella Black, by Emily Barr... I had such high hopes, the premise sounded amazing! But I had a very hard time finishing it at all. 
6. Biggest Surprise
I was totally surprised with how much I ended up loving reading the Selection trilogy! It was so fun and light-hearted, I can totally recommend it for a guilty pleasure reading session! 
7. Favorite New Author
It's a tie between Stephanie Garber and Leigh Bardugo for me! Have read one book of theirs each and yes, I need to read more before making a more informed decision. 
8. Newest Fictional Crush
I am gonna surprise a lot of long-time followers... but I haven't fallen for any fictional guys this year! Am I evolving? Is this an alternate Caroline? What?!
9. Newest Favorite Character
Asterin from Shadow Frost was awesome - actually, all of those characters were colourful and interesting in their own right! 
10. Book that made me cry
Ghosts of the Shadow Market - What did you expect, it's a Jem novella. 
11. Book that made me happy
The Selection trilogy - no shame, I felt like a kid again!
12. Favorite book-to-movie adaptation seen this year
... Have I seen any this year?! I think I've only been to the movies twice since the beginning of 2019 and I don't think I've seen any book-to-movie adaptations! 

13. Favorite review I've written
To be fair, my review of the book fair I went to last week was dope. It got shared many times and I just had such a fun time writing it - I'm liking my new writing style: literally brain vomit in style and ideas! 
14. Most beautiful book bought this year
That I bought!? Um well I haven't bought very many books this year, but I must say that Ink by Alice Broadway is BEAUTIFUL! 
15. Books I need to read by the end of the year 
Oh god where do I begin
I want to re-read VE Schwab before meeting her in October
I want to re-read The Dark Artifices
A few eARCs 
the new Markus Zusak
Six of Crows (I promised) 

That's it! Tell me, what was your most unexpected buy of the year? 

Stay bookish! 

Monday, July 1, 2019

YALTIVAL - a very bookish day

Hey, all! 

I can finally take some time to tell you all about YALTIVAL - the first book festival of this name in the Netherlands! I did not know what to expect, but I'd love to take this opportunity to tell you all about it! 

After a long and busy weekend of travel, gatherings, star observing, Dungeons and Dragons, and trying dinners that have appeared to me in a dream, I finally hauled my suitcase and sleep-deprived self to Eindhoven, a lovely town in the Netherlands that I had never visited (although the train station was eerily familiar). I was able to meet up with some bookish friends that I had met at another book convention (Danielle, Lisa and Lisa) and together, we were off to YALITVAL YATILVAL YALTIVAL! 

We started the day going to a lovely industrial-style library called Boekhandel Van Piere, where we received very-full goodie bags! Naturally, the gifted book was in Dutch, which I plan to giveaway soon (!!), but it also contained socks which I believe to be the coolest book swag ever! They also provided free Coffeelovers coffee which I was very happy with. (Coffeelovers is essentially the Dutch equivalent to Starbucks, which I love. #notasponsor) 

And instead of YA books, I took our time at the bookstore to buy a book on programming with Python, and calculus. Yes I’m a nerd, deal with it...

We soon after made our way to the Dynamo event centre, where we were confronted with every book nerd's most tempting sight - stands displaying merchandise from Letters and Lights, and Till and Dill. 

For those of you who aren't aware, Till and Dill is a lovely duo who make art based on a monthly theme. Their work is absolutely astounding, and not specifically bookish - simply beautiful. I personally have a lot of their work on my wall, it gives such a lovely vibe! On the other hand, Letters and Lights is a brand that initially created art, but now sells candles, prints, bookmarks, teacups... their items are incredible! I got 3 candles (Merida, Dungeons and Dragons, and Jamie Fraser), an A Darker Shade of Magic themed book box, and a lovely little tea cup! 

Soon enough, it was time for the author interviews, including Emily Barr, Alice Broadway, and Stephanie Garber. All three authors were absolutely lovely and answered questions with so much enthusiasm! It was so much fun to see them just chat on stage! 

Next were the signings. We were all excited enough to be a little nervous, but in the end all three authors were super sweet! Stephanie was kind enough to sign an instagram post I had done with Caraval, which she had liked and shared in the past, and I had both Alice and Stephanie sign books! It was a great highlight! 

After a lunch break, we went to an illustration workshop, in which everyone made quote postcards based off the work of Zonenmaan illustraties, the art site of letters and lights! It was a lot of fun, and I didn't realise before how much I enjoyed drawing quote cards (despite the shaky tables!) 

The day ended with a lottery and a cosplay competition - there was some cosplay based on Caraval that was absolutely astounding, I can hardly believe that people can make such costumes! 

It was such a lovely day, I cannot wait for the next book expo in October! 

Stay bookish! 

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Ghosts of the Shadow Market, by Cassandra Clare & Co

Hey, all! 

The time has come! A whole series of novellas based on my one and only favourite character that I will love and cherish until the end of my reading days: James Carstairs. A set of short stories, following Jem both as a silent brother and as a human, though time, looking for the Lost Herondale. 

I laughed, and cried, and wanted to hug the characters. I had to stop reading because of surprise, and yet couldn't put it down. My only wish is that some of the stories may have been longer. 

This review will contain spoilers of The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, and The Dark Artifices! 

"The Shadow Market is a meeting point for faeries, werewolves, warlocks and vampires. There the Downworlders buy and sell magical objects, make dark bargains, and whisper secrets they do not want the Nephilim to know. Through two centuries, however, there has been a frequent visitor to the Shadow Market from the City of Bones, the very heart of the Shadowhunters. As a Silent Brother, Brother Zachariah is sworn keeper of the laws and lore of the Nephilim. But once he was a Shadowhunter called Jem Carstairs, and his love, then and always, is the warlock Tessa Gray.

Follow Brother Zachariah and see, against the backdrop of the Shadow Market’s dark dealings and festive celebrations, Anna Lightwood’s first romance, Matthew Fairchild’s great sin and Tessa Gray plunged into a world war. Valentine Morgenstern buys a soul at the Market and a young Jace Wayland’s soul finds safe harbor. In the Market is hidden a lost heir and a beloved ghost, and no one can save you once you have traded away your heart. Not even Brother Zachariah..."

This review won't be very thorough - each author that contributed brought their own voice to the story, different writing styles, and different ways of expressing crushing feelings. 

Now, anyone who has read my blog before, be it a tag or anything Shadowhunter-related, knows that I am a sucker for Jem Carstairs. His heart, his ways and his beliefs are absolutely beautiful, and I could not wait for this book to come out. Luckily this book showed up in my local bookstore almost two weeks before its initial release, so I had an earlier opportunity to let a bunch of strangers use words to break my heart.

Ah, isn't the reader's life sadistic? 

My most feel-y parts
I have said before, and will say again, that the concept of Parabatai is my absolute favorite fictional concept ever. Jem being with and remembering Will always got to me, because it was done so smoothly. They could never properly be friends as they were again, so there was always a tinge of melancholy when they were together. 

Worse, however, was some Jem and Tessa moments. Cassandra Clare, how dare you make me feel such things? This book was excellent in making you understand just how difficult Jem's life as a silent brother was. How he couldn't feel, how his emotions and even memories were fading slowly. Tessa taking care of Jem who almost died during World War One, Jem at Tessa's bedside after she gets stabbed, realizing that this is what he made she and Will go through while he was sick... 

Their daughter, Mina... 

I had so many emotions reading these parts it was difficult to keep up! 

The passages relating to the things that Jem was missing or had lost were particularily difficult to read, because everything lead to a sea of emotions. 
I actually really liked how Jem's story fit in with all the different timelines, and character's lives. I particularly liked his interaction with Alec in Argentina. However, the last novella kept me curious - I do realise that I have not read Queen of Air and Darkness so I may be missing a lot of plot to fully understand what happened in the last novella, but even then, I feel like Jem's story was just background, compared to the main plot. 

I loved getting to know how Alec and Magnus adopted Rafael, how some characters that have only been mentioned went through the struggles of being unlike the others, I liked seeing Ty and Livvy grow up, and Jace's first meeting with the Lightwoods. There is SO much that happened, that I was very happy to read! 

One day, when everything is published, I want to read all of the Shadowhunter set, in exact order. 

General impressions
This novella was full of memory, hope, and peace. Sometimes repetitive (yet that was quickly forgiven), the novella set was exactly what I needed nowadays. 

My favourites were... 
- A Deeper Love
- Learn About Loss
- Through Blood, Through Fire
- The Land I Lost

This made my fangirl heart happy, I'm giving it 4/5 stars <3

Stay bookish! 

Monday, June 3, 2019

Shadow Frost, by Coco Ma - ARC review

Hey, all! 

I just finished reading Shadow Frost, by Coco Ma! This was sent to me by Blackstone Publishing via Netgalley as an eARC. This will be published in October 2019. The fact that this is an arc does not alter my opinions. 

Before I even start reviewing this, take 2 minutes and pre-order this. It is worth it, I promise. 

P.S., this review is spoiler-free! 

"When Asterin Faelenhart, Princess of Axaria and heir to the throne, discovers that she may hold the key to defeating the mysterious demon terrorizing her kingdom, she vows not to rest until the beast is slain. With the help of her friends and the powers she wields—though has yet to fully understand—Asterin sets out to complete a single task. The task that countless, trained soldiers have failed. 

To kill it. 

But as they hunt for the demon, they unearth a plot to assassinate the Princess herself instead. Asterin and her friends begin to wonder how much of their lives have been lies, especially when they realize that the center of the web of deceit might very well be themselves. With no one else to turn to, they are forced to decide just how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect the only world they have ever known. 

That is… if the demon doesn’t get to them first."

The first thing you should know about this book, is that it's written by Coco when she was 15, and is being published just a year after she graduated high school. I've spoken with her and she is SUCH a ball of human sunshine! I am honoured to be able to share this book! I'll also be getting a physical ARC, so I'll be all over sharing this! 

Shadow Frost was such a smooth read. The writing made sense for the story, and the characters felt real. There was confusion and name-calling and stubbornness and laziness and none of them felt like a holier-than-thou Mary Sue. Even Asterin just felt like a normal teenager who just so happened to be able to control various elements. It was really refreshing to read characters like this - it was somewhat akin to Percy Jackson. Characters were relatable, which made it all the more fun! 

One of my favourite characters was Harry. I won't spoil a thing aside from the fact that he's a cinnamon roll and I wanna go in the book and hug him. 

Coco also did a good job depicting all kinds of relationships! There was a great cousin dynamic, a series of strong friendships, a (sorta insta-lovey but I shipped it right away so I can't judge) romance, and no love triangles! I thought there would be for a bit, but it ended up being something I couldn't anticipate. 

I loved the magic in this book - it had relatively clear rules, straightforward abilities and creative detours. Nobody overused their magic - it was simply a part of who these characters were, and I was all in for that! 

Shadow Frost has a plot that keeps moving, almost dancing with the reader. When you believe it to go one way, it takes you another, that only feels more clever. It's also super well-organised: a detail I liked was that, at times, shifting POVs described one thing, from two points of view. It gave a 3D feel to the plot, if that makes sense! 

And that ending! Shadow Frost punched me in the feels at the end - so many bombs were dropped! I always thought I knew what was happening, and it would shift! Aaa so good!

There were a few things I would just tweak - Quinlan's overuse of the word 'brat' is one I can think of now. He's not the best insulter, but it also does add to his charm. 

That's it for now! I could keep talking about this for a long time - I can't wait to meet other people who have read the book! 

I'm giving it 4.5/5 stars! 

Stay Bookish!