Sunday, April 5, 2020

Making the most of forced introversion - 2

Hey, all!
I hope everything is going well, that you're having a good time at home and that things aren't too crazy where you are. Even if your local officials aren't asking you to stay home, it's a wonderful initiative to take - for once, staying home is the best way to save lives. 

Here, I'm on my 21st day of confinement. Yipee. Things can get a little repetitive, especially when you run out of things you can be entertained by. Boredom is finding many victims nowadays. 

So today, I finally decided to put together this giant list of media alternatives that I and other people have been using lately! Because instead of lamenting being able to go out, we should be making the most of this confinement. 



MUSIC
I listen to a ton of music. It varies a lot and allows for a great mood boost if I need it. I'm also someone who loves to make playlists for various occasions, and I can ensure that there are many amazing playlists on Spotify for any genre you may enjoy. But for now, I decided to make an upbeat, large and mostly positive playlist I can share with you all! Some songs are inspired by friends, indirectly, while others are just plain fun to listen to. Click here to access my list! 


YOUTUBE CHANNELS 
My brother and I are Youtube nerds. Here are some channels that post daily, or that make videos with always a twist of positivity! 
- Good Mythical Morning
- Jacksepticeye
- MrBeast
- SimplyNailLogical
- Doctor Mike
- AmazingPhil





I would also highly recommend general storytelling animators like TheOdd1sOut, weird experimental channels like The Slow Mo Guys, and finding letsplays of some favorite game (even if it's not a famous youtuber they are super fun and make hours go by far too quickly!)














SORTA-SERIES

Of course there are many interesting series to keep up with on Netflix and Hulu, but there are so many other platforms on which you can find series that are just as interesting as what you may find on them! Youtube offers 2 of my personal favorites:  Critical Role and RWBY. Critical Role is a bunch nerdy-ass voice actors who play dungeons and dragons. They play on a weekly bases, and have a story that is absolutely entralling. It is both hilarious and adorable, as fun as it can be sad. You really get invested in the characters played by the players, and the story is absolutely phenomenal. At first it's odd to watch people play, but you get used to it quickly. It makes for an awesome 150+ hour audiobook to listen to in the background of things. 

RWBY is something I'm only about halfway through but that I've recently been having a lot of fun with. Made by RoosterTeeth, this animated series follows a bunch of teenagers and young adults who study at a school for hunters, to keep the world safe. Imagine Winx all grown up on steroids, with epic fight scenes and awesome music. Getting through volumes 1 and 2 takes some getting used to, but volume 3 is so incredible! I'm halfway through 4 and I can't recommend it enough! 

GAMES TO PLAY
I have been spending almost every evening playing games online with my cousins and friends. It took us some time to find our favorites, but after some searching, I can highly highly suggest these games! The best way to play is always in groups while chatting over discord (or some other similar chat application!)
- Pictionary - there are tons of sites that allow you to play this! Just experiment a bit to find your favorite
- Cards against Humanity - because we can all afford to have dark humor nowadays 
- Terraria - there's something super fun about exploring the resources of a world with friends
- Tricky Towers - Imagine building a tower based on tetris pieces, with power ups and curses to send your friends. Yes it's fantastic. 
- Mario Kart - If you have Nintendo online, you can play mario kart with friends from a distance! It's super fun! 

EVENTS TO ATTEND
Just because the world is shut down doesn't mean that big events are totally giving up. 
- Many comic cons are opening their doors online! This follows several days of events, including panels, shop advertisements and even cosplay competitions! 
- NANOWRIMO is going on in certain regions right now! Great way to pass time. 
- Many streaming services are offering movies earlier than planned! Movies that were supposed to be released in the next months will be released online very early :) 
There are currently a ton of readathons and giveaways to participate in, which I would supper suggest being a part of! 

SMALL SHOPS TO SUPPORT 
Around the world, so many small independent shop owners are being affected by this crisis. I really am pleading you to support your local shops. Going to the supermarket is good, but if you have a little grocer, that's even better. However, small owners on etsy could also use your help. Follow some of the links below to some incredible shops I know of. 
Threaded Moons 
Letters & Lights 
NerdieNifties 
Fire Nation Creations 
Oriandle 
Create Explore Read 
Till and Dill 
 To name only a few! I wish it were possible to list all of them I've grown to appreciate over the years! 


Disclaimer time 
Remember to  - stay home stay home stay home - Stay at least 1 meter/3 feet away from people (or if you are in the Netherlands, it's anderhalve meter!) - Please don't spam amazon or any other delivery service - only order what you really need!  - Please don't hoard at supermarkets - you're taking things away from people who need it. - Listen to a reliable news source  - You are not mightier than the virus - don't think the rules don't apply to you  - Keep in contact with people  - Don't hate on the authorities who are putting regulations in place - this is a new situation for everybody, no government knows what to do more than another


I would LOVE to hear other recommendations you have! I will gladly add them to this list based on chats and comments :)


Stay bookish and stay home!
 

 

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Series I hope to finish

Hey, all! 

A while ago, I posted an article listing some series I (probably) won't finish. Even though I'm kind of cringing at my old writing style, I can safely say that I actually finished one of the series mentioned - The Selection! I ended up really enjoying this trilogy and all of its drama, they were wonderfully light reads! 

But now that we are all stuck in our houses with little else to do than twiddle our thumbs and watch hours tick by, I decided to do the impossible: finish all the series I never finished. 

There are way, way too many series that I haven't finished, but that I own every book of. It's such a weird thing, I'll be head over heels for a series and once I get to the finale, I'll just move on to reading something else, and never get back to it.  

Am I crazy? Am I missing a brain function? Am I deeply afraid of authors and what they may do to their characters after the ending that was in Allegiant!?  

To be honest it's probably the last one. 



However, I am now taking it on myself to finish all these series I just never picked up the last book of! Some series are gonna require re-reading, because let's be honest, I don't have a superbrain with a perfect memory. 

So without further ado, here is the list - and oh boy what a list - of series I would like to finish during confinement forced introversion. 

1. Heroes of Olympus, by Rick Riordan
Before you rally up your cabin to do all sort of unspeakable things to me, hear me out. I never read Blood of Olympus for one simple reason - I heard about the ending, and I'm in absolute denial. I don't want that ending. That's not what's supposed to happen. But this PJO ultimate fangirl feels like she's cheating the world by never having read it. So I'm going to re-read the first 4 books soon, to eventually read that dreadful ending i'm so afraid of. 

2. Maximum Ride Forever, by James Patterson 
I was one of those Maximum Ride fangirls as a kid. Having bird wings? Sign me up. When Patterson released the last book of the franchise, I was hyped! I ordered it the minute it was released... and never read it. It's tempting to re-read the whole series, but a whole 9 books is a lot, and I remember most of the series, so I'll just look for summaries. 

3. A Reaper at the Gates, by Sabaa Tahir
I absolutely loved An Ember in the Ashes a Torch Against the Night! I find these books awesome with their roman influences and the story it provides. But I have yet to read book 3, which I would love to read before the 4th book comes out this autumn! 

4. Wayfarer, by Alexandra Bracken 
Passenger was a beautiful, whimsical read. I want to know what happens at the end of the duology. It's as simple as that. I will re-read Passenger though, as it was pretty and it deserves a re-read. 

5. Snow Like Ashes, by Sara Raasch
This trilogy is special because I've ONLY read the first book! But I remember really really loving it, so I am to crash through the entire trilogy soon! Plus the aesthetic of these books is fantastic, I swoon every time I see them all lined up on my shelf. 

6. Eon, by Alison Goodman 
Eon is an epic book about chinese mythology and dragons. That's all you need to know. The second book of this epic duology is Eona, which I haven't yet read. I am ashamed of this, because I know I would adore it, so I will read it soon. 


I do have some other series I'd love to finish, but they are not as high up on my priority list. The Iron Fey, The Fire Within, The giver are all on my list of series I'd love to finish, someday. But hey, all of the books mentioned above tally up to at least 13 (depends on what I decide to do with Maximum Ride), not even counting the ARCs I recieved and standalones I want to read! 

Do you have a goal for the upcoming months? I'd love to hear about it! 

Stay bookish, and stay home! 

 
 

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Making the Most out of Confinement - 1

Hey, all! 

Today I come to you with something I have been taking notes about for about a week - how to make the most out of confinement. For this post, I want to focus on things you can get to make confinement a little better.

I have not left our house in 11 days due to current circumstances, and had a really big think about what I'm happy to have with me, and what would have been nice to have. These are weird times for everyone, and I urge you to reach out to your anxious friends. Personally I have been working on my anxiety for a while now, but have fallen back into old habits with all of this. It's an emotional rollercoaster. 

But without further ado, here's a list of things you can get to make confinement a little less awful. 


Stress-reducers

1. Weighted blanket
As a chronic insomniac, I absolutely adore my weighted blanket. They work wonderfully for nervous people, as they not only hold you down in your sleep to give you a better rest quality, but also simulate contact. They are great to use to calm down, are super cozy and are worth every penny. I personally use a child-size Daverose blanket, you can find it on amazon. Make sure to select one that's about 10% your body weight!

2. Tea
Different teas work well for different moods - this is a fact. Green tea helps with digestion, whereas black tea is great for mornings. However I want to point out two very nice teas that are fantastic for this kind of situation - red and white. White tea is an absolute underdog - they are usually a lot lighter and fresher than black and green tea, can be fruity or flowery, and are absolutely fantastic for daytime tea drinking. Red tea such as rooibos is better for evenings. It contains no caffeine, and is paired well with flavors like honey, vanilla and cocoa. Drinking a cup of rooibos really puts me in a sleepy evening mood. 

3. Headphones
You are going to be with the same people for a long time. It is totally understandable to want to escape and listen to music, watch movies, follow podcasts, or listen to audiobooks. I can only recommend getting good headphones. 

4. Candles, creams and cozies
Being in a house for a long time really makes things repetitive. Mix it up by lighting different scented candles, for example. Since the northern hemisphere is still in the transition between winter and spring, having heaters on all the time really dries your skin out - make sure to have hand and face creams at the ready. I would also suggest fuzzy socks, new pyjamas, and anything you like to have when you're having a cozy sunday afternoon. 
 



Gotta have some fun!

1. Subscriptions
One of the things keeping me hyped for the coming months is the fact that I have ordered 2 subscription boxes! This also helps support the companies that may be receiving less orders in these times. I highly suggest caving in and making orders to small companies right now. They're gonna need the help, as for many of these owners, their small business is their only source of income. In the coming days I will make a list of small shops I know that deserve some love. 

2.  Keep up with friends though calls
Texting is great. It's the one thing that makes an introvert's life bearable as it replaces dreaded phone calls. However, there is something super comforting about calling your friends who live far away. Services and apps such as Discord, Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Skype among so many others are fantastic platforms with which you can call many friends at once, and just talk about life. I've gotten into the habit of calling people almost every evening - I play D&D online once a week, and on other days I call other friends with whom I enjoy playing pictionary and terraria. I will have an upcoming post about other examples of what you can do online

3. Hobbyists 
This is such a good time to figure out what your individual hobbies are. Reading, making puzzles, baking, arts and crafts, learning to knit, drawing, discovering video games, learning nail art, brushing up on mythology, writing, photography, interior design, cooking... the list of things you can do to pass time goes on and on! This is a great time to discover what you like. Make sure to have some board games in the house, maybe some puzzles, or other supplies you can use for a hobby you think you might enjoy! 




Disclaimer time 

Remember to 
- stay home stay home stay home
- Stay at least 1 meter/3 feet away from people (or if you are in the Netherlands, it's anderhalve meter!)
- Please don't spam amazon or any other delivery service - only order what you really need! 
- Please don't hoard at supermarkets - you're taking things away from people who need it.
- Listen to a reliable news source 
- You are not mightier than the virus - don't think the rules don't apply to you 
- Keep in contact with people 
- Don't hate on the authorities who are putting regulations in place - this is a new situation for everybody, no government knows what to do more than another (although I really hope the US wakes up soon - just heard that there are 70,000 cases there over the radio, that's huge)

As I said, this is the first of a series! I'm also going to be posting about online games and chat rooms you can be on with friends, different brands you can support now, things to do to stay in a good mindset, book recommendations, et cetera! I wanted to post this one first, as many companies are reducing their delivery service. 

Stay bookish, and stay healthy! 

 
 

 

 

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Sky Without Stars, by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell

Hey, all!

I just finished reading Sky Without Stars, by Jessica Brody and and Joanne Rendell! 


"When the Last Days came, the planet of Laterre promised hope. But five hundred years later, it’s now a place where an extravagant elite class reigns supreme; where the clouds hide the stars and the poor starve in the streets; where a rebel group, long thought dead, is resurfacing.

Whispers of revolution have begun—a revolution that hinges on three unlikely heroes…

Chatine is a street-savvy thief who will do anything to escape the brutal Regime, including spying on Marcellus, the grandson of the most powerful man on the planet.

Marcellus is an officer—and the son of a traitor. Groomed to command by his legendary grandfather, Marcellus begins to doubt the government he’s vowed to serve when he discovers a cryptic message that only one person, a girl named Alouette, can read.

Alouette is living in an underground refuge, where she guards and protects the last surviving library on the planet. But a shocking murder will bring Alouette to the surface for the first time in twelve years…and plunge Laterre into chaos.

All three have roles to play in a dangerous game of revolution—and together they will shape the future of a planet."


This book is based on Les Miserables, and has been quoted to be a mix of Les Mis and The Lunar Chronicles. 

Disclaimer: I have never read either of those stories. 

I know I know, missing out on two classics, one in the real world and one in the YA world? But I might just have to try to read them, because Sky Without Stars was awesome. 

I had so much fun reading this book! It was compulsively readable to to the point that I didn't want to put the book down to sleep at night - that hasn't happened to me in a very long time

This book hit all of the marks I appreciate in YA: short chapters (yes), a plot that thickens (yesss), compelling characters (yessssss) and plot twists galore (YESSSSS!) I also love books that are split into sections - somehow it makes reading such big books less daunting. 
   
I really enjoyed the characters, but there was definitely an appreciation scale. Alouette was intriguing, in the sense where she felt like any one of us, who would be thrown into a bad situation just because we tried to help. She is full of confusion and questions and just felt very relatable. 

A bit more interesting for me was Marcellus - he was a little oblivious too (I mean not being able to tell Chatine was a girl... wow!), but I'm a sucker for royal-like characters. He was the absolute definition of 'kind', and I am very curious about what he ends up doing in book 2. 

The coolest character by far for me was Chatine. A thief who steals to live and who ends up in a situation far bigger than herself, in which she has to use deception to make ends meet? That's everything I love! She reminded me tons of my D&D character, Lila, which was super cool to read! I absolutely loved the intrigue she brought, her shady background and her ending!!! She's definitely the one I'm most looking forward to reading about more again. 

The villains were awesome. I won't say more about that, because I'm trying to make this as spoiler-free as possible. Some people were clearly villains from the start. However, a few characters were total surprises! 

I also had a lot of fun with the worldbuilding! Albeit a tiny bit confusing at fist, you quickly fall into it quite naturally. 

Now, there is one thing about this book that people seem to either love or hate - the frenchification (is that a word? It is now!) of some words. There where certain words that were replaced with the French equivalent, while others were given accents. At first, I thought this was weird. But quickly enough, I realized that this way of reading almost perfectly mirrors how I think every day. I'm half French half American, I usually think in English but sometimes will replace simple words with their French equivalent. I do this when I talk with my family as well! 
   
I can understand that this may be a little annoying to people, though. This book was incredibly entertaining, but it had its flaws. I wish that some side characters were a little more thought out, and that maybe a map of this system was given. However, all of these things can be 'fixed' in the upcoming book, out today! 

I'm going to end this review here! I had a lot of fun reading this book and would definitely recommend it if you are looking for a futuristic read! 

I'm giving this 4/5 stars! Definitely worth the read! 

Stay bookish, and more importantly, STAY HOME! 

 

Friday, March 20, 2020

Hello from Forced Introversion

Hello from forced introversion! 


For now, it is quite sunny here in France! We're not allowed to leave our house, but we do have a nice little garden we can go to for fresh air. I understand not everyone has one, but at least nobody will be yelled at for being outside for a few minutes. 

Here, we do need a permission slip to go out to buy groceries. This is a bit weird for us, but it'll just take some getting used to! At least we can order anything we need for the house! I was even able to order new D&D dice and an Owlcrate! 

I have loads of time now! All my homework is done and I have a lot of time to read and play games, and I can still call my friends every evening! I'm very happy to be home. 

Some things are definitely weird though. I quickly had to leave my room in the Netherlands, and I probably won't be back until September! That's a long time from now, and I have some things that I'm kinda sad I won't see until then! Some nice clothes, signed books, candles, CDs, textbooks, stuffed animals... it is weird that so many of my things are so far. 

And my friends are all in the Netherlands too! But thank goodness we can call online on Discord and play games together. 

Here they are doing a lot of good things because of the forced introversion. Classes are being held on TV, radios are hosting gym classes, and people are being very kind to those in need! It is good to see this :) Even hotels and taxis are free for people who need them! 

How are you? I hope that you are enjoying your forced introversion, too. What is that like for you? Looking forward to hearing from you! 

Many hugs, 

Caro

Hey, all! I'm thinking of writing these postcards once a week. I'm a postcard collector and I was thinking it could be fun to write one about this forced introversion we are all going through, both as a 'diary' and as posts. 

Stay bookish and stay at home! 

  

Monday, March 16, 2020

Chain of Gold, by Cassandra Clare


 Image result for chain of gold fanart

Hey, all! 

I just finished reading Chain of Gold, by Cassandra Clare! This is the first book of the Last Hours trilogy, a series that follows The Infernal Devices, about 20 years later. 

This was an incredibly anticipated book for me, and I'm making sure to review this without letting my anticipation for it guide me. It will also be spoiler-free, so don't worry about the possibility of running into things that may reveal the plot! 

"Welcome to Edwardian London, a time of electric lights and long shadows, the celebration of artistic beauty and the wild pursuit of pleasure, with demons waiting in the dark. For years there has been peace in the Shadowhunter world. James and Lucie Herondale, children of the famous Will and Tessa, have grown up in an idyll with their loving friends and family, listening to stories of good defeating evil and love conquering all. But everything changes when the Blackthorn and Carstairs families come to London…and so does a remorseless and inescapable plague.

James Herondale longs for a great love, and thinks he has found it in the beautiful, mysterious Grace Blackthorn. Cordelia Carstairs is desperate to become a hero, save her family from ruin, and keep her secret love for James hidden. When disaster strikes the Shadowhunters, James, Cordelia and their friends are plunged into a wild adventure which will reveal dark and incredible powers, and the true cruel price of being a hero…and falling in love."


This book... wow! Cassandra Clare is getting increasingly better at writing, continuously weaving more intricate plots and characters with every book she releases. From page 1, I felt a sense of comfort and familiarity from reading about the London group of shadowhunters, something I now realize I was really missing when reading The Dark Artifices. In fact, it's super easy to consider the London bunch separate from the New York/LA groups. This book felt right, and even though I had never read it before (obviously), it was as comforting as re-reading an old favorite. 

Image result for chain of gold character art

As usual for Clare's books, I adored her characters and their interactions. The core group - James, Matthew, Thomas and Christopher were an amazing group of friends, each who had incredibly distinct personalities. James became increasingly likeable, Matthew and Thomas have become incredibly intriguing, and Christopher is an absolute cinnamon roll who is relatable in every way and I adore him and doom come to those who may say ANYTHING bad about him.
 Lucie was a fantastic character who I had a lot of fun reading about, Alistair is super duper awesome and I can't wait to read more about him, and Grace thoroughly creeps me out. Anna has the confidence of a thousand suns and honestly was the Magnus Bane of the book (even though he was actually there but she definitely had that kind of presence).

Sadly the only character I disliked... was Cordelia herself. I found her more annoying than I care to admit. Sucks for me that she was the main character, I guess, oops! I'm not even sure what it as, there was just something that irked me, but hey, there can't be a reason for everything! 

The book had a little bit of a slow start, plot-wise, but it was compulsively readable, because it was such a comfortable read to me. About halfway through the book, however, things start to pick up. Characters who seem innocent become shady, shady characters get redeemed, and 

so
many
demons
!!!! 

I swear, these guys couldn't go outside without there being demons everywhere, and without people getting hurt. No one ever had a break! Cassandra Clare definitely has an evil plan for this trilogy, and I cannot wait to see what this may lead to! 

There were also many little side things I particularly enjoyed
 Image result for chain of gold fanart

- The book overall was never overbearing with nostalgia from TID. Yes that tugged at my heartstrings, but it never felt like it was there to bring nostalgia for old readers - It never got in the way of the main plot. 

- The side characters were brought into the plot concretely enough for them to feel real and to be appreciable. Their names are certainly going to be remembered. 

- Magic is awesome 

- Scientists (especially chemists) have FINALLY been mentioned in popular fiction!!! 

- The Wessa wedding... I'm not even gonna deny it, I cried like a little baby.


This book is definitely worth it. Go pick it up and adore it and while you read, please give Christopher (ok sure and Alistair) a hug for me <3

I'm giving this book 4.5/5 stars! 

 
Stay bookish! 
Wash your hands and stay home! 
 
 

 

Friday, March 13, 2020

The Streets are Silent

The streets are silent today. 

After spending all evening pressing refresh, waiting for emails from work, university, and events, the whole country is now holding their breath, waiting for a next step. 

Everyone woke up to an odd silence. A veil of surrealism covered everything announced by the news, combined with an odd sense of fear and familiarity...

Quarantine
Lockdown
Cancelled
Postponed
Sold Out
Shutdown

I was walking through the streets last night, looking at the dozens of posters announcing concerts, festivals and shows, knowing they would not happen. I took the bus that is normally filled to a brim at that time, but that today was eerily empty. I received email upon email about what has been cancelled and with links to online classes. 

Left and right, countries are closing borders. Governments are making decisions so quickly that plans have been shifted from next week, to this weekend, to tomorrow... Minds are as filled with what-ifs as shelves in supermarkets are empty. People are packing piles of essentials into cars, purely on the chance that stores may close. 

And the thing is... nobody knows what is next to come. 

Some countries are closing borders, others are simply limiting events. Some countries are canceling classes while others are still hosting concerts. This mix of rules and obligations that none of us can do anything about has caused stress and panic among everyone.

It is difficult not to see some individual actions as extreme - the fact that supermarkets have run out of essentials in less than a day makes little sense to me, as is the fear of others. And even more sadly, this has generated a new form of racism I have yet to encounter before.

All of this does feel familiar: it feels like a post-apocalyptic movie in the making. The ones where people still live in homes, but where everything is guarded. Where people flinch at a cough and vocally insult people who come from foreign countries, because that country is a 'source'. Where countries are closing borders and people have to be screened before being admitted places.

And despite the mass panic, despite people freaking out about something they have no control over, 

The streets are silent.  


I wrote this purely on my thoughts about the current updates about the Coronavirus pandemic. This was written in the Netherlands, based on a walk I took this morning. None of what I mentioned is fiction. I just had to get thoughts out in writing.

Stay bookish, my dears, and wash your hands.