Monday, July 30, 2018

Bookish Talks ~15~ Mini Reviews, Giveaways, and Life Changes

Hey, all! 

I figured this was a good time for another Bookish Talk! (Number 15!!) I have been all over the place lately, and you guys deserve to know what's been up! Of course I'll make it as bookish as humanely possible, but there are other serious matters that I'd like to mention as well. 

Ok lets do this chronologically! 

It all started when I was born... 

Then 21-odd years later, a whole set of events came into play that made every day quite long and yet quite short. 

In February, I started my thesis that I told you about - the one about the evolution of the understanding of the black hole in the center of our milky way. As expected, this was a lot of work, more than I had anticipated. But I pushed through with the help of some friends who made sure I stayed hydrated and who made sure my thinking was logical. At the same time, I had some courses that were quite difficult for me, but that I found fascinating. 

On top of this, I was accepted for my Masters in Nijmegen of Physical Chemistry and Material Science! I'll also hopefully have a minor in Astronomy with this. But this also meant I need to find a place to live, which has proven to be... difficult. I'm moving in in 10 days and as of yet have nowhere to live! 

Mixed into all of this, my dad's job was relocated from a little town in the Netherlands to...


Yep! We just moved to Paris, France. 

I've always lived in small towns, near the country - in Italy we lived off the side of Pisa, in Luxembourg we were in the middle of nowhere, in the Netherlands we lived between a small town and a village. I don't know what city life is like, and I haven't properly had neighbors since I was 9! 

So far, it has all been quite scary and intimidating, to be honest. I usually try to be the optimist, but I found myself to be seeing the things I had never seen before in a town - stand-still traffic, graffiti everywhere, pollution making things seem grey... 

But then the lovely Internet came to my rescue! I looked up things to do, and was not disappointed. 

Cus I found the coolest bookstore in the world, Shakespeare and Company. 

Imagine Diagon Alley covered in books. That's what this bookstore is like! On top of that, it is in a whole quarter that is dedicated to pop culture! Sci-fi Cafes and Pop Figure shops and Comic Book stores and the whole lot is everywhere in that area! 

One big issue that I saw right after this, however, is that my room in our new house is... well its designed as if a drunk guy was given infinite Simoleons on the Sims 4, and was told to design a house. It is not very functional - I have two doors that go into my room on adjacent walls, a window that takes up almost an entire other wall, and two closets on opposite walls, kind of thrown in the middle of them rather than being in the corners. 

I saw no space for my bookshelves. And I have a lot of books. 

These are all of my book boxes, minus 4 boxes that I'm taking to uni with me and 2 that were in another truck. Even the movers were impressed.

And I had just hauled another 5 books from a second hand store on the banks of the Seine...

After a while, and a lot of moving empty shelves around and scrolling instagram, I saw a few shelfies that inspired me into doing something that I now am really proud of! 

Yeah seriously look at the upper corner of my ceiling, it looks like its melting! 
So overall, I'm missing home like crazy - life is not the same here, and I miss being able to take the bus 10 minutes to end up in town to see my friends, who I really miss a lot now. I lived in Maastricht for 8 years, the longest I've been anywhere!

And now in 10 days I'm moving again, to Nijmegen! I'll have another update after I'm settled there :) 

Book-wise, I have a few updates as well! I'll be hosting a giveaway sooner than later - I need to get settled in first! It would be for my 100 bloglovin followers (omg!!), my 5.75/6k insta followers, but most importantly to celebrate new beginnings, so might also be a back-to-school idea! It'll be in the form of a mystery subscription box, so look out for more info on that! 

I've also finished reading We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. All I can say is 4.5/5 feathers. It was incredible, but if I review anything about it, it will give away too much information about it. You just need to trust me!! 

I'm currently reading Lifelik3, by Jay Kristoff. I haven't been able to read Obsidio yet, but you guys know I love his writing! And I'm really enjoying Lifelik3 so far! Very cinematic! 

Companies you should check out! 
Finally, I want to advertise super great companies I've worked with lately! Make sure to check them out, all the links are in the names! 
Magic Chests - super lovely subscription box! 
Letters and Lights - a local candle company! 
Oriandle - The most amazing random bookish things by Sheuly and Julia <3  
Literary Book Gifts - Super cute classical novel products! Use my code JUSTANOTHERBOOKISHBLOG20 for 20% off any order! 

Thank you all so much for trusting me to rep your products in these last few months, it means loads to me! 

So yes, If I haven't been posting a lot in the past few months, now you know why! It's been hectic and a little stressy but in the end all's good! 

I hope you are all doing well, have a wonderful week! 

Stay bookish! 

Saturday, July 21, 2018

This is what Happy Looks Like, by Jennifer E. Smith

Hey, all! 

I just finished reading This Is What Happy Looks Like, by Jennifer E. Smith! 

I just want to let you know before you start reading that this isn't the most positive review - it'll be short and fairly blunt. 

"When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds. 

Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?"

This book was cute. A summer-romance contemporary with a little twist of one of the love interests being a famous actor. It looked into the idea of a celebrity's personal life not being as they want it to be, and was the typical small-town romance that'll make anyone single feel that little twinge of 'aw I want to find a nice guy too', which is what a lovey contemporary should do. A good summer read by any regards. 

It just really, really was not for me. 

The characters were sweet and the chapters were short and it was a very quick read, but something felt off. (Maybe I'm growing up and I would have loved this 5 years ago? Maybe). 

The thing is, I put a lot of effort into liking this book - I really tried! It just kept going down after I found an up.

Lets do this Good Bad and Ugly style, shall we?

The Good
- As I said, I liked the characters. They were both well thought-out and yet could still be anyone. I feel like the book also gave a solid insight on what it must be like to be a young celebrity - your life is not your own. 
- I really liked the emails at the beginning of the book and scattered throughout it. They were what the relationship was based on and were the one point where you could really see their personalities shine through. 

The Bad
- Their relationship felt too easy. It was just 'oh you're my email buddy' and they were basically together after they realized. 
- There was a really good plot possibility with Ellie's dad being a politician who basically left his family behind - it would have been such an interesting meeting! But in the end, that one plot point fell very, very flat. 
- Graham and Ellie were secret about their relationship in the press (which was fine), but were completely open with it the second her name was out there, and were both totally nonchalant about it. I felt like she didn't care once she noticed people know who she was, yet that was a major source of internal conflict. 
- The ending generally felt rushed. 

The Ugly
- If you know my friends, you can ask them, I know exactly which buttons to push to make certain people cringe. I think its hilarious cus I'm horrible at insulting friends so this is a fun alternative. But this took cringing to a whole new level. 
- He knew she was from a tiny town and managed to convince his whole crew to go there. Felt stalkery. 
- Of course the phone fell in the water.
- The ending was a mix of every punchline that was already said. I really didn't like how everything was recycled. 
- More cringe aaaaaa! 

I love contemporaries that are more probable - Fangirl was wonderful, as was Eliza and her Monsters. I also love the John Green style where you have very improbable characters and scenarios, but that are both fun to read and heartbreaking. This just felt like a copy-paste of many other contemporaries I didn't like. 

I'm sorry, dragonflies, I know that many people loved this! 

I'm giving this a 2/5 feathers. It was cute but not my style at all. 

Have you read This Is What Happy Looks Like? What did you think? Let me know! 

Stay bookish! 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline

Hey, all! 

I just finished reading Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline! 

"In the year 2045, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape."

I feel like this book has blessed my geeky heart and soul - it took it and made me want to dive right back into arcade games, Star Trek, and 80s music, and never come back to the 21st century. 

Ok so I'm going to be the first to agree that the book and the movie have very little in common. If you want the authentic, go for the book. But if you want an awesome story in a short amount of time, watch the movie. It's the same basic principle, just very different plot points. 

Actually, totally different plot points. 

But both are amazing! I absolutely adored the story. Picture this - Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, but with a giant all-powerful video game instead. Whoever wins Halliday's Easter Egg wins the entire Oasis - the virtual reality in which people spend most of their time to escape reality. 

The story follows Wade/Parzival, who is a genius about everything concerning the pop culture Halliday was obsessed about. He is a gunter - an egg hunter - who uses clues from around the Oasis to find the location of the Easter Egg. (In gaming an Easter Egg is something that is not expected, but finding it gives a bonus of some sort. In movies this can be compared to Pixar movies almost always has the A113 notation somewhere). 

I really, really liked the characters. They were well thought-out, incredible geeks, and still humble. They were diverse and different and generally broke the stereotypes of popular gamers. 

There's also the whole concept of why the world is a mess in 2045 - and it's scary plausible. I don't want to give too many spoilers so I'll let you figure it out for yourself! 

I loved the pace of the book, and its impossibility to put down, and its incredible attention to detail! There was one thing I could not get my mind around: how in the world do Wade, Art3mis and Aech find the time to know so much about Halliday, chill in the Oasis and, for example, watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail 170-odd times? Time doesn't work that way, as far as I know! 

I also found the book to be much more plausible than the movie - it included school and the speed of Light and other things that just made more sense! I loved the subtle references thrown into the plot such a the Tomb of Horrors, the Kobayashi Maru, among so many others! 

Also can I get a hands up for geek appreciation ey? 

The book itself is not YA-written, but can be read by YA readers, for sure. 

I want to keep this spoiler free - I feel like this is a book that should be discovered on a individual basis! 

Definitely giving this book a 5/5 feathers! I was amazed! 

Have you read Ready Player One? What did you think? Let me know! 

Stay bookish! 

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman

Hey, all! 

I know I said I'd be more active on my last post, but life has been a little more hectic than expected. 

However, I just caught up on the world-wide, blog-wide and wide-spread hype that is Seraphina,  by Rachel Hartman.

It's dragons, high fantasy, new words and languages and concepts, royal families... everything I love about books! 

"Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life."

I really wanted to fall in love with this book and this world, as so many people have! I feel like it has become a YA classic, so I felt like I had to get to it eventually. 

I tried to like it as much as other bloggers have, but in the end, I was a little more confused than anything else... 

Seraphina is a book that has a fantastic plotline, intricate characters and relationships, and a huge fantasy world behind it that I found to be simply incredible. At this point, I totally agree with other reviews about this book. Dragons are a concept I've always adored, and this brought them to a new dimension that I really enjoyed reading about! Rachel's world is new, original, and incredibly intricate. 

Maybe that's where I fell short with my appreciation. Usually, stories that show such a big and complicated world stretch out the explanation in many books, or at least has some ties to a world we can understand. However, in this case, I feel like Rachel knows her world so well, that writing about it was very easy for her. 

As someone who plays Dungeons and Dragons, I understand how a world you create can be incredibly clear in your head, to the point where when someone says 'what do you mean by this', it feels odd to have to explain it in simple terms. This to me actually felt like an intricate D&D campaign in some ways! A few NPCs (main characters) that work together on a quest (with dragons of course ^^) to solve a mystery - who killed the Prince? 

But that also came with the downfalls of any good D&D campaign - very elaborate characters (Searphina has a lot going for her, to the point where her 'garden' didn't make sense to me), confusing names (Okra and Orma? I never knew who we were were talking about), many locations and sub-plot events that aren't exactly important to anything going on, and bigger, more important events that were just glossed over in a few pages (I honestly missed that Seraphina was stabbed twice until Kiggs said so). 

In this sense, I feel like the book was missing some balance between characters and descriptions and events. Some ideas that felt important were mentioned once or twice. For example, the Dragons in the community regard mathematics as their main philosophy. I thought this was a really good idea and I couldn't wait to understand that concept further, but it was never elaborated on. There were many instances like that, including the dragon earring, and her father's over-bearing protectiveness. 

Overall, the book is of a very high quality as far as the world and the characters go! I just feel like it is lacking world-building, and pages. 

The next section will include spoilers! 

Something else I understood but found odd was the incredible insta-love that was presented. It was obvious that Seraphina would maybe develop feelings for Kiggs from the description of the book. But after spending a day or so together, she takes a moment to herself and can already admit she's in love? Granted, she took the affair quite maturely and was honest with herself. She understood that he was to be married, and didn't want to complicate anything. 

But then Kiggs turned around at the end of the book and loved her too? 

I didn't see the basis of that, it felt like the element of a maid and a prince falling in love was enforced into the book. 

Also, I was slightly confused about the whole poison subplot? I read the end of the book twice over and still am not sure as to what exactly happened. 

It is difficult to rate this book, as I recognize the literary quality it as, the strength of the plot and the incredible world Rachel Hartman has in her mind. But it just wasn't something for me, I believe. 

I'm giving Seraphina a 3/5 feathers. 3 for literary quality, minus 2 for me not enjoying it personally. Sorry, fans! 

Have you read Seraphina? What did you think? Let me know in the comments! 

Stay bookish!