Monday, October 14, 2019

YALFU 2019 - A fantastic event

Hey, all! 

It's been a little while, but as I said in one of my later posts, uni has been obscenely busy. I haven't finished a book in almost a month! 

However, I did spend yesterday at an absolutely fantastic event - YALFU! This is the Young Adult day of the International's Literature Festival of Utrecht, a large event that happens every year in The Netherlands. This year, amongst small Dutch authors, the event hosted V.E. Schwab, the author of the Shades of Magic trilogy, Vicious and Vengeful, as well as a whole collection of other fantastic books! She is an author who I had been wanting to meet for a long time - I love the Shades of Magic trilogy, and this put her in my top 5 authors to meet someday! 

I was not disappointed. The event ended up being a lot more organised than last year, and I went there with a group of friend who I met at the event last year. We all had a fantastic day fangirling and seeing people we had not spoken to in some time! 

The day started off the day before. Some friends and I met up together in Amsterdam, where we played a personalised game of Cards Against Humanity. Combinations were fantastic, and we ad a great time playing and just catching up from the last time we met up earlier this year. 

The next morning, we all took the train to Utrecht! The venue was fantastic - a large theatre-like building that makes for the perfect convention centre. We started off by exploring the various bookish shops that had set up a stand in the centre - most of them I knew well! I did end up buying two small candles, though! One is specifically made for the Shades of Magic series - made by RomeMadeCandles! 

We then saw a talk with 3 dutch authors. I mostly didn't pay attention because, well, my Dutch isn't perfect. But the Italian author was super sweet and had a fantastic way of looking at writing and life in general, making him really interesting to listen to! 

After the break, it was time for Schwab's interview! We all loved it - she said things that resonated with us, each for different reasons. She said that there was some sort of prophecy when she was born that said she would become an author or a cult leader - she totally is a cult leader who got us all in on it with words! 

After the talk (that let us all feeling wholesome, somehow), we hung out until it was our turn to get our books signed. Despite staying in line for close to 2 hours, the bunch of us had a lot of fun talking about everything and nothing. The signing session was absolutely lovely - I was wearing a shirt depicting words from her books and had stylised my nails, which she seemed to really like! All of us had a lovely talk with her, and we all left super happy! 

We did get a goodie bag as well, that I decided to donate to a local book drop point. This goes to a local open library that anyone can access. Since I don't read Dutch I believe that this was the right choice :) 

If you ever are hesitating about wether or not to go to events, always take the step to do so. Not only can you make super fun friendships, but you get to experience great days and hear some truly motivational comments that makes it all worth it. 

Stay bookish! 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Finale, by Stephanie Garber

Hey, all! 

I'm back at uni! Although I've been out-of-my-mind busy, I've been finding the time to read (and to play Dungeons and Dragons!) to make sure I stay, well, sane. I'm two days into my classes and already have a whole list of things to do! 

However, I did finish a book recently and have some things to say about it. On Sunday I finished Finale, by Stephanie Garber! I absolutely adored the first two books, however the third instalment of the Caraval trilogy left me somewhat disappointed. In this review I shall do my best to try to figure out what happened, and to explain my thoughts. 

Note: everyone is entitled to their own thoughts. I do realise that this is one of the most popular books of this year, with super high ratings on Goodreads! This review will also contain SPOILERS so read to your own discretion!

 "A love worth fighting for. A dream worth dying for. An ending worth waiting for.

It’s been two months since the Fates were freed from a deck of cards, two months since Legend claimed the throne for his own, and two months since Tella discovered the boy she fell in love with doesn’t really exist.

With lives, empires, and hearts hanging in the balance, Tella must decide if she’s going to trust Legend or a former enemy. After uncovering a secret that upends her life, Scarlett will need to do the impossible. And Legend has a choice to make that will forever change and define him.

Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun. There are no spectators this time—only those who will win, and those who will lose everything."

Finale ends just a little time after Legendary ends, and alternates between Scarlett's and Tella's points of view. Unlike the first two books, there is no Caraval during the timespan of the book. Instead, the coronation of Legend attracts visitors from far and wide. In the meantime, Scarlett is debating wether to give a chance to Julian or the man she used to correspond with, Tella is in the middle of a triangle between Legend and Jacks, and the Fates have been released and are slowly re-gaining their magic, causing some chaos everywhere. 

Now, this book is definitely not bad. Stephanie has a way of writing that can enchant event those with a lower sense of imagination. However, I was disappointed with the plot of Finale, having read and adored Caraval and Legendary. 

Let's rip off the band-aid and do this good-bad-ugly style! 

The Good
As mentioned, Stephanie really knows how to build a beautifully magical world. Not only were her descriptions amazing, but the mythology she has created in her books, namely the Fates, was incredible. I couldn't get enough of reading about the Fates, their abilities and their actions. 

Jacks, being one of these Fates, is honestly the single most intriguing character in this series. I adore him and his twisted mind, and believe that he deserved better in the end! His love for Tella just shook me to my core when he took her pain away and allowed himself to feel it. He could be a butt sometimes, sure, but still intrigued me from the first page. 

I did love the Fated Items as well! the Key was super interesting, and the idea of the coins was fantastic as well! I would love to see Stephanie come up with a book of the Fates, full of their stories! 

Also Scarlett and Julian were cute. 

The Bad
This is where I must admit, I had problems with this book.

I feel like the end was just too obvious. Killing the villain seemed to be done far too easily, and wasn't drawn out enough. Scarlett and Tella's mother's death did not affect me emotionally at all. Scarlett's secret identity fell flat. I feel like every time emotions were meant to be drawn for me, I just didn't truly care. 

Books are weird: the best ones make you want to cry, and the ones that fail to do so are less appreciated. 

The Ugly 
Some things made me want to just DNF it. 

I feel like Scarlett's love triangle was nothing if not pointless. It started at the end of Legendary, and ended in the first third of Finale. There never was a contest, and her proposal to make it a game for her heart made me almost DNF the book at about 20 pages. 

I couldn't stand Legend's obvious obsessiveness. He was immortal, and had refused to give that up until Tella just refused to turn immortal for him. (Except for once, when he then, for some reason, outright refused to turn her.) Once she refuses him, he makes what I believe to be an even more obsessive and selfish act by renouncing his immortality to 'have' her anyway. It was supposed to be heroic but I found it desperate. 

Jacks's simple dismissal was sad. I want to know what happened to him, and the other fates. Were they allowed to live peacefully within the world? Were they trapped somewhere again? 

There are many, many more things I could say about this book, good bad and ugly. However I do have assignments to finish as well! 

I'm giving it 2.5/5 stars. 

Have you read Finale? What did you think about it? Let me know! 

Stay bookish! 

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Dungeons and Dragons - My character got drawn!

Hey, all! 

I just want to publish a short post today because something made my messy day shine a little brighter - my Dungeons and Dragons character was drawn by a commission artist! Victtoria was doing a free commission giveaway and chose my character to sketch, and I simply adore the outcome! I truly encourage you to check out her website by clicking here. Her art is simply beautiful and truly affordable, even for student budgets! 

Drumroll please... 

Tada! Isn't it gorgeous? I absolutely love how Victtoria captured my description of my character! I know I spoke of her in my last post, but I copied and pasted it here, to create a lovely little character profile. 

Monday, August 26, 2019

Dungeons and Dragons - Why the Hype?

Dungeons and Dragons - the one game known to be played by nerds and geeks everywhere, that outsiders don't totally understand and that makes us players sound like we suddenly come from a different planet. 

Hey, all! 

How's it going, nerds? My name is Caaaaaro! (The day after Pewdiepie's 100M, a bit after his wedding, I'm in a mood to watch all his videos, ok?) And welcome to a new why the Hype! Today, we're discussing Dungeons and Dragons. 

Yes, I play D&D. I have for a long time, and it's something I really love! I have one main character and a bunch of other characters I'm not as invested in (yet), I am the game master for a campaign and have, indeed, suffered from D&D withdrawl after spending a month or so unable to play. 

D&D has not only been super entertaining, but has also helped me make friends! So today, with the help of The Magic Mates, I am going to be telling you why D&D is so, so worth it! 

Just note: The Magic Mates is the group name of the campaign I'm currently in, with my character, Lila. It includes 6 amazing characters and just as amazing players, who have been shouting ideas my way! 

1. It's an amazing creative outlet
D&D is one of the most creative things you can do without having an ounce of artistic talent in your body. You start by creating a character (virtually any character you can think of!), their personality, and allow a Dungeon/Game master to walk your character through a story, where you take actions and make decisions based on their abilities and personality. Want to make an eagle-man? There's a race for that! Want to make someone who is really good at tinkering and inventing stuff on the spot? Awesome character arc! The possibilities are virtually endless, and the worlds you can create are even more so. 

After my main character, I have a half-drow (dark elf) ranger who believes she's the next Sherlock Holmes and is searching for the worlds best Lemonade recipe, and a few back up characters including a Human Cleric who is incredibly nerdy and is easily scared, and a steampunk alchemist who believes she's all that. 

2. It's actually super smart 
D&D actually takes its time to model the probabilities of real life super well! There are 6 statistics that modify your character to be better or worse at certain things - Intelligence, Strength, Wisdom, Dexterity, Constitution and Charisma. When you make your character, you get points for each of these. You can't be good at everything, but can't be bad at everything either! If you have high points for strength, you are more likely to perform well on a task that involves strength. 

How well you perform all depends on one little piece of equipment - a d20. *Magic angel sounds*. This is a 20 sided dice that you roll to see how well you perform. You add any bonus points to the roll. The higher the score, the better the outcome! What I love about that is that, even in real life, if you are good at something, you can still mess up. Even the best chef can mess up a recipe, or do exceptionally well, or anywhere in between. 

3. It's easy to understand 
This is a game that is both full of rules and has no rules. You can certainly ask your DM wether you can tame a shark and keep it as your pet, if you want. But you must roll a certain combination of dice to see if you do well. Once you know when to roll what, it's easy sailing! And usually your DM should be happy to tell you when to roll what, if you're starting out! 

Plus, the rules essentially boil down to how to make a character and what to do once it levels up! Super simple! 

4. You can do (almost) anything 
You should be able to do anything the dice lets you do. I've had one of my players ask if he could pick up a tree to use it as a bat when a giant was trowing stones at him. The roll failed, but had it passed, it could have happened. 

I once had Lila in a narrow passage, in front of a group. Seeing something shiny in the distance, she just started absolutely sprinting towards it. She dodged another character that tried to catch her, not once but twice, and avoided another tackle. She showed another character the shiny thing in the distance, and they both started running. 

Both the other player and I knew that the shiny thing was one of our enemies. But Lila and Tide? When they see something shiny, they go for it. 

5. You end up with the funniest stories, intense drama and very real emotions
More of these will be written further down, but I have had moments where I was crying as things were happening, I've had moments where we couldn't stop laughing at what was happening, and I've had moments where I was stress-eating bell peppers (paprika) because we all almost died. It's wild. 

6. It is accidentally social 
Most players I know are quite socially anxious or quiet in everyday life, but all that seems to change during a D&D session. It's always fun to create a fun character and laugh with others (or make others laugh! Bards are amazing for that!). Even creating a world for people to explore makes you consider a whole army of side characters and invites you to interact with the people sitting at your table. 

Now, I want to tell you about Lila, a character I absolutely love. Lila is a Halfling Rogue (a hobbit who steals stuff and stabs other stuff). Lila grew up with her brother, Bart, in a small village where her parents had a small farm. Every week, her and her brother were meant to take the produce to the market to sell it. However, the family was in need for more money, so the pair took matters in their own hands. Lila used her sleight of hand to steal, while Bart performed some melodies he had created on his guitar. 

Lila's best friend was Taegan, the youngest and most appreciated prince of the Elves. They had been through thick and thin. Taegan one day showed her how to use daggers to defend herself, after she had witnessed an attacked and felt helpless. Since then, she always had a dagger at her side. After having done a favour for the elves, she was gifted a Moon Dagger - carved from the bones of the Titans that once roamed the world. It is now her most precious possession. (That, and anything shiny). 

However, one day, Taegan disappeared. This happened during a time of unrest in the world, where a dark, corrupted high lord had decided to separate the races to avoid conflict. Naturally, this was a source of conflict in itself. For years, she believed that Taegan was taken by the dark lord, and promised herself that she would fight to find him. 

Since that day, Lila has been on quests to gain enough strength and bravery to find her friend. For how much can a small, quick halfling actually do? 

Recently, Lila has been waking up in different places. Unsure how to control it, she has been joining groups of adventurers on their quests for as long as she stayed around. These places were never twice the same, and she never stayed there long, until she met The Magic Mates and started helping them... look for missing children?! In any case, finding one thing can only make finding another easier, right? 

Do you play D&D? Who's your favorite character you made? Let me know!

Stay Bookish!

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Legendary, by Stephanie Garber

I keep thinking that authors do a good job at shaking you once really well in their first books and that nothing will surprise me again, and I keep being reminding that that is a very wrong way of thinking. 

Hey, all! 

I just finished reading Legendary, by Stephanie Garber! It took me a few months to get to but in the end I finished it in essentially 24 hours! 

"After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister, Scarlett, from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister's. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice, but now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever..."

This review will contain SPOILERS! Advance at your own risk! 

This book is every bit as magical as Caraval - everything is described with vivid colours and a certain over-the-top quality that really shows just how incredible Caraval is supposed to be, and I was there for it. Magical realism? Yes please! Both books so far really give off a fairytale vibe that I have loved ever since I was tiny - beautiful descriptions, magic, fancy dresses, princes and princesses, and a whole lot of mystery. These books have it all! 

Right off the bat I knew something was up with Dante - I had a feeling he was either Legend himself or possibly a Fate, and for some reason I don't like him. I don't like his constant being there, or his smugness, or his sudden devotion to Tella. I essentially don't like him in the same way I don't like Chaol from Throne of Glass - I don't have a reason, I just don't. 

Oh did I not mention? This book centres around Tella, rather than Scarlett. I quite liked Tella's point of view! She's fierce and smart and devoted. 

Who else did I like? Oh yes, this absolutely intriguing character named Jacks. The Prince of Hearts. He only had a few major scenes within the book, but they were up there in my favorite scenes. He's like a mix of Finnick Odair and Jack Frost and I love it! If a movie happens, can he be played by Sam Claflin? Please?

I also adored the whole plot surrounding the Fates being trapped within a deck of cards, and Tella's mother's involvement with that. 

The ending of the book was filled with many twists and turns! As I mentioned, I was not surprised when Dante was revealed to be Legend - but Tella's sacrifice, though brief, surprised me. And what surprised me even more was Legend's releasing of the Fates into the world. Tella called him a hero for that, but I believe that something much, much darker is coming up. 

Some small things did bother me: both Scarlett and Tella are in a love triangle? This Caraval was so obviously designed for Tella? The Scarlett bits felt forced? 

I'm definitely looking forward to Finale, which I hope to start today! 

I gave this book 4/5 stars! 

Have you read Legendary? What did you think about it? Let me know! 

Stay Bookish! 

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Voyage to the States (and Rescue Book Haul)

Hey, all! 

So some of you may know that I'm half American. I have loads of family in California that we go visit from time to time. However, last time was four years ago, so my family decided it was high time to go back. This resulted in a fantastical voyage through the land known as ~The United States~. 

Ooh, magic!

Being born and raised European, I'm used to a certain pace of life. Let's just say that visiting the US caused a culture shock I did not expect, being from there myself. 

So without further ado, I just want to tell you about some of my trip's thoughts and highlights, as well as a Book Haul! I rescued a lot a books throughout this trip and I'd love to share with you which ones I've decided to take home with me. 

Disclaimer: This is going to include some brutally honest thoughts about life in the US. If you don't want to hear any negatives about the country, then it may be best to leave. Good things are included too! However, it's totally okay if our opinions differ, and I'm very open to having comments arguing against (or for!) my thoughts - the best way forward in life is by seeing opinions that may differ from your own! 

Disclaimer 2.0: All of these photos are ones I took myself. 

The Voyage

First of all, Jetlag sucks - you try to go to bed at a normal time, but you wake up way early or way late, you get hungry at weird hours and no matter what you do, it takes about a week to get back on schedule. 

But once you're past that, things are much better. I'm from the North of California (around the Sacramento area), so there is a lot of Nature and not a lot of City. 

The most amazing thing about California is how one can seemingly teleport from one climate to the next. Within 200 kilometres, you can go from semi-arid, dry areas to the constant rain and fog of San Fransisco, to huge forests to the ocean to high mountains to wineries. It's absolutely astounding! 

San Fransisco is such a fun, free city. It felt the most European, and had so much to see! I loved riding the cable car through the steep streets and walking along the pier! 

What I mean by European might have to do with the culture there. There was an importance placed on diversity and inclusion. People everywhere were able so simply be themselves and not have any dirty glances shot in their direction for just being themselves. It didn't feel sterilised like many other places I had been. What do I mean by sterilised? In the US I noticed that people lived in very segregated bubbles. Wether it be a community specifically designed for older people or a small town, each bubble followed its own rules, such as no children in housing and no driving past 9PM. Some places were also very racially segregated - white people in golf carts and black people literally cleaning up after them. It made me more than a little uncomfortable. There are very specific rules, topics of conversation that are hushed, and everything was sugar-coated. San Francisco felt a lot more inclusive and free, which I wholly enjoyed and overall felt a lot more at ease in. The lifestyle in other places felt like the country took a large step backwards in inclusion. I'm not saying that the European lifestyle is the ultimate one - it does have its problems. However, what I saw did not strike me as okay. 

The nature in the US is unlike anything I've ever seen - you feel so small amongst the trees of Muir Woods and Calaveras park! It is amazing what nature can create. These places really show that us as humans are small inhabitants of this planet, and that nature is so much more mighty than any of us can ever hope to be. There are lakes so high up in the mountains they seem to be lost to civilisation, forests so vast it's common to see bears roam around, and mountains so high that trees cannot grow. I adored every moment of these visits! 

Yet every year forests are burned down and holes are drilled for oil. The ocean is filled with plastic and the air with particulates. Our footprint is everywhere. The way of life in the US really focuses on consumerism - there's always gotta be more of everything, and everything has to be bigger and better than it once was. California took a good step forward in banning plastic straws, but there still is a long way to go. 
We saw the whales off the coast of California at Point Reyes, as well! that was incredible in every way, I never wanted to leave! The Pacific is so vast, I could have sat there all day! 

The little towns we visited were also so much fun! California has really kept some towns that were around in the 'Wild West' time intact, giving visitors a totally authentic experience. I really recommend Murphy and Nevada City, they are both fantastic in their own way! I discovered Cajun food there and I think I have a new favourite set of spices that I will definitely try cooking with!  

Aside from California, we also took short trips to Washington DC and Florida. In DC, we went to the Air and Space museum, where rocket ships, satellites and aircraft of all sorts were on display, as well as a piece of the moon. I touched this seemingly uninteresting stone, and started crying my eyes out. The moon has always meant a lot to me, but I wan't expecting the tears by any means! 

The US is so advanced with technology and innovation! It was difficult to believe the diversity of air and spacecraft they exhibited, and they still show every day! Science can take us to far forward, and I'm honoured to be a part of it! 

We went to Florida to visit some family friends, who were happy to show us around despite the near-constant rain. I adored zooming across the bay on a boat to get to a restaurant! I was able to do so on Percy Jackson's birthday, which made it double cool! We saw dolphins out in the bay, as well as huge fish that could probably swallow me whole! 

However, I also walked into an archery range, hoping to squeeze some practice into my trip. The place wasn't quite as was advertised on their website - right away, the storeowner came to speak to me, assuming I was there to buy a bow (or gun!) to hunt game with. There were dead animals everywhere, complete with descriptions of how they were hunted. Simple target practice didn't seem like something they catered for. Also, seeing guns (including real guns for children) merely days after the two shootings that recently happened made me sick - not only were they being sold, but they were being sold in the same manner a stapler or scissors or an ink cartridge would be - simply in a box, with no safety whatsoever. Saying that shootings are bad and something must be done simply isn't enough. 

We also had some amazing bloopers! On the same day, my brother forgot his phone in a park, and I dropped mine in a river while gold panning! I forgot my camera battery on two of the most beautiful days we had, thus had to rely on my phone that had almost no battery itself at the time! We even had a laugh about our constant awe about the size of produce - comparing a normal sized avocado to a larger one made the standard avocado look like a small lime, or perhaps a large grape! 

The US is also the perfect place to be a geek and nerd! So many specialty pop culture shops offer merchandise of a lot of series! Additionally, many larger cities show off science as a part of its culture, which I found to be amazing! 

I also learned a new word during my trip - Keto. This is a diet that includes high animal fat and no sugars (even natural). This diet has taken California like a storm - it's recommended by every doctor and is advertised in every shop imaginable! Although it does obviously have some health benefits when done right, I could not believe how fashionable it was to have a Keto diet! 

Finally, if you're gonna go road tripping around the US, I highly recommend the Air BNB system - we had whole houses that could hold up to 10 people for less than a hotel would have cost, in any location we wanted! 

Rescue Book Haul 

With the rise of Amazon and Kindle, bookstores in the US are loosing business. Thus, a whole collection of secondhand bookstores, as well as stores such as Barnes and Noble have entire sections where books are being sold for a fraction of their original price. This allowed me to rescue many, many books that I was happy to take home with me! 

I was honored to bring 12 books home with me, each of which I find more intriguing than the next! These include... 

The Dark Days Club, by Alison Goodman
The Thousandth Floor, by Katharine McGee
Legacy of Kings, by Eleanor Herman
The Serpent King, by Jeff Zenter
The Rest of the Story, by Sarah Dessn (Signed!) 
Sky without Stars, by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell
The Luxe, by Anna Godbersen (4/5 stars)
The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern
Scythe, by Neal Shusterman
Fairest, by Gail Carson Levine (3/5 stars) 
The Dream Thieves, by Maggie Stiefvater
Satellite, by Nick Lake 

Any opinions on which to read first would be greatly appreciated!

Why did I take the risk of talking about the issues I saw as well, when I could have so easily brushed it off and glorified everything I saw? Because I believe that it is important to discuss such matters. So I want to encourage you, whoever you are and wherever you're from, to have a think about what you think is important. Go out and speak to someone you haven't spoken to and listen to stories. Check the news on the other side of your political view, read a book about a culture other than your own. Ask yourself why what you think is wrong is wrong, and why what you think is right is right. I wholly believe that the world will move forward once discussions happen about the important topics. There is no right or wrong answer. 

Overall, I loved my trip back to the states! There was so much to do and to see, and everything left me in awe! Everything screamed for its photo to be taken, and I had a lovely time with my family. 

Please use the comments to discuss this! I can't wait to hear your thoughts and opinions! 

Stay bookish! 

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!