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!