Review 254. Megan Morrison – Grounded.

23399287Title: Grounded.
Author: Megan Morrison.
Pages:  384.
Published: April 28th 2015 by Arthur A. Levine Books
Sort: Part one of Tyme.
Goodreads 
In all of Tyme, from the Redlands to the Grey, no one is as lucky as Rapunzel. She lives in a magic tower that obeys her every wish; she reads wonderful books starring herself as the heroine; her hair is the longest, most glorious thing in the world. And she knows this because Witch tells her so---her beloved Witch, who protects her from evil princes, the dangerous ground under the tower, even unhappy thoughts. Rapunzel can't imagine any other life. Then a thief named Jack climbs into her room to steal one of her enchanted roses. He's the first person Rapunzel's ever met who isn't completely charmed by her (well, the first person she's met at all, really), and he is infuriating-- especially when he hints that Witch isn't telling her the whole truth. Driven by anger at Jack and her own nameless fears, Rapunzel descends to the ground for the first time, and finds a world filled with more peril than Witch promised ... and more beauty, wonder, and adventure than she could have dreamed.
Rating:

This book did not turn out to be as epic as I thought it would be in the beginning. After a couple of pages I declared on Goodreads that this book would definitely end up in my top 10 of 2016. After finishing, I'm not sure if it will get a place, but it was highly enjoyable and I do recommend it. Also: the map is at the end of the book. No idea who came up with that idea, but all the way through the book I was thinking: I need a map to visualize this world! So, imagine my surprise when I found it at the end.. I'm happy they have one, but it is a strange placement.

Rapunzel has a quiet life in her tower, where she is cared for by Witch, the only mother she knows. Witch makes sure she is safe from the scary outside world, where princess try to marry her for her looks. No one has been able to reach to Rapunzel, as far as she knows, until Jack climbs into her tower. Jack only wants to find a cure for the fairy realm, so in return they can help him with his Giant problem. He helps her find out that there is more behind Witch than Rapunzel thought and she ends up leaving her tower for a quest.

Rapunzel was terribly naive and while I get that she might be more innocent than the average girl, at some point it started to get on my nerves. I liked how she cared for Witch, despite finding out what she has done. It was understandable and I always appreciate it when people can find something good in others. I also think she had a point when it comes to her birth parents.

Jack was a nice boy and I liked his mission to save his family. He had a hard time putting up with Rapunzel and I loved their bickering. The best thing about Middle Grade is always the fact they portray friendship between girls and boys without feeling the need to turn it into a romance. I think this book will appeal to younger girls who will be less distracted by Rapunzel's naive behavior.

The infinity dreams award.

the orchard experienceThe always lovely Chiara tagged me for this award and after seeing her description about me and why I should join her on a fellowship of the ring style journey ("because she could tell everyone fairytales to make them feel better about the fact that we could all possibly die trying to get this ring. Also: good bedtime stories") I could not pass this.
  • Thank and follow the blog that nominated you
  • Tell us eleven facts about yourself
  • Answer the questions that were set for you to answer
  • Nominate 11 bloggers and set questions for them

Eleven facts. (This is hard, because I've shared many facts about myself over the years.)

1. Quasimodo has my least favorite music of all the Disney movies.
2. I hate being home alone in the evening/night. I have too much imagination.
3. I'm terrible with birthdays. I just can't remember most of them. Thank you, Google Calendar.
4. I'm pretty good at shooters and I always play the co-ops together with my boyfriend. Call of Duty is my favorite game.
5. Sometimes I'm paranoid that people talk ugly about me behind my back and it makes me feel bad.
6.  I want to do a sport, but I'm afraid to take the step.. Meeting new people, afraid that I'm the only one who sucks at it; I need to force myself to take the plunge this year. I'm bad at doing things all by myself but I will get there with baby steps.
7. There are times where I feel like a boring person, but that is more because I am afraid others might look at me that way. I'm perfectly happy with who I am, but when I think about myself as an outsider, I can sound pretty lame.
8. I despise the typical Dutch food. Ugh. Such plain, yet gross flavors.
9. I think if I would talk with someone, I would be diagnosed with some type of anxiety.
10. I hate the fact that I am afraid to fly, because I want to see the world. I need to get over it. (First step: take a short flight.)
11. Feedback is amazing and I always appreciate it, but it also makes me feel like a failure in some situations. This effects my confidence and often ends up in more mistakes (hence the fact I still don't own a driver's license.)

Chiara also gave me the following questions:
  1. You find out that you’re going on a six month holiday and can only bring six books with you. What are they?
    First of all: OH YES. Where do I go to and who can I bring with me?

    Scott Lynch – The lies of Locke Lamora; big.
    Brandon Sanderson – The way of kings; really big.
    Juliet Marillier – Daughter of the forest, because I want to re-read it.
    My leatherbound edition of the Brothers Grimm; enough material to read.
    Mira Grant – Deadline; it is dense and will take some time.
    Illustrated version of Harry Potter; never tired of looking through it.
  2. If you could only listen to one band for the rest of your life what band would it be? I'm in the middle between First aid kit & Mumford and sons. I don't think I could ever grow tired of either of them.
  3. You can immediately download one language to your brain. Which language do you pick? I really like other languages and I would love to learn a few more some day. I think I will be able to conquer Spanish on my own, so immediate knowledge of Chinese would be cool.
  4. What is your idea of a perfect weekend?
    Having my boyfriend or family around me, a comfy chair, music on the background, sun in the sky, some lemonade and a really good book.
  5. It continually rains for a month. Are you happy, or desperate for the sun to come out?
    Really, really, really desperate for the sun to come out. I hate cold. I hate rain. It definitely effects my mood.
  6. Sweaters or cardigans?
    I was more into cardigans, but last year I completely switched to sweaters after I found some awesome, comfy ones.
  7. If you could be the heroine in any fairytale which one would it be? Okay, act like you are surprised right now. I think I would be quite comfortable in the shoes of Belle.
  8. The last movie you watched is the last you’ll ever see. What was it?
    The bridge of spies.
  9. Were you going to be named anything but your actual name? What were the others (if there were any)?
    If I was a boy, they would have called me Anthony.
  10. What’s your favourite TV show? Why? There are a few TV shows that I absolutely love, but I think I'm going with Game of thrones (sue me). I just love the whole atmosphere, world and actors.
  11. It’s 11:11, what do you wish for? That I can have my happily ever after, with good health, happiness and personal growth, together with my boyfriend, family and friends.
I tag: Debby and whoever feels like doing this.

Questions:
1. What is your biggest fear?
2. What is your greatest achievement so far?
3. What is your favorite childhood movie?
4. What would be your district in The Hunger Games?
5. What does your typical weekend looks like?
6. If you could have one other job and you could pick anything, what would it be?
7. The whole world has to read the same book and it is up to you, what do you pick and why?
8. How fast can you type? (Tests like: Typing test)
9. What is one of your favorite bookish quotes?
10. If you could be in any Disney movie, which one would you choose?
11. What is your most recent TV show?

Let it go | The books that disappointed me.


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Andy Weir – The Martian.
Rating: 3 out of 5. 

I think everyone is familiar with this concept by now. This book is recently adapted as movie with Matt Damon. The story is about Marc and how he strands on Mars after a failed mission. His crew believes he is dead and manage to go on their way back to Earth, but Marc is not dead at all. It is up to his intelligence and education to survive long enough, so that they can save him. That means he has to find a way to grow enough food, which is right up his sleeve as biologist, and he has to find a way to communicate with Earth.

This book has a lot of glowing reviews and I have seen many blogging friends rave about the story. Normally I would not have picked this up, but I went in and came out disappointed. This book is definitely well-researched, there is no denying that. It is obvious that Weir knows what he is talking about and I was blown away by Marc's intelligence and humor under his difficult circumstances. The thing is, I don't care about math and if I read a book, I don't want to have a feeling I'm reading a manual. This felt more like a 'how to survive on Mars' guide then a fictional story. I was bored and really struggled at times, but in the end I was satisfied that I've finished it.

I also watched the movie and I think the concept worked better on the screen. They skipped all the explanations, which made the story much faster.

Jamie Cassidy – Hawthorne.
Rating: 2 out of 5.

I went into this book with different expectations. For some reason I was under the impression this book was going to be a retelling and while there are fairytale elements, it was written as horror. There were definitely a few creepy moments, but I didn't care enough for any of the characters, so they didn't make a lasting impression on me. Heather wasn't interesting and I also disliked the regular POV switches. The story behind her family and why all the things happened was okay, but I will not read the sequel.

Licia Troisi – Nihal of the land of the wind.
Rating: 2 out of 5. 
I really liked the cover and the blurb sounded interesting enough, so I went into this book expecting an interesting story. Instead, I was rewarded with a cliche tale about a girl that annoyed me often. Nihal had all the potential to blow my mind. At times she is strong, I admired her strength to go after her dream and she could be brave. That is unfortunately snowed under her constant whining and naive choices. I liked that the author tried to show that crying doesn't mean you are weak, but the endless crying sessions of Nihal started to get on my nerves. The cliche elements made it hard to feel anything for the story.

Nihal is the last of her species, sporting violet eyes and blue hair.
Nihal is the first female to enter the Academy to become a Dragon knight.
Nihal turns out to be the best fighter of everyone.
Country is in war against one big enemy, called the Tyrant.

I liked that there is no romance, only friendship between her and her once-enemy-wizard-friend and her relationship with her father and later on aunt was nicely portrayed, but there was nothing that made this book stand out between other fantasies. I will not continue this series (and the sequels are not translated yet anyway). Shame.

TTT | Fairytale retellings I can't wait to read.

This weeks topic was actually something else, but I want to combine it together with my (fairytale) retelling challenge. I'm going to spotlight all the retellings I'm planning to read this year.

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Renee Ahdieh – The rose and the dagger.
I am surrounded on all sides by a desert. A guest, in a prison of sand and sun. My family is here. And I do not know whom I can trust.
I'm highly anticipating this one, because The wrath and the dawn ended up being one of the best books I've read in 2015. The ending was cruel and I need to know how it's going to end!

Jessica Khoury – The forbidden wish.
She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world... I love Aladdin and Jinni's, but I haven't read any book about that so far. I can't wait to see how this works out.

Wendy Higgings – The great hunt.
Kill the beast. Win the girl.
This book is inspired on 'The signing bone' I love that this features a tale that is not as popular as, let'say, Snow white and Sleeping beauty.

Sophie Jordan – Reign of shadows.
eventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne.
This is inspired on Rapunzel and I love how dark it sounds!

Brie Sprangler – Beast.
She is who she’s always been—an amazing photographer and devoted friend, who also happens to be transgender. But will Dylan see it that way?
A retelling about a transgender? Yes please!


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Sarah Porter - Vassa in the night.
In the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighborhood.
I love retellings of lesser-known fairytales!

Wendy Spinale – Everland.
Unsure if the virus has spread past England's borders but desperate to leave, Captain Hook hunts for a cure, which he thinks can be found in one of the survivors. This sounds like a really unique spin on Peter Pan (which seems to be quite popular lately)

John Claude Bemis – The wooden prince.
The automa Pinocchio has always been duty-bound to serve in the floating palace of Venice's emperor. So when Pinocchio finds himself locked in a trunk and delivered to a new master-a wanted criminal and alchemist named Geppetto-he is curious about everything around him. I don't think I have seen a Pinocchio retelling before and I love that Geppetto is a criminal.

Sarah J. Maas – A court of mist and fury.
Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court--but at a steep cost. MUST HAVE IT.

Marissa Meyer – Heartless.
Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.
1. It is Marissa Meyer. 2. Queen of Hearts is one of my favorite fairytale villains.

Do you have some (or perhaps all) of these books on your reading list?

Review. 253. Tess Sharpe – Far from you.

20517739Title: Far from you.
Author: Tess Sharpe.
Pages:  343.
Published: March 27th 2014 by Indigo
Sort: Stand-alone.
Goodreads
Nine months. Two weeks. Six days. That's how long recovering addict Sophie's been drug-free. Four months ago her best friend, Mina, died in what everyone believes was a drug deal gone wrong - a deal they think Sophie set up. Only Sophie knows the truth. She and Mina shared a secret, but there was no drug deal. Mina was deliberately murdered. Forced into rehab for an addiction she'd already beaten, Sophie's finally out and on the trail of the killer—but can she track them down before they come for her?
Rating:

This book messed with my mind. The compelling writing-style and jumping between storylines hooked me; it made me curious to find out what truly happened that night Sophie's life completely changed. Suddenly, she lost her best friend and was forced to go in rehab for an addiction she no longer suffered from. Sophie is done with all the accusations and decided to go and find the truth herself: why was Mina killed?

Going back and forth between different time periods can be a tricky thing, but Tess nailed it in this story. We get to see Sophie before, during and after the murder of Mina and it was an intricate way to puzzle the pieces together.

Before: Sophie is addicted to painkillers after an accident that leaves her with a limp. We see her struggle with her injury and the pain. During: Sophie is on her way with Mina to talk with someone who helps Mina with her journalism story. After: Sophie is still alive and Mina is dead. The whole scene was set-up as a drugs deal gone bad and Sophie's parents don't believe her story. Her mother brings her to rehab and when she is released, we see her mission to bring out the truth.

During this story we find out what secret is between Sophie and Mina and how she deals with her feelings for Mina and Mina's brother Trev. The conclusion was satisfying, but also came a little out of nowhere. The book did leave you questioning who was behind the murder, but as far as I can recall there were hardly any clues. This made the culprit a bit vague and not stand out as a character.

Credits to the author for the healthy portrayal of Sophie's parents. We see a family that is torn apart after Sophie's addiction and how her parents try to make the best out of it. It is clear they love her and believe they make the right choices for her. It shows that parents can make mistakes too, even if they do it out of love.
quote review"We walk into the rest of our lives together, not knowing it'll end before it's truly started."

Review 252. C.J Redwine – The shadow queen.

C.J Redwine - The shadow queen.Title: The shadow queen.
Author: C. J Redwine.
Pages:  387.
Published: February 16th 2016 by Balzer + Bray
Sort: First companion novel in Ravenspire.
Source: an e-ARC from the publisher on Edelweiss, thanks!
Goodreads
Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen. In the neighboring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart. But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.
Rating:

This book was so much fun. Lorelei is a strong, kick-ass girl and I liked the fast-pacing of the plot. I can not wait to see what other stories the author comes up with, because I always look forward to fairytale retellings with brave girls.

Lorelei and Leo, Crown princess and Crown prince of Ravenspire, ran away from their stepmother Queen Irina together with their guard Gabriel. They both have magic and they want to get their kingdom back when the time is right. I liked that they had a plan and that they worked to become strong enough to beat her. They didn't throw themselves in a useless fight, because it was obvious they were not ready yet to battle Irina. I liked their dynamic with Gabriel, who became their father figure after the death of the King.

Kolvanisimir Arsenyevnek, also Kol, is the new King of Eldr. He needs to make a deal with Queen Irina for help in his war against the ogres. He is a Draconia, which means he is able to shapeshift into a Dragon. This was such a cool addition to the story and I liked that this friends were able to shapeshift as well. I always hate the cliche where the main characters are special or more powerful; he is simply one of many. He meets Lorelei and her brother without knowing who they really are and that gives many obstacles later on. Kol must hunt down the princess in order to get Irina's help and he accepts, until he finds out it is Lorelei.

What I loved about this book is how it did not shy away from making brutal choices. I liked the twists and turns in the story. Lorelei is a strong, brave girl who is capable of making intelligent choices. I liked her dynamic with Kol and how they did not immediately fell in love. There is time to build up their character and interest in each other, which made it not hard to ship them together. They both have to endure a lot and that gave them something important in common.

The black cauldron, Disney

Irina was a powerful, well-crafted villain and she was that type you love to hate. There are parts that feature her and I liked her don't-give-a-crap attitude. She is merciless and the author managed to make her a character instead of a typical caricature villain.

quote review"Never assume that because you sometimes share my bed you are also share my throne. You are dismissed."

Monthly recap February '16 | High tea and Love-a-thon.

Monthly-recap_thumb6 This post recaps my month: my personal life, all the books I’ve read & bought, movies and TV shows I’ve seen and links to posts that interest me.
OUAT_thumb3February was a fantastic month! I'm better adjusted to my new schedule, my work is going great and I love living together with my boyfriend. I'm getting more tasks at work and I receive compliments here and there that make me feel so confident. We're finally getting our couch at the end March and it is about time; we are completely done with sitting on the floor. We are now slowly starting to decorate the house and it looks great so far!

We had a delicious lunch together with my parents over at Bagels and Beans to thank them for the help with moving out. We had my sister and boyfriend coming over + some of his friends for game nights, which was fun. I went on a High tea with my mother, grandmother, sister and friend of the family. SO GOOD. I was stuffed for the entire day.
High teaBullet journal

I also started bullet journaling and it has been effective. I love making lists (give me rest in my head) and this helps me to keep track of everything. From expenses, to wish lists, to things I must do that month. It also allows me to be more creative, because I love to decorate my pages.

There was also a new book club, where we could catch up on daily lives and talk about other things than the book, haha.

Blogging-wise: The love-a-thon happened! I had a fantastic week filled with great conversations, talk in all cap locks with my friends and co-hosts Alexa, Cee and Hazel, and I even got to host a chat! For two days, the blogosphere was filled with love and appreciation, I hope everyone can keep it up.

Retelling March '16 | Fairytale products.



Don't forget to tweet and Instagram with the hash-tag #fairytaleRC.

At the end of this post you can put links to your challenge page/post and every review you post on your blog. Please make this easy to navigate by putting it like this:
UPDATE  @ your name/blog name. This is your master post, like your challenge page.
REVIEW – book title @ your name/blog name.

Let’s imagine that you start your night with a chunky book filled with fairytales. I definitely have my eyes set on all the Leatherbound editions from different tales. I already own the one from the Brothers Grimm and I can’t wait to get my hands on more.

At some point you have to stop reading to get something to eat or drink, so what better way to mark your page than to use some bookmarks?
                              Magic bookmarks.                              The sticker alley.


SkinnyHues.                                Phoenix art studio.