Monthly recap | December '14. Vacation.

recap
I always enjoy watching recaps from other bloggers, so that’s why I’ll be posting my own recaps. This wrap up is also my new ‘Showcase Sunday’ since I don’t have the time to do weekly hauls. Instead, I hope to capture
OUAT1
This month was the highlight of stress this year. Like I said in my previous recap, I couldn’t work at the hospital for my second part of the research and I found another place. But in the end, the guy decided I couldn’t bring the bacteria into his building, so I couldn’t work anywhere.. After two days of stressing out and wasting even more precious time, I finally found a place and everything is settled now! The only thing that is bugging me right now is the method. I don’t have much time left and my supervisor keeps switching between methods, so at this point I’m not sure what she expects from me. The good thing is: VACATION! Two glorious weeks of freedom.

Reading & Blogging goals 2015.

This is also my announcement that I'm going on a short Holiday break! I will schedule my December recap on the last day of this year, but other than that I'm going to take some time off to spend a lot of time with friends and family. Merry Christmas and happy New Year guys! I look forward to another year of blogging.

I've been thinking about all the things I achieved last year and everything I want to do in 2015. I've come up with a list of blogging and reading goals.

Sisterhood of the world bloggers award.

I was tagged for it by Karolina from Bookshelf reflections.

sister-hood-award1. Thank the blogger that nominated you and link back to their website.

2. Post the award’s logo on your blog.

3. Answer the ten questions you have been asked.

4. Nominate ten other bloggers and ask them ten other questions.


1. How would you go about destroying Christmas if the Grinch were forcing you to? Which character would you pick to help you?Ha, I would totally steal everyone’s presents and switch them – and keep the nice stuff for myself of course. I think I could use Celaena’s stealth; she can climb into houses and get everything for me, while I make lists and keep track of the houses.

Review 306. Laini Taylor - Daughter of smoke and bone series.

Information:

10305156TitleDaughter of smoke and bone.
Author: Laini Taylor.
Pages: 418.
Published: September 27th 2011 by Hodder & Stoughton.
RATING4.
Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky. In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low. And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war. Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that colour. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out. When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

13389182TitleDays of blood and starlight.
Author: Laini Taylor.
Pages: 513.
Published: November 8th 2012 by Hodder & Stoughton
RATING: 5.
Once upon a time, an angel and a devil held a wishbone between them. And its snap split the world in two. Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living – one without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without revenants or bastard armies or children ripped from their mothers’ arms to take their turn in the killing and dying. Once, the lovers lay entwined in the moon’s secret temple and dreamed of a world that was a like a jewel-box without a jewel – a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness. This was not that world.


18001518TitleDreams of Gods and Monsters.
Author: Laini Taylor.
Pages: 613.
Published: April 17th 2014 by Hodder & Stoughton
RATING: 4.5.
By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz. When Jael's brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love. But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz ... something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world. What power can bruise the sky? 

This is the second time I'm reviewing a series in one post. I'm still not sure what is the best way to review sequels in a series, so could you let me know if you like this format? The review is spoiler-free for all the books.

5th Annual End of Year Book Survey – 2014 Edition

This event is hosted by Jamie from The perpetual page-turner. The images are also from her post.

reading-stats-2014


Number Of Books You Read: 152. I beat my first and second reading goal. 
I hope I can read 8 more books before the end of the year.

Number of Re-Reads: 11.

Genre You Read The Most From: Fantasy. 


I have a spreadsheet with more reading stats, this will be posted in my December recap.

Fairytale News | How blogging changed my life.



Book blogging has been a big part of my life for the past 2.5 years and it has effected and changed me in positive ways. Today I want to share you how blogging changed my life.

The first thing that would never have happened without my blog is the start of my book club. Once every month I meet up with Debby, Daisy and Daph. We’ve been doing this for a year now and I’m so happy with them in my life. I now have real life people I can fangirl/rant with! This showed me that I AM capable of meeting new people without making an embarrassment out of myself. I don’t think I would have been brave enough a few years ago, but blogging has pushed me to do new things. It has made me step out of my comfort zone. I also made other blogging friends and I never imagined that I would feel so connected with people all over the world. It’s a wonderful feeling. And to come back on my confession about my fear of Twitter, I feel I’m getting better at it. I keep challenging myself with things I’m scared of and it feels good.

(Fairytale) Retelling reading challenge 2015 sign-up.

The Daily Prophecy

Yes, this is happening! I contacted Debz Bookshelf (who hosted this challenge for three years) if it was okay to take it over. I’ve never hosted a reading challenge before, so it’s all new for me and I will try to make it as fun as possible! Here are the details:
  • The challenge runs from January 1st – December 31st 2015.

  • The goal is to read fairytale retellings, but if you want you can also pick other retellings. Think about: mythology or myths & legends. 

  • Here are a couple of books you can pick from: my bookshelf with fairytale retellings and Fairytale lists on Listopia. You can read Middle Grade, Young Adult and Adult books for this challenge.
  • Obviously, the book doesn't have to be published in 2015 and re-reads count.

  • There are 6 different levels you can aim for:
    -Prince Charming: 1 – 4 books.
    -Magic mirror: 5 - 9 books.
    -Big bad wolf: 10 – 15 books.
    -The wise princess: 16 – 20 books.
    -Wicked fairy Godmother: 21 – 25 books.
    -Bluebeard: you are killing it! 26+ books.

  • Every beginning of the month I will make a link-up post where you put all your reviews in and they will have fun/informative introductions.

  • It’s not a promise, but there might be challenges.

  • Most important thing: HAVE FUN and spread the word :) Let's tweet with: #fairytaleRC

Mel in Movieland | Upcoming movies 2015.

Welcome to my new feature, where I will be combining books and movies! I bet you can guess how I came up in the name, but in case you aren’t; Alice in Wonderland. You can find my inspirations in this post Fairytale news: other content.

This hardly needs an introduction, but if you are new and you are not aware of this fact: I’m a huge fan of fairytales, Disney and animation movies. So hereby I spotlight all the upcoming movies from 2015 I can’t wait for.

Review 305. A.G Howard – Unhinged.

19430954Title: Unhinged.
Author: A.G Howard.
Pages: 387.
Published: December 17th 2013 by Scholastic Australia.
Sort: Splintered #2.
Review #1. Splintered.
Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she's always dreamed of. That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs. As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind. If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she'll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head.
Rating:

It has been a while since I read Splintered, so I was sometimes confused when they referred to certain occurrences. That didn’t bother me too much though, but it might have played a role in my feelings about the story.  I was a little underwhelmed by this book. It felt a bit flat and slow-paced to me.

I fell in love with the dark twist on Wonderland that was created in Splintered. I liked all the problems Alyssa had to solve and how she was guided by Morpheus. In this book Alyssa is back in her real world, where she is trying to return to her normal life. It’s difficult when Morpheus keeps popping up, asking her to return to Wonderland to reclaim her throne before it is too late.

Review 304. Marie Rutkoski – The winner’s curse.

17756559Title: The winner’s curse.
Author: Marie Rutkoski.
Pages: 355.
Published: March 4th 2014 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Sort: The winner’s curse #1.
Source: Won in a giveaway.
As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. 
Rating:  

That was good! I had high expectations after the hype and I’m happy to announce this book lives up to it. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book and I was pleasantly surprised.

Monthly Recap | November '14. Interview.

recap
I always enjoy watching recaps from other bloggers, so that’s why I’ll be posting my own recaps. This wrap up is also my new ‘Showcase Sunday’ since I don’t have the time to do weekly hauls. Instead, I hope to capture it in vlogs every now and then.

OUAT1
This month had some stressful moments. Some things at the internship went wrong and I had to take care of them in a short time frame. It was so bad I had to skip the book club meeting, but at least it’s all fixed now and I can finally start the microbiology part! I learned quite some things when I made the plant extractions, but I'm happy to return to microbiology.

There were also a couple of good things that happened. I had a conversation with the directrice from my project and I found out I'm getting paid after all! I went to the 2x to the cinema (but one time all the movies were sold, haha). I had a telephonic interview and while I HATE talking on the telephone, it wasn't so bad. I also went for a drink with some friends and it was nice to catch up with them. I wasn't completely horrible when I had to give a presentation at school, because I passed it. I was so nervous I thought I was going to faint in front of the class.

I celebrated my 6-years together with my boyfriend. We didn’t do anything fancy, but we spend a lovely evening cooking a nice meal, watching a movie and playing Lego Pirates on the PS3. The BEST thing that happened was meeting Amber, Judith and Rinn in Amsterdam. We first went out for lunch and after that we spend a lot of time wandering around the bookstores. It was so much fun. I went pooling with some friends and it was great.

This month was terrible when it comes to working out. I did some exercises at home, but I couldn’t find the energy to go to the gym every week, so I only went once. I hope to change that in December with all the Holiday food and sweets, haha.

Debut-a-thon 2014.

debutathon-1

Hosted by Books of Amber. This will take place from December 8th until December 14th. There is one rule: the debut must be released in 2014. There will be fun things during this event, like giveaways, interviews and challenges! Come join in the fun. You can find a list with possible titles here: 2014 debut author challenge.

Books I’m interested in:
158399761606700816090645161511181790498518079501

For now I have no plans what I’m going to read, but if you have any recommendations let me know!

Review 303. Heidi Schulz – Hook’s revenge.

20454626Title: Hook’s revenge.
Author: Heidi Schulz.
Pages: 304.
Published: September 16th 2014 by Disney-Hyperion
Sort: Hook’s revenge #1.
Twelve-year-old Jocelyn dreams of becoming every bit as daring as her infamous father, Captain James Hook. Her grandfather, on the other hand, intends to see her starched and pressed into a fine society lady. When she's sent to Miss Eliza Crumb-Biddlecomb's Finishing School for Young Ladies, Jocelyn's hopes of following in her father's fearsome footsteps are lost in a heap of dance lessons, white gloves, and way too much pink. So when Jocelyn receives a letter from her father challenging her to avenge his untimely demise at the jaws of the Neverland crocodile, she doesn't hesitate-here at last is the adventure she has been waiting for. But Jocelyn finds that being a pirate is a bit more difficult than she'd bargained for. As if attempting to defeat the Neverland's most fearsome beast isn't enough to deal with, she's tasked with captaining a crew of woefully untrained pirates, outwitting cannibals wild for English cuisine, and rescuing her best friend from a certain pack of lost children, not to mention that pesky Peter Pan who keeps barging in uninvited.
Rating:

ADORABLE. Delightful. Magnificent. Those are three words that pop up in my head when I think about this book. I want to thank Debby and Daph for the book club meeting, because it pushed me to buy this book despite my book buying ban. This was exactly what I needed.

Review 302. Kasie West – Pivot Point series.

18090000Title: Pivot point.
Author: Kasie West.
Pages: 384.
Published: December 31st 2013 by HarperTeen.
Sort: Pivot point #1.
Source: Debby gave me her ARC copy.
Addison Coleman's life is one big "What if?" As a Searcher, a special type of clairvoyant, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she is able to look into the future and see both outcomes. So when her parents tell her they are getting a divorce and she has to pick who she wants to live with, a Search has never been more important. In one future Addie is living with her mom in the life she's always known and is being pursued by the most popular guy in school. In the other she is the new girl in school, where she falls for a cute, quiet artist. Then Addie finds herself drawn into a murder investigation, and her fate takes a darker turn. With so much to lose in either future, Addie must decide which reality she's willing to live through . . . and who she's willing to live without.
Rating:

My first experience with Kasie West was her contemporary On the fence (which was adorable) Right away I knew I had to read more from her, so when Debby offered her copy I decided to go for it – and I’m so happy I did. This book blew me away and after finishing it in one sitting, I immediately ordered the second copy. You can read both reviews, they are spoiler-free.

Top 10 Tuesday 39. Sequels 2015.




What a difficult topic. You can see at my last post about my Mission Impossible about finishing series that I’m in the middle of a lot of series. A lot of them are special to me and I want to read the sequels like yesterday, but these are the ones I could think of right away:

1. Untitled Throne of Glass #4 by Sarah J. Maas.
ALL THE FEELINGS. After reading Heir of fire I need more. I still haven't written a review for HOF, it's so epic I can't find the words. I'm also extremely excited about A court of thorns and roses.

2. Untitled Red Queen #2 by Victoria Aveyard.
The first book will be published February 2015 and I already can’t wait for the sequel. I was impressed by the story.

3. The pirate code by Heidi Schulz.
Hook’s revenge is the first book and it was ADORABLE. If you like spunky MC's and fairytale retellings, you definitely need to check it out. My review will be up soon.

4. The winner’s crime by Marie Rutkoski.
The winner’s curse was a great book. I can’t wait to see what is going to happen. I still need to post my review though.

5. Ensnared by A.G Howard.
The dark twist to Wonderland is fantastic and the ending from the second book was brutal. I need to find out how it’s going to end.

6. Lion Heart by A.C Gaughen.
GIVE IT TO ME PLEASE. Scarlet was great, Lady Thief destroyed me.

7. The vanishing throne by Elizabeth May.
Look at the kick-ass cover! And after the ending from The Falconer I need more.

8. Winter by Marissa Meyer.
I don’t think this is a surprise. I’m in love with the creative twist to the original tales and one word: Thorne. Cinder, Scarlet and Cress are amazing. I also an't wait for Fairest.

9. End of Days by Susan Ee.
The story gets more gory and bloody with each sequel, I need this in my life.

10. The invasion of the Tearling by Erica Johanson.
The Queen of the Tearling was by no means perfect, but there was something about her storytelling that makes me hungry for more.

What are some of the sequels you are waiting for? Link me up with your TTT.

Mission impossible: tackling series (update 4)

Naamloos123
I thought it was time for another update! If you don’t know about this mission, you can read all the details in my Tackling series introduction - my first update & second update & third update. With this mission I'm trying to cut down the huge amount of series I'm reading.

These are the series I hope to finish this year:
1. Gail Carriger - Parasol protectorate (Heartless & Timeless)
2. Rae Carson - The bitter kingdom (novella's optional)
3. Juliet Marillier - Seven waters (Flame of Seven Waters)
4. Veronica Roth - Divergent (Allegiant)
5. Adam Gidwitz - A tale dark and Grimm (The Grimm conclusion)

6. Dan Wells - Partials sequence (Ruins)
7.Marie Lu - Legend (Champion)
8. Leigh Bardugo - Grisha (Ruin and Rising)
9. Mary Pearson - Jenna Fox chronicles (Fox Forever)
10. Lauren DeStefano - Wither (Fever)
11. Kendare Blake - Anna dressed in blood (Girl of nightmares)12. Julie Kagawa - The forever song (Blood of Eden)

These are the series I already finished:
1. Juliet Marillier - Seven Waters (6 books)
2. Dan Wells - Partials sequence (3 books)
3. Julie Kagawa - Blood of Eden (3 books)
4. Veronica Roth - Divergent (3 books)
5. Amy Tintera - Reboot (2 books)
6. Rae Carson - Girl of fire and thorns (3 books)
7. Leigh Bardugo - Grisha (3 books)
8. Alison Goodman – Eona (2 books)
9. Robin LaFevers - His fair assassin (3 books)
10. Kristin Cashore - Graceling Realm (3 books)
11. Laini Taylor - Daughter of smoke and bone (3 books)
12. Kasie West - Pivot Point (2 books)
13. Kat Zhang - Hybrid chronicles (3 books)
14. Mindy McGinnis - Not a drop to drink (2 books)
15. Megan Shepherd - The madman's daughter (3 books)
16. Kendare Blake - Anna (2 books)

As you can see, I’m not the type of person that sticks to lists. I’m a mood reader, so it’s always hard for me to predict what I’m going to read. Luckily I made my list as a guideline. I’m happy that I made such a progress this year. I’m definitely going to challenge myself again next year, because it’s motivating to see that I can finish series if I want to.

Here are the statistics so far:


Let me know how you are doing with your series!


Review 301. Claudia Gray – A thousand pieces of you.

17234658Title: A thousand pieces of you.
Author: Claudia Gray.
Pages: 368.
Published: November 4th 2014 by Harper Teen.
Sort: Firebird #1.
Source: Edelweiss & Publisher.
Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him. Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

This was a hard review to write, because I don’t have much to say about A thousand pieces of you. This is a typical 3-star book for me. It was good, but nothing spectacular and I think I will forget about this soon. But for now, let us stare for a while at the beautiful cover *stares*

Review 300. Miriam Forster – Empire of shadows.

18716722Title: Empire of shadows.
Author: Miriam Forster.
Pages: 496.
Published: November 4th 2014 by Harper Teen
Sort: Bhinian Empire #2.
Review part 1: City of a thousand dolls.
Source:  I received an ARC from the publisher.

Cast out of her family three years ago, Mara turned to the only place that would take her—a school where students train to protect others. But Mara is stunned when guarding a noble girl in the Empire’s capital turns out to be more dangerous than she could’ve imagined. More shocking still, she finds the boy she thought she had lost forever outside the gates of her new home. Mara knew her life in the dizzying Imperial city would hold dangers. How could she have known that her heart, as well as her life, would be at stake?
Rating:

There is something about Miriam’s writing-style that really works for me. I love the way she creates the world and how she slowly unfolds the plot.

Fairytale News | Reviewing series.


'Mel on reading' is a little feature I created as part of my Fairytale news. It's my way to show my thoughts on topics that go from pet peeves in reading to my favorite things in books.

Writing reviews is something I love to do. It’s fun to write down all my thoughts/feelings and talk about everything I liked and disliked. I always take care to post warnings about spoilers, because you know how much I hate spoilers. This is the reason I always have problems with reviews for series and installments.

It is SO hard to talk about a book in the middle of a series without giving too much information. I want to say enough to make people curious so they pick up the first book, but how on earth do you write such a review? The sequel is a continuation of a storyline and (hopefully) shows the development from characters, but you can't say too much about it. I feel like I'm walking in circles: trying to show you that it's a good book without actually coming to the point, because that might be a spoiler.

That's why it’s difficult for me to find a good way to review those sequels and they always seem to get less comments. I’ve been trying to write them in another format and you might have seen my first experiment where I reviewed the books of Bayern from Shannon Hale. I’m also saving reviews, so I can publish my reviews right after each other like with Mindy McGinnis duology Not a drop to drink and In a handful of dust.

The downside of these methods is, that some reviews have to wait until I’m done with the sequel(s) – and we all know from my mission impossible that there are a lot of unpublished series I’m reading. Sometimes I have no choice but to publish my review, especially when it's a review copy.

Unsure-GIF

I’m very curious to see how you handle these sequel-reviews?

Review 299. Rainbow Rowell – Fangirl.

16068905Title: Fangirl.
Author: Rainbow Rowell.
Pages: 461.
Published: January 30th 2014 by Pan Macmillan.
Sort: Stand-alone.
Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they're off to university and Wren's decided she doesn't want to be one half of a pair any more - she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It's not so easy for Cath. She's horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she's experienced in real life. Without Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She's got a surly room-mate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words ...And she can't stop worrying about her dad, who's loving and fragile and has never really been alone. Now Cath has to decide whether she's ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she's realizing that there's more to learn about love than she ever thought possible...
Rating:

Here comes a bookish confession: I have written a Harry Potter fan fiction. It was years ago when I was writing a lot of stories and poems when I came up with a HP version and it was quite popular. Not as big as Cath’s fan fiction, but I had an audience so I know how much fun it is when people read your story. (And no, I will never share it on my blog and it is written in Dutch anyway). It’s not hard to imagine that I loved this book! I won Fangirl over at Gabby, so thanks!