Monthly recap January '16 | Moving & Beauty and the beast.

Monthly-recap_thumb6This 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_thumb3January 4th was the first day at my job and I am LOVING it. It is a great feeling to realize that my 4 years of study paid off. My colleagues are great and they already trust me with a lot of work, so I'm really in the right spot. I've been exhausted though, because I learn new information every day and it sucks the energy out of me. (Worth it!)

KeysWe also moved into our new place. We did the big move on Saturday January 2nd and things are coming together now. We had a lot of trouble with gass and electricity, but that worked out. We also had to fix a leaking pipe and we went through some internet drama, but we are together and it's starting to feel like home.  Just a few boxes left. I will post some picture when it's all done!

My shelves are entirely done and I can finally showcase my collection in the way they deserve it. I donated around 250 books (crazy, right?) and it was hard in the beginning, but I'm really happy I did it. More space for all the new books I got, hehe.

There was a book club meeting and we had our Secret Santa exchange. Everyone was happy with their gifts, we had great food and a good service. We also had a second book club where we ate sushi, yum.

We celebrated the 55 years of happy marriage from my grandmother and grandfather by going out for dinner. It was fun hanging out with the family and yummy food! It is adorable to see those two together, still in love.

Beauty and the beast
Beauty and the beast goodies

But one of the best things I did this month was definitely the Beauty and the beast musical. I think you all know by now that I have an undying love for Disney and that I'm the biggest fan of Beauty and the beast. I saw the production from 2005 and comparing them, I think I like this one a little better except for Belle. Gaston and the Beast were a-ha-mazing. I loved the decor and the music gave me tingles. It was fun hanging out with our group of eight and it was a night I will not forget and I got some goodies to remind myself of it (mug, notebook, t-shirt, tote bag and book with photographs)

TTT | 2015 releases I meant to read (but didn't)


I'm going to cheat and use an older TTT that I forgot to share. Every year I try to read as many books as possible, but in the end you always find out there are still a billion other book waiting for you. I think 2015 has been the most spectacular year so far, with many publication that made me wish I had an endless amount of time (and money) Here are ten books published in 2015 that I was planning to read, but then didn't.

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Sabaa Tahir – An ember in the ashes.
This book was really hyped up, but then the negative reviews started to pour in on my feed and I lost track of it. I might pick it up anyway, but it's not high on my priority list anymore.
Marie Rutkoski – The winner's crime.
I have no excuses for this one. I definitely need to get a copy and read it.
Julie Kagawa – Iron warrior.
I simply forgot this book was released this year. Definitely a book I want to read any time soon.

Review 250. Juliet Marillier – Dreamer’s pool.

17305016Title: Dreamer’s pool.
Author: Juliet Marillier.
Pages: 434.
Published: November 4th 2014 by Roc Hardcover
Sort: Blackthorn & Grim #1.
Goodread
In exchange for help escaping her long and wrongful imprisonment, embittered magical healer Blackthorn has vowed to set aside her bid for vengeance against the man who destroyed all that she once held dear. Followed by a former prison mate, a silent hulk of a man named Grim, she travels north to Dalriada. There she'll live on the fringe of a mysterious forest, duty bound for seven years to assist anyone who asks for her help. Oran, crown prince of Dalriada, has waited anxiously for the arrival of his future bride, Lady Flidais. He knows her only from a portrait and sweetly poetic correspondence that have convinced him Flidais is his destined true love. But Oran discovers letters can lie. For although his intended exactly resembles her portrait, her brutality upon arrival proves she is nothing like the sensitive woman of the letters. With the strategic marriage imminent, Oran sees no way out of his dilemma. Word has spread that Blackthorn possesses a remarkable gift for solving knotty problems, so the prince asks her for help. To save Oran from his treacherous nuptials, Blackthorn and Grim will need all their resources: courage, ingenuity, leaps of deduction, and more than a little magic.

Rating:

People who follow me for a long time might get tired of this, but I’m going to repeat it again: I love Marillier and she’s one of my favorite authors. Her books always have something magical to me and while this first book didn’t live up to Daughter of the forest, I really enjoyed it and I’m impatiently waiting for the sequels.

This book tells the story of three different point of views: Blackthorn, Grim and Oran. Their separate stories come together to craft an interesting plot that hold few surprising twists; but it managed to hook me to the story nevertheless.

Love-a-thon sign-up post '16.

loveathon
Hello, friends! It is with great pleasure that I can announced that the sign-ups for the 2016 Love-a-Thon are officially open today. I’m really excited about this year’s event. Last year I was a participant and this year I am one of the co-hosts together with Cee of The Novel Hermit, Hazel of Stay Bookish and Alexa from Alexa loves books. We’ve got plenty of fun things in store that will challenge your creativity and foster positivity and friendship in the book communities – on blogs, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. I hope that you’re ready to get in on sharing the love with us this year, whether you’re an event veteran or newbie!

The Love-a-Thon is an event dedicated to spreading positivity and love. It’s time dedicated to visiting other bloggers/Instagrammers/BookTubers, leaving a comment or two, making new friends and fostering positivity among the members of our amazing community. As in the previous years, the event will include mini challenges, Twitter chats and giveaways galore! The full schedule will be sent to you when you’ve signed up, so you can start preparing your posts.
We’re really looking forward to seeing everyone participate in sharing love, encouragement and inspiration all over the bookish communities on the blogosphere, Instagram and YouTube! And, of course, we hope everyone will have fun. If you’re interested in participating, please fill in the sign-up form below. Once that’s done, you can consider yourself an official #LoveAThon participant!

FAQ
Who can participate in the Love-a-Thon?
All book bloggers, Bookstagrammers, BookTubers, authors and publishers are welcome to jump in! We have challenges spanning three different platforms (blogs, YouTube & Instagram), and you can participate as much or as little as you’d like. (Everyone is invited to join in on the Twitter chats though!)

When is the Love-a-Thon happening?
We’re going to be maintaining the two day schedule, with the event taking place from February 20, 12:00AM EST to February 22, 12:00AM EST.

How can I sign up?
All you need to do is fill out the form below! You can grab the banner up top to share on your sidebar or your social media platform of choice. Sign-ups will be open up until February 20, though it’s recommended that you sign up early so that you receive the schedule and can plan out what you want to participate in!

How can I help?
There are two ways you can choose to help. First, you can help us spread the word! Last year’s number of participants was above and beyond anything I could have imagined. I’m hoping thereare even more of us this time! Second, you can donate to the giveaways! If you want to donate ANYTHING – books, swag, services – towards the mini-challenge giveaways or the big giveaway at the end, please email bbloveathon@gmail.com with details.

Twitter? 
Use the official hashtag (#LoveAThon) when tweeting about the event. I’ll be checking on it every now and then, so use it if you want me to see your tweets!

Questions, comments, concerns or suggestions?
If you have any other concerns that were not answered here, feel free to send an email to bbloveathon@gmail.com or to tweet any of us (@alexalovesbooks • @thenovelhermit • @staybookish • @dailyprophecy).

So, what are you waiting for? Sign up to participate in the 2016 Love-a-Thon today! If you do sign up, please know that we are so grateful and so excited to have you joining us this year. This community is really wonderful, and constantly growing, and is made up of such unique individuals. It’s truly awesome to be able to celebrate it, and to celebrate each other too!
 

Let it go | Fairytale edition.


The book of lost thingsJust EllaNever Never


John Connolly – The book of lost things.
RATING: 5 out of 5.
This book was fantastic and I highly recommend it to everyone. Such a gorgeous writing-style. It sucked me in from the beginning and it blew me away with some of its wisdom and word choices. I already shared one of his quotes in one of my monthly recaps, so here is another one:

“Without a human voice to read them aloud, or a pair of wide eyes following them by flashlight beneath a blanket, books had no real existence in our world. Like seeds in the beak of a bird waiting to fall to earth, or the notes of a song laid out on a sheet, yearning for an instrument to bring their music into being. they lie dormant hoping for the chance to emerge.They want us to give them life.”

The author made it really easy to connect with the young boy David, which is not an easy task. There was not a moment where I felt the voice was too young or too old; it was simply perfect.
The subtle use of the fairytales and how they are not the perfect happily-ever-after characters, the emotions throughout the story, the character development; I loved it all. David misses his mother and he has a hard time accepting the fact that his father has a new woman in his life; and that he has a little brother. His behaviour felt realistic and I liked the aspect of his family and how he slowly starts to accept his new life.

Gah, this is one of those books I want to reread very soon.

Margaret Peterson Haddix – Just Ella.
RATING: 2 out of 5.
I started this book with high hopes, but it turned out to be a disappointment. The author managed to use a creative spin on the original tale, but that’s pretty much all I liked about it. The tale of Cinderella and the fairy godmother turned out to be a simple gossip; Ella’s real story is less magical. That was interesting – and also the way her happily-ever-after evolves was a nice addition.

Ella was okay. I had a feeling I SHOULD have loved her, but in the end I didn’t. She stands up for herself, she manages to escape out of prison and in the end she realizes there is no such thing as love-at-first-sight, so she had all the right aspects to turn into a great heroin. She just felt too flat and I had no connection whatsoever.

Brianna Shrum – Never Never.
RATING: 3 out of 5. I received an eARC from the publisher on Netgalley.

I’ve always had my doubts about Peter and a feeling there was more to Hook than the information we’ve been given. This is one of those books that made me feel sorry for Hook. James is an innocent boy who wants nothing more than growing up. One day he meets Peter and the boy promises him that he can take him to Neverland for a vacation. Instead, James is dumped there with no way to return to his old life. He turns bitter and starts to see Peter for the hateful, childish boy he is. We also see glimpses of Wendy and Tiger Lily. This book went on for too long; there are many repetition and it started to get boring, but the ending was worth it.

Have you read any of these books? Interested in one of them?

Review 249. Leigh Bardugo – Six of crows.

Leigh Bardugo - Six of crows.Title: Six of crows.
Author: Leigh Bardugo.
Pages: 465
Published: September 29th 2015 by Henry Holt and Co.
Sort: Part one of Six of crows.
Review Shadow and Bone.
Review Siege and Storm.
Review Ruin and Rising.

Goodreads
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...
A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.
Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.
Rating:
5+ rating


This book is set in the same world as the Grisha trilogy. This could have turned out as a lazy way to skip all the word-building, but Leigh brings amazing new details to her world and perfectioned it. This book actually makes me want to reread the Grisha trilogy again. I was a big fan of Shadow and Bone, loved Siege and Storm, but was disappointed by Ruin and Rising. She made me fall in love with her world all over again and it was great to find out that Six of Crows is set in The Netherlands! 

This is definitely my favorite work by Leigh so far, because it has everything I was looking for. This is one of those books that I will reread often.

Retelling January '16 | Recap of 2015.

Retelling challenge button

First off, if you haven't signed up for this challenge, you can until February 1st. Go to the introduction post with the master sign-up linky.

Other technical details: don't forget to tweet and Instagram with the hash-tag #fairytaleRC.

Can you believe it’s already 2016 and that we are starting a new, clean sheet? Let’s keep those fairytale retellings coming! I hope you are all ready to get some reading done (let me know in the comments which level you are aiming for and what your first book might be.) 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.

I am SO excited you guys! There was a moment where I wasn’t sure if I wanted to host the challenge again. It’s quite time consuming and I wasn’t sure if I had enough ideas, but then I had a moment of inspiration and I wrote down tons of ideas for the monthly posts. It’s a shame I didn’t receive many feedback on my November 2015 post, but I got a few new ideas from people and I will work with it.
I thought this would be a good time to recap the Fairytale challenge from 2015 and to give you a little view of what you can expect from 2016.

Sign-up post, where 142 participants joined.
January | Fairytale beginnings.
February | Quiz to find out your ending.
March | Discussion: are fairytales over?
April | Uprooted giveaway.
May | My ideas for fairytale retellings.
June | Favorite villains.
July | Dressing up.
August | Fairytale recommendations.
September | In defence of Disney princesses.
October | True stories.
November | Feedback.
December | Bingo card.

The bingo card was posted December 2015, but you have the chance until March 1st to finish the card. This will give you an extra entry in the giveaway I will host in December, so make sure you place the card somewhere on your social media, so I can find it back as prove. Here is the card again:

Bingo fairytale card[16]

One square is enough to qualify for the extra points in the giveaway!

What can you expect from this challenge in 2016?
I am planning to integrate Youtube and/or Instagram into the challenge. I have a puzzle, a new quiz, discussion posts, information and hopefully a few more challenges. I'm also going to place a bigger focus on other retellings than fairytales, to make sure this challenge is suited for everyone! I'm also using at least one guest post, so I think we are up to some fun posts!

If there is something you really want to see, let me know!