Sunday, April 30, 2017 18:30

Monthly Recap April '17 | Birthday, YALFEST and book club sleep-over.

Monthly-recap_thumb6This post recaps my month: my personal life, all the books I’ve read & bought and all the movies and TV shows I’ve seen.
April is always one of my favorite months, despite the funky weather. It was definitely a great month! I've done so many fun things; which meant I had less time to read, as you can see..

OUAT_thumb3 I went to Beauty and the Beast in the cinema twice. Once was in IMAX 3D and what an experience! You can see my thoughts about the movie in my review, but in one word: MAGICAL. I definitely shed a few happy tears and the songs are on repeat. The first time I went with friends, the second time with my family and we combined it with going out for diner. Talking about food, hehe, I went with my boyfriend, sister and brother in law to a Dim Sum restaurant. Delicious!

I participated in something we call 'Duinenmars' which is a yearly event where you can walk different distances and get a medal or a new pin. Every medal holds 3 pins. This was my 5th time, so I got a new medal. We had amazing weather; it was incredibly sunny and warm. I've also picked up running (again), but this time I see myself improve and that is motivating.

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I celebrated my birthday (26 years already, eek!) I had a lot of healthy snacks, I got a beautiful birthday cake made by my talented sister and I got really thoughtful presents. I felt loved :)

I had two fun bookish events. I went to YALFEST with a girlfriend, which is a pretty new book event hosted by different Dutch publishers. It was great! There were eight authors (Amy Ewin, David Arnold, Lesley Livingston, Megan Shepherd, Donna Freitas, Veronica Rossi and Victor Dixen) who were interviewed and then we got time to get our books signed + a picture. I had a workshop about translating books from English to Dutch and there were different stands with activities, like making your own buttons or getting a temporary bookish tattoo. I'm definitely going again next year.

The other event was our book club sleep-over, which is actually for the Dewey 24-hour read-a-thon, but lately ends up as a day/night where we watch really (and I mean REALLY) bad book adaptations. This time we picked Fallen and The Fifth Wave. I think we were all pleasantly surprised by The Fifth Wave, but maybe it is because you can't get anything worse than Fallen. This movie is by far one of the worst movie I've ever seen. Every scene takes 100 hours and is filled with cringe-worthy sentences, broody looks in the distance, swoony staring in each other eyes and terrible special effects. It was hilarious. Hanging out with these girls is the best.
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Click on the pictures to go to Goodreads.

Ebooks:
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Presents:
Shanice, Brother-in law and girlfriend, Jasper & Daisy.
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Leatherbound hand-made notebook I got from my parents from Scotland.
Harry Potter deluxe notebook set I got from Debby <3

Review copies:
Thanks HarperCollins INT!
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YALFEST, Fairyloot, BooklyBird.
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Bought.
Also Meagan Spooner - Hunted.
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This is a sad score.. but that's what you get when you are busy with fun real-life things and other hobbies. I've spend a lot of time on gaming (got hooked in Zelda again) and bulletjournaling (setting up May, I love the start of a new month)

1. Erin Summerill – Ever the Hunted. 2/5.
2. Samantha Shannon – The Mime Order. 5/5 (reread)
3. Neil Gaiman – Hansel and Gretel. 3/5.
4. Samantha Shannon – THe Pale Dreamer. 3/5 (novella)
5. Samantha Shannon – On the Merits of Unnaturalness. 4/5 (novella)
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TV Shows:
The Blacklist season 2, episode 1 - 13. Still enjoy it.
New girl season 6, episode 11-14.
Outlander season 1, episode 16. That was.. intense. Also watched episode 1 + 2 from season 2.
Better Call Saul, season 2, episode 1 – 3.

Movies:
2x Beauty and the Beast. LOOOVE.
Animated version from Beauty and the Beast. Favorite forever.
Logan. Cried.
Moana. Really liked it.
Assassin's Creed. Meh.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, second time. Made my father watch it.
Fallen. DON'T WATCH IT.
The Fifth Wave. Not nearly as bad as expected. Way better than the book, that's for sure.
Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. It's bad, but also kinda funny.
Inferno. That was.. intense, at times.

What did you do in April?
Friday, April 21, 2017 21:52

Beauty and the Beast retellings.

Since I'm on a roll with content that has something to do with Beauty and the Beast, I decided to list down my five favorite retellings for you. These are the books I've read over a couple of years, so believe me when I say these come highly recommended.

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Whistling Tor is a place of secrets and mystery. Surrounded by a wooded hill, and unknown presences, the crumbling fortress is owned by a chieftain whose name is spoken throughout the district in tones of revulsion and bitterness. A curse lies over Anluan's family and his people; those woods hold a perilous force whose every whisper threatens doom.
If you know me well, this first pick will be no surprise. I always use every opportunity to show my love for Juliet Marillier. There is something enchanting and magical about the way she writes stories. Her heroins are all strong in their own ways, the romances are so romantic and the plot moves with exactly the right pace. If you haven't picked up any of her books, you are missing out. My review for Heart's Blood.

“With courage and hope, we can conquer our fears and do what we once believed impossible.”

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Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him. With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

I read this book in 2014 and I still can't stop thinking about it. It is definitely time to reread this stunning book. The writing-style is lush, the blend of mythology and fairytales is intricate and the characters are flawed and fascinating. My review for Cruel Beauty.

“Where you go, I shall go; where you die, I shall die, and there will I be buried.”

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Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life. Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.
This story is a perfect blend of several folktales and Beauty and the Beast. I fell in love with the writing-style, plot and characters. The plot is interesting and has a rather creepy setting. There is a wonderful girl-girl friendship and Agnieszka was delightful. My review for Uprooted.

“There was a song in this forest, too, but it was a savage song, whispering of madness and tearing and rage.”

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Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them. Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

This is the newest Beauty and the Beast retelling I discovered last month and let me tell you this, it was simply the best!  Yeva was fabulous and it didn't take me much time to fall in love with her personality and voice. There is much development into the character of Beast and there was enough time to warm up for the romance. My review for Hunted.

“She wept because she did not know what she wanted, and because she wanted everything.”

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16096824When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.
I have read a few reviews that talk about the problematic issues in this book and I will not deny that there are definitely aspects that could have been better. That being said, it's still a really entertaining, well-written story and I love Feyre. My review for A Court of Thorns and Roses.

“Don't feel bad for one moment about doing what brings you joy.”
Friday, April 14, 2017 14:46

Beauty and the Beast: the movie (Spoilers!)

Before I start this long post where I will gush about my love for this movie, there is one thing I want to say: I LOVED IT SO MUCH. MY HEART IS OVERFLOWING WITH LOVE. I CRIED HAPPY TEARS AND I AM NOT EVEN ASHAMED ABOUT IT.

Now, on to the more serious business about this review. I will talk about different aspects, so I can show you all the reasons why I love this movie more than almost anything else in the world. If you want to go into this movie without knowing anything, please skip this post :)

The Prologue. 
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The moment I heard the beginning tunes of the movie, I had shivers. I'm so happy that they kept true to most of the prologue from the animated movie – but what made me even happier is the fact they included more background story. I LOVED the scene that shows off how prosperous and arrogant the Prince lives before he is punished by the Enchantress. I LOVED how they included her more into the story and how she sets everything in motion. The Prologues is tied into a deeper story about the Prince when we see a flashback to his younger self. I thought it was brilliantly done and it gave the Beast more depth as a character. It also takes away some of the questions the animated movie raised.

The Songs.
I would say that the songs always have been the Heart of the movie. They say so much about every character, from Belle's longing to adventure to Gaston's amount of self-love. And Oh My God, did they blow me away with these songs. All the original songs are there and the new songs they included? Absolutely my favorites ones of all time. I can't pick one I loved the most, but Evermore by the Beast has to be one of the best they have added. I never realized I missed a song by the Beast so much until now. Also, Days in the Sun beats Human Again. Goosebumps every time I hear it and How does a moment last forever destroyed me.

The Cast.
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I don't think I could have asked for a better suited cast. Every character is simply brilliant and exactly how I imagined them. Okay, Lumière's French accent might have been a little rusty at times, but Dan Stevens (Beast), Luke Evans (hunk Gaston), Josh Grad (Lefou) and Belle (Emma Watson) stole the show. One thing I always find really important is the Beast's voice and Dan NAILED it. Such a warm voice. Luke pulled off the whole crazy-obsessed guy vibes (and damn, he is gorgeous) without making him look like a card board villain. Emma's personality fit so well with Belle, it didn't even feel like she was acting, and her voice wasn't too bad in the songs. Josh was fantastic and his chemistry with Luke made Gaston's song better than the one in the animated version. It's a shame that they skipped the 'covered in hair' part.

The CGI.
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The castle was gorgeous. All the characters like Lumière, Cogsworth and Mrs. Pott were beautiful and I loved the Victorian touch. The Beast was done so well and they really made his blue eyes stand out. He was so detailed and real looking. I recently read the Special edition from Entertainment Weekly where they talked about all the work that went into the CGI. How Dan had to shoot his scenes twice; once walking around with a grey suit on stilts, the second time only his face to really capture his emotions - and it shows!

The Changes.
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1. Lefou
. I know there was a lot of discussion around his character, but wasn't it obvious already that his character was gay? I mean, look at his admiration for Gaston and how he accepts everything he does. The fact that they put more emphasis on this was the best. I also think they did a great job with his portrayal, especially when he starts to question Gaston's methods. He (and Luke) really gave the movie that something special, with their comical touch.
2. The Enchantress. Like I mentioned in the Prologue, she plays a bigger role now and that was a good move. I've always wondered if she would stick around to see if the Beast was able to change and now we get those answers. The fact that they gave the Beast more background story; sublime choice.
3. Gaston. They changed some of the scenes between him and Belle, which worked quite well. I did miss their talk about her book and how she could read anything with no pictures in it, but I'm happy they changed the scene where he is thrown into the puddle of mud. I don't think that would work with a live version. A lot of people talk about the fact that the Beast was punished, but Gaston never was; and I wonder how they can think like that. Gaston was set on marrying Belle, a person who would never marry him, and in the end he died because of it. How is that not punishment? He could have changed, but instead he was consumed by this obsession with 'conquering' Belle, and it was the end of him. LeFou changed before it was too late for him.
4. The book that lets you travel to another world. It was the perfect way to show what happened to Belle's mother and why they are so different from the rest of the town. They were outsiders from a big city with less small-minded people. That's probably why Belle does read - and why people don't accept it when she is teaching another girl how to read.

The Clothes.
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I really loved all the clothes Belle wears and how they made minor changes to make it fit to her personality. Also, credits for making her an inventor! I loved that. A lot of people complained about the dress and while it might not be as gorgeous as the original one, I would still wear it and treasure it. I thought it suited Emma and the dancing scene *swoon*

There wasn't anything I didn't love. I'm sorry for overusing all these words to show my excitement, but the fact that Disney delivered again makes my heart happy. Seeing my all time favorite fairytale and animated Disney movie coming alive like this is all I could have wished for.
Friday, April 07, 2017 12:19

The Beauty and the Beast.

30166719MinaLima, the award-winning design studio behind the graphics for the Harry Potter film franchise and the creators of the illustrated Jungle Book and Peter Pan, reimagine the beloved French fairy tale The Beauty and the Beast in this deluxe unabridged edition illustrated with stunning full-color artwork and nine 3-D interactive features. 

Generations of readers have been bewitched by the epic love story of a beautiful young girl imprisoned in the magical castle of a monstrous beast.

Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, MinaLima (Illustrator), James Robinson Planché (Translator). Published January 31st 2017 by Harper Design (first published 1740)


The moment I laid eyes on this book, I knew I had to get it and I was not disappointed by it. My love for Beauty and the Beast knows no limits, but this book reminded me of the fact I never read the original tale *gasp*

It was interesting to see the story Disney worked with and I must admit that I am happy with the changes they have made. They turned every character into a more likable figure, but what I did love in this book is the background story of the Beast. It felt like I was reading another story inside a story, which is something I missed in the animated movie. It made him a more solid character. We all have to admit that the time line around Beast's life in the Disney movie is a bit flawed and that is no problem in this book.

I really missed the talking objects though. There is no Lumière, Mrs. Potts or Cogsworth. Instead there are different themed room, like one with Monkeys who become friends with Belle. My image of Beauty and the Beast is so wrapped around Disney that I couldn't stop missing my beloved extra characters.

The best thing about this version is the beautiful leather-bound cover, the illustrations and the interactive features. Those 3d features weren't extremey special, but still added something fun to the story. The illustrations were to die for, especially those at the beginning of every chapter. I spend a lot of time looking at them, soaking in all the details, and it really made the story come alive.

Highly recommend this book if you are a fairytale lover like me.
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