Love is in the air

Hey you all! It’s time for a new review 🙂 Two weeks ago I came across a giveaway post by HarperCollins Young Adult, naturally I took a chance to try and win one of the books they were giving away as HarperCollins is one of my favorite publishers ❤ And Lady Luck was with me, because I won Een fijne neus voor liefde (The Secret of a Heart Note) by Stacey Lee. When I first came across a description of this book I put it on my wish list right away as I love romantic stories that have supernatural elements in them. I especially love stories where the main character has an ability that has to do with one of the five senses. So, the description of this book really made me curious and very excited and I wasn’t disappointed because this story was awesome! Let me first give you a description and then I will tell you why you have to read this book 😉

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Sometimes love is right under your nose. As one of only two aromateurs left on the planet, sixteen-year-old Mimosa knows what her future holds: a lifetime of weeding, mixing love elixirs, and matchmaking—all while remaining incurably alone. For Mim, the rules are clear: falling in love would render her nose useless, taking away her one great talent. Still, Mimosa doesn’t want to spend her life elbow-deep in soil and begonias. She dreams of a normal high school experience with friends, sports practices, debate club, and even a boyfriend. But when she accidentally gives an elixir to the wrong woman and has to rely on the lovesick woman’s son, the school soccer star, to help fix the situation, Mim quickly begins to realize that falling in love isn’t always a choice you can make. 

I loved everything about this story! Mim is one of those characters that crawls under your skin. She’s friendly, extremely loyal, quirky, funny and strong willed. In the beginning of the story the reader experiences how narrow Mim’s world is thanks to her talent and her overbearing mother. Eventhough Mim doesn’t like all the rules she has to abide she does it without much complaining or drama. She’s a good daughter who listens to her mother. Her mom rewards her for this by giving her even more tasks and responsibilities in the family business. So, when Mr. Frederics, Mim’s math teacher, comes to their house ordering a love elixir for the librarian Ms. DiCarlo it’s Mim’s job to ensure ms. DiCarlo gets the elixir. Mim does what she is told, but the cup of coffee she puts the elixir in turns out to belong to someone else than ms. DiCarlo and as a result Ms. Sawyer drinks the elixir. Mim is afraid of her mother’s reaction to her mistake and decides to keep it a secret. She has no choice to correct her mistake before Ms. Sawyer starts to get feelings for Mr. Frederics. Naturally, everything goes wrong after that. Mim has to tell someone her secret and decides to confess everything to Court, Ms. Sawyer’s son and the soccer star of Gaudalupe High. Together they go on a hunt for ingredients for a potion that will cure Ms. Sawyer of her feelings. But, some ingredients are hard to find. As a result Mim and Court spend so much time and experience so many adventures together that the unthinkable happens: Mim falls in love… The one thing she can never do according to the rules that are passed on from one aromateur to the next since the Middle Ages. However, Mim can’t help it, she can’t deny her feelings, although she tries her best to avoid skin contact with Court so she doesn’t loose her abilities. But, when Court is in danger and she’s the only one around to help him, can she turn her back on him and protect her abilities or will she risk everything to save him?

I really liked Court. He is sweet, nice, protective of the people he cares about and an all-around good guy. I loved how he saw Mim for who she really was and the way in which he kept her from harm. The love between Mim and Court moves slowly and is so sweet and cute that you can’t help but read this book with a big smile on your face.

The writer is really good at portraying emotions and the relationships between people. The bond between Mim and her mom was extremely realistic. Because of this realism you feel for Mim when her mom is hard on her and insensitive towards her feelings, but you never dislike her mother because you can see where she’s coming from. The relationship between Mim’s mom and her twinsister, Mim’s aunt, is also portrayed really well. Sisters don’t always get along and sometimes fights can result in distancing, but somehow, most of the time, these fights can be resolved and the sisterbond proves stronger than anything. That’s a powerful and beautiful message, I think ❤ The bond between Mim and her best friend Kali is written just as realistically. I loved how Kali and Mim tried to help each other, but eventually learned that sometimes you have to stand up for yourself and can’t rely on someone else’s help. I also really loved the fact that at the end of the book Mim learns that love has a way to happen all on its own and that sometimes magical abilities can’t change whom someone falls for. Sometimes love is meant to be 🙂

I loved the fact that this book revolved around smell and flowers, herbs and all living, growing things. In most books hearing and seeing are the most important senses, so, it was refreshing to read a story where smelling took centerstage. As a flowerlover myself I could smell most of the mentioned plants and flowers the whole time I was reading this book. Isn’t it amazing how written words have the power to do that?

The pace and tension in this book were really well dosed and I couldn’t stop reading once I started. The blending of magic (or Mim’s special ability) with a first love and a race against the clock worked perfectly. If you’re looking for a lighthearted love story with some magic in it and lots of obstacles along the way this is most definitely the book for you! This is without a doubt a must-read 🙂

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Unboxing Fairylootbox: Otherworlds

Hey you all. The last couple of days I was hesitating and wondering if I wanted to post an unboxing of this Fairylootbox. You may wonder why. Well, I didn’t really like this box and I’ve seen loads of discussions on other blogs that escalated quite rapidly when someone shared a negative opinion of a lootbox. So, I was a bit ambivalent about posting my negative opinion of this box, but since this is my blog and I bought this box with my own hard earned money I feel like I have a right to share my thoughts about it. I love Fairyloot and will no doubt order another box there, so, I’m not going to bash on the company or anything. I’m just going to reveal what was in this box and tell you why I didn’t like it. I know companies can’t please everybody every single time, but I think it’s important to give feedback be it positive or negative.

This time I don’t have a photo of the closed box because my box was picked out by customs and let’s just say that they didn’t handle the package gently. The box was really dirty and had multiple dents and scrapes on it. The contents were handled just as harshly and were thrown back in without much care, so, when I opened the box it was one big mess.

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I bought this box because of the description. It was perfect for people who loved otherworlds in fantasy books and would appeal to fans of Peter Pan, Lord of the Rings, A Court of Thorns and Roses and Game of Thrones. It didn’t take me long to make up my mind to order this box as I love discovering new fantastical worlds in books. But, as I said above the box was a bit of a let down. Now, let me reveal what was in it.

  • The first item in my box was a candle from Book and Nook. I received the Anais Witchsoul candle which is red with glitters and smells like cocoa, cardamom and fig. This was one of the items I absolutely loved. The candle is pretty and smells heavenly. I like the fact that Fairyloot includes a candle in every box as I love to read and write by candlelight.
  • The second item I came across was a sleeping mask. I really don’t like this item. According to the description the mask is made of satin, but the fabric feels really weird and the seems are really sloppy and ugly. The quote (fictional worlds fuel my dreams) on it is really cool, but it isn’t legible due to how the front of the mask was sown. So, this was really not my thing.
  • The third item I saw was a tiny box with a beautiful quote from George R.R. Martin on it. When I opened the box a tiny, silicone sword fell out. I had no idea what this was supposed to be, but the description says it’s a tea strainer. I’m a huge fan of tea, but I like the elegance of an afternoon tea and this strainer is neither elegant nor pretty to look at. It’s clunky, gray and black and I have no idea how you’re supposed to put your tea leaves in it and put it in the pot as it doesn’t have a chain or something. And if you would put it in the pot as is it will surely fall over, which means you would have to put your fingers in scorching hot water to pull it back out…
  • The fourth item was a set of two magnetic bookmarks from LotR by Paperly and Co. I received Legolas and Thranduil and I love them!!! They are so cute. I’m definitely going to use this item ❤
  • The fifth item was a thin Neverland notebook painted by TJ Lubrano. It’s a really pretty notebook and I love the quotes on and in it. As I’m a bit of a hoarder of notebooks I’m really happy with this item 🙂
  • The sixth item was an artprint and for me a huge let down. The description says that this artprint was made by Melissa Nettleship and that it represents the Northern Lights. I don’t see the nothern lights in it and I’m wondering what this print has to do with the theme Otherworlds… If I’m being completely honest I think this artprint is kind of ugly and rather childish.
  • The seventh item is a pendant necklace with a quote from A Court of Mist and Fury made by Oh Panda Eyes. This could have been such a nice item. I love the A Court of series and I love Rhys and Velaris, but the quote on this pendant is executed really poorly. Rhys’ name is spelled wrong (Rhy’s) and half of the quote didn’t seem to fit on the pendant, so, instead of a quote you have a pendant with random words on it. I’ve made quote and picture pendants myself and it is not that hard to make them, so, this seems like a rush job that was done piss-poorly. If I had owned a company I would have never accepted something like this.

 

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There were some free samplers in this box that I did like. I’m really curious about Ed McDonald’s Blackwing and I love the fairy artcard 🙂

And, now, the book that inspired this box:

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Wicked like a Wildfire by Lana Popovic! I’ve never heard about this author or this book, so, I’m really curious about it and excited to read the story. The description sounds amazing, so, hopefully I won’t be disappointed 😉 Here’s the description for you guys and girls:

All the women in Iris and Malina’s family have the unique magical ability or “gleam” to manipulate beauty. Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, while Malina interprets moods as music. But their mother has strict rules to keep their gifts a secret, even in their secluded sea-side town. Iris and Malina are not allowed to share their magic with anyone, and above all, they are forbidden from falling in love. 

But when their mother is mysteriously attacked, the sisters will have to unearth the truth behind the quiet lives their mother has built for them. They will discover a wicked curse that haunts their family line—but will they find that the very magic that bonds them together is destined to tear them apart forever?

To fall in love with an angel

Hey you all! Today I’m kicking off another blogtour!!! This time it’s the blogtour for Ster van Acht (Angel Star) by Jennifer Murgia. The whole of September and part of October people will post creative blogposts about this book for Dutch Venture Publishing. My own blogpost will also feature some creative elements. When I was preparing for this blogtour I got the idea to do something with music and pictures. While I was reading the book, however, I couldn’t think of a soundtrack of songs that would fit this book. But I did see clear pictures in my head, kind of like a movie, playing out every important scene in the story. So, I decided to drop the playlist and to only use a picture list that will illustrate what the story looked like to me. As always I will first give a short description of the book, next I will show the picture list and then I will give my opinion of the book. Underneath the review I will include a link to a special giveaway (for residents of The Netherlands and Belgium only) for swag and an exclusive novella (paper version) about the antagonist ❤

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Seventeen-year-old Teagan McNeel falls for captivating Garreth Adams and soon discovers that her crush has an eight-point star etched into the palm of his right hand-the mark of an angel. But where there is light, dark follows, and she and Garreth suddenly find themselves vulnerable to a dark angel’s malicious plan that could threaten not only her life, but the lives of everyone she knows. Divinely woven together, Angel Star takes readers on a reflective journey when one angel’s sacrifice collides with another angel’s vicious ambition in a way that is sure to have readers searching for their own willpower. 

The story in pictures:

 

My opinion:

For me this book had some good things and some bad things. I’m a bit ambivalent about main character Teagan. On the one hand she’s a nice character, a bit shy, friendly, introverted and lonely. Most of the time her feelings are written quite realistically and feel genuine. But, I missed a bit of a deeper connection with her because at some major scenes in the book Teagans feelings seem quite shallow. Especially when someone important to Teagan dies, it almost seems as though she doesn’t feel anything. What I did like about Teagan was her development from shy and lonely girl to a self-assured person who knows her worth and strengths.

The romance in this novel is sweet and innocent. I liked the fact that guardian angel Garreth fell for his charge Teagan and was willing to prove his love by breaking the rules and helping her. However, because the story only covers eight days the romance becomes incredibly rushed and feels a little bit too much like insta-love. I get that Garreth has been with Teagan a long time and fell for her through the years, that part doesn’t seem rushed, but the fact that Teagan falls in love with Garreth in just two or three days isn’t realistic to me. It would have helped if the story took longer than eight days.

I liked Garreth a lot. He’s a sweetheart and always puts Teagan first. His protectiveness was fun to read about and didn’t seem creepy stalker-like like in so many other YA novels about angels, vampires or other supernatural creatures that fall in love with humans.

Antagonist Hadrian is very cool too. I’ve got a feeling that he’s more complex and his feelings run deeper than this first novel leads us to believe. He’s one of those mysterious characters that you want to find out more about. I like that whole dark, tortured thing he has going on, especially because there seems to be light and good left in him. I’m really curious to find out more about him.

I also liked the worldbuilding and suspense in this book. The story world was realistic and the whole angel lore was well developed. I loved everything about the guardian angels, octograms, bloodties and willpower. Hopefully the next book will explore some of these things in more detail 🙂 The suspense is well-dosed and the pace is moderate which ensures that the tension remains high while the story doesn’t develop too fast.

If you like sweet, romantic stories about love, angels and discovering your own strength, you will surely love this book! It has nice characters and a very cool antagonist, an original take to angels and lots of tension and drama.

The tour continues tomorrow on Ivette Amesz’ blog: http://ivettemeteeni.blogspot.nl/

Giveaway (only for The Netherlands and Belgium):

‘Wil jij leuke swag winnen? Ding mee naar ons geweldige prijzenpakket van STER VAN ACHT van Jennifer Murgia door dit bericht op je tijdlijn te delen. Niet alleen kun je diverse gesigneerde kaarten, boekenleggers en hangertjes winnen, maar dit swagpakket bevat ook nog eens de gedrukte versie van Rijk der Zielen (dat nergens los te koop is, alleen als eboek). Actie loopt tot en met 9 oktober en de winnaars krijgen na 16 oktober bericht of ze gewonnen hebben.
Prijzenpakket 1: 1 black angel hanger, 1 bedelarmband, 1 angel ring, 1 gesigneerde kaart, 1 originele boekenlegger uit de VS, 1 book plate gesigneerd door Jennifer Murgia, 1 gedrukt exemplaar van Rijk der Zielen.
Prijzenpakket 2: 1 octagram-hanger, 1 gesigneerde kaart, 1 originele boekenlegger uit de VS, 1 boekenlegger van de Nederlandse editie van Ster van Acht
Prijzenpakket 3: 1 gesigneerde kaart, 1 originele boekenlegger uit de VS, 1 boekenlegger van de Nederlandse editie van Ster van Acht
Troostprijs 1: 1 gesigneerde kaart, 1 boekenlegger van de NL editie
Troostprijs 2: 1 gesigneerde kaart, 1 boekenlegger van de NL editie

giveaway swag

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/30768de734/?

 

 

Aesthetically Pleasing Book Tag

Hey you all! Today I want to share something new with you. I was browsing some of my favorite blogs and came across the Aesthetically Pleasing Book Tag on ReadInge’s blog, and it looked so fun and beautiful that I couldn’t resist doing one of my own too. So, I’m going to take you on a little tour through some of my favorite books ❤

1. The best color combo on a book cover:

 

I love bold colors that almost seem to pop of the pages. These two covers are my favorites when it comes to color.

2. Best typography/ font on a book cover:

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Betsy Cornwell’s Mechanica has some of the most beautiful font I’ve ever seen. It suits the book to perfection and I love the steam punk feel of it! The rest of the cover isn’t too shabby either 😉

3. Best simple cover:

This one proofed one of the most difficult things to find on my shelves. I don’t own a lot of books with simple covers. Most of them have quite a lot of things going on, on the cover. But Jennifer L Armentrout’s The problem with forever fits the tag “simple” I think. It’s just letters and colors, yet it’s really beautiful despite its simplicity.

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4. Best endpages:

Another hard one. I don’t own a lot of books that have endpages with pictures on them, or that have beautiful colors or something else that’s remarkable. But, I gave my little sister a copy of H.P. Lovecraft’s Complete Fiction last year and that book has the most beautiful endpages I have ever seen ❤

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5. Best map:

When I was thinking about which map I love the most in my books I realised that many YA fantasy novels don’t even have maps which is such a shame. First I was thinking of using Tolkien’s map of Middle Earth because that’s one of my favorites, but then I remembered a map in an old children’s book of mine that I really love. So, I took a picture of Chris Riddell’s map for Beyond the Deepwood. Isn’t it pretty?

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6. Best naked hardback:

Well, this one was easy as I own only one hardback that has something of an illustration on it when you remove the dustjacket haha. But, nevertheless, I really like the naked cover of Alexandra Bracken’s Passenger.

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7. Best back cover:

I never realised that many books have a seriously dull back cover, until I was perusing my shelves for a pretty back cover. It took me a while to find one, but Rebel of the Sands has a beautiful one!

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8 Best chapter headers:

Again, something most books don’t have. The only shelve where I could find a few books with chapter headers was my “retelling” shelve. A.G. Howard’s got the most beautiful ones I’ve ever seen so I took a picture of Splintered.

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9. Best Illustrations:

Okay, I couldn’t choose. I love Chris Riddell’s artwork in Beyond the Deepwood, but I also love the drawings/ etchings in Alice in Wonderland so I took a picture of both 😉

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10. Best spine:

I don’t really like spines that are decorated ornately. With a lot of books standing next to each other it gets kinda messy when you have too much spines that have all these things going on, on them. So, I chose a spine that is simple, but has a beautiful font.

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11. Favorite cover on your shelves:

Seriously, are there people who can choose only one favorite? I couldn’t do it. I’ve got so many books with beautiful covers that I had to share a few with you all. So, here’s a little slideshow with some of my faves.

 

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I’d really like to see more aesthetically pleasing books, so, if you want to post your most beautiful ones in a blogpost too, please do! Happy reading you all ❤

 

 

Bookhaul July 2017

Hey you all! I can’t believe it’s almost August… These last few months just flew by. As it is the last day of the month I’m sharing a new bookhaul with you guys and girls. This month I collected a whopping amount of 10 new books!!! (can I blame this one on heatstroke too eventhough it was quite rainy this month?) But fair is fair I bought four of them with a huge discount (the Nora Roberts books) and one of them was a gift from my little sister, so this months bookhaul didn’t cost me a lot of money.

This month I didn’t only crave romantic books, like Nora Roberts’ Stars of Fortune trilogy, which I already reviewed a couple of months ago when I borrowed them from my mom (no borrowing needed anymore 😉 )

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But I really wanted some supernatural and non-fiction stories too. Something to suit my need for the fantastical, something to quench my thirst for knowledge and something to touch my heart and make me melt away ❤ in short the perfect combo of everything I love 🙂

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So, let me give you the description of all these beauties (except for the Stars of Fortune trilogy) and maybe you will want to put one of them on your to read list too 😉

Sapiens: a brief history of human kind by Yuval Noah Harari

100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens. 

How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come? 

In Sapiens, Dr Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical – and sometimes devastating – breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural and Scientific Revolutions. Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, paleontology and economics, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies, the animals and plants around us, and even our personalities. Have we become happier as history has unfolded? Can we ever free our behaviour from the heritage of our ancestors? And what, if anything, can we do to influence the course of the centuries to come? 

Bold, wide-ranging and provocative, Sapiens challenges everything we thought we knew about being human: our thoughts, our actions, our power … and our future.

Onbereikbaar (Eyes turned skyward) by Rebecca Yarros

Since her sister’s death, twenty-year-old Paisley Donovan, who shares her sister’s heart condition, is treated like delicate glass by her parents. But nothing will stop her from completing her Bucket List—even if it kills her. And it almost does, until Jagger Bateman pulls her from the ocean and breathes more than air into her lungs—he sets her soul on fire.

Jagger is enrolled in the country’s toughest flight school. He’s wickedly hot, reckless, and perfect for a girl looking to live life to the fullest. Except that Paisley is the commanding general’s daughter, and her boyfriend is Jagger’s biggest rival. Now Paisley must decide just how much to risk for a guy who makes her heart pound a little too hard.

They’re flying through dangerous territory—and one wrong move could make them crash and burn…

A brief history of time by Stephen Hawking

Was there a beginning of time? Could time run backwards? Is the universe infinite or does it have boundaries? These are just some of the questions considered in the internationally acclaimed masterpiece by one of the world’s greatest thinkers. It begins by reviewing the great theories of the cosmos from Newton to Einstein, before delving into the secrets which still lie at the heart of space and time – from the Big Bang to black holes, via spiral galaxies and string theory. To this day A Brief History of Time remains a staple of the scientific canon, and its succinct and clear language continues to introduce millions to the universe and its wonders.

De Obsessie (the Obsession) by Nora Roberts

“She stood in the deep, dark woods, breath shallow and cold prickling over her skin despite the hot, heavy air. She took a step back, then two, as the urge to run fell over her.” 

Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father’s crimes and made him infamous. No matter how close she gets to happiness, she can’t outrun the sins of Thomas David Bowes.

Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, a rambling old house in need of repair, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the kindly residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up—especially the determined Xander Keaton.

Naomi can feel her defenses failing, and knows that the connection her new life offers is something she’s always secretly craved. But the sins of her father can become an obsession, and, as she’s learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away.

Just Dreaming by Kerstin Gier

 A dream traveler faces the greatest challenge she’s yet encountered in this gripping third and final book of the Silver trilogy.

The course of dream travel never did run smooth—at least, not in Liv Silver’s experience. Able to visit other people’s dreams (whether they want her to or not), Liv has solved mysteries, unearthed difficult truths, fought madmen, and escaped life-threatening peril, all from the comfort of her own bed. But Liv’s troubles are just beginning.

A rocky romance, a malicious blogger with a hidden identity, a wedding, and a classmate (or two) dead-set on revenge all await Liv in this action-packed conclusion to the Silver trilogy.

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I’m totally in love with these covers ❤ That’s also the reason why I bought the series in English instead of Dutch or German haha.

Strijder (Legion) by Julie Kagawa

The legions are about to be unleashed, and no human, rogue dragon or former dragon slayer can stand against the coming horde. Book 4 of 5 in The Talon Saga from New York Times bestselling author Julie Kagawa.

Dragon hatchling Ember Hill was never prepared to find love at all–dragons do not suffer human emotions–let alone the love of a human and a former dragonslayer, at that. With ex-soldier Garret dying at her feet after sacrificing his freedom and his life to expose the deepest of betrayals, Ember knows only that nothing she was taught by dragon organization Talon is true. About humans, about rogue dragons, about herself and what she’s capable of doing and feeling.

In the face of great loss, Ember vows to stand with rogue dragon Riley against the dragon-slaying Order of St. George and her own twin brother Dante–the heir apparent to all of Talon, and the boy who will soon unleash the greatest threat and terror dragonkind has ever known.

Talon is poised to take over the world, and the abominations they have created will soon take to the skies, darkening the world with the promise of blood and death to those who refuse to yield.

The Storytelling animal: how stories make us human by Jonathan Gottschall

Humans live in landscapes of make-believe. We spin fantasies. We devour novels, films, and plays. Even sporting events and criminal trials unfold as narratives. Yet the world of story has long remained an undiscovered and unmapped country. It’s easy to say that humans are “wired” for story, but why?

In this delightful and original book, Jonathan Gottschall offers the first unified theory of storytelling. He argues that stories help us navigate life’s complex social problems—just as flight simulators prepare pilots for difficult situations. Storytelling has evolved, like other behaviors, to ensure our survival.

Drawing on the latest research in neuroscience, psychology, and evolutionary biology, Gottschall tells us what it means to be a storytelling animal. Did you know that the more absorbed you are in a story, the more it changes your behavior? That all children act out the same kinds of stories, whether they grow up in a slum or a suburb? That people who read more fiction are more empathetic?

Of course, our story instinct has a darker side. It makes us vulnerable to conspiracy theories, advertisements, and narratives about ourselves that are more “truthy” than true. National myths can also be terribly dangerous: Hitler’s ambitions were partly fueled by a story.

But as Gottschall shows in this remarkable book, stories can also change the world for the better. Most successful stories are moral—they teach us how to live, whether explicitly or implicitly, and bind us together around common values. We know we are master shapers of story. The Storytelling Animalfinally reveals how stories shape us.

I’m so excited to read all of these books!!!

Happy reading you all and see you next time 😉

The key to unlock a heart

Hey you all! I’m a bit behind in posting reviews and updating my Goodreads reading challenge but the upcoming days I will be remedying that. Today I’m going to share a review with you guys and girls about Lock & Key by Sarah Dessen. Last year I bought my first book by Sarah (Saint Anything) and I kinda fell in love with her writing style and the way she builds her characters. Let me try to convince you why you should pick up a Sarah Dessen book too 😉

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What’s the story about?

Ruby Cooper likes to expect the worst. That way, she’s never disappointed. Abandoned by her mother and forced to leave the house she calls home, Ruby is facing too many changes. Her lonely world has been transformed into a life of luxury by her long lost sister, but all Ruby wants to do is leave – she can make it on her own. Even Nate, the gorgeous boy-next-door can’t seem to change her mind. Will Ruby realize first impressions don’t always count? And that sometimes, people can surprise you, so it’s ok to let the closest ones in …

Why should you read this story?

Let me start with the main character. I absolutely loved Ruby! She’s such a realistic character. At first she has a giant wall around her heart. She lets nobody close enough to touch her heart. All her relationships are shallow and people don’t really know her. She’s so good at keeping to herself and caring for herself that it takes a couple of months before people realize that she’s living alone in the rental home where she and her mom have lived for the past year or so. Ruby doesn’t mind fending for herself, she’s been doing it almost her entire life. She’s used to people abandoning her. But as she is not yet 18 she is required to live with an adult. That’s how Ruby ends up living with her sister Cora, who she hasn’t seen in ten years and her brother-in-law, whom she’s never met before. All Ruby wants is to be left alone. Especially by the sister who left her with their alcoholic mother. However, it’s hard to keep to yourself when the people around you want to give you everything and expect very little in return. And when the cute and friendly boy next door goes out of his way to make you feel welcome and loved it’s hard to keep your heart hardened. Along the way Ruby learns to forgive, love and live, but above all that people can surprise you and can love you unconditionally.

Love interest Nate was also very realistic and swoonworthy. He’s friendly, fun, caring and adorable, yet at the same time mysterious and closed off about his own personal life. The way Ruby and he fell for each other and helped each other to get the life they both deserved was so beautiful. I loved the way Nate helped everybody out, yet was unable to ask for help himself. Ruby and Nate were really perfect for each other.

This book was such an emotional read. I loved how Ruby and her sister Cora resolved the issues from their past and how their bond became strong again when all the misunderstanding and hard feelings got resolved. Cora’s husband Jamie was also a really great character and all around good guy. I loved the relationship between the two and how cute they were together. I also really liked the way Jamie went out of his way to give Ruby a better life and to stay positive and understanding towards her eventhough Ruby sometimes made this quite hard. Nate’s problems were also written really well and the way he tried to keep his personal life hidden for everybody was also very realistic, yet extremely sad and frustrating at times haha. All these different relationships and troubles made the book a rollercoaster of feelings. I think this is the best book by Sarah Dessen I’ve read so far ❤

If you’re looking for a romantic story with realistic characters and realistic problems you definitely need to pick this one up! It’s beautiful, sad, hopeful, and has a happy ending that will leave a smile on your face when you turn the last page. Lock & Key is a definite must-read!

Unboxing Fairylootbox: Elementalists

Hey you all! In my bookhaul-post I mentioned that I would be sharing an unboxing with you, so, here I am to keep that promise 😉 Last month I ordered a bookbox for the first time in my life and it was so cool!!! It’s like a present to yourself mixed with a riddle you have to solve (guessing what will be in it haha). When I read the description of this box I was just as excited as last month because this box would revolve around a YA fantasy book about elemental magic ❤ If you don’t want to know what was in the box don’t read the rest of this post!

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So, let’s start unveiling what was in this box!

  • A beautiful candle from Witchwood Remedies with flowerpetals and crystals in it! I received the Thunderstorm candle and it smells divine ❤ I think the crystals in it are lapis lazuli and the flowerpetals look like marigold and cornflower. Oh a little warning: the first time you light this candle make sure you don’t put it too close to something flammable because the petals will catch fire and cause the candle to spark a bit (trust me I nearly set my book on fire while trying to take a picture of the burning candle together with the book)
  • A soapbar from Ascent Bath and Body. It’s called Clairvoyance and smells like fig and pomegranate! It smells sooooo good.
  • A lipbalm by Geeky Clean. I received the Firebender which tastes and smells like watermelon ❤ It’s a really soft and extremely moisturizing lipbalm, so, it’s perfect for the summer!
  • A bracelet by In The Moment with a Hamsa hand charm.
  • Potion sticky notes in three different colors.
  • A pillowcase by Miss Phi with a quote from Stephen King on it. I love this item! It’s so pretty ❤
  • A sampler from The Waking Land by Callie Bates. I think the samplers are one of my favorite items in these Fairylootboxes because they allow you to discover new books and authors.

 

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  • And last, but not least: the book that inspired this box!!! Roar by Cora Carmack 🙂 When I came across this book on Pinterest I added it to my to read list because the description sounded so intriguing. As I read the description of the Elementalist Fairylootbox I hoped this book would be in it, and I was right! Can’t wait to read this one. And it’s so pretty!

 

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Bookhaul June 2017

Hey everybody! I decided to add another new feature to my blog. On most blogs I follow people post all the books they buy every month. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do this too as I don’t buy books every month (and some months I buy very many books and others only one or two). But, I really like these ‘bookhaul’ posts, because it’s a great way to find new books to put on a ‘to read’ or ‘to buy’ list. So, I caved and decided to start posting bookhauls too.

This month I went a little crazy (I’m going to blame it on heatstroke 😉 ) and bought seven books (and a Fairylootbox which will be revealed in my unboxing post)!

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Aren’t they pretty ❤

As you can see I bought a lot of romantic books. I love reading romance stories in the summer. Something about the sun, a cool breeze and all the flowers in bloom makes me crave a lot of love in my books 😉

So, what are all these stories about? Let me tell you!

Like a memory by Abbi Glines:

One memory.
One special summer.
The one thing Bliss had lost herself in when the fear and sickness were too much, moments never to be damaged by the harsh reality that followed… until now.

Bliss York didn’t live a normal teenage life. She didn’t go to Friday night football games, walk the halls with her friends every day, go to her prom or even walk to receive her diploma. It had all been taken from her the fall that she was fifteen years old and she was given the diagnosis no one ever wants to hear.

She had leukemia.

Seven years after spending a summer with a girl who he knew would always be his first love and the one who got away, Nate Finlay returns to Sea Breeze to help his fiancé open her new boutique clothing store. When the new employee walks in Nate is taken back seven years to the girl he thought he’d love forever. The one who never answered his calls or returned his text. The one who shut him out completely with not even a goodbye and broke his heart.

They’ve each become someone different. No longer the young teens with stars in their eyes. But does that matter when your heart still says that’s the one.

Under the lights by Abbi Glines:

Willa can’t erase the bad decisions of her past that led her down the path she’s on now. But she can fight for forgiveness from her family. And she can protect herself by refusing to let anyone else get close to her.

High school quarterback and town golden boy Brady used to be the best of friends with Willa—she even had a crush on him when they were kids. But that’s all changed now: her life choices have made her a different person from the girl he used to know.

Gunner used to be friends with Willa and Brady, too. He too is larger than life and a high school football star—not to mention that his family basically owns the town of Lawton. He loves his life, and doesn’t care about anyone except himself. But Willa is the exception—and he understands the girl she’s become in a way no one else can.

As secrets come to light and hearts are broken, these former childhood friends must face the truth about growing up and falling in love…even if it means losing each other forever.

Lock & Key by Sarah Dessen:

Ruby, where is your mother?

Ruby knows that the game is up. For the past few months, she’s been on her own in the yellow house, managing somehow, knowing that her mother will probably never return.

That’s how she comes to live with Cora, the sister she hasn’t seen in ten years, and Cora’s husband Jamie, whose down-to-earth demeanor makes it hard for Ruby to believe he founded the most popular networking Web site around. A luxurious house, fancy private school, a new wardrobe, the promise of college and a future; it’s a dream come true. So why is Ruby such a reluctant Cinderella, wary and defensive? And why is Nate, the genial boy next door with some secrets of his own, unable to accept the help that Ruby is just learning to give?

Last Chance by Sarah Dessen:

Never in one place long enough to make friends or put down roots, Colie doesn’t expect her trip to the North Carolina coast to change a thing. Always the outcast, she’s resigned to a holiday with only her eccentric aunt Mira for company. But when she finds a job waitressing at the Last Chance cafe, she also finds acceptance, new friends, and the beginnings of romance…

Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry:

One moment of recklessness will change their worlds.

Smart. Responsible. That’s seventeen-year-old Breanna’s role in her large family, and heaven forbid she put a toe out of line. Until one night of shockingly un-Breanna-like behavior puts her into a vicious cyber-bully’s line of fire—and brings fellow senior Thomas “Razor” Turner into her life.

Razor lives for the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, and good girls like Breanna just don’t belong. But when he learns she’s being blackmailed over a compromising picture of the two of them—a picture that turns one unexpected and beautiful moment into ugliness—he knows it’s time to step outside the rules.

And so they make a pact: he’ll help her track down her blackmailer, and in return she’ll help him seek answers to the mystery that’s haunted him—one that not even his club brothers have been willing to discuss. But the more time they spend together, the more their feelings grow. And suddenly they’re both walking the edge of discovering who they really are, what they want, and where they’re going from here.

Confess by Colleen Hoover:

Auburn Reed is determined to rebuild her shattered life and she has no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to become deeply attracted to the studio’s enigmatic artist, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a chance and puts her heart in control, only to discover that Owen is hiding a huge secret. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything Auburn loves most, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it—but can she do it?

The Architect of Song by A.G. Howard:

A lady imprisoned by deafness, an architect imprisoned by his past, and a ghost imprisoned within the petals of a flower – intertwine in this love story that transcends life and death.

For most of her life, nineteen-year-old Juliet Emerline has subsisted – isolated by deafness – making hats in the solitude of her home. Now, she’s at risk to lose her sanctuary to Lord Nicolas Thornton, a twenty-seven-year-old mysterious and eccentric architect with designs on her humble estate. When she secretly witnesses him raging beside a grave, Juliet investigates, finding the name “Hawk” on the headstone and an unusual flower at the base. The moment Juliet touches the petals, a young English nobleman appears in ghostly form, singing a song only her deaf ears can hear. The ghost remembers nothing of his identity or death, other than the one name that haunts his afterlife: Thornton.

To avenge her ghostly companion and save her estate, Juliet pushes aside her fear of society and travels to Lord Thornton’s secluded holiday resort, posing as a hat maker in one of his boutiques. There, she finds herself questioning who to trust: the architect of flesh and bones who can relate to her through romantic gestures, heartfelt notes, and sensual touches … or the specter who serenades her with beautiful songs and ardent words, touching her mind and soul like no other man ever can. As sinister truths behind Lord Thornton’s interest in her estate and his tie to Hawk come to light, Juliet is lured into a web of secrets. But it’s too late for escape, and the tragic love taking seed in her heart will alter her silent world forever.

I think I’m going to have a blast of a summer vacation with these books 🙂 Happy reading you all!

A day in the life of an author

Hey you all! If you have been following my blog you know that I’m not only a reader but also a writer. Yesterday marked a first milestone in my writer’s life as I had my very first bookpresentation of a book that I co-wrote: Historische Verhalen: korte verhalen uit de Oudheid (Historical Stories: short stories from Antiquity). Together with Key Tengeler and Marjolijn van de Gender I wrote this collection of short historical fiction stories that take place in Antiquity. In this blog I would like to tell you a bit about the bookpresentation and the book itself, because I’m so proud of and excited about it!!!

The presentation:

The bookpresentation took place in Leiden in the National Museum of Antiquities. Can you say dream come true?! It’s such a stunning museum and I’m so honored that we were allowed to present our book there. I’m also really grateful for all the people who showed up at this event. It was so amazing to meet all these different persons that all share a love for stories and history ❤

The presentation started with a short lecture by dr. Kim Beerden a professor of Ancient History at the University of Leiden. She talked about the representation of (ancient) history in books throughout the ages which was really interesting, especially since my fellow authors and I have tried to represent history as truthfully as possible in our stories.

After the lecture came an interview with Key, Marjolijn and me. At first I was really nervous, but it was super fun! Talking about some of my stories and the writing process made me realize a lot of things about my own creative processess and where my stories come from 🙂

 

When the interview was done, people could buy the book and get it signed. I think this was my favorite part of the day! Seeing people walk around with a book you helped write is so amazing ❤

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Here’s me (front), Marjolijn (middle) and Key (back) signing the book.

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Interviewer Mike Spaans (left) and publisher Rik van de Vlugt (right).

The  book:

Now, you’re probably wondering what kind of stories are in this book. Well, I’m going to tell you in reading order with a small description of every story 😉 (NB. BCE stands for Before Common Era and CE stands for Common Era)

Het brandend hart van Babylon (the burning heart of Babylon) by Key Tengeler: a story about the Assyrian siege of Babylon in 689 BCE.

Een vuurrode nacht (a night red as fire) by Marjolijn van de Gender: a story about a bookthief in the library of Alexander in Egypt in 391 CE.

Het laatste offer (the last sacrifice) by me: a story about a catastrophic eartquake and human sacrifice on Crete in 1700 BCE.

Morgen (tomorrow) by Key: a story about the siege of Pompeii by Sulla in 89 BCE.

Het einde van een paradijs (the end of paradise) by Marjolijn: a story about empress Zenobia and her fall in 272 CE.

De Marathonloper (the Marathonrunner) by me: a story about Philippides run from Athens to Sparta and back (500 km), which he made in just three days on bare feet in 490 BCE.

Een geheime opdracht (a secret assignment) by Marjolijn: a story about the (attempt of) murder on empress Agrippina in 59 CE.

Tussen de regels (between the lines) by Key: a story revolving around a correspondence of letters between Theoderik, his daughter, the synod of bishops, emperor Anastasius, Alarik and Clovis in Ravenna in 497-506 CE.

De ontsluiering (the unveiling) by me: a story about the festival of Demeter in Athens in the sixth century BCE.

De dichter uit Etrurië (the poet from Etruria) by Marjolijn: a story about the Battle of Alalia near Corsica around 540 BCE.

Met de moed der wanhoop (with desperate courage) by Key: a story about the Third Punic War in Carthage in 149 BCE.

Mijn lieveling (my precious) by Marjolijn: a story about the ring of Polycrates on Samos in 522 BCE.

Het gebroken verzet (broken resistance) by me: a story about the siege of Tyre by Alexander the Great in 332 BCE.

Gods oordeel (the judgment of God) by Key: a story about Jesus Barabbas in Jerusalem in 30-33 CE.

De soldaat die niet stierf (the soldier who would not die) by Marjolijn: a story about the Batavian revolt in 70 CE.

Rechter van steen (stone judge) by Key: a story about peasants in North-Africa who were being suppressed by their overlord but got help from a lawyer in their case against him near Souk-el-Khemis in 182 CE.

Een gevallen man (a fallen man) by Marjolijn: a story about the death of Lucius Sergius Catilina near Pistoia in 62 BCE.

Strijd tegen de vlammen (battle against the flames) by me: a story about the great fire of Rome and the Roman fire brigade in 64 CE.

Monoloog van Julia (Julia’s Monologue) by Marjolijn: a story about the life of Julia, daughter of emperor Augustus which takes place in Pandataria in 2 BCE.

De koning van morgen (the tomorrow king) by Key: a story about king Darius of Persia and the way in which he became king of the Persian empire in Susa in 522 BCE.

De ogen van de dood (the eyes of death) by Marjolijn: a story about a Roman baker in London in 61 CE.

Liefde en eer (love and honor) by me: a story about a deserter in the Spartan army during the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BCE.

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If you’re a fan of ancient history or stories about historical persons and events this collection of short stories will be perfect for you! Every story was written with a lot of love and is based on extensive research done by the authors. And if you’re more of a cover-buyer this beauty will not disappoint ❤

Ps. If you’ve read the book and would like to share your reading experience and your thoughts about the book my fellow authors and me would love to hear from you 🙂 We’re dying to read some reviews and opinions (even if they’re negative) 😉

 

Support your favorite authors and publishers by buying their work

Hey you guys and girls! Usually my posts are all about books and reading. I don’t like to harass people with other’s opinions or point and wave fingers and tell you what to do. However, sometimes you come across something you just can’t let slip and you have to share your opinion with others.

A couple of days ago one of my writing friends/ co-authors posted something on Facebook about a man that was selling hundreds of e-books on drives for one euro per dvd. Technically, to the letter of the law, this man was not stealing and selling stolen property as e-books can be sold from one person to the next. However, he wasn’t selling one e-book and he wasn’t selling it to just one person. When this author confronted the man with his actions he responded that he wasn’t doing anything illegal (in a manner that was downright insulting and asshole-ish). To cut a long story short, loads of authors that were on his list of e-books teamed-up and tried to get the man to understand that he was costing them their much deserved paycheck, but he still wouldn’t listen.

You probably wonder why I’m telling you this. Well, I wanted to ask you all to think before you download something illegally from the Internet, be it music, movies, books or anything else. You may think nobody is hurt by your downloading, but people are being hurt by it. The author you love so much that you are willing to do anything to get your hands on their new book is being hurt. The publisher that did its best to deliver a stunning book to you is being hurt. What if we all decided to not pay for our books anymore? Then publishers would go bankrupt and authors would have to stop writing. Not to mention all the people who are in some way linked to these books like editors, booksellers, publicists, etc, etc.

Please, please remember that downloading illegally does hurt people. The people that bring you the things you love and like the most. Remember your favorite author and publisher next time you are tempted to download their work illegally and choose to do the right thing. Support them and give them a signal that you value them enough to spend some of your well earned money on them.

This post is for everyone who loves books enough to buy them ❤