Bookhaul #1

23 oktober 2016

I have never done a bookhaul before. It's not because I didn't want to do them, but because I, when I started blogging, went through a bit of a book buying slump. That's right, a book buying slump. I didn't know they existed either. I was fine with reading, I was actually reading a lot of books, but everytime I was looking for a new book to buy, all books just looked a bit 'meh' to me. So, naturally, I didn't buy any. And one can't do a bookhaul without any books.

But then, in summer, I kind of forced myself to start buying books again. Well, 'forcing' isn't really the right word, but I just knew that if I just bought a book, any book, I would fall in love with books all over again. That book was How Hard Can Love Be? by Holly Bourne. I already owned the first book in the series, and it was still sitting on my shelf, unread. However, I had this feeling that I am going to love the series, and that marathoning it would be perfect.

Then, I went a bit crazy. First, I picked up You Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour and Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour. I read both of these on my e-reader, but I loved them so much that I just needed a physical copy of both of them. And the fact that they had gorgeous covers might also have something to do with it.

I also pre-ordered Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi and Frost Like Night by Sara Raasch, which I was super excited about. I loved the whole premise of Furthermore, and I fell in love with it when I read the synopsis last year. It was definitely one of my most anticipated 2016 releases, just like Frost Like Night! I loved Snow Like Ashes and I couldn't wait to see how the series ended, especially because I didn't love the second book, Ice Like Fire, that much. You'd think I'd have read both of these by now, but no. And yes, I'm a bit angry at myself because of it.

Then my book-buying stopped for a little bit, until I read The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson and The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Adieh. I loved The Kiss of Deception so so much that I immediately ordered the rest of the series. The Heart of Betrayal in physical form, and the Beauty of Darkness as an e-book. The paperback version of the Beauty of Darkness won't come out until August of next year, which is just incredibly frustrating. I also ordered the Rose and the Dagger, because while I didn't love the Wrath and the Dawn, I had a feeling that the series would get better, and I really wanted to know what was going to happen. 

I also pre-ordered a signed copy of The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan! The weird thing about his books is that, at least for this one and The Hidden Oracle, there wasn't even an option on Amazon to buy a 'normal' hardcover. Every hardcover was signed! Not that I mind, though. I am currently reading it and I'm LOVING it! 

And lastly, just last week, I went to my local bookstore because I've got to do those fun exposure exercises for my anxiety/agoraphobia. They hardly ever have any books I want, so I usually just walk around and read synopses of different books, but this time I actually spotted a book I wanted! It was in the Dutch kidlit section, so they hid it very well, but there it was: Holding up the Universe by Jennifer Niven! I immediately grabbed it and bought it. The guy working there probably thought I was very weird because I was trembling and hyper ventilating a bit, but hey, that's anxiety for you. How fun. But it was 100% worth it!

Besides all of these books, I also ordered a lot of classics, but that's for another blogpost.

What is the last book you bought?

TTT: Book Characters I'd Name My Child After

18 oktober 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke & the Bookish.

When I read what this week's TTT topic was going to be, I got really excited. You wouldn't think that a single 19-year-old girl who doesn't plan on having kids for the next 10 years would be thinking about what to name her children, but I DO. I have no idea why, but whenever I read about an awesome character with a great name, my automatic reaction is 'I should definitely call my future child that'. So here are a few of those characters:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)The Lord of the Rings (The Lord of the Rings, #1-3)Alice in Wonderland (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, #1)The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles, #1)Pride and PrejudiceWinter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4)The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1)

I think basically everyone has a Harry Potter character they'd want to name their child after, and mine is Luna Lovegood. I love her character, and I've been obsessed with her since I first read about her. She's such a unique, smart and lovely character, and I just love the name Luna. My other favorite HP characters are Neville, Lupin and Tonks, but I didn't want to give my child names like that. I don't want them to hate me.
If I had a boy, I'd definitely want to name him after Samwise Gamgee from the Lord of the Rings series. I grew up watching the LotR movies, and my dad reads the books every summer, so the story means a lot to me. Sam has always been my favorite character, because he's so brave and such a loyal friend. And he's adorable. 
The next one is kind of a weird one, because I don't love the character, but I'd still love to name my child after Alice from Alice in Wonderland. Her character annoyed me very much, but I adore the overall story and I love watching the Disney movie. I also think Alice is just a wonderful name.
Up next is Lia from the Kiss of Deception. She's such a strong female character with an amazing personality, and if I had a daughter I'd want her to be like her. But maybe without the assassin chasing after her, because that'd complicate life a bit. 
I only recently fell in love with Pride and Prejudice, and I would love to name my child after one of the characters. There's just one problem: almost all the names in this book remind me of old English people. Naming my child Elizabeth or Fitzwilliam would just feel very wrong. And I kind of hate the name Fitzwilliam. So if I got to change the names just a bit, I would love to name my son Charlie, after Mr. Bingley who is just the cutest little puppy ever, and I'd name my daughter Eliza, after Elizabeth Bennet. And after Eliza from the musical Hamilton, because, how could I not?
The next character I'd name my child after is a bit like Luna Lovegood: Winter from The Lunar Chronicles. They're both a bit odd and different, but they're both just as amazing. Winter is my favorite character from TLC, because she's so incredibly lovely and selfless. I also really like seasonal names, so that's a plus.
And how can I get through a post that's basically about all of my favorite characters, without mentioning one of my favorite series: The Heroes of Olympus? I would definitely want to name a character after Percy or Annabeth, or basically anyone from this series. Maybe except for Piper. Not because she's not a great character, because I LOVE HER, but I just don't really like her name.

So, those are some of the book characters I'd name my child after! Now tell me, what book character would you name your child after?

A Few (Not Too Scary) October Book Recommendations

16 oktober 2016

Who's that person that's making an October book recommendation post in the middle of October? Yep, that's me. I've just been seeing loads of October book recommendation videos and blogposts that included very dark and scary books, and I wanted to make my own post with books that aren't that scary. Sure, it's the perfect time of the year to read scary books, and if that's what you like then go for it! But if you're even a bit like me and can't handle super scary stuff because it keeps you up at night, and you stay far away from any horror or thrillers, then this post is for you!

The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse by Brian Farrey is a book I read last month and totally loved! It's about these two girls, a princess and a 'normal' girl, who are both drawn to the dark and scary woods near the village that no one dares to enter called the Dreadwillow Carse. The book is definitely dark and haunting at times, but because it's a MG book it's not 'I-can't-sleep-because-of-this-book-creepy'. It also deals with a few mental-health topics in an excellent way, so I can't recommend this one enough!

October is the perfect time for magical-realism, so that's why The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman is also on this list. This book definitely has an eerie feel to it, but it's very beautiful and reads like a dream (mostly because you have no idea what's going on most of the time). Actually, all of Neil Gaiman's work might be perfect for October, and I should definitely pick up some of his other books this month.

When I think about October, I think about Halloween. And when I think about Halloween, I think about those kids dressed up as movie and book characters I've seen in movies. We don't celebrate Halloween here, so I have no idea if it's actually like that, but those dressed up kids reminded me of one of my favorite NA books called The Collector's Society. In this book, a bunch of characters from different works of literature form some sort of society to save other bookish characters, because someone is trying to destroy all bookish worlds. The series is excellent and it has some great characters, but just so you're warned: the series does get a lot darker the further it progresses.

If you want to read something this month that deals with mental health, I'd definitely recommend Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand! This one's about a girl named Finley who has to spend her summer at her grandparent's house. Finley struggles a lot with anxiety and depression, and Everwood, a forest kingdom she often writes about, is her only escape. 
The way this book deals with mental health is excellent, and the way Finley feels is described in such a way that it feels very raw and real. Some Kind of Happiness also gives off very autumn-y feels even though it's set in summer, because it's mostly set in a forest.

Next is a book you should be reading soon anyway because the movie is coming out soon and that's A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. A Monster Calls is about a little boy named Conor who get's a visit from a monster at night, and reading about monsters seems like a bit of a Halloween-y and October-y thing, right? The illustrations in this book give off very dark vibes, and the story is very haunting and heartbreaking. Fair warning: you will cry while reading this one. 
Oh, and I know the whole monster and dark illustrations thing sounds very scary, but it's not too bad!

And if you're an absolute daredevil who does want to read something scary, I have a Dutch YA thriller recommendation for you: Mel Wallis de Vries. Literally any of her books. I used to devour them when I was younger, and they all gave me goosebumps and kept me on the edge of my seat. I'm not sure if they're translated into English, but they're definitely available in both Dutch and German!

So, what books will you be reading this October?

Review: The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse by Brian Farrey

13 oktober 2016

The Secret of Dreadwillow CarseTitle: The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse
Author: Brian Farrey
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy

A princess and a peasant girl must embark on a dangerous quest to outwit a centuries-old warning foretelling the fall of the Monarchy in this modern fairytale. In the center of the verdant Monarchy lies Dreadwillow Carse, a black and desolate bog that the happy people of the land do their best to ignore. Little is known about it, except for one dire warning: If any monarch enters Dreadwillow Carse, then the Monarchy will fall. Twelve-year-old Princess Jeniah yearns to know what the marsh could possibly conceal that might topple her family’s thousand-year reign of peace and prosperity.Meanwhile, in the nearby town of Emberfell, where everyone lives with unending joy, a girl named Aon hides a sorrow she can never reveal. She knows that something in the carse--something that sings a haunting tune only Aon can hear--holds the cure for her sadness. Yet no matter how many times she tries to enter, the terror-inducing dreadwillow trees keep her away.After a chance meeting, Princess Jeniah and Aon hatch a plan to send Aon into the heart of the carse to unlock its darkest secret. But when Aon doesn’t return, a guilt-stricken Jeniah must enter the carse to try and rescue her friend--even if it means risking the entire Monarchy.

Rating: ★★★★/5 stars

The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse tells us the story of two 12 year old girls living in Emberfell; princess Jeniah, and Aon. The princess's mother is dying, and she will soon have to be queen. Jeniah is terrified she will mess up because she has no idea how to rule, and her mother has only told her one thing: do not enter dreadwillow carse, or the monarchy will fall. However, this only spikes Jeniah's curiosity. What is in the carse that could ruin thousands of years of peace? 

Then there's Aon, a girl with a secret. She is the only one who can feel sadness in a world where the only emotion people feel is happiness. She doesn't understand why, but she knows one thing: the dreadwillow carse holds the cure for her sadness. Together, the girls form a plan to send Aon into the heart of the carse to discover it's secrets, but when Aon doesn't return Jeniah has no choice but to find her friend. She enters the carse herself, even though it risks the entire monarchy. 

The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse was very different from what I thought it would be. Where I thought I'd get a cutesy book that wouldn't be more than just a fun read, I got so much more. The book, while disturbing at times, had a truly magical feel to it. It read like a dream, and I couldn't help finishing it in one sitting.

This book has it all: 2 amazingly strong main characters, an incredible friendship, a (very creepy) fairytale like setting, beautiful writing, and a valuable message for it's readers. It's a great book for any middle-schooler, or anyone who loved middle grade novels, like me.