Let it Go | Massive edition.

Let it go started out as a way for me to write short reviews. For a while I have posted all my reviews only on Goodreads, because that was easier and quick. Today I want to share all the reviews I have written for the books I have read in 2018 so far. I'm still behind, but this is a fast way to make a start.

Girls made of Snow and Glass.
 Rating: 4.5 / 5.

Book 1The best thing about this book is the complex relationship between Mina and Lynet. There is no intense hate between the two of them, but a background story that adds so much to the overall plot. Mina isn't thrown into the story as the bad stepmother who wants to kill Lynet for her looks; there is so much more to it! The two of them might have a rocky relationship, but Mina is definitely more a mother to Lynet than in the original Snow White. Lynet was also a better character than Snow White. She still has something naive about herself and she doesn't have a lot of spunk (most of the times she simply accepts what is going on without doing something about it), but I did like her. Her growing feelings for the local surgeon girl was adorable. The author managed to take the bare bones of the Snow White tale and twist it into something original and magical. To be honest, Snow White has never been a favorite of mine, but I do LOVE this version of the fairytale.

Rating: 3 / 5.

Book 2The biggest let down of this book was the romance. It just didn't grab me and that made the ending less powerful. I am not the biggest fan of Liesl/Elizabeth and her constant whining about her appearance, but overall she isn't terrible. She is one of those characters you easily forget about after some time. The music talk wasn't interesting to me either, but I can see the appeal to some people. The thing that made me read this book was definitely that writing! I finished the book in one day, simply because I was hooked by her descriptions and world: it felt like I was there. She has a way of telling a story. This is the first book and the story has a lot of potential, so I am curious to read the second, and final, book called Shadowsong.

Rating: 3 / 5.

Book 3Everless is... less than I anticipated. The premise is amazing; time is stored in blood, so instead of using money, you have to donate time that can be used by the wealthy people like the Gerling family. The history behind this concept, with the Alcheimst and Sorceress hunting each other, was fabulous as well.

Jules her father is running out of time, so she decides to work at the mansion with danger of her own life. Years ago they were banned and Jules is afraid Liam will recognize her. Jules doesn't have anything that defines her from other YA heroines, which is a shame. She could have been fierce and loyal; with her spirit to protect her father. Instead she came across as whiny and that annoyed me. The middle part of the book also suffers from the fact nothing special happens, but the ending was enough for me to pick up the sequel at some point.

Rating: 4.5 / 5.

Book 5Gorgeous artwork! I absolutely love this style and I was enchanted by every page.
The story is pretty dark and violent & based on female power, which I always support. It is set in a world inspired by 1900s Asia, with a war between Arcanics (magical creatures who can sometimes pass as human) and the Cumaea (order of sorceresses who consume Arcanics to fuel their power)
The story centers around Maika Halfwolf, a girl with a psyhic link with a monster, who is a human looking Arcanic. She misses part of her left arm and now she has to deal with a demon who sometimes emerges from the stub. She has to understand and control this demon, which requires a lot of inner strength.
I can't wait to read the sequel.

Notes from My Captivity.
Rating: 4 / 5.

Book 4Adrienne wants to become one thing: a journalist like her idol, so when she gets the chance to write an article that could get her into her dream school, she takes it. This means she has to travel with her stepfather Dan into the Siberian wilderness in search of a mysterious family. Dan knows for sure that there is a legendary family living in the wilderness, even if this means no one else takes him seriously. Adrienne is only going to debunk this mystery, but when disaster strikes she has to re-evaluate her beliefs. I really liked Adrienne and her passion for journalism. It was nice to see her relationship change with Dan, now that the two of them work together in strange territory. The whole mystery behind the family was fascinating and I like how everything wrapped up.

The Lies They Tell.
Rating: 2 / 5.

Book 6Well.. That was a big snooze fest.
Pearl works at a summer resort club for rich people and when one of them, Bridges, shows interest in her she figures it is THE way to get more information about the fire that turned her father into a drunk. An entire family burned in their house, except one member called Tristan, and her father was the watchman that evening. He claims he never saw anyone and now people side-eye him. He has no work and the guilt eats at him. Pearl wants to find out what truly happened, so she can save her father's good name.
The whole promise was intriguing and I liked the beginning. We see the set-up where Pearl works hard to save her family from disaster, since her father spends most of his time getting wasted at the local pub. She is conflicted about her feelings for Reese, her best friend who is on/off with one of the other girls at work, and Bridges.
The story quickly evolves in a boring tale where we see Pearl uncovering small hints that show us the killer; so when we arrive at the conclusion there is no surprise there. I am always terrible at solving mysteries, but this is right in your face.. The killer is portrayed in such a way that there is no other way and that really let me down.

My Plain Jane.
Rating: 4 / 5.
Book 7This book worked better for me than the previous one, My Lady Jane, and I am happy I gave it a shot. Note: you don't have to read My Lady Jane to enjoy this book. They aren't sequels, but belong in the same world in the sense it is both focused on a 'Jane'. While My Lady Jane is a retelling of a historical figure (Jane Gray), My Plain Jane is about Jane Eyre with a paranormal twist. The fun thing is that this book also features Charlotte Brontë, who happens to be the author of Jane Eyre. She teams up with Alexander, a ghost hunter who works for an Agency to solve a murder and they need Jane. It was all really clever and funny, so I flew through the pages and I liked every character. Highly recommend this one if you like subtle historical stories.

The Cukoo's Calling.
Rating: 3 / 5.
Book 8I was surprised by the killer's identity, but at the same time, Cormoran keeps a lot of information to himself. I liked all the interviews and Robin. I liked the mystery, but it was slow and despite having a plot about a possible murder, it wasn't too exciting.
Cormoran gave me mixed feelings. I felt like 'Galbraith' tried to make him look really clever and smart by holding back information from the reader. The whole twist at the end and how Cormoran solves the case surprised me, but at the same time, there was no way you could have guessed this based on the vague exclamations from Cormoran when something makes sense to him. I also thought he was rather bland. Robin on the other hand stood out to me. She showed me that she was clever, like with her acting in the clothing store to gain more information from the sales girl. She definitely has the right spirit to solve mysteries and I wish there was more focus on her and her road to follow her passion (instead of going with a safe job like her husband-to-be who sounds rather boring)
I thought the mystery around the murder/suicide of a famous model would be more exciting, but the entire plot is based on Cormoran going to different people to interview them. I quite liked the fact we have a big cast of people who all tell their own story, but I wish there had been more to it. Overall not a bad book and like I said, the twist at the ending was big, but I'm not in a rush to pick up the sequel soon.

Sea Witch.
Rating: 2.5 / 5.
The beginning was awesome and I loved the switch between 'now' and 'then', where we see the main characters as children. There is Evie, the witch, Anna, the girl who drowned, and Nik, the crown prince. It is an unique friendship and now that Evie and Nik have grown up, people do side-eye their relationship. Evie is the freak and the outsider, but that's what made Nik even more precious to me; he simply doesn't care. Suddenly a girl who looks like Anna shows up and she confesses to Evie that she was a mermaid, but sold her soul in order to find love with Nik. If she runs out of time, she will die.

+ The writing. The author has a vivid imagination and she manages to show me her world. I was invested in the world-building and it made the book go faster, despite the dragging middle part.
+ Nik. Like I said, he doesn't give a crap about the opinions of the people, because he sticks with Evie no matter what. He was adorable and such a kind person, especially when he isn't afraid to show his feelings.
+ URSULA RETELLING. She is my favorite villain and I love the fact someone wrote a book about it (despite the fact I didn't end up loving it as much as I wanted.)

- The ending was waaaaaay to fast. I wish the author had cut parts in the middle and that there were more pages spend on the ending. The whole twist and conclusion was pretty good, but everything is just thrown in like there was no time left to elaborate, which made it overwhelming and it lost its emotional impact.
- This is a spoiler, select to read:  I really was underwhelmed by Anna's need for revenge.. I just didn't think the reason was strong enough to make her so spiteful towards Nik and Evie.. Maybe at first, but she should have seen their sadness and realize that they did everything they could to save her. This made the plot fall
- Also the romance *facepalm* Don't get me started guys. If you know me, you realized by now that I'm not much of romance reader, but I can get on board if it is well-written. In this case, the author took an approach that really didn't set right with me. Spoiler, select: EVIE IS FIRST COMPLETELY SMITTEN WITH ANOTHER GUY AND THEN IN THE ENDING SHE SUDDENLY LOVES NIK? NOPE NOPE NOPE, it doesn't work that way!
- Evie. While I loved Nik, I had a rocky relationship with Evie. There were moments I really liked her, but most of the times I just didn't care for her..

It started out so well, the book had so much potential, but in the end it let me down :(

Monthly Recap February '18 | Life.

25th Annual_thumb[2]

You can see more pictures about my daily life on my Instagram: @Mel_1704

Bookshopping with my friend in Amsterdam (and I didn't even buy many books!)
We had different friends coming over for game nights, which was great. I just really like to be home/be at someone's place to play board games.    
I had tapas with my book club, tapas with my friends and sushi with my work. I also tried out this place that sells cookie dough and it was delicious.
I was sick for a week and even had to call in sick for one day, because I felt terrible.
I went ice skating with my boyfriend – ehh, husband to be.
I had a yoga lesson and decided that I like it, but not enough to only do yoga.    

Wedding update:
We talked about our wedding cake with my sister. She is now up to date about our wishes for decoration and taste, so I can't wait to see the final result on our big day.  
We booked our DJ. This was probably the hardest to pick, but I have a good feeling about him. It's going to be a great party!
I started to buy items I need for some decoration. We aren't going to make it too crazy, since we are getting married in a castle and I think that is impressive and festive enough.
bookhaul_thumb2February box   
1. S.A Chakraborty - City of Brass.
2. Marissa Meyer – Renegades.
3. Joe Abercrombie – Half a King.
4. S. Jae-Jones – Shadowsong.
5. Marissa Meyer and – Gone Rogue, pre-order.
6. C. J Redwine – The Traitor Prince, pre-order.
7. Melissa Albert – The Hazel Wood, exclusive Fairyloot edition.
Read_thumb5 1. Amy Kaufman & Jay Kristoff – Gemina. 3/5.
2. Lois Lowrey – The Giver. 4/5.
3. Lois Lowrey – Gathering Blue. 3/5.
4. Lois Lowrey – Messenger. 4/5.
5. Lois Lowrey – Son. 4/5.
6. Kathy Parks – Notes from my Captivity. 4/5.
7. Ellen Oh – A Thousand Beginnings and Endings. 2/5.
8. Marissa Meyer & Douglas Holgate – Wires and Nerve. 4/5.
9. Marissa Meyer & Douglas Holgate – Gone Rogue. 5/5.
10. Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows & Brodi Ashton – My Plain Jane. 4/5.

Fairytale News | 5 Upcoming Fairytale Retellings.

I know I disappeared for some time – again – but I guess I just have to deal with the fact I will not be able to be a consistent blogger anymore. I've been really busy with other hobbies and taking care of the wedding, so for now I will just put up random posts when I feel like it. Today I decided it was time to bring back one of my favorite features: sharing upcoming fairytale retellings in my Fairytale News. There are many new books that will be published in 2018 and sometimes it's hard to keep track of them, so it is my pleasure to show case them! Here are the first five books:

Blanca & Roja. by Anna-Marie McLemore.
Pitched as: Snow White and Rose-Red meets Swan Lake.
Expected publication: October 9th 2018 by Feiwel & Friends
The Cerceta girls have never just been sisters; they’re also rivals. They know that one day, they’ll find themselves drawn into a dangerous game to determine which sister will stay a girl and which will be cursed to live as a swan. But when two of their childhood friends become drawn into the game, the curse threatens to decide the fate not just of the sisters, but of all four of them.
Extra information:
After some spy work I found this tweet from the author:
So Blanca & Roja are Latina sisters, one queer, one straight. The two boys who get drawn into the woods' magic with them are a non-binary boy & a boy adjusting to a disability. So Blanca & Roja & those 2 boys are the 4 POVs you'll see in the book. The non-binary boy uses he/him & she/her pronouns. There's also a f/f couple who are not POV characters, but who might be 2 of my favorite characters I've ever written.
You can find an excerpt on the Bustle website.

The Orphan's Wish by Melanie Dickerson.
Pitched as: Aladdin retelling.
Expected publication: June 26th 2018 by Thomas Nelson.
From the streets to an orphanage in a faraway kingdom, Aladdin has grown up alone. Until he meets Kirstyn. With a father who is the duke of Hagenheim and a mother who is the patroness of the orphanage where Aladdin lives, Kirstyn is a member of the most powerful family in the land . . . and way out of his league. Despite the difference in their stations, Aladdin quickly becomes Kirstyn’s favorite companion for taking walks in the forest, and their childhood friendship grows along with them.
Extra information:
This is the 8th book in the Hagenheim series. These are Christian historical fiction books.

The Surface Breaks by Louise O'Neill.
Pitched as: Feminist Little Mermaid retelling.
Expected publication: May 3rd 2018 by Scholastic.
Deep beneath the sea, off the cold Irish coast, Gaia is a young mermaid who dreams of freedom from her controlling father. On her first swim to the surface, she is drawn towards a human boy. She longs to join his carefree world, but how much will she have to sacrifice? What will it take for the little mermaid to find her voice?
Extra Information:
Here is a tweet from the author where you can read the first page!

The Queen Underneath by Stacey Filak.   
Pitched as: Loose retelling of Sleeping Beauty.
Expected publication: May 8th 2018 by Page Street.
The Above and the Under have a tenuous truce that is shattered after the death of both their respective rulers. Gemma, the new queen of Under, must throw history aside and team up with Tollan, the heir to the Above throne, in order to take down a power that seeks to rule them all.
Their group of rebels is comprised of an assassin, a sex worker, and a palace servant from Above, and we follow their unique perspectives as they are forced to question previously held beliefs. But even with war looming, romance still grows. Challenging gender roles and the expectation that every prince must have a princess, Tollan discovers love with Elam—a young man, a sex worker, and one of Gemma’s closest friends.
Extra information:
This is the blurb on the Stacey's website:
In the city-state of Yigris, a secret pact has maintained the peace for over a hundred years. The King of Above rules over the nobles and the merchants, while the Queen of Under controls the thieves, assassins, and whores. The peace is shattered when both monarchs are murdered on the same day, leaving their heirs apparent to deal with the consequences.
Gemma Antos, the new Queen of Under, has only just begun to understand her new role when she is faced with a city under seige -- strange brambles erupt throughout the city, fires rage, and a mage rebellion threatens everything she cares about.

And you can read an excerpt on YA Books Central.

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik.
Pitched as: Rumplestiltskin retelling.
Expected publication: July 10th 2018 by Del Rey
Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders... but her father isn't a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife's dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty--until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers' pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed--and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.  But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it's worth--especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand.
Extra information:
This was actually a short story in an anthology called The Starlit Wood, but she decided to explore the story and expand it into a full novel!

Talk Bujo to Me | Bright Ideas Metallic Brush Pen Review.

If you are new to bulletjournaling: it is basically a wish list, to-do list and journal – and what I like to do is decorate it with doodles, handlettering, stamps and washi-tape. I have two informative posts about my step into this bujo-world and setting up collections.

Disclaimer: I received these pens from Abrams - Chronicle Books for review purposes, but every opinion is my own. I'm not paid.

This set is the Bright Ideas Metallic set, which consist of 8 double-sided pens. One side has a regular marker, the other side is a brush pen. I love double-sided pens, because it makes them more diverse. You can use the regular side for normal writing or decorations, while the brush pen helps you to make more fancy handlettering.

The brush pen itself is more flexible in comparison with the Tombow Dual Brush Pen markers. I don't mind the difference, but I would say it is harder to work with as a beginner. It took me some extra practice to get straight lines. I love the different effect it gives, because you can make even thicker down strokes by pressing harder. I prefer these pens over the Kuretake Fude Brush Pen, because the tips from the Bright Ideas set are smaller.

The colours are beautiful and have a nice metallic sheen. I love how bright and colourful they are, not opaque at all. As you can see this is more noticeable on black paper, but I also love the effect on regular white paper. The 8 colours are Silver (Silver Screen Dreams), Gold (Midas Touch), Green (Mermaid Tales), Blue (Tip of the Iceberg), Purple (Simply Mauvelous), Pink (Rose Reverie), Light Pink (Petal to the metal) and Copper (Champagne Wishes). This is a perfect range of colours to work with, although I would love to get a red shade! 

The pricing is, what I would call, a regular price for these type of pens. This set retails for $13.45 on Amazon, which means every pen is about $1.70. That's a really good price considering the quality. Other products I could find in this Bright Ideas line are:
-Regular 20 double-sided pens.
-The Bright Ideas Notebook, with different coloured paper.
-Sticky Notes
-Graphite Pencils, also in Metallic Edition.
-Neon Glitter Gel pens.

I'm really happy with this set and I'm definitely interested in trying out more products, like the regular set with the primary colours.

Monthly Recap January '18 | Wedding Updates.

25th Annual_thumb[2]

You can see more pictures about my daily life on my Instagram: @Mel_1704
OUAT_thumb3This was a really exciting month for me, where I made some progress towards the wedding.
Hello Beautiful
I went to the Hello Beautiful Wedding Event hosted by Randy from Say Yes to the Dress. It was such a fun experience with my mother, grandmother and sister. We saw two big wedding shows (where he showed some dresses from his new collection) and he gave some tips and tricks about looking for your wedding dress. I got some inspiration from the stands, mostly for rings and entertainment and we had a nice lunch.

Next up was my appointment to try on wedding dresses. It was my first time and I found THE dress. It was the 7th dress I tried on and I am not kidding when I say I had my true 'Say Yes to the Dress' moment. I walked towards the mirror that covered the entire wall and then I had tears. I just felt so beautiful and it made me realize that I'm really going to be a bride, haha. The experience overall was fabulous. The lady who helped me listened to my likes/dislikes and she eventually picked out the dress for me based on my opinions. She never made me feel rushed and at the end of the appointment she even let me walk around my dress for rougly 15 minutes while she was taking care of all the details around buying the dress. It was also incredibly special that I had my two grandmother's with me (together with my mom, sister and practically second-mom, because this family friend has been around for forever) It was fun to try out two dresses completely the opposite of my taste - and it proved to me that I was looking in the right direction. It was mostly all the elements I was looking for and I can't wait to wear it on our big day!

Another fantastic event was seeing Lady Gaga's concert! She is truly an artist. She knows how to entertain her crowd and her voice is unbelievable, especially if you consider she is dancing all the time. And last but not least, I went to Pitch Perfect 3 with my mom and sister and I loved it + I surprised Jasper by taking him to Jumanji, which was hilarious.

I broke my book buying limit (5 books every month) for one reason: I got a gift card as Christmas bonus from work, so of course I had to get some books for it, so I got four extra.

1. C.J Redwine – The Wish Granter.
2. Zoë Marriott - Shadows on the Moon.
3. Robin Hobb - Assassin's Apprentice, because it's time to read a book by this author.
4. J.K Rowling - A Journey through the History of Magic.
5. J.K Rowling - HP and the Chamber of Secrets illustrated.
6. Katherine Longshore - The Bear and the Nightingale.
7. Ashton, Hand & Meadows - My Lady Jane. Bargain.
8. Stina Leicht - Cold Iron. Bargain.
9. Marjorie Lu (author) + Sana Takeda (illustrator) – Monstress.

I also received two awesome review copies from Abrams. I've emailed them telling them that I would love to review some of their art products too, so I received this gorgeous 'Find your Adventure' notebook and a practice book for Watercoloring. I can't wait to try them out and review them after a few months!

Find your adventureWatercolor

And the last thing that came in the mail was my Fairyloot January box 'Talk Faerie to me'. I already had a feeling we were receiving Holly Black – The Cruel Prince and I'm stoked. I've heard so many good things about it! I'm also in love with the pillow case and the Faerieland exclusive coloring book.

Since last year I've been in a little funk when it comes to reading, but I participated in Bout of Books and I'm back into it!

1. Melissa Bashardoust – Girls made of Snow and Glass. 4.5/5. Favorite!
2. Sarah Andersen – Herding Cats. 4/5.
3. S. Jae Jones – Wintersong. 3/5.
4. Becky Albertalli - Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. 1.5/5
5. Sarah Prineas – Summerkin. 3.5/5.
6. Sara Holland – Everless. 3/5.
7. Sarah Prineas – Moonkind. 3/5.
8. Marjorie Lu + Sana Takeda – Monstress. 4.5/5. Favorite!

1. Vikings season 5, episode 1-7. Oh boy!
2. The Punisher season 1, episode 4-8. I'm enjoying this more than Daredevil.
3. Game of Thrones season 2, episode 2-4 rewatch.
4. Sense 8 season 2, episode 7-8, I'm watching this really slowly because I don't want it to be over..
5. Outlander season 2, episode 2-3.

1. Bright.
2. Jumanji.
3. Thor: Ragnarok.
4. Pitch Perfect 3.


Review | Marissa Meyer - Heartless.

Marissa Meyer - Heartless.
Published November 8th 2016 by Feiwel & Friends.
Long before she was the terror of Wonderland—the infamous Queen of Hearts—she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.
Long before she was the terror of Wonderland, she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love. Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.
Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

Cath loves baking and her dream is to open her own store together with her maid, and best friend, Mary Ann. Her mother has even bigger dreams though; the King of Hearts is proposing to Cath. Idonia Pinkerton, Marchioness of Rock Turtle, wants nothing more than seeing Cath become Queen of Hearts, ruler of Hearts. Cath's passion of baking are crushed when even her father refuses to fund her bakery. The only one who seems to accept her for who she is, is Jest, the new court Joker.

From the moment they make eye contact, Cath is obsessed with him. While I loved him as a character, I did not like this hint of insta-love. He also throws in the famous, and one of the most annoying lines if you ask me, that 'she is not like other girls.' Because I did not care enough about this ship, I was also not shattered at the end of the book. I wish I had felt more, because if it had been delivered in another way, it would have been much more emotional.

Jest, together with Hatta, are in Hearts for a reason. We only get to see a glimps of what is going on in the world of Chess, where the Red and White Queen are battling for power. If Cath wasn't so stupid and naive to ignore the advice of the three sisters, we would have seen more of Chess. He was my favorite character for sure.

That was most probably the most problematic aspect of this book. I LOVED every character in the Lunar Chronicles, especially the girls, but I did not give a damn about Cath. She is selfish and without a doubt, stupid. She has captured the heart of the King, reasons still unknown, and she keeps messing with him. The whole I'm-going-to-say-no-or-perhaps-I-will-say-yes-situations kept going on and on and on. I missed a good plot like with the Lunar Chronicles..

The next thing I missed was the truly madness feeling of Wonderland. For some reason it felt rather bland and that's not something I expected from Meyer, who created such a fascinated world before. I wanted to see more strange things! I was looking for the same overly weird experience that I had with the original tale, that almost felt like a plunge into a bad trip. She could have done more and I feel she didn't went overboard enough. She did spend a lot of time into describing food, and I liked it, but at the end of the day I wasn't blown away.