Monthly Recap | January '15. Diving instruction.

I always enjoy watching recaps from other bloggers, so that’s why I’ll be posting my own recaps. This wrap up is also my new ‘Showcase Sunday’ since I don’t have the time to do weekly hauls. Instead, I hope to capture
largeThis was a pretty quiet month. One of my highlights was an hour diving instruction! I LOVED it and I can’t wait to return this year; I want to get a license. You might not know this about me, but I’ve wanted to dive for a long time and I’m so happy I finally did it. Navigating required some patience, but after a while I felt like some kind of mermaid.

I had a couple of dinners. First, I went to diner with my boyfriend, sister and her boyfriend. It was fun and we had nice food, especially the chocolate dessert. We ordered Indian food and it was good! Later that week, my parent’s invited their friends and we ordered sushi, yum. I should have gone to the gym to train all the food off, but we (sister) couldn't find the right time to go together and I hate going alone, so in February we're back in action. I had my book club meeting and we went back to a place that seems to become our favorite; the food is delicious there. We ranted, we laughed, we talked books; it was great. I went to a book fair with Debby & Daph and we stayed for dinner at Debby's new place. Fun times :)

My internship had it’s ups and downs. My materials didn’t arrive on time, which meant I had to sit down and wait, because I couldn’t do a single thing without it. This was stressful, but I had a positive conversation with my internship mentor and I feel better now. They even gave me a letter of recommendation to use after graduating and I will be highlighted on the website. I also had to give a final presentation in English for 14 people. I was so nervous I felt sick, but I did it without screwing up! Good feedback and I feel more confident for my thesis defense.

Fairytale News | My bullying story.

This is a 'new' feature I came up with. I will be talking about everything that has to do with reading. From pretty new covers to discussions about books. I will post them randomly.

This is a serious matter I want to talk about today. I sometimes look at my Google Stats to see the words people use to find my blog. I was shocked when I found this one between normal looking search words: “bullied by everyone in my life want to die” It makes me sad that someone has to Google for this and mad how little attention there is for bullying. This is something that should be addressed more in the media, because it's not a topic you can push away like it doesn't matter.

Whoever searched for this, let me tell you one thing: YOU MATTER. You are important. You are special, unique and wonderful. I have been bullied and I know how hard it is. I know how it feels like to look in the mirror and feel worthless and ugly. I know what it is to think you are never good enough and to feel that you don’t belong. I have talked about this before in the letter to younger Mel and when bullying isn’t bullying but here is the whole story. This is a bit scary for me to post, but I hope I can help someone with it.

Review 211. Samantha Shannon – The mime order.

17901125Title: The mime order.
Author: Samantha Shannon.
Pages: 528.
Published: January 27th 2015 by Bloomsbury
Sort: The bone season #2.
TBS #1. The bone season.
Source: I borrowed an ARC copy from sweet Debby. Thank you!
Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal penal colony of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the fugitives are still missing and she is the most wanted person in London. As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on Paige, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city’s gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take center stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner. Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. But where is Warden? Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided. Will Paige know who to trust? The hunt for the dreamwalker is on.

I enjoyed this book much more than the previous book. The bone season felt a bit overwhelming with the information-dumps in the beginning, but I had no problems with The mime order. The details are spread throughout the story and instead of being lost, I felt wrapped inside this world and its characters. Spoiler-free if you haven't read both books.

Personal | TBR pile tag.

TBR pile
I was tagged by Sana from artsy musings of a bibliophile to do this tag a lot time ago, so you can all laugh at me and my methods to tackle my never-ending, always growing TBR pile. I tried to find the creator from this tag, but I couldn’t find anything.

I use a Goodreads shelf called ‘owned-tbr’ and when I finish a book I move it to my ‘owned’ shelf. Lately I’ve been using my boyfriend’s apartment to stack most of the books from my TBR pile. Here are some of the books I plan to read soon:

Print. I don’t like to buy a lot of ebooks, because I always want a print if I love the book and that’s more expensive than buying the print right away. E-books also don't end up on my 'owned' list, because I don't feel I truly own them. Does that make any sense?

Mel in Movieland | A court of thorns and roses movie casting.

Title: A court of thorns and roses.
Author: Queen Sarah J. Maas.
Expected publication: May 5th 2015 by Bloomsbury Children's
Source: Judith was kind enough to let me borrow her copy <3
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world. As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.
I started this book the moment I got it in the mail and I couldn’t put it down. Don’t ask if I like it more than Throne of glass, because I have an equal love for both series for different reasons. My review will be up closer to the publication date (okay, let's be real here: it's more the rambling of a raving fangirl trying to sound reasonable), but I already want to show you my ultimate cast in the hope to make you even more excited. I know I can't wait to get a published copies in my hands so I can re-read this. The prose, the world-building, the hot chemistry.. Okay, I'm drifting off. Here we go:

Review 210. Megan Shepherd – A cold legacy.

16182308Title: A cold legacy.
Author: Megan Shepherd.
Pages: 400.
Published: January 27th 2015 by Balzer + Bray.
Sort: The madman’s daughter #3.
The madman’s daughter.
Her dark curiosity.
Source: Edelweiss & Publisher.
After killing the men who tried to steal her father’s research, Juliet—along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward—has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet’s secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor’s own walls. Then Juliet uncovers the truth about the manor’s long history of scientific experimentation—and her own intended role in it—forcing her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. And she must decide if she’ll follow her father’s dark footsteps or her mother’s tragic ones, or whether she’ll make her own.


To say that I disliked the second book Her dark curiosity would be an understatement. I absolutely LOATHED the sequel to The madman’s daughter. There was nothing about the book I liked, but based on the first book and the promise of A cold legacy I decided to give this series another shot. It’s not only a good feeling to cross another series of my list, I’m also happy to announce this was much more enjoyable.

Warning: don’t read the blurb from this book if you don’t want to spoiler yourself. It’s safe to read my review if you haven’t read any of the books.

Review 309. Paul Durham – The luck uglies.

18635085Title: The luck uglies.
Author: Paul Durham.
Pages: 395.
Published: April 29th 2014 by HarperCollins.
Sort: The luck Uglies #1.
Source: Edelweiss & Publisher.
Strange things are happening in Village Drowning, and a terrifying encounter has Rye O'Chanter convinced that the monstrous, supposedly extinct Bog Noblins have returned. Now Rye's only hope is an exiled secret society so notorious its name can't be spoken aloud: the Luck Uglies. As Rye dives into Village Drowning's maze of secrets, rules, and lies, she'll discover the truth behind the village's legends of outlaws and beasts...and that it may take a villain to save them from the monsters.

This charming middle grade is compared to Stefan Bachmann – The peculiar and I can see why. It has the same tone to it, with it’s mystery around the notorious group that is called ‘The luck Uglies.’ and the appearance of a dangerous beast. I think this book has a lot to offer to both adult as children.

Fairytale News | Originality.

This is something I struggle with. I’m always busy with my content and trying to come up with new ideas, but sometimes I’m stuck. It’s hard to be original and unique, especially when you have the feeling almost everything has been done. I enjoy writing my discussion posts, but at the same time I don’t want to use popular/overused topics all the time.

While I’m very proud of my blog, there are moments I’m a bit jealous of the endless posts from people. I admired them for coming up with things I wish I thought of – and I wish I could be as inspiring as them. At the moment I’m busy with real life, like you might know I started my internship, and I’m still trying to figure out a good balance between reading, life and blog posts. I feel a bit empty when it comes to discussion posts.

Most of my inspiration comes from things I see on the internet, my own personal experiences or things people around me say. Examples of this posts are when I talked about bullying and the wrong use of the word, my life growing up as a reader and my love for Disney. But there are moments I’m scared to fall into repetition or the worst thing I’m afraid of: that people get bored of my content.

I'm happy that I came up with my movie feature, because I can spread my Disney love, and I have some posts coming up about things like popularity, the 'best' posts and second reading chances. My question is, how do you come up with new content? And are there certain topics you want to see here, like more personal things?

TTT 40. The 2014 releases I forgot to read.

I was actually surprised how many 2014 releases I read from my TBR list. I still managed to find 10 titles I desperately want to read. Let me know what you thought about them.


I bought copies from R.C Lewis – Stitching snow (yep, I’m ignoring the negative reviews), Stacey Jay – Princess of thorns and Claire Legrand – Winterspell, this is going to happen soon! I forgot to add Julliet Marillier - Dreamer's pool. One of my favorite authors, so I'm very excited!
I can’t understand why I still haven’t bought a copy from McCormick Templeman.
I wasn’t blown away by Strands as bronze as gold, but I’m still curious about Jane Nickerson - The mirk and mignight hour.
Kate Boorman – Winterkill has mixed reviews, but the cover reminds me of Red Riding Hood and I want it.
I wanted to read Tess Sharpe – Far from you for the debut challenge, but I failed and forgot about it. Sharon Biggs Waller – A mad wicked folly was gifted to me by Daisy for Secret Santa, so YES.
I’m not in love with the cover from Vicki Weavil – Crown of ice, but it’s a fairytale retelling. Beth Revis – The body electric, sounds great.

Mel in Movieland | Disney - Pinocchio.

Welcome to my new feature, where I will be coming books and movies! I bet you can guess how I came up in the name, but in case you aren’t; Alice in Wonderland. You can find my inspirations in this post Fairytale news: other content.

I’m currently watching all the Disney movies together with my blogging friends, called ‘Disney Journey’ and that's how this idea was born. This is also partly inspired by Project Disney from Picture us reading - you should check out their artwork in the trading cards!

The original story was written by the Italian author Carlo Collodi (real name: Carlo Lorenzini) as ‘Le avventure di Pinocchio’ translated to The adventures of Pinocchio – the setting of the story is in Tuscan. The author died in 1890 unaware of the popularity of his tale. His story has been translated to more than 240 languages, making it the most translated non-religious book. It’s interesting to note that in the first version of the story, Pinocchio dies a gruesome death. He is hanged, but at the request of the editor the author added the last chapters where Pinocchio is saved by the fairy who transforms him into a real boy.

Review 308. Sherry Thomas – The perilous sea.

20359719Title: The perilous sea.
Author: Sherry Thomas.
Pages: 414.
Published: September 16th 2014 by Balzer + Bray.
Sort: The elemental trilogy #2.
Part 1. The burning sky.
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher.
After spending the summer away from each other, Titus and Iolanthe (still disguised as Archer Fairfax) are eager to return to Eton College to resume their training to fight the Bane. Although no longer bound to Titus by a blood oath, Iolanthe is more committed than ever to fulfilling her destiny—especially with the agents of Atlantis quickly closing in. Soon after arriving at school, though, Titus makes a shocking discovery, one that makes him question everything he previously believed about their mission. Faced with this devastating realization, Iolanthe is forced to come to terms with her new role, while Titus must choose between following his mother's prophecies—and forging a divergent path to an unknowable future.

I was a big fan of The burning sky and while this book was good, it didn’t live up to the first one. The plot was a bit too slow and that made me look at the missing world-building. Still, it gave me all the Iolanthe/Titus feelings. For some strange reason I never wrote a review for The burning sky, so I'm going to include some of my thoughts about that book as well (spoiler free)

Review 307. A.G Howard – Ensnared.

23068265 (1)Title: Ensnared.
Author: A.G Howard.
Pages: 384,
Published: January 13th 2015 by Amulet books.
Sort: Conclusion in the Splintered series.
Splintered #1. Splintered.
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher.
After surviving a disastrous battle at prom, Alyssa has embraced her madness and gained perspective. She’s determined to rescue her two worlds and the people and netherlings she loves. Even if it means challenging Queen Red to a final battle of wills and wiles... and even if the only way to Wonderland, now that the rabbit hole is closed, is through the looking-glass world—a parallel dimension filled with mutated and sadistic netherling outcasts. In the final installment of the Splintered trilogy, Alyssa and her dad journey into the heart of magic and mayhem in search of her mom and to set right all that’s gone wrong. Together with Jeb and Morpheus, they must salvage Wonderland from the decay and destruction that has ensnared it. But even if everyone succeeds and comes out alive, can they all truly have their happily ever after?

This book was not what I expected and that’s in a positive and negative way. I enjoyed it, but at the same time I’m still not sure how I feel about the conclusion when it comes to the romance. The plot is a bit slow, but I was happy they returned to the dark Wonderland and all it’s creepy creatures. It’s a solid story.

The review is spoiler free for Ensnared, but contains small spoilers for the previous books.

Yearly recap 2014.

Personal (1)Okay, a warning: this is going to be long! You can always skip to the things you are interested in, but I’m going to start with a personal recap and end with a Reading statistics recap. This year I decided to use Excel and work with some graphics to challenge myself.

Every year always has it’s ups and downs, but I’m glad I can look back at all the amazing things I’ve done in 2014. I created many beautiful memories with friends and loved ones and I’ve had new opportunities when it came to blogging. I feel like this is the year where I've grown the most so far. I see my own development and that is a good thing. I've grown more comfortable with myself and I no longer let things that scare me hold me back. Here is a round-up for some of my 2014 highlights!

January retelling link-up | Fairytale beginnings.

(Unless you are Snow White)
Welcome to the beginning of the reading challenge! I hope you had a good New Year's Eve.

First off, if you haven't signed up for this challenge, you can until January 31. Go to the introduction post with the master sign-up linky. Other technical details: don't forget to tweet with the hash-tag #fairytaleRC so I'm able to see all your tweets.

I hope you are all ready to get some reading done (let me know in the comments which level you are aiming for and what your first book might be.) At the end of this post you can put links to your challenge page/post and every review you post on your blog. Please make this easy to navigate by putting it like this:

UPDATE  @ your name/blog name. This is your master post, like your challenge page.
REVIEW – book title @ your name/blog name.
CHALLENGE1 - @ your name/blog name.
Once upon a time, in a faraway land,
A young Prince lived in a shining castle
Although he had everything his heart desired, 
The Prince was spoiled, selfish, and unkind. 
Since this is the first month and start of our reading challenge, I thought it might be a good idea to talk about beginnings. The most popular one is of course Once upon a time which has been used since at least 1380 according to Oxford English Dictionary. It is commonly used as translation for the stories of the French Charles Perrault for ‘il était une fois’ , the Danish Hans Christian Anderson for ‘der var engang’ (this means literally ‘there was once.’) or the German Brothers Grimm for ‘es war einmal’ (which means ‘it was once.’) There is a long list with different openings right here: Folktale openings.
Originally the stories we nowadays call fairytales were not seen as separate genre. They come from the German term ‘Märchen’ which means ‘little story.’ The genre was first marked by writers of the Renaissance and stabilized through the works of collectors like the Brothers Grimm. The English word ‘fairytales’ comes from Madame d’Aulnoy who invented the term ‘conte de fée’ in the late 17th century.  Source. Besides Once upon a time, are you familiar with another openings sentence? I know ‘Once there was’ which is the English translation from our Dutch ‘Er was eens’ beginning.
But then, one winter's night, an old beggar-woman came to the castle, 
And offered him a single rose in return for shelter from the bitter cold. 
Repulsed by her haggard appearance, the Prince sneered at the gift and turned the old woman away,
But she warned him not to be deceived by appearances, 
For beauty is found within. 
Another beginning I want to talk about is how it all started. Your challenge is; write a post about your first memory and why you love fairytales and retellings. (This is of course optional.) If you’re not participating in the challenge, definitely leave a comment. The first thing I can remember is how my mother used to read bed-time stories and she always had to read Beauty and the Beast. We had this hardback picture book from a Disney collection (I still have it) and I knew the story by heart. I was enchanted by Belle and her dance scene with the Beast was my favorite part – together with the scene where he gives her his library. You can say that Disney started it all and I talked a bit about this before in my Why I love Disney post. We also had two gigantic fairytale books with original stories in it and I couldn't get enough of it. I believe one was from the Brothers Grimm and the other from Anderswn.

To me, there is something magical about a good old fairytale. There is something charming and captivating about them and yes, I do love my happily-ever-after once in a while. I love retellings, because the authors manage to transform the basics into an unique new story. It still holds the magic from the original tale, but they add interesting twists or sassy characters. That's in short why I can’t get enough of this genre.
By the time the last petal fell, then the spell would be broken. 
If not, he would be doomed to remain a beast for all time. 
As the years passed, he fell into despair, and lost all hope. 
For who could ever learn to love a Beast?