Monthly recap August '16 | Harry Potter, Italy & sleep-over.

Monthly-recap_thumb6This post recaps my month: my personal life, all the books I’ve read & bought, movies and TV shows I’ve seen and links to posts that interest me.
I can really say that 2016 has been an epic year so far. August was also filled with amazing moments that fill me with happiness. It started with the fact that my vacation started on August 1st. We booked a hotel in Brussels for three days, because we went to the Harry Potter expo! I really enjoyed this exhibition, where you could see all the real trinkets and costumes they used in the movies. I especially loved walking around the room where they recreated Hagrid's 'house' and the Great Hall.

Here are a few pictures to give you an idea:

It has also been a while since I visited Brussels, so we had a great time wandering around the city. A few days later we celebrated my boyfriend's birthday, right before we left off for our 12-day tour in Italy. This was our first vacation together and it was great! The weather was A+, with only sun and temperatures around 30 degrees.

On Monday we left off for a stop in Germany.
On Tuesday we arrived in Toscane at Montecatini Terme.
On Wednesday we visited VATICAN CITY: the musea, Sistine chapel, St. Peter's Basilica and St. Peter's square with the Obelisk. Late in the afternoon we arrived at our hotel in Fiuggi Terme.
On Thursday we went to ROME, where we had a guide to walk us through the historical parts. We saw the Colosseum (only the outside though :(), Forum Romanum, Pantheon and Trevi Fountain. After that we had 5 hours of free time, so we had a pizza and then tried to see as many things as we could find. I LOVE Rome. This city has stolen my heart and I really want to return to see more.
On Friday we saw the MONTECASSINO ABBEY & NAPELS. I was disappointed by Napels, to be honest.. We arrived at our hotel in Castellammare, where we stayed for four nights.
On Saturday we went to the ISLAND OF CAPRI. What a beautiful island. We took the funicular to the top from Ana-Capri and we had the most fantastic view on the Vesuvius and other islands. Then we had a boat tour around the island, where we sailed through the Faraglioni rocks. If you kiss someone, you will stay together forever (or if you throw a coin over your shoulder, your wish will come through)
On Sunday we had another day I will never forget. We climbed the VESUVIUS, had a spectacular view, and then we went to POMPEII.
On Monday we went to SORRENTO, where we had a free day. National holiday, so in the evening there was a DJ at the hotel. Fun.
On Tuesday we drove around the AMALFI COAST and we visited AMALFI.
On Wednesday we started on our way back home. We had a stop in ASSISI for 2 hours and what a lovely place! Medieval buildings, my favorite. We went to our hotel in Montecatinni Terme.
On Thursday we had another stop in Germany.
On Friday we arrived at the station around 22:30.

Italy, I LOVE YOU and Rome, I will be back soon! Here some impression photographs (if you want to see some other shots, go check out my Instagram)
Colosseum & Trevi fountain.
Amalfi coast & Vesuvius.
Pantheon & Faraglioni rocks.

We had the bookclub sleep-over here! Instead of our usual read-a-thon, we had a watch-a-thon. It was hilarious to watch the Shadowhunter TV show (and the terrible Vampire Academy) together. This show is SO bad, but entertaining at the same time. We also had a walk through a park nearby my house (where we tried to find Pokemons) Good times :)
BrusselsBooksThis savage song

I found a Waterstones in Brussels, where I snagged a copy of The Cursed Child – and I used their offer for second book half price by picking Wolf by Wolf and Passenger. My signed copy from Nevernight came in the mail, together with a signed copy of This Savage Song that I won from Victoria Schwab. I finally bought a copy from Poison, which I loved years ago, and I had to by PS: I like you from my auto-buy author Kasie West. The Warrior Heir was a belated birthday gift from Daph, I got A World Without You in my Booklybird subcription box and I got a copy from Barefoot on the moon, because duh, Beauty and the Beast retelling.

Read_thumb5 J.K Rowling – Harry Potter and The Cursed Child. 2/5. I will ignore the fact this story exists.
Megan Shull – Bounce. 1.5/5. Not for me.
Mira Grant – Parasite. 4/5.
Mira Grant – Symbiont. 3.5/5.
Claire LeGrand – Foxheart. 3/5.
Jen Malone – Wanderlost. 3.5/5.
Rhiannon Thomas – A Wicked Thing. 4/5. A re-read I liked so much more than the first time.
Rose Mannering – Feathers. 3/5.
Jessica Khoury – The Forbidden Wish. 3.5/5. Liked it, ending let me down.

Watched_thumb5 Movies.
The Hateful Eight. So weird.
Vampire Academy. The universe must hate me. Second time I had to sit through this terrible, awkward movie. There is not even a hot Dimitri to look at, ugh.

TV shows.
Black Sails binge-watch. We flew through the three seasons and I'm really digging it. Season 3 crushed me, so many feelings!
Shadowhunters season 1, episodes 1-6 with the bookclub. I will miss the funny commentary from my friends. What a show..  AND I HATE "flat-chest" CLARY. You and asshole Jace deserve each other. Also, slutty and nice Isabel? Nope.

How was your June?

Review 264. Christopher Healy – The hero’s guide to saving your kingdom.

16248121Title: The hero’s guide to saving your kingdom.
Author: Christopher Healy.
Pages: 480.
Published: April 30th 2013 by Walden Pond Press
Sort: The league of Princes #1.
Source: Gift from the lovely Daisy.
Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You’ve never heard of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as Prince Charming. But all of this is about to change. Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, the princes stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it’s up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other assorted terrors, and become the heroes no one ever thought they could be.

If I would have to describe this book in one word it would be: fun! There is a humoristic tone in this book and that works great with this story. Four princes are done with being ‘Prince Charming’ so they set out on an adventure to gain publicity.

The plot was cute and fairly simple, yet entertaining. I’ve always wondered why we don’t acknowledge those ‘Prince Charming’s’ more with their name. So, here I present Prince Liam, Frederic, Duncan and Gustav and they might not be the Charming’s you are familiar with.

Liam is a bit of a show-off. He is loved by his people and grew up in the hero-role, but when he finds out it’s all about money he runs away, leaving his destroyed popularity and bitchy bride-to-be behind. Frederic could be seen as the loser of the group. His father made him scared for the outside world and his idea of an exciting day means having a picnic. His princess runs off to find adventure and eventually, he sets out to save her. Duncan is the goofy, clumsy prince who literally falls into the group. He can light up any situation with his charm. Gustav is the muscles and his reputation is harmed when his princess has to save him. All he wants to do is reclaim his pride.

It’s an interesting group and I liked how their personalities were the opposite of each other. It gave a fun dynamic to the story and it showed that everybody is important. They all have their good and bad sides that messed up and saved the day at the same time. The princes bond together, because they all have something to gain from this adventure and in the mean time, they can look after their own princesses. The witch has a plan to get revenge and this plays only a tiny role in the overall story, but it added some action.

I liked how kick-ass two of the Princesses were, even when the focus is not on them. Ella goes away to seek adventure and Rapunzel had to save her prince. Sleeping beauty is a terrible girl, but it made sense, and Snow just wants to be left alone for some time.

I liked how it all wrapped together and I can’t wait for the sequel. It’s light and easy, so you’ll fly through the pages in no time.

Bout of books '16.

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 22nd and runs through Sunday, August 28th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 17 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team.

I will update this post as I go along.
TBR pile

I will attempt to read The forbidden wish by Jessica Khoury (also our bookclub pick for that weekend), P.S I like you by Kasie West and A true princess by Diane Zahler during the week. In the weekend I will make another pile, because I have a bookclub sleep-over! I hope to get a lot of reading done, because I have some catching up to do. *eyes Goodreads challenge tracker – 13 books behind*

-Pages read: 112.
-Total number of books read: 0.

-Pages read: 50.
-Total number of books read: 0.

-Pages read: 10.
-Total number of books read: 0.

-Pages read: 0.
-Total number of books read: 0.

-Pages read: 180.
-Total number of books read: 1. Jessica Khoury - The Forbidden Wish.

-Pages read: 0.
-Total number of books read: 1.

-Pages read: 304.
-Total number of books read: 2.
1. Jessica Khoury - The Forbidden Wish.
2. Kasie West - PS. I like you.

Review 263. Claire Legrand – Winterspell

Title: Winterspell.
Author: Claire Legrand.
Pages: 454.
Published: September 30th 2014 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.
Sort: Stand-alone
The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince.. but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums. New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor's ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother's murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer. Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes. Her home is destroyed, her father abducted--by beings distinctly nothuman. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they're to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets--and a need she can't define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won't leave Cane unscathed--if she leaves at all.

There was something about this book that kept me from completely falling in love with it. I felt a certain disconnection from the story and the characters. It also doesn’t scream nutcracker retelling to me, but my overall opinion is that it’s a good book. The writing-style was superb, although not something everyone will fancy, and I was absolutely blown-away by the villain.

TTT | Walk of shame. Books I vowed to read in 2015, set in different countries.

This week we need to pick books with X setting. Examples given: near the beach, in boarding school and set in England. I wanted to do something with all the books I vowed to read in 2015. So, I'm going to share all the books that are set in different countries than where I live.

I was inspired by this topic, because I was scrolling through my older TTT content and saw all the failed seasonal TBR piles (2014 Spring, Summer and Fall. I've read 9/10 book for Summer 2015 though! ) I'm sharing here my top ten books of shame that fit with this weeks topic, because I still have to pick them up.

Jay Kristoff – Stormdancer.
In my defense, I've tried to read this book somewhere at the beginning of 2015 and couldn't get into the story. I hope I will connect to it when I give it another try. This book is set in Japan.

Cinda Williams Chima – The demon king.
Fantasy! Magic and wizards, how is it possible I still haven't read this one?? This book is set in the mountain city of Fellsmarch.

Amie Kaufman & Megan Spooner – These broken stars.
I feel like the whole world has read this book, except me. It needs to be done. Set on another planet.

Maggie Stiefvater – The scorpio races.
I'm a big fan of the Raven Cycle books, I love the cover and the blurb sounds great. Set in Skarmouth.

Mira Grant – Deadline.
I loved Feed, but it was quite dense and slow. I hope to read this soon, but I have to be in the right mood for it. Set somewhere in America.

Elizabeth Norris – Unraveling.
Almost all my blogging friends seem to love this book. It is time to join them. Again, set somewhere in America (I believe?)

Sarah Crossan – Breathe.
A long time ago I received an unsolicited review copy from resist, so it's time to finish this duology. Set partly in a dome in America.

Kendara Blake – Antigoddess.
I liked Anna dressed in blood and this book seems perfect for my (fairytale) retelling challenge. Setting: no idea where, but definitely not in The Netherlands.

Dan Brown – Inferno.
My 'guilty pleasure' books. I really do like his writing and the stories he creates. Set in Italy.

Phoebe North – Starglass.
I want to read more sci-fi and I've heard the author did a lot of research. Set in a space-ships.

Have you read any of these books?

Pokemon Go book tag.

This tag was created by Aentee from Read at midnight. I also use her images.Pokemon-Tag-01Starters
There are two answers for this question. When it comes to the first books I read, I'm looking at Goosebumps, Virginia Andrews and the Hoe overleef ik series (Dutch book series that translates to 'How to survive… It is about all kinds of problems a teenage girl can cope with and it shows how she deals with it) When it comes to THE books that absolutely made me fall in love with fantasy, which is now my favorite genre, I have to pick Harry Potter.
Well, since I've already mentioned Harry Potter and I don't want to repeat myself by naming is every where, I'm going to pick something else. I had to shake my head in shame, because at first I thought it was really hard to choose another title though, because I'm not a big classic-classic reader *eyes unread books by Jane Austen and Brontë sisters* But then I realized: DUH, fairytales in general! So I'm going with bundled copies from the stories by Hans Christian Andersen, Perrault, Brother's Grimm. I never get tired of those.
This is something that is bound to happen when you are a book blogger. We are all aware of all the recent publication and upcoming books. Every now and then there is a huge hype for a certain bok and when it dies down, another title pops up. At this moment I'm getting tired of all the buzz around Nevernight by Jay Kristoff. I'm not saying I've lost interest, but it certainly makes it harder to pick up.
I think Amy Tintera – Ruined. It has many things you can find in other books, but she really crafted a story that made me fall in love with it – HARD. It was so good and I loved the characters, especially ruthless Em.
Brandon Sanderson – The Finale Empire. It is not only size, but also hype. It is my mission to read at least the first book this year, so I think I'm going to bring it with me on vacation.
I really value my sleep, so I tend to be strict about going to sleep on time before work. Sarah J. Maas – A court of Mist and Fury kept me up though. I simply couldn't put it down until I finished that last page.
I could think of a few, but the first one I will always choose are Sybella/Beast from The Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers. Their relationship is so special. They are both broken in different ways and they complete each other. Their bond is based on so much respect and trust. I love it. If you haven't read this series, please do yourself a favor and run to the bookstore now.
Jodi Meadows – The Mirror King. I could not put it down. The ending was a little too-open for my taste, but this sequel to The Orphan Queen was fabulous.
Hmmm, I think a lot of series could use spin-offs, simply by being in the same setting. I'm going with Leigh Bardugo – Six of Crows, which is set in the same world as Shadow and Bone. I flew through this book like crazy. It is such a well-written, fast-paced, action-packed plot filled with this amazing diverse cast.
If you know me by now, you are aware that contemporary is not my favorite genre and I tend to stay away from them (unless they are written by Kasie West) My bestest bookclub friends, however, do love contemporary; so every now and then I have to read one. Morgan Matson – Since You've Been Gone really surprised me.
Alwyn Hamilton – Rebel of the Sands. A lot of people have talked about this book and I'm still excited to dive into it.
I recently started collecting the Barnes and Nobles leatherbound editions from the fairytales and I love the look of them. So, you can imagine how happy it would make me to own these leatherbound editions from Andrew Lang's coloured fairytale books.

To make this question less hard, I'm going to pick two debut novel that will be published this year 2016.  Erin Summerill – Ever the Hunted & Brie Sprangler – Beast.
I actually made a list of my top 20 auto-buy authors in my bulletjournal. I have to say things have changed a little, because I think I'm going to take Sharon Biggs Waller off. I fell in love with A Mad, Wicked Folly, but The Forbidden Orchid was disappointing. Maybe I can find a new author this year to add to the list.

top 20
A lot of books make me feel that way, especially if they are part in a series. I think Crooked Kingdoms by Leigh Bardugo is one of my highest anticipated sequels at the moment right now. I also can't wait for Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi.