Yearly recap | Fabulous 2016.

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This year was fabulous, despite all the less fabulous things that happened all over the world. I can honestly say this was one of the best years so far, because I've been blessed with some fortunate events, lots of good food, lots of time with loved ones and many new opportunities. I've grown even more and I've stepped out of my comfort zone many times, which I hope to continue (and improve even further) in 2017.

My goals for 2017 include:
1. Keep pushing myself. Grow. Overcome my fears. Get out of my comfort zone.
2. Be gentle and loving to myself.
3. Keep making time to do the things I love.
4. Make beautiful memories and enjoy every moment. Be around my family as often as I can. Spend a lot of quality time with my boyfriend.
5. Be healthy: keep up the clean eating and start to work-out on a regular base.
6. Save money, but also treat myself every now and then.
7. Read all the books. Only buy the most anticipated ones/sequels.
8. Finish another bullet journal.
9. Be creative. Practice watercoloring and lettering. Work on my Wreck this journal.
10. Invest more time in Instagram –> practice more with my Canon.

This is my last post of 2016. HAPPY NEW YEAR LOVELY FRIENDS!

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Here is a round-up from some of the things I believe are highlights of my year of 2016. Also: my book club meetings every month <3 I don't know what I would do without these girls!

January: I found a job in December and started January 4th. I also moved into my rental house with my boyfriend. I also saw the Beauty and the Beast musical.
February: I made a beginning with bulletjournaling (but my real attempt started in April) and I was one of the hosts for the Love-a-thon.
March: I spend a lot of time with my family and boyfriend; we visited a lot of restaurants. 
April: I celebrated my 25th birthday, together with our official house-warming. We slept in a castle. We had the bookclub sleep-over at my place.
May: Sad news was that I lost a friend in a car accident. At the same time, my grandfather turned 80. I saw Mumford and sons in concert and it was fabulous.
June: A LOT of good food. I finally got my ear pierced (Auricle) and I dyed my hair tips purple.
July: I got my hair retouched. I went to a theme park.
August: I saw the Harry Potter exhibition in Brussels, together with a long weekend there. I went on vacation to Italy, where I saw some amazing places like Rome, Capri, Vatican City and Pompeii – where I climbed on the Vesuvius.
September: More good food, haha. I went rowing with my boyfriend in the park.
October: I got a contract renewal, which means another year at my job! I'm loving it. Again, had a lot of good food this month = family time.
November: We celebrated our 8th anniversary by going to an escape room. I had a team building event with work and a Sinterklaas celebration.

This month, December, recap:
-Celebrated Sinterklaas with my boyfriend's mother.
-Bought our first Christmas Tree and decorations, which was so much fun.
-Celebrated my grandmother's birthday.
-Went out for dinner with my sister after a full day of Christmas shopping.
-Celebrated 'three' Christmas days. I really got spoiled by my family.

I finished a total of 5 books so far, but I have 6 more to go so I can reach my goal of 90 books. I will talk about this in the Annual End of Year Survey by Jamie @ Perpetual Page Turner.
1. Heidi Heilig – The ship beyond time.
2. Diane Zahler – A true princess.
3. Wendy Higgins – The great pursuit.
4. J.K Rowling – Fantastic beasts and where to find them.
5. Kathryn Purdie – Burning glass.
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As you might have noticed, I took a step back this year. I hardly participated in my own (Fairytale) retelling challenge, because I felt uninspired, and I didn't find any motivation to go around and comment in the blogosphere. I'm definitely going to step it up in 2017. I've given myself enough time to get used to my new life schedule (my first full-time job) and I feel like I am ready to return! I'm definitely going to change things up, because I did enjoy writing my bullet journal posts. I feel blessed that publishers still want to work with me and I even made a new connection.

My blog resolutions are:
1. Write down all the reviews I want to post on my blog, but don't review ALL of them. It is okay to read a book for me.
2. Post more regularly and try new things. I don't have to be unique/original, but I want to explore different topics.
3. Comment on other blogs once a week. Pick a day and use one hour to comment.

In one word: how was your 2016? Any resolutions for 2017?

Review 272 | The Female of Species - Mindy McGinnis.

25812109Title: The Female of Species.
Author:  Mindy McGinnis.
Pages:  352.
Published: September 20th 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books.
Source: Edelweiss and publisher, thanks!
Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence. While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways. But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her. So does Peekay, the preacher’s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad’s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex’s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for. Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.

Rating:

I really, really, really, really wanted to love this book, because I count Mindy McGinnis as one of my favorite authors. She gained a spot on my auto-buy list, but I struggled with this book and didn't end up loving it.

Alex Craft is a killer. The murderer of her sister Anna walked free and Alex took matters into her own hands. She is now dealing with her violent thoughts and she makes sure she is in the shadow. She tries to stay unremarkable, until she is noticed by Jack Fisher. He is the popular guy of the school; the one every guy looks up to. He carries a guilt with him about what happened the night they searched for Anna - and now he is starting to fall for Alex.

Another person who sees Alex is Peekay, the preacher's kid who doesn't seem to fit in. She struggles with her identity; she is supposed to be this saint-like girl because of her father, but she wants to break free and be herself.

This book is violent, filled with swear words and there is sexual content. It is definitely a thought-provoking story and the fantastic writing-style had me hooked enough to finish it. But, the overall feeling this book gave me was disappointment. I could not connect with it and I did not feel any emotions when it came to the characters. I've read several other reviews and it feels like I missed out on something, but the delivery of the story was simply not for me. So, don't take my word for it and also check out these two fabulous reviews: Wendy Darling and Karen.


“But boys will be boys, our favorite phrase that excuses so many things, while the only thing we have for the opposite gender is women, said with disdain and punctuated with an eye roll.”

Retelling December '16 | Giveaway puzzle.


Don't forget to tweet and Instagram with the hash-tag #fairytaleRC.


The end of the year is approaching and I want to thank everyone for joining for a second year. This is also my announcement that I will not host the challenge in 2017. I'm taking a break, so if anyone is willing to host it next year, feel free to let me know in the comments. I might come back in 2018, but I feel uninspired and there has hardly been any feedback, so I'm taking a step back for now.

 I still want to reward all of you by giving away a prize. Last year I made a bingo card for December, this year I went with a puzzle to combine with a giveaway! There are two simple rules:

1. You must be a participant of the challenge. Just add a link to your challenge page and you are good to go. (This means you need to have a page made before December)
2. You must figure out the answer to this puzzle.

CLICK on the picture to make it large.

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I hope you are all familiar with the concept of a Swedish puzzle, but in case you are not I will explain it. I will give you clues and you have to fill in the answers in the field of the corresponding number in the puzzle. If you’ve managed to fill in all the answers, you must look at the coloured fields and the letter in there. You place these in the coloured line on the bottom of the puzzle and you will get a special word/sentence. As you can see, there are double colours in that line. There are two light blue, purple and light pink squares, because these contain the same letter. The black square is to make the distinction between the different answer fields more clear, because it first looked like 24 was just one huge line.

I think we are good to go! The puzzle is Disney themed (of course)

1 horizontal: “Under the sea.”
1 vertical: Red head who loves brchery.
2: Poisonous fruit.
3 horizontal: a skilled technician, was able to build his own solar surfer.
3 vertical: Grand vizier.
4 horizontal: Black panther.
4 vertical: No wonder that her name means..
5: One of seven.
6: Magic powers. The cold never bothered her anyway.
7: Voiced by Kurt Russell.
8: Disney is..
9: Historical figure. Daughter of Powhatan.
10: Has a fairy godmother.
11: Wreck-it!
12: Forgotten Disney princess.
13: King of Mangani.
14: Took a long nap.
15. Animal that lost his mother.
16. Lives in Neverland.
17: The shadow man.
18: She loves llamas.
19: Son of Esmeralda.
20: Expects misfortune to happen to him.
21horizontal: Robotic genius, lives in San Fransokyo.
21vertical: Rocks blue flames as hair.
22: A Cecaelia.
23: Abbrevation for Gantu’s title.
24: The Walrus and The... (Alice in Wonderland)
25: In love with Evangeline.

If you have any questions you can leave a comment here or leave a message somewhere on my other social media.

a Rafflecopter giveaway Please, make sure you follow the rules. Cheating is off no use and it only takes more time for you and for me. It’s also important you are >18 or you must have permission from your parents to enter the Rafflecopter. Your personal details will be deleted after I’ve send you the prize. The giveaway is international as long as The book depository ships to your country. The price value is 10 euro and it must be a (fairytale) retelling.

Review 271. | My Lady Jane – Ashton, Hand, Meadows.

22840421Title: My Lady Jane.
Author:  Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton + Jodi Meadows.
Pages:  491.
Published: June 7th 2016 by HarperTeen
Source: Edelweiss and publisher, thanks!
The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help. At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England.

Rating:

This book gave me mixed feelings. When I started it I thought it was simply brilliant. But, the further I got into the story, the more I fell out of love with it. In the end, it became simply one of those enjoyable stories that was nothing special. Perhaps I had too high expectations, because I was expecting a lot from these three authors.

I was, and still am, a big fan of Jane though. The way the authors created her character was brilliant and she was my spirit animal. She loved reading, tried to stay away from parties and when she had to attend, she was not a social butterfly. I could totally see myself become friends with her, so we could rave about books and be awkward in groups together.

Edward shows great progress throughout the story. He grew up with the same knowledge as every man in that time period; girls were pretty much useless. Their only worth was marrying them off to someone powerful and rich - and that is exactly what is going to happen to Jane. Edward needs to secure his line on the throne, because he is dying, so if Jane gets children in time they can be put on the throne.

Her mother has tried to marry off Jane on multiple occasions and all of them failed, so Jane is not scared in the beginning. But the further we get, the more serious it is starting to become - and Jane really dislikes Gifford and his reputations. The problem for Gifford is that his special condition makes it hard to get to know him better. He is unable to control his powers, but at the same time, it is something that connects them when Jane finds out what she is able to do. The two of them grow together and that was definitely the highlight of this book.

It was fun, it was good, but not as mind-blowing as it was in the beginning. I am, however, still looking forward to the upcoming retellings from these three.


“He wanted to tell her she'd have more room if she'd just get rid of her books, but he supposed that in her case, it would be like telling a mother she'd have more room if she threw out her children.” 

Recap November '16 | 8th anniversary and Team building.

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This post recaps my month: my personal life, all the books I’ve read & bought, movies and TV shows I’ve seen and my journey in the world of Bulletjournaling.
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I did some fun things this month.

I surprised my boyfriend by taking him to an escape room. We celebrated out 8th anniversary and this has been something on top of our bucketlist. It was amazing and I definitely want to check out more escape rooms. The puzzles were diverse and challenging, but not so hard you couldn't figure it out. In the end, we managed to escape on time with the treasure! He took me out for a lunch at my favorite place (Bagels & Beans) and he gave me a Snape Funko and the new CD from Adele. He knows me so well.

We went to help my boyfriend's best friend to paint his hallway. His girlfriend is moving in and she also loves to read; so we spend all our time talking about books. Yes! I think we drove the boys nuts at some point, but one does not simply stop talking about books.

My boyfriend and I went to the cinema to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them; I'm so happy we saw it on the big screen. The movie was worth it and I already can't wait to see it again. It was magical and detailed + I fell in love with the cast. 

I had a teambuilding event with my collegues at Madurodam, where we had a park escape (and my team won. Oh yeah) Madurodam = a park where you can see tiny buildings from places all over the Netherlands.

And last but not least, I had a Sinterklaas celebration with my colleagues. (Sinterklaas = a Dutch holiday.) We played a game called 'dobbelen' Everyone had to buy two presents. You need to roll the dice and each number has a specific task, like 'steal a present from someone' or 'everyone has to give their present to the person on your left side'. In the end we all ended up with two presents. I had a great time.
bookhaul_thumb2I did great this month! I have this low-key book buying ban, so I only got two books I really wanted. I bought the screenplay from J.K Rowling - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and the Wreck it box from Keri Smith, with the famous Wreck This Journal. This will be my art project for 2017 *excited*

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Another book I bought was Nemesis by Anna Banks (for book club and in the end I was the only one who read it, haha) Anna Marie McLemore – When the Moon Was Ours was in my Bookly Bird subscription book and I couldn't be happier. This book sounds amazing! I got a finished copy from Iron Cast by Destiny Soria from the lovely people at Abrams, together with a copy from Warren the 13th by Taria del Rio. And one of the biggest surprises was this lovely package from Tor, inlcuding an ARC From Windwitch by Susan Dennard, because I am part of the Witchlanders (Earthclan!)
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Read_thumb5 1. Holly Bourne – Am I Normal Yet?
2. Tara Sim – Timekeeper.
3. Sarah Glenn Marsh – Fear the Drowning Deep.
4. Audrey Coulthurst – Of Fire and Stars.
5. Anna Banks – Nemesis.
6. Sophie Jordan – Rise of Fire.

Clicking on the titles will bring you to my reviews on Goodreads.
Am I Normal Yet surprised me. It was an impulsive buy when I found it in the cheap ebook section on a website. I really liked it. Timekeeper was SUCH A LET DOWN. The same with Of Fire and Stars. Fear the Drowning Deep was okay and Rise of Fire was tragic.. I hope December will be a better reading month.Watched_thumb5 Movies.
Neighbours 2: sorority high. So bad, it was funny.
True memoirs of an International Spy. Mediocre comedy movie.
The Brothers Grimsby, hehee.
Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. FANTASTIC.
I Give It a Year. Nope.
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, because I'm rewatching them <3

TV shows
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I watched a few episodes from season 2 from Jane the Virgin, season 2 from Marco Polo and season 2 from Reign.

How was your November?