Audio Book Adventures | Ready Player One.

Also: I'm not sponsored by Storytel. They don't even know who I am. Note that this is a Dutch website, another version of Audible. It is basically Netflix for audiobooks, because you pay 9,99 euro per month and can listen to as many audiobooks as you want.

9969571Listen Ready Player one by Ernest Cline on Storytel.

In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he's jacked into the virtual utopia known as the  OASIS. Wade's devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world's digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator's obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them. When Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade's going to survive, he'll have to win—and confront the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.

5/5 for voice. Wil Wheaton did one hell of a job in portraying the voice of Wade. He had me completely hooked to the story. He had all kinds of intonations for different emotions and I was swept away by the story of Wade. He turned him into a likable character.

3/5 for story. I loved the plot. The world is a terrible place and people use the OASIS to escape their daily lives. Wade is a Gunther; one of the many people who are trying to find a hidden egg in this virtual world. It was created by Holiday, who left his entire fortune up for grabs after his death. Five years have passed and no one has found the first clue yet, until Wade stumbles upon it. This is the beginning of a life/death race to find the Egg.

The pace is slow and tedious. There are a lot of descriptions and detail, which could be a bit too much for my taste. It made the story a little hard to follow at times. I wish some parts were more interesting, instead of descriptions of things like the surroundings.

I loved Wade. I really liked Artemis, 'H' and Soto + Deito. It is a diverse cast with good dynamics.
I was appalled by the fact that some people were willing to kill in order to win the game, but also not surprised, because it is definitely something that would happen in real life too.

Like I said, there are parts that the author wrote with MANY descriptions.  I'm not sure if I would enjoy this as a written book, because it was definitely thanks to Wheaton's brilliant storytelling that I kept listening.

Review | C.J Redwine – The Wish Granter.

Title: The Wish Granter.
Author: C.J Redwine.
Pages: 432.
Publication: February 14th 2017 by Balzer + Bray – I got an eARC from the publisher through Edelweiss. Thanks!
The world has turned upside down for Thad and Ari Glavan, the bastard twins of SĂșndraille’s king. Their mother was murdered. The royal family died mysteriously. And now Thad sits on the throne of a kingdom whose streets are suddenly overrun with violence he can’t stop.
Growing up ignored by the nobility, Ari never wanted to be a proper princess. And when Thad suddenly starts training Ari to take his place, she realizes that her brother’s ascension to the throne wasn’t fate. It was the work of a Wish Granter named Alistair Teague who tricked Thad into wishing away both the safety of his people and his soul in exchange for the crown. So Ari recruits the help of Thad’s enigmatic new weapons master, Sebastian Vaughn, to teach her how to fight Teague. With secret ties to Teague’s criminal empire, Sebastian might just hold the key to discovering Alistair’s weaknesses, saving Ari’s brother—and herself. But Teague is ruthless and more than ready to destroy anyone who dares stand in his way—and now he has his sights set on the princess. And if Ari can’t outwit him, she’ll lose Sebastian, her brother…and her soul.

I fell in love with The Shadow Queen – and hereby I declare it as one of my favorite retellings of Snow White – so I was extremely excited about The Wish Granter. This book is part of the series, but they have separate stories.

Alister Teague is cursed and he uses all his wit to break free. If you come across him and you make a deal with him, it means you are screwed. Alister is a foul player and that is how he manages to use Thad's desperation against him. He forces the boy into becoming King and in return, Alister will keep Thad's sister Ari save from their murderous family. Ari isn't happy with this change of life and together with Sebastian, she tries to come up with a plan to get rid of Alister.

Ari is feisty and intelligent. She knows something is up with Thad and the mysterious Teague and she's not going to wait to see what is going to happen. Instead, she is doing her own research and this leads her in the arms of Sebastian, the new blacksmith with a story of his own. Piece by piece Ari finds out what has transpired between Thad and Teague and what this will mean in the future. Her plan to release Thad is dangerous and shows her loyalty for her family. I adored the fierce love between her and her brother. It was nice to finally have another book with a healthy brother-sister relationship. It was my favorite aspect of the story.

Thad and Sebastian are both solid character. Neither of them are really memorable on their own, but I liked their role in the plot. The blossoming romance between Sebastian and Ari was adorable. It's not one of those I SHIP THIS HARDCORE ship, but I liked their chemistry and how supportive they were.

The plot is fast-paced and the writing-style is so smooth and easy to read. This is the type of book you could read in one sitting. I still liked The Shadow Queen more, but I can't wait to see what more stories Redwine is going to write in this world.

"Sometimes having courage means the hardest tasks fall onto your shoulders."

Monthly Recap July + August '17 | Engagement and Vacation time!

A lot of things have happened these past two months (all really exciting), so I was too busy to write separate recaps. Here is an overview of all the things I have done that made me happy:

The most important and best thing that happened: my boyfriend went down on his knee! July 25th is the day we (finally) got engaged. He asked me in a romantic way and he designed a beautiful ring for me. I couldn't be happier!

I took some steps towards becoming more active: I had a yoga lesson in a park, when we had a beautiful sunny day, and I had a test day at a sport center (that I will join when they are done with their restorations)

I had some friend – and family time. I ate spareribs with my grandmother and grandfather, I had lunch at the Yogurt Barn with my mother and sister, lunch at Bagels & Beans with my sister and a trip to the hair dresser, I went to a birthday party from a friend and I saw Despicable Me 3 at the cinema with friends.

Engagement ringDuomo FlorenceSienaVenicePisaSwimming pool

I went to Italy last year (and three times before it too), so for many people it was no surprise that we went there again this year. We are definitely Italy-lovers at this point. Last year we booked a tour that brought us to many different places, but we both decided we needed more freedom.

This time we flew to Florence, where we had an apartment with swimming pool on 5 km from the center. We spend 4 of our days in Florence and we made trips with the train to Siena, Pisa + Lucca and Pistoia. We had two full days of just lying at the pool with a book. After 11 days we moved to Venice, where we had 3 more days before we flew back home.

I can say that this vacation was PERFECT. We really enjoyed having a pool, where we could dive in after our full day of walking. We had the BEST ice cream in the world every day and pizza's like they are meant to be. We also had the best weather you can imagine.

I can finally cross off three places on my bucketlist (Florence, Pisa and Venice) and I definitely need to return to Venice at some point. It is such a magical place and I loved to wander around all the alleys and to see all the beautiful buildings. We also hired a gondola and although it was really expensive, it was so worth it! Siena was a surprise and I ended up falling in love with all the all the Medieval influences.
If you are interested in more vacation photo's, I share some more on my Instagram: Mel_1704.

I had a delicious lunch together with my sister and then we went to buy some plants. I had a fantastic wedding party from Daisy, who looked beautiful in her dress - and two book club meetings.

Bullet journal adventures | July spreads & haul.

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.

Every month I like to pick a theme or a theme color, so for July I went with blue and ocean/beach details. I found two sets of doodles that inspired me: this set on Shutterstock and these doodles from Jamtoons. This was one of the first times I tried to use watercolours in my bulletjournal and I'm impressed with the paper; it holds the water really well! I think I will definitely continue to use watercolours in my spreads, because it is an easy way to add a pop of colour.

Boho Berry Challenge July10wordsBohoBoho2Boho3bohoberry
This was the first month that I participated in the new Instagram challenge by Boho Berry, simply called #bohoberrychallenge. Every month has its own theme and this time it was all about personal development/growth. I loved making all the spreads and to truly think about topics like: what I need more and less off or what I truly love about my life. Sometimes these are good things to think about. It always makes me realize how happy I am with the life I have and how far I have come as a person.

There are still aspects of my life that I need to work on, like dealing with my negative self-talk and how I deal with some unrealistic fears that still hold me back, but this challenge also showed me all the things I CAN celebrate about myself. Also tell me: what is your greatest talent? This is always one of the hardest questions, because I have a feeling I haven't discovered mine yet? So in the end I decided to go with reading multiple books at the same time, without losing track of the characters/plot.

glass dip penNotebooks
I have a little haul to show you this month. The first thing I got, after going back and forth between buying or leaving, I got this beautiful handmade glass dip pen from J. Herbin. I've practiced a little in my learning bulletjournal with some black ink from Pelikan 4001 and I really like it! It takes some practice, but the result is pretty and I definitely want to get some more colours ink.

And I got three new notebooks. Two of my beloved notebooks from Leuchtturm1917 for my collection. I got the Anthracite one and Red, which will be my bulletjournal for 2018. I've already started my preparations by copying spreads that I will need, like my book wish list of upcoming publications, my goals and Ultimate TV show tracker. I will show you all my spreads in one of my next bulletjournal updates.

I couldn't resist this lilac coloured notebook from Rhodia. This is one of their new lines. I already owned their dotted Notepad to practice handwriting, so I decided to branch out and try their dotted Goalbook. I have to say I'm not impressed.. The quality of the cover is disappointing. It is made of a soft material, so you can see every line and scratch the moment you touch it. The paper has darker dots and seems flimsier – I don't think it will react to water colours as well as the Leuchtturm paper. Shame! They have a different range of colours, so I hoped I could switch between them, but I will stick with my good old Leuchtturm notebooks.

Christina Henry – Alice.

Author: Christina Henry.
Pages: 325.
PublicationPublished June 28th 2016 by Titan Books Ltd
In a warren of crumbling buildings and desperate people called the Old City, there stands a hospital with cinderblock walls which echo with the screams of the poor souls inside.In the hospital, there is a woman. Her hair, once blonde, hangs in tangles down her back. She doesn't remember why she's in such a terrible place-just a tea party long ago, and long ears, and blood...Then, one night, a fire at the hospital gives the woman a chance to escape, tumbling out of the hole that imprisoned her, leaving her free to uncover the truth about what happened to her all those years ago.Only something else has escaped with her. Something dark. Something powerful.And to find the truth, she will have to track this beast to the very heart of the Old City, where the rabbit waits for his Alice.

Warning: this book contains rape and a lot of violence. It is dark and graphic. I will mention these aspects in my review. I would classify this book as a mixture of horror and retelling.

Alice is trapped in an asylum after she mysterious disappeared and returned – covered in blood with no memories of what happened. She becomes friends with the guy in the next cell called Hatcher. They both manage to escape when the asylum burns down and they have an important mission: find the sword to kill the Jabberwocky.

Alice has no idea what is going on, but she is thrown into dangerous situations alongside Hatcher, who believes she is the one. They meet several characters who are extremely dark and twisted, like the Caterpillar who mutilates girls in his brothel to make them exclusive and the Walrus who eats girls while he rapes them.

This aspect gave me mixed feelings. I've always found Alice to be a pretty messed-up fairytale and this book really plays in on that feeling. It twists it in an even darker version that portrays how sick this 'Wonderland' can be. On the other hand, it is gruesome and quite graphic at times, which made it intense and not exactly enjoyable. This makes it hard to say I liked the book; I did, but not in the way you say you like a contemporary book where everything is fluffy and happy.

The fight against the Rabbit and the Jabberwocky was a bit of a let down. Alice and Hatcher have to make their way through deaths and situations that are harder, so I expected more of it. It felt like they got away easy there, like the author had used up everything in the way leading up to the battle.

When it comes to Alice and Hatcher and their sort-of-romance.. Alice and Hatcher are both unpredictable and highly flawed characters. Alice is a tough girl with a broken mind and Hatcher is unstable. It makes them different from many books I've read so far. I can't say I have fallen in love with either of them, but they do fascinate me. It was nice to see how they support each other and drag each other through the hardship, but I couldn't get on board of their growing feelings. I'm curious about the sequel and how this romance is going to play out.

"If you let grief in, it might consume you."

Reading Challenge | The Reading Quest.

The Reading Quest Character Card Creator

The quest will take place between Sunday 13th August to Sunday 10th September, 2017. This fabulous reading challenge is hosted by Read At Midnight.
There are four different characters you can pick from. I'm going with Bard for my first quest!
BARD: While the bards may not engage in direct combat, they make up for it with their intimate knowledge of songs and stories. They will travel through the Fifth Down path on the quest board, reading famed tales and singing lost songs.
The stats you start with: Level 1. EXP: 10. HP: 10.

+EXP: each finished book +10.
Book by marginalised author: +20.
Finish quest: +50.
Every additional quest: +30.

+Level: every 50 EXP.

+HP: every 10 pages +1.
Tweeting #TheReadingQuest +1. Max +20.
Photos #TheReadingQuest +1. Max +20.
Books I read:

A book that has a TV/movie adaptation: Neil Gaiman - American Gods.
A Fairytale Retelling: RaShelle Workman - A Beauty so Beastly.
A book cover with striking typography: V.E Schwab - A Gathering of Shadows.
A book translated from another language: Cornelia Funke - Inkheart.
A banned book: 

Potions, book by 2+ authors: Anthology; Because You Love to Hate Me.
Time Warp, book set in past or future:
Expansion, companion novel or short story:
Multiplayer, buddy read a book:
Grind, a book with 500+ pages: V.E Schwab - A Conjuring of Light.
Respawn, read a previous DNF:
Animal companion, reference to animal in title:
Mini game, graphic novel, novella or poem collection:
Open world, read whatever you want: Susan Dennard - Truthwitch.

EXP: 60.
HP: 224.