Monthly Recap October '17 | Wedding and Reading.

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I guess you have noticed based on the fact I hardly posted anything, but my life is really busy at the moment. We are currently looking for the right wedding location and it is taking up a lot of my time – more than I anticipated! We visited two locations in October (and both of them are not in the running anymore) and we went to five more. We are now looking at the + and – points of two locations to figure out which one will be the best fit (but of course I had to see another one that looks interesting..) It is time to make a decision, because 2018 is coming closer.

Another wedding thing I did was attending my first bridal event. There were different stands, like rings, music, photography and wedding planners – and there was a show with wedding dresses. I really enjoyed myself together with my mom, grandmother and sister. Afterwards we went out for dinner and I can't wait to go to some more events if I find the time.

In between everything around my wedding, I also had a busy time at work. I had quite some evenings shifts and two new shifts in the weekend. One where I had to work on the blood cultures and one station with all the most important hospital departments. That shift is nerve-wrecking, because you need to bring the phone with you , because you can be called back until 22:00 by the Microbiologist.
I met Christina (A Reader of Fictions) together with my two book club friends, which was nice.

I had a sleep-over for the 24-hour read-a-thon by Dewey. Another couple came over, so my boyfriend had a game-a-thon with his friend and I read around 12 hours with my friend. I managed to finish 4 books and I could use a good reading sprint, since I was behind on my Goodreads challenge.
bookhaul_thumb2I'm trying to hold back when it comes to book buying, but I still got a few pre-orders in the mail.

The first one is Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray, a highly anticipated book. I also got Into the Bright Unknown by Rae Carson and Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust.
The last two books I received were in the Fairyloot Box. An exclusive cover editon from Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo and Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao. Both books were high on my wish list, so I'm happy to add them to my collection.

before the devil breaks youfairyloottwo books
1. Kasie West – Love Life and the List. Not as charming as her other books, but I still enjoyed it.
2. Hilary Mantel – Wolf Hall. Audio book that took ages, but interesting story.
3. Jodi Meadows – Before She Ignites. I didn't love it as much as The Orphan Queen, but I do want to read the sequel.
4. Deborah Schaumberg – The Tombs. Not too bad, but a bit on the slow side.
5. Leigh Bardugo – Wonder Woman. Awesome.
6. Cat Winters – Odd & True. Fantastic! What I expect from Winters by this point.
7. Jenni James – Jack and the Beanstalk. A re-read without knowing it.
8. Jenni James – Snow White. Okay.
9. Bobby Crosby – Dreamless. Online comic. I didn't fall in love with it.
TV Shows: We watched two seasons of Shooter and it's not too bad. Some characters are too stupid, just to move the plot, but I like the overall story.
Frankenstein (the one with Daniel Radcliff) and I liked it!
New music:
I love Disney and I love piano music, so I love this collection of different piano Disney songs.

Dewey 24 Hour Read-A-Thon master post.

This is my master sign-up post where I will update my progress as we go along. I can't remember how many times I have participated in the Dewey read-a-thon, but my guess is somewhere around 5-6 times. It has always been a blast, so I'm stoked about this new edition!

There is something really special about dedicating an entire day to reading. No matter how many hobbies I add to my daily life, reading has a special place. I don't always meet my monthly goals (most of the time I try to aim for 10 books each month, but I 'failed' hard this year) and there are weeks where I hardly touch a book, but it's always fantastic to return to my happy place. Just sitting on the couch, snuggled under the blanket, with a wonderful adventure in my hands.

My goal is to read at least 3 books, but most of all I just want to have fun. We have two friends coming over, my girl friend who loves to read too and her boyfriend who will game with my boyfriend. We also have a movie waiting for us (Pride and Prejudice & Zombies, I'm curious) and lots of snacks, so I'm ready.

I have a few possible books lined up:

The first two books I'm planning to finish though are my ebook from Elle Katherine White - Hearstone (34 pages in/352) and Leigh Bardugo - Wonder Woman (200 pages in/369).

Other places where you can find me updating my progress are:
Instagram: Mel_1704.
Twitter: @DailyProphecy
Goodreads: Mel - Daily Prophecy.

Let the read-a-thon begin! (In about 1.5 hours my time. We start at 14:00 EST here)

Reading tracker:
Total hours read: around 12.

Books read:
-Leigh Bardugo - Wonder Woman.
-Cat Winters - Odd & True.
-Jenni James - Jack and the Beanstalk.
-Jenni James - Snow White.

Pages read:

Hour 0.

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
The Netherlands.

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

Cat Winters - Odd & True, because for the past two years I've always read a book written by her (and I have loved them)

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

We have the new Peanut & Hazelnut M&M's.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I LOVE Disney. I am a bullet journalist. I hate lady bugs.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

Last time, with my book club, we ended up watching movies instead of reading. This time I'm with someone else and we both want to try to read as much as possible.

10 books in 10 years.
2007 - J.K Rowling - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
2008 - Kristin Cashore - Graceling.
2009 - Juliet Marillier - Heart's Blood.
2010 - Jessica Day George - Princess of Glass.
2011 - Heather Dixon - Entwined.
2012 - Robin LaFevers - Grave Mercy.
2013 - Marissa Meyer - Scarlet.
2014 - Rosamund Hodge - Cruel Beauty.
2015 - Victoria Schwab - A Darker Shade of Magic.
2016 - Leigh Bardugo - Crooked Kingdom.
2017 - Meagan Spooner - Hunted.

Monthly Recap September '17 | The Big Book Bonanza.

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This was a relative busy month, in a good way!

September started out with a family dinner at a tapas restaurant. It had been a while since we did something with my grandparents. The day after I went to Amsterdam to buy my boyfriend's guitar – my birthday present for him.

We celebrated our engagement with a party that turned out to be bigger than I anticipated, so all the more fun! We had a couple of friends coming over, but mostly family, and we had the best time. We decorated the house with helium balloons (I bought a helium tank) in the theme colors of our upcoming wedding :) A friend, sister and brother-in-law stayed over for the night.

High Teagarden

I went on a high tea with my mom and sister. We like to try different places and this was quite successful. I will never be a lover of tea (I did try, but.. nope), but the snacks were delicious!

I went to the Big Book Bonanza with a friend. This event was hosted by HarperCollins and Van Ditmar (one of the biggest English book importers in the Netherlands) after I was invited by Karlijn from Van Ditmar. I'm still flattered I was invited to join this fun event. HarperCollins International even posted a picture of my friend and I on their Instagram.
                    Harper celebrated their 200 years of publicizing and they showcased their upcoming books in a 30 minute video. There were short movie clips and some authors who introduced themselves and their work. I remember Kasie West - Love, Life and the List and Soman Chainani - Quest for Glory They also mentioned Three Dark Crowns, a series from Kendare Blake I really enjoy.
                    This was followed by two skype chats with A.J Finn, about The Woman in the Window, and Karin Slaughter, about The Good DaughterA.J Finn wrote the book with a character inspired by the fact he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It tells the story of Anna Fox who is alone and unable to venture outside. One day she sees something, but then she isn't sure if it is real or if she imagined it. He has always been a fan of thrillers, so writing one felt natural. His interview was cut off due to technical difficulties, which was a shame.
                    Karin Slaughter was asked if it is easier to write female or male characters. She basically said that it is easy for her as a woman to write both, while she thinks it is harder for a male to write a female character; they often don't get emotions right in certain situations, because they simply can't imagine how it feels like to deal with them as a female. Writing The Good Daughter was both easy and challenging. She has to come up with these new characters, but at the same time, she doesn't have to be afraid she makes them boring by repeating details like with her ongoing series.
                    Laline Paull, author of The Bees, was there to talk about her new book The Ice and her inspiration behind it. She was on a cruise and found out about the melting of the ice. She returned later and decided she wanted to write a book about it.
                    The rest of the afternoon was filled with socializing with people working in different branches of publishing. We were told to 'take as many books as you can carry with you', so we did. I'm stoked about the ones I managed to take with me in my goodie bag! Afterwards we had some tacos at the station before we went home.

We had a random family weekend. First we went to a garden where you can pluck your own fruit and vegetables – and it depends on the season what you can get. This time we went with strawberries (the sweetest I've probably ever had) and string beans. We had such sunny and warm weather, we even sat outside with some fresh made cakes, before going to the beach where we had some fish with fries.

The next day we went to an escape room, a late father's day present, and oh my! It was amazing! I picked on that had 7 different rooms. We were spies who had to break into a laboratory to steal a virus they were planning to use to destroy the world. There was a room filled with lasers and mirrors, where you had to walk like a ninja to avoid the red lights (and yes, there was a really loud annoying alarm if you touched it). There was a laboratory with science puzzles and even a space where we had to crawl through a dark tunnel into the next room, which contained an elevator we had to hack. It was such a blast to do this with our group and I think I made them addicted to escape rooms too.

Bookclub! We read The Flame in the Mist, but in the end I finished it right after our dinner.

The first photo is the haul from the Big Book Bonanza. I decided to pick up a copy from The Gunslinger by Stephen King, because I'm curious about the movie. I read Tower of Dawn the moment it arrived (and I loved it) and I got a copy from Warcross for our November bookclub. I am currently reading Wonder Woman.

The September Fairyloot Box! I'm impressed, again. This month was 'All That Sass'

-High Warlock candle from In The Wick of Time, inspired by Magnus Bane from The Mortal Instruments.
-Rattle The Stars beanie by Reverie and Ink, inspired by Celaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass.
-Nonsense Tote Bag by Miss Phi, inspired by Will Herondale from The Infernal Devices.
-Bad Ideas Notepad by Alexis Lampley, inspired by Nikolai Lantsov from the Grisha trilogy.
-Hot Chocolate for Sassy Demi-Gods, vegan, from Brontie & Co, inspired by Percy Jackson.
-Solemny Swear Magnet from Ink and Wonder Designs, based on the Weasley twins from Harry Potter.
-Delilah Bard (Shades of Magic) and Carswell Thorne (Lunar Chronicles) prints by Taratjah.
-Even The Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett, signed, interview with the author and a handwritten letter.

Bonus: Gentlemen's Guide to Vice and Virtue sampler & Tower of Dawn bookmark.
Read_thumb5 1. Neil Gaiman – American Gods. 1/5. NO. I hated everything about this book.
2. Heather Ross – Boys: Illustrated Field Guild. 3/5. Adorable book every parent should read with their child(ren)
3. Laline Paull – The Bees. 3/5. Not sure I truly enjoyed it, but it certainly is unique.
4. Sarah J. Maas – Tower of Dawn. 4/5. Loved it! Chaol is everything and this book is more like TOG.
5. Renee Ahdieh – Flame in the Mist. 3/5. A little disappointed, especially because I didn't ship it + Mulan is a far stretch.
6. Jodi Lynn Anderson - Midnight at the Electric. 3/5. Lovely writing, but I wasn't connected to the characters.
TV Shows: We finished season 3 from The Blacklist and I still haven't got all my answers. The anticipation is real.
Sense8, the first season. All the love for this show.
Sherlock Holmes, season 4. It felt like everyone was using drugs this season, but I liked the twist.
Black Mirror, season 1 – 3. I still don't know if I like it, but it makes me think. I talked more about this show in my latest Mel in Movieland post | Three new TV shows I am currently watching.
La La Land. Disliked most of the songs.. There is one I loved, but all the others didn't do it for me.. 
Masterminds.. yeah, typical comedy. Enjoyable, not memorable.
Rewatched Guardians of the Galaxy and saw part 2 for the first time, finally! Groot <3
Pete's Dragon. Cute children movie. Such a fluffy dragon.
New music:
First Aid Kit released their new song from their upcoming album. It's a Shame.
I'm also obsessed with this beautiful, almost haunting, song from Sleeping at Last - Saturn.
  What did you do in September?

Mel in Movieland | Three new TV shows I am currently watching.

Mel in Movieland

I admit that I am a TV show addict. I have an entire spread dedicated to all the TV shows I am currently watching, so I can track all the episodes I have watched – and still need to watch. It has come to the point that I need to set a specific amount of TV shows I allow myself to watch or it will be too much. According to my spread sheet I am in the middle of watching 30 series and that is pretty much the number I want to stick with. Some of them are already finished (either cancelled or done) and some of them are ongoing (so I have no choice but to wait)

Today I want to spotlight some of the shows I recently added to my spread.

This TV show is really interesting and it is has one of the most unique concepts and cast I have come across so far. This story is about eight different characters who are suddenly connected to each other. Every one of them is in a different life situation and that makes them all fascinating. They are able to jump into someone else's life when the situation demands it, and this has saved some of their lives already, because someone is hunting them down. It sometimes makes them look crazy in real life, because they are talking into thin air.   
Capheus Onyango, a matatu rider from Nairobi. 
Sun Bak, daughter of a businessman and a rising star in the underground kickboxing, from Seoel. 
Nomi Marks, a transgender blogger and hacker from San Francisco. 
Kala Dandekar, an university graduate working as pharmacist from Bombay. 
Riley Blue, a dj from Iceland who lives in London. 
Wolfgang Bogdanow, a locksmith and criminal from Berlin. 
Lito Rodriguez, a homosexual actor from Mexico-City. 
Will Groski, a police officer from Chicago.

This is such a confusing show, because I'm still not sure if I enjoy it, but at the same time I can't stop watching. Every episode is one story, so you can watch them in any order you want. Every setting is science-fiction based and focuses on an aspect of what could happen if the world completely embraces technology. It shows the fine line we could cross between humans and robots. It makes me question and think; it makes me freak out and horrified.

Think about the concept of having a chip installed in your head where you can store all your memories, so you can play them over and over again or even show them on a TV screen. Think about having a copy of your personality ruling your house-hold or being part of an experiment to make the most extreme frightening computer game that can read your biggest fears and use these against you. It's pretty messed up, but I recommend you check it out.

Trigger warning: this show contains violence (like lashes) and rape, in a detailed way. I can handle many things, but or some reason I can never watch lashing scenes. There is something incredibly brutal about it.. and the rape episode made me feel quite horrible too, because it is so graphic. I knew it was coming (I have read the first three books a long time ago), but I wasn't prepared for it.

This show is about Claire from 1945 who is on a second honeymoon in the Scottish Highlands. When she touches a magical stone, she is transported back into 1743 where she meets Jamie Fraser. He is part of the McKenzie clan of Castle Leoch and he is a wanted man, searched for by Jonathan Randall. He happens to be one of the ancestors of her husband. I really enjoy the way the actors portray the characters (and who doesn't fall for Jamie's accent?) and the storyline. It is time to pick up the books again.

Have you seen any of these TV shows? What did you think?

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.