The Harry Potter Book Tag

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Everyone’s going wild because of Harry Potter again, and the world is as it should be! Potter and books, this tag is made for me!

I tagged myself. Thanks, me!

Important rule: You can’t use any of the HP books in the answer. (But who cares, eh?)

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A BOOK YOU FOUND THE THEME INTERESTING, BUT WOULD LIKE TO REWRITE.

On The Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher. The story, at least in the beginning, is set in an appartment building that serves as the waiting room for all the souls that aren’t ready to pass through their doors to heaven. Beautiful idea, beautiful cover, beautiful writer – unfortunately the writing style just really isn’t for me.

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THE FIRST BOOK IN A SERIES THAT GOT YOU HOOKED.

How can I answer this truthfully and not say Harry Potter? My dad read the books to me and my brother when we were very young; unless you count Where’s Waldo, we literally didn’t care about any sort of series before that.

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A BOOK YOU WISH YOU COULD HAVE RIGHT NOW.

The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon. I am really anxious to find out what’s going to happen to Paige, and how dare you end a book on SUCH a cliffhanger and then wait two years to give me the sequel!

If you don’t know who Samantha Shannon is, then you need to read The Bone Season RIGHT NOW!

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A KILLER BOOK. BOTH SENSES. TAKE IT AS YOU LIKE.

Fools Rush In by Bill Carter. Both senses. In this gem Bill Carter shares his story of when he went to Bosnia during the war in the 1990ies where he helped distribute food and other goods and wound up filming the documentary Miss Sarajevo. I promise, this will change your life.

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A BOOK THAT YOU FOUND REALLY CONFUSING.

Hades by Alexandra Adornetto. Maybe more disturbing than confusing. All those characters not knowing what they want and being all dramatic… ergh. Gave me a headache.

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YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL BOOK.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. I can’t read this without picturing New-Zealandese landscapes, and it always makes me feel a bit nostalgic. That aside, the story discusses questions that I’ve always found challenging and worth thinking about. I am not kidding, I read the first book when I was ten and decided to go save the world and marry Legolas (you only throw that stupid ring into a fire, job done! Easy.) To this day I find encouragement in the idea that the smallest person can change the outcome of things. Most of what I’m doing now was at some point inspired by Sir Tolkien.

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A DARK AND TWISTED BOOK.

Of Love and Shadows by Isabel Allende. That book feels especially dark and twisted because it tells the truth. The story is set in Chile during Pinochet’s dictatorship. A young journalist discovers the mass grave of brutally murdered civilians. She spends a disturbing amount of time in that grave.

Definitely a book worth reading. Also, pro tip: Get the tissues ready!

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A BOOK THAT SURPRISED YOU IN A GREAT WAY BECAUSE IT REVEALS TO BE MORE THAN IT SEEMS.

Flat-Out Love by Jessica Parks. I assumed this would be a mere YA novel with the self-loathing teenage girl and the angsty, blond heart throb, but it turned out to be quite the opposite! Samantha and I ended up discussing this book in our book club of two more than once. (Samantha’s just this human who is obsessed with books as well)

I tag everyone who wants to do this tag! I’ll look forward to reading your answers!

Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

Lipstick Haul

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I bought lipstick.

That is noteworthy news because the last time I did that was two years ago in Honduras, and then I only did it because I had a crush on this one boy. This time it went a little bit differently and I decided to walk you through my lipstick-shopping experience!

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First, walk past a Superdrug store in Sheffield and remember that you’ve been meaning to buy a new lipstick (it’s been two years after all!)

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Check the time – Yup, you’ve got half an hour to spare!

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Be mildly shocked when, upon entering the store, you discover Zoella’s brand of beauty products. #thatsnotherquote

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Realise there’s A HELLUVA LOT of lipstick to choose from. Run to the aisle with the cheapest brands.

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Oh, you can buy three lipsticks for the price of two? That’ll save you six years of lipstick shopping! … **But you only really like the one colour.**

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Smear some on your hand; instantly regret it because a) you can’t really tell how this is going to look on your face, and b) it won’t come off.

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Finally go for the one that matches your glasses and has a funky name – Night Spot; everyone’ll love me! #wherethemboysat

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Go back to Zoella and get the cheapest product for Inga. And when I say cheap I really mean cheap-ish. Also, hope that Inga has either already received the gift or doesn’t read this blog post until she has.

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20160703_171643In search for a bathroom where you can apply your new baby (aka your freshly bought lipstick) you come across Waterstones.

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You’re already in a bathroom, why not have a pee before you’re off again? #justsaying

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Apply lipstick and take an awkward selfie. #amIreallypostingthis

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You look pretty and have saved some money by not going fort he 3for2 option – buy yourself a book as a reward! Actually, spend all your money on books. Books are awesome!

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Now take another awkward selfie and post it on Instagram. Pray people will not press Unfollow. #howcouldthey

Bildschirmfoto 2016-07-15 um 09.23.13And that, children, is how you buy lipstick!

xoxo

Oh You Pretty Chitty Bang Bang

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Last sunday I went to Sheffield to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang live on stage. It’s a show I’ve wanted to see ever since I went through a hardcore Dick van Dyke phase – hello! He’s the Harrison Ford of children’s movies! He’s not in the show, of course, but he starred in the 1968-movie, and that was reason enough for me to get into it.

The story is about the inventor Caractacus Potts and his two young children, Jeremy and Jemima, whose super-fast car, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (because that’s the sound it makes!), is the object of desire of Vulgaria’s Baron Bomburst. When the Baron kidnaps Granpa Potts the Potts family comes to his rescue, along with the beautiful Truly Srumptious – but arriving in Vulgaria they find out that the Baron and his wife detest children and that Jeremy and Jemima are in great danger of being abducted by the hideous Child Catcher.

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I am really not a cars kind of person, but the story just had me. It’s bit like Grease for children. And I’ll admit the first time they started the car and it made this awful sound, my mind went straight into thinking, THAT’S AIR POLLUTION! SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT! But then how could I resist a car that only runs when you say «PLeeeeaaaase!»

Only how you convince a child after seeing the show that the Child Catcher is not real, I shall never know. He seemed pretty convincing to me, and whenever his track comes up on my iPod i press skip. Eergh, everytime I hear him go «Childreeeeen!» I physically shudder.

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To say I enjoyed the show is a slight understatement. I absolutely loved it! It’s weird and loud and bright, and oh my, the costumes! Unlike the film, the show is set in a post-World-War-I era, so everything’s a bit more colourful and funky. What I was most impressed with, though, were the child actors. Lucy and Henry, who played the roles of Jemima and Jeremy Potts, were in every way a delight to look at! They played their parts so well and with so much heart. I simply cannot imagine the effort the producers of the show had to put into training these kids – how do you get them to stay concentrated, and how do you prevent them from forgetting their lines in stage fright? They have to act and sing and dance, sometimes everything at once, and yet they didn’t screw up once.

Everytime I watch a live musical I am freshly impressed by the actors. They’re all professionals, so as well I should be of course – but they never cease to amaze me. Lee Mead and Carrie Hope Fletcher make such a wonderful pair with their curly hair and quirkie costumes, and they make it incredibly hard to imagine any other actor taking over the role. Actually, Carrie Fletcher could just change her name to Truly Scrumptious and pull it off. You look at her and think, Hang on – she’s not the candy maker’s daughter?!

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This show makes me consider getting my driver’s licence just so I’d be legally allowed to steer a flying car! If you have the chance to see the show, please go watch it! What a happy time you’ll spend! It’s beautifully done, it’s laugh-out-loud funny, and it’s romantic – it’s everthing I need in a stage production; blast it, it’s everything I need in life!

All the pictures featured in this post I downloaded from the musical’s website!

Sexy Books: Hades by Alexandra Adornetto

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Just read: Hades by Alexandra Adornetto

This book. It made me wince in disgust; so much in fact, that the guy next to me on the train asked whether I was in pain. And then I almost got up and told Carrie Fletcher to stop laughing so noisily. But that’s another story.
Hello me, Queen of awkward social encounters!

No, really. That book. There is so much wrong with it. So. Bloody.Much.

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Hades ist he sequel to Halo, and that I liked. It’s cute and innocent and it actually made my heart melt a little bit. But here we have a couple that is clingy beyond compare. It seems that the first five chapters or so of the book only try to prove why Beth and Xavier should not spend any time apart at all. As soon as they do terrible things happen. As in, the devil comes and drags Beth into Hell, and because she’s an angel this is sort of spectacular.

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So throughout the entire story Beth sits miserably in hell an misses her boyfriend.

Bethany Church is an angel sent to Earth to keep dark forces at bay. Falling in love was never part of her mission, but the bond between Beth and her mortal boyfriend, Xavier Woods, is undeniably strong. But even Xavier’s love, and the care of her archangel siblings, Gabriel and Ivy, can’t keep Beth from being tricked into a motorcycle ride that ends up in Hell. There, the demon Jake Thorn bargains for Beth’s release back to Earth. But what he asks of her will destroy her, and quite possibly, her loved ones, as well.

First of all, Beth is disturbingly obsessed with Xavier’s beauty and the fact that he is perfect in every way. He doesn’t drink or do drugs or drive too fast in a car, and he’s the smartest kid at school, and the list won’t ever end! I get that in YA novels the guy has to be hot and smart, that’s what we’re here for, right? But who finds that attractive? Geez, I actually started fancying Jake, because at least he goes to parties and is funny, and he has a motorcycle. Jake’s hot, okay? Sadly, he’s also incredibly stupid. To break Beth he tries to upset her by telling her that Xavier is now dating her best friend – really, Jake? Isn’t that, like, the easiest trick in the book? But hey, luckily enough, Beth is just as stupid. She bursts right out that she’s drunk some sort of water that enables her spirit to visit Earth. You had one secret to keep, woman! One! And you fell for a silly old trick!

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Then there is also the strong morale that is just too present on every page. I am religious, and I think I am fairly open minded to other people’s beliefs. But when you try to tell me that some teenage girl is going to hell because her ex-boyfriend was a hit-and-run driver, I am definitely not okay with that. What’s good and what’s bad is presented in black and white. There is no in between at all. The concept of hell is actually quite a cool concept for a story, whether you believe in it or not, there is so much potential! But nope. Beth just sits there sulking. Or stalking her boyfriend in her dreams.

And lastly, can we talk about the fact that Jake forces Beth to sleep with him, and not once is it mentioned that this is rape? We get pages of delirium from Beth why she doesn’t want to do it and how it’s a sacred ritual meant to conceive babies – we get it, woman! You don’t want to have sex with him, it’s non-consensual, and him calling it «making love» doesn’t stop it from being rape.

Ugh, I still cringe when I think back. Really, all I wanted was some snogging and a few cheesy lines. Is that too much to ask?!

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Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

Sexy Books: After You by Jojo Moyes

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Just read: After You by Jojo Moyes

Two words: Jojo Moyes!

Hasn’t she crushed everybody’s heart by creating Will Traynor! Seriously, have you ever fancied an arrogant quadriplegic so much?

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It took me a while but I finally got around to reading the sequel to Me Before YouAFTER YOU. I sort of had mixed feelings about that book before I started reading it, mainly because Me Before You has a really beautiful ending; it crushed my heart into tiny little pieces, but it ended very smoothly. And I worried that a sequel might just over do it. But then the last week of university happened and I failed miserably in an exam, so Corinne took me book shopping during our lunch break (you haven’t met Corinne – she loves books. And I’m pretty sure she won at the exam. She’s very smart. Anyway.) and I ended up with that book in my hand, and the blurb just had me:

Lou Clark has a lot of questions.

Like how it is she’s ended up working in an airport bar, spending every shift watching other people jet off to new places.

Or why the flat she’s owned for a year still doesn’t feel like home.

Whether her close-knit family can forgive her for what she did eighteen months ago.

And will she ever get over the love of her life.

What Lou does know for certain is that something hast o change.

Then, one night, it does.

But does the stranger on her doorsteps hold the answers Lou is searching for – or just more questions?

Close the door and life continues: simple, ordered, safe.

Open it and she risks everything.

But Lou once made a promise to live. And if she’s going to keep it, she hast o invite them in.

I spent two days in bed just swallowing this book up. I only cried once – from page 3 to 407! And I don’t mean I occasionally had to wipe away a tear or two, no – I was sobbing! Proper wailing! For hours!

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From what I’ve gathered by the comments on Goodreads, quite a few people are disappointed by After You because they feel it doesn’t do the prequel justice. The main problem, I think, is that the book doesn’t have a strong story line. There is not that much of an action filled plot, it’s the much more subtle story of how somebody might overcome grief. Grief is on every page, and it is reflected in so many different ways; and possibly if, like me, you’ve never experienced any grieving loss, it can get a little bit repetitive. But that didn’t make the story any less of a worthy sequel to me. I imagine grief would be quite repititive, too, so it felt like a very well developed scenario. The characters were all very 3-dimensional, they felt incredibly alive and real, and I fell in love with all of them.

And the beautiful thing is that, although the story is about loss and grief, it also has a very hopeful connotation. I mostly cried because there is so much love on these pages, so many reasons for the characters to want to stay alive. The Traynors, rich and cold and arrogant, loved their Will so much that they invite Lily, a wild, rude, chain-smoking sixteen-year old, into their lives with open arms and open hearts. Lily is such a key character. She basically takes the role Louisa had in Me Before You, whereas Lou is sort of stuck, just like Will used to be – except that she really has a choice of how to live her life. It’s the story of how Lou finds her real potential («Don’t say potential!») and starts living the life Will wanted her to live.

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I believe that this book is important also in the aspect of the topic it discusses. Assisted suicide is extremely controversial in almost every country, and it is one thing to talk about what makes a person opt for it and how they see it through, but it is equally important to talk about what happens next. What happens to the friends and familiy who were there, the ones that allowed it to happen? Do they feel like murderers? Are they treated as such?

In Switzerland, where I live, this really isn’t much of an issue. People decide to die with Dignitas or Exit all the time, and I’ve never heard anyone call their families murderers for being with them when they died. But it’s so important to note that in many places these are people’s sentiments exactly. And it’s so important to realise that Lou or the Traynors really had no say in this. What they are left with is intense grief and a sense of failure. Much like everyone else.

Get the tissues out, guys! You’re in for a snotty ride!

Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

Last But Not Least: Day Twenty-Two

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Our last day. I was wearing my favourite dress today, and it’s now damp and rumpled; a bit like we are. A bit tired and a bit ready to go home, and a bit sad-looking because we’re not ready to say good-bye. Not to those red doubledecker buses, not to the tea, not to the bookshops. Not to each other.

But, my friend, I have loved being on an adventure with you, loved it so much I wished it would never end. But I think you’re fast asleep, and it’s only another three minutes until tomorrow, and this diary is all that’s left of today. A bunch of words that fail to describe a feeling. Like trying to catch a beam of sunlight.

But, friend, I think we caught it.

So let’s just start again.

(Quote: John Green)

Here’s to all the places we went:

Day One: London
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Day Two: London
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Day Three: London
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Day Four: Winchester
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Day Five: Brighton
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Day Six: Stonehenge
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Day Seven: Oxford
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Day Eight: Stratford-Upon-Avon
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Day Nine: Bath
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Day Ten: Cardiff
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Day Eleven: Bristol
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Day Twelve: Cambridge
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Day Thirteen: Cambridge
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Day Fourteen: Norwich
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Day Fifteen: York
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Day Sixteen: Lincoln
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Day Seventeen: Durham
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Day Eighteen: Edinburgh
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Day Nineteen: Loch Ness
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Day Twenty: Glasgow
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Day Twenty-One: St. Andrews
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Day Twenty-Two: London
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Something to do with Kindness

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A few days ago I watched a video by Carrie Hope Fletcher in which she describes her experiences at stage door. Given the recent events I felt that it would be wrong not to talk about this.

Carrie is an actress and is currently performing in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. In the video she talks about all the abuse that she has been given when leaving the theatre through stage door – from people physically harming her to enthusiastic fans taking away her things –, and the abuse she has been sent via social media upon not appearing at stage door at all.

The situation we currently live in appears to be one where abuse is not such a horrendous word any more, because it has become an everyday phenomenon. It has not even been two weeks since a man walked into a gay night club in Orlando and shot fifty people dead. It’s been eight months since a hundred and thirty people were killed in Paris. Three months ago more than thirty people died in a terror attack in Brussels. Two weeks ago Christina Grimmie was shot by a madman with a gun. And this is just concentrating on incidents happening in the western hemisphere.

I realise that none of these things are linked in any direct way to what Carrie Fletcher is going through. But somehow I also don’t think that there is no connection at all. I doubt that any oft he people waiting for her outside the theatre were or are members of Islamic terrorist organisations. But what I do believe is that the people who join IS or Boko Haram or who go off hurting and killing others on their own accord, those people once waited outside theatres and concert halls to meet their idols too. Those are the same people who would try and kiss someone against their will, who shout angrily when things don’t go their way – those people once could not bear to be rejected.

I’m saying this because I know that members of terrorist groups are not all African or Turks, they are Swiss, German, French and Dutch. They are people who grew up in the same surroundings we did, but who did not feel accepted, who were hurt and did not belong anywhere. And if that’s how you feel all the time, then why not punish your idol for not turning up (when she did all the other nights for all those other people). If that’s how you feel, then why not pull her hair, just to feel it – what harm will it do to you? If you’re a homosexual moslem and were never allowed to feel what you really feel, why not take that anger out on those who live the life you could have had. Your life is hardly a life, so why not destroy theirs?

There is never a reason not to be civil.

Please let that sink in. Even the stinkiest little twit deserves to be treated as a person. Bullies are usually bullied by somebody else, and the only way to break the circle is by being civil. People who shut out others shut themselves in. People who make others feel weak don’t feel strong enough. We will make the world infinitely better if we open our hearts and allow for life to come in. If we just believe to be good enough. There is never a reason not to be civil.

I went to see Les Misérables in London last August. We had some time after the show, so we went outside to stand in line at stage door. Carrie didn’t come out, and that was fine. All I wanted to do was thank her for being an inspiration. I just wanted to tell her that sometimes it is her that makes me want to finish what I started. I didn’t really care about autographs or photographs, and when she didn’t come, Inga and I went out for a drink.

What I want to say is this: Sometimes things don’t go according to plan and sometimes we are disappointed and angry – but so long as we allow that energy to flow through us we are standing only one step away from where a young man with a gun is standing. So smile. Have a drink. Watch Tangled. Hug your mum. Believe that you are good enough.

There is never a reason not to be civil.

Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

Sexy Books: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (Part 2)

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Just read: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Caution: MINOR spoilers in this review – the biggest one, however, is about Cassandra Clare’s The Clockwork Princess (for some odd reason) – so don’t say I didn’t, say I didn’t warn ya!

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Finally being able to talk about this book in full length feels like peeing after holding it back for a very long bus drive. * awkward chirping in the background * ANYWAY!

Last time I wrote about The Raven King I could only talk about half the book (because I hid it in the wardrobe after 200 pages, so it wouldn’t stop me from passing my exams), and ended up fangirling over Ronan’s and Adam’s relationship – which I’m still not over, btw! But that really doesn’t do the book any justice AT ALL!

For years Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he’s drawn others into this quest: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a life; and Blue, who loves Gansey… and is certain she is destined to kill him.
Now the endgame has begun. Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path.

I’m recently finding endings to YA-series’ to be a bit of a let down. I feel like most authors are too attached to their characters to kill their heroes off or to have any character feel disappointed with the outcome of things. I mean, Cassandra Clare can’t be for real when she has Tessa end up with both Jem AND Will! Geez, that ending annoys me to this day! The thing about Maggie Stiefvater, however, is that she can make an ending cheesy, yet not unrealistically so. I cried at the end (as did Ronan), because it was so tragic and beautiful, and it cut my heart into tiny little pieces, and I NEED MORE OF THAT!

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The reason why pretty much every book written by Maggie Stiefvater, but this one especially, makes you feel so crushed by the time you turn the last page is her sincere observation of characters. The characters in the book are so unbelievably well developed,  they don’t just each play a part like characters in video games, they feel like actual people talking to you. And what’s more is that they develop further as the story goes on. This is the first book in which Blue actually remains decent throughout entire dates with Gansey (as opposed to her yelling at him for a) wearing boat shoes, b) lending a phone to his friend, c) trying to tell her that his parents are nice, loving people.) And that is also why everyone’s so in love with Adam and Ronan. It’s not because they are gay, it’s because seeing Ronan in love makes him likeable! You spend so much time with this bunch, they just grow on you, and it’s impossible to say good-bye!

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And then there’s the MOST DEVASTATINGLY GORGEOUS THING EVER, namely that Gansey and Blue aren’t allowed to kiss because her kiss would kill him. And it doesn’t make the romance between them any less endearing or sexy, in fact, when they finally do share a kiss it’s not the best part oft he story at all. It’s not a dramatic showdown, it’s just «a girl softly pressing her lips to a boy’s.» And then shit happens. But even though this is the moment everyone’s been waiting for (you didn’t seriously think Blue would die an old, unkissed spinster, did you?), every Blue-Gansey moment before that is so much more cherishable! Their secret late-night phone calls, their drives in Gansey’s car, their shared looks and their almost-but-not-quite-kissing, all that makes their relationship and their love for each other very real.

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To summarise: You will feel A HELLUVA LOT when reading this gem, starting with the cover! Every sentence is a bit of poetry and every word has a heartbeat.

Lots of love from the roots of my (still crushed) heart!
xxx

Last But Not Least: Day Twenty-One

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So here is where the fairytale happened. Once upon a time (but really, like, ten years ago) an ordinary London girl (or wherever she was from) met a young and handsome prince (handsome-ish, anyway). They went for long strolls along the beach, they had secret rendez-vous’ on the pier, they went book-shopping at the Waterstone’s store on the main road – and he made her laugh so that she would fall in love with him, but everytime she laughed it was him that fell in love.

I like to believe that’s how it went. That it wasn’t just a pretty girl in her underwear that caught his eye, and that it wasn’t just the prospect of a castle that made him attractive. I like to believe that it was this place that made them right for each other.

I like to believe that today we went somewhere where fairytales are still possible.

(Quote: Maggie Stiefvater)

BERLIN STORY (A Berlin Bookshop)

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A couple of weeks ago ago I talked about a book called The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell which, in my opinion, is a must-read for every book lover out there!
Some of my my favourite shops I’ve listed in the mentioned post, and everytime I go somewhere new I take this book with me hoping Jen knows a place for me to go. And she nearly always does. (Isn’t that very lovely of her!)

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In May my mum and I went to Berlin for a short holiday, and it was pure awesomeness! The weather was gorgeous, we went out for brunch everyday and I ate more chocolate than I could digest. The bookshop Jen Campbell mentioned in her book is called BERLIN STORY. It’s a store dedicated to books about or set in Berlin. It is located very close to the Brandenburger Tor, so it’s hard to miss if you’re going along the tourist route.

The store, however does not have a very bookish atmosphere to it; it also sells a big variety of souvenirs, so it’s really more of a tourist shopping attraction. However, it’s definitely a go-to place if you’re looking for literature on Berlin.

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Berlin is one of my favourite places on earth, mainly because so much has happened to and in this city, and it’s still standing strong. It has been the center of German social and political life for centuries now; every important person in history has visited at least once, every story told is unique. There used to be a wall separating families and friends and lovers, and in the end they didn’t tear it down – they used it as a gallery and they sell ist pieces to tourists. There is so much life to Berlin. Like a wallflower desperately blooming in the shade and growing through cement. I don’t know how anyone can not love it.

BERLIN STORY is a fine representation of what the city itself holds. There’s autobiographies from people who had breakfast with Prussian Emperors over Jewish women who tried to hold their families together during the Nazi regime, up to modern-day fathers who describe their everyday life putting up with sodding toddlers in the roaring city of Berlin. There’s crime, romance, YA novels, guide books, photography bibles, history books – it’s everything that makes Berlin. It’s the past and the present, it’s the drug-dealing children at the Bahnhof Zoo and the man who lives with a communist kanguruh – it’s everything, and there’s a lot of it.

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I could tell you endless stories about Berlin – Döner tours, attempting to drown a friend in a fountain and having ice cream at midnight with Anna… but for tonight I’ll leave you with this one. The BERlN STORY, if you so will.

What is your favourite city? And is there a favourite bookshop of yours?

Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx