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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

16 best books of 2016

As the new year is approaching us, I thought it would be a good idea to show off 16 books that I read this year and were special to me. These 16 books each did something to deserve a special spot in this list of the "16 best of 2016".

Note: the order in which the books are presented is not a grade for how good they were. All books in here are equally good no matter what number is before them.
Note: If I present a second, third,... of a series try not to read the letters in bold because they could contain spoilers since it's a synopsis of the book and we're already in a new, advanced stage in the series!

1. Did I Mention I Love You by Estelle Maskame
This book was a huge life changer in my book-life! I remember falling in love with this cover and really wanting it, not only for its cover but also for the little synopsis I got. God, this was so not a mistake! This book really gave me a huge portion of the feels and it really got me obsessing with the series! 

Eden goes all the way from Portland to Santa Monica to spend the summer with her father. The man who left her and her mother three years ago and never let anything hear of him. Then all of a sudden, he called her and gave her the opportunity to spend the summer with him and his new family. Eden accepted to offer, but not for her dad. She thought it could give her a way more awesome summer there than in stupid, boring Portland. 
But as she arrives there and meets with one of the three stepbrothers, she isn't as convinced this is going to be as awesome as she thought. Taylor is short tempered, has an ego to big for his head and drives her completely insane! Yet she can't deny that she doesn't find him interesting. Soon Eden gets caught up in a lot of drama and the masks eventually fall, revealing all sorts of secrets but also creates a whole lot of new lies and secrets... It might not be an awesome summer, it is at least an interesting one. 

The characters are strong, the plot gave you feels and plot twists and backstabbing and unanswered love and answered love and all those kind of things. It was all teenage drama but still absolutely great I just devoured the book. Also the rest of the series was absolutely fantastic, and as much as I want to put them in the list I can only pick one of a series in my 2016 top 16 (I promised myself...). I chose the first one because it got me addicted to the rest of the series but all were equally good! A thing I did notice through this series, and which I was keen on, was the fact that I saw a growing line in these three books. Where the first book was all teenage drama, the last book was very mature. The characters really grew up and developed themselves. I totally recommend this series!

Review on Did I Mention I Love You?: HERE!
Review on Did I Mention I Need You?: HERE!
Review on Did I Mention I Miss You?: HERE!

2. Switched by Amanda Hocking
Also this read was very surprising because I came across a species I've never, ever read of before. I didn't even think I'd enjoy a read about creatures like this but I found myself tangled in this book before I could notice!

Wendy Everly was only six-years-old when her mother tried to kill her. She was so convinced that Wendy wasn't hers, that she was a monster and that she'll only mean trouble. Ever since that day her older brother Matt and her aunt Maggie have been taking care of her. Making sure their mother can't lay one finger on Wendy ever again. 
It isn't until years later that Wendy finds out that her mother might've been right all along. Together with Finn Holmes, Wendy tries to find out exactly who she is in a world she never knew existed. But she's not sure she wants to be a part of it...

This was also my first book ever written by Amanda Hocking, she's a great author I had heard and after reading this book: I couldn't agree more! She left quiet the impression. This book deserves its place really for the concept it had but also because of its very strong plot! I was very surprised to where it was going and never expected things to go that certain way. I was very content with what this book brought me. Also the cover just looked really appealing! 

Review on Switched: HERE!
Review on Torn: HERE!

3. La Fille de Papier by Guillaume Musso
La Fille de Papier, the book of my French class! I hate reading French books, I absolutely loath it because as much as I love French... I couldn't understand a word of it! Each French book I came across, was so hard to read that I just didn't enjoy it until... this book came along. Alone for the fact that I could properly understand it, it should be a reason to get into my top 16 but this book didn't only surprise me on the "waw I understand it"-scale but also on the story itself. 

Tom Boyd is a writer and the first two books of his trilogy are a big hit! Above that Tom has two good friends and falls in love with the lovely Aurore who is a celebrity too. Yet Aurore doesn't feel like it can last and leaves the famous writer. 
Devastated and torn Tom decides not to finish the last book in the trilogy. The story ends in the middle of the book with an unfinished chapter. He's just done with it and meanwhile gets on the wrong path of life. That it until a mysterious women arrives in his house, one that looks very alike the main character of his book. Soon decisions he once made will change or there will be consequences. 

This book had a very mysterious vibe hanging around it but it does deceive you! Not only were the characters really enjoyable, also the plot was very strong and mysterious which I totally give a million stars for. The story line just does amazing things, in French!, and will awaken your senses to a whole new level. It was an easy read and would really be a recommendation if you were trying to read a book in a different language! Also because of the plot twist I'd give it all its stars. A great read for my French class, that's why I thought it was worthy of my top 16.

Review on La Fille de Papier: HERE!

4. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins 
What can I say? I fell in love with this series... I never wanted to read this series. Somehow I try to stay away from super popular series for whatever reason there is. Yet my friend Fien encouraged me to read the books. It worked, I just loved this series but the last one a bit more than the first two.

Katniss Everdeen closed Catching Fire with blowing up the arena and being saved my her mentor and the Head Gamemaker. Facing hard times with the Capitol, it's decided that Katniss will have to become the symbol of the rebellion: The Mockingjay. All that while there's no sign of Peeta and other tributes that weren't saved from the arena, Katniss is facing the problems and nightmares all by herself. It's not until there's an unexpected turn that Katniss realizes who the real enemy is...

I hadn't seen Mockingjay part two and that also made the last book more appealing. I was just sucked up in the story because I wanted to know how this series would end. The plot was strong and everything was explained so well and detailed it was just mind-blowing! I fell in love with the series, but a little bit more with the last part because it completed everything and we saw how strong each character had become. Also, the end didn't disappoint me at all which I was a bit scared of because some said it was a bad ending. 

Review on The Hunger Games: HERE!
Review on Catching Fire: HERE!
Review on Mockingjay: HERE!

5. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
A book that was just... amazingly fantastic. I never read anything by this author but I had heard so many good things about her and she really lived up to my expectations. I've been waiting for this book series for over a year before I found them and grabbed them as if my life depended on it.

Ever since Grace was a very young child, she was fascinated with the wolves in the backyard. Especially in the one with the yellow eyes, the wolf had something human-like, something familiar. It took six years for her to watch him and get him closer. It isn't until a boy is killed by wolves that the town begins to show interest into the pack. The suspicion grows and the town wants them dead. Grace fights against them, still fascinated with them.Yet that fascination takes a whole different meaning when she meets a guy with the same yellow eyes... 

These characters really are fantastic and have such great bonds! Also the fact that there are wolves! Wolves! I was amazed by these creatures and how they acted. Above that the scene setting was absolutely amazing and I just really wanted to live with Sam and Grace so badly... Amazing books, the whole series is really good! Especially because they built up to a very big concept and each book has a very nice ending that leaves you with questions that need to be answered and make you want to have the next book.

Review on Shiver: HERE!
Review on Linger: HERE!
Review on Forever: HERE!

6. Melody's Key by Dallas Coryell
The reason this book deserves a little space in this top 16 is because it was my first ever book read for review! I was really honored and glad that I got this opportunity but Melody's Key also deserved this spot because it was an amazing book!

Tegan Lockwood was stuck in life. All the opportunities that were given to her she declined because of her duty towards her family. They had been having a very hard time lately and were in debts, they couldn't lose the extra power. They wouldn't survive without her help. And that's why Tegan gave in, because they needed her. Struggling with past events, Tegan has a hard time giving her life some color and find things that make her truly happy. That is until a new visitor comes around in Lockwood Holiday and it sure brings some sparks in her life...

The feels in this book were up so high I was totally addicted to it! Each character has its own insecurities they'll have to work with in the story and they'll really be confronted with it. This confrontation makes it very easily to relate to them and that was something I really adored! I really recommend this book!

Review on Melody's Key: HERE!

7. Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
A book that I chose as my July Summer Read and absolutely deserved to be that kind of read. This book really gives you those summer feels and also the story won't make you feel disappointed at all. I really wished I had this book on my trip to Italy but the book got delivered a day later (!). 

Lina's mother makes her promise that she has to go to Italy. Lina doesn't know why her mother would want that but promises it anyway because it's her mother's last wish. After the loss of her mother, Lina finishes her school year in Seattle and then moves out to the country she didn't want to go to. There, she is confronted with her mother's memories and above that she finds out why she is in Italy. Her mother wanted her to go to find her father and together with the journal she'll discover much more than only that. Lina meets a new friend, which makes her time in Italy more interesting and together they find out the real truth about what happened in Italy...

What was really marvelous in this read was how they describes the environment. We're settled in Florence, Firenze in Italy and I really fell in love with this city on my trip. This book described everything so well that I could just really visualize everything and relive everything Florence had to offer. Also the plot was very adoring and cute which is also a nice asset to the book of course! It was a very swoon-worthy and romantic kind of book but still with the uncertainty of love.

Review on Love and Gelato: HERE!

8. The One by Kiera Cass
Again a third in a series! I was a bit scared when I first started reading this series because it was all very princess-y girly and so on and the books I previously read might have been about queens and princesses but they were always really tough. This was a competition to be a princess and I didn't know if it would effect me that much but... oh waw. It did totally surprise me!

Determined to win her true lover's love, America throws in everything to win The Selection. When she first entered the competition, she never thought she'd end up this close to the crown and grow to adore the palace and all that comes with it. To have the future she wants to have, she'll have to go under more pressure to get what she really wants: the love of her life. Yet the treat of the rebels is still lurking around and ready to overthrow everything that they've ever known. As she finally discovers what she stands to lose, America also discovers how much she needs to fight for what she truly desires.

During this series we actually see the backstabbing we call "girls skill". I absolutely, terribly enjoyed the backstabbing. That sounds so bad but it just brought so much more to the story and really accentuated that this was a competition! I didn't enjoy the second book that much but the third and last in this trilogy really made up for that entirely. This series has had a few problems meaning that there are rebels and we finally get answers I've been waiting on for... two books! Also The One brought a bit of action which is always a good thing and of course it's a final of a series so also the winner of the competition will be named. The last book doesn't concentrate on the backstabbing really because we've narrowed the competition down to just a few girls but it did concentrate on the bonds between the characters. That was something I thought was really exciting and beautiful to see and also to see it become such a great bond. 

Review on The Selection: HERE!
Review on The Elite: HERE!
Review on The One: HERE!

9. Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
This book has been waiting on my TBR-list for forever now. It took me what? A year to finally buy the book and read it? And I can't believe I put it off for so long! This is a book that's been recommended by a good friend of mine. She said it was absolutely amazing and I couldn't agree more.

One red notebook can change your life. Lily left the notebook in her bookstore, waiting for a boy to come around and take it off the dusty shelves. In the notebook, the person gets a lot of dares presented. The main goal? Finding true love. And true love can be just around the corner when Dash takes the notebook and decides to play along. But will this passing back and forth of the book really bring true love? Or is this just a lovely time of doing dares, sharing dreams and then wrap it up and forget all about it?

The characters in this book are just amazing. I have laughed so much during this read, I can't believe it. It's been a long time since I've read anything this hilarious. Only for that I'd already recommend it. But there's so much more, the environment the book creates and the atmosphere? It's absolutely fabulous. I couldn't wait to have my own red notebook! This book is a total recommendation if you want the new kinda love, with a comical tone in it and great characters!

Above that there's a second part in this series! YES, I know, I couldn't believe it either! Both books in the series are set in Christmas time so I'd definitely a wintery read. I have read the second part as my Christmas Read of 2016. Once you read this 2016 review, I also already posted the review about it! It's never to late to start that one...

Review on Dash and Lily's Book of Dares: HERE!
Review on The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily: HERE!

10. Lobsters by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison
A book that I've read in the beginning of 2016 and one that absolutely got my attention. I remember seeing the book in various bookstores and only because of its color it caught my attention. I read the book in Dutch but I don't mind it as much as I normally do. It might also explain why it's a flashy color, I don't know if the English versions have a color like this...

Hannah and Sam don't want to be virgins any longer when they go to university. That means they've got only one summer left to find the one and to reach that mile-stone. It all doesn't go as easy as both had planned, especially when you feel like your friends are better at everything. Hannah feels less beautiful and not worthy of a boy while Sam struggles to be, according to his friends, "a real man". Both must navigate social misunderstandings, the plotting of well-meaning friends, and their own fears of being virgins for ever to find happiness. And in the end, it all boils down to love.

Also this book contains a lot of hilarity! This is mostly caused by awkward situations but it's also a story that contains a lot of love, fate and destiny. Or that's how I see it really! Above that it also contains some drama which I can enjoy if it's not laid on very thick. In this book that isn't the case, lucky me! But yeah, this is also a book I'd recommend but beware because you will be stared at when you laugh. And you will laugh. Hard.

Review on Lobsters: HERE!

11. The Power by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Ah, a book by one of my favorite authors! I must say, I haven't read a lot of books by her this year. It's kind of sad... But hey, this book is WAW. And I hadn't expected any less by Jennifer L. Armentrout. Beware everyone, this is a second book in a series! 

Now Josie's finally settled in the world she was introduced to a while ago, she's finally growing to become a badass-ninja. Although she thinks she's making process, Seth's holding on tight not so sure if in the end she'll be able to kill. He knows how it goes and he knows how it feels. Guarding these feelings from her, Seth grows to really love her company. Yet not all is over. Last time they saved Josie but the danger isn't gone. The Titans and other dangers are still looming around and trying to get her. Seth is determined not to let her out of his sight. It isn't until something bad happens, Seth starts to realize also he might be a danger to Josie... 

This book seriously broke my heart and healed it and broke it again and I just NEED the following book in this series. It's actually not hard to believe I need the second book: who doesn't want a book where Seth is? Seth is like amazing, but this book will concentrate on his good side and how much effort he makes. I really loved to see this other side of Seth because it gave so much more perspective. Also Josie's other side will be accentuated in the book. Above that the plot was again too good for words and didn't disappoint. I can't really add more to it, it was amazing and I loved it. But I love all Jennifer L. Armentrout's books! I don't only recommend this series, I also recommend this author!

Review on The Return: HERE!
Review on The Power: HERE!

12. Haze by Paula Weston
Holy hell! This book was so much better and more exiting than Shadows. Don't get me wrong though, Shadows was good but this one was just over the top. I'm keeping it short here, only because the review will be out soon. 

Now Gaby knows she's different from what she first thought, she still struggles with not knowing enough. Unable to remember her old life, Gaby is touching in the dark. People who know her, are mad at her, hate her or want her to tell them what she was doing one year ago. And Demons are hunting her down because also they want her. The only constant in her life is Rafa, who keeps his own secrets and doesn't let loose anything about their past together. But the biggest thing she can't comprehend is that her twin brother might be alive...

It has been a while since I had read a book that had the theme Angels so I was really happy I picked this one off the shelves. This book shows us so many sides to the characters but this time the soft side will be accentuated which was fantastic. I mean, I already ship two people in this book... now I really want them together! God, I love them. Above that the plot was strong and alternated between action (a lot of action) and sweet, caring and supporting moments. All hens on deck people, this book will bring you surprise, plot twists, betrayal and much more! 

The review of Haze will be online on the 18th of January, so stay tuned! Meanwhile I've also read the third book in this series, Shimmer. Also this review will be up in a bit.

Review on Shadows: HERE!
Review on Haze: COMING SOON (18th of January)
Review on Shimmer: COMING SOON (1st of March)

13. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
A book that have been made a movie. I did see the movie first but hear me out! I was bored one day and I didn't have the book yet so I kinda just watched the movie? I know that's know how it's supposed to go and I wasn't planning on doing it in that order... Sorry? But it did make me buy the book immediately after that! And I of course, adored it more than the movie itself (although I found that one pretty stunning and emotional too!)

Louisa Clark has never been out of her hometown and she never saw any reason to. Soon she finds herself changing for the better and that all by the man that she should be changing. Disabled in a wheelchair, Will Traynor has lost his interest in life and Louisa tries her best to make him think differently again. What they don't know is that both of them are in for a ride full of emotions and life changers. Both want the best for each other: Will wants Lou to live life but Lou wants for Will to find that passion about life again. Yet soon they find themselves battling against the other to make them realize life can be perfect, but not easy...

What I really enjoyed and feel like most readers will be keen on is the fact that Jojo Moyes added some chapters that where in the perspective of some characters. We mainly see Louisa Clark and her character is worth to be with constantly. Obviously because she's important but also because I see her grow so much. All characters are very well written and won't bore you, they make you feel the way you feel during the book and that's kind of amazing. Why I love the fact that other characters get their own chapter is because it gives us so much more understanding towards them instead of our brain making up how they must be feeling.

Also the fact that it's talking about taking lives is making this one one of my favorites. We're not in the year 2016, so people thought about it so much differently. It's nice to see this perspective come to live but also see who follows this and who doesn't want this at all. It gives us feels and it makes you take a stand yourself. 

Review on Me Before You: COMING SOON (25th of January)

14. The Boy at the Top of the Mountain by John Boyne
Hello book by an author that makes me love reading about war. Honestly, I don't know how he does it guys! I hate reading about war, there were only two books that made that "I love reading about this topic": The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and How I live Now. Now, get me back to a few weeks before this post, I was attracted by this cover in the library. I saw it was by the same author as The Boy in the Striped Pajamas... I took it. I opened it. I freaking devoured it.

When both his parents die, Pierrot needs to go live with his aunt Beatrix at the top of a mountain somewhere in Germany. Ready for the new adventure, Pierrot gets invited into a home where everyone seems scared of its owner. Everyone gets all ready and preparing it for when he decides to take a rest at the top of the mountain. Before Pierrot knows it, he gets intertwined in the world of Adolf Hitler, filled with lies, betrayal and danger. Will he ever get out safely?

Really, John Boyne. REALLY? This book is just... FABULOUS. The characters are so strongly written and so diverse that I wish I was one of them. And then there's the plot which made me fall in love with this book even more! It all starts out so innocent but then turns into a world about lies and betrayal and hurting people and brainwashing. BRAINWASHING! Just take this book from me okay, just grab it when you find it and trust me. This was amazing! People turn from innocent to monsters and that ending... Please, devote your life to this author. He's amazing. 

Review on The Boy at the Top of the Mountain: COMING SOON (22th of February)

15. Confess by Colleen Hoover
This is the best book I've read by this author. And this is only my second book by this author. But really, this one captured me from the start, right at the moment the characters introduced themselves. If rated this book 5 stunning stars on Goodreads. If I could give more stars, I'd give this book the whole damn galaxy. This is a master piece. 

Caused by certain circumstances, Auburn is forced to move to Dallas. Fighting to keep her head above water, she's in desperate need of finding a second job. Luckily for her, Fate is on her side that day and she finds a second job with an artist in the art gallery: Confess. His work is inspired by confessions people submit at his place. Before she knows it Auburn finds herself really interested in all that has to do with Owen, the artist. What they both don't realize is that they each have their own confessions to admit before this might become something serious. And even then the question is if Fate will support their decisions...

This. Book. Has. Real. Confessions. This is so original and show how strong some readers of hers are because they had the courage to confess these confessions. I lived up to the moment to read each confession that's been placed into the book and it's amazing. The courage and strength they show by doing this, was shown in the characters too. Therefore there was a good link seen between them and I was really keen on this. 

These confessions will also make sure that the book turn from something cute to something a bit more dangerous. There's action, confessions, lies and betrayal. There's cuteness, sweetness and adorableness. There's FATE. There's beautiful art in it as well which was a very stunning extra touch to the book too next to the confessions. For short: this book is a master piece. The feels you'll have during the book, the doubts, the questions: thrilling is what I call it. My heart has beating a lot during this read because I was so thrilled and excited to see what'll happen next. Another thing, before I leave it at this, that I really want to say it: be patient. You won't fully know the characters (inside and out) until way past in the book and after a few confessions but it's so worth the wait...

Review on Confess: COMING SOON (15th of March)

16. The Geography of you and me by Jennifer E. Smith
This is not a series but boy I might really want a sequel to tell me what'll happen after this book! I was pretty surprised with this one, even though I knew the big lines of the book because a friend told me about it many years ago. 

Owen and Lucy have never met, even though they live in the same building. Tonight it all changes as the two of them meet while being stuck in an elevator. It hits both of them that they're good together and laugh as the best when they're together. But time to discover if they'd work as something more is not something they get. Lucy moves to Europe, while Owen and his dad try to figure out what they'll do next and travel further through America. Both think about the other all the time, but will they ever meet each other again?

This book was so different from what I expected it to be at first sight! It was stunning and not really about love. Well it was but it still was different! The characters will end up at another part in the world and it shows the reader their lives apart and not together. It's about figuring out your life and figuring out if you need that other person, if they're your other half you can't live without. That was what this book's main vibe was about and I really loved to see all this figuring out and being on your own and sorting out YOUR life and not all being romantic all the time. It's very refreshing!

Also can I just tell you guys that this book... uses absolutely STUNNING passages (and I quote one of them in my review) that really make you think and wonder about how poetic and beautiful everything is. I fell for that the first moment I read one! An absolute asset to my opinion.

Review to The Geography of you and me: COMING SOON (8th of February)

That said, this look back on 2016 has ended! I had a beautiful year filled with many books I have loved and cherished, I hope you guys have had that too. With still a few days left before we turn to a new chapter in our own book I wish you guys a very happy 2017 and may all your book wishes (and other wished) come true! I'll see you all next year.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

My Christmas book: The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily

Hello, Christmas! We've been waiting for you all year and today you're finally here! Then maybe it is time to really introduce a book you NEED to read to get into this Christmas-y day. Remember early December? When I posted my review about a boy and a girl chasing each other because of a red notebook? Well guess what turned up for Christmas: The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan! It's a Christmas miracle, there's a second part to this book! Who would have ever thought...

Note: If you haven't read Dash and Lily's Book of Dares, then I highly recommend not reading on in this review. It's not that you need to have read this book before reading this one but it would really ruin everything if you would be interested in reading the first book afterward. So if you're interested in the first book, don't read on! Please! I also have a review on the first book if you're interested in knowing how that one is: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares HERE! 

It's been a rough year for Lily and Dash. After Lily's grandpa has been hospitalized, the two find no or hardly any time to spend together. Lily is trying to find her way out of her maze filled with thoughts while Dash does everything to reach out for her. With Lily being so distant and Christmas coming so close the only question everyone asks is if Lily will be herself when Christmas comes. Being afraid she won't be, Dash comes up with a plan, trying to get the old Lily-loving-Christmas back.

Honestly, this book has such a contrast in comparison to its first book in the series. And really it's almost all because of the characters! As we know from book 1, Lily loves Christmas. There isn't a year where she hasn't been running around with Christmas sweaters while baking cookies but this year everything is so different. Readers will be shocked when they read about the huge change Lily has been through. She's very distant and closed, not really into going anywhere with Dash or the most important really: getting into the Christmas spirit!

It's such a downer for every reader that has seen Lily in the first book to see her so empty and sad right now. It really makes sure that we'll feel with this character. It's not that this book is bad or anything, it just shows a big contrast and I didn't mind it but more about that later. What I really loved with Lily is that she's so us. I'm sure almost all of us has had a period where they actually just wanted someone to help out and get them back to being themselves but not really asking. Lily is so relatable and so real it's hard not to still love her and hope she'll get back to being all happy and amazing. I was really surprised to see this change in her and that made this character absolutely stunningly written. She'll also be challenging herself during this book and show how breakable yet determined and strong she really is.

As for Dashiell... Please, Santa. I need a boyfriend like him under my tree this year. It's all I ask for! I've been a good girl this year! Really. Dash has been nothing but good in this book, what I did notice is that he's less snarly as he's described in book 1 which wasn't all too bad because he was still a boy that made a girl (me) laugh. Also Dash is going through a rough year, he's suffering from Lily not being alright and that really shows some true devotion on his part. 

Dash will go to great lengths in this book, trying to reach out for her and help her getting her happy-Lily self back and I really loved to see this part in Dash. Although I already saw in the first book that he'd be a true guy, very helpful and sweet, we see this part being played out even more. I was absolutely loving it!

Now the plot! There's a bumpy road behind us but also ahead of us. Lily's grandpa hasn't been doing well in the past year and it really weighs down hard on Lily. She's really trying her best to make it easy on her grandpa and tries to take care of him. The result of this is that it's just getting too much for this character. Yet she doesn't seem to see it. Also Dashiell doesn't seem to see it right away but when Christmas is arriving this all changes!

In Dash and Lily's Book of Dares we see that Lily is the most Christmas-y person there probably exists but with 12 days 'till Christmas, there still no Lily jumping up and down in a Christmas sweater and baking cookies. This means that Dash finally sees the alarm bells and will start taking action. This will lead to a very heartwarming as well as funny at times moments. 

The red notebook from last year will come off it shelf again and it's great to see really! There's always this link between the two books and I really appreciated that in the plot. Also because it's for another cause makes it so much better. But Lily doesn't bite immediately, she gets lost (literally and mentally) and it means that everyone starts working together to get it better immediately.

Readers will appreciate it that the plot zooms in on the whole family and friends. It shows us that you sometimes need more than one person to help out and also represents the Christmas spirit of being together. I wouldn't say the plot is as cute and romantic as book 1 but it does really show that there can get things in the way of living a happy life and that it's okay. The plot concentrates on the friendships, the family bonds and sorting out life and it gives a good and amazing spin-off and contrast to the first book. 

By the way, talking about family bonding, we'll get a closer look to that dad of Dash and I was so happy we could see a close-up of him. I've never had so many feels (for better or for worse will be seen if you read the book yourself) for a parent in a book before! Also, the plot makes room for feels too and as you know I greatly appreciate feels in books any time possible! The feels are also really well written and it's hard for you not to get into it and really feel everything the characters feel!

And it might be filled with sad parts where I almost thought my ship was going to be wrecked to bits, but it'll change! As in the first book I have laughed, not as much as I did the first time around but really enough to not make me feel as bad as Lily was. Readers will be able to enjoy the hard parts in life that's alternated with funny parts about being a savior in someone else's life and getting that Christmas spirit back! 

Talking about Christmas spirit, Lily not being herself and being really sad and all will cause the first part of the book to be a bit down and not Christmas-y at all but I can say there'll be a change at some point that really makes that spirit come to life as if nothing has happened before. 

If you're looking for a Christmas read, let this one be your Twelve Days after Christmas! In contrast with Dash and Lily's Book of Dares, the characters go through a hard and dark period that can't sparkle the Christmas Spirit. That's the great thing about this book! It shows the contrast with book 1 but it also shows how real life is, and it isn't always happy and Christmas-y and that's okay. The characters will show differences with book one and will act differently but when it all comes down to it, they'll go through great lengths to make sure the other one is alright and that's amazingly represented in this book. Christmas is about being together and helping each other back to being alright and this book absolutely shows you how to. Not only do you get your most beloved characters Lily and Dash back but you'll also get that red notebook but with a new and more daring adventure! If all, this book is filled with good life lessons and an amazing Christmas party.

“What an idiot Santa is for flying around alone. Because who would want to travel the world without another person's heartbeat beside him?” 

Wednesday, December 21, 2016


This book took me forever to finish. Not that it was because it was bad, but because I have so much going on with school! I'm really working a lot on homework and preparations for my class that I just don't find the time to read. At all. Luckily for me, the midterm break arrived and I had exams. When I have exams, I tend to read even a lot more. Weird but hey, I love it! Today's review is about Torn by Amanda Hocking.

Note: this is the second book in the Trylle-trilogy, I recommend not to read on if you haven't read the first book in this series. There have been developments in this book and that means you will be spoiled after you read this review. If you want to know what this series is about or you're interested in the first book, here is my review on Switched by Amanda Hocking

Wendy now understands why she's always felt like an outsider. But accepting a new life, in a new world where her brother, Matt, isn't a part of? That's something she just cannot accept. Wendy decides to leave her real family and find comfort in her old life, with the people she absolutely loves. But her real world won't let her go that easily.
The enemy is just around the corner. There she finds a whole new truth to who she really is, and what she's capable of. There was a time where she thought there was a line between good and bad, but now Wendy understands that there's more to it than she once had thought. With all the new information, Wendy escapes and gets back to Förening. There she'll have to make a life changing decision: who will she stand for?

First of Wendy, my bookgods! Did she make progress! This book really concentrates on her being the heir to the throne. There's not much time for her adjusting or hanging around the people she loves. She's constantly being thrown from one meeting to another and if she isn't busy with meetings, she's busy studying or visiting the enemy so she can understand what the hell's going on. Wendy is really growing into a woman that knows how to act and how to be. Above that she's growing into a very good princess.

Of course things only got that way by one particular event and how that one turned out. The enemy provides her (and us as a reader) with a lot of information we didn't even know. This is the part where we see Wendy grow into someone who'd sacrifice a lot and I really loved to see that happening. The feeling she's having during that part and the moment she wants to sacrifice everything, will be a major thing in the book. I did like it that Amanda Hocking repeated this feeling in new and hidden ways but you still were able to detect it and enjoy it. 

As for Matt, he's here again! The last book, we saw Matt mostly in the beginning and not much after that but now he's here for the bigger part and that's great because I heart Matt! He's still his usual self, although there'll be something in store for him too. It's amazing to see how he reacts on everything and how he handles things. This gives us much more information and perspective on how Matt really is and what he loves and doesn't love at all. Also once he learns the truth, he doesn't reject it and still stands by Wendy no matter what. Ah, I still adore this character!

A new character that will turn up is Loki and I have to tell you: he's special. I don't know what his intentions are, for all I know he might be bad. Like totally not trustworthy but there's something about him that makes me want to believe that he's good. And that, my friends, is a dangerous thing! Also Wendy will have this feeling which makes it great. It means we really can connect with the characters and understand them which is always an asset! I'm really looking forward to part three in this series to find out if we were right or if he's been seducing us all this time. But for now... He's cool...

As for Finn, I adore Finn. He's like Matt but then in another way! I did wish to see him more in Torn but I was left hanging on that part. Things went a bit south, we know that by now and it's still affecting Wendy and their relationship. Above that she doesn't have all that much time to catch up with him since she's being full-princess-mode but I did wish to see Finn more and to clear the air because really? Who doesn't want Finn back around? We'll see how that one goes in the last book too.

To conclude the part about the characters: I was absolutely satisfied with seeing them grow. We did see Wendy grow the most and that might be because she's getting a lot of tasks and so on. However, the characters were the best part in this book because we got so many details and therefore covered more ground about them. We've gotten to know them on a bit of a deeper level, especially Wendy.

But now the plot, I have to be honest and tell you guys I was left hanging. Really. The first book really gave so much to us. All the information and then you were thrown in a fight here and a fight there and there was action, suspense and feels everywhere. Where was it? Torn isn't bad, I mean I really enjoyed it but I absolutely missed the action. 

Instead of action, Amanda Hocking decided it was about time for us to learn more about being a princess. And that was a nice thing too (however I still need and want action). We also got time to process information, which we didn't have in the first book we just continued and followed around just like Wendy. Now we got time to think things through, to find out who's good and bad and more importantly we learn more about the characters and how much freedom they really have.

Because this book does concentrate on the bars hanging around people. No matter who you are or where you are or who you're with: there's always some bars hanging around you. The book really illustrated this well and the characters will go in a discussion about this topic. I just think it was nice to see it because it gave yet another perspective to the characters. 

Also, this time around we got to see Elora more frequently and she also surprised me and scared me. (But I can't tell why because that'll spoil things). Elora will give a few twists to the plot and to the truth we all believed in and that's a good thing about the plot. It still makes you question things and see that there's always another side to the story. 

Another thing that was different from the first book was the love. In book one there absolutely was some romance lingering somewhere. Here? There's no time. Wendy needs to get ready, she needs to become the greatest and this causes no romance. Of course there'll be tension and parts where romance will be which gets us to the feels part. I wanted that tension and romance between the characters a bit more so I could, you know, enjoy this moment filled with feels. Other than that there will be parts in the book where there'll be doubts about feelings such as love and this made my heart die and relive a few times which I think is great about the book. I love it when books make you split apart and adore and hate and get heartbroken by it. It's amazing. 

As for the ending: what? It was so abrupt. I was just reading, the page got blank at the middle so I turned it for the next chapter... where did that chapter go though? There was no chapter after it! It was done. I really wasn't liking that. I didn't think that was the ending of this book. So yeah, it left me hanging there. It was so abrupt and sudden and not logical and I was so disappointed.

I did enjoy this book though, but not as much as I did the first book. Torn shows us everything there is to know about Wendy and that's great. Even more so, we finally get to see what a princess has to know, should be capable of and how much freedom she really has. That was a great asset to the book! However, I really missed the action in this book. The first book bombarded you with all this new information and kept the story alive with tension and action, this book didn't really do that to me. Above that I also thought that the ending was quiet abrupt which I wasn't loving at all.
Even though I didn't like it that much, I still recommend the book because we get to process everything and learn stuff about everybody and see more details. This covers new grounds about the characters which I was a fan of. However, book two will never be my favorite in the series!

"Not all prisons have bars."

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Top 5 Children's books

Since I'm studying to become a teacher in kindergarten, my book collection has expanded. Not with English books but with Dutch children's books! This post therefore might be more for the Dutchies (and teachers) around here because they might not know these books. I'm saying Dutchies because these books are all in Dutch. However, it might be translated in English too!

Note: the books are not enlisted in hierarchy of how much I like them. These 5 books are equally good in my opinion.

1. Elke Dag een Kabouter (Each day a Dwarf) by Eline Hermans.
This is a book that's really old! It's a book that my mother used when I was little, it might be 18-20 years old already. Still, I think it's an amazing book though!

This book has little stories about dwarfs for each day. And when I mean each day, I mean each day! It's really fun to use, especially when kids are able to see what day it is on a calendar. That way they can go check the date and then find it on their own in the book.

The stories also vary a lot. One time the dwarfs go visit an old man and other times they're busy trying to find a solution for a problem. There are drawings in it too, they're not too detailed either but I don't really mind because I think they do just fine with the story they're drawn for. It's a book that also makes sure that the children use their imagination because there aren't drawings for each thing that happens in that little story.

2. Versjes en liedjes voor de kleintjes (Poetry and songs for the littlest) by Marianne Busser and Ron Schröder.
What I like the most about this book is that it contains songs and poetry for kids. On school we got two syllabus' full of songs but this one is a nice addition to it! I actually bought this book in my library, they were selling lots and lots of books and I was really curious so visited my library.

I only found this book but it wasn't like I regret going. In this job you need to sing a lot and learn songs and with each event you celebrate you need something to sing that also isn't known (that's what my school thinks). This book has many themes like Christmas, Mother's day, Cleaning up, and so on! So I'm really happy to have this book because it covers so many topics that each differ from the other one.

It also has the staves with all the different music notes which is also practical because I'm learning to play instruments. That way I can use that too.

3. De Superreuze Vervelende Olifant (The Slightly Annoying Elephant) by David Walliams and Tony Ross.
Good news for the English people that are reading this, this book is an English one that is translated to Dutch! Also, this book is amazing! It's from my library but I wish it was mine. The second I opened up the book I really laughed.

The things that happen in this book are really unrealistic but they're really, really funny! It sure does make the kids laugh and use their imagination so then its purpose has succeeded. The book is by a boy that signs a contract of adopting an elephant but he didn't know that. So one day there's an elephant at his doorstep and he has to take him in. Of course the elephant is too heavy and big for the house so things break and the boy gets slightly annoyed by it. This of course brings some humor into the story.

I'm also a big fan of the cover and also of the drawings themselves. Another thing I really like is how the words are pictured on the drawings, it's very creative and musical which is a great thing for kids (something my teacher told me). It's also a good book to create an activity with so after the book we can do something related to it.

4. De paraplu (The Umbrella) by Ingrid and Dieter Schubert.
This book is really one of my favorites! This book only contains drawings, there are no words. I really love that because children get the chance to really make their own story with every drawing. So even if you already told the story, they can go back to it and make their own story.

Also the drawings are absolutely amazing! My teacher presented this book in class and I was so glad she did. It was like a recommendation by her.

This book is about a dog that finds an umbrella and then starts flying with it and sees the whole world. A really nice concept and also something that can be used in many themes if you ask me. What I also enjoy a lot in this book is that when it ends, you see another animal looking at the umbrella like the dog did in the beginning. The story therefore could just start again but then with another animal!

5. Taart voor mama (Cake for mom) by Veerle Derave.
My first children's book bought this year! It's like my real first children's book and I feel really proud. I found the book on the Boekencircus at Ghent together with my mom. It's like a book fair but then cheaper. I was a bit disappointed though because I had expected more but hey, I was glad I went anyway.
This is a book that really can be used for Mother's Day, it's also what the book is about. When I have my internship in April/May I can therefore really use the book. The drawings are also very special in my opinion and the story is something many kids can relate to if they have celebrated Mother's Day before.

These were my top 5 children's book for the moment. I just started studying this, it's been a few months now so maybe an update will follow soon! If you have recommendations, don't hesitate to send them to me. I'm really looking for cool books but also books that only have drawings! So anything is possible. Thanks!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Handmade gift for a booklover | DIY

As the month of December has finally arrived to us, Christmas is right around the corner! Although I love the summer, I wouldn't turn down Christmas even though it's during the winter season. But with this all right around the corner there's something else that comes along with it... the perfect Christmas gift! 

As a bookaholic, booklover, book-however-you'd-love-to-call-me I'm not hard to please really when it comes to a gift: just give me a book. Yet when you're on a budget or look for something more personal than just a thing, I got an even better idea to gift to a booklover: a bookmark.

I mean, we've all been there with sticky notes, some paper or random coupons. Just admit it! It needs to end! I might be talking out of my own personal experience but I rather have a bookmark than a paper. After a while the paper either tears or it's suddenly gone so why not make this years Christmas a Christmas where you just sit down and make a bookmark for yourself OR for others.

Also, there's nothing more beautiful and sweet as getting a bookmark that's been handcrafted by someone you know. It's something they really invested time and thought in to make it the most wonderful of things for you and your book-loving-world

There are two ways to make your bookmark: on the computer and print it or really make it by hand. Either way is possible but if you're really into doing it by the latter option then you're at the right post. 

As many might already know my mom makes all sorts of things by hand: cards, mixed media projects,... but also bookmarks. Why? Because she got some crazy kid at home that is addicted to books and only buys books. All. The. Time. That's why. 

She also has a Youtube channel where she shows everyone how she made her stunning projects! This time she made a video about her showing how she makes these bookmarks. Not only one bookmark but two! So if you're interested in making this years present for a booklover all personal, I'd say go check it out! It might just give you the inspiration you need! I'll also put some pictures of other bookmarks my mother has made for me down here so you even got a few more examples and therefore more inspiration.

Next to bookmarks, as I already said, she also makes other handmade projects like tea boxes that are decorated, cards (maybe another idea for Christmas?), tags and much more. I'll put all her information down below and make sure to go check it out! 

My blog: 
My facebook:
My instagram:
My pinterest:
My twitter:

Back in January she also put up a blogpost on her blog about another bookmark she has made. If you're also curious to seeing that one you can find the post HERE.