June Recap ’17 | Internship Solicitations & Euromast Celebrations

04/07/2017 | 1 Comment

This post recaps my month: my personal life, the fun and not so fun; books I’ve read; movies/ tv-shows I’ve watched; and all other things worth mentioning.

June, what a month you were! All the last bits to meet all the requirements for my BA diploma and then unexpectedly adapting my plan for next year to do something scary, new, and exciting! Stressful, but really exciting things went down this month, and I can’t wait to share it all with you!

The beginning of the JuneI was extremely stressed for my Strategic Management & Leadership resit. I studied hard and long for that test, imagine my relief (and happiness) when I got my grade last week and saw I scored a 7 out of 10! I had to make some changes to my bachelor thesis as well and after my resit that is what I focussed on. I am still waiting on the results of one essay and my BA thesis, but I am hoping to receive those before I leave on holiday to Scotland next week.

Then, on to the exciting stuff! I had no idea what MA I wanted to pursue next year. I got declined for the one I had enrolled for, so I had to make some sudden changes (because, obviously, I need something to do next year). So I started applying for internship positions at various publishing houses. I got invited for three and before I had the third meeting I got offered two. I never did any type of solicitation before, so for me to get offered two is a really big deal for me! I even got to pick my favorite and I am so excited to start at the end of August!

June 28th was my sister’s birthday, her 21st birthday, and we celebrated in style! We had dinner at the Euromast in Rotterdam. For those of you that don’t know what the Euromast is, it is an observation tower and you can see the entire skyline of Rotterdam from on top. Tens of thousands of lights from the city of Rotterdam below form the backdrop during dinner while you see the changing colors of the sky as the sun goes down.Seriously, it is beautiful and quite magical. We chose a three-course ‘surprise’ dinner and it was SO GOOD!

Reading wise, I bought some books (yay!) but read very few (boo!). I blame the stress of the past few months because every time I sat down to read I found myself unable to and just watched an episode of House instead… I’m hoping that will change when I go on holiday!

In terms of working out, I’m still not on top of my game, but I am back to running! I have two running events in September, which I see as a huge motivation to keep training and get back in shape. Running with my sister is also a huge motivation! Her holiday has started, so she’s at my parents’ house as well, which means we can train together! And let’s be honest, running together is so much more fun than alone!

Reading: this is so painful…

  1. Cora Carmack – Roar. 5/5. (Review)
  2. Jennifer Armentrout – The Problem with Forever. 5/5. (Review)

TV-shows:

House season 1, episode 1 – 24. I am watching this with my sister, who is a med student, from the very beginning and it so good! 

Grimm season 5, episode 14 – 22. Fun!

Grimm season 6, episode 1 – 13. Sad this was the end, but glad it ended in a satisfying, albeit weird, way.

Movies:

Brave Enough: Lindsey Stirling (Documentary). This was so beautiful! Really recommend it!

Hidden Figures. Such a good movie!

Wonder Woman. THIS WAS EVERYTHING! 

How did June treat you?

 

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Roar by Cora Carmack | Everything and More

20/06/2017 | 0 Comments

Roar by Cora Carmack | Everything and MoreRoar by Cora Carmack
Series: Stormheart #1
Published by Tor Teen on June 13th 2017
Genres: Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 380
Format: Hardcover
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bol.comBuy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars

In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

I’ve read some of Cora Carmack’s previous work, which mainly consists of swoon-worthy New Adult books. As this is her first Young Adult novel, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Roar, except that the premise sounded amazing. After finishing that very first chapter I knew it was going to be good, and the story did not disappoint for one single second. From that first chapter and onwards I was hooked. Roar blew me away!

The plot is complex, layered, and really well done. When I thought I’d finally figured something out, new parts were exposed that were a whole new mystery. The slow reveal allows for lots of anticipation suspense. I love how I had to crack my brain to see if I could find out what was going to happen next during the entirety of the story. There was a lot of action as well that made it really well paced and left me unable to stop reading.

The world Carmack portrays is rich and unique. This fantasy realm is unlike anything that I’ve ever read before. There are so many details and so many new lands to discover, I was enthralled by it all! The premise of a few lineages being able to control storms, and those storms having a “heart” was so incredibly intriguing. There is so much to this world Cora Carmack created and I just want more and more and more (can I please have more soon). The idea that I have to wait for more makes me want to sob.

The protagonist of the story is smart and determined and oh so awesome. She’s struggling to find out who she is and what part to play in her world. She develops a lot throughout the story and even at the end you know she’s going to continue growing and become even more of a badass. I love how she fights for what she wants and believes in. Her determination and her spirit make her character very likable.

All you fantasy lovers out there, rejoice! Roar is everything you need in a book and more. This book has jumped right to first place as my favorite book of the year. This is a must read and if it isn’t on your TBR yet I wholly recommend adding it. You will not regret it!

five-stars
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When you Travel +100k to Buy a Book

16/06/2017 | 3 Comments

Last Wednesday I traveled quite the distance to get my hands on a copy of the book I wanted. And when I say quite some distance I mean I traveled from Leiden to The Hague (+/- 20k) and then from the Hague to Amsterdam (+/- 99k). The first wasn’t that big a deal, it only takes about 15 minutes to get there by train, but the second was a spontaneous decision after finding out they didn’t have the book I wanted in the bookstore in The Hague.

The book I am talking about is Roar by Cora Carmack. As I’ve been living under a rock the past few months, dealing with finals and deadlines, the existence of Roar had remained a secret to me, and suddenly I saw tons of posts appear featuring this book on Instagram. The cover is gorgeous and when I read the synopsis I was convinced: I simply HAD to read Roar. I usually order my books online and most of the times that means it arrives in my mailbox the next day. Only this time, the estimated delivery time was EIGHT DAYS, and that simply would not do.

One of my favorite bookstores, ABC (American Book Center), has stores in The Hague and Rotterdam and they regularly post pictures of the new books that have arrived in store. I checked and THEY HAD COPIES OF ROAR. So off to The Hague I went, only to hear there that they did not have copies; only the Amsterdam store had. I was planning to go home after that, albeit a bit disappointed, but when I got to the train station instead of getting on the train back to Leiden I figured ‘what the heck’ and spontaneously got on the train to Amsterdam. Two hours later I came out of the Amsterdam ABC store a very happy girl with a newly acquired copy of Roar in my backpack.

I kinda love how spontaneous this decision was. It has been a while since I did something completely random like this and I had a blast. The Hague is a fun city to be in, it has a very nice feeling to it and while I was there I took some time to grab an iced coffee and people-watch for a bit. It also wasn’t a completely wasted trip because I did find a copy of Fairest by Marissa Meyer for my mother. I have never really been a fan of Amsterdam (except for the bookstores, haha), it is way too busy and tourist filled for my taste, so I really just browsed the bookstores and went back home again.

On the train ride home I, of course, started on the first few chapters in Roar and I am so hooked! It has been a while since I was this excited over a book, but damn, this book is the very example of why I love reading so much. IT.IS.AWESOME. Definitely a trip worth taking the time to make! I have about 100 pages left and I can’t stop reading!

When I told my friends what I’d done they looked at me like I’d lost my mind, or they just said they’d expect nothing less from me haha. This is a perfect example of the lengths a book nerd will go (or travel) to get the books they want.

Have you ever done something like this?

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I’m Not Superwoman: It’s Okay When It Doesn’t Work Out

13/06/2017 | 2 Comments

As my active lifestyle is a big part of this blog I think it’s important to share the highs as well as the lows with you. So today I want to share what’s going on workout-wise lately, or rather, how it hasn’t been working out for me the past month. As many of you might know, I pride myself on being active, on being a runner, and on my workouts in general because I enjoy them and they’re a big stress reliever. I even give the advice to people that when life get’s busy to keep making effort to do your workouts, because it helps deal with stress. I tell most people that, but when push comes to shove I guess I am crap at following my own advice… And you know what: that’s okay.

My workouts have NOT been working out for me the past two months. I still run, but you could call it sporadically at best, and my gym-time has pretty much cut back to zero hours a week. The cause? Three things: exams, deadlines, and life. I am currently finishing up my third year of university, and will, hopefully, graduate this year. The deadlines, my thesis, the finals… they had, and still have, me in its grip. Then, life got rough for me. I won’t bore you with the details, that’s not what this post is about, but let’s just keep it at the fact that I had a really hard time dealing with everything this past semester. With everything going on, and the added stress of deadlines and finals approaching had me increasingly stressed. My workouts went down the drain in no time.

As much as I loved working out, I did not have the time nor energy to spare. And, as I’ve slowly come to realize, that’s okay. It’s okay not to be superwoman. Sometimes you simply don’t have the time or energy to spare for workouts when there’s so much going on around you. I don’t have to be able to lift all the weight of what’s been happening on my shoulders while getting good results at university and have the time and energy to spare for working out three to four (or five) times a week. It took me a while to come to this conclusion. And truly, it is so important to realize that I shouldn’t feel guilty for taking a step back, nor is it ‘bad’ that I wasn’t as active in the gym as I normally am. Working out should, above all, be fun. Not a must. Not something to feel guilty about when you skip a day or two (or a month). You do it for you and nobody else.

It took me a while to come to this conclusion. And truly, it is so important to realize that I shouldn’t feel guilty for taking a step back, nor is it ‘bad’ that I wasn’t as active in the gym as I normally am. Working out should, above all, be fun. Not a must. Not something to feel guilty about when you skip a day or two (or a month). You do it for you and nobody else. So yeah, maybe I have been a slacker workout-wise, but hey, if slacking allowed me to keep up my grades while dealing with all that was happening around be then I am glad to have been one!

So far I have mentioned what has been going on, but what about what is going on. Well, luckily, I am doing a bit better. I made the deadlines (only a few left) and I had my last exam yesterday. Life is still not back to normal, but it is slowly getting there. I am planning on picking on my run training again today (starting with a comfortable 5k run) and might pick up HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) again because it goes very well in combination with running.

The good news is that I’m back to working out now! My sister joins me on my runs a lot and, as you can see, we have fun while doing it. If you learn anything from this post I hope that It’ll be that having fun is most important when it comes to working out. If it starts being anything but fun, if it becomes a must instead of a want, something has to change. This wasn’t the most upbeat most, but I want to keep it real on this blog. It might seem like working out comes easy to me, but it takes time and dedication, and sometimes this can be hard to find and there’s no shame in that.

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The Problem with Forever by Jennifer Armentrout | Broke my Heart and Mended it in +400 Pages

08/06/2017 | 5 Comments

The Problem with Forever by Jennifer Armentrout | Broke my Heart and Mended it in +400 PagesThe Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published by Harlequin Teen on May 17th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Love & Romance
Pages: 474
Format: Hardcover
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bol.comBuy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars

For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.

Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.

As anything that Jennifer Armentrout writes is pretty much on my auto-buy list and so The Problem with Forever too found its way to my home. It pretty much inevitable that my Read-Everything-By-Jennifer-Armentrout-Obsession struck again… And boy, what a book! The Problem with Forever definitely won me over (as pretty much every book has done before). It was powerful and moving, and it broke my heart and mended it all within +400 pages.

Mallory was a complex character, sometimes her story was incredibly hard to read, but at the same time she’s relatable and tries so hard that you will root for her every step of the way as she tried to put her past behind her and overcome her fears.  Her character grows SO MUCH throughout the story and has so much depth, it is on of the aspects of the story that made this book shine from beginning to end.

Then there is Rider Stark, who has the whole kinda-bad-boy-with-a-heart-of-gold going on. Rider and Mallory have so much history together and so much chemistry that all the feels and the sparks just fly right off the pages. He’s artistic and kinda (read: a lot) damaged, which is hardly surprising considering the past they share. Again, so much depth and complexity to his character. I dare you to not fall in love with his character (I’m betting you can’t).

The supporting characters were just as good as the main characters: Mallory’s adoptive parents, Rider’s foster family, Mallory’s best friend! Characters usually make or break for me, and The Problem of Forever is a perfect example of how they can make a book unforgettable. That, and the writing, because, as always, Jennifer Armentrout’s writing was beautiful and on point!

The Problem with Forever is an emotional and inspiring book that will break your heart and mend it again. It’s a beautiful story about what it means to be brave and moving past the difficulties of what is in one’s past. It has wonderfully complex characters with tons of depth that you can’t help but root for along the entire way!

five-stars
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The way my Reading Habits have Changed over the Years

06/06/2017 | 6 Comments

Last week I ended up thinking about the way my reading habits, as well as my blogging habits, have changed since I started this blog March 2013. I came to the conclusion that they have changed quite a lot over the last four years. As I pondered on what may have caused that change, besides the fact that I have changed and therefore my habits are bound to have changed as well, there was only one other thing that I know did impact my reading habits: university.

That damned education, always getting in the way of my quality reading time… Haha. Nah, it’s not that bad. Honestly, I still read a lot! However, the amount of reading I do for fun, for nothing and nobody but myself, has cut back quite a lot since starting university. And really, the books I did read, mostly university related, weren’t all that to blog about. I felt like I didn’t have anything to contribute anymore and so it happened that my blog pretty much flatlined.

I never really realized how much spare time I had during high school. It didn’t really feel like it at the time, but even though I had homework and exams, I was nowhere near as busy as I am now. When I wasn’t in the middle of an exam-week, I actually had a very decent amount of time for myself. Moreover, busyness and stress aside, my social life wasn’t ‘all that’ either. Which left a LOT of spare time to read and blog, and boy did I do both of those things often.

These past three years of university have been great, but also really stressful and tiring. When looking back at my blogging, it is clear to see when studying got tough, because my blogging got erratic or turned completely absent. I struggled so much to keep up with my review copies, keep the blogging creativity and posts flowing, but I just couldn’t handle all of it together. I read so many books for university and that just leaves a lot less time to spend on reading for fun. When I realized that, I slowly started to realize that without reading the books I just didn’t have as much to talk about over here. Erratic blogging was the result. There was a period where I thought I simply had fallen out of love with blogging, but I realize now that I never really did… I just felt like I had nothing to contribute.

I have gotten a bit off track here. A necessary evil, as I wanted to explain how I think the change came about first. Let’s get back on with it: how have my reading habits changed?

Say Hello to a Picky Reader

First and foremost, I don’t just read EVERYTHING anymore. Since I have less time to read books for fun (thanks to tons of university reading) I have gotten more picky about what I read. I carefully choose the books I want to read because I want to spend the time I have on reading a book that I truly want to read, instead of reading for the sake of reading and finishing as many books as I can. Sure, it is fun to look back on a year and say you’ve read over a 100 or 150 books, but that is not what I want reading to be about. That just no longer for me. So yeah, I turned into a picky reader.

I have become a DNFer

Another way my reading habits seriously changed is that I don’t finish all the books I start reading anymore. I used to read whatever I could get my hands on and read it all regardless of whether I actually liked the book or not. Finishing a book was so important to me. Nowadays, when I get to the point that a book is just not working for me I DNF it. I might pick it up later on, but I no longer force myself to finish a book for the sake of finishing it.

I need to Take my Time

I used to be able to finish a book in a few hours. Thinking back I am amazed at how fast and easily I was able to read. Nowadays it can take me days, if not weeks, just to finish one book. Damn I miss those good old days, haha. Most of the time I just don’t feel up to reading the entire book in one sitting, I need breaks. Maybe I’ve gotten old…

My reading habits might have changed, but I don’t think these are necessarily bad changes. The opposite, I am quite content because I read whatever I want to read and don’t stress over the number of books I have read at the end of the year. I like to say I stopped focussing on quantity as much and started caring way more about the quality of the books I do read. So, let me end this post by telling you what summarizes my current reading habits: quality over quantity!

How would you sum up your reading habits? Have they changed much?

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