July 2019 Reading Wrap-Up + Favourites

july-2019

Hello There

Ah, July. July was the first month of my holidays/after I finished everything and it’s been a tough one. My mental health was all over the place for most of the month and while it improved a bit, I still struggle a lot with it. It’s been a really weird month, but I’ve tried. I’ve been more creative like I wanted, I went to the sea many times, which made me feel better and I created myself a new routine, which helped a bit as well. Here’s to hope that August will be better!

what i read

July wasn’t off to a very good start when it came to reading, but I started using a reading tracker a week into the month and it helped a lot. I love tracking how much I read each day; it motivates me to read every day and to read a lot again. I haven’t read as much as usual this year, so I haven’t turned to reading as much as I used to, which made me a bit sad. Last month, I went with the flow of what I wanted to read the most because I needed to be all excited about reading again, I’m starting to feel that way again, which is amazing. Here are the books that I read in July:

  • Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier, 4.5/5 stars
  • Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, 3.5/5 stars
  • Child of the Prophecy by Juliet Marillier, 4/5 stars
  • The Loving Spirit by Daphne du Maurier, 5/5 stars (reread)
  • The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, 3.5/5 stars
  • The Pale Dreamer by Samantha Shannon, 4/5 stars
  • Sailor Moon, vol. 1 by Naoko Takeuchi, 3/5 stars
  • The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty, 5/5 stars (reread)
  • Sailor Moon, vol. 2 by Naoko Takeuchi, 3/5 stars

I’m glad I reread some of my favourite books, because it’s what I needed, plus reading more of Juliet Marillier’s works was everything, she’s becoming one of my favourite authors for sure!

favourites

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TV SHOW // This Is Us (NBC)

For the third month in a row, my absolute favourite of the month was This Is Us. After two months and a half of binge-watching the show, my best friend and I are finally caught up with This Is Us, which breaks my heart a little bit, as it means I have to wait until September 24th for the next season (thank God I follow the cast on Instagram and they’re currently filming). At this point, I have embraced the fact that I cry during every episode of the show and that it means the world to me. Considering how tough the past few months I’ve been, I don’t know what I would have done without this show, it teaches me so much and always gives me hope. Truly one of my all-time favourite shows. 💛

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BOOKS // Juliet Marillier’s Sevenwaters series

I absolutely adored Daughter of the Forest when I read it back in May and I was so excited to get to the rest of the first trilogy. I read Son of the Shadows and Child of the Prophecy in July and fell in love with them as well: Juliet Marillier’s writing is magical, I adore how she weaves folklore into her novels and her main characters are so memorable. I barely ever binge-read book series (the last time I did it was for Robin Hobb’s Farseer Trilogy), but I really didn’t want to leave Sevenwaters behind and I’m happy I read these books almost back to back. I am longing to go back to Juliet Marillier’s medieval Ireland, so I’ll probably get the Blackthorn & Grim series or the rest of the Sevenwaters books soon.

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MISC. // Lemons 🍋

I’ve been all over lemons for the past few months or so, and it’s all because of… This Is Us (yeah, sorry for mentioning it again). There is a quote in the show about how there is no lemon so sour that you can’t make something resembling lemonade and I’ve been trying to live by it every day (truly, I live by so many things I hear in this show). Because of that and because I’m obsessed with yellow anyway, I’ve been putting lemons in everything in my life, whether I’m actually making lemonade, wearing clothes with lemon patterns, baking lemon cake (my favourite, it was meant to be!) or sewing a lemon tote bag (see above, I can’t wait to finish this project!). Lemons remind me that everything is going to be okay and I’ve really needed it lately.

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TV SHOW // Las Chicas del Cable (Netflix)

I started watching Las Chicas del Cable in June to help improve my Spanish and I ended up binge-watching it quite quickly, I love it so much. This Spanish show, set in the 1920s-1930s, follows four women working as cable girls in a phone company and it’s so addicting! They always get caught up in big dramas and it talks about so many important issues. One of my favourite things about this show is the friendship linking the main characters, they have each other’s backs through every situation and it makes me so happy. It even has queer characters, which I feel is still rare in period dramas and makes me love it even more. I totally recommend it, the fourth season is coming out on August 9th and it’s going to be everything!

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MUSIC // Six the Musical

If you know me, you probably know that I mainly listen to musicals or music I hear in movies, so of course, I had to fall in love with a new musical in the past few months. This one is about Henry VIII’s six wives, so as I’m a history nerd and am really interested by this era, of course I adore it! It was recently announced that it was coming to Broadway and Australia and it makes me so happy, it deserves it so much. I’d love to see it live someday. 💜

Looking Ahead

I am hoping that August will be a better month than July for me, I am looking forward to many small things, so fingers crossed that will be the case. Here are my goals for August:

  • participate in the N.E.W.T.s readathon
  • finish to rearrange everything in my room
  • continue to be more creative
  • practice Spanish every day
  • start learning Danish again
  • it would be great if I registered for my driving license, but we’ll see about that…

What about you? How was July? Any new favourite books?

lots of love

Magical Readathon 2019 — N.E.W.T.s TBR

magical-readathon

Hello There

I am beyond excited that August is around the corner, because with August, the Magical Readathon is coming back and it is time to sit for my N.E.W.T.s!

The Magical Readathon was created by Book Roast on YouTube and it is a month-long readathon based around the exams students take at Hogwarts, which happens twice a year, once in April for the O.W.L.s and once in August for the N.E.W.T.s. You can even pick a wizarding career and choose your O.W.L.s/N.E.W.T.s depending on it, which is so much fun. I already participated in April for the O.W.L.s and adored it, so I’m really excited to pass my N.E.W.T.s. I’d recommend to check G’s video announcement for the N.E.W.T.s, it has all the information you need.

Without any surprise, I am studying to become a Magizoologist and I need to study Care of Magical Creatures (I need an Optimal to pass), Charms (I need an Exceeded Expectations) and Herbology (I need an Exceeded Expectations as well). Overachiever as I am, I really want to try to get an Optimal in everything, so we’ll see how it goes. In the meantime, here’s my TBR for the N.E.W.T.s!

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A: book title that starts with a letter AArchenemies by Marissa Meyer

I read Renegades last year and absolutely adored it: I loved that it was about people with superpowers and the two main characters are amazing. I had been aching to read its sequel, but hadn’t found the perfect occasion to do so yet (so many books, so little time), so when I saw this prompt, I knew I had to finally get to it. I am so looking forward to going back into this world and well, at least I won’t have too long to wait until Supernova‘s release.

♡ E: book under 300 pagesThor, Volume 1: The Goddess of Thunder  by Jason Aaron

I’ve been planning to read these comics for the longest time, but now that they have announced that Natalie Portman was coming back to the MCU to become the Goddess of Thunder, I have to. In this 2014 comics run, Thor is unworthy and Mjolnir lies on the moon, unable to be lifted, until… a mysterious woman grasps it and takes Thor’s mantle! It sounds so good and I mostly read comics about superheroines, so it’s perfect for me!

♡ O: read a book with a bird on the coverOnce Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale is one of my favourite books of this year and I am so looking forward to reading more by Diane Setterfield. Once Upon a River is her newest release and follows the discovery of a girl’s lifeless body, who later returns to life and is claimed by three families. It seems to be quite dark and atmospheric and it combines folklore and science, so I’m really intrigued about it.

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♡ A: read a book that you think has a gorgeous coverThe Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty

The City of Brass was one of my favourite books of last year and helped a lot to get me into a huge fantasy slump, because I loved it too much. This fantasy book is inspired by Middle East folklore, set in 18th century Cairo, and follows Nahri, a con woman who accidentally summons a djinn. The Kingdom of Copper is the second book in the trilogy, its cover is stunning (it’s the UK cover if you’re wondering, it wins!), and I’ve been rereading the first book to be able to get to it, so I’m really excited!

♡ E: read a comic/graphic novel/manga — Thor, Volume 2: Who Holds the Hammer? by Jason Aaron

Of course, after reading The Goddess of Thunder, I will have to finish reading this comics run, as there are only two volumes! It is perfect for a month-long readathon, as I have longer reads like The Kingdom of Copper to get through.

♡ O: read a paperback book — The Door by Magda Szabó 

I won this book in a giveaway hosted by my friend Anna @ AnnaofBookingham on Instagram and I’m so curious to read it, because I know she adored it! This Hungarian novel follows Emerence, a domestic servant, that young writer Magda takes in, and the relationship they develop for the next twenty years. I can’t wait to discover it and to chat with Anna about it!

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A: listen to an audiobook — King Lear by William Shakespeare

I’ve been trying to read one of Shakespeare’s plays every month this year (I’m two plays behind though, oops), so I definitely have to read one of them in August and I adore to listen to them via audiobooks, as they have entire casts and sometimes background noises. They also are really quick to go by, as the audiobooks usually last three hours, so it’s perfect for a readathon. This time, I’m giving a try to King Lear and I’m really excited, I’ve heard amazing things about it!

♡ E: read a book between 350-390 pagesA Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood

To be honest, the second I heard this book was set in Cornwall, I knew I had to read it. I’m fascinated with Cornwall (thank you for that, Daphne du Maurier) and I’m always really excited to read books set there. A Sky Painted Gold is also set during the 1920s and is about Lou, a young woman who stumbles into the world into the glittering world of the Cardew family. Lucy @ Lucy the Reader has been raving about it for months and she said it was perfect for summer, so I’m all about that!

♡ O: read a book with a flower on the cover The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

I read The Bone Season earlier this week and I really liked it, I found the world to be fascinating and I can’t wait to get back into it, because the second book, The Mime Order, sure sounds promising. This series is about Paige Mahoney, who is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, in 2059. Her job is to scout information by breaking into people’s minds, a power… which is illegal. I am so excited to get more into this series!

So that’s it for my TBR for the N.E.W.T.s! My Optimal reads for Charms and Herbology aren’t my top priorities, but fingers crossed I can get to them and maybe other books. In any case, I’m so motivated to prioritize reading in August.

What are you planning to read in August? Are you participating in this readathon?

lots of love

The Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag

mid-year-freak-out-book-tag

Hello There

Just like that, it’s already July and we’re halfway through the year! I thought that to reflect on what I’ve read this year so far, I’d do the Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag just like last year, because it is such a fun tag to do! This tag was originally created by Chami and Ely. So without further ado, let’s jump right into it!

♡ Best book you’ve read so far in 2019

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Without hesitation, The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, which also made it to my favourite books of all time! My words can’t do it justice, but from the very beginning I fell in love with it and it has everything I love. It’s a diverse fantasy novel with a queendom and dragons, does one need more? I also adore these characters so much, it has one of my favourite couples ever (and probably my favourite f/f romance) and I miss them so much, there is a 99% chance that I’ll reread it before the end of the year.

♡ Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2019

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I haven’t read a lot of sequels to be completely honest, but I adored The Wicked King by Holly Black so much! It was such a strong follow-up to The Cruel Prince, it made me discover more of the world, it had such compelling politics, I adore Jude and I finally made up my mind: I do love Cardan as well. I am so excited for The Queen of Nothing to be released in November, I can’t get enough of this series.

♡ New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

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Honestly, I can’t believe I still haven’t read The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty, what have I been doing? The City of Brass was one of my favourite books of last year and I’d really love to reread it before moving on to its sequel, hopefully it’ll happen this summer!

♡ Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

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I already mentioned it in a recent blog post, but I have been anticipating The Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier for so long now! This one is the first in a trilogy about warrior bards, which is the coolest thing ever, I am so hyped for it! I love how Juliet Marillier weaves folklore into her stories, I’m sure it’ll be beautifully done here once again.

♡ Biggest disappointment

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Unfortunately, I didn’t really like The House at Riverton by Kate Morton and I’m still so mad to have been disappointed that much. It was blurbed as perfect for fans of Downton Abbey and as I had loved The Lake House by the same author, I was confident I’d love this one too. Well… That wasn’t the case at all, I was so underwhelmed and rolled my eyes too many times.

♡ Biggest surprise

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The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, which is my second favourite book of the year! While I was reading this book, I couldn’t put it down and read way past my bedtime. It is a gothic novel about stories and uncovering the truth, no matter how bad it can be. Diane Setterfield’s writing was spectacular and it had such a gloomy atmosphere I adored. I have yet to watch the movie adaptation, which stars Olivia Colman, Vanessa Redgrave and Sophie Turner (what a cast!), I am so excited.

♡ Favourite new author

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I wouldn’t say I have a new favourite author just yet, but I might feel differently about it in a few months. However, I feel like Juliet Marillier could make it to this list in the near future. I adored Daughter of the Forest so much, it was splendidly written and it’s one of those books that I feel will stay with me for a very long time. I started reading the follow-up to Daughter of the ForestSon of the Shadows, a few days ago and while I’m not far into it, I adore her writing and it makes me feel at home. Her upcoming book is also my most anticipated release for the second half of the year, so yes, I do believe she could become one of my favourite authors!

♡ Newest fictional crush

As a matter of fact, I don’t really have any new ones? That’s a bit weird for me, but okay. 🤷🏼‍♀️

♡ Newest favourite character

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I don’t have any new fictional crushes, but wow do I have a new favourite character! I adore Eadaz uq-Nāra from The Priory of the Orange Tree with all my heart. She’s such a clever, loyal and strong character and I can’t help but admire her. I even named one of my cacti after her, that’s how much I love her (okay, now I want to reread Priory even more).

♡ Book that made you cry

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Definitely Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Once again, I was a little bit too invested into this story and characters, so I cried during the book, but also for quite some time after finishing it, because I couldn’t believe that it was over and that Daisy Jones & The Six weren’t actually real people. Taylor Jenkins Reid is such an amazing writer.

♡ Book that made you happy

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Gilmore Girls is one of my favourite TV shows ever, so I was so happy to read Lauren Graham’s memoir Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between). Reading her book felt like catching up with a friend and I adored reading about so many of her experiences. My favourite parts were of course the chapters dedicated to Gilmore Girls, what was it like to film it through the years and what was it like to go back to it years after it ended. It was also full of pictures and seeing Lauren through the years and the cast together was everything.

♡ Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

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These two beauties, The Priory of the Orange Tree and Spinning Silver (and I loved them both, so that’s a win), I could stare at them all day long.

♡ What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

There are so many books I want to get to before the year ends, but my priorities are to read more of Juliet Marillier’s works, to finally get to The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss and The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley and to continue reading Robin Hobb’s series, The Liveship Traders being the next one I’ll get around to reading.

So that’s it, so far I’ve had an amazing reading year and I’m so happy I’ve discovered so many *books, especially The Priory of the Orange Tree and The Thirteenth Tale, which are my newest favourite books.

What are your favourite book(s) of the year so far?

lots of love

June reading wrap-up + favourites

june-wrap-up

Hello There

From the moment June started, I told myself that it would be the best month of the year so far for me and in so many ways, it certainly was. June was quite a busy month: I finished my master’s thesis and defended it, which means that I’m done with my studies, I moved out of my apartment, I did some job hunting, I read a lot, I spent time with my loved ones, I visited museums and I finally had time to breathe. June made me so happy and I really hope the rest of this summer will be as amazing.

what i read

As June is Pride Month, I dedicated all my reading to LGBTQIA+ books, just like last year and it felt amazing! Here are the books that I read:

  • The Brightsiders by Jen Wilde, 3/5 stars
  • Going Off Script by Jen Wilde, 3.5/5 stars
  • Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, 4/5 stars
  • The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee, 4/5 stars
  • Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan, 4/5 stars
  • I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver, 4/5 stars
  • The Edge of the Abyss by Emily Skrutskie, 3/5 stars
  • Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters, 3.5/5 stars
  • The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins, 4/5 stars

It was a pretty solid reading month, I read so many different genres, but somehow I ended up missing fantasy a lot, as I didn’t read many books in that genre. My favourite book of the month actually was Girls of Paper and Fire, so it makes sense, in a way. I loved the characters in this book so much (Lei and Wren, my babies), as well as the world-building and I so need to get my hands on the next book after that cliffhanger!

favourites

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This Is Us

I already mentioned falling in love with This Is Us in my May wrap-up, but of course I had to mention it again and I’ll probably talk some more of it in my July wrap-up, as I’ll be done with season 3 and all caught up by then. The very minute June started, my best friend and I were watching it, which clearly was a sign that this month would shape to be an amazing one. After I turned it my master’s thesis, my reward was finishing season 2 (and what a reward it was, considering how much I cried) and that’s all I needed. After a three week long break, we started watching season 3 on Saturday and oh my, how we had missed it. While it makes me cry every other episode, it is a show that feels like home and one of the few that capture my attention for hours. It definitely is one of my favourite shows of all time.

Learning Spanish again

It might seem a little bit weird, but the moment I was alone after turning up my master’s thesis… I got really bored, because I didn’t have a goal nor was I learning anything new anymore. People laughed it off when I had said I would miss it somehow, but it’s true. Because of that, I decided to dedicate some of the time I had on my hands to learn Spanish again, I actually used to be better at it than in learning English (how the tables have turned, in six years) and I was missing it. I’m using Duolingo a little bit every day to revise, which is fun and I have started watching TV shows in Spanish. At the moment, I’m watching Las Chicas del Cable, which is amazing, and I’m looking forward to watching Alta Mar (I watched the trailer three times because it sounds so good!!).

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The exhibition about Berthe Morisot in the musée d’Orsay

I was super excited about this exhibition, because it is all about Berthe Morisot, who was among the founding members of the impressionists… and the only woman in the group (there were other women who became impressionist painters, of course, but she was the first). A few months ago, I visited the Marmottan-Monet museum and saw so many of her paintings in one room, which was amazing, but an entire exhibition about her? It was all I wanted. I loved seeing so many of her works there, learning about her life and her art process and I walked out of there with a biography about her. I adore her art and admire her so much, I cannot wait to go back there over and over until the end of the exhibition.

Looking Ahead

For now, I am on holidays and will be until I find a job, and I’m so looking forward to enjoy that time to do everything I usually put off (I cannot wait to have a job, though!). My main goal for July is to be more creative, which can mean everything and nothing. I want to draw, to work more on my bullet journal, to continue learning oil painting with my mom (that’s something we started doing a few days ago), to sew the tote bag I saw in a magazine. I’d like to dedicate more time to research and plan my WIP (I wanted to jump head first in Camp NaNo, but realized that my novel wasn’t ready for that just yet thanks to Susan Dennard’s latest newsletter), as I’ve been putting it on hold for months now. I want to read fantasy novels because I have missed it, I want to catch up on my TV shows and to go to the movies all the time, I want to enjoy my time with my loved ones. In short, I want to make the most out of these holidays.

How was June for you? What was your favourite book of the month? Did you discover any new favourite things?

lots of love

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier | Book Review

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Hello There

Last night, I finished reading Daughter of the Forest *quite late* and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. For the first time in a while, it motivated me to write an entire review, because there was so much I wanted to say, there is so much I loved about it and I thought it would be the occasion to start sharing my book reviews here as well! I read this book as part of #MythTakeReads, which is hosted by Ashleigh @ A Frolic Through Fiction and Charlotte @ Bookmarks and Vlogging.

🌸 What is Daughter of the Forest about?

This novel follows Sorcha, the seventh child and only daughter of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters. Bereft of a mother, she is comforted by her six brothers who love and protect her. Sorcha is the light in their lives, but her joy is shattered when her father is bewitched by his new wife, an evil enchantress who binds her brothers with a terrible spell, which only Sorcha can lift-by staying silent.

If she speaks before she completes the quest set to her by the Fair Folk and their queen, the Lady of the Forest, she will lose her brothers forever. When Sorcha is kidnapped by the enemies of Sevenwaters and taken to a foreign land, she is torn between the desire to save her beloved brothers, and a love that comes only once. Sorcha despairs at ever being able to complete her task, but the magic of the Fair Folk knows no boundaries, and love is the strongest magic of them all…

🌸 My thoughts on the book

I’ve been so curious about Juliet Marillier’s works for years now, because I feel like everyone adores them, Daughter of the Forest being their favourite, so I was really looking forward to finally reading it! Before I really get into the review, this book has a trigger warning for a graphic r*pe scene, so be cautious if you decide to read it.

Daughter of the Forest starts off when Sorcha is young and follows her from childhood into womanhood. It is quite dense and slow-paced, but I found that it was so worth it! I even devoured the second half of it, for I had to know what would happen to Sorcha, and I finished reading at 1:30 a.m., which rarely ever happens to me. This book was so immersive, beautifully written, felt like a fairy tale and I couldn’t get enough of it (which makes sense, considering it is a fairy tale retelling of The Six Swans)! I also really liked how it discussed the way sorcery was perceived and prejudiced opinions you can have on your (supposed) ennemies.

I adored reading from Sorcha’s point of view and felt close to her. I almost felt like her emotions and reactions were mine in some situations, and I admired her so much, she was such a quietly strong character. Moreover, her love for her brothers shone throughout and while there were six of them (which can be hard to keep track off), they all had a different voice and it was easy for me to remember them. One of my favourite things to read about in fiction is sibling dynamics in a big family; Daughter of the Forest totally delivered in that regard, I loved these siblings so much! I also came to care for so many of the secondary characters of the novel and I would love to see them again.

i-miss-you

I had read somewhere that Juliet Marillier was amazing at world-building and weaving folklore into her stories and I totally agree with that! This book is set in a medieval-inspired Ireland, where the Fair Folk meddles in mortal’s stories and magic and curses exist. The world-building was phenomenal, I felt like I was walking alongside Sorcha through the different landscapes and everything was so well-researched! I’m really excited to read more of Marillier’s works to get immersed in her magical worlds again.

Because it is set in a medieval world, Daughter of the Forest was really brutal. Truly, I understand some situations and how women’s choices were assumed without asking them, because that’s what was happening at the time and it was discussed and challenged in regards of the modern audience of the book, but it wasn’t the case for every situation. Indeed, I had some issues on the topic of age difference in the romance (I wish it had been developped more, the transition from Sorcha being considered a child to a woman felt rushed) and the way consensual and loving sex was glossed over when r*pe had been described at length. I’d probably have rated this book five stars if it weren’t for that.

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I really loved that a few storylines were left hanging open, I have a feeling some of them will be really important in the later books and I cannot wait to read about that. While I was finishing the book, I spent I don’t know how much time trying to find matching editions of the next two books, because I need to read them NOW.

If you can’t tell, I fell in love with this novel and while I have a few criticisms about it, I couldn’t stop reading it, I adored Sorcha and the other characters and I only want one thing: to go back to that world already. Daughter of the Forest was such a beautiful, heartbreaking and immersive story and I totally understand why people adore Juliet Marillier’s writing, I can see myself becoming a fan as well.

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lots of love

Magical Readathon 2019: O.W.L.s TBR

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Hello There

Happy April! It’s time for the weather to feel like Spring, to wear lighter jackets, to see flowers in bloom and to participate in the Magical Readathon 2019: O.W.L.s, a Harry Potter inspired readathon! It was created by Book Roast on YouTube and it is a month-long readathon based around the exams students take at Hogwarts and it happens twice a year, once in April for the O.W.L.s and once in August for the N.E.W.T.s. You can even pick a wizarding career and choose your O.W.L.s/N.E.W.T.s depending on it, which is really cool and that’s one of the reasons I had to participate. I’d totally recommend watching her video announcement of it if you want to know more/participate, because it’s truly going to be amazing! For this readathon, I decided I wanted to become…

*drum rolls*

newt-pickett

A MAGIZOOLOGIST!

(what a surprise, I know, everyone knows how much I love Newt Scamander).

To become a magizoologist, I have to take four O.W.L.s and I *might* take other ones if I have the time, so I get better grades, we shall see! In the meantime, I have to pass care of magical creatures, charms, herbology and potions. Here is what I’m planning to read:

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Care of Magical Creatures (land animal on the cover) – Circe by Madeline Miller

I was supposed to read this one last month, right after The Song of Achilles, but once I heard about this readathon, I decided it could wait until April, especially since Madeline Miller is coming to Paris to talk about it tomorrow! This novel is based on Greek mythology and is a retelling of Circe’s myth, which I’m really excited about. I’ve read a few Greek myths retellings in the past few months and I’ve been loving it, so this one is totally my priority for the readathon and I’m hoping to finish it before seeing Madeline Miller. *fingers crossed*

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Charms (age-line: read an adult work) – The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

tw // suicide

I read Kate Morton’s The Lake House last summer (because it’s set in Cornwall, of course) and adored it, so I’ve been meaning to get to more of her works. The House at Riverton is set in 1924 on the eve of a glittering society party, when a young poet takes his own life. The only witnesses, two sisters, will never speak to each other again. Decades later, a one-time housemaid at Riverton opens up about her memories of that time and the mystery of what happened unravels. It *might* have been blurbed as for fans of Downton Abbey and I’m so intrigued by this synopsis, so I’m looking forward to discovering what it’s all about.

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Herbology (plant on the cover) – The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson

I’ve been super excited to get to this historical fantasy novel, because it is written by none other than G. Willow Wilson, who also wrote the Ms. Marvel series (the Kamala Khan version!). This novel follows Fatima, concubine to the sultan, and her friend Hassan, the palace mapmaker, who can draw maps of places he’s never seen and bend the shape of reality. It is set in 1491, during the reign of the last sultanate in the Iberian peninsula, and the two of them have to run away with the help of a jinn, as they realize that the new Spanish monarchy might see Hassan’s gift as sorcery and a threat to Christian rule. This one sounds absolutely amazing and as I have studied this time period, I’m intrigued to see what it will be like in fiction form.

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Potions (next ingredient: sequel) – The Wicked King by Holly Black

Last but not least, I am planning to read The Wicked King by Holly Black, one of my most anticipated releases of the year, which I still haven’t read, because I was waiting for a discount of Book Depository (I was right to wait, haha). It is the sequel to The Cruel Prince, the story of Jude, who has been stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie with her two sisters. Ten years later, she wants nothing more to belong there, despite her mortality and as she gets caught up in palace intrigues, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. I adore the way Holly Black writes faeries and their wickedness and I’m so excited to get back into this world!

So that’s basically it for my TBR for this readathon! I’ll probably end up reading more than that during the month and to fit more books in different prompts, but that’s where I’m at for now.

Are you participating in this readathon? Are there any books you’re planning to read in April?

lots of love

February and March reading wrap-up + favourites

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Hello There

It’s probably been two months since I published anything on here, so hello again! I have been really busy trying to balance working full time at my internship, still having uni work to do and everything else in the past two months, but I now have so many ideas of what I want to talk about on here and I am beyond excited! That being said, I have some big (to me) blogging news, because my blog now is… *drum rolls* self-hosted! I was on Blogger for the past three and a half years, but have always dreamed of being self-hosted. With Google+ closing and my comments being a little bit messy because of it, I decided to finally take the big jump, so here am I!

I’m a bit late on everything and really need to catch up, so without further ado, here is my wrap-up for both February and March!
 
 
I haven’t read as much as I usually do since the beginning of the year, but I have found that I don’t mind that much. February was a nice reading month overall and I was so happy with what I read, which included:
 
  • Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between by Lauren Graham, 4/5 stars
  • The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood, 3.5/5 stars
  • Courting Darkness by Robin LaFevers, 3.5/5 stars
  • The Familiars by Stacey Halls, 4/5 stars
  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare, 4/5 stars
  • The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, 5/5 stars

In February, I was so happy to fall in love with The Thirteenth Tale, which was such an amazing gothic novel and an ode to one’s love for books. This story really stuck with me and I am beyond excited to watch the adaptation now (it stars Olivia Colman, Sophie Turner and Vanessa Redgrave)!

In March, as part of Women’s History Month, I decided that just like last year, I would only read books written by women and I ended up reading:

  • The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, 5/5 stars
  • Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (And Other Lies): Amazing Women on What the F-Word Mean to Them curated by Scarlett Curtis, 3/5 stars
  • DC Comics: Bombshells, vol. 1: Enlisted by Marguerite Bennett, 3.5/5 stars
  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, 3.5/5 stars
  • Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, 4.5/5 stars
  • DC Comics: Bombshells, Vol. 2: Allies by Marguerite Bennett, 4.5/5 stars
  • Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, 3/5 stars

My reading month started on such a high with The Priory of the Orange Tree, which is now my favourite book of the year and one of my favourite books of all time! I adore this world so much, the characters mean a lot to me and I already wanted to reread it after a few pages into it. *sigh* I miss it.

I’m also still currently reading Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley by Charlotte Gordon, which I’m adoring and I cannot wait to finish it.

TV SHOW // One Day at a Time (season 3)

A few days before my birthday, the third season of One Day at a Time was released and it was the best early birthday present I could have asked for. This third season was absolutely amazing, as the previous ones: it talked about so many important subjects and did it so well (I’m so happy they talked about anxiety attacks, even though it was really hard to watch that episode) and I will always love the Alvarez family with all my heart. Since then, Netflix has announced that they had cancelled the show and I still can’t accept it: the show deserves more and us, the audience, deserve more. It feels like Netflix never gave the show its fair chance by promoting it and we, the viewers, had to do it all. the. time. I’m still trying to hope, but I’m so heartbroken they decided to cancel one of my favourite shows…

MISC. // Watching the Oscars live

Watching the Oscars live is quite a trial when you live in Europe, because it means that you have to stay up all night long. I had done it two years ago, as I was really invested in some of the movies nominated and wanted to do so again this year, which is why I took my Monday off, so I’d be able to sleep afterwards (I know, priorities). I watched the ceremony with my boyfriend and it was amazing, I was able to hear Adam Driver’s name among the nominees and to see him there, as well as see Olivia Colman getting the recognition she deserves for The Favourite! I wasn’t happy with all the results, but I had a great time watching, which is what matters in the end!

DRINK // Chai Lattes

In February, I tasted chai latte for the first time and I’m now obsessed with it! My friend Aseel kept talking about it on her Instagram and I was curious, so I gave in… I find this drink so calming and comforting, it is now my to-go drink when I’m not feeling too well and that I shouldn’t drink anymore coffee than I already have.

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MOVIE // Captain Marvel (2019)

I was so excited for Captain Marvel, because finally, a Marvel superheroine was getting her own solo movie (it only took them… 21 movies…)! I didn’t know Carol Danvers’ storyline very well, as I had only encountered her in Ms. Marvel (with Kamala Khan!) and Guardians of the Galaxy, but I adore her so much! I was so happy that it was set in the 90s, as I’m currently quite obsessed with this era and it was such an amazing movie, truly! There was a cafe with temporary activities for Captain Marvel in Paris, where I went with my best friend when she came to visit me in Paris and we played 90s video games, which was a lot of fun. I cannot wait to read more about Carol Danvers and to see more of her in the MCU now!

FOOD // Granola

I tried granola for the first time while out brunching a few weeks ago and I adored it! I was always a bit skeptical when I saw people eating that (to be fair, I think I was mixing it up with muesli and I don’t like that?), but I was sold after eating a bit of it. Since then, I’ve been eating granola for breakfast every time I stayed at my boyfriend’s and I adore it. I can go through the whole morning without being too hungry, which is a huge improvement to me. I’d love to try to make some myself at some point, we shall see how that experiment goes.

 
April is going to be such a busy and challenging month, but I’m quite looking forward to it. It’ll be my last full month working at my internship – which makes me really sad, but well, that’s life -, but I’m also planning on doing Camp NaNoWriMo to write as much as possible of my master’s thesis, as well as to participate into the Magical Readathon 2019: O.W.L.s! I’m also really looking forward to watching Shazam and Avengers: Endgame on the big screen so yup, that’s my upcoming month!
 
What about you all, how are you? What is your favourite book of 2019 so far?

lots of love

The Familiars by Stacey Halls | Book review

You probably know by now how much I adore history, considering I used to be a history major and find any excuse I can get to watch period dramas or read historical fiction (by a big plot twist, I even miss historical research a lot these days). So of course, I always browse the historical fiction section of Netgalley and that’s how I stumbled upon The Familiars, which I added on Goodreads really quickly: I mean, 17th century England and witch trials? I’ll read that, thank you very much. I got really excited when I was approved to read an e-ARC of it and as it’s releasing today, it’s time I talk about it some more!
 
 Published on: February 19th 2019 by MIRA
Genres: historical fiction, paranormal
Number of pages: 352
 
Goodreads summary: Young Fleetwood Shuttleworth, a noblewoman, is with child again. None of her previous pregnancies have borne fruit, and her husband, Richard, is anxious for an heir. Then Fleetwood discovers a hidden doctor’s letter that carries a dire prediction: she will not survive another birth. By chance she meets a midwife named Alice Grey, who promises to help her deliver a healthy baby. But Alice soon stands accused of witchcraft.
 
Is there more to Alice than meets the eye? Fleetwood must risk everything to prove her innocence. As the two women’s lives become intertwined, the Witch Trials of 1612 loom. Time is running out; both their lives are at stake. Only they know the truth. Only they can save each other.
 
Rich and compelling, set against the frenzy of the real Pendle Hill Witch Trials, this novel explores the rights of 17th-century women and raises the question: Was witch-hunting really women-hunting? Fleetwood Shuttleworth, Alice Grey and the other characters are actual historical figures. King James I was obsessed with asserting power over the lawless countryside (even woodland creatures, or “familiars,” were suspected of dark magic) by capturing “witches”—in reality mostly poor and illiterate women.
 
MY THOUGHTS
 
Disclaimer : I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.  All quotes I used in this review might have been changed in the final copy.

“She certainly looks like a witch. She is very thin and rough-looking, with black hair and a sullen face. My mother says never trust someone with black hair because they usually have a black soul to match.”

I have black hair.” (p. 26)

 
I have to admit that going into this, I didn’t know much about the Pendle Hill Witch Trials, I only knew Pendle because of Joseph Delaney’s Wardstone Chronicles (he got inspired from history so much for his Pendle, and my favourite book of the series is the fourth one, set there, what a surprise). Reading about those events was both frightening and fascinating, because of the awful fate these women were to know and it became even scarier when I read the author’s note and that Stacey Halls explained that all her characters had actually existed. In any case, I felt like I was in early 17th century Lancashire, Stacey Halls did a great job at recreating its atmosphere.

The names of the Lancashire Witches

 

Moreover, as said in the summary, The Familiars explored the rights of women in different ways, from gentry-born women to the poorer ones, who didn’t have wealth or status to protect them and it was really interesting. It showed how little choice, on their different scales, women had at that time. For Fleetwood, our gentry-born main character, it was about making a good marriage, then having to produce an heir for her husband, whereas for Alice, it was about keeping a job and surviving, when no one really cared about her: in a way, both only could count on themselves, and later on each other. On another hand, The Familiars explored the way men had power over women, whether it was through their marriages or even when it came to the law: they barely were held accountable for their actions, which the author discussed through the main character’s point of view.
 
“I remembered Alice’s words: I am afraid of lies. Now I knew what she meant: lies had the power to destroy lives but also create them.” (p. 198)

I adored the main character, Fleetwood, because I could relate to her so much. While she felt helpless, she never gave up and tried to do all she could to stay alive, then to save Alice, when she could have stayed in her comfortable, but imperfect, life. Her friendship with Alice was so heartwarming, because it was portrayed in a healthy way: the both of them had been brought together by Alice’s job as a midwife, but came to mean so much more to each other and to always be there for the other.

 
The Familiars started with exciting chapters before slowing down, then I wondered where the author was going and thought I knew, until it took me by surprise several times, which I loved. It had such a gloomy atmosphere as the story progressed, to the point that I could be as tense as Fleetwood. From the moment this novel first took me by surprise, I couldn’t stop reading, because I had to know what would happen next. It might have been a bit slow in the beginning, but it was all worth it as I kept thinking about the story, even when I wasn’t reading this novel.
 
On top of that, I really liked that the author always made me doubt whether the “witches” had magical powers or not. I found the theme of the familiars really interesting, as it had to do with natural magic and the way Fleetwood encountered magic was really well-written, as she was an outside point of view on the topic of magic. 
 
Last but not least, I can’t say much because it would be a spoiler, but I adored the very last chapter! I am often disappointed by endings, but it wasn’t the case at all here, I thought it was a perfect way to conclude!
 
Overall, if you love historical fiction and are intrigued by witch trials stories, I would totally recommend you this one! It portrayed a friendship between two women from different parts of society in a healthy way, had a gloomy atmosphere like I love and discussed the rights of women at the time. It was Stacey Halls’ debut, so I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for more of her works, because this one sure was amazing.
 
 
Do you like historical fiction? 
What is your favourite time period to read about?