June reading wrap-up + favourites

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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

My most anticipated book releases of this summer

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Hello There

Summer is here, so is the heat (at least in France, that is), and with that also comes so many new book releases! I haven’t dedicated any blog post to my most anticipated releases since last winter’s releases and I have missed it. Per usual, this list is mostly made of historical fiction, because that’s one of my favourite genres. It also features my second most anticipated release of the year, which I have been waiting for TWO YEARSI cannot wait to get to it, it is SO close now. Without further ado, let’s dive into this list!

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♡ Heartstopper: Volume 2 by Alice Oseman

Published: July 11th 2019 by Hodder Children’s Books

Genres: graphic novel, contemporary

I (finally) read all of Alice Oseman’s works last year and she quickly became one of my favourite authors.  I used to read Heartstopper as it updated as a webcomic online, but I decided to try to wait for every volume to be released as physical copies now, so I’m so excited to finally continue reading Nick and Charlie’s story, they are the cutest!

♡ The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee

Published: August 13th 2019 by Putnam

Genre: historical fiction

To be honest, I’m always there for YA historical fiction and this one seems amazing, it follows Jo Kuan, who works as a lady’s maid for a cruel woman by day and is the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady, “Dear Miss Sweetie” by night, which leads her to write about fixed ideas on race and gender. It’s also a coming-of-age story about a girl trying to figure out her past and to stop living in the shadows and I’m so excited about it!

♡ The Dragon Lady by Louisa Treger

Published: August 13th 2019 by Bloomsbury Caravel

Genre: historical fiction

I stumbled upon this book on Netgalley and stared at it for a minute, because I was so intrigued. It follows the fictionalized life of Virginia Courtauld from the 1920s to the 1950s, who is ostracized by society because she’s a divorcée at the time of Wallis Simpson. She rejected the submissive role women were expected to play and started a new life with her second husband in Rhodesia… Where someone shot her. WHAT? I’m already so curious about this novel, also why did she have a dragon tattooed on her leg? I’ve got to know.

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♡ The Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier 

Published: September 3rd 2019 by Ace

Genres: fantasy, historical fiction

OKAY, so this book is my most anticipated read for the second half of the year, I waited for it for two years, it sounds absolutely perfect. In two words: warrior. bards.* That’s it, that’s all, that’s the name of the trilogy and I’ve been silently screaming about it for so long, but now it’s finally there! Juliet Marillier’s works are beautifully woven with folklore and it sure looks like it will be the case here, once again. It’s about two siblings who want to join a team of elite warriors and end up taking part in a mission to retrieve an ancient harp (!!), how exciting does it sound? I recently read Daughter of the Forest by the same author and adored it so much, so I cannot wait to get to The Harp of Kings (and in the meantime I can catch up on her other works).

*Fun fact: I haven’t played in forever, but my Dungeon & Dragons character is a bard with white hair and purple eyes (yes, she looks like Daenerys Targaryen), so you can imagine how much I need this!!

♡ Tunnel of Bones by Victoria Schwab 

Published: September 3rd 2019 by Scholastic Press

Genres: middle grade, paranormal

I don’t usually read middle grade novels, but I really enjoyed City of Ghosts and I’m looking forward to reading its sequel! Cassie’s parents go to Paris for their TV show, but Cassie ends up accidentally awakening a frighteningly strong spirit. I’m a little bit on the fence as it is set in France and it always scares me a little, but it’s Victoria Schwab and it features the Catacombs, which I’ve always been scared to go to, to be honest. I’ll probably wait until Halloween to get to it, it is the perfect time to do so!

♡ The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

Published: September 10th 2019 by Redhook

Genres: historical fiction, fantasy

This debut novel is about January Scaller, who lives in a mansion with her guardian, when one day she finds a strange book, which tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. This book, set in the 1900s, has strange truths about the world within, as well as a story that seems to be intertwined with January. Truly, who doesn’t love a book about books? I’m always there for those. I am so intrigued by this novel and I adore the cover, so I cannot wait to get to it!

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♡ His Hideous Heart, edited by Dahlia Adler 

Published: September 10th 2019 by Flatiron Books

Genres: short stories, retellings, horror

Here’s another book I will probably saving up for Halloween! His Hideous Heart is a YA anthology edited by Dahlia Adler and is made of thirteen short stories which are retellings of Edgar Allan Poe’s works! Anthologies can be quite uneven, but I love that they help me discover more authors. Out of the thirteen contributors, I only read Kendare Blake’s works, so I’m quite excited to read her story and I’ll be able to discover the others’.

♡ The Testaments by Margaret Atwood 

Published: September 10th 2019 by Chatto & Windus

Genres: dystopia

I still can’t believe that Margaret Atwood is actually publishing a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale? I’m not quite sure what will come of it, but I am so excited, especially since it gives me an excuse to reread it! The Testaments picks up fifteen years after the previous book, and I’m so curious to see what will happen!

♡ The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Published: September 19th 2019 by Orion Children’s Books

Genres: fantasy, gothic, retelling

I didn’t know about this book until Samantha Shannon mentioned it on her Instagram, but wow, I need it now. To sum it up, this book is the untold story of the brides of Dracula, which is so intriguing, and once again… perfect around Halloween! I adore reading rather dark YA, so this one is right up my alley and apparently, two of the girls will fall for each other? How is in not in my hands already?

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♡ Bone China by Laura Purcell

Published: September 19th 2019 by Raven Books

Genres: historical fiction, gothic

I read The Silent Companions by the same author last year and adored it, so now I have to read everything she writes. Bone China and follows Louise, who has moved into the house with her father, a doctor devoting himself to controversial medical trials, while she learns tales of fairies that hunt the land. Forty years later, Hester comes to work in the house as a nurse for Louise and discovers what happened there. I love the gothic atmosphere of Laura Purcell’s books, so I cannot wait to get back to her words and it’s set in Cornwall, which I’m always there for.

♡ The Confession by Jessie Burton

Published: September 24th 2019 by Picador

Genres: contemporary, historical fiction

I adore novels that follow perspectives in different timelines, which answer to each other, so of course, I cannot wait to get my hands on The Confession, plus I had adored The Muse! On one hand, this book is set in the 1980s, when Elise meets Constance, a successful author whose novel is being turned in a Hollywood movie. Elise follows her to LA and at a party, she makes a decision that will change her life. On the other hand, three decades later, a woman named Rose seeks answers about her mother who disappeared when she was a baby and Constance might be the one to hold it.

So that’s it, those books are my most anticipated releases for July, August and September! I hope I’ll be able to get to most of them as soon as possible, so many of them sound perfect for Autumn, so it looks like I’ll already have a TBR for that time of the year.

What about you? What are your most anticipated releases of this summer?

lots of love

Five LGBTQIA+ movies and TV shows I would have needed as a teen

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Hello There

When I posted my bullet journal pages dedicated to my TBR and my to (re)watch list for Pride Month, several people commented and messaged me about the latter, because they didn’t know many movies or TV shows with LGBTQIA+ characters and I realized that for a long time, it was my case as well. In discovering and coming to terms with my sexuality, movies and TV shows had such an important place: it’s by feeling represented that I became more confident about myself and accepted myself, more than this blog post is letting on. It got me thinking how I wish I had had some of these movies and TV shows sooner, because they inspired me while I was in my twenties, but would have been perfect for my teenage self. So today, I thought I would share my top 5 with you all. I already rewatched most of them for Pride Month and it’s been making me so happy.

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One Day at a Time (2017)

Ever since the first season aired, One Day at a Time took a spot in my favourite TV shows of all time and I am beyond happy it exists (and so crushed they cancelled it, why?). It depicts the everyday life of the Alvarez family and talks about such important topics, among which the LGBTQIA+ community, anxiety, immigration and so on. Elena Alvarez became such a role model to me early on: she’s such a smart young woman, she’s vegetarian, feminist, suffers from anxiety attacks and she fights for what she thinks is right. She figures out her sexuality over the course of the first season, comes to terms with being a lesbian and comes out to her family, which was everything to watch. She inspired me while I was in my twenties and I know she’d have inspired me to be my best self, to raise my voice even more, had I known her as a teenager.

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Love, Simon (2018)

I watched Love, Simon at the exact right time in my life and it’s one of the reasons it means so much to me. I had really enjoyed the novel, but oh my, in this case I love the movie so much more. The first time I watched it, it was my first Pride month knowing myself, so watching it made me feel like everything was going to be okay, that I was going to be okay. That scene where his mom tells him that now he gets to release his breath, that now he gets to be himself like he hasn’t been in a very long time means the world to me. Last summer, I spent so many days telling myself that I was more and more like myself every day and it changed so much, so I’ll always be grateful to have Love, Simon, I feel like everyone should watch it.

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Everything Sucks! (2018)

Everything Sucks! is the reason I started coming out to my closest friends, it’s as simple as that, and it’s why I was so upset when Netflix cancelled it. It’s a TV show set in the 1990s, which parodies teen culture, and follows teenagers from the A/V and drama club, who are forced to come together. I wrote a blog post about it last year and one year later, I still adore and miss Kate and Emaline. It shows how Kate struggles with her identity and sexuality, and in the end, she (spoiler alert) gets the girl. I needed to watch two girls fall in love in high school, so learning that they had cancelled it felt so unfair, I cried so hard… Then it made me feel brave and I came out to my best friend. The show also inspired me a lot, because the novel I’ve been working on since December is set in that time period and is about two girls who love Star Wars, are waiting for The Phantom Menace to come out AND fall in love with each other. So yes, that’s what this TV show means to me.

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Booksmart (2019)

It’s funny how I’m terrible at watching movies on my own at home, but Booksmart came out a month ago, I already watched it twice, and I cannot wait to rewatch it again. It’s a teen movie following best friends Amy and Molly, as they decide to catch up on all the parties they missed while they were studying in high school. It’s absolutely hilarious and ridiculous, the characters are so relatable and it has a f/f romance. I was beyond happy that Love, Simon came out last year and that we got to see a m/m romance, but I also really needed to have a rom-com with young women as the lead relationship. To be accurate, this movie is more about friendship than romance, but it was the first time I got to have that in a rom-com. It made me smile so much and I want to rewatch it over and over, just like Love, Simon, so that’s amazing. Plus, it was directed by a woman, so cheers to that!

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The Bold Type (2017)

Last, but not least, The Bold Type is following three young women who are in their mid-twenties, but I really wanted to include it, because I would have loved to look up to Kat, Jane and Sutton as a teenager. I already dedicated a blog post to the show, but while the three of them inspires me to be my best in my professional life and to fight for my dreams, they also made me realize that it’s okay if I haven’t figured out some things about myself just yet, that I have time. More than that, seeing Kat, one of the main characters, exploring her sexuality hit so close to home. When I started watching the show, I was going through similar events and feelings, as she was in the first season, so seeing her embracing it all made me so happy and even prouder of who I am. I wish I could have watched it as a teen.

Writing this post made me feel a bit emotional, but I’m really happy I got around to it, because these movies and TV shows mean so much to me.

I haven’t had time to dedicate a blog post to my favourite books with LGBTQIA+ characters, but my top three are of course The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon and Radio Silence by Alice Oseman, so there you go for some recommendations!

Are there any movies/TV shows you wish you had had as a teen?lots of love

Pride Month TBR 🏳️‍🌈

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Hello There

HAPPY PRIDE MONTH! 🏳️‍🌈

As you might remember, I dedicated all of June 2018 to reading LGBTQIA+ books to celebrate Pride Month and I had such an amazing time doing that! So this year, that’s what I’m doing again.

A few days ago, my best friend and I were talking about Pride Month and she told me that we should do a 24h readathon for Pride Month, which is an amazing idea, as I haven’t been reading as much as usual this year. I also discovered Eloise @ Eloise Writes‘ blog recently and she’s doing a Pride Month readathon called Reading it queer, so I got really excited about that and made a whole TBR for it (what a surprise). The goal is to read at least one book with LGBTQIA+ representation, but you can also pick what you want to read based on nine reading prompts, which is what I’m doing!

So without further ado, let’s talk about the books I’m planning to read this month!

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» f/f relationship – Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters

I really wanted to read this book for Pride Month last year, but I ended up running out of time and being quite intimidated by it, so I really want to get to it this year. Tipping the Velvet is a historical fiction novel set in the Victorian era and follows Nan King, an oyster girl, who is fascinated by music-all phenomenon Kitty Butler and eventually meets her, which lead them to start having feelings for each other. I’ve seen so many people rave about Sarah Waters’ novels and I cannot wait to finally discover her debut, it sounds absolutely amazing.

» own voices author –  Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

This book has been all over the book community in the past few months and it got me quite intrigued! Girls of Paper and Fire is an Asian fantasy about Lei, who is chosen to become one of the King’s concubines and is being trained in the palace in order to do so. However, she does the unthinkable and falls in love with another girl and this forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that could shake the foundation of her country, Ikhara. I cannot wait to finally know what the hype is all about!

» bisexual character – The Brightsiders by Jen Wilde

I read Jen Wilde’s Queens of Geek two years ago and I really enjoyed it, so it is time for me to continue reading her books. The Brightsiders is about Emmy, a bisexual teen rockstar, who has to pick her life back together after being labelled the latest celebrity train wreck. This is my first read of the month and while I haven’t read much, I’m really enjoying it so far!

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» asexual or aromantic character – The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee

I was waiting for the perfect occasion to read The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy and at last, I have found it! This novel is a follow-up to The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, but follows Felicity Montague, a young woman in the 18th century, who wants nothing more than to enroll in medical school. When  possibility opens, Felicity leaves on a ship for Germany with a mysterious girl and becomes part of a perilous quest. Mackenzi Lee is one of my favourite YA authors and one of my biggest writing inspirations, so finally reading this one is going to be amazing, I already know it.

» recommended by a friend – The Edge of the Abyss by Emily Skrutskie

I read The Abyss Surrounds Us a while ago, but never got around to continue, probably because I don’t read post-apocalyptic novels very often. One of my uni friends recently read and adored the duology, so she motivated me to continue and it’s happening this month! I mean, this is a f/f post-apocalyptic duology with lesbian pirates and sea monsters, what else do you need?

» a book with additional rep – The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins

This novel set in 1826 follows Frannie Langton, maid to Mr and Mrs Benham, as she goes on trial because she was accused of her employers’ murder, but no one really knows the truth. Frannie then tells her story, which starts in Jamaica and continues with a forbidden romance in England. It sounds like such a gripping novel, so I cannot wait to dive into it and figure everything out!

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» a genre you don’t normally read – Going Off Script by Jen Wilde

It might not look like it in this post, but I rarely ever read YA contemporary novels. The last one I read was Dear Evan Hansen: The Novel and that was in… November 2018, so that’s why Going Off Script fits in this category. As I was saying, I’m trying to catch up on Jen Wilde’s books and the blurb for this one is “A TV writer’s room intern must join forces with her crush to keep her boss from ruining a lesbian character”, so basically, yes, YES, I am reading this. I love the settings of Jen Wilde’s novels so much.

» m/m relationship – Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

This is everyone’s newest favourite book and I need to know why, it is everywhere. Red, White & Royal Blue is about Alex, the son of the President of the United States, who is forced to become friends with his nemesis, Henry, Prince of Wales, as it could help British/American relationship as well as his mother’s reelection bid. However, they end up falling for each other. *gasps* So we’re talking about enemies to friends to lovers, which is my favourite romance trope, I hope I’ll love it!

» trans or non-binary character – I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver

Last but not least, I’m really excited to discover I Wish You All The Best, another book I kept seeing everywhere even before its release! This one is an own voices novel about Ben, who comes out to their parents as nonbinary and is thrown out of their house afterwards. Moving in with their sister, Ben wants to go by unnoticed, but meet Nathan, who becomes their friend, then their feelings for each other change as they grow closer. It’s been said to be both heartbreaking and joyous and has such amazing ratings on Goodreads so far, I can’t wait!

What are you planning to read in June? Are you participating in any readathon?

lots of love

May 2019 Reading Wrap-Up + Favourites

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Hello There

Oh May, how happy I am that you are over. May was a tough month for me: I finished my internship, we turned in the big uni group project (at last!) and I spent most of my time writing my master’s thesis. I’ve been sad, I’ve been stressed out, but I made it and I’m finally starting to feel better. You know what? I even started applying for jobs despite being so sad about having left my internship and I couldn’t be prouder of myself for that. May was a month of never giving up, no matter how it made me feel, I’m just happy I got through it. what i readI am so happy with my reading month! I ended up reading five books, which I’m quite proud of, considering how little time I had to dedicate to reading, and I adored them all! This month was all about fantasy, with some hints of folklore, as I’ve been participating in #MythTakeReads and it’s what I needed! Here are the books that I read:

  • The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson, 4/5 stars
  • A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow by George R.R. Martin, 4/5 stars
  • Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier, 4.5/5 stars
  • Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, 4/5 stars
  • The Tempest by William Shakespeare, 3.5/5 stars

My favourite book of the month was Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier, a retelling of The Six Swans inspired by Irish folklore! I’m planning on getting to the next few books in the Sevenwaters series once I’m done with my master’s thesis and I cannot wait to read them, I really want to read more by this author!favouritesbaby-peter

Our kitten, Peter

Mid-May, my family adopted a kitten (we now have six pets, everything is fine), whom we named Peter, and spending time with him is making me so happy. He was very small when we got him, so we had to feed him, make him learn where to pee and things like that. It’s probably because he is very small, but he’s always following us around everywhere, wanting to be cuddled and to fall asleep on us, which is so adorable! In my humble opinion, Peter is the cutest kitten and I’m so happy we have him with us now.

poppies-monet.jpgVisiting museums

May was full of bank holidays and while I spent most of them studying, they really helped to organize myself better to visit museums and it made me so happy, as it is one of my favourite things to do! I befriended another girl at my internship in the last month or so and we’ve been going to museums together, which has been so much fun. We went to the Maillol Museum, to the Centre Pompidou (I had an invitation for the premiere of a documentary, which was great) and to the Musée d’Orsay for their exhibition about Black Models and always had an amazing time. I’m so looking forward to going back to Paris at the end of June so I can visit more museums again.

My loved ones

As I said, May definitely was a tough month for me, but for some reason, it made me realize that I wasn’t alone and that I had people who were there for me. No matter what direction my life will take, I know that I have people rooting for me and willing to help me and it means the world. Spending time with my friends and family made me feel so much better and helped the sadness and stress go away for a little while. It might be a really cheesy thing to write, but it felt so good to feel that way.
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Watching Killing Eve, laughing thanks to Booksmart and falling in love with This Is Us

I started Killing Eve in April and quickly became obsessed with it, which continued in May. After finishing the first season, I binge-watched the second one, and oh my, how it didn’t disappoint! It is such a surprising TV show with killer characters (see what I did there) and I cannot praise it enough. I’m so excited for season 3 and to read Codename Villanelle by Luke Jennings at some point!

Everyone was talking about it, so I got around to watching Booksmart (which was released on Netflix in France, so go watch it) and I adored it so much! It’s a movie I would have loved to see when I was a teenager, I related so much to the main characters and it made me so emotional to see myself in them that much. It also had a f/f romance and it was everything, this was the teen movie I had needed for so long. Truly, I cannot wait to rewatch it again.

Last, but certainly not least, in May, I started watching This Is Us with my best friend, and it made everything better. I can’t explain how happy (and very, very, very sad) this TV show makes me, I adore these characters so much and I would give them everything I have if I could. It’s a very human TV show and it’s probably why I love it so much: the characters all have their own flaws, but they try to face what life throws at them no matter what. Please, watch it if you still haven’t. It’s my favourite TV show of the year so far and I’ve only started season 2 yesterday. Also, it has Milo Ventimiglia as Jack Pearson so it wins, okay bye.

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Looking Ahead.pngAs I’m typing this, I’m currently revising my master’s thesis and will continue to do so until Wednesday, which is the day I’m turning it in! I am beyond excited to be done with it, because it means that after that, I’ll have to defend it, then I will be on holidays. I’ll have to go back to Paris to defend my master’s thesis, then I’ll have to pack to move out of my current apartment and other than, I’ll be able to rest. Books, TV shows, movies, museums, here I come!

How was May for you? What was your favourite book of the month?

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.

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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

April 2019 Reading Wrap-Up + Favourites

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Hello There

I feel like we’re all saying the same thing every month, but… can you believe April is over? I feel like that month lasted forever, because I had so many things to do and got so much done, between my internship, studying and participating in the #OWLsReadathon2019 and for the most part, it was a really great month! I’ve been quite stressed about my master’s thesis during it, but hey, that’s not exactly new.

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In April, I participated to the #OWLs2019Readathon and read so many books once again. I had been reading less since the beginning of the year, so reading loads was an interesting experience! Here are the books that I read:

  • Circe, by Madeline Miller, 4/5 stars
  • The Wicked King, by Holly Black, 4/5 stars
  • The House at Riverton, by Kate Morton, 2/5 stars
  • Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman, 3.5/5 stars
  • The Bird King, by G. Willow Wilson, 3/5 stars
  • Star Wars: Ahsoka, by E.K. Johnston, 4/5 stars
  • Othello, by William Shakespeare, 3.5/5 stars
  • DC Comics Bombshells, vol. 3: Uprising, by Marguerite Benett, 4.5/5 stars
  • The Red Scrolls of Magic, by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu, 4/5 stars

I read quite a few amazing books this month, but the third volume of DC Comics Bombshells wins everything. It’s an empowering series, with female characters from DC Comics, who are fighting on their scale, both at home and a bit everywhere around Europe in World War II and it’s absolutely awesome! I’m so grateful to my friend who recommended it to me, I’m so obsessed.

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Listening to Madeline Miller talk about women in mythology and retellings

At the beginning of the month, Madeline Miller came to talk about Circe in Shakespeare & Co and I was lucky enough to attend! She’s such an impressive and interesting woman and I could have listened to her talk about mythology for hours. I used to be a classicist and while I don’t study Latin or Greek anymore, Madeline Miller made me miss it so much. I got my copy of Circe signed afterwards and it was so amazing to actually meet her!

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TV shows: discovering Killing Eve, getting excited about Game of Thrones season 8 and rewatching Parks and Recreation

After months of people raving about Killing Eve, I decided to give it a try (because I watched The White Princess recently and Jodie Comer is in it as well) and I was blown away. It’s a thriller with a MI5 agent and an assassin starring Sandra Oh, Jodi Comer and Fiona Shaw and that’s all you need to know. The cast is amazing and it takes my breath away because I never know what to expect. I also adore Villanelle so much. Season 2 is currently airing so I’d better get started on it as well!

April is also the month Game of Thrones came back on TV for its final season and watching it again made me so excited! It’s my first time watching the show since I’ve started reading the books and somehow it made me even more invested in it AND sometimes really annoyed by the way the characters act… Let’s just say that the characterization is way better in the books… Nevertheless, I’m super happy to watch it every Monday, even if staying away from spoilers is really hard, as I get spoiled in the subway and in the street… people truly are involved with this show. But anyway, I’m glad it’s back! #teamsansaforever

Last, but not least, I started my rewatch of Parks and Recreation! It had been ten months since I had finished it and I was missing it loads. It may sound overdramatic, but watching Parks and Rec affects my well-being so much: rewatching it makes me feel like home, makes me laugh, makes me the happiest. Besides, it’s the best way to motivate myself to write my master’s thesis, because if I write one page of it, I can watch one episode later on (I only watch them during breaks or evenings, I’m so reasonable haha) and it works really well!

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Camp NaNoWriMo

Like last year, I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo so it would motivate me to write my master’s thesis. My goal was to write 15.000 words in a month, because I was working full time and couldn’t write as much as last April (I wrote 26.000 words then?). I wasn’t very consistent in writing to be honest and mainly worked on it during weekends, but I managed to reach my goal and almost finished my first part, which I’m so happy about! It feels like it’s getting somewhere and it feels good, as starting from May 11th, I’ll be working on it full time, so I know I won’t have as much to write as I had feared.

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Watching Avengers: Endgame

At last, Avengers: Endgame came out and watching it felt unreal! The whole experience was amazing, we had to stay in line for an hour, even though we had our tickets and chatted with other fans about Marvel, DC and Game of Thrones. A random guy at Burger King also wished me to have a great time at the movies because I was wearing my Captain America shirt, it was really funny. Watching the movie made me so happy and really sad, because that era of the MCU is over and it had been eleven years… I won’t say more because spoilers, but I’m still really emotional about it, even though I had a few issues with it and the Russos.

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May is going to be quite an intense month, to be honest. I’m finishing my internship on May 10th and I’m so sad about that, then I’ll be working on my master’s thesis full time and will have a big oral presentation for the uni group project at some point. Still, my studies will soon be over, and while it’s terrifying, I cannot wait to be done with them.

In May, I’m looking forward to watch RocketmanDetective Pikachu and Aladdin in theaters, to read more of the A Song of Ice and Fire books and to be done with my thesis, obviously. It’s due June 5th, but it would be nice if I could be done before, so I have more time to revise it? We’ll see about that, haha.

What about you, how was April? What was your favourite book of April?

lots of love

My favourite Marvel characters

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Hello There

Avengers: Endgame is coming out today here and I absolutely can’t believe it! The wait went by so slowly and so quickly at the same time and just like for Avengers: Infinity War, I don’t feel like I’m even mentally ready to watch this movie, as it is the end of an era (plus three hours? How am I going to make it through three hours? I have no idea).

So, in honour of Avengers: Endgame coming out today (I’m watching it in three hours, everybody stays calm), I thought I would talk about my favourite Marvel characters, whether I discovered them through the movies, comics or TV shows. As I came up with this list, I realized that most of my favourite characters aren’t that present in the movies? I do have characters I love from the movies, but I somehow feel closer to the ones I’ve read about/watched in the TV shows. I consider Captain America and Thor to be my favourite Avengers and yet, neither of them are among my favourite characters? Making this list was really surprising because of this, but anyway. Without further ado, let’s jump right into this!

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Peggy Carter/Agent Carter

I admired Peggy Carter from the first moment she appeared in Captain America: The First Avenger, where she was an officer working for the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR) on the super soldier project, a clever and powerful woman in a man’s world. As Hayley Atwell, who portrays her in the MCU, said, “she can do everything Captain America can do, but backwards and in high heels” and that’s all I needed. Later on, Peggy became a respected agent in the SSR (even though men tried to undermine her) and solved important cases in America after World War II,  in the amazing show that was Agent Carter (#foreversalty 😭). Credited as one of the founders of SHIELD, Peggy Carter was such a modern woman for her time and I aspire to be more like her. She even became Captain America at some point (which will be in a TV series, I’m so happy), truly, she is the best.

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Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel

When I got into reading more comics, I started reading Ms. Marvel (2014) and discovered Kamala Kham, a teenage Pakistani American from Jersey City, New Jersey, whom I adore so much. She discovers she has Inhuman genes and gets shapeshifting abilities, assuming the mantle of Ms. Marvel from her idol Carol Danvers after Danvers becomes Captain Marvel. I adore seeing her life as a teenage girl on top of her superheroine life: Kamala is such a relatable and hilarious character!

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Gwen Stacy/Spider-Gwen

I got around reading the Spider-Gwen (2015) comics last summer and while I did find them confusing at first, I adored this version of Gwen Stacy so much! Now that Into the Spiderverse came out, more and more people are familiar with the Spiderverse, so basically, Gwen gets the spider-abilities in her universe (Earth-65) and it all goes down from there! Gwen is such a sassy and empowering character, along her friends and music group, The Mary Janes! I do relate to her vulnerability as well, especially when she ends up disappearing and not giving news to her loved ones, so there’s that as well. I’m so happy she was Into the Spiderverse last year, this movie was so amazing!

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Nadia van Dyne/the Wasp

Around the time Ant-Man and the Wasp was released last year, I got more curious about the Wasp and ended up discovering one of the Wasps, Nadia van Dyne, who is so adorable and whom I love her with all my heart! She is the daughter of Hank Pym and Maria Trovaya, his first wife, who was abducted and supposedly killed. She escapes from where she was held captive, builds a Wasp costume, learns her father is dead, but meets Janet van Dyne (the original Wasp) who helps her as she can. Nadia later starts the program G.I.R.L. (Genius In action Research Labs) to look for women with genius intellects and it is the best program ever, reading about these amazing women saving the world is the best and I’m so happy that they ended up renewing the series (it had been cancelled).

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Peter Quill/Star-Lord

Last but not least, I have to confess that I adore Peter Quill/Star-Lord (but not his actor, haha). I know that many people dislike him because of Infinity War, but here’s the thing: he’s human and considering his backstory… I just get it. I love MCU!Peter Quill for his taste in music, his humor and how flawed he is, I love comics!Peter Quill for he is vulnerable and a master strategist, plus I love his relationship with Kitty Pride so much. Tbh, both versions of him have those personality traits, but some of them shine more in the movies or comics, depending.

Honorable mentions

Those characters that will probably become new favourites once I know more about them (aka when I’ve read more comics)…

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That’s it for me today! Good luck to everyone watching Avengers: Endgame, we’ll make it through and let’s hope our hearts won’t be too broken when we get out of the theaters.

What about you, are you planning on watching Avengers: Endgame? Who are your favourite Marvel characters?

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*

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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

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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