Woods in books on Earth Day

Today is Earth Day. This is an international event on which many people take action to help our planet. They march, plant trees or join clean ups. Everyone can do something to protect the Earth! Even small things can help. For example using a reusable bottle instead of plastic ones and eating less meat. Here is a list with more tips. Every year Earth Day has a different theme. The theme of 2019 is ‘Protect Our Species‘. Due to human activities like deforestation, pollution and unsustainable agriculture lots of animals are endangered. Think about bees, black rhinos and elephants.

In celebration of Earth Day I made a list with four books in which forests play an important role. May the books inspire you to protect real forests! 😊

Woods in books on Earth Day

1. Uprooted by Naomi Novik
The forest in this book is evil and powerful. It takes people who enter it. The ones who survive, come out different and just as dangerous as the forest itself. Agnieszka lives in a village close to this forest. Her people rely on a wizard known as the Dragon to protect them. Once every ten years the Dragon demands a young woman to serve him.

2. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
This book is clearly inspired by Alice in Wonderland. It has the same aesthetics and the main character even has the same name. One day Alice’s mother is kidnapped. She left behind a message: ‘Stay away from the Hazel Wood’. This the secret estate of Alice’s grandmother, a woman Alice has never met. The Hazel Wood is of course the place Alice has to find.

3. City of the Beasts by Isabel Allende
The forest in this story is one that actually exists: the Amazon. Alexander joins his grandmother on an International Geographic expedition to this rain forest. Their mission is to find the Beasts, legendary ancient animals.

4. Wildwood by Colin Meloy
This is a children’s story about Prue and Collin. Prue’s baby brother is kidnapped by crows and brought to Wildwood. The two children go to the forest to save him. Wildwood is a magical forest in the middle of Portland. It is inhabited by all kinds of talking animals. I loved the world building and the illustrations in this book. But the plot didn’t always make sense to me.

Top five rainy day reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme managed by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today’s topic is ‘Rainy day reads’. I don’t like it when the skies are grey and it just doesn’t stop raining. If it’s also cold, I rather stay inside. On those days I want to read books that give me warm feelings. They don’t have to be happy stories. I consider the Harry Potter-books good rainy day reads, even though some parts are dark and somber. It’s the characters that make me feel good. For this blog post I have chosen five books with romances, friendships and families that make me smile.

Top five rainy day reads

1. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
This truly is a feel-good story. Simon is one of the most charming and funny characters I know. He has mail contact with a boy who calls himself Blue. Just like Simon, we as readers initially don’t know his identity. But it’s clear that Blue and Simon are a good match. They are so cute together!

2. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
One day Juliet gets a letter from a man who lives on Guernsey. He found her address written in a book. This letter is the start of a correspondence between Juliet and the members of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. They write about books, the life on Guernsey and the history of the island. The characters featured in this story are kind and warmhearted. Therefore this book deserves a place on this list.

3. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
Sara travels from Sweden to a small, American city to meet her pen pal Amy. But when she arrives, Amy has died. Sara stays in Broken Wheel, gets to know the kind citizens and opens a bookshop. Just like The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this is a great book for book lovers. It’s a light and charming love story that reminds me of warm summer days.

4. Singing the Dogstar Blues by Alison Goodman
Joss studies time travel at a university at sometime in the future. For the first time an alien becomes a student at this university. He chooses Joss as study partner. You may expect some romance here, but that isn’t the case. I really liked to read how Mavkel and Joss become friends. I also loved how funny the story is. Especially the cultural differences between Mav and Joss create some comical situations.

5. The Boy Who Steals Houses by C.G. Drews
This story is about two soft-hearted brothers who are abandoned by their family. Sam breaks into empty houses, so he has a place to live as long as the owners are away. But one day he accidentally steals a house that is not empty. The family that Sam finds is so nice and caring. While parts of the book are gloomy, the chapters about the Delainey family totally make up for that!

What is your favourite rainy day read? Tell me in the comments!

The Boy Who Steals Houses: lots of feelings and lovely characters

The Boy Who Steals Houses

“He’s officially taken house burglary tot the next level. Forget stealing a bed, a key, a home for the night. He’s stealing families and their Sunday lunches.”

I was so happy that my copy of The Boy Who Steals Houses arrived on Saturday! I know the writer as Cait from Paper Fury. I love her blog, so I was looking forward to reading one of her books. Here is a small, spoiler-free review of her second book.

Sam and Avery are in the center of this story. They are fifteen and seventeen years old, but already have gone through a lot. Sam is a quiet Hufflepuff who does everything to protect his older brother. Sam is the boy who steals houses, because he has no place to go. He just wants to have a home, even if it’s until the inhabitants come back. Avery is a soft-hearted, autistic boy who has a talent for fixing cars. The brothers dream of the impossible: having a house for themselves. They were the reason I couldn’t stop reading. Sam and Avery felt so real to me. At some point I just wanted to adopt them, so I could make them feel better.

One night Sam accidentally steals a house that is not empty. In the house lives a big family. Because there are so many children, no one notices Sam. The De Lainey family is chaotic, but there’s a lot of love and hope in their household. Some of the family members also make delicious food.  I can totally understand why Sam likes them so much. The parts set in their house made me so happy. When a story makes me feel things, it’s usually a sign I really like it. That’s the case with The Boy Who Steals Houses. I give this book five stars and highly recommend it!

The book has trigger warnings for child abuse and physical violence.

Top five favourite podcasts

When I am not reading, I love listening to podcasts. They are ideal when doing household tasks or making a walk. Just like books, there are a huge amount of podcasts to choose from. If you don’t know where to start, try one of my favourites!

This post was inspired by Top Ten Tuesday. A weekly meme managed by That Artsy Reader Girl. The topic of this week is ‘Audio Freebie’.

1. The Bright Sessions

The Bright Sessions

This podcast reminds me of an audiobook. The main character is Dr. Bright. She is a therapist for the ‘strange and unusual’. All her patients have some kind of supernatural ability. In most episodes we listen to a therapy session with one them. The characters are amazing! It’s so interesting to hear how they struggle with their ability. Later in the podcast, we also learn more about Dr. Bright herself. The cast is diverse with, among others, an asexual character, a bisexual character and one who is discovering his sexual orientation along the way.

I highly recommend this podcast! Start at the beginning if you’re interested. The original story is finished, so you don’t have to wait for new episodes.

2. Stuff You Missed in History Class

Stuff You Missed in History Class

Each time I listen to this podcast, I learn something new. In every episode a lesser known person or event is discussed. The podcast is still running. My favourite episodes include Nefertiti and the Heretic Pharaoh and Roses Through Time.

3. This is Love

This is Love

Every episode of this podcast is a real life love story. It’s about love in its most broad definition: romantic love, love for family and even love between animals. The stories are beautiful and alway cheer me up. I haven’t listened to all of them, but my favourite episode so far is Something Large and Wild.

4. Tea & Jeopardy

Tea and Jeopardy

This podcast is great for book worms! Every episode Emma Newman talks with a writer or an illustrator in her secret tea lair. She asks original questions and the conversations are really funny. I loved to listen to the interview with Seanan McGuire.

5. Happier with Gretchen Rubin

Happier with Gretchen Rubin

In this podcast Gretchen Rubin and Elizabeth Craft give tips to become happier. They cover lots of topics, so there is something interesting for everyone. I like how honest the two sisters are in their podcast. They talk about their own life and what advice did or didn’t work for them. One of my favourites is episode 151: Keep a Running List of Your Favourite Things.

What is your favourite podcast? Tell me in the comments!

Bookmoji challenge

Recently I discovered jessethereader on booktube. I’ve been watching lots of his videos. They are funny and I really like the way he discusses books! On Jesse’s channel I found the Bookmoji challenge. In this video Jesse and his friend Maureen try to guess book titles described as emojis. I really like to try this on my blog. So here are ten book titles “spelled” as emojis. Can you guess them?

1. ❤🚪

2. 🖋+🦴

3. ❌🌙

4. 🤫🌻🌼🌱

5. 🤥🔒🤵🤵

6. 🌎💣🧟‍♂️

7. 🌙🧁+🎎

8. 👧🏿👦🏿🧒🏿🔪+🦴

9. 🔊👂+🔎👁

10. 💜

Click on the numbers to discover the answers. How many did you know? Tell me in the comments! If you like you can send me your own book title in emojis. I would love to guess them! 😊

 

The Sims Book Tag

I don’t play a lot of computer games, but there is one I love: the Sims! As child I started playing Sims 1. I spent hours building houses. There also was an amazing expansion pack where your sim could do magic! By now I play Sims 4. I still waste hours play it a lot. I found The Sims Book Tag on YouTube and immediately liked the tag. It was created by Hailey in Bookland.

1. The original Sims: the best author debut.The Glass Sentence
There are many good debuts, but I choose The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove. The world she has created in her first book is totally unique. Due to the Great Disruption some parts of the world are flung into other time periods. So when the characters travel to another part of the world they also travel through time.

2. The grim reaper: the saddest character death.
Certain deaths in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows really broke my heart 😭

A Clash of Kings3. Sims getting stuck: a character that just got in the way.
The book series that come to mind is A Song of Ice and Fire. Years ago I read A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings. I quit reading halfway through A Storm of Swords. There were just too many unlikable characters. I hated to read about Joffrey, and I didn’t care about most of the other male characters. 

4. Simlish: a book with amazing writing.
As most of you know, one of my all-time favourite writers is Laini Taylor. Her writing style is beautiful! I can’t stop mentioning her.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix5. Expansion packs: a series where the books kept on getting better.
There are just a few series where a sequel is better than the first book. Harry Potter is certainly one of them. My favourite part was the Order of the Phoenix. Some reasons I loved this book so much: Harry’s character development, Luna Lovegood, Dumbledore’s Army, the Weasleys and the sarcasm of Professor McGongall.

6. Sims romance: the worst case of insta-love.
Usually I am not that annoyed by insta-love. But in Twilight I couldn’t ignore it. I read this book, because I was curious where all the fuss was about. Well, I wasn’t impressed. After a week Bella is basically ready to sacrifice herself for Edward. I really don’t understand why she was attracted to him in the first place.

Divergent7. Cheats: a book that was entirely unrealistic.
Divergent. I must admit I only read the first part. Maybe some things are explained in the other books. But a lot didn’t make sense to me. Why would anyone divide a country into five factions based on one personality trait? The test used to decide who belongs to which faction is even more unrealistic. And why is being divergent so special? In real life (almost) everyone would fit in multiple factions.

8. Needs fulfillment: a character who made all the wrong decisions.
The premise of Numbers sounded pretty interesting: Jem can see the day people will die. For this reason she avoids relationships. That’s understandable. But I didn’t get all her other decisions. Jem is so impulsive and apparently not very smart. I can’t stand it when a character keeps making wrong decisions.

9. Error code 12: a series that started off great but went downhill from there.
I loved the first part of The Queen of the Tearling, but the rest of the trilogy was a bit disappointing. In this review I explained why.

10. The Sims vortex: a book/series that completely engrossed you.
The Illuminae Files were totally amazing!

11. Who do you tag?
I tag everyone who has a book blog and plays the Sims!

Sim waving

Top four book characters I identify with

Sometimes I wish I could be more like the characters in my book. But I am actually quite happy with myself. Instead of wishing to be someone else, I wanted to write about book characters that are (a little bit) like me. This post is inspired by Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme managed by That Artsy Reader Girl. But this week I’m rebellious and gave my own twist to the topic. Here are four book characters I identify with:

Samwise Gamgee

1. Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings
If I was a character in a fantasy book, I wouldn’t want be the one who saves the world. Just like Samwise, I would rather help someone else save the world. I am also loyal and caring. According to the MBTI-test Samwise and I share the same personality type. We are both an ISFJ.

Neville Longbottom
2. Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter
At the start of the series, Neville is insecure and clumsy. From Order of the Phoenix onward, he gets more confidence. Finally he becomes one of the bravest members of Dumbledore’s Army. During high school I was also quite insecure. Although I may not be as brave as Neville, I did become more confident over time. Neville is an ISFJ too.

The Testing trilogy
3. Cia Vale from The Testing
She is compassionate and intelligent, and all her decisions are well-thought out. Like Cia, I’m gentle and rather think before I act. During the whole trilogy I could easily identify with Cia. If I would be in her situation, I would make the same choices.

Meggie Folchart
4. Meggie Folchart from Inkheart
I love it when the main character is a bookworm. Just like Meggie I always bring a book with me. There’s a quote in Inkheart that could also refer to me: “Her books cheered her up when she was sad and kept her from being bored.” Books clearly mean as much to Meggie as to me.

Do you also identify with one of these book characters? Let me know in the comments!

Four fictional buildings I would like to visit

The theme for this Top Ten Tuesday is ‘Places Mentioned In Books That I’d Like to Visit’. This weekly meme is managed by That Artsy Reader Girl. Since I already did a post about fictional worlds, I decided to be more specific. In this post I’m going to talk about my favourite fictional restaurant and other buildings from books.

Four fictional buildings I would like to visit

1. Poison Kitchen from Daughter of Smoke and Bone
This is probably Karou’s and Zuzana’s favourite place in Prague. When I first read about this small restaurant I googled it… Of course it doesn’t exist. But it would totally be worth a visit! Poison Kitchen is filled with statues from men and horses wearing WWI gas masks. Coffins are used as tables. An interesting place to get dinner.

2. The Obi Library from Akata Witch
It’s said that this place has all the knowledge and texts within West Africa. I would love to explore this great library!

3. Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
The descriptions of the different kinds of candy sound amazing. I would love to taste some of them. As long as I don’t touch anything, I probably will survive it…

4. Hogwarts from the Harry Potter books
This list wouldn’t be complete without Hogwarts!  It actually was my inspiration to make this post. I would love to study there, borrow lots of books from the school library and discover secret rooms. Another building from the Harry Potter books I’d like to visit is Flourish and Blotts. This is the bookshop in Diagon Alley where most Hogwarts students buy their schoolbooks.

What places that only exist in books would you like to visit? Tell me in the comments!

The Cookie Book Tag

Books and cookies are a great combination! Especially if there is also tea involved. I don’t really have one favourite kind of cookie, because I can’t choose. I love chocolate chip cookies, but also oreos, and stroopwafels too! The last one is a Dutch cookie, I’m not sure you can buy it outside the Netherlands. However, here is The Cookie Book Tag. It’s originally created by Sorry, I’m Booked.

The rules:

  • Link back to the creator
  • Pick a book that corresponds to the cookie’s ‘theme’
  • Have fun!
  • Tag 1-3 people

Cookie monster

Chocolate Chip | A Classic Book That You Love or Really Enjoyed1984

Last year I read 1984. This is a dystopian story written in 1948. In the book everything is controlled by the state: what and when people eat, what kind of work they do, even the past and their language. People no longer have to think for themselves, because The Party decides everything. It’s interesting, and also quite disconcerting, how relevant this book is in our own time.

The Raven Boys

Thin Mints | A Fandom That You Really Want to ‘Join’ and/or a Hyped-Up Book You Want To Read

On Tumblr I follow a couple of book bloggers who often talk about The Raven Cycle. Because I haven’t read the books, I don’t really get it. The book series does sound good. I did read other books by Maggie Stiefvater (Lament, Shiver and The Scorpio Races) and liked all of them. So I really want to give The Raven Cycle a try.

Shortbread | An Author You Can’t Get Enough Of

That has to be Laini Taylor, of course! I would read everything she writes.

Books written by Laini Taylor

Words in Deep BlueSamoas | An Emotional Rollercoaster

Many books would fit this category, but I choose Words in Deep Blue. It’s one of the few stories that made me cry at some point. The book also made me happy, because a secondhand bookshop plays an important role in this story. This bookshop has a letter library: a bookcase in which people can leave messages and letters between the pages of the books.

Wildwood

Oreos | A Book Whose Cover Was Better Than The Story OR Vice Versa, Where The Story Was Better Than Its Cover

Wildwood has a beautiful cover and lovely illustrations throughout the book.  It’s a Middle Grade story about Prue and Collin. Prue’s baby brother is kidnapped by crows and brought to Wildwood. The two children are going to save him. The story was okay, but not as great as I hoped. The world building was good, but the plot didn’t always make sense. Prue and Collin also weren’t very interesting characters.

The Map of TimeTagalongs / Peanut Butter Patties | A Book That Wasn’t What You Expected

I expected a good science fiction book about time travel, but The Map of Time was not. The whole book is set in Victorian Era London. It’s divided in three parts, each story with a different main character. Time travel and H.G. Wells play a role in every part of the book. The plot was the biggest problem. It was confusing and the time travel was handled in a very weird way.

The Neverending Story

Snickerdoodles | A Book You May Never Stop Rereading/ Loving

It was hard to choose just one book. I went for a story I loved as child that is still one of my favourites: The Neverending Story. It’s about Bastian, who goes inside the book he is reading. The dream of every book lover! Bastian finds himself in Fantastica. This world needs to be saved by a human who can give the emperor a new name. On his journey, Bastian meets all kind of magical creatures, but most of all learns about himself.

 

I love to see what books you choose! So consider yourself tagged, if you also want to do The Cookie Book Tag 🙂

Top four favourite couples in books

Because it’s almost Valentine’s Day, the theme of this Tuesday has something to do with love. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme managed by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today’s topic is favourite couples in books.

Top four favourite couples in books

1. Zuzana & Mik from Night of Cake and Puppets
We first meet Zuzana and Mik in Daughter of Smoke and Bone as side characters. In Night of Cake and Puppets we can read about their fantastical first date. This is an adorable love story that never fails to make me smile. Zuzana and Mik are both great characters and together they are amazing!

2. Kady & Ezra from The Illuminae Files
At the start of Illuminae, Kady and Ezra recently broke up. During a big part of the book they are separated. However, it didn’t took long before I started to ship them. They are both so sarcastic, but also would sacrifice everything for each other.

3. Simon & Blue from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Just like Simon, we only know Blue from his e-mails. At the end of the book we “meet” him and find out who he really is. Despite the minimal “screen-time” I love Simon and Blue as couple. In their mail conversations they seem to understand each other so well.

4. Harry & Ginny from Harry Potter
I always thought Harry and Ginny are a good match. Ginny has a crush on him since the first time she saw him. Harry basically is part of the family from the moment he becomes friends with Ron. Harry and Ginny have common interests like Quidditch. But when they get a relationship, they still have their own life. Harry still decides to leave and Ginny doesn’t try to stop him. Even better, she restarts Dumbledore’s Army at Hogwarts. I can’t think of a better girlfriend for Harry!

Bonus: Caleb and Adam from The Bright Sessions, my favourite podcast!

What are your favourite couples in books (or in podcasts)? Tell me in the comments!