Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter (Book Review)

vassa

Publisher: Tor Teen
Page Count
: 296

Vassa in the Night was featured in the September FairyLoot box and I was quite excited to read this new take on Russian folklore. I’ve heard of the myth of Baba Yaga before, but rarely set in modern days (except for Lost Girl I think), so the longer I waited for my FairyLoot box to arrive, the more curious I got. I am sorry to say that the excitement did not hold up.

Have you ever watched a really artsy independent film and thought that it was simply stunning in its visual work, but by the end of the movie you had absolutely no idea what you’ve actually watched? That would very much sum up my experience reading Vassa! There were words and they formed sentences, but sometimes it still didn’t make sense to me. Several times, I had to re-read passages simply because I didn’t get what just happened. It wasn’t even difficult language like in old Shakespearean tragedies, but rather usual every day vocabulary and I still struggled somehow.

You KNOW that I love myself some magic and fantabulism, but there needs to be some logic to it. I thoroughly believe that this was my biggest issue with the book. Vassa’s Brooklyn is speckled with magic around every corner. Nights that last a whole weekend long, shops that dance on chicken legs, our heroine has a living wooden doll as her closest friend, so one would think that magic is generally acceptable in this world, right? No! Vassa still continued to be baffled and confused about so many things that were happening, while she just accepted others without the blink of an eye. I just couldn’t understand which incidences counted as “unusual” magic and which were generally okay for the human populace.

Bildergebnis für i know nothing gif

It didn’t help much that I just got more annoyed with Vassa and her doll Erg as time continued. You know something is weird when an unattached hand grows on you more than a human … however, despite everything I just said, the descriptions were still vivid and beautiful at times. Night in itself is something magical and this was a truly magical, at times disturbing, tale. As of now this is a standalone, but from what I hear Sarah Porter might be thinking about expanding this into a series. I have no idea how I feel about that, because I still have to work through some of the things that happened in this book.

Fazit: 3/5 stars! Partially I am still confused about what I read. Also – beware of unattached body parts!

3stars

Did you read Vassa? How did you feel about it?

Trailers You Might Have Missed … (Oct 24-30)

trailers

As you can guess by my lack of posts it has been another busy week. But I have spared enough time to bring the latest trailers to you once again (even though they are a bit on the mediocre side). Enjoy!

Movies

Sidekick

Hmmm … I have no idea about the movie, but I AM intrigued by the cast!

Baked in Brooklyn

No job? No problem! Just become a part time drug dealer …

Growing Up Smith

I don’t know, it kind of looks cute.

Come Find Me

I was like “Oh, this looks cute” and then … it took a turn for the worse.

Bitter Harvest

I mainly clicked because of Max Irons.

The Resurrection of Gavin Stone

I don’t believe anything out of Grant Ward’s mouth hahaha

Frank & Lola

Is this a movie about the problems of couples with a huge age difference? There’s way more to it, I know …

Man Down

This looks intense, which is why I am confused about the nostalgic taint of all the shots. They make it … softer somehow?

Sugar Mountain

I spy Aquaman or Khal Drogo … whatever you wanna run with I guess.

Split

I’ve shown this before, but it is still SO creepy!

TV Shows

Gilmore Girls

FINALLY A FULL TRAILER! SOOOOOOON!!!!

Barry

Look like Obama will be getting a movie AND a show!

I am expecting everyone to be excited for Gilmore Girls, but what else will you be watching?

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover (Book Review)

iewu

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Page Count
: 376

It Ends With Us was another buddy read with fellow Blogateer Cátia, She’s already a huge CoHo (= Colleen Hoover) fan, but this was my first venture into her world of writing. I am not yet 100% sure I was converted, but IEWU definitely hit home in a way. Now, before I get into any kind of detail, I don’t think I can do this without Spoilers. I’ve thought about it, but even talking about what the book’s main topic is, can’t be said without spoiling something. So, proceed with caution! 

Have you ever looked at the face of someone you love and been scared? And I am not talking about scared you’re loosing them, or scared for them – I am talking about being afraid for your own safety. It irreversibly breaks something in the relationship you had. It’s something that can never be mended, but it does not mean that you stop loving them, because that’s not how this works. Lily, our main protagonist in IEWU, has to find out exactly that! Yes, this book is about domestic abuse.

In my opinion, CoHo went about this in a very smart way. She dazzles you with Ryle’s charm and looks, you fall for him alongside Lily. At the same time, she introduces you to her past, her issues with her father and Lily’s first love, Atlas, who is about to re-enter her life. All the while, you are certain, that girl will never get into an abusive relationship herself. Well, of course that’s not how the story goes. Shortly after the first incident, you are shocked and devastated. It’s the kind of incident that people try to rationalize and explain away, but no matter what the reasoning is, that doesn’t excuse it. Yet, Lily stays and it happens again and again.

I am not going to go into detail, or tell you what she did in the end, but that whole story tied my stomach into knots. I actually felt sick with what was happening, but I was very glad about the people in Lily’s life. They had her back, no matter what, especially when neither Lily nor the reader expected them to and that simply warmed my heart.

coho

Ultimately, I really enjoyed the writing. It was beautiful and felt very real, however, there are just a couple things that don’t make it the perfect read. To me, the story was very much about Lily and her growth. I wouldn’t really classify this as a romance to be honest or at least say that was the least important part of it. So, Ryle aside, I liked Atlas and I realise how important he was for Lily’s past and that she needed closure for that, but I probably would have felt a lot better about him, if he hadn’t just turned into a picture-perfect man. What’s his story? I have so many questions about him and how he became the person he’s now. To say he wasn’t necessary in the present tense would be a vast exaggeration, but I could have done without the epilogue … Still, I whole-heartedly believe that this was not my last CoHo book! Until next time!

Fazit: 4/5 stars! It was heartbreaking and raw, but I still could have done without a couple of elements.

4stars

 Have you read this one? What are your thoughts?

Trailers You Might Have Missed … (Oct 17-23)

trailers

I can’t believe this week is already over again … My holidays went by far too quickly. There’s no use on dwelling on that now though, so let’s just take a look at the movie and TV show trailers I found this week!

Movies

Logan

I WAS NOT EMOTIONALLY PREPARED FOR THIS! *cough* it looks so much better than the previous Wolverine movies though*cough*

Assassin’s Creed (Trailer 2)

I’m not a gamer, I have never played Assassin’s Creed, but I don’t get why people are hating on the music and the trailer so much already. In my eyes it looks really interesting.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Honestly can’t wait for that movie!

The Boss Baby

I am laughing so hard! Who on earth came up with that!?

Arrival (Trailer 2)

Aliens … kinda interesting still?

Nocturnal Animals (Trailer 2)

It’s Amy Adams’ Trailer week I guess.

My Dead Boyfriend

In my opinion, this looks silly … in a not so brilliant way. But maybe some of you like it?

TV Shows

Legion

Uhm … I have no idea how I feel about this … but Matthew Crawley (aka real life Dan Stevens) is a tempting choice casted as the lead!

Midnight, Texas

Charlaine Harris wrote another Texas-based supernatural series and another channel thought it would be a good idea to turn it into a TV show. Well, I guess I will have to watch it now …

Sweet/Vicious

I didn’t find pretty shows this week … sorry?

Nashville (Season 5)

I am not particularly eager for Nashville to go on and on and on, but I did not want it to end on a cliffhanger. So, I am glad there is another season.

Shadowhunters (Season 2)

I hope you all watched PBS’ Hamilton’s America documentary last week, because it was brilliant and inspiring! But what would you like to see from today’s selection?

September OwlCrate & FairyLoot Unboxings!

unboxings

I know, I know – we are coming towards the end of October and I just now decide to do the unboxing post for the September boxes? Well, for one, they came extremely late last month and then I never had good light (still didn’t, but I just gave up on waiting) and it therefore took me a while to get around to the post. However, I did subscribe to not only OwlCrate but also FairyLoot last month (Click on the names to find out more details about each service). So, you will get to see not just one, but two unboxings! YAY!

OwlCrate

This is the fourth time that I have ordered an OwlCrate box and I not once have I been disappointed so far. You can imagine that I didn’t get around to reading the book yet, but let’s break down what was in last month’s “Darkness” box:

The Book

I’ve had my eyes on Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake for a while now and was extremely pleased to find it in this box. It’s a tale about three sisters who have to fight each other (to the death? probably not …) for the throne. As always in the past months, the book was accompanied by a hand-written letter from the author, as well as a signed book plate. I love how my collection of signed books is just growing and growing.

20161021_155410

The Goodies

I hope the picture sort of shows everything that was in the box, but just in case it doesn’t, here’s some more info:

  • A canvas pouch by Out of Print – it has a quote from Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children on the other side. I am not yet sure what I am going to put in it, but I always wanted to have something from Out of Print and now I do!
  • Candle from The Melting Library – it’s inspired by Celaena’s Cake from the Throne of Glass series (which I still haven’t read – SHAME). I quite like it, although I cannot place the smell at all.
  • Fortune Telling Bath Bomb from Da Bomb – I cannot wait to finally try this! Before throwing the bath fizzer into the water, you are supposed to think of a question that can be answered with yes or no. Then, as soon as it’s dissolved, the bath bomb will reveal the answer to said question. SO COOL! (and inspired by our favourite psychics from 300 Fox Way)
  • Crooked Kingdom bookmark by Evie Bookish – I shall read the series soon. The books are already on my shelf!
  • A passport to a new world – it’s a first look at the now already released, but at the time not yet released, novel Moon Chosen by P.C. Cast. Not only can you read an excerpt but there are also two images you can colour in. So, it’s double the fun.
  • Remade – have you ever read a serial novel? I sure haven’t, but Remade is Episode 1 of Season 1 of the Remade series. There are about 14 more episodes I think, however so far I have only found them as ebooks. I will see how desperate I am for answers after I’ve actually read it though.

FairyLoot

This was my first FairyLoot box and I was extremely excited to finally try another service other than OwlCrate (which I still love, but you know, variety is key). I can tell you right away, that you see with how much love and effort these boxes are created and I was not disappointed with what I got. Here’s the breakdown of the “Magic & Mayhem” box:

The Book

The September box featured Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter. From the theme and mention of Russian folklore, I was pretty sure that I knew which book we were getting and I am always happy when it turns out that I was right. The story includes the myth of Baba Yaga, which already has me very intrigued, however, I have a bit of a reading vs. writing struggle going on again, which is why I am not very far into the book.

There was also a letter and signed book plate from the author, which I really appreciated. Also, the book was in a cloth bag, which is so awesome! I never want my books to get hurt, you know? Another fun feature of Fairyloot is that you also get a hashtag and number, which only your personal buddy shares. Mine was #FairyLoot2007, but no one ever answered or I just didn’t find anyone with the same #, which is too bad really. I am just going to read it by myself now!

20161021_154641

The Goodies

The goodies all featured a very common theme, which was mostly related to Leigh Bardugo’s writing. In general, I like theme’s like that, but since I have read neither the Grisha books nor the Six of Crows duology, I felt like I couldn’t appreciate it as much as some people who are fans of the books might have. But I am getting ahead of myself, here are the goodies:

  • Grisha Notebook by Literary Emporium – a girl can never have enough notebooks!
  • Materialki candle from Castle of Fables – there were 3 different candles you could get, all representing one of the Grisha orders. I like the colour of mine, but I am afraid that’s it. The first time I smelt it, I thought it was fine, but then it made me quite nauseated and I just can’t stand it anymore. It’s too bad, because I usually like scented candles a lot.
  • Felix Felicis sticker by BookOtter – it’s cute and I will be forever scared of putting it on anything because I won’t want to waste my one chance.
  • Russian doll necklace by Pastel Cloud – by far my favourite item in the box! It’s so cutesy and adorable and pretty! (and one of the things you definitely cannot really see on the photo … sorry)
  • Shade of Magic badges by BookOtter – I love that series and instantly recognised the badges. They are awesome!
  • Grisha print by GoodNightKittens – as mentioned above. Pretty, but I just don’t have an attachment to the series yet.
  • Vassa bookmark by Behind the Pages – it’s a really beautiful bookmark, with actual sparkly stars. I love it!
  • Bonus: Six of Crows postcards!

So, that was it from my side. I did not order any boxes for October, so there won’t be any more unboxing posts soon. I did order the November box from OwlCrate though. I had to decide between OwlCrate and FairyLoot (the latter being already sold out by now), because I think they feature the same book. If you want to talk about my guess on the book, just ask in the comments. I just don’t want to spoil people who don’t want to know!

Have you ordered a book box lately? 

Writing Insights #5: Lacking Energy

lackenergy

Writing is great! It’s a way to express yourself, to tell your story. However, that doesn’t always mean we have the time or energy to actually write. What can one do in such a case? This question was asked by Chrissie @Bloggin’ and Writing and it’s such a good topic, so I am going to center this whole post around it. (Which is also a reminder that if you ever have questions or want me to talk about a certain topic, just say so in the comments or shoot me a mail! I am very open to ideas!)

I’d say there are two reasons of why we aren’t writing when we want to. One is that life is simply getting in the way and we actually don’t have one free minute to do what we would like to do. And the second is that there is something blocking our writing chi, and that’s always extremely difficult to pin down, and then we end up in an endless loop in procrastination station. Well, fear not! I have some tips for you (but without guarantee, because all writers are unique unicorns and the same methods don’t work for us all)!

  • If you are just hurrying from one appointment to the other, how about you take a little notebook with you? And I am not talking massive, heavy thing that will just weigh down your purse/backpack/whatever-you-use-to-carry-things. I am talking about something that’s maybe an A6-format notebook with about 30-40 pages. It’s thin and very easy to take with you. I have about a gazillion of them, because they cost approximately 1 Euro each at the art supply store. They are filled in no time, because unlike with super pretty notebooks, I am not afraid to write in them or to mess up and scratch things. Since I suggest you use them on public transport, lunch break or while you are waiting for an appointment, it’s not even meant to be filled with full sentences, but notes that you can get back to later on. As long as you can read the handwriting, you WILL be able to transcribe it later on.
    Side note: they are also super handy for sketches and observations!

So, that advice was obviously for people who don’t have much time, but what if you are like me and YouTube, Tumblr or Pinterest swallows all your free time? Deep down, you know that there’s a story just waiting to be written down, but … cute kittens can be so distracting! Well, here are some ways to channel that procrastination power:

  • YouTube and Spotify can be a hole that’s difficult to get out of. But if you hear a song that really speaks to you, start making a playlist for your story. Maybe one of the songs seems like the perfect theme song for your character or it inspires you to write a certain scene. It may seem unimportant in that moment, but it might just trigger a great writing session later on!
  • Not all of us are artistically inclined people, but some of you out there can draw and paint things that give me serious heart-eye-emoji! So, why not get inspired by your own work? Even if you aren’t a painting wiz or super tech savvy, there are a lot of things you can do. How about a map for your world? I once had a story set in the real world, but I printed out different Google maps images, rearranged them and added in parts with pencil. It was so much fun. Or how about character aesthetics? I just made one for a new character in the story called Findlay. Finding pictures that I thought would be fitting for him took a long time, but it also gave me a clearer picture of who I wanted him to be. Even if I changed my mind afterwards, it was a sort of character study.

findlay3

Obviously nothing t I just said is fool proof! But it is a way to get to know yourself, the story and characters a little better, so that even when you aren’t writing actual chapters, you don’t forget about your WIP altogether. That’s already worth something in my book.

Finally, I have updated Arcadia on wattpad again! You can read the whole story as well as the new chapter here. Since I wasn’t able to post much last week, I might treat you to a second chapter and maybe even Writing Insights post this week!

How do you feel about my advice? Do you have helpful tips to add?

Trailers You Might Have Missed … (Oct 10-16)

trailers

I have not posted much of anything this week due to various reasons that I don’t even want to get into. However, I now have an entire week off and I hope it will help me get back to my true blogging form! Until then, here are some trailers from (which are as meager of a bounty as my number of posts this week):

Movies

Collateral Beauty Trailer 2

I still think this looks beautiful!

Operator

This is another version of ‘Her’ hahaha I do love Mae Whitman, so I will watch this.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

I don’t know how many trailers are out there. It’s Star Wars, so I am excited. I am a simple girl.

One Man Army

This might be too weird for me, even though it did make me laugh eventually by the end of the trailer.

Life on the Line

Movies like that make me paranoid sometimes that simple things, that usually seem quite regular and safe, will kill me.

Priceless Trailer 2

I keep seeing this everywhere, pretty much all the time. So, here we go sharing that again. This trailer is so much more heartfelt than the other one though and the movie is already out I guess … but there were slim pickings this week.

TV Shows

Taboo

Just this week I found out that Tom Hardy had a TV show coming out soon, so here’s the trailer for that.

Divorce

Someone said it was the more grown up sequel to Sex in the City, like a sort of “what happens after the fairy tale”. No idea if that’s true, because I haven’t watched it yet.

How was your week? Tell me all about it!

Trailers You Might Have Missed … (Oct 3-9)

trailers

It’s Sunday, so as per usual, this means a ton of trailers. Finally, after a long while, I can also show you some more TV stuff again, mainly because of NYCC (which I am still bummed about missing another year of). Enjoy!

Movies

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dean Men Tell No Tales

I was kind of over the whole franchise after the third movie, but PIRATES! I can’t resist those …

Power Rangers

I did NOT expect to love the look of this as much as I did. I still remember when all the girls were fighting over which Power Ranger they got to be at school, so I have ‘fond’ memories, but this – it looks awesome!

Jackie

Natalie Portman makes for a great Jackie!

Sleepless

Uuuuh, dirty cops!

Patriot’s Day

I can’t go one week without having at least one actor/actress in several trailers. Seems like Michelle Monaghan is the one this time around.

John Wick: Chapter 2

Honestly, I can’t remember when I last watched one of Keanu Reeves recent movies …

It Had to Be You

I mainly clicked on this because I saw the mom from How I Met Your Mother.

TV Shows

Class (Doctor Who Spin-off)

It looks amazing! It also weirdly helped that Ness wrote it.

Doctor Who Christmas Special 2016

I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW THEY WERE DOING THIS! I THOUGHT THERE WAS NOTHING THIS YEAR!

Shadowhunters (Season 2)

It looks a fraction better than Season 1, maybe they really did get more budget. I am not sure it was necessary to bring in another random non-book-existent character, but it played out well with Lydia, so I am going to let it slide.

Black Sails (Final Season)

I am going to cry when this is over. Like, for real, I am sad this will end, but better on a high note than ruin it with a too long running time.

Marvel’s Iron Fist

I met Finn Jones while working at the Vienna Comic Con last year and he’s such a nice guy! I am so glad to see him get a lead role in a Marvel production, especially one on Netflix. That can totally make your career.

Gilmore Girls Featurette

Just in case you want to get nostalgic!

Chicago Fire (Season 5)

It’s back on Tuesday! YAY!

Beyond (Freeform)

Seriously, a nurse should not scream when a coma patient wakes up, even when it’s unlikely that they do. What kind of odd behaviour is that? Also, he sure doesn’t look 12 years older, but the concept is interesting.

New Girl & Brooklyn Nine Nine Crossover

It looks hilarious!

I quite like most of my findings this week. Anything you would like to watch? Let’s talk about that!

Writing Insights #4: Reading vs. Writing

rvsw

Not all readers want to be writers, however, most writers are avid readers. So, how do you combine the two? Let’s talk about that in today’s Writing Insights!

I’ve decided to go with Reading vs. Writing as a topic this week, because it is something I have been struggling with lately. As a book blogger, I don’t just read for fun, but I also feel like it is my duty to read a decent amount of them each month. (Don’t worry, I am not reading just because I have to. I also want to. How couldn’t I!? Reading is the best!) But ever since I started concentrating more and more on my writing again, I found it difficult to combine those two worlds.

The first reason of why it isn’t easy is simply that I love to immerse myself in the world that I am reading about. I bet you like to do the same, but the problem is that as soon as I am all “Uuuuh, I love the villain!” or “Don’t hurt my precious baby!!!”, I don’t waste a single thought on my own characters anymore. Their story just sort of drifts out of my mind and I don’t want that to happen, but apparently I am a very single-minded person and it still does. More often than not it feels impossible to focus on both things and like I have to choose, even when I really don’t want to, because in addition to aforementioned quality, I am also greedy and want all the things at once.

Also, I sometimes feel like I am influenced a lot by what I read, which is a good thing, because it means the writer did their job well. However, I don’t want those influences to immediately show in my writing.

So, what do I do?

  • I always carry a notebook with me just in case, but I’ve dedicated certain days are meant for writing. I won’t even touch a book on those, except if I am in a really, really interesting part or need to finish a chapter for closure-reasons.
  • When I am done with a chapter, I reward myself with some reading time. I don’t even really limit this at all. If I feel like reading an entire book afterwards, that’s what I’ll do. If I just want one chapter then that’s okay too.
  • I am never fighting my mood. Gut feeling is everything and I’ve learned that forcing myself to read OR write never ends well. If all else fails, I’ll just watch a TV show.

How do you balance your reading and your writing? Do you have any tips?

Lastly, I’ve already announced it in my monthly wrap-up, but I’ve uploaded my WIP Arcadia to wattpad. As of right now there is the prologue and two more chapters on there. If you are interested in reading the story, please click here. I would appreciate all and any kind of feedback, emoji response or whatever you can think of! You can always leave a comment, shoot me a mail or send me a DM on Twitter!

 

Trailers You Might Have Missed … (Sep 26-Oct 2)

trailers

I had a really busy week, but all in all it wasn’t that bad. That’s kind of how I also feel about this week of trailers. They are alright, just nothing too exciting. See for yourself!

Movies

The Space Between Us

I am SO looking forward to this movie! I’ve shown a trailer before, but this one is even cuter. The reaction to the horse cracks me up every time.

Good Kids

It’s silly, but I think it’s not too out there for me to like it.

The Edge of Seventeen (Clip)

The movie is coming out soon. Can you remember how I flailed about this? Just look at this clip and tell me this won’t be an adorable teen film.

Doctor Strange 

Just another strange trailer.

Paterson

I know nothing about poetry, but Adam Driver … I think I might like this.

Fences

It looks intense.

20th Century Women

That looks like quite the cinematography.

King Cobra

I am not even surprised at how weird and effed up this is, because it’s Franco. He does weird shit all the time. (However, I am surprised that Keegan is in this)

Dog Eat Dog

I thought the casting looked interesting, but … nope. Too violent?

The Lennon Report

This is why ambitious journalists scare me a little.

Blue Jay

This looks SO Indie movie chique.

Friends Effing Friends Effing Friends

Well, this was bound to end in disaster, just look at the title.

Personal Shopper

Definitely not my kind of movie, but since Kristen Stewart is ALL the rage again, I thought I’d share it. What’s up with that by the way. I don’t think she’s doing anything different, just taking very different roles now.

TV Shows

Pitch

I know this show is out, but I want more people to watch it. I think it’s my favourite new show of the season in terms of drama, but there still isn’t everything out yet. It’s just that I am shipping Ginny with Mike so hard in my head already, even though I think they mean for him to be her mentor and will probably pair him with her agent.

Younger

IT IS BACK! I am so happy. The season premiere was awesome and gaaaaah! I can’t wait for the next episode.

What are you watching? How are the Fall TV shows treating you? Would you watch any of those movies?