March 2019 Wrap-Up

I originally intended to be more active this month, but a couple hick-ups along the way and some generally not so fun events have made me a little apathetic towards everything that wasn’t sleep. I’m better now though and hope to get more passionate about writing posts and reading and watching TV (yeah, not even that was very entertaining at times) again.

While The Wicker King and its novella didn’t get the highest rating of my reads this year so far, I still very much enjoyed reading the books. I think my approach of reading less or really only the things I truly gravitate towards is doing wonders. Most of the books I have picked up this year were amazing and I had a lot of fun (or other emotions) with them.

If you want to read my review for The Wicker King as well as some short thoughts on The Legend of the Golden Raven (which is the companion novella from Jack’s POV) click here.

I didn’t feel like cancelling the book section of this post entirely, but I might in future posts if I really only read about one book per month. For now, fingers crossed I’ll pick up something that’s a super quick read though. If I can finish it in a day or on a weekend, I might just be up for it.

There’s not really much to tell other than that. Part of my family has come to visit Berlin this past weekend and it was really fun to play tourist with them for a bit. Aside from being super tired from walking around (and I did less walking than they did), I don’t think I would have seen as much or tried some things if they hadn’t been here with me. I am really grateful for that experience! One thing I would definitely recommend is the German Spy Museum! Even when it’s pretty full, you get to do loads of interactive stuff such as learn morse code, look for bugs in a room, do a laser maze or try how you’d fare at a job interview for a secret intelligence service (in this case the Australian one, which I now know how to nail. You can try it yourself here). Even if some of the things may have been targeted at kids, who didn’t ever want to be a spy when they were younger and just likes pretending now too?

THINGS I LIKED THIS MONTH

Apart from discovering some more of Berlin, I really just stuck with my Skam remakes again this month. It’s so interesting to see the German approach to the Isak/Even season, especially since they REALLY changed things up. I am so happy to see them include a trans character played by a trans actor and just generally do a lot of callbacks to the original show as well as small references to the other remakes, but always do their own thing as well.

The French version has just ended their Isak/Even season and jumped right into the next one without so much as a break. My inner fangirl rejoices at stuff like that. Although I am going to miss Lucas and Eliott like crazy, they had an amazing run. I was just constantly blown away by the acting, especially that of Axel Auriant. He has quickly become one of the young talents I am definitely going to look forward to seeing in more projects in the future. What he does just feels so real! (I mean, he did actually hurt his hand while punching a wall, so … part of it is real, I suppose).

MY POSTS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

TRAILER POSTS

I hope you had a good month and that we can all start into April without too many pranks (I just really don’t like April Fool’s Day, cause I fall for everything). 

Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer (Book Review)

Publisher: Page Street Kids
Page Count
: 400

I am on a roll, people! After flying through Dumplin’ and a comic book I picked up (mini-reviews coming for those at the end of the month), I feel like I really found my way back into reading with Echo North! I hadn’t realised just how MUCH I had craved a good Fantasy book until I started reading one. I have missed the genre, I have missed the escapism, I have missed exploring these beautiful and cruel made-up worlds. I have found my book haven again.

Before I get lost in my love for the genre in general though, let’s talk about Echo North instead. For those of you who say it sounds familiar and a little bit like a Beauty and the Beast retelling – I hear you. It does have that vibe, but it actually draws from many popular as well as less known tales while also simultaneously creating its entirely own story. I don’t mind finding familiar story elements in a book I read, as long as the writer is still able to make it their own and I think Meyer definitely succeeded in doing that. At one point, it even felt like the character in the book was breaking the 4th wall and it was such a great moment! It really makes you check the page twice in a way. (At least I thought that was very clever!)

“It is like any wild thing that has been tamed. It is sometimes safe, and sometimes not.”

One of my most favourite things (aside from the wolf, because I adore wolves and they are unrivaled) about Echo North was the magic house and its rooms. It had tame and dangerous rooms, spiders, snakes and poisonous flowers just as well as singing bears and an enchanted library full of mirrors that were actually books. I cannot imagine a reality in which I would not spend all my free time in that freaking room. Can you imagine walking through the silvery surface and being IN the story? Because I can and I would love nothing more.

“Wolf.” I stretched out a hand to touch the scruff of fur on his neck, and he didn’t pull away. I tugged the ribbon on the hat, thinking he hadn’t quite answered my question. “What did you lose? Who did you love?”

“Nothing. No one.”

But his eyes said Everything. Someone.

The book isn’t without flaws. I, personally, feel like the romance could have been a bit more developed. Don’t get me wrong, it was beautiful in its relentless power and the ever connected thread between the characters, but I maybe would have liked to read some more exploration of the feelings as they started blossoming. They went from being attracted to eternal loyalty in a heartbeat and in hindsight all of that makes sense, but considering the slow pace of the book, it would have been a nice touch.

“I made your life into something it never should have been.”

It wasn’t at all what I had expected. “Wolf, I’ve never blamed you.”

“Then why do you blame yourself?”

That was something I had no answer for.

But in the end, the writing, the characters, the story and the presence of enchanted wolves was all I could have asked for! I could not stop reading and I really didn’t want to either. What more could you possibly want from a book? A story that picks you up and wraps you up in its magic entirely. I think I am going to think of Echo North fondly for a long time and maybe some of you will pick it up as well and will want to chat about it with me.

Fazit: 5/5 stars! A new favourite of mine!

Have you read Echo North? Have you ever even heard of it before? Do you think this could be up your alley? Let’s talk about!

December Wrap-Up – 2018 in Rewind

It’s no secret that I haven’t been reading much these past months. I am glad to say that I managed to read at least 3 books (two of which were comics) in December. It’s more than I have read in a long time, so I am still quite content. If you’ve missed my mini-reviews, you can read them all here.

  • Heart of Gold (Act I) by Eli Baumgartner/Viv Tanner (5 stars)
  • Venustransit by Hamed Eshrat (3 stars)
  • Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter (4.5 stars)

Heart of Gold Act I  Venustransit  Ghostly Echoes (Jackaby, #3)

Just like in old times, click on the book cover to get re-directed to Goodreads!

And even though there really isn’t as much to show as there was in previous years, I still want to share my reading statistics from Goodreads with you! (If you have a Goodreads account of your own, you should be able to find these stats on the right hand side of your profile.)

It has been the lowest amount of books in YEARS for me. As a bookworm/bookdragon, I am not entirely happy with that number, but then again, it’s the most I could have done in 2018. It may not be as much as others have managed, but there are people out there who read 1-2 books a year and they’d surely think I was crazy for reading so much. There’s always two sides to each story.

In addition, I am not surprised my shortest book was THIS short. I have started to read more and more graphic novels and comics and a lot of the time they don’t have an enormous page count. But tomes like Obsidian are rare for me anyway. I whole-heartedly agree with my average page number, because around 300 pages is truly what I feel most comfortable with length-wise with a book.

Lastly, my average rating has also gotten lower in 2018. I was usually somewhere just about 4 and this is the first year that I have ended up below that average. It’s nothing bad per se, it’s still a really high rating overall, but it also means that I wasn’t as good at picking my reads this year. Here’s to hoping 2019 I will get back on track!

2018 once again was a year of very irregular blogging for me. Aside from the trailer posts, I have really struggled to find a work-life-balance that includes this little corner of the internet. No matter how much I tried, I was unable to do more than the bare minimum and engage with everyone (especially on their platforms) the way I wanted to. Still, you showed up anyway and kept this blog from plummeting into nothingness and I am so very grateful for that! 

Just like 2017, this year was also a strange one. Some really amazing stuff has happened, but in the end, 2018 leaves a bitter taste behind. The general atmosphere was filled with loads of anxiety, stress, frustration and sometimes helplessness. I genuinely hope that 2019 will have an overall better vibe, because we all deserve a break, but I don’t want to leave it on a bad note and rather celebrate some really amazing milestones instead.

  • The blog currently has 2,267 WordPress followers, a number that kept growing even when my posts dwindled. Add the 31 people who follow me via e-mail and we are SO close to 2,300. What a nice number!
  • This is post #999, so I will start the new year with a fantastic milestone!
  • I really, really want to give a shout-out to my top commenters, because they are such lovely people and always brighten my day. Thank you Marie, The Orang-utan Librarian, Caro, Savannah, Beth, Marta and Rami!

MOST POPULAR POSTS OF 2018

(click on the title of the post to read it!)

Midnight Sun by Trish Cook (Book Review + Movie Trailer): I am honestly a little bit surprised that my most visited post is a book review, especially for a book that was written FOR a movie and not the other way round. I can’t say this was a favourite read of mine, but I am glad people seem to be curious about it nonetheless.

Still Star-Crossed: Book vs. TV Show: This review was actually written in 2017, but I think it actually got more views this year than when I actually wrote it. I guess people miss a cool historical show with POC characters. Who can blame them?

The Netflix Book Tag: We all love Netflix. No surprise here!

How I See Myself as a Fictional Character: This post was actually one of the most fun to write for me this year, so I am very, very happy to see it resonated well. Eden Rhodes will forever be my alter ego!

Your WIP in Gifs Tag: It seriously warms my heart to know that people want to know more about Arcadia. I don’t know if the success of the post is due to the gifs or not, but I am elated either way. (In case you missed it, I also did my WIP in Gifs for the #witchyWIP, click here to check out that post!)

MY (DECEMBER) POSTS

Lastly, here is what I’ve written this past month:

WRITING RELATED

TV SHOW RELATED

TRAILER POSTS

I hope you had great holidays if you celebrated and even more so, I hope you have a great start into the new year! Do you have any resolutions for 2019? I am going to do best of lists for 2018 in the upcoming days, with a special focus on TV shows and books. I hope you’ll enjoy those posts as well!

November 2018 Wrap-Up

Can you believe it? I actually read something last month. It doesn’t really warrant a full round-up of books, as it was one singular novel, but I am still glad that books haven’t left my life entirely. I read Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby (click on the title to get to my review) but I also got halfway through A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi. I am enjoying it a lot so far, but I was just super busy and didn’t get around to finishing it before the end of the month.

So, what else has been happening in November? It was a time of doing nothing and way too much at the same time. I still haven’t managed to make any friends outside of work. That fact leads to me really looking forward to the weekend and having a little bit of a break, while also dreading it endlessly because I will be all by myself. However, no one can tell me that I haven’t made an effort!

During the past month, I went to a number of events – some related to work, others completely on my own volition! I got to go to the opening of a new cinema, where they showed an exclusive advance screening of Fantastic Beasts 2. Also, the opening screening (with one of our films) of the French Film Week in Berlin, and two concerts. I was especially excited about the Hozier concert, because I’ve seen him live before and it was the best.

The concert turned out to be even better than I expected. I was seated (this was a surprise as the event wasn’t supposed to be seated) right behind the opening act (Saint Sister) and Andrew basically sang while looking our way the entire time. In a way, it felt a little like he was singing it all to me and I still felt free enough to sing my heart out in return.

And then, this week, Saint Sister was back in Berlin playing their own gig and I went to that concert too. Again, I was kind of on my own on this one, but Saint Sister (just like Hozier) and their opening act, Ciaran Lavery, are all from Ireland and there were a lot of Irish people around, I sort of felt at home. I honestly don’t really know what happened, but I was in this crowd of strangers and they were playing beautiful music and … I just started crying and didn’t even care? Afterwards, I had a really nice chat with Ciaran and I wasn’t even the one who approached him. He started talking to me and what has my life become?

I want to do more of those things. Maybe find more Irish acts who perform in Berlin? Because I have a feeling that the same people tend to visit those gigs and maybe that will mean I’ll finally find some likeminded folks and hopefully also friends here? Anyway, it was all a lot of fun and really exciting but at the same time massively exhausting. I am still surprised I didn’t get sick like 80% of my co-workers did.

FAVOURITE THING OF THE MONTH

It simply has to be the fact that I actually got to meet Andrew (Hozier) after the concert. He is the kindest, tallest bean out there and he even signed my ticket. What a lovely bloke!

ELSEWHERE ON THE BLOGOSPHERE

Again, I was terribly bad at keeping up with your posts, unless you tagged me in them. However, a couple of you took part in NaNoWriMo and I just want to say I AM SO PROUD OF YOU! No matter if you wrote 1 or 50,000+ words, you attempted something brave and deserve recognition for it. So, if you have a round-up on your NaNo experience or any other kind of post you’d like to share with me, don’t hesitate to leave a link in my comments!

MY POSTS

WRITING RELATED

ALL KINDS OF TAGS

TRAILER POSTS

This was my month! How was yours? Do you have any kind of favourite type of event where you like to meet new people? Let’s chat!

September 2018 Wrap-Up

My first month in Berlin is over and we will see if this is going to be a super short or very rambly post about all the things that have happened since I got here. First off, let’s start with the books I’ve read. Even if it’s only two, that is a 200% improvement from last month, so I am quite happy with that accomplishment. I still might lower my Goodreads goal, just because I’d like for it to actually be achievable, but here’s what I read in September for now:

Parsnips, Buttered: How to win at modern life, one email at a time  The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1)

As always, click on the title to get to the review on the blog and on the cover to get re-directed to Goodreads!

Where do I even start to tell you what all happened this month? My new job started in a sort of frenzy as we were preparing for the world premiere of Michael Bully Herbig’s new movie “Ballon” (watch the trailer here – it’s in German though). His name might not mean much to you, but the German speaking folks will know that he is one of the most successful directors and actors in the country. His movies are ranked among the top 10 highest grossing movies of all time in Germany, just that he usually does comedies and this is his first thriller based on real events none the less. You can see how that is all mighty exciting!

Seeing all of this unfold, getting to meet the actors and being part of publicity stunts and ultimately watching the movie in a theater with all kinds of celebrities (Tokio Hotel of all people was there!?) was so much fun! And I was really impressed by it, because you could basically cut the tension in the room – the suspense was real! It’s not that I haven’t done these kind of things before, but just like Germany has about ten times as many people as Austria, it also has events and premieres on a much bigger scale. 

My boss was also kind enough to take me with her to the First Steps Awards, which felt like a really exclusive and great event. It celebrated new talents in the film industry, and not just actors and actresses, but everything from camera, writers and directors to producers. Shopping for it was a tiny bit of a nightmare, because I at least wanted to look semi-fancy and my size seems to be not-available in most stores, but in the end I saw so many people I have admired for a long time. I don’t feel like I could have experienced anything like it back in Vienna. 

Overall, my mind is quite occupied with work. I am one of those people who eats, breaths and dreams about work (the latter leading to some really weird stuff as some of my close friends will know). Deep inside, I know that I need a healthier work-life-balance. That my life shouldn’t be all about the job, but meeting new people and making new friends. I like Berlin and I feel like the streets I am walking on are slowly becoming a part of me, but I haven’t really found my people yet. It takes time and maybe I am not taking the necessary measures (aside from that one time I totally got friend-rejected) to really be pro-active and be in the world. But I am not going to lie, I really enjoy just sleeping the days away on the weekend.

FAVOURITE THING OF THE MONTH

My favourite thing this month was to just watch a whole lot of German movies. In my mind, I always thought that I was meant to work in more of an English-language kind of industry, but being where I am right now, I can honestly say that I like German movies. I know a lot of the names and faces. There is a real difference to Austrian ones in tone and vibe and, as mentioned before, scale. I don’t know how interested you’d be in reading a post about that one day, but I could talk about all the good and bad ones I’ve watched lately? I just have no clue how many of them would be available with subtitles or such …

ELSEWHERE ON THE BLOGOSPHERE

I am ashamed to say that I haven’t read any posts, except for the ones I was tagged in. I haven’t been on the laptop much and the first couple of weeks, I didn’t even have internet in my own room, but I am really trying to get back into it and engage more again. So, to help me with that, leave the link to one (or more) of your favourite posts by yourself and bloggers you like in the comments! I will try my best to check them all out! I also promise to check my spam comments more often, just to make sure none of you accidentally end up there.

MY POSTS

ALL KINDS OF TAGS

TRAILER POSTS

That’s all from me for now! I hope you enjoyed this very rambly summary of my month. What have you been up to? Let’s chat in the comments below!

The Adventure Book Tag

The lovely Keira has a new blog called Headphones and Hyperboles and I think she deserves some followers over there! So, I was very happy when she tagged me for the Adventure Book Tag, which in turn gave me a chance to link back to her post. Definitely don’t forget to also head over to her blog!

Which character would you love to go on an adventure with?

I want to go on an adventure with Mark Watney (The Martian). I know that the guy is entertaining as heck and should we ever, for whatever reason that surely has nothing to do with me being an incompetent bean, get into a life-threatening predicament, I am pretty confident we’d survive because of him. The man lived isolated on Mars and came back alright, I think putting my faith in him isn’t too bad of a decision.

If you could be any character for the day, who would you be and why?

This was a tough call! I think my decision was lastly heavily influenced by the fact that I am currently reading the third book in the Jackaby series, but I’d want to be Abigail Rook. She basically the Watson to a supernatural Sherlock and gets to experience all kinds of strange things. I am not sure how cool I’d be with living in the past, but electricity was invented at least. She has fancy dresses and gets to flirt with the ever so charming Charlie Cane. Even if it was just for a day, I think it would be fun.

What book is on your TBR bucket list?

One day, some day I really want to finish S. by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst. It’s such a fascinating book, with riddles and fold out maps and trinkets hidden in the pages. It’s truly interactive and maybe three stories in one? As interesting as it is, it’s just super hard to read at the same time.

Which book has a contemporary setting you would love to go to?

As cheesy, silly, over the top, predictable, repetitive, etc. Nicholas Sparks’ books are, they make North Carolina sound really pretty. I would like to see their coast for real one day, although it is by far not on top of my travel list.

Which book has a fantasy/fictional setting you would love to go to?

People who know me, know that I have quite a thing for Alice in Wonderland, so that’s a world I would LOVE to see. I’d probably go mad there with all the riddles and nonsense, but it would be a magical experience nonetheless.

What book or book edition would you do anything to get your hands on?

How bad is it that I cannot think of a single book!? I do have a couple signed books at home that I probably wouldn’t want to loose, just like I wouldn’t want to trade my editions of the books I put post-its in to highlight my favourite passages, but I wouldn’t go and do anything crazy for any book out there.

Name a character who is very adventurous and daring.

To Kill a KingdomPrince Elian from To Kill a Kingdom seems pretty willing to do risky stuff to me. The dude fancies himself a pirate (which I do have my quarrels with. I am pretty sure he is just a sailor, but if it makes him happy, so be it) and pirates are notoriously daring.

Name the craziest or weirdest place you’ve ever read a book.

I … I … I don’t know? I don’t want to sound boring but I just honestly don’t think any of the places I read at was that crazy. I did bring a book to a school dance once … but it was more of a precaution, I didn’t actually end up reading it.

I TAG THEE

Marta | Marie | Michelle | WHOEVER WANTS TO DO THE TAG

What did you think of my answers? Did you agree with them? Who would you trade places with? Or where would you go? Tell me all about it in the comments!

The Literary Dinner Party Tag

I saw the Literary Dinner Party Tag over at Kristin @Kristin Kraves Books blog and she sort of invited everyone who was curious to do this tag. So, that’s how we got here! I am excited to see who I am going to invite!

1. One character who can cook/likes to cook

The first person that came to mind for this one is Hassan from The Hundred-Foot Journey. He can do all sorts of things, from traditional Indian food to haute cuisine. I mean, the guy literally was responsible for several Michelin stars, so I’d be honored to have him cook for this little dinner party.

2. One character who has money to fund the party

I actually had a hard time coming up with a book character who had a lot of money. Either they weren’t very memorable or there really aren’t a lot? No matter what the real reason is, in the end I went with Gansey from the Raven Cycle. I can see him financing a friend’s indulgences and maybe it would be fun for him too? I’d hope so!

3. One character who might cause a scene

Margo Roth Spiegelman from Paper Towns! Can you see it? Because I sure can! I am not even sure if she wants to cause a scene or if she just thinks it’s expected of her and therefore she should do it.

4. One character who is funny/amusing

This might not be the most obvious choice, but I want to invite Lara Jean from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before as the guest for this particular category. I don’t think she’s intentionally funny, like she’s not going to do her own stand up special on Netflix, but she is circumstantially funny? Hope that makes sense.

5. One character who is super social/popular

Uuuuh, I want Charlie from Queens of Geek to come! She’s a famous YouTuber so she could vlog about this epic event and then it would be on the interwebs forevermore afterwards.

6. One villain

I am going to invite Maven from Red Queen, because I love that damaged boy. Also, I decided he NEEDS to be portrayed by Freddy Carter if there is to be a movie or show and that means I get a Freddy Carter lookalike as my dinner guest and yeah … I am here for that.

7. One couple – doesn’t have to be romantic

I know it doesn’t have to be a romantic couple, but I’d really like to invite Juliet and Dawsey from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I feel like they’d be delightful company. She’s a writer, he’s a pig farmer – those are different worlds entirely. There’s loads to talk about and the way they met makes for an especially great story.

8. One hero/heroine

One of my favourite comic book heroines is Kamala Khan from Ms Marvel. I truly hope she will join the MCU soon, because her stories are great and her character is even more amazing.

9. One underappreciated character

I feel like you all keep sleeping on my cupcake August Flynn from This Savage Song. His story just kind of resonated with me and he will forever have a special place in my heart. I’ve had dreams where he was my adopted son, I love him that much!

10. One character of your own choosing

This dinner party would in no way be complete without my bookish husband Max Vandenburg from the Book Thief. He is kind and generous and a great conversationalist.

I TAG THEE

I hereby tag WHOEVER WANTS TO DO THE TAG!!!


I have such a weird mix of teen and adult characters here. I am not sure what kind of dinner party that would really shape up to be, but I would like to imagine it would be a fun one? What did you think of my choices? Who would you pick?