February 2019 Wrap-Up

This month surely had its ups and downs. I’ve been sick to the point where I missed 1.5 weeks at work, which has never happened to me ever before and drove me slowly nuts. Nonetheless, I tried my best keeping up with my shows, the blog but I only read one single book. The Light Between Worlds was an absolute joy, and if you haven’t checked out my review of it yet, you totally should (click here). There wasn’t even a doubt in my mind that I would give it 5 stars, but I don’t think it should take up more space on this wrap up. I am instead going to talk a bit more about what else happened this month.

I am not sure all of you know, but my contract at work and therefore my internship would have run out this week, but I extended it for another 6 months and will be in Berlin until the end of August. Everything after that is still pretty hazy. I have some vague ideas of where I want to go and what I want to do, but I have given myself permission to just live my life until May and figure things out after that.

THINGS I LIKED THIS MONTH

(Because I have lost the ability to narrow it down)

For those of you who know me well, it comes as no surprise that Hozier is one of my favourite artists. I’ve been lucky enough to been to his concerts twice already, I met Andrew after the one in Berlin last November and now I got to attend an event that was just the cherry on top of it all! I got guest list tickets to an exclusive Hozier album listening experience. Wasteland, Baby! will be released on March 1st, however, I already had the privilege to listen to it in its entirety last Friday (so a week in advance), with Andrew/Hozier present, with him answering questions and a brief meet and greet photo opportunity. My favourite tall bean remains the kindest and most humble being. His music is magical and perfect as always! I can’t wait for you all to be able to listen to the new songs. They are quite more upbeat than the past album.

Also, look at that glow up from November 2018 to February 2019. We looked happy in the cold, but the professional photographer really pays off.

Something you will most likely also have noticed if you follow me on Twitter is that I have become very invested in SKAM … or more truthfully it’s German and French adaptations, Druck and Skam France. I don’t even know how this started. It was something about me wanting to watch more web series, my colleague knowing an actress on Druck, me checking it out and just being swallowed by it all. I still haven’t (and probably never will) watched the original, but I do adore what I’ve been seeing thus far. Also, I have been on a war path with the French language for years now and Axel and Maxence have managed to convince me to give it another try by portraying soft but cool and sometimes dumb Lucas and Eliott. I love them so much for it! (I talked more about this, but especially Druck, in my Galentine’s Day post!)

Lastly, there are probably a couple more shows that would deserve a shout out as they got me through my sick days, but I’ve already given you so many recommendations on what to watch anyway. I am sure I will include a lot of it in future binge-watching posts anyway.

MY POSTS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

TRAILER POSTS

I hope you had a less turbulent month than me! Did you read something nice? Did you check out some of my posts? Let’s talk!

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!

The Rising Author Tag

I wasn’t actually tagged for this, but I saw The Rising Author Tag over at Beth @Reading Every Night and thought it would be really fun to take part. There are some definite rules to this, which I am not sure I will 100% comply to, but I still want to try my best.

RULES

  • No tagging back
  • Tag four people
  • Thank the person who tagged you
  • Come up with 10 new questions

QUESTIONS FROM BETH’S TAG

What is your current WIP about, and what’s its status? (ie. plotting, writing, editing, etc.)

This is already starting out more difficult than I thought, because I am working on several WIPs at the same time. Well, I guess I have neglected Arcadia a bit these past couple of months, but you all already know quite a lot about it anyway. So for the sake of making this post easier (and also to talk about something new), I am going to stick to the infamous #witchyWIP for this one.
It’s in the very early stages of writing, somewhere in the middle of chapter 12 to be exact, and about a family of witches who take in a girl who’s coven was eradicated for yet unknown reasons. The girl’s family was very powerful, so they are all cautious and scared about what she might be capable of and things get even trickier when she and the youngest son of the family perform a (forbidden) binding spell that ties them together forever. It starts from her childhood on and is told from other people’s POV but is meant to ultimately turn into her own POV as soon as she’s an adult. (I am working on a pitch that will make it sound more interesting – promise!)

Do you plot things out and/or outline, or just figure it out as you write?

I am someone who very much enjoys figuring out things as I go along, but for this one I have to plan ahead a little bit, because I am terrible with timelines and WILL mess them up if given the chance (Arcadia is living testimony of that).

What are some book ideas you want to write in the future?

FUTURE!? I have three unfinished WIPs and one finished one that needs desperate editing. I am going to try my best to stick to the current things before getting new ideas. However … one day I would like to write a contemporary YA book about a girl from Europe who goes on an exchange semester in the US (write about what you know and whatnot).

Out of the characters you’ve written so far, who are your favourites?

This is like asking a parent to pick a favourite child – HOW DARE YOU! But … if I must … I love my little confused but rational wolf girl aka Kasia from Arcadia.

What’s your writing routine, if any? (ie. snacks, music, time of day, location, etc.)

No real routine comes to mind when I think about me writing. I do prefer to have music on, sometimes even putting certain songs on repeat for certain chapters, but I have also had days where I needed complete silence. I’d say it all depends

Show your WIP’s aesthetic in images or words (or both)!

I think this might just be the project I have the least visual idea of, but here you go:

Bonus aesthetics for the other WIPs:

Arcadia
Dreamer
Break Up Buddy

What (or who) motivates you to write?

Honestly, it’s just everyone who ever read a snippet (or more) of my work and told me they liked it. Every single person who got invested in the fate of my characters. By now, that group of people I trust to share my projects with has grown far bigger than I initially thought possible and I hope you all know who you are because you are the best!!!

What do you find is the easiest part about writing? The hardest?

Easiest – having that scene in your head that needs to get written down no matter what. It’s okay if it doesn’t turn out right, but you just need to let the words out. I adore those moments because I have such a clear mental image of what I want to say.

Hardest – just generally sticking with a project, seeing it through when the going gets tough and you might get stuck at certain parts of the story.

What genre will you never try, and why?

It’s very unlikely that I will ever write historical fiction, because I hate research and doing those kind of stories without research is just … strange.

Share a tiny (or large) snippet/excerpt of your writing, if you’re comfortable!

This is the entire opening chapter if you like a real glimpse:

And here are two very random bits:

I hope you enjoyed those snippets! Definitely let me know what you think!

MY QUESTIONS

So, I am not sure I got this right, but I am also supposed to create 10 questions? Am I supposed to answer them myself as well? Does the next person only answer mine? Since I am confusion and I really like the questions I found on Beth’s tag, I am going to pass those on to the people I’ll tag.

I TAG THEE

Marie | Caro | The Orang-utan Librarian | Rami | WHOEVER WANTS TO DO THIS TAG

What are your thoughts on this? Did you enjoy another sneak peek into my writing life? Let’s chat about it in the comments!

Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby (Review + Movie Trailer)

Publisher: Penguin
Page Count
: 249

It’s been so long since I have done a regular review for a book and I know because I checked (for real, I haven’t written one since the end of July). I am not exactly ecstatic that the first book after all these months is Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby now to be honest and it’s a little tough to explain the why of it all.

First, Juliet, Naked isn’t a bad book. It’s about people who feel they have wasted years of their lives, whole decades even, due to wrong decisions and a lack of action to change their less than ideal situations. Even as someone who isn’t in her 40s or 50s, I can relate to that topic. There are times I wonder what I am doing with my life and whether I have gotten into enough trouble, taken enough chances or simply whether I am on the right path for future me. This book chronicles how Annie, Duncan and Tucker have to live with their regrets and make the best of it, all packaged with a good measure of dry English humour, a deep fascination with 80s music, a spin on modern day online conversation/dating and unhealthy fandom culture.

Usually, all those aforementioned elements would draw me in immediately! Who am I kidding? The mere suggestion of them here was the reason I picked up the book and in the beginning it was all really funny. I could see myself in parts of each character, like in Duncan’s passion for something he loved (although I never was on his level of obsession for anything ever and I go deep sometimes), Tucker’s ability to share his deepest thoughts with a stranger on the internet but his inability to do so with his closest family and friends or Annie’s fear of having missed the opportunity to have a family of her own by getting comfortable in a situation because it was easy rather than the right one. I don’t mind having people be the main characters who aren’t perfect. In my eyes, it makes them more realistic and human to have various flaws and even flaws that you don’t have to forgive sometimes.  got all that and I felt that and even though it all sounds rather serious and gloomy, it also had some great humour sprinkled in.

But then there were also all these disjointed parts and characters that truly weren’t necessary. And worst of all the conclusion … it felt so open-ended and with a lack of, well, closure. I understand that not ever story needs to tie all ends together, but here it felt like we stopped a couple chapters short of where Juliet, Naked was supposed to end. I didn’t need for them to live happily ever after, but I did need a couple more infos on their fate. So, while I enjoyed the themes and characters (to some extent), the ultimate execution of the story just lacked something for me. I feel like there was a lot more in there we didn’t get to see.

Fazit: 2.5/5 stars! A rather average story that could have been more.

Now, as the title promised, I am also going to share the movie trailer here. I believe, and please don’t hold me accountable on this, the movie is currently in theaters (at least at the time of writing this post). I haven’t seen the movie yet, so no comment on that, but from what I gathered from the trailer, it looks like a faithful adaptation that expands on all the elements that were lacking or not quite right for me in the book. I am curious to see if I am right and whether they will change the end, but take a look for yourself:

Have you read or watched Juliet, Naked? Are there any other Nick Hornby books you’ve checked out? Let me know in the comments below!

NaNoWriMo Update: Why I Stopped After a Week

Those of you who have followed my blog for a while, know that I occasionally dabble in participating in NaNoWriMo. It’s a yearly event in which all writers out there are challenged to write at least 50K within the span of the month November. It’s a lot of fun, but also very stressful at times. My first year was actually the only year I traditionally “won” NaNoWriMo by completing my RomCom Break Up Buddy. After that I tried to work on Dreamer, Arcadia and now currently the #witchyWIP, but let’s get to that in a bit.

First off, I want to say that I in no way want to discourage anyone from participating in NaNoWriMo. I have made some great friends through it, been to cool meet ups and actually FINISHED writing a book. Those are all things I doubt I would have been able to achieve without the platform that NaNo offers. However, this year I also realised why it doesn’t work for me on the long run anymore and I’d like to go into detail about that a little in this post.

I want to talk to you a bit about process. Every book is different. Even authors with a certain writing routine sometimes face stories that just have different requirements. Sometimes people are pantsers, sometimes planners and sometimes a mix of the two. I usually prefer to just completely take my story as it comes, but again, this doesn’t work for all projects. From experience, however, I know that I cannot sit there and plan out a story, neither in detail nor in a rough outline. My mind wanders and I get terribly bored when I actually write the scenes because I know what is going to happen. When I write, I often feel like a reader, also experiencing and discovering the whole world for the first time with every new word. I don’t know if others feel the same, but the more I know in advance what I am supposed to write, the less fun and the more difficult it is for me to actually transfer it to the page.

So, what does that mean? I am a go-with-the-flow kind of person, which should be perfect for anyone participating in NaNoWriMo, but here is where life throws me a curve-ball: NaNoWriMo is on a tight schedule. Having a certain word goal every day, getting badges and that sweet satisfaction from reaching certain milestones is something I find terribly motivating. I am also a competitive person at heart (at least when the only person I am competing against is myself), so I REALLY want to reach those goals – at whatever price. And all too often that price is a suffering quality of my writing.

NaNo is not meant for creating a perfect first draft. It’s quite the opposite! It’s supposed to help you break free of the chains of an overthinking mind and to just get. things. done. It’s a tool to get a story on paper, not to send it to publishers right after, but rather to have a framework for the amazing tale you can shape out of it once you get to editing. Now, editing is the bane of my existence. I hate it with all my heart, probably for similar reasons I don’t like outlining.

All of the things I have mentioned above lead to a certain realisation. I am not claiming my #witchyWIP is perfect! I know it is not, but the first chapters that I wrote before NaNo started were of a certain quality. I was aware that it needed tidying up, but I didn’t despise the existence of entire chapters. With me getting into a competitive NaNo mindset and really wanting to hit those word count marks, I just wrote and wrote but overall, I wasn’t really happy with the content I put out there (you have to know that I always share my work with a couple people. Let me know if you want to read a writing insights post on sharing your unfinished work!) So, I made the decision to not participate in NaNo for this project anymore. For me personally, there was no joy in getting chapters done if I wasn’t ultimately happy with what they contained. There was simply no point for me and I don’t regret my choice.

So, to all the brave NaNo writers who are still going – I wish you the best of luck! I hope you have a great time during the event, but I am out.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? How are things going for you? Have you participated before or do you want to in the future? Let’s chat!

October 2018 Wrap-Up

Once again, I am coming at you with a wrap-up when I have read absolutely zero books. I don’t know what exactly causes it, but I felt so busy with life and so uninspired to do anything else, that I basically didn’t pick up a book until a week or so ago. I am currently reading A Discovery of Witches, but I am only 30% into the book, so the review will have to wait a while (as for the show – GO WATCH IT!)

Generally, I do feel like I am becoming more myself again though. Not that Berlin changed me as a person THAT much, but overall, I just didn’t have time or energy or motivation to do a lot of things that I would typically consider to be me-things. However, I have managed to post a couple blog posts that weren’t just the usual Sunday trailer round-ups and I even got back into drawing again. I haven’t painted anything in such a long time, it was entirely strange to do it in a new setting with different lighting and materials. So, while this may not be the most perfect Teresa Palmer/Diana Bishop (yes, the only thing I managed to draw was a person from A Discovery of Witches), I am still very happy with the outcome! I think it’s some of my most detailed work with watercolors I have done so far.

Since it is already November, I also want to announce that I am taking part in NaNoWriMo! For those of you new to the subject, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and is supposed to be a motivational event to get you to finish your work in progress or reach at least 50K words in the span of that one month. Feel free to add me on the website (click here for my profile info) and hold me accountable as I go along. I am not actually striving to hit 50K with my #witchyWIP, but I just want to make sure I do write a little bit every day or as often as possible this month.

FAVOURITE THING OF THE MONTH

If you haven’t guessed it yet, I don’t know how to help you, because my favourite thing of the month is obviously A Discovery of Witches. It’s probably annoying how much I talk about it on here, but I am absolutely mesmerized by that show. It is beautifully shot, it has haunting performances of both Teresa and Matthew, as well as the remainder of the cast and the story is really interesting. There’s actual science or at least the need for science to explain the origin of all species and to prevent the supernatural creatures from dying out. If that’s not a great spin on star-crossed lovers then I don’t even know.

ELSEWHERE ON THE BLOGOSPHERE

I know I have been absolutely, not-shockingly-at-all absent from your blogs. I am truly sorry for that, but keeping up with the things on my own platform were sometimes all I could handle. Still, I want to at least highlight a little of my friend’s work and especially Marie’s part in the Shattering Stigmas series of this year (although everyone who contributed did an amazing job and was so brave for opening up!). And since it’s the month of NaNoWriMo, I also want to mention a great post on Plotting and Planning your WIP by Beth! I am sure you can find some great ideas and approaches there or at the very least a good platform to discuss how you tackle your writing.

MY POSTS

ALL KINDS OF TAGS

TRAILER POSTS

How was your month? Did you read or watch something good? Let’s chat all about it – especially if you have watched A Discovery of Witches as well! 

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!