Book Topic & Book Feature New Books & Belle by Cameron Dokey
Happy Mug Monday!
So, what has this little book blogger been up to since her last Mug Monday post? Ha! I´ve been procrastinating. Alright. Fine. If you want to know the truth- I´ve been physically lazy and mentally working overtime.
Ever since my short break I´ve had time to think. Of course, I´ve read a few books, too, but that´s secondary at the moment.
I´ve noticed a shift in my reading tastes. I´m not sure if this has something to do with the lack of good romances being published or if it´s just a phase. I cannot stomach another sappy love story.
Don´t get me wrong. I still love the romance genre. I also still make a beeline towards the women’s fiction aisle in a bookstore and I still search for new romance titles online in hopes for finding something good ( See? I´ve even lowered my book standards ). But do I find anything worth reading? Not at the moment. It´s as if authors are bored with the genre and just publish romances for the heck of it. That´s probably not true. But give a girl a break. Book hunting is exhausting at the moment. Especially when it´s scorching 35°C ( 95°F ) outside.
So, this means a few things. I could:
a) Continue to tackle the TBR list
b) Wait for a miracle to happen
c) Move on
d) Visit Netgalley
e) Go on another creative break
f) Do garden work
g) Contact friends I promised I´d call… 2 months ago
I contacted the friends- I´m forgiven. I don´t need ANOTHER creative break. Garden work is the greatest punishment ever. My TBR list can kindly go to hell. I cannot foresee any miracles happening soon so that leaves me with Netgalley.
Netgalley. It´s been a while since I last stepped foot on Book Catalogue Land. Well, it´s been exactly 14 hours ( before that, 3 years ). Since romance isn´t feeding my needs I decided to check out what´s available on Netgalley.
I was successful. Greedy and successful. SO MANY BOOKS. So many non romances. And now, I have loads of Netgalley reads, a giant TBR list and the books I got while on vacation.
Sometimes I really do believe I have fruit missing from my fruit bowl.
Well, at least I have books to read, right? My worries for the romance genre are currently put to rest for the time being. I´ll be occupied with mermaids and pirates, kingdoms and witches now.
Speaking of new books and reading… I just finished this beauty ( pun intended ).
`Belle` ( A retelling of Beauty and the Beast ) by author Cameron Dokey. Did I love, like, enjoy or hate it? Well, I´ll tell you that I fell in love with the cover. The rest of my thoughts will be available in the upcoming review.
The mug is nothing special. Just your typical IKEA mug that probably won´t last long ( they never do in my house ). The cold chocolate milk topped with whipped cream was divine, though.
That´s it for this week, lovies. Now you know I´ve dug my own grave and will now endure a massive and glorious reading marathon.
Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.
Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.
Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.
Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.
But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.
This is another case of “It´s not the book. It´s me.” Or, maybe the book is my problem…
I liked loved the synopsis. It´s captivating and just screams at a reader to buy the book.
Because it sounds interesting. The story sounds dark and mysterious. It appears to have that certain witchy atmosphere. A promise of legends and curses mixing with reality and…. above all, there´s a promise of something magical.
I can´t say that `The Wicked Deep` by author Shea Ernshaw was a complete disappointment because there were quite a few parts I really enjoyed about the story. But the other parts? 40% of the story wasn´t as enjoyable as I had hoped it would be.
Was the story dark and mysterious?
Well, it did have a nice dark atmosphere and it did offer a hint of mystery in the beginning. But since the story was predictable the mystery part was flushed down the drain and that made my reading experience less enjoyable.
`The Wicked Deep` is a full blown cliché. While the writing is great the story is rather flat and shallow.
The threat was there but it felt restricted. As if the author didn´t want to go too far with her characters.
I would have liked for the “witches” ( as they were so lovingly sold to the readers ) to have had more spotlight. It wouldn´t have hurt if they had been included in more scenes. They drowned on land as they did when they were forced to drown in the pacific ocean.
As for the main characters- I would have appreciated if Penny hadn´t felt robotic. Bo was a Hero I´d consider to be 2 dimensional. Present but transparent, lacking depth.
As for the end of the story…. It won a smirk from me.
Would I recommend this book? I would. I´m sure there are many readers who would appreciate this type of witch book. It´s a nice standalone that´s not too high-toned.
Would I re – read this book? Nope.
The Cover – 5 stars ( The cover is stunning. Simple, colorful and the title is catchy.)
The Story – 3 stars( While there were parts I loved I couldn´t get over the stuff I didn´t enjoy. If it´s said that witches are involved then I´d appreciate reading about witches. If there´s a curse then I would like that curse to have some magical background. )
The Characters – 2 stars ( All had their own voices. I find it odd, though, when MC are less emotional than sub characters. I also find it worrying when sub characters have more depth. When MCs don´t stand out ( as they should) then I lose interest)
My emotional state after finishing this read– Indifferent.
WARNING: Blog post filled with my personal Scotland Road Trip vacation pics.
Goldfinch Mug / enamel, Waterstones
Will soon be revealed
Happy Mug Monday!
Looks like I made it back from my apocalyptic Scotland road trip. Why apocalyptic? I´ll get to that in a bit…
It all started out as a thought I didn´t think through.
“Hey honey. How does a mountain climb sound to you?”
I should have known a year ago that the whole question was a huge mistake. Mountain climbing and even walking… Those words don´t exist in my vocabulary. Why I suggested we do something we don´t ever do is still a mystery to me.
Needless to say- Husbutt agreed. He even suggested we go wild camping. Why? Beats me.
And where do people love to go wild camping and climb mountains?
Scotland. The land of lochs and legends. The land of the brave. The land of food and drink. And we were going…. again.
The last time we visited Scotland was in 2016. We did the Clark Griswold Grand Canyon type of sightseeing. From Aberdeen, across the Highlands to the Isle of Skye… We made sure we saw enough in the four days we stayed.
This time we wanted the full backpacker experience. We wanted to see the beauty Scotland has to offer and appreciate everything for more than 5 seconds.
Easier said than done.
A week before our vacation the husbutt had a tiny hysterical meltdown about the wild camping part. So, wild camping was off the menu due to husbutts fear of being eaten by an elk at night… when people his age ( he´s 38 ) have to attend to certain needs in the middle of the night. His final, rather frantic spoken, words on the subject were:
“I´m 38! I didn´t go to university to sleep in tall grass in the middle of the flipping Boondocks, on rocks! I deserve a f*****g blanket and a f*****g bed!”
Poor guy was so hysterical and desperate. I had a hard time not laughing. I´ll never ever forget his high-pitched voice.
With that being said….
We arrived in Glasgow, Scotland on Monday. And what happened after that nearly gave me a flipping heart attack. My husband, the Almighty, tight-lipped Silent Bob surprised me with a rental car.
“I hope you also rented a chauffeur because there is no way I´m getting into an english car, driving on the left side of the road with you.”
Yes. I was scared shitless. Like any other non-British country, we drive on the right side of the road with the steering wheel on the left side. Neither of us had experience driving in GB. My heart sunk when I saw the smile on his face.
“Babe, it´ll be fine. Just like old times.”
WHAT OLD TIMES?! I wasn´t ready to die!
Took him a half an hour to convince me to get in the car. He promised he´d drive careful. He promised me he´d pull over if I felt anxious.
The truth was- I spent 4 days with a death grip on the seatbelt. I have never, in the 18 years I´ve been with my husband, heard so many people honk at him.
We stayed a night in Glasgow. I have to say.. I´m not particularly fond of the city. It´s not a dump but it´s also far from being clean ( as far as larger cities can be clean. Which most of them aren´t ). We did visit a few areas that were said to be worth a visit and even took a trip out to the Devil´s Pulpit.
Tuesday morning we set out to drive up to Fort William. For those who don´t know, Fort William is a town in the Highlands and is known as the gateway to Ben Nevis- The mountain Husbutt and I were ignorantly eager to climb.
What a difference 108 miles can make in landscape appearance!
We left a rather un – lovable Glasgow and arrived in a beautiful cozy town with lots of little shops and fab scenery. Fort William was just as I had imagined it would be.
Despite my hands feeling sore from the death grip I had on the car roof handle I wanted to start our vacation. Like- really start it. We had a plan:
visit the Steall Falls
climb Ben Nevis
eat until we pop
The short version: We made it. Plan conquered.
The long version: The Steall Falls was a challenge for us. A gorgeous challenge. Steep paths in a forest that looked like it came straight out of a fairy tale. Except for the DANGER OF DEATH sign. That one stood out in a slightly negative way.
Let´s go back to swooning over the green.
Everything was so green that I had a hard time absorbing the beauty. The enless hike to the waterfall was taxing but well worth the march.
Stunning, right? I thought so. I´m sure Stefan found it just as stunning. His commentary nearly blew my mind. Every 5 minutes he called out…
“God damn it! They got me again!”
“Son of a bitch! What the hell is wrong with this place?!”
“DON`T STOP MOVING! THEY`LL EAT YOU ALIVE!!!” ( insert my husbands newly high-pitched, panicked voice )
Of course, he was referring to the Scottish mosquitoes – Midges. The stories online are true. Midges are annoying little boogers who probably drink insect repellant for breakfast before attacking innocent Stefans.
Don´t worry. He survived. He even made it to the waterfall!
The next day was our big day. Climb the Ben Nevis, Scotlands highest mountain. Standing at 1.345 meters above sea level… a piece of cake for inexperienced mountain trotters like ourselves. ( or so we thought )
We arrived at the foot of the mountain.
We started hiking. And hiking. Hiking…hiking…. More hiking. Hours of walking up and down, over rocks and dust, taking sharp curves and suffering under the beating sun…
8 hours in total. I felt like dying. Mr. I´m – In – A – Constant – State – Of – Danger felt the same. Our legs were on fire. All I wanted was a shower and all Husbutt wanted was his well deserved blanket, pillow and bed.
Did I mention the bookstore I found in Fort William? I didn´t? Well, I found a bookstore.
All the sweating and involuntary tanning on the mountain was forgotten when I spotted The Highland Bookshop! And yes, I bought books. I had to. What kind of a book lover would I be if I hadn´t walked out with at least 1 book?
After buying a few books for me and the kids ( who were at the same time slurping non alcoholic cocktails in Croatia with my parents ) it was time to pack our things and move to our next destination.
A quick visit to Sterling then Edinburgh.
Can I just say one thing?
I fell in love with Edinburgh. Oh holy unicorn! What a breathtaking city.
I cannot begin to tell you the places I´ve seen and the buildings I´ve entered. If there ever was a city I´d want to live at then it would definitely be Edinburgh.
The city is so rich with history and fantastic flair. It´s surrounded by green and everyone is just…nice. I had fun. Stefan had fun. We ate until we felt like we were able to roll each other to the hotel room.
I didn´t want to go home.
Especially not after I walked in a Waterstones ( for those who aren´t aware of what Waterstones is…. It´s a bookstore!) There, I spent over an hour running back and forth with books piled in my arms, listening to Husbutts moaning and groanings.
Stefan: “You know, we have those in Germany, too.”
Me: ( half ignoring him while looking for more books ) “Have what?”
Stefan: ( grinning ) “Bookstores.”
Me: “So? What are you saying?”
Stefan: “That you don´t have enough room in your suitcase for all those books.”
That was a Waterstones visit gone wrong. I had so many books I wanted to buy and take home with me but he was right. I didn´t have room in my suitcase. Book blogger fail x100!
Only the golden unicorn on the Queen´s Gallery´s art gallery door was able to cheer me up again.
So, there you have it. My apocalyptic Scotland vacation 2.0.
Would I do it all again? Yes. I´ll definitely visit Fort William, Sterling and Edinburgh again. Without a car, though. I wasn´t able to warm up to driving on ( what I feel was ) the wrong side of the road. And not until I find a way to destroy midges.
I recommend Scotland. It´s magical. It´s a green treasure.
I also recommend Whittard´s tea shop. It was an adventure talking tea with someone who knew their tea. Thanks to Rachel, who recommended an English Breakfast tea. The bestie was more than happy. 🙂
We dream about the great stories we´ve read and the ones that have yet to be written. We dream about the adventures we´ll probably never go on and the places we long to visit.
And then we dream some more.
We imagine ourselves locked in a bookstore and smelling and feeling all the books we´d love to have. We dream of having our own personal library filled with all sorts of printed treasures.
But that´s just the problem. For most of us readers – our dreams remain dreams.
That is, unless someday we turn into Disney´s Belle.
That´s fancy day dreaming for you. Or, should I say – for us readers.
Since we can´t be Belle from Beauty and the Beast and we also can´t live in a bookstore or library ( although, I believe it should be allowed to have sleepovers in bookstores ), us normal foot folk opt for something that´s more realistic. Something that comes close to a library or a bookstore for readers.
Reading nooks are a readers own little private reading spaces where we can curl up with a good book and surround ourselves with all sorts of coziness and… books!
Okay. Okay. Reading nooks aren´t the Bodleian library and they´re certainly not our favorite bookshops. But they´re cute. They´re costumized and they belong to us! A huge bonus about book nooks are: they´re at home. Readers can get comfortable in lounge wear and just plop down with a nice cup of tea / cocoa / coffee and don´t have to worry about having to put a book down when nature calls. That, alone, beats everything else!
So, why don´t us readers all have a book nook? And, why don´t I have one? Clearly, they´re not that hard to set up. And thankfully, the internet is filled with beautiful book nook inspirations for us to copy and transform our reading nook – less rooms into stunning Pinterest worthy reading heavens!
Alas. Here are the 10 most dreamy reading nooks that will have a readers heart beating wildly!
Not particularly child friendly ( unless for teenagers ) with the white and beige but still a cute eye catcher.
Am I the only one who can visualize the future chocolate smears all over that nook?
The Wooden Dream
A rustic niche with floor to ceiling wood work. This reading nook gives off a super cozy vibe with it´s soft lighting. All that´s missing is a miniature fireplace.
Reading Nook / Floor
Wide, open space with a beautiful view outside. Books left and right with a built-in bench and a ladder.
It´s definitely the ladder that does it for me.
A Feminine Reading Nook
Women don´t need a library. We need a tiny corner, a bookshelf and a cushioned seat placed between windows. I can literally feel the coziness just by looking at that chair. Very lovely and homey.
A Small Person´s Nightmare
Or perhaps a small person´s dream? Thank goodness for the little footstep or else anything below 5`2 would never be able to enjoy this charming piece of reading heaven.
A definite winner for me: the extra lighting.
A Door-slide Entrance
It doesn´t get any simpler than with this plain yet stunning reading nook. 2 over – door book shelves, 2 shabby chic slide doors and a fluffy white heaven on the other side. Do readers need anything else? Well, maybe more bookshelves…..
Personally, if that belonged to me then I´d never leave the house.
An Invitation To Relax
The wooden frame gives this spacious reading nook it´s magical appearance. Pros: A reader has room to stretch and can take full advantage of the natural light from the windows. Con: The lamp.
When you have space to move you can get into more comfortable positions and easy fall asleep. A never ending beautiful book battle.
Old School Reading Nook
This definitely looks like something I´d find at my parent´s house. Comforting and functional with drapes.
A Bohemian Fort
Super simple. Super stylish. Super inexpensive. This beautiful reading nook shows you don´t need to have a picture perfect reading nook.
My personal favorite. I might never be able to stand again but if that´s the price I´d have pay for being able to read in this beautiful piece of artful mess then so be it.
Rumor has it that we spend 1.5 years of our lives in the bathroom.The average person goes 6 times a day! An avid reader reads as much as they can. The damage this book nook / book toilet nook is able to do….. Readers might suffer from having a permanent ring on their backsides.
I don´t care what negative opinions people have over this. There´s no ignoring the fact that this person is a genius. Whoever came up with this brilliant idea needs to be given a hug. Books and a toilet. What more can a reader ask for? A dream come true.
Thank you for checking out the 10 dreamy reading nooks!
Which reading nook is your favorite? Let´s chat about book nooks.
For years I´ve been listening to my friends rave about tea.
“The health benefits!”
“It´s better than coffee.”
“There´s nothing better than having a cup of tea while reading a good book.”
I have no doubt that tea has great health benefits. And, I´m sure it´s better than coffee, too ( although, I wouldn´t know. I don´t drink coffee ). But the point about tea and books being a fab combo? That, I wasn´t so sure about.
The truth is- Tea never did anything special for me. Which led to me being a non tea drinker.
Even my best friend, Mirjam, who also happily considers herself to be a tea nazi, tried to convince me about the perks of tea. ( I said she´s my best friend. I didn´t say we always share the same sense of humor )
“Come on over tomorrow and I´ll make you the perfect tea.“, she said. So, I went to her house the next day and tried her tea. Mind you, I never tried black tea before. It always had an odd smell to me but she promised me she´d be careful and teach me how to “water” my tea down with milk and sugar.
An hour and 1 cup of black tea later I ran home with massive stomach cramps. To this day I´m convinced she wanted to poison me with her version of the perfect black tea.
After that fateful day I decided to never drink anything tea – ish ever again.
Until a new tea shop opened in the nearby village.
While I´m anti – tea, my daughters….aren´t. Both love their fruit tea ( a blend of forest berries and green tea ).
Anyway- My oldest spotted the new tea shop and before I was able to protest she was already inside the shop, looking around. Just my luck.
To make a long story short, I spent half a fortune on 6 different loose teas.
My senses were clouded by a wonderful mixture of fruity / herbal smells, plus the tea lady gave me a full-blown lecture on ingredients and benefits and water temperature and and and…. I had no other choice but to cave.
Here are the blends my daughters picked.
Eve & Lillian´s Tea
( Apple, pineapple, rose hip, peach, lemon, rose blossom, Columbian blossom )
( Apple, rose hip, white hibiscus, chokeberry, blueberry, Columbian blossom )
(Apple, hibiscus, rose hip, peach, redbush, rose blossom, cinnamon )
( Coconut, pineapple, passionfruit, blackberries, lemon, rose blossoms, orange )
The stuff I bought isn´t even worth mentioning but I´ll still add my pathetic Peppermint and Chamomile loose tea, just for good measure. Oh, and the chocolate powder, as they had a new blend of cocoa from Spain. How can I resist a new brand of cocoa?
The Sum Up
I dared myself to try some of my daughter´s tea. Pina Colada spoke to me in my dark moment and… to tell you the truth? I didn´t suffer from stomach cramps! In fact- I actually like the fruity tea version of my favorite cocktail.
The spanish cocoa wasn´t for me, though.
I most definitely haven´t been turned into a tea drinker but thanks to my daughters I have a new-found appreciation for the subtle tasty water.
Do I think books and tea go hand in hand? After my pina colada tea, I´d say yes.
I´m pretty sure most of you aren´t like me and have already been drinking tea for the last few decades so my question is:
What kind of tea do you drink? What blends do you prefer?