Friday, April 21, 2017 21:52

Beauty and the Beast retellings.

Since I'm on a roll with content that has something to do with Beauty and the Beast, I decided to list down my five favorite retellings for you. These are the books I've read over a couple of years, so believe me when I say these come highly recommended.

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Whistling Tor is a place of secrets and mystery. Surrounded by a wooded hill, and unknown presences, the crumbling fortress is owned by a chieftain whose name is spoken throughout the district in tones of revulsion and bitterness. A curse lies over Anluan's family and his people; those woods hold a perilous force whose every whisper threatens doom.
If you know me well, this first pick will be no surprise. I always use every opportunity to show my love for Juliet Marillier. There is something enchanting and magical about the way she writes stories. Her heroins are all strong in their own ways, the romances are so romantic and the plot moves with exactly the right pace. If you haven't picked up any of her books, you are missing out. My review for Heart's Blood.

“With courage and hope, we can conquer our fears and do what we once believed impossible.”

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Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him. With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

I read this book in 2014 and I still can't stop thinking about it. It is definitely time to reread this stunning book. The writing-style is lush, the blend of mythology and fairytales is intricate and the characters are flawed and fascinating. My review for Cruel Beauty.

“Where you go, I shall go; where you die, I shall die, and there will I be buried.”

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Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life. Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.
This story is a perfect blend of several folktales and Beauty and the Beast. I fell in love with the writing-style, plot and characters. The plot is interesting and has a rather creepy setting. There is a wonderful girl-girl friendship and Agnieszka was delightful. My review for Uprooted.

“There was a song in this forest, too, but it was a savage song, whispering of madness and tearing and rage.”

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Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them. Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

This is the newest Beauty and the Beast retelling I discovered last month and let me tell you this, it was simply the best!  Yeva was fabulous and it didn't take me much time to fall in love with her personality and voice. There is much development into the character of Beast and there was enough time to warm up for the romance. My review for Hunted.

“She wept because she did not know what she wanted, and because she wanted everything.”

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16096824When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.
I have read a few reviews that talk about the problematic issues in this book and I will not deny that there are definitely aspects that could have been better. That being said, it's still a really entertaining, well-written story and I love Feyre. My review for A Court of Thorns and Roses.

“Don't feel bad for one moment about doing what brings you joy.”
Friday, April 14, 2017 14:46

Beauty and the Beast: the movie (Spoilers!)

Before I start this long post where I will gush about my love for this movie, there is one thing I want to say: I LOVED IT SO MUCH. MY HEART IS OVERFLOWING WITH LOVE. I CRIED HAPPY TEARS AND I AM NOT EVEN ASHAMED ABOUT IT.

Now, on to the more serious business about this review. I will talk about different aspects, so I can show you all the reasons why I love this movie more than almost anything else in the world. If you want to go into this movie without knowing anything, please skip this post :)

The Prologue. 
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The moment I heard the beginning tunes of the movie, I had shivers. I'm so happy that they kept true to most of the prologue from the animated movie – but what made me even happier is the fact they included more background story. I LOVED the scene that shows off how prosperous and arrogant the Prince lives before he is punished by the Enchantress. I LOVED how they included her more into the story and how she sets everything in motion. The Prologues is tied into a deeper story about the Prince when we see a flashback to his younger self. I thought it was brilliantly done and it gave the Beast more depth as a character. It also takes away some of the questions the animated movie raised.

The Songs.
I would say that the songs always have been the Heart of the movie. They say so much about every character, from Belle's longing to adventure to Gaston's amount of self-love. And Oh My God, did they blow me away with these songs. All the original songs are there and the new songs they included? Absolutely my favorites ones of all time. I can't pick one I loved the most, but Evermore by the Beast has to be one of the best they have added. I never realized I missed a song by the Beast so much until now. Also, Days in the Sun beats Human Again. Goosebumps every time I hear it and How does a moment last forever destroyed me.

The Cast.
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I don't think I could have asked for a better suited cast. Every character is simply brilliant and exactly how I imagined them. Okay, Lumière's French accent might have been a little rusty at times, but Dan Stevens (Beast), Luke Evans (hunk Gaston), Josh Grad (Lefou) and Belle (Emma Watson) stole the show. One thing I always find really important is the Beast's voice and Dan NAILED it. Such a warm voice. Luke pulled off the whole crazy-obsessed guy vibes (and damn, he is gorgeous) without making him look like a card board villain. Emma's personality fit so well with Belle, it didn't even feel like she was acting, and her voice wasn't too bad in the songs. Josh was fantastic and his chemistry with Luke made Gaston's song better than the one in the animated version. It's a shame that they skipped the 'covered in hair' part.

The CGI.
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The castle was gorgeous. All the characters like Lumière, Cogsworth and Mrs. Pott were beautiful and I loved the Victorian touch. The Beast was done so well and they really made his blue eyes stand out. He was so detailed and real looking. I recently read the Special edition from Entertainment Weekly where they talked about all the work that went into the CGI. How Dan had to shoot his scenes twice; once walking around with a grey suit on stilts, the second time only his face to really capture his emotions - and it shows!

The Changes.
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1. Lefou
. I know there was a lot of discussion around his character, but wasn't it obvious already that his character was gay? I mean, look at his admiration for Gaston and how he accepts everything he does. The fact that they put more emphasis on this was the best. I also think they did a great job with his portrayal, especially when he starts to question Gaston's methods. He (and Luke) really gave the movie that something special, with their comical touch.
2. The Enchantress. Like I mentioned in the Prologue, she plays a bigger role now and that was a good move. I've always wondered if she would stick around to see if the Beast was able to change and now we get those answers. The fact that they gave the Beast more background story; sublime choice.
3. Gaston. They changed some of the scenes between him and Belle, which worked quite well. I did miss their talk about her book and how she could read anything with no pictures in it, but I'm happy they changed the scene where he is thrown into the puddle of mud. I don't think that would work with a live version. A lot of people talk about the fact that the Beast was punished, but Gaston never was; and I wonder how they can think like that. Gaston was set on marrying Belle, a person who would never marry him, and in the end he died because of it. How is that not punishment? He could have changed, but instead he was consumed by this obsession with 'conquering' Belle, and it was the end of him. LeFou changed before it was too late for him.
4. The book that lets you travel to another world. It was the perfect way to show what happened to Belle's mother and why they are so different from the rest of the town. They were outsiders from a big city with less small-minded people. That's probably why Belle does read - and why people don't accept it when she is teaching another girl how to read.

The Clothes.
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I really loved all the clothes Belle wears and how they made minor changes to make it fit to her personality. Also, credits for making her an inventor! I loved that. A lot of people complained about the dress and while it might not be as gorgeous as the original one, I would still wear it and treasure it. I thought it suited Emma and the dancing scene *swoon*

There wasn't anything I didn't love. I'm sorry for overusing all these words to show my excitement, but the fact that Disney delivered again makes my heart happy. Seeing my all time favorite fairytale and animated Disney movie coming alive like this is all I could have wished for.
Friday, April 07, 2017 12:19

The Beauty and the Beast.

30166719MinaLima, the award-winning design studio behind the graphics for the Harry Potter film franchise and the creators of the illustrated Jungle Book and Peter Pan, reimagine the beloved French fairy tale The Beauty and the Beast in this deluxe unabridged edition illustrated with stunning full-color artwork and nine 3-D interactive features. 

Generations of readers have been bewitched by the epic love story of a beautiful young girl imprisoned in the magical castle of a monstrous beast.

Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, MinaLima (Illustrator), James Robinson Planché (Translator). Published January 31st 2017 by Harper Design (first published 1740)


The moment I laid eyes on this book, I knew I had to get it and I was not disappointed by it. My love for Beauty and the Beast knows no limits, but this book reminded me of the fact I never read the original tale *gasp*

It was interesting to see the story Disney worked with and I must admit that I am happy with the changes they have made. They turned every character into a more likable figure, but what I did love in this book is the background story of the Beast. It felt like I was reading another story inside a story, which is something I missed in the animated movie. It made him a more solid character. We all have to admit that the time line around Beast's life in the Disney movie is a bit flawed and that is no problem in this book.

I really missed the talking objects though. There is no Lumière, Mrs. Potts or Cogsworth. Instead there are different themed room, like one with Monkeys who become friends with Belle. My image of Beauty and the Beast is so wrapped around Disney that I couldn't stop missing my beloved extra characters.

The best thing about this version is the beautiful leather-bound cover, the illustrations and the interactive features. Those 3d features weren't extremey special, but still added something fun to the story. The illustrations were to die for, especially those at the beginning of every chapter. I spend a lot of time looking at them, soaking in all the details, and it really made the story come alive.

Highly recommend this book if you are a fairytale lover like me.
Friday, March 31, 2017 20:43

Recap March '17 | London (first flight!) and lots of food.

Monthly-recap_thumb6This post recaps my month: my personal life, all the books I’ve read & bought and all the movies and TV shows I’ve seen.
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Because what is a monthly recap without mentioning the fact I ate some delicious food?

The best thing that happened was my trip to London with Debby and Daphne. It has been.. 8, perhaps 9 years since I first been to London and I fell in love all over again. I had an amazing time with my friends and I believe they got to see a side of me they didn't know yet, haha. I definitely can't wait to return any time soon, because there are still so many things left I want to see/do!

Highlights of the trip were: (check out my Instagram for more pictures)
tHE SONG RISINGLes Miserables

-We went to Les Misérables, which was an amazing experience.
-We saw Seven Dials after we met Samantha Shannon, for her book signing for The Song Rising. She was lovely! She promises us a lot of pain in the upcoming books. I'm ready to endure all of it.
-British Museum, Natural History Museum (They moved Dippy, I WAS SO DISAPPOINTED), Victoria & Albert, where we also ate scones. Walked across the Tower Bridge, posed in front of Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, saw the whispering Gallery in St. Paul's and we bummed over the fact Westminster Abbey was closed for a special service. Also had a glimpse of 9 3/4 on King's Cross.

Big BengNatural History Museum

-All the bookstores. Debby showed me the wonderful store Forbidden Planet. I'm in love.
-All the food. We tried pies, English breakfast, fish & chips, the best cookies, ice cream surrounded with candy floss, a real Sunday roast, Scottish Eggs, Sushi, yuuuum. We also had the worst restaurant experience ever, so thanks Kimchee, never again.
-My first flight. Yep. It finally happened and I survived thanks to the support and beautiful serenade of Debby and Daph in the middle of the airport. We went with the train to London and went back flying. It was interesting. I did NOT like the start, but the middle part was okay (had to stop thinking about the fact you are floating around) and I liked the landing.
-A ride in a Double decker. I love those things.

PhoneboothSt. Paul

I had a fun bookclub meeting. I finally had a house-warming for two friends, because things kept coming in between, and we went out to get hamburgers (I had a delicious hot dog) We went over to our friends to celebrate a birthday (I love the fact I can finally give someone books for her birthday!)  and I got addicted again to playing Mario on my Nintendo 3DS.

I'm getting more responsibilities at work, which is scary and really exciting. I have a feeling I might get a permanent contract at the end of this year *fingers crossed*

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bOOKly BrdStrange the Dreaer

1. Maria V. Snyder – Shadow Study (signed)
2. Alwyn Hamilton – Traitor to the Throne (signed)
3. Samantha Shannon – The Song Rising (Personalized)
4. Rainbow Rowell – Attachments (bookclub)
5. Laini Taylor –Strange the Dreamer (signed)
6. Rhiannon Thomas – Long May She Reign (book subscription box)

I would say that's not too bad.

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1. Marissa Meyer – Wires and Nerve. That was great. 2. Linda Woolverton – Belle's library. Cute, but only for hardcore fans (like myself ;p) 3. Sarah Prager – Queer, There and Everywhere. Informative! But for young audience.
4. Rainbrow Rowell – Attachments. Yeah.. Creepy stalker romance? Not for me.
5. Samantha Shannon – The Bone Season. Reread, loved it more than the first time.
6. George Orwell – 1984. Damn, what a struggle.
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TV Shows: 
Outlander season 1, episode 10 – 15. I could do without the whipping scenes, but I'm hooked.
New Girl season 6, episode 8 – 10.
The Blacklist, season 1 episode 1 – 22. Our latest addiction.

Movies:
Alice in Wonderland: through the Looking Glass. Visually stunning, but Alice annoyed me.
Pirates of the Carribean: Curse of the Black Pearl. Rewatch.
Doctor Strange. This is how it must feel to be tripping.
Bad Moms. Funny. I like Mila Kunis.

What did you do in March?
Monday, March 13, 2017 12:00

Once upon a time I fell out of blogging..

....And I still haven't found my way back. I keep struggling with writing posts, simply because I feel uninspired. I still enjoy writing and I want to be able to post more regularly, but every time I try to sit down I want to do something else. There is something holding me back and a while ago I figured out some of the things that bothered me, but I can't do anything about it. I need to find a way to deal with this problem and one of the things I need to do is take a step back for now.

I feel like my blog doesn't really matter anymore and I've been out of touch with bloggers I used to be close with. Every time I open Twitter, I wonder how much it matters whether I tweet or stay silent. Most of the times it feels like I can just disappear and no one will notice - and while I realize that blogging is something you should always do for YOU, it's demotivating to feel that way.

I think everyone has noticed that there are huge time periods between new posts and I hope you will stick around no matter what. My progress in returning back to the blogging world might be slow, but I'm definitely working on it. The Love-a-thon has helped me realize that I still enjoy visiting new blogs and that I want to keep up with reviewing books. Branching out to blogging about my bulletjournal has helped and perhaps I need to go and explore more other topics too, like bringing back Mel in Movieland.

It feels good to write this down. It's not an apology, because I've always felt those are unnecessarily, but this has been bugging me for some time. So. There. A post to admit the biggest, most terrible blogging slump I have experienced in my 5 years of blogging. I don't know how long it will take, but I will not quit. I'm just taking my time.


Friday, March 03, 2017 00:42

Recap February '17 | Photo shoot, Love-a-thon and bookshopping.

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This post recaps my month: my personal life, all the books I’ve read & bought, movies and TV shows I’ve seen and my journey in the world of Bulletjournaling.
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This was a good month, where I discovered my new addiction; the TV show Outlander. A few years ago I read the first four books, but for some reason I quit and now I remember again why I liked it so much. Hello, Jamie Fraser and your darn adorable accent. It's such an easy show to binge-watch. Trigger warning for sex scenes, violence and sexual abuse.

I went disco-bowling for a friend's birthday. It has been a while since I bowled and I was reminded of the fact that I am terrible at it, haha. But it was fun and that is all that matters.

To celebrate Valentine we went out to eat hamburgers and I got a pretty set of three piercings for my ear. We always like to acknowledge the day without making too much fuzz, so this was nice.

I went out to drink bubble tea and to do some book shopping with someone who is quickly becoming a friend. It was great to browse for new titles with someone who loves books as much as I do. Our boyfriends decided to hang out in the pub in the mean time.

The Love-a-Thon happened, I was one of the co-hosts, and I had a great time learning new people. It gave me new motivation to write reviews and to make more time to comment around the blogging community.

And I did something I never thought I would ever do. My mom talked me into going to a photo-shoot with her, a friend and my sister and she persuaded me by loaning a Belle dress. I decided to go with it and in the end I did get a few photo's that I like.

HamburgersLove a thon
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Beauty and the BeastCaraval

Bought
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Stephanie Garber – Caraval.
V.E Schwab – A Conjuring of Light.
Walt Disney Company – Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Library.
Marissa Meyer & Douglas Holgate – Wires and Nerves.
Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve – The Beauty and the Beast.
S. Jae-Jones – Wintersong.

Received:
Fred van Lente – Ten Dead Comedians: A Murder mystery (copy from Quirk)
A.C Gaughen – Roseblood (book box)

Ebooks:
George Orwell – 1984.
Hal Elrod – The Miracle Morning.

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1. Hal Elrod – The Miracle Morning. Good, but not mind-blowing.
2. C.J Redwine – The Wish Granter. I loved it.
3. Erika Johanson – The Fate of the Tearling. It was.. interesting.
4. Erika Johanson – The Boy.
5. Gabrielle Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve – The Beauty and the Beast.
6. Christina Henry – Alice. Dark, creepy and twisted!
7. Marissa Meyer – Wires and Nerves. Great new story in the world of Lunar Chronicles.
Watched_thumb5TV Shows: 
1. New Girl season 6, episodes 1 – 7. So far, not as good as previous seasons.
2. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt season 1, episodes 9 – 12. Funny.
3. Vikings, season 4, episodes 19 – 20. Feeeeeelings. Can't wait for the new season.
4. Black Sails, season 4, episodes 1 – 2.
5. Daredevil, season 2, episodes 8 – 13. Mweh. I really don't like the main character….. But I'm invested enough to wait for the new season.
6. Marco Polo, season 2, episodes 7 – 10. It's good. The next season will be great.
7. Outlander, season 1, episodes 1 – 9. In loooove.
8. Sherlock, season 4, first episode.
9. Frontier, season 1, episodes 1 – 6. Hmm, not sure how I feel about it.

Movies:
Zoolander 2. So bad, it's funny.
Despicable me, rewatch on TV.
The Huntsman: Winter's war. I can see the comparison with Frozen, but it wasn't bad.
Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot. Bored. So bored.

How was your February?
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