Sunday, November 1, 2015

Happy Birthday Gramps!

Today would have been my grandpa's 80th birthday.
Sadly he passes away almost 5 years ago and left a huge hole in mine, my mum's and my grandma's lives.

I cannot remember a time when he wouldn't film. At special occasions, like birthdays or Christmas, he would always have his video camera ready. Coming into their living room on the 26th of December the first thing you saw, was the red camera light next to the tree. It was so annoying most of the time but it captured so many memories and I am thankful for that (not that I have watched any of these videos since he died because I cannot bare the thought of hearing his voice).

Apart from being the first vlogger, he was also a caring dad and grandpa. My mum's stories about adventures they went on and events the went to are amazing and fun to listem to. I went on many trips with them as well and will always cherish the little things.
He would spent hours in the pool with me even though my lips were already blue and my grandma wanted us out of the water but we didn't come out. Having three or four ice cream cones a day when on vacation was something that happened regularly and not getting a toy I really really wanted was not on his agenda. I was his only grandchild and it always felt like making me happy was his sole purpose in life.

My gramps favorite story was of me when I was little (we're talking two, three max) and I was walking through HUGE piles of fallen leaves in the gardens of Schönbrunn Castle and was mumbling "So many leaves!". Yes, he got it on camera (of course) but each year when fall came 'round he would tell this story and the whole family knew what season it was.

Okay, since I made it this far without crying hysterically (which I'm so proud of) I will end this post now.

Happy Birthday Grandpa and take care!

Sorry for any typos but I just couldn't reread it. Some part of me is still a bit in denial and doesn't want to think too much about him not being with us anymore but it felt right honoring his birthday and telling you all about him. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

London, Baby!

I recently came back from a week in London with my mum. We do this every year and it always is an amazing time-out and time to recharge your batteries and talk about our plans for the next "year" (yes, as a student and teacher to be my year still starts in September). Today I want to share some pictures with you.

How cool, Tower Bridge opened up for us :)

We discovered Temple District and enjoyed the calmness there. 

A cup of coffee, London's buses and a bit of people watching before going to the huge Paperchase at Tottenham Court Road. 

We spent some time at Tate Modern and visited the Sonia Delaunai exhibition. What a view, right?

At the Globe we watched "As You Like It" and mum and me were both a bit confused. What a strange story.

On our last day we spent some time around Little Venice and took a boat tour from there to Camden Lock via the Regent Canal. We love taking boat tours and I still cannot believe it that it took us this long to take it. 

Don't worry guys, I also spent some time in bookstores and bought some things:

The "Mr. Men in London" book is for my little godson Erik while all the others are mine. I love coloring books and this one is amazing. I also needed the little book by Terry Pratchett which is his speech talking about his Alzheimer's disease. I started the forword in the bus on the way to the hotel but stopped before I came to the crying part. 

I'm also so happy to finally have a Books Are My Bag bag and I adore the Waterstones bags and I think I get one every year (I have 3 now and love them all). 

After 11 years of going to London in the summer I experienced my first tube strike. It was a bit of an inconvenience since some buses didn't even stop because they were so full. In the morning we got up late and had a long breakfast but in the evening we had to wait quite a long time to get a bus back to the hotel. It was an experience but I really don't need to experience again.

Monday, August 17, 2015

My most personal post yet

My last post was my 800th on this blog. On the one hand it feels a bit like a milestone but on the other I must say I feel like I lost my blogging mojo this year. So I sat down and thought about it for quite a while and I think I now know why that happened.

A really good friend (yes, I'm looking at you, Judith) told me last week that sometimes you just need somebody to listen to you rambling to figure things out. So I'm taking her advice and start rambling to you, my friends.

As some of you might know, at the beginning of 2013 (what a f**ked up year, I can tell you) medical problems started to appear quite regularly and no doctor was able to figure out what I really had. It took them almost the whole year to come to a result and I had more visits to doctors this one year than my whole life before (I'm guessing here but it sure felt that way). In the end we were able to get me on some medication which is working pretty well (knock on wood) and I am fine - most of the time. What I never realized was, how much energy this whole procedure took from me. I felt tired, had no motivation to do anything university related, felt drained and like crying a lot. I never really talked about it - either with friends and family or with you guys. The only people who really knew how hard it was, were my parents because they were right there, living through it with me. I cannot tell you how important mum and dad were during that time (I mean, they always are but I would have broken down way more regularly without them by my side). After being on medication for a while, it still took me a long time to regain trust in my body and myself again and I'm still not 100% where I was before this all started. I still have days where I don't feel secure enough to do certain things but I'm getting there - slowly but surely. I have a wonderful family and great friends helping me through more difficult times and it means the world to me when friends are attentive. One of my best friends recently postponed his leaving the bar because we had the same way home and he let me finish my drink first. He just knew that it would make me feel better if we went together. I will also never forget when I told Judith about my medical conditions and told her that I would totally understand if she would prefer finding a different babysitter her one year old son and she looked me in the eye and told me she trusted me. That literally meant so much to me.

In July 2014, after over a year of misery, anger and self-doubt, something clicked in me and I realized that I only had one life to live and I started changing - on the outside and on the inside.

I changed from this person
to this
in a year. 

Not only did I lose a hell of a lot of weight, I also gained confidence, feel way more happy because I'm able to do so much more and see such a huge difference in my experiencing the world, I also - and I think that's the thing I am most proud of - did it just for me! I don't care about numbers on a scale, I don't care about compliment (don't get me wrong, they are nice and flattering), I don't care about the size of me jeans. I just wanted to feel better in my own body and I absolutely do. It really hit me when I saw this picture of me and little cousin and liked it so much. I always hated pictures of me but this one I truly love (so much that I downloaded it from my aunt's blog just so that I have it on my computer).

I'm still trying to figure out my life and what I want to do. I'm determined to get my degree and to overcome my fears but I'm confident that I can do this.

After seeing all the things I accomplished in the last 22 months, I have to say that I'm really proud of myself but these transformations in my personal life also took a lot of energie and willpower. I really do hope that I will soon get back into the swing of things with living my life more confidently and being more sure about myself, getting my university degree back on track and getting back into blogging - which I really miss. I want to finally be the person I always dreamed I could be and I'm on the road to achieving this dream. I just know it!

Read you soon guys and thanks so much for listening!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Why I never watched the last two Friends episodes

I am a major Friends fan! I cannot remember a time when I wasn't able to quote whole conversations out of an episode and I use quotes from this series regularly in daily conversations. During my last high school years and also some years after that I had two Friends posters hanging on my wall in my room and also two calenders which I loved so much that I used them for many years. I am a major Friends fan!

On May 6th, 2004 the last ever episode titled "The Last One" aired and even though I have seen all other 234 episodes multiple times - some more often than others but still - I am still (11 years later) too scared to watch these final two. I know how the show ends. I know what happens. I just can't bring myself to watch them and know that I will cry because I have to say goodbye to the whole crew.

Yes, I have difficulties saying goodbye to books and TV-show characters as well as to real life people but these six guys stuck with me over so many years, made me laugh so many times, provided me with crazy quotes in completely weird situations ("Gum would be perfection!" - yes, I used it!) and made me believe in love and friendship. It is just too hard saying farewell.

Why am I telling you all of this? I don't know, maybe I am just overly sentimental right now or it was the moment when I said to myself "Welcome to the real world! It sucks, you gonna love it!"

I just know that one day I will watch them, cry like a baby, go and find my teddy bear for comfort, cry some more and finally be able to say goodbye to lifelong friends. When it will be? I don't know but until this point I still dream of having a coffee with the gang at Central Perk.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

My Summer TBR pile


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  
This week I'm going to tell you my
Top Ten Books on my Summer TBR

Wow, it's been a long time since I last posted a Top Ten Tuesday - way too long! So this week I want to share some of the books I'm planning to read this summer. I'm currently in the middle of the end-of-semester-stress. University ends at the end of June so only 2 more weeks until my summer break officially starts. 

I am an English tutor and decided to give one of my students a reading assignment over the summer to help her with her vocabulary and show her that English books are really awesome. I let her choose from 10 different YA books and she picked Night School by C.J. Daugherty which is awesome since it was on my summer reading list too. 

Since Endgame just came out at the beginning of June I decided to marathon this series this summer. I cannot wait to get back into this world again. 

So I am planning to read the following books this summer:

Night School by C.J. Daugherty

Legacy by C.J. Daugherty

Fracture by C.J. Daugherty

Resistance by C.J. Daugherty

Endgame by C.J. Daugherty

Buttercream Bump Off by Jenn McKinlay

Death by the Dozen by Jenn McKinlay

Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham 

The Chocolate Moose Motive by JoAnna Carl 

The Perfect Match by Kristan Higgins 
Yes, my summer TBR is rather heavy on Night School and cozy mystery books but that's how I roll this year. I am currently either reading a mystery novel or a romance and can't seem to break my pattern. Let's see if I'll break it over the summer. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A different kind of heartbreak

I'm not a mum (yet) and since I am an only child, I will never be a real aunt. Yes, I know that there is the possibility that I will marry a nice guy who has siblings but I won't have any nieces or nephews from my side of the family. But that's actually not what I wanted to talk about today. Maybe one day I'll phantasize about future men in my life with you but not today...

Focus, Karin!

Over the last 3 years I quite often mentioned the little baby boy of a good friend of mine. He was the first baby born in my big group of friends and we spent a lot of time together. We had long walks around campus when he was a baby and his parents were at a lecture, we spent hours at a playground the last two years when his parents were at lectures, he was the only guy I slow danced with at his parents' wedding (he was 2 years at that time), we did many puzzles and I got explained many books over the last three years. He will forever be my baby bear and he's so special to me. Honestly I love him as much as if I were his aunt.

Over the last months I was pretty busy, my friend got another boy so he's a big brother now and since he started kindergarden meeting was a lot more difficult and he got sick a lot - hello, germs. So we didn't see each other a lot and the last time I had to cancel on the day we were suppose to meet. I'm still sorry about that by the way.

I recently sent an e-mail to my friend asking her how they were doing and if her big boy still remembers me and she answered: "He was so sad when you had to cancel last time because I promised him in the morning that you would pick him up from kindergarden with me in the afternoon and since that day he regularly asks if you're coming today to pick him up. So I'm pretty sure he remembers you just fine."

I never ever knew how true heartbreak felt until this minute. I had to fight back tears and had real difficulties getting my sh*t together. He's my little baby bear and I haven't seen him in far too long.

Just don't forget to see your friends and their kids (if you are part of their lives - which I hope you all are) because you are an important part in their lives and they miss you. Time flies for us but not for them and I can only promise that I won't ever let so much time pass between spending time with all my little bears I am blessed enough to know.

Wow, that got corny pretty quick but this e-mail really hit me hard and I just had to pour my heart out.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The One With The Football Game

The reference of the post's title to the titles of Friends episodes is totally intentional ;)

As some of you may already know, I have a good friend who introduced me to American Football about 5 years ago. He is a total sports guy, started watching NFL games on TV, began playing Flagfootball and landed on the Austrian National Flagfootball Team. He's also the one organizing our Superbowl Party each year and some years ago he invited me to come and watch with them. It took me about two quarters until I was able to follow the game without having to bother one of the guys for explanation and since that day I am at least invited to the Superbowl each February.

A couple of months ago said friend hinted at the opportunity of us watching a Football game at the stadium one day and two weeks ago I took the liberty of reminding him of this promise. On Sunday we and two other friends went to a game between local team and one from Germany and it was so much fun. We weren't so sure that the weather would be cooperative but in the end we sat in the grass, had some beers, burgers and ice cream and watched the Germans beat our butts while the sun was shining on our backs. It was a lovely way to spend a Sunday and I totally get why Ellice and many other Americans love spending their weekends at Football games. It's just a great way to have a lovely day outside with people you love, good food and entertainment.

It took me 29 years till I entered a stadium in Austria to watch a game. When I was about 5 me and my parents watched a Baseball game in the States and when the European Soccer Championships were in Austria and Switzerland, everyone I know attended the public viewing when Austria played Germany at the soccer stadium in my district and we had a huge party there but on Sunday was the first time I ever watched any game live and I kind of want to do that more often.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Friendships are hard work

My good book blogger friend Celine wrote a blog post last Wednesday that made me think. She mentions that keeping friendships alive after high school is work and sometimes it doesn't work. One line really stood out to me:

You know that people say high school sucks, and that your time at university is going to be the best time of your life? Well, those people are wrong, at least in my case.

Celine, don't worry, they are wrong in my case as well. 

I graduated high school almost 11 years ago (dang, time flies). I had an amazing time in school. In Austria we have a group of people that form a class and we stay together during all of our lessons. We have a fixed schedule and not a course system like we all know from American TV-series. This enables students to form a close group of friends and helps them feel like a community. We were a great class. Even today, 11 years after graduating high school, almost all of the teachers in my old school know who we were. We were pretty legendary! We did a lot of stupid things but we always stuck together like glue and no teacher or another class was able to go against us. I'm pretty sure we were not easy but a lovely bunch and great fun for teachers if we liked them (and we did like almost all of them).

During school I wove strong bonds with people I still call may friends - some closer than others but still...

I went off to university after graduation but stayed in the same city since Vienna is my home and I never dreamed about living somewhere else. I first started a course in economics which wasn't my cup of tea at all and which I dropped out of after 3ish semesters. I am now doing my teacher training in English and Geographie which I really like and enjoy. Of course, the courses I have to take are not really easy and the topics not always interesting but overall I know why I'm doing it and I cannot wait to teach students.

But did I find friends? Not really!

I had some people I took courses with, some people I passed at campus I knew by sight but no real friends. Neither at the English nor at the Geographie department. English majors are all pretty focused and a bit selfish when it comes to sharing notes or knowledge - not cool people, not cool!

I did find one of my best friends via a uni course but we basically clicked years after she left uni. We are now pretty close but all in all I can say she's the only real friend I found at uni.

What did happen to my friends from high school? Well, most of them are still living in Vienna and we still see each other from time to time but my best friend after graduation and the girl who asked me to be her maid of honour at her wedding got a baby girl almost 3 years ago and we hardly see each other (I would say 10 times max in the last 3 years). I miss her and when we see each other it is still like old times, which makes it even sadder. Her husband, a dear friend of mine, almost dropped of the earth for me (I think the boys in our group see him more often but I honestly don't know). We all got busy with life, jobs, family, trying to figure out what we want out of life, etc.

I know that there are a handfull of friends I can count on if I ever need them real bad and this has been tested. I have some great friends, some friends, some acquaintances, some people I used to call my friends but sadly don't see anymore and maybe two people I fell out with but none of them are people I talk to daily or see at least once a week.

I would never say my life is lonely because I'm also busy with living my life and I tend to see my friends for fun times in between but I never had a BFF or a really good girl-friend or a friendship you see in films or on TV but that's okay. I have friends, I know a lot of people through blogging and I know that there are some I can count on if I need them in this group too.

I just wanted to say, maintaining friendships is hard and sometimes, as much as it hurts, impossible but we, as book lovers and Twitter addicts, are never alone and there's always someone providing a virtual hug and has a shoulder to cry on. I am really glad to be part of such an amazing world-wide group of like-minded book lovers.

Don't forget to check out Celine's two amazing blogs Nyx Book Reviews and Irresponsible Cactus.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

I'm experiencing what studying really is like and I don't like it

This is what I probably look like most days at the moment. Yes, I am in full on studying mode, which means cramming lots of semi-interesting stuff into my brain while hoping it will stay in there just for the next three weeks. I have a really important and difficult exam coming up and I am currently struggling a bit with my study, work, blogging and life balance but as soon as I am finished with my revision (which will hopefully be tomorrow evening), I hope I'll find a bit of time to invest into blogging and seeing my adorable godson and his mum because I miss them terribly.

I was never really good at studying or rather at starting early enough and this time I think I nailed it. I had two exams at the end of April and aced both (which felt sooooo good) and I think I am finally getting the hang out of things and realized how to organize my priorities. No, I still don't like it but it's my job at the moment and I have to, so I'm gonna!

I really just wanted to rant a bit and get a tiny little break between studying sessions. All in all I hope, I'll get back into full or at least semi-full blogging swing soon and until than please keep your fingers crossed for me because I don't want to end like this:

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Two versions of the same movie . . .

Movie Review:
LOL (Laughing Out Loud)
starring Demi Moore and Miley Cyrus


For all those of you who are thinking if I didn't already write a review about this movie, I have to say "You are kind of right". I posted a movie review of the 2008 original French version of this movie last week. 

In 2008 Lisa Azuelos produced a French movie called LOL and in 2012 she took the same script and produced LOL again for the English speaking or international market. The fun thing is that after watching both movie, I have to say that even though the script is the same, I found some differences in the two versions. 

The dialogs between the characters were exactly the same and the actions too, which felt a bit surreal. I know that Lisa Azuelos wasn't releasing two pretty identical movies, hoping people would watch them a week apart but I did and found it weird that other actors had the exact same lines in two - let's call them different - movies.  

What really amazed me was that the French version is only a minute longer than the US version but felt a lot slower. I was under the impression that the 2008 movie was at least 30 minutes longer and was really flabbergasted when I found out that it wasn't. The 2012 movie felt a lot faster paced, lighter and fluffy. I still cannot pinpoint why exactly which is bothering me quite a bit.  

Demi Moore and Sophie Marceau who are both playing the mother in the movies are really good actresses and I only preferred Sophie Marceau because I liked the French version better. I was super hesitant if I would like Miley Cyrus as Lola because to be honest, I don't like her as a singer but I never saw her act before. She was suprisingly good.  

All in all the actors in the 2012 movie version looked a lot like the ones in the 2008 film, especially the girls. The guys had the same vibe as the French actors but didn't look too much like their French counterparts which I personally enjoyed since the only guys I found good looking in the French version were Lola's dad and the police officer (who was hot in the US version too). The teenage boys were a lot more attractive in the international movie.  

What still baffles me is that I enjoyed the French version more but that I cannot really tell you why. I found that the struggles of Lola growing up and her mum letting go were more real and the betrayal of Anne felt a lot more severe.  

In the end I can highly recommend both versions of LOL (Laughing Out Loud). 

Here's the movie trailer of the 2012 movie:

Thursday, April 9, 2015

I was really impressed by a French film

Movie Review:
LOL (Laughing Out Loud)
starring Sophie Marceau and Christa Theret

What the movie is about:
LOL? It means "laughing out loud" in text language. It is also the name that Lola's friends have given her. However, when it is time to go back to school after summer break, Lola doesn't feel much like laughing. Arthur, her boyfriend, provokes her by telling her that he cheated on her over the summer. And her gang of pals is very gifted at complicating matters. Just like her mother, Anne, with whom life has become impossible, and not only because she has no idea what LOL means. That her parents have divorced is one thing, but that Anne treats her teenage daughter like a child, by lying to her about basic things - like the fact that she is still seeing her ex-partner on the sly, or that a cop is interested in her - is another. As for Anne, she wonders what on earth has happened to her sweet little daughter. From fusion to confusion, mother-daughter relationships simmer with love and plenty of LOL.
source: uniFrancefilms 

My thoughts:
I am not very easily impressed by movies. Don't get me wrong, if I go to the movies to watch a film there I am usuallypretty quiet after it ended and am trying to form an opinion. I can remember times when I agreed to going out for a drink after a movie and having no recollection of agreeing because I was so deep in thought but usually a film only stays with me for a couple of hours.

This one was different!

French films are not uncommon in Austria and we get them regularly in cinemas and on TV. There is a whole fan base for French films and many people gush about the beauty and the hidden meaning in them. I never got that. For me, French films were slow and often boring (please don't hate me). I often either left the living room or switched off the TV because they didn't interest me at all.

LOL was produced in 2008 by Lisa Azuelos and she also produced the American version of this movie by the same name in 2012. Sophie Marceau stars as the divorced mother of three kids, one of which is Lola a teenage daughter who is desperately trying to find her way in life, makes her first encounters with boys, drugs and alcohol and cannot really deal with the feelings she is having for a good friend who's also her ex-boyfriend's best friend. Lola cannot confide in her mom, even though the two are really close but even Anne is struggling to cope with life after the divorce and with raising a rebelling teen.

LOL is such a calm movie that just tells a story that's really close to the way life feels when you're a teenager and guys are the main thing in your life. It not only shows Lola's struggles with growing up and becoming an adult but also her mum's struggles with letting go of her daughter, coping with her ex-husband and starting to live her own life again.

I never ever thoght that a French film would stay with me even a week after I watched it and if I am honest, I cannot stop thinking about it. It felt so real and raw and was utterly believable.

Maybe I need to rethink my opinion about French films and start watching more...

Here's the movie trailer(French with English subtitles) if you're interested:

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!

We all know by now that I am still a small child at heart and love everything Winnie Pooh, Sesame Street, Berenstain Bears and more. So it's obvious that I want to wish you all a Wonderful Easter with this Winnie Pooh Easter picture.

I hope you all have lovely days off work, spending time with your loved ones - family or books, your choice - and having way too much chocolate.

Monday, March 23, 2015

The commander went, as they say in Ankh-Morpork, totally Librarian on them.

Sir Terry Pratchett
1948 - 2015

If you are following my blog for a while now, you might have noticed my love for Terry Pratchett and his Discworld novels. I talked about it here and here and lots of other times too.

On March 12th one of my favorite authors closed his eyes forever and joined DEATH in his domain. We all knew that he was sick and that this day would come sooner rather than later but it still hit me pretty hard when I heard the news. He was the mastermind behind all 40 books in the famous Discworld series (the 41st book which he finished before he died will be published this fall) and many other great books, including Good Omens which he wrote with Neil Gaiman. I own all 40 Discworld novels and I read at least 30 of them - many twice or three times already. I also own my favorite ones mulitple times. I own 4 copies of Wyrd Sisters because the first one I got as a gift and read it so many times that it is almost falling apart, so I had to buy a second copy and I also have the beautiful cloth-bound edition and recently I found it in a bookstore for under 4 Euros and it looked so sad that I had to take it home (great argument, right?).

Terry Pratchett showed me the way into the fantasy genre, created some of my favorite characters ever, made me laugh, made me cry and made me think about life and the things we do without appreciating them. His books are loved by me, my mum, good friends and even my cousin who does not read (and I still love him - Go me!) listens to his books as audio-books and adores them.

a small part of my Terry Pratchett books
His books will always have a special place in my heart and on my bookshelf and since his death I often sat at my bed and stared at my collection of Terry Pratchett books and thought about nothing particular. I know that he will be missed by many readers but I'm glad that he will live on in his great books.

I really hope that DEATH let you ride Binky over to the other side Sir Terry!

"The commander went, as they say in Ankh-Morpork, totally Librarian on them." 
Terry Pratchett, Raising Steam

Tuesday, March 17, 2015



Wow, you can really forget how to write a blog post after some please excuse any weird rambly bits. As a regular reader of my blog you might have noticed a slight decrease in posts over the last months. I needed a break. A break to think about things, to figure out if I was missing blogging, to realize that I do but that I needed to change my blog because I changed.

Over the last 18 months a big part of my life changed. I encountered some health issues in February 2013 and it took the doctors almost a year to figure out what it was and how to treat it which really wore me down. I became a recluse, which I had never been, and after being on the right medication, I had to start building up my confidence again. I needed to realize that I was able to do all the things I did before and that is still a work in progress. I am still not 100% the old me and I will never again be the old me.

I always was a bit (or a lot, to be completely honest) chubby but I always had a big group of friends and never felt left out or even bullied because of my weight. I know how incredibly lucky I am but still I didn't feel comfortable. I wanted to be able to chase my friend's baby boy around the playground for more than a few minutes and I wanted to feel good about myself. So one day without any intention I stopped eating too much and started to loose weight. It really just happened. The well known switch in my brain just turned.

So all of these personal changes forced me into thinking about my blog as well. I never intended it to become solely a book blog. I always had a wide variety of interests which I wanted to share here but the bookish community is so lovely and welcoming that I immediately felt at home and focused on all things bookish. I don't want to stop book blogging - don't get me wrong, it still is my biggest hobby and the one thing none of my friends is really getting - I just want to incorporate my other interests as well. I love photography, cooking, traveling, going on adventures, exploring new and old places and I want to start sharing bigger parts of my life with you guys. I want to be able to talk to you about my ideas, my worries, my small steps into fitness (maybe, hopefully) and other things that are on my mind. I will, of course, keep talking about books, authors, the pure joy of reading but in the future you will also find other things on here and I can happily say:  
"I changed, so my blog did too!" 

Which brings me to my new layout - what do you guys think about it? Do you like it? The header is one of my photographs taken in Western Australia in July 2011. I just love the colors, the remoteness, these wide open spaces.

I am really glad to be back and getting into the swing of things again. It also felt amazing telling you what has been going on in my life and what has brought these changes. I hope you're all doing well and I cannot wait to start writing blog posts regularly again. I have so many ideas that I want to tell you about, things to try and things to change, so I'm really glad that next week (March 23rd till March 29th) will be Spring Bloggiesta (for more information click here). I am already working on my to do list.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

All the books I received for my birthday

Showcase Sunday is weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits & Tea.
It is a possibility for us to show what amazing books we got during the week.
Since it was my birthday last Sunday, I got some books to show you all. 
My parents got me

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Head Over Heel by Chris Harrison

My good friend Kat got me some Amazon vouchers for my birthday and Christmas 2014, so I went on a little shopping spree and some of the goodies already arrived. 

The Chocolate Castle Clue by JoAnna Carl
The Chocolate Moose Motive by JoAnna Carl
The Skeleton Takes A Bow by Leigh Perry 

I am still waiting for four other books I ordered but I'll show them as soon as they arrive. 

I also got two books for myself since I wasn't allowed to buy them before my birthday and I needed them.

Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham

All Fall Down by Ally Carter

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Happy Birthday!

Today is my 29th birthday! 

I have an amazing family - my mum is my best friend and my dad is the best! They are always there for me and have my back. I know I can always count on them and knowing that I can even make mistakes (sometimes big ones) and they will always love me unconditionally makes me want to cry out of gratitude every time (even now while writing these lines). I have the best parents in the whole world and I couldn'T be happier to have them as my role-models.

My friends are great. I will see some of them - aka my oldest - tonight for the annual Superbowl Party that collides with my birthday celebrations this year. Some of them are amazing and I can always count on them, some of them are funny and brilliant for goofing around with and one is just my best friend.

I am also extremely thankful for all my online friends from around the world - Kat, Ellice, Judith, Daisy, Lisa, Celine,Vicky and all you other booklovers out there who make me laugh or push books on me.

I love you all!

Wow, this became once again Happy Birthday To Me and I am embracing the last year of my twenties - may it be the best I could wish for!

Friday, January 23, 2015

On a grey day in the ancient city of Prague ...

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
by Laini Taylor

First sentence: 
Walking to school over the snow-muffled cobbles, Karou had no sinister premonition about the day.  

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands", she speaks many languages - not all of them human - and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

source: Goodreads 

My opinion:

Since this book came out in 2011 everybody raved about it. I had it on my shelf for quite a while now and I was so glad when we picked it as our book club book for April since I was planning on reading it in April anyway because of my trip to Prague – the city where Karou lives. I thought it would be a great idea to read the book while being there.

I started reading it on the bus journey from Vienna to Prague and was hook from the first sentence. Laini Taylor’s way of writing immediately appealed to me and I fell in love head over heels. I like reading fantasy novels but mixing in a city I like and know well made the book even more interesting. I liked how through Laini’s writing the whole story started playing in my head like a movie.

Karou is also a kick-ass heroine. She lives a weird life in comparison to ours and her shifting between the earth as we know it and Elsewhere adds another dimension to the story (no pun intended). She, who doesn’t know where she really belongs and where she’s originally from, has a family of, let’s call them monsters and loves them unconditionally. They took care of her while she was growing up and became her family even though they kept huge secrets from her – as she later discovers.

The different characters in the book are all special in their own way. Karou as the girl jumping between worlds, Zuzana, Karou’s best friend who is her family in Prague and who stays at her side no matter what, Akiva, who might be Karou’s destiny and all the different monsters living in Brimstone’s shop. I loved them all and would really enjoy seeing how Laini Taylor imagined them and how it differs from the way I think they look like.

All in all I can only recommend you reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone because it not only is a beautifully writing story with a fantastic world and amazing characters but the story also takes some unexpected twists and turns that could lead to you forgetting time and place. Yes, I managed to miss my stop not once but twice and I also arrived almost 45 minutes late for work while reading this book and if that doesn’t convince you that taking a trip into Laini Taylor’s well developed world of Prague and Elsewhere I don’t know what could.

For more information about Laini Taylor visit her Homepage or Twitter page.