October 23, 2016
Only recently did I find out about ambient sounds and how wonderful they are. I’m the kind of person that needs absolute quiet in order to be able to concentrate. Until last summer when my neighbours were partying it up while I was trying to study for an exam. I decided that nothing could be worse than their noise so I put on my headphones with the sound of pouring rain on (through the app Calm). Since then I have been trying out different types of ambient sounds and today I’m listing a few I really enjoy.
1 // Water Gardens of Dorne
I feel like this one is perfect for summer time since it’s an outside setting. Great for winding down as well. The twinkling in the background is so relaxing and the occasional splash has me imagining I’m actually in those water gardens.
2 // The Perfect Hogwarts Library
The Hogwarts Library is by far my favourite out of all of them. I listen to this one the most. What I like about this one are the occasional footsteps and rustling paper. It kind of motivates you to keep concentrated.
3 // Hogwarts Library with Thunderstorm
This one has rain and thunder in the background and the combination of that and the crackling fireplace makes this one my favourites for the winter time. Grab a hot beverage and some school work and you’re all set.
4 // Gryffindor Common Room with pets
This one has a purring cat (aka Crookshanks). I also like the regular Gryffindor Common Room version.
5 // Cozy Hufflepuff Common Room
Sounds are very similar to the previous two but I need to represent my house so I obviously needed to mention this one as well
6 // Hogwarts grounds in summer
This one has more ‘distracting noises’ like church bells but with this website you can always mute what distracts you.
7 // The Burrow
Footsteps, birds, crackling fire and basically all the sounds you’d find in a house. Along with Quidditch sounds in the background.
Personally, I always mute the small crowd chatter or whatever because I can’t focus if there’s people talking - even just giggling or laughter or whatever. That’s why these ambient noises aren’t heavy on background chatter to begin with. Some of these are so realistic that if you close your eyes it’s like you’re really in these scenes.
October 16, 2016
This tag has been going around for a very long time and I thought it was time I did this tag as well. It's a very long list of questions so grab yourself a drink and let's get started.
Audio book or physical book?
A physical book, definitely! I can’t quite focus on an audiobook and I think they are a little overpriced as well. Awesome if you can concentrate on the book and simultaneously clean/work out/drive/… I wish I could do it but alas! Ain’t nothing wrong with holding a book though.
Paperback or hardback?
Depends on price and edition. If I can get the same exact edition in both paperback and hardback, I’ll go with the paperback because they’re always cheaper. I’m willing to spend a little extra €€€ if I can get a really beautiful edition in hardback though. It really depends.
Fiction or non-fiction?
Look, non-fiction can be educational and all that but it’s not as entertaining as fiction BY FAR.
I gravitate towards fantasy most of the time but I don’t mind a real life story from time to time.
Harry Potter or Twilight?
8 years ago I would have said Twilight but those days are over. Harry Potter FO SHO.
Kindle, iPad or other?I have a Kobo e-reader but it’s gathered a 3cm thick layer of dust at this point. Somewhere along the way I just stopped using it.
Borrow or buy?
Buy. My library has 0 English YA books so I don’t have much choice. Always looking for the best deals though! If only Book Outlet had decent international shipping (downside: I’d be broke).
Bookstore or online?
Mostly online since the books I like to read usually aren’t available in a bookstore around here. Places I order from are: Book Depository, Wordery and Bol.com (Dutch website).
Trilogies or stand-alones?
BOTH. We need more standalones though. Petition to have more standalone YA fantasy books.
Monster read or short and sweet?
BOTH. Speaking of monster books, give me Winds of Winter already because I’M DYING TO READ IT.
Romance or action?
BOTH (this is getting repetitive real quick). Mix the two together and you have the perfect story.
Curl up nice and warm or sunbathing?
Since I never leave the house I’ll pick curling up in bed with a book anytime.
Read the review or decide for yourself?
I only read reviews when I have read the book already or if I’m actually not interested in reading it at all (so the occasional spoiler doesn’t bother me at all). I honestly don’t read many reviews.
Bookmarks or dog-ears?
Bookmarks. I just remembered I have colouring bookmarks to color - guess what I’ll be doing after this.
Alphabetise by author, title or other?I have a weird way or arranging my books. There’s no logic to it. I put my favourites on my shelf in my room and the others just go wherever I can find a spot for them.
Keep the dust jacket or toss the dust jacket?WHO TOSSES THE DUST JACKET FFS?!
Read with the dust jacket or remove it?I remove it so it doesn’t get damaged and also because it just gets in the way.
Short story or novel?Novel! I’m not into novella’s and short stories. Unless they’re all bundled together in one book, then I might read it.
I feel like the answer to this question depends on culture. I don’t think many people know who Lemony Snicket is in Europe (I might be wrong but it’s nowhere to be found in our bookstores at least). I’ll have to pick Harry Potter again for this one, since I haven’t read the Series of Unfortunate Events. Might watch the Netflix show though.
Stop reading when you’re tired or stop reading at chapter breaks?
I stop reading when I’m tired. Depends on the type of story though.
It was a dark and stormy night or Once upon a time?Dark and stormy nights every time! Can you feel that mysterious vibe? Is it not getting you all excited?!
Tidy ending or cliffhanger?I’m cool with cliffhangers as long as Rick Riordan isn’t writing them.
Morning, afternoon or evening reading?ALL DAY, ERR DAY.
Do you ever smell books?Who doesn’t to be honest?
Let's talk! Tidy endings or cliffhangers? Romance or action? Feel free to fill out this tag!
October 9, 2016
It doesn’t always have to be about books around here, AM I RIGHT. Right. So that’s why today I’ll share some Chrome extensions I use regularly because I love to make everything as easy as it can possibly get.
1 // Momentum
This pops up when you open a new tab. Instead of showing your most visited web pages or Google or whatever you have installed as your homepage, it shows a beautiful scenery with a clock and an inspirational quote. You can make a to-do list or just add one main task for the day. I don’t use the to-do list this extension offers because I can’t work with digital lists. I do like the photos though and I love how it offers a clock as well. Although it clearly doesn’t have much of a function in my case, I prefer it over the boring and standard Google search page. It’s also just nice to look at and you don’t need an account to fully use it. The alternative to Momentum, Lanes, requires an account but they do offer a pomodoro timer.
2 // TinyURL
This shortens the URL of the website you are currently on. I mostly use this for scheduling tweets. It saves a lot of characters than if I were to use the full URL. This comes in handy when I schedule through Tweetdeck or tweet through the Twitter website (if I’m using Buffer, they automatically shorten the URL).
3 // Evernote webclipper
If you use Evernote on your computer, the webclipper can come in handy when you want to collect articles or webpages to revisit later. I also save PDF’s on here for future reference and even save links to websites so I don’t have to subscribe to a 1296979 email notifications (I HATE those).
4 // XKit / NewXKit (Tumblr)
XKit has all sorts of neat tricks for Tumblr. My favorite is definitely the Enhanced Queue. I can shuffle my queue with this and I absolutely LOVE doing that because I often just queue lots of the same shit in a row (like all fanart or shadowhunter related gif-sets) but I don’t want to be repetitive or give someone the impression that I’m stalking them.
I also have 'Anti-Capitalism' and 'No Recommended' on, which prevents Tumblr from recommending posts to me that I don’t give a crap about. There was a time I was seeing the posts of an account I don’t follow and I absolutely HATED IT because it was about ponies and I don’t care much about ponies at all (sorry ponies). The extension also lets you find inactive users you’re following so you can just unfollow those people. Honestly, it’s a great extension. Go and get it.
5 // Archive poster (Tumblr)
This makes posting directly from archives must easier. You can select multiple posts and queue those all at once. You can tag them, find similar blogs or quickly select a bunch of posts in someones archive.
6 // AdBlock for Youtube
Recently I had been getting 4 (!!!) ads in every single video I watched and I got sick of that real quick. I installed AdBlock after multiple people recommending this and now I can watch YouTube videos in peace again. No more ads during the videos. You can still see adds next to the video though.
I’m always looking for more tricks to make browsing the internet more fun and easy so if you have more extensions to recommend, feel free to do so.
October 2, 2016
After a lot of hard work I have passed all of the resits I had this summer. A break was definitely needed! I read three books the first 5 or 6 days after making my last exam. It felt really good to finish some books and have time to read all day. Unfortunately, all good things come to an end and I went back to school after a two week break.
I didn’t have anything exciting going on this month to be honest so let's skip right to the bookish part of the wrap up.
Books read in September:Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas // 5+ stars
The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson // 4 stars
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff // 4 stars
Can we talk about how Empire of Storms broke me? Because it goddamn did. The book hungover was real people. Now how are we supposed to wait another year?! I can’t deal with the fact it’ll be the last book as well. This is torture.
Never night wasn’t as phenomenal as everybody made it out to be. First off, I had to push myself to keep reading this book because it was so slow. The book has a lot of footnotes, which I felt obligated to read in order to understand this story and the world Jay Kristoff has created. Toward the end I stopped bothering with them because I felt they held me up. I enjoyed the story but it’s not a new favourite.
TV // movies // musicI started watching the itv show ‘Victoria’ this month. It’s already airing in the UK - which I forgot about until there were already 4 episodes out. I think this take on Queen Victoria’s story has been interesting so far. I appreciate how it isn’t solely about her and Albert. The first few episodes focus on her relationship with her prime minister and with her family. It’s done a great job at showing how she was relying on others to guide her but also how she has a mind for herself and really cares about the wellbeing of her people. Jenna Coleman makes a great Victoria, though I had to get used to the coloured contacts. I feel like she looks like Natalie Dormer with blue eyes, anyone else?
I have been enjoying the return of my favourite shows this month. Blindspot’s season 2 premiere already had me at the edge of my seat so I have high hopes for the rest of the season. Same for Quantico, what a season opener! Of course I am now keeping up with all the Chicago shows I binged this summer along with my weekly dose of superheroes.
I watched the entire first season of Supergirl this month because I'm just really excited about how they will incorporate Superman in this show. I'm also just interested to see what the CW has done to the show after taking it over from CBS. CW has already proven they know what they're doing when it comes to their DC shows so I trust they will upgrade Supergirl a little as the first season wasn't all that fantastic.
Honestly I'm still behind on The Flash but I think I'll catch up soon. I'm not excited about Arrow at all though. I don't want a new team! I want the old one!
Okay, okay - this has turned into a fall TV rant all of a sudden. I'll stop here though.
Let's talk! What have you been up to last month?
September 25, 2016
As you might know, my birthday was last month. With my birthday money I always like to treat myself to some new books. It also happens that ALL the books are coming out in August, September and October so that’s really convenient. Let the (pre)ordering begin!
The books I bought:
❀ Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
This book is all over the internet, the hype was crazy when this book came out. Honestly, I think the hype also ruined it a bit for me. I wasn’t that blown away by this book after finishing it and I also had a really tough time getting through it. I’ll talk more about it in my September wrap up. I ordered this one off of Wordery because the UK hardcover was only €12 there. I know. WHAT A CATCH. And it’s so beautiful!
❀ Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
You know I like me some YA fantasy and I had heard good things about Rebel of the Sands. Also: the cover is just fantastic imo. I devoured this book in 2 or 3 days and enjoyed it very much.
❀ A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab
This one was only* €20 on The Book Depository so of course I had to add it to my basket. I read A Darker Shade of Magic last summer and thought it was about time I got onto the sequel. Haven’t started it as of yet.
*It's usually around €30 for the hardcover on the website I usually order from.
❀ The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson
WHAT A BEAST! The Beauty of Darkness is the finale to the Remnant Chronicles so obviously a lot had to be addressed and wrapped up. I liked the ending to this trilogy. Don’t expect epic-ness à la Sarah J. Maas though. I was really sad I had finished another amazing YA fantasy series.
❀ Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
I had this one preordered but still ended up receiving it later than the release date (which isn’t the end of the world, it’s just never happened before). This was definitely one of my most anticipated book releases of 2016. How do I say this… Empire of Storms messed with my emotions, it made me happy and giddy but also angry and sad but most of all this book just killed me. It was amazing and epic and everything I hoped it would be but it also broke my heart which I obviously, don’t enjoy all that much.
❀ Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
Another preorder. I loved Tahereh's first series, Shatter Me, but most of all I loved her writing style. Furthermore is a middle grade book, which isn’t my preferred genre at all, but I’m hoping to find that amazing writing of hers again in this book.
❀ Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
I preordered the paperback and unfortunately it’s not as shiny as the hardcover edition but it’s got a really nice texture? I don’t know how to explain this. Anyway, I loved her Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy to death (might need to reread soon) so obviously I’d want to read her new work. I’ve forgotten what it’s about and I think I’m just gonna go in blind and see what happens.
And that was my book haul. A lot, for my usual standards but tame in comparison to others. I’ve already finished over half of them so I’ve already had to tell myself to slow the fuck down. There are still some exciting book releases ahead such as Crooked Kingdom, Gemina and Crystal Storm. Not to forget that the illustrated edition of Chamber of Secrets is coming out next month!