Chitter-chatter

Chitter-Chatter: Anticipated Releases

Before we dive into into today’s post, let me update you on my reviewing progress. 😉

Remember all those books I promised to review in my previous two posts? Well, it would honestly helped had I wrote notes whilst reading them as I am now desperately remembering what I wanted to actually write about. Mental note to self: “Please be a dear and write notes whilst reviewing books. Your future-self will thank you for that. Ta!” I haven’t given up yet, there is still hope … ! 😉


Now the review bit is over, welcome to the ‘Chitter-Chatter‘ series. I’m so glad you are here. ❤️

In case you have missed previous posts in this series, we are still talking about:


Let’s dive into today’s topic. Let’s talk about that deliciously sweet feeling of anticipation.

Why now? Firstly, I’m already kind of getting excited about Christmas and secondly, James and I have an epic, two week long road trip ahead of us, that I am have been anticipating for months, created a vision board for and just can not wait to tell you about at some point. 😊

Those two points made me think about the joy of anticipation and how it can be extended to books as well.

I love anticipating new book releases. Currently, I have three books I just can not wait to get my hands on:

  • Katherine Arden’s The Winter of the Witch
  • Leigh Bardugo’s King of Scars
  • and Sarah J. Maas’ final book in the Throne of Glass series, Kingdom of Ash

I can not wait to read those but equally, I am really enjoying that feeling of anticipation. I am picturing how much I will be enjoying reading them and as I am thinking about that, I am actually creating a lot of enjoyment already for myself.

I was reading the other day a note that said that sometimes, it’s nice to have things lined up just for the sake of anticipation. Regardless of how those things actually turn out to be.

You can think about a vacation you’ll be taking. Planning it, dreaming about it, visualising who you will be spending it with, what you will be talking about, what you will be doing, how much fun it will be… and you know what? It actually doesn’t matter how that vacation turns out to be, because in your mind, you will be creating those feelings ahead of time. And will be enjoying them regardless if the ‘real deal’ delivers or not.

You can of course do the same thing with books – looking forward to reading a book yet to be written by one of your favourite authors can be extremely enjoyable regardless if you happen to enjoy that book in the end or not. It’s that long, excited and sweet feeling of anticipation you will be cultivating prior to the actual reading experience.

Yes, there is also a possibility of an anticipated event not turning up to be the way we envisioned it but that disappointment doesn’t take away those giddy months of anticipation. It may be a temporary downer, I agree, but it still doesn’t take away those feelings we felt beforehand.

Of course we can decide to play it safe and numb those excited feelings in order not to get disappointed… because you know, it may hurt a little. But if we decide to squash our anticipation, we will also numb the follow up enjoyment, should that event actually deliver.  Numbing emotions is not a selective process. Something I very vividly remember from my own past…

So here’s the deal.

Shall we make a pact to celebrate anticipation, look forward to all our eagerly awaited releases no matter what we think of them afterwards?

And let’s be bold, let’s extend that to other aspects of our lives, shall we?


Let’s chat!

Tell me what you are anticipating / are looking forward to at the moment?

As always, I love reading your comments and getting to know you. ❤️

Monthly Wrap Up

August Wrap Up

Happy 1st September my friends! I am so happy to be back. 😊

Welcome to the meteorological autumn! I know that the astronomical autumn will start on 23rd September but because I love autumn, I am embracing it from now on. Come on, what’s not to like? 😊

All those vibrant pumpkins, warm blankets and cardigans, those cosy nights in. And let’s not forget those crisp autumnal days full of wonderfully colourful leaves. Albert Camus once famously said: “autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower”. And I could not agree more.

I took a month off from the ‘online world’ to slow down. I must admit it was quite an experience.

Initially, they were honestly times when I didn’t know what to do with myself. 😂 😂

For example: I was so used to scrolling down my feeds every morning and all of sudden I was like… ‘ehm, I have time. Ehm, lot’s of time… what will I do? Shall I actually read?’ It took me a while to break that ‘twitch’ – I’m referencing the fellow minimalist’s, Anthony Ongaro’s blog, Break the Twitch. If you don’t know his work, I really recommend checking it out. 😊

I slowly unhooked myself from those news feeds. And frankly I don’t know if I want to go back to them. It’s something I’m still contemplating. 😊

I know that I want to blog again and connect with my readers and carry on appreciating this lovely blogging community.

I also know that I want to use Facebook sporadically to stay in touch with my family. But… I found out that when I was not using Facebook, I actually made more of an effort to reach out. Not to not just ‘like’ photos and posts but to rather make a phone call or to meet up. Which was lovely. And gave me plenty to think about… 😉

In August, I managed to read following books:

Celeste Ng – Little Fires Everywhere – a very clever fictional novel about “planning your life” vs. “living your life”. It was an extremely enjoyable read and I am desperately craving its sequel (which is of course not planned. 😉). Full review to follow in September.

Matt Haig – Notes on a Nervous Planet (dnf) – alright, I really, really wanted to love this book. Especially as I am someone, who suffers from anxiety and sometimes do feel overwhelmed. But it didn’t click. It’s a witty book but I was either not in the right mood for it or my expectation were just not in line with what this book is all about.

Side note: it’s current GR’s score is 4.21 so clearly, it’s me, not the book.

Sarah J Maas – Catwoman: Soulstealer –  I binged on this book. It was everything I needed at that moment. Fast pace – check, action – check, banter – check, fun & complex heroine – check, romance – check… I loved it. It reminded me why I enjoy Maas’ books so much. Full review to follow for sure.

Katherine Center’s books. My favourite Dr Brene Brown recommended How to Walk Away a while ago and ever since then, I’ve been eyeing it. When it finally become available at my library, I literally could not put it down and read another two of Center’s books shortly after I finished it as I really loved her writing.

  • How to Walk Away – a very sensitive look at dealing with disability and discovering of one’s core self, once our previous identities have been taken away from us.
  • Happiness for Beginners – another ‘search for our identity’ kind of book. It’s funny, full of romance (I know, I am as shocked as you are but I am clearly on a romance roll these days, must be all that summer hot weather I think…) I loved how appreciation and gratitude were slowly built in. It was a great and quick summer read. Cover appreciation – LOVE IT!!! ❤️
  • The Lost Husband – this one was probably my ‘least favourite’ but I still enjoyed it. It dealt with grief, starting over and again, discovering of who we are and what makes us happy. I recommend it as well.

I had a nasty digestive flare up and had to take some time off work. I managed to watch some movies and TV and following sort of stood up for me:

Movies

To All the Boys I've Loved Before

  • Netflix – To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before – oh, this was such a cute teen romance movie. Those two main actors were just adorable, and I really, really loved it. I am seriously considering re-watching it again, it was just so sweet and brought me back so much nostalgia.

TV

UnReal

  • UnReal – I got hooked on this TV show. It’s dark, messed up and I did binge on it. It follows ‘behind scenes’ of a fictional dating show called ‘Everlasting’. It shows how some of these reality TV shows may get ‘produced’ – read ‘manipulated’. I really enjoyed it, especially the first few seasons, the forth one was a little bit of a let down but the first few ones are really, really dark and twisted.

Entertainment

michael mcIntyre

  • Michael McIntyre’s stand-up comedy show – James and I went to see Michael McIntyre and he was so hysterical. I’m still laughing remembering some of his jokes. If you don’t know him, please check him out. He is sooooo funny. 😊

Health-wise, I am still being tested and prodded. I had many tests done over the last few weeks and I am seeing my specialist next week to hear if we are getting anywhere near a concrete diagnosis. So far it’s been ‘elimination’ only but that on its own is a progress I guess. 😊

Coaching wise, I attended a brilliant three-day coaching course and I am still buzzing from it. It was so much fun. Not only am I learning how to coach but I am also growing as I am learning something new about myself every day. More to come on that note shortly, stay tuned! 😊

Thank you for reading and for being here, I appreciate every one of you. ❤️ ❤️ ❤️


Now over to you.

How was your August? Please let me know! 😊

Monthly Wrap Up

July Wrap Up

July was a month full of entertaining reads.

I completed Kristin Hannah’s “triathlon” and loved it. 😊 Hannah knows how to create long lasting emotional roller-coasters. After enjoying her The Great Alone, I wanted to read more of her other books and I am her fan now. Her The Nightingale is on my TBR list next! 🙂

I also listened to the brilliant audio version of Trevor Noah – Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, narrated by the author himself. This is such an excellent memoir, full of emotionally charged stories that explore racism, feminism and a lot more. I really, really recommend it as it left a strong impression and is possibly the best audio-book I have listened to so far.

I also did a buddy with of Leigh Bardugo’s The Language of Thorns with lovely Umut. I enjoyed exchanging our notes and discussing each of those magical stories. Thanks Umut for being such an awesome buddy reader to me! ❤️

For those interested, here’s my complete list:

Leigh Bardugo:  The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic

Kristin Hannah:

  1. Firefly Lane
  2. True Colours
  3. Night Road

Trevor Noah: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

Health-wise: I finally bit the bullet and went to see a doctor about my digestion. We had quite a lengthy chat and he suspects some form of IBS or even IBD being behind my symptoms. I got a referral to see a specialist in August and will start the process of being tested and prodded.

My anxiety has been at its worst. It may have something to do with being quite involved in my health and self-diagnosing myself every few days with a new diagnosis, ranging from leaky gut, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), Hashimoto’s, Crohn’s disease …

Also, my grandma, has been very unwell and it really hit me.

I found myself spending more and more time online mindlessly scrolling down social media feeds and feeling like crap. I also spent hours researching what may be wrong with me. To feel better, I started spending money online. Something I am not proud of and which I want to address.

I am declaring August to be my month of slow and intentional living.

I have deleted my Instagram and Twitter accounts as these both contribute to my mindless scrolling addiction and may temporarily disable my Facebook account to spend more time off-line.

This is going to impact my blog as well.

August will be my blog’s summer holiday month. 🙂

If I feel like writing posts and reviews, I’ll prepare them but will not be posting, nor will be blog hopping as I want to reduce my anxiety, which is not helping my digestion and health in general.

This is not a goodbye, just a short summer holiday with the ‘see you in September’ premise. 😊

Hope you all have a wonderful August, full of long evenings, BBQs, sunshine, laughter, time with your loved ones as well as time spent outdoors.

My plan is to carry on reading but also to finally start learning how to surf and to spend time on my life coach certification.

Thank you for reading and for being here. See you in September my friends! ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

About Me, Bookish

Sunshine Blogger

I’ll start with a quick shout out to Inge from The Belgian Reviewer, that had me over at her super cool blog the other day. Inge writes stellar reviews that cover thrillers, crime fiction and much more. If you don’t know her blog yet, please go over to check it out. I wholeheartedly recommend it. 🙂

Inge, it was an honour to answer your questions, thanks so much for having me at your blog.  If you would like read my answers to Inge’s questions, you can do so over here.


Now let’s dive into today’s topic.

Lovely Azu @ BookOrbit tagged me a while ago for the Sunshine Blogger Award. Azu likes YA fiction, has an extremely pretty blog and is a very sweet person, with whom I enjoy connecting. Thanks Azu for thinking of me. 

The rules are:

  • Thank the blogger who nominated you by linking their blog
  • Answer their questions
  • Nominate 11 blogs with 11 questions

Without further ado, here are my answers to Azu’s questions. 🙂


  1. What’s the best book you’ve ever read?

Just one? That’s impossible!

I love Tolkien’s Hobbit from fantasy, King’s The Shining from horror, Coelho’s The Alchemist from fiction, Brown’s Daring Greatly from non-fiction, Exupery’s The Little Prince from children’s fiction despite it being really meant for adults…

  1. What’s the worst book you’ve ever read?

I like to look at books as not meant for me, rather than them being bad.

With that said, any insta-love romance type of book usually gets me bored. Add a moody / arrogant / ‘misunderstood’ object of affection to it and I am struggling to finish it… Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Lux series being one of them. Sorry, just not my thing…

  1. If you could be any fictional character for real. Whom would you be?

Jo Little Women

I would quite like to be Jo from Little Women.

  1. What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Insta-love because it usually gives an author a pass to skip a relationship building phase, which I personally find so interesting.

  1. What’s your hobby?

Rock-climbing, yoga, hiking, staring into nothingness… and people. I honestly love people watching and it does get me into trouble sometimes… 😉

  1. What’s your dream job?

I don’t think there is a dream job per se. I think any job has a dream job potential if we start perceiving it that way and start finding aspects in it that are aligned with our values. 😊 To me, as long as I am helping others and contributing to this world, I am happy and content. 🙂

  1. Who is your favourite author?

Again, just one??? If I stick to only one, I’ll go with Brene Brown. I adore her story telling ability and well as her courage to explore some difficult topics such as shame, vulnerability and belonging.

Honorary mentions go to J.R.R Tolkien, Katherine Arden, Tamora Pierce and Leigh Bardugo.

  1. What’s your favourite genre?

The problem with me is that you can not ‘box’ me. I am so whimsical and my taste changes on a regular basis. I suppose having a consistent genre would probably help with my blog’s theme… but hey, it is what it is.

I love all sorts of genres. Non-fiction, especially psychology, philosophy, memoirs and mythologies; from fiction, it would be fantasy, psychological thrillers and psychological / character driven stories in general. Sprinkled with some horror, sci-fi and crime as well from time to time. 😊

  1. How was your day today on the scale of 10?

I did wake up, so 10 it is. 😊

  1. What got you into reading?

I think it was my family upbringing. My parents are both keen readers and our family ‘quality time together’ sometimes meant all of us reading at the same time… our own books… together…. 😊

As a child, my dad would take me for walks and let me run around a forest whilst he was reading his books. I would always enquire what he was reading, and he would start telling me stories about old Greeks, religion and science (side note: I share with him my love for non-fiction as you can tell!).

I always wanted to know more. He helped me to learn how to read before I started school and we would read together Greek myths or old Slavic folk stories.

I have always been a reader. I cannot remember not reading to be honest. Reading takes me to different worlds, honours my love of creativity as I can imagine creatures that no one has seen before. It also makes me think and helps me with my staring into nothingness hobby as well… 😉

11. What is your all time favourite TV Show?

I guess it would have to be Friends for their humour, friendship and struggles of early adulthood. But it’s on par with Gilmore Girls as I just love that mother / daughter aspect of it. Both of these shows are something I could re-watch over and over again because of that humour, human connection and feel good factor.

Honorary mentions go to Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, Black Mirror and then Lost, Homeland and Game of Cards when they were at their best..


Alrighty, because I had fun answering these questions and I am quite lazy, I’ll re-use Azu‘s question for those of you, who would like to take part. 😀

If you are reading it, consider yourself tagged!

If you don’t feel answering the entire list, would you mind sharing with me:

what got you into reading?

I’d love to know! 🙂

Fiction

Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn HugoI have to admit that I do not love the cover of this book and had it not been for all those excellent reviews, I would have probably not picked it up. I am so glad I gave this book a chance despite of that cover… 🙂

So what is this book all about?

There are two fictional story-lines. One is told by Evelyn, a famous Hollywood actress that takes us back to the 50’s Hollywood and tells us her story about her husbands. Another is told by Monique, who is writing Evelyn’s memoir. Monique is a reporter, who is hoping to make a name for herself one day and is eagerly awaiting her lucky break. As Evelyn shares more of her past with her, we start seeing Monique‘s growth, something I always appreciate when reading about a character.

What are the book’s main themes?

I saw behind it a manifesto of how important is to have courage to be true to who we are. To have courage to be judged, ridiculed, outcast even, and to still stand holding our heads high despite all of that.

I also saw there a question about what a true freedom actually really is.

We are never truly free until we can admit, in front of everyone, who we are. When we stop playing it safe and let others see the real us.

“People think that intimacy is about sex. But intimacy is about truth. When you realize you can tell someone your truth, when you can show yourself to them, when you stand in front of them bare and their response is ‘you’re safe with me’- that’s intimacy.” 

Then there is a feminist theme present throughout the entire book. Evelyn belongs to her husbands before she can belong to herself. She gets abused by men, has to behave certain way, must ask for permissions.

We know from the book’s title that Evelyn has had seven husbands. The story explores, who was the love of her life. We get to hear the answer quite early on in the book but still, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, who hasn’t read it yet so I will not talk too much about it.

The revelation is then, what the entire story centres around.

Imagine you found the love of your life. Imagine your perception of being with that person was skewed by how the society would perceive you, should you decide to follow your heart. Would you follow your heart?

“Sometimes reality comes crashing down on you. Other times reality simply waits, patiently, for you to run out of the energy it takes to deny it.”

There are many moral dilemmas and many philosophical questions presented. Something I immensely appreciated.

This book made me think. And I loved it.

Evelyn is a very complex character. She sometimes uses people; she takes her chances whenever she can. And she is utterly unapologetic about it, saying she would happily do it again. She accepts herself for who she is…. yet.. there are subtle regrets. Regrets about wasted years, regrets about certain decisions.

“If I want things to change, I have to change how I do things. And probably drastically.” 

I saw a woman, who grew up poor, who was abused and who was highly driven to succeed. And sometimes she would walk over whoever would stand in her way. I disliked her for that, but her ability to admit it and to own it, made me interested in her. She is not likeable but that’s what I actually liked about her.

I also saw a lot of irony behind some of Evelyn‘s decisions. She was driven to succeed but her definition of success may have not necessarily made her happy. She later on admitted that her regrets were not related to money but rather to people.

Another message that resonated with me as I think it’s really important to define what our own definitions of success are.

Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is a highly atmospheric read. We are thrown into the lush and vibrant world of glamorous Hollywood during 50’s. There is also a lot of diversity involved, its pace is quick and it is a character driven story that reads fairly easily and could still be a great summer read.

Recommended: YES! This book will make you think. 🙂

Trigger warnings: domestic abuse, child abuse


  • Have you read Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo?
  • What is your favourite summer 2018 read so far? Fancy sharing that with me? 🙂
Fantasy, Fiction

Circe by Madeline Miller

I discovered the magical world of Greek mythology during my childhood. I talked about it a little bit here.  I must admit that the Norse myths have always been my favourite ones but the Greek ones have followed very closely behind. Stories featuring Athena, Heracles, Prometheus, Minotaur and others are something I could re-read on a regular basis.

Reading Circe was like re-discovering my favourite soft and cosy blanket. Its story soothed my soul and brought me lots of nostalgia.

Side note: you don’t have to be familiar with Greek myths to enjoy this story by the way. It’s written in a way that no prior knowledge is required whatsoever.

I saw behind Circe a search for belonging.

The wise and wonderful Maya Angelou once famously said: “You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all. The price is high, the reward is great. I belong to Maya.” And to me, that’s Circe’s story in a nutshell.

“When I was born, the word for what I was did not exist.” 

I also sensed a very strong feminist undercurrent. The main protagonist faces a lot of discrimination because of her gender and I thought the book managed to address gender issues quite well.

But it’s the writing that really stood out for me. It is truly exquisite. It’s lyrical, extremely quotable and brought me so much joy. The pace is slow. I enjoy gently-paced stories but even I found this a tad too slow at times. If you prefer action, bear that in mind as this book may not be for everyone.

The story follows a nymph called Circe throughout her journey of solitude, explores her dysfunctional family dynamics, and shows her immortal imperfections. All sprinkled with a dash of a romance on the top.

“But in a solitary life, there are rare moments when another soul dips near yours, as stars once a year brush the earth. Such a constellation was he to me.” 

Ever since Circe was born, she hasn’t fitted in. Her voice is weak and her appearance is strange. Everyone from her family makes fun out of her and doesn’t take her seriously. She is not perfect despite being an immortal goddess. I think it’s her flaws and complexity that make her so relatable. She craves to be loved and accepted. As we all do. And she also wants to belong.

Circe, very early on in the book, falls in love and commits an offence, which gets her sentenced into living on her own on an isolated island. There, she starts her journey of healing and self-discovery.

There was definitely lots of loneliness involved but I also saw that Circe, despite being alone didn’t always feel lonely. You see we could be surrounded by people and still feel lonely at times. That’s something I quite appreciated about her story. How she embraces her newly discovered power and decides to follow her own dreams despite her solitude, or maybe because of it.

What’s really wonderful about this story is also how it explores mother / child relationship. How do we let go and let our children roam free? How do we accept that they may get hurt? How do we give them freedom they need, without the ability to shield them from the evil in this world? I thought that was explored beautifully via exposing mother’s fears and seeing her inner torment.

“But perhaps no parent can truly see their child. When we look we see only the mirror of our own faults.” 

There is also a little bit of romance involved. It’s not the book’s main focus but it is there.

“He showed me his scars, and in return he let me pretend that I had none.” 

The philosophical questions such as ‘what does it mean to be alive’ and ‘what can we ask for in a relationship’ are imposed and Circe ponders about them a lot. She is an immortal with the strength to stay vulnerable. She is scared because the outcome of her actions is uncertain yet she follows through with them anyway.

She gets laughed at, ridiculed, is told she is an abomination… yet she remains gentle, kind and her spine doesn’t bend. She is a goddess with a very mortal heart.

I could go on, Circe definitely captured my heart and her ability to stand her ground, despite knowing nobody else will be standing there with her, truly impressed me.

Recommended? Yes. The ending is likely to melt your heart.

Possible triggers: Rape, domestic violence

Bookish

T5W – Best Books I’ve Read So Far in 2018

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam@Thoughts on Tomes over on Goodreads.

This week’s topics for the Top 5 Wednesday series is: Best Books You’ve Read So Far in 2018.

I have read many excellent books this year. I had a few months when I didn’t feel like reading but despite of that, I have managed to read about 40 books.

Out of those, following five books really stood out for me:

  • Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover (review)

educated

A powerful testament of how we can choose to stop being defined by our past. It is a thought provoking memoir that left me with a strong feeling of unease long after I finished reading it. I still think about it months after I finished reading this book. Its main theme is privilege – we don’t get to choose circumstances we are born into. It also explores belonging, shame, forgiveness as well as the ability to become an observer, rather than a victim of your past.

“You can love someone and still choose to say goodbye to them,” she says now. “You can miss a person every day, and still be glad that they are no longer in your life.” 

  • Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (review)

eleanor

I enjoyed its witty writing, consistent pacing and all those wonderful characters. Eleanor is the main protagonist but there are many supporting personalities that I enjoyed reading about as well. They are really what this book is all about. They are vivid, charming and you just want to know a little bit more of them and have to keep on reading. It is not a fun or a light-hearted book as it deals with some serious issues, but I appreciated how it made me think as well as feel.

“If someone asks you how you are, you are meant to say FINE. You are not meant to say that you cried yourself to sleep last night because you hadn’t spoken to another person for two consecutive days. FINE is what you say.” 

  • Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe

What a lovely book. Circe tells a story of an eternal witch, who gets banished for her actions. It is a slow story full of beautiful and lyrical writing. I loved everything about it, especially the Greek mythology aspect and the feminist thoughts. My review will follow shortly.

“When I was born, the name for what I was did not exist.”

  • Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman (review)

norse mythology

It is a collection of stories that feel modern. They are fast paced and full of action and Gaiman’s sharp writing gives them a nice punch. There is also a lot of humour involved. I listened to this as an audiobook narrated by the author himself and highly recommend the audio version of this book.

“Because,” said Thor, “when something goes wrong, the first thing I always think is, it is Loki’s fault. It saves a lot of time.” 

  • Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (review)

big little lies

It is a wonderful story of a friendship of three women, their dealings with motherhood as well as having to come to terms with some dark demons from their pasts. I saw many shame related topics in this book. Moriarty deeply understands human behaviour and portrayed honest struggles of mothers and women in general.

“She’d swallowed it whole and pretended it meant nothing, and therefore it had come to mean everything.” 


Now over to you my friends. 🙂

Fancy sharing with me your favourite 2018 reads so far?

Can’t wait to see yours. 🙂