NaNoWriMo 2015

November is just a few hours away and here I am, stressing about the insane weeks that are ahead of me. I'm doing NaNoWriMo for the third year in a row.

NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month is an annual internet-based creative writing project that takes place every november. It challenges its participants to create a novel writing routine and attitude and to keep it up for at least one month. The ultimate goal is to write 50 000 words over the course of thirty days. A novel, or at least part of it.

Everyone can take part and you can write whatever genre you want. It doesn't even matter in what language you decide to write. Last year over 300 000 people worldwide participated and as many new stories were created. The barriers to enter are really low. There is only a limited set of rules. The main one that you have to write 50k words between 0:00:01 november 1 and 23:59:59 november 30. You're allowed to plan and plot beforehand, but you can't count anything written before this date. 

In NaNoWriMo they live by the saying quantity over quality. NaNo wants to stimulate people to keep writing, even if they don't feel confident, even if it's the first time ever they're trying to write a story. November is for writing, editing comes later. Meanwhile they put a lot of effort in motivation. There are pep talks from famous authors, regional forums to connect with other wrimos, word sprints, tips to keep your story going etc. 

NaNoWriMo is mainly a competition between you and yourself. You have to find the discipline and consistency to keep writing within yourself and you have to do it alone. Others can stimulate you and cheer you on, but no one can write the story for you. When you find the strength to pull through, sweet victory is waiting at the end of day 30. That day you can officially call yourself a winner. But more than that. You will have achieved something insane. You'll be a writer. 

I've done this twice before and both editions were huge successes. I suppose you could say writing is in my nature. I've been writing for years. Short stories, long ones. Am I good? Hell, I have no idea. But I'm doing this for myself. I like writing and this event challenges me to finish the stories I start. There's no greater feeling than finishing a draft at 90.000 words at the end of november. To see the little bar that keeps track of your word count turn green. 

Last year I started a story called Running Scared about a girl who's world got turned upside down by a new government trying to create a superior race. They selected and included her in a breeding program that was supposed to deliver the Children of Tomorrow. She ran from the authorities and her responsibilities but eventually reality caught up with her. She got arrested and dragged to the institution. That's where I'm picking the story up now. This november I'm set on writing the second part of my 'novel'. 

Wish me luck! 

PS: Are any of you joining the madness? Please let me know! Or if you consider participating and you have some questions, don't hesitate to ask me. I'd be happy to help you out.

PS2: I'm writing in Dutch btw.

Review: The Rose Society by Marie Lu

The Rose Society Marie Lu The Young Elites
The Rose Society Marie Ly cover The Young Elites

Title: The Rose Society 
Author: Marie Lu 
Series: The Young Elites #2
Genre: Fantasy, YA 
Publication date: October 13, 2015 
Rating: ★★★★ ½ 

Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she and her sister flee Kenettra to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers who nearly killed her. But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good, when her very existence depends on darkness?

Review: Last Year's Mistake by Gina Ciocca

Last Year's Mistake Gina Ciocca
Last Year's Mistake Gina Ciocca cover

Title: Last Year’s Mistake 
Author: Gina Ciocca 
Series: Stand-alone 
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, YA 
Publication date: June 9, 2015 
Rating: ★★★ 

Synopsis: The summer before freshman year, Kelsey and David became inseparable best friends—until the night a misunderstanding turned Kelsey into the school joke and everything around her crumbled, including her friendship with David. So when Kelsey’s parents decide to move away, she can’t wait to start over and leave the past behind. But David’s not quite ready to be left. Now it’s senior year and Kelsey has a new group of friends, genuine popularity, and a hot boyfriend. Her life is perfect. That is, until David’s family moves to town. Old feelings bubble to the surface and threaten to destroy Kelsey’s second chance at happiness. The more time she spends with David, the more she realizes she never let him go. And maybe she never wants to…

Review: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Carry On Rainbow Rowell Simon Snow
Carry On Rainbow Rowell Simon Snow

Title: Carry On 
Author: Rainbow Rowell 
Series: Stand-alone 
Genre: Fantasy, YA 
Publication date: October 6, 2015 
Rating: ★★★★★½ 

Synopsis: Simon Snow just wants to relax and savour his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he'll be safe. Simon can't even enjoy the fact that his room-mate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can't stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you're the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savour anything.

Release Day: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (+ fanfic)

So as you all probably know by now, I am very excited about this one. I've basically been jumping up and down since the moment I found out Rainbow Rowell was working on this. My greatest fear is that I'm raising my expectations too high, but tell me, how can I not? This is fan fiction gone real. Made up fan fiction gone real or whatever it is she's doing. If this book is anywhere near as good as Fangirl, I'm going to love it to bits. Let's hope book depository doesn't make me wait too long, because I don't think I can take waiting much longer.

In anticipation I'm sharing a Simon & Baz fanfic with you. I wrote it a while back when I'd just finished Fangirl and this feels like the right time to revisit it. Although I do admit that I don't remember just how much I made up and how much I took from the actual book. Either way, enjoy! And please let me know what you think when you've finished it. You can find it here.

Title: Carry On
Series: Stand-alone 
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin

Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he'll be safe. Simon can't even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can't stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you're the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax or savor anything.

Review: The Light That Gets Lost by Natasha Carthew

The Light That Gets Lost Natasha Carthew
The Light That Gets Lost Natasha Carthew cover

Title: The Light That Gets Lost 
Author: Natasha Carthew 
Series: Stand-alone 
Genre: YA 
Publication date: November 5, 2015 
Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: A small boy hiding in a cupboard witnesses something no child should ever see. He tries not to look but he still hears it. And when he comes out, there's no mistaking. His mum and dad have been killed. And though he's only small, he swears that he'll get revenge one day. Years later, Trey enters a strange camp that is meant to save troubled teenagers. It's packed with crazies, god-botherers, devoted felons and broken kids. Trey's been in and out of trouble ever since the day the bad thing happened, but he's he not here for saving: this is where he'll find the man who did it. Revenge and healing, salvation and hell are a boiling, dangerous mix, and Trey finds himself drawn to a girl, a dream and the offer of friendship in the dark.

September Wrap Up

With summer over, september was hell bent on making life as busy as possible. School was insane because we had an inspection team over and I basically had to work through the night to get everything done. And then there's the amount of play rehearsals I need to do because the premiere is getting nearer. It was insane. So I hardly got around to reading. I finished Queen Of Shadows in a matter of days (BECAUSE IT WAS CRAZY, OKAY) but then I only found the time for two other books. And somehow I made up for my lack of reading by buying tons of books.. I don't know. Some twisted logic in my head, I guess. These books make me real happy though. ;D

Review: Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six Of Crows Leigh Bardugo
Six Of Crows Leigh Bardugo

Title: Six Of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six Of Crows #1 
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Publication date:  September 29, 2015
Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis: Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge. 
A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager. 
A runaway with a privileged past. 
A spy known as the Wraith. 
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. 
 A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. 

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

Trickery is not my native tongue, but I may learn to speak it yet.

I was momentarily lost for words when I finished, frantically trying to find the next chapter that simply wasn’t there. There was nothing about this story I didn’t love. Even the hardest person to convince wouldn’t be able to deny the brilliantness of Six Of Crows. Or that’s what I’d like to think. This book is fantastic.

I’m probably one of the few people that hasn’t read the Grisha trilogy yet. If you’re also part of the club, don’t worry. Even though the story is set in the same universe, it doesn’t matter if you haven’t. I was able to dive right into the world of Grisha and nothing was lost on me. This is a completely new story.

I understand the Grisha trilogy unfolded in some kind of alternate Russia. Six of Crows is set in an alternate Netherlands. I’m a bit reluctant to admit it, but that awfully bothered me in the beginning. Mainly because even though I’m Flemish, Dutch is my native tongue. There were a lot of words ‘borrowed’ from my language and where they probably added some mysterious aspect for readers without a clue what they meant, it felt really ridiculous to me. Everything was English and then suddenly there was a word in my own language. It just felt a bit odd. I’m not blaming Leigh Bardugo. She has every right to borrow from whatever language she wants, it’s just unfortunate when it’s yours. I needed some time to start appreciating it. It makes me wonder how often other readers feel this way.

Greed may do your bidding, but death serves no man.

There are six main characters and the book is written through the eyes of five of them. Convicts, thieves, grisha, runaways. Characters raised by awful circumstances, part of a society that thrives on money, territory, power and revenge. The main thing they have in common is their allegiance to the Dregs, one of the ruling gangs in Ketterdam. Each of them is carefully crafted, multi-layered, unique and they’re all equally important. The third person pov allows us to get to know them through the eyes of one another, which gives an interesting dimension to the story. They all have their own history, their own needs and most importantly their own hidden agendas. They are strongly built and perfectly balanced. They’re the kind of unlikable that becomes somehow likable.

When everyone knows you’re a monster, you needn’t waste time doing every monstrous thing.
A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

We are all someone’s monster.

Kaz Brekker is the leader of the team and I sometimes seemed to forget how young he actually was. He basically could have been any age with his maturity level. He was calculating and intimidating, showed no emotion and always got the job done. And there was Inej, my personal heroine. The Wraith. Badass, brave, so full of suppressed feelings.

Besides, she was the Wraith - the only law that applied to her was gravity, and some days she defied that, too.

Nina was really strong and Matthias was ever the element of surprise. And when things got too tough and tense, Jesper and Wylan were there to lighten the mood. I loved them all so much. They didn’t get along too well. There were trust issues, bad blood and circumstances trying to put them against each other. But in the end they realized they needed each other and I think that’s beautiful.

No matter what they thought of him, they’d walk a little taller tonight. It was why they stayed, why they gave their best approximation of loyalty for him.

The story was just as phenomenal as the characters. Six unlikely companions go on an impossible mission. They need to break into the most secure court in the world, the Ice Court and rescue one of the most important scientists in the world. Not the most original maybe, but in the right hands this could work out perfectly. And it really did. This story is the perfect combination of plotting, darkness, magic, action, humor and a bit of romance (although don’t worry, it never takes over).

She wouldn't wish love on anyone. It was the guest you welcomed and then couldn't be rid of.

I told you I loved everything and I could go on and on. I can already put this book on my all time favorites list. It was just that good. I would recommend everyone to read this. No regrets, promise.

No mourners. No funerals.

Upcoming Releases: October 2015

Upcoming Releases October 2015
October is here and I don’t think there was a month I anticipated more (except maybe September because of Queen Of Shadows and Six Of Crows). There are so many long anticipated releases coming up this month and I can hardly contain my excitement. CARRY ON, finally, THE ROSE SOCIETY - fi-na-lly. And then there’s also Ice Like Fire and A Thousand Nights and… Sigh. As if I didn’t buy enough books in September. But October is also the month of my birthday (October 8th, folks!) so I’m going to be a real good girl and hope my shelves will get stacked for me! ;D

Here we go. Publications ordered by release date, as usual.
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