My favorite books 2017 – Part II

The weekend is just around the corner. Perfect timing for your next favorite book. In this part of favorite books 2017 I share the series I have discovered (check out part I here). By now you probably know I do have a nag for fantasy so of course those are upon the top. Let’s get started:

The Exile Trilogy by Hal Emerson

It is a fantasy. I like fantasy. A godlike immortal empress with 7 children rule the lands of Lucien. One child is different and is planned to be eliminated. Phrophecies, refugee at the land of the enemy, inner conflict of being rejected by ones family, finding a new one. All with some magic gifts and cool characters I personally hope the magic part will be a bit more developed in the third book as I see potential there – some aspects that are not in every fantasy found. Fun read if you like this kinda things.


My rating:
#1 The Prince of Ravens ***** free eBook
#2 The Prince of Exiles  **** eBook
#3 The Prince of the Veil not yet read eBook

Submerged Sun Series by Vanessa Garden

It all starts out with a kidnapping by Miranda to the underwater world of Marin. The king wants to marry her to secure his crown. But she needs to get back to set things right with her sister. I was fascinated by the underwater world created. An underwater fantasy without any mermaids. However it is a lot of teenage drama in the second book that is way I have not picked up the third yet.


My rating:
#1 Captivate **** free eBook
#2 Impulse *** eBook
#3 Release not yet read eBook
#4 Compulsion not yet read eBook
#1-4 eBook bundle

Hidden Deep Saga by Amy Patrick

A modern fairy tale with a fairy folk living in the woods or better underground. Having met as children the two main character come across each other ten years later. I thought some details in this series were well thought out and I was guessing along while some conflicts repeated themselves over and over and became a bit boring. But than this might be life of teenagers and I am just not the target group anymore. Overall it was an enjoyable read and if I ever come across the following books in kindle unlimited they will be on the reading list and I am happy to finish this adventure.


My rating:
#1 Hidden Deep **** free eBook
#2 Hidden Heart *** eBook
#3 Hidden Hope *** eBook
#4 Hidden Darkness not yet read eBook
#5 Hidden Danger not yet read eBook
#6 Hidden Desire not yet read  eBook
#1-9 eBook bundle

Diving into an engaging fantasy series is something I try to do when being on vacation or if I know nothing special is coming up. Because lets be honest, you gonna be sucked right into it.

So for all of you who feel the same way I have two cute little short stories. I discovered their beauty this year. Because sometimes I feel like reading but know I only got an afternoon. Those are perfect:

Static Rain – Short Story by Julius St. Clair

Beautiful love story about rain told from a woman’s perspective and how it stayed with her through life.
Very short though

My rating: **** free eBook unfortunately this book is no longer available on Amazon

The Girl with the Green-Tinted Hair – Short Story by Gavin Whyte

Described as, “Moving”, “Uplifting”, and “Enlightening”, The Girl with the Green-Tinted Hair is a spiritual fable about personal growth and about seeing how truly magical life is.

My rating: **** free eBook, paperback

Now lets connect on Goodreads, be friends and recommend even more books. My reading list is full but I am willing to put more on it.

Happy reading,

Tobia

*If you buy a book through one of the Amazon links I will receive a small  provision. This would help me keep this blog alive and cover a few of the administrative costs. Thank you. Or maybe I just buy a new book, who knows…

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My favorite books 2017 – Part I

I was aiming for 20 books to read this year after I really surprised myself last year with 45. I managed to almost hit last year’s  count again – I am currently at 40. However not all of them were that good but I wanted to share my favorite books of 2017. There will be two parts as it has been a good reading year.

I have this personal quest. I will read many of the debut authors and free books on Amazon. And then I will clap myself on the back when those books will later be sold for money and I found a good one for free and was one of the first to read and discover. Well it is a tough job but I kinda love it.

Also I come across books I would otherwise not read. And I have to admit most of them are really easy reads so I can manage my reading goal.

Anyway, lets get into my finds for 2017 that I can really recommend and where I spent money on sequels or further books of the author.

Carrion by Betsy Reavley

If I have to sum up this book in one word it would be: disturbing.

The story starts with a very rough opening (car accident and death) and is pretty dark throughout (mental illness). However it is very engaging and I could not put down the book because I wanted to know all the puzzle pieces and get the full dimension of the story. I was intrigued with the different aspects of the character’s and how they develop throughout the story line.

I also like how the language of the author transformed to my own mood and while I was reading this book I was going through emotions like anxiety and anger and I felt how I clenched my jaw while reading because it was so intense.

Over all I can definitely recomment reading! A good writing style and engaging storyline and an interesting topic you don’t come across often.

My rating: Carrion***** free eBook

Ice (Dr. Leah Andrews and Jack Hobson Thriller) by Kevin Tinto

This book was written a bit like an movie – an adventure movie. Fast pasted and a bit over the top but very entertaining. Leah is an archeologist specialized in cliff dwelling settlements of Southern Mexico and her ex Jack an extrem athlete/arctic expert. They end up on a mission with a millionaire at the end of the world between a political conflict. I learnt a lot of survival stuff and you can tell that the  author is an athlete himself.

My rating: **** eBook

After You’ve Gone by Lisa Tremayne

What a wonderful gem! Seriously this book is different and lovely and stands out from all the other (free) Amazon romance books.

Hope and love across oceans and time without being cheesy and flat. Great characters, wise words and just magical. My advice: read! Perfect for the upcoming holidays.

My rating: **** free eBook (unfortunately it is currently unavailable so keep a look out)

House of Cry by Linda Bleser

Starting this book I expected something totally different. I was positively surprised.
I found this book a bit dark and the serious topic (suicide) took me by surprise and yet it was so full of hope and promise and love. An interesting intriguing combination, something I haven’t come across, ever?! It’s a book I won’t forget as soon as I finished it.
So definitely read it!

My rating: **** eBook

The Scottish Rose by Jill Jones

A time-travel romance set in Scotland in the year 1651.

TV Journalist Taylor doesn’t believe in magic and has a show where she discovers the truth behind legends. Of course she ends up in one. After this rather predictable start the story is quite engaging. All about how to adapt to a new era, change history, discovering ones own heritage and falling in love. The main characters are very likable, well crafted and have their flaws but are very likable. It is not all sunshine and rainbows more like struggle and reality. And while reading you learn about Scottish history.

My rating: **** eBook, paperback

The Medium (Emily Chambers Spirit Medium #1) by C.J. Archer

I am usually not really into paranormal suspense but figured I could read something different for a change. It was entertaining and I was not disappointed. I might even found a new guilty pleasure. I defiantly discovered a new author. I like her style of writing.

Emily is a bit weird. She can talk to ghosts. And a ghost was assigned to her because he can’t cross to the other side. Well and there is a demon. And some romance. Again I would read the sequel but hoping it shows up on kindle unlimited.

My rating: **** free eBook, paperback

The Watchmaker’s Daughter (Glass and Steele #1) by C.J. Archer

My second book I read by this author and it did not disappoint.
India lost her father – a watchmaker and also her inheritance as her fiancee stole it and left her. A girl in London of 1890 is depending on man – not so India Steele. It’s a combination of fantasy, mystery and romance. I would read the sequel.

My rating: **** eBook, paperback

The Game by Terry Schott

I was having this one on my kindle for a while as gaming is not so much my thing but then I figured I give it a try. And while I found the setting and the thought process I had really interesting and worth mulling over I have not picked up the sequel. I believe it is a good book and would recommend it. Iit is just not my kind of entertainment.

My rating: **** free eBook, paperback

If you need more books on your reading list come back soon for part II or check out my favorite books of 2016. Also lets be friends on goodreads.

Now will you share your discoveries of 2017 with me.

Happy reading,

Tobia

*If you buy a book through one of the Amazon links I will receive a small  provision. This would help me keep this blog alive and cover a few of the administrative costs. Thank you. Or maybe I just buy a new book, who knows…

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Planner Love :: The hunt for the perfect companion

When I was in school I used to have a planner. But it was more than a planner. It was a diary, planner, timer – all in one. I remember that I loved leafing through it in boring classes, that I drew doodles, that I glued quotes into my planner and that I really really didn’t like anyone touching it or going through it. I mean it was personal. But I also remember that everyone wanted to have a look.

I kept all those planners. They are all up on a shelf unter my desk – the one I am currently sitting typing those lines.

Planner Love since 2000

After school I downgraded my planners and for a couple years I used a tiny one from moleskin. I always asked St. Nicholas to bring me one so I had enough time setting everything up.

But then I realized I actually don’t use it anymore and put everything in my phone anyway. So the planners got smaller and they are almost unused.

Last year however I felt like I need one of those diary planners back in my life and bought a “Ein guter Plan” through crowdfunding. I only used it to journal my three happy things that happened and about three sentences about the day. I liked the mindfulness chart for every day and drew up a few more bullet journal inspired charts.

While I liked the planner I feel like it is not quite what I need. First I thought I will start a bullet journal but lets be honest: I probably won’t make it far.

So I am looking for a planner that is my perfect companion. One that has pre-printed most of the things I need but enough space to individualize it.

Planner Love

I am currently looking at the following planners*:

Klarheit – Life Coach and Planner

Facts:
Size: A5
Color: white and black
Price: 34,90 €

What I love:
– Coaching section with 32 pages for reflections, goals, action steps
– unfold-able 12 month timeline to plan out goals – would work hand in hand with the goal setting from the “Unravel your year 2017” book
monthly review to stay on track and reflect on successes
weekly goal setting
– after 6 month there is a section to reflect and regroup
– 40 blank pages
– the company blog shows how to use the pages and gives ideas

What I am missing:
– the book cover looks a bit boring and seems not of as high quality as similar products

What I don’t need:
– I don’t care that I can number/date the weeks on my own. I guess if you only use it in weeks you work the 52 weeks last longer than a year and might be helpful for some people.

Starryday Planner

Facts:
Size: A5
Color: black, mint, pink
Pages: 224
Price: 16,90 €

What I love:
– weeks start with a “dump list” for all tasks
– entire page per day with top 3 tasks to get done, timeline and task manager for ABC prioritizing as well as a section for notes and a habit tracker
– seven extra habit tracker page

What I am missing:
– the planner only has 26 weeks… I am a bit confused by that so I guess you need two to get through the year.
– I am not really impressed with the used font/layout. It’s just not my style and a bit cheesy in my opinion.

Business Planner by weekview

Facts:
Size: A5
Color: white and black
Paper: 90 g/m
Price: 24,90 €

What I love:
– lots of lists for goals, projects, tasks with overview pages
– monthly overview pages for project planning with ABC tasks
– habit tracker per month
– quarter project overview
– ABC prioritizing for the week, timeline, upcoming week preview, note area
– goal setting pages
– lots of sticker, labels etc. available

What I am missing:
– I am not impressed with the layout. It seems bold and uninspiring.

What I don’t need:
– the goal setting pages are set for 2023 – too far for me

Planner / Workbook Pink Edition by Jo & Judy

Facts:
Size: A5
Color: rose/gold
Pages: 256
Paper: 80 g/m
Price: 28,90 €

What I love: 
– the project section for every week
– clean and feminine layout and colors

What I am missing:
– lists, trackers, coaching…

What I don’t need:
– The address book pages – its all in my phone so no need for that.
– The budget page that is next to the project page. I have my finance in order and I usually have a pretty good overview so this wouldn’t help me much.

While the design of Jo & Judy is the most impressive the structure of the planner just doesn’t work for me. The business planner might be a bit too much for what I plan to use it for. And the starryday planner is only half a year (I really can’t wrap my mind around it).

So I guess the Klarheit Planner is my best choice. But I am open for suggestions so please share if you have a better option!

Happy weekend,

Tobia

*Some links in this article are affiliate links. Meaning if you buy through this link I get a small provision. This would help me cover some of the costs for this blog. Thank you, I really appreciate it.

 

My favorite books 2016

This post is unbelievable. Unbelievable? Yes. I always loved reading. I remember a time when I went to the library weekly and left with a  huge stash of books. But then adult life came around and there were years where I didn’t pick up a book at all. Ever since I got my Kindle I started reading more. My reading challenge this year was 6 books. I ended up reading 45 so far. Still don’t know how I managed. But now I can make a pick of my favorite books 2016. And thats unbelievable for me.

I have to admit I only managed to read so many books because there was lots of low involvement and cheesy literature involved but then – I read. And reading is all about winding down, escaping reality and dreaming about life. I hardly ever read stuff that makes me sad or is unsettling. Ingnorant? Maybe. Or just plain self-preservation. There is enough dark, ugly, mean stuff out there why should I choose to spent my me time with it?

my favorite books 2016

Anyhow let’s get my list on my favorite books 2016. I included the links* in case you also want to read.

1. “Dem Horizont so nah” by Jessica Koch

To contradict myself this was a sad book. And some real life stuff. And it still captured me, made me cry and deeply moved me.

The author writes about her boyfriend – a troubled and abused young man. I don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t go into detail. But it talks about the individual struggles, glimpses of a life so different, disease, death and how it grows you as a human. It made me think about all the things in life I take for granted and how easily I do judge people. Definitely a recommendation!

There are two follow up books but I haven’t had the nerve to read yet.

My rating: Dem Horizont so nah ***** eBook; paperback

2. In Times Like These – Time Traveler Series by Nathan Van Coops

Yeah for finding this book between all the free ones on Amazon.

Just awesome. I loved the entire story setting and the development of the backstory of time traveling. What I didn’t know when first reading it is that Nathan actually incorporated some of the physical theories about time travel that scientists discuss and try to prove. (My dad (he studied Physics in college) told me that after I was telling him about the book.) Anyhow Nathan creates a whole new world for me.

The second book didn’t express me too much as I found too many parallels to the hunger games. I also didn’t really like the journey to the “aliens”. However it was still one of the best books I read this year and I would recommend to read it because it is part of the series.

The third book was pretty great again. It is a bit darker than the first two but than it does show what happens to time travelers when messing with time streams. It does get a bit confusing with all the versions of one character but also really fun.

Anyhow I am looking forward to the next one in this series.
If you like science fiction/fantasy this is a book you should really read. It was my first time traveler book and I never though I could get hooked on this genre. I even got Mr. ♥ to read the first one and he only reads crime & thriller.

My rating:
#1 In Times Like These ***** free eBook; paperback;
#2 The Chronothon **** eBook; paperback;
#3 The Day After Never *****  paperback
#1-3 In Times Like These Bundle***** eBooks

3. The Girl In Between – Series by Laekan Zea Kemp

I found myself a new author to follow. I like her style, it is unique and it is refreshing different to all the mainstream stuff out there. Definitely a surprise I didn’t expect from a book I got for free.

Book 1: A unique story setting and I love when there are actually more story within one story.
1. Real life: 17 year old Bryn has KLS and we follow her struggles in everyday life, school, friends, love, parents… but not really teenage drama.
2. Dream story: all fiction… or maybe not… very interesting sometimes maybe a bit jumpy but then who’s thoughts/memories aren’t.
3. Story of her disease and a girl 30 years ago with identical symptoms. This storyline is only teasered though and I am hoping it will be developed in the following books.

Book 2: The story does take an unexpected turn and develops in a different direction than I would have imagined. I like this kind of fantasy/fiction. However I thought the setting (in Cologne, Germany) was a bit absurd because everyone travels there from the U.S. but then it’s a book and everything is possible. I am intrigued what will happen next.

My rating:
# 1 The Girl in Between***** free eBook
# 2 The Boy in My Dreams ***** eBook
# 3 The Children of the Moon eBook
# 4 The Daughter of the Night  eBook

4. Ravensblood – Mystery Detective Series by Shawna Reppert

Well, I do have a thing for fantasy. A pretty big thing.

Here is another story about magic, mages, good and evil. BUT it is not the cheesy romantic unicorn kinda thing. Magic is regulated by law and there is a “police force” and a council of the different people living together. The story is about second chances, love, forgiveness, prejudices and conscience. It is a pretty dark story at times. I liked it as it was a bit different. However towards the end of the series I found it a bit flattening.

My rating:
#1 Ravensblood **** eBook
#2 Raven’s Wing **** eBook
#3 Raven’s Heart *** eBook
#1-3 Ravensblood Boxed Set **** eBooks

reading at the ocean

5. Hidden Academy Series by Jon Rosenberg

Another fantasy with lots of magic, unknown realms of fairies, unicorns and dark demons. And then there is the Hidden Academy an institution to keep order in the world as we know it. What I liked about this series is, that it focuses on different mythology in every book. I think my favorite character was the sidekick elf.

My rating:
#1 The Unicorn Crisis **** eBook
#2 The Digital Wolf *** eBook
#3 Pantheon of the Dead *** eBook
#4 When in Rome *** eBook

6. Winterliebe am Little Lake by Katrin Jäger

I really didn’t know what to expect from this book and I only picked it up because it was playing in Canada. I have to admit the beginning wasn’t strong and annoyed me a bit but then I really enjoyed it. There is a lot of life experience and wisdom weaved into this book and made me think about how serious we take life. I really liked the characters in the book and would have loved to sit with them for a cup of coffee.

My rating:
Winterliebe am Little Lake **** eBook; paperback

7. Stormy Cove by Bernadette Calonego

I usually don’t like reading crime stories. I get easily scared. This one wasn’t too bad. Mainly I was intrigued with the setting of the story. A freelance photographer from Vancouver is paid to spent an entire year in a desolate fisher community. I like how small town life is described, all the advantages and struggles. There might be a bit of a love story included and lots of mysteries. It was an easy and fun read to wind down.

My rating:
Stormy Cove **** eBook; paperback

Now I am interested: Has anyone read one of the books too? Is there a book you would love to read? And can you recommend some books to me? The holiday season is upon us and I plan on reading lots.

Happy book browsing,

Tobia

*If you buy a book through one of the Amazon links I will receive a small  provision. This would help me keep this blog alive and cover a few of the administrative costs. Thank you. Or maybe I just buy a new book, who knows…

10 Creative Book Ideas & a Give-Away

It’s about time to make a little list to sent to Santa Clause, right? I usually have a tough time telling people what I wish for when asked.

I love getting books. In my family it was common to get at least one book. In the last couple years however I missed my books. So maybe I have to conciously but them back on the list to get some. Because who can have enough books, right?!

The following lists are all books I own and like (click on the headlines). Maybe an inspiration if you need to be Santa Clause. So lets get started:

1. Der große humboldt Fotolehrgang

I have been looking for a while before I actually decided on this photo course book. And I still believe it is one of the best out there. This book focuses on the technical equipment and the workings of light, aperture, focus and speed rather then the artistic design and com positioning rules. I prepared with this book to take the wedding pictures of my sister and I hear no complains. I especially like that there is a whole chapter of exercises you can take to practice all the different options and get to know your camera.

2. Schmuckgestaltung heute – innovative Materialien und Techniken

This book is my discovery of the recent years. I found it when I signed up for the library after oh so many years. It’s a book talking about all the different materials and techniques of jewelry design. It’s not a real DIY book with step-by-step instructions. While they show the technique on one example its more an inspiration book. I love it because my mind starts going off with ideas. There is a sequel about” textile jewelry design” but I heard it’s not that great. Does anyone woe it?

3. Fang an mit Kork – 35 Einfache DIY-Projekte **

Now this is the third book by my blogging friends Jutta and Maike. And as the first two “Fotowohnsinn” and “Porzellanfieber” it’s another firework of DIY ideas. I specially like that first of all the materials are introduced. Did you know that there is cork fabric? Or cork paper? Now this opens up so many possibilities. The good thing is they have tested it all and give instructions on how to use which material and when. I like that.

My favorite project is probably the belt made of cork fabric with punched stars. But I also like the different boxes and baskets made of cork paper. It makes simple origami so much more sophisticated. And the star tea lights make such warm light I think I need to make some for Christmas. Well you see, lots to discover in this book.

4. P.S. – I made this… Ich mach das selbst

This book is the first blogger book I owned. Erica is blogging on PS. I made this… and I think this is her first book. After she explains the tools (she colored them all gold! it looks so cool) she shows projects for jewelry, accessories and fashion. Every project has six pages, one introduction page, one page with a  mood board and then 2-4 pages for instructions. In the end there is a link list for further reference and shopping. I like this inspiration book and for DIY beginners it’s a good start because of the step by step tutorials.

5. Tolle Taschen selbst genäht

This is a book I have probably used most. I think I’ve done 3 or 4 bags. And while I don’t like them all it’s a great way to sew together because most likely everyone will find a pattern. I had a craft afternoon with my godchild and we both made new ones and spent a great day together. I also like that there are a number of accessories and embellishments as well as instructions on how to turn plastic bags into fabric to sew with.

6. Schnittkonstruktion in der Mode – Band 1 Grundschnitt

Another really great basic book. I have taken two courses on pattern design and this was the basis for the course. I believe you can learn pattern design just by this book. While I haven’t done an entire pattern based on my measurements (lazy anyone?!) I have a much better understanding of how to alter things or see in if a bought pattern would fit. I say it’s definitely a win.

7. Natürlich schick gestickt – Deko, Accessoires und mehr

Finding this book in the list is actually funny because I wouldn’t say I am big on stitching. However this book shows some fun projects. Most of all I like that in the beginning of the book you have a section where materials and stitches you need to use are explained.  Every project comes with a little stencil so you can get going right away. Some projects are are easy (notebooks with stitched arrows) while others leave me totally awestruck (tiger on a sweater). One of my advent calendar ideas was inspired by this book.

8. Ein Guter Plan

What discovery this one is. And an adventure…

As always I was looking for a planner. Usually I get my moleskin one and I am happy. But lately I was thinking about starting a happiness diary for 2016. But then two books to carry… And of course blog planning, right? So when I came across this planner my heart took a beat. At first glance it seemed like a combination of all and then stories and articles about happiness and mindfulness and such. And it was a crowd funding project. Nothing I’ve ever done before. When they added a black version I jumped and secured me my very own. You can get yours until December 7, 2015 and they ship before Christmas. Yeahh!

9. Die Kunst, aufzuräumen

This is just one book of a series. I like the idea and I love how he takes simple everyday pictures or well known art pieces and “cleans them up”. It opens a whole new perspective on things. This is just an eye candy book for the end.

10. Persönlicher Kalender & a chance to win your own

First time I heard about “Persönliche Kalender” was in 2013. I loved the concept of getting your own personalized calendar. Back then it seemed a first.

I got mine in 2014 I. The materials and paper are great. I personally thought the design on the pages was a bit childish. I would have loved to be able to change colors in the modules. Since then the calendars have evolved and there are lots of fun covers if you don’t want to upload your own picture. There are continuously being new modules added and the possibilities are so much broader than two years ago. They now even offer wall planners.

Every year they cooperate with an artist who is then designing covers. This year it’s Sofie from Fia Lotta Jansson – a lettering artist. Just in October I had the chance to meet Paula and her team at a lettering workshop with Sofie here in a Berlin. Of course we were working with their notebooks. And I really really love them. The paper is great for lettering. And you can choose between a bunch of page designs like ruled, squared and square dotted or even sheets of music. The dotted is perfect for practicing lettering. And they also offer gadgets like pens, and rulers and such to go with your planner.

The Give-Away

cover persönliche Kalender

And the greatest thing is: I have a little gift for you! Leave a comment about your favorite DIY or creative book and have a chance of winning a 33,90€ voucher to get your own calendar or notebook. Now that’s something, right? And the best thing is: they ship worldwide! The winner will be drawn December 18 at 9pm and will be announced on instagram first so make sure to follow me there. And if you don’t want to wait that long or need to get a present beforehand use the code: L-ETTE-RING and save 10%.

Now please share your recommendations on fun and educating DIY books so I can add some to my list.

Happy gift shopping,

Tobia

 

*This post contains affiliate links when you click the headlines. If you buy a book through this link I get a few cents and can get another great book myself. So thank you!

**This book has been sent to me for a review by the Landwirtschaftsverlag. The enthusiasm is all mine.