MY FAVORITE BOOKS 2019

As we are coming close to the end of 2019 it’s time to reflect on all the great books I have read. In total I am at xx currently but I believe a few more make the list. Of course I had a few favorite books in 2019 so let’s dive in.

Oremere Chronicles by Helen Scheuerer | ★★★★★

“In a realm where toxic mist sweeps the lands and magic is forbidden, all Bleak wants is a cure for her power.
Still grieving the death of her guardian, still trying to suppress her magic and dangerously self-medicating with alcohol, Bleak is snatched from her home by the commander of the king’s army, and summoned to the capital.”


You might think when reading this premises “I’ve read those stories a million times” and while this might be partly true I found the world it is all set in very interesting and different. Also to me the story felt a bit more grown up. Issues of addition were tackled, the ups and downs of friendship and forgiveness. I enjoyed it immensely and might have shed a tear too.

Daughters of the Dragon by William Andrews | ★★★★★

“During World War II, the Japanese forced 200,000 young Korean women to be sex slaves or “comfort women” for their soldiers. “Daughters of the Dragon” is one woman’s riveting story of strength, courage and promises kept.”

This was an intense read. The first 20 % are tough to go through and heart shattering. After that it gets a bit easier but nevertheless it is not a “pleasure” read. Still I flew through the book and forgot everything around me. 

I was aspecially impressed how graceful the whole topic was told. While it was often brutal and detailed it was never vulgar or pervers. I also felt the feelings of woman were well captured and that is not always the case with male authors. Chapeau.

I highly recommend reading this book. However be aware that it is no beach read.

“If you do not have courage, you will never blossom into the flower you were meant to be.”

Daughters of the Dragon – William Andrews

Dragon Queen by William Andrews | ★★★★★

“As tensions rise on the Korean peninsula, US diplomat Nate Simon is sent to Seoul to gauge the political situation and advise the president. He also needs to find out why someone sent the president an ancient, intricately carved comb with an ivory inlay of a two-headed dragon. Though familiar with Korea’s language and culture, Nate knows little of its troubled history. Beautiful and mysterious embassy aide Anna Carlson believes it’s time he learns, starting with the extraordinary story of Korea’s last queen.”

As the first book “Daughter of the Dragon” it was wonderfully written and swept me away into the world of a proud but grief stricken Korea.
I didn’t much care for the present story of Anna and Nate. But the life of the Dragon Queen was so interesting and engaging. It showed compassion and toughness in a male dominated dynasty. It showed humanity and love. All while quietly education about Koreas culture and history.

“You can wear the crown on your head and sit silently on the throne like the stones in the palace walls. Or you can wear the crown on your heart and be like a dragon who rules the forest. If you choose to be a stone, you must make yourself dead. If you choose to be a dragon, you must be alert and quick because many will want to slay you.”

Dragon Queen – William Andrews

Requiem for a Robin by Carter Bowman | ★★★★★

The haunted world of the Chryssians has crept upon the country of Passerine for the past one hundred years. Today, seventeen-year-old Lily Egret stands at a crossroads: spend the remainder of her days in hiding, or risk exposing the secret that will put her life in jeopardy.  
But something dangerous is growing inside of Lily—something that refuses to hide any longer. With no options left, Lily breaks the rules holding her life together and flees into the ruins of Chryssus, where more than specters wait for her in the shadows. Even safety comes with a price, though. With war on the brink, Lily will have to choose between her new allies and the only home she’s ever known. 


This was a pleasant and surprising read. I am glad I picked this one up.
Great world building and different setting from what I came across so far. The main character is not the smooth I-know-it all-heroine but has flaws and struggles that are actually relatable and believable. Looking forward to read more in the Second Soul series.

Strange the Dreamer Duology by Laini Taylor | ★★★★★

“The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way aroundand Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.
Love and hate, revenge and redemption, destruction and salvation all clash in this astonishing and heart-stopping sequel.”


Laien Taylor was a new to me author and I will definitely check out her other books. Her writing is just amazing, so whimsically crafted and the wording had such a nice flow.
I loved all the characters – they were not flat but had personality, good and evil had depths to it. And of course the storyline line was just beautiful, engaging and magical. A whole new world to discover.
if you like fantasy go read!

“Wishes don’t just come true. They’re only the target you paint around what you want. You still have to hit the bull’s-eye yourself.”

Muse of Nightmare – Laini Taylor

Vergiss kein einziges Wort by Dörthe Binkert | ★★★★⭐︎

Three epochs, three women, three destinies.
It’s the story of Martha, Maria and Magda from small Salesian town Gleiwitz which mirrors the history of the boarder region between Germany, Poland and Chzechia. The life between Christians and Jews, families being formed, families being expelled, families being left and reconnected. This stories takes place between 1920 and 1960 and beautifully portraits area and region and how close joy and sorrow are intertwined.


I immensely enjoyed this read. I struggled a bit to get into the writing style but the story immediately captured me. Even though this book was over 600 pages I would have continued reading to hear more about certain lives.
I especially enjoyed it as my Grandma was born and raised in this region and fled during WWII. It sometimes felt like reading her story.
Also some situations made me wonder about certain parallels to todays politics and situations. It felt very up-todate.
If you enjoy historical fiction this one is for your. Unfortunately it’s only in German but I hear translations are in progress.

The Book Thief by Mark Zusak | ★★★★⭐︎

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will be busier still.
By her brother’s graveside, Liesel’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Gravedigger’s Handbook, left behind there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordian-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.


I’ve heard so much about this book that I really wanted to read it. It is beautifully written and is bordering on poetic. I enjoyed that very much. The story itself could have been a bit stronger for me. Don’t get me wrong it was nicely told and had lots of detail and heartbreak. However I was missing something. Maybe I was just very bothered with the German phrases that were included and always translated – so when you understand German it’s a bit annoying. Until the very end it was a 3 star book for me. But then I cried while reading the last pages and since I can not remember the last book doing that to me I upgraded to 4 stars.

“It was one of those moments of perfect tiredness, of having conquered not only the work at hand, but the night who had blocked the way.”

Mark Zusak

Nachtblau by Simone van de Vlugt | ★★★★⭐︎

“Following the sudden death of her husband, twenty-five-year old Catrin leaves her small village and takes a job as a housekeeper to the successful Van Nulandt merchant family. Amsterdam is a city at the peak of its powers: science and art are flourishing in the Golden Age and Dutch ships bring back exotic riches from the Far East. Madam Van Nulandt passes her time taking expensive painting lessons from a local master, Rembrandt van Rigin, and when Catrin takes up a brush to finish some of her mistress’s work, Rembrandt realizes the maid has genuine talent, and encourages her to continue. 
When a figure from her past threatens her new life, Catrin flees to the smaller city of Delft. There, her gift as a painter earns her a chance to earn a living painting pottery at a local workshop. Slowly, the workshop begins to develop a new type of pottery to rival fancy blue-on-white imported Chinese porcelain—and the graceful and coveted Delft Blue designs she creates help revolutionize the industry. But when tragedy strikes, Catrin must decide whether to defend her newfound independence, or return to the village that she’d fled.”


I really enjoyed this story and the setting in the art scene and characters one might know from art class or museums. Mentioned people and paintings do exist. Of course it’s historical fiction but I liked it and it was a entertaining read.

“Wohin fliegt der Seufzer?, fragt er. “Nirgendwohin. Er bleibt hier. Es war ein Seufzer des Glücks.”

Nachtblau – Simone van de Vlugt

This is my selection of favorite books 2019. I’ve read many more and you can find my reviews on Goodreads. Also let’s be friends there to build our TBR pile.

Happy reading

Tobia

Spring Bucket List 2019

I went for a walk and found spring. That reminded me I could write a new bucket list. But let’s have a quick look at the winter bucket list and how I did:

  1. ✔️Read a Christmas Book – I read “The Cricket on the Hearth” from Charles Dickens Christmas Books. It was ok but nothing tops a “Christmas Carol”
  2. ✔️Spread Random Acts of Kindness – I hope I did but then you can always do more.
  3. ✖️Ice Skating – no winter in this part of the globe
  4. ✔️Christmas Movies – I did however I feel like there is nothing new out…
  5. ✔️Cancel all appointments in December – so liberating
  6. ✖️Planning next years Christmas – did not and have a feeling it’s not gonna happen
  7. ✔️Taking a photo walk – I did and found spring
  8. ✔️Crafting – I made stuff for the advent calendar swapping but nothing else
  9. ✔️Christmas Concert – I went by myself as my own Christmas party
  10. ✔️Celebrate Dads 60th – we sure did. Twice.
  11. ✔️Find a word 2019 – my word ist Trust. Read more about why.

I am a bit surprised that almost all got checked of the list. Throughout winter I felt like I didn’t manage to cross anything off. Perception is a weird thing.

spring bucket list seeking creative life blue sky with magnolia blossom

Okay enough let’s dive in and start Spring. I mean officially. Because it only does when there is a list, right? Here we go:

1. Enjoy the first ice cream/sundae of the season.
Nothing better than being outside, enjoying the sunshine and diving into some ice cream.

2. Have a family reunion.
We’ll meet up again at my family home with my family, cousins and all for a weekend together. We are planning on visiting a chocolate factory. Do you want to tag along?

3. Start the 100DayProject.
It starts tomorrow April 2nd. I’ll be trying to improve my photography by drawing daily challenges for myself. You can follow on my Instagram and the #100daysofcraftaliciousimages.

4. Have a Spa Day with a friend.
We had to postpone twice but hopefully we can enjoy that day soon.

5. Doing some more Easter Eggs.
I’ve already started saving blown out eggs from last meals and I’ll be doing a few more of my beloved Sorbian Easter Eggs and this modern Ukrainian folklore ones.

6. Start BBQ season at our friends house.
Nothing more needs to be said unless you’ve got good recipes. I want to have those.

7. Do a detox week.
It’s time. Always feel better afterwards.Maybe before the spa day.

8. Pretty up the balcony.
And opening up the outdoor home office. so looking forward to it.

9. Check of a few more books on my Reading List.
I realised that a few books on this list don’t intrigue me as much anymore then beginning of the year. Anyone else feeling that shifty? Still so many good books on my TBR. What’s you next one?

10. Plan a vacation.
Recently got a wedding invite to Australia. Unfortunately it’s already beginning of May. Not sure if we will manage. But besides that I want and need a vacay.

11. Find a birthday present for Mr. ♡
And a good one as we are having a round one to celebrate. Suggestions are welcome.

Do you have anything fun planned for this spring season? Share away and leave a comment or visit on Instagram.
Happy spring season

Tobia

How would you act if you are forgettable?

I have just finished reading “The Sudden Appearance of Hope” and I have many thoughts about this book. It’s been a while that a book as stirred up so much within. I figured that would be a good way to sort it out by just writing about it.
I don’t want to take away much of the storyline and I hope I’ll not spoiler anything by saying that the main character “Hope” has a condition of being forgotten after stepping out of peoples eyesight. This brings along a lot of difficulties for her to handle life in general but also stirs up thoughts about existence and behavior.

Now right here is the first question that I have had while reading this book. How would I feel when people keep forgetting me. Like for real – forgetting I exist. How complicated would life get. Imagine having dinner in a restaurant never being served. Imagine being at the doctors and no one tending to you.

The other more important questions are though: How would I act if no one remembers me?
How would I act if my actions can not be traced back to me? Of course I would like to think I am a good human. Does that mean I would only act fairly? It must be very tempting to do something and not suffer any consequences. Have an argument and say whatever you really want because the other person will not remember and things go back to the way they were. Or taking the last piece of cake everyone wants to have. Maybe spill someones coffee because that person was mean to me. It is tempting…
Also this would be the perfect cover for any spy. Imagine how many crimes could be solved. How many information gathered without killing. Or any journalist trying to uncover unfairness. One could do a lot of good too. So the question remains: What would my conscience be like? Because it could go the other way too…

I would like to think I will not harm anyone. But how much can a person take if only rejection, confusion and denial is around one? If you are lonely all the time, if there is no human connection. If your own conscience and your own believes are the sole bar for judgement. Will that judgement be fair? Will I favour certain things? Would I slowly resolve into criminal activities just because I could. I really hope I’d act the way I believe I would act. I am glad I will never be tested.

So if you asked me how I liked that book. Honestly I don’t know. It took me 5 weeks to read and had barely 500 pages. This is very long for me. I had a hard time with the writing style not because it wasn’t good – it fitted the book. But there was no flow to it. And then made it extremely difficult for me to stay focused and have (at times) a positive reading experience. However this book contains so many snippets of knowledge, thoughts, ideas and philosophical sparks that I am pretty sure I only scratched the surface. It is one of those books I believe where you’ll find a new angle every time you pick it up. So it’s already on my “read again” list. For now I’ll give it 3,5*.

If you read the book I am really interested what you have been thinking. Leave a comment here (or on Goodreads) I would love to discuss.

Happy reading

Tobia

VIRTUAL COFFEE DATE | VOL II

It’s time to meet for our virtual coffee date and I am so thankful for you to join me again.

First of I would…

pour us a cup of coffee and add a spoon of coconut oil. It’s my current favorite and perfect way to flavor the coffee without adding any sugar. It’s also quite filling. Did you ever try it?

I would…

then like to tell you about my struggle to finish my current book “The sudden appearance of Hope”. I have started it over three weeks ago and for some reason it takes forever to get through. Maybe it’s because I have a lot of other stuff going on and I am regularly reading something else, but still. I’ve a lot of thoughts about this book and think I need to sort this out in a separate post. Have you read this book yet?

I would…

want to tell you about the new car we finally picked up last weekend. It’s been ordered in June and was supposed to be delivered end of November. So it’s high time we finally got to pick it up. Unfortunately all the delay is just taking the fun out of it… Weird way the human mind works.

I would…

like to let you know that my photo job I mentioned last time went really well. The client was more than happy and I have been able to pick up a few more tricks. But I love learning so I booked myself a portrait workshop at the community college. I’ve been waiting for this course two years. The professor was on maternity leave and I happy she’s back so I can finally take the class.

Also I would…

want to know if you are joining #the100dayproject. I will participate for the fourth time. I successfully finished in year one with #100daysofcraftaliciouspatterns and in year three with #100daysofcraftaliciousdrops. Currently I have a list of five ideas. The whole fun starts on April 2. Let me know if you join so we can motivate each other when it gets tough.

And finally I would…

let you know that my godchild will come visit over the weekend. She is already over twenty. The weather will be poor so it will be lots of movies (our favourite) with some Gin Tonics and just hanging out and enjoy our time together. I always cherish those weekends.

Now I need to run and get everything in order for the weekend, catch up on some work, run a few errands…

Later I’ll take a break and jump in for a coffee with Lecy and Denise and see how she is doing this time around. Who will I meet?

Have a wonderful day

Tobia

Virtual Coffee Date | vol I

Hello my dear,

Do you sometimes feel all your friends are all over the place? No one is close by for a quick coffee chat? Well, that’s what it feels like for me every once in a while. So why don’t you join me and Lecy for a virtual coffee date and let’s chat a bit about what is going on. I have a few things to share and I am glad you have time for a virtual coffee date.

virtual coffee date with Tobia | craftaliciousme

I would …
go ahead and order an earl grey tea with a dash of milk. It seems like I can never get enough. And then I would quickly tell you that my favorite green tea blend is no longer available. It was a service where I could mix it myself and I spend years perfecting it. So sad. Not even a heads up so I could stock up.

I would …
enthusiastically tell you about my husbands friend, a Dominican film producer, who premiered his movie “Holy Beast” at the Berlinale yesterday. It’s the first ever Dominican movie shown at the festival. It was so great to share this moment with him and see him so proud. Something about people achieving their dreams just makes me happy.

I would …
also tell you very enthusiastically that I have recently landed my first photography job (outside of family) and will be doing a portrait shoot today. Fingers crossed all goes well. They will be needed for a book publishing. I am really proud.

I would …
tell you about my fifth wedding anniversary. Can you believe it’s been 5 years since our winter wedding? It feels like nothing has really happened in the last five years but then so much. One thing hasn’t happened for sure and that is winter. Since our wedding there was no decent winter in Berlin. I haven’t been able to get out my ice skates. We had hardly any snowfall. This year I didn’t even crack out my winter jacket. Global warming is real my friend. Maybe I need to book a trip to Scandinavia rather urgently to get my snow fix.

Also I would …
need to talk about books. I have been reading a lot again. I have set – for the first time ever – a reading goal list for 2019. My plan is to read 40 books and I already have read 8. Most of them were awesome but the last was really annoying. So I was wondering and wanted to ask: How do you handle a bad book. Do you keep on reading or do you stop? Also, do you review bad books? I always try to review on Goodreads but mainly for myself so I can remember.

And then I would …
also ask if it is too early to think about Easter crafts. My fingers are itching to get back to my Sorbian Easter eggs. So many more patterns to explore and it’s just so meditative. Only problem is, I never hang up any eggs. I wonder if people would buy them. But then I always think it’s not good enough yet…

Before we leave our coffee date I would ask what is going on in your life. What are your next big plans. What struggles have you came a cross and what book have you read.

Then we would hug and wave good bye.
Until next time friend

Tobia