My Favorite Books 2018 – Part I

[Advertising – unpaid, post contains affiliate links] I think one of my favorite past times has become reading. Just a few years ago I have not read at all. I just had no time. I was lazy to carry a book around all the time. And then I decided to give an eReader a chance. Well what can I say G*A*M*E*C*H*A*N*G*E*R. Here are my favorite books 2018

South of Main Street by Robert Gately

This book is heartwarming and gut twisting. While it was funny it had some deep thoughts however they were delivered lightly – at least I thought so. It about family dynamics, how to deal with mental health and how the person itself is living a happy life while seeing why everyone else is struggling. It shares lots of wisdom, gives hope and made me re-evaluate how I perceive and judge people. This is the only 5* book I read this year.

My rating: ✭✭✭✭ – eBook english || paperback english

Column of Fire by Ken Follett

When I heard there was a third and final book in the Kingsbridge series I was all excited. “Pillars of the Earth” is one of my favorite books ever and while this one is not quiet there it is still a wonderful engaging story with all the elements of love, battle, history, intrigues and politics. Unfortunately the plot didn’t take much part in Kingsbridge itself but traveled all over the place. Still I would recommend reading if you like historic fiction.

My rating: ✭✭✭✭ – eBook english, eBook deutsch || paperback english, paperback deutsch

Photographers Wife by Nick Alexander

This was my first book by this author and I really enjoyed it. I have to admit I had an ambivalent feeling about the characters. I didn’t really like them, sometimes felt sorry for them and every once in a while could relate. However I found the story very much intriguing. It might have been the topic itself that drew me to read the book but the many layers to the story line that slowly revealed more and more kept me at it. My take away: life doesn’t always seem what is from the outside.

My rating: ✭✭✭✭ – eBook english, eBook deutsch || paperback englishpaperback deutsch

craftaliciousme seeking creative life favorite books 2018

End of the Wild: Shipwrecked in the Pacific Northwest by Jason Taylor

I was on the look out for a story about travel/survial/wilderness and it was a great find. As the title suggests it is about a shipwreck but in the end it is so much more. It goes into history of the area itself and the native civilizations and there connection to nature. Myths and legends and how we take things for granted. It left me with wanting to know more about the Salish history.

My rating: ✭✭✭✭ – eBook english || paperback english

Kismet by MagdaLee Gordon

This was a rather unexpected read and from the book cover and description I did not guess what was headed my way. Honestly I might have not picked it up if I knew. It is dark, it is tragic. But it is beautifully written and it was a page turner.

My rating: ✭✭✭✭ – eBook english, eBook deutsch || paperback deutsch

Followed by Frost by Charlie N. Holmberg

I very much enjoyed this book. I would characterize it as a modern fairy tale. A young spoiled girl is being quite arrogant towards a young mans courting and has to face consequences. I enjoyed it anti was easy to read and entertaining.

My rating: ✭✭✭✭ – eBook english || paperback english, paperback deutsch

Mermaids Sisters by Carrie Anne Noble

I found it was a cute little fairy tale. Something different from what I usually read. The writing style took me a bit longer to get through but it fits perfectly.
I was surprised more than once on how the story evolved and I found it entertaining.
My suggestion: give it a try.

My rating: ✭✭✭✭ – eBook english || paperback english

Mystery of the Downs by Arthur J. Rees

This was a classic (published 1918) but I was unaware when I picked it up. So it doesn’t compare to the fast past crime mysteries of today but I still thought it was quite interesting and had a lot of twists and turns. I thought early on I had it figured out but was surprised more then once. I really enjoyed it and would recommend reading if you can handle this older writing style.

My rating: ✭✭✭✭ – eBook english || paperback english

Ok, I think that is it for today. I will be doing a second round of books as I still have a few I want to share. Those will be the series I started reading this year and also a few German books. Please share one of your favorite in the comment so I know what to read next.

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…

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…