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.

Cooking for Two – Book review

Hey everyone,

I have sometimes actually always a hard time cooking for two.

I come from a family of five. So does Mr. ♥. One pack of spaghetti or a whole net of potatoes was quite common. Unfortunately that is how I’m still measuring to the day. I also tend to cook in big pots enhancing the problem of “it doesn’t look enough”.

So when the Landwirtschaftsverlag ask me if I would like a copy of their new book “Rezepte für Zwei” I couldn’t yell yes fast enough.

Rezepte für Zwei

I like that the book is structured in times of the day you can eat: mornings, lunch and evenings and then there are four chapters for specially occasions: desserts, dinner, snack and outdoors.

bread out of pan

When going through the book I always had this romantic picture of a summer picnic in mind. That is maybe why the bread recipes have spoken to me the most. I tried something I’ve never done before:

Bread out of the pan – Pfannenbrot

you need:

20 g yeast (fresh)
1 tsp honey
220 ml lukewarm water
150 g flour
120 g spelt flour
1 tsp salt
shortening or oil for baking

Pfannenbrot and butter

and that is how it’s done:

Put yeast in a glass and add honey. Let sit for 2 minutes. Now add 110 ml of the lukewarm water and stir until dissolved.

Mix flour and salz in a bowl. Add yeast mixture and rest of the water. Mix well until you have a pasty consistency. If necessary add more water. Let rise for 30 minutes while covered.

Heat a pan, add shortening or butter and let melt. Turn down heat and add dough. Push gently down so it is flat. Let bake for 10-15 minutes on lowest heat while covering up with a lid. Then turn dough and bake another 10 minutes.

Let cool a bit before serving.

Lemon Butter

you need:

2 lemons (organic, unattended)
1-2 tsp brown sugar
1-2 twigs of tarragon
125 g butter (room temperature)
1 pinch of salt

Lemon Butter

how you do it:

Wash lemons and dry. Grate lemon skin of one lemon. Squeeze both lemons. Add lemon juice and lemon zest into pan. Add sugar. Let boil and then reduce heat to low temperature. Let simmer until 1/3 of mixture remains. Let cool.

Wash tarragon and hack finely. Whip butter and herb. Add lemon concentrate. Add salt to taste. Let sit 1 hour in refrigerator before serving.

I served mine with spinach salmon salad and it was really tasty.

Pfannenbrot und ButterRezepte für Zwei is a fun book with lots of recipes – traditional dishes with a new interpretation or classics from other countries. The only thing I wished for was nutrition infos.

I think it would make perfect Valentines Day gift. Isn’t cooking together one of the most romantic things to do together?!

And I also think this book might be my go to present for every one moving together for the first time. Maybe even with a Pfannenbrot and some butter.

And because I just made myself a yummy flat bread sandwich and will really enjoy it, it’s going to Wednesday Favorites over at Frollein Pfau’s.

Happy Wednesday,

Tobia

PS: I received a copy of the book from Landwirtschaftsverlag to review. I choose the recipes myself and my opinion is my very own. Thank you for letting me have a copy.