Book 4-5-6 – When Women Were Warriors by Catherine M. Wilson

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I started reading the ‘When Women Were Warriors’-series when I wanted to read something different. When you look through the books I’ve read these past couple of years you’ll notice that a lot of them are crime-novels.

So I started looking around and when I came across the description of the ‘When Women Were Warriors’ series I was sold. Literally, sold! I loved it, the whole idea of the book. The title alone made me want to know more about the story. I love reading about strong women and honestly how much stronger can a women be that literally be a warrior.

The Warrior’s Path – part 1

WWWW_book1‘The Warrior’s Path’ is the first part in the trilogy revolving around Tamras, a girl who’s come of age  and is brought to Merin’s house by her mother. The house of a Lady Merin who will from that day on be the lady she serves and who will be overseeing her training as a swords-woman under one of Merin’s female warriors. Or so Tamras hopes, but her dreams are squashed when she’s told that due to her petite frame being a swords-woman will be out of the question because a sword is heavier than she’ll be able to wield. And having to wield it with two hands would mean that she can’t hold a shield at the same time. To make matters worse, Merin assigns Tamras the role of being a companion. Which means that she’s barely more than a personal assistant to one of the warriors instead of being an apprentice. And in Tamras’ case not even that because the woman – Maara – who she’s assigned to is a stranger in Merin’s house with little to no connection to anyone in Merin’s house. But Tamras is not about to let herself be pushed into a corner. She fights for her place and not only her place but also Maara’s place.

A Journey of the Heart – part 2WWWW_book2

The story continues and little by little Tamras is able to gain Maara’s trust which isn’t always easy, especially when Maara’s biggest enemy also becomes Tamras’ enemy. And if that enemy is the most important Warrior in Merin’s house you know you have a problem on your hands. Meanwhile Tamras’ apprenticeship under Maara’s guidance doesn’t turn out quite as she’d expected it to be. Maara makes choices which she thinks are best for Tamras but they are far from the usual path an apprentice takes. At the same time Tamras is – unwillingly – involved in a power struggle and politics about the future of Merin’s house. A situation which becomes so dangerous for Tamras that she has no choice but to leave her home behind in an effort to safe herself, Maara, Merin and the people she loves.

A Hero’s Tale – part 3

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Tamras has fled her home and followed Maara, in an effort to save her and the people she loves. Life isn’t easy when you have no place to call home. Especially when winter is just around the corner. But Tamras is a fighter who doesn’t give up and when the situation seems extremely dire a solution presents itself.

I like reading books about strong women and this book is gathers a grand collection of strong women each in their own right. I love how Catherine M. Wilson is able to throw that many strong women into the mix without it feeling like there are too many or without being realistic. The characters in my opinion are well balanced and they each have their own strengths and weaknesses. They are like real women, they might not always make the right choices. But the fact that they are flawed makes them three dimensional and lovable. And even the people like Vintel react like real people. She might be the antagonist in this story but she’s definitively not all bad! She had her good moments as well even if you have to look hard to see them sometimes.

Reading these books made me realize that I really missed this genre! Of course this is fantasy, but it has this real historical feel to it and when I was younger I loved reading these type of books. But these past couple of years most books I’ve read have been crime novels. I’ve once again been made aware that I should really change this.

These books are definitively not separately readable. And for that same reason it is difficult to review them separately. If you do you will never know what the story is about. I think that they have divided it into three parts to make it easier to read. I have read the ebooks so I am not sure about a real book but the ebooks chapters simply continue counting on. I would definitively recommend these books to anyone who’s open to my recommendations but you do have to get ready for a read because all three books are about 900 pages long in total. But it is a truly inspirational journey about making choices – hard choices, possible life and death choices.

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April in hindsight

April_2017

I know the month of May is almost over and I still haven’t written my ‘April in Hindsight’ post. I know, I know I’m not doing very well on that department.

April has been a strange month, it has been a collection of high’s and lows even more so than normally. One day I was celebrating a birthday and the next I was paying my last respects to someone. It’s the way life goes I guess but it remains a strange situation to be in, especially since it was literally one day to the next.

City trips

April is always an extremely busy month for me in general lots of birthdays and of course Eastern so in general besides working and those engagements I don’t have a whole lot of time to spare. So I didn’t make any city trips this past month and in fact I don’t have any planned for May either. Nevertheless I wanted to keep the routine going and I think it’s a shame that I couldn’t but it just didn’t work out.

Besides that I still owe you a post about my Gouda trip. I really need to get my shit together and get things going, don’t I?

Reading and writing

I read Lindsey Stirling’s book and I really enjoyed reading it. In my opinion everyone could read this book and take away some good advice from it. Peaked you interest? Head over and read my review to find out what I mean by that.

I’ve been reading the second book in the When Women Were Warriors series – A Journey of the Heart. I am really enjoying these books it’s a wonderful story about strong women and a journey to adulthood. I’m still convinced that it’s better to read the whole series of books before I write a review so yes you’re missing a book review. But that’ll be corrected once I’ve finished the second and the third book.

I didn’t get much writing done this past month, well I’ve written many many many whats app messages but I don’t think they count for any type of writing. Maybe one day I’ll tell you about my extreme increase of text messages this past month.

Looking ahead:

  • In less than a week I’ll be at the Hanson concert!!! So looking forward to that, they are celebrating the 25th anniversary as a band and it is my 20th year as a fan. MMMbop came out in 1997 and I love(d) that song! It’s a shame that they are not more known by an bigger audience these days because in my opinion they deserve it. But what can you do about it?
  • I finally made the arrangements for my holiday and in fact in less than a month from today I’ll be somewhere on a beach doing all kinds of fun stuff with a group of people who I don’t know at this point. We’ll see how that one turns out.
  • There are a lot of things I have to purchase for my trip into the unknown…  and I only have a month!

Book 3 – The only Pirate at the Party by Lindsey Stirling

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I’ve read a couple of autobiographies these past couple of years, not always by people who I admired for one reason or another. Sometimes it was just out of curiosity. I don’t know if other people do that? Maybe they don’t but I kind of enjoy reading autobiographies. For instance I would never consider myself a Nirvana fan – I like the music from time to time but that’s about it – I mean are there any ’90s teenagers who don’t love rocking out on ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’? For me that song defines the early ’90s. Despite not considering myself a fan I was intrigued to read what his life was like and about his self-inflicted untimely death – what drove him to it. And that is how I found out that there was a huge story and underlying medical conditions which attributed to his drug abuse. Reading this made me more aware of the fact that drug abuse is not simply about the ‘high’ but that there could be so much more behind it.

I also read the autobiography ‘Yes, please‘ by Amy Poehler, not because I’m a huge fan, honestly I have hardly seen anything she’s done, apart from some sketches that got world fame where Amy Poehler and Tina Fey portrayed Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. They are hilarious, don’t get me wrong but it’s not like I’m following either one of their careers, but simply because I was intrigued. For some reason I just wanted to read it. But alas we’re getting off track this is supposed to be about Lindsey Stirling’s book.

Ever since ‘The only Pirate at the Party‘ came out I wanted to read it. And now that I have seen Lindsey perform live I wanted to read her book even more. She’s an interesting person in my opinion – one who portrays great strength which we can all learn from. Unfortunately the problem with autobiographies is that usually they are only read by fans, and that is a shame because there is a lot of good and sound advice in these autobiographies both on positive as well as negative topics. You could learn from mistakes they made and avoid them as well as improve knowledge on how to reach your goals for instance.

So what makes Lindsey Stirling an interesting person I hear you ask, especially since she’s ‘just’ a electronic violin player who dances on stage’? Well, she’s a very interesting electronic violin player – one who knows exactly what she wants and goes for it. I admire that in people – I wish that I was more like that. Lindsey is one of those people who are able to go out there and get what they want, despite what other people say or think of them. For me that always seems to be a struggle. I try to learn my lessons from these types of books. She’s not afraid to be herself – and she truly sticks with it. Sure she has her fair share of downfalls and not to mention enough self-doubt to compete with any one of us. But overcoming her fears and the way she’s presents herself as a very uniquely talented person are definitively what make her an interesting person to read about. Oh, did you ever see a random Lindsey Stirling behind the scenes video or Lindsey impersonating her biggest fan Phelba on YouTube? Those videos are hilarious and Lindsey Stirling tells the story of her life with that same kind of humor. Even when she’s talking about serious topics she manages to add a light tone of voice to her text.

I read this book on my tablet which was a great experience, every time there was talk about a certain song, clip or video I was able to look it up on YouTube instantly. The same goes for interviews and performances. If Lindsey Stirling didn’t put them online herself you can be sure that someone else uploaded them. Whether it’s a specific interview from a talk show or her performance at America’s Got Talent, you can find it all. Anyway being able to see the YouTube vids as soon as they are being mentioned in the book makes this a very interactive experience, one that I can truly recommend to anyone.

Besides that Lindsey’s way of telling her life’s story is often told in a very funny tone of voice, it’s as if you can literally hear her tell the stories while you’re reading them. The light tone in which she tells her story makes it an easy read. However that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any serious undertones in what she’s talking about. There definitely is and that makes this book really worth reading. Especially since she doesn’t shy away from the hard times in her life, her constant struggle with staying healthy, the way that she was eliminated from America’s got Talent, her climb to fame and the loss of her best friend.

Stats:

YouTube Lindsey Stirling – Followers 9.329 707 (20 Mei 2007)

For all of music videos, behind the scenes, tour videos, collabs with other artists and many more videos you van find on Lindsey Stirling’s main video.

YouTube LindseyTime – Followers 470.241 (16 September 2012)

Is the channel where Lindsey allows you to get to know her better, you can see her on tour with her tour family, backstage videos and challenges among the crew members.

If Lindsey ever decides to write another book I will surely read it and I won’t wait this long to pick it up. This is a definite must read for every fan, but in my opinion also a very enjoyable read for anyone else who dreams of becoming famous, the next hit on YouTube or someone who just enjoys reading a good autobiography.

Lindsey Stirling might see herself as the only Pirate at the party, but I guess that in our own minds we all feel that way. And that is why you should read this book.

March in hindsight

March_2017

It’s only April 7th and I’m already working on my next ‘hindsight’ post. I’m proud of myself, I’m certainly making progress! 😉 Sometimes you just have to give yourself a slap on your shoulder, ain’t no one else going to do it for you if you don’t do it yourself.

That proud feeling didn’t last long, it’s now April 15th! And I still haven’t finished this post! That’s not good, I might as well start on my April in hindsight post already, enough has happened for a complete blog post and not all of it is good. Anyway, let’s do this.

City trips

I actually made two trips during the month of March, one to Amersfoort and one to Gouda (I still have to write that blog post) the city of cheese! That is probably what most people know the name Gouda from.

Concerts

One of the best experiences this month was when I was finally able to see Lindsey Stirling perform live on stage, of course I’d seen quite some performances on YouTube, she has after all a lot of performances available on her own YouTube channel as well as fans channels. It was a blast to see Lindsey live on stage.

I was really looking forward to Pinkpop, but after seeing the full line-up I was completely done with it. With more than 30 acts in total divided over three days it’s hard to believe that the line-up didn’t really please me. Some of the bands – the ones that I like are bands I’ve seen before – and the rest of the line-up didn’t really help. I’m not a ‘Belieber’ nor am I a huge Martin Garrix fan. So this years Pinkpop is not for me!

However I did score my next concert ticket! Hanson’s twenty fifth anniversary tour is coming to the Netherlands, and it’s in the best venue in the Netherlands – Paradiso Amsterdam.

Reading and writing

My writing has obviously been lacking, since I still have quite some catching up to do. One of the posts is of course the Gouda city trip and I think I still have one or two book reviews to write.

My reading however has been going better, I finished one book – The Warrior’s Path (When women were warriors #1) and started reading Lindsey Stirling’s book – The only Pirate at the Party. A wonderfully and inspiring book telling the story of Lindsey’s very interesting life and gives you an even better insight into this woman’s interesting life.

Gaming

I’ve been wanting to replay the Mass Effect series for a while now, however I never really got around to it. Now I am aware that I don’t need to replay the old series to start the new part since they are completely separate and I also know that we won’t get our precious Shepard to play with but I felt that I needed to replay them especially since all three games are backwards compatible on the Xbox One.

About that though, I started playing the first part and I was extremely annoyed. For some reason the game feels completely unplayable on the One, I’ve tried to make adjustments to the setting but nothing seems to help. When I first played the series I played them on my computer and I absolutely fell in love with the series for many reasons. It is actually the first game series that I played back to back from start to finish. And for that reason alone it will always have a special place in my heart. The other reason why I love this series is because you get to choose your character – male or female – always a huge plus if you ask me. Besides that this game allows you to choose love interest – even if that is a gay relationship. And I love that!

Looking ahead:

  • HANSON!!! Haha, yes the band made famous with their 1997 hit song Mmmbop is back! Well back is a big word, we fans know that they’ve never been gone to begin with they have always been making music, art projects, festivals and even their own beer – Mmmhop! And now they are coming here to perform live in Paradiso with their ‘Middle of Everywhere tour – the 25th anniversary tour’. Thanks for making us feel old guys! For them 2017 is their 25th year as a band, but for most fans 2017 marks the 20th anniversary as a fan. Since most of the world got to know them through Mmmbop.
  • I’m celebrating my 35th birthday in April … yes, thirty five. Ridiculous!
  • Still haven’t made up my mind about a vacation … really need to get my shit together!
  • At this moment I don’t really have any plans for a city trip, who knows what the future brings.

February in hindsight

February_2017

February the shortest month of the year is certainly proving to be right. It even feels like this month was even shorter somehow, time is flying by so fast I can hardly comprehend that another month is done!

City trip

The month was so short and busy that I hardly had any time to make any trips, I’m right now planning a trip or maybe even two for March. So there will certainly be at least one, but I’ve purchased three train tickets which I can use during the weekends. I have to use the three ticket on three days before April 16th – which happens to be my birthday. The weekend before is my dad’s birthday, so I am going to have to use them during March.

Reading and writing

I managed to finish reading two different books – completely different books at that. they couldn’t have been any further apart. I finished reading ‘Gone Girl’ written by Gillian Flynn which I really liked but also offered a huge insight into how sick a persons mind can actually be and how – with a lot of planning and deception – you can trick anyone into believing the story you spin in front of their eyes. After reading that book I needed something completely different, something lighter so I followed it by a children’s’ book ‘Fortunately, the milk’ and I wrote the for both books during February.

I’m planning on reading at least one book during March, of course I hope to be able to add more than just one to my list but the books I’m currently reading are quite thick. One is a paperback and the other one I’m reading on my tablet, my tablet is easier to bring with me when I’m out and about and the paperback is what I read when I’m at home. Which is why it sometimes takes such a long time to finish the books.

Gaming

I’ve been a gamer for quite some time now I started with some games on my desktop computer. Then I had a Playstation 2 and a PSP way back when, but now I’m in love with the Xbox One. I recently sold my old Xbox 360 because I wasn’t using it anymore,  especially since most of the games I own are backwards compatible on the Xbox One. I bought the Xbox 360 as a test, it was a refurbished model I wanted to see if I would use it or if it would be gathering dust in a short amount of time. Since that wasn’t the case I bought the Xbox One last year together with The Division which means that it is now a year old. If I remember correctly the release date for The Division was early March. And I have been using it quite a lot. The Division is still my favorite game to play but I have also been doing quite a bit of Destiny, Assassins Creed and I’ve been recently I started playing GTA V.

I was really looking forward to March because of two games that are being released this month. Ghost Recon Wild Lands and Mass Effect Andromeda. Ghost Recon is of course from the same developer as The Division. And Mass Effect is actually the first game series which I played from the first game till the third game all the way through to the end. So it’s nostalgia and I really want to see it.

Looking ahead:

  • Planning another city trip, who knows where I might go this time? S’Hertogenbosch (also known as Den Bosch) or Vlissingen, Amersfoort maybe. And I’m thinking of Groningen. But we’ll see which places I’ve actually visited when the once the month of March is over.
  • Lindsey Stirling – My first concert of 2017, actually my first concert in almost a year! That’s bad, I really need to go and see more concerts. The venue is 013 – Tilburg, March 17th. I’m so looking forward to this one, I have high expectations and she has been on my list for a while along with Pentatonix (PTX) who I still hope to be able to see although truth be told I’ve already missed a couple of concerts they’ve given in the Netherlands.
  • We’ve planned the High Tea, I’m going together with my mom and sister on the 19th of March! It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for the longest time and finally we are going! We’re also planning on a small shopping spree while were at it.
  • Pinkpop 2017 – the Pinkpop press conference is during the month of March which also means that by the end of it we’ll know most of the names that’ll visit us during the three days in June and the sale for the tickets will start a couple of days later! By the looks of it I’ll have to be fast if I want to get tickets, especially since Justin Bieber has been announced. Mind you, he’s definitely not on my ‘must see’-list but if he’s there why not. The music he’s been making has been quite catchy to say the least. Besides that Green Day, the Kings of Leon, System of a Down and Martin Garrix have been confirmed as well.
  • Planning a vacation! So many choices, so many places to visit! I still have to make up my mind about a destination.

Book 2 – Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

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After reading a story about characters as twisted and as sick as ‘Amazing Amy’ in Gone Girl, I certainly needed to read something completely different. Something uplifting and fun, with a different pace and that book came in the form of ‘Fortunately, the Milk’ by Neil Gaiman and illustrator Skottie Young.

And it was literally the best choice I could have made at that time. This story definitively was what I needed I had so much fun reading it. The book has 160 pages – at least my version has – however since there are a lot of drawings in the book the story is relatively short. The fact that the story is relatively short doesn’t take away how awesome it is.

It’s basically one of the most surprising stories I’ve read in a long time it simply starts with a father who has to take care of his kids because his wife is away on a business trip for a couple of days. As all moms would do she’s given him a couple of tasks for the days that she’s away. And as all moms do she has already made sure that most things are taken care of before she leaves. One of the simple tasks that she asks her husband to do is getting milk for the kids’ cereal. But as most dads do in a situation like this, he forgets to buy the milk in the store and one of the mornings the kids want their cereal but there is no more milk.

The dad goes out to get some milk from the store on the corner, and promises to his kids to come back quickly. Not only because the kids need the milk for their cereal but also because he needs it for his own tea. However it takes a long, long time for the dad to return and the kids get worried and hungry. Finally when the dad returns he tells his kids the most wonderful adventure all revolving around a simple milk carton and why it took him so long to return home.

Besides the very adventurous story the book is also filled by wonderfully creative drawings made by Skottie Young. The portrayal of the story is simply perfect. The drawings are all in black and white but for some reason I felt the extreme urge to grab my color pencils and start coloring the drawings, probably because a lot of details were told in such a vivid way that you could color it exactly the way it was meant to be colored in.

I’m really curious now to read more of Neil Gaiman’s books, I know some of my friends love his work but up until now I wasn’t familiar with it. Does anyone have any recommendations for other books by Neil Gaiman I can read, there are so many books to choose from!

Yes, this is one to read!

Book 1 – Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

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A very surprising book!

I have read quite a few crime books and I have encountered a lot of twisted characters in those books, from terrorists to cold blooded murderers. But none of them was as twisted as one of the characters I encountered in this book. Nothing could have prepared me for this.

The title ‘Gone Girl’ tells you all you need to know, a woman disappears into thin air leaving behind a strangely acting husband, an overturned living room and a huge badly cleaned up blood pool on the kitchen floor. To top it off it becomes more and more clear that their marriage wasn’t as good as it should have been. There is mutual anger and resentment between the spouses. They’d been at odds for a while and since both of them lost their job and they moved from New York city to a small town where Nick grew up because his mother was dying. To top it off there were financial troubles and Nick is cheating on his wife with a much younger woman.

Most of the time when I read I use my tablet, just because it’s easier to take with me. I’ve read this book in the train to Rotterdam for example and I took it with me to the library. I remember specifically being at 40% percent of the book when I was wondering where the hell the story was going. At that point I honestly couldn’t figure it out! I was so curious to read more and figure it out, but whatever idea I came up with would have never even come close to the actual story.

What I didn’t know at that time was that I was actually at the breaking point in the story. Within a matter of a few pages the story started to change in a very different direction – very surprising direction I might add. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, this is one you really need to read or see for yourself. Even if I tried to explain it I could never do it justice.

Book vs. movie

This is a book which has been turned into the film and out of curiosity I choose to watch the movie as well. The thing is that I finished the book before I watched the movie which seems the logical order since the book was written first. It’s always intriguing to see how books and movies compare and I am able to separate the two. I know that a lot of people have trouble separating books and movies but I’m not one of them, I can enjoy both of them and see them for what they are.

The book and the movie are really similar, of course there are some things left out. That happens a lot in movies for obvious reasons, they often only have a hour and a half or two hours to tell the story. The book goes at a slower pace, the movie has a faster pace of course they need to capture the audiences attention in a different manner. While in a book they can take the time to build up the story, a writer can capture so much more than a movie could ever do.

To me the movie was less interesting, which isn’t all that surprising since I read the book and I knew what to expect and I could see all the plot twists coming. I think that if I hadn’t read the book the plot twits would have surprised me just as much as they did while I was reading it. There is no way you can foresee that twisted character development.