What a Year! Moving On.

December 29, 2015 books, miscellaneous 17



I thought I had plenty of time to do this and then I realized submissions close in a day and it’s almost New Year’s Eve. I’ll be doing a more personal wrap-up post in a bit, but this is my bookish year. I made some questions up, deleted some and changed others, because it’s the early hours of the morning and there are tv shows I have to watch.

Reading Stats

Number Of Books I Completed: About 35 + some fanfiction.

Number of Re-Reads: None yet, but I’m listening to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone as an audiobook every night before bed, so probably 1 before the year ends

Genre You Read The Most From:

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Speed Typing Test Review (How Fast Can YOU Type?)

December 29, 2015 discussion, fun, miscellaneous, writing 14

Help. There are so many more productive things I could be doing. But Kristen asked me whether I’ve ever done any typing tests in the comments of my speed reading test review, so you know what I’m doing for the next hour. I’m much more confident about my speed typing abilities than my speed reading abilities, but we’ll see how it goes. Please no one link me to anything that looks like a test, survey or buzzfeed quiz in the comments after this though, because I will have to forward my university expulsion letter and a bucket full of my tears to you.

typingtest.com

If you know me, you’ll know I did my research and totally didn’t pick out the very first test that came up when I Googled “typing test”. This test prides itself on being able to tell your “true” typing speed in 60 seconds (I wonder what a false typing speed would be) and is preset to give you a text from Aesop’s fables, but you can choose different texts to copy. I chose Space Cowboys, because that sounded a lot more fun.

I got 64 words/minute with 1 error, so 63 words per minute. I wasn’t sure if quotation marks and such counted as errors and the fact that the test always colored the next word I had to type blue distracted me a little even though it was supposed to be helpful (my brain is weird and confused but loveable, like Kirk from Gilmore Girls). The test says between 60 and 80 words per minute is fast, but the next level is “pro”, so you know I had to try it again. I left it on Aesop’s fables this time and got 77 words/minute with 2 errors, so still fast, but 5 missing to be a pro. I, um, got competitive with myself then. I chose Baseball Rules and typed 85 words with one mistyped word, so an adjusted speed of 84 words per minute, which officially makes me a PRO. YES, MY LIFE GOALS ARE COMPLETED.

You know I had to use this gif.



I also switched to German once and got a science-y text on musk deer (WTF) and typed 68 words/minute with 51 mistyped words and an adjusted speed of 0 words per minute. Um. I don’t quite know what happened there.
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Shoulderpads and Interventions

December 27, 2015 miscellaneous 2

Holding Out for a Hero Victoria Van Tiem on Reviews and Cake cover

A funny, bitter-sweet romantic dramedy set to an 80’s soundtrack.

The problem with first love is that it never truly dies.
Libby London fell in love in with the 80s, came of age in the 90s, and now, in the 21st Century, she’s completely falling apart… Her New York City fashion sensibility is more ‘vintage tragedy’ than ‘retro babe’ and might just be what’s holding her back in all matters of life and love…

At least that’s what her well-meaning friends think. They’ve staged a #80sIntervention in an effort to bring Libby bang up-to-date. But how do you move forward when the one you love holds you in the past? Between her dreaded birthday party, friend’s madcap ambush, and being forced to relocate her Pretty In Pink thrift shop, Libby’s nearing the end of the rope… If her therapist isn’t quick, it could be a literal one.

I know I said I’m not really doing ARCs, but since I have a Kindle now and I’ve been reading more ebooks my #1 reason is invalid, so I figured I might as well try this netgalley thing the cool kids have been talking about. I requested Holding Out for a Hero in exchange for an honest review (thanks Pan Macmillan) and now it is my duty to pester you until you read it too, because it’s wonderful!
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Dashing Through the… Mud?

December 26, 2015 books, miscellaneous 14

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What’s New?

Meeeeeeerry Christmas, everyone! And of course the token but heartfelt if you’re not celebrating have a merry time anyway. And if you absolutely detest Christmas, I hope you have successfully locked yourself away and will be happy to hear that it’s safe to come out again tomorrow. At least we’re having the warmest December since the beginning of time, so Grinches can rejoice at the lack of snowpeople and snowball fights. Okay, since we started recording the weather, but it’s almost the same thing.

Yes, there’s a seasonally appropriate Hogwarts gif for every occasion.



We had a more or less stressless Christmas Eve (which is when food and family and presents happen in Germany). Yesterday was more of a fuck-off-world-please day for me, so I mainly spent it reading, but today we had raclette and guests and did I mention raclette? I think my favorite time about the winter holidays specifically is that so many of my friends who are usually distributed across the world, or at least the country, are home for the holidays, so I can see them. I don’t have to work next week, but I do have to speedily produce a 20-page essay, so we’ll see how that goes. I’ve also been vlogging again, because what’s more interesting than one random person’s life.

I'm so good at wrapping gifts. At least the deformity keeps the mystery of what's inside alive?

I’m so good at wrapping gifts. At least the deformity keeps the mystery of what’s inside alive?

Me and my cousin Jenna. As you can see I'm the one who got the fashion sense.

Me and my cousin Jenna. As you can see I’m the one who got the fashion sense.


The Shiny

I was all prepared to say I didn’t get anything this week sadface emoticon, but then I realized I bought four books. Oops. I found a voucher from 2013 and one from this year, so I went to town. I know, party hard.



All The Bright Places, Firewalker, Conquest and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

On the Blog

Aaand we’re back to a list with one bullet point. I swear I wanted to write up more posts; I just…didn’t.

Tune of the Week

It’s gotta be something Christmassy this week! I really like this version of All I Want For Christmas Is You (the good part starts at 0:43).



Any cool presents? Funny accidents? We almost burned down the house because the décor caught fire. Like that, but less dangerous and more funny.


As always, I’m linking up with Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and the Sunday Post hosted by the Caffeinated Book Reviewer!

stacking the shelvessunday post

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Speed Reading Test Review (How Fast Can YOU Read?)

December 22, 2015 books, miscellaneous 15

I used to think I’m a fast reader.

In class, I was always among the first to finish a text. I read constantly at home, so it made sense that I’d be a speedy reader, right? Then, a couple of years ago, I was rudely awakened when I read the same text as someone else and they finished before I was done with the first quarter. A little later, I stumbled upon the Staples Speed Reading Test, and it confirmed my deepest fears: I’m a slow reader. DUN DUN DUN. I’d excuse myself by saying that English isn’t my mother tongue, but I read more in English than in German these days, so …I can’t.

For no particular reason at all, I decided to write a review of some of the speed reading tests my quick Google search yielded. It’s 1 am. I should probably go to bed.

The Staples Reading Test

ereader test
Source: Staples eReader Department

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Christmas and Cookies!

December 20, 2015 books, miscellaneous 12

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What’s New?

Good day, my Christmassy friends. I hope you’re having a wonderful time! Christmas is my very favorite holiday, because it’s like a fifth season and it goes on for weeks. What’s better than a holiday that literally lasts an entire month? Friends come home, almost everyone takes at least some time off and there’s great food, reading, cheesy movies and lots of sparkly decorations. Basically, it’s perfection.

At the moment I’m writing this, I’m listening to BBC Radio 1’s rock show and lounging in my comfy Christmas pajama bottoms (they say HOHOHO and also LOL and for some reason there’s a cat emoji involved – I’m not sure what the designers took, but I’m loving it) and I’ve spent the day recovering from a hangover wrapping Christmas presents and watching Elf (how the FUCK does Zooey Deschanel look so different just because she has different hair!??). I wish you all a great Christmas week and fantastic holidays! And if you’re not celebrating Christmas, I wish you a phenomenal non-Christmassy week. Here’s some of my Christmas cookies. I think they’re pretty handsome if I may say so myself!
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Do You Review A Lot of Books You Didn’t Like On Your Blog?

December 17, 2015 books, discussion 26

Talk To Me

is a no-nonsense discussion feature on this blog. No-nonsense means I’m too lazy to make it look pretty. It’s exactly what the title suggests: I’m going to pose a question or tell you my own opinion about something, and I want to know what you think about it! Obviously feel free to write up your own post on the topic and link it in the comments.




Topic

Bloggers, I have a question for you! Recently, I realized I mainly review books, movies and TV shows that I liked, so there’s a much higher percentage of favorable reviews on my blog. Naturally, I was wondering if you do the same, or if I should make more of an effort to share negative reviews as well.
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Morally Ambiguous Characters and Magical Writing

December 15, 2015 books, reviews 6

a darker shade of magic on reviews and cake

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped.

A Darker Shade of Magic has been on my to read list for ages. I heard about it a couple of times, and I follow Victoria Schwab on twitter, so I kept reading about parallel worlds, magic, and pirates. I read and reviewed Vicious, her adult book, and now I finally got around to this one. And let me tell you – I was intrigued from the start! I think the first few chapters are the strongest of the book, because they’re such a great introduction to the world and the characters of A Darker Shade of Magic. The writing just felt magical (unrelated to the book’s subject) and, like with Vicious, I found it very cinematic. Worldbuilding at its best!
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Working in Publishing as a Cougar: Younger

December 10, 2015 recs, reviews, tv shows 2

TV Show Thursdays on Reviews and Cake

Welcome to TV Show Thursdays, where I discuss TV Shows, review episodes and give my commentary on anything TV Show related!


Today I want to talk about Younger. I just recently discovered this TV show when I was looking for something fun and new, and I binge watched the entire first season in a day. It focuses on Liza, a 40-year-old who pretends she’s a 26-year-old college graduate with a history of charity work in India to land a job in the publishing industry. She moves in with an artist friend in Brooklyn, gets herself a younger lover and makes friends at her new place of employment. Liza is played by Sutton Foster, who TV show geeks like me might know from her time as the leading character in Bunheads, the show co-created by Gilmore Girls maker Amy Sherman-Palladino and Lamar Damon that was sadly cancelled after just one season.



A huge reason why I like this show is that it’s set in the trendy New York publishing world bookish dreams are made of. It being a TV show it’s not as realistic as it could be, but all the book references are fairly awesome. I’m still waiting for the book blogger mentions, but maybe next season. More than that, almost all the important characters are women, which is a nice change from most shows. The show isn’t groundbreaking and it portrays millenials like a parody of themselves, but it’s fun to watch, and if the premise sounds good to you, I’d recommend giving it a chance!

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What I Learned During NaNoWriMo 2015

December 9, 2015 miscellaneous, writing 6

November, or as some writers know it “that crazy month where you ditch life and try to write a book in four weeks”, has come and passed and selfless person that I am I’d like to share some insights with you (fun fact: I once wrote “insides” instead of “insights” in a university essay and didn’t catch it while proof reading, so now I’m always worried it’ll happen again and people will think I want to share my innards with them – I do not).

So first things first: I didn’t win. It pains me to admit it, but since I so cockily declared that I Bet I Can Write a Book, I figured I should share my failure with you and explain to you why it wasn’t actually a failure. HOW CONVENIENT, you might think and you would be completely right, but keep an open mind. Generally, I mean, not in relation to my fake failure, you may judge me on that all you want. It never hurts to keep an open mind, does it? Look at Aberforth and his goats – some might wonder why JK Rowling chose to include bestiality in her books, but never explicitly mentioned Dumbledore was gay in the text, but to those people I say keep an open mind; maybe Aberforth loved his goats more than Dumbledore loved Grindelwald and clearly love is more important than taking over the world is what I say to deflect attention from my devious plan of taking over the world (fun fact number two: Sometimes I wonder whether what I’m writing is inappropriate or only makes sense to 0.2 out of a hundred people. That’s usually the stuff that I keep).



Before I grace you irritate you with more weird Harry Potter humor, let’s take a look at the things my first NaNoWriMo experience taught me!
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How Often Should I Post?

December 8, 2015 discussion, miscellaneous 8

Talk To Me

is a no-nonsense discussion feature on this blog. No-nonsense means I’m too lazy to make it look pretty. It’s exactly what the title suggests: I’m going to pose a question or tell you my own opinion about something, and I want to know what you think about it! Obviously feel free to write up your own post on the topic and link it in the comments.


Topic

There’s a lot of blogging advice out there when you look for it, and I usually ignore most of it, but this has me stumped. How often should I post? To be honest, I usually just do as I please, which means that sometimes there are 7 posts a week (okay, admittedly not that often) and sometimes there aren’t any for three weeks. I think it’s important not to get stressed about it when it’s a hobby, because it should be fun, but I do get itchy when I haven’t posted something in a while. I agree with most advice out there that it’s important to be somewhat consistent, but that still leaves the question of frequency.
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Ten Feel Good Movies For When You Need Some Light Entertainment

December 7, 2015 fun, miscellaneous, movies, recs 6

I was looking for posts on feel good movies earlier today, so I figured I’d just make one of my own. When I need some distraction, I tend towards the light and entertaining, and I could write a whole essay on why these kinds of feel good movies are just as important as all your dark, critically acclaimed epics, but I’ll give you this list instead. Feel free to add to it in the comments; I’m always looking for recommendations! These are some of my very favorites, the créme de la créme of movies that bring a smile to my face.

What a Girl Wants

The classic modern day Cinderella story set in London’s royal society, starring Amanda Bynes as Daphne Reynolds, a girl from New York who is trying to figure out who she really is. I’ve watched this movie too many times to count when I was younger, and I still enjoy it now. My memory isn’t usually good enough to quote movies, but I can mouth the lines to this one.


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ALL THE BOOKS

November 29, 2015 books, miscellaneous 7

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What’s New?

Good things that happened this week:

  • dancing and free cocktails
  • fun times with friends
  • new creative ideas

The Shiny



I caved and bought a Kindle Voyage, so obviously I had to fill it with things. Lots of things. All of them have been on my to be read list for a while now though. I have to admit, it’s a bit of a struggle to decide whether I want to buy books on my Kindle or physically now. Forget that whole what’s better debate (it’s literally the same content) the real problem here is that I want to read them on the Kindle, but I ALSO want to ogle them on my shelf.

cinder cover marissa meyer on reviews and cake mortal heart by robin lafevers cover on reviews and cake dumplin by julie murphy cover on reviews and cake

And then there was this. One of the perks during Patrick Ness’s Save the Children fundraiser were signed copies of Alexandra Bracken’s Through the Dark, a collection of short stories set in the world of her The Darkest Minds series. I love that series, but I couldn’t buy the short stories before, because they weren’t available in Germany. I was planning to get the book anyway when it was released, so this was perfect!

Through the Dark by Alexandra Bracken cover on Reviews and Cake

Yes, I have books instead of hands now. Kind of impractical, but I’m making it work.



I didn’t think I was getting a copy, because I didn’t get an e-mail notification when they were sent out (there was a limited number), so imagine my surprise when I went to the post office to ostensibly pick up a boring university book and got this instead!


On the Blog

Tune of the Week



The song that’s been used in about a million fan videos of every TV show ever… Enjoy.

As always, I’m linking up with Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and the Sunday Post hosted by the Caffeinated Book Reviewer!

stacking the shelvessunday post

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Favorite Harry Potter Moments

November 26, 2015 books, fun, miscellaneous 14

I’ve been indulging in my Harry Potter addiction again recently, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite moments of the books/movies with you. I haven’t reread them, so this is a non-comprehensive, random list, but I thought some of you might enjoy it. :)

1. When Hermione hits Draco

I’m generally a very non-violent person, but there’s just something so satisfying about Hermione losing her shit and backhanding Draco. I think she slaps him in the book, but punches him in the movie? Either way, it’s glorious.


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Are We Targeting The Wrong Audience?

November 24, 2015 discussion 16

Talk To Me

is a no-nonsense discussion feature on this blog. No-nonsense means I’m too lazy to make it look pretty. It’s exactly what the title suggests: I’m going to pose a question or tell you my own opinion about something, and I want to know what you think about it! Obviously feel free to write up your own post on the topic and link it in the comments.


Topic

This post is inspired by a discussion about why reviews receive less comments than other posts on These Paper Hearts. In it, Stephanie raises the question of whether we are too focused on catering to fellow bloggers instead of readers who don’t have a blog themselves. As this is something I’ve been thinking about myself, I thought I’d start a discussion.

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Snow and Capitalism

November 22, 2015 miscellaneous 10

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What’s New?

This week I’ve spent some time at the university library not getting any work done; went to work where I did actually get some work done, because they pay me for it and apparently money is a stronger motivator than my self-development (who would have thought? Oh right, capitalism); and met up with some friends. NaNo is still on hold and will probably continue to be so, because I didn’t make that much progress on my term paper. In unrelated news, it was snowing today, so apparently winter is a thing now. More importantly, Christmas chocolate is a thing now! I mean, technically I’ve been seeing Christmas products in stores since August, but this is the time when I start to actually acknowledge them.


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The Martian

November 19, 2015 miscellaneous 6

This is just a quick movie recommendation post to tell you YOU NEED TO WATCH THE MARTIAN.




I know this was a book first, but I haven’t read it yet, so I can only talk about the movie, which is BRILLIANT. I liked Matt Damon in Interstellar, but I mostly went to see this movie because nothing much else was on at the time. I almost DIDN’T watch it, because I wasn’t in the mood for something too serious. Boy, would I have missed out.

The Martian is serious in parts, but it’s also really frickin’ hilarious. It’s exactly my kind of humor, and basically I want to be friends with Mark Watney. The premise is that a mission on Mars goes wrong and someone (Mark) gets left behind and has to survive all by himself. I was worried it might be slightly boring to watch a movie with a character who can’t interact with anyone, but nope nope nopity nope. It’s funny and uplifting, and I’m in love.

If you have the chance to watch The Martian do yourself a favor and don’t hesitate! You can thank me later.

Have you read the book? Watched the movie? Planning to watch it?

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Why I Read Young Adult

November 17, 2015 books, discussion 20

See? See! I’m not only telling you why I DON’T do stuff. Today you can get another unwanted and unasked for insight into how my brain works. Aren’t you excited? I know I am.



I’m 22, and I love reading Young Adult. I’m pretty confident that’s not going to change anytime soon. It’s not the only thing I read, but I think it’s safe to say the majority of books I read are classified as YA. I know a lot of people already outlined their reasons for reading Young Adult as an adult, but I’ll contribute to the discussion, because I feel like it, and because some people still view YA as lesser.
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NaNoWriMo Week 2 + Snippets

November 16, 2015 miscellaneous, writing 2

My week two writing process was very… mercurial. You’ll see what I mean. I did write words though, so I decided to share some snippets in between my daily recounts. Everything subject to change, obviously.



Day 1:

I challenged myself to write 5.000 words today. I needed 3.700 to make up for not writing over the weekend, but 5.000 was a prettier number, and I like a good challenge. Actually I hate a good challenge, and I’ve been struggling all day, but- OMG I DID IT. I procrastinated all day and didn’t really start writing until late evening, and it’s exactly 3 am now, which isn’t ideal, because I need to get up and go to work at 8 am, BUT SCREW IT I ACTUALLY DID IT. I’d like to thank the academy, my family, my writerly friends, and, most importantly, the progress bar in the Scrivener project and session target tool that turns from red to green as you reach your target word count and makes writing seem like a mini game I am 97.6% convinced it’s the reason I’ve been reaching my goals so far. Word written: 5.211

Alex sat down on her bed to put on a pair of tights, swearing when her fingernail caught on the silky material. “I swear these things are made to torture people.”

Allie looked over her shoulder at where Alex was fighting with her tights. “I’m pretty sure they were used during the Spanish Inquisition. Who needs an eyeball scraper when you can use tights?”

“An eyeball scraper? Sometimes you scare me,” Alex said. She was finally happy with the tights and stood up to smooth down her dress. She had still been wearing her make-up when Allie arrived, but she added some dark red lipstick to round out the look. Allie beamed at her in the mirror.

“Thank you. I do try.”

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We’re live in 3… 2… 1…

November 14, 2015 books, fun, miscellaneous, writing 10

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What’s New?

Me and my friend Verena (she blogs in German, but I’ll link to her blog anyway, because you can look at her drawings) are going to have our own radio show soon! As you might or might not remember, I did an internship at a local radio station this summer, and I decided to ask whether I can do my own show. I convinced Verena to join me, because I thought it would be more fun together. We worked on a concept last week and presented it at the monthly meeting yesterday. They all voted yes, so we’ll be going live for an hour every four weeks starting January. I’m really excited about it, because I’m sure it’s going to be a lot of fun, and it’s good practice if I want to do something radio-related after uni. In other news, I’m still doing NaNoWriMo, although slightly less successfully. I’m a bit stuck in my story, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out and persevere.

I also edited my England vlog, so if you’re interested in seeing what I got up to, you can do that here. I know, you’ve been waiting with bated breath.


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