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Kindle Paperwhite – review

Although I have talked about this before, I was strangely obsessed with getting a Kindle. Well, actually a second Kindle, since I was the dissatisfied owner of one of the first generation versions. Awful, to say the least. I don’t agree with any reviews that found it

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The “home” for my Kindle on my nightstand.

even slightly acceptable. That being said, most people did refer to it as Amazon’s “prototype” which the company has greatly enhanced since. The Kindle I was interested in was the Paperwhite. I kind of even like the name of it, “Paperwhite”, like “bloodred” or “skyblue”. As I said, having had a really bad opinion and most of all feeling about the Kindle I already owned, it took me years to even consider approaching this subject again. What did it for me was the last visit at my parents’ house. Although a lovely visit, as always, it strangely lacks privacy, especially in the evenings. I am sharing a guest room with my 3 year old daughter and once I have put her to bed, the room becomes in fact kind of inaccessible, well inaccessible for reading with a lamp anyway. It’s obviously not an option to go in and turn the light on to read at night when your toddler is sleeping 2 feet from you. But I love reading before going to bed, so the visits at my parents’ house have morphed into something of a no-reading-zone. Which is a total downer, because I am essentially “on holiday” and how I can enjoy this time without being able to read?

Just one of the reasons to get a Kindle20170130_094125

At my last visit I did come prepared though, I purchased one of those attachable torches that you can hook onto the cover of the book, which should facilitate reading in the dark. Now let me tell you, it’s a challenging and tiresome activity to keep the “torch”, which is a teeny tiny flash of light, in a position that is acceptable for shedding light onto your pages. No doubt, there is no way that you get the same kind of light onto the whole page as you would expect, or indeed require, so you go in and out of reading on some sort of badly lit paper. Turning a page or moving to the opposite page does require shifting of the torch to some extent, so overall, I got more involved by moving the bloody light than in the actual story I am trying to read. I was glad I did have the torch thingy but each and every night I had the same thought over and over, why didn’t I have a Kindle which would solve this problem altogether? Also, I sometimes have these phases where one book might not be sufficient for my trip. Last time, I got seriously close to finishing the book I was reading, a day before I was supposed to leave, so of course this means I have to take this current book plus another one, because it’s inevitable that I will need to have more than 80 pages to read. Again, with a Kindle it would have been no problem at all.

 

Which version to get?

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Now, to the actual Kindle. To please the crowd, there is obviously more than one version. As you can see from my own explanation above, I am the person who needs the Kindle Paperwhite, as I do require to read at night time without disturbing people around me. There is also a cheaper version which is not backlit, so you understandably won’t be able to use this for any kind of night reading. A no-go for me, hence the added price tag for the enhanced lit up version.

I was so nervous when I placed the order for the Kindle, dreading that I will hate it and feeling stupid about my decision making skills, but it seemed only reasonable to invest into a gadget that will essentially make my life more comfortable. My previous reservations of preferring an actual book to electronic pages, was also strongly on my mind, this used to be the point of disgrace for my initial Kindle in the first place. But to be honest, curiosity and sheer laziness with a splash of risk taking made me hit the “purchase now” button before I could talk myself out of it again. And I am so glad I did.

 

My opinion

Truth be told, in my mind I fully allowed the Paperwhite some time to impress me, but I didn’t have to worry about that. The fact that the page is actually lit, means that it’s a total different reading experience than I had with the first generation version. It’s also much smaller than I expected, reasonable in weight and very easy to use. You can adjust all kinds of settings to suit your personal preferences such as fonts, font size, backlight strength, page information etc. There is a bunch of things you can play around with to make it fully your own, or if that’s not your thing, you can just leave it as is and you will likewise have a very enjoyable reading experience.

For years, I did put up a fight about getting a Kindle but the Paperwhite did impress me enormously and whilst I will still read paperbacks here and there, the Kindle has quickly risen to my number 1 gadget which I would recommend strongly to anybody who is still in doubt.

 

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Book review – Big Little Lies

I totally forgot to do a book review on „Big Little Lies“ by Liane Moriarty. Boah…quite a tongue twister that last name but she’s an excellent writer.

20160615_082400Big Little Lies is actually the first book which I have read by this author. Personally I think she is most known for her novel “The Husband’s Secret” which probably the majority of people bring her in contact with. And rightly so, she’s written it.

Big Little Lies is a story about schoolyard moms and before you dismiss it, it’s also a mystery and cleverly plotted. There are 3 main characters which the book focuses on but there are also more people coming into play so it does keep you on your toes. I found all 3 leading ladies very much relatable, very likeable and I felt for each one of them in their unique situation.

The book starts at the end in a way, as we are told that there was a terrible altercation at the trivia school night. What happened and who was involved is not clear. From there the book jumps backwards to I believe 6 months before this fateful night and we are taken on quite a ride with these ladies.

I found I got totally hooked in to the ladies lives and I looked forward each evening to read the book and oftentimes ending up reading just one more chapter as I couldn’t put it down.

The only thing I found a bit, well overwhelming to be honest, were the additional comments by other parents as each chapter closes. Don’t get me wrong, they are witty remarks but it threw me a bit off to read so many names and then trying to understand who it is. Is it Madeleine’s friend or her enemy who says this? That kind of thoughts went through my head as I wasn’t sure if it could be vital to the overall story. Turns out, the comments are not vital, so just read them with pleasure, they won’t spoil the book if you don’t know who the person is saying it.

Liane Moriarty is a great author and I look forward to reading many more novels of hers. Luckily she has written quite a few already. My next one will be “The Last Anniversary” and then “The Husbands Secret”.

 

Since I found Big Little Lies absolutely thrilling and a great read, I was even more pleased when I saw that a TV series is currently being in the works which are based on this book. And a major bonus is the cast. Reese Whitherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Shailene Woodley represent the leading ladies. I absolutely can’t wait to see the drama of the book unfold on the big screen.

 

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Book review – Before I go to sleep

This debut novel is certainly much raved about and I have to agree with all the others who think that the story was excellent. Written in first person by its main character Christine, it takes us on her journey suffering from amnesia. bislecoverChristine wakes up every day not knowing who she is and therefore greatly depends on the people around her. In an attempt to grasp a footing in reality and remain there she is taking steps in keeping a journal that will help her to remember her story. But of course the story in itself is twisted and full of mysteries. It definitely kept me guessing and doubting characters who came into the picture. I knew before reading the book that there is a big turn towards the end of the book and I must admit I didn’t see it coming. It’s a great book, definitely worth reading and will keep you in its grip. You feel for Claire and can almost sense her desperation in her quest of finding out what happened to her to leave her with no memory.

Admittedly there are reviews which fault the book on the repetitive nature of following the main characters daily routine. Given that she suffers from amnesia some parts are repeated but I have to say that the author did it in a quick way. Personally I didn’t feel bored as every day in her life brings out new developments, so it’s not quite fair to say that you read the same text over and over.

As should be, with every great book comes a movie adaption. Usually not as good as the book. I can’t comment on that as I have not watched the movie yet but I am hopeful as the cast, with Nicole Kidman representing the leading lady, should not disappoint.

 

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Spend free Shopping

Every now and again I do some spend-free shopping. Mostly this focuses on clothes and beauty products but I have lately also incorporated books, magazines, flowerpots …. Anything that would be useful to me at this time.

Clothes swap

First of all clothes….. Now every woman has too many clothes as it is so you can go shopping in your own wardrobe or get together with friends, relatives etc …as long as they are your size or were your size at some stage.

The idea is obviously to swap clothes. I think some people might find it weird or even gross but I’m not talking about swapping knickers…. We all wash our clothes and generally take clothes swap 1good care of them so if I have items lying around which were impulse buys or just not matching my current style anymore I find it a good money saving idea to pass them on to my friends (or sister in my case).

Great tip here…start with your pregnant friends or recently pregnant. They, without them knowing or choosing, basically live in their jogging tracks and bulky shirts and before they know it their style will have evolved. At least this is what pregnancy did to me. After regaining my pre-pregnancy weight I didn’t quite get into my old style. It changed somehow and I have to say it was actually fun to change the way I dress. I guess it’s because my whole life kind of changed, so it’s obvious that your wardrobe will too.

Visit your wardrobe

wardrobedesignIf the clothes swap with friends is not working for you then I strongly recommend you go shopping in your own wardrobe. Unless you are a total neat freak and super organised you, as all others of us out there, will choose your clothes by the 80/20 rule. You were 20% of your clothes for 80% all the time. Don’t say it isn’t so.…. It really is. For most of us if not all of us.

So what I love to do every now and again is to turn my wardrobe upside down. I take everything out….and then look at every piece and ask myself how I can wear this. It’s really fun. Especially with those items that you hardly ever wear. Just get creative. Pieces which are hardly worn just need a bit of spicing up.

I generally find it easiest to put a whole outfit together with those items I don’t wear a lot. You will be surprised how easy it is to combine it in a different way to make it work for you. It’s definitely worth a try and I guarantee you that you will be excited to wear your “newly” put together outfit. And of course, best of all, it didn’t cost a thing.

If you need some outfit creation inspiration, then head over to pinterest, Instagram or do a general google search on the type of outfit you are looking for. You will be inspired to say the least.

I love checking out hello gorgeous for styles:

https://www.instagram.com/hellogorgblog/

Beauty products

If I am honest I could almost open up my own little drugstore. No, not really but there are lots of items I have accumulated over some time which were then quickly replaced with something else and I end up with lots of barely used products.

messy makeup drawerBefore we delve into this further…..beauty products, especially make-up doesn’t last for decades, even though we might think it does. Products generally have their lifetime information on the box. So if you come across some foundation which you haven’t worn in years and the lifetime is 1 year after opening it, then please throw it out. I would throw out any mascara that was opened but not used in a while, chances are it’s clogged up and not good for your eyes anymore. I did however come across eye shadow palettes, primers, blush, bronzers, perfume, hand crèmes (so many kinds and flavours), pocket mirrors and even nail polish which were just sitting in the bottom of my bathroom cabinet.

So even if you end up throwing out a lot at first during this exercise, I am sure you will come across some old treasures which are just waiting to be back in your life.

I also take perfume swapping on the next level. I’m kind of the type to get bored easily, especially with perfume that I have chosen for myself. I treasure those that are gifts but anything else, just as with make-up or clothes, could do with a change now and then. I have recenperfume swaptly suggested a perfume swap with my mom. She has soo many lovely perfumes, all gifts, in fact I can’t ever remember a time when this woman bought a bottle of perfume for herself. She does have favourites which we are aware of, so she won’t get stuck with lots of perfume she dislikes. But mostly she wears the same one over and over. So I brought all my perfume bottles over to her house (except my gift ones) and she chose what smells she liked and I did the same with hers. We are now having lovely perfumes which actually match our current fancy….for now.

 

Hopefully this gives you some ideas for a spend free shopping trip. Let me know how you get on and have fun re-discovering some hidden treasures.

 

 

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Books vs Kindle

20160701_125445Now I know this is the subject where a lot of people split like wildfire into either tec friendly going with the century e-readers to those ones who rather hold an actual book and turn the page all by themselves. I must admit I do struggle a bit with e-book readers. Nevertheless, I jumped on the bandwagon to try out the Kindle when it originally came out. The original Kindle, or first generation I believe it is now referred to, is a bit bulky and I know that Amazon have done a great deal of research and improvements to their e-reader which is why the Kindle can now be purchased in more updated styles and functions.20160701_125427

Since I couldn’t quite get on with the first generation Kindle, I am still stuck on my old model to this day. I used to have the Kindle in a case which made it even bulkier and heavier so in an attempt to make it appeal to me more I searched for different types of cases, which is when I stumbled across the Kindle skins. I love the fact, that you can customise your gadgets and who of us hasn’t gotten a mobile cover? Anyone? If yes, then I throw out a guess assumption that you probably don’t have children (yet), they’ll teach you to keep your phone sticky free. If you do have children and they leave your phone alone, then please contact me.

20160701_125418Anyway, the skin is a great idea to brighten or darken (in my case) your Kindle but I still struggle with the fact that I can’t turn the page. And I think I struggle the most with the fact that you never see the cover. I have the inclination that this was improved on later versions of the kindle but it’s not a feature on my Kindle.

There are definitely a lot of advantages to the Kindle though, so on we go. …  

I do have to admit though that the page on the kindle is very true to the actual page when holding a book. I find almost no difference here. The storage of the Kindle is excellent and its battery power lasts for ages. It is true that you don’t have to charge the Kindle for weeks on end. The most obvious plus and biggest sellin20160701_125525g point for me is that the Kindle is so portable. When I go on holiday I always take the Kindle with me as I have lots of books downloaded, so it doesn’t matter if a title doesn’t appeal at the moment, I just choose another one. It fits nicely in your handbag and when travelling to and from work this is a really important factor. Gone are the days when you have to cram a 500 plus page book into your handbag on top of all your other “essentials” weighing you down.

I am slightly miffed about the cost of Kindle books though. Initially it was portrayed, that the Kindle books would be much cheaper than paperback or hardback… but I do find that the e-books are still pricey, considering there is no cost going to paper or postage.

BUT then again, Amazon does offer free Kindle books and I must say that is really quite enticing and I have very often downloaded books for free. So it kind of makes up for this.

What type of reading do you prefer? Actual book or e-reader? Any tips on how to get acquainted with the e-readers?

Would love to read your comments.

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What’s in my Amazon basket…..

I love books, love ‘em… and I love Amazon even more because it gets me a right cheap deal when hunting down some precious reading material.

Firstly I must admit, that I am not too ashamed to tell you that I mostly go for second hand books. I don’t need my books to be crisp and pristine….I actually prefer them, shall we say, lovingly handled. Sounds odd, but anyway. When it comes to books I find it hard to shell out the actual price and I rarely go to the bookstore nowadays. I think this stems from me buying a great number of books which turned out to be not quite to my liking or utter rubbish. So I always felt really bad paying full price for something that I ended up donating to my local charity shop a short while later anyway.

So Amazon is the way to go. It offers me options. If it’s a book  that I have thoroughly researched before buying and I am certain that I will treasure it, I will definitely buy it new, preferably in hardback, so it will last and sit pretty on my bookshelf. But any everyday novels or holiday reading material does not require hardback or full price for that matter.

Here’s a peek into what’s in my basket….

The Miniaturist by Jesse Burton – The author let it be known that the story itself was inspired by a doll’s house. This is a historical novel in quite an interesting setting: the merchant class of late 17th century Amsterdam. Not something that I usually gravitate to but the doll house got me, so I shall find out what it’s all about.

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory – I have not read anything of her before but she is kind of on my radar. Historical novels are usually not the genre I would choose but I definitely want to give it a go and see if I like them. This author is known to have done her proper research (for all her many books) and her writing is to be excellent. I’m sure Philippa won’t disappoint.

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters– Again, I have heard of Sarah Waters on many occassions but as of yet I have not read a single book of hers. The reason why I choose this one is because I like old mansions and this book seems to center about a family, their doctor and the house. I find it intriguing that the house itself seems to be of focus or is definitely a part of the novel.

I must admit that “The Truth about the Harry Quebert Affair” might not make it all the way to a purchase. It’s a whopper of a book to say the least and since I don’t have much time to read these days I need a novel that keeps me going without being overwhelmed by the total page count… what shall I say, I get discouraged easily.

Please leave me a comment if you have any book recommendations that shouldn’t be missed. Thank you

 

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Children’s book recommendations

Since I am a mum, who loves to read bedtime stories to my daughter, I thought I share some of the books which are a definite hit in our house. This post is greatly inspired due to my struggle to find the right kind of children’s books which are entertaining and a joy to read and because I grew fed up with getting it wrong yet again on Amazon. I love ordering books online but of course you don’t quite know what you’ll get as most of the books are not showing much of the story. I also love other mum’s real life take on what they read their children, so I thought that this blog is hopefully of some help to others.

Whilst I oftentimes got it wrong when ordering a book online, sometimes you can of course stumble across a gem of a book like

The Tangle Fairy

front cover tfWe have read this book every single day since we got it and oftentimes more than once a day. So rest assured that this is a really cute story. When it comes to children’s books I do like it when they rhyme, I don’t know, but it seems it’s easier for children to grasp the words and actually remember them. That’s not to say that I don’t have non-rhyme books.

So the Tangle Fairy is my daughter’s firm favorite for some time now but I also have other recommendations which are definitely classed as best-book-buy.

 

Guess How Much I Love You

ObvioGuess_How_Much_I_Love_You_Cover_Artusly, this book doesn’t need any introduction as it’s a firm bestseller when it comes to children’s books. The story of little nutbrown hare’s and big nutbrown hare’s competition who loves the other more is truly delightful. It does put the child in a very soothing atmosphere and I am always rewarded with a big hug and kiss when we get to the end of it.

 

Five Minutes Peace

fminutes peace coverBelieve me when I say that during the first time of reading this book I cried so much with laughter that I couldn’t even finish it. It’s hilarious. I must admit, I’m sure a 3 year old might not get the true meaning behind the book but it is nevertheless one of the best books I ever bought. My daughter even knows that I will laugh when reading it, so it’s an added bonus.

The book is about a mother’s struggle to find some alone time and how her children disturb her at every single attempt of getting 5 minutes peace.

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Little Bunny’s Bedtime

litlle b bedtimeThis actually came in a book collection which contained 3 books, but this one is our favorite. For a time we read it every single night before bedtime and although we read it a bit less now, it’s still a proper go to book which is enjoyed by not only my daughter but also by me. The story is lovely and tells of a little bunny who can’t sleep and all his loving mother’s tries to get him sleepy. The illustrations in the book are super sweet and the length of the book is just right.

 

I hope some of you out there enjoyed these reviews, there are definitely many more books that I can recommend and I shall do some similar posts in future.

Since this is all about recommendations I would love to hear your opinion and would be very pleased if you leave me a comment of any titles you would recommend (adult or children books).