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How to stay on top of your to-do lists

Sunday, October 21, 2018

15 comments



At any given time of the day (sometimes in the middle of the night) my head is filled with lists:

  • to-do lists
  • people I need to call list
  • errands I need to run list
  • pictures I need to take for social media posts
  • blog posts ideas list
  • book reviews I need to write (and let's not even mention the TBR list)

Having lists is actually the first step of realistically approaching what needs to be done.  The problem with my lists?  They were all over the place! In my laptop, in my tablet, my phone, pieces of paper I collect with ideas of yet another list...I realized it was getting out of control and adding to my stress level of feeling like I was falling into the rabbit hole of things undone.

I couldn't understand how I can be so organized at work while at the same time seem unable to keep personal tasks under control.  How did I get to this emotional "I'm failing" roller-coaster?  

It's like watching Penny Dreadful + Devil Wears Prada + Mean Girls all at the same TIME while listening to Michael Buble feeling sorry for myself !!!!  (hmmm I actually enjoy all those things, but maybe not together)

Anyway, something needed to be done, so I declared war against all my lists and decided to find a place, one single spot where I can find everything and not worry about what it was that I wrote on the back of last night's restaurant receipt.

If you google "how to tackle your to-do lists" the results will be overwhelming, so here are my best tips on how to create a to-do list that you'll actually want to stay on top of:

  1. First of all, keep everything in the same place - Whatever type of to-do list you decide to use should be available to you at all times: there's no point in choosing to use a physical notebook if you keep forgetting it at home, and the same goes for using an app that's only accessible via phone.  
  2. Be realistic on what you can do in 24 hrs - avoid falling into the trap of over-scheduling yourself. 
  3. Categorize it in a way that makes sense to you - I'm using Evernote (more on that later) and I now have "notebooks", one personal and one for my blog, which are then divided into sections, aka "notes" that I named as hashtags, #errands, #familyfun #placestotravel, #writingprompts #readingchallenge #blogpostideas.  
  4. Focus on one thing at a time (guilty as charged) - It's a rewarding experience when you cross one of the items of your list as done/completed/finished.  As a blogger I am well aware of how easy it is to get distracted with social media, so you can imagine how surprised I was when I found this app called Moment - tagline "put down your phone and get back to life"-  where you can set daily limits on yourself and be notified when you go over! Wait, there's an app for that?
  5. To find the Best To-Do List Apps for IOS and Android head over to this article from Digital Trends, which will give you a summary of each app that's available out there.  Like I said before, I chose to use Evernote, mainly because the free version is sufficient for everything that I need, plus it gives me access to my notes/lists from all of my many devices by keeping everything synchronized across platforms.  Evernote even has free templates!


I hope you enjoyed reading this post and is already thinking of ways to organize your lists.  Please drop me a note to let me know what you thought of it !
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#T5W Favorite Monsters

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

19 comments

#T5W


It's time for another TOP 5 Wednesday!

Top 5 Wednesday is a Book Meme hosted by Samantha on Goodreads Groups.  If you're interested in joining the group, and/or find out what the other weekly topics are, click here.

This week, our #T5W prompt is #Favorite Monsters, and it just so happens that I have a soft spot for mythology, so here's a list of my favorite Mythical Creatures, which are also monsters!



The Dragons in the epic saga of Game of Thrones are at the top of my list: 
Drogon, Rhaegar and Viserion.  
Each dragon was named after somebody in the series and each name holds a special meaning.


 

Time's Convert has the coolest of all mythical creatures: a Griffin named Apollo! 
Although this book didn't really give us enough details on the griffin, I have a feeling Apollo will be a more permanent character on the series.



A Werewolf is a half human/half beast and like every Anne Rice's books, Reuben, (the main character) just so happens to be a sexy beast πŸ”₯πŸ”₯πŸ”₯



The High Court of Faerie is a world full of mythical creatures with their pointy ears and long hair.  All you have to do is google "Cruel Prince images" to see some of the most beautiful character illustrations inspired by the book.



The Shadow is a gigantic monster with two sharp eyes and no face.  He leaps from the ground like fire and only appears when another character, Capricorn calls him.  πŸ‘Ύ



I'm having so much fun putting together these Top 5 Wednesday posts ❤️
Did you like this list?
Have you read any of these?




Note: As an Amazon Affiliate, if you purchase any of the books using the links provided, I’ll earn a small commission (no additional cost to you).


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The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Sunday, October 14, 2018

19 comments

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

BOOK REVIEW: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Release Date: January 2nd, 2018
Genre: YA, Fantasy
370 pages
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Available on Amazon
My rating on Goodreads ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


THE BLURB:

"Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself."

MY THOUGHTS:

The Cruel Prince is one of the most loved books you'll find on social media.  I avoided reading other reviews/spoilers at all costs, since I wanted to dive into it blindly.  I was actually surprised at how much I enjoyed this book and can't wait for the next one.

This intense and dark story will keep you reading into the night.  The world of Faerie is magical, rich and colorful, but its residents are untrustworthy.  For Jude and her twin sister Taryn, growing up in Faerie was no small task.  Both sisters want very much to belong, yet, each one has a very specific goal of what kind of life in the Courts of Faerie they desire.

Jude was my favorite character.  Prince Cardan is a spoiled Royal.  A bully.  He is however, very charming, which can be useful in difficult situations. 

The writing is unmistakably beautiful and easy to follow. 

The first chapters were a little slow for me, even though it all starts with Jude's mortal parents being murdered (it's on the synopsis, so no spoiler).  But then the story picked up and it became a page-turner, full of betrayals, secrets and spies.  Reading the characters' development and the many plot twists was like a WOW moment for me.  I did see that last twist coming, but that did not make it any less memorable!

Black left so many possibilities open for the next book.  It's impossible to predict what will come next.  Will Prince Cardan redeem himself?  Will Oak follow in Cardan's footsteps and become wicked?  What's Locke's end game? 
Stop.
I want to read The Wicked King!!!
❤❤❤❤

The Quote:
“Nicasia's wrong about me. I don't desire to do as well in the tournament as one of the fey. I want to win. I do not yearn to be their equal. In my heart, I yearn to best them.”

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Halloween Creatures 2.0 Book Tag

Friday, October 12, 2018

24 comments



πŸ‘»Thank you Shirley Cuypers  for tagging me with the Halloween Creatures (2.0) Book Tag, which was created by Anthony at Keep Reading Forward ,  and looks like a great way to have some SPOOKY FUN this month during #blogoween !

The Rules are simple: 

  1. Answer all the prompts
  2. Tag 1 to 13 people
  3. Link back to this post
  4. Remember to credit the creator
  5. Have FUN 

Witch
A Magical Character or Book
The Cruel Prince.  I loved the characters and all the magic in the world of Fae! I didn't think I was going to like it so much πŸ‘‘

Werewolf
The Perfect Book to Read at Night
Hmmm, how about The Darkest Star?  Because with a little luck, I'll dream about Luc ❤️

Frankenstein
A Book That Truly Shocked You
The Immortalists because I always thought that I would like to know the exact date of my death, but after reading this book and all the consequences of that knowledge on the 4 siblings, I do agree that there's beauty in uncertainty...

The Devil
A Dark, Evil Character
Prospero, the Enchanter from The Night Circus deserves the evil crown of all times.

Grim Reaper
A Character that Should Have Never Died
Spoilers aside, the book Neverworld Wake gets the award on this one.  If you haven't read it, grab a copy right now, because this book is the real deal. πŸ‘πŸΌ

Zombie
A Book that Made You "Hungry" for More
I just finished reading The Gilded King and I can't wait to read the next book of the series!  

Gargoyle
A Character That You Would Protect at All Cost
Zellie from Children of Blood and Bone just because she happens to be both a bad ass and the savior of Orisha. 

Vampire
A Book That Sucked The Life Out of You
Time's Convert is a book about Vampires, and I do think it sucked the Life Out of Me.  I wanted to love this book as much as I love the All Souls Trilogy, but it just didn't do it for me.  I finished reading it but I was somehow disappointed. 

Ghost
A Book That Still Haunts You
Sadie, because I still think about it and can't get it out of my head.  I was completely lost in this book and in the end, I cried like a child.  

Demon
A Book That Really Scared You
A Good Marriage scared the crap out of me! The thought of living with a psychopath and not seeing the signs were so simple, so naive, that I was really scared (darn it, Stephen King).

Skeleton
A Character That You Have a Bone to Pick With
Vincent, from The Rules of Magic.  Dude, could you be a little less selfish and maybe think about your sisters?  Just a little?  Pretty please...

Mummy
A Book You Would Preserve Throughout Time
Neverwhere is my favorite Neil Gaiman's book and I just ❤️it!  It's the perfect example of Gaiman's true genius as a storyteller.  Can you guess which writer I haven't met yet, but am dying to?

Creepy Doll
A Cover too Scary to Look At
I don't really read scary books and if the cover is too scary, there's 100% chance I won't read it...


The Monster Mash
It's Fun to Be with Friends on Halloween! Tag Your Friends!
Jo Linsdell from www.jolinsdell.com  
Jackie Nolan from Bookworm Cafe
Tracey Faulconbridge from TFAULC Book Reviews
Nikki from Saturday Nite Reader
Jordanne from  Bloodthirsty Little Beasts
Annemieke from A Dance with Books
Sarah from Paranormal Peach




HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Having a Halloween Party?  Check out my Spooktacular Playlist πŸ‘» 
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#T5W Favorite Villains

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

26 comments

#T5W


Top 5 Wednesday is a Book Meme hosted by Samantha on Goodreads Groups.  If you're interested in joining the group, and/or find out what the other weekly topics are, click here.

This week, our #T5W prompt is #FavoriteVillains, which happens to be a topic I really enjoy!  I mean, villains are the best and they keep us entertained.  Some of my favorite villains are the ones I also love (even though I don't necessarily like to say it out loud)!



Lestat de Lioncourt from Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles is a typical antihero, sometimes villain...
I can't help but love the Brat Prince.




President Alma Coin from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Forget President Snow - President Alma Coin, from District 13 is the ultimate villain in this series.




Legend from the Caraval series by Stephanie Garber
Legend says Caraval is not just a game...why would you want to play then? 





Hector Bowen (Prospero the Enchanter) from The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.
Prospero is the real deal, I mean, what kind of a monster do you have to be in order to put your own daughter on a challenge where only 1 person can survive?




King Saran from Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
I loved Children of Blood and Bone and I actually can't wait to see who they will cast as King Saran when they make the movie. 


What about you?
Who are your Favorite Villains?




Note: As an Amazon Affiliate, if you purchase any of the books using the links provided, I’ll earn a small commission (no additional cost to you).

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The Gilded King by Josie Jaffrey

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

10 comments

Book Review


BOOK REVIEW: The Gilded King by Josie Jaffrey

(Sovereign Book 1)
Release Date: June 25th, 2018
Genre: YA, Dystopian, Fantasy
292 pages
Published by Josie Jaffrey
Available at Amazon
I rated  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️  on Goodreads



THE BLURB:

"In the Blue, the world’s last city, all is not well.

Julia is stuck within its walls. She serves the nobility from a distance until she meets Lucas, a boy who believes in fairytales that Julia’s world can’t accommodate. The Blue is her prison, not her castle, and she’d escape into the trees if she didn’t know that contamination and death awaited humanity outside.

But not everyone in the Blue is human, and not everyone can be contained.
Beyond the city’s boundaries, in the wild forests of the Red, Cameron has precious little humanity left to lose. As he searches for a lost queen, he finds an enemy rising that he thought long dead. An enemy that the humans have forgotten how to fight.

One way or another, the walls of the Blue are going to come down. The only question is what side you’ll be on when they do."


THE BOOK TRAILER:





MY THOUGHTS:

I'm a sucker for Vampire stories, so when the Author contacted me and asked me if I would like a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review, I jumped right in!

I really enjoyed The Gilded King and I'm actually looking forward to the next book, The Silver Queen, which will be available on October 17th.

What made this book so different from other vampire stories?  We all know vampires need blood, but what if some of the blood is contaminated?  What if all humanity is on the blink of extinction?  Vampires can rule the world, but they still need humans...uncontaminated humans.  This dystopian world, built on fallen European cities made this book so irresistible.  Add a touch of romance with a hint of fairytale and we got a winning page-turner!

I was so intrigued by the 2 worlds - Red / Blue.  I wanted to know more.  We get bits and pieces of hows and whys the 2 worlds got separated, which at times were a bit confusing, with all the different names, but overall, the story was easy to follow.  A lot of times, I dislike when authors give way more details than I feel are necessary, and in this book I felt were just right.


THE CHARACTERS:

Lucas and Julia's romance felt a bit rushed and there were so many questions left unanswered, which I do hope the next book will address.
Why is Lucas different from the other Nobles (vampires aka Silver)?
What happened between Lucas and Rufus?

Julia always wanted to know what life looked like beyond the walls surrounding The Blue and she might have a chance to find out soon enough.

My favorite character was Cameron.  He just felt so genuine, even though he seemed a bit naive for someone who has lived for centuries and trained as Solis Invicti. I also loved how he doubted his own immortality and questioned his way of living.  His perpetual quest to find his friend Emmy leads him to deep forests in the Red, where he meets Felix.  I found Felix an interesting character from the beginning, and the mystery around him and the things he knew (red flag) made me even more curious.

I'm still trying to guess which one of these characters will be the savior of the 2 worlds.  Or will they have to work together to save both humans and Silver?

I will totally recommend this book.  It's very well-written and a quick read.

Content Warning:
The book contains profanity, horror and both F/M and M/M romance (suitable for ages 14+).


And what about that cover? 
I won't spoil it, but it all makes sense in the final chapter...

Book Review


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Free Audiobooks on Audible for Prime Members

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

6 comments


Free Audiobooks



Just last week, one of my friends discovered that she had unknowingly been paying for an Audible membership for months.
How?
Chances are, she started the free-trial and never cancelled it.  Which reminded me that I had to cancel my own Audible trial that I signed up for last month.  As I was ready to delete the App from my phone, I found out that Audible Channels (which has audiobooks) are a FREE service for Amazon Prime members!
Wait!
Did I just read FREE?

If you're an Amazon Prime member or in an Amazon Household with a Prime member, you can stream for free in a section of Channels called Audiobook Collections. They can be found only in the Audible app on iOS, Android, Windows 10, and many Fire Tablets.

As long as you're subscribed to Prime, or in an Amazon Household with a Prime member, you can access this section in Audible Channels.

This information blew my mind! How could I not have known this? Was it in one of the hundreds of emails I receive daily and ignore?
Note to self: Must create e-mail filters and Clean Up inbox :-(

There are over 50 titles available for streaming and the titles are supposed to change every few months or so (although, from what I read in the comments section, some titles have been there for over a year). 

So, if you have Amazon Prime, check out some of the Audiobooks that can be streamed for Free by going to Audible > Channels > Audiobook Collections :

  1. The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie (from the Follow the Clues Category) 
  2. Baltimore Blues by Laura Lipman (from the Follow the Clues Category) 
  3. Adventures of Hucleberry Finn performed by Elijah Wood (from the Celebrity Voices Classic Stories Category
  4. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland narrated by Scarlett Johansson (from the Celebrity Voices Classic Stories Category
  5. Zodiac by Robert Graysmith (from the Truly Criminals Category)
  6. Catch Me if You Can by Frank W Abagnale, Stan Redding (from the Truly Criminal Category)
  7. No Excuses! by Brian Tracy (from the You & Improved Category)
  8. Buddhism for Beginners by Thubten Chodron, His Holiness the Dalai Lama (from the You & Improved Category)
  9. The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman (from the Better Than the Movie Category)
  10. The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings (from the Better Than the Movie Category)
  11. What it is Like to Go to War by Karl Marlantes (from the Dramatic History Category)
  12. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams (from the For All Generations Category)
  13. Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne (from the For All Generations Category)
  14. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells (from the Worlds Away: Sci-Fi Classics Category)
  15. Ender's Game Alive by Orson Scott  Card (from the Worlds Away: Sci-Fi Classics Category)

I will certainly be streaming these during my daily commute.  

And don't forget that Prime Members choose one FREE Kindle book each month, which is such a sweet deal!

Never tried Audiobooks?  Check out my post on how I fell in love with Audiobooks,  "Once Upon a Time There Was an Audiobook".

Do you know of any other Freebies?
Please share :-)

Amazon Prime Perks



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