August 14, 2017

Top 10 Summer Beach Reads

It's Top 10 Tuesday (hosted at The Broke and the Bookish) and the topic is:  
Top 10 Books I'd Recommend As Good Beach Reads
One Night of Sin by Ella Kennedy
A fighter and a good girl crossing path and sparks start flying? Hell yeah! 

Just One Day by Gayle Forman 
A Summer trip around Europe? Going to Paris for one day with a hot Dutch guy? Perfect Summer read for you just here!

Dirty Deeds by Megan Erickson
A girl mechanic and a kinda socially awkward British dude? This book is hilarious and it's definitely perfect for a Summer read if you want to have a laugh!

Wild by Sophie Jordan
I don't know about you but Georgia and Logan are just my favourite. The push and pull in this book are just wow. Have a hot Summer read ;)

Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas
Aww, this historical romance will guide you into society and the lives of 4 spinsters. They make a pact to help each other get the marriage they wanted. Brilliant. This series is absolutely brilliant. All the girls are just badass. 

Sweet Filthy Boy By Christina Lauren
Getting married in Vegas in one crazy night and then moving to Paris for the Summer with you new stranger husband? I absolutely loved Mia and Ansel's story!

The Deal by Ella Kennedy
Let me tell you guys, this is the best New Adult Contemporary Romance out there! It's sexy, refreshing, with meaningful characters and a deeper story. And the hottest guy on earth in it.!

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins 
This book is the best YA Contemporary Romance that there is. I swear Anna and Etienne will transport you in a world that is just so relatable and real. The plus is that is happening in Paris!

Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid
A road trip to Alaska to see the Northern lights? YES.

The Edge of Never by J. A. Redmerski
Wanting to change your life so bad you go and sit on a random bus to take you to the other side of America to discover yourself and what you really want in life and meet a hot guy on the way too? And ending up doing a road trip with the said hot guy? This book is made of awesome. 

Losing it by Cora Carmack
This book will have you laughing you ass off pretty much the whole time. It's a light read and Bliss and Garrick are just adorable together! This book is one of the best of its genre out there!
Ok, these are my choices that I would recommend to someone to read on a beach :) All these are light reads with a very compelling story line ;) I liked them all very much <3

What books do you like to read on the beach? :)
sigenca

July 03, 2017

Just One Day by Gayle Forman Review

Just One Day
by Gayle Forman
Published on August 20th 2013
Speak, 369 pages


Allyson Healey's life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.

A book about love, heartbreak, travel, identity, and the “accidents” of fate, Just One Day shows us how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost. . . and how often the people we are seeking are much closer than we know.

- goodreads.com description


“Part of me knows one more day won't do 
anything except postpone the heartbreak.
But another part of me believes differently.
We are born in one day.
We die in one day.
We can change in one day.
And we can fall in love in one day.
Anything can happen in just one day.”

This book was absolutely brilliant. I loved it. 

I read the Just One Year as well. But Just One Day is my absolute favourite. Allyson's journey of discovery of the wonderful place called life was just mesmerising. Sometimes a bit painful as it hit a little too close to home. 



May 04, 2017

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover Review

It Ends With Us
by Colleen Hoover
Published on August 2nd 2016
Atria Books, 376 pages



SOMETIMES THE ONE WHO LOVES YOU IS THE ONE WHO HURTS YOU THE MOST

Lily hasn't always had it easy, but that's never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She's come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up - she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily's life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He's also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily, but Ryle's complete aversion to relationships is disturbing.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan - her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

- Goodreads.com description

Cycles exist because they are excruciating to break. 
It takes an astronomical amount of pain and
courage to disrupt a familiar pattern. Sometimes it
seems easier to just keep running in the same 
familiar circles, rather than facing the fear of 
jumping and possibly not landing on your feet.

Wow, honestly, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I picked up this book. 
No. Idea.

Oh my feels, this book. It was one of the most real and heart breaking books I've ever read. It breaks my heart all over again when I think about it. 

May 01, 2017

Then Came You by Lisa Kleypas Review

Then Came You
by Lisa Kleypas
Published on June 30th 2015
Avon, 384 pages

A woman with a secret...

Reckless beauty Lily Lawson delights in shocking London society. She will break any rule to get what she wants... and she is determined to stop her younger sister from marrying Alex, Lord Wolverton, a handsome and arrogant earl who has vowed never to fall in love.

A man who will do anything to possess her...

To Alex's fury, the headstrong hellion presents a temptation he can't resist. He vows to make her pay dearly for her interference—with her body, her soul, and her stubborn, well-guarded heart.

As Alex and Lily challenge each other at every turn, they are caught up in a white-hot desire that burns through every defense and exposes the mystery of Lily's past... and together they discover that love is the most dangerous game of all. 

- Goodreads.com description

"Why hasn't she ever married?"
"Lily has always said that marriage is a dreadful 
institution devised for the benefit of men, not women."

This was one of the most beautiful historical romance novels I have ever encountered. 

The main character Lily was the most outspoken and brave heroine in historical romance fiction. She is unbelievable. I admired her so much. 

April 30, 2017

Readathon: Hour 24


End of Event Survey

Which hour was most daunting for you?
Hour 14. I crashed. Went for a power nap, which turned out to be a deep sleep for hours. Woke up at hour 23.

Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
I insist contemporary romance books are the best way to go. 

Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next season?
As I state every year (twice) this event is made of awesome. Keep the good work readathon people! The only thing that I skipped this time were the challenges. I haven't done any at all. The titles didn't seem intriguing. 

What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
The twitter feed was bat shit crazy good!

How many books did you read?
1 book + 

What were the names of the books you read?
It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover (367 pages)
Walk Of Shame by Lauren Layne (about 50 pages)

Total of: 417 freaking pages! 


Which book did you enjoy most?
The one that I actually managed to finish :D It Ends With Us was in intense read. I loved every second of it, but by all means, it was no light read.

How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?
I love participating in this event! It's a blast everytime!

See you again in October 2017 lovely people!




Readathon: Hour 12 I am still standing

Mid-Event Survey

1. What are you reading right now?
Walk Of Shame by Lauren Layne 
2. How many books have you read so far?
The first book read! 367 pages done!
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
I guess Walk Of Shame, as it's supposed to be light and funny!
4. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
We went outside for a bit! Took my kindle with me! Switched my phone to silent mode and it's amazing how noone can bother you.
5. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?

That my reading is going so slow! I have gone with contemporary romance and It Ends With Us was so intense that it still took a long time to finish it! And twitter! It's an awesome event and enjoying every moment of it!

Hope you're having an amazing read-a-thon! Don't fall asleep! Make yourself a coffee and most of all, happy reading! And thank you cheerleaders for cheering! This means so much! :)


April 29, 2017

Readathon: Hour 1


#Readathon is here! :) :) I am so super excited about it! It's gonna be an awesome experience like always, I can feel it! :)

What is my goal? To read and have fun on Twitter and discussing awesome books!! :D

To read list:
It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover (367 pages)
Walk Of Shame by Lauren Layne (218 pages)
Letters To The Lost by Brigid Kemmerer (400 pages)
Devil In Spring by Lisa Kleypas 
(288 pages)

Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett (388 pages)

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
I am reading from Brussels, Belgium! 

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
For It Ends With Us and Walk Of Shame! Read some cool reviews and heard good stuff. We'll see.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
COFFEEEEE all the way! I made shopping yesterday especially for the readathon purpose, so it should be good! 

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
I moved to Brussels in October. I worked at the European Commission and now I am working in communications at the European Cyclists' Federation. Lots of social media stuff. So far so good and I really like in here. I love to read Adult and New adult books. I like Romance. Dystopia, contemporary, historical.. it has to have at least some romance in it and I am a happy girl!

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
I've learnt that reading contemporary romance books is the best for this kind of events - it goes faster. And I'll try to check more blogs and meet new awesome bloggers :) Click the follow button straight away, cause if not, it's lost forever. Learnt the hard way!

You can find me on Twitter here: @neabarabea
You can find me on Facebook here: MyLifeIsaFairytaleThatWillNeverEnd.

Happy readathon to all of you amazing people :) Good luck! Lets have a good adventure together! Remember to comment and take breaks! :) Drink lots of water (not only coffee!) and exercise from time to time ;)



February 28, 2017

One Wild and Precious Life as an EU Trainee: Last Day at the European Commission


I'm cleaning up my desk here, in my office at the European Commission, and I find this note from the very first week when I wrote down the tasks of that week and it's written "Stay strong, I'm waiting for you at the finish line". Who the fuck would have ever thought it was going to be so damn hard to let go?!

My traineeship is coming to an end and I can't seem to stop it. It's 4.30 and I don't have much time left, I don't have time, I. Don't. Have. Time.
I'm panicking, I am aware, yes. 

In these past week weeks I've been thinking "Who am I if I am not at the Commission?" It's not ridiculous, so don't laugh. I really identified with this lifestyle and I really rode this high wave like it was the ride of my life. And, it was. 

This traineeship is the best thing that happened to me. The best decision I've ever made. Screw that, all the decision that I ever made in life that led me to this moment were fucking great decisions.

I would do it all over again for the chance of doing the EC traineeship. With the same people ofcourse. I have met really incredible and wonderful people and I will cherish that for the rest of my life. I have finally had a feeling my degree and all that stress was worth it. Everything was worth it. So you might see how I am having troubles accepting that it's over. Once I leave my office tonight it's done. Done. And I am gone. 

I decided to stay in Brussels for a little longer. 

Hard times lie ahead. It's gonna be hard coming down from the high of 5 months of awesomeness. I am gonna miss everyone. My work, my routine, my social life, lunches, everything

Let's hope luck is on my side. 

Thank you European Commission. This was the best experience ever. I could not have dreamed of a better 5 months, and let me tell you I am a big dreamer. It was the best.

With all the love and hopes for the future!

I will be back for you. It's a promise.


 

January 27, 2017

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas Review

A Court of Mist and Fury
A Court of Thorns and Roses #2
by Sarah J. Maas
Published on 3rd of May 2016
Bloomsbury USA Childrens, 626 pages


Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.



Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas's masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights. 

- Goodreads.com description

"You're free," Mor said tightly. "You're free."
Not safe. Not protected.
Free.

This review is going to be an ode to this book and the author. I absolutely adore A Court of Mist and Fury. It was my favourite read of 2016, and I can't count how many times I've read it and enjoyed it immensely. 

January 25, 2017

The struggle is real.

So, I've been thinking. Why do young adults like me sometimes feel like wine is the only answer to everything? Or beer? Or whatever substance you want to *insert here*. Why do we feel like that is the only escape we have? Why do we need to escape at all? I mean we are all educated 20-something people trying to make it. What's so hard about it?

Indeed, what the hell is a 20-something like me trying to get over with? We have everything, no?
 
You know, as much as love my traineeship and as much as I am having the time of my life, I know it's coming to an end. And as much as I am trying not to think about, I kinda have to think about it. The future is coming, and it's approaching fast. I need to do something about it. 

So, okay, I am a highly educated woman with a great traineeship at the European Commission - I should be able to make it. I mean, come on, Capitalism cut me some slack.

Fuck, I feel like a little girl all over again. The social construction of reality is shattering in front of me and crumbling between my fingers and I can't do anything to stop it. Nothing ever counts. Nothing.

I met a Slovenian representative today. I said I'm looking for a job now that my traineeship is slowly coming to an end, and that I've been told things are hard in Brussels, and my reply was "Everywhere is hard. Nowhere is really easy." And you know what she told me? "Yeah, if you don't want challenges or you want a job where you do nothing then I guess it's really hard to get a job."

Honestly, for a second I didn't know what to say. For a split second, I was hoping I misunderstood. But I didn't. That is what she said. 

Oh, my God, I can't explain the rage and disgust that hits me everytime I hear this. 

With all due respect, how the hell would you know? You finished University (or not even, for some) and there was a job waiting for you. And when you wanted a change, you got it. How the hell would you understand the things I am going through and all the rest of the 20-something like me around the world? Exactly, you can't. 

So don't come and tell me how I and people like me are just entitled lazy bastards who are too anything to do anything. We. Are. Not. We are the most educated generation that the world has ever seen. We are driven. We are passionate. We want to do things. We want to make things better for the world, that you so much but screwed all over. We want a better tomorrow. And we want to contribute to it. 

So don't come and tell me things are hard, that we are not motivated enough. Because we are. 

The problem is, you don't give us opportunities to be. Not when all the jobs I see advertised sound so boring, or when you say we need 3 years experience and a master - to then work for free. It's not right.

Also, I hate it that there are some great opportunities out there and there are just too many of us. Everyone of us should get a shot at their career. Not just the lucky 5%. 

Which brings me to my second point. Career. I've been so busy with various jobs because bills - you need to survive somehow, that I'm wondering what exactly is my career supposed to be? Sometimes I wish I went studying something very concrete like logistics or something. I feel like as a graduate in Psychology (probably works for International relations or Political science) I have so many options but in reality, I don't really have any. All these broad subjects that don't prepare you for the real world. When I look at job adverts is just depressing. You try to fit your area of expertise into this tiny little box and adapt everything you've done to match the description, but there is nothing really you in that box in the end. 

But in the end, who asks us what we want anyway? 

Have you stopped yourself in the past few years and asked yourself what do you want out of your career? Not what your next job is going to be, but your career. I didn't make the distinction either, but maybe I should have. The thing is, we are too busy doing jobs that we really don't want to do because they pay the bills. And yes, we still try to go for the jobs we actually want but they always seem unreachable and based on luck. 

You know, when I started Edinburgh Uni they told us in the inauguration speech that we are really smart and bright and we are going to have a great future because Edinburgh Uni is top 17 in the world and they only accept outstanding people. Okay. When I started my traineeship at the EU Commission, at the welcome conference they said that we were the best of Europe because we made it through the hardcore pre-selection and selection procedure, and we are now representatives of our generation because we are here in Brussels. 

Please, just stop. Stop feeding us the special snowflake syndrome. We are not special. Not really. We are just educated and driven young adults in a world that doesn't give us chances. Or it gives us temporary chances with no prosperity. It's just sad.

"Things are hard." They say it like we have an option here. Like there is a way out. Like "yeah sure things are hard here, but you can go 'there' and things will be easier." Are people out of their mind?! 

We've all been swept into this huge swimming pool and now we have to swim. There is no option of saying "oh excuse me, I don't feel like it!" You need to swim. You need to keep going. 

The thing is, I want all of us to make it. I want my colleagues from University to make it. I want my fellow trainees to make it. I want my friends to make. But that's a utopia these days when it should be the reality. 

And that's why I think young adults are driven to escape reality. We can't give up, we have to keep going, and there is no way out. But sometimes there is this blissful moment when the reality of the world is not so crushing. Maybe you forget for a moment. Maybe it's a moment when you can actually stand the way things are.

Maybe.



January 22, 2017

One Wild and Precious Life as an EU Trainee: EU Trainees Care Together


Solidarity does not end in December. 


To start the new year with more compassion, especially considering the events that took place the past year in Brussels, the Solidarity Subcommittee and the Parties Subcommittee decided to organise the "EU Trainees Care Together" solidarity party. 

We wanted to show that we, EU Trainees, care. And we should pay forward. Help people who are less fortunate than us. 

All the profit of the party was going to be donated to the project 'Há ir e voltar' - to be more specific toward building a school for little girls in Mathare, Nairobi, Kenya. We are helping build a school for girls so they can get an education!

Education is important, and should be accessible to everyone. 

To me, education is the fundamental right that everyone should have. In Slovenia, they wanted to implement university fees in April 2006, and the high school students and university students sided together and organised a protest called "Black Wednesday" which involved many many students from all over the country (about 10.000 students). We were there. And we succeeded. Up to this day, we can still all attend university for free. And I am always grateful for that day that we managed such a big project and it worked. The slogan of the protest was "Education is not a privilege, education is a right".

And I still agree with the above statement. That's why I believe this idea to organise a solidarity party and donate the money to the project of building a school for girls in Kenya was a brilliant idea. I am grateful and honoured that I have contributed to making it happen.




January 20, 2017

One Wild and Precious Life as an EU Trainee: Are You Up For Europe?!

On the 18th January I took part in the Think Young. Think Europe. Act Now. Conference on Are You Up for Europe?!

It was a really good day. Let me tell you all about it :)

The opening speech was done by Luis Planas, SG of EESC, and Gonçalo Lobo Xavier, VP of EESC. Following that was a very inspirational welcome speech by Madi Sharma. Do you know Madi? She is awesome, check out her twitter!

And then the awesomeness of Are You UP for Europe?! started.

We had the World Cafe. The first group discussion was based on the question "Based on your experience, what does engagement with the EU mean to you?" It was a very interesting brainstorming. My group came up with so many funny (and not so funny) propositions:

- We are EU people by default - we were born into it :P
- Information sharing: EU could do a better job with information sharing. Be more transparent. Breaking down the complexity.
- Ask the right question to the right people. Well, you might not always know the right people. Or the right questions. 
- As a normal human being is hard to engage with EU institutions or MEPs.
- Erasmus <3

The second part was "What is necessary for positive engagement?"

My group's brainstorming.

We exchanged ideas inside the group, and between the groups. It was super amazing what brainstorming can achieve. So many ideas. And then we put them all together and discussed them some more. 

The solutions we came up with were summarised in: 
More opportunities
-  Inclusion - Common vision, action
- Communication
- Attitude  
- Education
 
Ideas for positive engagement in the EU.


In the afternoon our fellow trainee Fabio Mauri presented his book Along the Danube. It's a story about Erasmus students based in 2031. Sounded more like a dystopia to me - which pure awesomeness. Review to come soon!

And then the best part happened. We were to come up with ideas for projects on how to engage youth with Europe. The idea the appealed the most to you, you could join the team. And let me tell you, there were many great ideas there. 

I joined the initiative to create a EU public holiday on the 9th of May. So that every member state could celebrate EU together on the same day. A symbol of unity. This would inspire a sense of citizenship, it would create a positive reputation for EU, there would be inter-cultural exchange


We won the 2nd place as best project!  

The project that won the first place was EU Trainee Ambassador at Home - the project is about trainees going home and spreading the knowledge and the experience gathered in the EU institutions. It's a really good project because its purpose is to raise awareness of EU, inform people about EU possibilities, trainees would share their knowledge and experience at high schools and universities, and ultimately have united Europe engaged citizens.

And I am sure we are going to keep working on it and make it a reality. This is a really good idea. Plus, we all love holidays. The follow ups have already been set in place, so I am looking forward to it!

As for the event on the whole, I have met so many great people there. You'd think that after 4 months we would know everyone, but.. No. Which great again, cause I could met more awesome people!


Overall the event was really inspiring, it was a wonderful experience, and I am so happy that I was part of it! 

Remember: Think young. Think Europe. We are EU!
 
With love,







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