Tips To Travel To Paris

Last week, two of my friends visited me in Paris and I came up with some advice and pictures. I originally shared this post on Travel Amino (you can add me there, I’m also called Clemi Reads) and I figured I could also share it on here so more people could read it!

I hope these are useful, I also added some more from my original post, since I got a few more ideas as I wrote this.

Pictures are all mine!

* Be aware that the security in crazy high in Paris, and your bag will be checked everywhere.

* All National Museums are free for people under 18 and European students under 26, so always carry ID and/or student ID if you meet these conditions. Also, you don’t have to stand in line for tickets if you meet the conditions. You will just need to stand in line for security. (Louvre, Orsay and Versailles are all national museums). I believe they are also free for teachers, though you might need to check that.

* The entrance to Notre Dame is free. If there is a long line when you come, you can also go about half an hour before it closes in the evening, there shouldn’t be a long line at that time!

* Go visit Shakespeare and Company, it’s the best booshop ever! ♥

* If you want to go to the Louvre, there is always a huge line for security through the Pyramid. However, there are other entrances with no or very little line. One of them is through the metro station Palais Royal Musée du Louvre. Follow Exit n°6 and then the arrows pointing at the museum entrance. The line for security is much smaller if you go this way.

* Keep in mind that a lot of museums are closed on Tuesday.

* If you want to go to Versailles, you should go at 9 am to avoid the crowd.

* If you want to go to the Eiffel Tower, I definitely recommend taking the stairs instead of the elevator, as it’s much cheaper (student price is 5€ to the second floor, there are 3 floors) and also the line is much shorter. It’s around 650 steps to the second floor but it’s honestly doable!

* You will need a transports ticket. I believe there is a tourist ticket, but I’m not sure it’s the cheapest way to travel, especially if you don’t need to go to the airport. There is a day ticket called Mobilis which is, I believe, much cheaper.

Don’t hesitate to ask me if you want more advice and addresses!

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The Phoenix Project: My Review

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First of all, I wanted to thank the author, C.A. Gray, for providing me with an ARC of this book. The Phoenix Project is the third and last book in The Liberty Box trilogy, and my favourite. It will be released on tomorrow, on the 20th of March.

Genre: New Adult, Dystopia
My rating: ★★★★✩

Warning: Spoilers for The Liberty Box and The Eden Conspiracy!

The story:

In this third installment of The Liberty Box trilogy, Kate and Jackson are both prisoners of the Potentate, Jackson deep in a dark cell, next to a mysterious man named Joe who claims he built the Liberty Box, and Kate inside the palace, brainwashed again, and made to believe that Jackson is the one who brainwashed her, and that her entire family as well as Will is dead because of him.

Outside, Will is very much alive, though one of the only remaining Rebels, along with Charlie (Kate’s brother) and a couple of others. Together, they try to break out the prisoners, and stop the brainwashing.

My opinion:

I have to admit, I was not a huge fan of the first book in the series. But I still really liked the concept, and was curious as to what would happen next, so I eventually continued with the second, and eventually the third and last book. And I’m so glad  did because this one was my favourite in the whole trilogy.

I think the brainwashing aspect of this story is rather original, it takes 1984 to a whole new level. I also like the fact that the rebels are adult rather than teenagers, which makes the whole story much more believable in my opinion. This dystopia is different from other recent dystopias like The Hunger Games or Divergent or The Maze Runner or so many others, and it’s quite refreshing. It however also reminded me a bit of Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3 by Suzanne Collins) but it was probably because it was the climax and end of a revolution and gave off the same kind of feeling. If you liked Mockingjay, then you should check out this trilogy!

What else can I say about this book? I was delighted to see that Will finally got a POV in this book. I’ve been dying to read from his perspective throuhout book two, and it was a really pleasant surprise to see that it was finally happening. I quite like his character, though I have to admit his relationship with Kate is not exactly a healthy one. As a character outside of this relationship, he is very interesting.

The relationship between Kate and Jackson also really evolved in this book, though I don’t have much to say about it. Honestly the romance was not really my cup of tea in this trilogy, but it was a bit better in this book, with both of them really accepting their feelings and working on them.

The Potentate was as awful as ever. He is really a well-made villain, and it was interesting to get into his past a bit more (though it clearly didn’t excuse any of his mad acts!)

Oh and I almost forgot to mention: including Joe’s character in this book was honestly brilliant. It was such a great plot twist which really stood out in this book.

In the end, Kate goes through a fantastic character development throughout this series, and it’s really great to see where she came from and who she managed to become. She really struggles with herself a lot in this last instalment, there are lots of scenes where she is confused at first, and later, she is trying to become stronger, bolder, and better. She is a fighter and a survivor, and I grew fonder of her throughout this trilogy.

Finally, I also believe the author improved a lot and it was a really pleasant surprise in this last instalment.

Feel free to share your opinion if you also read this book, and otherwise, I recommend you check out this trilogy!

Diversity Spotlight Thursday #18

Hi readers! The Diversity Spotlight Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Aimal on her blog Bookshelves and Paperbacks and since reading diverse books is important to me, I’m trying to take part every week.

The rules are simple: in your diversity spotlight post, you share three books

  1. A diverse book you have read and enjoyed
  2. A diverse book that has already been released but you have not read
  3. A diverse book that has not yet been released

I haven’t taken part in this meme for a while, but don’t give up on me yet…


A book I have read and enjoyed

Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler

FledglingPublication: 2005
Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy
My rating: ★★★★✩
Why is it diverse? WOC main character, WOC author

Book blurb:
Fledgling
is what you call an Afrofuturist book, and it’s absolutely fascinating. It’s the story of a girl who wakes up naked in a cave, with no memory, and the sun burning her body. Soon, she finds out that though she looks 13, she feels much older. And she needs human blood to survive. Yes, that sounds pretty much like a vampire, but after various random encounters, she discovers she is actually more than the legends describe. Mixing pure fantasy and genetically modified DNA, Fledgling is an incredible read, which will make you think about racisme, equality and such. A unique and refreshing book which you should definitely read.


A book on my TBR

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas

Released: February 2017The Hate U Give
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Why is it diverse? WOC author and protagonist, based on Black Lives Matter

Goodreads blurb:
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, Khalil’s death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Starr’s best friend at school suggests he may have had it coming. When it becomes clear the police have little interest in investigating the incident, protesters take to the streets and Starr’s neighborhood becomes a war zone. What everyone wants to know is: What really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could destroy her community. It could also endanger her life.

I just purchased this book last week, and I heard so many good things about it, I can’t wait to start it after I finish City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie Anderson!


A book releasing soon

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Dear MartinRelease date: October 17th, 2017
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Why is it diverse? POC main character, WOC author

Goodreads blurb:
Justyce McAllister is top of his class, captain of the debate team, and set for the Ivy League next year—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. He is eventually released without charges (or an apology), but the incident has Justyce spooked. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood, he can’t seem to escape the scorn of his former peers or the attitude of his prep school classmates. The only exception: Sarah Jane, Justyce’s gorgeous—and white—debate partner he wishes he didn’t have a thing for.
Struggling to cope with it all, Justyce starts a journal to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But do Dr. King’s teachings hold up in the modern world? Justyce isn’t so sure.
Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up. Way up. Much to the fury of the white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. And Justyce and Manny get caught in the crosshairs. In that media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack. The truth of what happened that night—some would kill to know. Justyce is dying to forget.

Another book that seems very true and moving, I can’t wait to read it and hear more about it.


And that’s it for this week’s feature! Please feel free to recommend diverse books in the comment, or share your own Diversity Spotlight Thursday!

Life Update: Why I Haven’t Been So Active

First of all, what even happened to WordPress? I barely recognize the site… How do I edit my articles now? I’m confused!!

I know I haven’t been really active lately, and I wanted to apologize. I was very busy, and I decided that blogging should remain a leisure, something I enjoy, and something that does not stress me out. One of the reasons for my inactivity was the fact that I didn’t have wifi for a while, which made it harder to blog.

The other reason is, and I don’t know if I have already mentioned it on here or not, that I had to move dorms at the beginning of March (I know, that was almost two weeks ago, times flies). So first, I was busy with packing, and saying goodbye to my friends. Then, I had one of the most stressful days of my life, driving back and forth from one dorm to another with two of my friends, to move all of our – numerous – possessions. And then, of course, I had to settle in here, in my new dorm, with my new flatmates (who seem very nice, but also loud and not so clean… But we will see how this new living arrangement turns out in the end).

Once I was finally settled, I had to say goodbye to more people.

Fastforward last Sunday, when one of my friends arrived from Paris to visit me. So again, I was too busy to spend time on my blog. I still managed to read, and post one more book review (check out my previous post if you are curious). We did a lot of sightseeing together, as well as a lot of tea drinking, and a lot of shopping. I have bought way too many books again, and will film and post a new book haul very soon!

I also received some good news in the meantime: I finally got my Erasmus money! Which means, goodbye stress. Well, the stress related to this at least. I will never stop stressing out about every single thing that happens to me.

Anyway. The reason why I am not so active is not over. Me and my friend were supposed to fly back together together on Friday, but on Thursday, we received a notification that our flight was cancelled, because of an airport strike (since when do German people go on strikes?? I thought it was a French thing, duh). My friend managed to get a ticket for Sunday afternoon (today). I did not. I did, however, get a plane ticket for Monday night (tomorrow).

All was well until this morning, when I woke up to a panicked message from another one of my friends, telling me the airport was striking again on Monday. Just my luck. We went to the airport together, and the company I was flying with finally announced that my flight was cancelled, and suggested I take another flight on Thursday. Needless to say I was furious, so I waited (angrily) in line to talk with a fight attendant, and she managed to get me a seat on a flight Tuesday evening. After letting me know that if I had my luggage with me, I could have gone home today. Thank you very much lady, but how was I supposed to know that?

Anyway. I’ve been busy. And I’m flying back to Paris on Tuesday for a few weeks. I still have a lot of studying to do, and some of my Erasmus friends are going to visit, which I am very excited about. In the meantime I will still be busy, but I wanted to keep you updated on my incredible life. And of course, I will try to write and post some book reviews.

My friend and I attempted to make a Berlin vlog which you can watch if you want:

Melody’s Key: My Review

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First of all, I wanted to thank the author for providing me with a review copy of this book. However, I didn’t like it as much as I wish I did. It was way too cliché for my taste, and I believe some things were borderline problematic.

Author: Dallas Coryell
Publication: June 2016
My rating: ★★✩✩✩
Genre: YA, Romance
FOR OLDER READERS

Trigger Warning: Rape, Depression, Self-harm

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own and I am sorry if you do not agree with me. If you liked this book, though, I would love to hear your opinion in the comments!

Warning: Spoilers (because I need to get this out of my system, and I can’t do it without including spoilers, sorry not sorry)

The story:

Tegan Lockwood lives in a big mansion not far from London with her family, who rents rooms to tourists during the summer. Her parents cannot afford sending her to college, so she helps them with the chores. Her guilty pleasure is reading love letters from her ancestors, which she found in the attic of their house. She is also an artist, and loves painting as well as both playing and writing music.

Over the summer, the family hosts group after group of Singles. Except this summer is different. In addition to their usual work, they are going to host American pop star Mason Keane, who Teagan despises, especially after their first encounter when he mistakes her for a crazed fangirl. However, over the summer, the two unexpectedly realise they actually have a lot in common…

My opinion:

I swear I was trying to like this book, but it was way too cliché for me. And maybe I was not in the mood for romance, but overall this didn’t really click with me. I couldn’t help but notice problematic and annoying things, which prevented me from actually enjoying the story. Some may say it is a beautiful love story, but I was too busy being frustrated with pretty much everything. It also felt quite unreal to me, and that was also annoying.

At first, I was hopeful, and I quite liked Tegan. I even found her relatable. But little by little, I realised how hard for me it was to understand her. She is a frustrating character, who sacrificed her studies to help her family – which is good, don’t get me wrong – but it also becomes clear that she was scared of turning her dream into a reality. I also believe that (however great her parents are), parents should never ask their children to give up on their dreams/studies/career because of financial problems. I don’t know, it just feels wrong. And it played a quite important part in this book.

I also had a hard time understanding Ryleigh and Tegan’s relationship. Maybe it’s just because I don’t have this kind of relationship with my siblings, but it just felt like too much. I couldn’t help but think “this is not real, this is too cliché”. This whole pranking thing between them seems insane, and doesn’t seem like a healthy sisterly relationship. I didn’t enjoy it.

Moving on to something more problematic: Simon’s character, aka the gay best friend, or should I say the cliché gay dude. Of course, it is great to include diverse characters in your stories. But CLICHÉ characters are not a good representation, and are in no way good DIVERSE characters. It often felt like Simon was included just because Teagan needed a sidekick. And it is a trope we have seen over and over again. When will people realise that it is a harmful representation? We didn’t even see that much about him. And overall, what happened to him in this book? He was there to listen to Teagan whine, he got his ass kicked by a fuckboy, and when he found a boyfriend (which was definitely an interesting plot part), said mysterious boyfriend broke up with him before the reader even got to meet him. That left me really disappointed. I had several theories, and I honestly wanted to see if one of them would be confirmed…

Don’t get me started on Mason and Tegan’s relationship. First of all, the fact that they would end up together was way too predictable and obvious. Most steps of their story were predictable, in facts, including the intervention of a crazy ex-girlfriend, and the final concert. I also felt that in many points, their relationship was not a healthy one. Again, it didn’t feel real, but maybe that’s just me.

Finally, it is also mentioned that Mason has depression, and I thought that it was quite badly presented throughout the story. According to me, having depression is something that makes you fragile, and something that you hide at all cost. And cutting yourself is not a mainstream thing to do. I felt that in this book, it was mentioned to lightly, and badly introduced. It honestly makes me cringe. Mental illness is not something that should be introduced lightly, or played with as Madison did in the end (okay, I know she was a villain kind of character, but I still believe it didn’t really make sense and was harmful).

And I almost forgot to mention this: Tegan is a rape victim, an event that took place before the story, and I also believed that it is something that was taken too lightly in the plot. It is yet another example of how rape is taken too lightly in our society, and I thought it was a bad example. I’m not sure I’m saying this right, but I think it should have had a greater influence on her character, attitude, and relationship with Mason.

The writing was nice, though it may have felt a little forced sometimes, and I still struggled to finish this book, obviously because of all the reason stated above.

My, I feel kind of bad for writing such a review but I feel like I had to. This book left me angry sometimes, and I had to say it. I’m sorry, this book just didn’t work for me.

The Eden Conspiracy: My Review

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Genre: YA/NA, Dystopia
The Liberty Box #2
Author: C.A. Gray
Publication: July 2016
My rating: ★★★✩✩

And first of all, I wanted to thank the author for providing me with a review copy of her book. As usual, this doesn’t influence my opinion in any way.

Warning: Spoilers for the first book in the series!

My review of The Liberty Box

The story:

The Eden Conspiracy picks up where The Liberty Box left: Kate Brandeis and Jackson MacNamera are on the run from the Potentate with a group of refugees, and they are just rescued by Kate’s supposedly dead fiancé Will, who can’t believe what Kate has become.

In the meantime, Kate wants to become stronger, and asks for Jackson’s help to resist the mind control the country imposes on its citizens. And of course, in the meantime she also realises she might be falling for him…

My opinion:

I think I liked this one slightly better than the previous one, which was a pleasant surprise. The last book in the series, The Phoenix Project, will be released in March, and I will read it and review it as soon as I have finished my current read.

One of my favourite things about this trilogy is probably the world building. The setting C.A. Gray created for her story is really unique and fascinating. It is a very typical dystopia like we recognize in The Hunger Games for example, but it also has very unique elements. The mind control is pushed to an extent I had never seen before in another book, and it’s really fascinating.

Another thing I really appreciate about this book is the fact that unlike many other dystopia books, it’s featuring adults rather than teenagers, and as much as I can relate to teenagers, it overall makes more sense to see characters slightly older fighting in this kind of context.

I really like Kate’s character development, and how she keeps trying and trying to do better and help everyone. She has grown far from who she used to be, and it’s always something pleasant to see as a reader.

As for the Potentate, he is really the perfectly made dystopian villain, who never fails to imagine a crazy new evil plan to keep the power. I have to admit, his character is really well executed.

I won’t reveal more, but I also quite liked the new characters introduced in this volume.

However, as in the first book, I found it hard to figure out my actual thoughts on Jackson. I want to like him, but – and it’s not the first time – I have a hard time really appreciating this kind of characters, and by that I mean people who grew up in nature, and love it, can’t live without it and are also very blunt (another similar character in a completely different story is Benny from Benny & Shrimp by Katarina Mazetti, but this is another subject entirely). Anyway, I have troubles appreciating Jackson, and don’t really understand the relationship between him and Kate, so that made it a bit hard to love the book to its full extent.

Overall, I enjoyed this storybut it sometimes left me a bit frustrated because most of the characters are extremely stubborn. I also find this world quite disturbing, which may have prevented me from enjoying this book even more, but I think it also means the world building is very well done!

If you have read this book, feel free to comment with your opinion in the comments. If you haven’t, you should definitely check out the first book in the trilogy!

Recommended for:

Dystopia lovers, and people interested in mind control. This book also reminded me of Open Mind by Susan Kaye Quinn for some reason. I just can’t help thinking about it when I read this series.