Book series I started…

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I love book series of all kinds. There are historical romance book series I enjoy. There are urban fantasy book series I cant get enough of. I have a few favorite manga and graphic novel series as well. It was only after I tried to keep track of the book series I started but for some reason never continued after reading only the first book did I realize how many of them are on my reading lists. It took whole two pages just to write the titles of the firsts books of the series I started reading. Now that I look at them all I see some I’ve totally forgotten about and some I keep meaning to continue but never actually do. I managed to put them all in three rough categories:

#1 First books of a series that I will not continue

#2 First books of a series I even forgot about

#3 First books of a series I want to continue

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First I had to weed out many of the historical romances I read out of order and had no desire to follow from the beginning. There were also quite the number of graphic novel series I tried out because I wanted to learn an origin story of this or that character and never actually meaning to continue reading them. Also there were a few first books of a series I read and then switched to some prequel first book series and then everything got complicated and I just let them go. Those above mentioned I’m keeping totally out of this discussion.

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#1 First books of a series that I will not continue

These are the books that for some reason did not appeal to me enough to consider to continue reading the rest of the series. As happened with Anne Bishop Ephemera book series. I expected to like the enough to continue reading and bought first two books right away. It has been years since I read the first and will probably never read the second. Demonica series from Larissa Ione was a sort of gamble when I bought it. For some reason it did not blew me away and I did not feel like buying or reading the rest of the series. On Dublin Street book series I just joined in on the hype on the first book when it was translated to Croatian. I never felt motivated enough to read beyond that first book.

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Some of them I did not like and was disappointed after reading them. My biggest disappointment was by far Hellsing manga by Khota Hirano. I loved anime adaptations and had high expectations from the original manga. I even felt cheated on it and was later glad I did not start buying the whole series. Wrinkle in Time I read this year as a book club assignment and was not impressed at all. Beautiful Disaster was one of those books in the YA genre everybody was suddenly talking about. I found it to be shallow and boring.

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And then there were some book series in this category that I just decided they were not for me and just made a decision not to continue reading the rest of the books in the series. How to Train your Dragon and The Penderwicks were both funny and lovely but I could feel they were intended for much younger audience. I’m glad I’ve read them both but will not be reading the rest. Homeland by R.A. Salvatore is the most famous Dungeons and Dragons novelization and first book in a very long book series about the legendary elf drow Drizzt. I tried it out since I was curious about the character and since I’m an avid RPG player. After reading the first book I realized that the author had decided to keep the PG rating for the mostly American market and availability. I am not a fan of books where author ends a scene with a simple curtains down and a morning after routine. I decided to give it up altogether for lack of sex scenes. I find it hypocritical how violence is OK but sex is not OK for the readers. The last book series in this segment is Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. The violence and brutality of the book kept me on edge most of the reading. I decided to let it go since it bothered me too much. With the book series I even stopped watching the TV show. Now I’m having second thoughts and I’m continuing watching the TV show so I might go back to the books as well

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There are a few I was happy about reading and did not feel the need to continue it as a series. One of the books I was impressed with and was actually surprised at how much I liked it was Foundation by Isaac Asimov. After reading it and getting the general feel to the ideas behind the book I did not feel like reading the other books from the series. Same was with the Wallbanger series by Alice Clayton. I enjoyed the book and even bought it as a present for other but never felt the need to read the rest of the books from the series. The Shadow of the Wind was a book club reading assignment. I enjoyed the writing style and have read few other books by Carlos Ruiz Zafon before. The story for me felt complete enough and I haven’t searched out the rest of the books from the series

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#2 First books of a series I even forgot about

These books I read long ago and I forgot about reading them. With Blake Crouch‘s Wayward Pines thriller I was intrigued and picked it up even though it was not my favorite genre. I remember being immersed in the book. I even watched the TV show and enjoyed it. And I seem to forgot about it later on. I enjoyed reading YA novel Matched by Ally Condie. I even liked the book covers for all three books and how they actually made sense with the plot of the books. I never continued the series though…

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Some books and series were not actually memorable and nothing about them set them apart from similar books in their genre. I found Julia Quinn‘s Bridgertons book series not particularly memorable. The plot and the characters just seemed to blend in with many others I’ve read at the time. Down to You by M. Leighton also got lost in the sea of other similar books in the genre. I remember plot having potential but not actually delivering more than simple erotic fiction. One for the Money by Janet Evanovich is a first in a rather long book series that even got a movie. I remember enjoying the funny parts of the book. After watching the movie I was confused about the stupid plot holes that came over from the book and just forgot about the rest of the series altogether.

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When I first read these series I did not have other books of the series available for reading. Later on I just simply forgot about them. Love is Darkness was a freebie first book from Valerie Dearborn book series on Kindle. I enjoyed it quite a bit. At the time I was unsure weather to buy the other books or not. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was another book club assignment. In Croatian translation all five books are hard to come by since they are mostly sold out. I have a first one from my boyfriend and I for some reason I did not want to read the library copies.

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#3 First books of a series I want to continue

Here I have sorted book series that I want to continue and have the books ready. All I need is to start reading them, but for some reason I hesitate. Interview with the Vampire I’ve read only recently. While I have most of the other books in this series available I still hesitate to read them. I think I want to like them and have a feeling I won’t. Howl’s Moving Castle was a book I was hyped about. I loved both of the anime versions – Japanese and English voiceovers. I expected the book to blow me away but it did not. I’m still hoping to read other books of the series and keep them close by. I liked all the books by Cassandra Clare I’ve read so far. Earlier this year I’ve read Clockwork Angel. I like it despite its steampunkish traits. While the characters are quite charming I feel a bit apprehensive toward reading next books from this series. Of Saints and Shadows is an older UF book from the Shadow Saga book series by Christopher Golden. I remember it being creepy and downright scary. I always thought of picking it up again one day. I have next tree books already waiting. I think since it has been years I’ve read the first book that I might have some problems into getting into the second one now.

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And for the end I have books that I want to read but have problems with getting the actual books from the series. Some like Log Horizon manga I have issues with identifying the second volume manga edition. I keep coming up with light novelization and I’m not interested in those at all. supposedly the author Mamare Touno had some legal issues and even the anime series has stopped. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness was an absolute pleasure to read. I really loved Croatian translation edition in hardcover. I’m thinking on getting a hardcover copy for sure. Not sure yet will it be in English or Croatian though.The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams was a part of a reading challenge from my boyfriend. It is one of his favorite book series. He used to have them and borrowed them to someone who never returned them. I’m planing to get the whole series for him someday in a nice package with the new books coming out this year.

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It has been a while since I made a post this long. Hopefully you did not find it too boring.

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TBR Jar Draw September 2017

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After finishing the last TBR Jar Draw from May in a lot longer than expected I took my time with pulling out the new titles for reading. No doubt that my little reading project is going rather slowly if taken into account that I skipped on it for the last few months. I’m considering indulging and reading some books off my shelves that strike my fancy as well as those titles I pull from the jar to compensate for these few months. Lately some of the books on my shelves caught my eye.

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The last book I was reading for the TBR Jar Draw was Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles #1) by Anne Rice. I’m very pleased with finishing it and I made a short review of my reading experience that can be read HERE.

The two draws I have not read are going back in the jar:

 # The Crooked Sixpence (The Uncommoners #1) by Jennifer Bell, Karl James Mountford (Illustrator)

# Angel Souls and Devil Hearts (Shadow Saga #2) by Christopher Golden

My three new TBR Jar draws are as follows:

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1 # Many Bloody Returns edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner

I love these urban fantasy short story collections. This one has many exciting authors for me to try out. I bought it a long time ago and even forgot about it. All the stories in this collection share a topic of supernatural birthdays. I think I’ve read the one from Charlaine Harris long time ago somewhere. This would be a nice pick to read!

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2 # Necroscope (Necroscope #1) by Brian Lumley

This is one of the gems from the eighties. This book was praised by H.R. Giger whose macabre masterwork art inspired many. This book series is one of the first i got interested in when I started exploring the vampire themed literature. I got first two books of the series but never actually got to reading them. Interesting pick for sure.

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3 #  Naamah’s Kiss (Naamah Trilogy, #1) by Jacqueline Carey

This book is actually part of a longer series. Before this trilogy there were two others which I’ve read years ago. I got this Naamah trilogy as a whole. What kept bugging me was that the editions were different from the first two trilogies and looked just awkward on the shelf. As much I enjoyed first two trilogies I loved the main characters and had doubts on how I was going to like this one. I’m still unsure since I want to like it :/

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Again I am reminded at some books that I’ve completely forgotten about. I kept being surprised by why I find on my bookshelves. While all three books have their merits I will have to think and choose one carefully. Right now I’m leaning towards Many Bloody Returns or even Necroscope.

Interview with the Vampire – Book Review

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Finished reading

Interview with the Vampire

(The Vampire Chronicles #1)

by Anne Rice

★★

Expectation

As a reader who enjoys stories with vampires this has been on my reading list for a shamefully long time. I even had a phase when I was collecting Anne Rice books with vampires. I managed to get most of them and right now there are only a few out of a dozen that I’m missing. I was hyped about this book and when I pulled it out of my TBR Draw Jar I felt good. When I was younger I watched the movie version more times than I can count.

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Summary

And it was watching the movie so many times that gave me issues with reading the book. This is the third time I was beginning to read this book. I kept coming back to the movie plots and characters. This was a problem since the movie and the books are very different. The differences, especially in the beginning where there were some characters that were left out of the movie, kept me thinking about the character motivation. I was lost through the most of this pensive book. I was not prepared for the languid pace of this book. Metaphors were aplenty and so were constant melancholic states of the characters. At times it was exhausting.

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The writing style reminded me of some mandatory reading I had trough schooling. It was almost as it was written long ago. Now that I think more on it, I can hardly believe that the author is a modern writer.

“I wanted love and goodness in this which is living death,’ I said. ‘It was impossible from the beginning, because you cannot have love and goodness when you do what you know to be evil, what you know to be wrong. You can only have the desperate confusion and longing and the chasing of phantom goodness in its human form. I knew the real answer to my quest before I ever reached Paris. I knew it when I first took a human life to feed my craving. It was my death. And yet I would not accept it, could not accept it, because like all creatures I don’t wish to die! And so I sought for other vampires, for God, for the devil, for a hundred things under a hundred names. And it was all the same, all evil. And all wrong. Because no one could in any guise convince me of what I myself knew to be ture, that I was damned in my own mind and soul.”
― Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire

The Goth aspect of the book was harrowing. All the while I was reading I found one thing to resonate with the book I kept going back to the actor Tom Cruise – whose fan I am NOT – and this video insert from the movie.

Conclusion

I wanted to like it and gave it all the chances I could. It did not blew me away and I could not connect with any of the characters. I still harbor a certain respect for this book, genre and the author. I am still intrigued by this genre and this book series. I did not like the cliffhanger ending. I’m at odds and ends about continuing this book series. While I still hold the opinion that it is a must for any reader that likes vampire literature I’m not as infatuated with it as I was. Reading this book took a lot of effort. Also I’m still intrigued with the character of Lestat, not because he impressed me in the book, but because I cant seem to connect what I’ve read and watched with the impression I got from reviews and friends that read the other books as well. And I do have the other book of the series waiting on the shelf …

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The Marriage Wager – Book Review

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Finished reading

The Marriage Wager

by Jane Ashford

★★★★

 

Expectation

First of all I have to adress the state of a cover picture. The book was published over twenty years ago. This first cover with a ambiguous dark haired character holding a hand of cards at the gambling table is much more accurate to the story than the pinkish disaster where two fair headed people show much skin while they are embracing. While the main female character of the story is indeed fair headed, the male character is not. I don’t know why I get so agitated by these visual details but I do.

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Summary

When I started this book I wanted some romantic historical story with quite possible some steamy parts in between. What I got had me surprised more times trough the book. The book opens with intrigue that leaves the author with plethora of plot twist options. Both characters seem to have a murky past. While the actual marriage wager of the book is settled quite fast there was another aspect of this book that caught me by surprise.

Trough most of the book characters are put into a position where care and understanding are the only thing that can lead them to prosperity. Both characters are scared by their pasts and get caught up in the healing power of love. I kept getting surprised from the constant sacrificing acts they do for each other but without each other actually knowing about it.

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There were parts of this book when I thought that the author has made a story for couples who need marriage counseling. At times this book felt like a step by step example what happens with good intentions and not enough communication. The themes were strangely universal and easy to understand.

Conclusion

I expected a nice romantic historical drama. I got more drama than I expected but it was worth it. The amount of times I wanted to scream at something the main characters did was surprisingly low. I enjoyed this book even though it had way more intrigue than steamy moments.

 

Monthly reading review – August 2017

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Monthly reading review – August 2017

This August I have read:

La Dame aux Camélias by Alexandre Dumas fils, ★★★★

A Wrinkle in Time (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #1) by Madeleine L’Engle ★

Queen of Dragons (Drakon #3) by Shana Abe ★★★★

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett ★★★★

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1. How many books you’ve read last month? Are you happy with the amount you read?

After months of struggling and not reading this August I finally started working on getting my reading mojo back. This happened in the second part of August and four books in two weeks is not so bad.

2. What was the best of all the books you’ve read in August? Any scenes or characters that made a lasting impression?

The most enjoyable book I’ve read this August has to be Queen of Dragons. It made me remember why I love reading fantastic stories. The main character is a shapeshifter dragon and I loved reading about them.

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3. Were there any not so good books for you last month? What made it hard or not enjoyable to read?

In the last year or so I have more one star books than the few year before combined. This time the book that made me grade it one star was A Wrinkle in Time. I found the parts of it annoying and I tend to rate the books on the reading experience and general impression. The fact that it was book club assignment did not help either since I get more easily annoyed with the books I did not pick for myself.

4. How did the books you were reading last month fit in your reading plans if you had any?

Since the start of this year my reading was down and I kinda stopped making plans but set some goals instead. My goal in this case was just to enjoy reading more. I managed to do that and I think i’m on the right track again.

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5. Any updates on the series you are reading or are you starting any new series?

Drakon series was one I started reading quite a few years back. I’m glad I picked it up again. A Wrinkle in Time I was curious about but never really felt like getting to actually read the book. I will not continue it anytime soon.

6. Would you like to recommend any books or authors you’ve been reading this last month?

The Uncommon Reader book was a nice surprise. The impact of reading was shown in a very simple way. I loved that it was a grown up person discovering the love and mania of reading. It made me connect more easily with the book. I’m interested in watching it as a play. I would recommend it for every reader as a reminder on what a reading can do.

Final thoughts on August reading

Second part of the month of August I got interested in reading again. I’m looking forward to new books. Some steps in the right direction have been made. I enjoyed reading in August and hope to continue it trough September.

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The Uncommon Reader – Book Review

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Finished reading

The Uncommon Reader

by Alan Bennett

★★

Expectation

This book was a book club assignment. When it first came out I was not that impressed with it. It looked fancy and it was presented like a book lover book. But somehow I just was not interested enough to pick it up. What I liked about it now was the small size and page count.

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Summary

First of all the Croatian translation of this book was a bit special. The hardcover edition had covers of red velvet. The spacing and the letter size was very luxurious as well. I actually felt spoiled using the book marker ribbon that was a part of this book. It was amazingly practical. It is in all a very beautiful edition.

“Reading is untidy, discursive and perpetually inviting.”
― Alan Bennett, The Uncommon Reader

At first I wanted to make a list of all the books and the authors that the main character started her love of reading with. But soon it was obvious that there were too many of them and the list would be irrelevant. Reading is a personal activity and our choice of books should not be evaluated by anyone but ourselves.
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Conclusion

The authors background in play writing was obvious. Plot wise I would have preferred to see this book as a play. Other than that, the evolution of a reader was nicely depicted. I could summarize this book by a quote:

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Queen of Dragons – Book Review

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Finished reading

Queen of Dragons

(Drakon #3)

by Shana Abe

★★

Expectation

The first book of this series was something different from all the books I was reading at the time. It is historical romance, with all the ladies and lords and proper etiquette in England long past. Add fantastical elements dragons! The second book of the series got me hooked. It took me a while to get this book and continue the series. But immediately after I got it I started reading it. I was really in the mode for a book with dragons and romance.

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Summary

Again it took me by surprise the historical romance feel of the book. There are lots of mysterious plot holes in this this book. Some of them I’ve written of to the time it passed since I first read the first two books of the series. But as I got more into the book there were more of them. The author lets out lots of things without explaining too much. There is a backstory with dragon tribes. The complicated and rigid traditions. The coloring of the dragons in this book was intriguing for me. Maricara is a strong character and I kept wanting a happy ending for her.

“But this man…this powerful, lovely man was not afraid of her. He was also a beast, and an earl, which seemed to be something like a prince in this country, and he was not afraid. And he was tender, and he was strong, and he was drakon.”
― Shana Abe, Queen of Dragons

Sex scenes were scarce but steamy. I’ve developed an easy connection to these characters and want the next book! At first I thought the plot was slow and then it seemed that this book was just an episode in a longer saga.

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Conclusion

This book had me in suspenseful reading binge. I loved center characters. It was a book less about romance and more about intrigue and mystery. It made me feel like the build up from first two books is coming together finally. Rhys is a character I’m hopping to learn more about in the next book. I’m unsure when I’ll get the next book of the series.