Book loot for the end of the year

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Last month I’ve been to a book fair and lately I’ve been hoarding unusual number of new books. Some were gifts and some I bought for myself. Most I just grabbed and wouldn’t let go…

I swear I’m like a bear getting ready for hibernation!

Here are the books that are new on my shelves!

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Half Bad (The Half Bad Trilogy, #1) by Sally Green

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 Half Wild (The Half Bad Trilogy, #2) by Sally Green

Both of them I’ve read earlier this year and I’ve even bought a Croatian edition. Third book in this trilogy Half Wild in English I’ve gotten in April as a gift.

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 The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Also Croatian edition. This is one of the books I bought at the book fair in Zagreb. This book is relatively hard to come by. I was very happy to have found it. Yesterday I’ve seen the first photos and stills of the new miniseries based on this book and I’m even more glad to have gotten it!

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 The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

  This is one of the books I’ve heard from my friend. She read the copy from the library and I was intrigued because it totally missed my radar when it first came out. Again Croatian edition. It has a dark and twisted feel to it and I hope I get to reading it soon.

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 Saga Omnibus by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

Croatian edition is a chubby omnibus that collects first three volumes. It is really heavy and not cheap but I love it anyway! I was thrilled when I first read this graphic novel and hopefully next year t this time I’ll have the second omnibus as well!

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

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 A Wind in the Door (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #2) by Madeleine L’Engle

These are Croatian editions of a children’s classic I’ve been eyeing for years now. Sadly it is a five book series and there probably won’t be translations for the last three books A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, and An Acceptable Time.  :(  I also found English edition of a second book A Wind in the Door hidden in my shelves o.o

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  Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #2) by Rick Riordan

I loved the first book and when I’ve seen this one finally arrive I just grabbed it and wouldn’t let go. This is one of the few books I’m getting in hardcover editions as they come out. There are tons of pictures with American edition covers but not many with British edition covers I’m getting. I will try to snap a few good pictures when I do the review.

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The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1) by Rick Riordan

Only Rick Riordan’s books that did not sit well with me were Kane Chronicles. As for the rest of them I plan to get them all eventually.  I love the feel of adventure they bring to life in me when I read them! Maybe I’ll even give Kane Chronicles a new chance as well!

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Half a King (Shattered Sea, #1) by Joe Abercrombie

For the purposes of a book gifting in my book club I asked my boyfriend to take his Croatian edition of this book. I promised to replace it with a pretty English edition and I did. I’m actually hoping to get the whole trilogy eventually and read them as well!

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The Witch with no Name(The Hollows #13) by Kim Harrison

Last book of The Hollows series. I still have to read one book before it but wouldn’t start before I got this one. I ordered this one online and it is in the mail as we speak!

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Staked (The Iron Druid Chronicles, #8) by Kevin Hearne

This book series I need to catch up as well. Boyfriend read all before this book and will be happy to read it too. Ordered online and also in the mail!

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Busy Busy November 2016

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This November I’m going without Monthly reading review for the first time in two years. I started it in October 2014 (!) and kept it going ever since.

What has changed?

I read less…

There are many reasons that piled up for me lately. It is time to face the facts not just ignore them as excuses.

First and foremost for months now my vision has been deteoriating. I’ve even gone so far as stopped watching movies and avoiding even some of my favorite TV shows. I’ve went to check on my eyesight and I need glasses. I haven’t got to buying them yet and something always keeps getting in the way. I get tired easily because of my eyesight and it makes me cranky and a bit depressed.

To top it all my reading lamp stopped working and I haven’t replaced it yet either.

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On the other side …

I have been busy anyway.

This November after six years of missing it I went to a book fair in Zagreb. Money for books was in short supply so naturally I went and borrowed some. This made my purchases a bit more humbler than I would liked but the experience has somewhat revitalized me.

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In the picture is my humble loot.

I feel I need to add that I was there with some book club friends who are even more enthusiastic about books than me. We traveled to Zagreb and even had a real suitcase on wheels, a backpack each, AND more than few bags full to carry our loot in home.

As you can see in the picture  there are few books and some other things as well since I decided to drop in the gamer fair that was also happening just next door. Most of the things were presents and stuff I bought for others.

As I work in a bookstore I was mainly concentrating  on searching out for older editions that I can’t order or find easily. I’m especially proud of a little book in Chinese and gaming mugs for me and the boyfriend – he got the Deadpool mug and League of Legends is mine.

I’m very happy to have found Croatian edition Handmaiden’s tale by Margaret Atwood and favorite book from a decade ago – Blue Wolf by Homeric, a tale of Genghis Khan.

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Birthday parties…

In November our gaming club Titan Atlas had a second birthday party and we went all out on the cake and games. Here are some cake pictures and link to our site🙂

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Klub Titan Atlas Osijek

Also my local book club had a third birthday party. Our members produced and performed a play based on a book one of the four active reading groups read this year. We were even promoted in local newspapers and news portals online🙂

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In conclusion…

In November I’ve eaten a lot of cakes and read only one book! Book was called Four Dukes and a Devil and is a compilation of short stories by five different authors. It is romance oriented and every story had a Duke in it! It was a mostly easy reading before bedtime on a tablet.

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Four Dukes and a Devil by Cathy Maxwell et all ★★★

In the meantime I have already gotten my hands on some new arrivals in the bookstore and my December book loot will be a real dragon hoard indeed…

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Angel: The End – Book Review

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Finished reading

Angel: The End

by David Peter et al

★★

 

Expectation

I’ve had this book for years now. I bought it before some other editions that came before it in the order of reading. This is a chubby and quite heavy omnibus edition collecting Angel After the Fall graphic novel series 7-9. Additionally there are few short stories.

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I’ve wanted to read this book just to get to the ones that go after it. I was actually fussing over two different graphic novel series that come after it: Buffy season 9 and Angel and Faith I’m really interested in! Both of them I’ve already have two volumes ready and waiting on the shelf.

Summary

The first thing that put me off during reading was the artwork. It’s not as bad as Buffy Season 8 but it’s very close. Problem with graphic novels that have a TV show or a movie is that people will often expect from artwork to be at least similar to the way the actors who portray the characters look like.

Here is a part of the artwork that I actually liked🙂

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Just like with Buffy it took me a while to start making differences between the characters. And right when I did – BAM !– next chapter has a different artist who has a different style and characters again look even more different…

Bill Willingham who did the story for Immortality for Dummies and Crown Prince Syndrome ha has great talent for writing stories and after the initial grumpiness I really liked the story. It had flair and I think he gave characters depth. He made some things go with a bang without much explanations which I thought felt good for the story arc in the future. Same thing sometimes made me feel nostalgic and sad for the TV show and how quickly it was wrapped up.

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Angel Yearbook was different than I expected and delved into past of the characters that was only hinted at in the TV series.

Rest of the short stories were OK but the constant change in artists and artwork styles did not sit well with me.

At the end was a rather impressive artwork gallery with many cover variants.

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Conclusion

What gave me most grief about this edition is the pain in my wrists from holding the book for more than 10 minutes. This hardcover baby is heavy! I’m actually having second thoughts for future buying plans when it comes to omnibus editions like this one. Apparently the require a book holder of some sorts!

Now I’m torn between starting on Buffy Season 9 and Angel and Faith graphic novels and buying more volumes so I don’t end up forgetting the story until I have the chance to read the next volumes I don’t already have. I read them fast and getting into the story after a long pause can be daunting.

Monthly reading review – October 2016

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Monthly reading review -October 2016

This October I have read:

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey ★★★★

A Thousand Years of Good Prayers by Yiyun Li ★★★

Angel: The End by Bill Willingham, et all ★★★★

Angel, Volume 1: Immortality For Dummies ★★★

Angel, Volume 2: The Crown Prince Syndrome★★★★ 

Angel, Volume 3: The Wolf, the Ram, and the Hart ★★★

Angel Yearbook ★★★

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

This October I’ve read two books and one graphic novel omnibus. I’m not pleased by the amount. It could have been better but at least I’ve made some progress with books long overdue.

2.  What made it hard or not enjoyable to read?

I had some issues with getting my hands on the books I’ve wanted to read. Angel: The End graphic novel omnibus was a heavy hardcover edition with around 450 pages and made my arms hurt from holding it more than 10 minutes.  Also for the first time ever I’m having eyesight issues. I’m not cooping with it well. I read less and also watch less movies and TV shows. It has made me agitated and unfriendly.

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

I did one RL book club reading and the second one was pushed for November (not by my choice). I’m glad I pushed myself to finally finish Angel: The End. It opened up options for some other graphic novel editions to get to the top of my TBR by the end of the year. 

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

This is a second month I’ve been MIA with my book series. If I keep this up I’m going to have to start reading them anew for I won’t remember then good enough.

Final thoughts on October reading:

My October reading had one  drama short story collection I’m still wrapping my mind around of. It has made me think and try to learn more on Chinese culture and life in modern China. I’m even watching some TV shows for a specific reason to learn more about it. Having finished Angel graphic novel omnibus has liberating of sorts.

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My book series dry spell has mad me appreciate stand alone books more. I’m very happy with having read The Girl With all the Gifts. I’m still hoping to watch the movie version soon but I’m a bit confused with finding out the release date for it in my country.

I have some reading at the moment books that I’m close to finishing but that is a topic for another post🙂

The Girl with All the Gifts – Book Review

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Finished reading:

The Girl with All the Gifts

by M.R. Carey

★★

Expectation

I was hyped into reading this book ever since I’ve seen it as a runner up to the Arthur C. Clarke award. After I’ve read the excerpt I was hooked. I usually don’t like reading dystopian novels and zombie like creatures are a big no-no for me as well. This book has both elements and I still went for it!

“And then like Pandora, opening the great big box of the world and not being afraid, not even caring whether what’s inside is good or bad. Because it’s both. Everything is always both. But you have to open it to find that out.”
― M.R. Carey, The Girl with All the Gifts

Summary

Watching the trailer for the movie made me push up this book to the top of my reading pile since I wanted to read the book before watching the movie. I liked the trailer and actors they picked for the roles. Then I started reading the book…

“Melanie thinks: when your dreams come true, your true has moved. You’ve already stopped being the person who had the dreams, so it feels more like a weird echo of something that already happened to you a long time ago.”
― M.R. Carey, The Girl with All the Gifts

The startling difference in physical appearance of the main characters in book and trailer was more than a little annoying. I understand that certain elements from the book cannot be put to screen and hope when I finally see the movie the actors will make it up for those differences with good acting performances.

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The author is very good at writing thrilling and suspenseful scenes.  More than once my eyes were glued to the pages and I was scared what will happen next.

“the horror of the unknown is more frightening than any horror you can understand”
― M.R. Carey, The Girl With All the Gifts

The scientific part of explanation on why the world went into zombie mode was interesting. The steps and actions the government takes made sense more than I like. In this time where we like making up stories on world destruction this was one of the best ones I’ve read.

“Every adult grew from a kid who beat the odds. But at different times, in different places, the odds have been appallingly steep.”
― M.R. Carey, The Girl with All the Gifts

Conclusion

I liked the book but the ending made me feel uneasy. The moral of the story is simple and profound. It is also scary as well. I will willingly watch a zombie movie after a very long time because the book made it worth my while.

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Monthly reading review – September 2016

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Monthly reading review -September 2016

This September I have read:

Blindness by Jose Saramago ★★

The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare

What Really Happened in Peru (The Bane Chronicles, #1) ★★★★

The Runaway Queen (The Bane Chronicles, #2) ★★★★

Vampires, Scones, and Edmund Herondale (The Bane Chronicles, #3) ★★★★

The Midnight Heir (The Bane Chronicles, #4) ★★★★★

The Rise of the Hotel Dumort (The Bane Chronicles, #5) ★★★★

Saving Raphael Santiago (The Bane Chronicles, #6) ★★★★

The Fall of the Hotel Dumort (The Bane Chronicles, #7) ★★★★

What to Buy the Shadowhunter Who Has Everything (The Bane Chronicles, #8) ★★★★★

The Last Stand of the New York Institute (The Bane Chronicles, #9) ★★★★★

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

I’ve been stuck on some books  (still am!) that are simply not working out for me. To remedy this fatal condition I’ve been reading The Bane Chronicles chapters daily. I’m still missing the last one and the extra story that comes in this collection. Aside that I’ve read only one whole book. Month has been busy with many TV series and games and for that reason my reading has suffered…

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2.  What made it hard or not enjoyable to read?

Jane Austen is killing me slowly. While I’m reading Sense and Sensibilities I often feel like I would have more fun staring at the wall. Fake characters and pretend well mannered ones are annoying me to no end. I keep trying to read it but every other page something makes me cringe. And then I think to myself: I’ve read many historical romance drama books that were fun to read, why is this one turning out so bad for me?

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

I’m so tilted in my reading lately that I can’t focus on any reading plan. Most I can to  is keep up with my RL book club assignments.😦

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

I haven’t made any progress with book series I am interested in and haven’t started any new ones either. I think my book series mojo has left me…

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Final thoughts on September reading:

I would love to find last two stories from Bane Chronicles so I can make a full review on them. Hoping that now that September back to  school madness is over my job will leave me with more reading time available.  I’m trying to get a reading fix with some new historical romance book or good book series. I am aware that pushing trough this dry spell will require more determination.

Book Club Issues

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Book club dynamics can be challenging.  Agreeing on reading a book when people’s tastes vary is sometimes difficult. This is the reason some book clubs group up and read trough certain genres. I am very lucky with my RL book club since we all take turns in presenting a book and leading the discussion. I actually enjoy the variety of books I would never pick up on my own.
Being in a book club has it’s perks and downsides. Having a great discussion on a book you read and hearing other people point out things you missed out or haven’t even thought to think on makes book clubs great. It teaches you about values in differences of opinion and makes people more emphatic – even when they have to agree to disagree. Some books will make people either love or hate them and the best ones often do. Taking into consideration view of someone else who read the same book as you did but managed to understand it in a completely different way is a great way of learning about differences between people as humanities most valuable resource.
The downsides in my particular case are a few. I am not talking about tastes in books but about something a bit more real for my group. These involve language barriers, unavailable copies and brick like editions with vast number of pages.

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We tend to rely on our local library for the books and sometimes there aren’t enough books for us all. Even in a group of ten people the minimum amount of available books should be at least five. That is not always the case. Some books are in short supply to be available for the whole group in a one month time.

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There are some really great books I would like to read with book club buddies but since we are in a small language group, books that are not translated to our native language simply don’t fit to our needs. These make me sad the most. In some cases there used to be a translation but the editions are old and hard to come by.

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Last group of books that can be problematic for a book club discussion are those that have higher than average number of pages. For a normal adult person with a job and family it can be difficult to find the time to read a 500+ pages book in time for the discussion. Sometimes books like that have to be agreed upon several months in advance.

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What are your book club issues?
How do you cope with language barriers and unavailable books?