Frankenstein – Book Review

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Finished reading:

Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus

by Mary Shelley

★★

Expectation

I’ve been meaning to read this one for a while. When I saw that one of the groups in my RL book club picked it out for August reading I gladly jumped at the opportunity to finally take it on. I was hyped and excited. I even managed to watch a BBC four documentary series The Secret Life of Books that had a whole episode on Mary Shelley and the making of Frankenstein. In retrospective had I thought even a little about authors husband – which I did an essay on in college! – and the company she kept, the time period and many other things that make total sense after I’ve read the book I would have been better prepared. I got distracted by many movie adaptations and urban culture references on Frankenstein and his monster. I expected a cool and ghoulish story from the start of the nineteenth century.  Because of this I feel the need to elaborate more on the experience of reading this book. I usually avoid giving out any spoilers and just present a general feel to the book and how I liked reading it. In this case I have to make an exception and let it all out.

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Summary

What most of the movie adaptations omit to mention is the great influence of  romanticism and second generation of romantic poets that include Mary Shelley’s husband Pierce B. Shelley and Lord Byron on the making of Frankenstein.  Main character Victor Frankenstein possess the same pathos like Werther in the epistolary work of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. They were written just a few decades apart and The Sorrows of Young Werther is actually mentioned in Frankenstein.

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Frankenstein in itself is written from the perspective of three different narrators. First being Richard Walton, second Victor Frankenstein and third Frankenstein’s Creature.

From all of these only Creature’s story felt real and honest to me. First two narrators annoyed me and put me to sleep. I felt much agitation by the character of Victor Frankenstein. I prefer the nutty and passionate (and yes! creepy) versions of Victor Frankenstein. This spineless and naive man child upsets me. It infuriated me to read about his total disregard for some things and melancholy fretting for other.

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By the time the discussion on the book was scheduled I was not done with reading the book. I was about 70% done on my Kindle edition. The book kept putting me to sleep or I would get angry by how depressing characters were.

“There is love in me the likes of which you’ve never seen. There is rage in me the likes of which should never escape. If I am not satisfied in the one, I will indulge the other.”
― Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

I was so emotionally invested while reading this book that the mere process of reading; which usually has a calming effect on me; proved to be exhausting and painful. I hated the general treatment of those less fortunate in the books. Those not born into wealthy families, all those that were not pretty enough and were not afforded an education. Parts of the book that speak about that are horror for me.

It did not escape my notice that the only part of the book I enjoyed was narrated by the Creature.

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Conclusion

There are many things now I would have liked to discuss more about and I’m sorry for not reading the book in time for our RL book club meeting. Others mostly liked the book and at times I felt like sticking out like a sore thumb for not liking it. I’ve made many notes and highlights in my copy while reading. Again I’m not regretting that I’ve read the book but it has left me tired.

Reading in progress – August 2016

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After MIA July in August I’m slowly getting back on track. I’m in the middle of reading of four different books!

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16 out of 323 pages

Storm’s Heart (Elder Races book #2)

by Thea Harrison

This on is a carry on from June. I liked the first book of the series and jumped onto the second right away. I have trouble getting into the story. I’m not against tiny female protagonists but have to work at getting to understand their perspective since for most story heroines I’m a giant – I’m 6 ft tall. (180 cm) With books where main female character is admired by her short height as a something to strive at I get put off and need a really good story to pull me in. Still waiting for it to happen with this book…

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189 out of 416 pages

The Annotated Hobbit: The Hobbit, Or, There and Back Again

by J.R.R. Tolkien, Douglas A. Anderson

I wanted to get back at tackling the BF challenge. The book from the challenge is actually Fellowship of the Ring but I went a little overboard this year with repeated watching of Hobbit and LOTR movies and decided to start with Hobbit. I might have overdone it a bit with the Annotated version and the footnotes are starting to be less wow and more tiresome. I will definitely be doing a review soon and let off some steam on all the issues I have with this book…

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5 out of 273 pages

Frankenstein

by Mary Shelley

This is one of two books I’m reading for my RL book club in August. I’ve barely started the book but I’ve already watched a BBC Secret life of Books documentary on how it came to be. Promo for the video is HERE. I guess I’m getting into research mode for our group discussion.

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10 out of 230 pages

Prince of Wolves (The Grey Wolves #1)

by Quinn Loftis

I was going trough my Kindle library one night and stumbled on this free ebook. I forgot I had it and I’ve seen some nice reviews on it. I started reading it a bit and decided to give it a go this August. It has been a while since I’ve read a good Kindle freebie. So far is very much YA material.

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I’ve just realized that all the books I’m reading now are fantastical in theme. Coincidence?

I don’t think so! I’ve been exhausted by everyday stuff and little books out of this world are just what I wanted lately.

Monthly reading review – July 2016

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Monthly reading review -July 2016

This July I have read:

Ever After (The Hollows #11) by Kim Harrison ★★★★

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie ★★★★★

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This July was one of the most difficult months of my life. Instead of leaning myself on my book friends I got distracted by things that don’t give me the half of piece of mind that books do. So I ended up getting my vactaion days and and then abruptly got ragged back to work to work even longer than usual. I got a gym membership as a present from my friend but I ended up going only three times in the whole month. July was hot and humid and then came the storms…

Also I got myself hooked on Pokemon Go. That was one of the nicer things in July. The game servers were mostly down but the amount of hype and unusually long walks with friends trough the city hunting Pokemons and conquering gyms was amazing. Most of the things I did in July were not planed and all that were planed were a total bust.

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Onto the books…

I have read only two books for the whole month. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was as an amazing as it was the first time I’ve read it. The Hollows series is one of my favorite urban fantasy but I still had very little energy and time to read it. It took me almost the whole month for it since I would usually read only 10 pages before bedtime. As opposed to the The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian which I finished in a matter of days.

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I even got some bookish presents in July which add to my huge TBR pile. Hopefully I will present the books I got in a single post in August.🙂

Squeezed in at the start of August

From felling guilty for reading so little in July I’ve gotten a head start on August by finishing off two books already.

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Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield ★★★★

A strange and thought provoking story about time and death and what’s left in between. I liked it more after I spent some time thinking about the story, characters and ideas that they brought in. For a book with such a bleak topic I found it quite comforting and strangely positive.

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Sudden Backtrack (The Hollows #13.1) by Kim Harrison ★★★★★

The Hollows short which gives insight into life of demons and elves of long time ago. It was great to see Newt and All dynamic and learn more about what happened between the two races. I was not sure about the reading order but I just grabbed it on my Kindle in the middle of the night and read it trough. It is really short and it fit nicely after book 11. in The Hollows series.

Final thoughts on July reading:

I did not do my usual Monthly book review since the month itself was not usual for my reading habits. I do have a reading goal for reading 100 books this year which I’m terribly behind in. Also I’ve been neglecting a reading challenge I’ve got going on with my BF this year.

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

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When I first read this book in January 2014. I simply loved it. It made me cry and it made me laugh. Now I finally managed to push it to the top of my RL book club reading list as a reading assignment for July.

While I’m looking forward to reading it again I’m a bit nervous about how to prepare for the discussion.

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While many of the issues this book speaks about I’m totally ignorant off; there were many parts of this book that spoke to me in a rather personal manner.

I don’t know much about the hardships of native Americans and their struggles today and in the past. But I understand poverty, segregation, alcoholism and all that happens in between.

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I’m unsure on what parts of the book I should explore further for our book club discussion. Should I explore more on the topics that are not as close and familiar since I’ve never even met a native American in person and I live in Europe? Or should I follow those parts of the book that spoke to me the first time around?3529129_orig

I wonder how will I feel about this book reading it a second time. I believe it will make me cry again in all the same parts and for all the same reasons. This YA book has made a deep impact on me and I keep recommending it to all my friends that love to read.

I wonder what my book club will think about this book and hope I’ll do well as a discussion moderator.

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Monthly reading review – June 2016

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Monthly reading review -June 2016

This June I have read:

Dragon Bound (Elder Races, #1) by Thea Harrison ★★★★

Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas ★★★

Midnight Marriage (Roxton Series #2) by Lucinda Brant ★★★

A Gentleman Never Tells (Essex Sisters, #4.5) by Eloisa James ★★★★

A onda je Božo krenuo ispočetka by Marina Vujičić ★★

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

I read only 5 books in June. I’m not pleased with this apathy and slow reading progress.

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

Elder Races series by Thea Harrison was by far the cutest read in June for me. I liked the magic, the dragon and his hoard and new worlds to explore!

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

Our Tragic Universe and A onda je Božo krenuo ispočetka were equally bad for my reading time. While the first one had a proper wrap up ending of sorts, the second was an existential novel with open ending. Unlikable and depressing characters are not what I look for in my free time reading.

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

For June I had planned reading a bit more historical romance. I achieved this with a Kindle freebie Midnight Marriage and a new Kindle novella by Eloisa James. Once again I did my RL book club reading ahead of time which is good. Unfortunately the quantity of books was a bit of a fail.

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

I’m already in the middle of reading of second book from the new series Elder Races started I’ve started in June. Novella A Gentleman Never Tells got me to add the whole Essex Sisters book series on my reading list for future reading. I’m still in the middle of reading of Ever After book 11 in the Hollows series and it is going slow.

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

Eloisa James has again proved to be a real delight in this slow reading month and I recommend any of her books with all my heart.

Final thoughts on June reading:

In June I’ve been struck down with existential and metafiction novels. The lack of fantastic elements was something that even some good historical romance could not reimburse for. I need to go back to magical places, characters with weird abilities and wonderful possibilities

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A Gentleman Never Tells – Book Review

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Finished reading:

A Gentleman Never Tells

by Eloisa James

★★

Expectation

I’ve pre-ordered this little novella on Kindle when it was first announced almost a month ago and it turned up in my Library yesterday. I was a bit surprised but pleasantly so. Last few months I’ve been meaning to find some nice historical romance to binge on. This one came in at the best moment possible. High expectations indeed.

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Summary

I’ve really enjoyed Eloisa James’s Desperate Duchesses series. This is my first book by her not connected to the series I love. I had postponed reading something else from this author.

This novella is a part of Essex Sisters book series. Chronologically it is set after the fourth book. First four books being shown in the picture below.

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I’m not too thrilled by these covers and that’s part of the reason I’ve not read these books already.

This novella is quite short and barely over 100 pages long with interesting and lovable characters. It is a pairing of two minor character from the mentioned series. She is a widow wronged and shamed by her late husband. He seems a little lost and overly sorry for some youthful mistakes. She is quite adorable with her curly hair and bookish ways. It takes one look for him to stop being lost and fall madly in love. Due to the short story there was no bigger character development.

As usual authors quirky writing is delightful. I like how the author does not shy away from writing silly sex scenes. Some quotes taken out of content were pure gold and joy to read.

“When I look at you, Lizzie, I don’t think of sausages.” – Oliver Berwick

Conclusion

Glimpses of other characters from the series were intriguing and this has left me no choice but to add this book series to my reading list. Even in short stories such as this Eloisa James still stays one of my favorite writers of the Historical romance genre.

Our Tragic Universe – Book Review

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Finished reading:

Our Tragic Universe

by Scarlett Thomas

★★

Expectation

I’ve been eyeing this book in our bookstore for a time before actually picking it up. I was intrigued by the strange characters and plot. It looked very promising. The publisher that translated it to Croatian has a certain reputation for good and quality books. I liked the hardcover edition and the book design. It was different and I expected to enjoy the weird. I picked it up for its weirdness. I thought I would like it for its weirdness. It was maybe too weird…

nas_tragicni_svemirThis is what the Croatian edition I’ve been reading looks like.

Summary

There are moments in first reading the book where I wait for all the new to settle in in my mind so I can follow the flow of the plot and characters journey. I’m OK with weird and different books. In fact I prefer them!

First of all the summary on the back of the book lied! I felt a bit cheated for that. I  hate when that happens.

This book had a messy and foggy beginning and I kept waiting for the fog to clear. All of the characters are quite real and multilayered. Most of the time their reasoning escaped me. It seemed to me that the limitations they’ve put upon themselves were too much and depressing.

The character has many discussions about fiction and what it means writing it. I mostly found it cliche. Her formulas for writing a good story that has certain elements and order do not appeal to me.

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Ugh!

This book made me rage a bit. The relationship main heroine has with her live in boyfriend raised the hairs at the back of my neck.

SPOILER ALERT!

They say money doesn’t make people happy. I hated this book up until the point main heroine gets some money of her own. It was so depressing to read about how poor she was, about not having money for food, transportation or a decent place to live.

The book itself does not make a big deal about any of this. Meg – the main character just goes with the flow on these things.

But I was happy to see her finally acquiring some money!

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Conclusion

The demure setting makes the philosophical parts of the book more appealing and interesting. I did like authors view on life and death.

Death defines life: alive are those that will die, not those that are not dead.

Needs more sunshine, needs more happy…