TBR Jar Draw April 2017

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Last month I started a little project I like to call TBR Jar Draw. I’ve listed my owned books I have not read yet and written their titles on little pieces of paper. They were all put into a little bluish jar. Each month I draw three titles from it and choose one I will be reading. Last month my three draws were:

1 # Fushigi Yûgi: Genbu Kaiden Vol. 01 by Yu Watase ★★

2 # The Undead Pool (The Hollows #12) by Kim Harrison

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

From the titles above I’ve finished the Fushigi Yûgi: Genbu Kaiden manga and I’m currently reading The Undead Pool. I said to pick one but since one was a manga AND I really liked the titles I’ve draw I decided to pick two instead!

While finishing Fushigi Yûgi: Genbu Kaiden Vol. 01 was bittersweet I was reminded how good it feels to read a good manga and how much I loved Fushigi Yûgi universe. What pained me is that I had only the first volume for reading and I’m still undecided about trying to collect the rest of the series or not. The Undead Pool I’m still reading each night before bedtime.

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TBR Jar Draw April titles:

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1# Rosemary and Rue (October Daye #1) by Seanan McGuire

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2# Spike: The Complete Series (Angel: After the Fall) by Brian Lynch, Nicola Zanni

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3# Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Vol. 1 (Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 1 #2-3)
by John Vornholt, Arthur Byron Cover, Alice Henderson, Joss Whedon (Creator)

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This March was a 20th Anniversary of Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show. I’m still an avid fan of the show and I’m actually glad I got not one but two books related to it to read in April! I’m going to finish The Undead Pool before I decide my pick for April. I’m leaning towards one of the two Buffy themed books. Depending on how long it takes me I might decide to read both!

 

New books for me!

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I have been slightly busy with getting some new books lately. It makes me giddy and happy getting little bookish packages in the mail. So without further ado here are some of the newest books I get to call mine 🙂

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Black Butler vol 1 by Yana Toboso

It has been years since I’ve watched the anime series. I was never that happy about how it ended though. After seeing that manga is still going out even after the anime ended I decided I wanted to read them. This one has been on my wish list for a few years now. When I saw it being on sale I had to grab it. I’m looking at it and I know I made a grave mistake buying only first volume. Should have taken at least first three…

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Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson #9) by Patricia Briggs

This has been one of my favorite UF book series for so long now. I’m glad to see it is still going strong and has not taken a downward spiral that most book series do after a while. Characters are still going strong and there are still so much about the Mercy Thompson world that still makes my eyes glued to the pages! Also this is one of those book series I love for their cover artwork. Daniel Dos Santos is doing an awesome job with them and I can’t understand why would anyone buy any other edition other than these beauties ❤

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The Eternal Kiss: 13 Vampire Tales of Blood and Desire by Trisha Telep

This is a book I picked up earlier this year in the bookstore where I work. I bought it as a addition to my vampire stories collection. It was cheap so I was happy about it. What I noticed is that lately I’ve been slacking on reading the short story collections I own. Hopefully I will read one of those in April!

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Mass Effect: Nexus Uprising (Mass Effect: Andromeda #1)

by Jason M. Hough

OK, technically this one I bought for my boyfriend. He pre-ordered the game at Christmas and has been happily playing it ever since it arrived. I bought him Mass Effect books before and he loved them. I wonder how long will it take for him to read this one and if he will like it as much 🙂

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Crimson Death (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #25)

by Laurell K. Hamilton

This is actually a pre-order. The hardcover came out last year but I’ve been collecting them in mass market paperback edition. This is by far the longest book series I’m reading and buying. It had its ups and downs. Last few books were on the up side. I’m really looking forwards to this one and I must admit I’m a bit worried how will the first trip to Europe look like for Anita Blake.

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The Ravens of Thri Sahashri by Kuroda Yasushi

This is actually a card game and not a book! But I’m adding it to the list since it is rather complex and it tells a fascinating story. The story is about a girl in a coma and her psychic friend who is trying to help her to wake up. It is as dramatic and crazy as it sounds. One player is the comatose girl and the other a psychic detective. There are puzzling dream cards and ill fated ravens to beat in this quirky game! I have yet to try it out with my boyfriend – it caught my eye while I was looking for a two player board game for us. In the last six months he’s been collecting board games like crazy so this is my little edition to the collection.

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Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3) by Lisa Kleypas

And the last addition I will present here now is a historical romance I wanted to get my hands on as soon as I read the excerpt. It is a romance by my favorite author Lisa Kleypas. One of the characters is a son of my favorite couple from the Devil in Winter (The Wallflowers book 3) by the same author. That is one of exactly two books I reread more than two times in the last few years! The whole Wallflowers book series is on my wishlist. What made me order this one without reading any other books from this particular series, aside the stuff I already mentioned is that the female lead is looking for starting a business with board games rather than marrying a handsome rake that is chasing her. Part of the plot is marriage of convenience so that’s a plus as well!

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Monthly reading review – March 2017

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Monthly reading review – March 2017

This March I have read:

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1) by Cassandra Clare ★★★★

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

The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare ★★★★

The Voicemail of Magnus Bane (The Bane Chronicles, #11) ★★★★

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking ★★★

Superjunakinje by Lea Brezar ★★★★

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood ★★★★★

The Second Wife by Elizabeth Buchan ★★

Ottoline and the Yellow Cat (Ottoline, #1) by Chris Riddel ★★★★

Fushigi Yûgi: Genbu Kaiden, Vol. 01 by Yuu Watase ★★★★★

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

After a long time I am feeling really positive with my reading. This March I’ve read ten books and I’m officially back in double digit numbers! This alone is a cause for celebration!

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

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is my book of the month this March. I’m still under the impression of the book and can’t wait for the TV adaptation and book club meeting to chat my fill on the subject – both are scheduled later in April. Second best read was a manga I was harboring on my shelf unread for almost a decade – Fushigi Yûgi: Genbu Kaiden, Vol. 01 by Yuu Watase. I forgot how fun it was to read manga. The little details and notes from the author were very good and I enjoyed them a lot.

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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?

My least favorite book from March was The Second Wife by Elizabeth Buchan. On its own was not a bad book. But in comparison with the rest of awesome books I’ve read in March it kinda flopped. I took it on as a reading assignment for a book club. My expectations were not met and I was bothered by the lack of passion in a book I expected to be a romance novel with slightly complicated plot. It was a contemporary novel from a perspective of a “younger woman who stole a husband from a first wife”. Honestly the lack of love and lifelessness of the main characters were what made me give the book only two stars.

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

I am happy to report that for April I’m already ahead with my designated reading on both books. What made me the happiest was actually finally finishing The Bane Chronicles collection.

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

I’m up to date with Magnus Chase series and started one new book series I was eyeing for a few years not. I’m expecting problems with continuing Fushigi Yûgi: Genbu Kaiden, manga series as they are now a bit harder to come by but I won’t let that discourage me.

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

I’m very much into Margaret Atwood at the moment and would recommend The Handmaid’s Tale to everyone before the TV show distorts the book to the general population – I already see some differences between the book and the show that make me cringe. Rick Riordan and Cassandra Clare remain my favorites in almost anything the write 🙂

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Final thoughts on March reading

My spirits are high and my energy feels renewed with how much happy I am at the amount of reading I managed to do in March. There were lots of YA themed books in March and that’s okay for me. Getting back to reading manga edition will be interesting. I got some new books I will soon post about.

Happy reading all 🙂

Reading in March 2017

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This March I avoided making a post about the books I’m in the middle of reading of. Reason is that, while I enjoy reading more than one book at a time this March I have been reading them mostly one by one.

The Tsundoku Project I’m working on with the goal of reading more of the books I already own has given me three options to read this month and I’ve picked not one, but two from the books I’ve pulled out of my TBR jar.

I am in the middle of reading of:

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The Undead Pool (The Hollows #12) by Kim Harrison

As one of the books I pulled out of my TBR jar this one was an easy choice. I’m going trough slowly. Something about getting to the end of the series is making me reluctant to finish it quickly – this is the second to last book of the series!

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Ottoline and the Yellow Cat (Ottoline, #1) by Chris Riddell

I’m reading this series in Croatian translation. For some reason the second book of the series Ottoline goes to School was translated before this one. I loved Ottoline goes to School for it’s lovely illustrations. It reads fast so I’ll probably be over with it by tomorow anyway.

Books I plan to start reading by the end of the month:

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Fushigi Yûgi: Genbu Kaiden Vol. 01 by Yu Watase

This is a second choice from the TBR jar. It has been a while since I’ve read a graphic novel or a manga. They read fast and I used to enjoy them quite a bit. This one I got years ago on some kind of sale. Usually I’m reluctant to start reading manga series if I don’t have more than one volume ready since I want to keep on reading the story right away if I like them.

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Carve the Mark (Carve the Mark #1) by Veronica Roth

I’ve been in the mood for some angsty YA drama and this one is close by. It’s new and while I have not read the Divergent series I’m strangely attracted to this one.

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Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians #1) by Kevin Kwan

I’ve actually loaned this book from the library. That was more than two weeks ago. I’ve been inspired by watching k-drama about rich chaebol heirs. Reviews are divided about it and I’m curious.

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The Handmaid’s Tale – Book review

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Finished reading

The Handmaid’s Tale

by Margaret Atwood

★★

Expectation

I was so happy when I found a really cheap Croatian edition of this book last year on a book fair Interliber in Zagreb. The publisher was selling older – and I might add only edition in Croatian language on the market, but the books were totally new and seemed to be pulled out of some warehouse they’ve been locked up for the last thirty years. So I got a new old book! The book and the author intrigued me for a while now and this is the first and only book by Margaret Atwood I’ve read so far.

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Summary

I actually had no idea that the movie already existed. This book is a dystopian vision of the future written in the eighties and is often mentioned alongside Orwell’s 1984. While I was reading the book I was riveted to the pages and I’ve literally read it trough in three days!

“Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

It has been a while since a book had my attention like this one did. My eyes were glued to the pages. Reading this kind of book from a female narrative left me feeling raw. It was the little things, the emotional tidbits and everyday things most of us take for granted that really got to me.

“Nothing changes instantaneously: in a gradually heating bathtub you’d be boiled to death before you knew it.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

For me this book was emotional and mesmerizing. At times it read like a thriller or crime novel and next page was all drama. The translator of Croatian edition used a quite catchy phrase in the commentary on the book: thriller, critique of society and an anxious literary vision.

The trailer for the new TV series that starts by the end of April looks scary. I can’t help but think on author commentary and the fact that Margaret Atwood had some reservations on The Handmaid’s Tale being described as a science fiction. She argued that most of the stuff she wrote about and used in the story were part of the real world at the time when the book was written. I find it scary how believable and plausible the story actually flows from the pages.

Conclusion

I’m glad to have read this book. I will try to watch the TV show but I’m not sure I will like it in such visual form. Some parts were quite brutal and I very much appreciated the perspective form the main character. I felt that there was a buffer trough narrative and the flow of the novel, while still riveting and intense, was much easier to swallow this way.

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Taking on my TBR pile

I am finally set to do something about my pile of TBR (To-Be-Read) books! Big part of the problem are the books I hoarded over time. I believe the Japanese even have a word for this apparently not so uncommon hoarding disorder – tsundoku!

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Mostly all were and are still the books I am genuinely interested in reading. Some of them were collected since they simply fit the profile and genre I like to read. Some were the books I heard enough about to get me interested to get them and put them on my TBR. Some are gifts and I’m not so sure about those :/

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One of my goals is to cut this pile to be closer to 300. I know it doesn’t seem like much but most of the books I end up reading every month are not already in my TBR pile. I usually read two books a month for my RL book club. Those are mostly books that come as a group choice and offer a variety of genres and authors I don’t normally read.

Also, since I work in a bookstore there are always new arrivals that grab my attention. Reading those can be a part of the job. (Almost a dream job there :p )

Type of books I mentioned above take up almost half of my reading for any given month. These are not the books I can always count on or expect in the form of the time that it takes me to read them trough.

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The books I can do something about are those that are already on my bookshelves. Right there! (right behind my computer screen, right of my desk, left of my desk, on the shelf by my bed, on the shelf by my BFs computer…)

I have gone trough my GR TBR list and sorted out the books I already own. I wrote the title of each on a little pink piece of paper. On the list were lots of books that were part of a book series. With those I only wrote down books that were first in the series or those that continue on the books I already read. I took all the little pink papers and put them into a glass bowl.

IMAG0404I realized too late that since the glass is dyed turquoise I should have used blue or green paper :/

As it turns out there are exactly 82 little pink papers with titles of books that are waiting patiently on the bookshelves in my room for their turn to be read.

Starting this month I will draw three titles from the bowl and pick at least one of them to read in the current month. The ones not chosen for the month will go back into the bowl, and if by chance I draw the same ones for three times I will forgo the choice and read the one that has been drawn the third time!

First three titles I’ve drawn are:

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1 # Fushigi Yûgi: Genbu Kaiden Vol. 01 by Yu Watase

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2 # The Undead Pool (The Hollows #12) by Kim Harrison

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

 

I am actually pleasantly surprised by the titles I’ve drawn. For now I will keep all the choices until the end of the month. I’m undecided which one to start first. Since one of them is a manga I might go and read more than one! I’m just too damn pleased with what I’ve drawn right now 🙂

Hopefully this will start a habit of reading more of the books I already own 🙂

Wish me luck!

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Monthly reading review – February 2017

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Monthly reading review – February 2017

This February I have read:

Le Bal du comte d’Orgel by Raymond Radiguet ★★★★

Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy ★★

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James ★

Married By Morning (The Hathaways #4) by Lisa Kleypas ★★★★

Factotum by Charles Bukowski ★★★

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

This February I’m back at a reading pace of around one book per week. It is generally a good number but I get greedy for more.

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

From all the books I’ve read in February I’ve liked a historical romance Married by Morning the most. Aside from being a work of one of my favorite authors – Lisa Kleypas, it was by far the happiest read I’ve had all month.

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

From five books I’ve read three of them are set in English countryside and one in French! The scenery was very much the same but the characters were not. Turn of the Screw was a baffling read for me. I gave it one star mark on GR for more than one reason. The topic and how the work was presented were at best confusing. I felt like the author wanted to write a novel that was modern at that time – ghost story and just threw few ideas on the paper without making an effort.The whole story just felt boring and out of balance.

“Frankly, I was horrified by life, at what a man had to do simply in order to eat, sleep, and keep himself clothed. So I stayed in bed and drank. When you drank the world was still out there, but for the moment it didn’t have you by the throat.”
― Charles Bukowski, Factotum

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

Three out of five books were for my RL book club! This is seriously turning around my reading habits and I’m not sure how I feel about that. Other two books were a random picks in the spur of the moment. I had plans for reading more books I already own, but aside from Tess of the D’Urbervilles which I bought for the purpose of reading it for book club (!) not one other of the books I’ve read in February is actually owned by me.

As plans go, I’m not pleased.

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

From the five books I’ve read in February only Married by Morning is a part of a book series. Since I jumped in with book 4. from the series I’m interested in reading some other books from The Hathaways book series.

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

Much of my February reading has been done out of book club obligation and it is about time to take my own advice and read more books for fun. I don’t think I would have made it out of my February reading without Lisa Kleypas and her HR romance series. Bukowski was painfully sarcastic and reading it now when I’m older is a completely different experience that it was when I was younger. I would recommend it as a reading that gives perspective on life better than any sugarcoated self help book could do.

Final thoughts on February reading

All that stayed with me for reading classics these last two months is that I prefer reading my funny, trashy, romance and fantasy books more and more!

I like keeping track of my monthly reading in this manner because I keep getting surprised by my own reading habits. It felt good getting all the required RL book club reading done in time. Turning around I feel I miss my free reading more and more. Again I’m thinking about book club required reading becoming a chore instead of a favorite hobby. It gives me something to think about while I pick out books for March.