Monthly reading review – April 2016

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Monthly reading review – April 2016

This April I have read:

La sombra del viento  (El cementerio de los libros olvidados #1) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón ★★★★

Dead Heat (Alpha & Omega #4) by Patricia Briggs ★★★

Mad About the Boy (Bridget Jones, #3) by Helen Fielding ★

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

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

Half Lost (The Half Bad Trilogy, #3) by Sally Green  ★★★★

The Mean Seasons (Fables, Vol. 5) by Bill Willingham ★★★★

And the Mountains Echoed by  Khaled Hosseini ★★★

Drawn Together by Z.A. Maxfield ★★★★

My American Duchess by Eloisa James ★★★★

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

I have finally reached the double digit monthly score that I’ve been trying to since last year. I’ve read 10 books up to making this post. Even though I’ve finished My American Duchess just am hour ago I’m counting it to April reading! This calls for some happy dancing:)

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

The only book I’ve rated with five stars in April was Half Bad by Sally Green. I’ve made the review on it and quickly went on a reading spree trough the whole trilogy! I enjoyed it immensely. Nathan was a compelling character and I loved reading his slightly removed perspective. I also loved reading Shadow of the Wind for RL bookclub. 

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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?

Mad about the boy was a real let down. The book was frustrating and at times insulting. I could not understand what author wanted to convey with the book and the main character was completely aggravating. 

On the side note Dead Heat was OK but I expected more from a long time favorite author and UF genre series. I still rated it with three stars and adore the concept and art.

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

I had no grand plans for April and just went with what I felt like reading mostly. I think it helped that I now have one one RL book club assignment per month and I’ve read ahead with And the Mountains Echoed by  Khaled Hosseini which is due at the start of May actually. That took some presure off and gave me a bit more leeway in my reading plans and posting in May.

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

I actually started and finished a whole series in April and that felt really good to achieve. I finished all the borrowed graphic novels with Fables vol 5. I have closed the chapter with last Bridget Jones novel and hope to never venture that way again. I will probably not continue The Cemetery of Forgotten Books series by Carlos Ruiz Zafón even though I liked it. I even got a Patricia Briggs Alpha & Omega series up to date!

BJ-Luda-za-njimCroatian edition cover for Mad about the boy by Helen Fielding – IMO the best part of the book😦

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

I would love to recommend Half Bad trilogy and I’m adding it to my wishlist. It is a book series I would like to own and read again sometime in the future. I’m also interested in two available novellas. Eloisa James was a great author to finish April with and to start May! 

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Final thoughts on April reading:

There were more than enough happy reading moments in April and I think I will have to go back and make more posts in May! With more reading done I’m having much more happy reading moments and it gives me more to write about! I’m satisfied with my April reading and hope to show it with more posting in May.

Half Bad – Book Review

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Finished reading:

Half Bad (Half Bad trilogy book 1)

by Sally Green

★★★★

Expectation

I’ve mentioned before that this book was picked up out off guilt trip I had after getting the third book of the series as a gift. I had it on my reading list for a while. When it first came out in Croatian translation I did not respond to the promo hype. I just put it on TBR and moved on. I had very low expectations.

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Summary

This book speaks to the reader in a very direct way. At first I was a bit tilted by the straightforward tone of the book. Most of the descriptions at the very beginning deal with some disturbing imagery. It took me a while to comprehend the concept and the whole hate toward the main character Nathan.

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There is something about that wild and those desires that made Nathan intriguing. I’ve always loved stories about underdogs and this one was no exception – how can you not root for a character that everybody keeps trying to step on?

What I really love about this book is the way how the author uses labels and terms of black as bad and white as good. As the story progresses the lines blur and we get to see lots of grey in between.

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Seriously though, some parts of this book were more than just mildly disturbing to read about. The parts where we see a little boy starved for love and affection made me teary eyed. How the story progresses we see his inner maturation and reasoning.

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I also must mention that I enjoyed thew change of scenery and characters travelling all trough Europe. There are only so many books that happen in USA or English speaking territories and it gets boring pretty fast…

A bit of spoiler alert:

I liked the interaction between Gabriel and Nathan, especially the yaoi parts. I’m happy to report that this is one of the aspects of the books that progresses trough the books and gives validation for character growth.

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Conclusion:

I’ve finished this book in a record time and wolfed the second book Half Wild as well. I’m rethinking of buying the series and reading it again sometimes. What I would like to go trough at a slower pace is Nathan’s growing up and transformation from a child to a strong minded individual.

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Reading in progress – April 2016

For the first time in a long time I have found myself clearing all the reading and finishing all the books I’ve started. giphy

I gave myself a pat on the back and proceeded to pick some books from my big TBR pile with renewed fervor. In doing so I tried picking some books that were on the list for a while but for some reason I haven’t gotten to them just yet.

Here are the books I’ve picked out for April

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The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

45 out of 368 pages

I liked this book since I saw her last year. It was presented as a refreshing, no sequel underdog story in a rich imagined world. So far I’m a bit tired with all the strange names and kinda Old English language that the characters use. The story is intriguing but if I’m not really concentrated I have a hard time imagining all the wondrously strange races, technology and scenery. I hope I get into it soon.

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Drawn Together by Z.A. Maxfield

45 out of 368 pages

I found out about this book ages ago when I was reading a lot of fan fiction and Kindle freebies. I knew there was a small chance that I would ever get my hands on a copy to read it. It is a cute story about most unlikely characters – southern boy Rory and an anime artist Yamane. It started out a bit weird and I hope it gets better soon.

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Half Bad (Half Bad Trilogy book 1) by Sally Green

212 out of 369 pages

A while ago when the translation to Croatian came out I’ve add this book to my TBR quite casually. I was in no hurry to read it. What served as incentive was a gift I got – third book from Half Bad series – Half Lost. I felt bad about having the last book in the series since I haven’t even started on the first. I just got sucked in this book and read half of it in two sittings. I’m seriously thinking of buying it and the whole trilogy!

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I’m thinking of starting a few more and making April a very busy reading month! I will be soon adding the graphic novel  The Mean Seasons (Fables volume 5).

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Dead Heat – Book Review

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Finished reading:

Dead Heat (Alpha & Omega book 4)

by Patricia Briggs

★★★★

Expectation

Patricia Briggs is one of my favorite author in the urban fantasy genre. I always have high expectations from her books and have yet to read one I did not like. I loved the characters Charles and Anna ever since I’ve read their introduction novella in On the Prowl collection.

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Summary

I kept waiting for this book to pull me in. Compared to the other book series of the genre I love and own, this one took me a while to read it trough. I loved finding out more about the characters I love soo much – still hoping for a Samuel story book!
What confused me a bit was the bad guy in this story. I loved the fact that this book series is parallel with Mercy and how we get to learn a bit more about them combined.

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Maybe it is because it has been a while since I’ve read the last book and the villain in this one had a backstory in one of the previous books and I missed it; but I was left confused and felt like something was missing. The ominous intro had my expectations jump high and the matter was not fully realized by the end of the book.Maybe it served as an intro to what the future stories will be like now that the relations with the fey are strained. I’ll just have to wait and see for that.

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I understand that the author loves horses and she took great care with parts of the book explaining the breeding of horses and care of horses in amazing detail. Somehow for me as a person not involved in stuff like that it was OK – but I would have loved reading about fey lore more – especially the bad guy from this book!

Conclusion

The book was good but I wanted to be thrilled by it. I liked the preview chapter for Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson book 9) that came out last month:)

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Monthly reading review – March 2016

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Monthly reading review – March 2016

This March I have read:

Dark Skye (Immortals After Dark, #15) by Kresley Cole ★★★

Moć albiura (Saga Albiurana, #1) by Daria Keršić ★★★★

 Storybook Love (Fables, Vol. 3:) by Bill Willingham  ★★★★

March of the Wooden Soldiers (Fables, Vol. 4: ) by Bill Willingham ★★★★

Matched (Matched, #1) by Ally Condie ★★★★

The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman ★★★★

5773_bigThis lovely cover is for a book by Croatian writer Daria Keršić

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

I have doubled the amount of books I read from February. I’m still hoping for a better reading spree sometime in the foreseeable future. I’ve read six books for March. This includes two graphic novels.

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

The best book for March was Matched (Matched, #1) by Ally Condie. I got surprised and actually liked it quite a bit even if it is not the genre I usually go for. I think I’ve developed a crush on Ky from the book. He’s sort of a tortured character to the point of it making barely plausible. The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman started out really promising but sort of died down toward the end. There were tears for that one and in retrospect I don’t like the Hallmark TV drama feel to the book in the end. As memorable characters I have to bring in the Wooden soldiers from March of the Wooden Soldiers (Fables, Vol. 4: ) by Bill Willingham. They were scary and fascinating.

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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?

I had high expectations from Dark Skye (Immortals After Dark, #15) by Kresley Cole. The book was a huge let down for me and it even made me rethink and revalue the whole series for a while. The characters just did not click with me and the porn parts were kinda annoying! I gave it a three star rating for sentimental reasons and few lines from my favorite characters – I literally mean few lines! 

“I will rise from the ashes of the old ways to become Phenïx, the goddess of . . . accessions.”
― Kresley Cole, Dark Skye

“Vrekeners actually exist?  L, The King”
― Kresley Cole, Dark Skye

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

For March I made a break from my RL (real life) book club and just went with what I felt like reading. I had a goal to finish up books from previous month and those I borrowed from a friend. I still have Fables volume 5 to finish up.

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

I made progress with Fables graphic novel series and started two new YA book series. I managed to get Immortals After Dark up to date with finishing  Dark Skye. I’ve read only one standalone book in March.

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

I’ve made a breakthrough with a Croatian author which I usually don’t read that often and I’m still debating on making a full review for it. I’d recommend trying out non-English speaking authors and finding out are there any differences from usual international hits. I had to adjust somewhat to reading a YA fantasy book that’s happening in Croatia with mundane Croatian named characters and other familiar settings. My recommendation is to try it out. 

Also don’t miss out on Fables graphic novel series – it kicks butt and I can’t wait to see where the plot takes me. 

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Matched – Book Review

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Finished reading:

Matched (Matched Book 1)

by Ally Condie

★★★★

Expectation

When I picked this up I knew it was a trendy dystopian YA book series. I try to avoid the genre and I’m really not a fan of futuristic or dystopian novels. I had really low expectations and the only reason I picked it up was that it was a newly translated arrival to the bookstore I work in.

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Summary

This book starts out really sweet with a main character a girl named Cassia going trough a certain rite of passage ritual – being matched to a boy who will be her future life companion.

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The story deals with futuristic society that has made life more simple and easier. A place where cooks don’t need to know math and were programmers don’t need to know how to cook. Everything is matched and prioritized by person’s abilities. It makes a case for nurturing the preferences we were born with. It all has a nice ring to it.

As the story progresses the picture perfect life starts to crack and dim around the edges. To make life simple and easy there were some sacrifices made in the past. And the one that made me hurt the most were in making life simpler society decided that works of art will be culled in number where only one hundred of each remain.

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Even thinking about such censorship and destruction makes me sad. It is in a way reminder of cultural destruction trough the past and that happening today. This made parts of the book that cites poetry endearing and emotional experience.

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On the side note I liked the characters and I think they were well written. Especially some minor characters in the background. The chemistry between the major characters is great and the budding love theme with coming of age is very well presented. There is a love triangle in this one and I liked the surprises in characters choices trough the book.

Conclusion

I liked the book and I surprised myself with how much I liked it. I’m genuinely interested in next two books and will keep up with this book series!

Some scenes reminded me of Equilibrium movie and Grammatron Clerics in white suits minus the guns and swords. Here is a mostly weaponless eye candy Christian Bale from Equilibrium movie!

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Spring pile of books!

I have gathered some of my books with the colors that represent spring time for me. The colors are green and yellow.

Green is for grass and budding trees, I like green color it calms me down. But I must admit it is a bit strange seeing it on a book cover – I still don’t think I have that many green books.

Yellow is for spring sun warming and shining on the green budding nature.

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