TBR Jar Draw October update

IMG_20190916_090836

In September I decided to continue my ongoing TBR Jar Draw challenge. Istarted it out years ago when I wanted to concentrate more on reading the books I already own and dial down the number of unread books I had on my TBR list.

You can check out my first post on it HERE.

Last month I drawn three titles from the jar:

1 #  Seven Seasons of Buffy: Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Discuss Their Favorite Television Show by Glenn Yeffeth (Editor)

2 # The Emerald Talisman (Talisman #1)  by Brenda Pandos

3 # Lucky (Lucky Santangelo #2) by Jackie Collins

From them I choose to read The Emerald Talisman (Talisman #1) by Brenda Pandos and other two titles go back in the jar!

emerald tbr

The Emerald Talisman (Talisman #1)

by Brenda Pandos

★★★

I had to look up when I got this book and while I knew it has been a few years; to see it was more than 5 years it was a bit surprising. This book was one of the first Kindle freebies I got and the cover was never really that appealing for me to start reading I guess. The book was slow and the first half of it seemed almost boring watching the main character going trough her daily life. The second half of the book starts introducing the supernatural elements at a faster pace. This difference between first half and the second made the book seem even more slow and boring and might make some readers give up…
Second part of the book gives a good insight into backstory of the supernatural elements and those are well made. I’m a bit ambivalent towards the main characters since they are very much erratic in their YA decisions.

IMG_20191012_123406

My three new TBR Jar draws are as follows:

1 # A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) by George R.R. Martin

I tried reading it when the TV show was just starting but had trouble concentrating in my reading since the TV show went faster than my reading. I pushed it back on the shelf to read after the hype of the TV show settles down. I have a hardcover edition in Croatian with a TV show jacket. I don’t think enough time has passed for me to give it another try…

2 # Suddenly by Candace Camp

I’m not sure I know how I got this book. One of my cousins returned it to me one day and said I lend it to them a while back. I have no memory of this. Book is well loved all worn and yellow. I might want to read it just so I can pass it on to someone else to read and make room for something else on my shelf.

3 # Bloodsuckers: The Vampire Archives (Vampire Archives #1)  by Otto Penzler

I remember snatching this book from a bookstore shelf along with two others. They make a trilogy of collection of short stories with a vampire theme. Among many unknown authors there are some well known and popular I never knew wrote short stories with vampires. I still like reading short stories and it might be time to take on these collections.

IMG_20191012_123618

I like seeing progress with my TBR Jar Draw challenge no mater how slow. It gives me hope that I might get closer to reading all the books I have on my shelves.

Advertisements

Books turned into TV series hype!

Blog-GrishaNflix

The latest book series that have been announced to be turned into a TV series by Netflix is The Shadow and Bone Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo also known as The Grisha Trilogy. Now, I must admit I have heard of this author and these books; but in the sea of other books and book series, this one just got lost as one of the many new books that I hear about. And these books aren’t even that new – the first book of the trilogy was published in 2012!

grisha-series.jpg

What got my attention is the news it will be turned into a TV series by Netflix and the casting news that included Ben Barnes. I have no clue what is the character “General Kirigan” that he is supposed to be playing. I tried a sample of first five chapters download on the Kindle and I liked it quite a bit! In those sample chapters there is a fan favorite character named The Darkling and some portals and news refer to Darkling as being the role Ben Barnes will be playing. I am interested and confused at the same time. Most of the other cast members I had to look up and was not familiar with their previous work. But to be fair I have only heard about some of the characters from various Booktube videos.

shadow-and-bone

I was wondering on buying the Kindle edition of the first book Shadow and Bone since the price is amazingly low for a YA mainstream bestseller that has just been announced to be turned into Netflix show. Very tempting though it was I decided that I would probably want a paper copy and the rest of the series as well. This lead to another bookish shopping spree I will be writing more about when the books arrive.

tmp_nr3wpR_463687e69c53b276_Grisha_Trilogy.original

I have no problems getting into the hype for some cool book series that is expanding by getting a TV series, a board game or any other non book medium. I like being a fan of things. I enjoy the happy and exciting emotions I get caught into because of a good story and fun characters. I have embraced my consumer role in being excited for promo videos, action figures, fan theories and rants. I will be enjoying the hype train all the way for this and I hope the TV series will be a success and the books will be popular enough to be translated to many languages and read a lot. I’m looking forward to an adventure in adapting the books to a TV series format with all the little annoying differences that some of the book fans will obsess about. And most of all I am looking forward to a great new story and amazing new characters I will get to meet along the way.

giphy

Books that inspired board games – Harry Potter

72325010_2401631820157222_7787377475515842560_n

My home is filled with books and also board games. This is just one of the three walls I have filled with board games. When I’m not reading books I’m probably playing some board games. As is the case with book I love it when my board games have a good story I can get into. Books have always been an inspiration for other mediums so it is no surprise that lately there are quite a few board games that are inspired by books. Generally speaking fantastic genre is a very common theme in board games so it is natural that books with fantastic elements are more often source material for board games. Here are a few examples of board games that I own, play or I’m planing to get that are inspired by books.

img_20190921_145808.jpgDon’t judge my flawed Harry Potter books collection, I’m planing on getting the Hufflepuff editions whole set as it comes out!

71384751_429653227679560_347848048388341760_n

Harry Potter book series have inspired more than few board games. but one that captured my interest the most are Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle and Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – Defence Against the Dark Arts. They are both very similar in their main mechanic of play – deck building. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle is designed for play with 2 – 4 players who work together and play trough seven chapters of the game based on the seven books of the series. It starts very simple and the game adds more complexity as the chapters move on. It is a very friendly game for beginners and Harry Potter fans and has a great replay value. There is an expansion for those who have played trough the game and want some more challenge – Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – The Monster Box of Monsters Expansion.

71582554_386470745623276_3883617005089062912_n

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – Defence Against the Dark Arts uses the same mechanism and game symbols as the previous one. The main difference is that this one is designed to play with two players only. The two players compete one against each other while sparring on a dueling board using cards. Both of the games are visually similar and are illustrated with movie stills and pictures of actors who played the characters. For people who read the books or even just watched the films these game will be a fun way to revisit the Harry Potter universe in a new and exciting way.

71827738_515890789245377_5965328593364975616_n (1)Hufflepuff winning – Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – Defence Against the Dark Arts

There are some other Harry Potter themed board games that I have played or would like to try and one of them is an older collectible card game from 2001. – Harry Potter Trading Card Game. It is a fairly simple card game designed for two players. The game is inspired by books and the illustrations on the cards are very similar to the covers of first editions of Harry Potter books that are aimed at younger audience.

71340225_854562914941682_1694830073942638592_n

There is quite a few other board games that use the mechanics of the games that were already popular and have a Harry Potter theme pasted on them. some of them are:

pic4281844

Codenames: Harry Potter which is just another version of more popular Codenames Duet game for two players.

pic4389944

Munchkin: Harry Potter is a Munchkin based game for 3 to 6 players that targetes 17+ audience.

pic4812852

Harry Potter: Death Eaters Rising is a game that reimplements both Thanos Rising: Avengers Infinity War and Star Wars: Dark Side Rising. All three games are designed for 2 to 4 players and are cooperative. They all have a good table presence with one giant statue in the middle of the table that all the players are trying to win against together.

pic4017792Miniatures do not come painted and this is just an example of how they can look painted.

Harry Potter Miniatures Adventure Game is designed to satisfy players who like miniature games. This includes a growing collection of miniatures owners can paint and spent hours of immersing themselves in Harry Potter universe in a more immersive way.

I have intentionally decided not to include more known board games like Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble or Clue that can also be found. I like Harry Potter enough to enjoy most of these games and would give them a try if I have a chance to. For those who wish to know more about the games I mentioned above you can check out the BoardGameGeek info links below:

Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle

Harry Potter™ Hogwarts™ Battle Defence Against the Dark Arts

Harry Potter Trading Card Game

Codenames: Harry Potter

Harry Potter Miniatures Adventure Game

If you have some bookish board game suggestions please send them my way or comment below 🙂

September Book Wrap Up 2019

842c7b_2da6890543c041c1aacbdd940e330b33_mv2

Monthly reading review – September 2019

This September I have read:

Angel & Faith: Live Through This (Season 9, Volume 1) by Christos Gage, Rebekah Isaacs (Artist) ★★★★
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead ★★★★
Frostbite by Richelle Mead ★★★★★
Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead ★★★★★
Blood Promise by Richelle Mead ★★★★★
Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead ★★★★
Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead ★★★★
Lost Boys: A Reverse Harem Bully Romance (Crazy Vicious Love #1) by Eva Ashwood ★★★
Moonlight Ménage : Bisexual and Gay Threesome MMF Romance Novel by Karen Klinger ★★★
O čitateljskim grupama – metodički priručnik s primjerima dobre prakse by Ivana Bašić ★★★★★

pano september.png

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

I have stayed in double digits for this month and I’m very happy with the amount of books I’ve read in September.

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

For most of September I was deep in the Vampire Academy book series and I really loved some parts more than others. Only other book I’ve rated with five star mark this month was a methodology guide for organizing book clubs which I enjoyed more than I expected!

Book-Club

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

Definitely weakest books for me in September were two Kindle books I’ve read. There is a notable difference in quality and the lack of editor work was especially visible with Moonlight Ménage book.

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

After finishing my Summer reading challenge I decided to finish reading the Vampire Academy book series and then I was mostly reading random picks for the rest of September.

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

I don’t remember the last time that I finished a book series as fast I did Vampire Academy. Angel & Faith seem to be stuck at volume 1 for some reason. Crazy Vicious Love I will probably not be continuing anytime soon if at all.

23bfa94d5d334dc98509af8911ec5356

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

I will probably look up some more books from Richelle Mead. Her writing has made an impression and I would like to explore more of her work.

Book Reviews in September:

Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead – CLICK HERE FOR MY REVIEW

Lost Boys: A Reverse Harem Bully Romance (Crazy Vicious Love #1) by Eva Ashwood ★★★ – CLICK HERE FOR MY REVIEW

Moonlight Ménage: Bisexual and Gay Threesome MMF Romance Novel by Karen Klinger
★★★ – CLICK HERE FOR MY REVIEW 

Moonlight Ménage – Book Review

5141XKv0bSL

Moonlight Ménage : Bisexual and Gay Threesome MMF Romance Novel

by Karen Klinger

★★★

Expectation

When I first got Kindle I would download and get any free e-book I could find that would seem at least a bit interesting. It has been years since I went and got a Kindle freebie and while I was looking for what I could find this one popped up. I won’t claim I understand the way Kindle search engine works but most of the times my searches come up very colorful. I was interested in this one because it was new – it was released in the month I am writing this post. I wanted to see how new freebies compare to those I remember since I often find books I got as freebies before to not be free anymore.

freebiebanner_white

I expected a short explicit story with traditionally summed up fantastic characters. I did not expect to spend more than a few minutes on it and scroll away in search of some cool new story for my Kindle library. The fact that I’m writing this review shows just how much wrong I have been about that.

Summary

The full title of this book as it is listed on Amazon store is Moonlight Ménage : Bisexual and Gay Threesome MMF Romance Novel. While that is certainly more than it can fit into one whole row of text it is also a bit deceiving in terms of content of this book. I find the title to be unnecessarily vulgar and misleading. Don’t get me wrong – for the most part the title is somewhat accurate but in my experience it implies a story that is sexually explicit and this one just isn’t.

implicitcontent

It starts out slow and the characters are all introduced in a rather vague way – like the reader is just thrown in the middle and these character have already been trough at least half of the book. I had to go with the flow and take this for granted – something I was already prepared to do anyway. The story is also written for point of view of the characters and they switch around with chapters which gives some insight into their point of view and how they think.

102997434

There was one point somewhere at the beginning of the story where a werewolf was crudely compared as giving off friendly dog vibes that made me cringe and almost leave it at that. The threesome of the story gave of sadness instead of some wild passion and eroticism. I decided to categorize this one as drama.

I have no problems with reading HEA – Happy Ever After stories. And this one would be fine except for the few dramatic plot twists that surprised me. While most of the similar stories tend to be repetitive and predictable I found I was interested in how this one was going to pull trough.

ff8a9e10ee288f810b2016fdc0ba4b79

Conclusion

This is a simple and quite muted HEA fantasy romance with a bit of drama. Other than the protagonists themselves and their gender there was nothing offensive in the way the book was written which makes me think that this book ended in the wrong category of Kindle recommendations section. It’s only around 200 pages long standalone story.
The characters were a bit more underdeveloped for story to be engaging for me as a reader and at times I felt this was a skeleton story of a bigger book. I wished author has left more time in the story for character introduction and development since I would have loved for them to be given a better backstory than what was only hinted. This way it reminded me of a fan fiction to a story I should already know.

 

 

 

 

Vampire Academy – Series Review

 

IMG_20190923_111435

Vampire Academy Series

by Richelle Mead

  1. Vampire Academy ★★★★

  2. Frostbite ★★★★★

  3. Shadow Kiss ★★★★★

  4. Blood Promise ★★★★★

  5. Spirit Bound ★★★★

  6. Last Sacrifice ★★★★

Expectation

I started reading this book series as a part of my Summer reading challenge and a project for reading more of the books I own. Only the first book in the series was a part of the reading challenge and I have deliberately left it for the last book in the challenge in case I decide to read the rest of the series. Good thing I did!

vampire-academy-book-1

 

Sometimes I get put off by the books everyone else is reading or thinks they are great! That is part of the reason I avoided this book series for so long. I got the books sometime last year at a library book sale out of town. When I saw how cheap they were and that they are in excellent condition as a set I decided to buy them. Worst case scenario –  I have many friends who would love to have them in case I don’t like them!

23bfa94d5d334dc98509af8911ec5356

When I started I did not have any high expectations and I approached the book series as a way to catch up with some pop culture references. I am usually a fan of YA urban fantasy and I had a vague memory of a movie being not so good.

Summary

I am not a fan of the covers of Croatian editions and covers with faces of young people in general. While I usually love to enjoy the book I’m reading both by looking at the cover design and materials it is made from, the books I was reading were the cheap editions one could get in general stores or kiosks. I tried not to be bothered by that and I mostly succeeded.

vamp_academy_covers

I was pleasantly surprised with the first book and in two weeks time I quickly managed to read trough the whole six books of the series! I rated all the books quite high with  four and five stars out of five total. This puts the series general score at four and a half stars which is a big thing for me to do. The main reason for this is that I was mostly very pleased with how the books had a dramatic and at times even very sexual appeal without being outright dirty or offensive in sexual descriptions. I appreciated the the author did not use the vile curtain down and pretended that sex had nothing to do with real life or her story like some do. I see it as vital part of our lives and while many do not want to admit this – many of our life choices are heavily influenced by our sexual experiences and preferences. I was even impressed with the authors ability to make things fluid and believable – both the good and the bad.

tumblr_n4ng0jjSTb1qbti6eo1_250

There were many taboo topics hinted in the books. From unhealthy and even illegal relationships to privacy boundaries and honesty issues. Some of these resonated with me and I did not expect this to happen while reading a YA fantasy series since I do consider myself an adult and have read books in the YA category I was unable to understand from that point of view anymore. Some of the books of the series were very dark and I was shocked by how dark they got. The drama in the books was very high and I was impressed more than once.

VAMPIRE ACADEMY

I watched the move again and was actually mad at how much they twisted it. The comedic approach did not go well with the actual setting in the books. It seemed like the director or the producers could not take the theme seriously but they still wanted to make money. Only thing I really liked in the movie was the actress Zoey Deutch and her portrayal of Rose Hathaway. I had some issues getting the actor who played Dimitri out of my vision of the character. His role was much more physical in the books because of his mostly stoic nature.

VA

I did not know there was a graphic novel edition but I should have not been surprised. I definitely would not mind reading those if I ever get my hands on them!

Conclusion

I loved that I read this book series. It made me rethink my occasional prejudice against mainstream favorites. Reading experience was a roller coaster of drama and emotion I had not trouble getting into. I even have a need to rant and vent about some of the characters and the ending itself but will have to refrain from that since the hype train for the books is long gone for most readers. I do recommend this book series and I’m even kinda sad I ended it so quickly!

Bookshelves showcase 2019

kr

After finding some older pictures of my bookshelves I got a bit nostalgic. It was interesting to see the growth in the amount of books and how differently they look after moving into bigger space and with more bookshelves in general. Back then I had very little room to maneuver all the books I started hoarding and I used all nooks and crannies as places to hold books.

kr

As a part of blog site reconstruction I decided to photograph all my bookshelves as they are now. Only I will be putting more focus on the books themselves. One of the things that will need revision is the main cover photograph of the blog. It is quite old and I can’t seem to find the original picture anywhere.

IMG_20190921_145335

I made a new page under the Bookshelf porn category on this site and named it Bookshelves 2019 showcase. It shows most of my books and how they are placed on the shelves. If you are interested for more detail you can check it out HERE.

I have different editions of books. Some are in English and some in Croatian. Some editions I buy are strictly from American publishers and some book series I only buy UK editions of. For the books from Croatian publishers I try to pick hardcover editions if possible but there are exceptions to all of these when the opportunity presents itself. Most of the shelves are bare but I do keep some bookish related stuff among my books.

IMG_20190921_145742

My bookshelves are no longer crammed in any space I can fit them but spread more evenly in the space I live in. I deliberately choose white color for the bookshelves because it makes the books stand out more. Along with them I have many shelves filled with board games but those are a topic for some other post.