Monthly reading review – May 2016

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Monthly reading review – May 2016

This May I have read:

Foundation (Foundation #1) by Isaac Asimov  ★★★★

Batman: Earth One by Geoff Johns ★★★★

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison ★★★★

How to Train Your Dragon (How to Train Your Dragon #1) by Cressida Cowell ★★★

Defending Jacob by William Landay ★★★

Dead Ice (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #24) by Laurell K. Hamilton ★★★★

The Chamber by John Grisham  ★★★

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

In May I’ve read only seven books. But to be fair the whole last third of the month I’ve been reading The Chamber by John Grisham. I was intimidated by it and it made all the time for other books disappear. I’m not happy with the amount.

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

I did not have any high expectations from any of the books in May. Therefore, I got nicely surprised by few. Batman: Earth One was filled with good and developed characters. It hit me with believable construction of Batman and Alfred. There were some really cool scenes with young Bruce trying and failing. For once Anita Blake was a good surprise. The 24th book was more about crime and detective work than the heroines sex life. It was a very enjoyable read.

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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?

The mandatory 500+ pages book kinda ruined the whole month for me. I was a bit stressed out for needing to read it that it made me avoid reading in the last ten days of the month. In May I’ve read two (!) crime drama novels. I usually tend to go for more lighter reads, or more fun any way…They were both good but not what I wanted or needed. 

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

It was nice finishing all started reading and reading the big book for RL book club ahead of time. I am still going easy on myself in terms of reading plans. It seems to work for me.

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

Finally got up to date Anita Blake series. Foundation and How to train your dragon were nice but I doubt I will continue them any time soon. 

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

Goeff Johns’s version of Batman was awesome. I hope to get my hands on some more of his graphic novel works. I think of Foundation as one of the best works of speculative fiction and strongly recommend it to everyone.

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Final thoughts on May reading:

My library membership ending few days ago has put a stop on a few books I’ve been wanting to read in May. This might give me more time to read more owned books especially book series. Even with two 500+ pages books this month I’m not really happy with the general amount of reading I’ve done in May.

Needs more fun and romance for June!

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Blind Date With A Book

I mentioned in my last post that my RL (real live) book club this month had a Blind Date With A Book assignment in kinda Secret Santa style. We all agreed to bring a book and wrap it up in something so it can’t be seen which book we brought. We put all the books in a single pile when we arrived. As you can see on the picture there were lots of different packages. Everyone was given instructions to pick any book he really liked regardless of the genre. Only restriction was to be able to provide the book to the soon to be reader whether it be from their own collection or from the library.

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And then one of us came out with the a bunch of paired bookmarks. We tend to improvise like this quite a bit. Our group moderator placed the bookmarks one for each nice little packaged book. Then we randomly drew bookmarks and that is how we got our reading assignment for June.

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This was the book package I brought. I included a little card with a Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote “Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.” and a happy reading wishes on the inside. The book itself was a Como aqua para chocolate I read and reviewed in August 2014 – see it HERE.

My little drawn package I dear say (!) was the most elegantly packaged book of them all. I couldn’t figure out whose was it and it came as a surprise to find out it was from one of the members who really likes crime and thriller genre. I’m not a fan of those at all so this book will be a quite a challenge for me to read by the end out due date which is first Tuesday in June.

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I was really shocked to see the book inside and hear that the guy who brought this book went to the flower shop before our book meeting and had it professionally packaged!

We mostly agreed that due to our monthly life obligations most of our books will not be more than 350 pages long or if it longer they will be agreed upon more than a month in advance.

The book I got was The Chamber by John Grisham. This baby has 500+ pages and were it not for my off work days I doubt I would be able to read it by due date. I’m coming along nicely and I’m half way trough. I’m making extra effort to read it since I was pleasantly surprised by how it all went down.

We all decided it was something worth repeating and will probably make another Blind date with a book activity in the future.

P.S. sorry for the bad pic quality:/

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Reading in progress – May 2016

Strangely I have been very up to date with my reading lately. As it turns out I don’t have any books that I’m lugging from previous months. This has inspired me to seek more books to read from my TBR list.

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Naturally what I’m really doing is completely opposite! I’ve kept adding new books to my TBR and I’m more inclined to pick something that is not already on my TBR pile.

For reference purposes my TBR at this moment has 400 books. Some of them I have trouble getting my hands on to actually read but most are available to me or even already owned and waiting to be picked of the shelf!

Here are the books I’ve started reading this month:

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The Chamber by John Grisham

25 out of 561 pages

This chubby piece was not my own choice. It is a part of my RL book club assignment. For June we decided to have a blind date with a book in a secret Santa style. I ended up with a nicely wrapped up book by a book club colleague. He likes crime novels and thrillers and I’m not really fan of them. This is the book I ended up with:)

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

7 out of 240 pages

This is a spur of the moment library pick. I heard about this book some years ago and thought it was cool. Seeing it again made me pick it up and give ti a go. All I know about it that it is a weird book and the main character is a boy with Asperger’s sindrome. So far it is nicely strange.

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I feel the need to add some romance books in the mix for May. Not sure which ones though…

The Goblin Emperor – Book Review

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Finished reading:

The Goblin Emperor

by Katherine Addison

★★★★

Expectation

I’ve come across this book last year when it was nominated for a Hugo award. From all of the nominees I wanted to pick up at least one book to check out what goes for a note worthy science fiction these days. I was drawn into the story with an underdog character and intrigued with steampunk elements it promised.

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Summary

The story begins with news that the emperor and most of his family and heirs have died in a crash of a royal steampunk airship. The apparent heir to the throne is long forgotten fourth son of the recently deceased emperor who has been tucked away from anyone’s sight for almost a decade. His father banished him as he did to most he did not like or care about. Thus, a secluded and mistreated youth moves to the heart of the empire to become the new emperor.

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To top it all Maia – the new would be emperor – is part goblin from his mothers side. And the throne he is to sit upon is from his fathers side of the family which are elves. This is a story about how a smallish eighteen years old young man that has been living in the middle of nowhere, neglected and abused gets thrown into a whirlpool of court intrigue and tightly balanced politics.

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Author was very thorough with intertwining subtle court and cultural intrigues. Most of the elaborate cultural details and quirks require readers patience. Some things I had to concentrate hard at to understand and had to read it more than once.

The colorful names and cultural subtleties gave me much grief. I would have loved to have read the names, customs and pronunciation guide at the beginning of it all instead at the end. This way I had a revelation reading the explanations at the end of the book.

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Conclusion

I liked this book. It was fun rooting for Maia and reading about him becoming an emperor in truth. With great power comes great responsibility…and also many enemies as well! I liked that the story had a certain sense of flair and a feel of a great saga beginning to unfold.

Books that changed me – Circus of the Damned

A book that signaled a change in my life is Circus of the Damned. Third book in Anita Blake the Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton.

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I got it almost a decade ago in my early twenties. I read some other books by this author and decided to start with Anita Blake series. I’ve heard some really strange and different opinions on it that I just had to read it. This book came as a part of a box set.

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I shamelessly used these books to avoid preparing for exams. For four days I read a book each day. The reason I single out third book in the set – Circus of the Damned is because that’s the book that got me hooked on urban fantasy genre. Up until then I’ve spent countless hours reading fan fiction and any other morally ambiguous stories I managed to find online. I would read the night trough and watch the sunrise before actually going to sleep. sunrise-quotes-6

There are few reasons that make this book and the whole series in general special for me.

Firstly, I did not become a book lover until after my formal education. Back then I loved stories but not really appreciated books as a medium. I was never a fan of required reading and I never had the discipline to make myself do the things I needed to do. It was a strange and lost period for me while I was in my first years in college and did’n really know what to do with myself. Reading was an escape from things that bothered me in real life. It was somewhere in reading these books that I started using my own imagination and that gave me a deeper perspective and satisfaction for reading as well.

Secondly, this book made a turning point in my transformation to a book lover AND collector. Up until this book I did not buy books at all. This book signaled a plunge into living with my wallet empty most of the time. It kick started my inner collector into gear and now I patiently wait and buy each new book no matter what the reviews or critics say about it. May I remind you how long Anita Blake book series is? Let this picture speak for me.

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Ever since then I’ve been meaning to read trough the whole series again. It is the longest book series I own. So far I’ve managed to read first two again. I’m currently reading Dead Ice – last one in the series. After that I will be  reading Circus of the Damned again for the second time.

I will not bore you with it anymore since this is not the first time I’m writing about these books and probably not the last either. I’ve been looking at some older posts and decided that my pictures need a sprucing up. I’ve got a better camera for it now than I did when I first started posting my own pictures:)

Foundation – Book Review

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Finished reading:

Foundation (Foundation book 1)

by Isaac Asimov

★★★★

Expectation

This book is part of a reading challenge I was given by my boyfriend this year. Each year we challenge each other to read books one of us likes and the other one has never read before. We clash a lot since we generally don’t like same genres and themes. You can see what we chose for this year challenge HERE.  This being said I did not expect much of this book. I picked it up to get something done on my list of reading challenges.

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Summary

This book is a perfect example of speculative fiction at its finest. After I read it I had to do a bit research on it as well. First time it was published as a set of stories in a magazine from 1942 to 1950. These stories were latter published and edited as a first three books of the Foundation series. This series was in 1966. given the Hugo Award for a “Best All-Time Series”. Never before or after has any book series won this award! One of the runner ups for this award was Lord of the Rings trilogy. All other books in the series were written and added much latter in the 1980-ties.

1966This is what the design for Hugo in 1966. looked like. Each year design changes but it is always a rocket ship.

At first I was amazed at how much I actually enjoyed the story. The premise of mathematical calculation used as a way of predicting future thousands of years in advance was much more engaging read than I expected it to be.

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The concept of Hari Seldon’s Crises was startlingly thought provoking. It is very comforting to think that a crisis of social and political situation would eventually leave only one possible, inevitable, course of action. In the today world of palpable panic and stress provoking environment added by media this is a calming way of thinking indeed.

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Taking into consideration the time these stories were written I enjoyed them more for it. I could not help but have a critical approach and some might call it splitting hairs but I must mention some things that made me stop with four stars rating instead of five.

I couldn’t help but notice that even in the thousands of years distant future one of the most popular things would be smoking cigars and enjoying fine tobacco. As the time passes in the book; characters that were decades and more apart kept indulging in smoking some kind of cigars.

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Conclusion

For now I will not be reading other books in the Foundation series. I will be happy and pleased with this one I’ve read and satisfied with how much I liked it. I have new found appreciation for reading classics of the SF genre from now on. And if the talks of HBO series based on the books is true I might even give it a try!

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I Present to You, My Bookshelf

Love it!

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At last! What you all, I’m sure, have been waiting for for four months.😉 My new bookshelf!

I hope you’ll like it.:)

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While I miss my old shelves, I still quite love this one:). I’ve never been able to fit a shelf like this in my old room, so I’m super pleased that I now finally can.:)

So…are you ready to take a closer look?

Of course you are😉

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Aah, ain’t that a sight for sore eyes😉

And that was all for this time.:) If everything goes according to plan, though, a bookhaul should be up soon. See you then:)

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