Monthly reading review – October 2017

images

Monthly reading review – October 2017

This October I have read:

Second Nature by Alice Hoffman ★★★★

The Frog Prince by Elle Lothlorien ★★

Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed (Lovers and Ladies, #2) by Jo Beverly ★★★★

Captive Prince (Captive Prince, #1) by C.S. Pacat ★★★★★

Prince’s Gambit (Captive Prince, #2) by C.S. Pacat ★★★★★

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde ★★

header

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

This October I’ve read six books. The amount is equal to the books I’ve read in September. If I take into account that I’ve lost a whole week of reading due to the trip to Germany this October I think I did OK.

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

The books I’ve enjoyed the most in October were most definitely Captive Prince books! Both books had me on a small reading spree with late night reading and reading hype in general. Hope to get my hands on the third book soon.

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

There were two books in October I did not enjoy as much. First was The Frog Prince because of my own misconceptions about the book – I really thought it had some fantasy elements and magic which is simply not the case. The other book that I did not enjoy reading was The Picture of Dorian Gray. It was a second reading and I just could not stand the decadence of the characters and themes in general.

il-ritratto-di-dorian-grey

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

I was actually very pleased with the books I’ve read in record time for my TBR Jar Draw challenge. The book club assignments I was a bit slower with.

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

I dived into The Captive Prince trilogy and finished first two books quickly. Hopefully I will finish the trilogy soon by reading the last book.

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

I’m still aboard The Captive Prince hype train so that is definitely a recommendation. The theme is slightly fantastical due to the imagined world and cultures the author describes. Some might not enjoy the M/M pairing in the book but the book is very well written!

captive-prince-2

Final thoughts on October reading

I have posted a one review on the book I’ve read in October:

The Frog Prince by Elle Lothlorien ★★ – REVIEW

The books I enjoyed reading had more positive impact on me this October than the books that I did not like or simply endured. The number of books I’ve read is the same as the previous month with the distinction of having one whole week lost to the trip to Essen Spiel in Germany. It was a satisfying month for reading. I am hopeful that the next month is going to be even better!

TBR Jar Draw October 2017 Part Two

happy-book3

After finishing my TBR Jar Draw for October in record time I decided to make a new draw from the jar. I am very pleased with having read my last book for the TBR Jar Draw and having an opportunity to maybe even read two books for this challenge in one month!

26053031._UY1001_SS1001_

A book for October TBR Jar Draw was a kindle freebie The Frog Prince by Elle Lothlorien.  I do believe that the digital format helped with faster reading since I’ve lately been reading a bit more digital books. I’ve made a short review and you can read my thoughts on this book HERE.

The two draws I have not read are going back in the jar:

# Belladonna (Ephemera #2) by Anne Bishop

# The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu

My three new TBR Jar draws are as follows:

3488375

1 # Wait Till Your Vampire Gets Home (Broken Heart #4) by Michele Bardsley

This book was one of the presents my boyfriend brought back for me from his business trip in Nairobi, Kenya. I’ve never read anything from this author before and haven’t even heard of this book series. The title was an inside joke of ours since he was a really pale Caucasian man in the heart of Africa. While I was looking at the book on my bookshelf I realized it is still wrapped in foil cover from the store. I consider this book as a very dear present with meaning and haven’t really put it at the top of my reading list at the moment.

6294549

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

This is the second time I’ve pulled this book out from the jar. The first time I pulled it out was earlier this year in May. What makes me hesitant on reading this book is the fact that it is the first book of the series of which I own only the first book. It is an excuse I use that in case I like the book I would have to go and order the next books from the series and then I would have to wait for them to arrive and then that would be buying new books instead of reading those I already own….excuses…excuses…

half-a-king-uk-hb

3 # Half a King (Shattered Sea, #1)  by Joe Abercrombie

This is another first book of the series I have not started reading. I remember my boyfriend enjoying reading it a great deal. I own a hardcover copy of a very beautiful British edition. In fact I like the cover and binding so much I’ve decided to get the whole trilogy and make a shelfporn set I could enjoy looking at! As for why I haven’t read it until now it goes the same excuse as for the previous book. I actually expect to like the book quite a bit and funding for the purchase other two books in the trilogy in the exact beautiful hardcover edition is not something I can afford right now…

Back to school

I am kinda leaning toward the Half a King book even with all the excuses I mentioned above. I will make my choice as soon as I finish with the digital books reading streak I am currently on.

RPG novelizations

 

61a6PUL8mxL

I enjoy playing RPG games both pen and paper versions or in the form of video games. RPG (Role Playing Games) usually have a lot of background stories and interesting characters. Sometimes a certain character can bring out the whole RPG universe. One of the most prominent characters that do so is most definitely drow elf ranger Drizzt Do’Urden. He is one of the most important figures from Forgotten Realms universe. Here I must confess that the only book I’ve read from the whole 20+ The Legend of Drizzt books is the first one – Homeland. While I enjoyed finding out more about the character and his beginnings in the Underdark city Menzoberranzan ruled by unusually cruel matriarchal society, what stopped me from continuing with this book series was a fact that it was PG rated in accordance with American market demands. I have an issue with violence in books being ignored and sexual situations censored to the point of removing them altogether. I find it hypocritical and that ruins my reading mode.

1022695-lonedrow1_800x600

Trough the years I’ve taken an interest in some RPG novelization editions from the games I play.  Some I even started collecting with the desire to read some time in the future. As it happens with many books I buy the time passes and the books are left unread. Here are some of the books I’ve managed to collect that drive their inspiration from different pen and paper RPG settings.

 

Elminster_-_The_Making_of_a_Mage

Elminster: The Making of a Mage

(Forgotten Realms: Elminster, #1)

by Ed Greenwood

I got really interested in this book series while I was playing Dungeons and Dragons Online video game. It was one of the expansions from the game where the character Elminster was introduced as narrator. I remember how the gaming experience soared and how awesome I felt while playing the game. Originally Elminster is one of the most popular characters from Forgotten Realms universe. He is not as known as Drizzt since he is usually depicted as an old mage. I have first three books and the fifth one from this series. I use the fact that I’m missing the fourth book as to why I haven’t started reading them yet…

61IITSmOR6L

Sigvald

(Warhammer Heroes #4)

by Darius Hinks

While I’ve never played the actual Warhammer pen and paper or video game RPGs, I got interested in this universe while playing board game Chaos in the Old World. The mythology of this quite brutal setting made an impression on me so much that when I discovered this book in a bookstore by chance I just grabbed it and decided to buy it. The main character is aptly named Prince Sigvald the Magnificent. The warring theme is not one of my favorite but I am interested on how it all pans out.  Moral ambiguity and the intriguing main character are still looking at me from the shelf and patiently waiting to start with the reading…

amber2_1280x960

Amber and Ashes

(Dragonlance: The Dark Disciple #1)

by Margaret Weis

Back when I was a student I was working in a game store. Among many things they sold there were some fantasy books as well. This was one of my first RPG book purchases. It is also the only such book I own in hardcover. For some reason Dragonlance was never one of my favorite settings. I actually bought this book since it seemed interesting way to get myself more familiarized with Dragonlance. What sealed the deal for me was a slightly vampiric themed innuendo. This book series is a trilogy and I own the first and the third book. I remember reading the first but I’m unsure how far I’ve read trough. The fact that I can’t seem to find affordable second book in hardcover is another excuse not to finish the first book…

18598447

 

I, Strahd: The Memoirs of a Vampire

(Ravenloft #7)

by P.N. Elrod

Strahd von Zarovich is one of the main protagonists in the Ravenloft universe. Ravenloft is a part of the Dungeons and Dragons setting with a bit of a macabre horror spin on things. It comes off as Dark Ages world with vampires, ghouls, lords and lieges array of characters. It is also one of my favorite settings to play RPG pen and paper campaign. I was delighted to hear it will be implemented into Dungeons and Dragons Online MMO video game this December. It made me interested in DDO again. This book is the only novelization I have from the book series that counts something over twenty books in total. I bought this book earlier this year on sale.

screenshot00000

 

While I enjoy good RPG games I realized that I am more than a little behind on reading the novelizations I own. This, naturally doesn’t mean that I don’t have some other novelizations on my wishlist! I would love to get my hands on some of the World of Darkness novels since I’m a huge fan of the RPG world and the vampire theme in general.

If you have some recommendations for RPG novelizations like those above please send them my way 🙂 In the meantime enjoy this picture of my RPG books!

22686728_10156180193864026_1528683202_n

Short story collections

quote-Ali-Smith-short-stories-consume-you-faster-theyre-connected-234774

While reading my TBR Jar Draw from September I was reminded how much I enjoy reading short stories. Almost instant gratification that comes from finishing a short story is very motivating for me and helps with my reading goals. Reading short stories introduces me to new and exciting authors and helps me find new and enjoyable reading material.

a-novel-is-achieved-with-hard-work-the-short-story-with-inspiration-quote-1

Sometimes short stories come from authors that have a longer book series and are a wonderful way to highlight some interesting character that would not get enough page time otherwise. There are some of my favorite book series that were based on a short story that evolved into a spin off and a full fledged book series on their own. Most notable example of this is the story Alpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs that came out in On the Prowl collection along with stories by three other authors. I immediately loved the story and characters. Later on Alpha and Omega became a favorite book series of mine. It has five books so far and is going along nicely.

on-the-prowl

I have a few unread short story collections I want to read. After Many Bloody Returns I am extra motivated to read at least one of them by the end of the year. Most of the stories are urban fantasy and offer a wide choice of authors. Here are my choices for short story collections:

51VoQzqB-oL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_

Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy

edited by Ellen Datlow

This is a collection of twenty short stories from some really interesting authors. Some of the authors are already favorites and some are completely new. The most prominent author of this collection has to be Jim Butcher with his short story from the Dresden Files book series. I love the cover artwork by Dan Dos Santos – he makes covers for Patricia Briggs book series as well.  The number of stories and page count over 500 ensures me to have enough wonderful reading material for quite some time. Looks very inviting!

carniepunk1

Carniepunk

by Rachel Caine and various authors

Another urban fantasy collection with a twist. This short story collection offers fourteen stories by different authors. From all the authors I’ve read only Kevin Hearne and his Iron Druid Chronicles book series. This offers a great choice for October reading since the themes revolve around carnivals and macabre.

6382952

The Eternal Kiss: 13 Vampire Tales of Blood and Desire

edited by Trisha Telep

This story collection with vampire theme reminded me of the time when I started collection vampire themed books and stories in general. Of the authors I’ve read before there is Cassandra Clare. Most other authors I’ve heard nice things about and I’m interested to try them out.

The Frog Prince – Book Review

26053031._UY1001_SS1001_

Finished reading

The Frog Prince

by Elle Lothlorien

★★

Expectation

I had high hopes few years back when I first found out about this Kindle freebie from some friends at Shelfari (still miss Shelfari). It is one of the first Kindle freebies that I downloaded in general. For some reason I thought this story as a part of a magical fantastical universe since the author did some other fairy tale retelling like Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. Pulling this title for my October TBR Jar Draw was a surprise as well since I thought all my TBR Jar Draw titles were physical  copies only.

Summary

The initial surprise effect got me into reading. First half of the book I felt like I was missing something. I kept waiting for some fantastic element to lift up the book as a whole. I found much of this book to be chaotic. The main character was highly unusual in its quirky composition. Character as a whole seemed forced in the cliche of many seen before funny traits. the problem was that there were so many quirky things that it was hard to keep up with them all. For this reason the character seemed off and I as a reader had problems with connecting with her.

beb3aa9718c1937695718fa928444eb4

What kept me giving this book more chances was the expectation of the fairy tale elements. When reading fantastic literature I try to keep an open mind and figure out the authors ideas and world building in general. The fantastic elements never came though. The story introduced a royal family Habsburg Lorraine heir and the most fantastic thing that happened is Austrians voting back their monarchy to something like that of Great Britain.

csm_Schoenbrunn_Kran__02_small_38eab3d766Schönbrunn Castle, Wienna, Austria

Conclusion

While the first half of the book was chaotic the second seemed a bit more composed although this might be due to the plot and character familiarity. There were so many missed opportunities for this book to be amazing and informative. I even held back at “curtain down” love scenes. The more I think about it the more I’m inclined to lover the rating even further just for all the unused potential in the story.

1322737

TBR Jar Draw October 2017

v6hrwheghmw8bu8ojnon

I was glad for finishing my September TBR Jar Draw in record time. It made me feel proud of myself. Also I enjoyed my reading quite a bit. I realized the more books I finish reading the more inclined I am to read more. Works the other way around as well …

manybloodyreturns

In September I’ve finished reading Many Bloody Returns edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner. I’ve made a review on each of the thirteen stories from this collection. You can read my thoughts HERE.

The two draws I have not read are going back in the jar:

# Necroscope (Necroscope #1) by Brian Lumley

#  Naamah’s Kiss (Naamah Trilogy, #1) by Jacqueline Carey

My three new TBR Jar draws are as follows:

47951

1 # Belladonna (Ephemera #2) by Anne Bishop

This is one of those second books in the series I’m not much fond of. I bought first two book years ago. I wanted to try something from the author Anne Bishop. I’ve heard some nice things on few of her books. Sadly this one did not thrill me and I still have issues with remembering what was the deal with these books about. I’m not sure what to do with it :/

313084-M

2 # The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu

I bought this book years ago out of curiosity. I’m still curious about it. I’m expecting a bit more complex writing style from it since it is written thousand years ago. I’m not too thrilled about reading it right now because of it.

26053031._UY1001_SS1001_

3 # The Frog Prince by Elle Lothlorien

This one actually surprised me when I pulled it out of the jar. I thought I put all the physical books I own in the TBR Jar. This is one of the first Kindle freebies I downloaded few years back. It caught me off guard so much that i’m leaning toward reading it! The frog on the cover is kinda confusing though…

il_570xN.804913951_9pgl

Again I was surprised with what I pulled out of my TBR Jar. This October I was a bit more apprehensive on the titles I’ve drawn. I will probably go with the Kindle freebie this time simply for the easier reading before bed time.

 

 

Monthly reading review – September 2017

^06C35006CE882066F3E0E5887765BDEE1EF11652C7EC4F5F9E^pimgpsh_fullsize_distr

Monthly reading review – September 2017

This September I have read:

The Marriage Wager by Jane Ashford ★★★★

Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1) by Anne Rice ★★★

Off Limits by J.L. Paul ★★

The Pursuit of Marriage (Effingtons, #8) by Victoria Alexander ★★

A Mercy by Toni Morrison ★★★

Many Bloody Returns edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner ★★★★

RomanceBook5789725.75114636_std

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

September showed progress in the number of books read. I’ve read six books and have few left over that I’m still reading trough to October. I’m happy to see an improvement from August.

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

Many Bloody Returns was a very enjoyable read. The many short stories gave me some new authors to look out for.

romance pano

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

Off Limits and The Pursuit of Marriage were kinda predictable and boring. Both were romance books and while Off Limits was a contemporary in theme, I’m seriously thinking to give some time off from reading historical romance books. The Pursuit of Marriage had all the cliche plot twists from any given historical romance and while not necessarily bad, I simply did not like it. Off Limits was intriguing and engaging at first but failed to deliver after the initial character introduction.

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

I’m glad I’m moving along nicely with both TBR Jar Draw again and book club assignment readings. Soon I will be posting another TBR Jar Draw.

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

That long started Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1) is finally finished and while I’m not yet ready to jump to the second book in the series I am happy with this series. In the meantime I’ve been wondering on finally reading some last books of a few favorite UF book series that are waiting for me on the shelf.

51VzHjeG8CL._SX306_BO1,204,203,200_

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

This month I’m recommending exploring new authors with short stories collections. Once again I am glad for some book club books I would never read on my own. This venture out of my comfort zone helps me get perspective on my reading and meet fascinating authors from all genres.

Final thoughts on September reading

The number of books I’m reading monthly is slowly but steadily climbing. I’m especially pleased with the books I read from the TBR Jar Draw project. I started the TBR Jar Draw to help get the number of books I own and have not read yet under control. Some of the titles I draw randomly are a such a nice surprise that the whole thing makes me want to read more than one out of the three books I draw out. Lately the idea of reading the books I own has become more and more appealing.