Reading in Progress – June 2018

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Lately I feel like a helium balloon barely tethered to the ground. Life is moving much faster than I’m used to. New job still takes some time to get used to and I even have a trip to Japan coming up soon!

While I was trying to catch up to some reading I managed to get started on quite a few different books. They are all in different states of unfinished reading. I’m going back to using my Reading in progress posts as a wall of shame for all the books I’m dragging along for months instead of finishing reading.

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A Man for Himself: An Inquiry into the Psychology of Ethics by Erich Fromm

It took me ages to find the picture of this book in my media library. It has been almost a year since I borrowed it. I have neglected it badly!

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How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read by Pierre Bayard

This book caught my attention for obvious reasons. I’m actually thinking of suggesting it to my book club friends. I read trough the third of it but kinda stopped due to some other priorities and even had to pay library fine for it…

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Serpent’s Kiss (Elder Races, #2) by Thea Harrison

I grabbed this book from the shelf when I wanted to read something urban fantasy style I like so much. It was supposed to be a respite from all those other books I’m catching up on for book club or other projects. After the initial two reading sessions it started to gather dust by the bed…

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The Bridge on the Drina by Ivo Andrić

This is a book club reading assignment due in few days. The writing style is good but I have issues with the language and many words I’m not familiar with. My pace is slow even though I’ve given lots of attention to this book lately.

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Even with all of those above being seriously neglected I have piled up few more books that I’m planing to add to the Reading in progress category. More on those in the next post!

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Monthly reading review – May 2018

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Monthly reading review – May 2018

This May I have read:

Vincent by Ana-Marija Posavec ★★

Little Women (Little Women, #1) by Louisa May Alcott ★★★

A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen ★★★★

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

This May I have read only three books. This was due to some major changes in my life. I got a new job and it required me to focus on some other things than reading. While the number of books I’ve read is not that great I am pleased with what I did finish reading.

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

I liked reading A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen even though it was for my book club this June. I liked the drama form which left me freedom of interpretation. I liked the ending of it the most because it was full of potential and depended on the readers point of view.

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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 a total love-hate relationship with the book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. From the beginning it annoyed the hell out of me and the reading was slow and dreadful experience. By the second part of the book it went a bit easier or maybe I got used to the writing style. Vincent was a bit more tricky since meeting the author totally twisted my expectations on the book. For a fantasy book I thought it had lots of holes that were left for the reader to figure out on the go.

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

May was in many things minimalistic month reading wise. My posts and reading were subdued and I was mostly dealing with reading books I was long overdue. I had plans to read few more titles, mainly TBR Jar Draw but time left me in the dust.

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

I felt a bit homesick without reading some more of my UF series since the March reading was highlighted by Mercy Thompson series a lot. I’m browsing my bookshelves but for some reason I’m not taking that step to open a book and just start reading!

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

A Doll’s House was very intriguing. I have already piled up some other more serious book club reading assignments and will probably go from there. I recommend Henrik Ibsen and will try another drama of his as well.

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Final thoughts on May reading

I am none to pleased with my reading in May. While life changes happen I will have to work at steering the change to read more. For the whole month of May I did only two posts and not one book review. While I tend to write book reviews only on books that inspire a reaction out of me I will try to focus on writing about books and reading in general to get the reading process started.

Wish me luck!

TBR Jar Draw May 2018

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Last month I pulled a Joker in my TBR Jar Draw and used it to read not one but two books from my bookshelves: Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson #10) & Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson #9) by Patricia Briggs. I went for both book since I got them mixed up and was not sure what was the last book I’ve read from Mercy Thompson book series.

My thoughts on the reading experience of both Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson #10) & Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson #9) by Patricia Briggs can be found HERE.

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

#The First Book of Demons (The Book of Demons #1) by Raquel Dove

#The Warden (Chronicles of Barsetshire #1) by Anthony Trollope

While pulling the next three TBR Jar Draws for May I got another book I’ve previously read outside the TBR Jar Draw reading challenge: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – my review and thoughts on it can be found HERE

My three new TBR Jar draws are as follows:

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1# The Princess Bride by William Goldman

This is the second time this year I’ve pulled this book out of the Jar. Last time it was just two months ago. I must admit that I’ve been eyeing it for months now but the chubby 450 pages long paperback I own looks nice and new and I’m afraid of making creases on the book spine – an excuse I know! I’ve been trying to get it as a suggestion for my reading group as well. This might be the month I actually get to read it finally!

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2# U krevetu s vješticom – Najljepše ljubavne horor priče by Milana Vuković Runjić

This was a spur of the moment buy at a local book sale. I liked the theme and the title translation goes something like: In bed with a witch – best love horror stories. I like that its a short story collection. I have been sceptic toward Croatian authors mostly but I am willing to give this a try.

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

This is one of the Kindle freebies I got while I was going trough my e-book phase few years ago. It is one of the self published authors of YA genre with fantastic elements. I have learned recently that there are two other books in this series. I like the e-book aspect which make it easier to read before bedtime. I’m slightly unsure about starting a new book series and then searching out the next books.

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I have been quite busy with lots of different projects and some real life changes. I will make an update soon on some new bookish things and not so bookish things I am currently in the middle of.

Monthly reading review – April 2018

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Monthly reading review – March 2018

This March I have read:

Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse ★

If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino ★★★

Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson #9) by Patricia Briggs ★★★★★

Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson #10) by Patricia Briggs ★★★★★

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

This April I’ve read only four books. I had plans to read more but life intervened and I was suddenly busy with projects to the point of falling dead asleep before squeezing some reading in.

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

Quantity of the books read aside, I’m very happy with the books I have read! Mercy Thompson books series was a total blast and I loved every second I spent reading it! Silence Fallen was especially fun to read and I enjoyed Prague in the book!

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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?

One of the books I had to read for my book club was Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse. I did not like it. I did not understand the point. It was exhausting and boring to the point of putting me to sleep after 10 pages into a reading session…

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

I just barely managed to read both books for my book club reading and indulged with a joker for my TBR Jar Draw in April. There were more books I planned to read in April but some other projects kept interfering. This left me with few new books I still need to finish.

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

With the books I read in April the Mercy Thompson series is now up to date. The new Alpha & Omega books just came out and I will need to look out for the paperback edition in a few months. There are still very many book series I should get on to and finish up from these I already own.

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

Patricia Briggs continues to amaze me with her characters and action packed plots. Her dosage of humor in the books is just right and her dosage of romance is down to earth yet dream worthy. I am so glad to have read and bought her books!

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Final thoughts on April reading

While I am extremely happy with the books I’ve read in April I am left with some new unfinished books that add to my reading pile from before. Even though my reading plans were not finalized in full I feel good about the books I did read. It seems that the smaller number of books I’ve read had given me more incentive to post reviews on the books I did read.

If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino ★★★ REVIEW

I’ve let a lot of time pass before I got to reading Mercy Thompson book series and I got confused with the reading order and the last book I’ve read. I’ve made a review on my reading experience with reading both Fire Touched and Silence Fallen to explain how it all happened.

Fire Touched (Mercy Thompson #9) by Patricia Briggs ★★★★★

Silence Fallen (Mercy Thompson #10) by Patricia Briggs ★★★★★

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I will have to make a post on all the books I have to finish up soon since they are kinda pilling up and it just might be the incentive I need to read up on them all.

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Silence Fallen – Book Review

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Finished reading

Silence Fallen

(Mercy Thompson #10)

by Patricia Briggs

★★★★★

Expectation

This is actually the last book I’ve bought this year. It somehow slipped my radar for I’m not really sure how long did I have it on the shelf. On my TBR Jar Draw among my choices for April was also a Joker option – pick any unread book from my shelf and read it! I was actually surprised to see this book on the shelf and a while has passed since I read any books from Mercy Thompson universe (counting both Mercy Thompson AND Alpha & Omega series). I loved reading Patricia Briggs books and remembered how much I enjoyed them. I gladly picked up Silence Fallen to read!

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Summary

Once I started reading this book I got so immersed into the story, the characters and the urban fantasy setting. Imagine my surprise when some of the characters did not exactly ring a bell…

It took me one hundred and fifty pages to look up my Goodreads and check when was the last time I’ve read one of the books from Mercy Thompson series…

I was reading the wrong book!

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I realized I have not read one other book in the series Fire Touched which is number nine in the series and is directly before Silence Fallen. And at this point I was completely hooked in with the action packed plot and I was beside myself with suspense!

So I got to put Silence Fallen down for a while and got down to read Fire Touched. Now when all the characters were completely familiar and I started to piece things together I was in for the ride on Fire Touched!

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Finished reading

Fire Touched

(Mercy Thompson #9)

by Patricia Briggs

★★★★★

Expectation

When I started reading this book I was a bit crazed and jumpy because of the mistake I made picking a book from the series out of order. It might not seem such a big deal but again I was glad for my TBR Jar Draw ongoing project that makes me read more books from my own bookshelves. I got a bit of spoiler from Silence Fallen on some characters and I must admit that I was not hyped about reading this book as much I was for reading the next one.

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Summary

Again I was surprised to read about Mercy and Adam relationship. Out of all the fictional couples Mercy and Adam are by far most fantastic in a way they have a relationship so well balanced and great it belongs with out of this world supernatural elements of the book series. They are inspiring to read about!

It was good to see the dynamics of the pack and family life at work trough out the book. Some of the issues Mercy had to deal with in this book were much more close to me and I was impressed on how the author dealt with those issues.

What I loved about this book was the update on the Fey politics and meeting up with some new and some old favorites. I can’t say much more and keep this review spoiler free but I can throw few hidden hints here and there.

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Conclusion

In the end I loved this book so much and was happy to have another waiting on me to continue reading the book series. It left a feel good impact on me when I finished reading which was one of my favorite things about reading book series. Not to mention the excitement I get finishing a book and getting into another one at fast pace!

Summary – continuation from Silence Fallen

Jumping from the ending of the Fire Touched back into the fray of Silence Fallen gave me a rush! From an ending of one book to the middle of action of another book. I loved Mercy travelling trough Europe. Prague adventures were awesome to read about. I loved how the book series progresses we learn more about different new creatures and how things work and get an update on some of the older characters and past events.

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Conclusion

This one kept me up long into the morning!  I loved it for its action and intelligent humor. This wild ride trough two books had me looking up for the next one. So now I’m impatiently waiting on an opportunity to buy the next one. Hopefully it wont take me so long to get to reading it that I forget how much I enjoy these characters and stories! Absolutely a favorite!

Dr. Who references were much appreciated ❤

 

Se una notte d’inverno un viaggiatore – Book Review

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Finished reading

If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler

by Italo Calvino

★★★

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Expectation

Back when I was in college this book had so much hype. Many of my fellow students and faculty members had nothing but the words of praise for this book and the author. As it happens when the book was so obviously praised and popular I had no desire to read it at the time. I let it slide into the background thinking I might give it a try someday. As it turns out I remembered this book when I was thinking about suggestions for my book club group that prefers more serious books. All I knew about it that it was praised in all the right circles to pass my book group standards and decided to moderate a meeting for this book.

Summary

This is in a sense a technical book so I feel I can explain something about the concept it was written in without spoiling much for the future readers. Firstly, it revolves about the main character named aptly Reader. Many trials and tribulations the Reader suffers trough in this book are already met by many passionate people who think of themselves as readers as well!leer

The book is written in twelve chapters about the Reader’s book adventures and after each chapter we are presented with one of ten first chapters of ten different novels. Each new novel chapter is  what the Readers stumbles on while looking for a complete book he can finish reading.

What captured my attention right at the start were the categories the author has come up with to distinguish different types of books a Reader can personally get involved with. And these categories were what made our book club meeting a fun experience. We learned a lot about each others reading habits and quirks. There were even some intimate confessions involved!

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At times one could feel the Reader’s frustration in his search to finish reading a story.  What grated on me the hardest were new chapters that always left the Reader empty handed the moment things got most interesting!

Through the book there were some poignant and interesting quotes and thoughts that made this book worth of any passionate reader’s time.

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Conclusion

I was not blown away by this book in general. There are some undeniable qualities in the form and art it was written in. What made me give it three stars instead of two I originally opted for was the great time I had while discussing the book on the book club meeting. Reading experience required a bit more concentration and involvement on my part than I prefer. I also noticed that i’m much harsher with the books I have to read for the book club…

“Reading is going toward something that is about to be, and no one yet knows what it will be.”
― Italo Calvino, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler

Science fiction classics

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Later this month I will be having a presentation on the topic of science fiction classics. This will be a part of World Book Night promotion this year and I will be doing a demonstration and a short quiz afterwards at my former high school.

My goal was to pick out and present ten works of science fiction to the high school children. Trough my inquiry in the school library I have found out that the library does not hold many speculative fiction books if any at all. This and the fact that gymnasium high school I am to have my presentation in has an otherwise diverse and full learning programme for the children has given me incentive to make my presentation brief and as interesting as possible for young adults with more important things to worry about.

As I was going trough many top lists of most influential science fiction books all across the Internet I had few titles I already held high in regard and was looking to fill in my top ten list with most interesting titles and authors I could find.

This is where my troubles began…

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As an avid reader and lover of out of this world literature in general I had certain favorites and then there were many influential authors and works that I have yet to read. Picking out just ten became a problem since I wanted to cover a genre where diversity is sometimes the focus point and the only limits were those set by the authors imagination.

After much deliberation I set on these ten titles:

Foundation (Foundation  #1) by Isaac Asimov

Dune (Dune #1) by Frank Herbert

Dangerous Visions by Harlan Ellison

Ender’s Game (Ender’s Saga #1) by Orson Scott Card

1984  by George Orwell

Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy #1) by Douglas Adams

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Blade Runner #1) by Philip K. Dick

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein

I have yet to put these titles in order. While some have certain themes and motives in common I think I’ve covered the basics. There were some other titles I wanted to include but the lack of time needed for my presentation and inability to acquire the actual book copies for a little show and tell during the presentation were also deciding factors.

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World Book Night was first celebrated in 2011. This year World Book Night falls on UNESCOs  International Day of the Book and the birth and death date of William Shakespeare – Monday April 23.

Do you have any plans for World Book Night? What do you think on my ten science fiction picks?