TBR Jar Draw November 2017

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First a little update for those who don’t know what my TBR Jar Draw is about. Somewhere at the start of this year I have decided to try and read more of the books I already own. Out of my TBR (To Be Read) pile of books on Goodreads I have selected some of the books I own and wrote the titles on little pieces of paper each. Once I month I draw three titles from the jar and decide to read one of them. This gives me a reason to go trough my bookshelves and find the titles I might have overlooked or forgot about. Here is the link to the post from March that got me started –> TBR Jar Draw 

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Last month I squeezed two books for TBR Jar Draw. After finishing the book The Frog Prince in a rather short time I went and pulled another three titles which gave me Rosemary and Rue. My thoughts on The Frog Prince can be read HERE and my thoughts on Rosemary and Rue can be read HERE.

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

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

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

My three new TBR Jar draws are as follows:

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1 # The Age of Odin (Pantheon #3) by James Lovegrove

This is the book my boyfriend owns. I bought it for him actually along with the rest from this series. Years back we did a few reading challenges among us and this is one of the books he chose for me to read. This was from when I first started writing this blog. You can find the link on the summary of our first challenge HERE. As you can see The Age of Odin is one of the books he choose for me that I did not read in the end. I still kept it on my TBR list on GR out of guilt. And now it’s come back to haunt me and make me think about some new challenging ideas for next year 🙂

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2 # The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1) by Philip Pullman

Woow this is embarrassing! The Golden Compass is the book from the second reading challenge my boyfriend and I did. Yet again it is one of the books from the challenge I did not read. You can check out how the second challenge my boyfriend and I made looked like HERE. To my defense I only bought this book last year at Interliber book fair in Zagreb. Another Jar Draw with snow on the cover makes up for a great themed reading up to December though.

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3 # Master of Chains (Forgotten Realms: The Fighters, #1) by Jess Lebow

This book I got ages ago while I was a student and was more into Dungeons and Dragons roleplay. I was actually surprised to find out that I bought the first one since I did not look into it much when I got it. I have three books from this series. Lately I have been thinking about playing Dungeons and Dragons again. This might be a good way to get me in the mood.

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While all the options above are solid for one reason or another I just might dive into a new book series with The Golden Compass. I am still undecided.

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The Hidden Oracle – Book Review

Finished reading

The Hidden Oracle

(The Trials of Apollo, #1)

by Rick Riordan

★★★★

Expectation

At first I wanted to read the new book from the Magnus Chase book series The Ship of the Dead. But then while I was settling in for a comfortable afternoon of reading I started noticing how much what happened at the end of the book The Hammer of Thor is actually in sync with things that are happening in The Trials of Apollo book series. This left me with having to close the book and put it back on the shelf AND in its place I took The Hidden Oracle and started with a new book series. I planned reading it anyway and I’m even buying them along with Magnus Chase books. I was a bit more interested in Norse mythology. I fully intended to learn what was happening with the characters from The Heroes of Olympus book series from which I only got a few glimpses of Annabeth of since she is related to Magnus. The last line in The Hammer of Thor left me more than giddy! All hype aside The Hidden Oracle was kinda a means to an end – finally getting to reading the last Magnus Chase book and having  a grasp on all the subplots and many characters in this mythic universe.

Summary

I am mostly out of the loop on other people reactions and comments of Rick Riordan’s book series until I finish reading them. This way I avoid spoilers since I usually don’t get to buy the books as soon as they come out. For all those who are not familiar with these books a few sentences of caution: Starting with the Percy Jackson book series the author has created the intricate collection of book series and characters who live in the same world and sometimes appear and visit each other. Percy has five books and two heartbreaking movies – heartbreaking since the plot was so messed up and different than the books in the first movie that they barely managed to scrape up enough ties and make a second movie. After the Percy Jackson five books series comes The Heroes of Olympus book series that introduces the Roman deities to the  original Greek ones. Somewhere along those lines is a separate trilogy Kane Chronicles that deals with Egyptian mythology. There are a few short stories and novellas where Percy and Anabeth meet Carter and Sadie. Otherwise the Kane Chronicles are not mentioned much. After Heroes of Olympus comes Magnus Chase book series and shortly after the first Magnus book come in The Trials of Apollo.

Now after that not so short introduction let’s get down to the actual book The Hidden Oracle. I had certain issues with grasping the character of Apollo. The plot was very easy to follow and the scenes were easy to imagine. Rick Riordan has a way of making scenes in his books easy to picture as a movie or a TV series scenes. The introductory “Fall of Apollo” was a great start of the book. Making the beautiful god Apollo mortal acne troubled teen was a punishment indeed.

I like how the story of this book builds on the books and characters from the previous books. Apollo is a likable character but I found Meg very interesting as well. I hopped along on getting to know more details on some historical figures and learning about the new bad guys.

Some might consider this next part a spoiler so be aware that I will bring out some characters from other books that drop by in The Hidden Oracle.

Reading about fan favorites like Nico and Percy and even Chiron was great. It gave me a serious craving to watch the Percy movies again even though they seriously suck in comparison to the books. Don’t get me wrong movies are kinda okay for someone who did not read the books and I can even enjoy them but thinking on how much better they could have been chafes a little…

While reading The Heroes of Olympus I grew rather fond of the character Leo Valdez and I was glad to see him come back to the story center.

Conclusion

I was a tad bit apprehensive about reading this book since I’ve grown quite fond of Percy Jackson and Magnus Chase book series. The witty banter and the slightly sarcastic humor was there but the appeal that Percy and Magnus hold for me was not really there for some reason. I liked this book and will continue with the storyline and the next book but I still love Magnus and Percy better!

New Books November

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Only three weeks after my trip to Essen Spiel I visited a book fair Interliber in Zagreb. At Essen Spiel I bought many games and one graphic novel String Theory (Wayward volume 1) by Jim Zub and Steve Cummings. This time since it was a BOOK FAIR after all I went and bought some books I planned, some I did not plan and some I just had to have. On the picture above is my Interliber loot! I am sorry for the bad quality of the photo. This year I was a bit more controled by my budget and have bought eight books in total. I managed to snag a nice amount of bookmarkers 🙂

Here are the books I got:

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Cable, Vol. 1: Put Svjetlosti

(Cable, Volume I #97-100)

by David Tischman

This was bought as a gift for my boyfriend. It is a Croatian translation. Cable from the Marvel Universe is a villain  from the Deadpool storyline. The English title is Cable, Vol. 1: The Shining Path (Cable Volume I #97-100).

Saga, #2

(Saga, #4, #5 and #6)

by Brian K. Vaughan (Writer), Fiona Staples (Artist)

I had waited a whole year for this one. I’ve decided to own Saga in Croatian edition by the publisher Fibra. It has been a few years since I’ve read the first three in English. conveniently Croatian edition is a really chubby compilation that collects three volumes by six chapters each in one big hardcover package. I’ve bought the first compilation earlier this year and now I’ve finally gotten the new one at Interliber. The publisher decided to release them once a year at Interliber in these chubby hardcover editions. They are quite heavy!

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Leviathan Wakes  (The Expanse #1)

AND

Caliban’s War (The Expanse #2)

by James S.A. Corey

I have been trying to decide on this series for over a year now. Usually I don’t buy Croatian translations since there is a problem with publisher not finishing translating the series. I decided to trust this small Croatian publisher Hangar 7 to keep translating the rest of the series. They decided to keep the original English edition cover and I like that. It was a big step for me.

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The Hundred Secret Senses

AND

Saving Fish from Drowning

by Amy Tan

These two books were bought as a gift for the mother of my boyfriend. I was looking for a something for her and these had the melancholy historical vibe that the woman likes. I got them on sale for an excellent bargain price I hope she likes them.

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The Ship of the Dead

(Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #3)

AND

The Dark Prophecy

(The Trials of Apollo #2)

by Rick Riordan

I actually agreed to order these after Christmas. I asked around with the sellers that sold books in English and none of them had it. Until I came across one of the seller booth that were just making room for the books that just arrived…As soon as I saw them I had to have them. What I loved about them is that they were exact same hardcover edition as the others I already have. I binged! I’m already halfway trough Apollo Trials first book so I can continue with these two! It’s very motivating!

 

Rosemary and Rue – Book Review

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Finished reading

Rosemary and Rue

(October Daye, #1)

by Seanan McGuire

★★★★

Expectation

This book caught my eye when it first came out over seven years ago. The title alone drew me in for some reason and the author was someone I heard good things about and wanted to try out. I did not seek it out right away and some years have passed until it caught my attention again. When I saw it on sale I grabbed it and bought it. Only when it came up on my TBR Jar Draw did I finally got to reading it. While knowing I will enjoy it I was also apprehensive about diving into another urban fantasy book series that I will have to find rooms on my shelves for. So far there are over ten books out already…

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Summary

For me this book was very easy to get into from the start. Lots of things happened right from the beginning but the pure enjoyment of a good urban fantasy book series made me dive right in without much problems. At first I kept thinking how the story progressed like watching a TV series.

I had issues with grasping the measure of the main character October “Toby” Daye. She is so many things at once and her complexity amazed me at first. The character has history and many layers starting from origins and family all trough profession and infamy among other characters.

“I’ve never liked being looked at like I was a hero. I always wind up letting someone down. Sometimes I get lucky. Sometimes the only person who gets hurt is me.”
― Seanan McGuire, Rosemary and Rue

I found that most fantastical characters in the book were well represented as quirky and at the same time dangerous fairy creatures. Even though most of the characters were deadly in their own right they were kinda endearing as well.

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Author has channeled her love of cats in many ways trough the book. With cats being well represented as they are in reality; there were a few fantastic cat like creatures as well that enriched the story.

And this may come as a possible spoiler but while the main character remained blissfully unaware of one cat in particular being in love with her – the love interest for one of the many books after this one for me was more than obvious.

Conclusion

The story came to a bit of a dramatic ending toward the end and that is the reason I gave it four stars instead of five. I truly enjoyed this book and was pleasantly surprised by the main heroine. While I hope to get the next books soon It will probably have to wait for a bit until I finish at least one of the ongoing urban fantasy series I follow.

 

Trip to Essen Spiel 2017

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This year for the very first time I have made the 1600 km trip to Essen Germany for the annual Essen Spiel fair. For the better part of the year we were putting money away to make the best of the trip and come back with our bags full of games. There were eight of us and we rented a van. The seventeen hour drive from Osijek, Croatia to Essen, Germany was an adventure on its own.

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Veni, Vidi, Vici!

The fair lasted for four days but we were there only for first two. As it turned out this year Essen Spiel set new records in the number of exhibitors and visitors. As the boardgaming community grows so does its industry. There were a little over one thousand new board games (including numerous first translation editions in German, French and some other languages) to buy and see in over six big halls.

We were there on a shopping spree and shopping we did! This is the picture of our FIRST day loot before we stored it away in the back of our van tetris style.

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I got my most wanted new bookish game this year – EX LIBRIS by Renegade Game Studios. There was a hold up on the customs from China with the games for some of the publishers including Renegade Games Studios. For the whole first day there were only some few demo games available. The games for sale including my pre-ordered Ex Libris arrived little after noon on Friday day two of the fair. I remember being happy for games actually arriving and finally getting the one I wanted.

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We spent whole of two days at the fair walking around and buying games. It was busy and hectic with people and noise. With all the games both used and new there were sellers of old and used books and some new gaming books as well. Among all the games we bought I managed to sneak in one graphic novel I love. I did a review two years ago when I first read it and if you are interested you can read it HERE.

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We also visited The Dice Tower show and it was just great feeling the energy of the crowds. Next year we hope to go again and enjoy the whole four day experience! Until next year here is the picture of the games my boyfriend and I brought home with us!

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Monthly reading review – October 2017

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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 ★★

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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.

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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!

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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

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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!

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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:

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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.

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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…

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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…

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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.