Monthly reading review – March 2017

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Monthly reading review – March 2017

This March I have read:

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1) by Cassandra Clare ★★★★

Magnus Chase and the Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #2) by Rick Riordan ★★★★

The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare ★★★★

The Voicemail of Magnus Bane (The Bane Chronicles, #11) ★★★★

A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking ★★★

Superjunakinje by Lea Brezar ★★★★

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood ★★★★★

The Second Wife by Elizabeth Buchan ★★

Ottoline and the Yellow Cat (Ottoline, #1) by Chris Riddel ★★★★

Fushigi Yûgi: Genbu Kaiden, Vol. 01 by Yuu Watase ★★★★★

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

After a long time I am feeling really positive with my reading. This March I’ve read ten books and I’m officially back in double digit numbers! This alone is a cause for celebration!

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

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is my book of the month this March. I’m still under the impression of the book and can’t wait for the TV adaptation and book club meeting to chat my fill on the subject – both are scheduled later in April. Second best read was a manga I was harboring on my shelf unread for almost a decade – Fushigi Yûgi: Genbu Kaiden, Vol. 01 by Yuu Watase. I forgot how fun it was to read manga. The little details and notes from the author were very good and I enjoyed them a lot.

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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?

My least favorite book from March was The Second Wife by Elizabeth Buchan. On its own was not a bad book. But in comparison with the rest of awesome books I’ve read in March it kinda flopped. I took it on as a reading assignment for a book club. My expectations were not met and I was bothered by the lack of passion in a book I expected to be a romance novel with slightly complicated plot. It was a contemporary novel from a perspective of a “younger woman who stole a husband from a first wife”. Honestly the lack of love and lifelessness of the main characters were what made me give the book only two stars.

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

I am happy to report that for April I’m already ahead with my designated reading on both books. What made me the happiest was actually finally finishing The Bane Chronicles collection.

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

I’m up to date with Magnus Chase series and started one new book series I was eyeing for a few years not. I’m expecting problems with continuing Fushigi Yûgi: Genbu Kaiden, manga series as they are now a bit harder to come by but I won’t let that discourage me.

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

I’m very much into Margaret Atwood at the moment and would recommend The Handmaid’s Tale to everyone before the TV show distorts the book to the general population – I already see some differences between the book and the show that make me cringe. Rick Riordan and Cassandra Clare remain my favorites in almost anything the write 🙂

10570I had to add this cover on a book by Croatian author Lea Brezar because I think it’s simple and cool!

Final thoughts on March reading

My spirits are high and my energy feels renewed with how much happy I am at the amount of reading I managed to do in March. There were lots of YA themed books in March and that’s okay for me. Getting back to reading manga edition will be interesting. I got some new books I will soon post about.

Happy reading all 🙂

Reading in March 2017

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This March I avoided making a post about the books I’m in the middle of reading of. Reason is that, while I enjoy reading more than one book at a time this March I have been reading them mostly one by one.

The Tsundoku Project I’m working on with the goal of reading more of the books I already own has given me three options to read this month and I’ve picked not one, but two from the books I’ve pulled out of my TBR jar.

I am in the middle of reading of:

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The Undead Pool (The Hollows #12) by Kim Harrison

As one of the books I pulled out of my TBR jar this one was an easy choice. I’m going trough slowly. Something about getting to the end of the series is making me reluctant to finish it quickly – this is the second to last book of the series!

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Ottoline and the Yellow Cat (Ottoline, #1) by Chris Riddell

I’m reading this series in Croatian translation. For some reason the second book of the series Ottoline goes to School was translated before this one. I loved Ottoline goes to School for it’s lovely illustrations. It reads fast so I’ll probably be over with it by tomorow anyway.

Books I plan to start reading by the end of the month:

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Fushigi Yûgi: Genbu Kaiden Vol. 01 by Yu Watase

This is a second choice from the TBR jar. It has been a while since I’ve read a graphic novel or a manga. They read fast and I used to enjoy them quite a bit. This one I got years ago on some kind of sale. Usually I’m reluctant to start reading manga series if I don’t have more than one volume ready since I want to keep on reading the story right away if I like them.

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Carve the Mark (Carve the Mark #1) by Veronica Roth

I’ve been in the mood for some angsty YA drama and this one is close by. It’s new and while I have not read the Divergent series I’m strangely attracted to this one.

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Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians #1) by Kevin Kwan

I’ve actually loaned this book from the library. That was more than two weeks ago. I’ve been inspired by watching k-drama about rich chaebol heirs. Reviews are divided about it and I’m curious.

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The Handmaid’s Tale – Book review

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Finished reading

The Handmaid’s Tale

by Margaret Atwood

★★

Expectation

I was so happy when I found a really cheap Croatian edition of this book last year on a book fair Interliber in Zagreb. The publisher was selling older – and I might add only edition in Croatian language on the market, but the books were totally new and seemed to be pulled out of some warehouse they’ve been locked up for the last thirty years. So I got a new old book! The book and the author intrigued me for a while now and this is the first and only book by Margaret Atwood I’ve read so far.

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Summary

I actually had no idea that the movie already existed. This book is a dystopian vision of the future written in the eighties and is often mentioned alongside Orwell’s 1984. While I was reading the book I was riveted to the pages and I’ve literally read it trough in three days!

“Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

It has been a while since a book had my attention like this one did. My eyes were glued to the pages. Reading this kind of book from a female narrative left me feeling raw. It was the little things, the emotional tidbits and everyday things most of us take for granted that really got to me.

“Nothing changes instantaneously: in a gradually heating bathtub you’d be boiled to death before you knew it.”
― Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

For me this book was emotional and mesmerizing. At times it read like a thriller or crime novel and next page was all drama. The translator of Croatian edition used a quite catchy phrase in the commentary on the book: thriller, critique of society and an anxious literary vision.

The trailer for the new TV series that starts by the end of April looks scary. I can’t help but think on author commentary and the fact that Margaret Atwood had some reservations on The Handmaid’s Tale being described as a science fiction. She argued that most of the stuff she wrote about and used in the story were part of the real world at the time when the book was written. I find it scary how believable and plausible the story actually flows from the pages.

Conclusion

I’m glad to have read this book. I will try to watch the TV show but I’m not sure I will like it in such visual form. Some parts were quite brutal and I very much appreciated the perspective form the main character. I felt that there was a buffer trough narrative and the flow of the novel, while still riveting and intense, was much easier to swallow this way.

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Taking on my TBR pile

I am finally set to do something about my pile of TBR (To-Be-Read) books! Big part of the problem are the books I hoarded over time. I believe the Japanese even have a word for this apparently not so uncommon hoarding disorder – tsundoku!

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Mostly all were and are still the books I am genuinely interested in reading. Some of them were collected since they simply fit the profile and genre I like to read. Some were the books I heard enough about to get me interested to get them and put them on my TBR. Some are gifts and I’m not so sure about those :/

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One of my goals is to cut this pile to be closer to 300. I know it doesn’t seem like much but most of the books I end up reading every month are not already in my TBR pile. I usually read two books a month for my RL book club. Those are mostly books that come as a group choice and offer a variety of genres and authors I don’t normally read.

Also, since I work in a bookstore there are always new arrivals that grab my attention. Reading those can be a part of the job. (Almost a dream job there :p )

Type of books I mentioned above take up almost half of my reading for any given month. These are not the books I can always count on or expect in the form of the time that it takes me to read them trough.

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The books I can do something about are those that are already on my bookshelves. Right there! (right behind my computer screen, right of my desk, left of my desk, on the shelf by my bed, on the shelf by my BFs computer…)

I have gone trough my GR TBR list and sorted out the books I already own. I wrote the title of each on a little pink piece of paper. On the list were lots of books that were part of a book series. With those I only wrote down books that were first in the series or those that continue on the books I already read. I took all the little pink papers and put them into a glass bowl.

IMAG0404I realized too late that since the glass is dyed turquoise I should have used blue or green paper :/

As it turns out there are exactly 82 little pink papers with titles of books that are waiting patiently on the bookshelves in my room for their turn to be read.

Starting this month I will draw three titles from the bowl and pick at least one of them to read in the current month. The ones not chosen for the month will go back into the bowl, and if by chance I draw the same ones for three times I will forgo the choice and read the one that has been drawn the third time!

First three titles I’ve drawn are:

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1 # Fushigi Yûgi: Genbu Kaiden Vol. 01 by Yu Watase

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2 # The Undead Pool (The Hollows #12) by Kim Harrison

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3 # The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1) by Rick Riordan

 

I am actually pleasantly surprised by the titles I’ve drawn. For now I will keep all the choices until the end of the month. I’m undecided which one to start first. Since one of them is a manga I might go and read more than one! I’m just too damn pleased with what I’ve drawn right now 🙂

Hopefully this will start a habit of reading more of the books I already own 🙂

Wish me luck!

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Monthly reading review – February 2017

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Monthly reading review – February 2017

This February I have read:

Le Bal du comte d’Orgel by Raymond Radiguet ★★★★

Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy ★★

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James ★

Married By Morning (The Hathaways #4) by Lisa Kleypas ★★★★

Factotum by Charles Bukowski ★★★

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

This February I’m back at a reading pace of around one book per week. It is generally a good number but I get greedy for more.

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

From all the books I’ve read in February I’ve liked a historical romance Married by Morning the most. Aside from being a work of one of my favorite authors – Lisa Kleypas, it was by far the happiest read I’ve had all month.

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

From five books I’ve read three of them are set in English countryside and one in French! The scenery was very much the same but the characters were not. Turn of the Screw was a baffling read for me. I gave it one star mark on GR for more than one reason. The topic and how the work was presented were at best confusing. I felt like the author wanted to write a novel that was modern at that time – ghost story and just threw few ideas on the paper without making an effort.The whole story just felt boring and out of balance.

“Frankly, I was horrified by life, at what a man had to do simply in order to eat, sleep, and keep himself clothed. So I stayed in bed and drank. When you drank the world was still out there, but for the moment it didn’t have you by the throat.”
― Charles Bukowski, Factotum

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

Three out of five books were for my RL book club! This is seriously turning around my reading habits and I’m not sure how I feel about that. Other two books were a random picks in the spur of the moment. I had plans for reading more books I already own, but aside from Tess of the D’Urbervilles which I bought for the purpose of reading it for book club (!) not one other of the books I’ve read in February is actually owned by me.

As plans go, I’m not pleased.

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

From the five books I’ve read in February only Married by Morning is a part of a book series. Since I jumped in with book 4. from the series I’m interested in reading some other books from The Hathaways book series.

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

Much of my February reading has been done out of book club obligation and it is about time to take my own advice and read more books for fun. I don’t think I would have made it out of my February reading without Lisa Kleypas and her HR romance series. Bukowski was painfully sarcastic and reading it now when I’m older is a completely different experience that it was when I was younger. I would recommend it as a reading that gives perspective on life better than any sugarcoated self help book could do.

Final thoughts on February reading

All that stayed with me for reading classics these last two months is that I prefer reading my funny, trashy, romance and fantasy books more and more!

I like keeping track of my monthly reading in this manner because I keep getting surprised by my own reading habits. It felt good getting all the required RL book club reading done in time. Turning around I feel I miss my free reading more and more. Again I’m thinking about book club required reading becoming a chore instead of a favorite hobby. It gives me something to think about while I pick out books for March.

Valentine present Vampire books

 

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This year for Valentines day I was given a stack of Vampire the Masquerade RPG books. I am extremely happy for getting them. I used to have a huge list of White Wolf RPG books I wanted to collect one day. Vampire the Masquerade is a game setting designed by White Wolf. I used to play Vampire card game by White Wolf competitively and RPG setting is one of my favorites.

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Both the card game and the RPG books were printed back in the nineties and early 2000. This used to be my favorite past time. The background and stories with all the intricate mythology that was developed for these games are something I can still remember by heart.

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These were all bought used and I’m still very happy with finding them. I hope to get to reading them and playing the games more. This has also peaked my interest in collecting more of them.

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Vampire the masquerade is a role playing game of intrigue. Vampires are divided by origin into clans and  politically into factions. As opposed to traditionally fantasy oriented Dungeons and Dragons setting this one is more complex for players. It requires a lot less dice rolling and a lot more actual role playing.

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I was surprised to see that Clanbook formats are A4. For some reason I always thought they would be smaller than that.

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I am currently on the look out for more of these and my big wish is to get the Vampire: The Masquerade 20th Anniversary Edition. It has been printed as a collector item back in 2011.

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Reading in February 2017

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After finishing some books I’ve been dragging along from last year I am in the middle of reading some really interesting books!

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Le Bal du comte d’Orgel by Raymond Radiguet

This book intrigued me since it came into the bookstore last year. I got interested in theme and less known french author. I’m one third into the book and I really love the writing style and the characters. Melancholy tone of the book does not interfere with my reading speed so far.

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The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #2) by Rick Riordan

Finally I got into reading second book in Magnus Chase series. I’m a bit distressed with all the up to speed pop culture references. Also the tone is very inclusive and it screams 2016. I will definitely have to write a review on it after I’m done with it.

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Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

This is the first of two books I’m reading for book club this February. With some of these classic books I have a feeling I’ve been living under a rock since I’ve managed to avoid any contact with books or move versions even though some of them were part of my mandatory school reading like Jane Austen’s books or those by Bronte sisters. I’m going in blind into this one as well.

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After finishing with the books above here are a few others I want to read in February as well.

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The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo, #1) by Rick Riordan

I’m attacking this one right after I’m done with Magnus Chase book.

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The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

This is my second book club required reading for February

After these I’m hopping to add some romance novels since it’s February after all. I haven’t picked out anything in particular yet.

 

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