TBR Jar Draw April 2018

I admit to taking the easy way out on my last month TBR Jar Draw with Fringe: Tales From The Fringe by Various. I did enjoy it but my motivation was purely practical in nature.

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My thoughts on reading Fringe: Tales From The Fringe by Various can be found HERE

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

# Uncle Silas by Sheridan LeFanu

# The Princess Bride by William Goldman

My three new TBR Jar draws are as follows:

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

This is another surprise to draw from the jar! This is one of the few ebooks I got as a freebie on Kindle and decided to include in the TBR Jar Draw. Lately my Kindle reading was slow and this might be a good choice to bring it back up from the dead. I have not read anything from this author and know very little on the book itself. I have good track record with Kindle freebies so far and I’m not afraid to try this one out.

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

I was intrigued by this 19th century scandalous book about clergy and funding and human motivation and social morality. I find the theme highly appropriate today as well. I got it on sale really cheap years ago and forgot I had it. I don’t know about other books in the Chronicles of Barsetshire series. I don’t think I’m in the mode for this type of book but who knows?

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3# JOKER! Read anything from the shelf!

At first I was confused when I pulled out this one from the Jar. It was a pleasant surprise! I noticed some interesting books sitting on my shelves and I’m not sure if they are in the Jar at all! I might go for this option and pick something I might really enjoy. This last two months designated reading has been pulling me down so much my reading has been scarce. I need some good preferably urban fantasy story to pick me up!

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Monthly reading review – March 2018

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Monthly reading review – March 2018

This March I have read:

Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas ★★★

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline ★★★★★

String Theory (Wayward volume 1) by Jim Zub; Steve Cummings et all ★★★★

Ties That Bind (Wayward volume 2) by Jim Zub; Steve Cummings et all ★★★★

Out From the Shadows (Wayward volume 3) by Jim Zub; Steve Cummings et all ★★★★

Fringe: Tales from the Fringe by Various ★★★

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

This March I have read two books and four graphic novels. As the amount goes I had better months for reading than this one…

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

I am still reeling from the movie adaptation for Ready Player One and I keep going trough some of the scenes I loved in the book but were left out of the movie. I loved the character of Aech and was not too fond how it was presented in the movie.

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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?

Romance novel Suddenly You did not deliver on the standards I’ve used to from this author. It was OK but my expectations were higher. I keep feeling the strain of some of my book club reading toward my choice of reading.

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

I had high hopes for my March reading and it all fell down with March book club pick Little Women which I still did not finish…It turned out so bad actually that I am again considering dropping out from the book club entirely. I did managed to read trough my TBR pick of the month though…

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

I’ve read all the Wayward graphic novel volumes I own and while browsing my bookshelves I found some other books I’ve recently acquired and are parts of beloved series…in short I am again way behind on my reading 😦

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

Ready Player One was an excellent homage to many pop culture franchises of the eighties. It has left an impression on me and I hope I get to talk about it with my friends soon since I’m still waiting on some of them to read the book. Again I recommend it!

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Final thoughts on March reading

My reading was seriously slowed down by reading Little Women which I am still unhappy about. I have yet to finish it and it hogs most of my reading time. I am still standing with A Man for Himself: An Inquiry into the Psychology of Ethics by Erich Fromm and did zero progress on that front. To make matters worse I already have the next book for the book club rolling in and it has already dampened my reading mojo…

On the other hand I have posted review on all the books I have finished reading in March and one I finished back in February. Which makes it a total of five reviews:

Strange Candy by Laurell K. Hamilton ★★★★ REVIEW

Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas ★★★ REVIEW

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline ★★★★★ REVIEW

String Theory (Wayward volume 1) ★★★★

Ties That Bind (Wayward volume 2)  ★★★★

Out From the Shadows (Wayward volume 3) ★★★★

by Jim Zub; Steve Cummings et all -> joined review HERE

Fringe: Tales from the Fringe by Various ★★★ REVIEW

With all this being said I hope to post more about some of the things I did do this March other than reading and I wish all those that celebrate it a Happy Easter!

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Fringe: Tales from the Fringe – Book Review

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Finished reading

Fringe: Tales from the Fringe

by Various

★★★

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Expectation

This graphic novel was my pick for the TBR Jar Draw in March. It is one of the books I own I am unsure have I read them or not. I remembered reading some of the stories and that they impressed me as dark and intense.  I bought it for my boyfriend who was a fan of the TV show. I watched the TV show only in passing and was never a devoted fan.

Summary

There were altogether twelve stories from different artists and authors. The stories covered a wide range of characters and topics. It was like watching little flashbacks from the episodes. Themes were diverse and I could only recognize a few characters from the show. But this is really due to me not being that familiar to the show.

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Some stories were gritty and dark and showing certain aspects of human nature while others had more supernatural elements to them. The first story in the collection is more about the characterization of the main character than anything else and as such it made me pause right at the start. I expected to be hit with the weird and supernatural cases from the show right away and that was not the case.

Sure there were stories with more lighter outlook to them but it was either creepy or downright weird.

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I appreciated the trial and error of human condition stories presented. There were lots of moral ambiguity written into each story. Many consider the graphic novel as a form to be lighter and easier for readers as a medium. The sheer amount of difficult choices and topics that can be presented in this way might be a testament to the opposite.

Conclusion

None of the stories were light and each has left an impression. I was taken back with the heavy themes and intensity. I like the stories and how they made me think upon characters choices and morality. While I liked the collection overall I was not blown away by the experience. What did surprised me is the lack of “Mature audiences only” categorization on the cover.
I am sure that for some other true fan of the show reading this graphic novel collection would have been a much more engaging experience.

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Wayward Vol 1-3 – Book Review

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Finished reading

String Theory (Wayward volume 1)  ★★★★

Ties That Bind (Wayward volume 2) ★★★★

Out From the Shadows (Wayward volume 3) ★★★★

by Jim Zub; Steve Cummings et all

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Expectation

Almost three years ago I’ve read the first volume of Wayward graphic novel series String Theory. I enjoyed it quite a bit. Last year I had the opportunity to buy first volume and I went for it. As it goes with book series I managed to get next two earlier this year and decided to binge on reading all three volumes. I am not that familiar with Japanese mythology and liked how it was portrayed in the first volume. You can read my impressions from few years back HERE.

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Summary

I am so glad I went and read the String Theory again since it ended on a cliffhanger and it was fun to get back into the suspense. As it turned out each new chapter of the Ties That Bind and Out From the Shadows brought out new twists to the story and introduced exciting new characters. Since I have read it first few years ago I had most of the characters from String Theory in fond memory. This proved to be an issue with the influx of many new characters and some terrible decisions on the part of my fond characters. Plot moved on rapidly and I had to adapt to the pace it set. This had me in a spin for a while.

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What I loved the most in all of these were essays at the end of each volume. They were very informative on the traditions and mythology of historical Japan. They explained a lot on the origin of different Yokai – fantastic creatures from Japan. They also provided for a context and information on some of the sites and areas the plot of the story is revolving around.

I was displeased with some issues being jumped over and then being bombarded with some new plot twists. It all kinda felt chaotic and only trough some hints in Out From the Shadows I started to notice a pattern and connect some things together.

I kept admiring the artwork and design of the books. I really enjoyed the bright coloring and the art style from the cover of each chapter to the TP covers of the paperback editions I have. I can see how much care was put into making these and I can appreciate that as well.

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Conclusion

Story is for mature audiences because of violence and debatable moral issues. There is no character that can claim moral high ground and after reading all three volumes I still have trouble with picking a character to root for. I will have to find time and see if the author has a blog where I can read more of the essays that came with each volume since I enjoyed them quite a bit.

The reason I decided to make a review on all three volumes together is that my reading experience with them was connected to the fast pace with which I read all three together and since I already did a review on the first one few years ago.

 

Ready Player One – Book Review

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Finished reading

Ready Player One

by Ernest Cline

★★★★★

Expectation

I originally bought this book for my boyfriend. He read it and loved it. some of his friends read it in the meantime as well and they were all hyped together about how amazing this book is. I planned on reading it before move comes out and I barely managed to make it before any bigger spoiler from movie trailers. The hype was real as were the high expectations from this book…

Summary

I can’t say I managed to keep up with all the pop culture geeky references, but this book was a thrilling ride to be sure. If anything, it made me want to be more geeky than I happen to be! Some things were dear and familiar to me and some less so. What stood out for me in this book was the actual love author managed to reflect for the time period, hobbies, games and most of all – authors and artists of the eighties. I loved how Steven Spielberg as one of the people this book pays homage to is the one directing the movie adaptation!

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As much as I loved reading about the Oasis and everything amazing in it, I truly enjoyed reading the bits about how the real world was altered to accommodate for people who live in the Oasis. Reading about how equipment and everyday things needed to plug into Oasis came into factor, made the story more real for me. From what I’ve seen in the trailers of the movie some parts were definitely cut out. It has been almost seven years since this book came out and some of the issues that started getting into focus all over the world since last two years or so have a voice here as well. I find that amazing and an excellent proof that this book will have its place in many readers hearts for years to come.

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This book made me realize that my hobbies and love of games have a much more bigger role in my life than I was aware of. It was indeed endearing to read about how ones passions can prove to be very important in the grand scheme of things – even when those passions might me considered traditionally frivolous and sometimes even frowned upon as a waste of time.

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Conclusion

I liked the story and characters and most of the tidbits really clicked for me. I am glad I got this book and read it before watching the movie since I know that even with the famous Steven Spielberg directing this “Goonies” of the 2010-ies I don’t believe the movie will stay too true to the book. It will probably highlight the things cinema can present more clearly but I will treasure this first reading and my own personal understanding of the book. Highly recommended book indeed 🙂

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Suddenly You – Book Review

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Finished reading

Suddenly You

by Lisa Kleypas

★★★

Expectation

I was intrigued by bits and pieces I’ve heard about this book. This is not my first Lisa Kleypas book. I am a great fan of her Wallflowers book series. This book came up a few times I was looking up for historical romance books. I was drawn to this book by the somewhat different introduction for historical romance genre – “old spinster” hires a male prostitute for her 30th birthday…

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Summary

Admittedly, the back of the book introductions sounded quite cheesy and scandalous. A thirty year old unmarried woman author in 19th century London decides to hire a male prostitute and experience what making love feels like.

As much as I find this – treating yourself for your own birthday thing – endearingly powerful and logical, the gift in itself was remarkably thought out as much as an unmarried spinster of that time could devise it. The plot twist was interesting enough to keep me going.

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I made quite a few breaks while reading and I can partially put the blame on that my feeling that this book felt big in the sense of all that has happened trough the story. Some characters made me suspicious for being to nice and that made me feel bad about how jaded I seemed to myself.

What keeps me interested in these historical romances is usually the drama and this book had drama aplenty. What was different though was how some life altering events gotten blown over with almost no drama at all.

Had I not recently had a heated discussion on a topic of historical romance genre I might have had a completely different review of this book. What changed and came into focus were historical romance imperative – a must have happy ending.

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Happy ending aside there were some serious themes that were provided with less page time than the steamy sex scenes. This was done in such an obvious way that I just had to stop and wonder at it. Some themes made me cry a bit and the offset and complete contrast between the two made me uneasy. This has not made the reading of this book an experience I hoped it would be. And sure there were some occasional comedy thrown in to the mix but not nearly enough comic relief by my opinion.

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Conclusion

I liked many parts and themes this book introduced. Some were quite serious and heavy but were maybe gotten over with too lightly…I had a sense that for some reason I did not think it was well rounded in the topics it brought out. Book seemed a bit short for everything that happened in it

Maybe it is a blessing when one can pass the difficult themes in as lighter way as it was portrayed in this book…

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Boardgame introductions

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It all started out as a way to make something out of my free time. I have an account on Boardgamegeek.com and since last year I have been steadily uploading pictures of games I own. I have been into board gaming for a few years now and I even helped start a local board gaming club named Klub Titan Atlas.

You can check my BGG account –> HERE

In February I have tried out making short video introductions for boardgames. I found a free video building application named Bitable. At first I tried picking out some lighter and easier games I own. There is this quite annoying watermark on the videos since I have a free account. There is a paying option but I’m not sure how long will this making videos business last.

This is a link to my makeshift Youtube channel where I publish the videos:

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Here is a video I made for the game Bring Your Own Book

So far I have made a few videos per week. I hope to continue with making these short videos since I enjoy making them!

Any ideas what game would you like to see as one of these short videos?