New books August 2017

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After almost four months of abstaining from getting new books I’ve finally had some new additions to my collection. The guilt trip for the all time low amount of  reading has managed to settle down a bit since I’m working on finding my reading mojo again. To celebrate I ordered some new bookish delights. Around a month ago I had to storage two smaller bookshelves to make room for the actual furniture ( silly I know! Why would anyone need furniture when you can have bookshelves??? ) And now I’m overfilling the rest of the bookshelves once again…

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Much Ado About Vampires (Dark Ones #9) by Katie MacAlister

This book was actually a present my friends brought for me from their trip to Portugal. They made a great effort of finding a book in English for me and I will make an effort to read this silly book. I’ve read one of the books from this author before but I’m not sure which one since it got lost while I was moving from Shelfari (</3) to GR.  Might even read the Shakespeare Much Ado About Nothing first.

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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

This one is actually for my boyfriend. Since the trailer for the upcoming movie came out I thought he would like it. I might read it too. Heard some really good reviews for it as well. As a child born in the eighties this is supposed to be the perfect novel.

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Shadow’s Seduction (Immortals After Dark, #17; The Dacians, #2)

by Kresley Cole

This is one of the urban fantasy series I read and collect. This one is part of a Dacians plot line which is the most interesting for me. I got frustrated since the format of the book I got is a bit different and bigger than the rest of the books I already have. Aaaand just realized I missed the sixteenth book of the series!

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Sweet Ruin (Immortals After Dark, #16) by Kresley Cole

So I just ordered this one from BD (Book Depository) It was really bugging me that I missed it.I think it was the cover that I’m not too pleased about. I had to….

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Queen of Dragons (Drakon #3) by Shana Abe

This book was what prompted me to buy this whole bookish goodies batch. I was in a mode for UF romance with dragons! I already started reading it an I’m halfway trough. I read first two books years ago and there was something about the historical England, Earls and dragons in particular. It has a really shiny cover design and its kinda cheesy. Right now cheesy works for me and I’m going with it!

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This would be all for a while. Need to get my hands on the book I already own and actually want to read.

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A Wrinkle in Time – Book Review

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Finished reading

A Wrinkle in Time

(A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #1)

by Madeleine L’Engle

Expectation

For years now since I started to look at bookish lists on the Internet I would occasionally stumble upon this book. I’ve read some mixed reviews and when I saw it translated in Croatian I was even more intrigued. I’ve even managed to buy a copy of this book and the second book in the series sometime in the past year. When I was clearing out some of my bookshelves and taking down some stuff for storage I put both of those books in boxes since I did not think I was going to be reading them this soon. To my shocking surprise my RL book club decided to go with something light and short for the summer and picked A Wrinkle in Time. So I dug it up and started to read…

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Summary

What prompted my bookish friends to pick up this book was its status of a children’s classic AND the fact that next year there will be a movie based on it. Movie with Oprah, Chris Pine, Resse Whiterspoon and many others. It’s gonna be a blockbuster. But this is not the first time this book was made into movie. There was a TV movie in 2003. with Gregory Smith and there is even a recent graphic novel edition from 2010. Originally this book was first published in 1962. I was nicely surprised with mom of the story being declared a at home scientist. I thought that was impressive and progressive. What I found appealing was the positive simplicity of explaining science and learning.

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There is no easy way of putting this…I really DID NOT LIKE this book. What really did not sit well with me was the way how main character’s flaws were treated. It was more like go with whatever you feel at the time and don’t try to think before you scream your displeasure.

 

There were so many parts of this book that just felt wrong for me. Most of the time reading felt like experiencing life in a day of a schizophrenic child. The writing style was so dumb down it was just bad. There was one character whose only way of communicating was quoting wise sayings of others. While the wisdom it imparted on the story was wise indeed, the story as a whole felt chopped. I resent the fact that this is a fantastical story and had almost no descriptions. Main characters travel the universe and land on three planets where they meet fantastical creatures. There was something about this book that made it all bland experience.

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Most commentaries I’ve come across where regarding the authors religious implementations to the book. That way it was handled felt off and jumped out of the story. Part of what set me to not like this book is in the Croatian translation. Some names were mixed and the translator’s struggle with some word forms was obvious. And the cover is just off-putting…

Conclusion

In all honesty I’m not sure what set off such bad feel for this book but I’m feeling it anyway. I would have preferred if the book had more meat to it. My initial reaction was instant regret to buying it and wanted to get rid off it as soon as possible. This book is a mix of some really awesome things and ideas. The way it had all come across did not sit well with me and I’m left displeased after reading it all…

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La Dame aux Camélias – Book Review

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Finished reading

La Dame aux Camélias

by Alexandre Dumas fils, 

★★

Expectation

After a rather dry reading period I was pleasantly surprised to see this book as an assignment for my RL book club. It was a classic, a somewhat mysterious love theme AND it was not very long. It was an excellent book to get my reading mojo back on!

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Summary

For a mere 250+ pages book it sure gave me a headache. I took to reading it very slowly some thirty pages at a time. I loved the melancholy feel to this book. At times it was very dramatic and angsty but I enjoyed those parts as well. There was a noticeable difference between the writing style of this book and some modern novels I’ve been reading this year. The wording and wordsmithing was much appreciated.

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Our RL book club meeting was kinda loud and we poured our hearts into discussing the definition of love in the novel and the characters faults. As much I liked the book I did not see it as “greatest love story in the world”. What I learned about the book afterwards was very enlightening. The titular character was based on a real courtesan the author was in love with. I find it endearing and noteworthy how the author portrayed courtesans and their lives. As a person from twenty first century I can appreciate the effort to shed some light on lives of women about whom it was forbidden to talk about in polite society at the time. Needless to say this book was banned in the past. There were many points that were big on drama. There were passages I found it unnerving to read the martyr like behaviour from the leading characters.

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This book inspired many theater plays and movies. I did not know that the famous La Traviata was based on this book and it was interesting to see many move versions as well. There is even one with Greta Garbo and the never version where the role of Armand is portrayed by Colin Firth!

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Conclusion

Some parts of this book were thought provoking. I’m very glad to have read it. This book was a good choice for the return of my reading mojo! The book club discussion was great and very relaxing. I look forward to more books like this one!

Crimson Death – Book Review

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Finished reading

Crimson Death

(Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #25)

by Laurell K. Hamilton

★★

Expectation

I always get excited when I see new book of Anita Blake coming out. After over a decade with this book series it is automatic response. Things I look forward to most are page time for some of my beloved characters. I enjoy intricate world the author has created and many characters that inhabit it. And since this series has gone longer than any other book series I read – it has many beloved characters and things I look forward to.

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I do not own this picture and can never hope to draw anything that looks as good as this

Summary

This one took longer to read than I anticipated. While I was glad to see how Anita tackled Ireland and some new supernatural creatures; I’m not so sure how much I liked the development this book brought to the series as a whole. Usually I refrain from any spoilers or plot revealing details

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Spoiler alert!

Here are the things I have issues about:
First, since it is still fresh that last death of Rodrigo was so convenient that it just left a bad aftertaste for the whole 700+ pages book!
Second, I’m not sure if this was the authors intention (?) but the fact that second part of the book actually happens outside of the USA my EU native feels started to show up. I have a nickname for Anita – Happy Trigger. When the clash of cultures between gun loving American stereotype came full on against the peace loving Irish Gardai who mostly don’t even carry weapons the whole shoot first approach came in to light full swing.
I’m going to make a “benefit of the doubt” theory that the author has finally decided to open the character up to stop being a cop-like type of a character.
Otherwise the main character just comes of like a paranoid and delusional counterpart of the monsters she has battled for the last 25+ books…

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Also the cop and military, AKKA boys and their toys references are really starting to be cringe worthy. I don’t know if these repetitive extra lines and explanation on police and other mostly male dominant professions are induced by the editor or the author but somebody should intervene for them to stop…This would take out at least 100 pages out of the book. If somebody did not get that in the first 25 books they never will. Constantly explaining the same things over and over makes the readers feel treated as idiots. This way author comes as insecure woman that needs to keep mainspalining to her readers same thing over and over…

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Last but not least – for a book that has been promoted as a trip to Ireland it took way too long for the actual travel to happen in the book. As usual once the action got started it all got over really quick. This kind of approach makes me feel kinda cheated on in the end…

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Conclusion

Last few books character development was centered around other characters than Anita and I’m really interested in those. With all above said and vented out I still got happy to see the announcement for the next book in the series on FB. There were some really questionable moments in this book. My relationship with this series is longstanding and very complicated and I have decided to see this series trough.

Reading in progress – July Update

This July a lot has happened and the ground under my feet shifted a little. For the last couple of months I’ve been rediscovering myself in more than just books. This has kept me from making regular posts.

My reading has taken a rather slow pace. I’m actually in the middle of reading of two books at the moment.

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Crimson Death (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #25)

by Laurell K. Hamilton

My pre-order of a long time favorite UF series Anita Blake the Vampire Hunter book 25. arrived this June. I’m about halfway trough. I’ve passed the 400 page mark out of 700+ pages. It is progressing slowly and it gives me much food for thought. I’m not devouring it like I did most of the books from this series and I think that means I’m evolving as a reader as well.

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Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles #1)

by Anne Rice

Even though I have not read much of it since I came back from my trip to Bratislava in June I still keep this book close by. Somewhere in the process of rearranging my bookshhelves last weekend my bookmark slipped out and I’m not sure on what page I’m on…I’m going to need to push myself a bit more on this one.

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I’ve taken a break from my RL book club meetings and assignments until I settle some issues. I’ve actually skipped the last one and did not finish the one that came before. Last few picks were hard and heavy.

I’m settling in to a new pace in life and have some promising ideas for August and more regular posting.

Bookish Board Games

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My BF and I are avid board game players. Our board game shelf rivals some of your bookshelves. Over the years we made a quite the collection of board games we love and enjoy. Here are some of our board games with bookish themes!

Paperback

First one shown on the picture above is Paperback. It is a deck building game where each player has to make words out of cards he draws. With better words you get money points that buy more cards with letters and thematic wild cards. Wild cards are worth victory points and each is set to look like a cover of a book by author Paige Turner!

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We love playing this game as it is fast paced and make us think on spelling words which is a great exercise for the brain. The fact that none of us speaks English as a first language makes it so much more challenging. Nerdy bookish game!

For more info check the Board Game Geek website HERE

Bring Your Own Book

The middle game on the picture is the latest bookish board game we found. We hadn’t had the chance to test it yet but have high expectations. It is also a card game with a little sand timer.

byobThe concept of the game is simple. Every player brings his own book with him. Each turn a one player picks up a card with a task that each other player must find in their book. As the game progresses player earn cards by how fast and good they got the needed task. There are many variations depending on the number of players and I like the fact that everyone chooses their own book to bring. Must check out how language dependent it can be with different players before I bring this to my RL book club meeting!

For more info check the Board Game Geek website HERE

Biblios

Last game on the picture is also a card game where each player takes a role of a medieval monastery abbot. We compete which one of us can get the best library collection. We bid on rare and forbidden tomes, scribes, illuminations and supplies.

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Design and illustrations are lovable for any book lover and this game can make for an amazing evening.

For more info check the Board Game Geek website HERE

I’m always looking for some quirky bookish games and the first one on this list will soon have an expansion variant named Hardback. I hope to get it as well 🙂

Reading in June 2017 – Bratislava edition

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This June I joined my boyfriend on a business trip to Bratislava, Slovakia. While he was busy with work in the mornings I wandered the city for bookstores and did some reading.

The first picture shows one of the few bookstores I visited located in the immediate center of Bratislava – Oxford Bookshop. While it holds books in many various languages it had by far the best selection of books in English. The reason the street looks empty is that all the shops in this street open after 10 AM and I went a little earlier. Just a few hours after this picture was taken this street was one of the busiest in the city with hordes of tourist groups walking around.

I loved that the opening hours were from 10 AM to 19 PM. And was actually jealous and envious of the people who worked there for having such working hours. I browsed for a long time and treated myself with a book that I noticed earlier this year on GR.

51UfFXHe9ILThe Vegetarian by Han Kang

This book by Korean author recieved The Man Booker International award last year and has not been translated into Croatian at all. I was intrigued by contemporary story from a Korean cultural perspective. I liked the cover quite a bit too.

19092899_10155759539809026_643437314163476352_oNext I visited two bookstores in two different shopping malls. Both were part of the Panta Rei bookstore chain. While in the company of Starbucks and Cinema City both bookstores had a small Coffee Shop inside the actual bookstore premises. It looked quite cozy and casual. While most of the books were in Slovakian they had a pretty decent selection of bestsellers in English.

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As an avid reader I had to take some books with me on the trip. I could not decide which I would like more so I’ve packed four different ones. I also packed one additional for my boyfriend to read just in case.

Books I’ve brought with me were:

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

I’m very happy with my progress with this book. This was actually the third time I started reading and have gotten more into the book. I used to have real issues with separating the book and the movie since they are completely different. I’ve seen the movie many times and I’m glad I’m finally getting somewhere with this book that’s been on my TBR for years!

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

Apollo was the name of the hotel in Bratislava that we were supposed to stay in. We ended up in a different hotel but I brought this book with me anyway. Sad part is that I haven’t really gotten to reading it on the trip at all!

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Žena s drugog kata by Jurica Pavičić

This is a book by Croatian author and columnist we had as a RL book club assignment. I’ve read this book earlier this year. I brought the library copy with me to brush up on since we had a meeting just after I came back from the trip.

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The Scar by China Mieville

This book I brought for the boyfriend to have something to read. It is the chubbiest from all the books I brought with around 800 pages. Boyfriend barely started it during the trip.

As an added bonus I brought my tablet for some Kindle reading just in case and I also ended up reading:

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Captured by Gerran (Dragons Take a Princess  #2) by Dalia Wright

None of the books above are actually finished reading yet and I hope to get to them soon. I am glad that I can say: “I read Interview with the Vampire in Bratislava!”