Monthly reading review – September 2017

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Monthly reading review – September 2017

This September I have read:

The Marriage Wager by Jane Ashford ★★★★

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

Off Limits by J.L. Paul ★★

The Pursuit of Marriage (Effingtons, #8) by Victoria Alexander ★★

A Mercy by Toni Morrison ★★★

Many Bloody Returns edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner ★★★★

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

September showed progress in the number of books read. I’ve read six books and have few left over that I’m still reading trough to October. I’m happy to see an improvement from August.

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

Many Bloody Returns was a very enjoyable read. The many short stories gave me some new authors to look out for.

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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?

Off Limits and The Pursuit of Marriage were kinda predictable and boring. Both were romance books and while Off Limits was a contemporary in theme, I’m seriously thinking to give some time off from reading historical romance books. The Pursuit of Marriage had all the cliche plot twists from any given historical romance and while not necessarily bad, I simply did not like it. Off Limits was intriguing and engaging at first but failed to deliver after the initial character introduction.

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

I’m glad I’m moving along nicely with both TBR Jar Draw again and book club assignment readings. Soon I will be posting another TBR Jar Draw.

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

That long started Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1) is finally finished and while I’m not yet ready to jump to the second book in the series I am happy with this series. In the meantime I’ve been wondering on finally reading some last books of a few favorite UF book series that are waiting for me on the shelf.

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

This month I’m recommending exploring new authors with short stories collections. Once again I am glad for some book club books I would never read on my own. This venture out of my comfort zone helps me get perspective on my reading and meet fascinating authors from all genres.

Final thoughts on September reading

The number of books I’m reading monthly is slowly but steadily climbing. I’m especially pleased with the books I read from the TBR Jar Draw project. I started the TBR Jar Draw to help get the number of books I own and have not read yet under control. Some of the titles I draw randomly are a such a nice surprise that the whole thing makes me want to read more than one out of the three books I draw out. Lately the idea of reading the books I own has become more and more appealing.

Book series I started…

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I love book series of all kinds. There are historical romance book series I enjoy. There are urban fantasy book series I cant get enough of. I have a few favorite manga and graphic novel series as well. It was only after I tried to keep track of the book series I started but for some reason never continued after reading only the first book did I realize how many of them are on my reading lists. It took whole two pages just to write the titles of the firsts books of the series I started reading. Now that I look at them all I see some I’ve totally forgotten about and some I keep meaning to continue but never actually do. I managed to put them all in three rough categories:

#1 First books of a series that I will not continue

#2 First books of a series I even forgot about

#3 First books of a series I want to continue

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First I had to weed out many of the historical romances I read out of order and had no desire to follow from the beginning. There were also quite the number of graphic novel series I tried out because I wanted to learn an origin story of this or that character and never actually meaning to continue reading them. Also there were a few first books of a series I read and then switched to some prequel first book series and then everything got complicated and I just let them go. Those above mentioned I’m keeping totally out of this discussion.

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#1 First books of a series that I will not continue

These are the books that for some reason did not appeal to me enough to consider to continue reading the rest of the series. As happened with Anne Bishop Ephemera book series. I expected to like the enough to continue reading and bought first two books right away. It has been years since I read the first and will probably never read the second. Demonica series from Larissa Ione was a sort of gamble when I bought it. For some reason it did not blew me away and I did not feel like buying or reading the rest of the series. On Dublin Street book series I just joined in on the hype on the first book when it was translated to Croatian. I never felt motivated enough to read beyond that first book.

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Some of them I did not like and was disappointed after reading them. My biggest disappointment was by far Hellsing manga by Khota Hirano. I loved anime adaptations and had high expectations from the original manga. I even felt cheated on it and was later glad I did not start buying the whole series. Wrinkle in Time I read this year as a book club assignment and was not impressed at all. Beautiful Disaster was one of those books in the YA genre everybody was suddenly talking about. I found it to be shallow and boring.

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And then there were some book series in this category that I just decided they were not for me and just made a decision not to continue reading the rest of the books in the series. How to Train your Dragon and The Penderwicks were both funny and lovely but I could feel they were intended for much younger audience. I’m glad I’ve read them both but will not be reading the rest. Homeland by R.A. Salvatore is the most famous Dungeons and Dragons novelization and first book in a very long book series about the legendary elf drow Drizzt. I tried it out since I was curious about the character and since I’m an avid RPG player. After reading the first book I realized that the author had decided to keep the PG rating for the mostly American market and availability. I am not a fan of books where author ends a scene with a simple curtains down and a morning after routine. I decided to give it up altogether for lack of sex scenes. I find it hypocritical how violence is OK but sex is not OK for the readers. The last book series in this segment is Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. The violence and brutality of the book kept me on edge most of the reading. I decided to let it go since it bothered me too much. With the book series I even stopped watching the TV show. Now I’m having second thoughts and I’m continuing watching the TV show so I might go back to the books as well

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There are a few I was happy about reading and did not feel the need to continue it as a series. One of the books I was impressed with and was actually surprised at how much I liked it was Foundation by Isaac Asimov. After reading it and getting the general feel to the ideas behind the book I did not feel like reading the other books from the series. Same was with the Wallbanger series by Alice Clayton. I enjoyed the book and even bought it as a present for other but never felt the need to read the rest of the books from the series. The Shadow of the Wind was a book club reading assignment. I enjoyed the writing style and have read few other books by Carlos Ruiz Zafon before. The story for me felt complete enough and I haven’t searched out the rest of the books from the series

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#2 First books of a series I even forgot about

These books I read long ago and I forgot about reading them. With Blake Crouch‘s Wayward Pines thriller I was intrigued and picked it up even though it was not my favorite genre. I remember being immersed in the book. I even watched the TV show and enjoyed it. And I seem to forgot about it later on. I enjoyed reading YA novel Matched by Ally Condie. I even liked the book covers for all three books and how they actually made sense with the plot of the books. I never continued the series though…

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Some books and series were not actually memorable and nothing about them set them apart from similar books in their genre. I found Julia Quinn‘s Bridgertons book series not particularly memorable. The plot and the characters just seemed to blend in with many others I’ve read at the time. Down to You by M. Leighton also got lost in the sea of other similar books in the genre. I remember plot having potential but not actually delivering more than simple erotic fiction. One for the Money by Janet Evanovich is a first in a rather long book series that even got a movie. I remember enjoying the funny parts of the book. After watching the movie I was confused about the stupid plot holes that came over from the book and just forgot about the rest of the series altogether.

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When I first read these series I did not have other books of the series available for reading. Later on I just simply forgot about them. Love is Darkness was a freebie first book from Valerie Dearborn book series on Kindle. I enjoyed it quite a bit. At the time I was unsure weather to buy the other books or not. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was another book club assignment. In Croatian translation all five books are hard to come by since they are mostly sold out. I have a first one from my boyfriend and I for some reason I did not want to read the library copies.

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#3 First books of a series I want to continue

Here I have sorted book series that I want to continue and have the books ready. All I need is to start reading them, but for some reason I hesitate. Interview with the Vampire I’ve read only recently. While I have most of the other books in this series available I still hesitate to read them. I think I want to like them and have a feeling I won’t. Howl’s Moving Castle was a book I was hyped about. I loved both of the anime versions – Japanese and English voiceovers. I expected the book to blow me away but it did not. I’m still hoping to read other books of the series and keep them close by. I liked all the books by Cassandra Clare I’ve read so far. Earlier this year I’ve read Clockwork Angel. I like it despite its steampunkish traits. While the characters are quite charming I feel a bit apprehensive toward reading next books from this series. Of Saints and Shadows is an older UF book from the Shadow Saga book series by Christopher Golden. I remember it being creepy and downright scary. I always thought of picking it up again one day. I have next tree books already waiting. I think since it has been years I’ve read the first book that I might have some problems into getting into the second one now.

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And for the end I have books that I want to read but have problems with getting the actual books from the series. Some like Log Horizon manga I have issues with identifying the second volume manga edition. I keep coming up with light novelization and I’m not interested in those at all. supposedly the author Mamare Touno had some legal issues and even the anime series has stopped. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness was an absolute pleasure to read. I really loved Croatian translation edition in hardcover. I’m thinking on getting a hardcover copy for sure. Not sure yet will it be in English or Croatian though.The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams was a part of a reading challenge from my boyfriend. It is one of his favorite book series. He used to have them and borrowed them to someone who never returned them. I’m planing to get the whole series for him someday in a nice package with the new books coming out this year.

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It has been a while since I made a post this long. Hopefully you did not find it too boring.

Interview with the Vampire – Book Review

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Finished reading

Interview with the Vampire

(The Vampire Chronicles #1)

by Anne Rice

★★

Expectation

As a reader who enjoys stories with vampires this has been on my reading list for a shamefully long time. I even had a phase when I was collecting Anne Rice books with vampires. I managed to get most of them and right now there are only a few out of a dozen that I’m missing. I was hyped about this book and when I pulled it out of my TBR Draw Jar I felt good. When I was younger I watched the movie version more times than I can count.

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Summary

And it was watching the movie so many times that gave me issues with reading the book. This is the third time I was beginning to read this book. I kept coming back to the movie plots and characters. This was a problem since the movie and the books are very different. The differences, especially in the beginning where there were some characters that were left out of the movie, kept me thinking about the character motivation. I was lost through the most of this pensive book. I was not prepared for the languid pace of this book. Metaphors were aplenty and so were constant melancholic states of the characters. At times it was exhausting.

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The writing style reminded me of some mandatory reading I had trough schooling. It was almost as it was written long ago. Now that I think more on it, I can hardly believe that the author is a modern writer.

“I wanted love and goodness in this which is living death,’ I said. ‘It was impossible from the beginning, because you cannot have love and goodness when you do what you know to be evil, what you know to be wrong. You can only have the desperate confusion and longing and the chasing of phantom goodness in its human form. I knew the real answer to my quest before I ever reached Paris. I knew it when I first took a human life to feed my craving. It was my death. And yet I would not accept it, could not accept it, because like all creatures I don’t wish to die! And so I sought for other vampires, for God, for the devil, for a hundred things under a hundred names. And it was all the same, all evil. And all wrong. Because no one could in any guise convince me of what I myself knew to be ture, that I was damned in my own mind and soul.”
― Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire

The Goth aspect of the book was harrowing. All the while I was reading I found one thing to resonate with the book I kept going back to the actor Tom Cruise – whose fan I am NOT – and this video insert from the movie.

Conclusion

I wanted to like it and gave it all the chances I could. It did not blew me away and I could not connect with any of the characters. I still harbor a certain respect for this book, genre and the author. I am still intrigued by this genre and this book series. I did not like the cliffhanger ending. I’m at odds and ends about continuing this book series. While I still hold the opinion that it is a must for any reader that likes vampire literature I’m not as infatuated with it as I was. Reading this book took a lot of effort. Also I’m still intrigued with the character of Lestat, not because he impressed me in the book, but because I cant seem to connect what I’ve read and watched with the impression I got from reviews and friends that read the other books as well. And I do have the other book of the series waiting on the shelf …

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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.

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!”