Bookopoly TBR 2021 – June review and July books

June was a cool Bookopoly reading month with only five books. I have participated in one other reading challenge in June and filled up my reading list that way. Because when I say “reading challenge” I need more than just five books in a month to make it challenging!

In the five books I’ve chosen to read I’ve read 1542 pages. One of the books in my Bookopoly readathon for June was a part of a Buddy reading project and one was a book club pick for June. Four of the books were the books I own and were physical copies from my own shelf. One book was a book from the library. Last book I’ve read for this reading challenge was finished reading few days in July but I’m still counting it! Here is the list of the books I’ve read for my Bookopoly in June and how I rated them in short:

Lucky (Lucky Santangelo #2) by Jackie Collins ★★★★★

Mogla je biti prosta priča by Ajla Terzić ★★★★

The Last Wish (The Witcher #0.5) by Andrzej Sapkowski ★★★★

I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf by Grant Snider ★★★★★

The Hedge Knight: The Tales of Dunk and Egg by George R.R. Martin ★★★★

All the books I’ve read for my June Bookopoly were good or great and none I’ve rated with less than four out of five stars. In fact most of the books I’ve read in June were the same with the sole exception of one book I DNFed. For more details on them all you can check my June reading review HERE.

Here are my reading goals for Bookopoly in July:

Prompt: Science Fiction

Book: Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries #2) by Martha Wells

My first roll for July was a meager four and landed me on Science fiction tile for the very first time! I loved reading the first part of Murderbot Diaries and jumped at the chance to read the second book. This series is fairly new in general and I got the box set of first four books as one of my latest purchases. I will try to update and make a post on the books I got recently by the end of July! At this rate I will be ordering more Murderbot books very soon! Also I am not very happy with how the tile for Science Fiction came out and I am thinking of redesigning the Bookopoly board again!

Prompt: Last Chance

Book: The Strain (The Strain Trilogy #1) by Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan

My second roll for the month and I got a double six. What this means is I will be adding one more extra roll for the July. This landed me on a Last Chance spot for the first time as well! I actually pulled this book at random for the Olympic Games readathon this month and I decided to use it for this prompt since I am thinking on culling it from the collection. The edition is said to be bad because of the translation and it is a cheap paperback with not a very inviting cover. The other two books in trilogy were never translated and probably never will be since the publisher no longer exists and the book did not attract that much positive reader attention to be picked up by any other publisher.

Prompt: Chance Card

Book: Antologija suvremene japanske novele by Kazuo Tanaka (Editor)

My third roll was another low number – three in total! This landed me on one of the most popular prompts on the board but to be fair there are two of these across the board – Chance Card. This is another one of the books from my own bookshelves I bought a few years back at a library sale. The translated title would be Contemporary Japanese novella anthology. This book has been published in the late nineties and it was not something that can be easily found which is the reason it caught my attention. If it is to believed to the GR entry for it, there is no translated edition for it which makes it original and unique. I took a peek at the rest of the Chance Cards I have left and there is only three of them. Out of those, two have been chosen for some other prompts in July which leaves me with only one left for some other roll of the die. I need to make another set of cards for next month!

Prompt: Other Culture

Book: Real World by Natsuo Kirino

Next roll was six and landed me on Other Culture tile. Since I prioritize all my books to check my own bookshelves first I got this little book I had for years. As it turns out I will be reading two books on Japanese culture and by Japanese authors for Bookopoly this month! I am slowly running out of appropriate books for this prompt and will have to soon turn to library for them or investigate and buy some interesting new ones!

Prompt: First in a series

Book: Heartstopper: Volume One (Heartstopper #1) by Alice Oseman

Fifth roll was another double and got me an exciting prompt “First in a series”. Since I will be adding at least two extra rolls for July I decided to finally read a graphic novel I only recently got and one that is still very praised and popular. The more I learned about this graphic novel I liked it more. I just hope I will enjoy reading it too!

Prompt: Gifted

Book: Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein

First extra roll for July landed me on a “Gifted” tile for second time ever. First time I got this prompt was last month. I am running out of books I’ve been gifted and I did not read on my bookshelves. This book was given to my by a friend when I helped him sort out books he wanted to sell and get rid off. This is an older paperback edition that is out of print in Croatian. I loved the movie and I wanted to read it for years now! Also this one is a part of my Buddy reading project for this year and it will be good for me to get some progress on that.

Prompt: Graphic novel / Manga

Book: Elves: The Blue Elves’ Mission (Elfes #6) by Jean-Luc Istin, Kyko Duarte

On my last roll for July I got another low number – three! This moved me to Graphic Novel / Manga spot. In June I was reminded how much I enjoy reading the graphic novel Elfes series and decided to continue reading it in July as well. These are short and beautiful. I love how they look and the fantastic stories they bring.

This is my handsome pile of Bookopoly picks for July. There are books I am really looking forward to reading here and there are some I am less excited about.

What do you think?

May The Force Read With You 2021: Reading experience and thoughts

Good news is that I read all the books I picked out on my path to be a Jedi! While I had some ideas about reading more than just the five mandatory books for May The Force Read With You reading challenge I did not get around to picking more books that fit the prompts for it. I stayed true to my Light Side Path and did not have to pick any of the neutral prompts that were available.

Here are the books I read for this reading challenge and my thoughts on them!

Prompt: Jedi Council – Sequel or book in a series

Book: The Vor Game (Vorkosigan Saga #5) by Lois McMaster Bujold ★★★★★

My first prompt is the one I was the most excited about and felt it was the most connected with the Star Wars theme. Miles Vorkosigan is a high profile high born from the planet Barrayar that has a long and brutal military history. Due to and assassination attempt on his mother while he was still in the womb he suffered some damage that stunted his growth and made his bones very brittle. The Saga of Miles Vorkosigan is aptly named and there is a whole world of political intrigue in space and James Bond/Indiana Jones adventure feel to his life in general. This series has around sixteen books and finding out a correct way to read them can be tricky. I have all the books translated in Croatian and keep them as a great choice to add as a next book to read for reading challenges. I plan to read the whole series but am not actively working hard on it. These stories are a delight for me to read because with most science fiction literature I can’t seem to connect with the characters and their stories. Miles is different in this way. Miles is the reason I keep reading science fiction which I am not that big a fan of.

Prompt: Knowledge – Read one of the oldest books on your shelf/TBR

Book: Seven Seasons of Buffy: Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Discuss Their Favorite Television Show by Glenn Yeffeth (Editor) ★★★★

The second book I read in the challenge was not the second prompt but the book that was on my TBR and the actual bookshelves for many years. Nonfiction books are not often something I pick for reading challenges since they take more concentration and time to read. I am a story driven reader and reading a book of essays was not something I would have chosen to take on lightly. Like Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer has had a cult following that transcends generations and the period that it was made in. It was really interesting for me to read professional writers on their own favorite show and exhibit great emotions over things only true fans would pay attentions too let alone obsess about! Some essays were endearing to read, some inspired me to watch episodes of the TV show and some made me feel glad my thoughts on Buffy never got that far. Fandoms and people that are part of them are amazing!

Prompt: Force Spirit – A book with paranormal elements

Book: Prolaz za divljač by Iva Šakić Ristić ★★★

My actual second prompt and the third book I have read for this challenge was a short novel by a Croatian author and the first of her work I have read. Like some movies from the Star Wars franchise, this was one of the books with characters I had trouble connecting with. The philosophical nature of the plot just made me disconnect and lose interest. I had similar issues with the Rogue One movie. While a friend that recommended and gave me this book as a present liked this book I now must find a way to tell her gently that I did not find what she thought was so fascinating about it…

Prompt: Healing – Read a book from your favorite genre

Book: Wicked Abyss (Immortals After Dark #18) by Kresley Cole ★★★★

My next prompt and the book I read was spot on with the healing theme. I needed something to get me back to my favorite genre. It has been years since I read the last book from this series and I was caught off guard with the amount of sex scenes here. For the first part of the book it is an enemies to lovers deal BUT when the main characters get it on, they GET IT ON a lot. I found some connections wo the Star Wars here in the star crossed lovers getting together and while Anakin and Padme share the aptitude for destruction and tragedy with Sian and Lila their story is HEA by the end of the book at least. Also this cover, while not one of my favorites, gives me Anakin vibes…

Prompt: Cleansed – Book with a white cover

Book: Proklete Hrvatice : (1&2) : Dvadeset životopisa by Milana Vuković Runjić ★★★

The last prompt and the last book I have read for this reading challenge was another nonfiction book – which is I suspect the reason behind me not reaching for the extra prompts that I might have chosen otherwise. Picking two nonfiction books in a single month and a single reading challenge is a first for me ever. This time it was a book of biographies of women from Croatian history. I was not too thrilled with the way they were presented – often trough the lens of political conditions of their time and trough the men they associated with. The title translates roughly as “Cursed Croatian Women” and these biographies are filled with tragedy and strife. My view on Star Wars story was always trough the main character Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader and I can’t help but to consider him a tragic character. And here is my connection to the Star Wars theme – tragic life stories and choices. The sepia white on the cover made me forcibly claim it as a white cover and a part of the reason for this pick was also a buddy reading list I am still behind on!

I did not participate in reading sprints and activities across social media platforms that were available and maybe if I had I would have been felt more motivated to choose more books to read after the initial five. Eric from Breakeven Books did a great job with this reading challenge and he deserves all the credit. Show him and his channel some love HERE.

May your shelves be filled with great books and may the Force be with you all!

Reading Challenge update Monday

I’m slowly progressing with Summer reading challenge. I’ve finished four books out of fifteen and plan to start on the fifth one tonight. Last book I’ve finished for the challenge was:

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9 From the Nine Worlds (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard)

by Rick Riordan

★★★★★

I liked the short form of the stories. They were very entertaining. Although they are part of the Magnus Chase series – all major character from Mahnus Chase series are in the stories except for Magnus Chase himself. While I loved reading about all the characters there should have been at least one scene with Magnus :/

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I liked how the stories were written as a travel adventure trough the 9 worlds. It all fit very nicely in the summer season and holiday travel theme. The book even had a fold out map of the 9 worlds which was very cool!

I am debating my options on which book to start on next for the challenge. My choices are:

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna book 1) by Kendare Blake

OR

Angel & Faith: Live Through This (Season 9, Volume 1) by by Christos Gage, Rebekah Isaacs (Artist)

OR

Dune (Dune #1) by Frank Herbert

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Foundation – Book Review

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Finished reading:

Foundation (Foundation book 1)

by Isaac Asimov

★★★★

Expectation

This book is part of a reading challenge I was given by my boyfriend this year. Each year we challenge each other to read books one of us likes and the other one has never read before. We clash a lot since we generally don’t like same genres and themes. You can see what we chose for this year challenge HERE.  This being said I did not expect much of this book. I picked it up to get something done on my list of reading challenges.

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Summary

This book is a perfect example of speculative fiction at its finest. After I read it I had to do a bit research on it as well. First time it was published as a set of stories in a magazine from 1942 to 1950. These stories were latter published and edited as a first three books of the Foundation series. This series was in 1966. given the Hugo Award for a “Best All-Time Series”. Never before or after has any book series won this award! One of the runner ups for this award was Lord of the Rings trilogy. All other books in the series were written and added much latter in the 1980-ties.

1966This is what the design for Hugo in 1966. looked like. Each year design changes but it is always a rocket ship.

At first I was amazed at how much I actually enjoyed the story. The premise of mathematical calculation used as a way of predicting future thousands of years in advance was much more engaging read than I expected it to be.

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The concept of Hari Seldon’s Crises was startlingly thought provoking. It is very comforting to think that a crisis of social and political situation would eventually leave only one possible, inevitable, course of action. In the today world of palpable panic and stress provoking environment added by media this is a calming way of thinking indeed.

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Taking into consideration the time these stories were written I enjoyed them more for it. I could not help but have a critical approach and some might call it splitting hairs but I must mention some things that made me stop with four stars rating instead of five.

I couldn’t help but notice that even in the thousands of years distant future one of the most popular things would be smoking cigars and enjoying fine tobacco. As the time passes in the book; characters that were decades and more apart kept indulging in smoking some kind of cigars.

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Conclusion

For now I will not be reading other books in the Foundation series. I will be happy and pleased with this one I’ve read and satisfied with how much I liked it. I have new found appreciation for reading classics of the SF genre from now on. And if the talks of HBO series based on the books is true I might even give it a try!

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Pleasure Hound – Part One and Part Two Review

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Pleasure Hound (Part One and Part Two) by Ines Johnson

First of I would like to clear something out! This “novel in parts” format is a bit annoying. Parts are under 100 pages long and together they make a whole book. It might be an excelent way of sampling a book but it is also the bane of people who hate clifhangers.

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Pleasure Hound is a Kindle freebie I downloaded while looking for something to take my mind from The Tin Drum that was sucking my life energy away. I really had no expectations and haven’t even read what it is about.

When I strated reading I was pleasantly suprrised and enjoyed the fascinating world the author created. While reading the first part I was awake long into the night.

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Pleasure Hound is a story set in the future. The future where the humankind has brought destruction to most of the world. As it turns out most of the knowledge of past is lost. Men are blamed for all the destruction. Women rule superior and are treated as blessed beings. Worship of the ultimate female Goddess is practiced.

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Female babies are rare and women are revered for their supernatural abilities. Women are alinged with the Goddess and their presence makes land fertile and food avaliable. This book is an example of my least favorite genre – future dystopian.

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Main female character of this story is Chanyn, a young woman whose mother decided to leave civilized world when she was pregnant and live alone in the ruins of the old world. Growing up with emotionaly cold mother and basicaly touch starved she knows nothing about how the world outside her home looks like. She cares for her mother until death. Few months later Chanyn’s solitary life is disupted by two men who search the apparently deserted ruins of Chanyn’s home for some type of a cure. Chanyn is a resorcefull young woman with a love of books, a firing weapon and wild look about her.

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I’m not a fan of word by word reviews on books because I don’t like spoilers. This is why I will stop here with the introduction to the story. There are some warnings for future readers. This book is for mature audiences only. This is one of the rare freebies I’ve found with a topic of bisexual relationships within the futuristic genre. I like the characters and the fact that each has a background. I am delighted with authors worldbuilding.

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What I really appreciate about the Part One, besides the first chapter of Part Two, is a link at the end. It gives you a contact to the authors site and provides a free Part Two. I’m still a firm believer in not buying ebooks under 100 pages. I make exceptions for novellas of favorite authors and series I love and collect. Here I’m actually thorn between supporting an author by buying her book since the 75 pages kindle edition is a bit pricey. Even with authors and series I love books this size are almost twice as cheaper.

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