My Book Year in Review – 2016

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Happy New Year Everyone!

It’s December again and time to reflect on what I have read this past year. It was an interesting reading year for me. I read around 25 books, and some of them from authors and genres that were new to me. I also became more addicted to listening to audio books and noticed that I couldn’t get myself to read ebooks as much as I use to. Also, the number of books I couldn’t finish this year were high, so I guess I need to amend my book selection methods.

Last January I made a book reading plan — which you can check out here. And as I anticipated, I didn’t follow the list much. I read only 4 of the books in the list and one of them I couldn’t finish. What was new this year was my discovery of The Great Courses series on Audible — they offer many courses in many topics which I highly recommend checking out. I also started learning the German Language through courses offered by Pimsleur also on Audible. This year I decided not make a reading plan, as it’s obvious I will not stick to it.

Here are some of my favorites books of this year:

This was one of my top favorite reads this year. I was very surprised of how much I loved them. The writing style and story line was engaging and intriguing. It was very fast paced, filled with events and action so you won’t get a dull moment. The characters were well defined and interesting and the author did a good job making the reader intrigued to what happens to them next. I got these books in audio format and the narrators did an excellent job. Definitely looking forward to the rest of the series.

                               ember        torch

Another surprisingly interesting book. Here is my full review. As much as I liked this book, the sequel didn’t match up to it unfortunately.

A Darker Shade final for Irene

  • Magic 2.0 Series –  Scott Meyer

I cannot recommend this series enough. I loved it. Here is my full review of the books. If you do plan to get it, get it in audio, Luke Daniels is one of the best narrators out there.

 

This was my first read from this author. Here is my full review. I loved his writing style and after reading this one I also read the first book from his first series The Broken Empire: The Prince of Thorns.

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This was one of the intetesting autobiographies I listened to this year. The book talks about the actor Alan Cumming’s relationship with his father. Here is my full review .

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This was one of the courses I listened to this year. If you’re interested in learning about the universe, I highly recommend you check this one out.

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If I make a plan for next year it’ll only be that I want to read more books than my average 20-25. I have about 200 books in my to read list (and increasing faster than I can read) and with this pace I will never get to them. So this year I’m planning to read 30 books and see how it goes.

How was your year? Any surprises or disappointments?

I’m Still Here – A Follow Up

Yeap, I’m still here although it’s been two months since my last post on the blog. Two Months! I never thought I would get into a writing slump like this, but I guess summer hasn’t been a good season for me to write.

I have been reading though, that has never stopped and I finished a couple of books that I plan to write reviews about and I am currently reading The Assassin’s Apprentice (book 1 of the Farseer Trilogy) by Robin Hobb. This is my first read for this author and I have very high expectations because of the good reviews, my husband’s recommendation and the cover (I confess I bought the paperback version just for this awesome cover!).

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I miss writing, that I can say and I’ll be back very soon this time :)

 

Wizard 2.0 – A Book Series Review

I convinced a friend of mine to read the book Off to be the Wizard, the first book in the Wizard 2.0 series by Scott Meyer. He’s enjoying it a lot and asked me if I wrote a review about it, I thought I did but it turned out that I didn’t. So, last week I finished listening to the third and final book An Unwelcomed Quest and decided that a full review of the series should be done. [No spoilers below].

First off, I loved this series. The books were well written, engaging, humorous and easy to follow. All the characters were interesting and well defined. If you are into computers and time travel and a little bit of history then I’m sure you’ll find these books entertaining. You might be faced with a couple of computer terms from the earlier decades that are currently obsolete but that won’t matter. I listened to all 3 in audio and they were all so much fun to listen to. The narrator Luke Daniels is one of my favorite narrators. He made each character very unique, and there were a lot of characters. He portrayed them and their emotions with excellence and I was able to know who was talking just from the accent and tone of his voice. Now that I have finished the series I feel that I am going to miss those characters. That’s how good the books were and how the narrator gave each character their own unique identity.

Off to be the Wizard

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The first book was my favorite. It introduces the reader to one of the main characters named Martin and how he ends up being a wizard after finding a certain computer file. The concept of the book is very different from what I have read before and it has computer and software terms so appeals to my geeky side and is filled with humor and time travel. I was hooked from the first chapter. This book introduces most of the characters that will appear in the following books.

Spell or High Water 

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The second book was interesting. Without spoiling the series, I loved the imagination used in this book, and I would love to see it depicted on a TV show or movie. I found one concept in this book a bit confusing and up till now I still can’t grasp the idea but it doesn’t change or effect the understanding the story line. This book follows the journey of 3 of the main characters from the first book in addition to a lot of new ones.

An Unwelcomed Quest 

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This book was my least favorite. The idea for it was interesting and the imagination was good but it dragged a bit during the middle part, some of the scenes were a bit redundant. I thought it could have been reduced or have less dialogues. However, I did like the ending. It was a bit predictable but none the less better than I expected. Mainly all of the main characters from the first and second books are present with no new ones in this book.

I highly recommend you check these books out. They’re perfect for when you just want a fun, light read or listen and enjoy your time. If you decide to check it out don’t forget to get it in audio :). Trust me it’s worth it.

The Thorn of Emberlain New Release Date Announced

Finally and after several delays and a lot of waiting it seems we’ll be getting the fourth book in the Gentleman Bastard series sometime this coming September!

The British publisher Gollancz announced yesterday on Twitter that The Thorn of Emberlain by Scott Lynch will be released in September to coincide with the author’s appearance at Fantasy Con happening in the same month. The author also confirmed on Twitter after that, so it seems this new release date is final. Can’t wait!

Thorn of Emberlain

 

The Prince of Thorns – A Book Review

This is the first book in The Broken Empire series by Mark Lawrence. It has been on my to-read list for a long time. I tried to read it a while back but after the first couple of chapters I left it. It was too gruesome for me at the time. But after reading The Prince of Fools (my review) by the same author and checking out many reviews by fellow bloggers and friends who highly recommended it, I thought I’d give it another try. Glad I did. The book was still too gruesome and quite dark but as you read further you get to know more about the characters and their reasons. I’m not saying that the reasons justify their actions, I’m only saying you understand them. [No spoilers in this review].9579634

The book follows the journey of Prince Jorg Ancrath, aka the Prince of Thorns, to take revenge on his mother and brother’s brutal murder that happened when he was 10 years old. At 13, he leads a group of bandits to find and kill the person who ordered their deaths. Jorg and his bandits, whom he calls Brothers, attack villages and torture and burn everyone in their way. He is not your average teenager, he’s brutal and has no remorse for his actions. This doesn’t sound like a book that could appeal to everyone nor make you feel any empathy towards the main character but there is a lot more to this book than that.

What I liked about it

  • The author’s writing style: I don’t usually read dark fantasy like this one, but the author did a great job with the writing and after getting past the first chapters it kinds gets easier to go through once you get into the story more. The book easily flows back and forth in time describing Jorg’s past and showing the reader how he ended up the way he did.
  • Humor and wit: As dark as it was, the book also had humor and wit which are two things I really like in a book.
  • The story line: it will keep you intrigued. After reading The Prince of Fools I am already a bit familiar with the setting of the book and some of the characters mentioned so it was easy to get engaged in the world of the broken empire.
  • The magic: there is no specific magic system, but the magic in this book was more of characters who posses magic and the existence of magical creatures and the way they were portrayed was interesting.
  • The cover: what can I say I like good covers.
  • Memorable Quotes: from the many here is one

         “Memories are dangerous things. You turn them over and over, until you know every touch and corner, but still you’ll find an edge to cut you.”

There wasn’t anything specific that I didn’t like. I did get a bit mixed up with the secondary characters, Jorg’s Brothers. I couldn’t get a clear vision of who they are besides two characters; Nuban and Makin.

Jorg is a character who is confident and arrogant and has been leading a group of grown men but while I was reading there was a question that kept popping up in my head: why did the author make Jorg so young and how did he realize that this age will be appropriate for the story?

If you’re looking for a typical hero that everyone will root for, this is not that book. But even so, you’ll find yourself following Jorg’s journey, wanting to know what he will do next and maybe rooting for him just to see him reach his destination.

What I’ve been reading lately

Hi everyone, it’s been a long time since my last book review or since I finished a book. I was in a reading slump last month and it took me quite a long time to find books to read or listen to, and I also took a 10 day vacation from work and so my reading time went down to the very minimum (almost non-existent).

But now I’m back and been trying to catch up with my reading. In the meantime, I got good deals on Audible this past month and I ended up buying 5 books. I’m currently listening to 3  of them (actually just one, the other 2 I stopped listening to in order to finish this one). I also started to read a book that I’ve put off for a very long time.

Here is what I’ve been reading and listening to:

9579634The Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence. If you’ve been following my blog you’ll know that I’ve read The Prince of Fools by the same author a couple of months back and enjoyed it a lot. I was about to start with book 2 of the series (The Liar’s Key) when I thought, why not try reading The Prince of Thorns again (I gave up on it the first time after 1 or 2 chapters) since there are some references to this series in the new one. Glad I did. I’m about 75% done with it and I will continue with this one before getting back to The Liar’s Key.

51U2b1VTRxL._SL300_Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe narrated by Rob Lowe. I am really starting to get into autobiographies and it seems I’ll be reading my autobiographies in audio from now on. I like Rob Lowe as an actor especially in Parks and Rec so it’s interesting to find out about his life growing up and becoming an actor. I’m about 40% through the book.

61EMr2Mr6WL._SL300_David Copperfield by Charles Dickens narrated by Richard Armitage. I have never read this book before and being a classic and narrated by this awesome narrator (seriously just go listen to the sample, here is the link) I thought I should get it. It’s 36 hours long and so I’m taking it slow. I’ve finished about 10 hours and so far I’m enjoying it a lot. Seriously check out the sample and get the book!


51-3EpTGogL._SL300_An Unwelcome Quest
by Scott Meyer narrated by Luke Daniels. This is the third and last book in the Magic 2.0 series. Luke Daniels is one of my favorite narrators and the series is fun. I’m about 20% through listening will get back to it when I finish Rob Lowe’s book.

So this is what I’ve been reading lately, as you can see it’s quite a mix of genres :). I’ll be posting reviews as soon as I finish.

The Book Courtship Tag

The Book Courtship Tag

I was tagged for the Book Courtship by Jenna at Reading with Jenna, thanks for the tag. She has a wonderful blog you should check out!

Phase 1: Initial Attraction. A book that you bought because of the cover?

12979788.jpgGears of Wonderland by Jason G. Anderson. I don’t usually buy a book just because of the cover, but this one is an exception.

It was a new release and I thought this cover is so creative; combines both steampunk and Alice in Wonderland so I had to buy this book.

 Phase 2: First Impressions. A book that you got because of the summary?

18619684I get all my books because of the summary, reviews and ratings on Goodreads and other sites. But before that I used to depend “only” on the summary.

One book that I can remember where I did that is The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. This is one of my favorite books its about a love story between a guy who travels back and forth in time (and cannot control it) and through that he meets a girl. Simple description but you should check it out. They made it into a movie but the book is much better.

Phase 3: Sweet Talk. A book with great writing?

9361589That’ll be The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. This book is beautifully written. In my review I described it like “an elegant dreamy fairy tale with detailed and very imaginative magical scenes“.

I listened to it in audio but because I loved it so much I went and got the paperback as well. 

Phase 4: First Date. A first book of a series which made you want to pick up the rest of the series?

MistbornMost of the books I read are series, so I have many, like Mistborn: The Final Empire, The Lies of Locke Lamora, etc.

Phase 5: Late Night Phone Calls. A book that kept you up all night?

7304203.jpgThere is no book that kept me up all night (would fall asleep) but I think the book I’ve stayed up reading the longest is ShadowFever by Karen Marie Moning. It was the last book in the series at the time (now I think there are 2 or 3 new ones) so it was finalizing everything in the previous 4 books.

Phase 6: Always on my mind. A book you could not stop thinking about?

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The book I couldn’t stop thinking about for a while after finishing it was The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. This is one of my favorite books. In brief, it’s about a group of thieves and their adventures stealing and conning the rich and powerful while trying to flee from people with evil magic. You should check out, it has excellent world building and characters with unique personalities and wit and at the end you’ll find yourselves rooting for these thieves.

Phase 7: Getting Physical. A book which you love the way it feels?

All my books feel the same. I don’t have one that sticks out but I love the way my Harry Potter Boxset looks.

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Phase 8: Meeting the parents. A book which you would recommend to your family and friends?

9361589MistbornI’d recommend Mistborn and The Night Circus.

Phase 9: Thinking about the future. A book or series you know you will re read many times in the future?

7235533.jpgI don’t re-read much however I would re-read The Stormlight Archives by Brandon Sanderson and perhaps reread it more than once.

I loved reading it for the first time, so I’d love to get back to it again. I plan to do so before the release of the third book sometime next year.

Phase 10: Share the love. Who do you tag?