Winner of the December Writing Contest at the Re: fiction Website

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Yay, I’m so happy! I won the Re:Fiction December 2017 Writing Contest!

If you want to read my science fiction short story, here it is:

https://refiction.com/writing-contests/winner-of-the-december-2017-writing-contest

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My 5 favourite books of 2017

So, I’m a bit late, but I got a cold between Christmas and New Year, so I just had time to wrap up the last reading year now. So here are my conclusions:

  • I was reading a lot in 2017. — 153 books — although…

Half of these were comics or graphic novels that I usually read much faster than a normal book.

  • 60 were science fiction, fantasy, or a combination of young adult and other genres.

I rarely read outside my favourite genres, only one contemporary thriller and a couple of historical fictions. I know people advise you to do that, but “je ne regrette rien” 😉

  • My favourite books of 2017 are mostly quite well known.
  • 6 were non-fiction books, all about writing techniques. I started many books on writing but finished few of them, I take a long time to read non-fiction because I don’t only read them, but mostly study them.

In this year it often happened that a hyped book had the right reasons to be loved by all Booktubers, although there were also cases where they would fail to impress me in the same manner.

I discovered new favourite authors and a few “never-to-read-again” and “how-can-people-actually-like-this?” books. Let me know if you would like me to go all ranty here on the blog.

But overall it was a very nice reading year.

So, here are my (kind of) 5 favourites of 2017!

1) The Saga series (Single Issues #1 – #43)
I read all single issues of this amazing series, I just couldn’t stop. It was amazing! Brian K. Vaughan now appears as number one in my Goodreads list of most read authors due to all the Saga single issues I read. I consider him now an auto-buy and read asap author.

2) The Grisha Verse Trilogy
Leigh Bardugo is a queen! (as I heard on booktube). I really liked this trilogy, and can’t wait to read “The language of Thorns” by the same author, now one of my favourites too.

3) The Night Circus.
Magical, awesome, and special. I was looking for more books from Erin Morgenstern and couldn’t find it. I guess I have to break my rule of no-rereading while the TBR tsunami isn’t tamed and reread this book.

4) Artemis
Andy Weir’s books make you laugh (a lot), while you visit extremely well-built and possible, on-the-near-future corner of (thankfully) not-dystopian sci-fi worlds. I like dystopia, but I read this book on my cell phone while my Kindle was recharging. This is saying something about how great I found this book.

5) The Illuminae Files (#1 and #2)
I’m absolutely spoiled for boring sci-fi after this series. These books were page-turners, full of action, great characters (my favourite is AIDAN), and all the graphic elements, for this reason, I would recommend the books even if people liked the Audiobooks too. All the hype around these books is well deserved, I can totally understand why people freak about these books, lol.

17 Book Prompts from my Reading Challenge 2017

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This year was a blast for me when it comes to reading. Since I started tracking what I read with Goodreads I never read so much, the number was 152 ‘books’ although I must confess that around the half of them were comics or graphic novels, in single issues or collected editions. This was the year I read (and loved) the whole Saga, Monstress, and East of West series and these graphic novels were page-turner-addicting reads. Besides them, I also read more of fantasy, young adult and sci-fiction. I also read around six non-fiction books on writing, a number smaller than I wanted to read this year, and a couple of books outside my favourite genres, thrillers or historical fiction, since I consider retellings another branch of fantasy. I discovered new favourite authors (Brian K. Vaughan, Leigh Bardugo, Victoria Aveyard, Collen Oakes, Brandon Sanderson, Erin Morgenstern) and gave up on others too. So now, without further ado, here are the challenge categories I managed to fulfil this busy year:

1. A book written by a member of The Dragon’s Rocketship:
P.A.W.S. (P.A.W.S. #1) by Debbie Manber Kupfer. (Rating: 4 Stars)
What a cute shapeshifter story, I could not put this book down. I’ll also quite curious to see what will happen to all the characters, so I’ll go on reading this series.

2. The next book in a series you still didn’t finish: Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas. (Rating: 4 Stars)
** spoiler alert ** I liked this book more than the third in the series. Manon is a very interesting character and I’m curious about how she’ll develop in the next book. I was disappointed on how Chaol lost space in the story, but perhaps that was the right thing for the plot. Also disappointed on the extremely rushed-up resolution with the two main villains, not enough was said or developed so it was a well-rounded resolution, and the main character didn’t play the central role in both climaxes, perhaps for emotional reasons(?) For this reason, I rate this book 4 and not 5 stars even though this is a very interesting series and I’ll probably read the next book.

3. A book you can read in one sitting: How to Be Perfectly Unhappy by Matthew Inman, The Oatmeal. (Rating: 5 Stars)
What a lovely and poetic short graphic novel! I can totally relate to the questions and answers in this book. After all, what means to be happy nowadays? Is happiness or a pretence of happiness the ultimate goal? Or is it fine to be “busy, interested, fascinated” and “perfectly unhappy”?

4.A graphic novel: Manga Classics: The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe (Manga Classics) by Stacy King (Author) (Adapted by), Edgar Allan Poe, Virginia-Nitouhei (Art “The Tell-Tale Heart”), Chagen (Art “The Cask of Amontillado”), Uka Nagao (Art “The Masque… Read Death”), pikomaro (Art “The Raven”), Linus Liu (Art “Fall of the House of Usher”), Man Yiu (Art “Fall of the House of Usher”). (Rating: 5 Stars)
Gothic, eerie, and beautiful. I liked this Manga version of Poe’s classics a lot. I haven’t read all these stories in their original version but the dark atmosphere from them seems to have been well translated into this format. The art was overall well done and the classic stories dark and eerie depth strengthened it. My favourite stories were The Cask of Amontillado, The Raven and The Mask of the Red Death.

5.A book with a LGBT Character: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. (Rating: 4 Stars)
I liked the underlying theme, but the hype it’s kind of exaggerated. Still, an entertaining comic.

6. A trilogy: The Grishaverse #1- #3 by Leigh Bardugo. (Rating: 5 Stars)
This was the year of trilogies for me, besides this, I read three others and liked them almost as much, but my favourite was “The Grishaverse”. I liked this trilogy so much, I might get the paperback or hardcover box set of it, even if I already read it on my eReader. There are books that you must have on your shelf for a reread.

7. A book in a genre you don’t normally read: You (You #1) by Caroline Kepnes. (Rating: 4 Stars)
The writer’s voice makes this thriller an engaging and page-turning read, while quite original due to the unreliable narrator. And it is indeed a warning on the excessive use of social media.

8.A dystopian: Matched (Matched #1) by Ally Condie. (Rating: 4 Stars)
** spoiler alert ** This book is slower paced than the most science-fiction dystopia books usually are, but this perhaps due to the characters relationships being in the foreground. This slower pace, in my opinion, also created a better world description and story development, so it was all right for me. I liked the way the story was told even if the book finishes with a hook. And the touching role the Dylan Thomas poem played in the story was so beautiful, that it alone won my good opinion on this book. I’ll probably finish this series later.

9. A book with magic: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. (Rating: 5 Stars)

Magical. It deserves the hype.

10.A book over 500 pages: Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff, Marie Lu. (Rating: 5 Stars)
This book was as fun as Illuminae, and Illuminae was already a lot of fun. I’m totally spoiled for badly written and boring sci-fi after this series.

11.A book that makes you laugh: Date Night on Union Station (EarthCent Ambassador #1) by E.M. Foner (Rating: 4 Stars)
This book was quite funny and has an interesting story. It’s not exactly a complex and serious sci-fi saga but something light for an entertaining afternoon.

12. A book that makes you laugh literally out loud: Adulthood Is a Myth (Sarah’s Scribbles #1) by Sarah Andersen. (Rating: 5 Stars)
This is quite funny. My only complaint: It’s too short! I could read one thousand pages of this, lol

13. A high fantasy: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson.(Rating: 5 Stars)
This book is so good you will take your time reading it, so it lasts longer. And so far I can remember, it’s one of the best epic fantasies I’ve read.

14. A book with a war: Old Man’s War (Old Man’s War #1) by John Scalzi. (Rating: 5 Stars)
The author’s voice gives this sci-fi war story a light and humorous (real ROFL like moments) touch.

15.A young adult book (trilogy): Red Queen (Red Queen #1-3) by Victoria Aveyard
(Rating: 3,4,4 Stars for each book)
I found the story with silver and red people quite interesting, so why 3 to 4 stars? Mostly, and this is a pet peeve I usually have with YA, I think that romance took over other, more interesting, plot components.
I would gladly hear more about how silver appeared and came to power. When did that happen? Was it radiation, selective breeding, genetic techniques that brought the silver their special powers? The mentor figure of Julian was quite wasted as he didn’t provide any information, writers nowadays are so extremely scared of boring readers with backstory they just hint at it most times. I would have liked to know how this world came to be, this exploration of a future scenario being more interesting to me than another love triangle. Even though, I still like the characters and plot so I went on reading this series up to the third book “King’s Cage”. I still feel that the science fiction side of the story is mostly left to the side as no background explanations are given to the story world. Instead, the reader gets a lot of action and really long battle scenes, perhaps this was done so the target audience wouldn’t consider the book boring? I don’t know the reason for the lack of depth of the story world but even though missed it. Well, let’s see how the series will go on.

16. A standalone book: Northanger Abbey (The Austen Project #2) by Val McDermid
(Rating: 5 Stars)
A fresh and modern retelling of a classic. Now, can someone please tell me where can I find the Hebridean Harpies series? 😉

17a.) A book that was later made into a movie, play or tv show: Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1) by Richelle Mead
(Rating: 4 Stars)
I liked this book and its vampire/high school drama mixture. I may go on reading this series, I’m just not intrigued enough at the moment to do that right now.

17b.) Watch the movie you read a book based on
Vampire Academy – I can’t really recommend doing that…

Books I read while I had ‘almost no internet’.

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Let’s first clear this up: by ‘almost no internet’ I mean having the slowest of connections in a very old cell phone where most apps didn’t work. I was mainly using only Gmail for two months. So, during the busy autumnal days, I was:

-Writing emails like in the old Pine days,
-Watching a lot of DVDs (mostly Vampire Diaries, a guilty entertainment activity like reading the Selection series)
-And visiting the small bookshop of my town, which deserves a lot of support and has awesome author readings. I went to a reading with Elia Barceló and absolutely loved how the author made her book a lively experience for us. Now I want to read all her books :-). I still didn’t get to that, but even though these last weeks I managed to tackle my previous TBR list reasonably well.

The books I’ve read: 

The Bone Season (The Bone Season #1) by Samantha Shannon – 5 stars

In this book, the world building was quite extensive and that alone was already worth at least 4,5 stars. There is even a spin-off called “On the Merits of Unnaturalness” which further explains it.
Although I haven’t read the spin-off I could reasonably follow the various ‘voyants’ classes that appear in the book.
I also liked Paige because, although she was IMO likable, she wasn’t exactly a standard romantic heroine. She could be contradictory, seemed to be too cynical and suspicious sometimes and only at the end of the book, you could see all her layers. Perhaps she’s not everybody’s favorite type of main female character, but I found that really refreshing after so many perfect fictional girls out there. I also liked the flaws in all other characters, I think this contributed to give depth to the story.
I’ll be surely following up this series to see how the story goes on.
(I would like to thank NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. )
 
 

Caraval (Caraval #1) by Stephanie Garber – 4 stars

** Spoiler alert **
Quite nice though some things round up too easily at the very open end. I’m still in doubt if I’ll go on reading the series.
 


The Bear and the Nightingale (The Winternight Trilogy #1) by Katherine Arden – 5 Stars

A beautifully told, interesting story with a Russian fairytale setting. I’ll be following this series for sure.
 
I would like to thank NetGalley and Random House UK for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


These Broken Stars (Starbound #1) by Amie Kaufman (Goodreads Author), Meagan Spooner – 3 Stars

** Spoiler alert ** The romance in this story was well done, it’s just that it was the main part of the story at the expense of world-building, story development, and pace. And there were many extremely repeated tropes too, while the resolution was really fast and the end left open for the next book.
So I may go on reading this series, but I’m not so much in a hurry.


All the Birds in the Sky (All the Birds in the Sky #1) by Charlie Jane Anders – 3 Stars

I’m a bit in doubt about what to say in my review. I liked the story and the ending although I would have liked more if it would have gone to more depths in its original and interesting premise and tried less to be everybody’s taste in an amusing way.


P.A.W.S. (P.A.W.S. #1) by Debbie Manber Kupfer – 4 Stars

What a cute shapeshifter story, I could not put this book down.I’m curious as how the story will go on too.


Artemis by Andy Weir – 5 Stars

First things first, I considered Weir’s second book as good as “The Martian.”

I’ve read some reviews where people complained about characterization problems, but this didn’t stop me from enjoying the book and considering the heroine refreshingly funny in her tomboy flawed way. I also liked her name – “Jazz”- that is so cool.

As a Brazilian, I found a couple of details in the ARC I would have pointed out as not so really Brazilian, so I wonder if these details were later changed in the final version of the book.

In any case, I couldn’t put this book down or stop laughing. So it’s one of my favorites this year as “The Martian” was one of my favorites in 2015.

I would like to thank NetGalley and Crown Publishing for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Now in Dezember I just have three weeks to wrap this reading year up.  I have around six books in the middle that I’m currently reading, so I’ll try to finish at least a couple of them before 2017 is over. Then I’ll write my favorite blog post of the year with my favorite 2017 books, stay tuned. 😉


And you, how was your reading year? Any new year reading goals?

 

 

 

My 5 favorite NetGalley Reads (from August to October 2017)

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I’m commemorating my “10 Book Reviews” Badge on NetGalley. End of August this year, I became a member on this site. It made sense to me that since this blog has lately been more and more devoted to books, to check there for new books to review. So far I wrote reviews on a bit more than 10 books and posted them all on Goodreads, where I even have a list called
NetGalley Reads

However, so this post doesn’t get too long, I’ll concentrate on the five favorite books and graphic novels I read since I started. Here they are:

1- Hardcore Mindgames (Hardcore Station, #0) by Jim Starlin

This book was very original and funny. The main character is very interesting and his family is extraordinary too. I’ll never complain about my family again after reading about Xeno’s, lol. I was a bit confused about Xeno’s bodyguard because she was called on one page by the last name and later by the first name, so it took me a while to see that the author meant the same person. Overall I felt that the secondary characters, including the girl Xeno was trying to save, could have been more developed too. The end seemed a bit rushed, I suppose there will be a next book where we’ll know how things progress. I would surely read the next book in this series to see how Xeno’s story goes on.
Rating: 4 Stars

2 – How to Be Perfectly Unhappy by Matthew Inman, The Oatmeal

I would like to thank NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What a lovely and poetic short graphic novel!
I can totally relate to the questions and answers in this book. After all, what means to be happy nowadays? Is happiness or a pretense of happiness the ultimate goal? Or is it fine to be “busy, interested, fascinated” and “perfectly unhappy”?
Rating: 5 Stars

3 – John Carter: The End by Brian Wood (Author), Alex Cox, Hayden Sherman (Contributor)

I would like to thank NetGalley and Diamond Book Distributors for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I like a good science-fiction adventure with aliens on another planet, so this graphic novel had all the right ingredients for me.
Rating: 4 Stars

4- Fowl Language: The Struggle Is Real by Brian Gordon

I would like to thank NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
As a mother of a six and a four-year-old, I could relate and laugh at the very funny jokes. My favorites were the ones about tired children, sibling’s fights and why they won’t try the food.
Rating: 5 Stars

5- Joyride, Volume 1 (Joyride, #1) by Jackson Lanzing (Writer), Collin Kelly (Writer), Marcus To (Artist), Irma Kniivila (Colourist), Jim Campbell (Letterer), Scott Newman (Designer)

I would like to thank NetGalley and BOOM! Studios for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
“Earth Sucks. Space Rocks. Let’s Dance.” This graphic novel is fun and I liked its theme and story a lot. Let’s see where this graphic novel will go.
Rating: 5 Stars

#TheReadingQuest Wrap up

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My Mage Path was an adventurous one, full of hilly ups and downs. Two not so great books and 7 books/comics that ranged from extremely funny and relatable to quite OK, even if I might be tired of vampires or the humor of the comic book wouldn’t always fit with my favorite type of humor.

So, between the Mage path and Sidequests, I read 5 books (I couldn’t bring myself to finish the 6th of them), 3 comic books, a short story, and I had a lot of fun reading most of them.
I haven’t calculated the points and levels my mage character gained because tbh, right now I have a headache and this makes me not nearly energetic enough for that. I’m sure other people read more books than me, good for them, lol.



So, with these following books and comics was my Mage’s path laid out.

A BOOK WITH AN ONE WORD TITLE:

“Skinwalker (Jane Yellowrock #1)” by Faith Hunter. — 4 Stars
I liked this book. It had some pacing problems which made the ending feel rushed and tbh I’ve been mostly tired of books with vampires. But Beast, the alter ego of Jane Yellowrock was quite interesting and original.

A BOOK THAT CONTAINS MAGIC:

“Burn for Me: A Hidden Legacy Novel” by Ilona Andrews. — 5 Stars
I’m a huge fan of Ilona Andrews’s Kate Daniels series and this new series didn’t disappoint me at all. Read if you like romance with a strong heroine + mystery + a well-built fantasy world.

A BOOK BASED ON MYTHOLOGY:

I changed my mind and ended up reading “The Goddess Test (Goddess Test #1)” by Aimee Carter.  — 1 Star. I thought that reading a book about the Myth of Hades and Persephone was a good idea. However, in this case, it wasn’t. The mythology was twisted beyond recognition and all the Greek Gods had boring names and characters.  Next time I promise I’ll read The Golem and the Jinni (The Golem and the Jinni #1) by Helene Wecker. I felt I got bad book karma from changing my mind at the last minute.

A BOOK SET IN A DIFFERENT WORLD:

“Old Man’s War (Old Man’s War #1)” by John Scalzi. — 5 Stars
The author’s voice gives this science fiction war story a light and humorous touch with real ROFL moments. And the story has great science fiction insights that are quite plausible to happen, so the question remains, would someone enlist once they turn 75?

THE FIRST BOOK OF A SERIES:

“To Your Scattered Bodies Go (Riverworld)” by Philip Jose Farmer. — 1 Star – DNF
I DNFed this book. This was the second book in this ReadAthon with a very interesting premise that developed in the dullest way possible. In this case also into a book full of prejudices and negative views on mankind. Some people think this a sci-fi classic, it even got a prize. Well, this wasn’t, unfortunately, the first well-talked book that was nothing for me and certainly won’t be the last.

 

Side quests

EXPANSION (READ A COMPANION NOVEL OR SHORT STORY):

“The Demon in the Wood: A Darkling Prequel Story (The Grisha Trilogy) (Shadow and Bone 0.1)” by Leigh Bardugo. A short story based on the Grisha verse.  — 4 Stars.
A short Darkling background story.

POTIONS (A BOOK CONCOCTED OF 2+ AUTHORS):

“Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2)” by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff, Marie Lu. — 5 Stars. The second book of an awesome sci-fi series. This book was as fun as Illuminae, and Illuminae was a lot of fun. I consider myself now over the top spoiled for boring sci-fi after this series.

MINI-GAME (READ A GRAPHIC NOVEL, NOVELA, OR POEM COLLECTION):

“Adulthood Is a Myth: A Sarah’s Scribbles Collection” by Sarah Andersen.  — 5 Stars
This is quite funny and relatable. My only complaint: It’s too short! I could read one thousand pages of this, lol

OPEN WORLD (READ WHATEVER YOU WANT):
“Heart and Brain: Body Language: An Awkward Yeti Collection” by The Awkward Yeti, Nick Seluk — 3 Stars
I would like to thank NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Funny, but not so much my kind of humor, after seventy pages it got tiresome.

ANIMAL COMPANION (BOOK REFERENCING AN ANIMAL ON THE TITLE):
“Fowl Language: The Struggle Is Real” by Brian Gordon
I would like to thank NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
As a mother of a six and a four-year-old, I could relate and laugh at the very funny jokes. My favorites were the ones about tired children, sibling’s fights and why they won’t try the food.