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2015 Wrap Up

Soon 2015 will be over and now it’s officially time to look back and check how I did in this reading year.

I set some reading goals in 2015 and some of them I achieved more successfully, some of them less. Of course, I still think that goals are not important, the only thing that matters is reading itself but still it’s fun to peek back and see how I did.

Goodreads

The first goal I set for myself every year is on Goodreads. As every year, I set a goal to read 50 books. I successfully reached the number 50, even better, I read totally of 72 books. That shows how good my reading year was and I couldn’t be happier.

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Though, I read a few graphic novels which are usually shorter but I would still exceed the number 50 even without them.

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Reading Challenge in Bralnica

As I mentioned somewhere on this blog already, Bralnica is Slovenian forum for book lovers from Slovenia. I will not translate all 25 challenges, I will only mention those that I haven’t done. I successfully completed 21 challenges but I made a mistake and left “the hard ones” for the end of the year and of course, I ran out of time.

I didn’t complete these challenges:

  1. read a book that you already read
  2. a book recommended by one of Bralnica’s members
  3. read a book you should have read in school
  4. read a true story

Still, during the Challenges, I read some books that I would never read otherwise and I’m still happy with this outcome.

Read all books you have on “currently reading” list

This one was my personal challenge. There are a few books that I have started reading a long time ago but never finished them. Not, that I wouldn’t be interested in them but again, they are not so interesting that I would finish them (it happens a lot that I just start reading other books, haha). Despite the best efforts I didn’t finished all of them and here they are:

  1. The World of Poo by Terry Pratchett
  2. The Merciless by Danielle Vega
  3. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
  4. The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers
  5. Everything I never told you by Celeste Ng
  6. The Death Cure by James Dashner

For some, I completely lost interest and I would probably put them on my “didn’t finish” list. But, I will read some of them eventually.


Still, I’m more than happy with my reading year. And I hope that next one will also be so successful.

How about you? How did you do in a year 2015? You can write down in comments or just paste a link to your wrap-up and I will check it out!

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Top 5 Books of the Year

If you want to know more about Top 5 Wednesday just click on a link here.

Because it’s a last Wednesday of this year it was probably logical that today’s topic is:

Top 5 Books of the Year

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

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The first book in a trilogy and I actually read this book in Slovenian language. This is also a reason why I will wait for a translation of the second book (hope it happens soon).

This is a fantasy novel full of magic, adventures and action. I loved main character Kvothe who is super cool and can’t wait to hear more about his life because he’s just an excellent storyteller. Tense and brilliant read!

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

 

23395680I received this book as a Christmas gift and I was so excited when I started reading it.

The story itself is nothing special – it’s intense and interesting but nothing that would blow my mind. But the format of the book is something that makes a reading experience amazing and unique.

The story consists of different documents collected after a war started. While reading those files, the reader gets to know main characters and what was happening after destroying a planet somewhere in universe.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

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I really don’t know why I waited so long to read this book because it’s simply amazing.

The dystopian world set into (near) future where society is forced by strict social rules and restrictions. Offred is a Handmaid and her only role in this world is give a birth to a child. An amazing book which shows how society can change and degenerate (because of stupidity).

The Signature of all Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

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Alma Whittaker was born in 1800 when women had the exact place and assignments in society. However, Alma was lucky enough to be born in the wealthy family and her father was also open minded. And soon he discovers that Alma is brilliant and he encourages her to become what she wants – a botanist. Most of the characters in this book are fictional, but some of the characters were actually real persons from that period. I would say that this book is not an easy read but still is beautiful and interesting.

Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

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Simon is sixteen years old and he’s gay. The only person who knows his secret is a mysterious boy on the Internet. They are sending emails to each other, but they don’t share personal information. But one day somebody figures out about Simon’s secret and threat to release a secret to everyone unless if Simon helps him with something.

I enjoyed in humor and adventures of Simon and his friends. And I still think it’s great how this book deals with the topic of homosexuality.


Those are mine favorites 5 books that I read in this year. Of course, I could add some more but I decided to hold with number 5.

Which are your favorites books from this year? Did you read any of books I mentioned and loved or maybe hated it?

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Top 5 Wednesday

It’s been a while since a joined Goodreads group Top 5 Wednesday. I will not explain what’s this group is about – if you’re interested just click on a link and read it!

But I hesitated with my Top 5’s because there were topics for previous Wednesdays that I was just not interested into. But from now on I will try to do it every week although that it can happen that I’ll just skip it every now and then.


 

Top 5 Series You Want to Start Next Year

Gone series by Michael Grant

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Mistborn Series by Brandon Sanderson

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The Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

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The Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan

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Legend series by Marie Lu

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I decided that this time I will not go into details about books because after all they are part of the series and I would have to write a synopsis for all of them which is nonsense because I really don’t want to spoil myself with too many details.

Of course, there are many other series that I want to read but those are just a few of them that I’m most interested into. And I don’t doubt that I’ll discover even more great books from series that I’m not yet familiar of them.

 

Did you read any of these series? Do you have any advice with which should I start? And if you read any series that you enjoyed you can recommend them in comments!

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Book Review: The Girl who loved Tom Gordon

Title: The Girl who loved Tom Gordon

Author: Stephen King

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Nine-years-old Trisha goes hiking with her mum and older brother. That kind of weekend trips are something usual since her mother and father divorced and the three of them moved away. Her mother thinks that spending time together will connect them again as a family. But still her brother wants to live with their dad and move back to him.This is also a reason of all constant fights between him and mum and Trisha is trapped somewhere between all that.

As usual, this hiking trip also starts with a fight and also continues on a hiking trail. Trisha quietly follows her mom and brother, who are still fighting and ignoring her totally. They don’t notice how she’s falling behind and how she disappeared because she needed to pee. Because Trisha got out of the trail she can’t find a way back. She remains lost in a woods and although she’s expecting to be found soon, she must spend the first night in the woods. And not just the first one, but also second and third, …


Before I started reading this book I didn’t know much about it, nor did I read the description on the back. I knew that it would probably be good because after all the author is Stephen King and I always like his books.

And for all those who don’t like horror books – believe me, you can still read this book because it’s not so scary. It is a suspense book, but you’ll be still able to sleep at night (even without the light, hehe).

Despite being so young, Trisha is a very likable character, she’s mature and funny. And she’s trying to overcome her problems with humor. At first, when caught in constant fights between mother and brother, and later, when she finds herself trapped in the woods. She’s realistic, which is incredible for someone her age, but in the end, that’s what saves her.

What also saves her is Tom Gordon, who is her favorite baseball player and who becomes her companion (imaginary of course) between aimless wandering through the woods. And as Trisha also admits, she would gave up a long time ago if Tom would not be by her side. They have long conversations while walking and Tom is her support during hard times. And it’s so real, how everyone needs support during difficult times, some positive point that you can rely on. And without Tom Trisha would not be able to accept such an inhuman efforts.

However, from the start of the book, it’s clear that woods are merciless and something evil and threatening is living there. Trisha always has this feeling that something is watching and following her and she’s just waiting that this “thing” will be able to slaughter her with its claws. Something like that was, of course, expected because after all, we are reading King’s book.

Despite the fact that most of the time in this book we read about Trisha wandering through the woods, a book is still exciting and interesting to read. I was wondering if Trisha will be rescued at the end and, of course, what actuall is the “monster” who follows her. And, if it’s even real.

The end is great and I came to the conclusion that I should read more King’s books in future.

Rating: 4/5

Did you read this book or any other by King? What did you think about it?

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Book Review: Let it Snow

Title: Let it Snow

Authors: John Green, Maureen Johnson, Lauren Myracle

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One of the worst snow storms is causing chaos on Christmas Eve.

Despite the storm, Jubilee has to go to her grandparents with a train. But the snow storm is so strong that train stops and Jubilee has no other option than to leave the train and head to the nearby Waffle House. There she meets Stuart who offers her help.

JP, Duke (Angie) and Tobin are also headed to Waffle House, even though they had different plans for Christmas Eve. But they received a phone call that some crazy stuff is going there and, of course, they want to check it out. On the way nothing goes as it was planned, they crash the car but still they want to arrive at Waffle Hause in time.

Addie has just broken up with her boyfriend and she doesn’t want anything else for Christmas Eve than to spent all day in her room. Still she has to go working next day.

All three stories merge at the end.


I bought this book two years ago and since then it was lying on my bookshelf. Due to the Christmas theme somehow I didn’t think it was appropriate to read it in any other time but before the Christmas. And I’m glad that this year I finally decided to read it. The first reason is that it really put me in a festive mood and the second is that this book is just really cute (and I just don’t understand now why I haven’t read it before).

The Jubilee Express

It’s the story I liked the most. Jubilee is fun and charming and I was glad that everything unfolded fine for her. I was having fun while reading about her parents adventures, but most of all I liked Stuart’s mother. Although I do not know if I would like to know that kind of person in real life, haha.

Rating: 5/5

A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle

I have great expectations with this story because the author is John Green. But of all three stories in the book I liked this one least.

The main protagonists are really likable and playful and actually in all three stories I wished that I could be among them. However, I got a feeling that Green exaggerated a little bit – yes, I’m talking about that competition who would arrive at Waffle House first.

Rating: 3/5

The Patron Saint of Pigs

Despite the fact that I suspected how this story will evolve, I nonetheless enjoyed reading it. At first, I didn’t like Addie that much but at the end she also sees how she changed and grew up and this was also a whole point of the story.

Rating: 4/5


I would definitely, even more, enjoy this book if it would be snowing outside. But this year we’re not lucky enough to have snow and there’s nothing we can do about it. But I’m still pleased that I finally read it because it really is a lovely book to read before Christmas.

This book is worth of reading because of it’s funny dialogues and adventures of main characters.

Rating: 4/5

If you read this book what did you think about it? Which story did you enjoy the most?

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Book review: The Grownup

Title: The Grownup

Author: Gillian Flynn 26025580

The main character in this book is a canny young woman who’s making a money for living with harmless frauds since she was little. As a little girl, she was begging for money with her mother but now, when she’s independent and living on her own, she’s reading people’s auras. One day a young woman, Susan Burke comes for aura reading. Susan has moved into an old Victorian house with her husband and two sons, but she’s not happy in her new home. Her new house fills her with a sense of fear. She wants help because she thinks that house is dangerous and has a bad influence on her eldest stepson. The heroine (her name is not revealed) doesn’t hesitate and offers her help because she sees a great opportunity to earn a lot of money from unhappy and rich Susan.


This book is actually a short story, which was published as a book. Because I really liked previous Flynn’s books I was really happy that I could read something new from her. Even more so, because I don’t read a lot of short stories and I was wondering if the author has managed to create a tension as in her other books.

I must admit that main character is presented very well. Again (like in previous Flynn’s books) a heroine is a young woman who had problems in childhood and difficult adolescence. This is a regular feature is Flynn’s stories. Nevertheless, I liked her (which I can’t claim for characters in other books), because she’s funny which also reflects in the text.

However, I think that the biggest problem of this story is her length. I believe it would be much better if the author would have a chance to develop her characters and develop ideas. And this would only be possible if the book would be longer.

I really liked the first part of the book, but the second part left me down. Because, suddenly, the reader is faced with a lot of facts that must be quickly adopted. Also, the facts are given out very dull and too detailed (there is not much left for reader’s imagination). This is also a reason, why I was not satisfied with the end. Moreover, there were a way to many twists in the story at the end, which would be totally fine if the story would be longer.

Otherwise, this book is good, solid reading (a really fast read) but I must admit that I expected more from it.

Rating: 3/5

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Book review: The Little Stranger

Title: The Little Stranger

Author: Sarah Waters

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Dr. Faraday is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall, where family Ayres lives. Ayres family owns Hundreds mansion for over a two centuries and before the war they were wealthy and powerful. And mansion Hundreds Hall is a reflection of this – magnificent and full of wealth and luxury. Or such it was before the First World War. After the war, Ayres family lost their influence and wealth, and this also reflects in Hundreds Hall.

Before the war, Hundreds Hall was also a place where doctor’s mother worked as a maid. Once she took him with her and mansion thrilled him. This is also a reason why he gladly accepts an invitation to the mansion when he’s called there due to illness. However, he’s shocked when he sees the condition of Hundreds Hall and how few residents live there – Mrs. Ayres, her son and daughter Caroline and their maid. The Hundreds Mansion is only a faint shadow of what it once was, it slowly collapses, and the family does not have the resources to maintain it.

Dr. Faraday starts visiting mansion more and more often and reasons for visiting the mansion are not just because he becomes a family doctor. He’s particular interested in unexplained and strange accidents that happen and that nobody knows how to explain it.


Too bad that the book from the beginning is very slowly read. Well, at least, I had problems with that. In the first half of the book nothing much happens. It’s mainly only description of Hundreds Hall and people who live there and, of course, Dr. Faraday. And for sure there is nothing creepy about it as it’s promised on the cover of the book: “Be prepared for a scary reading…”.

The story slowly unfolds and I was rewarded for my patience in the second half of the book. I still wouldn’t call it scary but it was quite a suspense and I couldn’t wait for the unravelling of events.

Ayres family thinks they are superior, which is often reflected in their behaviour, especially to other people. They also show this to Dr. Faraday. For me, it was interesting how they cling to the times that no longer exists, rather reconcile with the current situation and live and work in a way to improve it. There’s nothing in the world that would persuade them to get rid of the Hundreds Hill, even if it’s clear that it leads them into gradual destruction – in a physical and psychical way.

I was attracted to descriptions of the post-war era in England when great families had fallen into decay. Families who before that have great impact and later they were exposed to a new world, which they don’t understand. Some were able to adapt, others didn’t – among them was Ayres family.

I was also expecting a little more action and unexpecting mysteries. But I was left down – there is actually not much going on and also, there are just a few mentions of evil spirit or ghosts. The reader has to explain things on his own which of course is not bad, but everything is really uncleared and confusing at the end.

Rating: 3/5

Did you read this book or any other book by Sarah Waters? What do you think about it and her writing?

If you read the book, what do you think actually happened? As always you can leave comments down below!