June Wrap Up and July TBR!

Been pretty successful but I did cheat by reading a few books under 100 pages, but it is still a book!

June Wrap Up: 

L.Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 30
The Guard
The Truth about Alice
The Eslites
The First Taste is Free
Battle Royale
Look Who’s Back

Wow! Had no idea I had read that much in June!! I guess it’s making up for May and most likely this month as it is exam month! =[

July TBR: [this won’t be an ambitious one at all due my exams!]

Thief’s Magic – started it already and loving it!

If that gets read then;

Branded
The Queen of Tearling
100 Year Old Man
[although I’ve been in the mood to read Dracula for like 2 weeks now! But isn’t it a rather long book? I’d rather start it at summer].

Also Read-a-Thons!

On-Going

Summer of Spells [video link to info]
Summer of LOTR [video link to info]

Coming Up!

7th -14th – Year-A-Thon: Classics [GoodReads Link]
14th – 21st – BookTube-A-Thon: [Video Info]
21st – 28th – Under-Hyped Books: Under 5000 ratings on GoodReads [GoodReads Link]

Be awesome if I could participate but exams =[

Look Who’s Back by Timur Vermes

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Recieved from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!

Quickie Review: 3.5/5 Stars
Very enjoyable and at times amusing and very interesting to read about! However, I feel that I missed out on a lot due to my lack of knowledge about Hitler and the World Wars etc. [at my school, you’re only taught about the 20th century when you reach the last two years of High School and by that point History is an optional subject, which I didn’t take]. I did also enjoy in the beginning when he’d miss hear words and meaning.

Plot: Hitler wakes up on a playing field, it’s now 2011! He is taken in by a newspaper shop owner and soon finds himself spouting his views on both television and youtube.

Characters: None were likeable if I’m totally honest. Neither like nor dislike.
Hitler: A very, very charming, charismatic and intelligent man [not sure how much book character resembles real Hitler though] but at the same time very ignorant, very stubborn and very dumb. He’s in the 21st century! He’s been taught how to use a computer, yet he doesn’t know how hated he is, ever!

Negatives: Already mentioned; I am not knowledgeable about his history or anything surrounding him so I feel I missed out on say the ironic humour, or when he’s talking about certain events that he started etc. Also, I thought this book was going to be about Hitler getting used to the new world but there was hardly any ‘wtf is going on here?! Why are women working? Why are they wearing very short skirts? What’s this thing called an app?!’ etc. but it wasn’t the main focus at all, it was as if he got used to it all within like 2 hours of being there and was okay with everything! Also, in the translation, a lot of german words were kept in and just assumed the reader knew everything about Hitler’s party names and such. And just to be extra picky, I spotted some spelling mistakes too! ‘is to take a walk though nature’ and ‘whether you we’re really a vegetarian or not’ but maybe these got fixed in the final book. Also, there was hardly any twist, he was just getting lucky the entire time! There was one point [concerning a grandmother] where I thought ‘here comes his domain or at least a push back for him!’ and it got resolved in the next page!

Battle Royale by Takami Koushun

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Quickie Review: 4.5/5 Stars
Always been a huge fan of the movies and to be able to read the book finally; some how it was even better than the films!! Some of the translation seemed a bit off though (hence the missing) but nevertheless it has action, romance, is was thought provoking. Loved it!

Plot: 42 students are on their way to the school trip destination. It’s a night trip so they all sleep and when they wake up, it’s turns out the government had a different trip in mind and turns out they have been selected for the next Battle Royale! Romance, action, violence and scenes of a mature content (for some) occur.

Characters: There’s over 42! So I’ll just pick my favourites and who was interesting.
Shuya and Noriko: Our main protagonists. Tbh, I’m meh about them but represent the average Joe which is good.
Shogo: I found him so interesting and great to read. He really is a character who just keeps surprising and spurting the knowledge.
Kiriyama: He is kick ass! All his scenes are so interesting and so brutal! I don’t think we ever get a POV from him yet he has such a presence the entire book!
Mitsuko: She is one crazy ass bitch also her back story and the way it’s told is amazing yet so saddening.
Shinji: the inventor!! His section was very interesting and through him we receive a lot of info about Battle Royale.

Negatives: Basically just the translation, which I’ll now get onto.

Translation:
I was reading the older translation rather than new translation (which I think came out this year), so all my comments are based on that. The main problem was using words that just aren’t used really (in my opinion or maybe I’m just very uneducated). For example;
Page 319 ‘inordinate’.
Page 350 ‘longitudinal’
Page 531 ‘belligerent official’
I also felt there were some tense problems now and again e.g. Page 567 ‘by the time Shogo followed and slid in, Shuya had Noriko sit down, the Browning (a gun) in his when’ not just me right? Maybe my almost 5 years in learning Japanese has messed up my English more than I thought xD then naturally I found mistakes and misses e.g. Page 359 ‘the he spoke’.
Finally I want to point out two translations that I don’t think fit the context and/or the story:
Page 283 ‘you’ve be one quite a stud’ this totally works! If the story was set in America in the 90s in a high school setting. But this story is in Japan in the near future with middle schoolers. It just DOESN’T work and makes me feeling slimy and creepy even reading it!
Page 302 ‘I just go all excited’ seeing this sentence I can totally understand what the Japanese why it might be translated to ‘excited’ but in English it doesn’t work, so I feel ‘riled up’ or ‘tense’ would be a more befitting word.

I know I’m no translation expert but as a learner of languages and having interest in translation and when translating a book, getting it perfect is key in order to have a ‘perfect’ read, just thought it wouldn’t hurt to point things out that I notice. Also, when I read the new translation, I’ll be able to compare the two and see which is better and such! =)

Below are favourite scenes, quotes,  ect and me talking about the Author’s message, so spoilers!

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The First Taste is Free by Zephyr Indigo

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Quickie Review: 3.5/5 stars on GoodReads.
Episode 1 in the ‘Pixie Chix’ series. Another quick and easy read (like 20 pages again) and can easily get you in the mood when the sauciness hits. I probably would continue just to find out the rest of the story alone, yet has an added bonus of sexy time. Great to have it being different and not a heterosexual main lead, also a strong female lead! A great read to get ladies hot and bothered quickly! It has just the right amount of sauciness.

Plot: It says it right on the cover; about a lesbian vampire. It’s a bit more than that, there is an actual point but that would spoil episode 1’s end.

Characters:
Felicia – Firstly, I love the same! (reminds me of Felicia Day!) and she is the lesbian vampire. She’s very strong, very clever and knows what she wants – my kind of girl (maybe not in a romantic way).
Mint – A Pixie and a very cute one!

Negatives: It was not long enough <- Does that count?

The Eslites by C.M. Doporto

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Quickie Review: 3.5/5 stars on GoodReads.
This is the 0.5 Novella in ‘The Eslite Chronicles’ and only has like 20 pages but 20 great pages! Love the premise! I want to know so much more about the characters and what is going to happen. Definitely will read more! And I really like the cover!

Plot: An advanced alien species is on Earth and is taking women from 16 – 25 years detained in an otherworldly facility named Nidus where they are given a series of tests, some don’t come back. This story follows sixteen-year-old Miranda Mays; will she pass the tests? Do she even want to pass the tests? And who is running the show anyway?!

Character:
Miranda: Intelligent, strong and not stupid – a good strong female lead!
(I’m quite sure the smaller characters will return in the books!)

Negatives: That stupid nickname her boyfriend calls her! -_- so stupid! Also, wish the seven months had been extended and explained but maybe that’ll be in the actual books?

The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

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Received as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review (even though I’m a few days late – was released June 3rd!).

Quickie Reviews: 3.5/5 stars on GoodReads.
Not only a quick easy read but also an interesting one; you wanna know at least two mysteries as you read along, you see the characters grow, it’s easy to relate to the subjects and look back and be like ‘yeah I had something similar happen to me too!’ and I also love how it’s about ‘high school throws shit at you but also teaches you how to discover things like how to find true friends.’ Loved how we ended on Alice as well!

Plot: Alice is a (quote) slut – or so everyone in her town thinks, but is it true? There’s gossip, betrayal, secrets and a few serious themes thrown in also.

Characters:
Elaine – HOLY shit this character! I hated her SO so So much! I wanted to bang her against a wall so much! Just how stuck up she is and her attitude. She seems like the only character that doesn’t grow in this book!
Kelsie – Kelsie I also didn’t like but at least she gave reasons and we discovered why she acts and is the way she is. Also I personally connected with Kelsie’s section VERY much and found it very HARD to read as I could 100% relate to her on the major event that happens to her – especially as it only happened to me last month – and it was written so realistic and real that I found myself just wanting to cry for both her and me and what she’s going through and what she’s thinking after the event, I am also currently going through.
Josh – The jock! Or so you just stereotype at first but you learn that he really cares about his friends. Also, it was explicitly said in the book (but to those that have read it); am I right in thinking that he’s gay but doesn’t know it? Especially the way he talks about Brandon.
Brandon – he’s basically to blame for everything that happens in this book and he doesn’t even have a P.O.V! xD But what we learn about him is, he’s very layered and real (they all are) and it was great to see how he acted with different people.
Kurt: The geek – but a sweet one. I really liked Kurt. He was like the only character that didn’t have a flaw – well his flaw was that he was seen as a weirdo and a loner but besides that, he was so sweet and so cute! Loved him!

Likes/Quotes:

When I sit by myself in the cafeteria rereading The Hobbit for the thirteenth time’ hells yeah to The Hobbit reference! ❤

Negatives: All these teens seemed to have had a very closed upbringing and maybe it was because it was a small town but I also come from a small town (not as small as the town in the book) but in my high school days if I found out a girl has given a guy a blow job or slept with two guys, no one really would be like ‘oh my god what a slut’ we were more like ‘omg how was it? What happened? What do you do?!’ so that really annoyed me at how close minded they all were. Already said; I really disliked Elaine’s character. Also, if Kelsie said ‘The Very Awful Stuff’ one more time, I was gonna blow. But they are the only negatives really. And I hated Elaine so much but that’s not the books fault, that is just the character herself.

The Guard by Kiera Cass

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Other Reviews of Books in the Trilogy:
The Selection (#1) – The Elite (#2) – The Prince (#1.5)

Quickie Review: 3.5/5 stars on GoodReads!
I enjoyed this one more than I enjoyed ‘The Prince’ and I felt like it was more necessary and added to the story rather than ‘The Prince’. Maybe I was reading way too much into it but this novella seemed to leave hints as to what’s going on with the King and the rebellion and everything so I got theories flying everywhere! Give me The One now!

Plot: Following Aspen’s (the Guard) POV during his time in the palace and his interations and thoughts.

Character: Aspen – I really like him! He cares so much for America and he catches up on things that she’s (and us as readers as the books are in her POV) oblivious to. I think after reading this I have definitely become an Aspen girl! But I feel someone else will become his girl in the end.

Quotes Love

‘Everything doesn’t seem like anything when you love someone’ (17%) Oh Aspen!! ❤

Negatives – Not many really, just one thing was when he was talking about getting an injection; for what exactly? That wasn’t explained! Unless I missed that in the main books? o_O O I found one more thing; Kiera Cass wrote at one point ‘like a big middle finger to the monarchy‘ really Kiera Cass? Most people that read YA all swear! Why you baby-ing us? Just say ‘gave us a big ‘fuck off” not difficult. We aren’t children – I could happily rant about what ‘Young Adult’ actual means and how book target audience of ‘YA’ actually isn’t ‘YA’ but moving on!

Theories on Last Book (based on what went on in this Novella) SPOILERS BELOW!!

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L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 30

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I received this from NetGalley as an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Quickie Review: 4/5 on GoodReads.
This is a collection of Sci-Fi and Fantasy stories from amazing, well-known (some not so much but still very strong writers) authors and each one is captivating and interesting and very fun to read! The artwork is breath-taking as well! Anyone that just wants to be thrown into SF/Fantasy stories but with all the boring parts cut out and get all the main juicy parts, then definitely get this!

Just like the last short story collection, I will list all the stories, maybe just say what it’s genre is, my thoughts on it and anything underlined was a solid favourite and loved one from me!

Another Range of Mountains: Fantasy surrounding a kidnapping and a painter who can see stories in reflections. Strong female lead, there’s a twist, a chase, a bit of romance. Loved it!!

Shifter: Fantasy. A man who can change his appearance just by writing a different one. The dialect/dialogue was sometimes hard to read but made it authentic.

Beneath the Surface of Two Kills: Fantasy; hunting an wild animal. A little confusing at the end there and to be honest, I thought it was a female lead for half of the story! My miss there. Not sure whether this was actually urban fantasy or epic fantasy. Liked the hunt part of the story though.

Artistic Presentation: Discussion about the book itself.

Beyond All Weapons: SF; new earth story. This has such an epic ending! It hit me with a bang at least!

Animal: SF about saving the animals of the planet and mixing and messing with human and animal DNA.

Rainbows for Other Days: SF; The world is full of radiation. A part robot, part humanity thing works nearby to sort help his part of the world and one day comes across a human girl. The ending was like; so where is she?!

Giants at the End of the World: Fantasy; Travelling to the end of the world and Giants on the way!

…And Now Thirty: Another discussion/essay thing.

Carousel: Fantasy; now while I’ve heard very bad things about the author, you can’t deny Orson Scott Cards writing abilities! Great story, rather humorous and about life where living humans live and can see ghosts.

The Clouds in Her Eyes: Fantasy/Dystopian; A girl who finds her true power! Also there is an imaginary boat and a beautiful piece of artwork too! I wouldn’t like to eat a sparker though – ew!!

What Moves the Sun and Other Stars: SF; robot and a man trying to escape a dark, dangerous land. Probably one of two stories in this book that I just didn’t buy and/or couldn’t fully get into. It was rather confusing and couldn’t really imagine what things looked like but it was interesting never the less, just not my type. The artwork I felt didn’t match either. Also, I actually noticed some spelling mistakes in this story =/

Long Jump: SF; a jump gone wrong. A man who threw away his chance and is left in an awful end.

These Walls of Despair: Fantasy; A little confusing but is about a man who can mix things to create emotions. The backdrop is also a criminal trial which was interesting and when he went out to discover something was haunting and wonderful.

Synaptic Soup: Another essay/discussion.

Robots Don’t Cry: SF; Beautifully bittersweet! A story about a robot and that is all I’m gunna say. O the feels!!

The Shaadi Exile: Fantasy; An Asian twist on Sci-Fi which is a nice refreshing thing to read about! =] This story confused me at time but still was a touching read. Also has the theme of arranged marriages but across millions of light years of time!

The Pushbike Legion: Sci-Fi; Took me a while to get into it and didn’t fully like it either. I loved the mystery of this desert ‘thing’ and the fact it was set in England and the tech part was enjoyable also. I loved the growth of the main character who was like transitioning from boy to man.

Memories Bleed Beneath the Mask: Sci-Fi; About memory exchange and the law. It was short and sweet and interesting.

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Negatives: I wish the balance of SF to Fantasy had been equal (it was mainly Sci-Fi) and there were two or three stories I couldn’t completely believe in but none-the-less enjoyed! Final note; there are two/three like essay/discussion things in there that just didn’t interest me and we placed in random place, maybe if it had been at the beginning or the end as a sort of ‘How this book was made’ section or something.

May Wrap Up and June TBR!

I participated in two Read-A-Thon’s this month, so you would’ve thought I’d have been more successful…

May Wrap-Up:

Nothing ='[ But I did read like 400 pages of Battle Royale and almost 400 pages of L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 30 so I am happy there! I’ve made such an amazing improvement this year with my reading, just every month, even reading a page, is more than what I read in a month last year and the year before (I have only read in summer (June – August) the past two years) so reading around 800 pages this month (and even like reading 2/3 books last month!) is a huge improvement =]

June TBR: (repetition from like the last two months I know, I’m sorry! Please forgive me?)

L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 30 (finished it early this morning!! =])
The Guard (The Selection #2.5)
Battle Royale
Thief’s Magic (ARC copy, was out May 13th)
The Truth About Alice (ARC copy, out June 3rd)

I’m only naming these five (rather than all the books I’m part way through) because they are the ones I’m only focusing on right now.

Same Time, Next Month! (hopefully more successful!)