22 November 2020

How to Use Goodreads


If you are wondering how to use Goodreads efficiently, this post might be for you. I have been using Goodreads for almost 10 years and I have seen how it changed over the years. But if you're a reader and you don't know or did not hear about Goodreads, you are missing a lot.

Goodreads is a website which is launched in 2006. It lets you connect with fellow readers, and authors. Keep your book piles in order or just organize your books online. 

It is a very handy. Also, you can interact with other readers from all around the globe. Exchange ideas, make lists, get recommendations and even choose the best books of the year for several genres. 

Moreover, you can enter groups (Community) to find people who share the same tastes with you. You can enter giveaways. Have contact with authors, solve quizzes or add quiz questions. Goodreads is really fun if you like this stuff. It really helps to take the steam off.

Several years ago, Amazon bought Goodreads, luckily, the website did not change much but the problems such as downtimes, lost books went away and Amazon promoted books came.

It has been a great fun to read reviews, write reviews, and interact with people who have the same tastes. 

So, if you are new to Goodreads, you probably don't know how to start, what to do. I made a small guide on how to use Goodreads. Let's start.

05 November 2020

Never Gonna Read Part 2



This book was everywhere for several years, I took it to my to-read pile several times and then deleted it again. But now I made peace with that I will never read The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. I did not even watch the film.

The book is loved by many, and its topic looks very interesting, but it doesn't draw me. Maybe it is the cover.

04 November 2020

Review: The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk



When I first read the description of The Midnight Bargain, I felt that I need to read this book. I even listed this book here along with other books I would really like to read.

Because it was telling the story of a woman who is stuck between a rock and a hard place. She desperately needs to get married because of her family's financial situation, but she also does not want to lose her magic since women are put to a warding collar to prevent spirits from taking host in their children and wreaking havoc. (They wear a collar like a dog until they experience menopause. They cannot use their powers.)

And Beatrice wants to use her magic, she wants to be a magis (top level of magician) even if  it means being a spinster. So she makes a deal with a spirit named Nadi to take back a grimoire which belonged to her in the first place. Thus, the adventure of finding your identity, laying a claim to your power begins.

REVIEW 


The Midnight Bargain 
reminded me of Mulan, wrapped in magic and in 17th or 18th century England in the beginning of the book. Balls, open season for a husband or wife. The problems and traditions were similar, but the author also added the twist of magic and imaginary places and cultures. Also, the book was not about family honour, it was about money, ambitions, choices and the power to be able to make those choices.

In my honest opinion, the book captures the historical romance aspect very good but the dilemma Beatrice faces and the dialogues makes the book a lot repetitive. Also, this was not mean that there was no action, problems, arguments, drive to achieve, romance, an understanding male, nice chats, shocking and unladylike acts in the story.

One thing I really hated about this book was Harriet. There could not be more annoying, selfish, disturbing girl in the world. She had no solidarity in her. Only thing she wanted was to save herself, she never listened her sister, never considered what is asked of her. She kept saying this for family, for me, we have debt and I see that her age is young, but she "knows it all" so I expected more from her. Some solidarity would be so nice. Also, she had no respect for her older sister. I think this is the main reason why she felt this nosy.

Another female with a drive was Ysbeta. She is really a nice character, strong headed, but did she really need to lose her femininity? In my opinion, besides being cheeky, Beatrice was more balanced. I understand Ysbeta, one must have the choice to do whatever they want. I just think that the world thinks that a strong female cannot be a partner and strong at the same time and Ysbeta rises as an example of that.

Romance part was OK for me since I did not really want to read this one for romance.

To be honest, I never liked historical romances because of the sexist approach, since we experience this today,  I don't need them in my happy place.

Overall, I liked The Midnight Bargain, but I had problems with some topics. If you like a historical romance book wrapped in magic, this one might be for you.

Rating
★★★

What I listened
 

26 October 2020

Never Gonna Read Part 1


When I was browsing around, I saw Book Binge's WTF Cover Saturday series and this idea popped into my mind. Unlike Book Binge, I won't dedicate a day to NEVER GONNA READ series (It is a commitment I will gladly refuse.). 

As you can guess, it is about what I won't read, or even think about reading it. Also, I (sometimes) will explain why I made that decision. 

Here it is: The first ever NEVER GONNA READ

Anything of Veronica Roth.

This surprise you? Don't let it. 

When I first read Divergent, I was awestruck, joined the fandom right away. Second book was OK. I liked the world, characters, it had problems, but who does not. But then, I read the last book and it was just... How to explain... Mmm... A lazy author's last ditch attempt to squeeze more fame, immortality, money, attention. You pick whatever you want. 

Of course, there were other signs which I ignored wilfully... I just love that the last film never released, or even shot. Hurrah, Shailene! I did not watch the first film, even though it played right before me on a TV. I am that spiteful.

Maybe Roth's style improved, maybe she is much more than she used to be, maybe she is amazing now. But when I hate something, it just does not go away. So here I am, both promoting and spilling out hatred. Don't you love me?

So, I swore off from Mrs. Roth and I will never turn back. Here are the books I'm NEVER GONNA READ.

Carve the Mark Series



The Chosen Ones Series


We Can Be Mended (Divergent #3.5)



Sure we can. *Eye roll*

19 October 2020

Review: The Life Below by Alexandra Monir

It is always amazing to read some space science fiction. Ordinary people don't bother with the possibilities of outer space, what awaits us when we finally step up to the deep dark. And I am one of them; I know one or two names, sometimes look at what NASA or Elon Musk does, but it is beyond my interest or capabilities to name 8 planets (or 9, they keep changing it) in our solar system.

The Life Below is the second book of The Final Six series and I liked the first one very much, but as always with me, YA romance part got boring quick. Sometimes the descriptions were beyond my understanding. But the robots, bad guys, science, possibility of alien life form was interesting enough. I gave the book 4 stars and never looked back because I truly hate cliffhangers. You can leave questions, possibilities, but a cliffhanger is just mean. 

Because of some job-related thing, the second book of the series came to me and I read it. The Life Below is more action-packed than the first. It is applaudable how Monir made this book more exciting than the first one. They were in space, for God's sake! Their days should have been boring, cramped, suffocating, right?

It was not. Though cramped they were.

So, in the book, the crew is finally thrown to space, and they are experiencing some serious problems. Like lost equipment. LOST. Meanwhile, Leo is getting ready to meet them without getting caught to the officials. The book is again told from different POWs, but in this one, we also experience changing timelines. So curiosity is on every page.

For me, this book was wonderful on executing the action and making the reader wonder but felt weak on establishing a flowing narration. It is so divided that it feels like a diary for me. We are on Earth, then go back to space, then we are in "now" then in the "past". And Sam says some stuff. Then two months pass in a blink of a moment. But also this makes it easy to read. I finished it like in three hours or four.

Also, the first book was so real. The possibilities were more solid, people were more relatable. In the sequel, not so much. It is fast and in my honest opinion, Monir was more worried about the romance part, about "How can I squeeze a happy ending in there?" that the reality became a fantasy and what I liked about this series is lost forever. While some people have their happy moments, others suffer. I hate when some characters are sacrificed for one or two. Real-life does not favour. So there is no balance here. And it makes the book just "meeh". Moreover, if something is so important, you can't just say, "Ah, never mind, we can make do". These are adding more problems to the storyline.

So, if you want an action-packed, breath-taking (from running around) and easy read, this series is for you. But if you are after a more believable, more grounded story, this might disappoint you. I was.

I wish Monir preferred less action and followed timeline closer to the real one. 

Rating

The Final Six Series by Alexandra Monir

  1. The Final Six (2018)
  2. The Life Below (2020)
  3. ???

13 October 2020

Several Books I Want to Forget and Read Again

As a reader, sometimes I wish that I could forget a book and read it again to just taste the same emotions and that book hangover. Even the thought of these books brings a smile to my face. Though I am not sure, my friends would want to see that frenzy Merve again.

So I wanted to share with you those books. You probably read them, but do we miss any chance to talk about our favourite books? Nope, never.

Also, if you have any books to add, please leave a comment, and so I, I mean we, can read them.

I will start with a long-time favourite:

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS BY JOHN GREEN

When I first read this book, I cried for two hours straight. Then I suggested it to everybody who will read. When the film came out, we watched it as a group, gathered bookmarks. Swooned about the characters. Then I read the Turkish edition. I have both Turkish and English hard cover editions. 

INHERITANCE TRILOGY BY N.K. JEMISIN

I read this trilogy two times. Nahadoth. Yeine. Sieh. Itempas. (Oh, sweet Sieh) I just adore this trilogy. The end blew me away. It is such a journey for me that I would gladly take the pain I felt. (I was following Turkish translations, and they still have not published the third book...) I really wish to forget and reread. Beautiful story.

GUILD HUNTER SERIES BY NALINI SINGH

When I first started this series, I reread every book before a new one released. So I probably read the first book 4 or 5 times, including Turkish one. If you call me crazy, I will show you my signed ARC of 6th book. *Smirk* In summary, I love the characters, first book, second book, third book and so on.

CHARLEY DAVIDSON BY DARYNDA JONES

I don’t think there is funnier narrator around and Charley never feels the same when I read it again. And I did. She is lame, quirky, funny (like LOL kinda funny) and the story is mysterious. I still don’t know many things because I am saving this series for the hard times. It is like chocolate for me. 

HARRY POTTER SERIES BY J. K. ROWLING

Now, you don’t see me mentioning Harry Potter much, but I love it as you. There is not much to say about Harry Potter. Tasting the fandom again... Oh, the sweet agony.

10 October 2020

Review: Infinite Detail by Tim Maughan

Note: This review might be spoilish to some readers.

Infinite Detail is a very relatable, horrific (because of 2020) and creative book. It alternates between POWs, timelines and touches a lot of topics.

In a very close future, there is a place  cut from government surveillance and internet. It is in the centre of Bristol and called Croft. A group of cyber idealists or anarchists created this place and Croft became the centre of digital art and freedom. A shelter from constant surveillance... (I later learned that Croft is real, as the building etc. Imagine my shock...)

Welcome to the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft, a two mile-long digital no-man’s-land right in the centre of Bristol, one of the UK’s leading smart cities. 

But then something dreadful happens. Internet is taken down, permanently. (I cannot even bear one hour of lost connection.) And Infinite Detail tells us why it happened, who is responsible, what are the results and how the humanity copes with it. And what is the solution, if there is one.

There is no easy way to summarize or review this book good, so I will skip summary and focus on what I thought of it. It may seem messy because it is. 

Infinite Detail was a hard read for me because when you start from the end, you are a bit at lost. And the book starts from the result, almost from the end. And I did not read the description. I sometimes think it as a big spoiler. That is why I don't read the reviews of the books in my to-read pile. 

Returning to the topic, (sorry) so you cannot decide if Infinite Detail is a fantasy or science fiction. And changing POW does not help with grasping what is happening. I had a tough time adjusting to environment and characters. Their inner thoughts were so foreign and incomprehensible. Maybe if I lived in UK, it would be much more easy. 

(Also, I have one question: What happens to Frank? He shows us underdog's view, but then he just disappears, never to be seen again.)

The conditions are dire. There is mourning, poverty, violence, danger and every bad thing imaginable. There is no food, no clothes, no shelters. But then some little pieces from old times were given and it becomes much easier to understand and mystery rises. Because the question remains: How? And as a reader, we keep wondering.

The topic, characters, fights and whatnot was so realistic. It feels like a summary of 2020. I think we won't find anyone who did not feel what I am talking about here. There were big and small troubles. Narrated world was very solid, the struggles were familiar. Some people experienced and are still experiencing what I listed above. It touches what you don't want to be reminded of... 

People don’t realise how reliant we are on the internet now. If it disappeared tomorrow there’d be chaos. 

Since the main argument of the book was internet, it probably won't surprise you but it sends a very loud salute to the Anonymous. As the world of Visual Reality bound to happen and IS happening, dependency of remote managing increases more and more. This book could be us in the ten years. In real. Such a horrific thought.

Also, I think music lovers, especially techno music lovers will adore this book. It is in the core. It would be hard to imagine the UK without music, am I wrong? But here art is the saviour, art is the only thing tangible. It may even push you to think about the age-old topics such as "art for art’s sake" and "art is for people."

What I am trying to say is that I never read something like this before. 1984, Brave New World and others in the genre touches, but this one grabs IT and pulls you in. You can see yourself living in this devastated world and also hope that you never taste it. I just hope that we never even come close to it. I did not born into the internet but I, pretty much, breathe and eat in it. As you.

I can guarantee that you will remember this one.

Rating
★★


06 October 2020

Review: The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires by Molly Harper

Apparently, I like Molly Harper. I did not know about it then but APPARENTLY I read two series of her and gave average ratings but I did not know her name. I even caught that The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires was a spin-off, but did not know that I read the main series. My memory fail sometimes knows no boundaries... (After looking like 30 seconds, I remembered everything.)

After reading several heavy or children's books, I felt ready to turn back to my comfort zone: light paranormal romance. I was looking around without aim and on a whim started to The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires. It is, like I said, a spin-off Jane Jameson Series of which APPARENTLY I read the first book in 2012. Don't you love Goodreads? Since I don't like my light paranormal romances long (it just becomes too boring and unbearable for me), I did not follow it through. One book is enough. 

This book is about a day helper (correct or chosen word for it is concierge) Iris Scanlon. She helps vampires with every need, minus the blood donating part. When she stumbles upon a passed out vampire in a job, she takes him to her house for a week against all of her rules because she needs money badly and he offers plenty.


Would you take an unconscious and unknown vampire to your home?

I would not, but then again I did not see the vampire. If I did, I might have. Cletus Calix (Cal) is poisoned, and he is looking who is behind this poison business since he is not the only one. And Jane, who lost her mother and father in a traffic accident, who takes care of her teenage sister, who started a new business and works like a crazy person, helps him. 

First, I want to start with Gigi, Iris' sister. I love her; she is mouthy, funny, smarter than i ever would be and cute. This book is worth to read just for the banter the two sisters have.

Let's get to the romance part. It was quick. They always are in these books. I don't read it for the romance, but I can say it was sweet. They made each other angry, bantered a lot and were they nice! Though Cal is depicted as a moron sometimes, he is a nice, handsome vampire. And let's be honest, Iris saves it all. Feminism all the way! But I did not feel the age part of Cal. A few can manage that. Sorry Molly, but it is true. Also, Cal did not act like one would expect from a detective. Most of the book, he just sat in front of his PC. He was like a cat, eating, resting and petting. Bummer.

The mystery part was lame too. I guessed who was behind it pretty quick. I hate it when the author gives away this quick. 

I like Iris more than I should. But I admire hard-working, loving and generous people. When I think what would I do if I was in her place, I know that I could not make it like she did. (I identify with characters too much, I knoooooow!) She is so real. Also, her love for plants stole my heart, though I could not make a flower live one month.

Overall, this is an entertaining, light paranormal romance alas long. Since i keep returning to Harper, I can suggest her books to you if you like the genre. Her world-building is pleasant, narrator capabilities are above average. 

The cover is hideous. I mean, come on! ALSO, Iris' nails depicted as unmanicured, short and her hands are calloused... from working on the GARDEN. When I look at the cover, I just see reddish nail polish. ALSO, she is on the short side. Well, well, well... Did I Say I am kinda obsessive?

I don't know if I will continue to series but who knows? 8 years from now on, I can take a Molly Harper book again and be surprised.

Rating
★★★

Half-Moon Hollow Series

1,5. Driving Mr. Dead
2. A Witch's Handbook of Kisses and Curses 
2,5. Undead Sublet
2,6. Special Valentine's Day Half-Moon Hollow Story
2,7. I'm Dreaming of an Undead Christmas 
3. The Dangers of Dating a Rebound Vampire
4. The Single Undead Moms Club
4,5. Fangs for the Memories
5. Where the Wild Things Bite
5,5Big Vamp on Campus
6. Accidental Sire 
7. Peace, Blood, and Understanding
8. Nice Werewolves Don't Bite Vampires