The Hunger Games


As I’ve said before, work has been crazy lately and I’ve realized that lately the only free time to relax I have is while I’m driving from one place to another. So it’s time to dust up my audiobook collection.

I’ve been thinking about the advantages of modern technology when it comes to enjoying audiobooks, and I think the best way to break in my new phone (the one I had to buy out of necessity… stupid phones that break down even when you treat them nicely!) is to start a new one.

So… Catching Fire it is. Hopefully, I can make some progress with my goal for this year and check mark another book series my list.

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Summer’s End 

And the summer is almost over. How sad is that?

Honestly, it is depressing. And the worst part is that I’m not even sure when it began or where did it go.

This year, I had the craziest summer ever (or at least the craziest I can remember). It all started magnificently. I had promised a friend that I could house-sit for her while she went on a trip, so I spent the first days of my summer break chilling out at her pool without giving a single thought to all the housework piling up at my house. And it was great… It all went to hell from there.

…It all went to hell from there.

Between surprise visits, unexpected traveling, emergency dog-sitting my parent’s pit bull and starting back at work earlier than expected… Summer vaporized into the hot air like a mirage. I didn’t even get to spend a single day at the beach.

And I live three blocks away from it!

I feel like this summer was both, the single most productive and busy time of the year, and the most boring lazy accomplished-nothing couple of months. I guess it would depend on how you look at it. Yes, I’ve worked so many unexpected hours that my savings account has completely recovered after I spent a good chunk of it visiting Japan this spring, and suddenly having to replace my phone; but, at the same time, my reading list looks like it’s frozen in time. And that just saddens me.

How insane is that I measure my productivity in books read and not hours worked? Do you do that, too? Is it a book lover thing?

Maybe I need a different job. One where I can read all day and get paid substantially for it. Do you know any jobs like that? I’ll take any suggestion.

A Gathering of Shadows

5/5
It took me moths to finally finish A Gathering of Shadows, but it wasn’t for a lack of interest… i assure you.

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

Instead, the only reason I put it down was the crazy insane project that suddenly landed on my hands around the same time I was getting ready to finish this book.

When I finally found an opportunity to focus my mind on this story again, I had to go back a few chapters to get on the same excited mood I was when I was forced to leave it. It wasn’t difficult.

This is a amazingly exciting story. I can honestly say I liked this one better that the previous one. It is simply packed with more wonderful displays of magic than the first one in the series. Not only about this girl that’s supposed to have no magic discovering all the thing she hadn’t thought were possible, but also the more in-depth view we get to Rhy and that’s before we get to the whole magical battle cage contest!

And that ending!! Oh. My. God!

(And I don’t say that lightly)

I was still holding my breath when I immediately switched to A Conjuring of Light. Bless my crazy ideas of purchasing books by sets!

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

 

And, of course, I blew through the first chapters like crazy trying to keep up with my own excitement. It has been a while since I had that feeling. It was awesome. If the ending of book two and the beginning of book three are any indication, I’m going to absolutely love this one.

I’m trying to tamp down my expectations, so I don’t build it up too much before really getting into it, but I make no promises. This is, after all, the end of the story… As far as I know.  So, it is completely understandable that I would expect something way more amazing from this one book than from the previous tow put together. Don’t you think so? Isn’t that the standard?

What do you think?

Isn’t that the point of sequels?

Heart & Mind

I’ve always been fascinated with the human mind and how the brain works. it is such a complex and intricate machine/organ. I’ve read many books and articles, and watched many documentaries about the brain, about brain surgeries and mind disorders. i just find it all so interesting and compelling.

One of the things that I’ve learned about this, and that has changed the way I se many things, is about the contrasting and cooperating halves of our brains. I like to think about it like a set of conjoined twins: each one has it’s own roles and jobs, but they are both always ready to pick up the slack should there be a need.

Just imagine it. At this moment, each side of your brain is doing its own thing. One side of your brain does all the math, and the other makes you cry at the end of sad movies . You use one side of your brain when you write a letter, but the other when you listen to music.

One side is linked to creativity, impulses, and emotions; and, the other one, to rational thought, and the interpretation of symbols (basic for reading and writing).

So, it came as no surprise when I realize that I feel more emotionally attached to stories when I’m only listening to them. It takes more of a toll on me, when I’m listening to an audio-book and I feel more invested in the characters and their lives, than I do when I’m actually reading the same book.

But, at the same time, I find it hard to remember where exactly in the story I was, and the precise way in which something was said. This doesn’t happen when I’m reading  book, printed or electronic. If I can see the words, I am most likely to remember it.

I guess this is way I work well with a paper planner. I always feel more comfortable with remembering things if i can write them down and see them written somewhere, no matter where… even if it is just on a post-it that i’m going to loose at any moment.

This would also explain why I like to have both, the audio and the printed version of my favorite books…

Does the same thing happen to you?

Have you notice a difference in how you enjoy books if they come in print or in audio?

 

Grave Visions

Turns out that the best way to catch up with my reading is to be stuck in an airport for a couple of hours without anything else to distract me. Lately, when I try to take advantage of my time by reading while in transit from one place to another, there’s always someone trying to make conversation and it becomes impossible to focus.

Today, thou, I’m not sure if it was some kind of Don’t Talk to Me signal I might be sending out, but no one has tried to make conversation. I am grateful. Best group of people I could possibly keep company with in an airport as far as I’m concerned.

Let me read in peace, and I’m a happy camper. I can keep on waiting for the plane to beard for a couple of hours more. (It doesn’t look like I’ll have to, though).

So, this means I’m finished with Grave Visions. And a bit shocked, somewhat annoyed, but mostly curious to learn there is another Alex Craft book coming out this summer. Alex Craft series

I felt this one was a bit slow and not as packed with detective and mystery goodness as all the previous ones. And while I still liked it, I’m not as crazy about it as I was expecting.

There was crazy magic, and crimes were being committed and investigated… But I felt there was a lot going on in the story that was beyond Alex’s point of view. So much happened while she was unconscious or asleep, or as plain and simple as just terribly confused. And while all this makes sense when you take into consideration that she’s somewhat sick, it still left me with a feeling that I was missing much.

I think this story might need some alternative points of view. I’m dying to know more about Alex‘s father, of her elf, of her changeling, or even her Grimm Reaper of a boyfriend (who happens to be one of my favorite characters and barely made an appearance in this book). 3/5

But well… Hopefully next book would give us more. Right?

I’ll have to add the release date to my phone alerts, otherwise I’ll totally forget.

The Alex Craft series

Grave Visions by Kalayna Price

Winter rush is finally subsiding…

I knew it definitely when I finally managed to spend a whole Sunday cozy and happy on a couch with my e-reader and a cup of coffee.

So, now I’m happy to start doubling up on the books I’m currently reading. Maybe this way I’ll see more progress on my Books Read list.

And let’s get to it, with Grave Visions. With some more magic, plus some detective work and a pinch of good romantic drama to make things more interesting.

if I remember correctly, the lover she cannot trust just moved in with Alex under the orders of his Fae queen, and she and her best friend/inherited property are starting to work together in the P.I. new office, with a ghost as a partner and a strange kind-of-a-house-elf as a receptionist.

This should be entertaining. Right?

Opportunistic reader

I have always been very proud of the fact that I can sleep pretty much anywhere…

I can sleep as easily sleep if it’s daytime as if it were nighttime. I can sleep in small beds as in large ones… Even in a hammock. I can sleep on the floor, or in a bedroll. I can sleep on sand (which I have done, when we spend all day at the beach), it does t matter if the sun in on my face.

I can even sleep standing up.

Ok… That last one I haven’t done in ages, but I used to do it all the time when I was younger and we had to stand around during school ceremonies listening to boring speeches. I would just find a wall to lean on, somewhere where no one would pay attention to me, and nod off for a couple of minutes at a time.

This past couple of weeks, I discovered that I might be doing the same with my reading.

These past few weeks, work has been intense and quite busy. For some days before he Christmas break, I had been depending heavily on my phone’s alerts to keep my on time with a changing schedule… But I have been this busy before, even more so… And this is the first time this totally halted my reading.

Having little free time usually means it takes me way longer to finish a book that it would’ve normally taken me, no matter how much I’m enjoying it. But I feel like I haven’t  read anything at all in more than three weeks! This is one of the reasons why I finished my book count before the year was over

I keep feeling at the end of the day, like I forgot to do something. That feeling precisely is what got me thinking about it, and I realized that I read at some very strange times. Like…

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Also… Did you know it’s easier to read while you’re supposed to be working when you don’t actually have a book in your hand? A tablet is way less obvious. I could as well be actually working!

But, let me say this… The best tool to read while you’re supposed to be doing something else: A phone that syncs your bookmarks and notes.

Hell week

It makes me feel I like I’m letting myself down when I don’t read. Specially when I have a book that’s already started…

Last week has been specially bad.

Coffeebath Work was annoyingly busy, the weekend was supposed to be long but ended up feeling way too short and exhausting, I got to the point with my audiobook where I’m not sure I’m really understanding the story seeing as there are some very strange words and easily confused names…

And to top it all, my paper book was weighting down my bag when I had no chance to read at all, and at home when I actually could’ve read some.

A new week started, and things didn’t get better…

The week is half-gone already, and I still feel like I’m trudging through the hours without achieving much.

Why can’t I just quit work and devote my whole days to reading and drinking coffee?

Doesn’t that sound delightful?

Alone not lonely

3/5

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I think audiobooks are the best company when the times comes to do housework. I don’t really like silence that much if I’m not reading, so I need some kind of background noise. Mostly that’s when I put on my headphones and get lost on the sounds of whoever might be reading the book to me… but if not, then music is usually my companion.

I don’t consider myself a shy person. I don’t have any difficulties talking to people of even making friends, but I do enjoy being alone. My family tends to worry about me and I’ve met people who told me that i could do so many better things with my time… but I enjoy being by myself. it doesn’t make me depressed or sad, it just feel refreshing and like cool rain after a very hot day, if that makes any sense to you.

Being alone makes for the best circumstances for listening to audiobooks. I can just click play on my device and take my portable speaker wherever in the house I go. I can be in the kitchen cooking, or in the backroom doing laundry, or all over the place mopping… and nothing interrupts my “reading“.

Of course, this doesn’t quite work when I have visits, and even the cleaning of the house becomes team work.

But something good came out of all this.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

When I began reading A Darker Shade of Magic, I wasn’t quite liking it. The main character, Kell, felt to melodramatic; and the prince, Rye, was too much of an over-grown child. It wasn’t until I met Delilah that I stop considering ditching this book. But then I had to put the book on stand-by and got to reading Stained and Killing Floor. You know how that turned out: I hated both of them.

So, when I returned to my audiobook, things didn’t seem so bad.

I don’t know if it was because I had read two bad book on a row, or simply because I had already moved forward on the story… but things started to pick up with Kell and Delilah. There is fleeing and and unnoticed invasion, and unexpected people turning unwilling traitors, and the random chapters from the point of view of an unknown entity…

That was one of my favorite parts. We get to see things from the perspective of a creature that the characters are unaware of, and we don’t (until the very end) know who or what it really is. That was pretty cool.

I ended up deciding that I do like this book after all, and I will be adding the two sequels to my To-Read list, even if they are not at the top of the list.

Laying back under the sun.

Did I mention that I’ve been already enjoying my summer vacations?

Beach pano

And, to be honest, this year it HAS felt almost like a real vacation. I did get more than a week completely off and even managed to make a trip to the beach. My tan looks great and my margarita recipe has been much improved by practice and experimentation, not to mentione all the pineapple I have been eating.
image

I didn’t know pineapples were a summer fruit. I’m tropical weather, beach dwelling native… I just never before stopped to think about it. But turns out it is, and this summer I found this awesome kitchen tool that makes peeling and cutting a whole pineapple super easy… The screen on my eBook reader has been constantly splashed with fruit juice, that’s all I’m saying.image

Of course, there has also been the over eating that I commonly blame on vacations. I cannot visit people without bringing or accepting something to eat. And I cannot visit another city without trying all the foods that I wouldn’t get in my town. There was been a lot of eating, a long with a lot of sleeping, some drinking and even some moments that could be better described as doing nothing

But there has also been a lot of reading. And that has just felt like the cherry on top of a very delicious cake.

It has all helped to make me feel reenergized and to feel a bit younger, too!! I think it has been all the reminiscing about my college days and those long endless and idle summers that I sometimes miss greatly .

The free days are dwindling down, work calls, and preparations need to be made for the end of summer… Namely housecleaning. But, like John Lenon wisely said:

“Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted”.

 

Good & Bad Habits

I’ve been told that after 30 days of doing something over and over, it becomes a habit… being it good, or bad.
I just finished reading an actual paper book after quite a while of only carrying around my tablet and reading from the growing collection of books I’ve load into it. And I realized that I’ve picked up some habits that I’m not really sure are either bad or good.
First,

Paper books are heavier.

I had been trying to downsize my purse for a while, only to be reminded why a bigger one is better. My shoulder has been complaining. Second,

My double-tap stopped working.

It is not unusual for me to find unknown words, or simply a few that give me pause and I prefer to look them up and certain of what they refer to. usually this is done with a soft double-tap that clicking of DEFINE. Easy as pie.
Not so easy on paper books. The first couple of time, I did try to tap the pages but nothing happened. Thankfully, I do have a dictionary app on my phone.

It is true, though,

There’s nothing like the feel of paper.

It was a complete rediscovery of the feel of actual paper in my hand. There is really nothing else like it. I think this is my most important argument when it comes to my undying love for paper books, and it is all mostly about nostalgia. But,

Underlining and coloring.

My eBooks are a colorful bunch. Not so much for the covers, but for all the highlighted parts and notes. I’m all about color-coding. I have purple marks for the parts I loved, blue for the parts I’d like to share and yellow for the cool words I had never heard of before. This is something new I’ve been doing for a couple of months now, but I imagine it would be cool to find those marking when I get to re-reading these books… like talking to myself. And if I ever disagree with me, I can simply delete it all.
I don’t really feel it would be right to do this to paper books. It might ruin it for anyone else who wants to read the book, or it my just damage the pages over time. That without taking into account that I’ve been getting a lot of books put of the book pile at work. Highliting them would be plain rude. And,

Speaking fo sharing.

I don’t know an easier way to share bits and snippets of what I’m reading than simply tapping it and clicking on SHARE. Having to remember what was it that I wanted to say, and having to transcribe it… it was not impossible, just more complicated and bothersome. Lastly,

Moonlight reading.

I’m not a morning person, so the sunrise and i are not very good friends. Meaning,I avoid him. I have think curtain, dim lights and all in all a rather comfortably darkened cave for sleeping (what other might call a bedroom). But I also use this cave for reading, and without self-illuminated pages, my late night reading becomes a tiring thing. Might need to get a new bedside lamp, exclusively for reading.(Would that be a reading lamp, then?)

I have no real opinion on the matter of PAPER vs TABLET when it comes to reading. I think both methods have their own merit and disadvantages of their own. I guess these will continue to be my arguments, until something new pushes me towards one or the other side of this argument.

What do you think?

Paper book or eBook?

 

“I have no feelings of guilt regarding the books I have not read and perhaps will never read; I know that my books have unlimited patience. They will wait for me till the end of my days”

Alberto Manguel

Exhausted: Body or mind?

I have always laid down with a book after a long day.

It that moment when your feet hurt, your back aches, and you may have just stuffed yourself full of food after spending a good while feeling like eating your own hand because you’re so hungry…  And no matter all of that, you mind would take you on incredible trips to amazing places. That’s one of the reasons I love book so much.

Summer is usually my more relaxed season when it comes to work, and it being so absolutely melting-hot in my little corner of the world, it has the best moments to relax in a hammock with a very icy beverage and my flavor-of-the-week book…

This summer has completely ruined my plans.

Even the few free days that I’ve had, have been completely exhausting; but, not in the way that I’m used to. Lately, I’ve felt like my brain has been put through the blender, baked and then left for the ants to eat.

After a full day of work, my feet don’t hurt that bad, my back feels fine, and I have completely lost track of the last time I ate… but I’m so tired that my eyes burn and my head feels heavy.

… and my reading time has suffered. And I hate it.

Reading is THE thing that keeps me sane. I LOVE reading. And the fact that I, until the beginning of this month, hadn’t felt in the mood to read really bothers me. How can anyone maintain their sanity without time to themselves, alone with their books?

Things seem to be falling more into place now, and this week I finally got to cuddle up with my book and enjoy it. It felt like a change of skin: dropped of the frayed one and soothingly wear a brand new one now.

I feel restored by a bit of good reading time. Have you ever felt like that?