2016 in My Bookshelf

Hello everyone!

Happy holidays for all of you who are celebrating them;

As 2017 approaches, I found myself pondering some of the things I did in 2016.

One of which is the Goodreads book challenge.

I set mine at 20 books (expecting the busy schedule of my PhD program), and ended with 27/20 books read. Not bad, but very lazy if compared to my 57/50 books read in 2015.

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Maybe I’ll get to read more books in 2017 🙂

Among those books, some took a few hours, and some days. Some were a fun surprise and some a bit on the long and slow side, with interesting endings and plot.

Here are my 2016’s favorite reads:

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (My rating 4/5): I put this on the to-read list for a loooooooooong time. I was worried it wouldn’t be as great as everyone claimed it was. I was, however, pleasantly surprised that it was. Despite the old writing, and long journey, the deceptive simplicity of the story captured my heart from beginning to end. Much like any other hopeless romantic, I continued to root for Mr. Darcy and Miss Bennett till the very last page :). 1885
  • The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (My rating 5/5): Now on my favorite books ever, this play was fun and funny and meaningful and all that they say about Mr. Wilde. The movie wasn’t bad either 😉92303
  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (My rating 5/5): The problem with some great books is that they break your heart, and you love them for it :(. The little prince is without doubt one of those. Added to my all-time favorites without hesitation. I also liked the animated movie, and found it to be far less heart-wrenching 🙂157993
  • The Girl with all the Gifts by M.R. Carey (My rating 5/5): It meant something. Something important and it said it in a lovely and page-turning way. I wish we were all like Melanie, defiant of our own inner darkness and reliant instead on the love and compassion of our inner light. A long read, but a worthy one. I can hardly wait to see the movie.17235026
  • Winter by Marissa Meyer (My rating 4/5 stars): The long awaited ending to my all-time favorite series was a joyful if long ride. One would argue it wasn’t as magnificent as the first books, but it was just as imaginative and interesting.13206900
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7 Free Tools I Can’t Do Without

Hellllllllllllo 🙂

It’s been a while since we talked, how has it been?

Everyone enjoying summer?

So, today, I wanted to share with you a number of free tools that had made life easier for me 😉

Most of them are cross platform, and some have premium options which I found I didn’t need.

So, here it goes.

1- EPUBReader & Kobo ebooks : For all the bookaholics out there!

CaptureSo technically these are two tools: The first, EPUBReader, is a Firefox addon which I’ve found invaluable. I read a lot of books, and you won’t believe the number of sites allowing legal epub downloads of great books especially those precious classics like the adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Pride and Prejudice. EPUBReader lets you set up a library, and bookmarks your progress. It also connects you to the wealth of free books on project Gutenberg.

Since I also enjoy long bus rides and silence lunches with my smartphone reading, I’ve been on the lookout for a great mobile tool. Kobo has a good ebook app for this, it allows you to buy and download books from their library, and to import epub format of your own books bought/gotten elsewhere. This tool can be downloaded for your pc as well, but I didn’t much like their windows version.

Both tools allow you to change font size and bookmark progress. With Kobo allowing you to take notes and quotes, as well as build shelves and reading lists.

The one thing I don’t like about either tool is that there is no cross-devices sync of page position or imported books :p. Maybe one or both will think about it.

2- Evernote and Evernote Clipper: Loose nothing!

evernoteAnother duo, both from the same provider. Evernote is a note-taking app that lets you build your library of different notebooks and capture ideas in all all formats (files, images, sounds). The clipper is a browser addon so you can save anything you may stumble upon online from website bookmarks, full articles, screen shots and selections, directely into your Evernote account.

The basic account is synced across all devices and platforms and you don’t have to worry about loosing your moleskin again.

Evernote also has a set of other useful software you might like to check out on their site.

3- Google Keep: For the smaller tasks.

keep-512I use Evernote to classify just about every note-worth-taking thing. Research for my writing projects, my academic projects and the fun tidbits the internet has to offer. Sometimes however, you need something small, for smaller tasks. For example I like to keep a to-do-list which I can consult and modify on the run anywhere. GoogleKeep has that extra little thing that lets you do this. Comes as a sticky-note system, with color codes and label classification, it’s very helpful for those things you don’t need filed in precise folders for the rest of your life.

Comes synced on your web browser, pc, or mobile app through your Gmail account.

4- Inbox for Gmail: Gmail made pretty and handy.

Speaking about google apps and accounts, here is the new mail client for your Gmail.

I first met this one as a mobile app on my Android phone. Didn’t like it much at first, but then they said they had a web app which I felt was a lot easier to get used to.

google_inbox_logoThe application had been in constant development ever since. Treating your mails as a to-do-list and a set of reminders you can stick important mail to the front, bundle the rest into folders, and assign as ‘done’ those you’re finished dealing with. You can also snooze the ones you wanna take a look at later. You can also create reminders that arrive into your Inbox as desired.

Material design and fun to use, it changed my idea of Gmail completely. It has its buggy days, but that’s because it’s still being worked on. I think it might be the future of Gmail.

Try it out, and of course you may continue using the regular Gmail in parallel with Inbox for as long as you want.

5- Google Calendar: Plan your life!

Yep, I’m a Google girl 😉

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This free app comes either as mobile or web-based. They gave it a fresh look on android and I love it. Set out reminders, schedule your day, week, month and year. Share calendars and invite people to events. And the absolute new? Goals! Wanna set out time to exercise? set out the goal on your calendar and it’ll help you keep up!

6- Dropbox & GoogleDrive: Take everything, everywhere!

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Two simple, awesome file sync. My favorite between them is. Drobpox. Its sync is fast and the app is reliable and stable. Dropbox comes with shared folders, sharing links and previous versions enabled. The free account however is small if compared to Google’s 15GB GoogleDrive/Gmail/Calender combo.

2000px-logo_of_google_drive-svgYou can use either or both. They are easy, just set up the folder, put your stuff in there and keep it connected to the internet. Changed device? Need something from the computer but don’t have it with you? just login on your phone or another computer and it’s waiting for you. I can’t tell you how many times it saved me.

I recently bought a new computer. Downloaded the needed apps, and didn’t need to move a single file. It was all there in my Dropbox and Drive.

I mainly use Drive to keep my photos and other large files, while my PDFs and ongoing academic work is on Dropbox.

7- Notepad/Gedit : Simple as it comes, handy as it should.

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I’m a writer. I love writing.

But like most people with this creative interest, my editor (my evil brain) likes to make things hard.

Best solution? Skip on spellcheck and grammar correction. Forget formatting and font sizes and styles.

Just type away your first draft, then worry about everything else later.

To achieve this I’ve tried a number of tools. FocusWriter being a lovely distraction free option. But they were all too… nice.

They kind of felt fancy to me.

So I went back to the advice a teacher told us about programming in college; use Notepad!

It comes with your windows installation, or download the great Gedit (works on both Windows and Linux). I’m sure Mac OS comes with a basic similar.

Simple and minimalist, you can write it all in one file, and have it synced on Dropbox or Drive in small .txt format.

And that’s all for today folks! Did you like my list?

What are your ‘Can’t do without’ apps and tools?

Catch ya later,

Seekingsomepeace 😀

March BookShelf: The Lazy Days

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Hey guys!

How is it going?

It’s spring, and the weather is lovely….most of the time 😛

This had been my reading lazy month. Instead of having at least one book finished every week, I only finished two books. Neither on my currentely reading list.

I was kind of busy, and doing a bit of Bollywood movie re-runs 😉

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March Read Shelf

My two books are:

  1. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North: Rating 4/5. This book was loooong. It was also complex, and new and different. The auther’s style and the lead’s voice were very unique, and the story somewhat between baffling and genius. It only got better and better as it got closer to the end. It was only the fact I couldn’t finish it in two settings or three that made it loose a star. Some people may find it boring or too confusing though :).20706317
  2. Past Midnight (Past Midnight, #1) by Mara Purnhagen: Rating 3/5. I have one thing to say about this book: it could have been better. It was about a true face of the human existence: dealing with and understanding death and loss. Unfortunately there was something missing in the conflict, or perhaps the character’s voices that made it… just too easy. I sort of liked it, but I wouldn’t go look for more of the series, or the author. If you’ve read anything else for miss Mara and loved it better, let me know.7737852

February Shelf, Part II: The Commentary

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Hi guys!

Welcome to part II of the February Book Shelf.

Today I’ll comment on my reads of the month 🙂 Do share your own opinions in the comment’s section!!

  1. Touch of Power, by Maria V. Snyder: Rating 5/5. This YA/fantasy was a lovely adventure. The heroine was A true pure soul, and I loved her. I’d love to read the remainder of the series though the ending to this book was fulfilling in a strange way. Set in a time of recovery from plagues and on the verge of unification wars, it was an insight to all those problems and human nature dark spots we face today, and everyday.
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  2. The Importance of Being Earnest, by Oscar Wilde: Rating 5/5. My first classic in a long time, as well as my first play since middle school. Funny, quirky, witty dialogue and hilarious characters. It was all I’ve heard of in regard to Mr. Wilde and more. It is a play, and a book that’s hard to imagine was written so long ago. If you’ve never read anything for Oscar Wilde, try this short loveliness, I think most people would enjoy it.
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  3. The Last Hour of Gann, by R. Lee Smith: Rating 5/5. Ok, this one must be marked of one of the few mature-content reads I ever dared keep on my shelf. A long saga set on another planet with awfully human-souled aliens, it was in a few words disturbing, crazy, twisted and absolutely sick more than once. Violence and sexual abuse towards fellow-people, especially women told in a hauntingly familiar setting. Honestly, I can imagine our world going down that path, and can only hope we’ll find such good-hearted saviors then. I’m not one for inappropriate content, most of the time you can skip the whole and the story would remain intact, in this book however I could see why it was necessary to give the whole picture. Not advised for the weak of heart or stomach, but an absolutely wonderful, if rather long, read.
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  4. The Dutiful Rake, by Elizabeth Rolls: Rating 4/5. A romantic novel enjoyed in a certain type of hopeless romantic moods. If like me, you sometimes need a dose of silly easy romance, I advise you with this. I rather liked the book, though, I thought it was lacking to some point in character development and conflict. I read it in two settings, so it deserved the 4 stars.1429939
  5. Dorothy Must Die, by Danielle Paige: Rating 4/5. My long-awaited currently-reading book. A terribly haunting and twisted Dorothy in OZ-inspired story, this book proved a bit lagging for me. The story is lovely, and we begin to understand the heroine, Amy, much better as the story comes to the end of its first part. Still, it took an effort to finish it, and I hope the second installment would be faster. I did like the book, the heroine and the setting. All I can say is ‘WHAT HAPPENED TO DOROTHY?’18053060
  6. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen: Rating 4/5. I’ve been putting off reading this book for a loooooong time. I’m not much into classics in general, and miss Austen’s style is a bit hard to grasp at times. Still, it was a polite and thoroughly enjoyable romance and view into the society of that time. I fear in many parts of the world, that outlook is still too similar. It was funny, sad and a bit slow-paced for my tastes at times but I have no regrets. I also saw the movie, and I must *shamefully* admit I liked it much better ;). It is a true everlasting story.
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My currently-reading shelf has but one filled spot for ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen R. Covey. Maybe we’ll talk about it next month 😛

Till we meet again,

Be well, and don’t forget to comment!

yours, with love and books,

Seekingsomepeace.

 

 

The February Bookshelf, Part I: The Read List

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Hello people!

How’s it going?

So, another month walks by, did you enjoy it?

I found it filled with ups and downs, myself 😛

Today is another Bookshelf post **yay**

If you’ve been visiting this blog for a while, you’ll know I’m a bookaholic with a mission. This year’s is 20 books, so far, it’s 12/20  *wide grin*

Last month’s shelf had been a bit unvaried, I went through a beauty and the beast period there. Except for the lovely Lunar Chronicles finale of course.

February’s had been a bit more diverse, with the at last-attended to Pride and Prejudice, as well as Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

I’m not a classics person really, but I must say I enjoyed both books **with some reservations**

Anyhow, here’s my read list for February:

feb_shelf

February Read Shelf

As you can see, I finished Dorothy Must Die, by Danielle Paige, and I’ll tell you all about in part II: The Commentary.

Till then,

Live with joy, read with passion,

Seekingsomepeace.

PS. If you have a Goodreads account, friend me on Airlia Gray 🙂

January Bookshelf, Part II: The Commentary

Hello guys,

As I said in the first part of the January Bookshelf post, in this second installment, I’ll be commenting on each individual book I’ve read in January.

In general, I’ve been going through a set of Fairy-tale retellings. Most of the books are a Beauty and the Beast story retold.

I liked most of the books, and of course I already told you I adored the finale of the Lunar Chronicles series, Winter.

  1.  The Curse Girl by Kate Avery Ellison. This one was interesting. A girl who’s brought to break a curse on a Beast, except… Well, to avoid any spoilers, things are not nearly as you’d expect them to be. It was a short read, and I only rated it 3/5 stars. But all in all, I liked it. I guess it just felt like it needed…more.13155806
  2.  Beautiful Beast by Cindy C. Bennet. Another short read, and a Beauty and the beast story, this book was a more realistic twist to the story. It was more about the curses we cast on ourselves through guilt, and fear. An enjoyable read, but also only a 3/5 stars book.                                                                              13618622
  3. The Cold King by Amber Jaeger. I gave this book a 5/5. It wasn’t the most powerful read, or the most original retelling of Beauty and the beast, but it kept me turning the pages to the very last moment, and that, to me, is a 5 star book. Love, and forgiveness, and how both and only both can break our curses. 17373158
  4.  The Fire King by Amber Jaeger. A part of the same series as the Cold King, this was another interesting read. Though not as grabbing for me as the first one, I liked it just fine. A mix between love that can change us, and finding ourselves in a hard changing world, this is a retelling of Snow White that was very different. I gave it 3/5 stars rating and I wouldn’t say it was the most action fast-paced book on my reading list, but it was ‘Cute’.                         18455499
  5.  Beast by Judith Ivory, Judy Cueva. This one is a bit of a silly book, and silly we sometimes need. Another Beauty and the beast real-life twist retelling, it was about a love story of two very vain and a bit stupid and naive couple. One scarred, the other too young and both searching for who they are, truly are, on the inside, despite knowing what the world wants them to be. Another 3/5 stars rating, It was another cute read that made me smile at the ridiculousness of the very relatable if underdeveloped characters. 1130878
  6. Winter by Marissa Meyer. The highlight of January, the finale to my beloved Lunar Chronicles. It was everything expected of it, and more. A bit on the long side, it was all a fairy tale, sci-fi, and action loving book-addict such as myself would want. As usual the author’s writing style was charming, though there were parts of description I skipped, mainly because I was too impatient for them and just wanted to know what happens next. Based on snow white, I gave it, of course, 5/5 stars and would highly recommend it and the remainder of the series to any fairy tale fanatic out there.13206900

All in all January held some quality gems, and a bit of under-fulfilments. For February I’m hoping to finish my currently reading list: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey.

I’ll let you know how both, and more, will turn out.

Do share your opinions on your own reading lists if you please 😉

And as usual, if you have a Goodreads account, friend me on Airlia Gray.

See you later,

Seekingsomepeace.

 

January Bookshelf, Part I: The Read Shelf

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Yo! What’s up?

If you’ve been around for a while, you’d noticed I’m a bit of a book addict.

Last year, I managed to hit 57/50 books on my GoodReads 2015 Reading Challenge.

This year, we’re starting small, with a challenge of 20 books.

On the 30th of January, my counter is 6/20. Not bad, except most of the books, safe one, were relatively short.

All in all, they were an interesting read.

The highlight of the month is, however, Winter!!

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If you’ve see my bookshelf tag post, you’ll know that the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer is one of my forever favorite series.

The Fairy tale retelling with a sci-fi twist are a delicious combination of true love, insanity, and action. They also say a lot about what it makes someone a human being. It isn’t being made of flesh and blood, after all, but something more. Kindness, caring for others, and doing the right thing in the midst of darkness. Most of all, finding love 🙂

The finale in this great work, Winter, was a true joy and I’m glad I saved it for January (though I technically started it around the last week of December).  I can’t wait to get my hands on the companion novels!!

Anyway, here is my January Book shelf:

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Airlia Gray’s January Read book Shelf

I’ll give each it’s own shot at a short review in the second part of this post,

Till then,

Read with joy;

Seekingsomepeace.

PS. if you have a GoodReads account, befriend me at Airlia Gray.