Tina Sandevska
3.5 Stars
Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1) - Marissa Meyer

Do you remember Cinderelly?

Cinderelly, Cinderelly
Night and day it's Cinderelly

You know the drill…(oh, here's a reminder: click me)

What I expected was

But, you know, with cyborgs…

…because they go together so well, right?

What I got was: What the hell was with the ending? I felt cheated, and even got a little infuriated…But then I poured myself a drink and…ah well, gotta go finish Scarlet.

I fucking hate series!

2 Stars
Some Prefer Nettles - Jun'ichirō Tanizaki

I'm trying to distance myself from the cultural and time differences I experienced and still, as much as try to, I cannot really say I liked the book. Some Prefer Nettles is not at all a badly written book, but unfortunately there was nothing in the story or characters I could relate to.

Tanizaki tells a story of a married couple that no longer wants to be married, but somehow Misako and Kaname don't do anything towards their official separation. Both husband and wife want out of this marriage, and it's not something that the times didn't allow them to do, yet neither of them takes a step in the right direction--they maintain a life "together", keeping the image of a married couple for the sake of I didn't actually understand what, while living each a life of their own. And it's perfectly fine by me if somebody wants to live their life in misery (which is actually the way I perceived their relationship), but I cannot remain neutral to the position of constant insecurity in which their son was put (apparently realizing the modern notion of divorce). The novel is centered around the conflict of old and new, of not wanting to change. Alas, I cannot sympathize with people who are not willing to take actions and change a situation they both don't like and are absolutely aware should change. I fully understand what Takizaki tried to do in terms of the conflicts between East and West, old and modern, but...no. Just no. I wish the novel was longer, providing a deeper insight to the main characters and their experiences. That would've probably made me care more about whether they stayed together or not.

I've been really meaning to read another one of Takizaki's books and I will at some point. It's not that Some Prefer Nettles was a major disappointment, it just didn't speak to me in a way that can make me really like a book.


My cat, Earl Barnabas Gray, loves his books and computers...

4 Stars
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley

Young Victor Frankenstein was fascinated by nature and science; unfortunately, he was also a dickhead who wanted to play God and rule the universe. He went to university and one day he decided that he could use his knowledge and experience to create life by using a rather unconventional method. He started sewing up dead people's body-parts, felt very happy and was nursing his new-found love for his creature, until ultimately he reanimated the patched-up corpse and felt repulsion and hatred. So after seeing his creature's cute animated face for the first time, Victor just goes 'Fuck it, I don't want this in my life' and flees. Unfortunately, what Victor doesn't even realize is that the creature is above all alive, and, as every living thing, is driven by some weird brought-back-to-life survival instinct. Which ultimately leads to a game of cat and mouse, a lot of dead people and misery.

Now, let me start by saying that this novel is not not so horrific on a blood-and-gore level, but it is definitely a psychological horror of how humans lack humanity. Having in mind that this book was written back when science was just a toddler, I think that today's reality, with its sciences evolving every second, is what makes Frankenstein a true horror story. I mean, I can really picture a modern-day Frankenstein doing all sorts of crazy stuff that he doesn't want to take responsibility for in some weird lab hidden under a desert in some super top-secret facility (let's say...)

Even though this novel (although frankly, Frankenstein is more like a longer short story) was written nearly 200 years ago, it tackles a lot of modern-day issues that are even more serious now than back then when they cured everything with penicillin and lobotomy. It raises some very serious questions like what is a human, what is humanity, are people good by nature, are they bad. Victor Frankenstein wanted to create. But did he really? Was he ready for his creation coming to life, did he know how to deal with it? There is this theory, called tabula rasa, that basically says that people are born without any mental content, and that they accumulate knowledge through everything around them and through their experience. Unfortunately Adam, the creature, has no parents to guide him, his daddy fled and left him all alone. So was this humane? Is Victor a human just because he was born and not...a reanimated dead corpse? Does Adam gain humanity through observing the world, educating himself and wanting to form relationship with other beings and be good to them? Or does his new-found hatred for mankind make him a monster? 

I think this book is a mandatory read. It's a bit slow because of the language and the language barrier, but, apart from the weird language, it is so applicable in today's reality, it's not even funny. I hope more people, especially young people, read this because this is horror at its finest.

On Bulgaria and libraries

So it all started a while ago when I posted my praise for a bookseller called Wordery. They somehow found my blogpost, tweeted me and…as of today I am officially a affiliate. What does this have to do with Bulgaria and its libraries you might ask. Well, here's the deal.


Bulgarians don't read that many books; and the books they do read, they mostly read in Bulgarian. Unfortunately foreign literature severely lacks in Bulgarian libraries, especially in the ones located in the smaller towns in my country. Bulgarian libraries have almost no financial support and almost zero budget for new books (especially the smaller ones I mentioned), and, of course, buying foreign literature in the original language is not their top priority.


I recently spent several months in one of the smaller Bulgarian towns; a friend of mine there works at the local library and man, is the situation tragic...


So I've decided to use the funds I accumulate trough this affiliate thingy to buy and donate books in English to local libraries in Bulgaria. I'm not saying you need to go and buy all your books via the Wordery link above. What I'm saying is that if you do use this link to buy at least one book (ever), the money will be used for spreading the love of books. Since I'm unable to visit all Bulgarian libraries, I will be mailing the books to them and I'll be posting updates on how my small humble cause is growing.


So yey for books and being good to others (and I'd greatly appreciate if you reblog)! :)


What the hell is this? :D

3 Stars
Hector and the Search for Happiness - Francois Lelord

So I studied to be a psychologist, a cognitive scientist, mind you, but as it turned out later I didn't become one. The moment came when I had to grow up and choose a profession and, being as I am, I chose one that didn't bring me a lot of happiness, but had a considerable influence on the amount of my alcohol-intake (which, if you ask Hector, can be really beneficial for your levels of happiness). Still, in this pain-in-the-ass job of mine I find happiness because my paycheck is big enough for me to spend on books that I don't even have enough space to store in. And as we all know books=happiness.

But this is supposed to be a review of the book and I don't want it to end up being deleted >> decrease of my levels of happiness >> increase of alcohol-intake to make it up, you know how it goes. So let me say that I bought this book because I liked the cover, it is very pretty and yes, I am superficial like that. It wasn't exactly what I expected, but at the end of the day, it wrapped up pretty nicely and I can say that I enjoyed it. It also made me think about happiness and how different people define happiness. Of course, back in the day when I studied to be a psychologist, my colleagues and I used to have many a drunken discussions on the matter, but books that you don't have to read for school are always better!
François Lelord tells a very simple story through Hector. It's about how grown-ups, being all serious and businesslike, forget what happiness is, and that you can find happiness everywhere, if are not, by nature, a grumpy old fart (then you just need to take pills, man). You shouldn't expect to find the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything (which is, as we know, 42), but you can pick up this book with an open mind and, who knows, it may help you change the way you perceive stuff.
I know what happiness for me--it's having crazy wino friends, it's buying books, it's my possessed cat that likes to sleep on my books, it's hearing the screaming 'I'm so happy!' ringtone of my email at 6 am (I still wanna kill you though). What the book says is: Just don't take stuff too seriously, try to smile more and find something positive in everything around you, and, you know, law of attraction.

I need to be part of this (bookrelated thing). Keep them fingers crossed! :)


4 Stars
By Night in Chile - Chris Andrews, Roberto Bolaño

So I have this friend who writes books. He used to read books too, until one day he found himself in a relationship and stopped. He told me once that I would probably like his last book, the conversation went something like:

Me: Bitch, when did you publish this last book, and why don't I have a copy?
M: A few months ago....
Me: What is it about?
M: You know, stream of consciousness...
Me: Man, you are so sick in the head, I don't ever want to read a book about your issues.
M: You'll love it.

But anyways, it's now last Saturday and, as usual, I am out hunting for something I need to buy. I end up buying Roberto Bolaño's By Night in Chile (Mike Puma says that you better start with it (sorry, Amulet, your day hasn't come yet)), I meet the said friend and he's like 'What the fuck is this book, Tina; you are stupid' and I'm like 'If I ever have to read your brain d***, I better have something sophisticated ready to repair my brain damage!'

I am dying now, but I still have many things to say.

Of course nothing of what I said so far makes any sense or is in any way connected to By Night in Chile, but if you're still reading this, then you must really be interested in what I have to say. What I can say about it is that I really enjoyed my first Bolaño, it was something new to me both literary- and story/history-wise, but one has to expand his horizons and here I am...expanding. I would recommend that you read this in one sitting, though, as the padre jumps from recollection to contemplation within the same sentence, and one can easily lose track (especially if are like me--drunk most of the time I was reading it). So, since this is nowhere near smart-reviews-land, I just want to show you something:


He was cute, right?


And then the storm of shit begins.


A Rant: When life gets in your way...

So I recently changed jobs: I took one that's even more responsible and time-consuming...Yeah, that's me. And that's right when I was doing so well with my reading challenge for this year, and honestly believed that I could squeeze 100 books into a year of my life. But a girl has to do what a girl has to do--let's face it people, we need money to buy these books. And the more we make, the more we can afford to buy. Consumerism, right?


But anyway. It's the end of week two on my new job, I've been seeing my crazy wino friends almost every night, trying not to be anti-social or anything...Bottom-line is: Since October 1st I've managed to read only one book...that's 150 pages long. I know, I know, I could sleep less read more, right? Just how I wish! With all that work, friends, drinking, movies, how does one find a couple of hours to sit down and read when they can hardly stay on their feet?


I feel bad. Because I can't spend all the time I want in fictionland. Because I want to read more books and buy more books. Because I need books to chillax and have a chunk of time where I don't have to be a crazy professional or the best drinking buddy. And it seems that I can't find the time or the strength to read more than 5 pages before dying in my bed. Perhaps I don't manage my time well enough, or maybe I'm just lazy and use my work and friends as a poor excuse for not reading the books that I, just by the way, I keep buying...


So this post is about the pain I feel from being deprived from my books, and to ask you guys how do you do it? How does one with a crazy-busy schedule find the time to read the books they want to read? Do share your crazy ways, bookfriends! :)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban  - J.K. Rowling

This is where I finished Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The amazing Rila Mountain lakes, probably one of the most beautiful places in Bulgaria!

5 Stars
Giovanni's Room - James Baldwin

I don't feel like I can properly review this book. Not because it's not relatable or anything; it is, even if you are not a gay man fighting with your sexuality in a community where being who you are is not acceptable. But mainly because the book is an absolute heartbreaker. I really didn't know much about it, nobody recommended it to me and, apart from reading the short blurb on the back, I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into.


This is a story about a man, living in a time when being gay was a crime, who fights with everything he's drawn to, wanting to push it aside and live the 'normal' life society expects him to have. Then one night he meets another man, another human being that he connects to, and this is basically where it all starts falling apart. 


Maybe the vast sadness of the book and the beautiful way in which the whole story was told made it sink so deep while I was reading it. Maybe I just needed a story like that, one that makes you sympathize with the protagonist, feel sorry for him and hate him at the same time. But the love, the getting to know a human being you're drawn to, the way this love develops and then falls into pieces; how love sometimes gives you wings that later turn into chains; how sometimes you chain your own mind and then project to everything around you...These moments are captured so well, and this is why I couldn't recommend this book highly enough. To people without any experience with gay fiction, I can say just go with this classic because it is a beautiful piece of literature.

Shoutout: A bookseller I officially love!

Please note: I am not in any way related to the company I'm about to talk about; I don't get any commissions or any benefits for talking about this bookseller. I simply want to share how happy I am with them with people who love books as much as I do.


So, to start this post I should tell you that I live in Bulgaria, a place where Bulgarian is the official language, and books in any other languages are often hard to find and are really pricey. 


I completely understand how commerce works and that selling stuff needs to be profitable for you. However, I am a book collector, I buy books really often AND choose the editions (because of translation, quality, covers) very, very carefully. Of course, there are a lot of books in English (the language I mainly read in) sold in Bulgaria, but in 99% of the cases the book I want to buy is either not available at all, or is an edition that I don't want to buy and own.


So in the last couple of years I've been buying my books mainly from eBay UK. Don't get me wrong, I want to support local sellers and economy, but the situation with bookstores in Bulgaria is like we only have Amazon and that's it. What I mean is that there are literally only two big bookstore chains that offer the same titles on similar prices. And more often than not these prices are very, very high...


At the beginning of this year I discovered a UK seller on eBay called Wordery that I grew to love very quickly. They offered very cheap books (compared to price standards in Bulgaria), quick delivery and great quality of the books. So, imagine how delighted I was when their website wordery.com went officially live and started offering free delivery. I already ordered and received my first book via the new website, the book was perfect as always and arrived in 5 business days (which is about the best delivery time-frame to Bulgaria EVER). 


So the main point of this post is: If you live in a God forsaken place such as myself, I recommend that you check this website. Since the page is new, they have a running promotion for 10% off of your order by using the code BOOKS at the checkout.

A masterpiece
A masterpiece