Orilium – Magical Readathon Novice Path September 2021

This year I felt the absence of Harry Potter Magical Readathon that Book Roast used to organize. In preparation for a whole new original magical readathon that will be in full swing next year, she prepared an intro for all those who are interested. You can check out Book Roast channel for more of her content HERE and the video announcement for Orilium Magical readathon with explanations and detail HERE.

This is going to be a roleplaying type of a reading challenge where each participant will make a character like for a video game or the usual roleplaying game of Dungeons & Dragons. You have your character sheet with origin and trait details and you will be progressing trough quests and events by reading books that fir given prompts. But for now there is a Novice Path for all participants to get into their characters and get the feel of the game.

Novice Path has a map with six quest sites that offer a prompt for reading a book. Two are a minimum to be able to advance and participate in the next round in spring next year. So, the goal is to read at least two books that fit the prompts and solve the quests that way. As I love challenging myself I will try to read the books for all seven prompts and travel the map for all the quests!

Here are the prompts and my book choices:

Site: Novice Path Entrance

Prompt: Book with a map

Book: Half the World (Shattered Sea #2) by Joe Abercrombie

Site: Ashtorn Tree

Prompt: A book that keeps tempting you or a book on top of your TBR

Book: The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

Site: The Mist of Solitude

Prompt: Standalone book

Book: Les Hirondelles de Kaboul by Yasmina Khadra

Site: Ruin of the Skye

Prompt: Book with ghosts/haunted house or other supernatural elements

Book: The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles #2) by Anne Rice

Site: Obsidian Falls

Prompt: Thriller or a mystery book

Book: Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked #1)by Kerri Maniscalco

Site: Tower of Rumination

Prompt: Five star prediction

Book: Exit Strategy (The Murderbot Diaries #4) by Martha Wells

Site: Orilium Academy Arc

Prompt: Book with a school setting

Book: The Culling Trials (Shadowspell Academy #1) by K.F. Breene and Shannon Mayer

Other than the Novice Path reading challenge there are also three reading prompts designed for character creation. These can be done anytime by April 2022. when the next part of Orilium reading challenge is set to begin. The prompts are made to choose the background of the character – urban or wild, province of origin out of those provided on the first map and a heritage of the character which is a race the character belongs out of those that were provided trough the lore and materials about the world of Aldia. For all the reading prompts above mentioned there is a rule that each prompt requires a separate book.

Here are my character background prompts and book choices:

Background: Urban

Prompt: Book set in a city or town

Book: Darkfever (Fever #1) by Karen Marie Moning

Province: Kerador

Prompt: Book from an ongoing series

Book: The Crystal of the Wood Elves (Elfes #7) by Nicolas Jarry, Gianluca Maconi, Christina Cox-De Ravel

Heritage: Skaimorn

Prompt: Oldest book I own or have on TBR

Book: Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe

There are some other things that will be linked to character creation and development like being part of a particular guild and Lunar phase at birth that will be introduced later on. Those who wish to try out more than one character can do that as well as they will be reading prompts for each character separately. I am not that ambitious and will be sticking to just one!

How do you like my plans and choices? What choices did you pick?

Becca’s Bookopoly – Bookoplathon September 2021

In September there are many wonderful reading challenges to choose from and unless I find a doorway to a secret dimension where time flows slower and spent equal amount of time in it as in this one! Sadly I am still on the lookout for that kind of doorway. Until I find it I have made a selection of reading challenges I will be participating in and Becca’s Bookopoly is something I simply can’t miss since she inspired me to make my own Bookopoly board and then work on it and modify it for the last year! This September all who are interested are given the chance to play together on a special Bookopoly board that is designed to include options for many different types of readers.

You can check out Becca’s channel Becca and the Books HERE and her own throwdown for the Bookoplathon HERE – Warning: the dice have not gone easy on her and it was a blast! Thank you Becca! Love your content and hope you read all the books you set for yourself in September!

I printed out the board for this on a normal A4 size paper on my home printer and it turned out rather small so I had to improvise the figure to represent me on the board. The figure I use is from a board game I own called Tang Garden. It is a cool looking board game we backed on Kickstarter few years back. For more info on the game you can check out HERE. The figure is painted by my boyfriend and I love the colors used.

I will be making another post on my August Bookopoly results later this week. This Bookoplathon is going to be instead of my own usual Bookopoly board play and those will continue as normal in October. The dice favored me better than they did Becca and while I also had a double roll it was not multiple times!

Here are my Bookoplathon rolls for September:

Prompt: Gods

Book: Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold (Stephen Fry’s Great Mythology #1) by Stephen Fry

My first roll looked very promising and gave me rather unusual prompt for a book with Gods of some kind. Since I was looking for an excuse to finally take on one of the books I already have a sequel waiting I was happy to pick out at Mythology #1) by Stephen Fry. This edition is a one of the highly sought out for in Croatian since it is a limited edition that is printed out in only 500 numbered copies with luxury treatment. Each luxury book from this publisher is later published in normal paperback edition but the first numbered edition is quickly sold out and reaches high prices at reseller markets. I used to be crazy about them like many others but have soon decided to stick to the books I am really interested in. I love mythology and hope to have a five star book on my hands here!

Prompt: Mood Read

Book: Darkfever (Fever #1) by Karen Marie Moning

My second roll was a double! Both dices showed two and the sum was four which landed me on Mood Read spot. At first it was cool but later while trying to choose books for all the prompts I realized I like a bit more guidance. Mood Read is cool but how do you choose a book for mood reading in advance? How do I know what will I be in the mood for reading of? And I can’t make plans for mood reading at the beginning of the month like that. so you might understand my frustration on this roll. In the end I picked out a bunch of books I was thinking about reading, some for other reading challenge some for other prompts and take what was left for this one. I ended up with a book I have been interested in reading for over a decade: Darkfever (Fever #1) by Karen Marie Moning. I even have and edition in Croatian on my shelf! It is an urban fantasy with a prominent female lead that I usually love. Technically I am always in the mood for some good urban fantasy!

Prompt: Current News / Events

Book: Les Hirondelles de Kaboul by Yasmina Khadra

Third roll was a sum of seven and got me Current News / Events. I tried to fight the onslaught of current news about Kabul and the conflicts in the world. I even had a few interesting options with the not so long ago commercial flights to space and some feel good and less popular news about repopulation of some endangered species in Australia but finding a book on those was a chore. I could not find a close enough book about travelling to space to count it for the prompt and I was not in the mood for reading Richard Branson’s biography. Back to Afghanistan and Kabul it was… The English title of this book is The Swallows of Kabul and my Croatian edition is titled Kabulske lastavice. I am apprehensive just thinking about reading this book and will probably go and read it first just to be done with it before it breaks me since I am very easily influenced by stuff I read in books in general. And I don’t mean just the crying but I get cripplingly depressed and it makes hard for me to function in my daily life. If you have some jokes or funny memes pls send them my way I will need them…

Prompt: Opulent

Book: Empire of the Vampire (Empire of the Vampire #1) by Jay Kristoff / Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer #2) by Laini Taylor

Roll number four was a low roll and sum four! I think Opulent is a really cool and doable prompt. This is the prompt I wanted to use for Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold (Stephen Fry’s Great Mythology #1) by Stephen Fry but then I got excited and hyped and really optimistic about Empire of the Vampire (Empire of the Vampire #1) by Jay Kristoff that comes out in the first week of September. I preordered it and would love reading it if it gets here on time. I even thought about making sure I read all the other books before the last week of September so I can be ready to start reading this one as soon as it arrives! If my experience with last book I preordered has anything similar with this one I will probably get this book in October though… In the case that happens I decided to have a back up and my back up is a book with a cover I find pretty and spoiler for my next roll: Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer #2) by Laini Taylor. This way I might start and finish a series in September. Still hoping for my preorder to arrive!

Prompt: Poll Pick

Book: Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor

Second to last roll was another lower number and it landed me on a Poll Pick tile. The books I decided to offer for the poll were all from my Buddy reading list for 2021. I put the poll up on my book club Facebook group. And my fellow readers from the book club all voted for Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor. Other three options didn’t even get a single vote in the first few days the poll was up and it did not seem they would get any at all! So my book for this prompt is Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor. I got my book from the library and my library has a rule that if the book is part of the series up to five books you get all the books in the series as a set. This is how I ended up with both books in this duology and it might even seem I will be reading both of them this September!

Prompt: Chance card

Book: The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles #2) by Anne Rice

My last extra roll was an eight and I got a Chance Card. For this month’s Bookoplathon I decided to use the Chance card I use normally for my Bookopoly each month. My deck of starting sixteen Chance cards was down to only one and it was The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles #2) by Anne Rice. I will be making a post on all the books that were in my Bookopoly Chance Card deck and making a new pile for next month. It has been a few years since I’ve read the Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles #1) by Anne Rice. It has been exactly four years since I finished reading it and it was a book I just could not get into. I kept mixing the movies and the book and it did not end well. I hope this book fares better.

Six books for Bookoplathon is a good number of books to read and while some of these book will be crossing over with the other reading challenges I will be doing in September (post on them soon) some are going to be adding up on my total number of books for September. Also this might be the first time to have all but one (two if Empire of the Vampire (Empire of the Vampire #1) by Jay Kristoff arrives in time for me to read it) books in Croatian! I only noticed this when taking the pictures. I hope to read all that I have planned and continue with Bookopoly as usual in October!

August Book Warp Up 2021

Monthly reading review – August 2021

This August I have read:

Lord Mord by Miloš Urban ★★★

Smoke Bitten (Mercy Thompson book 12) by Patricia Briggs ★★★★★

First Girl Child (The Chronicles of Saylok) by Amy Harmon ★★★

Any Way the Wind Blows (Simon Snow #3) by Rainbow Rowell ★★★★

Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny ★★★

A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell ★★★★

1. How many books have you read last month? Are you happy with the amount you read?

This August things did not go as planned and while I expected to read less than in July (in July I rad 14! books) I an not so happy with reading more than half the number of books less.

2. What was the best of all the books you’ve read in August? Any scenes or characters that made a lasting impression?

Strangely the book that stayed with me for the better part of August was Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny. I got pulled in the authors post apocalyptic world despite the many scientific flaws I thought I found there. This August I decide to ignore such small flaws in plot execution in favor of thinking about ideas. This applied most to the A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell where I oved the mythology and ideas the authors brought to light in their stories. Book I enjoyed best was Smoke Bitten (Mercy Thompson book 12) by Patricia Briggs and I am happy the series is still bringing me so much joy and satisfaction to read!

3. Were there any not so good books for you last month? What made it hard or not enjoyable to read?

I have read only six books in august but only one left a bad aftertaste – Lord Mord by Miloš Urban. This was such a man’s book. It shows the audacity of privileged men in a man’s world. Most of the book was filled with probably historically accurate but still annoyingly misogynistic characters and character choices. I had different expectations and was let down.

4. How did the books you were reading last month fit in your reading plans if you had any?

I messed up my plans for the Merlin Readathon by reading books in wrong order but ended up finishing most of the books I planned by the end of the month. If you want to know more about my Merlin Readathon experience you can read all about it HERE. I even had a few last days of August where I spent not reading anything because I did not want to start a new book and not finish it by the end of the month. This was slightly frustrating since I was already making plans for September and had some interesting books but was holding off from reading…

5. Any updates on the series you are reading or are you starting any new series?

I brought two book series I am currently reading up to date: Simon Snow book 3 by Rainbow Rowell and Mercy Thompson book 12 by Patricia Briggs. Only other book I read that was a part of a series is First Girl Child book 1 in the The Chronicles of Saylok by Amy Harmon. I am not sure if I will read the second book.

6. Would you like to recommend any books or authors you’ve been reading this last month?

Like I already mentioned August was all about ideas and managing my own expectations. It is a part of my effort to try and focus on positive things in a world that keeps highlighting the negative. To some this might seem like I’m lowering my bookish standards but I will keep trying to find the positive and good in all the books I am reading. I am already making a selection on what to read by choosing some books over others and this is enough for me.

Final thoughts on August 2021 reading

After reading fourteen books in July, August was a big fall dawn to only six books. I am again well behind on my goal to read 100 books by the end of the year. I am not feeling very happy about that and I feel that the reminder of my reading goal on Goodreads is staring at me all the time – talk about self induced pressure :/

Now for some statistics: the six books I read were all together 2193 pages which is almost 1500 pages less than July. Most of the books I read in August had a little over 300 pages each with two exceptions: one book was over 500 pages and one was under 250 pages long. Half the books were in English and exactly half were in Croatian language which is a big leap for me since I used to read significantly more books in English than in Croatian. Only one book was from the library and the other five were from my own shelves. I did not read any manga or graphic novels in August. One book was a short story collection and other two were standalones. Three books, half of them were part of a book series. Total average rating of all the books I have read in August is 3,6.

And how was your reading in August?

Merlin Readathon August 2021 – Experience and thoughts

Merlin Readathon I chose to participate this August was my first try at a reading challenge with the time limit shorter than a whole month. This reading challenge was set to last first two weeks if August – from 1. to 15. Generally I prefer whole month reading challenges because it gives me enough time to organize and take my time reading. I don’t do reading sprints or short reading challenges ( those that happen on the weekends and last for 48 hours or shorter).

As reading challenges go, this one was simple in the number of books I needed to read and had a twist on choosing a path trough the prompts that were set by the creators. When choosing the prompts participants were offered to join in a bit of roleplay and make choices as a character in the series setting would. See the offered choices below.

I choose my path and the books that fit the prompts AND I even went easy on myself by letting myself choose the last book as a partial read. You can check out my original post and my explanation on choosing the books HERE.

Let’s continue to the books I decided to read for this reading challenge and see how it all went!

Apprentice – Read an underhyped book

Book – Lord Mord by Miloš Urban ★★★

First book I have read was chosen as an underhyped book and I must admit that beside some historical details and intriguing place the story is set in. Most of the book was filled with probably historically accurate but still annoyingly misogynistic characters and character choices. This book left a bad aftertaste.

Magician – Read a book with snake on the cover

Book – Smoke Bitten (Mercy Thompson book 12) by Patricia Briggs ★★★★★

Second book I picked for this readathon was something I hoped to really enjoy – latest book in one of my favorite urban fantasy book series. I was not sure about the snake on the cover and after reading the book I am still not sure how much the prompt fits. The fantastical creature was sometimes serpent-like and I guess it could fit after all. But I did enjoy the book and loved reading it!

This is where I made a mistake and took a wrong book to read next. Instead of the book I should have been reading I picked up Any Way the Wind Blows (Simon Snow #3) by Rainbow Rowell. It is a book I had on my reading list for August for another reading challenge and I got my books mixed up…

I should have been reading:

Conjurer – Read a book that has been translated

Book – First Girl Child (The Chronicles of Saylok) by Amy Harmon

I managed to read this book but I got so upset that I mixed the books and their reading order and did not finish it by the 15th of August. This is why I try to avoid reading challenges with a particular reading order – I feel too pressured and cant concentrate on the actual reading.

Last book I was going easy on myself with by deciding to read at least a part of was:

Sorcerer – Read a book that intimidates you

Book – The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

And I ended up not making any progress on this one at all! Seriously I have not even touched this book at all…The Count of Monte Cristo is continuing to haunt me for I have been ” reading” it officially a year now!

My thoughts on my experience in Merlin Readathon August 2021

Strictly speaking my score on this reading challenge is not a failure and I have read my Novice level book as well as Apprentice level book. This was a different experience and I have learned something about myself. Even though things did not go as planned I am glad I have tried this type of a reading challenge. I might give similar reading challenges in the future another go but for now I will stick with reading challenges that give me more leisure with time.

Bookopoly TBR 2021 – July review and August books

For my Bookopoly reading challenge in July I got two double rolls of the dice which meant I got to read two extra books! I was actually happy and excited for the extra books and the total books read for Bookopoly being seven. Post for Bookopoly July review is a little latter than usual since I was waiting on some books and had to pick up another form the library. July was a very satisfying and fun reading month. In fact I was so busy reading that my posts were scarce and even though I had few ideas planned for July I opted to read instead! This meant less posting but more reading and needles to say seven books read for Bookopoly was actually half of the all books I read in July. Yes, I am bragging about my fourteen books and that is how much pleased I am with the number!

Seven books I have read bring total of 1680 pages. Again I managed to squeeze in one book from a buddy reading challenge in here as well which is awesome! Six out of seven books were under 300 pages long which makes them all on the small books side. Only one book was in digital form and all the rest were from my own collection which is always a good thing! Three books were in Croatian language and four of them were in English. Two books were science fiction genre and two were graphic novels. Two of the books were specifically by Japanese authors.

The Strain (The Strain Trilogy #1) by Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan ★★★

Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries #2) by Martha Wells ★★★★★

Antologija suvremene japanske novele by Kazuo Tanaka (Editor) ★★★★

Real World by Natsuo Kirino ★★★

Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein ★★★

Elves: The Blue Elves’ Mission (Elfes #6) by Jean-Luc Istin, Kyko Duarte ★★★★★

Heartstopper: Volume One (Heartstopper #1) by Alice Oseman ★★★★★

All the books I’ve read for Bookopoly in July were rated three stars or higher and a total average score is exactly four stars per book! Three star rated books usual flaw was the just plain bad translation to Croatian or in the case of the one three star rated book in English – not my typical genre of choice. For more info on the books that stood out an made an impression you can check out my July Book Wrap Up post HERE.

Here are my reading goals for Bookopoly in August:

Prompt: Random shelf Pick

Book: Lord Mord by Miloš Urban

My first roll for August were 3 + 6 summed 9 and landed me on a corner tile – Random Shelf Pick. I was thinking about this prompt and decided to modify it for the new board into TBR Jar Draw. It has been a while since I posted an update on it and I probably should do it this month. For this time I kept the random criteria by choosing five piles of five books I have not read from my shelves and making my boyfriend choose a pile and a reading buddy to choose a number from the chosen book pile. What I got is a book I almost forgotten about – Lord Mord by Miloš Urban. It is a Croatian translation of a Checz author about a Prague in the 19th century. The cover is intriguing. I have never been to Prague but I am always interested in Austro-Hungarian history from different perspectives. The main character seems a sort of anti-hero type and the mystery/thriller/crime genre combo is not my usual read. We will see how it goes!

Prompt: Dark Cover

Book: A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell

Second roll this month was a sum of six. This got me to a super easy prompt – Dark Cover. This prompt shows up relatively often and is quite easy to find a book for on my shelves. This might be the third time I am trying to give this book a chance and I still have high expectations from it. I hope to get to write a short book review on this collection this month as well.

Prompt: LGBTQ+

Book: Any Way the Wind Blows (Simon Snow #3) by Rainbow Rowell

This book finally arrived! I was hoping to include it in last moth Olympic games as a bonus read but I am still glad it is here. My third roll landed on a LGBTQ+ prompt and this one seemed a perfect fit (like I wouldn’t find an excuse to include it right away!). I love reading about Baz and Simon and the last book ended on a cliffhanger which makes me even more eager to read this one! I was a little surprised at how chunky this one is: it’s almost 600 pages! I am torn between wanting to read trough it fast and happy it is so big so I can enjoy it longer. Hope it is good as I want it to be!

Prompt: Adult

Book: First Girl Child (The Chronicles of Saylok) by Amy Harmon

The fourth roll was a five and it landed me on an Adult tile of the board. This prompt can be somewhat confusing sometimes. Adult fiction is a lot broader in scope and I am never sure when it comes to the scope of audience for some books. I’m going by the Goodreads classification on this one. I have not read any books by Amy Harmon and some that are translated into Croatian seem interesting. I was drawn into this one because of the almost Nordic mythology theme. Let us hope the translation is good.

Prompt: Standalone

Book: Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny

My fifth roll was a double which means I will be adding one more book. The roll was a four and it got me to a Standalone prompt. This was actually harder prompt to find a book for on my shelves. I am always into many different book series and sometimes standalone books need more to draw me in. I picked a book from my Buddy reading list for this year. I have many friends that simply love this author and I have a few books by him on my shelves already but this one in particular is from the library. I am not sure what to expect from it.

Prompt: Favorite Author

Book: Smoke Bitten (Mercy Thompson book 12) by Patricia Briggs

My bonus roll and the last roll for August was a seven and got me another corner tile and prompt Favorite Author. Last book I was reading from another favorite author left me with mixed feelings and I wanted to jump to an author that has not let me down. There are lots of things I love about the books written by Patricia Briggs: interesting characters, beautiful covers, mythical background of the plot and a coolest heroine ever! (just to name a few) I am always crazy after reading one of books by Patricia Briggs because they come out once a year and waiting for the next one can be such a chore! I am hoping to love this book.

I must say I love how my August Bookopoly reading pile looks like! Not sure if having such high expectations from all of the books here is a good thing or not though…

What do you think?

Merlin Readathon – August 2021

I am always on the lookout for interesting reading challenges and when I realized that I only do a whole month reading challenges I wanted to mix it up and try a reading challenge that is shorter. Honestly I could understand why some people would have prefer shorter reading challenges – like a few weekend challenges I often stumble upon but so far they are not something that fit my reading schedule or lifestyle because on the weekends I am usually busy with friends and isolating myself to read for 48 hours to read just does not work for me.

There were a few two week long reading challenges I have thought about before but this is the first time I will be trying one out! This reading challenge starts at 1. August and lasts through 15. August. The TV show Merlin was a favorite of mine some years back and the theming appeals to me.

You can check out the announcement video on YouTube for more details HERE and give the bambina katarina and the resto of the creators some love and attention for their creative work. One of the reasons that I find the shorter reading challenges less appealing is because they are harder for me to present in blog post form since there are not very many visual content the creators offer with them.

The whole challenge is organized in “choose your own path” style and the final goal would be to read four books total which is great for two weeks time period. The challenge is supported by five tiers for the readers where each readers starts out as an Apprentice and each book read earns him the status of Magician, Conjurer, Sorcerer and finally Mage. There are four prompts to choose from in the first tier and from those readers have options for the next tier prompt.

I had a lot of thought for choosing my first prompt and had to improvise a bit. Here are my choices for the Merlin reading challenge in August 2021.

Apprentice – Read an underhyped book

Book – Lord Mord by Miloš Urban

This novel my Checz author Miloš Urban caught my attention when it first came out in Croatian translation. It is not well known but the theme is fascinating for me. It is a historical crime mystery set in Prague in the 19th century. The book description promises historical and political intrigues at the time as well as a intriguing main character with dark and fantastic elements. I am interested in that part of Austro-Hungarian historical background as well as the political commentary that many compare to more modern and contemporary issues. This book was a gift and I was very happy with it even though at first glance it might not be my usual reading choice.

Magician – Read a book with snake on the cover

Book – Smoke Bitten (Mercy Thompson book 12) by Patricia Briggs

I have very many books with snakes on the cover and last summer I read three different ones for a reading challenge by an accident! Now I wanted to read a book with snake on the cover that I did not already read and my options were limited. I almost had to change my whole pathing trough the prompt tiers because of it. In the last moment I decided to count this scaly serpentine shape behind Mercy on the cover as a snake! I even tried to find a plot summary of this book to make my claim stronger but there were surprisingly little spoilers and summaries about the plot out there. Even the Wiki page on this book was blank! And now I am even more pumped to read this book just to see if I was right about the serpentine form on the cover!

Conjurer – Read a book that has been translated

Book – First Girl Child (The Chronicles of Saylok) by Amy Harmon

I have been wondering about this book since it first came out in English. Imagine my surprise when it came out in Croatian translation since there are so many other hits that take years to get translated into my language. For that reason alone I wanted to read it in Croatian translation as a way of backing the decision of whomever chose it. I even decided to buy my own copy and I will get it in a day or two!

Sorcerer – Read a book that intimidates you

Book – The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

There it is – The bane of my existence for almost a year now. a book that has been waiting and judging me while I kept reading all other books instead. I wanted to finally give myself a sold reason to make more progress with this book. I started it last year and got somewhere around 350 pages out of 1100. The number of pages alone is not the main problem but the font is so tiny it makes it seem forever to finish a chapter and the adventure plot and intrigue I would normally have no problem reading trough just seem unnecessarily long. I might not be able to finish this book but getting seriously into it for a few hundred pages or even half of it would be a win for me!

These are my choices for the Merlin Readathon 2021. I will start on the first book this evening and we will see how this two week reading challenge thing works for me.

Wish me luck!

July Book Warp Up 2021

Monthly reading review – July 2021

This July I have read:

The Hedge Knight: The Tales of Dunk and Egg by George R.R. Martin  ★★★★

Kako ste? by Barbara Matejčić  ★★★★

Time Weaver (Drakon #5) by Shana Abe ★★★

The Strain (The Strain Trilogy #1) by Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan ★★★

Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries #2) by Martha Wells ★★★★★

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller ★★★★

Antologija suvremene japanske novele by Kazuo Tanaka (Editor) ★★★★

Real World by Natsuo Kirino ★★★

Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein ★★★

Elves: The Blue Elves’ Mission (Elfes #6) by Jean-Luc Istin, Kyko Duarte ★★★★★

Heartstopper: Volume One (Heartstopper #1) by Alice Oseman ★★★★★

To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers ★★★★

Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries #3) by Martha Wells ★★★★★

Danse Macabre (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #14) by Laurell K. Hamilton ★★★

1. How many books have you read last month? Are you happy with the amount you read?

This July I have outdone myself and read an amazing 14 books! I am actually surprised at the amount and the variety of genres and books that have been on my TBR for a quite a long time as well as some relatively new books for me.

2. What was the best of all the books you’ve read in July? Any scenes or characters that made a lasting impression?

Books I most enjoyed reading this month were from the Murderbot Diaries book series: Artificial Condition and Rogue Protocol . Usually I have some issues with reading science fiction books and following up with all the technical parts of the story but these are so easy to get into and I really love them!

3. Were there any not so good books for you last month? What made it hard or not enjoyable to read?

There were few books that were a let down this month and some were even a source of frustration. Time Weaver was the last book in the Drakon series and The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. Time Weaver was a messy ending to a book series that had me interested because of the unique dragon shapeshifter angle. Of this five book series each book I read was either a let down or really good and as a whole the series was a wild ride with high highs and low lows. The Strain belongs to a horror genre that I am not a big fan of. I had some serious issues with the translated edition and the general feeling was not good. The Strain is one series I will not be continuing.

I am glad that have read them and can move on from these.

4. How did the books you were reading last month fit in your reading plans if you had any?

For July I made plans for Bookopoly and Olympic Games reading challenge. I managed to read all the books for Bookopoly and all but one for the Olympic Games challenge. The only book I wanted to read and did not managed to read was Any Way the Wind Blows (Simon Snow #3) by Rainbow Rowell because my preorder has not arrived yet. I am hoping to get it in time for some reading challenges in August!

Actually all the fourteen books I have read in July were a part of reading challenges!

5. Any updates on the series you are reading or are you starting any new series?

I have finished one book series and made a decision not to continue another – so that’s two book series cleared in July. I started one new graphic novel series I am very much enjoying. Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book series second reading is moving along and I’ve finished book fourteen out of current 28. which makes me halfway trough! I managed to read two books in the Murderbot Diaries series and can’t wait to for an opportunity to read the next book! July was a very good month for reading book series!

6. Would you like to recommend any books or authors you’ve been reading this last month?

This is a second month in the row that I am blown away with Martha Wells’s Murderbot Diaries book series and my whole outlook on science fiction is changing because of it. I love the short format, the artwork and the lovable main character. The main character has proven to be surprisingly insightful on everything about what it means to be human. So much story and emotion packed in less than 200 pages per book made these books best I have read this year so far and I hope the next books are at least as good!

Final thoughts on July 2021 reading

I have been working on making up for those spring months when I got a reading slump and I am still behind on my plans to read 100 books in a year. I am proud of how many books I have read this July and I have managed to cut the amount of books I needed to catch up by half!

In the fourteen books I have read 3656 pages. There were a lot of the genres I am not usually drawn to in July and four of the books were science fiction which is starting to be on my TBR more often recently. Only two of the books were graphic novels and only one book was over 500 pages long. Nine books I have read in July were under 300 pages.

I find this shorter format motivating and very satisfying.

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2021

Last year I did this book tag and was very pleased with the result. You can check out my Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag for 2020 HERE. This year I am nervous about it and a lot closer to actually freaking out! Last year was a good year in reading. I read some great books and considering the world wide pandemic situation I had a lot of awesome reading challenges and time to participate in them. This year I made a reading goal to read 100 books – respectable book goal considering I have read 120 books last year.

Being halfway through the year it is time to look at my reading experience in the first part of the year 2021. By the end of June I was thirteen (13!) books behind on my reading to reach the goal I have set for myself.

Total number of books I have read in the first half of the year is 37.

I had some rough patches in the first months of this year and the unemployed status is starting to weigh down on me emotionally. It is at times panic inducing anxiety riding journey trough life that prevents me from focusing and drains me from energy I need in order to actually work on making my life better. Now with those depressing thoughts out here for everyone to see let us begin with this year’s Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag!

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2020

I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf by Grant Snider

I got this book as a present from a my Buddy reading friend last year and it took me almost a full year to actually pick it up and read trough! What I found most amazing about this book was the inspiration for reading challenges and projects it offers and positive energy I got from reading trough it. It is more than just a comic/ graphic novel book with short and sweet bookish illustrations. I was pleasantly surprised by how many caricatures were grounded in real life situations of book lovers worldwide that may seem silly to anyone who might not be a part of that group. This book is an excellent gift for writers as well as readers. Endearing and intelligent at the same time this is the type of a feel good book any book lover would appreciate and I am very glad to have gotten it as a present!

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020

Rafael (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book 28) by Laurell K. Hamilton

Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book series by Laurell K. Hamilton is a longest standing book series I own and read. My relationship with this book series is complex and I am always apprehensive about the newest book. Rafael is one of the few books in the series that center around other characters development and story. Last one like it was Jason and that one was a little underwhelming for me. I was pleasantly surprised by Rafael as a wholesome book that made my interest in reading the whole series trough a second time peak! The storyline progressed, most of my favorite characters have gotten some page time, Rafael and the rodere have been shown in new light and all shifters in general have gotten a new dimension. It was one of the best possible sequels to a series I love to read!

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

Smoke Bitten (Mercy Thompson book 12) by Patricia Briggs

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A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell

There are a few books from last year that I wanted to read but did not get to just yet. Both are something I am looking forward to reading and both have gorgeous covers. I expect I would love reading both of them and my excuse that they just did not fit into my reading challenges prompts is weak at best….I have no excuse for not reading them yet! I got both of these books this year and if you want you can check out my Book haul post on them both from February HERE.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

Empire of the Vampire (Empire of the Vampire #1) by Jay Kristoff

I have not read any books by Jay Kristoff! That being said I do have some of his books on my wish list and TBR. But when I first saw Empire of the Vampire being announced I was hooked! I think everyone is ready for a new vampire themed hit that will be made into movies and TV shows and have a huge following! I want that for this book! There is already GR record for a whole trilogy of this book series! This book has been announced a whole year in advance and there are so many wonderful special editions to choose from that I am stumped and can’t decide which one to choose! There is the obvious difference between the US and the UK edition cover art and there is a whole range of each with color variations and sprayed edges in different colors and even illustrations on them as well. Only thing I am sure of is that I want the hardcover edition for sure, the rest is still undecided. Any help is appreciated and I really hope I don’t end up with more copies of the same book because I really don’t want to be that person…Oh and the book is announced to come out in September!

5. Biggest disappointment

Dark Prince: Author’s Cut (The “Dark” Carpathian book 1) by Christine Feehan

I have been looking at this book series for a very long time. Even before I started this blog I was often browsing the Amazon bookstore online and making lists of books I wanted to read one day. This book was often on my lists but then I had no means of buying all the books I was interested in. This might have been for the best since this book was a total disappointment for me. In fact I thought the book so bad I could not even finish it. I still have problems with letting go of the books that I don’t like and will most of the time make myself finish them. On this one I made an exception and made myself stop reading at exactly half of it. The dialogue was dumb, the main characters had no appeal for me and the whole setting of the story seemed stretched too thin and did not even offer any interesting back up characters to grab onto. This book first came out over twenty years ago – 1999 and it did not age well. I am not bothered by many things and consider myself a very forgiving reader but this book presented me with some many things that annoyed me and did not offer anything worthwhile to hold onto and like…

6. Biggest surprise

Radiance (Wraith Kings book 1) by Grace Draven

As opposed to the last book I mentioned Radiance by Grace Draven was another Kindle edition I got this year that I quickly fell in love with! I tend to download samples of books that I find interesting and when I read the offered sample of this one I got hooked right from the start! I loved the fantastic setting and the quirky way the author presented the differences between humans and elves. I was intrigued by the world the author build and the only complain I had was that the title of the series made sense only when I started the second book Eidolon. The characters were interesting and the story was passionate. I loved it so much that I had to buy the next book in the series right away. There is one more book after these two The Ippos King and I am keeping my eye on it for some promotional price but I might give in and buy it before the price drop.

7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)

Martha Wells and Grace Draven

Space themed books and general science fiction are not my first pick and when I find a book that belongs in that genre and love it I make a note to look up more from the same author. Martha Wells is a new for me author I have heard about winning genre awards for her Murderbot series few years in a row. I decided to pick it up in a box set edition of first four books in hard cover. I was happy with the price point for them like this and the flimsy box or even a small damage on one of the box did not made me regret buying them. I ended up enjoying the short novella format of this series and plan to follow up for more books from Martha Wells. I had to add Grace Draven as a new favorite author because of how much I loved her worldbuilding style and her characters. Both of these authors I plan to read more books from!

8. Newest fictional crush

The artwork is not mine and all rights belong to their respective owners!

Asher from Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series

Asher is not a new fictional crush of mine. He’s one of the oldest fictional crushes I am still into. This year I am slowly continuing a second read trough Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book series and I was reminded of how much I like him. I think he is an amazing character. I love his flaws and I get angry at how much he was used in Anita’s moody interpretation of morality trough the books. I keep coming back to some of his scenes and I wonder what happened to make him seem as an arrogant a-hole with a impulse control of a five year old spoiled child. It does not add up with how he first started out and was introduced in the series. I’m loving reading this “older” version of him.

9. Newest favorite character

The artwork is not mine and all rights belong to their respective owners!

Brishen and Ildiko from the Wraith Kings book series by Grace Draven

I am fangirling on both of these characters! I love their banter and their chemistry. The Prince of no value and the noblewoman of no importance are both awesome and intriguing! The reason I did not go for Brishen or Ildiko alone is that without Ildiko Brishen is far less interesting to me and without Brishen Ildiko is just bland and easy to ignore. I see them as a pair that should be kept and adored as a set!

10. Book that made you cry

Rule of Wolves (King of Scars book 2) by Leigh Bardugo

I loved this book. I has also made me angry and sad to the point of frustration. I cried a bit at some parts too. There was so much tragedy and hopeless moments that I just found it hard to deal with. I devoured all other books from the Grishaverse but this one took me a lot longer to read trough. I am still mad about how some characters were dealt with. This book reminds me of pain and tragedy and even though some characters were supposed to have their happy ending I did not feel it. All that stayed with me after all the previous books was the feeling of melancholy and I expected a lot more and a lot better! My tears are from sadness but out of frustration as well…

11. Book that made you happy

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling

There were a few books that made me feel happy this year. Most notably it was reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling for my book club assignment in May. I love my Hufflepuff edition books and I finally have a complete set by getting the last two books for birthday this year. The last two book were given to me by my book club friends and that is a reason more to smile while I read them. I love the yellow and black design of books and I love the little stars that are above each chapter title! Just thinking about those books makes me happy!

12. Favorite book to film adaptation that you’ve seen this year

The Shadow and Bone

The first answer that came to my mind was Witcher! I have only recently read the first book and was sure that the first season was only last year only to be shocked to find out that the first season came out on Netflix in December 2019! This led me to the only option of The Shadow and Bone since I read the last book in the Grishaverse this year and watched the TV series as soon as it came out back in April! There were a few move and TV series adaptations I have seen this year and liked but all those I’ve watched I haven’t read the books or in some cases graphic novels for. Those would be: Enola Holmes and The Old Guard whose move sequels I can’t wait for.

13. Favorite review you’ve written (booktube or written)

2020 Reading Challenges Report

I kept meaning to write a book review but to my shame in the whole first six months of 2021. I did not write a single book review post! Throughout this book tag I have remembered more than one book that I had a lot of things to say about and more than a passing reading experiences to share. For this reason my favorite post this year is the summary on all the reading challenges I did in 2020. That post gives me an overview and a list of all the reading activities I made myself try out. I am still trying to continue with this so I can make a similar post next year that I can be proud of! You can check my 2020 Reading Challenges Report HERE.

14. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

The Rule of Wolves (King of Scars book 2) by Leigh Bardugo

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A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell

Both of these books I have already mentioned in this book tag already for different reasons. Grishaverse books are one of the most beautiful book mass produced on my bookshelves. But I can’t help but being drawn to the beautiful cover of my paperback edition of A Phoenix First Must Burn collection of stories. I have high expectations from it as well!

15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas was my answer on this question last year. While I made some progress with it I can’t seem to get myself to finish it. I truly believe I would need to take a whole month away just to read that one book. My Word cloud edition has 1055 pages and I am currently on page 358. This is the book that I keep having in a background like an accusing hush but I just keep reaching for other books instead. I decided not to add more plans aside from reading challenges trough the year in order to get to this book. Clearly reading it slowly is not getting me anywhere and taking a whole month just to make myself read only one book seems a bit drastic. Maybe it is time to for drastic measures…

Bookopoly TBR 2021 – June review and July books

June was a cool Bookopoly reading month with only five books. I have participated in one other reading challenge in June and filled up my reading list that way. Because when I say “reading challenge” I need more than just five books in a month to make it challenging!

In the five books I’ve chosen to read I’ve read 1542 pages. One of the books in my Bookopoly readathon for June was a part of a Buddy reading project and one was a book club pick for June. Four of the books were the books I own and were physical copies from my own shelf. One book was a book from the library. Last book I’ve read for this reading challenge was finished reading few days in July but I’m still counting it! Here is the list of the books I’ve read for my Bookopoly in June and how I rated them in short:

Lucky (Lucky Santangelo #2) by Jackie Collins ★★★★★

Mogla je biti prosta priča by Ajla Terzić ★★★★

The Last Wish (The Witcher #0.5) by Andrzej Sapkowski ★★★★

I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf by Grant Snider ★★★★★

The Hedge Knight: The Tales of Dunk and Egg by George R.R. Martin ★★★★

All the books I’ve read for my June Bookopoly were good or great and none I’ve rated with less than four out of five stars. In fact most of the books I’ve read in June were the same with the sole exception of one book I DNFed. For more details on them all you can check my June reading review HERE.

Here are my reading goals for Bookopoly in July:

Prompt: Science Fiction

Book: Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries #2) by Martha Wells

My first roll for July was a meager four and landed me on Science fiction tile for the very first time! I loved reading the first part of Murderbot Diaries and jumped at the chance to read the second book. This series is fairly new in general and I got the box set of first four books as one of my latest purchases. I will try to update and make a post on the books I got recently by the end of July! At this rate I will be ordering more Murderbot books very soon! Also I am not very happy with how the tile for Science Fiction came out and I am thinking of redesigning the Bookopoly board again!

Prompt: Last Chance

Book: The Strain (The Strain Trilogy #1) by Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan

My second roll for the month and I got a double six. What this means is I will be adding one more extra roll for the July. This landed me on a Last Chance spot for the first time as well! I actually pulled this book at random for the Olympic Games readathon this month and I decided to use it for this prompt since I am thinking on culling it from the collection. The edition is said to be bad because of the translation and it is a cheap paperback with not a very inviting cover. The other two books in trilogy were never translated and probably never will be since the publisher no longer exists and the book did not attract that much positive reader attention to be picked up by any other publisher.

Prompt: Chance Card

Book: Antologija suvremene japanske novele by Kazuo Tanaka (Editor)

My third roll was another low number – three in total! This landed me on one of the most popular prompts on the board but to be fair there are two of these across the board – Chance Card. This is another one of the books from my own bookshelves I bought a few years back at a library sale. The translated title would be Contemporary Japanese novella anthology. This book has been published in the late nineties and it was not something that can be easily found which is the reason it caught my attention. If it is to believed to the GR entry for it, there is no translated edition for it which makes it original and unique. I took a peek at the rest of the Chance Cards I have left and there is only three of them. Out of those, two have been chosen for some other prompts in July which leaves me with only one left for some other roll of the die. I need to make another set of cards for next month!

Prompt: Other Culture

Book: Real World by Natsuo Kirino

Next roll was six and landed me on Other Culture tile. Since I prioritize all my books to check my own bookshelves first I got this little book I had for years. As it turns out I will be reading two books on Japanese culture and by Japanese authors for Bookopoly this month! I am slowly running out of appropriate books for this prompt and will have to soon turn to library for them or investigate and buy some interesting new ones!

Prompt: First in a series

Book: Heartstopper: Volume One (Heartstopper #1) by Alice Oseman

Fifth roll was another double and got me an exciting prompt “First in a series”. Since I will be adding at least two extra rolls for July I decided to finally read a graphic novel I only recently got and one that is still very praised and popular. The more I learned about this graphic novel I liked it more. I just hope I will enjoy reading it too!

Prompt: Gifted

Book: Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein

First extra roll for July landed me on a “Gifted” tile for second time ever. First time I got this prompt was last month. I am running out of books I’ve been gifted and I did not read on my bookshelves. This book was given to my by a friend when I helped him sort out books he wanted to sell and get rid off. This is an older paperback edition that is out of print in Croatian. I loved the movie and I wanted to read it for years now! Also this one is a part of my Buddy reading project for this year and it will be good for me to get some progress on that.

Prompt: Graphic novel / Manga

Book: Elves: The Blue Elves’ Mission (Elfes #6) by Jean-Luc Istin, Kyko Duarte

On my last roll for July I got another low number – three! This moved me to Graphic Novel / Manga spot. In June I was reminded how much I enjoy reading the graphic novel Elfes series and decided to continue reading it in July as well. These are short and beautiful. I love how they look and the fantastic stories they bring.

This is my handsome pile of Bookopoly picks for July. There are books I am really looking forward to reading here and there are some I am less excited about.

What do you think?

Whatever-You-Want-A-Thon 2021 – Thoughts and Experiences

In June I decided to join a new and exciting reading challenge called: Whatever-You-Want-A-Thon. You can check out my original post on it HERE and the YouTube announcement from the main creator HERE. This was the second time the challenge was on and the first time I was participating in it. I liked the idea of reading what ever you want and choosing how many books you want to read. There was a choice of teams to join in for the purposes of a friendly competition and offering various genre options. Readers were provided with a list of prompts what were optional and available for adding more points for each book read. Each book you read counts toward the reading goal every reader sets for themselves and each book read after the goal is worth double! In the honor of the Pride Month each book that had LGBTQ+ characters or theme had an extra bonus. Bonus points were added if the book was on the any of the ten hosts recommendation and favorite list provided for that purpose. In short there were so many options for you to gain points and feel good while reading the books for this challenge!

This proved dangerous for me. For whatever reason I decided to read TEN books! I was already doing my Bookopoly reading challenge with five books and for some reason I decided to make it double… Here are the books I put on my planned reading list for this reading challenge:

The Hedge Knight: The Tales of Dunk and Egg by George R.R. Martin

Lucky (Lucky Santangelo #2) by Jackie Collins

Mogla je biti prosta priča by Ajla Terzić

The Last Wish (The Witcher #0.5) by Andrzej Sapkowski

I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf by Grant Snider

A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell

The Lives of Saints (Grishaverse) by Leigh Bardugo

Dark Prince: Author’s Cut (The “Dark” Carpathian book 1) by Christine Feehan

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells

Micah (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #13) by Laurell K. Hamilton

How did I do?

From the ten books listed above I read seven in time for challenge and turn my results in. Each book was worth 100 by default and that comes down to 700 points. All the books were optionally worth more additional points for up to three prompts listed below. Most of the books I managed to squeeze in all three prompts for full 75 points extra. I got 500 points for all of those prompts combined. Only one book was LGBTQ+ related and gave me extra 100 points. My chosen team was Comrades of Chaos and the team genre was everything not covered by the other teams (not: middlegrade, epic/high fantasy, contemporary or fantastical/magical) This gave me a lot of room to maneuver and I scored another 125 points there. None of the books I’ve read have been on the lists of favorites from any of the ten hosts so I got no points there at all.

7 books = 700 points by default + 600 points for prompts and bonus + 125 points for team genre

This comes down to 1425 points!

One of the books I ended up DNFing and I did not count that one for any points at all. One book I did not finish reading by the end of the month so I did not count that one either. One of the books I did not even start reading and it was not counted for any points as well.

There were two books I added to my reading that were not on the planned list and I finished them in time to count them in for the reading challenge. Those were:

Školski knjižničar by Dinka Kovačević, Jasmina Lovrinčević 

The Dynasty of the Dark Elves ( Elves Vol. 5) by Marc Hadrien, Ma Yi, Olivier Héban

For those I added 100 points each and 50 points and 75 points respectively for genre and prompt bonuses they fit in. This comes down to 325 points.

This brings my total score to 9 books and 1750 points! by the score chart at the beginning of this post I am a magician! I was surprised at the total amount of points and feel very magical with that score. The team that I choose did not seem to be that competitive and I was okay with that. I liked seeing this many content creators working together and having fun doing reading sprints and cooperating in general. While I am writing this post I did not get to see the team results and I am feeling high spirited. I am proud of my contribution for my team and was happy to participate as much as I did.

My thoughts on my experience in Whatever-You-Want-A-Thon 2021 reading challenge

What I loved most about this reading challenge was the amount of options to gain points for the books you are reading. In board games this is called a “point salad” approach and it makes for a more engaging experience. Different prompts and bonuses were available but optional. It gives a rather satisfying feel while choosing a book to read for the challenge and counting all the different ways you can score points for it. While I was choosing my books for June I did not focus on anything in particular but just added books that were available or part of some other reading project I am a part of!

The amount of freedom in choosing of the books and more importantly in choosing of the amount of books I planned to read proved dangerous since I got carried away and decided on a too high number right at the beginning. Ten was too much. I guess I wanted to make it challenging and set myself for a harder goal. I might have been able to finish all ten books and complete my planned list if the real life did not interfere and I had to set almost a week off for studying. I have also struggled with one book I had to not finish and it took me few days to decide to call it done then and there without finishing reading it. This DNFing books is something that is still hard for me to do and I am working on it.

I am very glad to have tried this reading challenge a have been inspired by the content creators and all the work they did for it.