August book wrap up!

istockphoto-171221587-612x612

My monthly reading review for August is one I’m very happy about! For the first time in quite a while I’ve read enough books to get into the double digits! It makes me happy and I feel very optimistic and motivated for my reading this year altogether.

giphy (1)

Monthly reading review – August 2019

This August I have read:

 

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna book 1) by Kendare Blake ★★★

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman ★★★★

The Ship of the Dead (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard book 3) by Rick Riordan ★★★★

Threads and Portents (Wayward volume 4) by Jim Zub ★★★★

Tethered Souls (Wayward volume 5) by Jim Zub ★★★★★

Bound to Fate (Wayward volume 6) by Jim Zub ★★★★

Serpentine (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #26) by Laurell K. Hamilton ★★★★

All These Things I’ve Done (Birthright #1) by Gabrielle Zevin ★★★★

Dune (Dune #1) by Frank Herbert ★★★

Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause ★★★★★

Ouran High School Host Club, Vol. 1 by Bisco Hatori ★★★★

img_20190831_100850.jpgThe Dune is missing on the picture because it was borrowed

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

I’ve read 11 books in total! This includes one manga and three graphic novels. I’m proud with the amount of books I’ve read.

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

Blood and Chocolate was a refreshing surprise of the genre. I liked the the way the characters were portrayed a lot! Wayward graphic novel series was great source of information on Irish and Japanese lore and legends as well as some historical details. The essays after the story were very informative.

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

There were not any bad books I’ve read in august but some were a bit harder to read. Dune seemed a bit slower than what I’m used to and required more concentration during reading. Anna Dressed in Blood was just on the border of how scary I like my books to be. I guess I just got really into it and reading it before bedtime did not help either. I do plan to read the second book by the end of the year.

69805794_661467304330527_8881083067716861952_nCroatian edition cover for Girl of Nightmares ( Anna book 2) by Kendare Blake

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

My reading in August was made almost completely to fit my Summer reading challenge. Only one added were the two Wayward volumes I’ve read to finish the series. I don’t think I will be able to keep this pace up after the summer but with only two books left on this challenge I might need to go back to my TBR Jar Draw reading challenge  or think up something new to keep the motivation and reading at a satisfactory pace.

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

With The Ship of the Dead I’ve finished Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard trilogy – which does not seemed finished at all! After reading Serpentine I am up to date with Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series with only one short story left to get my hands on – A Girl, a Goat, and a Zombie. From the books I’ve read in August there were four that were first in a series. Dune is the one I will not be continuing. Ouran High School Host Club manga series is not a priority right now but I would like to continue it one day for sure. I’ve added the rest of the Birthright series to my TBR and wishlist and hope to get to it soon. I have the second book of the Anna duology and I plan to read it by the end of the year.

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

I’ve chosen the books for my Summer reading challenge with care and I’m happy with most of them. Those are either the books I own or they fit in more than one way into what I was looking for for my Summer reading. This reading challenge proved to be very successful and I would recommend that experience for anyone who is looking for a good way to catch up with their TBR with some careful planning. My recommendation this month would be totally underrated All These Things I’ve Done and you can find my review for it HERE!

11515785

All These Things I’ve Done – Book Review

11515785

Finished reading

All These Things I’ve Done

(Birthright #1)

by Gabrielle Zevin

★★★

Expectation

I’ve had this book for years. I got it as a gift quite a while ago. I liked the YA futuristic approach but never thought about this book as a part of a series I would like to read some day. It was only a book I became interested in after I read another book by the same author – The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. I loved the bookish components of that book and it’s plot. – the main character is a quirky book store owner and each chapter had a sort of review of a short story by a different author. I love short stories and I thought it was beautifully written book. The way it was written spoke to me about authors passion toward books and stories and I loved it! The reason I picked up this book to read was that it fit to my Summer reading challenge 2019.

You can check out my review on The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry HERE.

91hvgvo-tl

Summary

All These Things I’ve Done is first book of the Birthright trilogy. It is a young adult sort of dystopian story of a sixteen year old daughter of a “crime lord” family that is in the business of producing and dealing chocolate. The story is set in a 2083 New York with a bleak setting of a world where chocolate is illegal but the alcohol is not! Main character Anya or Annie is going to a private high school and describes herself as a good catholic girl. Both of her parents are dead, her guardian is a grandma that is practically on her deathbed, her older brother is suffering from brain injury from an accident her mother died in and her younger sister is a naive romantic plagued with nightmares after witnessing her fathers death. This story is so full of angst and the title refers to all the things Anya does while she takes care of her family.

Seattle: Theo Chocolate Factory Tour

In Anya’s world chocolate and coffee are illegal and are described as a drug inducing elements. These are not the only things that make Anya’s world depressing – the plants, animals are scarce, museums and historical locations are sold and turned into clubs and bars, information and communication is heavily taxed and water is billed my literal drops which makes showers rare commodity.

The characters are extremely likable – even the villainous ones!

Story is written from Anya’s point of view and she often talks from narrators perspective to the reader with sarcastic remarks. Her Daddy quotes provide a long list of wise sayings and witty remarks I loved reading and I even had to write some for future contemplation.

“Daddy used to say that calling a person a romantic was just another way of saying he or she acted without regard for conseqences.”

“Tragedy is when someone ends up dead. Everything else is just a bump in the road. For the record, that was something Daddy used to say.”

“It’s a weakness to apologize before hearing what the other person’s grievances are. You don’t want to end up creating new grievances where there were none to begin with. Another Daddy-ism, if you hadn’t already guessed.”

“Daddy always said that an option that you know to have a bad outcome is only a fool’s option, i.e., not an option at all. And I liked to think that Daddy hadn’t raised a fool.”

Conclusion

I have no idea where I’m going to find next two books from this series but I consider them definitely worth my reading time. At times the plot reminded me of being invested in a Spanish soap opera with lots of characters who scheme all the time and tragic underdog heroes with religion as a prominent guide to favorable outcome. The religious point would normally annoy me but for some reason it fit to the characters and the story nicely. The drama, tragedy and angst made this book a riveting read and completely surprised me with intricate plots and enigmatic character motivation.

birthright

Reading Challenge update Monday

In the past week I’ve finished one book and started on one other. My reading tempo for Serpentine was a little over one hundred pages a day and it left me a bit disoriented when the book was finished. I had to take a break and contemplate the waiting for the next book in the series.

51iv37oE7CL

Serpentine ( Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #26)

by Laurell K. Hamilton

★★★

It’s been two years since I’ve read the last book Crimson Death which is looming over this one quite a bit. The main character has some doubts and fears because of the events in Crimson Death. I have trouble discerning how much time has passed for the character without being explicitly told so. Serpentine was interesting and brought out some characters that were long due to make an appearance – there’s Olaf/Otto but for me it was Bernardo and Edward/Ted with his family. The most shocking thing for me in this book were not the monsters, which were again given just a little more time at the end of the book but the constant insecurities of some main characters that get in the way of the moving plot. I think I might need an update for all the characters who were not given some page time at the end of the book! There are some I miss terribly :/ I loved the new plot twist and how everything went down though!

jc

SPOILER ALERT

While there is a lot of Micah and Nathaniel in this book and the plot is pulled apart by their needs and insecurities, the one scene that bugged me was sex scene with Jean Claude and his – by my standards! – uncharacteristic self doubt. If I give it more thought I could probably come up with a decent explanation for it but at the moment of reading I was not so pleasantly surprised and it set my reading off balance a bit.

SPOILER ALERT OVER

46853414_10156163246297632_8314818434630156288_n

I am slowly reading trough the next book for my Summer reading challenge. I’m currently on All These Things I’ve Done (Birthright #1) by Gabrielle Zevin. It had a very promising start and an interesting world building set in a quite bleak futuristic New York. I’m more than half trough it and the angst is rising in levels unexpected. I might have to make a break with some graphic novels from the list soon.

11515785

From last Reading Challenge update Monday I am down one more book with only four left to finish my reading challenge!

A✔ Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna book 1) by Kendare Blake
N    Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
A    Angel & Faith: Live Through This (Season 9, Volume 1) by by Christos Gage, Rebekah Isaacs (Artist)
✔ The Ship of the Dead (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard book 3) by Rick Riordan
T   Wayward, Vol. 4: Threads and Portents (Wayward volume 4) by Jim Zub
A ✔ The Demon Prince of Momochi House, Vol. 1 by Aya Shouoto
S ✔ Sigvald (Warhammer Heroes #4) by Darius Hinks
I ✔ I, Strahd: The Memoirs of a Vampire (Ravenloft #7) by P.N. Elrod
A ✔ Serpentine (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #26) by Laurell K. Hamilton

A  * All These Things I’ve Done (Birthright #1) by Gabrielle Zevin
D ✔ Dune (Dune #1) by Frank Herbert
A   Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause
M ✔ 9 From the Nine Worlds (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard) by Rick Riordan
O ✔ Ouran High School Host Club, Vol. 1by Bisco Hatori
V    Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1) by Richelle Mead

summer-checkout

Book series I almost finished reading

Blank Book Spine Row in Various Colours

I am a big fan of urban fantasy book series. I have many older (ten on more years from when they were first published) book series I was interested in. And then there are some I just added on my TBR without ever knowing if I will get the chance to read them at all.  Then there are some book series I have in my possession that I did not finish but for some reason stopped reading somewhere in the last few years or so. There are various reasons for not finishing a book series and while they may include not having the actual book to read to continue the series, it is usually something less straight forward than that…

giphy

Here are some book series I started reading and did not finish. After some time the reasons for not finishing them all blur into forgetting about them. And forget about them I did so much so that even continuing reading the series requires some research into what book did I read last!

IMG_20190824_165709

The Hollows by Kim Harrison

The Hollows series by Kim Harrison is a thirteen books long series I turned to when life got a bit hard to deal with. Sometimes these books served as a security blanket or something to hold onto when life pulled the ground under me. I even wrote about it in one of my Books that changed me posts. I own all thirteen books and have read all but the last one – The Witch With No Name. I distinctly remember enjoying the story and loving reading about the characters and I’m not really sure why I’m keeping myself from finishing this book series.

IMG_20190824_170210

Kushiel’s Universe series by Jacqueline Carey

Kushile’s Universe book series is a set of three trilogies that build upon one another and each has a different main protagonist. First three books are called Phedre’e Trilogy and the books four to six are called Imriel’s Trilogy by their respective main characters. The last three books and the only ones I did not read are called Naamah Trilogy by the name of the prominent deity Naamah in the books. While the first six books continue more or less directly and make a decent rounded story, the last trilogy is set some further time apart and after all the events of the previous books. In this one the main characters from first two trilogies are vaguely mentioned as their exploits have become an integral part of culture and history of this rich imagined world. For some reason I’m stuck on the last trilogy which I can feel staring at me from the shelves in a totally different edition design than the first two and they even might be a little angry I put them on a different shelf apart from the rest…

IMG_20190824_170405

Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne

Iron Druid Chronicles was one of the rare book series I was reading together with my boyfriend. We both enjoyed it and he actually read maybe two books (I’m really not sure about the last book I’ve read) more than I did. But I read some of the short stories on Kindle and in some short story collections I got. I had to check on GR how many books in this book series is there at all and I’m still unsure which ones I’ve read. I know I have at least three books in my possession that I did not read from this series.

IMG_20190824_170839

Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris

The Sookie Stackhouse book series was a recommendation I got from Amazon long before it was made into a popular TV show on HBO. Back then it was know as a Southern Vampire Mysteries and I was not too thrilled by that title. I ended enjoying the books more than I expected. It was one of the first book series I liked the UK editions design more than the US editions. When the TV show was popular I was glad it differed from the books so I can enjoy each separately and at my own leisure pace. But then they changed the design of the editions I was buying and I was unhappy about it so much so I postponed buying them all in order. Now I don’t know for sure which book I read last and keep forgetting the title of the one I’m missing – and It’s not the last one I’m missing either, I got the last one! Did I mention how irritated it makes me to see same publisher with such different cover design? Colors and sizes tend to jump around here. Just thinking about it all gives me a rash about the mess my reading is with this book series…

IMG_20190824_171250

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 Series

I was a big fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show. So when they decided to continue the story trough graphic novels I was happy to have that to binge on.  They even named it Season 8 since the TV show ended with season seven. There was also Angel TV show and then there were graphic novels that continued Angel as well. Sometime in the last decade I lost track of it all. I did not get them all at the same time because they were still coming out and were a bit pricey for my budget at the time. I was not too thrilled with how the characters looked either. I would read them pretty quick and the long wait until I got the next one I would have to read them again and so on. Now I got the complete Season 8 and no clue as to which ones I’ve read. I stopped buying them at Season 9 and the more time passes so do the chances of me getting the rest or reading them all gets more slim. The thing is, the plot continues between Angel and Faith graphic novels and these and I’m really interested in those as well! I feel like I should start at the start with watching the TV show from scratch. The more I think about it the less I think I can spare that much time on it and I dislike the gaps in my understanding of the series.

Never-Again

There were some book series I stopped reading for not liking them enough as well! I made a conscious decision at some point that I did not enjoy the story or the characters were too irritating to continue. Here are two examples of those:

img_20190824_170959.jpg

Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward

I started this book series without knowing much about it. Few years later when I decide I had had enough with the silly names and dislikeable characters this book series became a hit my country. I think that to this day it was one of the rare urban fantasy series that was translated whole into Croatian language. Although the appeal of erotic fiction was probably what did it for the mass market public I did not share in the craze of this one.

IMG_20190824_171026

Lux by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Lux was a YA romace with aliens I was willing to try out because I never read any YA romance with aliens before! At first it was all cute and refreshing but after reading the third one I decided that these books are just to YA and too cute for what I was looking for. I’m still fond of this book series but I have decided I don’t really need to read any more of it. I guess I kinda grew out of the YA romance with aliens…

Books-in-animated-gifs-books-dancing-waltz

What are your reasons for not finishing a book series? Do you have any advice for me?

Reading Challenge update Monday

68912257_504113403466584_913913936158392320_n

Last week I started and finished

The Ship of the Dead

(Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard book 3)

by Rick Riordan

★★★

I know it is supposed to be a trilogy but it did not feel like the end of the story! I loved some of the scenes and ideas. As usual this was an entertaining read and I had so much fun. This series does good in pointing out some cultural and religious issues that might be problematic to some and unknown to others. I was not happy with the finale. But i did get a little nudge to continue the The Trials of Apollo series due to some little hints and crossover from Percy and Annabeth in this book. I left it at The Dark Prophecy ( The Trials of Apollo book 2). I read the first book The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo book 1) a little over year and a half ago! Even though this third book of the trilogy did not end on a high note as I expected I still feel that Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard is my favorite of all the series and Magnus remains my favorite character. At times he played a dumb but well meaning blonde and he reminded me a bit of Usagi Tsukino from Sailor Moon!

4ewy

Also there were some very memorable scenes that might inspire some fan fiction writers and might be even worth searching out on the darker recesses of the Internet.

SPOILER ALERT!

Magnus has played pull the rope in Hotel Valhalla war games, only, the losing side got dragged trough melted chocolate. Magnus was on the losing side and was covered in chocolate sauce when this happened!

69595795_382759945976392_8553228543062966272_n

Alex was in his guy form when it happened and I know many a reader that will squeal at this part of the book. It is a lovely scene though. With Magnus totally oblivious to his own appeal. I searched for some fan made artwork of this but none I’ve found were satisfying with the amount of chocolate that was involved!

SPOILER ALERT END!

The very same day I wrote my last Reading Challenge update Monday the awaited Serpentine ( Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #26) by Laurell K. Hamilton came in the mail!

51iv37oE7CL

I’ve already half way in the book and I’m actually prolonging it to enjoy myself more. I remembered why I love reading this series and it will be a long time until the next book is out and even longer until I get to read it since I’m buying mass market paperback editions only.

68690506_411482802829949_8296355645829939200_n

As the Summer reading challenge goes I’m on my tenth book with only five left. This week I read one and a half of another book. I’m left with three books and two graphic novels to finish! I’m actually reluctant to read any of the graphic novels since I know I will not stop at reading only one. I have the whole Vampire Academy series at the ready on the shelf and I’m wondering will I be tempted to read it through as well?

A✔ Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna book 1) by Kendare Blake
N    Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
A    Angel & Faith: Live Through This (Season 9, Volume 1) by by Christos Gage, Rebekah Isaacs (Artist)
✔ The Ship of the Dead (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard book 3) by Rick Riordan
T   Wayward, Vol. 4: Threads and Portents (Wayward volume 4) by Jim Zub
A ✔ The Demon Prince of Momochi House, Vol. 1 by Aya Shouoto
S ✔ Sigvald (Warhammer Heroes #4) by Darius Hinks
I ✔ I, Strahd: The Memoirs of a Vampire (Ravenloft #7) by P.N. Elrod
A *    Serpentine (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #26) by Laurell K. Hamilton

A     All These Things I’ve Done (Birthright #1) by Gabrielle Zevin
D ✔ Dune (Dune #1) by Frank Herbert
A   Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause
M ✔ 9 From the Nine Worlds (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard) by Rick Riordan
O ✔ Ouran High School Host Club, Vol. 1by Bisco Hatori
V    Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1) by Richelle Mead

summer-checkout

Longest book series – Anita Blake Vampire Hunter

shelf

The first book I’ve read by Laurell K. Hamilton is not part of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series actually. The Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book series (from now on ABVH) was something a friend mentioned. Since I liked the other series  – Merry Gentry, I went all out and got myself a box set with first four books of ABVH. The box set design was in the form of a small coffin (?) all black and with the top kinda sticking out of any bookshelf. I was in college back then and it was the middle of exam season. I went on a small reading spree -four books in four days! before I started my exam studying. Needless to say I was hooked!

box set

The ABVH book series is a long standing one and is still going strong. It has 26 books up to date and the author is actively writing new ones each year. The first book Guilty Pleasures came out way back in 1993. which makes this book series old enough to drink in the US and is older than the age of the main character in the first book (Anita is 24 years old in the first book).

I vaguely remember running trough those books back then. I would read them at a book a day pace as soon as I got them. I’m not a fan of horror setting much but there was something about the main character that inspired confidence despite her many dark adventures. The world and the creatures in it appealed to me.

dav

So when the adventures started to go further south and into supernatural relationship polyamourous exploring I did not mind that much. They were still the characters I liked reading about and I wanted to know more about them. By then the reactions of some readers were far from positive. Many were annoyed with how little the story progressed and how the main character was acting and developing. The sex scenes were handled badly in some books due to how explicit they are. Not many readers like to read books this erotic and even less readers can make a transition from so much smut and sex with big doses of supernatural creatures and all sorts of perverse topics and then switch to coherent mundane stories. At times even the author had trouble getting it done.

graphic novels

As the books of the series pilled up so did the many ideas to new merchandise and promotion. From never happening TV show deals to more creative and doable graphic novel editions by none other than Marvel Comics! These things often happen with long lasting book series. The graphic novel editions came out for the first three books and brought a new story of how Anita met Edward called Vampire Hunter: The First Death which was one of the fans favorite things to wonder about.

gn covers

I have mixed feelings about the graphic novel editions since they changed the original artist from the first two editions and it makes the character sometimes look like they come form the old Egyptian wall murals with their eyes looking weird and plastic in general.

IMG_20190817_121907

But I digress from the books…

There are many fans of the books who could not handle how this book series evolved into something completely different than it was back in the nineties when it first came out. The author used her books to speak about issues she holds important personally – relationship dynamics – and many readers don’t find it that interesting. Many more are offended by the sex scenes. And truth be told there are some books of the series that are just a few sex scenes put together and some relationship talk in between. For people who wanted more detective horror action from the first nine books way back these things seem off-putting and waste of time.

dav

I’ve thought often on what holds me to this series for the sum of my adult life. I would always go back to the characters and creatures I enjoy reading about. Twenty six books in I am holding the pages and wondering all about the new strange creatures this books is bringing out. I still feel intrigued by the story and keep reading. I even think about rereading some of the books again just to make sure I understand the characters and how they were first imagined. Twenty six years is a lot of time for a book series to go on and there aren’t many out there this long. Only one’s that come close I can think of are manga book series that surpass it by the number of volumes but not even close to the number of years they can last.

rptThe bad marketing puns like: The corpse laughs…but only after it kills! did not help…

I’ve made posts before on this book series and I will probably do them again sometime in the future. If you’re interested here is the Book covers around the world post I’ve made with some weird and interesting covers of the series. All things considered I’m actually happy with how the cover art style stood the test of time and managed to keep it somewhat composed in art and book design style.

I’m still wishing for the special omnibus editions that came out in limited quantity with covers made by Luis Royo over twenty years ago which I posted about in my Wishlist presentation exactly five years ago! There is one other book series by the same author I own and it’s Merry Gentry book series. I like collecting the short story compilations as well and I hope that some of the short stories that only came out in digital form will be someday available as a collection as well.

IMG_20190817_115239

I’ve decided almost a decade ago that I’m all in with this book series. I want to see it trough. A sort of relationship I’ve committed myself to for better and for worse. As long as the author keeps writing I will be reading. After two decades here’s to two decades more!

Reading Challenge update Monday

It has been an exciting week since last month for my Summer reading challenge . I have finished two books and started on the third one! I was holding out for Serpentine (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #26) by Laurell K. Hamilton which was supposed to arrive  in paperback edition I pre-ordered earlier this year. Two weeks ago I got the message from Book Depository that the book arrived earlier and is being sent. I’m still waiting on it to arrive though. Two or three weeks is normal waiting time but I was really hyped after that message.

67789333_347071749563002_6032835897186058240_n

Since the last Reading Challenge update Monday  the two books I’ve finished are Dune (Dune #1) by Frank Herbert and Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause. I started on The Ship of the Dead (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard book 3) by Rick Riordan.

67788301_1175380165968832_57685594083426304_n

Dune (Dune #1)

by Frank Herbert

★★★

I speed trough this 500+ pages science fiction classic. Conveniently, this book was voted as a summer reading assignment by my book club. While filled with thoughtful quotes it also made me question my grasp on English language. As it happens with some science fiction books author used a wide variety of words he made up and added some new uses to words that were used through the past. Throw a mix of different languages in there and you get a rich and colorful landscape of Dune. It was interesting to find a few verses in one of the Slavic languages and see it being interpreted by the characters a bit wrongly. I can also feel the test of time since this book was written in the 1965. Parts of this book were filled with such passion and from another angle the book was cold and calculating just like the ideas and politics it spoke about.

67836403_933574856975488_6697686775793451008_n

Blood and Chocolate

by Annette Curtis Klause

★★★★

I did not know much about this book. It was a present and for years it was left forgotten on my shelf. I picked it out because the authors name matched the letter A I needed for my Summer reading challenge. The book and the characters pleasantly surprised me. I liked this perspective on the werewolf theme and coming of age characters. It’s a very charged and a bit raw book. Definitely a guilty pleasure type of a book. Intriguing use of the chocolate motive in between the lines got me thinking. The amount of chocolate through the book was less than expected though.

women_who_run_with_wolves

I’ve officially read more than half of the books for my Summer reading challenge! I’ve read eight out of the fifteen titles and I’m currently reading the ninth one!

A✔ Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna book 1) by Kendare Blake
N  Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
A     Angel & Faith: Live Through This (Season 9, Volume 1) by by Christos Gage, Rebekah Isaacs (Artist)
S *  The Ship of the Dead (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard book 3) by Rick Riordan
T   Wayward, Vol. 4: Threads and Portents (Wayward volume 4) by Jim Zub
A ✔ The Demon Prince of Momochi House, Vol. 1 by Aya Shouoto
S ✔ Sigvald (Warhammer Heroes #4) by Darius Hinks
I ✔ I, Strahd: The Memoirs of a Vampire (Ravenloft #7) by P.N. Elrod
A    Serpentine (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #26) by Laurell K. Hamilton

A     All These Things I’ve Done (Birthright #1) by Gabrielle Zevin
D ✔ Dune (Dune #1) by Frank Herbert
A   Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause
M ✔ 9 From the Nine Worlds (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard) by Rick Riordan
O ✔ Ouran High School Host Club, Vol. 1by Bisco Hatori
V    Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1) by Richelle Mead

summer-checkout

Reading guide to worlds of Rick Riordan

mark-of-athena

I’m a big fan of Rick Riordan’s books. His heroes are lovable and inclusive and his books are filled with light intelligent humor. Before becoming a writer, Rick Riordan was a  English and history teacher in private schools in the United States. After successfully publishing some books for adults, he gained inspiration for his first book for young adults by making up a bedtime story for his son. He has written over twenty books for teenagers and young adults and filled them with stories inspired by world mythologies. To help you navigate this small sea of ​​books, I present to you a reading guide.

The books are arranged chronologically and even though they can be read out of the order given here since there are several interwoven literary series, you will surely achieve the greatest pleasure in reading if you know the correct order.

serijal 1 film 1
What is common to all the books in all the series I am about to talk about here are the main characters who learn that one of their parents is a deity from various mythologies of the world. The author skillfully approaches young audiences and uses teenage issues in a stimulating and imaginative way, presenting possible learning difficulties such as dyslexia or attention deficit disorder as symptoms of young demigods and their gifted abilities. Young readers will be able to find many opportunities to identify themselves through many of the characters who take turns as the action-bearers. In addition to the problems of young adults through the prism of fiction, the books deal with a multitude of topics covering various religious attitudes, racial issues, understanding of good and evil, and issues of sexuality. The author often uses intelligent humor to tell his stories. The age of the characters ranges from twelve in the first novels to eighteen and over in some cases.

As I’ve mentioned before, there are several book series, let’s start with the first one –

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

1. The Lightning Thief
2. The Sea of Monsters
3. The Titan’s Curse
4. The Battle of the Labyrinth
5. The Last Olympian

Serijal 1 slika

Named after the main character Percy Jackson, this book series has a total of five books. The theme of this series is based on Greek mythology. First book – The Lightning Thief first appeared on shelves in the spring of 2006. The movie version followed in 2010. The second book – Sea of ​​Monsters, came out just one month after the first book, while the movie version took a full three years after the first movie. The third book, and also the last translated into Croatian, is The Titan’s Curse. The other two books in this series are: The Battle of the Labyrinth and The Last Olympian. The main character at the beginning of the series is 12 years old.

A little guide came out for this book series in 2009 called The Demigod Files (Percy Jackson and the Olympians Companion). It holds an interview with the author and various interesting tidbits. There are also three short stories in this issue.

The Demigod Files (Percy Jackson and the Olympians Companion)

• Percy Jackson and the Stolen Chariot
• Percy Jackson and the Bronze Dragon
• Percy Jackson and the Sword of Hades

demi

According to the release chronology, the second series is The Kane Chronicles trilogy.
The main characters in this trilogy are brother and sister: Carter and Sadie Kane. The first book of this series was released in May 2010, and by May 2012, all three books were published and available in complete sets. The Kane Chronicles is based on Egyptian mythology and can be read completely separately from the Percy Jackson series. Carter Kane is 15 at the beginning of the series, while his sister is 12.

The Kane Chronicles

1. The Red Pyramid
2. The Throne of Fire
3. The Serpent’s Shadow

serijal 2 slika

Before the last installment of the trilogy – The Serpent’s Shadow, a little guide came out for this series with interesting facts and details from the world of Carter and Sadie Kane.

The Kane Chronicles Survival Guide

detail.kdgj-1693-ga30.1.front.1423153626
The author linked the two series by writing several short stories in which the characters meet, thereby letting the audience know that all the characters are in the same world and opened up opportunities for common adventures and encounters. Three stories where characters from the Percy Jackson series meet characters from the Kane Chronicles trilogy are published in

Demigods & Magicians: Percy and Annabeth Meet the Kanes

demi2
At the same time with the aforementioned Kane Chronicles trilogy, a new series of five books, The Heroes of Olympus, was also published. The first book was released in late 2010 and continues where the last book of Percy Jackson and Olympians series ended. The books slowly introduces the motifs of Roman mythology, and the number of leading characters doubles. In addition to the fantastic elements of the book, the books convey in an educational manner the assimilation of elements of Greek culture into Roman. The characters in this series are about 15 years old.

The Heroes of Olympus

1. The Lost Hero
2. The Son of Neptune
3. The Mark of Athena
4. The House of Hades
5. The Blood of Olympus

seijal 3 slika
In 2012 for the series was published a small guide The Demigod Diaries (The Heroes of Olympus Companion) with four short stories and curiosities related to characters and mythology, as well as a cute informational book about heroes from Greek mythology told from Percy Jackson’s perspective – Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes

The Demigod Diaries (The Heroes of Olympus Companion)

• The Diary of Luke Castellan
• Percy Jackson and the Staff of Hermes
• Leo Valdez and the Quest for Buford
• Son of Magic

9780141344379

Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes

91YEKHOAzZL
The next  book series is the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard trilogy. The trilogy, which bears the name of Magnus Chase, started coming out from the end of 2015 to the end of 2017. This trilogy is based on elements from the Nordic mythology. The title character is related to the character Annabeth Chase, who is one of the main characters in the previous book series. Magnus Chase begins his story as a sixteen-year-old and the plot of this trilogy is a little darker and heavier than the previous book series.

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard

1. The Sword of Summer
2. The Hammer of Thor
3. The Ship of the Dead

serijal 4 slika

As with all other series in the world of Rick Riordan, a guide has been released for this trilogy, which brings some interesting facts from Nordic mythology and culture. After the trilogy, a short story collection called 9 From the Nine Worlds came out.

• For Magnus Chase: Hotel Valhalla, Guide to the Norse Worlds

Hotel_Valhalla_Guide_to_Norse_Worlds
• 9 From the Nine Worlds

9780241359433

Rick Riordan’s latest and still up-to-date series started coming out in 2016 alongside the Magnus Chase trilogy and is titled The Trials of Apollo. Various characters and heroes from all previous books appear in the series, and unlike all the previous ones, in this one, the god Apollo himself, who is imprisoned in the body of a teenager, is the main character. This series will have five books, and so far the first three are out while the fourth – The Tryants’ Tomb, is announced for Fall 2019.

The Trials of Apollo

1. The Hidden Oracle
2. The Dark Prophecy
3. The Burning Maze
4. The Tryants’ Tomb
5. ?

Trials-Of-Apollo-Book-Series

The guide to the Trials of Apollo series came out after the second book The Dark Prophecy in 2017 and is titled Camp Half-Blood Confidential. This is a guide to the camp for the demigods and continues with the interesting facts of Greek mythology from the perspective of Apollo trapped in the body of a mortal teenager.

Camp Half-Blood Confidential

91CE4LT9lFL

In addition for film adaptations for the first two books, there were also graphic novellas for all five books in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Graphic novellas were relatively well received, while for the movie versions the author himself said that it was best to skip them because they did not reflect all the educational elements with which he filled the books.

serijal 1 film 2

The themes of myths, legends and heroes is timeless and through popular culture it constantly experiences new versions and approaches in literature for children, young adults and adults. I warmly recommend this author and his fantastic world of extraordinary heroes.
Try it, you might also like it 😊

Reading Challenge update Monday

I’ve made some progress with my  Summer reading challenge this week. I’m currently reading Dune by Frank Herbert and I think it might take me some more time to finish this 500+ pages science fiction classic.

67788301_1175380165968832_57685594083426304_n

I’m making small breaks from Dune by reading some manga and graphic novels just to keep myself at a motivational pace for reading in general. From last Reading Challenge update Monday I’ve read one book and one manga.

ana_u_haljini_od_krvi

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna book 1)

by Kendare Blake

★★★

I generally liked this book and I do have the second one as well. I had some issues with character building and how author treated and presented her characters. I’m not that big fan of horror and this one was just enough scary for me. There were characters and side plots I wanted to explore more that did not get explained in the book. It motivates me to read the second book. I’ve read the Croatian translation and it reminded me how rarely I read books in Croatian. The were some word plays that did not translate well and I always end up wondering how did it sound originally in English. I’m happy to have read this one since it was a birthday gift from a friend last year!

1591169151

 Ouran High School Host Club, Vol. 1

by Bisco Hatori

★★★★

I loved the comedy aspects of this manga. There are more layers in the character dynamics and I like the play on stereotypes. I was reminded why I liked the anime show so much. Might even give the anime another go since I like how characters look in anime better than manga. It is a light entertaining read with lots of sexual innuendos. Reading that the author went for a visit to the actual Host club in Japan made me wonder quite a bit and I kept finding similarities on the characters types to characters from some other books I’ve read.

d501af55ecfbdce6b113a617319413d6946a6fb8

As the reading challenge goes I’ve read six titles and I’m reading trough the seventh one as I post this. I’m pretty happy with a light pace of title and a half per week!

A✔ Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna book 1) by Kendare Blake
N  Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
A     Angel & Faith: Live Through This (Season 9, Volume 1) by by Christos Gage, Rebekah Isaacs (Artist)
S   The Ship of the Dead (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard book 3) by Rick Riordan
T   Wayward, Vol. 4: Threads and Portents (Wayward volume 4) by Jim Zub
A ✔ The Demon Prince of Momochi House, Vol. 1 by Aya Shouoto
S ✔ Sigvald (Warhammer Heroes #4) by Darius Hinks
I ✔ I, Strahd: The Memoirs of a Vampire (Ravenloft #7) by P.N. Elrod
A    Serpentine (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #26) by Laurell K. Hamilton

A     All These Things I’ve Done (Birthright #1) by Gabrielle Zevin
D *  Dune (Dune #1) by Frank Herbert
A     Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause
M ✔ 9 From the Nine Worlds (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard) by Rick Riordan
O ✔ Ouran High School Host Club, Vol. 1by Bisco Hatori
V    Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1) by Richelle Mead

summer-checkout

 

Favorite cover artist – Daniel dos Santos

 

img_20190803_115055.jpg

Few years back I made a post on pretty book covers of one of my favorite book series by Patricia Briggs –  you can check it out HERE.  I’m still a great fan of Patricia Briggs books and I’m happy to report that her collaboration with artist Daniel dos Santos is still going strong. He makes book covers for the US editions of both of her Mercy Thompson book series and Alpha & Omega book series. The series crossover from time to time and the visual representation on the book covers does them both justice.

rpt

 

Daniel dos Santos is an American artist well known for making fantastic book covers depicting strong women. For more information on the artist you can check his official page – The Art of Dan dos Santos. He even made a guide for the latest Patricia Briggs book in the Mercy Thompson series Smoke Bitten which you can check out HERE.

dav

I collect mass market paperback editions and once I got interested in this series some seven years ago after seeing these beautiful covers I was completely hooked. The strong female leading characters of the booth series are portrayed quite realistically. The go trough hard times and they are flawed but the way they deal with their problems is inspiring. I have one short story collection he made a cover for as well!

67468868_2274548395926509_3063539398449561600_n (1)

While there are some covers I like more than others I really cant decide which is my favorite one! I’m still behind one book in the series that came out this year for Mercy Thompson – Storm Cursed and I loved the next one announced already for Smoke Bitten!

Clipboard.png

Here are three of the books I own in mass market paperback that tie for favorite cover for me. Silence Fallen is the latest that book cover that woowed me at first sight. Silver Borne I have very fond memories of reading and I like the fact that Mercy holds a book on the cover! Bone Crossed was one of the strongest books in the series for me and I love how Mercy is portrayed in profile in the rain.

Dan dos Santos has made some other of my favorite characters and book scenes come to life trough his art and here are some of the ones I like the best! First one is from The Dresden Files series. Second picture is for the Graphic novel edition of Serenity and the last one is for Deluxe edition of graphic novel Fables.

There is something very subdued in the ways Daniel dos Santos book cover art and I find it a great fir for the urban fantasy genre. I love his art and his covers are an added bonus and value for the books I already love. Book covers matter to me and when I can I will pick the edition with this amazing cover art!

67523390_2285416051709242_4412048387956801536_n

I think it is amazing when an artist and a book author make such strong partnership on more than one book series. I wish more artists and authors would do this. It makes me feel a lot better when buying a book series to know that the cover art was picked out with great care and will continue in the same style. I have a few book series that make me groan just by looking at them on the shelf because their discontinuity in the book design and cover art can be seen from a distance. #justbookishthings