Bookopoly TBR game – January 2021

I am making this post a little later than usual because I wanted to finish one book I had leftover from December. The rolls for January were made well back in December sometime after Christmas to have enough time to pick my books. As it turned out I have already read one of the books from this list this month and am choosing which I will read next. So without further babble from me here are the rolls and the books I picked for my Bookopoly reading challenge this January:

The first roll for January was an eight and it landed me on a 5 Star Prediction tile for the first time ever! I was debating for a book to choose for this and decided to go with the book that I am most excited to read and really want to love: Sucker Punch (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #27) by Laurell K. Hamilton. I am very fond of the Anita Blake book series and sometimes I even feel it to be a lifeline of a sort trough some tough times. I pushed reading this book in digital form since the mass market paperback is not out yet and the next book of the series comes out in paperback next month and I already preordered it!

Prompt: 5 Star Prediction

Book: Sucker Punch (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #27) by Laurell K. Hamilton

My second roll got me to a Chance card spot. This time the book on the card was: The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles #2) by Anne Rice. I had so much issues with reading the first book of the series and a lot of problems to stop imagining movie version of characters and parts of the plot. The book is a different medium and I hope I will have less problems with this book. The first book took me months to read trough and I would like to avoid the repeat of that as well.

Prompt: Chance card

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

Third roll got me another six and landed me on Community shelf tile. The card I got said: Historical romance and that even made me a bit happy. I picked out a book from my TBR that would fit this prompt perfectly but then I changed my mind on it to accommodate a book my book club choose for February: Vitez slavonske ravni by Marija Jurić Zagorka. It is a historical adventure and romance book by one of the most popular Croatian female writers and a first Croatian female journalist. I have never read anything by her before and she is well beloved author.

Prompt: Community shelf

Book: Vitez slavonske ravni by Marija Jurić Zagorka

Next roll got me another Chance card tile! I am running out of these even faster than anticipated and after a careful review of the cards I got left I realized I got four left out of starting sixteen. some of the book on the cards I read already as a part of some other challenges and had to take them out as well. I decided that I will be adding more books after I finish all that are left. The book I got this time is : Master of Chains (Forgotten Realms: The Fighters #1) by Jess Lebow. This is one of the books I have for a very long time and I am glad to have a reason to pick it up.

Prompt: Chance card

Book: Master of Chains (Forgotten Realms: The Fighters #1) by Jess Lebow

And since I did not roll any doubles this time my fifth and last roll for this month was an eleven and got me a prompt I have already been on: Young Adult. I had to actually stop and think carefully about the options I have on my own shelves. I am not really into Young Adult book that much and with a few notable exceptions from last year I had to carefully choose among the books I own. In the end I decided on one of the last books I bought: Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1) by Shelby Mahurin. This one is a buddy read with a friend this month so we will see how we both like it.

Prompt: Young Adult

Book: Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1) by Shelby Mahurin

Reindeer Readathon 2020 – Reading experience and thoughts

One of the most fun and engaging reading challenges I participated in 2020. was Reindeer Readathon in December. There were five teams and there were interesting ways to participate trough live reading videos and discussions. My team was called Candy Cane! For all those interested in more detail here is the link for the main announcement HERE. In the end my team finished in the golden middle out of all five teams and some prizes were dealt to the luckiest participants!

Here are the books I read for this reading challenge and how I liked them:

DASHER – 15 PTS – A book with one word title

Pride (Shifters #3) by Rachel Vincent ★★★★★

There were so many options for one word title books on my shelves I was surprised by so many different choices to choose from. I loved the excuse to continue reading this cute urban fantasy book series. The main character is very much young adult material but the rest of the content is more for the adult audience. I like the tone and the pace of the book and how the fantasy elements were set into the world described. This was one of the first books I read in December and made for a great start of the months.

DANCER – 10 PTS – A companion novel or a sequel (as in a dancing partner)

Prey (Shifters #4) by Rachel Vincent ★★★★★

I could not resist the option to continue this book series right away. I have great appreciation for the flawed main character. So far, I am very pleased with how the plot progresses in a series as a whole. This book series is evolving into quite a guilty pleasure and a joy to read.

PRANCER – 15 PTS – A book with a map in it

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wicked Years #1) by Gregory Maguire ★★★

This was one of the books I read last in the month. I did not find many options for a book with a map on my bookshelves that I have not read already or recently. I was mesmerized with all the green on the cover and pages. I was in a hurry and the pacing of the narrative was good enough. What I did not like were some rather crude descriptions that were contrasted with religious symbols. The book at times felt flat and not that enjoyable to read. With all that being said I am still curious about the musical version of it and how much of the book base material managed to fit into it?

VIXEN – 25/20 PTS – A book with a fox on the cover. (Alternatively, a strong female lead)

Narcissus in Chains (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #10) by Laurell K. Hamilton ★★★★

I had to push this book in my reading schedule regardless of the many other books I had already on my TBR for December. I could not find a book that fit the fox prompt on my bookshelves so I chose to go with strong female lead instead. This book is a part of my second reading trough the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book series. It is one of my favorite bookish haunts and favorite reading material. There are plenty of books to enjoy, lots of characters to love and hate and more than a few plot points to dwell on. This particular book seems to be the tipping point for many other readers and I did enjoy being reminded of how some characters were introduced and how they evolved in this book as well!

COMET – 30 PTS – A book you find intimidating

The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu  ★★★

I found this book intimidating because of its writing style and a rather long introduction I could not get much past the first time I tried reading this book. I have a strong appreciation for books written in times removed from this we live in and books that describe cultures different than those I am closely familiar with. I was shook by some parts of this book for the explicit content that was only hinted at. I had trouble with all those things that are generally morally dubious I kept reading about. I am not a squeamish reader but this book caught off guard. I really cant pint point the things that made me react this way without revealing and spoiling too much of the plot.

CUPID – 10 PTS – Read a genre that you love

Naked City by Ellen Datlow (Editor) ★★★★

My favorite genre is urban fantasy and choosing a short story collection for this prompt was a pleasure! It is only after I started reading this book that I have realized that I have three books I choose to read for different challenge prompts that are 500+ pages long. Getting only 10 points for a book that is this long seemed a bit unfair but I chose no to dwell on it. In the end this book turned out to be one of the few book I made a review on last year. You can check it out HERE.

DONNER – 15 PTS – A book with something hidden inside (under the dust jacket, chapter heads, art etc.)

Saga (Collected Editions) #7-9 by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples ★★★★★

Hidden content for this one were many interesting interviews and art pages after the story. This ended up being the best book I read in December. I was mind blown by the story plot twists and curves. The art of this graphic novel seemed much more clear and straight forward than ever before!

BLITZEN – 20 PTS – A book with some sort of struggle (internal struggle, war, battle etc)

The Burning Maze (The Trials of Apollo #3) by Rick Riordan ★★★★

Each book of this book series describes a battle and overcoming of the obstacles the main characters face. When I first started on this book series I struggled with the main narrator since I was used to reading point of views of many different characters that came before in the other book series connected with this one. This change of pace slowed me down quite a bit until I could get used to the new narrator.

RUDOLPH – 20 PTS – A book where the main character doesn’t seem to fit in (outsider, misfit)

The Tyrant’s Tomb (The Trials of Apollo #4) by Rick Riordan ★★★★

In continuation of the previous book I decided to expand on the reading about a character that most definitely stands out – a fallen god Apollo punished into puny mortal form. I find most of Rick Riordan books informative and full of interesting historical and cultural references I never managed to pick up in school. The narrator started to seem much more endearing in this book and I enjoyed reading it! While I am divided on most covers between US and UK editions of these books I must admit that this UK edition cover looks cool in a very satisfying manner!

After reading all of the above nine books for the mentioned prompts I turned to the possibility of earning more points for my team Candy Cane. I had three books over 500 pages long to choose from and I decided to use Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wicked Years #1) by Gregory Maguire as my entrance for 15 extra points. I did not think I would manage to get the extra book for Sleighing it but in the end I did it!

Sleighing it! – 50 PTS – A redo of: RUDOLPH A book where the main character doesn’t seem to fit in (outsider, misfit)

The Color of Magic (Discworld #1) by Terry Pratchett ★★★

I choose to read this book for another reading challenge in December and when I started it I realized it could have been used for a RUDOLPH prompt. Since it was the last book I read in December and all other books I had for Reindeer Readathon have been finished I was very happy to add it for this last prompt worth 50 points! There are two main characters and both seemed to be out of place wherever they go. So this seemed very fitting indeed!

These are all the books I read for Reindeer Readathon 2020. Participating in the reading challenge was an interesting experience. I would have loved to be able to engage with other readers from my team but since most people that participated were not in my time zone I ended up watching recordings of live videos and exchanging messages in group chat on Instagram. I was happy with my team leader Amanda and how she handled things for our team. She was one of the most active team members during the reading challenge. You can give her some love on her YouTube channel HERE.

Bookopoly TBR game – December 2020 Experience

Last Bookopoly rolls for December 2020 left me with seven books I got to read along with a whole bunch of books I had left for the last month of the year! Usually I get five rolls and five books but since for December I was especially lucky I got two double rolls and had to add two more books to the pile! As it turned out I managed to read six out of seven books from this pile and barely started the seventh by the last day of the month. On the picture above there are five books I own from my bookshelves and the two missing I have read in digital format. I will not count the book I only started reading as a fail since I am in the middle of reading it and plan to finish it soon. Here is how I did with my December Bookopoly TBR picks!

Prompt: Becca and the Books Recommendation

Book: Howl’s Moving Castle (Howl’s Moving Castle #1) by Diana Wynne Jones ★★★

I got lucky with this one since it was the book I had to read for my book club in December as well! I was very happy to find it as one of the books that Becca recommended in one of her videos. This might be a good time to remind you all how our first Bookopoly TBR game started in September 2020 when Becca and the Books had her Bookopoly TBR game presented as a reading challenge. If you would like to learn more you can check the announcement video HERE and show her channel some love!

Prompt: Fire on the Cover

Book: The Color of Magic (Discworld #1) by Terry Pratchett ★★★

This was the prompt that gave me the most headache since I could not fit any of the books I had on my other lists. I remembered to check with the books I was thinking about suggesting for my book club to read and finally stumbled on this one. I must admit I kinda ran trough the book and the speed might have something to do with my rating of this book. I could not find many thing to keep me emotionally connected with this book and the sharp pace and change of scenery made my reading a blur sometimes. There were moments of the book I really liked but they were few and far between. I will probably stop trying to promote this book for my book club since I could not find enough material for the book club discussion my friends from my reading group are used to. Still I’m glad to have finally read this book.

Prompt: Sad Book

Book: Saga (Collected Editions) #7-9 by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples ★★★★★

This is the prompt that gives me the most grief from all the spaces on the Bookopoly board. This time I managed to pair it with the hardcover collected edition of Saga graphic novel. This ended up being the best reading experience for December 2020! I love the epic and tragic moments of this graphic novel and it’s head spinning story. I will probably have to reread all nine volumes until I get to read next edition since it will be probably around two years at least until it comes out! Awesome story and it made a frustrating prompt a lot easier to endure!

Prompt: Most recent purchase

Book: The Tower of Nero (The Trials of Apollo #5) by Rick Riordan ★★★★★

This book gave me a chance to finish a book series that was a part of one of the favorite book universes in the last couple of years. I got to read two more books for this book series in December and this was a sugar on top of it all. I thought the ending a bit sappy but mostly rewarding and it gave me such nice feel good moments while I was reading. While I was a bit sceptic from the first book I am glad to have read the whole book series because for me it was the well rounded godly but not too godly point of view to the world of Percy Jackson that started a whole fifteen years earlier with The Lightning Thief. Did I mention that I can’t wait to see the new Disney+ TV series?

Prompt: Chance card

Book: The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu ★★★

I have tried reading this book once before and did not manage to get farther than the introduction. To be fair, introduction is rather long and not easy to read trough but still… I did not know what to expect from this book. I even used it for one other reading challenge in December as a “book that intimidates me”. Not surprising the narrative was a bit harder to get used to due to the whole millennium has past since the book was written. What surprised me was the similarities I did not expect to find in everyday life of Japanese nobles from one thousand years ago and lives of the rich and popular which we get to read about in news feeds and watch on modern media outlets. Some of the more intricate details were left to the imagination and of the reader and were they not this would have been to explicit to read. I am still at odds about what to think about this book.

Prompt: E-book or Audio book

Book: Taken by The Hunger (Blood Thirst Affair #1) by Harnet Spade ★

Since I got to read the most enjoyable book for Bookopoly in December it is only fair to get to read the least enjoyable book as well! This book was a mess. The plot was chaotic and it mostly described sex crazed female heroine running from one male character to the next without actually having any real sex. This was the first book in a long time I wanted to DNF. Since it was a rather short Kindle freebie I felt ridiculous to do so. I am not sorry for reading it since it gave me something to think about on the things I can value in the books and I believe that reading bad books is necessary for any reader’s reading experience and growth.

Prompt: Chance card

Book: Elminster: The Making of a Mage (Forgotten Realms: Elminster #1) by Ed Greenwood

Last but not least book I got to read and another Chance card prompt – I am running out of these a lot faster than I anticipated! This is the book I have only started on and I am still reading it. So far it is not what I expected it to be. I am enjoying Forgotten Realms related bits and I am interested in how this great mage comes into being because so far his path is much more different than thought it would be. I like not getting what I expected in this case! I hope to finish it soon so I can start on one of the books I got for January 2021.

2020 Reading Challenges Report

This last year has been one hell of a ride for many reasons. I will not reflect about things that are not closely related to books and my reading experiences because I would like to keep the tone of this blog positive and hobby related as much as possible. With this in mind I want to go over the many reading challenges and reading opportunities I concentrated my reading on.

2020 has been a year in which I have started to more actively participate in all sorts of reading challenges for the very first time. I have participated in seven different reading challenges through the year. Most of these I finished with great success and learned a lot about my own reading habits and capacities. In addition to these I had a personal reading challenge I choose for the whole year and my usual TBR Jar Draw challenge. Both of these were designed to make me read more of the books I own and read the books from my own bookshelves in particular. In the last quarter of the year I joined a friend of mine on another type of reading challenge on a month to month basis. We liked it an decided to keep it going for as long as our schedules would allow and into this new 2021.

Challenges from month to month

Here are the seven reading challenges I participated in this year:

O.W.L.s Magical Readathon – April 2020

Medieval-A-Thon Reading Challenge – May 2020

Make Your Myth-Taker – June 2020

Olympic Games – June 2020

N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon – August 2020

Sbooktober Readathon – October 2020

Reindeer Readathon 2020 – December 2020

In order to better track the reading challenges I participate in and to get better organized with them I will be making more room on this blog for them in the form of pages dedicated to them more closely. This will provide me and everyone interested with a better view and understanding of the content provided by my experiences with reading challenges. For this reason I will not delve into detail for all the reading challenges mentioned above.

Personal reading challenges

My long term TBR Jar Draw did not fare well this year. When I first envisioned this personal reading challenge my goal was to make myself read more of the books I own and more books from my own bookshelves; many of which I had for years and have never even started reading them. My initial idea was to draw three book choices from a jar filled with titles of books I own and have not read, and every month I read one of those books while the other two go back into the jar for another draw some other month. In the whole year I have managed to read seven books for the TBR Jar Draw challenge. I ended up sacrificing this challenge in order to pick books that fit into the other reading challenges trough the year.

The total result for this reading challenge actually differs from this assessment. Upon closer inspection and review of the book titles left in the TBR Jar I found I have read ten more books that were in the jar but were not pulled out for the TBR Jar Draw. I picked those books and read them as a part of other reading challenges.

So in short, while I read only seven books due to the TBR Jar Draw, I read another ten books that were in the jar which makes the goal of reading more books I won successfully achieved! This makes for a very nice pile of books from my own shelves that I finally read and removed from my TBR! I am still thinking on changing the format of the TBR Jar Draw to accommodate the reading challenges I choose to participate in and in continuation of reading the books I own at a steady pace.

Personal reading challenge 2020

For 2020 I had also set a personal goal to read thirty books I choose for just this purpose! Some of those books were newly bought by the end of the 2019. and some were on my shelfs for a lot longer than that. By design this was another reading challenge that set me on the same goal to read more of the books I already own but with the actual list of the books! By the end of the year I did not managed to read all thirty books from the list and here is the list in the end:

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1) by Leigh Bardugo
Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2) by Leigh Bardugo
The Fates Divide (Carve the Mark, #2) by Veronica Roth
Prey (Shifters, #4) by Rachel Vincent
Carniepunk by Rachel Caine (editor)
The Witch With No Name (The Hollows, #13) by Kim Harrison
Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy by Ellen Datlow (editor)
The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1) by Holly Black
The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2) by Holly Black
Death of a Darklord (Ravenloft #13) by Laurell K. Hamilton
Carry On (Simon Snow, #1) by Rainbow Rowell
Wayward Son (Simon Snow, #2) by Rainbow Rowell
The Battle of the Labyrinth: The Graphic Novel (Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Graphic Novels, #4) by by Robert Venditti, Rick Riordan
Black Butler, Vol. 3 by Yana Toboso
Kitchen Princess Omnibus, Vol. 3 (Kitchen Princess, #5-7) by Natsumi Ando
Saga: Book Three by Brian K. Vaughan
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wicked Years #1) by Gregory Maguire
Serpent’s Kiss (Elder Races, #3) by Thea Harrison
Djevojka iz noćnih mora (Anna #2) by Kendare Blake ( Girl of Nightmares )
* MOR – Plodovi osvete by Josip Kralik
* The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Balzac i kineska mala krojačica by Dai Sijie ( Balzac et la Petite Tailleuse chinoise)
Neobičan događaj sa psom u noći by Mark Haddon ( The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time)
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
The Borders of Infinity (Vorkosigan Saga #5.3) by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo, #2) by Rick Riordan
The Burning Maze (The Trials of Apollo #3) by Rick Riordan
The Tyrant’s Tomb (The Trials of Apollo #4) by Rick Riordan
Hellboy, Volume 1: Seed of Destruction and Wake the Devil by Mike Mignola
The Darkness: Darkness/ Batman & Darkness/ Superman 20th Anniversary Collection by Garth Ennis, Jeph Loeb, Ron Marz, Scott Lobdell, Marc Silvestri

Out of all 30 books I have finished reading 26 of them. 2 books I started to read but did not finish and I plan on finishing reading them at a slower pace: MOR – Plodovi osvete by Josip Kralik and The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. 2 of the books I did not even start reading: Hellboy, Volume 1: Seed of Destruction and Wake the Devil by Mike Mignola and Carniepunk by Rachel Caine (editor).

Bookopoly TBR Game

This is a project I started with a reading buddy in September 2020. After having fun with it for the first time we diced to continue with Bookopoly TBR game on a monthly basis. It makes us both happy and keeps us connected in a bookish way. After just four months we had some awesome experiences with this TBR game and like the creative outlet it offers in our reading choices. Here are the posts related to the Bookopoly TBR Game so far:

Bookopoly TBR game – September and October 2020

Bookopoly TBR game – November 2020

Bookopoly TBR game – November and December 2020

Reading in 2021

In my reading plans for 2021 I feel a lot more comfortable with my ability to fit the books I already own into other reading challenges and I will forgo making lists of particular books to read. I will continue to enjoy different reading challenges and let my reading experience differ from month to month in new and exciting ways. I did make a rather optimistic 2021 Goodreads challenge update to read 100 books. But that is a topic for another post where I will go into greater detail using Goodreads data to delve more into the books and my reading statistics for 2020.