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.