December Book Wrap Up 2020

Monthly reading review – December 2020

This December I have read:

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

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

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

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

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

The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu ★★★

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This December I made myself very busy by reading 13 books total! In order to get all my reading plans done I was off by a few books I ran out of time to read and even with all that I think I did better than I expected! I am pleased with all the books I have read in December and how many of them from my own shelves!

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

There were quite the few books I enjoyed this month and the one I liked best was Saga (Collected Editions) #7-9 by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples. There were some moments in this epic space graphic novel that shook me and as a whole I think it was the most memorable book I read this month. I kept being amazed at the artwork in the book and at times it just sang the song of the times we are currently in!

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

I had a lot of luck with the Kindle freebies and new stories and authors I tried out so far. This December after quite some time I ended up finding and reading a book that just felt bad and was the least enjoyable book this month: Taken by The Hunger (Blood Thirst Affair #1) by Harnet Spade. It takes a lot for me to rate a book with only one star and nothing about this one could crank it higher no matter how I looked at it. The narrative was chaotic and most of it was angst ridden and sex crazed female main character jumping from one male character to the next without actually having any real sex at all. From any point of view I tried to look at it this story failed to deliver.

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

I was very aware that my reading plans by the end of the year left too many books for December. I ended up prioritizing for the two reading challenges and reading less books for the third one. I think I did good managing and finished two out of three reading challenges!

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

I did good on continuing some series and even finishing some! I finished with The Trials of Apollo book series by Rick Riordan and brought an end to more than a few book series from the Percy Jackson universe. I am happy about it and feel ready for the Disney+ TV series next year. I also read all the Saga volumes that are available to me and happily wait for new ones! Four of the books I have read this month were first in a series and from them I plan to continue only one: Howl’s Moving Castle (Howl’s Moving Castle #1) by Diana Wynne Jones. Shifters series by Rachel Vincent was amazing and I plan to finish the last two books of the series in the first few months of next year. I even managed to squeeze in one book of second reading of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book series!

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

There are some books I enjoy as a guilty pleasure and would not recommend them to everyone but I could not recommend Saga graphic novel series enough! The story is amazing and at times endearing and heart breaking. The artwork and design is thought provoking and cuts straight to the things we might overlook otherwise. It sometimes comes out as gritty and harsh on the eyes as well as the heart but it does so well showing what life can be and how we need to cherish it and smile while we still have teeth!

Final thoughts on December 2020 reading

I had a lot of books I set myself to read this December. Sadly I knew that my plans had very little chance to be fully realized. I am happy with the amount of books I managed to read in December. There were some books I choose to let go in favor of finishing some others. I managed to finish two reading challenges out of three and I will post details on those in a day or two. I was not very active in making post since I tried to use as much as possible time for reading. I had run trough some books and had to work for it to finish them. I did make one review this December for:

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

You can read it HERE.

After quite some time I have accumulated a good number of books I am in progress of reading:

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

Draconomicon: The Book of Dragons by Andy Collins, Skip Williams, James Wyatt

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

MOR – Plodovi osvete by Josip Kralik

I will have to slow down from adding new book challenges until I cull the books I am in progress of reading at the moment! I have plans for some other overviews for reading challenges I have done trough the year and finally making some updates to the parts of the site I have been neglecting. I hope my plans become reality soon!

Naked City – Book Review

Naked City

by Ellen Datlow (Editor)

★★★★

Expectation

I was very excited when I first bought this book almost a decade ago now. Urban fantasy is one of my favorite genres and I had high expectations from this short story collection. I really love the cover and I am a big fan of Daniel Dos Santos cover art! I like the dreamy and intriguing quality of the characters on the cover and the misty setting that gives of fantasy vibes in an urban setting. I put this book on my personal reading challenge for the year and did finally picked it up for the Reindeer Readathon for the prompt that required me to read a book of my favorite genre! The names of the authors on the cover made me giddy with expectation of some good stories!

Summary

There are twenty short stories in this 500+ pages book. I did not realize just how big it was when I decided to finally pick it up. I expected fast paced short stories in urban fantasy but what I got was so much more. The stories of my favorite authors were excellent and I found some new authors to explore. I was reminded again of my interest in Dresden Files book series by Jim Butcher!

1. Curses by Jim Butcher ★★★
I liked this short insight into the world of Harry Dresden. Dresden Files book series is on my TBR for years now but I keep pushing it back and not there are so many books in the series I feel it would be a chore for me to collect them all. This short story presented me with a good feel of the authors writing but I can’t seem to get into the whole baseball and sport sin general vibe. While I was reading I got flashbacks to another story with the same theme and that made my reading experience less enjoyable.


2. How the Pooka came to New York City by Delia Sherman ★★★★
Gritty story with feeling. I liked the charm and depth of the characters. Would not mind reading more of the adventures of Pooka 😊

3. On the Slide by Richard Bowes ★★
The fantasy elements were barely in this story. The feel of a PI noire drama and lives of cops were not that appealing to me. I understand the homage to the TV series that this collection was named for but I wish there could have been some more fantastical elements to the story that I could relate to.


4. The Duke of Riverside by Ellen Kushner ★★★★
Outside of a medieval feel to the timeline of the story there were not any evident fantastical elements here. Other than that the story was intriguing and the characters were interesting. This story is an excellent example of passionate characters presented trough PG rated narrative and I don’t mind it one bit. It actually seemed very hot in a rather spartan way. I have some issues with the choice of the narrator but overall I really loved this story and would be interested to read more about the characters involved.


5. Oblivion by Calvin Klein by Christopher Fowler ★★★
This story was full of symbols that had me triggering and I was not sure what I was triggered by. I could not help but think of it as a prelude to something bigger and just beginning to bloom. I would love to have a bit clearer insight into some questions that were put out there.


6. Fairy Gifts by Patricia Briggs ★★★★★
This was the second time I was reading this story and I loved it even more than the first time. The clarity of well made characters and narrative jumped at me from each scene. Author has a way of making it easy for me to picture and understand everything she presents on pages and is a definite favorite!


7. Picking up the Pieces by Pat Cardigan ★★★★★
It started out suspicious but turned out to be an amazing story. I loved the theme and the setting. There were some minor things I had issues with but the historical content was rather endearing. Great story!


8. Underbridge by Peter S. Beagle ★★★★
This was more an insight into human nature than fantasy. At times it was rather unnerving and I must say the ending was not what I expected. For some reason I find the idea of the story thought provoking not for its fantastical elements but for its depiction of human condition!


9. Priced to Sell by Naomi Novik ★★★★★
Pace of this story was a bit faster and more lighthearted than those before and I loved it for that alone! This one has all the elements that I love in my urban fantasy books: wide choice of supernatural creatures, faster pace in sync with the urban setting and a good dose of practical quirkiness.


10. The Bricks of Geleck by Matthew Kressel ★★★★
This story almost had an Arabian nights feel to it. I liked the melancholy approach and event the philosophical vibe it made me feel. Thoughtful and pensive.


11. Weston Walks by Kit Reed ★★★
Another philosophical and introspective story with all the urban fantasy elements. I could not help but feel detached from the characters and how they were presented. More questions were poised than were answered.


12. The Projected Girl by Lavie Tidhar ★★★★
Historical references of this story were eerie. Main character seemed innocent enough but the amount of ambiguity he was surrounded with actually scared me. There were so many unsaid thoughts and references between the lines that the authors ability to blend them in so effortlessly amazed me. Rich story, composed in an intriguing way.


13. The Way Station by Nathan Ballingrud ★★★
I was not prepared for the amount of drama and serious stuff in this one. The symbolism is making my head spin. My expectations were very much different and it is starting to impact my reading experience.


14. Guns for the Dead by Melissa Marr ★★★★★
I am not a fan of western theme in any form or format. That being said this story was cute and interesting. I like the idea and how it was presented. This short story peaked my interest and I would like to read more of it.


15. And go Like this by John Crowley ★
This story, if it can even be called that, reads like a train of thought of a person who makes lists for a living. I was presented with an idea, but for idea to become a story some literary finesse is required. This essay of words put together had no literary value for me. I did not enjoy it.


16. Noble Rot by Holly Black ★★★★★
Twisted in a delicious way. I found this story romantic and sweet. I keep being surprised at how much I like the writing style of this author. There is something about the way she writes strange and weird that make them terribly appealing.


17. Daddy Longlegs of the Evening by Jeffrey Ford ★★★
This was the first story with a kind of macabre feel to it. I was waiting for a story with a bit more horror elements to it and this one did not exactly rise up to my expectations. There were some scary elements for sure, but the visuals I got from the descriptions had a Burtonesque feel to them. Not enough to scare me but just enough to confuse me. The idea of the story seemed like an urban legend.


18. The Skinny Girl by Lucius Shepard ★★★★
I liked the cultural references. I know nothing about the geography of Mexico City and this was a scary interlude. Interesting story and intriguing use of supernatural elements.


19. The Colliers’ Venus (1893) by Caitlin R. Kiernan ★★★
I liked how this story started. Then there was a dream sequence and it all went blurry for me. It got better at the end but I don’t think I understood the point of the story at all.


20. King Pole, Gallows Pole, Bottle Tree by Elizabeth Bear ★★★★
There were so many interesting characters in this story and the amount of mysteries left me intrigued. I liked the idea and the concept. The end of the story was kinda choppy but that was in the spirit of the main character and the theme I guess.

Conclusion

I did not expect the philosophical quality of the stories to be so intense. Many of the stories had a quite serious vibe to them. They reminded me of some classics of the speculative fiction genre form half a century ago. Most of the stories had a pensive and thought provoking agendas and challenged the reader to think about reality using some fantastical elements. Some stories were even Kafkaesque in their sombre characters and introspective aim. There were some definite favorites among these stories and there was a one complete dud as well! The story I liked the best was Noble rot by Holly Black simply because it held my attention the longest after reading.

I am glad to have finally read this book. It has given me a definite direction towards reading some other books and it is another short story collection from my bookshelves I have finally read!

Ninth House – Book Review

Ninth House 

(Alex Stern #1)

by Leigh Bardugo

★★★★★

Expectation

I got this book earlier this year after being so delighted with Grishaverse books that I wanted to read anything Leigh Bardugo had to offer. The theme of the Ninth House was not particularly appealing but I was intrigued by what I heard about the book and the pretty cover factor was an added bonus! I was looking for a chance to add this book to a reading challenge since it covers some of the prompts like dark academia I don’t read that often. In a way I was saving it for that perfect prompt and for months I thought it was going to be for some Halloween themed reading challenge this October. In the end the I read it for Sbooktober reading challenge under the category Festivities! – Hang Out With The Pets and the prompt that I used it for was – animal on the cover! You can check out my Sbooktober post HERE. The weirdest thing I noticed that this year my animal on the cover books were mostly those with snakes! I should try and use that for a thematic post soon!

Summary

The first few chapters were a mess and produced a feeling of vertigo while I was trying to get into the book. The chapters were written in a reverse timeline and getting the sense of it all proved to be a bit challenging. There was so much unique supernatural content to grasp and the flow of the story did not give room for idling away. The action starts right from the start! The first shocking scene got me hooked and dragged into the book in an almost violent manner. The main character got herself in some pretty desperate situations but even when everything looked grim there was a certain type of energy that survivors have.

There was one other thing that made it a challenge for me to get into this book. The setting was New Heaven, Yale college and the most prominent association I have with that was the Gilmore Girls TV show. While the Gilmore Girls had a similar quirky dialogue comedy to them that is where all similarities stop. This book had a dark thriller quality that was sobering and in direct opposite of the New Heaven natural outlook. There was an excellent map of the place in the book but I did not use it a lot since the action in the book was drawing me to read on and not fall back and check who did what and where.

The one thing that made me push my rating of this book to five stars were the female characters. Every female character had at least one trait that made her somehow more tangible, more real and more relatable. While the character of Darlington is held on a pedestal usually reserved for female characters in fiction, the women and girls get to take center stage and show their strengths. It all came down to a quote from Joss Whedon:

“…men who are going to be comfortable with powerful women are going to be more powerful men”

This picture of Darlington being the perfect gentleman and a man of extraordinary talents has made me love him more. He was sort of hanging over the scenes he was not a part of. All the while the badass heroines, survivors, villains, backup characters – all of them girls and women were beautifully written!

Conclusion

I loved the female character representation in this book! I loved their strength and spirit. I loved how strong they are and how boldly they swing at the world around them. The array of different types of characters from young to old, good to bad, passive to driven was impressive. The more I think about all of them to more I appreciate them!
I would love to read next book in the series and I’m not in any hurry because I know that whatever Leigh Bardugo writes it is going to be an absolute pleasure to read! 

TBR Jar Draw – September 2020 update

I have read my last TBR Jar Draw book back in July when I was taking a break from reading challenges. The book I’ve read was:

The Crooked Sixpence (The Uncommoners #1) by Jennifer Bell ★★★

I let my friend choose a book for me and I’m happy how it turned out. I’ve been meaning to read it for a while and unhaul it by donating it to my local library. Last year I noticed they have a second book from this series but not the first. I got the book as a present and it is a bit too middle grade for my tastes. As middle grade books go it was a great read and I liked it. Before I donate it to the library my friend asked me to borrow it so she can read it too!

Seven Seasons of Buffy: Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Discuss Their Favorite Television Show by Glenn Yeffeth and The Poison Diaries (The Poison Diaries #1) by Maryrose Wood are going back into the TBR Jar!

Three new picks I pulled from the Jar back at the end of July were:

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

This is the second book in an older book series from the eighties. I read the first book when I was very young and impressionable. I even made a post about it few years back as a part of the Books that changed me project and you can check it out HERE. When I stumbled on the second book by accident and at great price I decided to give it a chance. The reason I did not read it already is tied to the fact that I read the first book so very long time ago and I’m not sure how well I will be able to get into this book. Also, this book is quite a chubby one – 639 pages of chubby paperback edition! It might be a big commitment for a book I’m not sure I will like anymore and it is kinda hard to include it in reading challenges for that very reason!

2# The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

I remember a friend of mine telling me about this book. I remember I was intrigued and I don’t remember how I got it in the end. It is a Croatian edition and I already borrowed it to some people to read before I read it and that is a sure sign I am not that interested in it. It is one of those books that drop into your life by accident. As I understand the story is a bit dark and supernatural with a very young main character. I might pick it up in some of my darker moods or try to fit it into some reading challenge.

3# Angélique, le chemin de Versailles (Angelique 2) by Anne and Serge Golon

This is a second book in another older book series. This one is created by the french duo Anne and Serge Golon. It is a historical adventure book series and I’ve only read the first book when I was in high school I think. Again I have an issue with getting into the story after such a long time. Only this time I already own the whole book series of around twelve books in translation. They are kinda slow paced book and I’m worried how I can fit them into some reading challenges and finish them. It is another chubby edition with 640 pages.

This time I am at a complete lack of direction at which book out of these three to choose to read. I might even have to consult my friend for help!

Fantastic Hope – Book Review

Fantastic Hope

edited by

Laurell K. Hamilton

and William McCaskey

★★★★

Expectation

I was very interested in reading these urban fantasy stories and was mostly in for it for some of my favorite authors. This is a relatively new book for me since it is published earlier this year and I managed to fit it into my N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon for August! Also I was anticipating to read some great stories with characters I already know and love. Stories I was most interested in were Asil and the Not-Date by Patricia Briggs and Zombie Dearest by Laurell K. Hamilton. All the rest of the authors were mostly unknown to me. When I read the foreword I was pleasantly surprised by the general theme of the stories being something happy and something to make the readers feel good. We need more of those kind of stories in the world!

Summary

  • Twilight Falls by Jonathan Maberry ★★★★★

Lately I’ve been watching some spy thriller conspiracy TV dramas and this story fit right up that alley. I was surprised at how much special operatives language and protocols felt familiar to me. I enjoyed this short story quite a bit! It was a good opening into the collection.

  • Not in this Lifetime by Sharon Shinn ★★★

I must admit this story was a bit cheesy for me. Too many things were too convenient in the end. I liked the little group of characters a lot though.

  • Mr. Positive, The Eternal Optimist by Larry Correia ★★★★★

This story has everything I like in my urban fantasy: some supernatural elements, some humor and something for me to connect with. The tone of the story is very endearing and I liked the action parts as well.

  • No Greater Love by Kacey Ezell ★★★★

I was surprised by religious content of this story. It made me thread very carefully. I ended even more surprised by liking this story a lot.

  • Broken Son by Griffin Barber  ★★★★

Science fiction and space themed stories are really not my thing. But this one was really nice. It reminded me a bit at Vorkosigan saga by Lois MacMaster Bujold. I genuienuly liked this story against all odds.

  • Heart of Clay by Kevin J. Anderson ★★★

I could describe this story as a really wild ride. There were too many supernatural elements and quirks for me to be able to really enjoy this story. I liked the humor that reminded me of works of Robert Asprin. I can point out some of the characters and ideas that were really engaging but as a whole I thought it was a bit too much.

  • Reprise by John G. Hartness ★★★★★

So far this story was the easiest to get into. Considering I have never read anything by this author I might have to change that in the future! It’s a vampire themed and intriguing. I loved the slightly melancholly feel of the story combined with demons and slightly changed alternate history setting.

  • Asil and the Not-Date by Patricia Briggs ★★★★★

This is one of the two stories in this collection I was most interested about. It is from Alpha and Omega book series. First, it was written by a favorite author and second, it is set in a world full of lovable characters I already know. Asil is not exactly a favorite character but it is quite endearing and releateable for me. I was scared this story would be a sappy one but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn’t. Loved the ending!

  • In the Dust by Robert E. Hampson ★★★

Style of this story was more a series of short scenes than a traditional short story. Even with all that the emotions and the characters were very well done. This one is a bit science fictiony and thst is the only reason it was not that good for me.

  • Fallen by L. E. Modesitt, Jr ★

Finally a story I did not like at all. The theme, the execution, the flow – it was all very unsatisfactory to read. The little screenshots from history were not picked out with care at all. Pseudo religious content left a really bad aftertaste for me.

  • Working Conditions by Patrick M. Tracy ★★★★

This story is an excellent example of a sweet urban fantasy vampire story. And, yes! I am biased when it comes to vampires in urban fantasy! I like the simplicity and the kinda sad theme. It was very light and made me want to read more about the setting and the vampires in it.

  • Last Contact by M. C. Sumner ★★★★

There was someting about this story that I liked and I can not pintpoint what it was. Theme is thoughtfull and has some aliens in it.

  • Ronin by William McCaskey ★★★★

This one is a tear jerker! The story is a lovely blend of urban fatasy and harsh reality. It was a very endearing story.

  • SKJOLDMOĐIR by Michael Z. Williamson and Jessica Schlenker ★★★★★

Earlier this year I’ve read two different interpretations of nordic myths and this story made me want to read more of them. T has a certain epic quality mixed with subtle pathos of the main characters. I liked it a lot!

  • Bonds of Love and Duty by Monalisa Foster  ★★★★★

Another story that surprised me in a good way! The theme was totally science fiction but it I loved it. It is definitely something I could keep on reading.

  • Zombie Dearest by Laurell K. Hamilton  ★★★★★

This story fits into Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book series. I was very interested in this story and was not disappointed! I loved that this story has a little JC in it! Finally it is something that connects to one of the previous books. The idea that it represents is quite outrageous though. Loved reading it!

Conclusion

There were sixteen stories in this collection and about half of them were really excellent for me. Only one story felt underwhelming for me. All the rest were good and mostly surprised me in a good way. I found a few authors I will keep an eye out in my future reading and my two favorites were excellent. Zombie Dearest by Laurell K. Hamilton was especially bittersweet to read since the new book in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series – Sucker Punch, just came out and I will have to wait until next year for mas market paperback to come out to get it and read it! I am glad I got this collection!

The Olympic Games Reading Challenge – Experience and thoughts

For June I picked out two reading challenges simply because I was very interested in both and could not pick just one! Second reading challenge I really wanted to do was called The Olympic Games and it is thematically tied with the wonderful world of demigods created by the author Rick Riordan. The main host of this reading challenge is Ishi Time. You can check out her channel and the challenge announcement HERE

Even though these books cater to younger audiences these books are one of my favorites and I enjoy them quite a bit! So when I found the reading challenge that pays tribute to these amazing books I just had to participate. Thematically I was a lot more interested in this reading challenge than in the Make Your Myth-Taker Reading Challenge which I also picked out for June.

First part of the challenge was choosing one of the available Gods as a patron. After a long consideration I choose Hades as my patron. I like my books a bit on the darker side and Hades fits nicely with the books I can choose from my bookshelves. To honor my patron deity I have a list of five prompts I need to read books for. What I loved about this reading challenge was the freedom to pick the order of reading any way I please. I do believe this was what made me believe I can do both challenges. Since I was aware that I am doing two reading challenges I made my goal to use as many books I can for both challenges. In this regard I did pretty well I believe. Here are the books I choose for the prompts:

Hades prompt 1. – book featuring the undead

The Laughing Corpse (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter, #2) by Laurell K. Hamilton ★★★★★

I had a lot of books to choose from for this prompt since I love urban fantasy genre and one of the most often used motives in the genre is some kind of the undead as a main character, love interest, villain of just a side character. Basically my favorite book series that features variety of different types of undead is Anita Blake Vampire Hunter by Laurell K. Hamilton. I have been reading these books for almost a third of my life now and I am still looking forward to each new book and story. I loved going back to the second book of the series which I have rad only once before this.

Hades prompt 2. – reread a book

Circus of the Damned (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter, #3) by Laurell K. Hamilton ★★★★★

Having a reason to read these books again was a welcome bonus for my reading in June. Rereading the third book after so many years have passed has been an interesting experience. I was annoyed to realize some small inconsistencies in the book and it has dimmed my elation for reading these books. In spite of that small annoyance I enjoyed reading the book a lot. I realized some differences that some characters moved on in the series and it was definitely good to get that perspective on growth and progress on some of the characters. This was one of the most interesting books for me before I read it the second time and it still is very interesting in showcasing the world that the author has build for her characters.

Hades prompt 3. – book with a dark cover

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3) by J.K. Rowling ★★★★★

Even though I have never before actually read this book I was heavily influenced by how dark the movie version seemed in comparison to the first two. So when I picked out this book for the dark cover prompt it seemed a perfect fit for me. I might even say that the cover illustration looks a little creepy. Some of the major differences came out between the book and the movie while reading this book. The story was generally known to me since I’ve seen the movie so many times but I had no issues with following the story as much I used to have in similar situations before. Reading the book made me want to watch the movie again as well and made my June just a bit more magical for the Hufflepuff edition which I am proud to own.

Hades prompt 4. – random TBR book

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Vol. 1 by John Vornholt, Arthur Byron Cover, Alice Henderson ★★★

In continuation with fantastical and undead related themes for this prompt I used my pick for TBR Jar Draw in June. You can check out more about it HERE. Buffy is one of my favorite TV shows for its humorous and witty dialogues and fantastical content. Reading the novelizations that were set somewhere in the first two seasons of the show was not the best experience and I was worried about ruining what good memories I have of it. There were three different stories that could be found as a standalone books: Coyote Moon by John Vornholt; Night of the Living Rerun by Arthur Byron Cover and Portal Trough Time by Alice Henderson. The reading experience totaled as average with one story being not so good, one just OK and the third very good for me. I am sad to say that these stories did not age well for me.

Hades prompt 5. – Any Hermes prompt – snake on the cover

For this prompt I had a lot more choices than I anticipated. In fact I ended up reading three different books in June that fit this prompt! In the end I choose:

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2) by J.K. Rowling ★★★★★

Reading the Harry Potter books in my own Hufflepuff editions is a magical experience on its own. I loved reading articles before and after the story relating to Hufflepuffs! It was very satisfying to have it available in Hogwarts house edition of my choice. I will continue reading and collecting the whole set. It already has a special place on my bookshelf!

Hades had two Advanced challenges prompts for me to fit books for. I managed to find two books that fit the prompts but I missed out on the reading rule of the challenge to read these only after I have read all five for the main challenge. Out of these two I managed to read only one of the books I chose.

Advanced Challenge 1. – Sword and Shield

✔   The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air, #3) by Holly Black

Advanced Challenge 2. – Monster fighting

  • Wayward Son (Simon Snow, #2) by Rainbow Rowell

My score on Olympic Games reading challenge:

I have read 5 books for The Olympic Games challenge

I read one additional book for the advanced challenge BUT I did not follow the rule of reading it after the first five prompts of the main challenge were done.

The second advanced challenge I did not get to read at all.

I would have loved to have chosen only one reading challenge for June in order to enjoy the experience more. I am glad I tried my own limits by reading two challenges and I hope to do better on the Olympic Games next year. In all the reading I did in June I forgot to follow and engage in some other social media platforms with other readers who were participating. Now that I got the hang of the few reading challenges I think I might be ready for that step as well. I’m kinda sorry for not putting in my books for the competition on which patron deity would inspire most readers and get most book read. I am glad for this experience though and hope to do better next time!

The figurine and the Hades visual are from the Disney Villainous: Wicked to the Core board game. You can check out more information on it HERE.

Make Your Myth-Taker Reading Challenge – Experience and thoughts

June was a third month in a row I have decided to take on a reading challenge. Make Your Myth-Taker was one out of two reading challenges that caught my attention in June. I was interested in the concept of making one’s own story using various prompts for reading. Make Your Myth-Taker offered a lot of options and out of the four general paths I choose the path of the Sorcerer.

In the path of the Sorcerer I have decided to follow the prompts to the Goddess option. This meant I had to read four books in the line of given prompts. The rule I am not very fond of was to read the books in the order for the prompts. This annoyed me a bit and I had to keep checking what book I was supposed to read next! Here are my book choices and what I thought about them:

Sorceress prompt 1. – nonhuman main

Elves Vol. 1: The Crystal of the Blue Elves by Jean-Luc Istin, DUARTE (Illustrator), Saito (Illustrator) ★★★★★

A friend who loves comics and graphic novels suggested for me to try these out after I noticed them on his Goodreads profile. It is a work of European authors with amazing illustrations I sometimes got lost in. The details and the coloring were very well done and some scenes were so good they gave me a feeling of watching an animated work with how well the illustrations flowed from one picture to the next. The story was very easy for me to get into because when I started reading I was just starting a new RPG Dungeons and Dragons campaign with some friends after a long time not playing pen and paper games like that. The fantastical setting offered many different races and an assortment of interesting characters. It was like diving into the world of high fantasy from some of the best authors out there. I appreciated the character quirks, political intrigue between the races and the colorful scenes in the background of it all. I was almost sad to stop reading this graphic novel series because I had to follow the prompts for my next book in the challenge.

Sorceress prompt 2. – foiled cover

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2) by J.K. Rowling ★★★★★

This year I finally started reading the Harry Potter series from the beginning. I have never actually read the first three books before I got my own copies. I started reading them when the third movie came out and started out with the fourth book! I ended up reading the last few books and buying them at midnight premiere sales when the hype for Harry Potter was at its wildest! Reading them now all these years later and after watching the movies so many times was a different experience on its own. I loved the design of the books I started to collect to have a whole set as they come out – The Hufflepuff editions with startling yellow cover jacket and extra lovable tidbits on Hufllepuffs in each book. Even the stars around the title of each chapter made me smile while I was reading. The story was known to me and I enjoyed each little difference I could find from the movie versions in the books.

Sorceress prompt 3. – highest rated

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3) by J.K. Rowling ★★★★★

I did not plan on picking out the third book in the Harry Potter series to read right after the second one. But when the coincidence offered this book as the most highest available to me at the time I embraced this choice with glee! The third book was translated into a very dark movie and because of it it became one of my least favorite movies. Reading the book was a completely different experience. I cant point out the exact differences for me but the book seemed much approachable for me to read than I remember from the movie. I had to watch the movie as soon as I finished the book and go over the things that caught my attention the most. I will be getting the next two books for my birthday and I plan on to continue reading them this year. Having both books fit into the same reading challenge in this order made me very pleased and I hope to fit the others in some other reading challenge by the end of the year as well!

Sorceress prompt 4. – random TBR

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Vol. 1 by John Vornholt, Arthur Byron Cover, Alice Henderson ★★★

Last time I had to read a book for a random prompt I ended up not reading the book I got. Random TBR prompt is definitely one of my least favorite prompts out there. I already have a semi random TBR book draw each month with my reading project TBR Jar Draw which I came up with in order to read more of the books I own. I have been at it for a few years now and I’m loving the results. For this reason I decided to use my TBR Jar Draw for the general random book prompt in this challenge. Out of three random book picks I decided on the one with the most pages and was really worried what would this long book do to my reading pace for the reading challenge. As it turned out the book I chose to read was a 3in1 edition of Buffy the Vampire Slayer novelizations – it was three actual books in one chubby edition. This was actually on my TBR for quite a number of years and since I avoided it for that long I decided to go for it. The three novelizations on their own did not have such stellar ratings and reviews and for a while I was a bit worried since these were the character I have fond memories of. The first story Coyote Moon was okay. I had to concentrate on the fact that these stories were set to be somewhere around first two seasons of the TV show. Those were some strange times and the TV show was way ahead of the times for the most part. Second story – The Night of the Living Rerun was the weakest for me. But what really made me not like it was the way the characters were portrayed. I just thought that they were way off from the behavior of the characters in the show. Third story – Portal Trough Time was the most interesting to me. I remember some of the slayers mentioned in the story from the Tales of the Slayers edition I have read before. Because the time travelling theme this one had bad reviews in general but the fact that the characters seemed true to those from the show I ended up liking it the most. The overall score of this edition was the sum of all three stories and I was glad to make a dent into my Buffy related book collection since I have plenty of it to read still.

Just four books seemed too easy for me and when I saw that the third prompt offers a crossover with another path choice I decided to spice things up and go with the crossover to Royal Court path to Monarch line. This added three more books to my reading challenge since the the third prompt is the same for both paths. I had much more trouble finding the right books for the last three prompts. Here are the books I came up with for the prompts:

Royal Court prompt 1. – queen main character

The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air, #3) by Holly Black ★★★★★

I searched through my bookshelves in order to find a book fro this one. I ended up choosing a book I already read in January this year. Few years back I did not reread books often if at all with few notable exceptions. I even joined a Facebook group of fans of this book series and had some extra motivation for reading this book. It was as good and as interesting as the first time I read it! I loved the characters even more the second time around. When I finished reading it I even found out about the next book from the series that comes out later this year and now I am enjoying the hype and anticipation for the next time I can read about the characters that make me happy and giggle a lot! Now that I think about it I am glad I had a reason to read this book again even in such short period of time.

Royal Court prompt 2. – red, purple or gold on the cover

Elves Vol. 2: The Honor of the Sylvan Elves by by Nicolas Jarry, Gianluca Maconi, Diogo Saito ★★★★★

For some reason I had no clue what to pick for this prompt and I even began to panic a little bit because of it! In my search for the right book for the prompt I decided to try the graphic novel I started the reading challenge with. I decided to categorize the cover illustration as gold for the purposes of the reading challenge. I used this opportunity to read another volume of the graphic novel I liked so much. The story in this one is completely independent from the first volume. They are both set in the same world and I got the feeling that they are both an interlude for the stories that come after it. This graphic novel series has 24 volumes and I am interested in reading them all. The character in this volume reminded me of some Dungeons and Dragons archetypes which made it more interesting to me. Again I was floored with beautiful coloring and scenes. I’m sad this graphic novel is not more popular.

Royal Court prompt 4. – reread a favorite

The Laughing Corpse (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter, #2) by Laurell K. Hamilton ★★★★★

Last prompt was a fairly easy one for me to pick after the last two. I have been meaning to reread Anita Blake book series for years now. I have been with this book series for well over a decade. These characters have been part of my reading experience so long I fell very connected with them. This book series has many bad reviews from book nine on and many readers are frustrated with how the author has decided to develop her story and characters. This is a book series with 27 books and counting. Going back to reading the book series from the beginning was an interesting experience. I was reminded just how far the characters and the plot progressed. It has given me some perspective and I plan to continue with rereading the other books in the series as well.

My score on Make Your Myth-Taker reading challenge:

I have read 7 books for this reading challenge.

3 books were completely new for me.

2 books were rereads.

2 books felt like rereads since I have seen the movies so many times.

I have taken on a journey of a Sorceress and went the path of Goddess.

I have decided to expand to the path of Royal Court and go for the title of Monarch.

This reading challenge was an interesting experience. I enjoyed having a reason to reread so many books I love. I will be on the lookout for this challenge next year where I might add to these paths or just choose to complete the journey again. The Make Your Myth-Taker reading challenge was created by Charlotte and Ashley from A Frolic Through Fiction – you can check out Ashley’s announcement for the challenge HERE. Charlotte is on Twitter and you can follow here HERE. Give them some love for they deserve it! I am glad I found this reading challenge and did good on it!

Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

Lately I’ve been really stuck in trying to get through two reading challenges I have going on this month. You can check out my list for first time trying them out if you want.

I talk about my Make Your Myth-Taker reading challenge HERE

and you can see my choices for the The Olympic Games HERE

While I was checking out some Booktube channels for inspiration and new ideas, a friend of mine suggested we go through the Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag to each other. We actually made videos to each other answering the tags and talking about books and life in general and now our significant others are thinking we are very weird because of it. We don’t plan posting the videos anywhere public and they are for personal use and enjoyment only; but it gave me something to think about in my reading time as well. This is why I decided to make a post to go through the tags and summarize what I have learned about myself and my reading in the first half of 2020.

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

Incubus Caged (The Incubus, #1) by A. H. Lee

This book was a revelation for me. I did not find many good fantasy books or stories that incorporate hardcore sex well. I get really agitated by mainstream fantasy books that skirt around the actual sexual act. I made a point not to read some of the authors who do this no matter how popular their stories are. I was kinda blown away at how good this book was in that regard. The magical and fantasy aspects of the book were really well done by my opinion and the sexual theme seemed was nicely incorporated into it. The beginning of the story was a bit touch and go until the fantastical world the author build unfolded. The fact that this is a accidental Kindle find and I bought the whole trilogy says a lot since I’m a bit traditionally stingy when it comes to buying books on Kindle – I prefer physical copies.

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

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2) by Holly Black

I bought first two books of The Folk of the Air book series at the Interliber book fair in Zagreb last year. I’ve only started reading them in January this year. I was reluctant to get the third book since the format was different than the first two and that really annoys me. I read both books in quick succession and was left with a dilemma: wait for half a year for the same format of the third book to come out OR get the third book in a bigger hardcover format… This book had such an influence on me that I went and ordered the hardcover third book – again, this is something I have never done before! I ended up loving the whole trilogy so much I plan on rereading the last book this month!

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

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Lately I have been very glad of my book club friends. Through book club I met some wonderful people and my life is richer for the experiences we shared. When I learn that this is a book about a book club with an urban fantasy twist I was interested right away! This book reminded me of Sookie Stackhouse book series by Charlaine Harris which I started reading back when it was still called The Southern Vampire Mysteries and I got really nostalgic and reminded that I never read the last book of that series… Anyway I’m getting off topic here, but book club, vampire slaying and a quirky band of women – I’m totally getting this book soon!

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

Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1) by Leigh Bardugo

The reason I put this book as the most anticipated release for the second half of 2020. is because at the start of the 2020 one of the Croatian publishers announced it will be translating it. I’m guessing it might come somewhere in autumn or whenever the TV show starts releasing on Netflix. I really can’t wait for the translated edition to come out so I can talk about it with some of my book club friends who don’t read books in English. And I really want to talk more about these books with some people in my life!

5. Biggest disappointment

The Witch With No Name (The Hollows, #13) by Kim Harrison

The amount of disappointment I felt because of this book does not really show in the review I did for it. I postponed reading this book since it was a last book of the series I have been reading for a long time. I went trough a lot in my life while reading these books and they kinda kept me afloat of the bad things. I had very strong emotions and fond memories connected with these books and characters. This last book fell flat for me. I could not get into it and I was annoyed while reading. I was seriously considering to get rid of all the books and this is still an option for me. From a book series that game me good vibes I was left with a lots of negative emotions that frustrate me when I think about these books. You can check my review HERE.

6. Biggest surprise

The Incubus book series by A. H. Lee

As I’ve already mentioned the best book as I count my reading experiences in 2020 was the first book of the Incubus trilogy. This whole series was the biggest positive surprise for me in 2020. I will be on the lookout for this author for some other fantasy works with adult content. This is the kind of story I’m glad I often take chances with Kindle freebies and samples.

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

Holly Black with her The Folk of the Air

Another already mentioned and new for me author this year is Holly Black and her The Folk of the Air book series. I have heard of her works before but since they were mostly aimed at younger audiences I mostly skipped them. The Folk of the Air was a thrill to read and I love those characters. I have acquired desktop and mobile background fan art of Jude and Cardan. The scenes and characters are very expressive and dramatic and I love the writing style. At the same time I am glad that the trilogy The Folk of the Air is complete and finished but would love to read more of the stories with these characters. I actually don’t mind rereading these books which is something I don’t do often!

8. Newest fictional crush

Tom Severin from Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels, #6) by  Lisa Kleypas

Tom Severin from Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels, #6) by  Lisa Kleypas is a workaholic that never had motivation to live life for anything else but his work. He starts as cold, distant and money motivated. When a chance of a good deal in his personal life comes along he would not be the driven businessman he is not to take it. I love the jaded and the childlike logic of Tom Severin: he has amassed enough wealth that he is capable of making someone happy with it. He is hardworking and cares for those in his charge when he has the chance to prove it. It is a heartbreaking character with integrity and a it just makes me love him more for it!

9. Newest favorite character

Cardan Greenbriar from The Folk of the Air

This character is amazingly written! The amount of backstory that was given and even more that it was only hinted about was a pleasure to read. I love how flawed he comes off in the books and how his character growth flows in a constant stream whether he is in the center of the narrative or not. In the whole trilogy his character is constantly moving and growing. Every scene with him shows progress in some way and I love how the author managed that.

10. Book that made you cry

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2) by Leigh Bardugo

I read a number of Grishaverse books in quick succession but the amount of tears from the Crooked Kingdom took me by surprise. I wept and kept reading believing that something will happen to disprove the reason for my weeping! The sadness was even greater since the character that was most hit by grief in the book was very open and lovable and the grief translated so raw to the reader.

11. Book that made you happy

King of Scars (Nikolai Duology, #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Just holding this book in my hands makes me excited. It is gorgeous and the story inside it has taken some very sharp twists and turns that make me wonder how the author is going to handle the next book of the series. Reading this book has made me equally happy and frightful but also very excited with the prospects it brings to the plot. I believe I will be riding this hype train long into the Netflix TV show and I hope it will be good enough to last more than a few seasons!

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

October Faction / Altered Carbon-Takeshi Kovacs

While I was going trough the many book to film adaptations I loved watching so far this year I had so many options but most of them were adaptations of books I have not read. I chose two options for that reason. One is a graphic novel to a one season Netflix TV series adaptation which started kinda shaky but I ended up liking enough to want to read the graphic novels which I understand differ from the TV adaptation greatly. My second choice was the second season of Altered Carbon TV series and Takeshi Kovacs book series by Richard Morgan. I have not read those either but have a friend that was very upset by the book/adaptation differences as well. I liked the adaptations and enjoyed watching both TV series!

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

Book of Wayward Girls and Wicked Women edited by Angela Carter 

In March I have read a collection of short stories about women from a colorful selection of authors and enjoyed them greatly. I was inspired to take pictures of quotes and post them on Instagram as well. I enjoyed reading and writing about this book and the thematic mood for March was a great fir as well. Up to this book I did not use many props while taking pictures because I don’t feel very talented in arranging them in general. This book made me feel empowered in a way and it was nice to write about my reading experience with it. You can check out my review HERE.

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

Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1) by Leigh Bardugo

This year was extraordinary in many ways for me and the books I’ve read and acquired. I have taken to buying more hardcover editions and how pretty a book is definitely factors into the equation more for me as of late. In a batch of books I recived early this year Ninth House is one of the prettiest. I’ve taken to love the shiny illustrations under the jacket of the hardcover editions.

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

I have made a few lists of books I plan to read by the end of the year and among the books I have left to read there are a few I know I will need some extra motivation and concentration. I will not post these lists here now, you can check some of them on this post HERE. I would like to single out a few that I am both excited and apprehensive about starting to read. One that will be a challenge is The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. It is a big book and I have a great desire to read it “one day”. I will have to push myself with it and hope for the best. Also I plan on tackling the whole The Trials of Apollo book series by Rick Riordan by the end of the year. I have found it difficult to immerse myself into the main story of these books.

It is very evident that my 2020 reading was heavily influenced by few selected authors and book series. I have made good on my goals to read more of the books I already own and I am very pleased with results so far. I hope to be this pleased with my reading by the end of this year as well!

Medieval-A-Thon Reading Challenge – Experience and thoughts

In the month of May I originally wanted to relax a little after the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon in April. That all changed when I spotted this challenge. You can see my first post where I choose the books and decided to participate a whole week later – HERE.

My goal for this challenge was to become an Empress and in order to do that I had to read at least seven books in May. The story of a a great Empress started with an awesome outfit to fight dragons with so I can impress the people before I cant truly become their leader!

First book I’ve read for this challenge answered to the prompt –

Dragon on the cover!

The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo, #2) by Rick Riordan ★★★★

This was a friendly dragon and while its role in this book was not so big I truly enjoyed reading about it! Festus, whose name translates to “Happy” is an automaton bronze dragon originally created by the children of Hephastus. I will not make spoilers about what happens to Festus in this book but I will just say that my journey to become an Empress has been more amazing since I read about him! I had some trouble in starting to read this book and this reading challenge helped me with it! With this positive energy my quest to become an Empress began!

Second book I’ve read for this challenge helped me not to act like a snob and be more humble – the prompt for this book was

to read a book under 300 pages!

Incubus Dreaming (The Incubus, #2) by A. H. Lee ★★★★★

This was the best book I’ve read in May! It is the third book in a trilogy and the fact that I finished the book series was an added bonus of positive energy as well. While somebody else would probably use this prompt to take it easy I choose a book that just barely fits the requirement as it has 299 pages total by Kindle account! My goal in sight and my standards still set high I moved on to the next book.

The third book I read for this challenge allowed me to grab some weapon training

start or finish a duology

The Fates Divide (Carve the Mark, #2) by Veronica Roth ★★★

The first time I saw this challenge I knew I wanted these weapons! Training to fight with two weapons at once is as hard as reading a book that is part some of your not favorite genre. This book has been on my TBR plan for a very long time and the first book I read years ago. Sci Fi nature of this book as well as some rich cultural and original details made it harder to read but the reward of finishing another book series I was logging around for a long time was as rewarding as getting those two daggers and learning how to use them properly!

Next book brought me some companionship in the form of my favorite animal and by the prompt

A book that begins with a “C”

Carry On (Simon Snow, #1) by Rainbow Rowell ★★★★

I knew I was going to like this book and I wanted to like it! I was looking for an excuse to add this book to my reading and had several choices for it. Pairing it with a cat companion fit nicely. Cats are perfect companions for an Empress – they hint at luxury but are very resourceful and independent as well. Every household can find cat useful and these animals are fiercely loyal and territorial which are the atributes I hold very important.

Book I decided to read next added some royal wardrobe I could really shine in and the prompt was

A shiny book

The Testament of Loki (Loki #2) by Joanne M. Harris ★★

This shiny book was another one from my bookshelf that was weighing on me to finish a book series. As it turned out I was more of a fighter than a parading ruler or a dancer at a ball. The book did not blew me away – it was just OK. A shiny book and a shiny outfit were just OK but did not speak to me the way some other books or outfits did.

An Empress in the making that did not enjoy her shiny dresses has turned again to more unladylike ventures by acquiring her own horse to travel her kingdom and the reading prompt for this one was

A tall hardcover

Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan, John Rocco ★★★★

I was a bit miffed by the prompt so I decided to get the biggest hardcover book I had on my bookshelves other than an encyclopedia. At first I was very happy with my choice. But as it turns out with serious rulers and kingdoms some things are not as easy as they look! This book proved very hard to read since it was too heavy to hold for longer periods of time and its bulkiness proved a problem. Traveling a kingdom did not prove to be an easy picnic either.

This next book proves that friends can be found in the unlikliest of places as I befriended a goat! The prompt for this one was

A book high on my bookshelf

Death of a Darklord (Ravenloft #13) by Laurell K. Hamilton ★★★

This prompt was a bit confusing for me at first. I reached out to the top of my bookshelf and found one book on it that I did not read while all the rest I have at least partially read! The prompt was perfect and I was actually wondering if this could be maybe a scary book prompt as well. Befriending a goat was as interesting experience as reading this book – not exactly good or bad, just a little different!

With all my seven books read I have reached a status of an Empress with three different outfits: one a plate of armor for battle, one casual suit for adventuring and mingling with normal people and one shiny severe dress for formal functions! I got a perfect cat companion that compliments my personality and learned to ride a horse while trained to fight with two weapons to a satisfactory degree. And last but not least I have befriended a goat on my travels through the kingdom. With the bonus of three more books I have read in May I managed to befriend a Knight to accompany me on my journey of being a good Empress! In the last five days of the challenge I read more than 700 pages which was enough to repel any outside forces that wanted to mess with my empire!

May your own stories be as interesting as was mine and I hope to participate in this challenge next year as well!

May Book Wrap Up 2020

Monthly reading review – May 2020

This May I have read:

The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo #2) by Rick Riordan ★★★★

Incubus Dreaming (The Incubus, #2) by A. H. Lee ★★★★★

Indiscretions (Scandalous Seductions #2) by Madelynne Ellis ★★★★

The Testament of Loki (Loki #2) by Joanne M. Harris ★★

The Fates Divide (Carve the Mark, #2) by Veronica Roth ★★★

Death of a Darklord (Ravenloft #13) by Laurell K. Hamilton ★★★

A Most Unsuitable Earl (Marriage By Scandal #2) by Ruth Ann Nordin ★★★★

Carry On (Simon Snow, #1) by Rainbow Rowell ★★★★

Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan, John Rocco ★★★★

Cable Volume 1: Shining Path by David Tischman, Igor Kordej ★★

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

This month I have read ten books altogether. Three were in digital form and the other seven can be seen on the picture above. I am happy to keep my reading in double digits!

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

There were a lot of good books I read in May but the best for me was Incubus Dreaming (The Incubus, #2) by A. H. Lee. This kind of blend of traditional fantasy setting and some urban elements matched very well with erotica. I wish I could find more books like this one. Anything that is mainstream fantasy is mostly PG13 and most of all who have erotic elements turn out to be nothing but smut written by fanfiction type writers who are annoyed by the lack of sex in the fantasy books in general. This book has it all I and I loved that!

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

There were two books this May that kinda fell flat for me: The Testament of Loki (Loki #2) by Joanne M. Harris and Cable Volume 1: Shining Path by David Tischman, Igor Kordej. For The Testament of Loki I just could not seem to find a character that I could connect with. Loki seemed a bit watered down to me and the rest of the characters could have used a bit more backstory and depth for me to start caring and get myself more immersed into the story. The ending of the book seemed a bit psychedelic and kinda bland at the same time. The whole book in general seemed like an interlude to something else and not very good on it’s own. And in case of Cable Volume 1: Shining Path the story was good. I had some problems with following all the action. I kept feeling like I was missing something and had to catch up. I have some issues the artwork. Kordej’s works are very recognizable with chunky characters and muscles. What bugged me the most was actually the coloring and I really did not like how it looked with illustrators firm and dark lines.

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

For the month of May I decided to try out the Medieval-A-Thon reading challenge for the first time – you can check out my original post for it HERE. I will write a more detailed post about my experience with it soon but it is safe to say I am happy with how it all went.

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

I am actually very pleased with the reading I have done in finishing and continuing some book series in May! I finished two book series and one of those was a long time coming. I finally made some progress with The Trials of Apollo book series and I can hope to get to the next book soonish as well. I started out one new book series I plan to continue and that would be Simon Snow by Rainbow Rowell.

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

Instead of the books I would recommend the author Rainbow Rowell for her quirky yet relatable writing style and a reading challenge as creative as Medieval-A-Thon. I loved little updates on Instagram and opportunities for some extra rewards and story plots to further my reading!

Final thoughts on May 2020 reading

At first I thought May was going to be a slow reading month after doing the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon in April but after finding Medieval-A-Thon reading challenge I was hooked and a bit scared how will I manage it since I started a week later. I managed to exceed all my expectation and have fun reading some books that were on my TBR for a very long time. I’m glad for challenging myself this way. Only thing that is curbing my enthusiasm right now is that I made zero progress with my book club assignment which is due next week.

Looking forward to a fun a and more relaxed reading in June 🙂