Project Buddy Readathon 2021-2022

For the year 2021. I decided to do a Buddy readathon for the first time. My reading buddy Vivone was a friend from book club and we wanted to challenge each other to experience and see how we liked some books we would not be able to read for the book club. We decided to make a list of 10 books to read during the course of the year and we both agreed to present our suggestions for the list. From our suggestions we picked five from each list and ended up with the final list below!

Buddy Read list 2021.

Alien ( Alien Movie Novelizations #1 ) by Alan Dean Foster ★★★

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor ★★★★

Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny ★★★

Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein ★★★

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

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

Proklete Hrvatice : (1&2) : Dvadeset životopisa by Milana Vuković Runjić ★★★

Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1) by Shelby Mahurin ★★★★

Castle in the Air (Howl’s Moving Castle #2) by Diana Wynne Jones ★★★★

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers ★★★★

I will take few moments to reflect on the statistics of the books we chose. Out of 10 books we picked there was one genre that dominated with five books and that was science fiction. Four books were fantasy and one book was nonfiction.

Out of all those books, six were part of a series. Only one book was written by a Croatian author and all the rest of the books were translations. From nine translations only one was from a Polish author while all the rest were English native speaking authors. For me the number of books from this list that I have read in Croatian translation is much higher than usual.

Total number of pages for the ten books we read was 3188!

We each had a different book from the list as a favorite. Vivone’s favorite was Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor and my favorite was All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells.

We both agreed on the book that was our least favorite book to read – Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein. We were not sorry for reading it but the experience was very different than we expected and that is the reason for it being dubbed the least favorite.

Our most memorable books were Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny and Proklete Hrvatice : (1&2) : Dvadeset životopisa by Milana Vuković Runjić. And our average rating for the books differs a bit: Vivone’s average score for the books was 4 and mine 3,6. We are happy with the books we read in general and are looking forward to the books we picked for 2022.

We have decided to make some changes for the 2022. list. We decided to expand the ten books approach by each adding five books and keeping on three more sequels from the 2021. list. This gives us more pages in total since the number of books for Buddy reading challenge is now thirteen. The total number of pages we will read is 2867 for the ten books and another 1324 pages for the added three sequels. We have decided to take down the number of new book series on the list which gives us more standalone books and those have a bit less pages a piece. We have two new book series on the list and if we count the added three sequels we still have less book series than we had on 2021 list.

Again we have one dominating genre only this time it is general fantasy with five books. Other genres we have are two nonfiction only one science fiction and two contemporary genre books. All three added sequels are fantasy as well. We did not account for more diversity on the authors front. Again we have one Croatian author and nine translated titles with all those authors being from English speaking territories. We both plan to diversify with our personal plans since our tastes with those tend to go in totally different direction because Vivone really enjoys middle eastern authors and even has a growing collection of translated editions in Croatian and my tastes are more far eastern with contemporary Japanese authors and I plan to try adding Indigenous authors.

Buddy Reading list 2022

Holes (Holes #1) by Louis Sachar

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

The October Country by Ray Bradbury

Kraljica crne obale: i druge priče o legendarnom barbaru by Robert E. Howard

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Blade Runner #1) by Philip K. Dick

The Last Bookaneer by Matthew Pearl

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain

Ima jedna priča… (2nd ed) by Mauro Lacovich

This Is Going to Hurt: Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor by Adam Kay

Sequels from 2021. list:

House of Many Ways (Howl’s Moving Castle #3) by Diana Wynne Jones

Blood & Honey (Serpent & Dove #2) by Shelby Mahurin

Sword of Destiny (The Witcher #0.7) by Andrzej Sapkowski

Our expectations on the 2022. list

We have both agreed that the list could have been better and we both compromised on our suggestions. Vivone is most excited for Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain and Kraljica crne obale: i druge priče o legendarnom barbaru by Robert E. Howard, which is a first Croatian collection of stories on Conan the Barabarian. I’m most excited for Blood & Honey (Serpent & Dove #2) by Shelby Mahurin because I plan to finish up the whole trilogy and have found it difficult to restrain myself and not pick it up sooner.

The books we are most apprehensive about differ. Vivone is very unsure how Holes (Holes #1) by Louis Sachar is going to go for her and I am having mixed feelings on The Last Bookaneer by Matthew Pearl. While she is happy with the amount of new book series on the list I think we could have gone with a bit more of those and I actually had problems with finding some suggestions that were not part of a book series for the 2022. list. Because of this I was very straight forward with deciding to continue reading the sequels on some of the books that are part of a book series while Vivone was much more reserved and will have to see how the continuation will reflect on her reading plans trough the year.

December Book Warp Up 2021

Monthly reading review – December 2021

This December I have read:

Castle in the Air (Howl’s Moving Castle, #2) by Diana Wynne Jones ★★★★

The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves #1) by Roshani Chokshi ★★★

Polaris poslednji grad by Snežana Kanački ★★

Čitam da se pročitam by Miha Kovač ★★★★★

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

I have been totally beaten down by work and a whole week being sick that I managed to read only 4 books for the whole December. At this time I am not happy with how many books I have read and in life in general.

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

I read less books in December but strangely enough there were some memorable parts in all of them. I liked the character dynamic from The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves #1) by Roshani Chokshi even though the setting was not something I could get into no matter how hard I tried. Polaris poslednji grad by Snežana Kanački gave me Wayward Pines vibes all the way and this kind of futuristic view of the future is very intriguing to me in an evolutionary sense. Castle in the Air (Howl’s Moving Castle, #2) by Diana Wynne Jones proved to be better than expected and I loved how the character from the first book were incorporated in this one. The dialogue was particularly entertaining. Čitam da se pročitam by Miha Kovač is a book about love of reading and those always warm my heart! This last one was also my best book for December.

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

The reasons I gave 2 stars to Polaris poslednji grad by Snežana Kanački was because the book was so very short that the lack of depth for characters and world building was acutely apparent. The characters were the least impressive and I could not find a single one that felt interesting enough to keep my attention.

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

All the books I have read this December were part of my Reindeer Readathon 2021. I did not read trough all the books I have set for myself for that. Castle in the Air (Howl’s Moving Castle, #2) by Diana Wynne Jones was the last book for my Buddy reading challenge for 2021. and I hope to write more about all the books I read with my friend in 2021. and about all the books we picked to read in 2022.

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

Two out of four books were part of a series. Castle in the Air (Howl’s Moving Castle, #2) by Diana Wynne Jones I hope to continue in 2022. with House of Many Ways (Howl’s Moving Castle, #3) by Diana Wynne Jones. I have the book ready and waiting on my shelf and feel a lot more excited about reading it after Castle in the Air. The other one I had very high hopes for: The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves #1) by Roshani Chokshi. I even put it down as a 5 star prediction! There was something about the setting that I just could not get into.

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

With the year end and my over the top reading plans not fullfilled, I am left with evaluating my free time and reading plans for next year. In accordance with this my recommendation from December is to get ready for more surprises and give more chances to new authors!

Final thoughts on December 2021 reading

From December I have a pile of books left I wanted to read for Reindeer Readathon 2021 and the sad part is I am eager to read most of them. I will utilize these to create a reading TBR for January. I have lost half of the month to no reading at all and really do not like the result. Creating a fine balance between work and my reading plans is going to be a challenge and I might find myself with some disheartening results for the first few months of 2022. as well. December was busy and I did not take the time to contemplate. My sole desire from this December is to try for more, read more, do more, laugh more, enjoy more and experience more.

November Book Warp Up 2021

Monthly reading review – November 2021

This November I have read:

The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles #2) by Anne Rice ★★★★★

Bajki robotów by Stanisław Lem ★★★★

Things Fall Apart ( The African Trilogy #1 ) by Chinua Achebe ★★★

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers ★★★★

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

I’m going to go with three and a half books read in November because I’ve finished the last one in December. I am not happy with the amount and I blame work, stress and being sick 😦 I am even unusually late with this monthly reading review for the same reasons!

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

The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles #2) by Anne Rice was definitely the best book I’ve read in November! There are some scenes I kept comparing to the movies and I really enjoyed this book so much I am even hyped for the next book in The Vampire Chronicles! There were a lot more historical details to this book than I expected and it was so much better for it. It was even an expiring to read about some of the locations because in the midst of the global pandemic we are currently living I wanted to be able to travel.

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

Things Fall Apart ( The African Trilogy #1 ) by Chinua Achebe was the least favorite book I’ve read in November. It was not horrible or even bad – it’s just that it did not make for a great reading experience for me personally. I am glad to have read it since it was on my TBR for years. The depths and cultural innuendos were all very clear but my mind kept wanting to read about more magical and more comforting things.

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

I tried to take the November off from any reading plans and clear out my TBR. This did not turn out as I wanted since I have still not read trough Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold (Stephen Fry’s Great Mythology #1) by Stephen Fry and The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. The first one I keep finding disappointing because of the style of writing since I expected something either more serious or more funny. And the second one is starting to really weigh on me since I have been postponing the reading for over a year now. I’m around 400 pages in and still have about 700 left to read trough. The small font and the sheer number of pages are disheartening.

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

The read trough The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles #2) by Anne Rice was the only progress with many book series I still have on my TBR. Foolishly I think I’ve made my reading plans for next year a bit too early since I’ve put off many of the book series for next year. For December I actually had problems finding a standalone book to read so I expect to do a bit better in this regard.

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

Stay healthy and read books at your own pace! Also Anne Rice is so underrated at the moment!

Final thoughts on November 2021 reading

Small amount of books I’ve read in November made me start facing the fact that I will not reach my reading goal for this year. I am behind in every aspect and I feel very bothered by this. It just felt like one of those months that leach energy just to go on from one day to the next. Books used to be a comfort and something to look forward to but the failure to reach my reading goals and balance the new work schedule is starting to take it’s toll. I did get a nice pile of new books I was looking forward to and hope to write about them soon to try and focus on something nice and positive.

Reindeer Readathon 2021

This is my second year participating in the Reindeer Readathon! You can check out how it all went last December HERE! Reindeer Readathon was created by Erik and you can find the official announcement for it on his Breakeven Books YouTube channel HERE. I even tried to clear out my TBR in order to fit the books I have left in my plans for the rest of the year. This year all participants were randomly put into one of the five teams available to make the reading challenge among groups more fair by the number of participants. Last year I was in team Candy Cane with lovely Amanda as a leader – you can check out her channel and give her some love and support HERE.

This year I am placed in Team Stocking and my team leader is Savy Writes Books. You can check out her content HERE. While I would have loved to be placed in the team I was last year because the coordination trough Instagram with Amanda suited me better I am going to do my best to help Team Stocking win!

Here are my book choices for Reindeer Readathon 2021:

DASHER – 10 PTS

A short story (or collection ) or novella

The Burning Man (Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn #0.5) by Tad Williams

DANCER – 15 PTS

A book by one of your favorite authors (rereads count too)

Network Effect (The Murderbot Diaries #5) by Martha Wells

PRANCER – 20 PTS

A book with a travel element in it (vacation, quest etc.)

Castle in the Air (Howl’s Moving Castle, #2) by Diana Wynne Jones

VIXEN – 20 PTS

A book that has recently caught your eye

Born in Fire (Fire and Ice Trilogy #1) by K.F. Breene

COMET – 15 PTS

A 5 star prediction

The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves #1) by Roshani Chokshi

CUPID – 25 PTS

Take a shot at reading a new author

Bring Me the Head of Prince Charming (Millennial Contest #1) by Roger Zelazny, Robert Sheckley

DONNER – 20 PTS

A book with green or red as the primary color on the cover

Vampire Stories by Richard Dalby (Editor), Peter Cushing (Introduction)

BLITZEN – 30 PTS

Choose at least 3 books and have one chosen randomly to read – Boyfriend pick!

Polaris poslednji grad by Snežana Kanački

RUDOLPH – 15 PTS

A standalone book

Čitam da se pročitam by Miha Kovač

Just like last year there are some additional rules and options! I hope the be able to read all nine books I’ve entered here and while last year I did some bonus books as well due to work – life balance I don’t think I will be able to more this year. Also while I decided to add an e-book to the list, audio books are not my thing and none of the books on my list this year are over 500 pages long for the bonus options to apply…

I am pretty happy with my pile of books. All the books on the list are books I own except for one that is borrowed.

Go Team Stocking!

October Book Warp Up 2021

Monthly reading review – October 2021

This October I have read:

Hellboy Volume 1: Seed of Destruction and Wake the Devil by Mike Mignola ★★★★

Bite by Laurell K. Hamilton et al ★★★

Alien ( Alien Movie Novelizations #1 ) by Alan Dean Foster ★★★

Stoner by John Williams ★★

Jebo sad hiljadu dinara by Boris Dežulović ★★★★

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

I decided to count in one book I finished in November here and my book total with it is 5 books. This is obviously less than I had hoped but thinking on the at least two weeks of no reading at all in October I am unusually OK with this number. I remember when I would be a lot more upset with myself for reading only 5 (4,5) books for the whole month.

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

Hellboy Volume 1: Seed of Destruction and Wake the Devil by Mike Mignola was very impressive. I did not expect to like it so much at all. At first glance the artwork seemed dark and heavy but for some reason it strangely fit – maybe October mood had something to do with it. The forewords to both chapters, the artwork guide and all the extras that went with the edition I have are really adding value to my reading experience.

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

Stoner by John Williams was the first book of the month and a book club reading pick. I did not appreciate the heavy and depressing setting of the book. It was a real downer and I never like those in general. Its not my type of a story and I look for a little bit more magic in my book picks.

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

All the books I have read in October were part of a reading challenge plan. The obvious thing is I had planned for more. I am torn between wanting to add more diversity into my reading or adding more comfort picks. Lately it seems like I miss comfort picks and random reads more and more. This is making me rethink my plans for the end of the year as well. I have been left with 3 not read books out of 8 books I have planned to read in October.

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

I started with reading Hellboy finally! I am now more motivated to get the rest of them as well. I am happy with getting them at a slower pace. All other many book series I am currently reading I did not manage to fit into this October…

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

Lately I have been pulling out some books that were hidden and forgotten on my bookshelves as well as reading some library books that were on my TBR for ages. Now I have four books I am in the middle of reading of and my interest in them varies from time to time. The book look very Autumn appropriate in color. I can see my tastes books changing and I am glad for that. My recommendation based on October is to question the books on long TBR often and read the quirky books more!

Final thoughts on October 2021 reading

I am not entirely pleased with my reading total this October. I had plans for more but am trying to look at it from a positive perspective and focus on the genres of the books I have read. My reading piles include more and more library books, and even with that I still have some books from my own bookshelves that are filling me with a sense of accomplishment. The only thing that really worries me is that the book Empire of the Vampire ( Empire of the Vampire #1 ) by Jay Kristoff that I foolishly expected back in September has still not arrived. I keep including it in my reading plans for two months in a row and it feels demotivating. I keep giving it more time to arrive but will probably have to write back to Book Depository and ask what happened. I keep stalling for this because I don’t want my money back – I want the book to be here!

As the year is almost done I am trying to make some plans and review my reading goals for the 2021. I make take a one month break from Bookopoly in November and use that time to make a list of books I want to read by the end of the year. More on those plans in a separate post soon. At the moment I have a bigger pile of the books I am in the middle of reading than the pile of the books I have read in October!

Bookopoly Chance Cards Season 2.

Just over a year ago I made my first Bookopoly TBR board and decided to make Bookopoly reading challenge a buddy reading project with a booklover friend Vivone. You can check out that first Bookopoly post HERE. Since then we had many changes to our boards to make them fit more to our reading habits and preferences.

One of the requirements for the Bookopoly board was a set of 16 Chance Cards with book titles for a random draw each time we end our movement on a Chance Card tile. Eight Chance Cards have titles of eight books I am looking forward to read and other eight Chance Cards have titles of books I am less excited about but still want to read. I decided to use this opportunity and use books that I already own and choose the titles from my own bookshelves. This resulted in first 15 out of 16 titles to be books I already own and is something I am very happy about.

Here are the first 16 book titles I put on Chance Cards:

The Chosen Half-Elf (Elfes #4) by Éric Corbeyran, Jean-Paul Bordier (Illustrator) ★★★★

The Scent of Shadows (Signs of the Zodiac #1) by Vicki Pettersson ★★★★

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux ★★

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon ★★★★

Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Choderlos de Laclos ★★★

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

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

The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu ★★★

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

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

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

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

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

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

Real World by Natsuo Kirino ★★★

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

On this picture The Chosen Half-Elf (Elfes #4) by Éric Corbeyran, Jean-Paul Bordier is missing because it was a digital edition.

Some books I put on Chance Cards I ended up reading for some other reading challenges and the amount of times I landed on the Chance Card tile was surprisingly high. This resulted in me needing a new set of 16 titles for Chance Cards! This time I decided to use all the titles from my own bookshelves and it is a big part of the reason why I have not updated my TBR Jar Draw project. The purpose of my TBR Jar Draw project was to read the books from my own shelves and I have been doing that surprisingly well in the last few years.

At the moment I am reading the last book from the first set – The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles #2) by Anne Rice and have already drawn a new Chance Card from the second batch and have added the Bajki robotów by Stanisław Lem to my reading for October ( I am not sure if I’m going to make it by the end of the month since life interrupts a lot of my reading sessions lately).

Here are the 16 new book titles for Chance Cards:

Bajki robotów by Stanisław Lem

Bring Me the Head of Prince Charming (Millennial Contest #1) by Roger Zelazny, Robert Sheckley

Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1) by Leigh Bardugo

A Wind in the Door (Time Quintet #2) by Madeleine L’Engle

Necroscope (Necroscope #1) by Brian Lumley

The Poison Diaries (The Poison Diaries #1) by Maryrose Wood

The Great Book of Amber (The Chronicles of Amber #1-10 ) by Roger Zelazny

Concertina: The Life And Loves Of A Dominatrix by Susan Winemaker

Shattered (The Iron Druid Chronicles #7) by Kevin Hearne

Loki: Where Mischief Lies (Marvel Press Novels) by Mackenzi Lee

Wait Till Your Vampire Gets Home (Broken Heart #4) by Michele Bardsley

Love In Vein: Tales of Vampire Erotica by Poppy Z. Brite

Wolf Brother (Chronicles of Ancient Darkness #1) by Michelle Paver

The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings #1) by J.R.R. Tolkien

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Vol. 2 (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) by Nancy Holder

Neuromancer (Sprawl #1) by William Gibson

On this picture Neuromancer (Sprawl #1) by William Gibson is missing since I loaned the book to a friend.

First sixteen books for Chance Cards have amounted to 5081 pages and are mostly around 300 pages long each. The longest book from the first batch is 539 pages long and the shortest is only 55. From all the book titles I had on my Chance Cards only one book was rated with two stars and I did not particularly liked it. In contrast 9 out of 16 books I loved and rated four or five stars. I am happy to report that this made me read trough some books that I had on my shelf for years and I even liked them more than I expected to. I had a clear vision of the books I was looking forward to read and this might be why I read some of them even before I pulled their Chance Card out for Bookopoly. This might happen again with the new batch and I refuse to save or hold the titles just because I will pull their Chance Card eventually. When I pull a title I have already read I just draw the next one until I run out of Chance Cards.

Both piles have one title missing from the list.

The second batch of sixteen books I have chosen have a bit more pages total – 6501. The average book is around 350 long and the biggest difference is with the book with the most pages. The longest book in the second batch has 1258 pages and the shortest has 166. I realize that I might have to give myself more time to finish my Bookopoly reading in the future, since my schedule is more busy than it was last few years. Right now I am quite busy with reading for work and some of my books have taken the back seat until I ease into things I have on my plate right now. The amount of books in English language ratio and books in Croatian language remains the same and I still have a lot of variety in genres. Some of the books on my lists are older and not so well known but I always have some popular and bestseller titles I have yet to read.

What do you think about my lists and book choices? Have you read any and what did you think about them?

Leave a comment and let me know!

Orilium – Magical Readathon Novice Path September 2021 – Update

Orilium by Lizzart

This September and the first week of October were a real mess for me. While I did manage to get some nice reading squeezed in and have read most of the books I planed to read, I am behind on making posts and updates in general. To illustrate the gravity of the situation let me just point out that while I did read the books out of order and finished reading six books out of seven I’ve chosen I completely forgot that I was supposed to record them in trough the form provided. Thankfully the form is still open and I was able do do that later on even though my books were not counted towards the statistics for September.

One thing I feel I must mention is that I did not exactly follow the path but instead I visited the locations in my own order and pace – I read the books in a different order than they were presented by the prompts! I will contribute this to my future Orilium character weird personality in which I tend to stray from the usual path and the way of doing things. From all my experience in role playing games I have a tendency to play characters that are of the chaotic alignment.

Hare are the books and prompts for the Novice Path I have read in September:

Site: Novice Path Entrance

Prompt: Book with a map

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

It was a strange choice for me to pick a second book in the Shattered Sea trilogy as the first book to start on my Novice path. Choosing the book with a map as was the requirement was harder than I anticipated and I went trough some other options I wanted more than this book but could not just find the right one. I read the first book last year and liked it very much but was apprehensive since my boyfriend did not like it because it follows some new characters other than those in the first book. I went fearfully into this book.

The map in the book is an expended version of the map in the first books and on it it was interesting to follow the adventurous path of the characters. I kept returning to the map and referring to the locations on it while I was reading. Just like the first book of the series it is a book that describes a great journey – both geographical as well as mental and personal for the characters. It was not the first book I read in September but in the end I was happy with it and enjoyed it much more than I expected. I even enjoyed myself so much I am still on the lookout for the third book in hardcover edition.

Site: Ashtorn Tree

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

Book: The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch ★★★★

This is one of the books on my list for book club suggestions. It has been years since it was translated into Croatian and I was intrigued since the time I was working in a bookstore. It is not a type of a book I normally go for which only speaks so much more for about the attention it garnered from me. I expected an emotional rollercoaster of a book and tried to prepare myself for the slightly morbid topic of a man who knows he is about to die and is sharing his views and values trough a story and ultimately a lecture at a university. I am not ashamed to admit that I cried on some parts of the book and some parts I considered to be thoughtful and inspiring – especially the parts where he talks about his dreams and life goals and aspirations for his own children. I will continue to advocate for this book to my book club group because I would really like to hear what they think and share my thoughts about this unusually inspiring book.

Site: The Mist of Solitude

Prompt: Standalone book

Book: Les Hirondelles de Kaboul by Yasmina Khadra ★★★

From all the books I’ve chosen for this reading challenge this one was the one I was the least looking forward to. I used to for the standalone prompt because it fit another reading challenge I was doing in September as well. It was for Becca’s Bookoplathon and you can read more about it HERE. I think I prepared myself for the harshness of this book so well that when I read the parts I was worried about, it went much easier than I anticipated. The story portrays human and practical characters in a brutal setting that we sometimes forget is very real in the parts of the world we live in. I managed to disconnect myself from the story because otherwise I would not be able to wrestle with my daily chores. I prefer to use books as a balm and inspiration.

Site: Ruin of the Skye

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

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

This is one of the last books I started reading in September and I did not finish yet. My chosen supernatural element were vampires. I got a full shelf of Anne Rice’s books and out of all of them I read only one!

I often get sidetracked in my quests and I will count this one as a part of the scenic rout taken on my adventuring path in Orilium. I plan to finish it soon and as you will see from some other stats below I have reasons not to be very upset about not finishing this book in September

Site: Obsidian Falls

Prompt: Thriller or a mystery book

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

Thriller or a mystery book prompt did not inspire confidence. I was happy when I was checking my TBR on Goodreads and in the tags found a few options that I actually liked. I decided to go with the latest Kindle edition of a book that is popular at the moment. I had high hopes of liking it too. I don’t know what did I expect from this book but I was more frustrated by it then I enjoyed it. Plot and the characters seemed weak and predictable and the explanations and plot twists seemed convenient. Some things just did not hold up for me. The vague timeline and open world that was reduced to a small Italian island felt too small and constricting while giving a respectable medieval vibe which in turn was slightly off from the open worldview of the townsfolk and their general behaviour. The book could have used a glossary of Italian words the author used. The cooking bit did not impress me as much it should have. All that being said – I liked the witch story twist and demonology theme even though I felt it to be unclear in some things. I am debating on giving the next book a try because I think it might have more potential and most of my issues with the book setting might be resolved.

Site: Tower of Rumination

Prompt: Five star prediction

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

From the first book in Murderbot Diaries series I was enamored with this science fiction stories. I loved all three previous books and I loved this one as well. I am still surprised at how much easy to read these little books are especially since space theme science fiction is still not a genre I consider a favorite. But these books are definitely my favorite and I am getting the other books related to Murderbot Diaries by the end of the year as well.

In fact I loved it so much that I am even looking out for the new fantasy book by the same author named Witch King and set to hit the bookstores in the fall next year!

Site: Orilium Academy Arc

Prompt: Book with a school setting

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

I really thought that it would be easier to find a book with a school setting on my own shelves that was not a part of the Harry Potter book series! at one point I even thought I was going to reread one of those. Instead I accidentally stumbled on a new Croatian edition and translation of the author one of my bookish friends really loves – K.F. Breene. While I never before read anything from this author I have found some of her other books on Kindle sales and collected them for some new reading opportunity and some new reading challenge. This book is fairly new and I was waiting for weeks to get it from the library. I almost did not read it in time because of it! The book actually offered a sort of prequel to some really interesting and brutal school setting and because it ended on a cliffhanger I am rethinking of reading it in English because I might not be able to wait forever for Croatian translation!

Character background prompts and book choices:

Even though I technically have time by April 2022. to finish up reading the books for my character background choices I read two out of three right away in September!

Background: Urban

Prompt: Book set in a city or town

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

As one of the books that has been on my TBR for almost a decade I expected a lot more from it. I did not want to believe the ugly cover to be a true indicator of how good the book in general is. I had issues with this book. It has been quite some time since I’ve read an urban fantasy book with the main character as unlikable and annoying as this one. I tried liking her and as soon as I could come to terms with one annoying thing two new popped up! What I did have a healthy respect for was that the story was not set on the romance and that the sole purpose of the main character was not to fall for the dark mysterious brooding guy – Jericho Barrons. What killed this book for me and made me not want to continue reading the rest of the series was the last chapter where nothing made sense in lieu of what the characters did.
Getting a manicure from the person she got the manicure from seemed like something that should have happened in a chaotic dream and not the cliffhanger plot it turned out to be… I’m glad I gave it a try and I would have tried giving this book series another try with the sequel but I just could not digest that last chapter. Maybe I would have liked it more if I had read it first at the time when I added it to my TBR.

Province: Kerador

Prompt: Book from an ongoing series

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

The Elfes fantasy graphic novel series has around 30 volumes and there are supposed to be other related graphic novels with other races as the main topic. For me this is going to be an ongoing series for a long time because I am using the casual approach and I’m adding a volume TBR each month or a chance I get to include it in some future reading challenge. Volumes are relatively short – each is around 50 pages long but the artwork is stunning and I enjoy the fantasy setting. I might have rushed this volume in order to read it in time but the short episode format is starting to bug me.

In addition to the options and choices above I got an update to my guild choice and have finally chosen a name for myself. So let me introduce myself for now:

My name is Petaniqua and I am a of skaimorn descent. I come from a city in the province of Kerador and belong to The Archivists guild. The ancient art of book keeping is one of our specialties.

I am looking forward to new content and details that come with each guild, quest and lore. From the prompts I have left to complete until April I have only one more left and I will probably start on it at the in December if not somewhere in early 2022.

Heritage: Skaimorn

Prompt: Oldest book I own or have on TBR

Book: Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe

This reading challenge feels more like an adventure game and I hope I will continue to enjoy it. How do you like my journey so far and what do you think about participating in this type of a reading challenge? For more details on the Orilium challenge check out the video announcement HERE and give Book Roast some love and support.

Bookopoly TBR 2021 – October

In October I am back to my usual Bookopoly TBR game with my own board to play with. September was educational in learning the difference between the prompts I use and those Becca decided to prepare for everyone joining in the Bookoplathon. You can check out my thoughts and experience on it HERE. I continued with the rolls where I left off back in August and even added one penalty roll for a book from September.

For October Bookopoly I am using a standee from the board game Forgotten Waters. Forgotten Waters is a game by Plaid Hat Games publisher and this piratey adventure has been one of my gaming groups favorites since we got it this summer!

Here are my reading goals for Bookopoly in October:

Prompt: Highest Rated

Book: Hellboy, Volume 1: Seed of Destruction and Wake the Devil by Mike Mignola

My first roll looked promising and landed on a Highest Rated prompt. I had few options for this prompt but ended adding the graphic novel because this is one of the books I wanted to read way back in 2020. and somehow missed it altogether. As an added bonus I am hoping to put some balm on my TBR for October since I started working on a new job recently and I have yet to manage my time better to fit in more reading time.

Prompt: Ex Yu Author

Book: Jebo sad hiljadu dinara by Boris Dežulović

My second roll got me an interesting prompt I decided to add to the board in the last revision because I wanted to read more authors from my own country. I decided to broaden the scope to all authors from the ex Yugoslavia region. I decided on a book I have been interested for a few years now. It is an older book from 2005. by a Croatian journalist and has Catch 22 vibes. It is fairly short and I like that too!

Prompt: Light cover

Book: Bite by Laurell K. Hamilton et al

My third roll was a double – 2+ 2! The prompt was Light Cover and I decided to use it to read one of the older urban fantasy short story collections I have on my shelf and have not read yet. Most of the authors are already known to me and I expect to like it!

Prompt: Other Culture

Book: Things Fall Apart ( The African Trilogy #1 ) by Chinua Achebe

Fourth roll was an interesting prompt – Other Culture. I scoured my own shelves in search for something and then I remembered a book I was meaning to read and trying to get my book club friends to read as well. It is a book I was looking at for years now and I hope to push it for a book club assignment some day, I will keep trying!

Prompt: Chance Card

Book: Bajki robotów by Stanisław Lem

My fifth roll made me use my new Chance Card list since I used up all cards I had prepared last year! Sure some of those I ended up reading for other reading challenges and was left with having to make a new list and cards to shuffle and play with! The first book I pulled from it was a short story collection with theme of robots written by Polish author back in 1964.

Prompt: Science Fiction

Book: Alien ( Alien Movie Novelizations #1 ) by Alan Dean Foster

And my sixth roll was another double which added another roll after this one. The prompt was rather easy and I decided to use this opportunity to add another book from my buddy reading list. I am not sure how I feel about this movie novelization and the horror theme. I hope it wont get too scary for me.

Prompt: Most Recent Purchase

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

For this prompt I want to use the book I was expecting to arrive at the start of September and I really want it to arrive in time for October at least. Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff is one of the books that caught my attention one year ago when it was first announced. I never read anything by this author and from what I understand this book just might be my kind of vampire story! I really hope I will like it!

Prompt: Small Book

Book: Stoner by John Williams

This last roll was added as a penalty from September. I used this last prompt to add a book that is my book club assignment for October. For some reason many of my friends who like to read, liked this book and I want to see what the hype is about! I have no expectations on it and it seems like a “slice of life” with extra lemon zest – I guess sometimes I am into moody dramas. We will see 🙂

I might have overdone myself with eight books here because of the new life related conditions and this month Bookopoly will be the only reading challenge I will be doing in October. I had plans for more and I even made lists but If I find the time to actually write about them by the end of the first week of October I might even take them on. For now I will just follow my bookish friends in their many October reading challenges and cheer them on in their bookish endeavors!

How do you like my reading pile for Bookopoly October? Do you plan diversity in your TBR or it doesn’t even play role in your book choices?

Becca’s Bookopoly – Bookoplathon September 2021 – Experience and thoughts

This September my reading buddy and I decided to both join in on Bookoplathon September reading challenge by using Becca’s Bookoplathon board instead of our usual Bookopoly board that was based on Becca’s but modified for our reading needs and goals trough this last year. We got the idea last year and carried it on by ourselves and when the opportunity to once again join Becca’s reading challenge came along we were all in. I must say I was impressed with the prompts across the board being well thought out and gave readers freedom in picking out books in a way that not many other reading challenges do. You should check out Becca’s YouTube channel HERE and give her some love because she really deserves it! You can also check out the original post where I picked out my books HERE.

I had six rolls total and six books to read since one roll was a double and added one extra roll and book with the usual five that were the base on my start.

Here is how my prompts and my reading experience went:

Prompt: Gods

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

My first roll got me a book I did not finish by the end of the month. Mythos was not what I expected and truth be told I did not think much about what to expect when I bought this book. If I thought logically I would have been more aware of this book being a retelling of Greek mythology by a British comedian. I was reading a lovely luxury edition translated to Croatian and I felt the bumps and hurdles in what was probably originally created to be witty and humorous commentary on Greek mythology. I found out the hard way that I hoped for something more informative and educational and while I certainly got that; I also got silly observations and bland comedic comments that lost the amusing bits somewhere in translation. I really wanted to like this book and the final product was a very slow reading progress and gradually growing disinterest. I don’t feel compelled to pick up the book to enjoy reading and only goal in mind I have is to get it out of my reading schedule. I will finish it eventually but it will take longer than I anticipated. I decided to count it as reading in progress an not apply any penalty reading in October since I read over one third of it and plan to finish it anyway… Sad and disappointed 😦

Prompt: Mood Read

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

When I first rolled my dice and got the “Mood Read” prompt I was pleased. Then I got really undecided on what to pick since I wanted to pick something that can crossover with the second reading challenge I had going on for September and something I thought I would enjoy. Urban fantasy has been my go to genre and a safety blanket for almost a decade so this book seemed like a good choice. My only explanation is that over the years I might have started to be a lot more judgy for my favorite genre. Also, I guess I like a little bit more direction in my reading prompts. I was too easily annoyed with the main character and while this book had some good points the end just kicked down the whole series from my future TBR. I’m glad I gave it a try and I would have tried giving this book series another try with the sequel, but I just could not digest that last chapter in which nothing made sense to me. And I had a chat with a friend where we could not help but comment on how ugly and poorly designed this book cover really is. I mean really the main character doesn’t even have blue eyes and it shows how little the publisher thought about this book 😦

Prompt: Current News / Events

Book: Les Hirondelles de Kaboul by Yasmina Khadra

I was dreading reading this book. My reading buddy is really into these middle eastern real life story retellings and I just need a bit more hope and magic in my books. I knew that the harsh reality of this book will be something that will make me cry. I expected the worst and I might have softened the blow the story would have had on me if I was less prepared. I tend to cry and get really depressed when reading these types of books and I am a low energy person that can’t really afford to waste it on a book that will traumatize me for weeks. Because that’s how long some sad and horrific books stay with me sometimes. I am glad this book was short and that I chose it for the first book to read in September because I had other books to occupy my mind and not dwell on it too much.

Prompt: Opulent

Book: Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer #2) by Laini Taylor

I had another book in mind for this prompt: Empire of the Vampire (Empire of the Vampire #1) by Jay Kristoff. Sadly that book has yet to arrive even though I preordered it back in August. I was ready to read this 700+ pages vampire book and love it. The replacement book was a little less opulent but the vivid blue streaked with gold details on the cover got my attention instead. This was not a random pick since it was a part of duology with Strange the Dreamer I planned to read this September as well. I liked the book more than I thought I would and got an extra kick from reading both of the books in the same month!

Prompt: Poll Pick

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

First book in the Strange the Dreamer duology and a part of the buddy reading project. I was not sure if I would like this book but the main character was endearing in his practicality and love of books. I can even describe this book as a dreamy bookish adventure. This book was from the library and I think the blue and orange on the cover really look good. I am glad to have finally read this book and I can totally see why people love it. On the poll I created all of my bookish friends voted for me to read it!

Prompt: Chance card

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

My sixth prompt and the last book I started reading this September is The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles #2) by Anne Rice. I remember the first book Interview with the Vampire as a bookish trauma of sorts. I could not get into it and kept confusing the book with the movie that I used to watch often and loved it every time. I was so apprehensive about reading this book that I did not even start it until the last day of September and knowing I will not be finishing it in time for the challenge. Once I started reading it I wanted to scream at myself because it pulled me in from the first sentence! I loved reading Lestat perspective and finding out more about his past! I find myself wanting to read it all the time and adore how engaging this book is for me. I think I need to count this one for the penalty in October since I did not manage to read it and sabotaged myself this way. For my penalty I will be adding one more roll for October for my usual Bookopoly reading challenge!

My thoughts on my experience in Bookoplathon September 2021

First let me share some stats about the books I have read. This is a first Bookopoly book pile that has same number of books from the library as from my own shelves. All but one book was in Croatian language. Total number of pages I was supposed to read was 2242 instead I read 1321 which is almost one thousand pages less in just two books difference.

I was super impressed with the prompts and because I consider the Bookopoly board I use for my usual monthly reading challenge a work in progress I might take some inspiration on simple prompts that offer a wide range of books to fulfill them. I am glad to have participated even though I am not that happy with how I did. From six books I planned to read for the challenge only four I actually read. I plan to finish those that I have leftover but this brings the number of books I have for reading in progress up to three and makes me feel really bad about tagging books along from month to month. I will enjoy finishing at least one of these soon enough but it might reflect bad on my reading in October and I might even have to slow down. Another reason I loved participating in Becca’s reading challenge is because I find her content entertaining and her ideas inspiring. Thank you Becca 🙂

September Book Warp Up 2021

Monthly reading review – September 2021

This September I have read:

Les Hirondelles de Kaboul by Yasmina Khadra ★★★

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor ★★★★

Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer #2) by Laini Taylor ★★★★

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

Darkfever (Fever #1) by Karen Marie Moning ★★★

Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked #1)by Kerri Maniscalco ★★★

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

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

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

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch ★★★★

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

This September was a busy month and I am surprised to have read ten books total. I am happy with the amount of books read and I am especially pleased with the variety of genres among the books I’ve read.

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

The biggest pleasant surprise in September was one of the last books I’ve finished in the month: The Culling Trials (Shadowspell Academy #1) by K.F. Breene and Shannon Mayer. A friend reader loves the K.F. Breene and I was surprised to find a translation in Croatian for this book. The best part of the book for me personally was a translation that did not suck! I could enjoy the book! The fast pace of the book was a welcome surprise and the language was fluently translated. This book hit all the right spots for me and considering I’ve went in not knowing much about it – I thought it was a children’s book, I am happy to report that I have trouble remembering the last time I enjoyed reading a translated book as much as this one! The angsty parts of the book were done just how I like them and now I am even thinking about buying a copy in Croatian and sign myself for further torture by waiting on the next book. The fact that I’m thinking about it says a lot and only those who had the misfortune of never having a book series translated till the end can fully understand why this is such a significant comment.

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

It has been quite some time since I’ve read an urban fantasy book with the main character as unlikable and annoying as the one in Darkfever (Fever #1) by Karen Marie Moning. I tried liking her and as soon as I could come to terms with one annoying thing two new popped up! What I did have a healthy respect for was that the story was not set on the romance and that the sole purpose of the main character was not to fall for the dark mysterious brooding guy – Jericho Barrons. For the better part of the book main character Mac was a typical privileged twenty two year old American that has never known any serious hardship in her life. Pink and glitter were not the annoying parts and the “she’s a rainbow” gig was at times refreshing. What killed this book series for me and made me not want to continue reading the rest of it was the last chapter where nothing made sense in lieu of what the characters did. Getting a manicure from the person she got the manicure from seemed like something that should have happened in a chaotic dream and not the cliffhanger plot it turned out to be. I’m glad I gave it a try and I would have tried giving this book series another try with the sequel but I just could not digest that last chapter…

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

My plans for September were elaborate and I intentionally went to make it a real challenge by participating in two different book challenges with total amount of 13 books. I read 9 of the planned books. One of the books had to be replaced because Empire of the Vampire (Empire of the Vampire #1) by Jay Kristoff did not arrive (still waiting for it). Two of the books I started on and did not finish by the end of September – one: Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold (Stephen Fry’s Great Mythology #1) by Stephen Fry was not what I expected and it is a very slow read; second: The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles #2) by Anne Rice I started reading literally on the last day of September which makes me want to scream so bad because the book is so interesting and engaging I would like to drop everything I have to do (including going to a new job) and just spend my time reading it! One of the books I put in my plans (Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe) was for the Orilium Magical readathon challenge as a book I am supposed to read until April next year which makes it not that big of a deal for not fitting in this month.

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

This September I managed to start a new series and finish it – it is Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor duology (yes, its only two books in a “series” but I don’t care because it feels good and sounds cool to have this accomplishment) I’ve officially read all the Murderbot diaries books I have and I’am already making plans to get the next two! I read three books that were first in three new series and only one of those – The Culling Trials (Shadowspell Academy #1) by K.F. Breene and Shannon Mayer I plan to continue. I felt like I forced the The Crystal of the Wood Elves (Elfes #7) by Nicolas Jarry, Gianluca Maconi, Christina Cox-De Ravel and might have enjoyed it more had I just took my time with it. I plan to continue with this graphic novel series in the future at a casual pace.

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

For September my recommendation is variety in genres with some casual sprinkle of the books and authors you know you will love and enjoy. Reading a good book gives me more energy and makes me more passionate in my search for the next great book. I love letting myself be surprised by actually liking the book I was thinking I would not like. Below is the pile of books I loved this September and recommend them to you to try out 🙂

Final thoughts on September 2021 reading

September was a hard month for me since I have started working and my hours have made me more aware of the need to plan my time for books better. I find myself wanting to pick up a book more and read for enjoyment. It came as a total surprise when the books I though I would not like turned out to be awesome and something I can look forward to. I think I did good with the number of books total I have read and I am especially happy with the amount of different genres and topics I have read in September. Not all of the books I have read in September were something I would casually pick to read and enjoy but I am glad to have had an opportunity to experience reading the books that others think highly of and enjoy. In this way, I can report that I have grown as a reader enough to appreciate that, while some books are not my thing, they have a value outside the genres and topics I usually go for comfort reading. I consider these occasional excursions into genres and topics I consider “not my cup of tea” to be a good educational choice that gives me insight into how my reading personality evolves trough the years.

And how was your reading this last month?