Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag 2021

Last year I did this book tag and was very pleased with the result. You can check out my Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag for 2020 HERE. This year I am nervous about it and a lot closer to actually freaking out! Last year was a good year in reading. I read some great books and considering the world wide pandemic situation I had a lot of awesome reading challenges and time to participate in them. This year I made a reading goal to read 100 books – respectable book goal considering I have read 120 books last year.

Being halfway through the year it is time to look at my reading experience in the first part of the year 2021. By the end of June I was thirteen (13!) books behind on my reading to reach the goal I have set for myself.

Total number of books I have read in the first half of the year is 37.

I had some rough patches in the first months of this year and the unemployed status is starting to weigh down on me emotionally. It is at times panic inducing anxiety riding journey trough life that prevents me from focusing and drains me from energy I need in order to actually work on making my life better. Now with those depressing thoughts out here for everyone to see let us begin with this year’s Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag!

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

I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf by Grant Snider

I got this book as a present from a my Buddy reading friend last year and it took me almost a full year to actually pick it up and read trough! What I found most amazing about this book was the inspiration for reading challenges and projects it offers and positive energy I got from reading trough it. It is more than just a comic/ graphic novel book with short and sweet bookish illustrations. I was pleasantly surprised by how many caricatures were grounded in real life situations of book lovers worldwide that may seem silly to anyone who might not be a part of that group. This book is an excellent gift for writers as well as readers. Endearing and intelligent at the same time this is the type of a feel good book any book lover would appreciate and I am very glad to have gotten it as a present!

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

Rafael (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book 28) by Laurell K. Hamilton

Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book series by Laurell K. Hamilton is a longest standing book series I own and read. My relationship with this book series is complex and I am always apprehensive about the newest book. Rafael is one of the few books in the series that center around other characters development and story. Last one like it was Jason and that one was a little underwhelming for me. I was pleasantly surprised by Rafael as a wholesome book that made my interest in reading the whole series trough a second time peak! The storyline progressed, most of my favorite characters have gotten some page time, Rafael and the rodere have been shown in new light and all shifters in general have gotten a new dimension. It was one of the best possible sequels to a series I love to read!

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

Smoke Bitten (Mercy Thompson book 12) by Patricia Briggs

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A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell

There are a few books from last year that I wanted to read but did not get to just yet. Both are something I am looking forward to reading and both have gorgeous covers. I expect I would love reading both of them and my excuse that they just did not fit into my reading challenges prompts is weak at best….I have no excuse for not reading them yet! I got both of these books this year and if you want you can check out my Book haul post on them both from February HERE.

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

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

I have not read any books by Jay Kristoff! That being said I do have some of his books on my wish list and TBR. But when I first saw Empire of the Vampire being announced I was hooked! I think everyone is ready for a new vampire themed hit that will be made into movies and TV shows and have a huge following! I want that for this book! There is already GR record for a whole trilogy of this book series! This book has been announced a whole year in advance and there are so many wonderful special editions to choose from that I am stumped and can’t decide which one to choose! There is the obvious difference between the US and the UK edition cover art and there is a whole range of each with color variations and sprayed edges in different colors and even illustrations on them as well. Only thing I am sure of is that I want the hardcover edition for sure, the rest is still undecided. Any help is appreciated and I really hope I don’t end up with more copies of the same book because I really don’t want to be that person…Oh and the book is announced to come out in September!

5. Biggest disappointment

Dark Prince: Author’s Cut (The “Dark” Carpathian book 1) by Christine Feehan

I have been looking at this book series for a very long time. Even before I started this blog I was often browsing the Amazon bookstore online and making lists of books I wanted to read one day. This book was often on my lists but then I had no means of buying all the books I was interested in. This might have been for the best since this book was a total disappointment for me. In fact I thought the book so bad I could not even finish it. I still have problems with letting go of the books that I don’t like and will most of the time make myself finish them. On this one I made an exception and made myself stop reading at exactly half of it. The dialogue was dumb, the main characters had no appeal for me and the whole setting of the story seemed stretched too thin and did not even offer any interesting back up characters to grab onto. This book first came out over twenty years ago – 1999 and it did not age well. I am not bothered by many things and consider myself a very forgiving reader but this book presented me with some many things that annoyed me and did not offer anything worthwhile to hold onto and like…

6. Biggest surprise

Radiance (Wraith Kings book 1) by Grace Draven

As opposed to the last book I mentioned Radiance by Grace Draven was another Kindle edition I got this year that I quickly fell in love with! I tend to download samples of books that I find interesting and when I read the offered sample of this one I got hooked right from the start! I loved the fantastic setting and the quirky way the author presented the differences between humans and elves. I was intrigued by the world the author build and the only complain I had was that the title of the series made sense only when I started the second book Eidolon. The characters were interesting and the story was passionate. I loved it so much that I had to buy the next book in the series right away. There is one more book after these two The Ippos King and I am keeping my eye on it for some promotional price but I might give in and buy it before the price drop.

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

Martha Wells and Grace Draven

Space themed books and general science fiction are not my first pick and when I find a book that belongs in that genre and love it I make a note to look up more from the same author. Martha Wells is a new for me author I have heard about winning genre awards for her Murderbot series few years in a row. I decided to pick it up in a box set edition of first four books in hard cover. I was happy with the price point for them like this and the flimsy box or even a small damage on one of the box did not made me regret buying them. I ended up enjoying the short novella format of this series and plan to follow up for more books from Martha Wells. I had to add Grace Draven as a new favorite author because of how much I loved her worldbuilding style and her characters. Both of these authors I plan to read more books from!

8. Newest fictional crush

The artwork is not mine and all rights belong to their respective owners!

Asher from Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series

Asher is not a new fictional crush of mine. He’s one of the oldest fictional crushes I am still into. This year I am slowly continuing a second read trough Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book series and I was reminded of how much I like him. I think he is an amazing character. I love his flaws and I get angry at how much he was used in Anita’s moody interpretation of morality trough the books. I keep coming back to some of his scenes and I wonder what happened to make him seem as an arrogant a-hole with a impulse control of a five year old spoiled child. It does not add up with how he first started out and was introduced in the series. I’m loving reading this “older” version of him.

9. Newest favorite character

The artwork is not mine and all rights belong to their respective owners!

Brishen and Ildiko from the Wraith Kings book series by Grace Draven

I am fangirling on both of these characters! I love their banter and their chemistry. The Prince of no value and the noblewoman of no importance are both awesome and intriguing! The reason I did not go for Brishen or Ildiko alone is that without Ildiko Brishen is far less interesting to me and without Brishen Ildiko is just bland and easy to ignore. I see them as a pair that should be kept and adored as a set!

10. Book that made you cry

Rule of Wolves (King of Scars book 2) by Leigh Bardugo

I loved this book. I has also made me angry and sad to the point of frustration. I cried a bit at some parts too. There was so much tragedy and hopeless moments that I just found it hard to deal with. I devoured all other books from the Grishaverse but this one took me a lot longer to read trough. I am still mad about how some characters were dealt with. This book reminds me of pain and tragedy and even though some characters were supposed to have their happy ending I did not feel it. All that stayed with me after all the previous books was the feeling of melancholy and I expected a lot more and a lot better! My tears are from sadness but out of frustration as well…

11. Book that made you happy

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling

There were a few books that made me feel happy this year. Most notably it was reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling for my book club assignment in May. I love my Hufflepuff edition books and I finally have a complete set by getting the last two books for birthday this year. The last two book were given to me by my book club friends and that is a reason more to smile while I read them. I love the yellow and black design of books and I love the little stars that are above each chapter title! Just thinking about those books makes me happy!

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

The Shadow and Bone

The first answer that came to my mind was Witcher! I have only recently read the first book and was sure that the first season was only last year only to be shocked to find out that the first season came out on Netflix in December 2019! This led me to the only option of The Shadow and Bone since I read the last book in the Grishaverse this year and watched the TV series as soon as it came out back in April! There were a few move and TV series adaptations I have seen this year and liked but all those I’ve watched I haven’t read the books or in some cases graphic novels for. Those would be: Enola Holmes and The Old Guard whose move sequels I can’t wait for.

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

2020 Reading Challenges Report

I kept meaning to write a book review but to my shame in the whole first six months of 2021. I did not write a single book review post! Throughout this book tag I have remembered more than one book that I had a lot of things to say about and more than a passing reading experiences to share. For this reason my favorite post this year is the summary on all the reading challenges I did in 2020. That post gives me an overview and a list of all the reading activities I made myself try out. I am still trying to continue with this so I can make a similar post next year that I can be proud of! You can check my 2020 Reading Challenges Report HERE.

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

The Rule of Wolves (King of Scars book 2) by Leigh Bardugo

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A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell

Both of these books I have already mentioned in this book tag already for different reasons. Grishaverse books are one of the most beautiful book mass produced on my bookshelves. But I can’t help but being drawn to the beautiful cover of my paperback edition of A Phoenix First Must Burn collection of stories. I have high expectations from it as well!

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

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas was my answer on this question last year. While I made some progress with it I can’t seem to get myself to finish it. I truly believe I would need to take a whole month away just to read that one book. My Word cloud edition has 1055 pages and I am currently on page 358. This is the book that I keep having in a background like an accusing hush but I just keep reaching for other books instead. I decided not to add more plans aside from reading challenges trough the year in order to get to this book. Clearly reading it slowly is not getting me anywhere and taking a whole month just to make myself read only one book seems a bit drastic. Maybe it is time to for drastic measures…

Bookopoly TBR 2021 – June review and July books

June was a cool Bookopoly reading month with only five books. I have participated in one other reading challenge in June and filled up my reading list that way. Because when I say “reading challenge” I need more than just five books in a month to make it challenging!

In the five books I’ve chosen to read I’ve read 1542 pages. One of the books in my Bookopoly readathon for June was a part of a Buddy reading project and one was a book club pick for June. Four of the books were the books I own and were physical copies from my own shelf. One book was a book from the library. Last book I’ve read for this reading challenge was finished reading few days in July but I’m still counting it! Here is the list of the books I’ve read for my Bookopoly in June and how I rated them in short:

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

Mogla je biti prosta priča by Ajla Terzić ★★★★

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

I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf by Grant Snider ★★★★★

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

All the books I’ve read for my June Bookopoly were good or great and none I’ve rated with less than four out of five stars. In fact most of the books I’ve read in June were the same with the sole exception of one book I DNFed. For more details on them all you can check my June reading review HERE.

Here are my reading goals for Bookopoly in July:

Prompt: Science Fiction

Book: Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries #2) by Martha Wells

My first roll for July was a meager four and landed me on Science fiction tile for the very first time! I loved reading the first part of Murderbot Diaries and jumped at the chance to read the second book. This series is fairly new in general and I got the box set of first four books as one of my latest purchases. I will try to update and make a post on the books I got recently by the end of July! At this rate I will be ordering more Murderbot books very soon! Also I am not very happy with how the tile for Science Fiction came out and I am thinking of redesigning the Bookopoly board again!

Prompt: Last Chance

Book: The Strain (The Strain Trilogy #1) by Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan

My second roll for the month and I got a double six. What this means is I will be adding one more extra roll for the July. This landed me on a Last Chance spot for the first time as well! I actually pulled this book at random for the Olympic Games readathon this month and I decided to use it for this prompt since I am thinking on culling it from the collection. The edition is said to be bad because of the translation and it is a cheap paperback with not a very inviting cover. The other two books in trilogy were never translated and probably never will be since the publisher no longer exists and the book did not attract that much positive reader attention to be picked up by any other publisher.

Prompt: Chance Card

Book: Antologija suvremene japanske novele by Kazuo Tanaka (Editor)

My third roll was another low number – three in total! This landed me on one of the most popular prompts on the board but to be fair there are two of these across the board – Chance Card. This is another one of the books from my own bookshelves I bought a few years back at a library sale. The translated title would be Contemporary Japanese novella anthology. This book has been published in the late nineties and it was not something that can be easily found which is the reason it caught my attention. If it is to believed to the GR entry for it, there is no translated edition for it which makes it original and unique. I took a peek at the rest of the Chance Cards I have left and there is only three of them. Out of those, two have been chosen for some other prompts in July which leaves me with only one left for some other roll of the die. I need to make another set of cards for next month!

Prompt: Other Culture

Book: Real World by Natsuo Kirino

Next roll was six and landed me on Other Culture tile. Since I prioritize all my books to check my own bookshelves first I got this little book I had for years. As it turns out I will be reading two books on Japanese culture and by Japanese authors for Bookopoly this month! I am slowly running out of appropriate books for this prompt and will have to soon turn to library for them or investigate and buy some interesting new ones!

Prompt: First in a series

Book: Heartstopper: Volume One (Heartstopper #1) by Alice Oseman

Fifth roll was another double and got me an exciting prompt “First in a series”. Since I will be adding at least two extra rolls for July I decided to finally read a graphic novel I only recently got and one that is still very praised and popular. The more I learned about this graphic novel I liked it more. I just hope I will enjoy reading it too!

Prompt: Gifted

Book: Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein

First extra roll for July landed me on a “Gifted” tile for second time ever. First time I got this prompt was last month. I am running out of books I’ve been gifted and I did not read on my bookshelves. This book was given to my by a friend when I helped him sort out books he wanted to sell and get rid off. This is an older paperback edition that is out of print in Croatian. I loved the movie and I wanted to read it for years now! Also this one is a part of my Buddy reading project for this year and it will be good for me to get some progress on that.

Prompt: Graphic novel / Manga

Book: Elves: The Blue Elves’ Mission (Elfes #6) by Jean-Luc Istin, Kyko Duarte

On my last roll for July I got another low number – three! This moved me to Graphic Novel / Manga spot. In June I was reminded how much I enjoy reading the graphic novel Elfes series and decided to continue reading it in July as well. These are short and beautiful. I love how they look and the fantastic stories they bring.

This is my handsome pile of Bookopoly picks for July. There are books I am really looking forward to reading here and there are some I am less excited about.

What do you think?

June Book Warp Up 2021

Monthly reading review – June 2021

This June I have read:

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

Mogla je biti prosta priča by Ajla Terzić ★★★★

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

I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf by Grant Snider ★★★★★

Školski knjižničar by Dinka Kovačević, Jasmina Lovrinčević ★★★★★

The Lives of Saints (Grishaverse) by Leigh Bardugo ★★★★

Dark Prince: Author’s Cut (The “Dark” Carpathian book 1) by Christine Feehan ★ DNF

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

Micah (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #13) by Laurell K. Hamilton ★★★★★

The Dynasty of the Dark Elves ( Elves Vol. 5) by Marc Hadrien, Ma Yi, Olivier Héban ★★★★★

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

I had plans to read ten books and I read ten books. The amount I am happy with, but these are not all books I planned to read…On the bright side: I made a major break trough with finally finishing one of the books from my long postponed TBR Jar Draw reading project!

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

I was intimidated by Lucky (Lucky Santangelo #2) by Jackie Collins for around a year or so. It turned out a much better book than I expected and I found myself enjoying it! I expected to love I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf by Grant Snider and my expectations were met. I found much enjoyment and inspiration in the book. Micah (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #13) by Laurell K. Hamilton was a lot better than I remembered, but then I may be a bit biased when it comes to Anita Blake Vampire Hunter books series in general. I ended a month on a high not with The Dynasty of the Dark Elves ( Elves Vol. 5) by Marc Hadrien, Ma Yi, Olivier Héban. I loved coming back to this awesome graphic novel series and loved it so much that I Have already made plans for reading the next one in July.

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

The sole and biggest let down for me this month was Dark Prince: Author’s Cut (The “Dark” Carpathian book 1) by Christine Feehan. This book was on my TBR for almost a decade and when the opportunity to get the “Authors Cut” Kindle edition arose I jumped at the chance. The characters were so underdeveloped and the dialogue was so annoying I had to stop torturing myself and DNFed this book at exactly half of it! I tried giving it all the chances but I just realized I was wasting time on the book that is not getting any better for me and wasting time I could be reading a book I actually enjoy. I cant remember the last time I decided to not finish a book like this but in the end I felt relieved since I really tried and I don’t feel guilty about it!

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

In June I made plans to read 5 books for Bookopoly and 10 books for Whatever-You-Want-A-Thon reading challenge. I did NOT have to go with 10 books! Going for 10 books was not a very smart decision! I read some of the books I planned to read and then some things I did not plan on happened and I lost a whole week preparing for a test and reading books for that. I read most of what I have planned on reading: I read 7 books that I planned on reading, 1 book I DNFed and I read another 2 books that I did not plan on reading. 1 book I planned on reading has been left out because I wanted more time to enjoy it and not just read trough it quickly. And 1 book I am currently still reading from that list.

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

I have finally started on The Witcher series and The Murderbot Diaries – both are on my buddy reading project. The Lives of Saints is the last Leigh Bardugo book I had to read connected to the Grishaverse. Dark Prince: Author’s Cut (The “Dark” Carpathian book 1) by Christine Feehan is one book series I will not be reading anymore and since it has a bunch of books I am glad to cross it off my TBR and the lists of books to buy. My second reading of Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series is progressing nicely and I managed to read Micah (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #13) by Laurell K. Hamilton and enjoy it more than I thought I would.

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

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells was a nice surprise and the short format make it a fast and enjoyable read. Most of the books in the series have won genre awards and I recommend them for those who love science fiction and those who are like me and are picky about science fiction books they choose to read. Grant Snyder and his book I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf is super fun and intelligent book for book lovers and all who are interested in the book business.

Final thoughts on June 2021 reading

I am not totally happy with my reading in June. I managed to squeeze in all ten books as planned but I was forced to shuffle some and change others so I get the number ten. I had to put in some literature for the exam I was preparing instead of one book and I DNFed a book. One book I was planning to read I am still reading and will finish later in July and instead of that I put in a graphic novel to meet the quota. On week of reading was marred by trying to read a book I ended up not finishing and letting go and one other week I spent reading the stuff I did not plan on. I will elaborate a bit more on the detail in the next Bookopoly and Whatever-You-Want-A-Thon reading challenge review posts.

The Hedge Knight: The Tales of Dunk and Egg by George R.R. Martin I am still reading and A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell I was soo looking forward to but it was left untouched and will be postponed for some other more opportune time when I will be able to enjoy it more!

June experience aside I have made plans and new lists of books to read in July. There are even some reading challenges involved so stay tuned and wish me luck!

Whatever-You-Want-A-Thon 2021 – Reading Challenge

At the beginning of the month I found a new reading challenge for June I wanted to participate in. Since the month already began I had to think carefully am I going to make it or not. The idea of this reading challenge is very appealing to me and it seamed as too good to pass on. Whatever-You-Want-A-Thon is created by Maddie from book browsing blog channel on YouTube and you can check her channel HERE and give her some love and support. The reading challenge lasts for the whole month of June and is a team challenge with five teams competing in reading goals they mostly set for themselves. Each team has two captains, their color, and their chosen main genre. These are mostly guidelines and are designed to offer readers direction and something to identify with in the team challenge.

The hosts are mostly the people whose content I have been admiring and watching for a while now. I was excited to see them all together collaborating on a project like this one. Since the books I read tend to come from many different genres and I consider my reading taste to be a bit eclectic I decided to go with the Comrades of Chaos team! The fact that the team captain for this team were the least known to me was even better and in accordance with the Chaos factor. Watching some content from my new team captains was hilarious and revealed that we might not be the most competitive team in the mix which is fine by me since my own goal is to challenge myself by joining these types of reading challenges.

How the challenge works is that you can choose to read a certain amount of books for the challenge and set your own goal. Every book you read wins you certain amount of points and every book you read above your set goal gives you double the amount of points. There is the Pride month bonus for LGBTQ content which is optional. All hosts have provided the readers with their favorites and you can choose to read those for more extra points as well – again this is optional and if the said favorites are a part of a series any book in the series counts as well! With ten hosts and many different genres there is plenty of options for those extra points to choose from. Team genre is also optional for earning points but as the title say – You can read whatever you want! Each book you read earns you points and counts but if you make the book fit into any of the categories you earn extra points.

There are fifteen available prompts to get extra points on the books. You can fit one book in one or more prompts. You get extra points for up to three prompts per book. The amount of options and choices for fitting my books in June has stumped me and I just made a pile of books to read without much consulting of the prompts – which is a first for me! It felt very liberating at the start but kinda intimidating since I decided to make my own challenge a lot more challenging that I had to.

How did I manage to do this?

I started big by adding all my books I already choose for June Bookopoly. That was five books and I felt I needed to make it more interesting by adding more books that were not part of the Bookopoly for June. I made a wonderfull decision to double my reading goal from five books for the Bookopoly with extra five books which got me to my reading goal for Whatever-You-Want-A-Thon – TEN BOOKS!

Here are my ten books I set my goal on for the Whatever-You-Want-A-Thon reading challenge:

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

Lucky (Lucky Santangelo #2) by Jackie Collins

Mogla je biti prosta priča by Ajla Terzić

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

I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf by Grant Snider

A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell

The Lives of Saints (Grishaverse) by Leigh Bardugo

Dark Prince: Author’s Cut (The “Dark” Carpathian book 1) by Christine Feehan

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

Micah (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #13) by Laurell K. Hamilton

There were some last minute tweaks to this list and I only checked a few for actually matching some of the prompts. I’m going with chaos as my guide here! I have one third of the month already slipping past me and I have barely scratched the pile of books I made for myself. All the while my team captains are very active across all the social media platforms and there are some very cool videos to read along books to and talk about books in the challenge. Here is the list of all the team captains (in no particular order) and their YouTube channels so you can check them out if you are interested:

Maddie from book browsing blog

Spoopyhol from Spoopyhol

India from What India Read

Steph from Steph Loves

Jadey from Jadeyreareades

Becca from Becca and the Books

Ashleigh from A Frolic Trough Fiction

Gavin from How To Train Your Gavin

Ro from wandering trough worlds

Codie from Codies Book Corner

Wish me luck!

Bookopoly TBR 2021 – May review and June books

May Bookopoly TBR gave me six interesting books to read and I managed to read them all in time. Two of those books were excellent and I truly enjoyed reading them. One book was great and the reading experience could have been better and the other three were good to okay because I had certain issues with the reading experience and my own expectations. Here is the complete list of the books I read because of Bookopoly TBR game in May. Five of the books were from my own bookshelves and one was from the library due to the prompt requirement. Only two of the books were in English language and four were in Croatian language which is a rare thing for me! One books was nonfiction the rest were all fiction with some type of fantastic elements to them. Genres and audience varied from children’s books to full adult! Total number of pages read in these six books is 1679 pages!

1. Prompt: Dark Cover

Book: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling ★★★★★

2. Prompt: Disability representation

Book: The Vor Game (Vorkosigan Saga #5) by Lois McMaster Bujold ★★★★★

3. Prompt: Adult

Book: Wicked Abyss (Immortals After Dark #18) by Kresley Cole ★★★★

4. Prompt: Go to the Library

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

5. Prompt: Friend Pick

Book: Clockwork or all wound up by Philip Pullman, Zdenko Bašić (Illustrator) ★★★

6. Prompt: Random Shelf Pick

Book: Prolaz za divljač by Iva Šakić Ristić ★★★

Here are my reading goals for Bookopoly in June:

Prompt: Chance card

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

My first roll for June got me a seven and landed me on Chance spot. I am slowly running out of my Chance card titles and have decided to clear them all out before adding the new set of sixteen book titles from my shelves. For some reason this used to be a very common prompt on the old version of my Bookopoly board. The Hedge Knight: The Tales of Dunk and Egg by George R.R. Martin is a Croatian edition that collects all parts of a story set in Westeros and around a century (?) before the events of The Game of Thrones book. My expectation is to be a little less clueless about the book and the world it belongs to. Also, it is another book from my bookshelf to read!

Prompt: TBR Game

Book:  Lucky (Lucky Santangelo #2) by Jackie Collins

Second roll gave me a book that got pulled out of my TBR reading games few times before but due to its length it kept missing the cut. This time I used the mechanics of the Flip the Page Challenge. You can check out the original YouTube Challenge video by Jesse the Reader HERE and give him some love and attantion! A friend gave me random coordinates from the parameters of my bookshelves and I got: Lucky (Lucky Santangelo #2) by Jackie Collins. The first part of this eighties Jackie Collins chick lit with elements of crime thriller and erotic novel I have read way back in high school and have even written about it. You can check my thoughts from way back in 2016. on it HERE. This book is also on my currently paused TBR Jar Draw. I don’t know how to feel about revisiting this book series…

Prompt: LGBTQ+

Book: Mogla je biti prosta priča by Ajla Terzić

Third roll for June was 4 and landed me on LGBTQ+ tile of the board. By chance of luck this prompt was perfect for my June book club pick by Bosnian author Ajla Terzić. Balkans in general are a hard place to live in no matter ones sexual orientation or preference; but this topic put into this geographical context intrigues me and scares me at the same time. I have one week to read this book and it just might be the first book I will read in June! This book is also available in English by the title This Could Have Been a Simple Story if anyone is interested in it 🙂

Prompt: First in a series

Book: The Last Wish (The Witcher #0.5) by Andrzej Sapkowski

Another roll of seven and I got a prompt that was the most difficult for me to choose a book for this time. I had few options for choosing a first book of the series. In the end I decided to pick another book from my own shelves and one that is also a part of my buddy reading list for the whole year. Buddy reading list I am currently seriously slacking and am behind on! Reading the first/prequel book for the Witcher series might be a good idea right now because I had just enough time between the first season of the TV show and the announced second season! I expect to like this book!

Prompt: Gifted

Book: I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf by Grant Snider

The last stroll of my little polar bear across the board was to a spot with the Gifted prompt. I was actually reminded that it might be a great time to read this book. I love taking pictures of it and I love showing it to my bookish friends. Because of this I already have a few people interested in borrowing it to read. I don’t like borrowing books I have not read first and it just might be time for this book!

Wish me luck with this small but eclectic pile of books!

May Book Wrap Up 2021

Monthly reading review – May 2021

This May I have read:

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling ★★★★★

The Vor Game (Vorkosigan Saga #5) by Lois McMaster Bujold ★★★★★

Prolaz za divljač by Iva Šakić Ristić ★★★

Incubus Dreams (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book #12) by Laurell K. Hamilton  ★★★★

Wicked Abyss (Immortals After Dark #17) by Kresley Cole ★★★★

Seven Seasons of Buffy: Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Discuss Their Favorite Television Show
by Glenn Yeffeth (Editor) ★★★★

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

Clockwork or all wound up by Philip Pullman, Zdenko Bašić (Illustrator) ★★★

First I would like to address my lack of activity on the posting in the last month and more. Life happened and then my mobile phone got messed up and I could not take pictures and upload them the way I wanted to. It all filled me with anxiety and I was inactive for most of the time. I have not realized I relayed on my phone this much. I hope to make some more posts in June to make up for all the things I wanted to post about and more!

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

In May I finished reading eight books. This leaves me with only The Count of Monte Christo as currently “reading in progress” book that I keep dragging on from one month to the next. Eight books in a month is a nice number and I will try to keep up with it!

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

Revisiting first book in the Harry Potter series was nice even though I read it only last year. I keep being surprised on how much I enjoy The Adventures of Miles Vorkosigan and this slow pace at which I read trough the series in whole is more like a guilty pleasure for me. I am glad I finally got to reading Seven Seasons of Buffy book of essays and enjoyed it for the most part.

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

There were not bad books in May, just a few that did not rise up to my expectations. Prolaz za divljač by Iva Šakić Ristić made me long for stronger characters and less philosophical approach to the theme. Proklete Hrvatice : (1&2) : Dvadeset životopisa by Milana Vuković Runjić I am happy to have read but feel that the author could have done a bit more in highlighting the females from the history – some stories were done greatly and some lost the focus in comparison.

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

I approached my reading plan for May with caution because I wanted it to be successful. I managed to read all the books I planned to read and even finish one of the books I had started before May. Only thing that would have made it better would have been reading trough more of The Count of Monte Christo which sadly did not happen. I finished booth the Bookopoly TBR game and May The Force Read with You readathon!

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

I got one book series up to date with finishing Wicked Abyss (Immortals After Dark #17) by Kresley Cole. My reareading trough Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book series is taking a back seat for a while but I do plan to add the next book to my reading plans soon. Finishing The Vor Game (Vorkosigan Saga #5) by Lois McMaster Bujold has made another step small step in reading trough this truly enjoyable space adventure book series.

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

I read two nonfiction books in May and I always feel a certain satisfaction when I finish reading one of those. My recommendation this time is to read more books that give your inner reader feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction. In my case these were the books I made plans to read and even have been on my TBR for quite some time so it felt really good to finish reading them!

Final thoughts on May 2021 reading

I am happy with my reading in May. I read six new books and two more books I read before already. For the first time in a long while a number of books I’ve read in one month in English language is the same as the number of books I read in Croatian language. I already have plans for more posts and reading options in June and I am excited for that! Here are some illustrations by Zdenko Basic from the Croatian edition of Clockwork or all wound up by Philip Pullman.

May The Force Read With You – 2021 Readathon

After a small break I decided to get back into reading challenges and the one reading challenge that made me excited to get back on track is May The Force Read With You Readathon by Breakeaven Books on YouTube. Here is the link to the announcement video: May The Force Read With You Readathon. The owner of the channel is Eric and he is a really cool guy that reads lots of great books and has some amazing content. I’ve been following his channel for a while now and this is the second reading challenge from his channel I am participating in! First one was Reindeer Readathon back in December 2020. where I was inspired and read an astounding ten books for it in December! Here is the link for the my Reindeer Readathon post and a link to Eric’s YouTube Breakeven Books channel. Give the guy some love and recognition because he deserves it!

I am not that an avid Star Wars fan but I do love a great reading challenge with an interesting theme. Most of the visuals for this post were taken from the materials created by the author of the reading challenge. I love the simplicity and the style of the info materials for the challenges he makes. While I was reading trough the materials I got stuck at the first fork in the road – choosing my reading path between the Light Side and the Dark Side. In the end I made two lists of books – one for each side and compared them to what I was more eager to read this month. I really wanted to be a Jedi and go with the Light Side since there are more people there to keep me company where as with the Sith on the Dark Side you get only two people (since there is only two of them at all times according to Star Wars lore). I don’t feel the need to be that special and isolated and would much prefer the company of other cool Jedi. It took some tweaking since the lure of the Dark Side and the books I managed to put on the list for the challenge were slightly more convenient for the Dark Side path BUT here are the books I picked out for my reading journey on the Light Side!

Light Side

Jedi Council – Sequel or book in a series

Book: The Vor Game (Vorkosigan Saga #5) by Lois McMaster Bujold

I love the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold. It is one of the rare science fiction books I truly love. Like Star Wars it is a story set in a vast universe with lots of interesting characters and political intrigue. This book also fit another prompt in the Dark Side path – Force Vision Manipulation – A book with political intrigue or royalty. The whole series has been translated into Croatian and has unique illustrated covers by Esad T. Ribić. The illustrator has even done some work for Marvel and made some amazing covers. I like the intriguing cover and this book seems like a great start for Star Wars themed readathon even if it is not a Star Wars themed book!

Force Spirit – A book with paranormal elements

Book: Prolaz za divljač by Iva Šakić Ristić

Another unique cover and this time a book by an author I have never read before. The title of this book roughly translates as: Passageway for wild animals. I can be a very harsh critic with Croatian authors sometimes, but I hope I will like this little novel. I am not completely sure what it is about but it should have some paranormal elements and a friend recommended it to me. She liked it so much that she even gave me this book as a present. I can’t help but wonder at the strange cover though…

Healing – Read a book from your favorite genre

Book: Wicked Abyss (Immortals After Dark #17) by Kresley Cole

My favorite genre is urban fantasy with romantic elements and this book is the last published book in a series I used to love reading. I find the cover more appropriate for Dark Side path and I even had a ready prompt for this one as well: Seduction – Romance book. It is a dark type of urban fantasy romance and I hope I will enjoy it enough to be more upset about the next book of the series not already being published!

Knowledge – Read one of the oldest books on your shelf/TBR

Book: Seven Seasons of Buffy: Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Discuss Their Favorite Television Show
by Glenn Yeffeth (Editor)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer used to be my favorite TV show. I loved the witty dialogue and the characters. Lately there has been some rumors and accusations to the series director and it has made a dark mark upon something I really loved and the guy I really admired. In order to get back to something I enjoyed I picked out this book of essays on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and an impact it had on the popular culture. The authors of the essays are some of the most famous science fiction and fantasy writers out there. This book has been on my TBR for more than a decade and that is about as long as I have it as well. I hope this book reminds me of the things I loved about the TV show and how much I enjoyed it.

Cleansed – Book with a white cover

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

I had a few options for this prompt but decided to go with this one and claim that this sepia cover counts as white! That is my story and I am sticking to it! I must admit this is one of the books I had ready for the Dark Side version as well as a part of a duology since it is a book that collects two parts that were separately published before this edition – Rule of Two – Read a book from a duology. This one is also part of a buddy reading list of book for this year I am doing with a friend. I am a bit worried on how long it will take to read trough it.

There are some more options to add to the list of books that can be read in this challenge that I may opt to include later. These first five prompts are mandatory to be able do read the extra ones and there is even an option of spicing it all up by finishing both Light Side prompts and Darks Side prompts with the addition of a set of five neutral prompts. A reader who is on a Light Side path can spice it up with some books form the Neutral prompts list. Only after one finishes all five books on the chosen path can one start on the opposite path prompts. To illustrate better on how it all looks here is the complete list of all the prompts. I already have some books left aside in case I finish these mentioned above and add more. My main priority here is to get back into the reading and to stay motivated by finishing books in general. I don’t wont to set too high goals at this time.

For those who want even more extras and have a bigger reading appetites there are some additional prompts and goals for after finishing a chosen path. There is a group read book option and some Companions list for the each path. The rules are simple and straightforward. I did not go with the group book option since I don’t have it on my shelf and I already have one other book from the library on the list.

Here is my five book pile for the May The Force Read With You – 2021 Readathon. Wish me luck!

Bookopoly TBR – May

Spring was never my favorite time of the year. It always seem to catch me unprepared and I had to take some time off from reading and books in general. My mind kept wandering and I had to clear my head a bit. I was still reading some books but in a much slower and kinda chaotic pace. I will make a separate post on the books I have been reading in March and April later. I decided to make a fresh start with Bookopoly in May.

Here are my reading goals for Bookopoly in May:

Prompt: Dark Cover

Book: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling

Fresh start and a first roll got me a seven and a Dark Cover prompt! I was looking for something from my shelves and then I remembered I have Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling as a book club assignment for May and it clicked! I read this book just last year for the first time but I am so very happy with my Hufflepuff House Edition books that I am glad to have a reason to read trough my very own copy one more time! The first time was magical and I hope I can get more observant the second time!

Prompt: Disability representation

Book: The Vor Game (Vorkosigan Saga #5) by Lois McMaster Bujold

Second roll landed my polar bear marker on a Disability representation space. I searched high and low on my TBR on Goodreads and my own shelves and I had something completely different in mind for this prompt. In the end I decided to to with something I always enjoyed reading – Vorkosigan saga book! I have a whole shelf of them and they never disappoint! I picked up the next book in chronological order: The Vor Game. Miles is one of the most inspiring characters I have ever read and I could use some of his strenght right now!

Prompt: Adult

Book: Wicked Abyss (Immortals After Dark #17) by Kresley Cole

Third roll was an eight and got me one of the prompt what gives the most freedom to choose a book from my shelves. Strangely I had quite a bit of trouble with picking a book for this one! I guess I had too many good choices of books I had for a long time and the ones I’ve only recently acquired. I don’t know what happened with Immortals After Dark book series. It has been four years since the last book and two others were announced but never published. I guess this is the reason I was never in a hurry to catch up with the last published book of the series and just got it this year. This is book number seventeen and I hope that the other two announced books get published as well!

Prompt: Go to the Library

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

My fourth roll landed me on one of the new prompts I’ve added with the new board I made. I added this prompt to make myself read more books in Croatian since I almost stopped reading books in Croatian unless they were specifically for my book club and I could not get them any other way. Promoting the work of my local library is important to me and this will give me a chance to do that. For this prompt I decided to pick a book from the list of books selected to ready with a friend during this year. She is way ahead of me on the list of books she already read and I need to catch up! This is a collection of biographies of Croatian women trough history and it roughly translates into “Cursed Croatian women” due to their mostly tragic lives. This book is in two parts and this edition collects both parts with twenty biographies and interesting information.

Prompt: Friend Pick

Book: Clockwork or all wound up by Philip Pullman, Zdenko Bašić (Illustrator)

My fifth roll was a double roll and that means I get to roll one extra time after this one! The prompt that I got from my fifth roll was a Friend Pick. And since I have a great and understanding friend she picked out a rather short novella book by Philip Pullman and illustrated by a rather famous Zdenko Bašić that does some really dark and interesting art accompanying fantastic books and fairytales. I am using this novella to give Philip Pullman another chance since I did not like his The Golden Compass book enough to continue the series…

Prompt: Random Shelf Pick

Book: Prolaz za divljač by Iva Šakić Ristić

My last roll for may was another interesting prompt that adds more randomness into my picks! I simply picked out a bunch of books from my shelves and with a help of a friend got my last book for Bookopoly in May. This book was a present from another friend who liked it very much. Just few paragraphs before I was writing about the need to read more books in Croatian and now I got one very original by Croatian author. I hope to like it.

February Book Wrap Up 2021

Monthly reading review – February 2021

This February I have read:

The Book of Lies (Twins Trilogy #1-3) by Ágota Kristóf ★★

The Boy the Mole the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy ★★★

Radiance (Wraith Kings book 1) by Grace Draven ★★★★★

Rafael (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book 28) by Laurell K. Hamilton ★★★★★

Eidolon (Wraith Kings book 2) by Grace Draven ★★★★

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

MOR – Plodovi osvete by Josip Kralik ★★

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

In February I have read seven books and made some progress with my small pile of “currently reading” books. I finished off some books I’ve been dragging on and I am generally happy with the amount of books I read in a month I decided to take it slow.

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

The most enjoyable book this February was Rafael (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book 28) by Laurell K. Hamilton. I loved how many of my favorite characters got page time and I like the concept of where this long book series is going from the perspective of this book. One other book that came as a nice surprise was Radiance (Wraith Kings book 1) by Grace Draven. It was a spur of an impulse romance read I stumbled on a Goodreads recommendation list and I love it!

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

There were some books that were hard for me to read this month and the one that gave me most grief was The Book of Lies (Twins Trilogy #1-3) by Ágota Kristóf. As usual this was my book club pick for next month but since our book club meetings are held at the start of the month I read it in February. The topic was very heavy and I really did not like the narrative style. The other book I did not like in February was MOR – Plodovi osvete by Josip Kralik. I think I had higher expectations and I let it drag out as leftover from last year. All together it made a not so great impression on me.

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

My plan for February was taking it easy and trying to catch up and finish up some of the books I was in the middle of reading of. I managed to finish two of those books and made some progress with the other two I still have in my back log. With all this I read my book club assignment and even got four other books in.

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

I got Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book series up to date in the month the new book came out and that made me very happy. I found a new Kindle book series that caught my attention and have read two out of three books available which is great! I finally got to Forgotten Realms: The Fighters book series that has been on my shelves for a very long time now and I will have to wait for the next opportunity to get to the next book in the series.

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

The best book surprise for me this month was Wraith Kings book series by Grace Draven. I love how I gave it a try after finding it on some random recommendation list on Goodreads. I also love that it is an older book – it came out in 2015! My recommendation is to give new books and authors a try anytime you get the chance! Chances are you have probably never heard of Grace Draven or many other authors that write romance fantasy since there are so many of them and most don’t get the spotlight or the print book deals. Show them love by giving their books a chance and spread the word when you find a book or an author whose writing you enjoy! I hope to read the next book of the series The Ippos King (Wraith Kings book 3) by Grace Draven soon!

Final thoughts on February 2021 reading

I am glad I opted to take the time in February to slow down and reevaluate my reading goals and take some time to get my books under some semblance of control. I think this gave me some new ideas and energy to put them to work. I would have loved to have finished off at least one more back log book but I feel like I made some progress and that is what is important to me. February was an eventful reading month for me and I hope to continue to March with my vigor renewed!

Bookopoly TBR game – March 2021 And New Board

This February I’ve taken a break from any types of TBR games and missions and decided to take it slow in order to get my back log of books I am in the middle of reading under some semblance of control. I went over the Bookopoly board with a friend and we made some changes to accommodate it to our needs better. We had some ideas that required a bigger board that we decided not to go with in the end but now we have a bigger board! I am still working on some finishing touches to the design. The tiles and prompts are ready so we did a test run for March already!

After I finish with the coloring and stuff I will go over all the tiles and make a little preview for the board itself. Hopefully this will happen sometime in March. The changes we did were related to the type of books we have on our TBR and I decided to play with the colors on the board a bit as well. So here are my books for March:

First roll of the dice already got me to try out one new prompt we decided to include in the game. My first prompt is EX YU Author so let me provide some insight into out choice to include this prompt in the game. Most of the popular literature we read are originally written in English language with few notable exceptions. Also, most of the books I decide to include into TBR games are written in English and this makes me read a lot of books in English and most of them are what I consider foreign authors. The term EX YU Authors is used for authors that come from the six countries that used to belong to Yugoslavia: Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Macedonia and Montenegro. Due to long coexistence of languages of the fore mentioned nationalities it is possible to understand and read the language of them all to some extent or other. This prompt is used to cover reading books in my mother tongue and the language of the close neighboring countries which helps in building my vocabulary and keeps me in touch with authors I would not read as much otherwise. For the first book in the new season of Bookopoly and for this prompt I decided to go with a rather rare edition of a collection of science fiction, horror and fantasy short stories called Priča o Anđeli Novak: essekonska zbirka 1 edited by Davor Banović. There are twenty short stories by authors all over the EX YU region and this collection doesn’t even have a Goodreads entry – something I plan to change as soon as I finish reading!

Prompt: EX YU Author

Book: Priča o Anđeli Novak: essekonska zbirka 1 edited by Davor Banović

My second roll led me to a prompt we decided to keep unchanged: LGBTQ+ representation. Reading is a great way to explore the points of view of others and let us evolve empathy. I had a few options for this prompt but in the end I decided to go with Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston because I wanted something light hearted. I hope to really like this book!

Prompt: LGBTQ+

Book: Red White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Third roll got me to one of the most open and most usable prompts for me – Sequel! I have lost count of all the book series I am reading at any moment. I decided to pick a book I have already decided to read sometime this year with a friend: Castle in the Air (Howl’s Moving Castle #2) by Diana Wynne Jones. I have recently reread the first book and this one has been on my shelf for years! The book is even yellow with age…

Prompt: Sequel

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

I used to read a lot more graphic novels while I was working in a bookstore and had more access to them. I have a small collection of Graphic novels and manga editions on my shelf and there are some I have been meaning to read for a while now. This fourth roll had me pick out one of the last manga purchases I made last year: Kitchen Princess Omnibus, Vol. 4 (Kitchen Princess #8-10) by Natsumi Andō (Illustrations), Miyuki Kobayashi. This will be the finishing of a manga series!

Prompt: Graphic Novel / Manga

Book: Kitchen Princess Omnibus Vol. 4 (Kitchen Princess #8-10) by Natsumi Andō (Illustrations), Miyuki Kobayashi

On my fifth roll I got a double and another new prompt: Boyfriend Pick! The double was snake eyes – both dices landed on a one and we decided to keep the rule that any double rolls mean another roll for another book! The Boyfriend Pick is a new prompt altogether and since I used to have small reading challenges with my boyfriend one would think I would be a bit less apprehensive about his pick for me. Before I explained the rules to him – he needs to pick a book for me to read in March his choice was The Complete Lyonesse (Lyonesse #1-3) by Jack Vance. A monstrosity of a book with over 1000 pages… After I told him that I have one month to read all the books he decided to choose another book: Railsea by China Miéville. I am going with the second book but I made a note for the first one.

Prompt: Boyfriend Pick

Book: Railsea by China Miéville

My extra roll got me another prompt I decided to keep unchanged – Highest Rated. I liked being surprised by the books I find on my Highest Rated and Lowest Rated TBR on Goodreads. I was pleasantly surprised by finding that one of the highest rated books on my TBR was actually one of the books I missed reading for last year challenge: Hellboy, Volume 1: Seed of Destruction and Wake the Devil (Hellboy #1-2) by Mike Mignola, John Byrne. I’m reading the Croatian edition for this one.

Prompt: Highest Rated

Book: Hellboy Volume 1: Seed of Destruction and Wake the Devil (Hellboy #1-2) by Mike Mignola, John Byrne