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!

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!

2020 Reading Challenges Report

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

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

Challenges from month to month

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

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

Medieval-A-Thon Reading Challenge – May 2020

Make Your Myth-Taker – June 2020

Olympic Games – June 2020

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

Sbooktober Readathon – October 2020

Reindeer Readathon 2020 – December 2020

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

Personal reading challenges

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

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

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

Personal reading challenge 2020

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

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

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

Bookopoly TBR Game

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

Bookopoly TBR game – September and October 2020

Bookopoly TBR game – November 2020

Bookopoly TBR game – November and December 2020

Reading in 2021

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

Reading Challenges Update – October 2020

For the last few months I’ve been keeping myself busy with various reading challenges I found on Booktube. There were months were just one of those was not enough for me and I did several a month even! All this has made me neglect my original reading challenge I set out for the whole year and my TBR Jar Draw reading challenge I am doing for years now! Last update I did for my 2020 reading challenge I did in May. You can read my original post for it HERE and you can check out the May update HERE. The fore mentioned update left me somewhat ahead of schedule and lulled me into neglecting the books I wanted to read by the end of 2020.

Here is what my current list looks like:

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

Out of 30 books I’ve set to read I have actually read 16 and I have started on one other! I have barely two months to read the rest of the books!

This means I will have to forgo any interesting reading challenges and read only these books by the end of the year! At least it is doable…Only now I remember that this might exclude any exciting new books I will get by the end of the year…I will do my best to finish both the Sbooktober Readathon and Bookopoly TBR game for October because I’m doing both with a friend this year!

Since my other personal reading challenge TBR Jar Draw is designed to make me read more books that I already own I will take into consideration that all of the books from my 2020 reading challenge are the books I already own! This will mean that I will put TBR Jar Draw reading challenge on hold until I am done with 2020 reading list!

My TBR Jar Draw is still the same from my last update in September:

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

2# The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

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

My next post will be about something more positive than reading challenge update panic attack I promise!

TBR Jar Draw – September 2020 update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2# The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly

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

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

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

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

July Book Wrap Up 2020

Monthly reading review – July 2020

This July I have read:

Nedodirljivi: Mit o Ciganima by Feri Lainšček ★★★★

The Lunatic Cafe (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #4) by Laurell K. Hamilton ★★★★

Bloody Bones (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #5) by Laurell K. Hamilton ★★★★

The Killing Dance (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #6) by Laurell K. Hamilton ★★★★

Burnt Offerings (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #7) by Laurell K. Hamilton ★★★★★

Blue Moon (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #8) by Laurell K. Hamilton ★★★

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

Tamnije od zgrušane krvi by Viktoria Faust ★★

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

I decided to chill out this July and ended reading eight books in total and I am happy with the amount of books I’ve read.

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

The best book I read in June was Burnt Offerings (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #7) by Laurell K. Hamilton. This was my second reading of this book and I just realized that both Nathaniel and Asher first appear in this book!

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

The least enjoyable book to read for me this July was Tamnije od zgrušane krvi by Viktoria Faust. I could not get over the small grammar mistakes throught the book. The title and the cover hinted at a different theme and my expectations were different from what I got to read. This little booklet of short stories barely 160 pages long made me think about DNFing more than once…

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

This July I decided to take a little break after three consecutive months of doing reading challenges. One reason was also to prepare for the next reading challenge in August. I decided to use this time to reread Anita Blake book series which is something I was planing for years now. Only two books I’ve read in July were new and all the rest were rereads. One of the books was for my book club and two books were for my TBR Jar Draw challenge which I still need to post about!

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

Five out of eight books I’ve read this July were from the Anita Blake book series. I hope to continue with rereading as soon as possible. As much as I enjoy rereading these books I am kinda worried about not doing nothing for my TBR in general. I will have to make that up in August if I can.

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

This month for me was all about reading the books I loved reading the first time some decade and a half ago. In short my recommendation is to reevaluate your favorite books as often as you can. You will either end up reading the books you love again or learn about how you’ve grown and your tastes have changed. It’s a win – win in either case for me!

Final thoughts on July 2020 reading

I needed this month of relaxed reading and I enjoyed myself. I’ve realized how many more books I read when I make plans and lists. From eight books I’ve read only two were new and those two were related to my TBR Jar Draw reading challenge. Those two books felt good to get off my TBR, I’ve already made plans for one to give away and I’m kinda thinking what to do with the other one. Six rereads for one month seems a bit too much for me and while I loved going back to some favorites I will have to pace myself a bit better. I wonder how long will it take me to reread all the Anita Blake books? I just realized that from all the books I’ve read in July only one did not have vampires in it!

TBR Jar Draw – July 2020 update

Lately I have been working at including my TBR Jar Draw picks into other reading challenges as much as possible. The last TBR Jar Draw book I have read I managed to include into two reading challenges in June. Considering that my pick was Buffy the Vampire Slayer Vol. 1 by John Vornholt, Arthur Byron Cover, Alice Henderson – a book over 650 pages long, I was very pleased with myself.

Holidays Are Hell (Short Stories from Hell) by Various authors and Shattered (The Iron Druid Chronicles #7) by Kevin Hearne went back into the TBR Jar.

For July I pulled three new picks from the Jar:

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

This is a collection of essays on the topic of Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show. This year I actually bought the whole Buffy the Vampire Slayer seven seasons box set from Amazon UK page. I am gathering all my feelings of nostalgia and preparing for watching the series season by season again. I will read this sometime around that time to enhance my experience.

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

This is the book that draws me the most from all the picks this time. It is kinda short and lately I’ve come to appreciate shorter books because of the higher number of them I can read for challenges and in general. The cover and the description are vague enough. It is one of the books I’ve gotten as a free gift and I would like to read them and clear out my shelves up a bit.

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

I noticed this book when it was translated in Serbian few years back. I’ve gotten it as a gift and forgotten about it. I am not too enthusiastic about it being a book for kids but I am curious.

For this July I have let my friend decide my TBR Jar Draw pick and she went with The Crooked Sixpence (The Uncommoners #1) by Jennifer Bell. Frankly it is the book with most pages and not the one I would have chosen for myself. Also I am glad for her interest and the extra motivation to pick up some of the books I’ve been meaning to read and probably pass on to someone else!

The Olympic Games Reading Challenge – Experience and thoughts

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

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

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

Hades prompt 1. – book featuring the undead

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

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

Hades prompt 2. – reread a book

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

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

Hades prompt 3. – book with a dark cover

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

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

Hades prompt 4. – random TBR book

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advanced Challenge 1. – Sword and Shield

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

Advanced Challenge 2. – Monster fighting

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

My score on Olympic Games reading challenge:

I have read 5 books for The Olympic Games challenge

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

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

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

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

Make Your Myth-Taker Reading Challenge – Experience and thoughts

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

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

Sorceress prompt 1. – nonhuman main

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

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

Sorceress prompt 2. – foiled cover

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

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

Sorceress prompt 3. – highest rated

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

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

Sorceress prompt 4. – random TBR

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

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

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

Royal Court prompt 1. – queen main character

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

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

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

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

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

Royal Court prompt 4. – reread a favorite

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

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

My score on Make Your Myth-Taker reading challenge:

I have read 7 books for this reading challenge.

3 books were completely new for me.

2 books were rereads.

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

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

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

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

TBR Jar Draw – June 2020 update

Last month I was busy with reading challenges and nearly forgot to include the TBR Jar Draw book into my reading. For this reason I picked out tho shortest and the easiest solution for my TBR Jar Draw in May.

I have read:

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

This is a Croatian edition in hardcover by Bookglobe publisher. The story was good. I had some problems with following all the action. I kept feeling like I was missing something and had to catch up.
I have some issues with the artwork. Kordej’s works are very recognizable with chunky characters and muscles. What bugged me the most was actually the coloring and I really did not like how it looked with illustrators firm and dark lines.

The Warden (Chronicles of Barsetshire #1) by Anthony Trollope AND Into the Woods: Tales from the Hollows and Beyond (The Hollows Short stories) by Kim Harrison went back into the Jar.

For June I pulled three new picks from the Jar:

1# Holidays Are Hell (Short Stories from Hell) by Various authors

This is a collection of urban fantasy short stories form some of the authors that are already known to me. I have three other compilations from Short Stories from Hell series and have already read them. There are three other which I don’t own and as time goes by it is less likely I will find them. This one has some Christmasy wibes and I would like to leave it for when I need a holiday theme book sometime in winter.

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

I am frustrated and annoyed for having accidentally ordered the wrong format of the last two books from the Iron Druid Chronicles book series. My mode worsens just by looking at the shelf and how out of place the book series now looks right there. This is not giving me any incentive to take and read the books in this series. If I had a paying job and money to get another editions that fit instead I would…right now I am just too annoyed to concentrate on reading these books and the more time passes the less I am motivated to give it a go…

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

This is my pick for June and I managed to include it in two other reading challenges for June! One is  Make Your Myth-Taker reading challenge which you can check out HERE And the other one is The Olympic Games which you can check out HERE This book is almost the size of the other two together so it will be a real challenge to read it.