Whatever-You-Want-A-Thon 2021 – Thoughts and Experiences

In June I decided to join a new and exciting reading challenge called: Whatever-You-Want-A-Thon. You can check out my original post on it HERE and the YouTube announcement from the main creator HERE. This was the second time the challenge was on and the first time I was participating in it. I liked the idea of reading what ever you want and choosing how many books you want to read. There was a choice of teams to join in for the purposes of a friendly competition and offering various genre options. Readers were provided with a list of prompts what were optional and available for adding more points for each book read. Each book you read counts toward the reading goal every reader sets for themselves and each book read after the goal is worth double! In the honor of the Pride Month each book that had LGBTQ+ characters or theme had an extra bonus. Bonus points were added if the book was on the any of the ten hosts recommendation and favorite list provided for that purpose. In short there were so many options for you to gain points and feel good while reading the books for this challenge!

This proved dangerous for me. For whatever reason I decided to read TEN books! I was already doing my Bookopoly reading challenge with five books and for some reason I decided to make it double… Here are the books I put on my planned reading list for this 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

How did I do?

From the ten books listed above I read seven in time for challenge and turn my results in. Each book was worth 100 by default and that comes down to 700 points. All the books were optionally worth more additional points for up to three prompts listed below. Most of the books I managed to squeeze in all three prompts for full 75 points extra. I got 500 points for all of those prompts combined. Only one book was LGBTQ+ related and gave me extra 100 points. My chosen team was Comrades of Chaos and the team genre was everything not covered by the other teams (not: middlegrade, epic/high fantasy, contemporary or fantastical/magical) This gave me a lot of room to maneuver and I scored another 125 points there. None of the books I’ve read have been on the lists of favorites from any of the ten hosts so I got no points there at all.

7 books = 700 points by default + 600 points for prompts and bonus + 125 points for team genre

This comes down to 1425 points!

One of the books I ended up DNFing and I did not count that one for any points at all. One book I did not finish reading by the end of the month so I did not count that one either. One of the books I did not even start reading and it was not counted for any points as well.

There were two books I added to my reading that were not on the planned list and I finished them in time to count them in for the reading challenge. Those were:

Školski knjižničar by Dinka Kovačević, Jasmina Lovrinčević 

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

For those I added 100 points each and 50 points and 75 points respectively for genre and prompt bonuses they fit in. This comes down to 325 points.

This brings my total score to 9 books and 1750 points! by the score chart at the beginning of this post I am a magician! I was surprised at the total amount of points and feel very magical with that score. The team that I choose did not seem to be that competitive and I was okay with that. I liked seeing this many content creators working together and having fun doing reading sprints and cooperating in general. While I am writing this post I did not get to see the team results and I am feeling high spirited. I am proud of my contribution for my team and was happy to participate as much as I did.

My thoughts on my experience in Whatever-You-Want-A-Thon 2021 reading challenge

What I loved most about this reading challenge was the amount of options to gain points for the books you are reading. In board games this is called a “point salad” approach and it makes for a more engaging experience. Different prompts and bonuses were available but optional. It gives a rather satisfying feel while choosing a book to read for the challenge and counting all the different ways you can score points for it. While I was choosing my books for June I did not focus on anything in particular but just added books that were available or part of some other reading project I am a part of!

The amount of freedom in choosing of the books and more importantly in choosing of the amount of books I planned to read proved dangerous since I got carried away and decided on a too high number right at the beginning. Ten was too much. I guess I wanted to make it challenging and set myself for a harder goal. I might have been able to finish all ten books and complete my planned list if the real life did not interfere and I had to set almost a week off for studying. I have also struggled with one book I had to not finish and it took me few days to decide to call it done then and there without finishing reading it. This DNFing books is something that is still hard for me to do and I am working on it.

I am very glad to have tried this reading challenge a have been inspired by the content creators and all the work they did for it.

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!

Books I desire by Holly Black – June 2021

I use my Book Depository account to keep and organize several different wishlists for the books that strike my fancy or I plan to buy. My book buying plans are mostly smaller book buying sprees since I buy books several times a year by ordering them from Book Depository store. I rarely buy books in Croatian anymore. I started to buy used books in English more often in the last year or so because I have found some cool people who are selling relatively new and interesting books in English through Facebook groups. Few times a year I get into my Kindle and buy some books that are up to 5$ and I find interesting. I have few authors whose work I follow and buy in Kindle format and sometimes I indulge in titles that would be too expensive to buy in other formats. There are no bookshops in my area that sell books in English that I can walk into and buy books on the spot! When I was younger I opted to buy paperback editions mostly since they were easier to store and usually cost less. Lately I have developed the taste for pretty hardcover editions and now I weigh my options carefully before deciding to buy books.

Over a year ago I made a very similar post on this topic – Wishlist Books! You can check it out HERE. From the six books I highlighted in the post I bought five! This sixth book is out of print and it is still on my wish list. In the meantime I discovered a lot of interesting authors I wanted to try out and some new books. I have reservations about reading the books everybody else is raving about at first. I like to check them out at my own pace but when I find an author I go for it in a rather hedonistic manner. Leigh Bardugo and her books are just one more recent example for this.

Holly Black Books!

I did not have a taste or time for reading the same books more than once. Lately I keep coming back to some authors and stories. Holly Black and her stories of faeries have made me want to read the same books over and over. I have gotten her first two books in The Folk of Air trilogy back in 2019. Since then I have been hooked and now I am in the progress of getting the hardcover editions of all three books and getting my hands on other books connected to the same world of faeries. So far I have the third book in hardcover and have ordered the second one as well. Only the first one is missing to have all three in hardcover edition after which I will sell paperback editions. Here are some of the titles I want to get my hands on!

The Modern Faerie Tales : Tithe; Valiant; Ironside by Holly Black

This 800 pages beauty collects three stories set in the world of The Folk of Air I love reading about! I was checking out for the hardcover editions but can’t seem to find it. I am not particulary fond of a book this size in paperback edition and it is making me hesitate.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

One of the reasons I am slow to get these is the need to decipher various editions and their sizes before actually buying the books. My OCD does not like it when the books from the same series are different size and since I am late to buy the hardcover editions of these I must thread carefully to get the right edition that goes well with other books I already have. The edition that is easiest for me to get is completely different than the rest and I must make some hard decisions financially if I want them all to match…

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Another of Holly Black books I would like to read and another one with edition sizes all over the place. It is annoying and exhausting, not to mention totally demotivating when the quest to find the right edition is so difficult! This one has vampires and I am intrigued at how it turns out!

Book of Night by Holly Black

This is the latest book of the author announced for next year. It is a book meant for adult audiences and I can’t wait to see how it turns out! I am slowly building my own hype for this one! I like the premise of a underdog character on the run and deceitful types of magic. It should be urban fantasy mystery which is exactly the type of a thing I like!

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!

May The Force Read With You 2021: Reading experience and thoughts

Good news is that I read all the books I picked out on my path to be a Jedi! While I had some ideas about reading more than just the five mandatory books for May The Force Read With You reading challenge I did not get around to picking more books that fit the prompts for it. I stayed true to my Light Side Path and did not have to pick any of the neutral prompts that were available.

Here are the books I read for this reading challenge and my thoughts on them!

Prompt: Jedi Council – Sequel or book in a series

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

My first prompt is the one I was the most excited about and felt it was the most connected with the Star Wars theme. Miles Vorkosigan is a high profile high born from the planet Barrayar that has a long and brutal military history. Due to and assassination attempt on his mother while he was still in the womb he suffered some damage that stunted his growth and made his bones very brittle. The Saga of Miles Vorkosigan is aptly named and there is a whole world of political intrigue in space and James Bond/Indiana Jones adventure feel to his life in general. This series has around sixteen books and finding out a correct way to read them can be tricky. I have all the books translated in Croatian and keep them as a great choice to add as a next book to read for reading challenges. I plan to read the whole series but am not actively working hard on it. These stories are a delight for me to read because with most science fiction literature I can’t seem to connect with the characters and their stories. Miles is different in this way. Miles is the reason I keep reading science fiction which I am not that big a fan of.

Prompt: 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) ★★★★

The second book I read in the challenge was not the second prompt but the book that was on my TBR and the actual bookshelves for many years. Nonfiction books are not often something I pick for reading challenges since they take more concentration and time to read. I am a story driven reader and reading a book of essays was not something I would have chosen to take on lightly. Like Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer has had a cult following that transcends generations and the period that it was made in. It was really interesting for me to read professional writers on their own favorite show and exhibit great emotions over things only true fans would pay attentions too let alone obsess about! Some essays were endearing to read, some inspired me to watch episodes of the TV show and some made me feel glad my thoughts on Buffy never got that far. Fandoms and people that are part of them are amazing!

Prompt: Force Spirit – A book with paranormal elements

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

My actual second prompt and the third book I have read for this challenge was a short novel by a Croatian author and the first of her work I have read. Like some movies from the Star Wars franchise, this was one of the books with characters I had trouble connecting with. The philosophical nature of the plot just made me disconnect and lose interest. I had similar issues with the Rogue One movie. While a friend that recommended and gave me this book as a present liked this book I now must find a way to tell her gently that I did not find what she thought was so fascinating about it…

Prompt: Healing – Read a book from your favorite genre

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

My next prompt and the book I read was spot on with the healing theme. I needed something to get me back to my favorite genre. It has been years since I read the last book from this series and I was caught off guard with the amount of sex scenes here. For the first part of the book it is an enemies to lovers deal BUT when the main characters get it on, they GET IT ON a lot. I found some connections wo the Star Wars here in the star crossed lovers getting together and while Anakin and Padme share the aptitude for destruction and tragedy with Sian and Lila their story is HEA by the end of the book at least. Also this cover, while not one of my favorites, gives me Anakin vibes…

Prompt: Cleansed – Book with a white cover

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

The last prompt and the last book I have read for this reading challenge was another nonfiction book – which is I suspect the reason behind me not reaching for the extra prompts that I might have chosen otherwise. Picking two nonfiction books in a single month and a single reading challenge is a first for me ever. This time it was a book of biographies of women from Croatian history. I was not too thrilled with the way they were presented – often trough the lens of political conditions of their time and trough the men they associated with. The title translates roughly as “Cursed Croatian Women” and these biographies are filled with tragedy and strife. My view on Star Wars story was always trough the main character Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader and I can’t help but to consider him a tragic character. And here is my connection to the Star Wars theme – tragic life stories and choices. The sepia white on the cover made me forcibly claim it as a white cover and a part of the reason for this pick was also a buddy reading list I am still behind on!

I did not participate in reading sprints and activities across social media platforms that were available and maybe if I had I would have been felt more motivated to choose more books to read after the initial five. Eric from Breakeven Books did a great job with this reading challenge and he deserves all the credit. Show him and his channel some love HERE.

May your shelves be filled with great books and may the Force be with you all!

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!