Smoke Bitten (Mercy Thompson book 12) by Patricia Briggs ★★★★★
First Girl Child (The Chronicles of Saylok) by Amy Harmon ★★★
Any Way the Wind Blows (Simon Snow #3) by Rainbow Rowell ★★★★
Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny ★★★
A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell ★★★★
1. How many books have you read last month? Are you happy with the amount you read?
This August things did not go as planned and while I expected to read less than in July (in July I rad 14! books) I an not so happy with reading more than half the number of books less.
2. What was the best of all the books you’ve read in August? Any scenes or characters that made a lasting impression?
Strangely the book that stayed with me for the better part of August was Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny. I got pulled in the authors post apocalyptic world despite the many scientific flaws I thought I found there. This August I decide to ignore such small flaws in plot execution in favor of thinking about ideas. This applied most to the A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell where I oved the mythology and ideas the authors brought to light in their stories. Book I enjoyed best was Smoke Bitten (Mercy Thompson book 12) by Patricia Briggs and I am happy the series is still bringing me so much joy and satisfaction to read!
3. Were there any not so good books for you last month? What made it hard or not enjoyable to read?
I have read only six books in august but only one left a bad aftertaste – Lord Mord by Miloš Urban. This was such a man’s book. It shows the audacity of privileged men in a man’s world. Most of the book was filled with probably historically accurate but still annoyingly misogynistic characters and character choices. I had different expectations and was let down.
4. How did the books you were reading last month fit in your reading plans if you had any?
I messed up my plans for the Merlin Readathon by reading books in wrong order but ended up finishing most of the books I planned by the end of the month. If you want to know more about my Merlin Readathon experience you can read all about it HERE. I even had a few last days of August where I spent not reading anything because I did not want to start a new book and not finish it by the end of the month. This was slightly frustrating since I was already making plans for September and had some interesting books but was holding off from reading…
5. Any updates on the series you are reading or are you starting any new series?
I brought two book series I am currently reading up to date: Simon Snow book 3 by Rainbow Rowell and Mercy Thompson book 12 by Patricia Briggs. Only other book I read that was a part of a series is First Girl Child book 1 in the The Chronicles of Saylok by Amy Harmon. I am not sure if I will read the second book.
6. Would you like to recommend any books or authors you’ve been reading this last month?
Like I already mentioned August was all about ideas and managing my own expectations. It is a part of my effort to try and focus on positive things in a world that keeps highlighting the negative. To some this might seem like I’m lowering my bookish standards but I will keep trying to find the positive and good in all the books I am reading. I am already making a selection on what to read by choosing some books over others and this is enough for me.
Final thoughts on August 2021 reading
After reading fourteen books in July, August was a big fall dawn to only six books. I am again well behind on my goal to read 100 books by the end of the year. I am not feeling very happy about that and I feel that the reminder of my reading goal on Goodreads is staring at me all the time – talk about self induced pressure
Now for some statistics: the six books I read were all together 2193 pages which is almost 1500 pages less than July. Most of the books I read in August had a little over 300 pages each with two exceptions: one book was over 500 pages and one was under 250 pages long. Half the books were in English and exactly half were in Croatian language which is a big leap for me since I used to read significantly more books in English than in Croatian. Only one book was from the library and the other five were from my own shelves. I did not read any manga or graphic novels in August. One book was a short story collection and other two were standalones. Three books, half of them were part of a book series. Total average rating of all the books I have read in August is 3,6.
For my Bookopoly reading challenge in July I got two double rolls of the dice which meant I got to read two extra books! I was actually happy and excited for the extra books and the total books read for Bookopoly being seven. Post for Bookopoly July review is a little latter than usual since I was waiting on some books and had to pick up another form the library. July was a very satisfying and fun reading month. In fact I was so busy reading that my posts were scarce and even though I had few ideas planned for July I opted to read instead! This meant less posting but more reading and needles to say seven books read for Bookopoly was actually half of the all books I read in July. Yes, I am bragging about my fourteen books and that is how much pleased I am with the number!
Seven books I have read bring total of 1680 pages. Again I managed to squeeze in one book from a buddy reading challenge in here as well which is awesome! Six out of seven books were under 300 pages long which makes them all on the small books side. Only one book was in digital form and all the rest were from my own collection which is always a good thing! Three books were in Croatian language and four of them were in English. Two books were science fiction genre and two were graphic novels. Two of the books were specifically by Japanese authors.
The Strain (The Strain Trilogy #1) by Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan ★★★
Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries #2) by Martha Wells ★★★★★
Antologija suvremene japanske novele by Kazuo Tanaka (Editor) ★★★★
Real World by Natsuo Kirino ★★★
Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein ★★★
Elves: The Blue Elves’ Mission (Elfes #6) by Jean-Luc Istin, Kyko Duarte ★★★★★
Heartstopper: Volume One (Heartstopper #1) by Alice Oseman ★★★★★
All the books I’ve read for Bookopoly in July were rated three stars or higher and a total average score is exactly four stars per book! Three star rated books usual flaw was the just plain bad translation to Croatian or in the case of the one three star rated book in English – not my typical genre of choice. For more info on the books that stood out an made an impression you can check out my July Book Wrap Up post HERE.
Here are my reading goals for Bookopoly in August:
Prompt: Random shelf Pick
Book: Lord Mord by Miloš Urban
My first roll for August were 3 + 6 summed 9 and landed me on a corner tile – Random Shelf Pick. I was thinking about this prompt and decided to modify it for the new board into TBR Jar Draw. It has been a while since I posted an update on it and I probably should do it this month. For this time I kept the random criteria by choosing five piles of five books I have not read from my shelves and making my boyfriend choose a pile and a reading buddy to choose a number from the chosen book pile. What I got is a book I almost forgotten about – Lord Mord by Miloš Urban. It is a Croatian translation of a Checz author about a Prague in the 19th century. The cover is intriguing. I have never been to Prague but I am always interested in Austro-Hungarian history from different perspectives. The main character seems a sort of anti-hero type and the mystery/thriller/crime genre combo is not my usual read. We will see how it goes!
Prompt: Dark Cover
Book: A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell
Second roll this month was a sum of six. This got me to a super easy prompt – Dark Cover. This prompt shows up relatively often and is quite easy to find a book for on my shelves. This might be the third time I am trying to give this book a chance and I still have high expectations from it. I hope to get to write a short book review on this collection this month as well.
Book: Any Way the Wind Blows (Simon Snow #3) by Rainbow Rowell
This book finally arrived! I was hoping to include it in last moth Olympic games as a bonus read but I am still glad it is here. My third roll landed on a LGBTQ+ prompt and this one seemed a perfect fit (like I wouldn’t find an excuse to include it right away!). I love reading about Baz and Simon and the last book ended on a cliffhanger which makes me even more eager to read this one! I was a little surprised at how chunky this one is: it’s almost 600 pages! I am torn between wanting to read trough it fast and happy it is so big so I can enjoy it longer. Hope it is good as I want it to be!
Book: First Girl Child (The Chronicles of Saylok) by Amy Harmon
The fourth roll was a five and it landed me on an Adult tile of the board. This prompt can be somewhat confusing sometimes. Adult fiction is a lot broader in scope and I am never sure when it comes to the scope of audience for some books. I’m going by the Goodreads classification on this one. I have not read any books by Amy Harmon and some that are translated into Croatian seem interesting. I was drawn into this one because of the almost Nordic mythology theme. Let us hope the translation is good.
Book: Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny
My fifth roll was a double which means I will be adding one more book. The roll was a four and it got me to a Standalone prompt. This was actually harder prompt to find a book for on my shelves. I am always into many different book series and sometimes standalone books need more to draw me in. I picked a book from my Buddy reading list for this year. I have many friends that simply love this author and I have a few books by him on my shelves already but this one in particular is from the library. I am not sure what to expect from it.
Prompt: Favorite Author
Book: Smoke Bitten (Mercy Thompson book 12) by Patricia Briggs
My bonus roll and the last roll for August was a seven and got me another corner tile and prompt Favorite Author. Last book I was reading from another favorite author left me with mixed feelings and I wanted to jump to an author that has not let me down. There are lots of things I love about the books written by Patricia Briggs: interesting characters, beautiful covers, mythical background of the plot and a coolest heroine ever! (just to name a few) I am always crazy after reading one of books by Patricia Briggs because they come out once a year and waiting for the next one can be such a chore! I am hoping to love this book.
I must say I love how my August Bookopoly reading pile looks like! Not sure if having such high expectations from all of the books here is a good thing or not though…
Last year I did this book tag and was very pleased with the result. You can check out my Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag for 2020 HERE. This year I am nervous about it and a lot closer to actually freaking out! Last year was a good year in reading. I read some great books and considering the world wide pandemic situation I had a lot of awesome reading challenges and time to participate in them. This year I made a reading goal to read 100 books – respectable book goal considering I have read 120 books last year.
Being halfway through the year it is time to look at my reading experience in the first part of the year 2021. By the end of June I was thirteen (13!) books behind on my reading to reach the goal I have set for myself.
Total number of books I have read in the first half of the year is 37.
I had some rough patches in the first months of this year and the unemployed status is starting to weigh down on me emotionally. It is at times panic inducing anxiety riding journey trough life that prevents me from focusing and drains me from energy I need in order to actually work on making my life better. Now with those depressing thoughts out here for everyone to see let us begin with this year’s Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag!
1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2021
I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf by Grant Snider
I got this book as a present from a my Buddy reading friend last year and it took me almost a full year to actually pick it up and read trough! What I found most amazing about this book was the inspiration for reading challenges and projects it offers and positive energy I got from reading trough it. It is more than just a comic/ graphic novel book with short and sweet bookish illustrations. I was pleasantly surprised by how many caricatures were grounded in real life situations of book lovers worldwide that may seem silly to anyone who might not be a part of that group. This book is an excellent gift for writers as well as readers. Endearing and intelligent at the same time this is the type of a feel good book any book lover would appreciate and I am very glad to have gotten it as a present!
2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2021
Rafael (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book 28) by Laurell K. Hamilton
Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book series by Laurell K. Hamilton is a longest standing book series I own and read. My relationship with this book series is complex and I am always apprehensive about the newest book. Rafael is one of the few books in the series that center around other characters development and story. Last one like it was Jason and that one was a little underwhelming for me. I was pleasantly surprised by Rafael as a wholesome book that made my interest in reading the whole series trough a second time peak! The storyline progressed, most of my favorite characters have gotten some page time, Rafael and the rodere have been shown in new light and all shifters in general have gotten a new dimension. It was one of the best possible sequels to a series I love to read!
3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to
Smoke Bitten (Mercy Thompson book 12) by Patricia Briggs
A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell
There are a few books from last year that I wanted to read but did not get to just yet. Both are something I am looking forward to reading and both have gorgeous covers. I expect I would love reading both of them and my excuse that they just did not fit into my reading challenges prompts is weak at best….I have no excuse for not reading them yet! I got both of these books this year and if you want you can check out my Book haul post on them both from February HERE.
4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year
Empire of the Vampire (Empire of the Vampire #1) by Jay Kristoff
I have not read any books by Jay Kristoff! That being said I do have some of his books on my wish list and TBR. But when I first saw Empire of the Vampire being announced I was hooked! I think everyone is ready for a new vampire themed hit that will be made into movies and TV shows and have a huge following! I want that for this book! There is already GR record for a whole trilogy of this book series! This book has been announced a whole year in advance and there are so many wonderful special editions to choose from that I am stumped and can’t decide which one to choose! There is the obvious difference between the US and the UK edition cover art and there is a whole range of each with color variations and sprayed edges in different colors and even illustrations on them as well. Only thing I am sure of is that I want the hardcover edition for sure, the rest is still undecided. Any help is appreciated and I really hope I don’t end up with more copies of the same book because I really don’t want to be that person…Oh and the book is announced to come out in September!
5. Biggest disappointment
Dark Prince: Author’s Cut (The “Dark” Carpathian book 1) by Christine Feehan
I have been looking at this book series for a very long time. Even before I started this blog I was often browsing the Amazon bookstore online and making lists of books I wanted to read one day. This book was often on my lists but then I had no means of buying all the books I was interested in. This might have been for the best since this book was a total disappointment for me. In fact I thought the book so bad I could not even finish it. I still have problems with letting go of the books that I don’t like and will most of the time make myself finish them. On this one I made an exception and made myself stop reading at exactly half of it. The dialogue was dumb, the main characters had no appeal for me and the whole setting of the story seemed stretched too thin and did not even offer any interesting back up characters to grab onto. This book first came out over twenty years ago – 1999 and it did not age well. I am not bothered by many things and consider myself a very forgiving reader but this book presented me with some many things that annoyed me and did not offer anything worthwhile to hold onto and like…
6. Biggest surprise
Radiance (Wraith Kings book 1) by Grace Draven
As opposed to the last book I mentioned Radiance by Grace Draven was another Kindle edition I got this year that I quickly fell in love with! I tend to download samples of books that I find interesting and when I read the offered sample of this one I got hooked right from the start! I loved the fantastic setting and the quirky way the author presented the differences between humans and elves. I was intrigued by the world the author build and the only complain I had was that the title of the series made sense only when I started the second book Eidolon. The characters were interesting and the story was passionate. I loved it so much that I had to buy the next book in the series right away. There is one more book after these two The Ippos King and I am keeping my eye on it for some promotional price but I might give in and buy it before the price drop.
7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)
Martha Wells and Grace Draven
Space themed books and general science fiction are not my first pick and when I find a book that belongs in that genre and love it I make a note to look up more from the same author. Martha Wells is a new for me author I have heard about winning genre awards for her Murderbot series few years in a row. I decided to pick it up in a box set edition of first four books in hard cover. I was happy with the price point for them like this and the flimsy box or even a small damage on one of the box did not made me regret buying them. I ended up enjoying the short novella format of this series and plan to follow up for more books from Martha Wells. I had to add Grace Draven as a new favorite author because of how much I loved her worldbuilding style and her characters. Both of these authors I plan to read more books from!
8. Newest fictional crush
Asher from Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series
Asher is not a new fictional crush of mine. He’s one of the oldest fictional crushes I am still into. This year I am slowly continuing a second read trough Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book series and I was reminded of how much I like him. I think he is an amazing character. I love his flaws and I get angry at how much he was used in Anita’s moody interpretation of morality trough the books. I keep coming back to some of his scenes and I wonder what happened to make him seem as an arrogant a-hole with a impulse control of a five year old spoiled child. It does not add up with how he first started out and was introduced in the series. I’m loving reading this “older” version of him.
9. Newest favorite character
Brishen and Ildiko from the Wraith Kings book series by Grace Draven
I am fangirling on both of these characters! I love their banter and their chemistry. The Prince of no value and the noblewoman of no importance are both awesome and intriguing! The reason I did not go for Brishen or Ildiko alone is that without Ildiko Brishen is far less interesting to me and without Brishen Ildiko is just bland and easy to ignore. I see them as a pair that should be kept and adored as a set!
10. Book that made you cry
Rule of Wolves (King of Scars book 2) by Leigh Bardugo
I loved this book. I has also made me angry and sad to the point of frustration. I cried a bit at some parts too. There was so much tragedy and hopeless moments that I just found it hard to deal with. I devoured all other books from the Grishaverse but this one took me a lot longer to read trough. I am still mad about how some characters were dealt with. This book reminds me of pain and tragedy and even though some characters were supposed to have their happy ending I did not feel it. All that stayed with me after all the previous books was the feeling of melancholy and I expected a lot more and a lot better! My tears are from sadness but out of frustration as well…
11. Book that made you happy
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling
There were a few books that made me feel happy this year. Most notably it was reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling for my book club assignment in May. I love my Hufflepuff edition books and I finally have a complete set by getting the last two books for birthday this year. The last two book were given to me by my book club friends and that is a reason more to smile while I read them. I love the yellow and black design of books and I love the little stars that are above each chapter title! Just thinking about those books makes me happy!
12. Favorite book to film adaptation that you’ve seen this year
The Shadow and Bone
The first answer that came to my mind was Witcher! I have only recently read the first book and was sure that the first season was only last year only to be shocked to find out that the first season came out on Netflix in December 2019! This led me to the only option of The Shadow and Bone since I read the last book in the Grishaverse this year and watched the TV series as soon as it came out back in April! There were a few move and TV series adaptations I have seen this year and liked but all those I’ve watched I haven’t read the books or in some cases graphic novels for. Those would be: Enola Holmes and The Old Guard whose move sequels I can’t wait for.
13. Favorite review you’ve written (booktube or written)
2020 Reading Challenges Report
I kept meaning to write a book review but to my shame in the whole first six months of 2021. I did not write a single book review post! Throughout this book tag I have remembered more than one book that I had a lot of things to say about and more than a passing reading experiences to share. For this reason my favorite post this year is the summary on all the reading challenges I did in 2020. That post gives me an overview and a list of all the reading activities I made myself try out. I am still trying to continue with this so I can make a similar post next year that I can be proud of! You can check my 2020 Reading Challenges Report HERE.
14. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)
The Rule of Wolves (King of Scars book 2) by Leigh Bardugo
A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell
Both of these books I have already mentioned in this book tag already for different reasons. Grishaverse books are one of the most beautiful book mass produced on my bookshelves. But I can’t help but being drawn to the beautiful cover of my paperback edition of A Phoenix First Must Burn collection of stories. I have high expectations from it as well!
15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas was my answer on this question last year. While I made some progress with it I can’t seem to get myself to finish it. I truly believe I would need to take a whole month away just to read that one book. My Word cloud edition has 1055 pages and I am currently on page 358. This is the book that I keep having in a background like an accusing hush but I just keep reaching for other books instead. I decided not to add more plans aside from reading challenges trough the year in order to get to this book. Clearly reading it slowly is not getting me anywhere and taking a whole month just to make myself read only one book seems a bit drastic. Maybe it is time to for drastic measures…
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: