Bookopoly TBR game – November and December 2020

After much thought on trying to accommodate my personal reading goals for this year and squeeze those books in as much as possible reading challenges by the end of the year I decided to give Bookopoly TBR game a chance for December as well. The reason I made this decision is that I was very happy and pleased with how my Bookopoly TBR game went smoothly in November. I managed to finish all of my assigned books in the first half of the month!

Naturally this left me with more time on my hands than I anticipated and I started getting these crazy ideas instead of reading the books I picked for my personal reading challenge…

Here are the books that made the first half of November a smooth reading experience:

Prompt: Nature on the Cover

Book: The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux ★★

This was one of the books for my personal reading challenge for the year. It’s a Croatian translation of a not so popular classic. This book turned out one of the less enjoyable books for me in November. I could clearly read the mistakes in translation and editing and it made me sad since the story and the idea had so much more to offer. I can’t help but think that if it were written today with the help of a good editor it would have been so much better. I liked the idea and the mystery of the story but it was hard to keep up with everything and I did not like authors writing style at all…

Prompt: Chance card

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

This is the only book that was not a part of my personal reading challenge for this year that got included into Bookopoly TBR game in November since it gave me no choice to pick something else. I’ve had this book and a few other in the series for years now and I love urban fantasy. It was different in a way that included character types that are original instead of the usual vampires, shifters and such. What impressed me the most is that the main character is a survivor and I like to read about survivors. The Zodiac theme was at first a bit cringey and then I got used to it. Sadly the zodiac signs that the story is centered at don’t make me invested, otherwise I would have rated it with five stars probably!

Prompt: TBR Veteran

Book: The Borders of Infinity (Vorkosigan Saga #5.3) by Lois McMaster Bujold ★★★★★

This book is one of the rare favorites I own in Croatian translation that I am happy about. It was a part of my personal reading challenge and I would like to read more of the series anyway. It is also rare for me to enjoy science fiction this much but the characters are great to read about and the writing style keeps the reader on its toes. It is the kind of book series I enjoy and have surprisingly little problems getting into even after longer periods of time.

Prompt: Disability representation

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

This was the first book I read in November and it was another from my personal challenge for the year pile. The main character is a teenage boy with autism. I loved how easily some things I did not know about autism were explained and put to paper. I plan to vote for this book to be read in by book club group and I wish to discuss it with others for more insight into things I have probably missed. The mystery part of the story was interesting and the human part of it was very relatable and realistic.

Prompt: Young Adult

Book: Wayward Son (Simon Snow #2) by Rainbow Rowell ★★★★★

Out of the books from this list this one made me most apprehensive to start reading. I wanted to like it and was scared I would be let down. I am so glad I loved it. The change of POVs in the book was done in such a way that it let the reader get the most from each scene. I learned to appreciate each character more in this way. The start of the book was angsty and it matched with my mood about the book. I am torn about waiting for the next book of the series and can’t wait for it!

My friend talked me into playing the game for December a little earlier than usual and I had some time thinking trough and choosing the books for my new prompts. This is the first time I rolled a double and I got not one but two double rolls and the were both snake eyes! Our positions on the board are now mostly on the totally opposite sides since my rolls tend to be a bit lower than hers and she got more doubles in total. This December instead of five books from five rolls I got seven rolls and seven books!

My first roll was my first double ever since I started this TBR game. It was double ones. Also my first time I landed on a Becca and the Books recommendation tile. I could not find any list that included all her recommendations so far so I started going trough some of her video recommendations trough the months and different topics. I decided on Howl’s Moving Castle (Howl’s Moving Castle #1) by Diana Wynne Jones from her Best Books of 2019 video which you can check out HERE. I choose this book in particular because it is my book club reading choice for December as well! I hope to watch the anime after I read the book and before our book club meeting.

My next roll got me to the most problematic prompt for this month – Fire on the Cover. I am trying to include books I have on my personal reading challenge for the year but no matter how hard I tried I could not find anything resembling fire enough to pass as a valid prompt choice. I turned to some lists of books I was talking about reading in my book club and this book stood out: The Color of Magic (Discworld #1) by Terry Pratchett. It is a book that I consider a classic of the genre and one I would very much like to read so I can fill in the popular culture blanks I feel I get when I’m confronted with references to Discworld and Terry Pratchett in general. I’m reading the digital version and put the cover of the same edition in color so that the torch in the center is not missed as fire for my prompt!

This is the second time I landed on the “Sad Book” prompt and I am starting to really consider removing this prompt from the game board. I am not too keen on reading sad books in particular I cry at those not labelled as sad books enough as it is. After consulting my other reading challenge list I settled on the graphic novel: Saga (Collected Editions) #7-9 by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples. I short perusing the book got me some almost spoiler information that left me distraught and made me remember how dramatic the story really gets in these graphic novels.

Next roll was the highest I got in a while and got me on the “Most recent purchase” tile. I had few options from my most recent Book haul post which you can check out HERE. In the end I choose The Tower of Nero (The Trials of Apollo #5) by Rick Riordan. As the last book of the longtime favorite series and a book that goes well with my other reading challenge I decided it would fit nicely and make me feel very good about finishing a book series by the end of the year as well.

My next roll got me to one of those non-flexible prompts – Chance cards again. I pulled out another book that is not on my other reading list for this year: The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu. It is one of the oldest books on my TBR by date of publication since it was made over one thousand years ago and it is frankly rather intimidating book for me. I tried reading it once before but had to let it go for some other time. I hope I will have better luck with it this time around.

First extra roll ever landed me on another Audio or E-Book prompt. I reserve these prompts for Kindle freebies to ensure that at least some of the many new authors and books I browse on Kindle lists of freebies get read by me. This time I shamelessly decided on a urban fantasy book for mature audiences – Taken by The Hunger (Blood Thirst Affair #1) by Harnet Spade. It is a slightly older Kindle freebie and I am going to let myself be surprised by it.

My last extra roll landed me on another Chance card tile. At this rate I will be out of my Chance card since I’ve pulled almost one third of them already ( 5 out of 16). Another non-flexible pick I can’t combine with my personal reading challenge for this year. This time I got Elminster: The Making of a Mage (Forgotten Realms: Elminster #1) by Ed Greenwood. It is one of the few book series from my bookshelves that I am collecting and haven’t even started reading yet.

This makes a total of seven books added for my December reading enjoyment. Five of the books are the books I own and from my own physical bookshelves and two are in the digital form. Only three of them are part of some other reading challenge or assignment. This leaves me with much more reading material for December than I anticipated. What will I do?

Book series I started…

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I love book series of all kinds. There are historical romance book series I enjoy. There are urban fantasy book series I cant get enough of. I have a few favorite manga and graphic novel series as well. It was only after I tried to keep track of the book series I started but for some reason never continued after reading only the first book did I realize how many of them are on my reading lists. It took whole two pages just to write the titles of the firsts books of the series I started reading. Now that I look at them all I see some I’ve totally forgotten about and some I keep meaning to continue but never actually do. I managed to put them all in three rough categories:

#1 First books of a series that I will not continue

#2 First books of a series I even forgot about

#3 First books of a series I want to continue

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First I had to weed out many of the historical romances I read out of order and had no desire to follow from the beginning. There were also quite the number of graphic novel series I tried out because I wanted to learn an origin story of this or that character and never actually meaning to continue reading them. Also there were a few first books of a series I read and then switched to some prequel first book series and then everything got complicated and I just let them go. Those above mentioned I’m keeping totally out of this discussion.

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#1 First books of a series that I will not continue

These are the books that for some reason did not appeal to me enough to consider to continue reading the rest of the series. As happened with Anne Bishop Ephemera book series. I expected to like the enough to continue reading and bought first two books right away. It has been years since I read the first and will probably never read the second. Demonica series from Larissa Ione was a sort of gamble when I bought it. For some reason it did not blew me away and I did not feel like buying or reading the rest of the series. On Dublin Street book series I just joined in on the hype on the first book when it was translated to Croatian. I never felt motivated enough to read beyond that first book.

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Some of them I did not like and was disappointed after reading them. My biggest disappointment was by far Hellsing manga by Khota Hirano. I loved anime adaptations and had high expectations from the original manga. I even felt cheated on it and was later glad I did not start buying the whole series. Wrinkle in Time I read this year as a book club assignment and was not impressed at all. Beautiful Disaster was one of those books in the YA genre everybody was suddenly talking about. I found it to be shallow and boring.

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And then there were some book series in this category that I just decided they were not for me and just made a decision not to continue reading the rest of the books in the series. How to Train your Dragon and The Penderwicks were both funny and lovely but I could feel they were intended for much younger audience. I’m glad I’ve read them both but will not be reading the rest. Homeland by R.A. Salvatore is the most famous Dungeons and Dragons novelization and first book in a very long book series about the legendary elf drow Drizzt. I tried it out since I was curious about the character and since I’m an avid RPG player. After reading the first book I realized that the author had decided to keep the PG rating for the mostly American market and availability. I am not a fan of books where author ends a scene with a simple curtains down and a morning after routine. I decided to give it up altogether for lack of sex scenes. I find it hypocritical how violence is OK but sex is not OK for the readers. The last book series in this segment is Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. The violence and brutality of the book kept me on edge most of the reading. I decided to let it go since it bothered me too much. With the book series I even stopped watching the TV show. Now I’m having second thoughts and I’m continuing watching the TV show so I might go back to the books as well

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There are a few I was happy about reading and did not feel the need to continue it as a series. One of the books I was impressed with and was actually surprised at how much I liked it was Foundation by Isaac Asimov. After reading it and getting the general feel to the ideas behind the book I did not feel like reading the other books from the series. Same was with the Wallbanger series by Alice Clayton. I enjoyed the book and even bought it as a present for other but never felt the need to read the rest of the books from the series. The Shadow of the Wind was a book club reading assignment. I enjoyed the writing style and have read few other books by Carlos Ruiz Zafon before. The story for me felt complete enough and I haven’t searched out the rest of the books from the series

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#2 First books of a series I even forgot about

These books I read long ago and I forgot about reading them. With Blake Crouch‘s Wayward Pines thriller I was intrigued and picked it up even though it was not my favorite genre. I remember being immersed in the book. I even watched the TV show and enjoyed it. And I seem to forgot about it later on. I enjoyed reading YA novel Matched by Ally Condie. I even liked the book covers for all three books and how they actually made sense with the plot of the books. I never continued the series though…

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Some books and series were not actually memorable and nothing about them set them apart from similar books in their genre. I found Julia Quinn‘s Bridgertons book series not particularly memorable. The plot and the characters just seemed to blend in with many others I’ve read at the time. Down to You by M. Leighton also got lost in the sea of other similar books in the genre. I remember plot having potential but not actually delivering more than simple erotic fiction. One for the Money by Janet Evanovich is a first in a rather long book series that even got a movie. I remember enjoying the funny parts of the book. After watching the movie I was confused about the stupid plot holes that came over from the book and just forgot about the rest of the series altogether.

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When I first read these series I did not have other books of the series available for reading. Later on I just simply forgot about them. Love is Darkness was a freebie first book from Valerie Dearborn book series on Kindle. I enjoyed it quite a bit. At the time I was unsure weather to buy the other books or not. Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was another book club assignment. In Croatian translation all five books are hard to come by since they are mostly sold out. I have a first one from my boyfriend and I for some reason I did not want to read the library copies.

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#3 First books of a series I want to continue

Here I have sorted book series that I want to continue and have the books ready. All I need is to start reading them, but for some reason I hesitate. Interview with the Vampire I’ve read only recently. While I have most of the other books in this series available I still hesitate to read them. I think I want to like them and have a feeling I won’t. Howl’s Moving Castle was a book I was hyped about. I loved both of the anime versions – Japanese and English voiceovers. I expected the book to blow me away but it did not. I’m still hoping to read other books of the series and keep them close by. I liked all the books by Cassandra Clare I’ve read so far. Earlier this year I’ve read Clockwork Angel. I like it despite its steampunkish traits. While the characters are quite charming I feel a bit apprehensive toward reading next books from this series. Of Saints and Shadows is an older UF book from the Shadow Saga book series by Christopher Golden. I remember it being creepy and downright scary. I always thought of picking it up again one day. I have next tree books already waiting. I think since it has been years I’ve read the first book that I might have some problems into getting into the second one now.

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And for the end I have books that I want to read but have problems with getting the actual books from the series. Some like Log Horizon manga I have issues with identifying the second volume manga edition. I keep coming up with light novelization and I’m not interested in those at all. supposedly the author Mamare Touno had some legal issues and even the anime series has stopped. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness was an absolute pleasure to read. I really loved Croatian translation edition in hardcover. I’m thinking on getting a hardcover copy for sure. Not sure yet will it be in English or Croatian though.The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams was a part of a reading challenge from my boyfriend. It is one of his favorite book series. He used to have them and borrowed them to someone who never returned them. I’m planing to get the whole series for him someday in a nice package with the new books coming out this year.

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It has been a while since I made a post this long. Hopefully you did not find it too boring.