December Book Wrap Up 2020

Monthly reading review – December 2020

This December I have read:

Howl’s Moving Castle (Howl’s Moving Castle #1) by Diana Wynne Jones ★★★★

Pride (Shifters #3) by Rachel Vincent ★★★★★

Prey (Shifters #4) by Rachel Vincent ★★★★★

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wicked Years #1) by Gregory Maguire ★★★

Narcissus in Chains (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #10) by Laurell K. Hamilton ★★★★

The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu ★★★

Naked City by Ellen Datlow (Editor) ★★★★

Saga (Collected Editions) #7-9 by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples ★★★★★

The Burning Maze (The Trials of Apollo #3) by Rick Riordan ★★★★

The Tyrant’s Tomb (The Trials of Apollo #4) by Rick Riordan ★★★★

The Tower of Nero (The Trials of Apollo #5) by Rick Riordan ★★★★★

The Color of Magic (Discworld #1) by Terry Pratchett ★★★

Taken by The Hunger (Blood Thirst Affair #1) by Harnet Spade ★

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

This December I made myself very busy by reading 13 books total! In order to get all my reading plans done I was off by a few books I ran out of time to read and even with all that I think I did better than I expected! I am pleased with all the books I have read in December and how many of them from my own shelves!

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

There were quite the few books I enjoyed this month and the one I liked best was Saga (Collected Editions) #7-9 by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples. There were some moments in this epic space graphic novel that shook me and as a whole I think it was the most memorable book I read this month. I kept being amazed at the artwork in the book and at times it just sang the song of the times we are currently in!

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

I had a lot of luck with the Kindle freebies and new stories and authors I tried out so far. This December after quite some time I ended up finding and reading a book that just felt bad and was the least enjoyable book this month: Taken by The Hunger (Blood Thirst Affair #1) by Harnet Spade. It takes a lot for me to rate a book with only one star and nothing about this one could crank it higher no matter how I looked at it. The narrative was chaotic and most of it was angst ridden and sex crazed female main character jumping from one male character to the next without actually having any real sex at all. From any point of view I tried to look at it this story failed to deliver.

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

I was very aware that my reading plans by the end of the year left too many books for December. I ended up prioritizing for the two reading challenges and reading less books for the third one. I think I did good managing and finished two out of three reading challenges!

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

I did good on continuing some series and even finishing some! I finished with The Trials of Apollo book series by Rick Riordan and brought an end to more than a few book series from the Percy Jackson universe. I am happy about it and feel ready for the Disney+ TV series next year. I also read all the Saga volumes that are available to me and happily wait for new ones! Four of the books I have read this month were first in a series and from them I plan to continue only one: Howl’s Moving Castle (Howl’s Moving Castle #1) by Diana Wynne Jones. Shifters series by Rachel Vincent was amazing and I plan to finish the last two books of the series in the first few months of next year. I even managed to squeeze in one book of second reading of the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book series!

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

There are some books I enjoy as a guilty pleasure and would not recommend them to everyone but I could not recommend Saga graphic novel series enough! The story is amazing and at times endearing and heart breaking. The artwork and design is thought provoking and cuts straight to the things we might overlook otherwise. It sometimes comes out as gritty and harsh on the eyes as well as the heart but it does so well showing what life can be and how we need to cherish it and smile while we still have teeth!

Final thoughts on December 2020 reading

I had a lot of books I set myself to read this December. Sadly I knew that my plans had very little chance to be fully realized. I am happy with the amount of books I managed to read in December. There were some books I choose to let go in favor of finishing some others. I managed to finish two reading challenges out of three and I will post details on those in a day or two. I was not very active in making post since I tried to use as much as possible time for reading. I had run trough some books and had to work for it to finish them. I did make one review this December for:

Naked City by Ellen Datlow (Editor) ★★★★

You can read it HERE.

After quite some time I have accumulated a good number of books I am in progress of reading:

Elminster: The Making of a Mage (Forgotten Realms: Elminster #1) by Ed Greenwood

Draconomicon: The Book of Dragons by Andy Collins, Skip Williams, James Wyatt

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

MOR – Plodovi osvete by Josip Kralik

I will have to slow down from adding new book challenges until I cull the books I am in progress of reading at the moment! I have plans for some other overviews for reading challenges I have done trough the year and finally making some updates to the parts of the site I have been neglecting. I hope my plans become reality soon!

November Book Wrap Up 2020

Monthly reading review – November 2020

This November I have read:

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

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

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

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

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux ★★

The Reclusive Earl (Marriage by Fate #1) by Ruth Ann Nordin ★★★

How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories (The Folk of the Air #3.5) by Holly Black ★★★★★

When Beauty Tamed the Beast (Fairy Tales #2) by Eloisa James ★★★★★

Beauty (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #20.5) by Laurell K. Hamilton ★★★★★

Ardeur: 14 Writers on the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Series by Laurell K. Hamilton ★★★★★

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

In November I have read 10 books. I read all five books for my Bookopoly TBR Game in first two and a half weeks and slacked for almost a week. I could have made more progress with some of the books I wanted to read by the end of the year so I’m in for a joy ride in December!

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

This November was full of great books for me. Some were a surprise and some exceeded my expectations! I was anxious about Wayward Son but was soon nicely surprised by very relatable characters and got very emotionally involved with the story as well. The Borders of Infinity provided me with more happy reading moments than expected and gifted me with newfound appreciation for the author and her writing style.

How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories was a my happy surprise for November! I knw I would love it and I preordered the beautiful Waterstone edition and it was a first time I ordered anything from Waterstones ever! My preorder came almost a week early and I devoured it in two days even though I was trying to pace myself a bit slower and read some parts more than once!

Also my Kindle reads this month made the top marks for me as well. I am surprised at how much my reading experience in November was good.

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

The Phantom of the Opera started out promising but I had trouble getting into the setting of the story. The architecture and the theater were just so surreal to me. I could not stop pitting the writing style with the more modern books and it did not end well for The Phantom of the Opera.

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

I already mentioned that I went trough my monthly readathon challenge a lot faster than I anticipated and blown the rest of the month away not reading anything from my huge pile of books I choose for my personal reading challenge by the end of the year. I can’t stop thinking I could have done better but I guess now that I look at it I had way to much fun in my other reading to complain!

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

How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories was like a cake topping after reading the rest of the series and I loved it. Wayward Son got me really excited in waiting on the next book to come out. The Borders of Infinity reminded me that I still have so many book from the Miles Vorkosigan saga I still need to read! I started one new book series with The Scent of Shadows and I plan to continue it next year. Reading Beauty (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #20.5) helped me with going back on track and wanting to continue my reread of the whole series even though this particular novella is a bit out of order since I need to continue with another book of the series!

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

I have so many great books on my bookshelves and my goal of reading more books I own is something I am constantly working on. This is a personal goal and it helped me a lot with reading more books I enjoy and feel better about reading the books from my own bookshelves. My recommendation is to set more personal reading goals and reflect on books you enjoy more often!

Final thoughts on November 2020 reading

I was spazzing out and not making many posts this November and I get that way when I get lost in the books I read. I will have to work on this more actively! Wish me luck!

Reindeer Readathon 2020

After realizing that being idle will not help me get close to achieving my personal reading goals by the end of the year I have decided to keep myself busy by participating in some fun and exciting reading challenges in December. Enter Reindeer Readathon 2020! I have found it by accident and I really loved the idea and the merry prompts. You can find the official announcement HERE. The main creator of this readathon is Erik from Breakeven Books and you can go and show some love for his YouTube channel HERE. Together with four other wonderful people he is hosting this readathon and leading the team Mistletoe. This is the second year of this readathon and this year there are five official teams. Team Snowflake leader is Hilary and you can check her channel HERE. Team Nutcracker leader is Donna and you can check her channel HERE. Team Stocking leader is Savy and you can check her channel HERE. And last, but not least, my designated team is Candy Cane and the leader of my team is Amanda and you can check her channel HERE.

There is a satisfying number of prompts and each have a certain number of points. Since this is a reading challenge with teams competing the goal is to read as many prompts to get the most points for your team.

Here are my book choices for the prompts:

DASHER – 15 PTS

A book with one word title

Pride (Shifters #3) by Rachel Vincent

DANCER – 10 PTS

A companion novel or a sequel (as in a dancing partner)

Prey (Shifters #4) by Rachel Vincent

PRANCER – 15 PTS

A book with a map in it

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wicked Years #1) by Gregory Maguire

VIXEN – 25/20 PTS

A book with a fox on the cover. (Alternatively, a strong female lead)

Narcissus in Chains (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #10) by Laurell K. Hamilton

COMET – 30 PTS

A book you find intimidating

The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu

CUPID – 10 PTS

Read a genre that you love

Naked City by Ellen Datlow (Editor)

DONNER – 15 PTS

A book with something hidden inside (under the dust jacket, chapter heads, art etc.)

Saga (Collected Editions) #7-9 by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples

BLITZEN – 20 PTS

A book with some sort of struggle (internal struggle, war, battle etc)

The Burning Maze (The Trials of Apollo #3) by Rick Riordan

RUDOLPH – 20 PTS

A book where the main character doesn’t seem to fit in (outsider, misfit)

The Tyrant’s Tomb (The Trials of Apollo #4) by Rick Riordan

I like the possible bonus and the additional rules and I plan to use Christmas Star as Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wicked Years #1) by Gregory Maguire for those 15 PTS since it is over 500 pages long. I don’t think I will be able do get those 50 PTS for Sleighing it to read additional book for any prompt after being done with all of those above. But in case I make it I have few options left from my personal reading challenge list. Wish me and my team luck!

Go team Candy Cane!

Bookopoly TBR game – September and October 2020

This October I’m deciding to continue last months Bookopoly TBR game with my friend and we will probably try to make it a permanent TBR game each month. We got the idea from Becca and the Books and her Bookopoly Readathon for September. You can give her YouTube channel some love HERE. We decided to make five rolls each month.

Here is what I got to read so far in September for Bookopoly TBR:

My first roll was a six and I landed on a Dark Cover prompt! The book I chose for the prompt was Obsidian Butterfly (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter, #9) by Laurell K. Hamilton ★★★★★.

My second roll landed me to a prompt for Audio or E-Book. Since I don’t really listen to audio books I was happy to go with and e-book! I picked out a novella Father Mine (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #6.5) by J.R. Ward ★★★ I’ve been meaning to read this novella since I’ve read the third book in the series. While I decided that it was not a series for me I was interested in the main characters of the novella!

Third roll got me Adult prompt. There were a lot of books I could have picked out for this prompt but since lately I’ve been reading less digital books than I used to I decided to go with a Kindle freebie Snow: A Reverse Harem Fairytale Romance Series by Plum Pascal ★★★

Fourth roll landed me with a Sad book prompt. This got me really frustrated since I really did not want to read sad books. I was thinking on revising the whole Bookopoly board and remove this prompt completely. In the end I let it stay since I rolled it and went with a book I tried reading once before but it was to depressing to continue. It was Push by Sapphire ★★★★

Last roll for September was a Community Shelf spot. Out of the sixteen specific prompt cards I pulled out one labelled Poetry. For my poetry book I went with another library book I was interested a while back but never actually got to it: Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur ★★★★

These were my five books I choose to read in September with the help of a Bookopoly TBR game. Since it turned out a to be a game both my friends and I were looking forward to at the start of the next month we decided to keep it going and see how we gonna do for October!

Here are my five rolls for October:

Moving on from last spot I rolled a five and landed on a Chance card spot. From the sixteen cards with a specific book from my TBR I pulled an older classic which intimidates me: Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Choderlos de Laclos

My next roll made me pass GO and land on a Lowest Rated spot. According to Goodreads I have quite a few not so well known or liked books on my bookshelves. My choice from the prompt ended out to be U krevetu s vješticom – Najljepše ljubavne horor priče by Milana Vuković Runjić. It is a short story collection with a trashy cover and a cringey horror theme.

Third roll for October got me a second Chance card spot. My Chance card deck had fifteen cards left and I pulled a graphic novel The Chosen Half-Elf (Elfes #4) by Éric Corbeyran, Jean-Paul Bordier. It is the fourth instalment in a digital graphic novel series I only recently discovered!

Once again my roll got on the E-Book or Audio prompt. I was browsing trough my kindle library and ended up choosing Stone and Fire (Magical Kingdoms #1) by Marie Robinson. I was in the mood for some fantasy and dragons are most appealing right at the moment!

My last roll for October got me a Young Adult prompt. I used this chance to finally read Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. I borrowed this book from a friend months ago and since I’ve been doing reading challenges most of the time I just never managed to get to it. I hope to be able to give it back with a chocolate and an apology for keeping it unread for so long!

While I used to be a lot more demanding in my reading – I preferred to read around ten books a month at least! – this Bookopoly TBR game lets me enjoy fun TBR game and share it with a friend who actually has a job and a life and would have a hard time reading so many books in a month. I’m happy to have a friend I can share this type of activity with. And I can always find time and more books to read aside this TBR challenge. For October I have already chosen another reading challenge and we can both try to fit in with this one.

But that is a topic for another post!

September Book Wrap Up 2020

Monthly reading review – September 2020

This September I have read:

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur ★★★★

Snow: A Reverse Harem Fairytale Romance Series by Plum Pascal ★★★

Push by Sapphire ★★★★

Obsidian Butterfly (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter, #9) by Laurell K. Hamilton ★★★★★

Father Mine (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #6.5) by J.R. Ward ★★★

The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma ★★

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

This September I have read six books. My reading has dropped last month to almost half of my reading pile from August. September was slow reading month and I don’t feel good about that at all…

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

As it turned out the book that I gave the highest rating this September was the only book I’ve read this month that is from my own bookshelves and it is also my second reading of the said book: Obsidian Butterfly (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, #9) by Laurell K. Hamilton. I enjoyed reading this book most and the only thing that made a bad impression was the random chapter preview for the next book at the end of Obsidian Butterfly. The random chapter for the next book was so out of sync with everything that happened in Obsidian Butterfly that made me reluctant to pick up the next book of the series in my rereading the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book series project!

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

This September a friend from book club provided me with some books from the library since I’m not a member of the library anymore. I am unemployed and paying my library membership is way outside of my budget for now. Half of the books I’ve read this September were from the library, only one of them was for my book club assignment: The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma. I rated it two stars because I felt totally disconnected from the characters or the plot. The crude and brutal details of the book put me off and I could not understand most of the book at all. I hope book club discussion sheds some light on things that I missed out on…

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

What I did in September was try out the Becca’s Bookopoly Readathon with my bookish friend. You can check out Becca’s announcement for the readathon and give her some love HERE. I actually made a board for the game myself while she printed out Becca’s board. We even used Discord for a video chat and a second camera phone to throw dice for each other! We both rolled five times to get five books to read in September and all five books were the one’s I’ve read while the sixth book was the book club assignment! While I went with the plan by the letter I can’t help but feel a bit deflated with my reading in September.

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

From the six books I’ve read only two were part of the series. I am glad I finally got to read a novella Father Mine from the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I got the first four books from the series long time ago and did not like it enough to decide to continue the series. I was very interested for this novella because it featured the only character from the series I liked – Zsadist. Obsidian Butterfly was a part of my rereading the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book series and it has kinda put that project on hold for now :/

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

I’m glad I finally got to read some books from the library I was interested in but not enough to actually buy them. I remembered how much I like reading poetry and should explore more of it. Every reader should try to read poetry from time to time. I have some favorite older authors like super melancholic Ana Ahmatova and tend to be a bit cautious with new poets.

Final thoughts on September 2020 reading

September was a very slow month for me both in creativity and reading. My posts were nonexistent and while I kept myself busy I just could not summon inspiration for posting any content. I hope to get more of the books from my own bookshelves in for October. I feel that reading books from my own bookshelves makes me more content with my reading and inspired to produce more content. It is strange that now that I am not a member of the library I have read more books from the said library than in the few month when I actually was a member of my local library! Also half of the books I’ve read this September were Croatian translation and I mostly read books in English!

N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon – Experience and Thoughts

When I caught this last train for N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon I was torn between being happy and sad for it. In one hand it was announced to be the last O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s year and on the other hand it was my first time participating in this multifaceted reading challenge. O.W.L.s were held in April and I was kinda lost in them but trying my best to participate. You can check out my O.W.L.s Experience and Thoughts post HERE. I was not sure how things were gonna work out so I went all in trying to read as much categories and prompts as I could but I had no real direction. This left me with a couple of hurdles on the way of becoming a Librarian because I missed out on the needed prompts for it. After a lot of thinking and weighing of options that were left to me I decided to try and go for the noble profession of Mind Medic.

In order to achieve my goal I had some reading to do for five different categories of subjects: Charms – 3 books, Defence against the Dark Arts – 3 books, Muggle Studies – 2 books, Potions – 2 books and Transfiguration 2 books. Which brought my total of books up to 12!

Here is the complete list of subjects by the number of books needed for my grade and my thoughts on books I’ve picked up for them:

Charms: grade needed Outstanding – 3 books

A: Cheering Charm: read a humorous book

Suddenly, a Knock on the Door by Etgar Keret ★★★

This was my book club reading pick for August. It was a library copy. It is a book written by an Israeli author and it is a short story collection. All the short stories were small insights into a sometimes tragic and sometimes ludicrous daily lives of different characters. This was supposed to be a humorous book but I found it more sarcastic than funny. Stories were short and simple in writing style but complex and thought provoking.

E: Glacius: Freezing Charm. Rad a book set in winter

The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy #1) by Katherine Arden ★★★

This prompt was a bit tricky for me. I’m very cautious of the prompts that require knowledge of the book plot before reading it. I don’t like to research to much into the books before reading them. I considered few options and ended up with this book I had for well over a year. I got the luxurious edition form a small Croatian publisher with actual wooden blocks for hardcover, I even got the box for the book, I got the whole trilogy as a matching set with same publishing number since there was only 500 of these books made. I even got the author to sign the book for me. I invested a lot in it and was hopeful with all the positive reviews and the good reputation the book has among bloggers and booktubers. I read it and did not think it was anything that special. I could not connect with the characters and I was not moved by the story nor setting. There was winter, it all began in winter and it all ended in winter. I thought it was average and average made me feel kinda let down for all the investment I put into these books – monetary and otherwise. I even thought about selling it but have not made any decision yet…

O: Finite Incantatem: reverse spel! Read a manga!

One-Punch Man, Vol. 1 (ワンパンマン / Onepunch-Man #1) by ONE, Yusuke Murata ★★★★

I am not a fan of action manga editions but I remember watching an anime for first few episodes and some of my friends really liked it. I got the first volume of manga as a present and thought this could be a got time to read it. If I understood it correctly the story was first a web comic and then anime and after that it was translated into manga. What little I remember from anime is very well adapted in the manga as well. The characters are not very eloquent and kinda unreal but they bring out some interesting perspectives on life. It was no something I would choose for myself but it was a positive surprise.

Defence Against The Dark Arts: grade needed Outstanding – 3 books

A: Boggart: read a horror/thriller

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix ★★★★★

I was very intrigued by this book that gave me Sookie Stackhouse book series by Charlaine Harris vibes. When I read that it is about a group of middle-aged women that gather in a book club and battle a vampire I was sold! I was not prepared for what I got in this horror – thriller. This is not my usual genre. The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires is a well rounded book with family drama and suburban horror. I was rocked by some scenes and was blown away by the whole story. What gripped me was the nineties setting and the brazen inequality between the sexes. Some characters spoke to me more than others but I was left wondering at some racial issues as well. I wanted to know the background of this author who wrote the story and was surprised to find out that he writes satirical paranormal books. I was left with so many questions and I am still glad I read this book.

E: Kappas: water demon! Book with demons or water theme

Angel & Faith: Daddy Issues (Angel & Faith: Season 9 #2) by Christos Gage, Rebekah Isaacs ★★★★★

Grabbing this graphic novel series makes me uneasy. The reason for that is that I don’t have the opportunity to buy next volumes after I read this one. I love these characters and I loved this story with them. I was a bit skeptic about graphic novel continuation for both Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV shows. The artwork did not agree with me at first but I barely noticed things to complain about in this volume! The story was really good and I would love to continue reading these graphic novels!

O: Red Caps: read an epic fantasy

Half a King (Shattered Sea #1) by Joe Abercrombie ★★★★★

This was the first book by Joe Abercrombie I read and I hope it will not be my last. I have a strong affinity towards underdog characters and Yarvi was an excellent example of such a character. He reminded me of Maia from The Goblin Emperor by Catherine Addison (You can check out my thoughts on The Goblin Emperor HERE ) I loved reading about the journey the main character goes to and I loved brittle humor the book is filled with. The sea adventure part of the story was my favorite part and it really clicked with me this summer even though the book is not really set in summertime at all. I am apprehensive about reading the next book in the series because it centers around different characters and I would really love to read more about Yarvi. This was one of the best books I’ve read in August.

Muggle Studies: grade needed Exceeded Expectations – 2 books

A: Read a comic

White Elf, Black Heart (Elfes #3) by Olivier Peru, Stéphane Bileau ★★★★

Technically this is a graphic novel not a comic. I loved reading this graphic novel and I’m glad my friend pointed me to it. It is a series of high fantasy stories beautifully made. Each volume has different characters and the authors and artists vary from volume to volume. All volumes so far center around different types of elves and bring in stories from different parts of the same world. As I’ve been told it is all an interlude for some big fantasy showdown in latter volumes. Each story is well rounded and feels quite complete on its own so far.

E: Read a book written by an author of a different race than yourself

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie ★★★★★

This was one book I already tried and failed reading for O.W.L.s back in April. I was deeply ashamed for not reading this book sooner. It clicked with me and I loved it! Which is kinda strange because it is far from my usual fantasy or romance genre. Book is based on real events. It made me wonder about different cultures and policies. When a book brings out my inquisitive spirit I know it was a great book! I plan on pushing it for further reading for my book club and I’m looking forward to talking about it with my bookish friends.

Potions: grade needed Exceeded Expectations – 2 books

A: Ingredient: Flying Seahorse – book with the word “sky” in title, or sky on cover

Fantastic Hope by Laurell K. Hamilton, William McCaskey ★★★★

This was one of the books I bought a month before and I just had to include it in this reading challenge because I was so eager to read it. I was a bit worried how well I would pace my reading to book have enough time to read trough all twelve books I wanted to read trough. I was very eager for some of the stories by my favorite authors and I even made a review post for it. You can check my thoughts on this book HERE.

E: Doxycide: Author name starts with a letter D

The Autumnlands Vol. 1: Tooth and Claw (The Autumnlands #1-6) by Kurt Busiek, Benjamin Dewey ★★★

This prompt proved to be a bit tricky for me. As it turned out finding an author whose name starts with a letter D on my shelves was a real challenge. At the end of my options I decided to pick a graphic novel whose one author’s surname starts with the letter D. The graphic novel did not appeal to me at first. I had issues with the visual representations of animals with human physique – hands, feet, clothes …It took some time to get used to that. Story was interesting enough and it really intrigued me. This graphic novel was a present and I don’t think I will be continuing it since I don’t have the rest of the parts.

Transfiguration: grade needed Exceeded Expectations – 2 books

A: Lapifors Spell: animal on the cover/title

The World According to Bob: The Further Adventures of One Man and His Street-wise Cat (Bob The Cat #2) by James Bowen ★★★

This prompt I had several options for. I keep getting surprised at just how many animals are on the cover of the books on my bookshelves. This book was a birthday present from a friend few years back. We did not know this was a second book in a series. I was happy to say this did not influence much on my reading experience. The story is again based on the real life events. The drama was what I expected it to be and I thought the book was okay. I will probably try out some more stories with real life cats in them!

E: Draconifors Spell: book with dragons or fire (title or cover)

Draconomicon: The Book of Dragons by Andy Collins, Skip Williams, James Wyatt

This was the book that did me in this August. No matter how hard I tried I could not concentrate on reading more than a few page sin one sitting. This made the reading feel extra slow since most of the other books that had a lot more pages than this one I went trough in a few days reading. I’m still not done with this one and it will probably be a very slow year until the end of the year.

Final thoughts on my reading experience:

I think I did pretty well on this reading challenge. I even managed to read trough categories in order of the grade I needed to make progress on. As it turned out the one book I did not finish was the last book of the challenge and I feel lucky about it. If I had started reading it sooner I might have lost even more time and would have probably have more than one unfinished book for the challenge. On the positive side, reading nine books I already owned was a great score! I feel like I’m really digging into the books I own on my TBR and that makes me feel good. Most of the books I read from my own shelves make me glad I picked them up in the first place and I am making progress with culling some books I don’t feel so strongly about anymore. All the books I read for this challenge were first time reads and I feel good about that too! I’m trying to keep positive about this reading challenge and I am glad to have been a part of it. Once again if you would like to check out some content from the awesome person behind all the Magical Readathon’s from the last three years it was on go show some love for Book Roast on her YouTube channel HERE.

August Book Wrap Up 2020

Monthly reading review – August 2020

This August I have read:

Iznenada netko pokuca by Etgar Keret ★★★

The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy #1) by Katherine Arden ★★★

One-Punch Man, Vol. 1 (ワンパンマン / Onepunch-Man #1) by ONE, Yusuke Murata ★★★★

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix ★★★★★

Angel & Faith: Daddy Issues (Angel & Faith: Season 9 #2) by Christos Gage, Rebekah Isaacs ★★★★★

Half a King (Shattered Sea #1) by Joe Abercrombie ★★★★★

White Elf, Black Heart (Elfes #3) by Olivier Peru, Stéphane Bileau ★★★★

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie ★★★★★

Fantastic Hope by Laurell K. Hamilton, William McCaskey ★★★★

The Autumnlands Vol. 1: Tooth and Claw (The Autumnlands #1-6) by Kurt Busiek, Benjamin Dewey ★★★

The World According to Bob: The Further Adventures of One Man and His Street-wise Cat (Bob The Cat #2) by James Bowen ★★★

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

This August I have red eleven books. I was planing on twelve and while I realize that eleven is a really good number I am unable to be happy about it because I’m bugged about this last one I did not finish :/

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

There were three books I really liked this August. First one was Half a King (Shattered Sea #1) by Joe Abercrombie. I really liked the writing style and enjoyed the characters. The second book was Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie. I have been meaning to read this book for quite some time now and I even managed not to read it for few reading challenges before this one. I was pleasantly surprised by both books. Third book was also the first book I have read in August and one of the newest purchases I was very eager to read The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix.

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

The book that kinda let me down since I expected a lot more from it was The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy #1) by Katherine Arden. I had an impression that this is a well liked book most readers. There was something about the way it was written that lacked emotion for me. I even got the whole trilogy in a luxurious edition and that was a big downer as well.

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

I planned on reading twelve books for N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon this August. You can check out my original post on it HERE and I will make a summary of my thoughts on it soon. I’m pretty glad I managed to get in nine books from my bookshelves and read them. In the end I was off by one book that I only read one third of – Draconomicon: The Book of Dragons by Andy Collins, Skip Williams, James Wyatt. It is a Dungeons & Dragons supplement book that is meant to be a guide on Dragons. How ever I tried pacing my reading I could not read more than a few pages in on sitting and nearly a week and a half was not enough time for me to finish it. This put a damper on my reading experience for August which would otherwise be a great reading month.

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

I read six books that were part of some kind of series in August and from all those one was a part of an ongoing series I read from month to month. One was a first book of a new series I plan on continuing for sure. There were three first in the series books I’m reluctant to continue for various reasons and one book I am quite satisfied with and don’t plan on reading other books related to it right now. This question usually serves as a guidance on my progress with many book series I read in any given moment but this month it made my reading a bit more complicated.

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

Joe Abercrombie was a new author for me in August and I plan on reading more of his books. I would recommend his book Half a King (Shattered Sea #1).

Final thoughts on August 2020 reading

In any other situation reading eleven books would be an excellent reading month but this one book that left me short of my reading goal is really annoying. I was surprised at myself and how well I have paced all other books in August – it usually took me a few days for each book with the sole exception of the one I did not managed to read trough. The amount of books I own was pretty good and in contrast to last month all the books were new to me and I had no rereads in August. August has left me with two books I am already in the middle of reading and it makes planning my further reading projects a bit more daunting. Let us hope I will be up to the challenge!

Fantastic Hope – Book Review

Fantastic Hope

edited by

Laurell K. Hamilton

and William McCaskey

★★★★

Expectation

I was very interested in reading these urban fantasy stories and was mostly in for it for some of my favorite authors. This is a relatively new book for me since it is published earlier this year and I managed to fit it into my N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon for August! Also I was anticipating to read some great stories with characters I already know and love. Stories I was most interested in were Asil and the Not-Date by Patricia Briggs and Zombie Dearest by Laurell K. Hamilton. All the rest of the authors were mostly unknown to me. When I read the foreword I was pleasantly surprised by the general theme of the stories being something happy and something to make the readers feel good. We need more of those kind of stories in the world!

Summary

  • Twilight Falls by Jonathan Maberry ★★★★★

Lately I’ve been watching some spy thriller conspiracy TV dramas and this story fit right up that alley. I was surprised at how much special operatives language and protocols felt familiar to me. I enjoyed this short story quite a bit! It was a good opening into the collection.

  • Not in this Lifetime by Sharon Shinn ★★★

I must admit this story was a bit cheesy for me. Too many things were too convenient in the end. I liked the little group of characters a lot though.

  • Mr. Positive, The Eternal Optimist by Larry Correia ★★★★★

This story has everything I like in my urban fantasy: some supernatural elements, some humor and something for me to connect with. The tone of the story is very endearing and I liked the action parts as well.

  • No Greater Love by Kacey Ezell ★★★★

I was surprised by religious content of this story. It made me thread very carefully. I ended even more surprised by liking this story a lot.

  • Broken Son by Griffin Barber  ★★★★

Science fiction and space themed stories are really not my thing. But this one was really nice. It reminded me a bit at Vorkosigan saga by Lois MacMaster Bujold. I genuienuly liked this story against all odds.

  • Heart of Clay by Kevin J. Anderson ★★★

I could describe this story as a really wild ride. There were too many supernatural elements and quirks for me to be able to really enjoy this story. I liked the humor that reminded me of works of Robert Asprin. I can point out some of the characters and ideas that were really engaging but as a whole I thought it was a bit too much.

  • Reprise by John G. Hartness ★★★★★

So far this story was the easiest to get into. Considering I have never read anything by this author I might have to change that in the future! It’s a vampire themed and intriguing. I loved the slightly melancholly feel of the story combined with demons and slightly changed alternate history setting.

  • Asil and the Not-Date by Patricia Briggs ★★★★★

This is one of the two stories in this collection I was most interested about. It is from Alpha and Omega book series. First, it was written by a favorite author and second, it is set in a world full of lovable characters I already know. Asil is not exactly a favorite character but it is quite endearing and releateable for me. I was scared this story would be a sappy one but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn’t. Loved the ending!

  • In the Dust by Robert E. Hampson ★★★

Style of this story was more a series of short scenes than a traditional short story. Even with all that the emotions and the characters were very well done. This one is a bit science fictiony and thst is the only reason it was not that good for me.

  • Fallen by L. E. Modesitt, Jr ★

Finally a story I did not like at all. The theme, the execution, the flow – it was all very unsatisfactory to read. The little screenshots from history were not picked out with care at all. Pseudo religious content left a really bad aftertaste for me.

  • Working Conditions by Patrick M. Tracy ★★★★

This story is an excellent example of a sweet urban fantasy vampire story. And, yes! I am biased when it comes to vampires in urban fantasy! I like the simplicity and the kinda sad theme. It was very light and made me want to read more about the setting and the vampires in it.

  • Last Contact by M. C. Sumner ★★★★

There was someting about this story that I liked and I can not pintpoint what it was. Theme is thoughtfull and has some aliens in it.

  • Ronin by William McCaskey ★★★★

This one is a tear jerker! The story is a lovely blend of urban fatasy and harsh reality. It was a very endearing story.

  • SKJOLDMOĐIR by Michael Z. Williamson and Jessica Schlenker ★★★★★

Earlier this year I’ve read two different interpretations of nordic myths and this story made me want to read more of them. T has a certain epic quality mixed with subtle pathos of the main characters. I liked it a lot!

  • Bonds of Love and Duty by Monalisa Foster  ★★★★★

Another story that surprised me in a good way! The theme was totally science fiction but it I loved it. It is definitely something I could keep on reading.

  • Zombie Dearest by Laurell K. Hamilton  ★★★★★

This story fits into Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book series. I was very interested in this story and was not disappointed! I loved that this story has a little JC in it! Finally it is something that connects to one of the previous books. The idea that it represents is quite outrageous though. Loved reading it!

Conclusion

There were sixteen stories in this collection and about half of them were really excellent for me. Only one story felt underwhelming for me. All the rest were good and mostly surprised me in a good way. I found a few authors I will keep an eye out in my future reading and my two favorites were excellent. Zombie Dearest by Laurell K. Hamilton was especially bittersweet to read since the new book in the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series – Sucker Punch, just came out and I will have to wait until next year for mas market paperback to come out to get it and read it! I am glad I got this collection!

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

When I’ve seen the announcement that this year is the last N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon year I was extra glad I got to catch this last train so to speak. I am thankful to BookRoast for making these. Give her channel some well deserved love and support her HERE.

For my very first and probably last N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon I had to pick a career based on my reading results from O.W.L.s Magical Readathon earlier this year in April. You can check out my original post HERE and my results and thoughts on that reading challenge HERE.

While in any other situation I would have picked Librarian, I was not able to do so since I lacked a read book for the Care of Magical Creatures prompt for my O.W.L.s! After a long consideration I decided to choose the noble profession of Mind Medic!

Before applying for the Mind Medic job I had to get down to the business of reading. There are five classes I have prompts to read for. Two of those have three books requirement and the other have two books requirement each. This brings my total of books needed up to scary twelve – 12!

After carefully reading through the given prompts for each of my required categories here are my book picks:

Charms

A: Cheering Charm: read a humorous book

Iznenada netko pokuca by Etgar Keret

E: Glacius: Freezing Charm. Rad a book set in winter

The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy #1) by Katherine Arden

O: Finite Incantatem: reverse spel! Read a manga!

One-Punch Man, Vol. 1 (ワンパンマン / Onepunch-Man #1) by ONE, Yusuke Murata

Defence Against The Dark Arts

A: Boggart: read a horror/thriller

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

E: Kappas: water demon! Book with demons or water theme

Angel & Faith: Daddy Issues (Angel & Faith: Season 9 #2) by Christos Gage, Rebekah Isaacs

O: Red Caps: read an epic fantasy

Half a King (Shattered Sea #1) by Joe Abercrombie

Muggle Studies

A: Read a comic

White Elf, Black Heart (Elfes #3) by Olivier Peru, Stéphane Bileau

E: Read a book written by an author of a different race than yourself

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie

Potions

A: Ingredient: Flying Seahorse – book with the word “sky” in title, or sky on cover

Fantastic Hope by Laurell K. Hamilton, William McCaskey

E: Doxycide: Author name starts with a letter D

The Autumnlands Vol. 1: Tooth and Claw (The Autumnlands #1-6) by Kurt Busiek, Benjamin Dewey

Transfiguration

A: Lapifors Spell: animal on the cover/title

The World According to Bob: The Further Adventures of One Man and His Street-wise Cat (Bob The Cat #2) by James Bowen

E: Draconifors Spell: book with dragons or fire (title or cover)

Draconomicon: The Book of Dragons by Andy Collins, Skip Williams, James Wyatt

This is quite big pile of books I got myself for August. The only one missing on the picture is the digital edition of White Elf, Black Heart (Elfes #3) by Olivier Peru, Stéphane Bileau.

Wish me luck!

July Book Wrap Up 2020

Monthly reading review – July 2020

This July I have read:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tamnije od zgrušane krvi by Viktoria Faust ★★

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final thoughts on July 2020 reading

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