Orilium – Magical Readathon Novice Path September 2021 – Update

Orilium by Lizzart

This September and the first week of October were a real mess for me. While I did manage to get some nice reading squeezed in and have read most of the books I planed to read, I am behind on making posts and updates in general. To illustrate the gravity of the situation let me just point out that while I did read the books out of order and finished reading six books out of seven I’ve chosen I completely forgot that I was supposed to record them in trough the form provided. Thankfully the form is still open and I was able do do that later on even though my books were not counted towards the statistics for September.

One thing I feel I must mention is that I did not exactly follow the path but instead I visited the locations in my own order and pace – I read the books in a different order than they were presented by the prompts! I will contribute this to my future Orilium character weird personality in which I tend to stray from the usual path and the way of doing things. From all my experience in role playing games I have a tendency to play characters that are of the chaotic alignment.

Hare are the books and prompts for the Novice Path I have read in September:

Site: Novice Path Entrance

Prompt: Book with a map

Book: Half the World (Shattered Sea #2) by Joe Abercrombie ★★★★

It was a strange choice for me to pick a second book in the Shattered Sea trilogy as the first book to start on my Novice path. Choosing the book with a map as was the requirement was harder than I anticipated and I went trough some other options I wanted more than this book but could not just find the right one. I read the first book last year and liked it very much but was apprehensive since my boyfriend did not like it because it follows some new characters other than those in the first book. I went fearfully into this book.

The map in the book is an expended version of the map in the first books and on it it was interesting to follow the adventurous path of the characters. I kept returning to the map and referring to the locations on it while I was reading. Just like the first book of the series it is a book that describes a great journey – both geographical as well as mental and personal for the characters. It was not the first book I read in September but in the end I was happy with it and enjoyed it much more than I expected. I even enjoyed myself so much I am still on the lookout for the third book in hardcover edition.

Site: Ashtorn Tree

Prompt: A book that keeps tempting you or a book on top of your TBR

Book: The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch ★★★★

This is one of the books on my list for book club suggestions. It has been years since it was translated into Croatian and I was intrigued since the time I was working in a bookstore. It is not a type of a book I normally go for which only speaks so much more for about the attention it garnered from me. I expected an emotional rollercoaster of a book and tried to prepare myself for the slightly morbid topic of a man who knows he is about to die and is sharing his views and values trough a story and ultimately a lecture at a university. I am not ashamed to admit that I cried on some parts of the book and some parts I considered to be thoughtful and inspiring – especially the parts where he talks about his dreams and life goals and aspirations for his own children. I will continue to advocate for this book to my book club group because I would really like to hear what they think and share my thoughts about this unusually inspiring book.

Site: The Mist of Solitude

Prompt: Standalone book

Book: Les Hirondelles de Kaboul by Yasmina Khadra ★★★

From all the books I’ve chosen for this reading challenge this one was the one I was the least looking forward to. I used to for the standalone prompt because it fit another reading challenge I was doing in September as well. It was for Becca’s Bookoplathon and you can read more about it HERE. I think I prepared myself for the harshness of this book so well that when I read the parts I was worried about, it went much easier than I anticipated. The story portrays human and practical characters in a brutal setting that we sometimes forget is very real in the parts of the world we live in. I managed to disconnect myself from the story because otherwise I would not be able to wrestle with my daily chores. I prefer to use books as a balm and inspiration.

Site: Ruin of the Skye

Prompt: Book with ghosts/haunted house or other supernatural elements

Book: The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles #2) by Anne Rice

This is one of the last books I started reading in September and I did not finish yet. My chosen supernatural element were vampires. I got a full shelf of Anne Rice’s books and out of all of them I read only one!

I often get sidetracked in my quests and I will count this one as a part of the scenic rout taken on my adventuring path in Orilium. I plan to finish it soon and as you will see from some other stats below I have reasons not to be very upset about not finishing this book in September

Site: Obsidian Falls

Prompt: Thriller or a mystery book

Book: Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked #1)by Kerri Maniscalco

Thriller or a mystery book prompt did not inspire confidence. I was happy when I was checking my TBR on Goodreads and in the tags found a few options that I actually liked. I decided to go with the latest Kindle edition of a book that is popular at the moment. I had high hopes of liking it too. I don’t know what did I expect from this book but I was more frustrated by it then I enjoyed it. Plot and the characters seemed weak and predictable and the explanations and plot twists seemed convenient. Some things just did not hold up for me. The vague timeline and open world that was reduced to a small Italian island felt too small and constricting while giving a respectable medieval vibe which in turn was slightly off from the open worldview of the townsfolk and their general behaviour. The book could have used a glossary of Italian words the author used. The cooking bit did not impress me as much it should have. All that being said – I liked the witch story twist and demonology theme even though I felt it to be unclear in some things. I am debating on giving the next book a try because I think it might have more potential and most of my issues with the book setting might be resolved.

Site: Tower of Rumination

Prompt: Five star prediction

Book: Exit Strategy (The Murderbot Diaries #4) by Martha Wells ★★★★★

From the first book in Murderbot Diaries series I was enamored with this science fiction stories. I loved all three previous books and I loved this one as well. I am still surprised at how much easy to read these little books are especially since space theme science fiction is still not a genre I consider a favorite. But these books are definitely my favorite and I am getting the other books related to Murderbot Diaries by the end of the year as well.

In fact I loved it so much that I am even looking out for the new fantasy book by the same author named Witch King and set to hit the bookstores in the fall next year!

Site: Orilium Academy Arc

Prompt: Book with a school setting

Book: The Culling Trials (Shadowspell Academy #1) by K.F. Breene and Shannon Mayer ★★★★★

I really thought that it would be easier to find a book with a school setting on my own shelves that was not a part of the Harry Potter book series! at one point I even thought I was going to reread one of those. Instead I accidentally stumbled on a new Croatian edition and translation of the author one of my bookish friends really loves – K.F. Breene. While I never before read anything from this author I have found some of her other books on Kindle sales and collected them for some new reading opportunity and some new reading challenge. This book is fairly new and I was waiting for weeks to get it from the library. I almost did not read it in time because of it! The book actually offered a sort of prequel to some really interesting and brutal school setting and because it ended on a cliffhanger I am rethinking of reading it in English because I might not be able to wait forever for Croatian translation!

Character background prompts and book choices:

Even though I technically have time by April 2022. to finish up reading the books for my character background choices I read two out of three right away in September!

Background: Urban

Prompt: Book set in a city or town

Book: Darkfever (Fever #1) by Karen Marie Moning ★★★

As one of the books that has been on my TBR for almost a decade I expected a lot more from it. I did not want to believe the ugly cover to be a true indicator of how good the book in general is. I had issues with this book. It has been quite some time since I’ve read an urban fantasy book with the main character as unlikable and annoying as this one. I tried liking her and as soon as I could come to terms with one annoying thing two new popped up! What I did have a healthy respect for was that the story was not set on the romance and that the sole purpose of the main character was not to fall for the dark mysterious brooding guy – Jericho Barrons. What killed this book for me and made me not want to continue reading the rest of the series was the last chapter where nothing made sense in lieu of what the characters did.
Getting a manicure from the person she got the manicure from seemed like something that should have happened in a chaotic dream and not the cliffhanger plot it turned out to be… I’m glad I gave it a try and I would have tried giving this book series another try with the sequel but I just could not digest that last chapter. Maybe I would have liked it more if I had read it first at the time when I added it to my TBR.

Province: Kerador

Prompt: Book from an ongoing series

Book: The Crystal of the Wood Elves (Elfes #7) by Nicolas Jarry, Gianluca Maconi, Christina Cox-De Ravel ★★★★

The Elfes fantasy graphic novel series has around 30 volumes and there are supposed to be other related graphic novels with other races as the main topic. For me this is going to be an ongoing series for a long time because I am using the casual approach and I’m adding a volume TBR each month or a chance I get to include it in some future reading challenge. Volumes are relatively short – each is around 50 pages long but the artwork is stunning and I enjoy the fantasy setting. I might have rushed this volume in order to read it in time but the short episode format is starting to bug me.

In addition to the options and choices above I got an update to my guild choice and have finally chosen a name for myself. So let me introduce myself for now:

My name is Petaniqua and I am a of skaimorn descent. I come from a city in the province of Kerador and belong to The Archivists guild. The ancient art of book keeping is one of our specialties.

I am looking forward to new content and details that come with each guild, quest and lore. From the prompts I have left to complete until April I have only one more left and I will probably start on it at the in December if not somewhere in early 2022.

Heritage: Skaimorn

Prompt: Oldest book I own or have on TBR

Book: Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe

This reading challenge feels more like an adventure game and I hope I will continue to enjoy it. How do you like my journey so far and what do you think about participating in this type of a reading challenge? For more details on the Orilium challenge check out the video announcement HERE and give Book Roast some love and support.

September Book Warp Up 2021

Monthly reading review – September 2021

This September I have read:

Les Hirondelles de Kaboul by Yasmina Khadra ★★★

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor ★★★★

Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer #2) by Laini Taylor ★★★★

Exit Strategy (The Murderbot Diaries #4) by Martha Wells ★★★★★

Darkfever (Fever #1) by Karen Marie Moning ★★★

Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked #1)by Kerri Maniscalco ★★★

The Crystal of the Wood Elves (Elfes #7) by Nicolas Jarry, Gianluca Maconi, Christina Cox-De Ravel ★★★

Half the World (Shattered Sea #2) by Joe Abercrombie ★★★★

The Culling Trials (Shadowspell Academy #1) by K.F. Breene and Shannon Mayer ★★★★★

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch ★★★★

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

This September was a busy month and I am surprised to have read ten books total. I am happy with the amount of books read and I am especially pleased with the variety of genres among the books I’ve read.

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

The biggest pleasant surprise in September was one of the last books I’ve finished in the month: The Culling Trials (Shadowspell Academy #1) by K.F. Breene and Shannon Mayer. A friend reader loves the K.F. Breene and I was surprised to find a translation in Croatian for this book. The best part of the book for me personally was a translation that did not suck! I could enjoy the book! The fast pace of the book was a welcome surprise and the language was fluently translated. This book hit all the right spots for me and considering I’ve went in not knowing much about it – I thought it was a children’s book, I am happy to report that I have trouble remembering the last time I enjoyed reading a translated book as much as this one! The angsty parts of the book were done just how I like them and now I am even thinking about buying a copy in Croatian and sign myself for further torture by waiting on the next book. The fact that I’m thinking about it says a lot and only those who had the misfortune of never having a book series translated till the end can fully understand why this is such a significant comment.

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

It has been quite some time since I’ve read an urban fantasy book with the main character as unlikable and annoying as the one in Darkfever (Fever #1) by Karen Marie Moning. I tried liking her and as soon as I could come to terms with one annoying thing two new popped up! What I did have a healthy respect for was that the story was not set on the romance and that the sole purpose of the main character was not to fall for the dark mysterious brooding guy – Jericho Barrons. For the better part of the book main character Mac was a typical privileged twenty two year old American that has never known any serious hardship in her life. Pink and glitter were not the annoying parts and the “she’s a rainbow” gig was at times refreshing. What killed this book series for me and made me not want to continue reading the rest of it was the last chapter where nothing made sense in lieu of what the characters did. Getting a manicure from the person she got the manicure from seemed like something that should have happened in a chaotic dream and not the cliffhanger plot it turned out to be. I’m glad I gave it a try and I would have tried giving this book series another try with the sequel but I just could not digest that last chapter…

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

My plans for September were elaborate and I intentionally went to make it a real challenge by participating in two different book challenges with total amount of 13 books. I read 9 of the planned books. One of the books had to be replaced because Empire of the Vampire (Empire of the Vampire #1) by Jay Kristoff did not arrive (still waiting for it). Two of the books I started on and did not finish by the end of September – one: Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold (Stephen Fry’s Great Mythology #1) by Stephen Fry was not what I expected and it is a very slow read; second: The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles #2) by Anne Rice I started reading literally on the last day of September which makes me want to scream so bad because the book is so interesting and engaging I would like to drop everything I have to do (including going to a new job) and just spend my time reading it! One of the books I put in my plans (Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe) was for the Orilium Magical readathon challenge as a book I am supposed to read until April next year which makes it not that big of a deal for not fitting in this month.

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

This September I managed to start a new series and finish it – it is Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor duology (yes, its only two books in a “series” but I don’t care because it feels good and sounds cool to have this accomplishment) I’ve officially read all the Murderbot diaries books I have and I’am already making plans to get the next two! I read three books that were first in three new series and only one of those – The Culling Trials (Shadowspell Academy #1) by K.F. Breene and Shannon Mayer I plan to continue. I felt like I forced the The Crystal of the Wood Elves (Elfes #7) by Nicolas Jarry, Gianluca Maconi, Christina Cox-De Ravel and might have enjoyed it more had I just took my time with it. I plan to continue with this graphic novel series in the future at a casual pace.

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

For September my recommendation is variety in genres with some casual sprinkle of the books and authors you know you will love and enjoy. Reading a good book gives me more energy and makes me more passionate in my search for the next great book. I love letting myself be surprised by actually liking the book I was thinking I would not like. Below is the pile of books I loved this September and recommend them to you to try out 🙂

Final thoughts on September 2021 reading

September was a hard month for me since I have started working and my hours have made me more aware of the need to plan my time for books better. I find myself wanting to pick up a book more and read for enjoyment. It came as a total surprise when the books I though I would not like turned out to be awesome and something I can look forward to. I think I did good with the number of books total I have read and I am especially happy with the amount of different genres and topics I have read in September. Not all of the books I have read in September were something I would casually pick to read and enjoy but I am glad to have had an opportunity to experience reading the books that others think highly of and enjoy. In this way, I can report that I have grown as a reader enough to appreciate that, while some books are not my thing, they have a value outside the genres and topics I usually go for comfort reading. I consider these occasional excursions into genres and topics I consider “not my cup of tea” to be a good educational choice that gives me insight into how my reading personality evolves trough the years.

And how was your reading this last month?

Orilium – Magical Readathon Novice Path September 2021

This year I felt the absence of Harry Potter Magical Readathon that Book Roast used to organize. In preparation for a whole new original magical readathon that will be in full swing next year, she prepared an intro for all those who are interested. You can check out Book Roast channel for more of her content HERE and the video announcement for Orilium Magical readathon with explanations and detail HERE.

This is going to be a roleplaying type of a reading challenge where each participant will make a character like for a video game or the usual roleplaying game of Dungeons & Dragons. You have your character sheet with origin and trait details and you will be progressing trough quests and events by reading books that fir given prompts. But for now there is a Novice Path for all participants to get into their characters and get the feel of the game.

Novice Path has a map with six quest sites that offer a prompt for reading a book. Two are a minimum to be able to advance and participate in the next round in spring next year. So, the goal is to read at least two books that fit the prompts and solve the quests that way. As I love challenging myself I will try to read the books for all seven prompts and travel the map for all the quests!

Here are the prompts and my book choices:

Site: Novice Path Entrance

Prompt: Book with a map

Book: Half the World (Shattered Sea #2) by Joe Abercrombie

Site: Ashtorn Tree

Prompt: A book that keeps tempting you or a book on top of your TBR

Book: The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

Site: The Mist of Solitude

Prompt: Standalone book

Book: Les Hirondelles de Kaboul by Yasmina Khadra

Site: Ruin of the Skye

Prompt: Book with ghosts/haunted house or other supernatural elements

Book: The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles #2) by Anne Rice

Site: Obsidian Falls

Prompt: Thriller or a mystery book

Book: Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked #1)by Kerri Maniscalco

Site: Tower of Rumination

Prompt: Five star prediction

Book: Exit Strategy (The Murderbot Diaries #4) by Martha Wells

Site: Orilium Academy Arc

Prompt: Book with a school setting

Book: The Culling Trials (Shadowspell Academy #1) by K.F. Breene and Shannon Mayer

Other than the Novice Path reading challenge there are also three reading prompts designed for character creation. These can be done anytime by April 2022. when the next part of Orilium reading challenge is set to begin. The prompts are made to choose the background of the character – urban or wild, province of origin out of those provided on the first map and a heritage of the character which is a race the character belongs out of those that were provided trough the lore and materials about the world of Aldia. For all the reading prompts above mentioned there is a rule that each prompt requires a separate book.

Here are my character background prompts and book choices:

Background: Urban

Prompt: Book set in a city or town

Book: Darkfever (Fever #1) by Karen Marie Moning

Province: Kerador

Prompt: Book from an ongoing series

Book: The Crystal of the Wood Elves (Elfes #7) by Nicolas Jarry, Gianluca Maconi, Christina Cox-De Ravel

Heritage: Skaimorn

Prompt: Oldest book I own or have on TBR

Book: Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe

There are some other things that will be linked to character creation and development like being part of a particular guild and Lunar phase at birth that will be introduced later on. Those who wish to try out more than one character can do that as well as they will be reading prompts for each character separately. I am not that ambitious and will be sticking to just one!

How do you like my plans and choices? What choices did you pick?

July Book Warp Up 2021

Monthly reading review – July 2021

This July I have read:

The Hedge Knight: The Tales of Dunk and Egg by George R.R. Martin  ★★★★

Kako ste? by Barbara Matejčić  ★★★★

Time Weaver (Drakon #5) by Shana Abe ★★★

The Strain (The Strain Trilogy #1) by Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan ★★★

Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries #2) by Martha Wells ★★★★★

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller ★★★★

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 ★★★★★

To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers ★★★★

Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries #3) by Martha Wells ★★★★★

Danse Macabre (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #14) by Laurell K. Hamilton ★★★

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

This July I have outdone myself and read an amazing 14 books! I am actually surprised at the amount and the variety of genres and books that have been on my TBR for a quite a long time as well as some relatively new books for me.

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

Books I most enjoyed reading this month were from the Murderbot Diaries book series: Artificial Condition and Rogue Protocol . Usually I have some issues with reading science fiction books and following up with all the technical parts of the story but these are so easy to get into and I really love them!

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

There were few books that were a let down this month and some were even a source of frustration. Time Weaver was the last book in the Drakon series and The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. Time Weaver was a messy ending to a book series that had me interested because of the unique dragon shapeshifter angle. Of this five book series each book I read was either a let down or really good and as a whole the series was a wild ride with high highs and low lows. The Strain belongs to a horror genre that I am not a big fan of. I had some serious issues with the translated edition and the general feeling was not good. The Strain is one series I will not be continuing.

I am glad that have read them and can move on from these.

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

For July I made plans for Bookopoly and Olympic Games reading challenge. I managed to read all the books for Bookopoly and all but one for the Olympic Games challenge. The only book I wanted to read and did not managed to read was Any Way the Wind Blows (Simon Snow #3) by Rainbow Rowell because my preorder has not arrived yet. I am hoping to get it in time for some reading challenges in August!

Actually all the fourteen books I have read in July were a part of reading challenges!

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

I have finished one book series and made a decision not to continue another – so that’s two book series cleared in July. I started one new graphic novel series I am very much enjoying. Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book series second reading is moving along and I’ve finished book fourteen out of current 28. which makes me halfway trough! I managed to read two books in the Murderbot Diaries series and can’t wait to for an opportunity to read the next book! July was a very good month for reading book series!

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

This is a second month in the row that I am blown away with Martha Wells’s Murderbot Diaries book series and my whole outlook on science fiction is changing because of it. I love the short format, the artwork and the lovable main character. The main character has proven to be surprisingly insightful on everything about what it means to be human. So much story and emotion packed in less than 200 pages per book made these books best I have read this year so far and I hope the next books are at least as good!

Final thoughts on July 2021 reading

I have been working on making up for those spring months when I got a reading slump and I am still behind on my plans to read 100 books in a year. I am proud of how many books I have read this July and I have managed to cut the amount of books I needed to catch up by half!

In the fourteen books I have read 3656 pages. There were a lot of the genres I am not usually drawn to in July and four of the books were science fiction which is starting to be on my TBR more often recently. Only two of the books were graphic novels and only one book was over 500 pages long. Nine books I have read in July were under 300 pages.

I find this shorter format motivating and very satisfying.

Bookopoly TBR 2021 – June review and July books

June was a cool Bookopoly reading month with only five books. I have participated in one other reading challenge in June and filled up my reading list that way. Because when I say “reading challenge” I need more than just five books in a month to make it challenging!

In the five books I’ve chosen to read I’ve read 1542 pages. One of the books in my Bookopoly readathon for June was a part of a Buddy reading project and one was a book club pick for June. Four of the books were the books I own and were physical copies from my own shelf. One book was a book from the library. Last book I’ve read for this reading challenge was finished reading few days in July but I’m still counting it! Here is the list of the books I’ve read for my Bookopoly in June and how I rated them in short:

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 ★★★★★

The Hedge Knight: The Tales of Dunk and Egg by George R.R. Martin ★★★★

All the books I’ve read for my June Bookopoly were good or great and none I’ve rated with less than four out of five stars. In fact most of the books I’ve read in June were the same with the sole exception of one book I DNFed. For more details on them all you can check my June reading review HERE.

Here are my reading goals for Bookopoly in July:

Prompt: Science Fiction

Book: Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries #2) by Martha Wells

My first roll for July was a meager four and landed me on Science fiction tile for the very first time! I loved reading the first part of Murderbot Diaries and jumped at the chance to read the second book. This series is fairly new in general and I got the box set of first four books as one of my latest purchases. I will try to update and make a post on the books I got recently by the end of July! At this rate I will be ordering more Murderbot books very soon! Also I am not very happy with how the tile for Science Fiction came out and I am thinking of redesigning the Bookopoly board again!

Prompt: Last Chance

Book: The Strain (The Strain Trilogy #1) by Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan

My second roll for the month and I got a double six. What this means is I will be adding one more extra roll for the July. This landed me on a Last Chance spot for the first time as well! I actually pulled this book at random for the Olympic Games readathon this month and I decided to use it for this prompt since I am thinking on culling it from the collection. The edition is said to be bad because of the translation and it is a cheap paperback with not a very inviting cover. The other two books in trilogy were never translated and probably never will be since the publisher no longer exists and the book did not attract that much positive reader attention to be picked up by any other publisher.

Prompt: Chance Card

Book: Antologija suvremene japanske novele by Kazuo Tanaka (Editor)

My third roll was another low number – three in total! This landed me on one of the most popular prompts on the board but to be fair there are two of these across the board – Chance Card. This is another one of the books from my own bookshelves I bought a few years back at a library sale. The translated title would be Contemporary Japanese novella anthology. This book has been published in the late nineties and it was not something that can be easily found which is the reason it caught my attention. If it is to believed to the GR entry for it, there is no translated edition for it which makes it original and unique. I took a peek at the rest of the Chance Cards I have left and there is only three of them. Out of those, two have been chosen for some other prompts in July which leaves me with only one left for some other roll of the die. I need to make another set of cards for next month!

Prompt: Other Culture

Book: Real World by Natsuo Kirino

Next roll was six and landed me on Other Culture tile. Since I prioritize all my books to check my own bookshelves first I got this little book I had for years. As it turns out I will be reading two books on Japanese culture and by Japanese authors for Bookopoly this month! I am slowly running out of appropriate books for this prompt and will have to soon turn to library for them or investigate and buy some interesting new ones!

Prompt: First in a series

Book: Heartstopper: Volume One (Heartstopper #1) by Alice Oseman

Fifth roll was another double and got me an exciting prompt “First in a series”. Since I will be adding at least two extra rolls for July I decided to finally read a graphic novel I only recently got and one that is still very praised and popular. The more I learned about this graphic novel I liked it more. I just hope I will enjoy reading it too!

Prompt: Gifted

Book: Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein

First extra roll for July landed me on a “Gifted” tile for second time ever. First time I got this prompt was last month. I am running out of books I’ve been gifted and I did not read on my bookshelves. This book was given to my by a friend when I helped him sort out books he wanted to sell and get rid off. This is an older paperback edition that is out of print in Croatian. I loved the movie and I wanted to read it for years now! Also this one is a part of my Buddy reading project for this year and it will be good for me to get some progress on that.

Prompt: Graphic novel / Manga

Book: Elves: The Blue Elves’ Mission (Elfes #6) by Jean-Luc Istin, Kyko Duarte

On my last roll for July I got another low number – three! This moved me to Graphic Novel / Manga spot. In June I was reminded how much I enjoy reading the graphic novel Elfes series and decided to continue reading it in July as well. These are short and beautiful. I love how they look and the fantastic stories they bring.

This is my handsome pile of Bookopoly picks for July. There are books I am really looking forward to reading here and there are some I am less excited about.

What do you think?

The Olympic Games reading challenge 2021

This year I am happy to participate in The Olympic Games reading challenge second year in a row. I had a lot of fun last year and I like the thematic ties with Percy Jackson universe by Rick Riordan no matter how small they may seem – anyone who did not read the books would have no trouble participating. You can check out the YouTube Challenge Announcement HERE and give Ishi Time and her channel some love and attention.

I like the mythology theme a lot! Last year I went with Hades as a patron god of choice. You can check out my thoughts and experiences for it HERE. Some of the prompts this year are a bit more tricky to fit a book in but I decided to stick with Hades once more! There is a bit less focus on the undead in the prompts this year and my choice of books is all over the place.

Hades prompt 1 – Read a stand alone

Kako ste? by Barbara Matejčić

This book has a relatively dark cover and is a stand alone. It is also my book club pick for the month of July so I’m fitting it in here as well! The theme is a bit on the heavy side and deals with life issues and stories from people who are dealing with hurt, pain and prejudice in general. I was warned of the content being hard and serious. This is definitely not a light summer read but I hope the book discussion on our meeting is worth it.

Hades prompt 2 – Read a book with a dark cover

Time Weaver (Drakon #5) by Shana Abe

The last book in a fantasy series about dragon shapeshifters. Some of the books from the series I absolutely loved and some were underwhelming. I stayed with the book series and I am hoping this last book will be a good one! The cover has a dark background with a pale hand and some dark read flower and some jewelry in the center. It looks dark enough for me.

Hades prompt 3 – Random TBR book

The Strain (The Strain Trilogy #1) by Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan

I pulled this book out of my long forgotten TBR Jar Draw. I am not that pleased with this choice but it fits the dark undead theme. I am not a fan of horror genre and this book might prove a real challenge for me in July! What worries me the most is the Croatian translation that is considered beyond bad. I might even be tempted to find an edition in English and get rid of my copy of the book permanently if I find it to be that bad.

Hades prompt 4 – Book with a character that hides their identity

Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries #2) by Martha Wells

The main character of this book series is a AI unit that has hacked its module and escaped. It refer to itself as “Murderbot” and likes to procrastinate and watch futuristic soap opera. It is unlike any other SF I have read and I liked the first part a lot! Murderbot is incognito and is on a journey across the wast space in the distant future. If anyone is to find out that its module has been hacked they would probably hunt it down and reprogram it back again. I think this fits the category of a hidden identity.

Hades prompt 5 – Book with a wealthy character

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

Of all the prompts and books for this reading challenge this one I had the hardest time choosing. In the end I went with the main characters being a king and a future queen as a point of them being wealthy. I got this book for my Kindle when it was on sale because I had it on my wishlist for a hardcover edition. The reviews are either hate it or love it mostly. I like when the books have that kind of range among audience. This book has a dark cover, is a stand alone and has what I consider wealthy characters.

Like last year there are some bonus challenges to be read after these first five books. There is only one change in prompts for them from last year. But unlike last year they are not limited to certain patron gods – last year each patron god had two offered bonus challenges and now they are all available to everyone no matter what patron god they choose.

I chose a few books that fit the bonus challenges I liked and added them to the list below. I have listed them in the order I want to read them in. I am also aware that I might not get to read all of them and will probably read them in completely different order by the time I start reading them at all…

Bonus challenge prompt: Pegasus Riding – A book published within the last 5 years

Heartstopper: Volume One (Heartstopper #1) by Alice Oseman

This book is a graphic novel created and self published as a Kickstarter project back in 2018. That was less than 4 years ago and it fits the prompt. I like seeing a Kickstarter project do so well and get published and translated like this one did. I bought the printed version and I hope I will like it!

Bonus challenge prompt: Archery – A book shorter than 200 pages

To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

I had to look hard to find a book under 200 pages on my book shelves. The one I was going to pick was just slightly over with 208 pages! Then I had another choice but in the end I went with this one since it is one of the never books on my shelf and I am curious about it.

Bonus challenge prompt: Climbing the Wall – The next book in the series

Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries #3) by Martha Wells

I decided to add another book from this series to this month! I have first four books in The Murderbot series and at this pace I might be buying some more sooner than expected!

Bonus challenge prompt: Sword&Shield – A book featuring a character I would not get along with

Danse Macabre (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #14) by Laurell K. Hamilton

This is a part of my second reading trough the Anita Blake book series and my attitude toward the main character is very complicated. I would definitely not get along with the main character but I do love reading this series! This book is a bit on the chubby side and I might not be bale to finish it in time or even get to it.

Bonus challenge prompt: Capture the Flag – One of your most anticipated books

Any Way the Wind Blows (Simon Snow #3) by Rainbow Rowell

Now we are threading deeply into the territory of wishful thinking! This book is coming out in the first week of July and I have preordered it. I have no clue if it’s going to even arrive by the end of the July let alone if I am going to read it by then. I just wanted to add it to the list because I could!

I hope I get trough all of the books I want to read this July. They make a really big pile and I still have to add the books from Bookopoly and my next posts! Wish me luck for I will need it!

June Book Warp Up 2021

Monthly reading review – June 2021

This June I have read:

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

Mogla je biti prosta priča by Ajla Terzić ★★★★

The Last Wish (The Witcher #0.5) by Andrzej Sapkowski ★★★★

I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf by Grant Snider ★★★★★

Školski knjižničar by Dinka Kovačević, Jasmina Lovrinčević ★★★★★

The Lives of Saints (Grishaverse) by Leigh Bardugo ★★★★

Dark Prince: Author’s Cut (The “Dark” Carpathian book 1) by Christine Feehan ★ DNF

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells ★★★★

Micah (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #13) by Laurell K. Hamilton ★★★★★

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

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

I had plans to read ten books and I read ten books. The amount I am happy with, but these are not all books I planned to read…On the bright side: I made a major break trough with finally finishing one of the books from my long postponed TBR Jar Draw reading project!

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

I was intimidated by Lucky (Lucky Santangelo #2) by Jackie Collins for around a year or so. It turned out a much better book than I expected and I found myself enjoying it! I expected to love I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf by Grant Snider and my expectations were met. I found much enjoyment and inspiration in the book. Micah (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #13) by Laurell K. Hamilton was a lot better than I remembered, but then I may be a bit biased when it comes to Anita Blake Vampire Hunter books series in general. I ended a month on a high not with The Dynasty of the Dark Elves ( Elves Vol. 5) by Marc Hadrien, Ma Yi, Olivier Héban. I loved coming back to this awesome graphic novel series and loved it so much that I Have already made plans for reading the next one in July.

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

The sole and biggest let down for me this month was Dark Prince: Author’s Cut (The “Dark” Carpathian book 1) by Christine Feehan. This book was on my TBR for almost a decade and when the opportunity to get the “Authors Cut” Kindle edition arose I jumped at the chance. The characters were so underdeveloped and the dialogue was so annoying I had to stop torturing myself and DNFed this book at exactly half of it! I tried giving it all the chances but I just realized I was wasting time on the book that is not getting any better for me and wasting time I could be reading a book I actually enjoy. I cant remember the last time I decided to not finish a book like this but in the end I felt relieved since I really tried and I don’t feel guilty about it!

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

In June I made plans to read 5 books for Bookopoly and 10 books for Whatever-You-Want-A-Thon reading challenge. I did NOT have to go with 10 books! Going for 10 books was not a very smart decision! I read some of the books I planned to read and then some things I did not plan on happened and I lost a whole week preparing for a test and reading books for that. I read most of what I have planned on reading: I read 7 books that I planned on reading, 1 book I DNFed and I read another 2 books that I did not plan on reading. 1 book I planned on reading has been left out because I wanted more time to enjoy it and not just read trough it quickly. And 1 book I am currently still reading from that list.

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

I have finally started on The Witcher series and The Murderbot Diaries – both are on my buddy reading project. The Lives of Saints is the last Leigh Bardugo book I had to read connected to the Grishaverse. Dark Prince: Author’s Cut (The “Dark” Carpathian book 1) by Christine Feehan is one book series I will not be reading anymore and since it has a bunch of books I am glad to cross it off my TBR and the lists of books to buy. My second reading of Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series is progressing nicely and I managed to read Micah (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #13) by Laurell K. Hamilton and enjoy it more than I thought I would.

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

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells was a nice surprise and the short format make it a fast and enjoyable read. Most of the books in the series have won genre awards and I recommend them for those who love science fiction and those who are like me and are picky about science fiction books they choose to read. Grant Snyder and his book I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf is super fun and intelligent book for book lovers and all who are interested in the book business.

Final thoughts on June 2021 reading

I am not totally happy with my reading in June. I managed to squeeze in all ten books as planned but I was forced to shuffle some and change others so I get the number ten. I had to put in some literature for the exam I was preparing instead of one book and I DNFed a book. One book I was planning to read I am still reading and will finish later in July and instead of that I put in a graphic novel to meet the quota. On week of reading was marred by trying to read a book I ended up not finishing and letting go and one other week I spent reading the stuff I did not plan on. I will elaborate a bit more on the detail in the next Bookopoly and Whatever-You-Want-A-Thon reading challenge review posts.

The Hedge Knight: The Tales of Dunk and Egg by George R.R. Martin I am still reading and A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell I was soo looking forward to but it was left untouched and will be postponed for some other more opportune time when I will be able to enjoy it more!

June experience aside I have made plans and new lists of books to read in July. There are even some reading challenges involved so stay tuned and wish me luck!

Whatever-You-Want-A-Thon 2021 – Reading Challenge

At the beginning of the month I found a new reading challenge for June I wanted to participate in. Since the month already began I had to think carefully am I going to make it or not. The idea of this reading challenge is very appealing to me and it seamed as too good to pass on. Whatever-You-Want-A-Thon is created by Maddie from book browsing blog channel on YouTube and you can check her channel HERE and give her some love and support. The reading challenge lasts for the whole month of June and is a team challenge with five teams competing in reading goals they mostly set for themselves. Each team has two captains, their color, and their chosen main genre. These are mostly guidelines and are designed to offer readers direction and something to identify with in the team challenge.

The hosts are mostly the people whose content I have been admiring and watching for a while now. I was excited to see them all together collaborating on a project like this one. Since the books I read tend to come from many different genres and I consider my reading taste to be a bit eclectic I decided to go with the Comrades of Chaos team! The fact that the team captain for this team were the least known to me was even better and in accordance with the Chaos factor. Watching some content from my new team captains was hilarious and revealed that we might not be the most competitive team in the mix which is fine by me since my own goal is to challenge myself by joining these types of reading challenges.

How the challenge works is that you can choose to read a certain amount of books for the challenge and set your own goal. Every book you read wins you certain amount of points and every book you read above your set goal gives you double the amount of points. There is the Pride month bonus for LGBTQ content which is optional. All hosts have provided the readers with their favorites and you can choose to read those for more extra points as well – again this is optional and if the said favorites are a part of a series any book in the series counts as well! With ten hosts and many different genres there is plenty of options for those extra points to choose from. Team genre is also optional for earning points but as the title say – You can read whatever you want! Each book you read earns you points and counts but if you make the book fit into any of the categories you earn extra points.

There are fifteen available prompts to get extra points on the books. You can fit one book in one or more prompts. You get extra points for up to three prompts per book. The amount of options and choices for fitting my books in June has stumped me and I just made a pile of books to read without much consulting of the prompts – which is a first for me! It felt very liberating at the start but kinda intimidating since I decided to make my own challenge a lot more challenging that I had to.

How did I manage to do this?

I started big by adding all my books I already choose for June Bookopoly. That was five books and I felt I needed to make it more interesting by adding more books that were not part of the Bookopoly for June. I made a wonderfull decision to double my reading goal from five books for the Bookopoly with extra five books which got me to my reading goal for Whatever-You-Want-A-Thon – TEN BOOKS!

Here are my ten books I set my goal on for the Whatever-You-Want-A-Thon reading challenge:

The Hedge Knight: The Tales of Dunk and Egg by George R.R. Martin

Lucky (Lucky Santangelo #2) by Jackie Collins

Mogla je biti prosta priča by Ajla Terzić

The Last Wish (The Witcher #0.5) by Andrzej Sapkowski

I Will Judge You by Your Bookshelf by Grant Snider

A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell

The Lives of Saints (Grishaverse) by Leigh Bardugo

Dark Prince: Author’s Cut (The “Dark” Carpathian book 1) by Christine Feehan

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells

Micah (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #13) by Laurell K. Hamilton

There were some last minute tweaks to this list and I only checked a few for actually matching some of the prompts. I’m going with chaos as my guide here! I have one third of the month already slipping past me and I have barely scratched the pile of books I made for myself. All the while my team captains are very active across all the social media platforms and there are some very cool videos to read along books to and talk about books in the challenge. Here is the list of all the team captains (in no particular order) and their YouTube channels so you can check them out if you are interested:

Maddie from book browsing blog

Spoopyhol from Spoopyhol

India from What India Read

Steph from Steph Loves

Jadey from Jadeyreareades

Becca from Becca and the Books

Ashleigh from A Frolic Trough Fiction

Gavin from How To Train Your Gavin

Ro from wandering trough worlds

Codie from Codies Book Corner

Wish me luck!