Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

Lately I’ve been really stuck in trying to get through two reading challenges I have going on this month. You can check out my list for first time trying them out if you want.

I talk about my Make Your Myth-Taker reading challenge HERE

and you can see my choices for the The Olympic Games HERE

While I was checking out some Booktube channels for inspiration and new ideas, a friend of mine suggested we go through the Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag to each other. We actually made videos to each other answering the tags and talking about books and life in general and now our significant others are thinking we are very weird because of it. We don’t plan posting the videos anywhere public and they are for personal use and enjoyment only; but it gave me something to think about in my reading time as well. This is why I decided to make a post to go through the tags and summarize what I have learned about myself and my reading in the first half of 2020.

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2020

Incubus Caged (The Incubus, #1) by A. H. Lee

This book was a revelation for me. I did not find many good fantasy books or stories that incorporate hardcore sex well. I get really agitated by mainstream fantasy books that skirt around the actual sexual act. I made a point not to read some of the authors who do this no matter how popular their stories are. I was kinda blown away at how good this book was in that regard. The magical and fantasy aspects of the book were really well done by my opinion and the sexual theme seemed was nicely incorporated into it. The beginning of the story was a bit touch and go until the fantastical world the author build unfolded. The fact that this is a accidental Kindle find and I bought the whole trilogy says a lot since I’m a bit traditionally stingy when it comes to buying books on Kindle – I prefer physical copies.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2) by Holly Black

I bought first two books of The Folk of the Air book series at the Interliber book fair in Zagreb last year. I’ve only started reading them in January this year. I was reluctant to get the third book since the format was different than the first two and that really annoys me. I read both books in quick succession and was left with a dilemma: wait for half a year for the same format of the third book to come out OR get the third book in a bigger hardcover format… This book had such an influence on me that I went and ordered the hardcover third book – again, this is something I have never done before! I ended up loving the whole trilogy so much I plan on rereading the last book this month!

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

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

Lately I have been very glad of my book club friends. Through book club I met some wonderful people and my life is richer for the experiences we shared. When I learn that this is a book about a book club with an urban fantasy twist I was interested right away! This book reminded me of Sookie Stackhouse book series by Charlaine Harris which I started reading back when it was still called The Southern Vampire Mysteries and I got really nostalgic and reminded that I never read the last book of that series… Anyway I’m getting off topic here, but book club, vampire slaying and a quirky band of women – I’m totally getting this book soon!

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1) by Leigh Bardugo

The reason I put this book as the most anticipated release for the second half of 2020. is because at the start of the 2020 one of the Croatian publishers announced it will be translating it. I’m guessing it might come somewhere in autumn or whenever the TV show starts releasing on Netflix. I really can’t wait for the translated edition to come out so I can talk about it with some of my book club friends who don’t read books in English. And I really want to talk more about these books with some people in my life!

5. Biggest disappointment

The Witch With No Name (The Hollows, #13) by Kim Harrison

The amount of disappointment I felt because of this book does not really show in the review I did for it. I postponed reading this book since it was a last book of the series I have been reading for a long time. I went trough a lot in my life while reading these books and they kinda kept me afloat of the bad things. I had very strong emotions and fond memories connected with these books and characters. This last book fell flat for me. I could not get into it and I was annoyed while reading. I was seriously considering to get rid of all the books and this is still an option for me. From a book series that game me good vibes I was left with a lots of negative emotions that frustrate me when I think about these books. You can check my review HERE.

6. Biggest surprise

The Incubus book series by A. H. Lee

As I’ve already mentioned the best book as I count my reading experiences in 2020 was the first book of the Incubus trilogy. This whole series was the biggest positive surprise for me in 2020. I will be on the lookout for this author for some other fantasy works with adult content. This is the kind of story I’m glad I often take chances with Kindle freebies and samples.

7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)

Holly Black with her The Folk of the Air

Another already mentioned and new for me author this year is Holly Black and her The Folk of the Air book series. I have heard of her works before but since they were mostly aimed at younger audiences I mostly skipped them. The Folk of the Air was a thrill to read and I love those characters. I have acquired desktop and mobile background fan art of Jude and Cardan. The scenes and characters are very expressive and dramatic and I love the writing style. At the same time I am glad that the trilogy The Folk of the Air is complete and finished but would love to read more of the stories with these characters. I actually don’t mind rereading these books which is something I don’t do often!

8. Newest fictional crush

Tom Severin from Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels, #6) by  Lisa Kleypas

Tom Severin from Chasing Cassandra (The Ravenels, #6) by  Lisa Kleypas is a workaholic that never had motivation to live life for anything else but his work. He starts as cold, distant and money motivated. When a chance of a good deal in his personal life comes along he would not be the driven businessman he is not to take it. I love the jaded and the childlike logic of Tom Severin: he has amassed enough wealth that he is capable of making someone happy with it. He is hardworking and cares for those in his charge when he has the chance to prove it. It is a heartbreaking character with integrity and a it just makes me love him more for it!

9. Newest favorite character

Cardan Greenbriar from The Folk of the Air

This character is amazingly written! The amount of backstory that was given and even more that it was only hinted about was a pleasure to read. I love how flawed he comes off in the books and how his character growth flows in a constant stream whether he is in the center of the narrative or not. In the whole trilogy his character is constantly moving and growing. Every scene with him shows progress in some way and I love how the author managed that.

10. Book that made you cry

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2) by Leigh Bardugo

I read a number of Grishaverse books in quick succession but the amount of tears from the Crooked Kingdom took me by surprise. I wept and kept reading believing that something will happen to disprove the reason for my weeping! The sadness was even greater since the character that was most hit by grief in the book was very open and lovable and the grief translated so raw to the reader.

11. Book that made you happy

King of Scars (Nikolai Duology, #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Just holding this book in my hands makes me excited. It is gorgeous and the story inside it has taken some very sharp twists and turns that make me wonder how the author is going to handle the next book of the series. Reading this book has made me equally happy and frightful but also very excited with the prospects it brings to the plot. I believe I will be riding this hype train long into the Netflix TV show and I hope it will be good enough to last more than a few seasons!

12. Favorite book to film adaptation that you’ve seen this year

October Faction / Altered Carbon-Takeshi Kovacs

While I was going trough the many book to film adaptations I loved watching so far this year I had so many options but most of them were adaptations of books I have not read. I chose two options for that reason. One is a graphic novel to a one season Netflix TV series adaptation which started kinda shaky but I ended up liking enough to want to read the graphic novels which I understand differ from the TV adaptation greatly. My second choice was the second season of Altered Carbon TV series and Takeshi Kovacs book series by Richard Morgan. I have not read those either but have a friend that was very upset by the book/adaptation differences as well. I liked the adaptations and enjoyed watching both TV series!

13. Favorite review you’ve written (booktube or written)

Book of Wayward Girls and Wicked Women edited by Angela Carter 

In March I have read a collection of short stories about women from a colorful selection of authors and enjoyed them greatly. I was inspired to take pictures of quotes and post them on Instagram as well. I enjoyed reading and writing about this book and the thematic mood for March was a great fir as well. Up to this book I did not use many props while taking pictures because I don’t feel very talented in arranging them in general. This book made me feel empowered in a way and it was nice to write about my reading experience with it. You can check out my review HERE.

14. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1) by Leigh Bardugo

This year was extraordinary in many ways for me and the books I’ve read and acquired. I have taken to buying more hardcover editions and how pretty a book is definitely factors into the equation more for me as of late. In a batch of books I recived early this year Ninth House is one of the prettiest. I’ve taken to love the shiny illustrations under the jacket of the hardcover editions.

15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

I have made a few lists of books I plan to read by the end of the year and among the books I have left to read there are a few I know I will need some extra motivation and concentration. I will not post these lists here now, you can check some of them on this post HERE. I would like to single out a few that I am both excited and apprehensive about starting to read. One that will be a challenge is The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. It is a big book and I have a great desire to read it “one day”. I will have to push myself with it and hope for the best. Also I plan on tackling the whole The Trials of Apollo book series by Rick Riordan by the end of the year. I have found it difficult to immerse myself into the main story of these books.

It is very evident that my 2020 reading was heavily influenced by few selected authors and book series. I have made good on my goals to read more of the books I already own and I am very pleased with results so far. I hope to be this pleased with my reading by the end of this year as well!

Book haul 1/2020 – Pretty new books!

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It’s barely February and I’ve already got myself a nice pile of new books. And these books are so pretty as well! The first book that arrived in 2020 was actually a late arrival from December 2019 – King of Scars (Nikolai Duology, #1) by Leigh Bardugo. I’ve already read it and loved it and it has caused me withdrawal pain from the long period of waiting on the next book that is Grisha related from Leigh Bardugo!

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I used to buy mass market paperbacks only because they were cheaper and because I can fit more of them on the bookshelf. Even now I got a bookshelf that can fit exactly two rows of paperbacks on a single shelf and I love it!

Lately I’ve been indulging in buying some hardcover editions. I am simply swooned at how beautiful they are! I blame Leigh Bardugo and Holly Black! I was enamored into their books to wait on my usual mass market paperback editions! Holly Black’s Queen of Nothing had a six months (!) wait time for the paperback edition to come out!

I find Leigh Bardugo’s books especially beautiful! Just look at the Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1) I got recently! If some other book series were as well designed I might have been forced to get more hardcovers!

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There is a problem I’m facing as a lover of some older urban fantasy book series is becoming an issue here. Some of them are out of print – Shift (Shifters, #5) by Rachel Vincent is sold out at my usual book buying places. This has left me with buying books three and six in the series while they are still available. Also they are different format sizes which sucks for the shelf placement.

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The last book that arrived just the other day was a pre-ordered mass market paperback of one of my favorite urban fantasy book series: Storm Cursed (Mercy Thompson, #11) by Patricia Briggs. The waiting time between the books for Mercy Thompson is almost a year for me now. The only thing that’s keeping me still when I see the new hardcover book in the series has come out; is a look at my shelf and all other books in mass market paperback editions I already own. I’m actually pleased at how nicely they fit there and the thought of getting just one new book in a different format leads to frustration of having them all in beautiful hardcover editions. The hobby of having some of my favorite urban fantasy book series complete in hardcover is not only really expensive but for some book series an extraordinary feat of good luck as well. As I’ve mentioned before, many of the books from the series are sold out and finding a hardcover edition in good shape is extra problematic for a book lover based in EU.

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It is a long standing fantasy that one day I will own my favorite book series in hardcover editions so I can reread them anytime I want without having to be very careful not to crease the spine of the book. It is a bookish peeve I guess but I get upset when my paperback editions get hurt and the spine of the book suffers damage.

In conclusion to this one month book haul in my defense I can say that I’ve read more books in January than I’ve bought! I’ve read seven books and bought six. From the new books I got I already read two and plan to read others soon as well!

Here is the list of the books I got:

Storm Cursed (Mercy Thompson, #11) by Patricia Briggs

Pride (Shifters, #3) by Rachel Vincent

Alpha (Shifters, #6) by Rachel Vincent

Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1) by Leigh Bardugo

King of Scars (Nikolai Duology, #1) by Leigh Bardugo

The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air, #3) by Holly Black

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January Book Wrap Up 2020

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Monthly reading review – January 2020

This January I have read:

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1) by Leigh Bardugo ★★★★★

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2) by Leigh Bardugo ★★★★★

King of Scars (Nikolai Duology, #1) by Leigh Bardugo ★★★★

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1) by Holly Black ★★★★

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2) by Holly Black ★★★★★

The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air, #3) by Holly Black ★★★★★

The Witch With No Name (The Hollows #13) by Kim Harrison ★★★

january book wrap 2020

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

This January I read 7 books total. I am happy with the amount and page count in particular.

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

All of the books were fantasy genre. The first half of January I was totally into Grishaverse and managed to read everything Leigh Bardugo had written related to Grishaverse. The second part of the month I was happily enjoying Holly Black’s The Folk of the Air series – I’m still confused as to why they are called that though :/ But the characters Jude and Cardan have become favorites right away!

originalThis is just one of the beautiful pictures I found of Cardan and Jude – all rights belong to the author and artist!

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

The only book I had any issues reading this month was The Witch With No Name. I got overwhelmed by the complicate metaphysics supernatural elements of the book. I let too much time pass between reading this last book of The Hollows series and the previous one. I had problems keeping up with the book plot. You can check out my review for more details HERE.

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

I made a list of the books I own I wish to read this year and five of them I read this January already. I’m very happy with that score and enjoy making reading plans so I can keep better track of my reading.  You can check out the whole list HERE. I will be making  a separate post and update on it later in February.

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

Having finished all books related to the Grishaverse universe I will have to wait for the next book in Nikolai duology which happens to be one of the most anticipated books this year! I have finally finished with The Hollows series by Kim Harrison (insert little happy/sad dance here). That felt like a chapter of my life has been finished as well – this is how long I was a devoted reader to this book series. As for The Folk of the Air book series – I managed to make a run trough the whole trilogy this month and will probably need to turn to some fanfiction and hope that the author writes some more books soon!

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

I have become a devoted reader fan to both Leigh Bardugo and Holly Black. I’m going to try some other books by Leigh Bardugo in February – primarily Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1) which I have ordered and received already. Anyone who likes fantasy will probably like both of the Grishaverse and The Folk of the Air book series. I find the plot engaging and the books are just beautiful as well!

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