May The Force Read With You 2021: Reading experience and thoughts

Good news is that I read all the books I picked out on my path to be a Jedi! While I had some ideas about reading more than just the five mandatory books for May The Force Read With You reading challenge I did not get around to picking more books that fit the prompts for it. I stayed true to my Light Side Path and did not have to pick any of the neutral prompts that were available.

Here are the books I read for this reading challenge and my thoughts on them!

Prompt: Jedi Council – Sequel or book in a series

Book: The Vor Game (Vorkosigan Saga #5) by Lois McMaster Bujold ★★★★★

My first prompt is the one I was the most excited about and felt it was the most connected with the Star Wars theme. Miles Vorkosigan is a high profile high born from the planet Barrayar that has a long and brutal military history. Due to and assassination attempt on his mother while he was still in the womb he suffered some damage that stunted his growth and made his bones very brittle. The Saga of Miles Vorkosigan is aptly named and there is a whole world of political intrigue in space and James Bond/Indiana Jones adventure feel to his life in general. This series has around sixteen books and finding out a correct way to read them can be tricky. I have all the books translated in Croatian and keep them as a great choice to add as a next book to read for reading challenges. I plan to read the whole series but am not actively working hard on it. These stories are a delight for me to read because with most science fiction literature I can’t seem to connect with the characters and their stories. Miles is different in this way. Miles is the reason I keep reading science fiction which I am not that big a fan of.

Prompt: Knowledge – Read one of the oldest books on your shelf/TBR

Book: Seven Seasons of Buffy: Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Discuss Their Favorite Television Show by Glenn Yeffeth (Editor) ★★★★

The second book I read in the challenge was not the second prompt but the book that was on my TBR and the actual bookshelves for many years. Nonfiction books are not often something I pick for reading challenges since they take more concentration and time to read. I am a story driven reader and reading a book of essays was not something I would have chosen to take on lightly. Like Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer has had a cult following that transcends generations and the period that it was made in. It was really interesting for me to read professional writers on their own favorite show and exhibit great emotions over things only true fans would pay attentions too let alone obsess about! Some essays were endearing to read, some inspired me to watch episodes of the TV show and some made me feel glad my thoughts on Buffy never got that far. Fandoms and people that are part of them are amazing!

Prompt: Force Spirit – A book with paranormal elements

Book: Prolaz za divljač by Iva Šakić Ristić ★★★

My actual second prompt and the third book I have read for this challenge was a short novel by a Croatian author and the first of her work I have read. Like some movies from the Star Wars franchise, this was one of the books with characters I had trouble connecting with. The philosophical nature of the plot just made me disconnect and lose interest. I had similar issues with the Rogue One movie. While a friend that recommended and gave me this book as a present liked this book I now must find a way to tell her gently that I did not find what she thought was so fascinating about it…

Prompt: Healing – Read a book from your favorite genre

Book: Wicked Abyss (Immortals After Dark #18) by Kresley Cole ★★★★

My next prompt and the book I read was spot on with the healing theme. I needed something to get me back to my favorite genre. It has been years since I read the last book from this series and I was caught off guard with the amount of sex scenes here. For the first part of the book it is an enemies to lovers deal BUT when the main characters get it on, they GET IT ON a lot. I found some connections wo the Star Wars here in the star crossed lovers getting together and while Anakin and Padme share the aptitude for destruction and tragedy with Sian and Lila their story is HEA by the end of the book at least. Also this cover, while not one of my favorites, gives me Anakin vibes…

Prompt: Cleansed – Book with a white cover

Book: Proklete Hrvatice : (1&2) : Dvadeset životopisa by Milana Vuković Runjić ★★★

The last prompt and the last book I have read for this reading challenge was another nonfiction book – which is I suspect the reason behind me not reaching for the extra prompts that I might have chosen otherwise. Picking two nonfiction books in a single month and a single reading challenge is a first for me ever. This time it was a book of biographies of women from Croatian history. I was not too thrilled with the way they were presented – often trough the lens of political conditions of their time and trough the men they associated with. The title translates roughly as “Cursed Croatian Women” and these biographies are filled with tragedy and strife. My view on Star Wars story was always trough the main character Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader and I can’t help but to consider him a tragic character. And here is my connection to the Star Wars theme – tragic life stories and choices. The sepia white on the cover made me forcibly claim it as a white cover and a part of the reason for this pick was also a buddy reading list I am still behind on!

I did not participate in reading sprints and activities across social media platforms that were available and maybe if I had I would have been felt more motivated to choose more books to read after the initial five. Eric from Breakeven Books did a great job with this reading challenge and he deserves all the credit. Show him and his channel some love HERE.

May your shelves be filled with great books and may the Force be with you all!

May Book Wrap Up 2021

Monthly reading review – May 2021

This May I have read:

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling ★★★★★

The Vor Game (Vorkosigan Saga #5) by Lois McMaster Bujold ★★★★★

Prolaz za divljač by Iva Šakić Ristić ★★★

Incubus Dreams (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book #12) by Laurell K. Hamilton  ★★★★

Wicked Abyss (Immortals After Dark #17) by Kresley Cole ★★★★

Seven Seasons of Buffy: Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Discuss Their Favorite Television Show
by Glenn Yeffeth (Editor) ★★★★

Proklete Hrvatice : (1&2) : Dvadeset životopisa by Milana Vuković Runjić ★★★

Clockwork or all wound up by Philip Pullman, Zdenko Bašić (Illustrator) ★★★

First I would like to address my lack of activity on the posting in the last month and more. Life happened and then my mobile phone got messed up and I could not take pictures and upload them the way I wanted to. It all filled me with anxiety and I was inactive for most of the time. I have not realized I relayed on my phone this much. I hope to make some more posts in June to make up for all the things I wanted to post about and more!

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

In May I finished reading eight books. This leaves me with only The Count of Monte Christo as currently “reading in progress” book that I keep dragging on from one month to the next. Eight books in a month is a nice number and I will try to keep up with it!

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

Revisiting first book in the Harry Potter series was nice even though I read it only last year. I keep being surprised on how much I enjoy The Adventures of Miles Vorkosigan and this slow pace at which I read trough the series in whole is more like a guilty pleasure for me. I am glad I finally got to reading Seven Seasons of Buffy book of essays and enjoyed it for the most part.

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

There were not bad books in May, just a few that did not rise up to my expectations. Prolaz za divljač by Iva Šakić Ristić made me long for stronger characters and less philosophical approach to the theme. Proklete Hrvatice : (1&2) : Dvadeset životopisa by Milana Vuković Runjić I am happy to have read but feel that the author could have done a bit more in highlighting the females from the history – some stories were done greatly and some lost the focus in comparison.

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

I approached my reading plan for May with caution because I wanted it to be successful. I managed to read all the books I planned to read and even finish one of the books I had started before May. Only thing that would have made it better would have been reading trough more of The Count of Monte Christo which sadly did not happen. I finished booth the Bookopoly TBR game and May The Force Read with You readathon!

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

I got one book series up to date with finishing Wicked Abyss (Immortals After Dark #17) by Kresley Cole. My reareading trough Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book series is taking a back seat for a while but I do plan to add the next book to my reading plans soon. Finishing The Vor Game (Vorkosigan Saga #5) by Lois McMaster Bujold has made another step small step in reading trough this truly enjoyable space adventure book series.

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

I read two nonfiction books in May and I always feel a certain satisfaction when I finish reading one of those. My recommendation this time is to read more books that give your inner reader feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction. In my case these were the books I made plans to read and even have been on my TBR for quite some time so it felt really good to finish reading them!

Final thoughts on May 2021 reading

I am happy with my reading in May. I read six new books and two more books I read before already. For the first time in a long while a number of books I’ve read in one month in English language is the same as the number of books I read in Croatian language. I already have plans for more posts and reading options in June and I am excited for that! Here are some illustrations by Zdenko Basic from the Croatian edition of Clockwork or all wound up by Philip Pullman.

May The Force Read With You – 2021 Readathon

After a small break I decided to get back into reading challenges and the one reading challenge that made me excited to get back on track is May The Force Read With You Readathon by Breakeaven Books on YouTube. Here is the link to the announcement video: May The Force Read With You Readathon. The owner of the channel is Eric and he is a really cool guy that reads lots of great books and has some amazing content. I’ve been following his channel for a while now and this is the second reading challenge from his channel I am participating in! First one was Reindeer Readathon back in December 2020. where I was inspired and read an astounding ten books for it in December! Here is the link for the my Reindeer Readathon post and a link to Eric’s YouTube Breakeven Books channel. Give the guy some love and recognition because he deserves it!

I am not that an avid Star Wars fan but I do love a great reading challenge with an interesting theme. Most of the visuals for this post were taken from the materials created by the author of the reading challenge. I love the simplicity and the style of the info materials for the challenges he makes. While I was reading trough the materials I got stuck at the first fork in the road – choosing my reading path between the Light Side and the Dark Side. In the end I made two lists of books – one for each side and compared them to what I was more eager to read this month. I really wanted to be a Jedi and go with the Light Side since there are more people there to keep me company where as with the Sith on the Dark Side you get only two people (since there is only two of them at all times according to Star Wars lore). I don’t feel the need to be that special and isolated and would much prefer the company of other cool Jedi. It took some tweaking since the lure of the Dark Side and the books I managed to put on the list for the challenge were slightly more convenient for the Dark Side path BUT here are the books I picked out for my reading journey on the Light Side!

Light Side

Jedi Council – Sequel or book in a series

Book: The Vor Game (Vorkosigan Saga #5) by Lois McMaster Bujold

I love the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold. It is one of the rare science fiction books I truly love. Like Star Wars it is a story set in a vast universe with lots of interesting characters and political intrigue. This book also fit another prompt in the Dark Side path – Force Vision Manipulation – A book with political intrigue or royalty. The whole series has been translated into Croatian and has unique illustrated covers by Esad T. Ribić. The illustrator has even done some work for Marvel and made some amazing covers. I like the intriguing cover and this book seems like a great start for Star Wars themed readathon even if it is not a Star Wars themed book!

Force Spirit – A book with paranormal elements

Book: Prolaz za divljač by Iva Šakić Ristić

Another unique cover and this time a book by an author I have never read before. The title of this book roughly translates as: Passageway for wild animals. I can be a very harsh critic with Croatian authors sometimes, but I hope I will like this little novel. I am not completely sure what it is about but it should have some paranormal elements and a friend recommended it to me. She liked it so much that she even gave me this book as a present. I can’t help but wonder at the strange cover though…

Healing – Read a book from your favorite genre

Book: Wicked Abyss (Immortals After Dark #17) by Kresley Cole

My favorite genre is urban fantasy with romantic elements and this book is the last published book in a series I used to love reading. I find the cover more appropriate for Dark Side path and I even had a ready prompt for this one as well: Seduction – Romance book. It is a dark type of urban fantasy romance and I hope I will enjoy it enough to be more upset about the next book of the series not already being published!

Knowledge – Read one of the oldest books on your shelf/TBR

Book: Seven Seasons of Buffy: Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Discuss Their Favorite Television Show
by Glenn Yeffeth (Editor)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer used to be my favorite TV show. I loved the witty dialogue and the characters. Lately there has been some rumors and accusations to the series director and it has made a dark mark upon something I really loved and the guy I really admired. In order to get back to something I enjoyed I picked out this book of essays on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and an impact it had on the popular culture. The authors of the essays are some of the most famous science fiction and fantasy writers out there. This book has been on my TBR for more than a decade and that is about as long as I have it as well. I hope this book reminds me of the things I loved about the TV show and how much I enjoyed it.

Cleansed – Book with a white cover

Book: Proklete Hrvatice : (1&2) : Dvadeset životopisa by Milana Vuković Runjić

I had a few options for this prompt but decided to go with this one and claim that this sepia cover counts as white! That is my story and I am sticking to it! I must admit this is one of the books I had ready for the Dark Side version as well as a part of a duology since it is a book that collects two parts that were separately published before this edition – Rule of Two – Read a book from a duology. This one is also part of a buddy reading list of book for this year I am doing with a friend. I am a bit worried on how long it will take to read trough it.

There are some more options to add to the list of books that can be read in this challenge that I may opt to include later. These first five prompts are mandatory to be able do read the extra ones and there is even an option of spicing it all up by finishing both Light Side prompts and Darks Side prompts with the addition of a set of five neutral prompts. A reader who is on a Light Side path can spice it up with some books form the Neutral prompts list. Only after one finishes all five books on the chosen path can one start on the opposite path prompts. To illustrate better on how it all looks here is the complete list of all the prompts. I already have some books left aside in case I finish these mentioned above and add more. My main priority here is to get back into the reading and to stay motivated by finishing books in general. I don’t wont to set too high goals at this time.

For those who want even more extras and have a bigger reading appetites there are some additional prompts and goals for after finishing a chosen path. There is a group read book option and some Companions list for the each path. The rules are simple and straightforward. I did not go with the group book option since I don’t have it on my shelf and I already have one other book from the library on the list.

Here is my five book pile for the May The Force Read With You – 2021 Readathon. Wish me luck!

TBR Jar Draw is back!

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Few years back in my attempt to read more books I already own I decided to challenge myself by writing down my owned and not read books on tiny pieces of paper and place those in a jar. Every month I would then pull three options and read one of them. This ensured that I read at least one book a month I already owned.

You can check out my post where I explained the TBR Jar Draw HERE.

With years I have adapted more to my TBR and made some resolutions to help me with reading motivation in general. I am also running out of pink paper I used back then and will probably revise all my owned not read books at the start of next year.

I did some small check up on the titles left in the jar since I have neglected it and there were some books I’ve read in the meantime that I originally put in the jar back when I first started with this project.

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I intentionally did not count the titles left in the jar or those I read and put in the little see trough box. I did make a list of the titles so I can better organize for the next year.

Until then I decided to keep it going without the monthly timeline pressure so that I have at least one owned book in currently reading category.

I started a new TBR Jar Draw and here are my first three titles:

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1 #  Seven Seasons of Buffy: Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Discuss Their Favorite Television Show by Glenn Yeffeth (Editor)

I’ve had this book for a very long time. I loved the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show and I liked collecting everything Buffy like. This is one of the more serious Buffy books I have and I remember being very interested. I get little nostalgic just by thinking about it!

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2 # The Emerald Talisman (Talisman #1)  by Brenda Pandos

This is one of my first Kindle freebies from when I just got into Kindle and was downloading all the free ebooks I could find! The Kindle edition of this book changed a few covers over the year as well! These days they are not so easy to find and I occasionally buy a Kindle ebook I get interested in. This is a second time I pulled out The Emerald Talisman from the jar!

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

First book of the Lucky Santangelo series I wrote about when I was presenting books that changed me. You can find my post HERE. I read it when I was very young. after some time I came across the second book in English and decided to buy it. The edition I have is so old I couldn’t find a pic of it online. It is very yellow and chubby and it sometimes stares at me from the bookshelves!

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All of my choices look interesting but I am not sure which one should I go with first!