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!

The Olympic Games Reading Challenge – Experience and thoughts

For June I picked out two reading challenges simply because I was very interested in both and could not pick just one! Second reading challenge I really wanted to do was called The Olympic Games and it is thematically tied with the wonderful world of demigods created by the author Rick Riordan. The main host of this reading challenge is Ishi Time. You can check out her channel and the challenge announcement HERE

Even though these books cater to younger audiences these books are one of my favorites and I enjoy them quite a bit! So when I found the reading challenge that pays tribute to these amazing books I just had to participate. Thematically I was a lot more interested in this reading challenge than in the Make Your Myth-Taker Reading Challenge which I also picked out for June.

First part of the challenge was choosing one of the available Gods as a patron. After a long consideration I choose Hades as my patron. I like my books a bit on the darker side and Hades fits nicely with the books I can choose from my bookshelves. To honor my patron deity I have a list of five prompts I need to read books for. What I loved about this reading challenge was the freedom to pick the order of reading any way I please. I do believe this was what made me believe I can do both challenges. Since I was aware that I am doing two reading challenges I made my goal to use as many books I can for both challenges. In this regard I did pretty well I believe. Here are the books I choose for the prompts:

Hades prompt 1. – book featuring the undead

The Laughing Corpse (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter, #2) by Laurell K. Hamilton ★★★★★

I had a lot of books to choose from for this prompt since I love urban fantasy genre and one of the most often used motives in the genre is some kind of the undead as a main character, love interest, villain of just a side character. Basically my favorite book series that features variety of different types of undead is Anita Blake Vampire Hunter by Laurell K. Hamilton. I have been reading these books for almost a third of my life now and I am still looking forward to each new book and story. I loved going back to the second book of the series which I have rad only once before this.

Hades prompt 2. – reread a book

Circus of the Damned (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter, #3) by Laurell K. Hamilton ★★★★★

Having a reason to read these books again was a welcome bonus for my reading in June. Rereading the third book after so many years have passed has been an interesting experience. I was annoyed to realize some small inconsistencies in the book and it has dimmed my elation for reading these books. In spite of that small annoyance I enjoyed reading the book a lot. I realized some differences that some characters moved on in the series and it was definitely good to get that perspective on growth and progress on some of the characters. This was one of the most interesting books for me before I read it the second time and it still is very interesting in showcasing the world that the author has build for her characters.

Hades prompt 3. – book with a dark cover

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3) by J.K. Rowling ★★★★★

Even though I have never before actually read this book I was heavily influenced by how dark the movie version seemed in comparison to the first two. So when I picked out this book for the dark cover prompt it seemed a perfect fit for me. I might even say that the cover illustration looks a little creepy. Some of the major differences came out between the book and the movie while reading this book. The story was generally known to me since I’ve seen the movie so many times but I had no issues with following the story as much I used to have in similar situations before. Reading the book made me want to watch the movie again as well and made my June just a bit more magical for the Hufflepuff edition which I am proud to own.

Hades prompt 4. – random TBR book

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Vol. 1 by John Vornholt, Arthur Byron Cover, Alice Henderson ★★★

In continuation with fantastical and undead related themes for this prompt I used my pick for TBR Jar Draw in June. You can check out more about it HERE. Buffy is one of my favorite TV shows for its humorous and witty dialogues and fantastical content. Reading the novelizations that were set somewhere in the first two seasons of the show was not the best experience and I was worried about ruining what good memories I have of it. There were three different stories that could be found as a standalone books: Coyote Moon by John Vornholt; Night of the Living Rerun by Arthur Byron Cover and Portal Trough Time by Alice Henderson. The reading experience totaled as average with one story being not so good, one just OK and the third very good for me. I am sad to say that these stories did not age well for me.

Hades prompt 5. – Any Hermes prompt – snake on the cover

For this prompt I had a lot more choices than I anticipated. In fact I ended up reading three different books in June that fit this prompt! In the end I choose:

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2) by J.K. Rowling ★★★★★

Reading the Harry Potter books in my own Hufflepuff editions is a magical experience on its own. I loved reading articles before and after the story relating to Hufflepuffs! It was very satisfying to have it available in Hogwarts house edition of my choice. I will continue reading and collecting the whole set. It already has a special place on my bookshelf!

Hades had two Advanced challenges prompts for me to fit books for. I managed to find two books that fit the prompts but I missed out on the reading rule of the challenge to read these only after I have read all five for the main challenge. Out of these two I managed to read only one of the books I chose.

Advanced Challenge 1. – Sword and Shield

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

Advanced Challenge 2. – Monster fighting

  • Wayward Son (Simon Snow, #2) by Rainbow Rowell

My score on Olympic Games reading challenge:

I have read 5 books for The Olympic Games challenge

I read one additional book for the advanced challenge BUT I did not follow the rule of reading it after the first five prompts of the main challenge were done.

The second advanced challenge I did not get to read at all.

I would have loved to have chosen only one reading challenge for June in order to enjoy the experience more. I am glad I tried my own limits by reading two challenges and I hope to do better on the Olympic Games next year. In all the reading I did in June I forgot to follow and engage in some other social media platforms with other readers who were participating. Now that I got the hang of the few reading challenges I think I might be ready for that step as well. I’m kinda sorry for not putting in my books for the competition on which patron deity would inspire most readers and get most book read. I am glad for this experience though and hope to do better next time!

The figurine and the Hades visual are from the Disney Villainous: Wicked to the Core board game. You can check out more information on it HERE.