Monthly reading review – January 2018


Monthly reading review – January 2018

This January I have read:

The Scoundrel Takes a Bride (Regency Rogues #5) by Stefanie Sloane ★★

The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1) by Philip Pullman ★★★

A Test of Mettle (The Iron Druid Chronicles #3.5) by Kevin Hearne ★★★★

A Prelude to War (The Iron Druid Chronicles, #7.5) by Kevin Hearne ★★★★

Three Slices by Kevin Hearne, Delilah S. Dawson and Chuck Wendig ★★★★

Taurus by Božica Dragaš ★★★

The Shab-al-Hiri Roach by Jason Morningstar ★★★


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

In January I have read six books in total. I have decided leave the short story from one of them out of the count. I would like to read a bit more in general and get the number of books I read in a month closer to ten.

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

I loved getting back to The Iron Druid Chronicles in the form of short stories and they were the highlight of my reading in January. The Shab-al-Hiri Roach has given me some food for thought in January as well.

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

The historical romance The Scoundrel Takes a Bride did not impress me much. I guess I was not in the mood for romance books this January.


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

Only planned reading I did was finishing The Golden Compass from December and reading the Taurus book for my book club meeting at the start of February.  The rest of the books, excluding the TBR Jar Draw The Shab-al-Hiri Roach were not planned.

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

Technically I tried out three new series: His Dark Materials #1) by Philip Pullman, Blud short story by Delilah S. Dawson and Miriam Black short story by Chuck Wendig.

blud black

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

This January recommendation goes for Kevin Hearne and Iron Druid Chronicles. I enjoy the stories from the world of Iron Druid a lot and hope to continue reading the next book soon.

Final thoughts on January reading

I have posted three book reviews in January:

The Scoundrel Takes a Bride (Regency Rogues #5) by Stefanie Sloane ★★ – REVIEW

Three Slices by Kevin Hearne, Delilah S. Dawson and Chuck Wendig ★★★★ – REVIEW

The Shab-al-Hiri Roach by Jason Morningstar ★★★ – REVIEW

I am still reading A Man for Himself: An Inquiry into the Psychology of Ethics by Erich Fromm and I am slowly trudging on with Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades, #3) by E.L. James. I am having trouble with it and hope to finish it by the time the movie comes out.

I have yet to do the TBR Jar Draw for February and start on the other book for my book club reading in February which is Lord of the Flies by William Golding.


The Shab-al-Hiri Roach – Book Review


Finished reading

The Shab-al-Hiri Roach

by Jason Morningstar



This was an impulse purchase in homage to the role playing games I used to play. I got it late last year and got to reading it after I pulled it out of my TBR Jar. First of all let me explain what kind of book this is. This short little booklet contains a Lovecraftian RPG (role playing game) meant to play in the course of one evening or afternoon for fun. It comes with a set of forty cards for players to use. I liked the concept of a weird setting with dark comedy elements at the start of the twentieth century academic environment. I wanted something short and quirky to try out with some of my friends and gaming group.



This Indie RPG book is filled with black and white illustrations and news clips from the Pemberton University. The time this adventure is set is in 1919. and it starts with a tragic death of the university entomologist William Appleby-Jenkins. This story then follows the escape of a new and unique species mentioned entomologist brought back from his  expedition in the Mesopotamia region where he discovered the specimen in the cave near the Shab-al hiri potash mine (potash is a substance used mostly as a fertilizer in potassium poor soils).


The game is meant to be played without game master and that sets it apart from most other RPGs I am familiar with. The game can be played with 3 – 8 players but it is recommended for 4 – 5 players. Each player will need a character sheet that is available at the site of the designer Bully Pulpit and can be found along with some other merchandise  –> HERE

Along the character sheets, players will need a variety of playing dice from four sided to twelve sided that can be found in most RPG dice sets. Last thing the players will need are somewhere around fifty tokens that will represent characters reputations – the coins are suggested and of course some snacks and good humor. All players are meant to take a role of one Pemberton University residents and faculty.


Book has six chapters that explain everything from character creation and sequence of play to scene framing and resolving of the conflicts. The conflicts are encouraged and the players are instructed to use their imagination within the bounds they set for themselves. The whole game is meant to be played trough six Events during which every player has a chance to construct the scene to benefit his reputation. Players bet their reputation points on the outcomes and winner is determined by roll of the die. Players are supposed to play the scenes according to the results.

Plot revolves around an ancient life form that is the The Shab-al-Hiri Roach – ” a soul-eating telepathic insect bent on destroying the human civilization.” Players can choose to let it control them willingly which will give them more chances to come on top in conflicts with other players. To win the game after the last Event players need to find a way to have the most reputation and be free of the Shab-al-Hiri Roach’s influence.


I did not try this game yet. What I did not like about it is how much it reminds me of improvisation groups and actor practice groups. Something about it in the end did not sit well with me and I did not find the theme inspiring enough. Games like this one by my experience, tend to balance mostly on the motivations and involvement of the participating players. I was also not very impressed with the quality of the cards provided with the book. The game won a Kenneth Hite’s 2006 Outie Award for its uniqueness. I’m glad I got to read trough it for my TBR Jar Draw reading challenge.


TBR Jar Draw January 2018


After finishing my December TBR Jar Draw I decided to keep up with challenging myself with reading more books I already own. I kept both the jar with the titles that were not read adding a few new ones and the plastic cube I put all the titles I read. It filled out nicely and I hope to continue with the more pleasant reading this year. For more info on my TBR Jar Draw 2017 you can check HERE.

Having finished with The Scoundrel Takes a Bride (Regency Rogues #5) by Stepfanie Sloane I posted the short review and my thoughts on it which you can find HERE.

The two draws I have not read are going back in the jar:

# Angel Souls and Devil Hearts (Shadow Saga #2) by Christopher Golden

# Carniepunk by Rachel Caine and various authors

My three new TBR Jar draws are as follows:


1# The Ship of the Dead (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #3) by Rick Riordan

This is one of the books I bought in November last year. While it is one of the most anticipated books from last year for me I still did not read it. With it being the book I bought late in the 2017. I have just added it to the TBR Jar this year. I hope to get to it soon and will have to check the reading order with The Trials of Apollo series. I am not sure do I need to read one more book before it :/


2# The Shab-al-Hiri Roach by Jason Morningstar

This book is one of those odities I stumbled on while I was browsing one of my favorite online boardgame stores. It is actualy a role playing game book for a dark comedy setting. I found it on sale and just had to get it. I look forward to reading trough it. I have never read or played anything by this author so it all adds to the mystery. With the book comes a set of playing cards as well. I am definitely leaning toward this choice!


3# Dhampir (The Saga of the Noble Dead series #1) by Barb and J.C. Hendee

This is one of the books I bought quite a while ago but never really gotten to reading it. I have first three books from this book series. While I generaly like the theme of vampires, the catchphrase “A mix of The Lord of the Rings and Buffy the Vampire Slayer” brings out some mixed feelings on this book. I reamin intrigued and a little bit apprehensive.

Book Choices Header

My book choices for January are quite interesting. I keep being surprised by the books I pull out of the TBR Jar AND that alone is a clear proof I need to keep up with this challenge. Who knows what I might find sitting on my bookshelves?