Reindeer Readathon 2020 – Reading experience and thoughts

One of the most fun and engaging reading challenges I participated in 2020. was Reindeer Readathon in December. There were five teams and there were interesting ways to participate trough live reading videos and discussions. My team was called Candy Cane! For all those interested in more detail here is the link for the main announcement HERE. In the end my team finished in the golden middle out of all five teams and some prizes were dealt to the luckiest participants!

Here are the books I read for this reading challenge and how I liked them:

DASHER – 15 PTS – A book with one word title

Pride (Shifters #3) by Rachel Vincent ★★★★★

There were so many options for one word title books on my shelves I was surprised by so many different choices to choose from. I loved the excuse to continue reading this cute urban fantasy book series. The main character is very much young adult material but the rest of the content is more for the adult audience. I like the tone and the pace of the book and how the fantasy elements were set into the world described. This was one of the first books I read in December and made for a great start of the months.

DANCER – 10 PTS – A companion novel or a sequel (as in a dancing partner)

Prey (Shifters #4) by Rachel Vincent ★★★★★

I could not resist the option to continue this book series right away. I have great appreciation for the flawed main character. So far, I am very pleased with how the plot progresses in a series as a whole. This book series is evolving into quite a guilty pleasure and a joy to read.

PRANCER – 15 PTS – A book with a map in it

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wicked Years #1) by Gregory Maguire ★★★

This was one of the books I read last in the month. I did not find many options for a book with a map on my bookshelves that I have not read already or recently. I was mesmerized with all the green on the cover and pages. I was in a hurry and the pacing of the narrative was good enough. What I did not like were some rather crude descriptions that were contrasted with religious symbols. The book at times felt flat and not that enjoyable to read. With all that being said I am still curious about the musical version of it and how much of the book base material managed to fit into it?

VIXEN – 25/20 PTS – A book with a fox on the cover. (Alternatively, a strong female lead)

Narcissus in Chains (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #10) by Laurell K. Hamilton ★★★★

I had to push this book in my reading schedule regardless of the many other books I had already on my TBR for December. I could not find a book that fit the fox prompt on my bookshelves so I chose to go with strong female lead instead. This book is a part of my second reading trough the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book series. It is one of my favorite bookish haunts and favorite reading material. There are plenty of books to enjoy, lots of characters to love and hate and more than a few plot points to dwell on. This particular book seems to be the tipping point for many other readers and I did enjoy being reminded of how some characters were introduced and how they evolved in this book as well!

COMET – 30 PTS – A book you find intimidating

The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu  ★★★

I found this book intimidating because of its writing style and a rather long introduction I could not get much past the first time I tried reading this book. I have a strong appreciation for books written in times removed from this we live in and books that describe cultures different than those I am closely familiar with. I was shook by some parts of this book for the explicit content that was only hinted at. I had trouble with all those things that are generally morally dubious I kept reading about. I am not a squeamish reader but this book caught off guard. I really cant pint point the things that made me react this way without revealing and spoiling too much of the plot.

CUPID – 10 PTS – Read a genre that you love

Naked City by Ellen Datlow (Editor) ★★★★

My favorite genre is urban fantasy and choosing a short story collection for this prompt was a pleasure! It is only after I started reading this book that I have realized that I have three books I choose to read for different challenge prompts that are 500+ pages long. Getting only 10 points for a book that is this long seemed a bit unfair but I chose no to dwell on it. In the end this book turned out to be one of the few book I made a review on last year. You can check it out HERE.

DONNER – 15 PTS – A book with something hidden inside (under the dust jacket, chapter heads, art etc.)

Saga (Collected Editions) #7-9 by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples ★★★★★

Hidden content for this one were many interesting interviews and art pages after the story. This ended up being the best book I read in December. I was mind blown by the story plot twists and curves. The art of this graphic novel seemed much more clear and straight forward than ever before!

BLITZEN – 20 PTS – A book with some sort of struggle (internal struggle, war, battle etc)

The Burning Maze (The Trials of Apollo #3) by Rick Riordan ★★★★

Each book of this book series describes a battle and overcoming of the obstacles the main characters face. When I first started on this book series I struggled with the main narrator since I was used to reading point of views of many different characters that came before in the other book series connected with this one. This change of pace slowed me down quite a bit until I could get used to the new narrator.

RUDOLPH – 20 PTS – A book where the main character doesn’t seem to fit in (outsider, misfit)

The Tyrant’s Tomb (The Trials of Apollo #4) by Rick Riordan ★★★★

In continuation of the previous book I decided to expand on the reading about a character that most definitely stands out – a fallen god Apollo punished into puny mortal form. I find most of Rick Riordan books informative and full of interesting historical and cultural references I never managed to pick up in school. The narrator started to seem much more endearing in this book and I enjoyed reading it! While I am divided on most covers between US and UK editions of these books I must admit that this UK edition cover looks cool in a very satisfying manner!

After reading all of the above nine books for the mentioned prompts I turned to the possibility of earning more points for my team Candy Cane. I had three books over 500 pages long to choose from and I decided to use Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wicked Years #1) by Gregory Maguire as my entrance for 15 extra points. I did not think I would manage to get the extra book for Sleighing it but in the end I did it!

Sleighing it! – 50 PTS – A redo of: RUDOLPH A book where the main character doesn’t seem to fit in (outsider, misfit)

The Color of Magic (Discworld #1) by Terry Pratchett ★★★

I choose to read this book for another reading challenge in December and when I started it I realized it could have been used for a RUDOLPH prompt. Since it was the last book I read in December and all other books I had for Reindeer Readathon have been finished I was very happy to add it for this last prompt worth 50 points! There are two main characters and both seemed to be out of place wherever they go. So this seemed very fitting indeed!

These are all the books I read for Reindeer Readathon 2020. Participating in the reading challenge was an interesting experience. I would have loved to be able to engage with other readers from my team but since most people that participated were not in my time zone I ended up watching recordings of live videos and exchanging messages in group chat on Instagram. I was happy with my team leader Amanda and how she handled things for our team. She was one of the most active team members during the reading challenge. You can give her some love on her YouTube channel HERE.

Bookopoly TBR game – December 2020 Experience

Last Bookopoly rolls for December 2020 left me with seven books I got to read along with a whole bunch of books I had left for the last month of the year! Usually I get five rolls and five books but since for December I was especially lucky I got two double rolls and had to add two more books to the pile! As it turned out I managed to read six out of seven books from this pile and barely started the seventh by the last day of the month. On the picture above there are five books I own from my bookshelves and the two missing I have read in digital format. I will not count the book I only started reading as a fail since I am in the middle of reading it and plan to finish it soon. Here is how I did with my December Bookopoly TBR picks!

Prompt: Becca and the Books Recommendation

Book: Howl’s Moving Castle (Howl’s Moving Castle #1) by Diana Wynne Jones ★★★

I got lucky with this one since it was the book I had to read for my book club in December as well! I was very happy to find it as one of the books that Becca recommended in one of her videos. This might be a good time to remind you all how our first Bookopoly TBR game started in September 2020 when Becca and the Books had her Bookopoly TBR game presented as a reading challenge. If you would like to learn more you can check the announcement video HERE and show her channel some love!

Prompt: Fire on the Cover

Book: The Color of Magic (Discworld #1) by Terry Pratchett ★★★

This was the prompt that gave me the most headache since I could not fit any of the books I had on my other lists. I remembered to check with the books I was thinking about suggesting for my book club to read and finally stumbled on this one. I must admit I kinda ran trough the book and the speed might have something to do with my rating of this book. I could not find many thing to keep me emotionally connected with this book and the sharp pace and change of scenery made my reading a blur sometimes. There were moments of the book I really liked but they were few and far between. I will probably stop trying to promote this book for my book club since I could not find enough material for the book club discussion my friends from my reading group are used to. Still I’m glad to have finally read this book.

Prompt: Sad Book

Book: Saga (Collected Editions) #7-9 by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples ★★★★★

This is the prompt that gives me the most grief from all the spaces on the Bookopoly board. This time I managed to pair it with the hardcover collected edition of Saga graphic novel. This ended up being the best reading experience for December 2020! I love the epic and tragic moments of this graphic novel and it’s head spinning story. I will probably have to reread all nine volumes until I get to read next edition since it will be probably around two years at least until it comes out! Awesome story and it made a frustrating prompt a lot easier to endure!

Prompt: Most recent purchase

Book: The Tower of Nero (The Trials of Apollo #5) by Rick Riordan ★★★★★

This book gave me a chance to finish a book series that was a part of one of the favorite book universes in the last couple of years. I got to read two more books for this book series in December and this was a sugar on top of it all. I thought the ending a bit sappy but mostly rewarding and it gave me such nice feel good moments while I was reading. While I was a bit sceptic from the first book I am glad to have read the whole book series because for me it was the well rounded godly but not too godly point of view to the world of Percy Jackson that started a whole fifteen years earlier with The Lightning Thief. Did I mention that I can’t wait to see the new Disney+ TV series?

Prompt: Chance card

Book: The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu ★★★

I have tried reading this book once before and did not manage to get farther than the introduction. To be fair, introduction is rather long and not easy to read trough but still… I did not know what to expect from this book. I even used it for one other reading challenge in December as a “book that intimidates me”. Not surprising the narrative was a bit harder to get used to due to the whole millennium has past since the book was written. What surprised me was the similarities I did not expect to find in everyday life of Japanese nobles from one thousand years ago and lives of the rich and popular which we get to read about in news feeds and watch on modern media outlets. Some of the more intricate details were left to the imagination and of the reader and were they not this would have been to explicit to read. I am still at odds about what to think about this book.

Prompt: E-book or Audio book

Book: Taken by The Hunger (Blood Thirst Affair #1) by Harnet Spade ★

Since I got to read the most enjoyable book for Bookopoly in December it is only fair to get to read the least enjoyable book as well! This book was a mess. The plot was chaotic and it mostly described sex crazed female heroine running from one male character to the next without actually having any real sex. This was the first book in a long time I wanted to DNF. Since it was a rather short Kindle freebie I felt ridiculous to do so. I am not sorry for reading it since it gave me something to think about on the things I can value in the books and I believe that reading bad books is necessary for any reader’s reading experience and growth.

Prompt: Chance card

Book: Elminster: The Making of a Mage (Forgotten Realms: Elminster #1) by Ed Greenwood

Last but not least book I got to read and another Chance card prompt – I am running out of these a lot faster than I anticipated! This is the book I have only started on and I am still reading it. So far it is not what I expected it to be. I am enjoying Forgotten Realms related bits and I am interested in how this great mage comes into being because so far his path is much more different than thought it would be. I like not getting what I expected in this case! I hope to finish it soon so I can start on one of the books I got for January 2021.

Bookopoly TBR game – November and December 2020

After much thought on trying to accommodate my personal reading goals for this year and squeeze those books in as much as possible reading challenges by the end of the year I decided to give Bookopoly TBR game a chance for December as well. The reason I made this decision is that I was very happy and pleased with how my Bookopoly TBR game went smoothly in November. I managed to finish all of my assigned books in the first half of the month!

Naturally this left me with more time on my hands than I anticipated and I started getting these crazy ideas instead of reading the books I picked for my personal reading challenge…

Here are the books that made the first half of November a smooth reading experience:

Prompt: Nature on the Cover

Book: The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux ★★

This was one of the books for my personal reading challenge for the year. It’s a Croatian translation of a not so popular classic. This book turned out one of the less enjoyable books for me in November. I could clearly read the mistakes in translation and editing and it made me sad since the story and the idea had so much more to offer. I can’t help but think that if it were written today with the help of a good editor it would have been so much better. I liked the idea and the mystery of the story but it was hard to keep up with everything and I did not like authors writing style at all…

Prompt: Chance card

Book: The Scent of Shadows (Signs of the Zodiac #1) by Vicki Pettersson ★★★★

This is the only book that was not a part of my personal reading challenge for this year that got included into Bookopoly TBR game in November since it gave me no choice to pick something else. I’ve had this book and a few other in the series for years now and I love urban fantasy. It was different in a way that included character types that are original instead of the usual vampires, shifters and such. What impressed me the most is that the main character is a survivor and I like to read about survivors. The Zodiac theme was at first a bit cringey and then I got used to it. Sadly the zodiac signs that the story is centered at don’t make me invested, otherwise I would have rated it with five stars probably!

Prompt: TBR Veteran

Book: The Borders of Infinity (Vorkosigan Saga #5.3) by Lois McMaster Bujold ★★★★★

This book is one of the rare favorites I own in Croatian translation that I am happy about. It was a part of my personal reading challenge and I would like to read more of the series anyway. It is also rare for me to enjoy science fiction this much but the characters are great to read about and the writing style keeps the reader on its toes. It is the kind of book series I enjoy and have surprisingly little problems getting into even after longer periods of time.

Prompt: Disability representation

Book: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon ★★★★

This was the first book I read in November and it was another from my personal challenge for the year pile. The main character is a teenage boy with autism. I loved how easily some things I did not know about autism were explained and put to paper. I plan to vote for this book to be read in by book club group and I wish to discuss it with others for more insight into things I have probably missed. The mystery part of the story was interesting and the human part of it was very relatable and realistic.

Prompt: Young Adult

Book: Wayward Son (Simon Snow #2) by Rainbow Rowell ★★★★★

Out of the books from this list this one made me most apprehensive to start reading. I wanted to like it and was scared I would be let down. I am so glad I loved it. The change of POVs in the book was done in such a way that it let the reader get the most from each scene. I learned to appreciate each character more in this way. The start of the book was angsty and it matched with my mood about the book. I am torn about waiting for the next book of the series and can’t wait for it!

My friend talked me into playing the game for December a little earlier than usual and I had some time thinking trough and choosing the books for my new prompts. This is the first time I rolled a double and I got not one but two double rolls and the were both snake eyes! Our positions on the board are now mostly on the totally opposite sides since my rolls tend to be a bit lower than hers and she got more doubles in total. This December instead of five books from five rolls I got seven rolls and seven books!

My first roll was my first double ever since I started this TBR game. It was double ones. Also my first time I landed on a Becca and the Books recommendation tile. I could not find any list that included all her recommendations so far so I started going trough some of her video recommendations trough the months and different topics. I decided on Howl’s Moving Castle (Howl’s Moving Castle #1) by Diana Wynne Jones from her Best Books of 2019 video which you can check out HERE. I choose this book in particular because it is my book club reading choice for December as well! I hope to watch the anime after I read the book and before our book club meeting.

My next roll got me to the most problematic prompt for this month – Fire on the Cover. I am trying to include books I have on my personal reading challenge for the year but no matter how hard I tried I could not find anything resembling fire enough to pass as a valid prompt choice. I turned to some lists of books I was talking about reading in my book club and this book stood out: The Color of Magic (Discworld #1) by Terry Pratchett. It is a book that I consider a classic of the genre and one I would very much like to read so I can fill in the popular culture blanks I feel I get when I’m confronted with references to Discworld and Terry Pratchett in general. I’m reading the digital version and put the cover of the same edition in color so that the torch in the center is not missed as fire for my prompt!

This is the second time I landed on the “Sad Book” prompt and I am starting to really consider removing this prompt from the game board. I am not too keen on reading sad books in particular I cry at those not labelled as sad books enough as it is. After consulting my other reading challenge list I settled on the graphic novel: Saga (Collected Editions) #7-9 by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples. I short perusing the book got me some almost spoiler information that left me distraught and made me remember how dramatic the story really gets in these graphic novels.

Next roll was the highest I got in a while and got me on the “Most recent purchase” tile. I had few options from my most recent Book haul post which you can check out HERE. In the end I choose The Tower of Nero (The Trials of Apollo #5) by Rick Riordan. As the last book of the longtime favorite series and a book that goes well with my other reading challenge I decided it would fit nicely and make me feel very good about finishing a book series by the end of the year as well.

My next roll got me to one of those non-flexible prompts – Chance cards again. I pulled out another book that is not on my other reading list for this year: The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu. It is one of the oldest books on my TBR by date of publication since it was made over one thousand years ago and it is frankly rather intimidating book for me. I tried reading it once before but had to let it go for some other time. I hope I will have better luck with it this time around.

First extra roll ever landed me on another Audio or E-Book prompt. I reserve these prompts for Kindle freebies to ensure that at least some of the many new authors and books I browse on Kindle lists of freebies get read by me. This time I shamelessly decided on a urban fantasy book for mature audiences – Taken by The Hunger (Blood Thirst Affair #1) by Harnet Spade. It is a slightly older Kindle freebie and I am going to let myself be surprised by it.

My last extra roll landed me on another Chance card tile. At this rate I will be out of my Chance card since I’ve pulled almost one third of them already ( 5 out of 16). Another non-flexible pick I can’t combine with my personal reading challenge for this year. This time I got Elminster: The Making of a Mage (Forgotten Realms: Elminster #1) by Ed Greenwood. It is one of the few book series from my bookshelves that I am collecting and haven’t even started reading yet.

This makes a total of seven books added for my December reading enjoyment. Five of the books are the books I own and from my own physical bookshelves and two are in the digital form. Only three of them are part of some other reading challenge or assignment. This leaves me with much more reading material for December than I anticipated. What will I do?

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!

Medieval-A-Thon Reading Challenge – Experience and thoughts

In the month of May I originally wanted to relax a little after the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon in April. That all changed when I spotted this challenge. You can see my first post where I choose the books and decided to participate a whole week later – HERE.

My goal for this challenge was to become an Empress and in order to do that I had to read at least seven books in May. The story of a a great Empress started with an awesome outfit to fight dragons with so I can impress the people before I cant truly become their leader!

First book I’ve read for this challenge answered to the prompt –

Dragon on the cover!

The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo, #2) by Rick Riordan ★★★★

This was a friendly dragon and while its role in this book was not so big I truly enjoyed reading about it! Festus, whose name translates to “Happy” is an automaton bronze dragon originally created by the children of Hephastus. I will not make spoilers about what happens to Festus in this book but I will just say that my journey to become an Empress has been more amazing since I read about him! I had some trouble in starting to read this book and this reading challenge helped me with it! With this positive energy my quest to become an Empress began!

Second book I’ve read for this challenge helped me not to act like a snob and be more humble – the prompt for this book was

to read a book under 300 pages!

Incubus Dreaming (The Incubus, #2) by A. H. Lee ★★★★★

This was the best book I’ve read in May! It is the third book in a trilogy and the fact that I finished the book series was an added bonus of positive energy as well. While somebody else would probably use this prompt to take it easy I choose a book that just barely fits the requirement as it has 299 pages total by Kindle account! My goal in sight and my standards still set high I moved on to the next book.

The third book I read for this challenge allowed me to grab some weapon training

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The Fates Divide (Carve the Mark, #2) by Veronica Roth ★★★

The first time I saw this challenge I knew I wanted these weapons! Training to fight with two weapons at once is as hard as reading a book that is part some of your not favorite genre. This book has been on my TBR plan for a very long time and the first book I read years ago. Sci Fi nature of this book as well as some rich cultural and original details made it harder to read but the reward of finishing another book series I was logging around for a long time was as rewarding as getting those two daggers and learning how to use them properly!

Next book brought me some companionship in the form of my favorite animal and by the prompt

A book that begins with a “C”

Carry On (Simon Snow, #1) by Rainbow Rowell ★★★★

I knew I was going to like this book and I wanted to like it! I was looking for an excuse to add this book to my reading and had several choices for it. Pairing it with a cat companion fit nicely. Cats are perfect companions for an Empress – they hint at luxury but are very resourceful and independent as well. Every household can find cat useful and these animals are fiercely loyal and territorial which are the atributes I hold very important.

Book I decided to read next added some royal wardrobe I could really shine in and the prompt was

A shiny book

The Testament of Loki (Loki #2) by Joanne M. Harris ★★

This shiny book was another one from my bookshelf that was weighing on me to finish a book series. As it turned out I was more of a fighter than a parading ruler or a dancer at a ball. The book did not blew me away – it was just OK. A shiny book and a shiny outfit were just OK but did not speak to me the way some other books or outfits did.

An Empress in the making that did not enjoy her shiny dresses has turned again to more unladylike ventures by acquiring her own horse to travel her kingdom and the reading prompt for this one was

A tall hardcover

Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan, John Rocco ★★★★

I was a bit miffed by the prompt so I decided to get the biggest hardcover book I had on my bookshelves other than an encyclopedia. At first I was very happy with my choice. But as it turns out with serious rulers and kingdoms some things are not as easy as they look! This book proved very hard to read since it was too heavy to hold for longer periods of time and its bulkiness proved a problem. Traveling a kingdom did not prove to be an easy picnic either.

This next book proves that friends can be found in the unlikliest of places as I befriended a goat! The prompt for this one was

A book high on my bookshelf

Death of a Darklord (Ravenloft #13) by Laurell K. Hamilton ★★★

This prompt was a bit confusing for me at first. I reached out to the top of my bookshelf and found one book on it that I did not read while all the rest I have at least partially read! The prompt was perfect and I was actually wondering if this could be maybe a scary book prompt as well. Befriending a goat was as interesting experience as reading this book – not exactly good or bad, just a little different!

With all my seven books read I have reached a status of an Empress with three different outfits: one a plate of armor for battle, one casual suit for adventuring and mingling with normal people and one shiny severe dress for formal functions! I got a perfect cat companion that compliments my personality and learned to ride a horse while trained to fight with two weapons to a satisfactory degree. And last but not least I have befriended a goat on my travels through the kingdom. With the bonus of three more books I have read in May I managed to befriend a Knight to accompany me on my journey of being a good Empress! In the last five days of the challenge I read more than 700 pages which was enough to repel any outside forces that wanted to mess with my empire!

May your own stories be as interesting as was mine and I hope to participate in this challenge next year as well!

May Book Wrap Up 2020

Monthly reading review – May 2020

This May I have read:

The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo #2) by Rick Riordan ★★★★

Incubus Dreaming (The Incubus, #2) by A. H. Lee ★★★★★

Indiscretions (Scandalous Seductions #2) by Madelynne Ellis ★★★★

The Testament of Loki (Loki #2) by Joanne M. Harris ★★

The Fates Divide (Carve the Mark, #2) by Veronica Roth ★★★

Death of a Darklord (Ravenloft #13) by Laurell K. Hamilton ★★★

A Most Unsuitable Earl (Marriage By Scandal #2) by Ruth Ann Nordin ★★★★

Carry On (Simon Snow, #1) by Rainbow Rowell ★★★★

Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan, John Rocco ★★★★

Cable Volume 1: Shining Path by David Tischman, Igor Kordej ★★

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

This month I have read ten books altogether. Three were in digital form and the other seven can be seen on the picture above. I am happy to keep my reading in double digits!

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

There were a lot of good books I read in May but the best for me was Incubus Dreaming (The Incubus, #2) by A. H. Lee. This kind of blend of traditional fantasy setting and some urban elements matched very well with erotica. I wish I could find more books like this one. Anything that is mainstream fantasy is mostly PG13 and most of all who have erotic elements turn out to be nothing but smut written by fanfiction type writers who are annoyed by the lack of sex in the fantasy books in general. This book has it all I and I loved that!

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

There were two books this May that kinda fell flat for me: The Testament of Loki (Loki #2) by Joanne M. Harris and Cable Volume 1: Shining Path by David Tischman, Igor Kordej. For The Testament of Loki I just could not seem to find a character that I could connect with. Loki seemed a bit watered down to me and the rest of the characters could have used a bit more backstory and depth for me to start caring and get myself more immersed into the story. The ending of the book seemed a bit psychedelic and kinda bland at the same time. The whole book in general seemed like an interlude to something else and not very good on it’s own. And in case of Cable Volume 1: Shining Path the story was good. I had some problems with following all the action. I kept feeling like I was missing something and had to catch up. I have some issues the artwork. Kordej’s works are very recognizable with chunky characters and muscles. What bugged me the most was actually the coloring and I really did not like how it looked with illustrators firm and dark lines.

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

For the month of May I decided to try out the Medieval-A-Thon reading challenge for the first time – you can check out my original post for it HERE. I will write a more detailed post about my experience with it soon but it is safe to say I am happy with how it all went.

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

I am actually very pleased with the reading I have done in finishing and continuing some book series in May! I finished two book series and one of those was a long time coming. I finally made some progress with The Trials of Apollo book series and I can hope to get to the next book soonish as well. I started out one new book series I plan to continue and that would be Simon Snow by Rainbow Rowell.

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

Instead of the books I would recommend the author Rainbow Rowell for her quirky yet relatable writing style and a reading challenge as creative as Medieval-A-Thon. I loved little updates on Instagram and opportunities for some extra rewards and story plots to further my reading!

Final thoughts on May 2020 reading

At first I thought May was going to be a slow reading month after doing the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon in April but after finding Medieval-A-Thon reading challenge I was hooked and a bit scared how will I manage it since I started a week later. I managed to exceed all my expectation and have fun reading some books that were on my TBR for a very long time. I’m glad for challenging myself this way. Only thing that is curbing my enthusiasm right now is that I made zero progress with my book club assignment which is due next week.

Looking forward to a fun a and more relaxed reading in June 🙂

Reading Challenges update May

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Lately I’m keeping myself busy by trying out some booktube inspired challenges. In April I tried O.W.L.s Magical Readathon for the first time and this month I am trying Medieval-A-Thon. I kinda like the prompts that inspire me to search trough my own bookshelves to find the books that fit these challenges. I have several reading challenges of my own that serve a purpose of making me read the books I already own. I’m making an effort to fit books across several challenges at once.

Here are the reading challenges I am trying out at the moment:

TBR Jar Draw

This is my personal reading challenge I started out years ago. In the beginning the goal was to try and read one book I own a month. There were some bumps on the way and sometimes I stretched it longer than one month.The idea was to give myself some options because I am very bad at reading something because it is mandatory. I got a decorative jar and wrote down the titles of books I own and and are on my To-Be-Read pile on little pieces of paper which I then folded and put into the jar. I pull out three titles and chose one to read as a next book. In March I choose to read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J. K. Rowling and two other titles went back in the Jar ( see HERE for more info). After that I pulled the next three titles in April and this made my last three titles from the Jar:

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1 # The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo, #2) by Rick Riordan

This book was already on my O.W.L.s Magical Readathon and did not get read for it. I managed to include it into the Medieval-A-Thon in May and already finished it!

2 # The Wolf Gift (The Wolf Gift Chronicles #1) by Anne Rice

When I was younger I had the idea I wanted to read more books by Anne Rice so I started collecting them. Now I have full shelf of them even though I still miss some of her works and have read only a few. I like the idea still but making it reality is something different still.

3 # Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe

This was one of the books I got on bargain sale while I was harbouring big dreams of reading more classics and all the books I managed to avoid reading during school. I have a whole shelf of those books as well!

Since the The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo, #2) by Rick Riordan was already on some other reading lists anyway I read it and pulled three new titles from the Jar for May.

My three new TBR Jar draw are:

1 # Into the Woods: Tales from the Hollows and Beyond (The Hollows Short stories) by Kim Harrison

I used to love The Hollows series. Until I read the last book and got real frustrated by it. I got this book just before all that and was happy to have found it. It is the last book related to The Hollows book series I own and have not read. I’m not particulary motivated to grab it and start reading since I’m still feeling bad for not enjoying the last book of the series – you can check out my review for it HERE.

2 # The Warden (Chronicles of Barsetshire #1) by Anthony Trollope

Another of the books I got really cheap and liked it since it was a classic. I keep mistaking this book with some others and I’m still liking the idea of reading it.

3Shining Path: Cable Volume 1 by David Tischman, Igor Kordej

I got this graphic novel as a present for my boyfriend. It was just before the second Deadpool movie was about to come out and the character of Cable was about to be introduced to the big screen. I’m still curious about the character enough to read it.

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Medieval-A-Thon reading challenge

I did not plan on doing another intensive reading challenge right after O.W.L.s Magical Readathon last month. But this reading challenge got me really excited. I started it about a week later and I’m kinda slow going trough it right now.

Here is a list of the books I’ve chosen for this reading challenge:

✔  Dragon on the cover

The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo, #2) by Rick Riordan

✔  A book under 300 pages

Incubus Dreaming (The Incubus, #2) by A. H. Lee

A shiny book

The Testament of Loki (Loki #2) by Joanne M. Harris

Reading now – Start or finish a duology

The Fates Divide (Carve the Mark, #2) by Veronica Roth

A book high on my bookshelf

Death of a Darklord (Ravenloft #13) by Laurell K. Hamilton

A book that begins with a “C”

Carry On (Simon Snow, #1) by Rainbow Rowell

Reading now – A tall hardcover

Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan, John Rocco

You can check out my original post on this challenge HERE.

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My reading list for 2020

Last but not least is my ongoing TBR for 2020. These are all books from my shelves and these are all books I expect to enjoy one way or another. I’m not reading them in any particular order but letting myself enjoy them as the mood strikes me or as the case may be – as they fit into some other more immediate book challenge! For now I have read 12/30 books from this challenge and have another three planned for this month! You can check out the original post for this challenge HERE.

✔ Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1) by Leigh Bardugo
✔ Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2) by Leigh Bardugo
The Fates Divide (Carve the Mark, #2) by Veronica Roth
Prey (Shifters, #4) by Rachel Vincent
Carniepunk by Rachel Caine (editor)
✔ The Witch With No Name (The Hollows, #13) by Kim Harrison
Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy by Ellen Datlow (editor)
✔ The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1) by Holly Black
✔ The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2) by Holly Black
Death of a Darklord (Ravenloft #13) by Laurell K. Hamilton
Carry On (Simon Snow, #1) by Rainbow Rowell
Wayward Son (Simon Snow, #2) by Rainbow Rowell
✔ The Battle of the Labyrinth: The Graphic Novel (Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Graphic Novels, #4) by by Robert Venditti, Rick Riordan
✔ Black Butler, Vol. 3 by Yana Toboso
✔ Kitchen Princess Omnibus, Vol. 3 (Kitchen Princess, #5-7) by Natsumi Ando
Saga: Book Three by Brian K. Vaughan
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wicked Years #1) by Gregory Maguire
✔ Serpent’s Kiss (Elder Races, #3) by Thea Harrison
✔ Djevojka iz noćnih mora (Anna #2) by Kendare Blake ( Girl of Nightmares )
MOR – Plodovi osvete by Josip Kralik
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Balzac i kineska mala krojačica by Dai Sijie ( Balzac et la Petite Tailleuse chinoise)
Neobičan događaj sa psom u noći by Mark Haddon ( The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time)
The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
The Borders of Infinity (Vorkosigan Saga #5.3) by Lois McMaster Bujold
✔ The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo, #2) by Rick Riordan
The Burning Maze (The Trials of Apollo #3) by Rick Riordan
The Tyrant’s Tomb (The Trials of Apollo #4) by Rick Riordan
Hellboy, Volume 1: Seed of Destruction and Wake the Devil by Mike Mignola
✔ The Darkness: Darkness/ Batman & Darkness/ Superman 20th Anniversary Collection by Garth Ennis, Jeph Loeb, Ron Marz, Scott Lobdell, Marc Silvestri

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Some of these challenges inspired me to try them out next year as well and hopefully some friends might join me!

Medieval-A-Thon Reading Challenge in May

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After I finished O.W.L.s Magical Readathon in April I thought I could use a break and some slower book reading time.

Aaaaand then I found THIS video!

The video was a nice surprise and it gave me a big shot of reading energy for May. I actually jumped about glancing at my bookshelves looking for books that fit this challenge. I love the visual format of the prompts! Here they are:

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This first picture shows the amount of books you need to read to get the status you want. The highest number of seven books is motivating and doable for me.

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Just like you would customize your character in a game you get to pick out your wardrobe by using the prompts for the books. The wardrobe choices are simple and fit the medieval theme nicely.  Seeing a prompt “A pristine book” made me intrigued. The approval of getting freaky when choosing the best looking copy of the book in a bookstore made me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside.

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To keep with the times there is a selection of prompts that provide you with weapons. As soon as I saw them I knew which ones I wanted even though the completionist in me wanted them all! Again the prompts are motivating and interesting. I wanted some more clarification on the “A heavy book” prompt though and decided to settle on 500+ pages book for that one.

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The part of choosing one’s companions was very interesting to me and the most problematic. I am glad I’m not a dog person since I don’t really have a buddy to read books with anyway. Some of the prompts I needed clarification for. “A book high on my bookshelf” refers to a book that is on top of the TBR list or is stored on the highest shelf you have at home or in the library. “A tall hardcover” is simply a big format book in hardcover binding.

At first glance these are the books and prompts I picked out right away. First three books are wardrobe related prompts. The fourth book is weapon related prompt. And last three books are companion related!

Dragon on the cover 

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The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo, #2) by Rick Riordan

This book I just missed out on the April challenge and it is a great opportunity to get myself to read it! The dragon on the cover is mechanical but it is still a dragon! The outfit this prompt comes with is cool looking and I like it.

 

A book under 300 pages

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Incubus Dreaming (The Incubus, #2) by A. H. Lee

This is the third and final book in the series and I was meaning to finish it soon anyway. I was looking for a prompt to pair it with and finding out it has 299 pages made it perfect for this prompt. The outfit for this prompt are okay for a working clothes when going undercover or something.

 

A shiny book

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The Testament of Loki (Loki #2) by Joanne M. Harris

For this prompt I had a few options and then I decided to go with this one. The cover has some nice shiny decorations and I really like the design. I read the first book not that long ago and I liked it enough to push this book higher on my TBR list. I really love the outfit for this prompt it looks severe and cool and I kinda like that right now.

 

Start or finish a duology

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The Fates Divide (Carve the Mark, #2) by Veronica Roth

It has been a really long time since I’ve read the first book of this duology! When I got the perfect prompt to include this book I could not stop grinning! I was apprehensive about reading this book because I feel unsure if I will be able to get into it since too much time has passed between now and the first book. This is my only weapon prompt and it is for the dual wielding swords! I knew I wanted them right away.

 

A book high on my bookshelf

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Death of a Darklord (Ravenloft #13) by Laurell K. Hamilton

This book sits atop of my bookshelf and it is one of the rare unread books there. I am fascinated by Ravenloft setting and I love other book series by this author. I’m kinda scared what this book will be like. As a prompt for the companion a goat was not my first choice but I know how fierce those animals are!

 

A book that begins with a “C”

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Carry On (Simon Snow, #1) by Rainbow Rowell

I had few options for this prompt and was pleasantly surprised when I realized just how many options I did have. I could use this book for other prompts as well – I have kinda high expectations from this book and there is a dragon on the cover, also the color on the cover is one of my favorites. I am a cat person so a cat companion prompt was a must!

 

A tall hardcover

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Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan, John Rocco

“A tall hardcover” got me a bit confused. I had to look it up just to be sure but right away I choose one of the biggest hardcover books I had that were not encyclopedia type of a book. My boyfriend got this book for me on one of hist travels and I was super happy about it. The horse companion was a must so I was glad I could cover this one!

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I loved the prompts and how easy it is to pick a doable number of books and prompts to achieve a result. After the books I read in April this challenge looks like a great way to keep my reading numbers up. I had to stop myself at picking only seven books for the title of Empress even though I wanted to add some more books that I could connect to the prompts. This speaks just how delighted with this reading challenge I really am! I am so thankful and happy to the Medieval-A-Thon creator Holly Hearts Books for making such a wonderful reading challenge! Give her YouTube channel some love HERE.

I’m going into this challenge almost a whole week late so wish me luck!

 

O.W.L.s Magical Readathon – Experience and thoughts

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This year I decided to try the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon for the first time. I looked it up last year but it was a bit too confusing for me at the time. After going trough the announcement video ( you can check it out HERE ) I was still a bit lost and like a newbie that I am decided to go all in and see how I will manage. The twelve prompts for the book picking were these:

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There are threads and helpful lists people contribute to and use as a help with picking out books for the prompts. There is also a counter where people can write down and contribute the books they read towards one general goal of the number of books read for the challenge.

I decided not to be a part of it. I was unsure about my picks being appropriate for most of the people that join the challenge since I read a lot of mature content and was planing to read some of it for the challenge as well.

Before I go over my picks let just clarify some things first. My main goal was to use the books I already own or have on the reading lists from other challenges as much as possible. For over a year now most of my reading challenges were focused on reading the books I already own. For this reason I did not use the helpful lists that people offered for the prompts as well. In some of my choices I was also guided by the availability of books on Kindle as freebies as much as possible. In some cases I got lucky and some were a complete dud. Here are the choices I ended up reading for the challenge:

 

Ancient Runes – heart on the cover/or in title

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✔ Kitchen Princess Omnibus, Vol. 3 (Kitchen Princess, #5-7) by Natsumi Ando ★★★★

I was very eager to get this one into the challenge. I did not actually notice the heart on the cover right away. Hint: there are hearts on the cooking glove. I was happy when I managed to pair it with this prompt since this manga is on two of my other reading challenge lists. The manga is and omnibus edition that collects three volumes in one big book. I had to continue and try getting into the story after a few years pause since I rad the last volume. The experience of reading was much better than expected. The story and the characters are easy to understand and the food recipes that accompany every volume are something I still want to try out!

 

Arithmancy – something outside my favorite genres (not romance or fantasy)

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✔ The Vegetarian: A Novel by Han Kang ★★★★

Choosing a book outside my comfort zone that I already own was a task I was not looking forward to. I got this book on my first visit to Bratislava few years ago. I found it interesting and was eager to read a book by a Korean author. When the book was translated into Croatian I got the idea to push it in for my book club reading some time. I still plan to do that after reading it. Some parts of this book were a bit traumatic for me to read since they dealt with animal abuse. Most of it was cultural and generational gaps that I was sensitive to. The book deals with some sensitive topics and provoking thoughts. It has given me a lot to think about and I can’t wait to get the discussion going for it.

 

Astronomy – read the majority of the book at night

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✔ Bite Me (Bitten, #1) by C.C. Wood ★★★

Picking a book for this prompt for me was just about picking a book I can read on my Kindle before sleep. It was a random pick out of free urban fantasy for adults that were available at the time. It was okay book and I can’t pick out anything that was especially great or bad about it. Even now after reading I need some time to remember what it was really about since I read a lot of similar stories in this genre with vampires. I decided not to continue the series and later on I realized there were so many other books I could have picked for this prompt.

Care of Magical Creatures – creature with a beak on the cover

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The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo, #2) by Rick Riordan

I had a lot of issues with finding a book that fits this prompt. What made me frustrated is that in March I was reading a book that would have been perfect for it! After much frustration I ended up picking the book above. I decided to count the Festus mechanical dragon as if he had a beak instead of a snout. In the end this decision did not sit well with me at all and I ended up pushing it to the end of the month and then not reading it at all.

 

Charms – white cover

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✔ Ender’s Game (Ender’s Saga #1) by Orson Scott Card ★★★★

It was a surprise at just how many books with white cover I read this year so far. This book was an excellent choice and I was so proud of picking it out for this prompt. It was a book I wanted to read for a long time and it was also a book I had leftover from another challenge. There was some controversy about the author of this book and some of his opinions but I decided to try really hard not to let those affect me. The book was very good and even though I expected dark themes I think I was prepared for more graphic writing that it was for me. I loved reading the foreword and learning more about the impact of the book as well as reading it.

 

Defence Against the Dark Arts – book set at sea / coast

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✔ Children of the Spider by Imam Baksh  ★★★

I am not a fan of challenge prompts that make me do much research for the book. I like going into the book without knowing too much. At first the prompt for sea setting was daunting. I was relived when I browsed my shelves and found this book. It is a YA book my boyfriend got for me on his trip to Jamaica. The book won a Burt Award for Caribbean Literature. I check just to make sure the setting fits the prompt and added it. Ir would have been a usual YA adventure book if not for the huge cultural chasm that stood before me. I had no issues with reading about poverty and fantastical elements but some real life issues made it hard for me to connect with the book.

 

Divination – random TBR pick

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Balzac i kineska mala krojačica by Dai Sijie ( Balzac et la Petite Tailleuse chinoise)

I never used any apps that generate random numbers. Instead I want over my TBR for this year and made my boyfriend pick a number. Under the number he picked was this book. After reading the Vegetarian I was less motivated to read this book since I have a feeling that it will be one of those hard to process books. I generally love book drama but this book might be too serious for me right now. I ended up not reading it in April but it is still a part of my reading list for this year.

 

Herbology – title starts with the letter M

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✔ Maneuver (Men of Inked: Southside Book 1) by Chelle Bliss ★★★

For this prompt I was searching the Kindle freebie section for any book that starts with letter M. This is the first one that popped out! I don’t find the beefy cover that appealing and it made some of my friends snicker at it. After reading this I was a bit surprised. Even the short description of it hinted at some bad boy main character. The main male character is tattooed and muscled and that’s about all of the “bad boy” it gets. Targeted audience seemed to be single moms, otherwise not a bad read for a Kindle freebie.

 

History of Magic – book featuring witches / wizards

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

I had a few choices for this prompt but since I wanted to start reading my very own Hufflepuff editions I picked up a Harry Potter book for the Harry Potter themed reading challenge. It was only much later that one of my friends informed me that everyone was picking a Harry Potter book for this prompt. There are some great books about witches on my shelves and if I had known I would have made an effort to include one of them instead. Reading this book was a dream. Even little stars around every chapter title gave me butterflies and lots of Hufflepuff details and the very design of the book made me very happy and more intent on collecting the whole series in this edition!

 

Muggle Studies – contemporary

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✔ Fork In The Road by J. Coyne ★★

This is one of the prompts I had most problems with picking out a book for. As it turns out I don’t read or buy many contemporary books. I excluded urban fantasy from contemporary and it left me empty handed mostly. Again this is one of the prompts I turned to Kindle freebies for help. It took me a while to find something that interested me and in the end I settled on this one. Reading this book was like reading someones idea or romanticized memoires. It felt mostly rough around the edges and not really good.

 

Potions – book under 150 pages

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✔ Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry ★★★★

For this prompt I decided to use a very old edition I had since I was little. It also coincides that this book was a reading assignment for my book club in April. I was actually surprised to fit it with this prompt and as shocked to find it was under 150 pages. In the book I found my elementary school notes. Reading them made me feel a bit embarrassed about how naive I was back then. We had an online book discussion and I loved it.

 

Transfiguration – book with shapeshifters

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

I read a lot of books with shapeshifters in general. This is one of my favorite book series and authors. In the sea of urban fantasy books there are a few who can keep my interest and have adult characters with adult issues and lives. It was one of the books I enjoyed the most in April. The main character shifts into a coyote and is married to a werewolf. The series includes lots of supernatural creatures of all kinds and it keeps surprising me in a good way.

My thoughts on my O.W.L.s Magical Readathon experience

First of all I’m glad I did this. Some questions could be asked did I really participate or just used the prompt to get myself another reading challenge to try out. I’m kinda divided and still feel that some of my choices would have been inappropriate for most of the readers who participate in this challenge. I felt weird and at first I wanted to put down some of my books toward the general Readathon book count but in the end I did not do it. I guess I’m not much of a group person even when I want to try to be one.

I will take a month off and then latter in June will try to come up with some books to fit the next part of the challenge for August. I still have to go trough a rather big PDF file that explains how to try out for a profession out of the reading prompts I managed to pass – you can check them out yourself HERE.

I’m pleased with the pile of books I’ve read for this challenge and consider the experience a good one. The fact that I did not manage to read all twelve prompts does not bother me as much as I thought it would. Ten out of twelve is a good score considering I had no direction what so ever.

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O.W.L.s Magical Readathon – April 2020

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This April I have decided to join YouTube Book Roast’s O.W.L.s Magical Readathon for the first time You can check this year’s announcement for more information HERE.

It is a reading challenge she is organizing a third year in a row. I’ve been looking at it before but for someone who is not that much into Harry Potter YouTube fandom I had some trouble understanding how it works. In order to get a better understanding of how it all works and how I’m going to participate I will try to explain how I decided to choose books for the challenge.

First a little bit on this reading challenge as I understand it. There are two Harry Potter thematic reading challenges that are put up a year. First is the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon based on the Ordinary Wizarding Level Examinations from the Harry Potter books. They represent a sort of an entry challenge. There are twelve reading prompts based on the subjects at the Hogwarts school. These prompts are different each year and this year they are loosely based on the third book of the Harry Potter series.

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The reader chooses the prompts from the list and finds a book that fits the the challenge prompt. Later on in August the subjects that were chosen for the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon will be eligible for the N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon and the choosing of a magical career accordingly.

The O.W.L.s Magical Readathon lasts trough whole month of April. As I am new to this and since I am kinda drifting in my reading endeavors AND life in general – I decided to go with all the available prompts in a rather optimistic and arrogant push to read twelve books in April.

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I’ve chosen my books and picked some of them from the from the already existing reading lists I made as much as I could since the twelve books is a lot for me now and I want to keep up with my other reading challenges as much as possible.

Here are my choices:

Ancient Runes – heart on the cover/or in title

Kitchen Princess Omnibus, Vol. 3 (Kitchen Princess, #5-7) by Natsumi Ando

Arithmancy – something outside my favorite genres (not romance or fantasy)

The Vegetarian: A Novel by Han Kang

Astronomy – read the majority of the book at night

Bite Me (Bitten, #1) by C.C. Wood

Care of Magical Creatures – creature with a beak on the cover

The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo, #2) by Rick Riordan

Charms – white cover

Ender’s Game (Ender’s Saga #1) by Orson Scott Card

Defence Against the Dark Arts – book  set at sea / coast

Children of the Spider by Imam Baksh

Divination – random TBR pick

Balzac i kineska mala krojačica by Dai Sijie ( Balzac et la Petite Tailleuse chinoise)

Herbology – title starts with the letter M

Maneuver (Men of Inked: Southside Book 1) by Chelle Bliss

History of Magic – book featuring witches / wizards

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

Muggle Studies – contemporary

Fork In The Road by J. Coyne

Potions – book under 150 pages

Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Transfiguration – book with shapeshifters

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

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Due to explicit nature of some of the books I will probably not enter my choices to the Hogwarts library form that readers use to count their books and participate in the community challenge. For now I’m opting to keep this challenge for myself alone in that regard. As for the N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon I will have to see how I will do with this challenge.

Wish me luck?