Books I desire by Holly Black – June 2021

I use my Book Depository account to keep and organize several different wishlists for the books that strike my fancy or I plan to buy. My book buying plans are mostly smaller book buying sprees since I buy books several times a year by ordering them from Book Depository store. I rarely buy books in Croatian anymore. I started to buy used books in English more often in the last year or so because I have found some cool people who are selling relatively new and interesting books in English through Facebook groups. Few times a year I get into my Kindle and buy some books that are up to 5$ and I find interesting. I have few authors whose work I follow and buy in Kindle format and sometimes I indulge in titles that would be too expensive to buy in other formats. There are no bookshops in my area that sell books in English that I can walk into and buy books on the spot! When I was younger I opted to buy paperback editions mostly since they were easier to store and usually cost less. Lately I have developed the taste for pretty hardcover editions and now I weigh my options carefully before deciding to buy books.

Over a year ago I made a very similar post on this topic – Wishlist Books! You can check it out HERE. From the six books I highlighted in the post I bought five! This sixth book is out of print and it is still on my wish list. In the meantime I discovered a lot of interesting authors I wanted to try out and some new books. I have reservations about reading the books everybody else is raving about at first. I like to check them out at my own pace but when I find an author I go for it in a rather hedonistic manner. Leigh Bardugo and her books are just one more recent example for this.

Holly Black Books!

I did not have a taste or time for reading the same books more than once. Lately I keep coming back to some authors and stories. Holly Black and her stories of faeries have made me want to read the same books over and over. I have gotten her first two books in The Folk of Air trilogy back in 2019. Since then I have been hooked and now I am in the progress of getting the hardcover editions of all three books and getting my hands on other books connected to the same world of faeries. So far I have the third book in hardcover and have ordered the second one as well. Only the first one is missing to have all three in hardcover edition after which I will sell paperback editions. Here are some of the titles I want to get my hands on!

The Modern Faerie Tales : Tithe; Valiant; Ironside by Holly Black

This 800 pages beauty collects three stories set in the world of The Folk of Air I love reading about! I was checking out for the hardcover editions but can’t seem to find it. I am not particulary fond of a book this size in paperback edition and it is making me hesitate.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

One of the reasons I am slow to get these is the need to decipher various editions and their sizes before actually buying the books. My OCD does not like it when the books from the same series are different size and since I am late to buy the hardcover editions of these I must thread carefully to get the right edition that goes well with other books I already have. The edition that is easiest for me to get is completely different than the rest and I must make some hard decisions financially if I want them all to match…

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Another of Holly Black books I would like to read and another one with edition sizes all over the place. It is annoying and exhausting, not to mention totally demotivating when the quest to find the right edition is so difficult! This one has vampires and I am intrigued at how it turns out!

Book of Night by Holly Black

This is the latest book of the author announced for next year. It is a book meant for adult audiences and I can’t wait to see how it turns out! I am slowly building my own hype for this one! I like the premise of a underdog character on the run and deceitful types of magic. It should be urban fantasy mystery which is exactly the type of a thing I like!

Naked City – Book Review

Naked City

by Ellen Datlow (Editor)

★★★★

Expectation

I was very excited when I first bought this book almost a decade ago now. Urban fantasy is one of my favorite genres and I had high expectations from this short story collection. I really love the cover and I am a big fan of Daniel Dos Santos cover art! I like the dreamy and intriguing quality of the characters on the cover and the misty setting that gives of fantasy vibes in an urban setting. I put this book on my personal reading challenge for the year and did finally picked it up for the Reindeer Readathon for the prompt that required me to read a book of my favorite genre! The names of the authors on the cover made me giddy with expectation of some good stories!

Summary

There are twenty short stories in this 500+ pages book. I did not realize just how big it was when I decided to finally pick it up. I expected fast paced short stories in urban fantasy but what I got was so much more. The stories of my favorite authors were excellent and I found some new authors to explore. I was reminded again of my interest in Dresden Files book series by Jim Butcher!

1. Curses by Jim Butcher ★★★
I liked this short insight into the world of Harry Dresden. Dresden Files book series is on my TBR for years now but I keep pushing it back and not there are so many books in the series I feel it would be a chore for me to collect them all. This short story presented me with a good feel of the authors writing but I can’t seem to get into the whole baseball and sport sin general vibe. While I was reading I got flashbacks to another story with the same theme and that made my reading experience less enjoyable.


2. How the Pooka came to New York City by Delia Sherman ★★★★
Gritty story with feeling. I liked the charm and depth of the characters. Would not mind reading more of the adventures of Pooka 😊

3. On the Slide by Richard Bowes ★★
The fantasy elements were barely in this story. The feel of a PI noire drama and lives of cops were not that appealing to me. I understand the homage to the TV series that this collection was named for but I wish there could have been some more fantastical elements to the story that I could relate to.


4. The Duke of Riverside by Ellen Kushner ★★★★
Outside of a medieval feel to the timeline of the story there were not any evident fantastical elements here. Other than that the story was intriguing and the characters were interesting. This story is an excellent example of passionate characters presented trough PG rated narrative and I don’t mind it one bit. It actually seemed very hot in a rather spartan way. I have some issues with the choice of the narrator but overall I really loved this story and would be interested to read more about the characters involved.


5. Oblivion by Calvin Klein by Christopher Fowler ★★★
This story was full of symbols that had me triggering and I was not sure what I was triggered by. I could not help but think of it as a prelude to something bigger and just beginning to bloom. I would love to have a bit clearer insight into some questions that were put out there.


6. Fairy Gifts by Patricia Briggs ★★★★★
This was the second time I was reading this story and I loved it even more than the first time. The clarity of well made characters and narrative jumped at me from each scene. Author has a way of making it easy for me to picture and understand everything she presents on pages and is a definite favorite!


7. Picking up the Pieces by Pat Cardigan ★★★★★
It started out suspicious but turned out to be an amazing story. I loved the theme and the setting. There were some minor things I had issues with but the historical content was rather endearing. Great story!


8. Underbridge by Peter S. Beagle ★★★★
This was more an insight into human nature than fantasy. At times it was rather unnerving and I must say the ending was not what I expected. For some reason I find the idea of the story thought provoking not for its fantastical elements but for its depiction of human condition!


9. Priced to Sell by Naomi Novik ★★★★★
Pace of this story was a bit faster and more lighthearted than those before and I loved it for that alone! This one has all the elements that I love in my urban fantasy books: wide choice of supernatural creatures, faster pace in sync with the urban setting and a good dose of practical quirkiness.


10. The Bricks of Geleck by Matthew Kressel ★★★★
This story almost had an Arabian nights feel to it. I liked the melancholy approach and event the philosophical vibe it made me feel. Thoughtful and pensive.


11. Weston Walks by Kit Reed ★★★
Another philosophical and introspective story with all the urban fantasy elements. I could not help but feel detached from the characters and how they were presented. More questions were poised than were answered.


12. The Projected Girl by Lavie Tidhar ★★★★
Historical references of this story were eerie. Main character seemed innocent enough but the amount of ambiguity he was surrounded with actually scared me. There were so many unsaid thoughts and references between the lines that the authors ability to blend them in so effortlessly amazed me. Rich story, composed in an intriguing way.


13. The Way Station by Nathan Ballingrud ★★★
I was not prepared for the amount of drama and serious stuff in this one. The symbolism is making my head spin. My expectations were very much different and it is starting to impact my reading experience.


14. Guns for the Dead by Melissa Marr ★★★★★
I am not a fan of western theme in any form or format. That being said this story was cute and interesting. I like the idea and how it was presented. This short story peaked my interest and I would like to read more of it.


15. And go Like this by John Crowley ★
This story, if it can even be called that, reads like a train of thought of a person who makes lists for a living. I was presented with an idea, but for idea to become a story some literary finesse is required. This essay of words put together had no literary value for me. I did not enjoy it.


16. Noble Rot by Holly Black ★★★★★
Twisted in a delicious way. I found this story romantic and sweet. I keep being surprised at how much I like the writing style of this author. There is something about the way she writes strange and weird that make them terribly appealing.


17. Daddy Longlegs of the Evening by Jeffrey Ford ★★★
This was the first story with a kind of macabre feel to it. I was waiting for a story with a bit more horror elements to it and this one did not exactly rise up to my expectations. There were some scary elements for sure, but the visuals I got from the descriptions had a Burtonesque feel to them. Not enough to scare me but just enough to confuse me. The idea of the story seemed like an urban legend.


18. The Skinny Girl by Lucius Shepard ★★★★
I liked the cultural references. I know nothing about the geography of Mexico City and this was a scary interlude. Interesting story and intriguing use of supernatural elements.


19. The Colliers’ Venus (1893) by Caitlin R. Kiernan ★★★
I liked how this story started. Then there was a dream sequence and it all went blurry for me. It got better at the end but I don’t think I understood the point of the story at all.


20. King Pole, Gallows Pole, Bottle Tree by Elizabeth Bear ★★★★
There were so many interesting characters in this story and the amount of mysteries left me intrigued. I liked the idea and the concept. The end of the story was kinda choppy but that was in the spirit of the main character and the theme I guess.

Conclusion

I did not expect the philosophical quality of the stories to be so intense. Many of the stories had a quite serious vibe to them. They reminded me of some classics of the speculative fiction genre form half a century ago. Most of the stories had a pensive and thought provoking agendas and challenged the reader to think about reality using some fantastical elements. Some stories were even Kafkaesque in their sombre characters and introspective aim. There were some definite favorites among these stories and there was a one complete dud as well! The story I liked the best was Noble rot by Holly Black simply because it held my attention the longest after reading.

I am glad to have finally read this book. It has given me a definite direction towards reading some other books and it is another short story collection from my bookshelves I have finally read!

Bookopoly TBR game – November 2020

This November I have decided to continue my Bookopoly TBR game and do five rolls for it to see if I can squeeze enough of the books I decided to read by the end of the year for my personal 2020 reading challenge. I have lamented how I am now behind on my goal of reading thirty books I’ve chosen from my own shelves for this year since I neglected my list for the last few months because I was ahead of schedule at the beginning of summer! Foolish I know….

Here are my five rolls for November:

Moving on from the last spot I got a high eleven roll and landed on “Nature on the cover” prompt! I was not very optimistic of finding a book that fit this and was very surprised when I saw that one of my personal reading books challenge fit it! It is The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux! The Croatian edition that I got on a sale matched with a yellow rose on the cover! This is going to be an interesting read for sure!

My next roll was seven and it made me land on another “Chance” spot! After a well shuffle of my originally 16 prompt cad deck I dealt myself one card that said: The Scent of Shadows (Signs of the Zodiac #1) by Vicki Pettersson. This is the first book from one of my urban fantasy book series I own and did not start on yet. I am a little apprehensive on what will happen if I really like the series and feel the need to read the next book in the series! I also have another three books from this series just to be safe! I will probably read this book last in case I don’t get pulled in and neglect the rest of the books!

My next roll was eight and it got me landed on a prompt for “TBR veteran” This prompt gave me options since I have a lot of books that are on my TBR for years! Since the date on most of them is reset to the date when I transferred from Shelfari to Goodreads the choices were really good too! I decided to go with The Borders of Infinity (Vorkosigan Saga #5.3) by Lois McMaster Bujold I managed to choose a book that also fit my personal reading challenge for this year as well so that makes me very happy and hopeful! The whole book series I have on my bookshelves is translated Croatian edition which is one of the rare book series that are almost completely translated! All the covers for the books from an old and now gone publisher Algoritam, are drawn by Esad T. Ribić, an artist who did some very popular Marvel comics as well!

My fourth roll was another seven and it got me landed on a “Disability representation” prompt field. While my previous choice for TBR veteran could have been a valid choice for this prompt as well; I decided to use another book! My choice for this prompt is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. The main character is autistic teenager that gets involved in some mysterious accident with a neighbors dog. Mark Haddon is an author I have not read before and there are some new books he wrote that seem very interesting to me. I hope this will be a book that will introduce me to a new author soon to become a favorite! This is another book that I have a Croatian edition of and I got it quite cheap at a library book sale! I keep trying to push for my book club to read this book and I hope that I will have more luck with that after I read it!

My last roll was another seven and it brought me full circle back to the “Young Adult” prompt! I decided to keep going with the same theme and picked out Wayward Son (Simon Snow #2) by Rainbow Rowell. Last book I chose for the “Young Adult” prompt was also by Rainbow Rowell and it was closely connected to this one – Fangirl. I find the connection between the Simon Snow book series and the Fangirl novel intriguing and refreshing. I admire the author for deciding to make a book about a girl who is a fanfiction writer for her favorite fantastic book series and then later publish that fantastic book series in accordance with tropes that are mostly defined in fanfiction. I read the first book in the summer and I hope that I will be able to get into the story easy.

I am happy to have managed to squeeze in four out of five books for this challenge from the list of books of my personal reading challenge for this year! And I also must admit that I am pleased with the variety of themes and genres I managed to get in these five books. I hope to read more books this November when I finish all these!

So far this Bookopoly TBR game has proven to be a great way for me to enjoy my reading hobby with a friend. And while I have been lucky have not rolled a single double number on the dice, she was not so lucky. She has had some issues with completing her reading challenge because life got in the way of reading. Here is me hoping she will not quit on me and keep trying to enjoy her reading and our little bookish activity!

December Book Wrap Up 2019

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Monthly reading review – December 2019

This December I have read:

Shifting Shadows (Mercy Thompson Shorts) by Patricia Briggs ★★★★★

Siege and Storm (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #2) by Leigh Bardugo ★★★★★

Ruin and Rising (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy #3) by Leigh Bardugo ★★★★

The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Graphic Novels #3) by Robert Venditti, Rick Riordan ★★★★

Black Butler, Vol. 2 by Yana Toboso ★★★★

The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic by Leigh Bardugo ★★★★

Mr. Sinful (Heartfelt #1) by Serenity Woods ★★★★

gr December books

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

I’ve read seven books total in December. Considering that all but one were started and finished in the last two weeks of December this is a pretty good score.

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

I enjoyed all the books I’ve read in December this year. They were all pleasure reading for me. I’ve rated only two books with five stars out of five: Shifting Shadows and Siege and Storm. The Darkling  from Grishaverse series might even be a incentive enough for another reading of the Shadow and Bone trilogy how much I liked the scenes he was in!

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

This December I can’t complain on any of the books I’ve read!

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

I had a list of books I wanted to read by the end of the year. And with all wishes and lovely books I had on my reading list I could not account for real life getting in the way of my reading for most of December. Out of fifteen books I planned on reading by the end of the year I read only nine. You can check out my list HERE.

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

I’ve finished Shadow and Bone trilogy and plan on reading more Grishaverse books soon. I got one more Black Butler manga and one more Percy Jackson graphic novel close by I need to read as well. I thought I would have read Kitchen Princess by now as well. I’m also eyeing some new book series right now and the only thing that is stopping me is that I’m worried because I don’t have all the books in case I get really into it!

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

Shifting Shadows and The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic were two short story collections that reminded me how much I like the short story form. Read something short and sweet from time to time! You might like it a lot and if not you will not spend a lot of time on it. Short stories are best way of sampling and enjoying new authors and ideas and need more appreciation.

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Book series goals

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I do love a good book series and sometimes I just get a few books that are part of a series without even finding out much about them. I do this when they fit the fantasy and UF genre I love. And I do this when they are cheap to come by.

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For the moment I will not be discussing the chronic lack of space for the books I find myself in because of these irrational acquires …

After a while I have accumulated alarming number of book series I own and haven’t read trough yet, some I haven’t even started on, and some I just really want to read and don’t even have them on my shelf.

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I would never refuse a book gift and because of it I keep ending up with books that are part of a book series and rarely the first part at that. This way I have gotten a few third books in a trilogy, many second books, one book series I own book number one and number three in hardcover(!) just because they were cheap and look really pretty and now it is impossible to get book two in hardcover since they are old and sold out more than a decade ago!

The list of frustrations goes on and on…

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But then I remembered how good finishing reading a book series makes me feel. Instead of a depression that so many readers online complain about I get a feeling of accomplishment.

In the light of that, here are some book series that would make me feel good finish reading trough. Some of them I started reading ages ago and some I have yet to start on. Some are collecting dust on my bookshelves for far too long and some I have on my Kindle app. I imagine that some I will need to visit a library to get and some will be hard to find. These are my book series goals and finishing any of them will make me happy.

Starting off with a few from my bookshelf, those I have three or more and haven’t started them yet…

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Elminster saga by Ed Greenwood

This one has been on my reading list for years. This year I’ve gotten books one, two, three and five (!) This series is a part of Forgotten Realms universe and I’ve gotten the craving to read it since they added the main character to the Dungeons and Dragons MMO I’ve played. There are about eight books in this series.

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Dark Days by Jocelynn Drake

These first three books I have for a few years now. I found out about them from a Shelfari group I was a part of. Then I had a chance to buy book one and book three really cheap. After that I ordered second book and now I just need to start reading them. There are six books and two prequel novellas in this series. I actually read one novella and liked it!

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Elder Races by Thea Harrison

These were a Christmas present from a work friend. Many bookish friends online have only nice things to say about this book series. I have the first three and there are nine books all together with a bunch of short stories here and there in the series.

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Noble Dead by Barb & J.C. Hendee

These are first three books form one of the three different book series in the Noble Dead Universe. There are three different book series and this one has six books. I got all three on book sale.

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After making a list of all the book series that fit the categories above I managed to pen down more than twenty different book series!

Listing them all down would make this a really long post. And I would much more prefer to use that time to read something 🙂

Hopefully I will be bragging about making progress with some of these book series soon!