Bookopoly TBR 2021 – October

In October I am back to my usual Bookopoly TBR game with my own board to play with. September was educational in learning the difference between the prompts I use and those Becca decided to prepare for everyone joining in the Bookoplathon. You can check out my thoughts and experience on it HERE. I continued with the rolls where I left off back in August and even added one penalty roll for a book from September.

For October Bookopoly I am using a standee from the board game Forgotten Waters. Forgotten Waters is a game by Plaid Hat Games publisher and this piratey adventure has been one of my gaming groups favorites since we got it this summer!

Here are my reading goals for Bookopoly in October:

Prompt: Highest Rated

Book: Hellboy, Volume 1: Seed of Destruction and Wake the Devil by Mike Mignola

My first roll looked promising and landed on a Highest Rated prompt. I had few options for this prompt but ended adding the graphic novel because this is one of the books I wanted to read way back in 2020. and somehow missed it altogether. As an added bonus I am hoping to put some balm on my TBR for October since I started working on a new job recently and I have yet to manage my time better to fit in more reading time.

Prompt: Ex Yu Author

Book: Jebo sad hiljadu dinara by Boris Dežulović

My second roll got me an interesting prompt I decided to add to the board in the last revision because I wanted to read more authors from my own country. I decided to broaden the scope to all authors from the ex Yugoslavia region. I decided on a book I have been interested for a few years now. It is an older book from 2005. by a Croatian journalist and has Catch 22 vibes. It is fairly short and I like that too!

Prompt: Light cover

Book: Bite by Laurell K. Hamilton et al

My third roll was a double – 2+ 2! The prompt was Light Cover and I decided to use it to read one of the older urban fantasy short story collections I have on my shelf and have not read yet. Most of the authors are already known to me and I expect to like it!

Prompt: Other Culture

Book: Things Fall Apart ( The African Trilogy #1 ) by Chinua Achebe

Fourth roll was an interesting prompt – Other Culture. I scoured my own shelves in search for something and then I remembered a book I was meaning to read and trying to get my book club friends to read as well. It is a book I was looking at for years now and I hope to push it for a book club assignment some day, I will keep trying!

Prompt: Chance Card

Book: Bajki robotΓ³w by StanisΕ‚aw Lem

My fifth roll made me use my new Chance Card list since I used up all cards I had prepared last year! Sure some of those I ended up reading for other reading challenges and was left with having to make a new list and cards to shuffle and play with! The first book I pulled from it was a short story collection with theme of robots written by Polish author back in 1964.

Prompt: Science Fiction

Book: Alien ( Alien Movie Novelizations #1 ) by Alan Dean Foster

And my sixth roll was another double which added another roll after this one. The prompt was rather easy and I decided to use this opportunity to add another book from my buddy reading list. I am not sure how I feel about this movie novelization and the horror theme. I hope it wont get too scary for me.

Prompt: Most Recent Purchase

Book: Empire of the Vampire ( Empire of the Vampire #1 ) by Jay Kristoff

For this prompt I want to use the book I was expecting to arrive at the start of September and I really want it to arrive in time for October at least. Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff is one of the books that caught my attention one year ago when it was first announced. I never read anything by this author and from what I understand this book just might be my kind of vampire story! I really hope I will like it!

Prompt: Small Book

Book: Stoner by John Williams

This last roll was added as a penalty from September. I used this last prompt to add a book that is my book club assignment for October. For some reason many of my friends who like to read, liked this book and I want to see what the hype is about! I have no expectations on it and it seems like a “slice of life” with extra lemon zest – I guess sometimes I am into moody dramas. We will see πŸ™‚

I might have overdone myself with eight books here because of the new life related conditions and this month Bookopoly will be the only reading challenge I will be doing in October. I had plans for more and I even made lists but If I find the time to actually write about them by the end of the first week of October I might even take them on. For now I will just follow my bookish friends in their many October reading challenges and cheer them on in their bookish endeavors!

How do you like my reading pile for Bookopoly October? Do you plan diversity in your TBR or it doesn’t even play role in your book choices?

September Book Warp Up 2021

Monthly reading review – September 2021

This September I have read:

Les Hirondelles de Kaboul by Yasmina Khadra β˜…β˜…β˜…

Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer #2) by Laini Taylor β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

Exit Strategy (The Murderbot Diaries #4) by Martha Wells β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

Darkfever (Fever #1) by Karen Marie Moning β˜…β˜…β˜…

Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked #1)by Kerri Maniscalco β˜…β˜…β˜…

The Crystal of the Wood Elves (Elfes #7) by Nicolas Jarry, Gianluca Maconi, Christina Cox-De Ravel β˜…β˜…β˜…

Half the World (Shattered Sea #2) by Joe Abercrombie β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

The Culling Trials (Shadowspell Academy #1) by K.F. Breene and Shannon Mayer β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

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

This September was a busy month and I am surprised to have read ten books total. I am happy with the amount of books read and I am especially pleased with the variety of genres among the books I’ve read.

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

The biggest pleasant surprise in September was one of the last books I’ve finished in the month: The Culling Trials (Shadowspell Academy #1) by K.F. Breene and Shannon Mayer. A friend reader loves the K.F. Breene and I was surprised to find a translation in Croatian for this book. The best part of the book for me personally was a translation that did not suck! I could enjoy the book! The fast pace of the book was a welcome surprise and the language was fluently translated. This book hit all the right spots for me and considering I’ve went in not knowing much about it – I thought it was a children’s book, I am happy to report that I have trouble remembering the last time I enjoyed reading a translated book as much as this one! The angsty parts of the book were done just how I like them and now I am even thinking about buying a copy in Croatian and sign myself for further torture by waiting on the next book. The fact that I’m thinking about it says a lot and only those who had the misfortune of never having a book series translated till the end can fully understand why this is such a significant comment.

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

It has been quite some time since I’ve read an urban fantasy book with the main character as unlikable and annoying as the one in Darkfever (Fever #1) by Karen Marie Moning. I tried liking her and as soon as I could come to terms with one annoying thing two new popped up! What I did have a healthy respect for was that the story was not set on the romance and that the sole purpose of the main character was not to fall for the dark mysterious brooding guy – Jericho Barrons. For the better part of the book main character Mac was a typical privileged twenty two year old American that has never known any serious hardship in her life. Pink and glitter were not the annoying parts and the “she’s a rainbow” gig was at times refreshing. What killed this book series for me and made me not want to continue reading the rest of it was the last chapter where nothing made sense in lieu of what the characters did. Getting a manicure from the person she got the manicure from seemed like something that should have happened in a chaotic dream and not the cliffhanger plot it turned out to be. I’m glad I gave it a try and I would have tried giving this book series another try with the sequel but I just could not digest that last chapter…

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

My plans for September were elaborate and I intentionally went to make it a real challenge by participating in two different book challenges with total amount of 13 books. I read 9 of the planned books. One of the books had to be replaced because Empire of the Vampire (Empire of the Vampire #1) by Jay Kristoff did not arrive (still waiting for it). Two of the books I started on and did not finish by the end of September – one: Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold (Stephen Fry’s Great Mythology #1) by Stephen Fry was not what I expected and it is a very slow read; second: The Vampire Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles #2) by Anne Rice I started reading literally on the last day of September which makes me want to scream so bad because the book is so interesting and engaging I would like to drop everything I have to do (including going to a new job) and just spend my time reading it! One of the books I put in my plans (Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe) was for the Orilium Magical readathon challenge as a book I am supposed to read until April next year which makes it not that big of a deal for not fitting in this month.

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

This September I managed to start a new series and finish it – it is Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor duology (yes, its only two books in a “series” but I don’t care because it feels good and sounds cool to have this accomplishment) I’ve officially read all the Murderbot diaries books I have and I’am already making plans to get the next two! I read three books that were first in three new series and only one of those – The Culling Trials (Shadowspell Academy #1) by K.F. Breene and Shannon Mayer I plan to continue. I felt like I forced the The Crystal of the Wood Elves (Elfes #7) by Nicolas Jarry, Gianluca Maconi, Christina Cox-De Ravel and might have enjoyed it more had I just took my time with it. I plan to continue with this graphic novel series in the future at a casual pace.

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

For September my recommendation is variety in genres with some casual sprinkle of the books and authors you know you will love and enjoy. Reading a good book gives me more energy and makes me more passionate in my search for the next great book. I love letting myself be surprised by actually liking the book I was thinking I would not like. Below is the pile of books I loved this September and recommend them to you to try out πŸ™‚

Final thoughts on September 2021 reading

September was a hard month for me since I have started working and my hours have made me more aware of the need to plan my time for books better. I find myself wanting to pick up a book more and read for enjoyment. It came as a total surprise when the books I though I would not like turned out to be awesome and something I can look forward to. I think I did good with the number of books total I have read and I am especially happy with the amount of different genres and topics I have read in September. Not all of the books I have read in September were something I would casually pick to read and enjoy but I am glad to have had an opportunity to experience reading the books that others think highly of and enjoy. In this way, I can report that I have grown as a reader enough to appreciate that, while some books are not my thing, they have a value outside the genres and topics I usually go for comfort reading. I consider these occasional excursions into genres and topics I consider “not my cup of tea” to be a good educational choice that gives me insight into how my reading personality evolves trough the years.

And how was your reading this last month?

August Book Warp Up 2021

Monthly reading review – August 2021

This August I have read:

Lord Mord by MiloΕ‘ Urban β˜…β˜…β˜…

Smoke Bitten (Mercy Thompson book 12) by Patricia Briggs β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

First Girl Child (The Chronicles of Saylok) by Amy Harmon β˜…β˜…β˜…

Any Way the Wind Blows (Simon Snow #3) by Rainbow Rowell β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny β˜…β˜…β˜…

A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

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

This August things did not go as planned and while I expected to read less than in July (in July I rad 14! books) I an not so happy with reading more than half the number of books less.

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

Strangely the book that stayed with me for the better part of August was Damnation Alley by Roger Zelazny. I got pulled in the authors post apocalyptic world despite the many scientific flaws I thought I found there. This August I decide to ignore such small flaws in plot execution in favor of thinking about ideas. This applied most to the A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell where I oved the mythology and ideas the authors brought to light in their stories. Book I enjoyed best was Smoke Bitten (Mercy Thompson book 12) by Patricia Briggs and I am happy the series is still bringing me so much joy and satisfaction to read!

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

I have read only six books in august but only one left a bad aftertaste – Lord Mord by MiloΕ‘ Urban. This was such a man’s book. It shows the audacity of privileged men in a man’s world. Most of the book was filled with probably historically accurate but still annoyingly misogynistic characters and character choices. I had different expectations and was let down.

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

I messed up my plans for the Merlin Readathon by reading books in wrong order but ended up finishing most of the books I planned by the end of the month. If you want to know more about my Merlin Readathon experience you can read all about it HERE. I even had a few last days of August where I spent not reading anything because I did not want to start a new book and not finish it by the end of the month. This was slightly frustrating since I was already making plans for September and had some interesting books but was holding off from reading…

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

I brought two book series I am currently reading up to date: Simon Snow book 3 by Rainbow Rowell and Mercy Thompson book 12 by Patricia Briggs. Only other book I read that was a part of a series is First Girl Child book 1 in the The Chronicles of Saylok by Amy Harmon. I am not sure if I will read the second book.

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

Like I already mentioned August was all about ideas and managing my own expectations. It is a part of my effort to try and focus on positive things in a world that keeps highlighting the negative. To some this might seem like I’m lowering my bookish standards but I will keep trying to find the positive and good in all the books I am reading. I am already making a selection on what to read by choosing some books over others and this is enough for me.

Final thoughts on August 2021 reading

After reading fourteen books in July, August was a big fall dawn to only six books. I am again well behind on my goal to read 100 books by the end of the year. I am not feeling very happy about that and I feel that the reminder of my reading goal on Goodreads is staring at me all the time – talk about self induced pressure :/

Now for some statistics: the six books I read were all together 2193 pages which is almost 1500 pages less than July. Most of the books I read in August had a little over 300 pages each with two exceptions: one book was over 500 pages and one was under 250 pages long. Half the books were in English and exactly half were in Croatian language which is a big leap for me since I used to read significantly more books in English than in Croatian. Only one book was from the library and the other five were from my own shelves. I did not read any manga or graphic novels in August. One book was a short story collection and other two were standalones. Three books, half of them were part of a book series. Total average rating of all the books I have read in August is 3,6.

And how was your reading in August?

First book haul of 2021

Earlier in December and January I preordered and ordered some new books. The preorders were mostly the continuation of the book series I follow and the rest were on my wish list for a while now as well. I even indulged and got some new Kindle books I found recommendation on some of the Goodreads lists for Valentines Day! Due to Book Depository deliveries being exceptionally slow due to Brexit and Covid, and lets not forget the usual end of the year Christmas madness with packages, this led to a slow and anxiety filled waiting on the postman and my books each morning. All things considering these were the sweet pains to endure after all. Last of the books I bought was from a Facebook seller and since it was my first time buying used books in English this way I was a little apprehensive about that too. Lots of sweet pains later and I have a not so small a pile of books that spark joy!

Rafael (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter book 28) by Laurell K. Hamilton

This is one of the books I preordered before Christmas and the publishing date was 9. February this year! Usually I’m forced to wait for months before I get my copy of the new book when it comes out since I buy the US mass market paperback edition. In case of the book prior to this one – Sucker Punch, I’m still waiting for it to come out! So this book was a real treat. I was not that thrilled with the last book I read from the series and while I love the characters and I’m really interested in the world the author has build I did not have high expectations from this book. I already read it! I even made pauses for the book to lasts longer. I have many comments on it. so much so I might need to write the whole review for it soon just to get it all out of my system!

This book series is starting to outgrow my shelving solution and I will need to figure a better way to store all the books. Maybe even separate the two boo series by LKH I own and keep together currently…

Smoke Bitten (Mercy Thompson book 12) by Patricia Briggs

Second preordered book that was published and arrived on the same day as the previous one is another next book in the favorite urban fantasy series. I did not get to read this one right away – but it has only been about a week since I got it! There are more reasons why I love this book series and can’t wait for every next book.

The cover art of these books I have already gushed about few years ago. This is another author that I have two book series from but unlike the LKH, Patricia Briggs is more consistent with both book series and I get at least one book from either of the series each year. When one book series gets a new hardcover edition book the other one has a mass market paperback edition I collect out as well. This makes the wait for the next book more exciting and somehow sweeter and easier to pass.

A Phoenix First Must Burn edited by Patrice Caldwell

I have a soft spot for short story collections and lately I have been doing great with reading trough most of short story collections on my bookshelves. In the sea of many new editions and books the title of this one caught my eye! There are few other books that I was interested in but this one really got me with a beautiful cover and an all female authors team.

This will fit nicely with other similar books on my shelves until I start reading it! I might even give it a go next month as a March contribution to female authors πŸ™‚

Radiance (Wraith Kings book 1) by Grace Draven

My Paperwhite Kindle does not give this cover justice! I found out about this book by randomly clicking on a Goodreads Valentine theme banner for romance book recommendation. I went trough the link and on the one of the lists I was browsing I stumbled on this book. I was cautious enough to try the sample first and it got me really interested in the story and characters. I devoured the book in a day and a half and had to get the next one as well!

While I’m going a bit slower with the next book of the series I still love it and now that I’m invested in the fantastical setting and the future of the fantastical world the author created. I will be looking up for other books by this author as well as finding out how this trilogy(?) of books ends.

Wicked Abyss (Immortals After Dark book 17) by Kresley Cole

This book has been on my too buy wish list the longest. It first came out almost four years ago now and it was a part of the book series I was collecting. In the meantime I read all the books in the series before it and since a few new books were were supposed to come out after it but they never did I just never got to getting this one before.

This urban fantasy romance book series is the one with the most “beefcake” and shirtless guys covers I own. As some previously mentioned urban fantasy book series I won I have been posting about this one before. The stories are a bit cheesy but I find them wonderful for the underlying message that there is someone for everyone and no matter how sad, bitter or angry we are because of what happened to us, there will always be a chance for a happy ending,

Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons book 1) by Leigh Bardugo

This is the single book from this pile that I bought as a second hand book from one of the sellers in Croatia. I found it in one of the Facebook groups and this was the first time I was buying a book that way. I had the opportunity to buy this book before in paperback but I really wanted the hardcover edition and it has been on my wish list for a while now. The book turned out to be in excellent condition and I am glad I got it.

I have been a big fan of Wonder Woman long before Gal Gadot took on the role and they revamped her whole character. My SO brought me Batman: Nightwalker ( DC Icons book 2) by Marie Lu in hardcover a few years ago from one of his trips. Since then I have been meaning to get the other as well. Getting them in hardcover proved to be a bit pricey and I just keep postponing it. I love the concept of popular YA writers writing the background for these well known characters. The fact that Leigh Bardugo wrote this made me want it even more!

The Lives of Saints (Grishaverse) by Leigh Bardugo

In the last year Leigh Bardugo has become my favorite author. This book is a fictional book from the Shadow and Bone trilogy come to life with some extra content. It has been made to look like the prop they are going to use in the TV series and I think that is cool as well.

I read everything else Leigh Bardugo has written and published so far and getting this book was a natural thing for me to do. I love her characters and her fictional world. The illustrations by Daniel J. Zollinger look great and I am looking forward to binging on this one while I wait for the TV series on Netflix in April!

Just as I got the last book in the mail my SO decreed it was time to preorder another book as a gift for Valentines day! The book I choose as my present was another one of Leigh Bardugo Grishaverse books:

Rule of Wolves (King of Scars book 2) by Leigh Bardugo

I am now properly hyped for the TV series and books and completely enchanted with Grishaverse world and characters!

Also while I was writing this post and looking for the images of books I remembered reading in one of the Facebook groups about one other book I was interested in some decade ago and is now on a special discount!

Dark Prince: Author’s Cut (The “Dark” Carpathian book 1)

by Christine Feehan

This is an older urban fantasy romance book with vampires and a first book in a long and popular book series I wanted to try out for a very long time! The price and the Author’s Cut edition were enough for me to get it right away. I need to stop looking at new books for some time or at least until I make another bigger dent in the books already on my TBR and already on my bookshelves – virtual AND physical! Although I might give in to Wraith Kings book 3 after I finish the second book…

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

PrideΒ (Shifters #3) by Rachel Vincent β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

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)

PreyΒ (Shifters #4) by Rachel Vincent β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

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 WestΒ (The Wicked Years #1) by Gregory Maguire β˜…β˜…β˜…

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 ChainsΒ (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #10) by Laurell K. Hamilton β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

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 GenjiΒ by Murasaki Shikibu Β β˜…β˜…β˜…

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 CityΒ by Ellen Datlow (Editor) β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

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.)

SagaΒ (Collected Editions) #7-9 by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

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 MazeΒ (The Trials of Apollo #3) by Rick Riordan β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

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 TombΒ (The Trials of Apollo #4) by Rick Riordan β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

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 WestΒ (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 MagicΒ (Discworld #1) by Terry Pratchett β˜…β˜…β˜…

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.

Reindeer Readathon 2020

After realizing that being idle will not help me get close to achieving my personal reading goals by the end of the year I have decided to keep myself busy by participating in some fun and exciting reading challenges in December. Enter Reindeer Readathon 2020! I have found it by accident and I really loved the idea and the merry prompts. You can find the official announcement HERE. The main creator of this readathon is Erik from Breakeven Books and you can go and show some love for his YouTube channel HERE. Together with four other wonderful people he is hosting this readathon and leading the team Mistletoe. This is the second year of this readathon and this year there are five official teams. Team Snowflake leader is Hilary and you can check her channel HERE. Team Nutcracker leader is Donna and you can check her channel HERE. Team Stocking leader is Savy and you can check her channel HERE. And last, but not least, my designated team is Candy Cane and the leader of my team is Amanda and you can check her channel HERE.

There is a satisfying number of prompts and each have a certain number of points. Since this is a reading challenge with teams competing the goal is to read as many prompts to get the most points for your team.

Here are my book choices for the prompts:

DASHER – 15 PTS

A book with one word title

Pride (Shifters #3) by Rachel Vincent

DANCER – 10 PTS

A companion novel or a sequel (as in a dancing partner)

Prey (Shifters #4) by Rachel Vincent

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

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

COMET – 30 PTS

A book you find intimidating

The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu

CUPID – 10 PTS

Read a genre that you love

Naked City by Ellen Datlow (Editor)

DONNER – 15 PTS

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

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

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

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

I like the possible bonus and the additional rules and I plan to use Christmas Star as Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (The Wicked Years #1) by Gregory Maguire for those 15 PTS since it is over 500 pages long. I don’t think I will be able do get those 50 PTS for Sleighing it to read additional book for any prompt after being done with all of those above. But in case I make it I have few options left from my personal reading challenge list. Wish me and my team luck!

Go team Candy Cane!

April Book Wrap Up 2020

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Monthly reading review – April 2020

This April I have read:

 

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

The Vegetarian: A Novel by Han Kang Β β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

Bite Me (Bitten, #1) by C.C. Wood Β β˜…β˜…β˜…

Ender’s Game (Ender’s Saga #1) by Orson Scott Card Β β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

Children of the Spider by Imam Baksh Β β˜…β˜…β˜…

Maneuver (Men of Inked: Southside Book 1) by Chelle Bliss Β β˜…β˜…β˜…

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

Fork In The Road by J. Coyne Β β˜…β˜…

Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupΓ©ry Β β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

Storm Cursed (Mercy Thompson, #11) by Patricia Briggs Β β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

The Last Blackstone Dragon (Blackstone Mountain, #0.5) by Alicia Montgomery Β β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

Master vs. Mistress (Red Chyrsanthemum Series) by Em Brown Β β˜…β˜…

Mastering the Virgin (Mastering the Virgin Box Set Book 1) by Simone Leigh Β β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

The Naughty List (Make Mine A Menage, #1) by Jodi Redford Β β˜…β˜…β˜…

Zog by Julia Donaldson Β β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

Alpha’s Blood (Midnight Doms #1) by Renee Rose Β β˜…β˜…β˜…

A Girl, a Goat, and a Zombie (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter #25.1) by Laurell K. Hamilton Β β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

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

This April I have read 17 books. This is the most I have read in one month for a few years now! I pushed myself and challenged myself to read more. For some reason I am a bit apprehensive to congratulate myself and be happy for it.

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

The books I enjoyed the most were Storm Cursed (Mercy Thompson, #11) by Patricia Briggs and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter, #1) by J.K. Rowling. I feel happiness and comfort when I read my favorite book series and read about my favorite characters. Mercy Thompson has once more proven herself to be one of the best characters I have ever read! Also reading the first book of the Harry Potter series for the first time ever in my wonderful Hufflepuff edition was a dream come true!

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

This April I have gone overboard with Kindle freebies – mostly erotica Kindle freebies and some of the were not so great. Fork In The Road by J. Coyne was more of a blurb than a real story with severely underdeveloped characters and very visible “new writer” style.

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

The whole month was dedicated to the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon reading challenge which I decided to try out for the first time. I choose the books for all twelve prompts and ended up reading ten out of those twelve. I even squeezed in some books to fir for my other challenges and I feel very good about those. I was escaping the plan all the time by getting some Kindle freebies and reading those instead.

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

I finished the last Mercy Thompson book I had and got the series up to date – now I I can wait for the last book Smoke Bitten to come out in mass market paperback. I read all the Kitchen Princess manga I had as well. I tried a lot of new book series on Kindle and have finally started the Harry Potter series in my own hardcover Hufflepuff edition which I plan to continue on reading.

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

The Vegetarian was well off my comfort zone and it has stayed with me. I would like to try to push it for my book club reading when I get a chance to since I want to discuss it more but have decided not to make a review on it just yet. Harry Potter was a dream to read!

Final thoughts on April 2020 reading

April was a weird month in general I hope I will spare some positive energy for some May reading. I’m still in awe for the number of books total I’ve read. I’m hoping my thoughts will settle better for O.W.L.s Magical Readathon walktrough post I’m planing to write soon!

Book haul 1/2020 – Pretty new books!

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It’s barely February and I’ve already got myself a nice pile of new books. And these books are so pretty as well! The first book that arrived in 2020 was actually a late arrival from December 2019 – King of Scars (Nikolai Duology, #1) by Leigh Bardugo. I’ve already read it and loved it and it has caused me withdrawal pain from the long period of waiting on the next book that is Grisha related from Leigh Bardugo!

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I used to buy mass market paperbacks only because they were cheaper and because I can fit more of them on the bookshelf. Even now I got a bookshelf that can fit exactly two rows of paperbacks on a single shelf and I love it!

Lately I’ve been indulging in buying some hardcover editions. I am simply swooned at how beautiful they are! I blame Leigh Bardugo and Holly Black! I was enamored into their books to wait on my usual mass market paperback editions! Holly Black’s Queen of Nothing had a six months (!) wait time for the paperback edition to come out!

I find Leigh Bardugo’s books especially beautiful! Just look at the Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1) I got recently! If some other book series were as well designed I might have been forced to get more hardcovers!

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There is a problem I’m facing as a lover of some older urban fantasy book series is becoming an issue here. Some of them are out of print – Shift (Shifters, #5) by Rachel Vincent is sold out at my usual book buying places. This has left me with buying books three and six in the series while they are still available. Also they are different format sizes which sucks for the shelf placement.

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The last book that arrived just the other day was a pre-ordered mass market paperback of one of my favorite urban fantasy book series: Storm Cursed (Mercy Thompson, #11) by Patricia Briggs. The waiting time between the books for Mercy Thompson is almost a year for me now. The only thing that’s keeping me still when I see the new hardcover book in the series has come out; is a look at my shelf and all other books in mass market paperback editions I already own. I’m actually pleased at how nicely they fit there and the thought of getting just one new book in a different format leads to frustration of having them all in beautiful hardcover editions. The hobby of having some of my favorite urban fantasy book series complete in hardcover is not only really expensive but for some book series an extraordinary feat of good luck as well. As I’ve mentioned before, many of the books from the series are sold out and finding a hardcover edition in good shape is extra problematic for a book lover based in EU.

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It is a long standing fantasy that one day I will own my favorite book series in hardcover editions so I can reread them anytime I want without having to be very careful not to crease the spine of the book. It is a bookish peeve I guess but I get upset when my paperback editions get hurt and the spine of the book suffers damage.

In conclusion to this one month book haul in my defense I can say that I’ve read more books in January than I’ve bought! I’ve read seven books and bought six. From the new books I got I already read two and plan to read others soon as well!

Here is the list of the books I got:

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

Pride (Shifters, #3) by Rachel Vincent

Alpha (Shifters, #6) by Rachel Vincent

Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1) by Leigh Bardugo

King of ScarsΒ (Nikolai Duology, #1) by Leigh Bardugo

The Queen of NothingΒ (The Folk of the Air, #3) by Holly Black

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January Book Wrap Up 2020

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Monthly reading review – January 2020

This January I have read:

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1) by Leigh Bardugo β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2) by Leigh Bardugo β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

King of Scars (Nikolai Duology, #1) by Leigh Bardugo β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, #1) by Holly Black β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air, #2) by Holly Black β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air, #3) by Holly Black β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

The Witch With No Name (The Hollows #13) by Kim Harrison β˜…β˜…β˜…

january book wrap 2020

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

This January I read 7 books total. I am happy with the amount and page count in particular.

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

All of the books were fantasy genre. The first half of January I was totally into Grishaverse and managed to read everything Leigh Bardugo had written related to Grishaverse. The second part of the month I was happily enjoying Holly Black’s The Folk of the Air series – I’m still confused as to why they are called that though :/ But the characters Jude and Cardan have become favorites right away!

originalThis is just one of the beautiful pictures I found of Cardan and Jude – all rights belong to the author and artist!

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

The only book I had any issues reading this month was The Witch With No Name. I got overwhelmed by the complicate metaphysics supernatural elements of the book. I let too much time pass between reading this last book of The Hollows series and the previous one. I had problems keeping up with the book plot. You can check out my review for more details HERE.

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

I made a list of the books I own I wish to read this year and five of them I read this January already. I’m very happy with that score and enjoy making reading plans so I can keep better track of my reading.Β  You can check out the whole list HERE. I will be makingΒ  a separate post and update on it later in February.

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

Having finished all books related to the Grishaverse universe I will have to wait for the next book in Nikolai duology which happens to be one of the most anticipated books this year! I have finally finished with The Hollows series by Kim Harrison (insert little happy/sad dance here). That felt like a chapter of my life has been finished as well – this is how long I was a devoted reader to this book series. As for The Folk of the Air book series – I managed to make a run trough the whole trilogy this month and will probably need to turn to some fanfiction and hope that the author writes some more books soon!

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

I have become a devoted reader fan to both Leigh Bardugo and Holly Black. I’m going to try some other books by Leigh Bardugo in February – primarily Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1) which I have ordered and received already. Anyone who likes fantasy will probably like both of the Grishaverse and The Folk of the Air book series. I find the plot engaging and the books are just beautiful as well!

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The Witch With No Name – Book Review

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The Witch With No Name (The Hollows, #13)

by Kim Harrison

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Expectation

This is the last book in The Hollows book series. I had it for a few years now without reading it. I did not the series to be over and have postponed reading it. This book series was with me for almost a decade and a half. I have went trough some tough times reading these books and have grown to love the characters quite a bit. It has been a few years since I’ve read the previous book and I was not sure what to expect. I had no expectations for the book series finale and was open to anything. I have finally picked out this book for a reading challenge I made to read more books I own and pushed it to the top of the reading list.

Summary

I had some trouble getting into this book. I guess I let too much time to pass since reading the previous one in the series. Other than the characters not much else seemed all that familiar. I remember having issues with the urban fantasy world the author has build for her characters. The main character starts out as a witch in a world full of many different fantastical creatures. The witches, the elves, the vampires and the demons are just some of the creatures the author has created and added her own mark and flavor to them. The plot of the whole series spans over just a few years but the world the author has built has a long history and culture of the mentioned fantastical species. I remember being shocked at the outright dystopian setting of the books being revealed in one of the previous books. I had some difficulties understanding the magic and the metaphysics of the characters and the world in general.

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This was painfully clear to me while I was reading this last book of the series. The plot has come to a boiling point of the metaphysical forces and I could not keep up with it all. I spent a big part of this book fumbling to understand all that the author had to say in this book.Β 

The saving grace for me were the characters I still loved. They were as dear as I remember them to be. Their complex relationships were the only part of this book I actually enjoyed reading about. There were some high drama moments through the books that threatened to topple everything down and the sometimes pathetic state of doubt the main character found herself in at times was a bit annoying.

Conclusion

I guess this serves as a lesson for me not to let so much time pass between reading the books. I felt totally out of sync with this book and just could not make myself enjoy it as much as I did the others. I decided to concentrate myself on the good things and all the quotable parts of the book series before deciding on a three star rating.

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The ending has left me feeling down and not pleased at all. After reading this last book I got the sudden urge to sell the whole series and be done with it. I still have the Into the Woods: Tales from the Hollows and Beyond short story collection that goes with it to read through but now I’m not so sure about it anymore.