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

April

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˜…

IMG_20200430_171608

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.

april clip

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!

IMG_20200207_105612

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

download

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

wwnnhccover

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

by Kim Harrison

β˜…β˜…β˜…

 

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.

Shifting Shadows – Book Review

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Shifting Shadows

by Patricia Briggs

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Expectation

I’ve taken my time reading this short story collection. For years I owned it I only read two stories and one of those I did read I kept coming back to more than once. Every time I read a new Mercyverse book I get really excited and want to read more. Sadly my waiting time between the books sometimes extends for over a year since I buy mass market paperback editions with US publisher covers. This can sometimes influence my reading interest. Last Mercyverse book I’ve read was earlier this year – Burn Bright of the Alpha & Omega book series.

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Summary

This time I decided to read all the stories from the first one. The first story kinda gave me trouble since it set the pace for all the others. In comparison to the other stories, this one is a longer and kinda darker. All the stories have some heartwarming elements among the darker themes and characters, but the first one ended a bit frustratingly to me. And this I believe is the reason I had trouble to keep reading the stories in order. The stories are also set in a timeline with the book series. They mostly follow characters that don’t get to tell the stories from their point of view in the both book series – Mercedes Thompson book series and Alpha & Omega book series. Notable exceptions are: Alpha and Omega story that is an introduction to Alpha & Omega book series and the Hollow story which is a short story with Mercy as the main character.

  1. Silver – Melancholy but worth it! This short insight into Bran and Samuel’s past raised more questions than it actually answered.
  2. Fairy Gifts – I loved the angsty feel of this story. The characters had a very short page time but seemed so alive to me. It was short and sweet.
  3. Grey – Loved it. Kinda romantic vampire theme. Awesome read for October and November!
  4. Seeing Eye – This story reminded me how much I enjoy the author’s writing style. The story was full of anticipation for me. I had forgotten how these characters fit into the Mercy Thompson universe. Their intro story was bittersweet. I loved it. I would love to read more on them.
  5. Alpha and Omega – I first read this story in On the Prowl collection years ago. It was an amazing introduction to a new series. Since then I’ve came back to reading this story many times. There is something about it that makes it special for me. For a very long time this story has been an only story I’ve read in Shifting Shadows collection.
  6. The Star of David – I sometimes forget that the world the author created is so rich in supernatural elements and the Wizard in this story took me a little by surprise. The story was kinda melancholy but full of positivity.
  7. Roses in Winter – I’m glad that Kara got some spotlight but reading about Asil was a pleasure in on itself. It was an experience to revisit Asil as a character especially since he’s been having more appearances in Alpha and Omega series as well. It has also been great to see how Bran runs the packs.
  8. In red, with pearls – Warren is such a lovable character. This story had me expecting some noir detective plot. I thought the story was very intriguing.
  9. Redemption – There are so many opposites about Ben and how his character reacts. I enjoyed this story. The IT theme was cool and I loved it.
  10. Hollow – From all the stories this one seemed a bit unpolished. I guess all the other characters were so much engaging to read since they were presented form a different perspective. This is the only story that has a character of Mercy as a leading character. I guess I expect longer and more complicated stories when Mercy is involved.

Two bonus scenes:

Silver Borne bonus with Samuel and Ariana was a pleasure to read. I kinda missed not being able to read more about them getting together again. A background info on them just going off on a honeymoon was definitely not enough.

Night Broken bonus with Adam and Coyote with Mercy in the hospital was unbelievably sweet!

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Conclusion

It took me by surprise how easily I can get into these stories and how a completely unknown character can seem so close. These characters are so easy to relate to and to understand their motivation. I think this collection serves to make a rich supernatural world the author has built even better and more layered. It is great to see how much effort the author puts in all her characters. I loved this short story collection and I’m glad I finally read it! Another thing that surprised me that I loved all the stories!

I have two new books from Mercyverse to look forward to:

Storm Cursed ( Mercy Thompson Series book 11)

Smoke Bitten ( Mercy Thompson Series book 12)

I’ve pre-ordered Storm Cursed and the mass market edition I go for is coming out in by the end of January next year. Smoke Bitten is being published in March as a hardcover edition and I will be waiting for it to come out as a mass market paperback probably sometime next year…

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November Book Wrap Up 2019

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This November was quite eventful for me. In a month and a half I visited several European countries and capitals. End of October is reserved for a trip to Essen Spiel board game fair in north Germany. After that there was the Interliber book fair in Zagreb which I also attended. I made one other trip to Zagreb to pass my professional state exam that lasted for two days. The circumstances were not exactly perfect since there is an ongoing strike by the teachers and educators in the country that lasts for over a month now. I like to joke that the education system of the whole country had to collapse for me to pass my exam.. I also went on a one day trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital city of Sarajevo. My month was filled with travel and studying and lots of little panic attacks as well. To top it all off I enrolled on a course for a 3D designer the day after I passed my professional exam. First day I got home with an armful of seven new studying manuals that made my arms hurt just from carrying them.Β  All this being said, we can now move onto my usual Monthly reading review πŸ™‚

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Monthly reading review – November 2019

This November I have read:

Rogue (Shifters #2)Β by Rachel Vincent β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

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

I read one book and a bunch of stuff I had to study to pass my professional state exam. My book club even excused me from reading obligations for the month! While I’m happy with passing my exam I hope I will get to read more books in December!

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

While I’ve rad only one book it has left a very good impression on me. I like how the main character has a will ad courage to fight for herself and choices she thinks a right for her.

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

The big pause I had to put on my reading in November was kinda hard on me. I had trouble concentrating and would usually bring a book with me everywhere I went. The book would mostly stay unread and worked as a safety object at my side.

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

I specifically made plans on the books I will be reading by the end of the year. You can check out my reading plan HERE It will be hard to compensate for a whole lost month of reading but I’m starting on it already!

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

I’ve read a second book in a series and have a third one on standby. There are few other book series I can’t wait to get to as well!

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

November recommendation is for taking the time and setting one’s own pace at reading no matter what else is happening in your life!

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Trying out Inkitt / Galatea

If you like trying out new things there are many reading apps out there for brave readers. So far I tried a few apps that help with e-books organisation and provide a platform for reading in general. Years ago before I tried out Kindle I used Aldiko and Cool Reader on an old tablet I used then.

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Lately my Facebook feed has been clogged with adverts for various new reading apps and after ignoring them all for a while I decided to try some out just to get rid of the adds. I went for the most annoying one first – Inkitt. The reason I though of it most annoying is because the add I was getting was for a supernatural werewolf themed story with questionable morals. Basically what jumped out as an add was a message communication in chat form between a girl and an alpha werewolf type going all abusive-possessive. To top it all out the add has an audio of howling wolves to it. The story it advertised is called The Millennium Wolves Series by Sapir Englard.

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The first few chapters are available on Inkitt and after that there is a note that Galatea app has picked up the story and the rest is available there. Both Inkitt and Galatea apps are connected and Inkitt serves as a sort of testing grounds for the stories that get picked for Galatea app.

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So naturally I went and downloaded another free reading app on my phone. Galatea is promoting the stories (I have issues with calling them books for some reason) as “an immersive experience”. And to some extent that is what they are – experience. The most notable difference is the sound system that is in the background of the stories you read. There were sounds one could hear as a background noise in cities, places where people gather and cheer, creepy places, forest sounds and many more. The sounds usually creeped me out and thankfully there is a mute option for those.

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What I was not prepared for were the vibrating effects! In scenes where there is some kind of chase involved or other situations where the character’s pulse is speeding the phone starts to vibrate. And in case of some stories the whole screen would start changing color and sort of pulse during the sexually charged scenes.

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All special effects of the immersive experience aside, the thing that bothered me more is that this app is making the reader feel like an addict. The chapters were very short with reading time around 15 minutes per chapter or less. Each chapter is noted with the amount of “spicy” content.

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While the app is free there are some other ways the creators have found to make money by offering what I refer to in most video game as – in game purchases. You get access to one small chapter a day – there is a clock timer that lets you read next chapter at the same time each day.

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You can skip the wait by paying with points provided trough the app. You can buy bundles of points or earn 1 point per day by commenting on a chapter. There are also few other ways to earn points.

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There are a lot of annoying things that bother me regarding this app. For one – the content of the first three chapters I read on Inkitt was a bit different than what was available in first three chapters on Galatea. The characters reacted a bit different. Point of view was available form another character and the whole story had a different feel to it. The ending of the chapter was the same but the story went a bit different overall.

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This discrepancy annoyed me more than the “pay for a chapter” policy. I even tried calculating how much it would cost for skipping all the chapters to get the whole story and the amount ended up so high it was unacceptable for me. I sometimes binge and get an e-book on Kindle but refuse to spend more than 10$ for an e-book in general since I prefer the paper copy on my shelf.

I ended up frustrated since the story I was interested in is not available anywhere else and the platform of the app did not appeal to me. Another issue is I have trouble with adding the story I’m reading to my Goodreads profile. Finding the actual title takes some time and I find it ludicrous that reading of one “season” of the story takes a whole month unless you pay for access.

This app treats the story as a streaming service would a TV show or another video content. I understand that immersive experience effects make it a package deal and a different multimedia experience, but this type of “reading” just isn’t “my cup of tea”.

What do you think?

Have you tried it?

Would you try it?