Mid Year Book Freakout Tag! (2020)

 

I’m probably the last person in the internet to post The Mid Year Book Freak Out tag this year. Things have been busy and when I eventually found this blog post half done in my scrivener Blog Posts file, I decided it wouldn’t be a bad idea to finish what I had started more than a month ago.  😉

So here it goes:

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2020.

This is a very difficult question because I have read so many 5 star books this first half year. So I’ll name two favorite ones:

Falling Free (Vorkosigan Saga (Publication Order) #4) by Lois McMaster Bujold – This book proved that a story with important themes can be an entertaining page-turner too. And now I understand why so many people recommend the Vorkosigan Saga which I intend to go on reading for sure!

Skyward (Skyward #1) by Brandon Sanderson – This was awesome, and I’ll be continuing this series.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020.

Network Effect (The Murderbot Diaries #5) by Martha Wells – This was awesome and I could not put it down. Perhaps I’ll have to reread all Murderbot books to make up for having to wait for the next book in the series.

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

The Unspoken Name (The Serpent Gates #1) by A.K. Larkwood – This seems to be a very original fantasy book and I’m looking forward to it.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

The Nemesis (The Diabolic #3) by S.J. Kincaid – I’m waiting for this book since I read The Empress (The Diabolic #2) in April 2018 and the book finished with a plot twist I wasn’t expecting. So let’s see how this story will go on.

5. Biggest disappointment.

I had two:

Spin (Spin Saga #1) by Robert Charles Wilson.

and

The Outside (The Outside #1) by Ada Hoffmann.

Both disappointments had to do with the fact that those books took way too long to give answers to my reader’s questions. I’m not the most patient of readers, and if the book doesn’t get me hooked I won’t read it indefinitely. I set both books aside and maybe one day I’ll finish them, or not.

6. Biggest surprise.

The Raven and the Dove (The Raven and the Dove #1) by Kaitlyn Davis
I started this book not knowing much about it, but it completely surpassed my initial expectations. It is an extremely clever retelling of Tristan and Isolde with multi-layered, interesting and relatable characters, and a story world I want to read more about. I’ll be continuing this series for sure!

7. Favorite new author. (Debut or new to you)

Libba Bray is my new favorite author of 2020. I am reading her entire Gemma Doyle series this year.

8. Newest fictional crush.

I’m too old to have fictional crushes. 🙂

9. Newest favorite character.

Gemma Doyle surely, because she is always taking care of other people and trying her best.

10. Book that made you cry.

I wasn’t crying, but a book that has all the feels was Leave Me by Gayle Forman, because it talks about an overworked and unappreciated mother and this is a very important and not talked about enough theme nowadays.

11. Book that made you happy.

The Tea Dragon Society (Tea Dragon #1) by Katie O’Neill. This graphic novel series has such sweet illustrations and important themes that you feel like framing all pages and putting them on your walls for coziness sake. 🙂

12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

I received an arc from NetGalley of The Tea Dragon Tapestry (Tea Dragon #3) by Katie O’Neill and this was so beautiful I might buy a physical copy for me eventually.

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Oh, so many! To answer this properly I would have to post at least thirty books that I still would like to read for this or that yearly challenge, but this year I’ll try not to get stressed about it and I won’t care (much) if I don’t complete my challenges at all.

Meanwhile I am mostly mood-reading and looking for hope-filled books while steering away from anything Dystopian. I think that after this year we all deserve patience and endurance hero medals right?

Take care and read good books.

Have I read these Popular books? The BOOKTERNET ‘All Star’ Charity Challenge #BookternetGivesBack

The BOOKTERNET ‘All Star’ Charity Challenge #BookternetGivesBack is a a book community tag challenge to raise money for COVID-19 relief created by Rachael Marie and A Frolic Through Fiction.

In this post I won’t explain the challenge in detail, for this I recommend checking out both creators Youtube channels. Basically in this tag a list of books/series and authors extremely popular on the Youtube book community, aka Booktube, is discussed and you comment if you read them or not and which were your main impressions of these books/series/author’s works.

Needless to say the graphic image below also belongs to the tag creators and I only changed the check marks to indicate which books/series and authors I read.

#BookternetGivesBack
#BookternetGivesBack

So, without much further ado, let’s start:

Angie Thomas

I haven’t yet read On The Come Up or The Hate You Give. I probably won’t read them tough, because I don’t read Contemporary, but never say never, right?

Shatter Me Series by Tahereh Mafi

This was a very entertaining series. I read it until book #3, Ignite Me. Eventually I’ll go on reading this series.

Leigh Bardugo

I really liked the Shadow and Bone trilogy, and also the Six of Crows duology. I considered King of Scars quite a let down so I’m not sure if I will go on to read the next book in the King of Scars Duology. Another book of hers that I really liked was The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic, this short story collection was very nicely illustrated, and the tales were awesome. Apart from that I also plan on reading Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1). Since this author’s works inspire me so much I even bought a year-long journal called The Severed Moon, which has a collection of writing prompts inspired in the magical world of her books.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

This was a very entertaining series, which I liked and read really fast, but it also happened that two persons I recommended this book to didn’t like it at all. I plan on reading more books by Holly Black since I really like her morally gray characters.

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

I haven’t read this book yet, but I bought it and it’s on my TBR.

Victoria Schwab.

I read the first book of the Monsters of Verity duology, the first book of The Darker Shade of Magic trilogy and the first book of the Vicious duology. I do like her books, but I don’t consider them especially memorable or a series I have to go on reading immediately and that is probably why I have started three of her series but haven’t continued any of them.

I plan on reading Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2), and Vengeful (Villains #2) eventually tough.

I started The Archived but set it aside after 100 pages, not sure yet if I really want to finish it. I do read YA, but when the teen drama and problems are the main aspect of the book and are more present than the story world/plot itself than it’s not my taste.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles)

I liked the way the sci-fi elements were used in this retelling, even if the writing style was quite off. Perhaps I had too many expectations on the book due to all the hype. I never finished the second book in the series, Scarlet, tough and I’m not sure if I still want to do that.

Adam Silvera

I haven’t read any of his books yet. I hope eventually to get to it.

Cassandra Clare

The Mortal Instruments was a very entertaining series, something good to read in summer when you just want to relax in the sun, (or shadow like me). I say that this series is pleasant like using old Havaianas on a summer day. 😉  The fourth book in the series, City of Fallen Angels, wasn’t especially memorable tough so at the moment I don’t really plan on reading the next two books in the series?
My favorite series by her so far is The Infernal Devices. I liked the steampunk historical setting and also the characters of this trilogy more. I’m not sure about reading Chain of Gold yet, let me know if it’s worth it.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

I have this in my TBR because everyone raves about this. Not sure tough because it’s Contemporary?

Laini Taylor

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone series was OK, even if full of ups and downs, and with a third book that didn’t really wrap-up in a way I considered satisfactory, (Zuzana and Mik were my favorite secondary characters of all time tough).

Strange the Dreamer was a three star read for me but I’ll probably still read its sequel, Muse of Nightmares.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Warning: I’m spoiled for badly written and boring sci-fi after this series. I haven’t read all the books in this blog post, but I can say with great certainty that this is probably my favorite series on this list! I liked its sequel, Gemina, very much too and plan to read Obsidio still this year.

I also have Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle Book 1) by these authors in my TBR.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

I didn’t like the first book of this series and decided not to continue it. The premise is interesting but this book is so hyped that I expected much more  and was completely underwhelmed, adding to that I also didn’t like the writing style.

Sarah J. Maas

I got tired of the Throne of Glass series on book 3. I did read book 4, but lost steam and didn’t go on reading this series so far. I might, I’m just not in a hurry. I have the feeling that this series would have been a good duology or trilogy, but it has been stretched so much that I stopped caring enough to go reading.

The same happened with A Court of Thorns and Roses. I really liked its second book, A Court of Mist and Fury, and finally the third book, A Court of Wings and Ruin, was a good wrap-up on the story arc. This is tough planned to be a six book series, so I wonder if it will have the same problem of being overextended.

No idea either if I will read her next book, House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1). I’m still waiting for the reviews to decide.

An Ember In the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

This is in my TBR too, I’m just not in a hurry because that is again an YA series and I have more than enough YA books to read for now.

Seanan McGuire

I read the first of the YA Novella series Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children #1), and two of her paranormal fantasy series books: Rosemary and Rue (October Daye #1) and A Local Habitation (October Daye #2) by this author and in all three books I had this sense of everything being rushed-up and the world building and story not being developed enough to fulfill its premise, so I guess this author’s books aren’t for me.

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

This is in my TBR as well, even if I wonder if Grimdark is something I really like. I read and watched Game of Thrones, but this was very much an exception, when there is too much violence I tend to set books and TV series aside especially on these days of lock down, so let’s see.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

I almost never read Romance and even less Young Adult Romance, so I probably won’t pick up this one.

 

And you, do you think that hyped books are the best or the worst? Which of these books would you recommend me to read first? Let me know in the comments.

OWLs Readathon 2020 Wrap-Up #magicalreadathon2020

In April I participated in the OWLs Magical Readathon created by Book Roast 

I’m quite happy with my results, since I not only managed to get the OWLs to be a Journalist/Writer, but also to be a Seer. Additionally, I also did the Animagus Training OWLs .

My Seer OWLs were:

Ancient Runes:

Heart Rune: Heart on the cover or in the title
Heart of Iron (Ashley Poston) – Rating: 3,5 stars
This was an entertaining YA sci-fi book, with sympathetic pirates and romances. I’ll probably go on reading this series.

Astronomy:

Night Class: read a majority of a book when it’s dark outside
Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1) by Emily A. Duncan – Rating: 4 stars
I considered this a character-driven book, and quite a slow-burn for YA.
Holding on with the slow way in which the story unfolded was rewarding tough, since I liked the writing style and the character development. I’ll be following up this series just to see where the characters will go.

Divination:

Third Eye: pick a book randomly from your TBR
I read a book chosen by #bookspin on Litsy. The chosen book was The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library #1) by Genevieve Cogman. – Rating: 4 stars
This was a bit slow in the beginning, but I liked the story world and the characters a lot and especially how the book was an interesting mix of historical/paranormal fantasy and mystery. I will be following this series for sure.

My Journalist/Writer OWLs were:

Muggle Studies

Book from the perspective of a Muggle. Contemporary

Midnight in Austenland (Austenland #2) by Shannon Hale- Rating: 5 stars!
This was a page-turner, super entertaining mixture of contemporary romance and mystery.

History of Magic

Witch Hunts- Books featuring Witches/Wizards

I changed my mind here and decided to read a Novella, The Witch’s Curse by Megan Linski. Rating: 3 stars.
This was an entertaining fantasy Novella that I read in one sitting.

Care of Magical Creatures

Hippogriffs: a creature with a beak (e.g. birds) on the cover
I also changed my first choice here to Wrath and Wing (Ena of Ilbrea #0) by Megan O’Russell. Rating: 3 stars.
This was an entertaining fantasy Novella too, and it’s the beginning of a series that could be interesting.

Animagus Training OWLs

Arithmancy

Read a Book Outside of Your Favorite Genre- For this I decided to read an epistolary Novella.
This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar, Max Gladstone- Rating: 3 stars.
This book had a very original premise.
The writing style was quite different than what I usually read, no idea if it would be too flowery or just poetic for a native speaker. I considered it beautifully written.
I had a hard time immersing myself in the story tough, because of the way it is written, epistolary, and the constantly changing settings, that put too much distance between me as a reader and the characters. I also need more plot happening to keep me really invested in a story.
All that said, I’ll probably reread this book (in times quieter than in the middle of the corona crisis), to see if I manage to concentrate better on the beautiful prose and to see if my opinion on it changes for the better.

Potions

Books Under 150 Pages- I exceptionally read two Novellas for this prompt, first I read The Emperor’s Soul (Elantris) by Brandon Sanderson – Rating: 5 Stars! An awesome Novella, the more I read Brandon Sanderson, the more I want to keep reading.

I also read what I was previously planning for this prompt which was one of the Novellas of the Tor.com Collection: Season 1, that I have as an Audiobook;  Sunset Mantle by Alter S. Reiss.- Rating: 5 Stars!

A beautifully written epic fantasy novella with themes such as love, honor, loyalty, heroism, that make it transcendent and relatable to human experience at the same time. One of my favorites in the Tor.com Collection: Season 1 so far. The Audiobook narrator also fitted extremely well for this particular story.

Transfiguration

Book/Series that has Shapeshifting. (This unfortunately didn’t work out so well for me)

I started reading Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox #1) by Julie Kagawa, but I set it aside because I didn’t like its mostly helpless female main characters. I picked up this book as a second attempt to read this author, since I also didn’t like her Iron King series so much due to the same issue. It didn’t work for me, so I decided to change my choice for this prompt and read Stray (Shifters #1) by Rachel Vincent – Rating 2 Stars
This was a page-turner book, with all the tropes of the paranormal romance genre. Unfortunately, if you are tired of the genre like me, this probably won’t be original enough to bring you back.

The reasons why I didn’t like it are the following ones:
*SPOILER ALERT* In the next lines there are a couple of end of the story spoilers, and a bit of a rant too, so *RANT ALERT* 😉

1) Stereotypical Brazilian characters who speak Spanish all the time.
Imo it’s completely OK if you as a writer want to make your villain Brazilian, but at least research a bit and stop making them curse and speak all the time in Spanish. Miguel and his brother were cardboard characters who always repeated the same cliché things… in Spanish.

2) The end of the story: Faythe conforming to her bossy father’s wishes and going back to her world wasn’t a great ending to her story. What about her previous choices? I wished that she didn’t have to give up everything she had chosen previously to stay with Marc. It was also quite weird the whole thing with her being used to be in a cage for weeks because her own father had done that to her previously.

3) The whole idea of very few female Shifters versus male Shifters. So your hot ex-boyfriend would stay around waiting for five years because he has no other alternative. Yeah… It was a bit difficult to suspend my disbelief there.

Have you participated in the OWLs Readathon too? Which was your favorite book?

R/fantasy 2019 Bingo: Final Wrap-Up

In April 2019 I was planning to post quarterly updates on this challenge, but after my first quarterly update in June 2019, I completely forgot about it. Anyway, now that the Bingo Challenge is finished , I decided to post this complete Wrap-up because late is better than never… Therefore, here is my final Wrap-up on this yearly challenge created by Lisa from WayTooFantasy

Like the last time I participated in 2018, I did not complete the 25 reading prompts for all bingo squares, since what happens is that I often read more than one book for the same prompt, and tend to procrastinate on a couple of prompts.

This time only three prompts weren’t completed, and they were:

1)Self Published SFF Novel

2)SFF Novel by an Australian Author and

3)Lit RPG

but that doesn’t really matter much, since I’ll eventually get to read the books I had planned for them and post the review here on the blog. I might even swap one of the squares of the new bingo card for one of these last years’s squares, let’s see.

Lastly, to make this post shorter, I won’t repeat the reviews from my June update here, so please take a look in that post for the books where a link to the June quarterly update is provided.  

Row 1

Slice of Life / Small Scale Fantasy

I was setting aside the book I chose for this prompt, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater after a few pages. I can’t really explain what happened and I’ll eventually pick up this book again to give it a second chance. Instead, I read Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor.

Rating: 3 stars. This took long to unfold. It wasn’t so bad that I DNFed it but it was slow, really slow. It had the flaw of a couple of books I read recently, too much play-by-play, repetitions, and the pace drags. If 100 or more pages of filler had been cut out of it, it would have been a five star book.

 A SFF Novel Featuring a Character With a Disability

Planetfall (Planetfall #1) by Emma Newman

Rating: 4 stars. This was a very suspenseful, and character-driven science fiction.

SFF Novella

Envy of Angels (Sin du Jour #1) by Matt Wallace JunePlease see my June 2019 Post with my first quarterly reviews.

Witches of Lychford (Lychford #1) by Paul Cornell

Rating 4 stars: This was a novella that could have been easily a novel, but perhaps the other books in the series will flesh out the very interesting characters a bit more. I heard this as part of the Tor.com collection Audiobook and the narrator was good too.

The Builders by Daniel Polansky

Rating 3 stars:  This was very well written. With as much action and violence as a Quentin Tarantino movie and very interesting characters. Not exactly for me, but I could imagine fans of stories full of action enjoying it.

Novel Featuring Twins

I was reading  The Black Tides of Heaven (Tensorate, #1) by J.Y. Yang for this bingo square and my review is in the June 2019 Post

Row 2

Novel Featuring Vampires

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1) by Charlaine Harris June

June 2019 Post

Tantalize (Tantalize #1) by Cynthia Leitich Smith

This was an entertaining, page-turner, first book of a series. Only the end was a bit rushed up.

On a second note, the end if this book was quite tragic too. To me the MC and her caretaker uncle seemed to be emotionally lost people. Especially the main character was a very lonely teen without proper guidance and support from anyone in her life, so she just started to lean on the seductive new chef which was slowly turning her into a vampire.

This fictional thing could be compared to real life problems of teen girls who get drug addicted or too attached to bad people due to lack of parental support.

I considered the end tragic for this reason, but I  was intrigued by the plot thematic layers that turned a girl becoming a vampire not to a romantic thing, as many other YA books, but rather to a Machiavellian murder.

Format: Graphic Novel (at least 1 vol.) OR Audiobook / Audio drama

Audiobook: We Are Legion (We Are Bob) (Bobiverse #1) by Dennis E. Taylor (Author), Ray Porter (Narrator) 

June 2019 Post

I was hearing more Audiobooks last year. My plan is to make a blog post only featuring Audiobooks in the near future.

Graphic Novel: The Wicked + The Divine (Single Issues) by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie (Cover Art), Matt Wilson

Rating: 3,5 stars. I read most of the 45 single issues of this graphic novel. This was an entertaining, page-turner graphic novel that I could not put down, even if now and then things were not so well explained, or fleshed out.

SFF Novel by a Local to You Author

Dream a little dream (Silber #1) by Kerstin Gier

Rating: 4 stars. This was an entertaining page-turner, and a light, humorous book. I’ll be reading the next in the series for sure.

SFF Novel Featuring an Ocean Setting

Evermore (Everless #2) by Sara Holland

Rating: 3 stars. Beautifully written even if slow-paced. The ending was nicely wrapped-up too.

Cyberpunk

Altered Carbon (Takeshi Kovacs #1) by Richard K. Morgan

June 2019 Post

Row 3

2nd Chance

I chose Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox #1) by Julie Kagawa for this prompt because this was a second chance I was giving to books by this author after not really enjoying her Iron King series. I set this aside after a few pages. Call me heartless, but I don’t really like when the MC is a victim who has no resources against her oppressors. I think that this type of story might work better with a younger audience, so I’m probably not the target audience for her books.

Afrofuturism

The Book of Phoenix (Who Fears Death #0.5) by Nnedi Okorafor

Rating: 3,5 stars. I’m not really sure about how to review this book. It was very original, but its pacing was all over the place, sometimes dragging, sometimes rushed up.

SFF Novel Published in 2019

The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves #1) by Roshani Chokshi

Rating: 3,5 stars. Kind of the same uncertainty on this review. I liked the characters in this book a lot, but perhaps I’m the wrong audience for too much action? This isn’t the first time a book full of action made me tired of it.

Middle Grade SFF Novel

The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand (Author), Sarah Watts (Illustrator)

Rating: 2 stars. This was interesting, not much is explained and I’m not sure I would read this for young kids. (It seemed more directed towards young adults than middle-grade.)

A Personal Recommendation from r/fantasy

I read two books for this prompt. Elantris and The Emperor’s Soul, a Novella, by Brandon Sanderson. Both were 5 stars reads for me, since I really enjoy this author’s books and plan to read more on them in the future.

Row 4

Any r/fantasy Book Club Book of the Month OR r/fantasy Read-along Book

Foundryside (Founders #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett

Rating: 3 stars. This was long and full of action. I somehow could not really get immersed in this book.

Media Tie-In Novel

I read three books that fit this prompt, and the reviews are in my June blog post.

1)Children of the Nameless (Magic:The Gathering) by Brandon Sanderson

2)Mortal Engines (Mortal Engines Quartet #1) by Philip Reeve

3) The Circle by Dave Eggers

Novel Featuring an AI Character

Silently and Very Fast by Catherynne M. Valente.

Rating: 4 stars. This novella’s writing style was towards stream of consciousness, and this was in any case food-for-thought.

 SFF Novel That Has a Title of Four or More Words

An Unkindness of Magicians (An Unkindness of Magicians #1) by Kat HowardJune blog post.

A Memory Called Empire (Teixcalaan #1) by Arkady Martine

Audiobook Rating: 5 stars. It did take me a while to hear this because I didn’t want to loose any detail of this book full of political intrigue and twists. I will be following this series for sure. The Audiobook narration, by Amy Landon, was five stars too.

Retelling!

I set aside my first choice for this prompt, which was Deathless (Leningrad Diptych #1) by Catherynne M. Valente, because I didn’t feel immersed enough in the story and I didn’t want to repeat authors in the reading prompts. So, instead I read:

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

Audiobook Rating: 5 stars. A magnificent retelling of Frankenstein, and the Audiobook Performance of Katharine McEwan was five stars too.

Row 5

The Final Book of a Series

Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels #10) by Ilona Andrews

Rating: 5 stars. This was amazing, a great final book for this awesome series. I could not put it down.

#OwnVoices

Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World #1) by Rebecca Roanhorse.

Rating: 4 stars. This was very interesting, I don’t consider it YA due to the amount of violence tough. The heroine is not at first sight likable, mainly because I have not seen enough layers to understand her well enough but I hope that the next book in the series shows more of her journey. The love interests are also shown superficially, but hopefully I’ll get deeper arcs in the next book too. Since the character’s presentations mainly skipped the surface in this first book, I hope we get deeper developments in the next book of the series.

I’ll give it 4 and not 5 stars due to the reasons I already stated and because I missed more depth in the story world, a lot of things I would have gladly know more about went unexplained or were shown in a superficial way. The plot also moved in all directions, as if the story was starting anew at every chapter.

Perhaps my impressions of the story world were like this because I am not familiar with Native American Culture. I would have gladly read a glossary with explanations about the Native American cultural references used in the story.

In any case, this book was a very original page-turner that I could not put down.

Five SFF Short Stories

Now in 2020, I am making a Short-Story Challenge where I plan to read at least 52 short stories from different anthologies/collections. And the resulting Wrap-up blog will be posted in December this year.

The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume One, 1929-1964 (Science Fiction Hall of Fame #1).

This anthology has been a mixed bag for me so far.

A couple of stories were awesome and extremely original, and a few had lines filled up with misogyny. I don’t enjoy reading such stuff at all, and my tolerance for an author’s horrible attitude towards women is really low, to the point that  more than one book with that kind of flaw by the same author is reason enough for me to avoid the works of such author in the future.

I am even tough planning to read the whole anthology and take note of the authors who positively impress me to read more by them in the near future.

5 Stories:

Nightfall • (1941) • novelette by Isaac Asimov – 5 stars! Isaac Asimov shows again why he is one of my favorite authors!

The Weapon Shop • [Weapon Shops of Isher] • (1942) • novelette by A. E. van Vogt– I didn’t like this so much due to a couple of misogynistic lines.

Mimsy Were the Borogoves • (1943) • novelette by Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore [as by Lewis Padgett ] –Very interesting story- 5 stars!

Huddling Place • [City] • (1944) • shortstory by Clifford D. Simak

Don’t get to attached to your comfort zone…

Arena • (1944) • novelette by Fredric Brown – There is an episode of Star Trek that reminds me of this story a lot.

 

I’ll soon post a TBR for the R/Fantasy Bingo Challenge of 2020. Stay Tuned!

 

 

OWLs Readathon 2020 #magicalreadathon2020 – My April TBR

My social distancing April has now started and with it the entertaining OWLs Magical Readathon created by  Book Roast

So I thought, why not? My days are now more busy than when schools were open, since at the moment I’m replacing the teachers of my two boys (and this makes me think that teachers deserve our eternal gratitude and respect), but, at the same time, this only makes reading fiction even more important for me right now, as a way of relaxing and escaping the new reality for an hour every night.

All that said, in this Readathon you can choose different careers in the magical world. The two careers I would go for would be Journalist/Writer, Rita Skeeter being my heroine 😉 or Seer, due to the snazzy robes they get to wear, crystal balls being also such cool decoration objects too.

If I decide to be a Journalist/Writer, My OWLs would be:

History of Magic

Book featuring witches and wizards: The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (The Physick Book #1) by Katherine Howe.

Muggle Studies

Contemporary: Midnight in Austenland (Austenland #2) by Shannon Hale

1 other subject of your picking:

Which could be Care of Magical Creatures– Hippogriffs: a creature with a beak (e.g. birds) on the cover – This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar (Goodreads Author), Max Gladstone

Or Herbology – Mimbulus Mimbletonia: title starts with an M- Mirage(Mirage #1) by Somaiya Daud

Or, if I decide to be a Seer, my OWLs would be:

Ancient Runes:

Heart Rune: Heart on the cover or in the title
Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston

Astronomy:

Night Class: read a majority of a book when it’s dark outside
Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1) by Emily A. Duncan

Divination:

Third Eye: pick a book randomly from your TBR
I will be reading a book chosen by #bookspin on Litsy. In the second of April, the Litsy user @TheAromaofBooks makes a draw of a number between 1 and 20 and the book number chosen on my 1-20 list gets to be ‘The Chosen One’. Since this looks like something that Professor Trewlaney would do, I’m all for it.

Regardless of my career path I will try to make an

Animagus Training, OWLs:
Arithmancy

Read a Book Outside of Your Favorite Genre- I’ll be reading Historical Fantasy for this prompt: Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle #2) by Libba Bray

Potions

Books Under 150 Pages- I’ll be hearing one of the Novellas of the Tor.com Collection: Season 1, that I have as an Audiobook.

Transfiguration

Book/Series that has Shapeshifting
Shadow of the Fox (Shadow of the Fox #1) by Julie Kagawa

 

Are you participating in the Magical or any other Readathons this month? If yes, leave your link below.

Entertaining Books For Your Social Distancing Days

 

Since my daily routine has been changed to most of the time staying at home and homeschooling, I have been drawn, among other hobbies, to lighter reading.

Here are some of the most light, fun and humorous books I have read in the last decade. And these I would recommend anyone who would like a bit of page-turning escapism:

 

The Martian (The Martian #1) by Andy Weir

If you have not read this book yet, try it. It is science fiction, but the main character is so funny you will end up laughing too. Another by the same author that I would like to recommend is Artemis, since I could not put both books down or stop laughing.

 

Belgravia (Belgravia #1-11) by Julian Fellowes

If you like historical fiction, or even if you are like me and read 2 to 3 books of historical fiction per year, you will like this. It has the same atmosphere as Downtown Abbey.

 

Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips

This is an extremely entertaining and light story with Greek Gods.

 

Bridget Jones’s Diary (Bridget Jones #1) by Helen Fielding

This is an oldie, but so, so funny, that I consider it a modern classic.

 

The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next #1) by Jasper Fforde

I cannot think of another word right now for this book but “Precious!” It is so incredibly original and witty, that I think of it as a not at all hyped-enough jewel.

 

Star Nomad (Fallen Empire #1) by Lindsay Buroker

I read the whole series in my last summer vacations and could not put it down. The series was full of action, and included a captain full of jokes, a moody cyborg, a pessimistic engineer and space pirates!

 

We Are Legion (We Are Bob) (Bobiverse #1) by Dennis E. Taylor

This is an entertaining, page-turner series. I also liked the audiobook version of this book, narrated by Ray Porter.

 

Ready Player One (Ready Player One #1) by Ernest Cline

Full of gamer 80’s nostalgia, this is a delight to read.

 

Finally:

Magic Bites (Kate Daniels #1) by Ilona Andrews

This series is packed with action and well-done romance in an Urban-fantasy, paranormal world, but it is incredibly entertaining to read. If you enjoy this series, I would also recommend the Hidden Legacy and the Innkeeper Chronicles series by the same authors who know how to keep a reader happily turning pages.

Start on Your Shelf a Thon TBR #StartOnYourShelfathon

What is #StartOnYourShelfathon?

#StartOnYourShelfathon is a 2020 star-themed readathon hosted and run by CW from The Quiet Pond. The aim of #StartOnYourShelfathon is to read as many unread books on your bookshelf as you can between December 13th 2019 and December 31st 2020.

#StartOnYourShelfathon isn’t an ordinary readathon too! The mascot of #StartOnYourShelfathon is Castor the Star Collector who is also a sloth friend of The Quiet Pond, who has lost all the stars he has collected over the years and needs your help to find them again.

For every book you read as part of #StartOnYourShelfathon, you collect a star you can add to your ‘star map’. Read books, collect stars, give yourself an amateur star-collector name, and create constellations! You can read Castor’s story and find information about and resources for the readathon here.

Lady NightSky’s #StartOnYourShelfathon Goals

I now present you with Lady NightSky (My Star Collector’s Name) 😉 who has, for the moment, the down-to-Earth goal of reading 20 physical fiction books, 10 Netgalley Arcs, 5 Audiobooks, 5 Library Books and 20 e-books.

It could happen that Lady surpasses this goal, but she doesn’t like being in a hurry while reading.

(And now let’s stop with the weird third-person writing.)

I will for now list only my physical book’s TBR here, otherwise this blog post would become way too long and I probably would only finish writing this in February.

When I read each of the planned books I will add one star to the map below and in December I’ll do a wrap-up for this challenge alone. I’m curious to see my own reaction to the books I buy myself, because if the way I’m choosing books isn’t working so well for me, then I will have to rethink my buying decisions in the future.

I think most of my TBR books will be a four star read for me, but let’s see, surprises do happen more often than not.

Many times I heard about the books for the first time on Youtube, aka Booktube, and I apologize if I forgot in some cases where specifically  I heard about each book for the first time. I will add the Channel whenever I do remember tough.

Since this is the internet I have to write the disclaimer “My personal opinions on the following books/YouTube channels below are solely my personal opinions and they are not meant to be offensive to any YouTube Content Creator/Author/Reader or Writing Genre.”

 

My #StartOnYourShelfathon TBR

2020 TBR Books
My shiny 2020 TBR books!

1. The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library #1) by Genevieve Cogman

I have been hearing about this series for awhile now, so let’s start it.


2.The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I have been interested in reading more by this author, so when I heard about this historical fiction at Kalanadi’s Youtube Channel it seemed like a good place to start.


3.A Winter’s Promise (La Passe-Miroir #1) by Christelle Dabos, Hildegarde Serle (Translator)

I heard divided opinions about this book on Booktube, so I decided to check it out and make up my mind. The cover of this book is beautiful too, so this is a #covercrush case.


4.The Power by Naomi Alderman

I have been interested in reading this since it won the Women’s Prize for Fiction, so let’s make this happen.


5.Mind Games (Mind Games #1) by Kiersten White

This is one of my new favorite authors and the premise caught my attention for sure.


6.Promise of Blood (Powder Mage #1) by Brian McClellan

I heard on Daniel Greene’s Channel this is an awesome fantasy series, so let’s see if I like it too.


7. The Cloud Roads (The Books of the Raksura #1) by Martha Wells

Since I started reading the Murderbot Diaries series I have been interested in reading more by this author, so this fantasy series book is in my TBR.


8.The Song Rising (The Bone Season #3) by Samantha Shannon

This is one of my favorite series, which I plan to continue this year.


9. The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Another book by this author I plan to read. This is 804 pages long, so it’s like planning to read a trilogy.


10. Heart of Iron (Heart of Iron #1) by Ashley Poston

I felt like reading this since I heard about it on Booktube a long time ago, and it has pirates in space, so I’m sold 🙂


11. Mage’s Blood (Moontide Quartet #1) by David Hair

I heard about this epic fantasy series for the first time at the Youtube Channel of Kitty G


12. The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn #1) by Renée Ahdieh

I got this book and its sequel, The Rose & the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn #2) as gifts last Christmas, so let’s read them.


13. The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves #1) by Roshani Chokshi 

This book was very hyped on Booktube, and later that seemed to cool down considerably. I will wait next time to see if a new hyped book is a solid recommendation or if it’s only going through a wave of hype euphoria followed by wrap-ups where the book is rated three stars and the Booktuber says something like “I thought this was going to be five stars but it was meh”. I think I’ll enjoy it even though, but you never know.


14.The Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1)by Emily A. Duncan

This was the same case of hype followed by three star reviews. The premise seemed interesting, so I got it. I will read it, make up my mind, and wait a couple of months before I buy a hyped book in the future.


15.The Hazel Wood (The Hazel Wood #1) by Melissa Albert

The premise has “a menacing, mesmerizing world of dark fairy tales and hidden doors”. Ok, I’m sold! 🙂


16. Slow River by Nicola Griffith

This book was recommended in the Youtube Channel of Kalanadi, one of my favorite Booktubers, so I basically had to check it out.


17. The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester

Last year I read  and enjoyed “The Stars My Destination” by the same author, so I’m reading this in 2020.


18. Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad #1) by Scott Reintgen 

I confess I bought this book without knowing much about it, except that the premise seemed interesting. Let’s see if I strike gold.


19.The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (The Physick Book #1) by Katherine Howe

This is historical fiction with witches, so it seemed interesting enough.


20. The “Wildcard” Book

This isn’t a book called Wildcard, but an empty space I’ll reserve to one of the last six physical books I didn’t mention in this list so far and which have equal chances of being read this year.

 

These books are:

Red Mars (Mars Trilogy #1) by Kim Stanley Robinson

To Say Nothing of the Dog (Oxford Time Travel #2) by Connie Willis

Cyteen (Cyteen #1-3) by C.J. Cherryh

The Thousandth Floor (The Thousandth Floor #1) by Katharine McGee

The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastard #1) by Scott Lynch

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle #1) by Jay Kristoff

Any suggestions on what I should read first? Let me know in the comments.

What I reckon from writing this blog post is that I bought way too many Young Adult books the last couple of years. I do enjoy Young Adult books too, but I think that the actual ratio of Young Adult/Adult books is right now unbalanced when related to my reading taste.

One of my Goals for this year is to buy less books, so I’ll try a 95% book- buying ban on Young Adult and Paranormal Fantasy books, with the exception of the few series I want to finish.

I’ll start to ask myself if the new shiny book I want to buy is Adult Fantasy or Adult Science Fiction, and if not I’ll keep it in a list for future consideration. Let’s see how this new buying habit translates into my future TBR. Considerations apart, I’m happy about the TBR I set up for this year.

 

Join #StartOnYourShelfathon!

If you want to join #StartOnYourShelfathon, you can read more information in the readathon information post at The Quiet Pond.

The magic of unread books in your shelf is that one day you’ll find your way to them, in the same way Alice followed a white rabbit down the hole into a unknown new world. According to the story she fell down at seven and a half years old, which is the same age most start reading…

Food-for-though indeed.

Best & Worst Books of 2019

The Worst Books

Last year was a year of transition for me when it comes to my taste in books. If nothing, it proved to me that I am really tired of Paranormal Fantasy and my reading tastes are now turned towards Science Fiction, more specifically Space Opera. More than that, it also showed that if a book is well written or not makes a huge difference for me. If your book and characters are well written I will even rate a zombie post-apocalyptic book five stars, and I don’t usually like books with zombies, but I digress…

Six of the eight Paranormal Fantasy books I read in 2019 didn’t impress me, to a point that I stopped reading four series after the first, second or tenth book because they were mostly a repetition of previous books or other books in the genre. I just started to feel that, if a book series doesn’t bring anything new to a genre which I have now read for many years, than that series isn’t worth following.

In the same way, an author that constantly rehashes the same plot and characters; who always keeps the character and story development you wish it would happen above your head, only as a hook to make you buy the next book in the series; isn’t an author I want to keep on reading. Sorry, but if every book of a series isn’t good enough on its own, I’m out for good. I’m not going for the fan club excuse that the series will eventually become better, not anymore.

My boredom with three stars or lower Paranormal Fantasy books has become so strong that next year I plan to stop buying new books on the genre altogether. Since I don’t like getting rid of unread books I will still keep one or two Paranormal Fantasy unread books by new to me authors on my shelves, but I will donate many others away.

The exception will be books by my favorite author in the genre, Ilona Andrews, because she has innovated her new plots with the inclusion of space opera elements. Apart from that, when it comes to light reading, I’ll mainly substitute Paranormal Fantasy for space opera, young adult, or short stories.

In addition, the whole concept of “light reading” has lost much of its allure. I need stories with more content and that aren’t a repetition of old tropes, with new fresh story worlds, and original characters. The rehashed kick ass hot girl/hot guy, who jumps from one rehashed plot point to another without adding anything new, aren’t working for me anymore. And that is great, it’s time I challenge my mind with new stories, because the old ones bring no more surprises.

Let me know if you would like a detailed list of my worst books of 2019. Meanwhile, let’s move to more positive considerations:

The Best Books

This is a list of books that I, not only rated five stars on Goodreads, but also that brought new story elements on board. All but one were by authors I haven’t read before 2019, and all are by authors I will be following more closely in the next decade.

1.The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

A magnificent retelling of Frankenstein. And the Audiobook Performance of Katharine McEwan was five stars too.

2. An Unkindness of Magicians (An Unkindness of Magicians #1) by Kat Howard

This is a masterpiece, it has magic but even though it managed to have an extremely original plot of fantasy filled up with so many important themes and written in such an awesome style that I can’t believe it doesn’t has a higher rating and it isn’t all that hyped. Quality food-for-thought that everybody interested (or not) in stories with magic should read.

3. Children of the Nameless (Magic: The Gathering #72) by Brandon Sanderson

I read this for the r/fantasy Bingo Challenge. This was awesomely well written. Brandon Sanderson is one of the best fantasy authors at the moment. And you can read this story for free at the Magic The Gathering Website

4. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

I rarely read mystery and even more rarely contemporary, but even though I could not stop reading this well written book, so it took me a day to read it entirely.
It is… Quite surprising and I like that in books, I won’t say more not to spoil it.

5. Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands #1) by Alwyn Hamilton

This was a wonderfully written tale of the desert, with so many important underlying themes and a compelling story with awesomely developed characters.
I will surely be following this series and Alwyn Hamilton is a new favorite author to watch for. The “Goodreads Choice Winner of 2016” prize this book has won is completely deserved.

I also read the second book in this series:

Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands #2)

This is the second book on this awesome YA trilogy with desert setting and Arabic mythology. It reminds me of City of Brass, but imo this is even better.
The writing style, the story world and the characters, everything is masterly written in a page-turner, edge of your seat way, until the very last phrase. If I could give this book more than five stars I would. 😉
I’ll be picking the series third book in the library soon, so stay tuned.

6. Circe by Madeline Miller

A well written and inspiring story. I’ll be surely reading more books from this author. Perdita Weeks is a great Audiobook narrator too.

7. Killing Gravity (Voidwitch Saga #1) by Corey J. White

An entertaining, page-turner novella, with great world, characters and a nice twist in the space opera sub-genre. After reading the first book in just one sitting, I will surely go on reading this series. I also read the next novellas, #2 and #3, and I’m looking forward to more books in this amazing space opera series!

8. Empire of Silence (Sun Eater #1) by Christopher Ruocchio

This is extremely well written. I see it more as epic fantasy with space opera elements than the other way around, but what matters is that once you start reading this, you won’t be able to put it down.

Note: The Blurb gives way too much of the story away, so I would not read it.

9. Snow White Learns Witchcraft: Stories and Poems by Theodora Goss, Jane Yolen (Introduction)

This is a beautifully written collection of short stories and poems, not only inspired, but also composed of “fairy tales fractured, reinvented, re-imagined, retold” as Jane Yolen describes in her Introduction “A Welcome to the Coven.”
Poetic, feminist and literary, the stories and poems are at times obscure, rich with symbols, and at times convey relatable women’s experiences and feelings in a deeply touching way. It also discusses women’s life experiences, and themes like women’s love, desire, marriage, motherhood, artistic expression, freedom, aspirations. It’s rich in themes deeply embedded in all its ‘tales’.

My favorite stories were:
“Blanchefleur”, with a beautiful quote about empathy.
“The Other Thea”, about a witch and her passional shadow.
“The Bear’s Daughter” about a girl who dreams of the south.
“Diamonds and Toads” about the interpretation of morality in fairy tales.
“The Princess and the Frog” with a nice twist on the outcome of the tale.
“Conversations with the Sea Witch” with the “old women sitting together in the sunshine”.
and finally “The Nightingale and the Rose” that was so touching it made me cry.

I consider this book a modern classic. I read it slowly because its richness of themes and meanings requires time to absorb and think over. I’ll probably reread this later on and also also check other books by this awesome author.
I would like to thank NetGalley and Mythic Delirium Books for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

10. A Memory Called Empire (Teixcalaan #1) by Arkady Martine

It did take me a while to hear this because I didn’t want to loose any detail of this book full of political intrigue and twists. I will following this series for sure. The audiobook narrator, Amy Landon, was quite good too.

11. Planetfall (Planetfall #1)by Emma Newman

This was a very suspenseful, and character-driven science fiction. I’ll be following this series.

12. The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic (Grishaverse) by Leigh Bardugo (Author), Sara Kipin (Illustrator)

This book was very nicely illustrated, and the ‘rewritten’ fairy tales were so original. It is a book I’m happy to have bought a hardcover physical copy of, because it is such a beautiful book.

My favorite stories were the last two, but the whole collection was five stars.

 

And you, have your reader preferences changed in 2019? Which were your favorite books from last year?

Best and Worst Series of 2019 Book Tag

I’m doing this very interesting book tag that I saw for the first time on the Youtube channel of BookslikeWhoa. She is an awesome Booktuber with great book recommendations so, follow her! 😉

Questions and Answers:

1. What is the best series that you caught up with this year that is still a work in progress?

AN UNKINDNESS OF MAGICIANS by Kat Howard. It is an awesome and well written first book and I can’t wait for the sequel. Rating: 5 Stars!

I must also mention EMPIRE OF SILENCE (Sun Eater #1) by Christopher Ruocchio. This is extremely well written. I see it more as epic fantasy with space opera elements than the other way around, but what matters is that once you start reading this, you won’t be able to put it down. (I wouldn’t read the blurb tough, it gives away too much of the story). Rating: 5 stars!

2. What is the best work in progress series that you are still catching up with?

THE WICKED KING (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black
I know some people didn’t like this series. I liked it even if it has a couple of flaws, and I will surely read the next book, THE QUEEN OF NOTHING (The Folk of the Air #3) asap. Rating: 5 Stars!

3. What was your favorite first book in a series this year?

One of my favorites was REBEL OF THE SANDS by Alwyn Hamilton. This was a wonderfully written tale of the desert, with so many important underlying themes and a compelling story with awesomely developed characters.
I will surely be following this series and Alwyn Hamilton is a new favorite author to watch for. The “Goodreads Choice Winner of 2016” prize this book has won is completely deserved.Rating: 5 stars!

4. What is a first book in a series you read this year that you think should have just been a standalone, not a series?

KING OF SCARS (Nikolai Duology #1) by Leigh Bardugo.
The story of Nikolai dragged to a point I stopped caring, since there were too many POVs jarring the pacing and flow of the narrative there. An interesting character like Nikolai Lantsov deserved a more fast-paced book with a deeper exploration of his story. The other shallow narratives of Nina Zenik and Zoya Nazyalensky just stood in the way of the main story. Rating: 3,5 stars.

5. What is your most over-hyped series of the year?

I’m a bit late for this, but definitely, MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #1) by Ransom Riggs. I have heard so many times how this series was the best on Booktube that I was completely underwhelmed by it. Rating: 1 star.

6. What is a series that you DNFed this year?

I have the same answer as Bookslikewhoa for this question; THE PASSAGE (The Passage #1)by Justin Cronin. I could not understand why people liked this series. I don’t like when a book is way too sad. Dystopia is fine but not overly done. And there was so much exposition, tell and not show. In addition, it went so slow… No rating (since I bailed).

7. What was your favorite series finale of the year?

Again, my answer is the same as Bookslikewhoa, MAGIC TRIUMPHS by Ilona Andrews.
This was an amazing, great final book for this awesome series. I could not put it down. Rating: 5 stars!

8. What was the biggest cliffhanger you had in a series this year?

What a cliffhanger!

SAGA #54 (Saga (Single Issues) #54) by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples.
I won’t say more not to spoil it, but the last issue of this graphic novel was shocking (and kind of upsetting too). Rating: Variable through the series, average 4 stars.

9. What is your favorite spin-off series you read this year?

I have read only one spin-off series this year, but I didn’t like it enough to read past the first book. One of the spin-off books I liked but that wasn’t a series was THE LOST SISTERS (The Folk of the Air #1.5) by Holly Black. I wished this book’s story had been more deeply explored tough, as it was, it was a very rushed-up explanation. Rating: 3,5 stars.

10. What is your most anticipated next book in a series that you read this year that will come out next year?

I’m waiting since awhile for THE NEMESIS (The Diabolic #3) by S.J. Kincaid. I hope it comes out next year. Rating of the previous books: 5 stars!

I should also mention the VOIDWITCH SAGA by Corey J. White. I sincerely hope this awesome series continues. Rating of the previous books: 5 stars!

And finally, I’m waiting for the next book in the Game of Thrones series. But who isn’t, right?

11. What is your most anticipated series to catch up with next year based on what you read in that series this year?

I want to catch up with the BOBIVERSE series next year. I liked the first Audiobook of WE ARE LEGION (We Are Bob)(Bobiverse #1)by Dennis E. Taylor enough to go on reading or hearing the series. Rating: 5 stars!

12. What is your favorite series that you finished this year?

I already mentioned the KATE DANIELS series by Ilona Andrews. I think it finished in the right moment, since I could see myself reading spin offs with secondary characters of this series. Better than to drag it for many more empty sequels and loose its driving force momentum, as I have seen happening with other paranormal series. Rating: 5 stars!

I also finished the FALLEN EMPIRE series, by Lindsay Buroker. This series was extremely entertaining, funny and full of action. It included a captain full of jokes, a moody cyborg, a pessimistic engineer, space pirates, and many other interesting Space Opera tropes. It was the perfect light summer read for me, and I read all its eight books and spin-off short stories in fifteen days. Rating: 5 stars!

13. What is your favorite episodic series of the year?

I don’t really know any episodic series as far as I can remember right now. Recommend me a good one in the comments!

14. What is a series that you finally bailed on after holding onto it for a long time?

The MERCY THOMPSON series by Patricia Briggs. The last book, SILENCE FALLEN, was so utterly boring. I don’t know if it is because I am enjoying less paranormal romance lately, but I think the series has completely lost its momentum on its tenth book. So, after years following it,  I’m bailing. At least until my interest for the paranormal genre returns. Rating: Although I liked many books in this series, this last tenth book gets only 1 star.

15. What is the series you were most surprised that you liked this year?

The MORTAL ENGINE series by Philip Reeve, since I never read Steampunk before. This was one of the most interesting books I came across for a long time; with an extremely well built story world and every single one of the characters had many layers and something unique and special about them. Rating: 5 stars!

So, these were my best and worst series of 2019, I tag anyone who would like to answer these questions. If you do I would like to read your answers, so please leave your link below in the comments.

The two main reasons I’m not following a book series, even if I liked the first book.

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1) The author killed most characters I cared about on the first book.

Game of Thrones was a series where I endured the death of a lot of my favorite characters, and its last tv season was *spoiler alert* so tragical! All hopes for my favorite characters, Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow, were crushed in the worst possible way. Even though I read all the released books in the series so far and will probably read the next ones (when its ‘wizard’ author finally publishes them).

This was tough, an exception, because there were many awesome characters still left and even if my reader’s heart got broken five times or more in each book, I still had other five awesome characters to follow on the next one. (Furthermore, Tyrion Lannister was staying to the end, saying he was “the god of t**** and wine”).

GOT exception apart, I won’t be doing that again, especially not for five books in a row. If an author kills my most loved characters already in the first book, don’t expect me to hang around (no, no, no, enough with the heartache).

I have a really hard time understanding why authors make us, not only like, but tie all our heartstrings, to a character, show all her/his potential for all those series sequels to come, and not long after, after one hundred pages, kill them. Frankly, I’m not supporting this further.

Imagine how it would be if Dorothy had never journeyed through the yellow brick road, met the Wizard of Oz and melted the bad witch? As a reader, I’m Toto following Dorothy, and I’m not going anywhere without her.

 

2) The author changed the main characters from one book to the next.

I like when a story world stretches longer than three books. But for me, the longer and deeper character journeys that happen during more than one book, in a well-written series, is the most important reason why reading a series is enjoyable for me.

I consider very jarring if the main characters are switched for completely new characters already on the second book, or any next book in the series for that matter. Then, instead of following the amazing plot with the characters I already care about, I have to get acquainted to new points-of-view once again.

It also creates a multitude of superficial characters to populate a series, and that, for me, is usually less interesting than characters who have a personal journey at each new book. I would rather follow two characters for three or many more books.

My upper limit so far has been ten books and I could see myself following a character even longer, if its journey would be interesting enough to go on following, then follow six main characters that had their whole story told in only one book.

I understand that going that deep into analysing a main character is much harder for the author than creating yet another fascinating and superficial first impression, but I like character layers, depths, baggage and flaws. The first book is like the small talk of a conversation for me, the sequels is where stuff gets real and finally interesting. The sequels are when all those skeletons get out of the closet and the flashing characters turn from wooden puppets into real boys/girls/non-binary characters. 😉

And when it comes to plot, it’s better when a second book is done with the main character introductions. Now it’s time for development, deepening what I know about that characters I already know a bit about, so let’s move on with the story. If the main characters I liked in book one become secondary characters, it’s way too jarring. Their story and POV was the main reason why I was invested in the series sequel to begin with, and I rarely like spin-offs. Specially spin-offs posing as sequels. As a reader I feel as if I was promised a second book, so a first book with the same story world isn’t the same. I get that feeling of “this wasn’t the dish I ordered”. It may taste wonderfully, but it’s like ordering salad and getting pizza, or the other way around.

I have suspended my disbelief while following Dorothy, I don’t want her to find out about the Ruby Slippers and come back to Kansas before the story is told. I don’t want either to follow Dorothy’s daughter that picked up another tornado elsewhere and had other witches to melt. That story is already told. Dorothy’s daughter might become an alien hunter and have a completely new story in an a Moon in Saturn, but don’t kill her before her series is done either.