Wrap-Up: The One Readathon To Rule Them All Round 2 #theonereadathon

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This is my wrap-up of the second round of The One Readathon, a fantasy Readathon that happened from November 17 to December 1. The original announcement video from Don’t Have a Degree in Reading with all challenges and rules is linked here. And if you want to see, this is my previous TBR for this Round 2

I took a bit longer through the “Route 4” which was “Nomadic Traveler”. In which, as it says in the original video, “you may pick as many (or as little) of the challenges from below as you want. You are in charge of this route but remember…you must get the Ring to Mordor!”

I did most of the challenges without using any book for more than one challenge, so it took me a while to go through my long TBR pile. I was gladly taking my time because I consider two weeks way too short for so many awesome challenges. I think that “The One Readathon” would fit really well in a three months reading challenge, so I went someplace in between and took a whole month.

I also decided to choose other books for a couple of challenges along the way. Therefore, the books from my previously planned list that are yet unread will be postponed to 2019.

Fortunately, most books I picked were 5 star reads for me. I am lately enjoying young adult books very often when I’m looking for a lighter read after a long day. And many of the books, for example, The Tearling Trilogy, that I initially considered young adult went far beyond that genre to plunge into an original fantasy, dystopia and science fiction blend that I really cherished and became one of my favorite reads of this year.

As it always happens when you read a bunch of books, a couple of the books I chose were not really for me, not due to them being essentially bad, but because I considered their writing style tiring or they weren’t what I expected when I started reading them. I’m often too tired to go on reading a book that can’t hold my interest, so I didn’t finish or skipped pages of three of the books in this list.

The only challenges I didn’t have time to complete were the Shire, Moria, and Lorien, but this was all right since you didn’t have to do all the challenges for the readathon and I managed to complete the rest of them.

So, without further considerations, here are the challenges I completed and the books I’ve read:

BREE

Read a fantasy book set in a non-European influenced setting.
I decided to read The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy, #1) by S.A. Chakraborty for this challenge.
Review – 5 Stars!
Awesome story world with Ifrits, Ghouls, Marids, Peri, Djinn and multi-layered characters. I’m following this series for sure.

FANGORN FOREST

Read a fantasy book with magical/supernatural creatures
For this I read The Djinn Falls in Love & Other Stories by Mahvesh Murad (Editor), Jared Shurin & others
Review – No rating, because I set this anthology aside for now, after reading around five stories, mainly because I expected a fantasy anthology when I started reading this and, true, all stories have fantastic elements, but apart from this they are a mixture of genres. Therefore, I’ll read this when I feel like reading literary, slice-of-life, or magical realism short stories.

RIVENDELL

Read a fantasy book with LGBTQIA+ rep (author/MC/POV)
I changed my mind an picked Aquicorn Cove by Katie O’Neill, for this challenge.
Review – 5 Stars! This graphic novel has a heart warming story with cute illustrations and an environmental message. It deals with so many important themes; loss, sustainable use of natural resources, different ways of being feminine and strong… All in a way a child can understand and relate with. Light, lovely and powerful.
I would like to thank NetGalley and Oni Press for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

ISENGARD

Read a fantasy book with a villain MC/POV (morally grey MC/POV is acceptable!).
The villain MC/POV book I chose was Grendel by John Gardner.
Review – 2 stars. This is original and well-written, therefore the two stars. Subjectively, I considered the monologue quite long, and skipped some pages in between, but the tragic character had an interesting voice.

HELM’S DEEP

Read a fantasy book that is a standalone.
I read The Goblin Emperor (The Goblin Emperor #1) by Katherine Addison
Review: 1 star. This is so hyped but I really can’t see what’s that all about… The story reminded me faintly of “The Queen of the Tearling” by Erika Johansen. However, the stakes and the tension of the previously mentioned book were not present at all. The main character had way too long time to think, meditate and especially complain about life, to a point that I stopped caring completely. After reading 110 pages without much happening I read the end only to see that few concrete things had really happened and the story would continue on a next book.
Apart from this, the writing style with the pronouns and the words exclusive to the story were extremely jarring.

ROHAN

Read a fantasy book w/ a female MC.
I decided to finish a young adult fantasy series, by hearing the audiobook of A Sorrow Fierce and Falling (Kingdom on Fire #3) by Jessica Cluess (Author), Fiona Hardingham (Narrator).
Review: 5 Stars!
This series isn’t nearly as much hyped as it should be. It is an awesome series, with multi-layered characters that are unique and has so many awesome plot twists.
It is also original and many levels above most YA series I’ve read. It has a rich fantasy and historical world and one of the best heroines I’ve found since… Ever. I would recommend this series to anyone who likes fantasy with a strong female character and complex side characters as well.
I heard this whole series as Audiobooks and the performance from Fiona Hardingham was awesome too.

GONDOR

Read a fantasy book w/ POC rep (author/MC/POV)
I changed my mind and, instead of the book I had chosen before, I decided to read two graphic novels with POC characters for this challenge:

1) Afar by Leila del Duca, Kit Seaton (Illustrator)
Review – 5 Stars!
Very interesting, a graphic novel with astral travelling? I’m all for it!

2) Sleepless, Vol. 1 (Sleepless #1-6) by Sarah Vaughn, Leila del Duca (Artist), Alissa Sallah (Colorist), Deron Bennett (Letterer)
Review – 4 Stars.
*Spoiler Alert* This was very interesting even if a bit slow-paced, you will probably get answers only in the next books, but this happens often in graphic novel series. On a personal note, the whole sleepless thing didn’t make much sense for me, if the sleepless defenders would get some magical abilities for all the lack of sleep, it would have made sense, but as it was it looked only like a silly idea (perhaps I just didn’t understand it well enough). In any case I’ll be following this series further on.

MINAS TIRITH

Read a fantasy book
I picked Sapphire Blue “Saphirblau (Edelstein-Trilogie #2)” by Kerstin Gier for this challenge.
Review – 5 Stars! Kerstin Gier is my new favorite young adult author even if I don’t read her books in their original language, German. I may try it though sometime with “Die Mütter-Mafia” books.
The story is told in a light and humorous way that makes it a real treat for a relaxing afternoon. I also like the tension created by the time-travel plot and multi-layered characters.

MORDOR

Read the conclusion to a fantasy series (standalones count) or the most recent installment of a series.
For this final challenge, I read the last book of the Queen of the Tearling series,
The Fate of the Tearling (The Tearling Trilogy) by Erika Johansen
Review – 5 Stars! This was original and awesome fantasy/sci-fi!
I recommend this book if you like books with amazing plot twists, well-written POVs (you end up caring so much for secondary characters like a jailer with a disability and a gate guard!), and multi-layered characters. The whole trilogy was awesome and Erika Johansen is an author I’ll keep in my radar for sure!

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The One Readathon To Rule Them All Round 2 #theonereadation

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Don’t Have a Degree in Reading and other Booktubers listed in her video have now launched a second round from this awesome fantasy Readathon.
I was gladly participating of Round One in April this year. If you would like to see what I was reading then, here’s are the posts from the first’s round TBR and Wrap-Up
I’ll also participate now in the second round, which goes from November 17 to December 1, but I plan to post my wrap-up only when most of the books in my long TBR have been read.
Now, without further ado, here are my choices for each challenge.

The Shire

Reread a favorite fantasy book
This is the only challenge I haven’t yet a book for. It could happen that I pass on it too, since I rarely reread books.

Bree

Read a fantasy book set in a non-European influenced setting
I’m undecided between Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha, #1)  or The City of Brass (The Daevabad Trilogy, #1).

Have you read any of them? Which would you recommend me?

Fangorn Forest

Read a fantasy book with magical/supernatural creatures

Have you read any of them? Which would you recommend me?

Rivendell

Read a fantasy book with LGBTQIA+ rep (author/MC/POV)
The Black Tides of Heaven (Tensorate #1)

Moria

Read a grimdark fantasy book or a fantasy book w/ spooky elements.
The Black Company (The Chronicles of the Black Company #1) 

Lorien

Read a fantasy book published by an indie press
Sufficiently Advanced Magic
I found this list quite helpful.

Isengard

Read a fantasy book with a villain MC/POV (morally grey MC/POV is acceptable!)

Grendel

Helm’s Deep

Read a fantasy book that is a standalone
The Goblin Emperor

Rohan

Read a fantasy book w/ a female MC. Here is a very interesting  list for this challenge.

The Curse of Chalion

Gondor

Read a fantasy book w/ POC rep (author/MC/POV)

Partials (Partials Sequence, #1) 

Minas Tirith

Read a fantasy book
I’ll still pick a book for this, probably any book of fantasy I read in the meantime that it isn’t yet on this list.

Mordor

Read the conclusion to a fantasy series (standalones count) or the most recent installment of a series.
For this final challenge, I’ll pick the last book of the Queen of the Tearling series,

The Fate of the Tearling.

For more book recommendations check the original video and the other creators and co-host videos.

The One Readathon To Rule Them All – Wrap Up #theonereadathon

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The One Readathon To Rule Them All is a readathon that happened between April 29 – and May 12, 2018.
I managed to read 5 books and complete 5 of the 8 challenges. I’m quite happy with my results since I started this readathon with the very optimistic TBR of nine books. I will go on reading the remaining books even if the readathon has already finished so I can update this blog post later.
So, without further considerations, here is my Wrap Up:

1. Read a fantasy book written by a POC Author

Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas #1) by Zoraida Córdova
My review: 3 stars. ** spoiler alert ** I think I would have liked this book more if it had not be so centered on the main character and her inner struggle with being a bruja, but more on the people surrounding her which were only mentioned when directly conected to the main character. Many interesting secondary characters, especially Nova and Rishi, felt not fleshed out enough.

2. Read a fantasy book w/ a POC MC

The Golem and the Jinni (The Golem and the Jinni, #1) (audiobook) by Helene Wecker.
My review: 5 stars! A jewel! I loved everything about this book, the writing style, the story, the theme, the characters, the setting and the ending. It’s a new classic and going towards literary fiction, but it has tension until the last page. I’m happy I finally got to read this great book and placed it among my favorites of this year. I also liked the Audiobook narrator.

3. Read a fantasy book under 300 pages

The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton.
My review: 1 star. I considered this book thoroughly disappointing. The writing style, the characterization, the story itself; I could rant here about all the things I didn’t like, but let’s leave it at that.
I would like to thank NetGalley and Candlewick Press for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

4. Read a fantasy book 1,000+ pages

This challenge will be updated later as it isn’t yet finished. I heard that The Kingkiller Chronicle series that I was planning to read for this challenge isn’t yet finished, so I’ll probably wait for the last book in the series to start reading the first two books.

5. Read a fantasy book that is a stand alone.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black.
My review: 4 stars. This was an original take on vampire stories and the world building was awesome. I found it somehow slow paced and thought that a couple of flashbacks were placed too late in the story, but I was happy to find similarities between this book and The Cruel Prince. This vampire story should be getting a sequel.

6. Read a fantasy book written by a non-English speaking author

This challenge will be updated later as it isn’t yet finished. I am though, still quite interested in The Witcher series.

7. Read a fantasy book set in a non-European location

The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin.
My review: 3 stars. I liked this book even if I considered it quite slow paced even for epic fantasy. The relationships, magic system and world could have been much more fleshed out too. I’m yet in doubt whether I will go on reading this series or not.

8. Read a fantasy book w/ LGBTQIA+ rep

I acquired China Mountain Zhang by Maureen F. McHugh especially for this readathon and also The Black Tides of Heaven (The Tensorate Series) by J.Y. Yang later, due to recommendations. I plan to read both books and update here later on.

My 5 favourite books of 2017

So, I’m a bit late, but I got a cold between Christmas and New Year, so I just had time to wrap up the last reading year now. So here are my conclusions:

  • I was reading a lot in 2017. — 153 books — although…

Half of these were comics or graphic novels that I usually read much faster than a normal book.

  • 60 were science fiction, fantasy, or a combination of young adult and other genres.

I rarely read outside my favourite genres, only one contemporary thriller and a couple of historical fictions. I know people advise you to do that, but “je ne regrette rien” 😉

  • My favourite books of 2017 are mostly quite well known.
  • 6 were non-fiction books, all about writing techniques. I started many books on writing but finished few of them, I take a long time to read non-fiction because I don’t only read them, but mostly study them.

In this year it often happened that a hyped book had the right reasons to be loved by all Booktubers, although there were also cases where they would fail to impress me in the same manner.

I discovered new favourite authors and a few “never-to-read-again” and “how-can-people-actually-like-this?” books. Let me know if you would like me to go all ranty here on the blog.

But overall it was a very nice reading year.

So, here are my (kind of) 5 favourites of 2017!

1) The Saga series (Single Issues #1 – #43)
I read all single issues of this amazing series, I just couldn’t stop. It was amazing! Brian K. Vaughan now appears as number one in my Goodreads list of most read authors due to all the Saga single issues I read. I consider him now an auto-buy and read asap author.

2) The Grisha Verse Trilogy
Leigh Bardugo is a queen! (as I heard on booktube). I really liked this trilogy, and can’t wait to read “The language of Thorns” by the same author, now one of my favourites too.

3) The Night Circus.
Magical, awesome, and special. I was looking for more books from Erin Morgenstern and couldn’t find it. I guess I have to break my rule of no-rereading while the TBR tsunami isn’t tamed and reread this book.

4) Artemis
Andy Weir’s books make you laugh (a lot), while you visit extremely well-built and possible, on-the-near-future corner of (thankfully) not-dystopian sci-fi worlds. I like dystopia, but I read this book on my cell phone while my Kindle was recharging. This is saying something about how great I found this book.

5) The Illuminae Files (#1 and #2)
I’m absolutely spoiled for boring sci-fi after this series. These books were page-turners, full of action, great characters (my favourite is AIDAN), and all the graphic elements, for this reason, I would recommend the books even if people liked the Audiobooks too. All the hype around these books is well deserved, I can totally understand why people freak about these books, lol.

My favorite movies

After writing about my favorite villains, I’ll continue with the list making exercise from the book “Writing Love: Screenwriting Tricks for Authors II” by Alexandra Sokoloff.

This time I’ll list my favorite movies, dividing them by genre:

Science Fiction

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1. Star Wars: A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back
 

And only those first two, after all, the other films were made mostly for children. After being extremely underwhelmed by the Return of the Jedi (silly Ewoks) and the Prequel Trilogy, I’m still considering whether “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is worth watching. But I can’t deny that I saw “The Empire Strikes Back” so many times I caught Han Solo’s cowboy accent to spice my English. 🙂

2. Blade Runner
Awesome director, actors, and screenplay in one of the best science-fiction cult films of all times. The future setting is awesome, the story the best ever, and all characters make this film nothing less than Legendary!

Fantasy

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3. Ladyhawke

I saw this film still as a teenager, but it stayed with me forever. Special stories are never forgotten. Rutger Hauer gives a show here, like in Blade Runner. He’s the kind of actor you could watch forever.

4.The Dark Crystal

Together with the Wizard of Oz, this was a childhood favorite. The whole world and the characters were just magical and for years I pulled up my ears so they would look like Kira’s.

 

Comedy

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5. Tampopo

This is a cult Japanese comedy about love and food. I saw it as a child and never forgot it. I just wish I could have a bowl of Tampopo’s noodles after watching the film.

6. The Little Shop of Horrors.

This has been a favorite since I was fourteen. I watched both versions, though I prefer the one with Rick Moranis and Steve Martin who will make you roll on the floor laughing as Orin Scrivello, the crazy dentist. I also loved it as a theater musical.

7. What’s new Pussycat

The first produced screenplay from Woody Allen and IMO one of the best comedies of all time.  Petter Sellers and all other actors make you laugh non-stop in this awesome comedy.

8. Some like it hot

I’m a fan of Marilyn Monroe and most of her films, and this is the funniest of them. A classic is a classic and this film belongs among the best ones.

 

ROAD FILM

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9. Thelma & Louise

Another awesome cult film from director Ridley Scott and the actresses Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon. Pure art, with an original story.

ROMANCE

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10. Shakespeare in Love

Romantic setting with the story playing in 1593 London, and Joseph Fiennes as Shakespeare in one of his best roles.  I’m usually not a huge fan of romance, but this film was way too good to miss.

11. The English Patient

An awesome film based on the novel of the same name from Michael Ondaatje. All the actors are great, and Ralph Fiennes as Count László Almásy is unforgettable. He and Juliette Binoche are wonderful together as in the film 12. Wuthering Heights which is also one of my favorite romantic films.

And finally, a romantic film where things end up well:

13. Breakfast at Tiffany’s

To explain why this film is one of my favorites I just need to say two words:  Audrey Hepburn. But the underlying theme of a girl pretending to be superficial and mercenary while she’s lost is a deeply touching story. The song “Moon River” helps too.

After this list, the following warning is advisable
Some films will mean something greater to you than just two hours sitting on a movie chair. Those you will not forget. And they will remain with you and be part of you forever.

 

My top 10 books of 2015

Top Fiction Books

 

1Death

 1. Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

I would surely recommend this book to anyone who has read Pride and Prejudice, even if you aren’t into the Mystery genre. P.D. James is an awesome writer. This book is what I would call a “modern classic”. It is also a fun, surprising book. The kind you won’t manage to stop reading and you will feel sad when you finish because you can’t dwell longer in its world with its great characters.

2Martian

 2. The Martian by Andy Weir

This book is lots of fun, its main character is one of the funniest I ever met while reading. It deserved to be the 2014 Goodreads Choice Winner.
 
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 3. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

If you lived during the 80’s and liked games this is the golden book for you. Back then I wasn’t the geekiest around, but even though this book brought back a world of memories while having a page turning story.

 

4Magic

4.  Magic Rises (Kate Daniels #6) by Ilona Andrews

This great series gets better with each new book. Kate is a kick-ass heroine and the plot is surprising, with great characters and settings. In my case it made me to stay awake until  midnight to read it. A totally fun read that hooks the reader until the end. I found this one of the best books of this great urban fantasy series.

 

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5. The Spirit of a Witch (The Briley Witch Chronicles #1) by Sarah Jane Avory

I found this book lots of fun. The protagonist reminded me a bit of detective Monk. Briley is a different kind of hero, refreshing and fun due to being most of the time humanly uncertain, almost until the last minute, when her ingenuity saves the day. I also loved Smokey because he really sounded like a cat. I recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy stories with witches. And to anyone who understands how great is to befriend a cat.

Top writing Books

6selfediting

6. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne, Dave King

This is an objective, goal oriented book for revising your manuscript. The checklists are quite useful and the explanations surely helpful. I recommend it as revision reference.

 

7mastering

7. Mastering Showing and Telling in Your Fiction (Busy Writer’s Guides #4) by Marcy Kennedy

This book is very helpful, with direct and goal oriented tips for finding balance between showing and telling in your writing. I will use it while revising my first draft and I definitely recommend it.

 

8Dialogue

8. How to Write Dialogue (Busy Writer’s Guides #3)  by Marcy Kennedy

A great guide on writing and revising your manuscript’s dialogues. The “take to the page” sections are a great resource while revising.

 

9characters
 

9. Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting Dynamic Characters and Effective Viewpoints(Write Great Fiction) by Nancy Kress

This book is part of a great series on how to write a fiction book. It has detailed information on Point of View and Characters, two important aspects of fiction writing.

 

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10. She Sat He Stood: What Do Your Characters Do While They Talk? by Ginger Hanson 

This book is a good solution against the talking-heads problem on dialogue. I enjoyed it. Writers can benefit from thinking like settings-designers and prop masters while creating their settings.

The seven most fun books I have read in the last ten years

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Here they are, the most fun in the Fantasy and Science-Fiction genre I’ve read in the last decade. I choose these, especially for being entertaining. With the exception of the first which is a trilogy, the others are all part of a long series where the story, until now, still has the strength of the first book. I declined writing a summary of each book, otherwise this would be a really long post. I also left out other books I found also fun, but which in my opinion had small flaws, like an unsatisfactory end or one dimensional characters. I must warn that a couple of them contains scenes with horrible dark things and violence and not each of them is everybody’s taste. And the last book with the following story you can also read online as a Webcomic on the page: http://www.tryinghuman.com/

Dark Fantasy

1) The Black Jewels Trilogy: Daughter of the Blood, Heir to the Shadows, Queen of the Darkness (The Black Jewels #1-3) by Anne Bishop.

Urban Fantasy

2) Halfway to the Grave: A Night Huntress Novel (Night Huntress) by Jeaniene Frost.

3) Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1) by Ilona Andrews.

4) Storm Front (The Dresden Files #1) by Jim Butcher.

Fantasy

5) A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1) by George R.R. Martin.

Science Fiction – Space Opera

6) Hidden Empire (The Saga of Seven Suns, #1) by Kevin J. Anderson.

Science-Fiction Graphic Novel

7) Trying Human Comic (Volume #1) by Emy Bitner