The Book Junkie Trials & Medievalathon Wrap-Ups

Well, July was a stressful month, let me tell you. Not only did my husband and I move to a new state, but I just plain old overwhelmed myself with the amount of books I was hoping to read. So let’s talk about the books I actually did read for these readathons, my progress, and what role or location I ended with at the end of July!

The Book Junkie Trials

Looking at my TBR for this super fun and LARGE trial, I’m actually kind of sad I didn’t get all the way to the Grail. That’s right folks, I got stuck on Glimmer, distracted by all of the shiny, lovely things that the island held. I was on my way to the Dragon’s Cove, but I decided to make my home here.

Map was created by our lovely host, Rachael Marie. I just doodled over it.

What I Read

  • Orc Grove: “A Monster Calls” by Patrick Ness | Review
  • Ol’ Pirate Road: “The Sea of Monsters” by Rick Riordan | Review
  • Glimmer: “Crystal Crowned” by Elise Kova | Okay, I’m 51% of the way through the book as of this post, so…

What I Had Left

  • Draconic Isle: “A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent” by Marie Brennan
  • The Bookie Grail: “Stardust” by Neil Gaiman

Medievalathon

I failed hard at this readathon, but it’s fine. Next time I won’t be such huge books for each read lol

Images made by the lovely host, Holly.

What I Read

  • Breastplate: “Strange the Dreamer” by Laini Taylor | Review to come because I got about 50% through before I ran out of time for the month.

What I Had Left

  • Crown: “The Queens of Innis Lear” by Tessa Gratton
  • Helmet: “A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan
  • Shin guards: “Stupid Love Comedy” by Syusyusyu Sakurai
  • Boots & weapon: “Graceling” by Kristin Cashore
  • Cloak: “Crown of Feathers” by Nicki Pau Preto

My Thoughts

Both readathons were very fun in concept, it was just the execution on my part that was lacking. I took on way too many books that were all fairly large (90% of them were over 500 pages), and considering I’m the type of reader to read every single word on a page, making me slow, it just wasn’t feasible for me.

I definitely want to participate in these readathons again if they take place again! I love the ideas of the teams for the Trials, and I love the concept of building your own armor for Medievalathon. I thought both creations were unique and very community oriented, allowing others to come together and rally one another.

I haven’t seen readathons like that in a very long time, I think.

For the Trials, I also really enjoyed the micro-challenges on Twitter. They were simple, fun little bits that allowed people to not only get more points for their teams, but get a conversation going. There was also the more competitive piece that I didn’t take part in that I’m sure those who did had a blast with.

For Medievalathon, I enjoyed how Holly introduced things such as “kingdom statuses” on Twitter, letting people know if their kingdom was thriving, or if there was a plague, and then incorporating page amounts to reach in order to mend and heal, or just relax.

Overall, I think both readathons were a success for others, but a flop for me. I mean, I still read some of the books I set out to read, but I wish I hadn’t hit a huge existential and depressive wall early on in the month (plus moving and unpacking and running around like chickens with our heads cut off). It’s okay, though, I still had fun and I’m still looking forward to more fun readathons from these two individuals!

Let’s Chat!

Did you take part in either of these readathons? What did you read in July? Which was your favorite? Let me know in the comments!

Disney-a-thon TBR

That’s right, I’m joining another readathon! Everyone’s coming up with a lot of good ones lately, so I’m excited to join!

And, really, if you don’t know me by now: hi, my name is Rayna and I love Disney.

So as soon as I saw there was going to be a readathon based around Disney, OF COURSE I HAD TO JOIN. Disney-a-thon, here I come!

Let’s go over the details of the readathon and then I’ll jump into my team and my TBR!

Hosts: Izzy of izcurrentlyreading, Ally of nature of pages, Francisco of Books Under Covers, and Divya of celebrityreadshush.

Time: August 1st-31st

There are four teams for this readathon, and each of the hosts is going to be head of their team:

  • Izzy is hosting Team Aladdin
  • Ally is hosting Team Tangled
  • Francisco is hosting Team Lion King
  • Divya is hosting Team Mulan

Each team has their own prompts and reading goals, but I’m going to talk about my team: Team Aladdin!

So each team has a total of five books to read (this is including the group book for their specific team), and each group has a special ability granted to them by one of the characters in their movie!

Here’s the prompts and how many points they’re worth:

  • Jasmine: a book that features royalty – 10 points
  • Aladdin: a book that includes romance – 10 points
  • Magic Carpet: a fantasy book – 10 points
  • Jafar: a book that sucks you in as if you’re in a trance, and one you must read only at night/in the dark – 25 points
  • Abu: this is the group book: The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell – 50 points

Our special ability is granted by, you guessed it, Genie! Our special ability allows us to DNF a book if we’re not liking it and keep our points for that specific prompt, excluding the group book.

I’m pretty excited because for my TBR I picked books that I think are going to be really fun to read – and they’re all ebooks, which makes me feel like I’m reading faster, even though I’m probably not lol

Here’s my TBR!

  • Jasmine: Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
  • Aladdin: The Risk by Elle Kennedy
  • The Magic Carpet: We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
  • Jafar: The Wicked King by Holly Black
  • Abu: The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

I’m going to take it easy this month and only participate in this readathon. Last month kind of overwhelmed me, haha!

Let’s Chat!

Can you keep one jump ahead of the bread line? One swing ahead of the sword? Or are you going to be swept under by the Cave of Wonders? (If you’re participating in this readathon, let me know and tell me what team you’re on!) Which book are you most excited to read in August?

The Sea of Monsters | Book Review

Title: The Sea of Monsters
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians #2
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publish Date: April 1, 2006
Genre: Young Reader – Fantasy/Adventure, Mythology
Pages: 288
Format: Kindle Books

After a year spent trying to prevent a catastrophic war among the Greek gods, Percy Jackson finds his seventh-grade school year unnervingly quiet. His biggest problem is dealing with his new friend, Tyson–a six-foot-three, mentally challenged homeless kid who follows Percy everywhere, making it hard for Percy to have any “normal” friends.

But things don’t stay quiet for long. Percy soon discovers there is trouble at Camp Half-Blood: The magical borders which protect Half-Blood Hill have been poisoned by a mysterious enemy, and the only safe haven for demigods is on the verge of being overrun by mythological monsters. To save the camp, Percy needs the help of his best friend, Grover, who has been taken prisoner by the Cyclops Polyphemus on an island somewhere in the Sea of Monsters–the dangerous waters Greek heroes have sailed for millenia–only today, the Sea of Monsters goes by a new name…the Bermuda Triangle.

Now Percy and his friends–Grover, Annabeth, and Tyson–must retrieve the Golden Fleece from the Island of the Cyclopes by the end of the summer or Camp Half-Blood will be destroyed. But first, Percy will learn a stunning new secret about his family–one that makes him question whether being claimed as Poseidon’s son is an honor or simply a cruel joke.

This book picks up a full school year after the first. In fact, it’s Percy’s last day at his new school when everything kind of goes to crap and hits the fan and he, you know, almost dies. It’s fine. And he and another kid at the school – a homeless boy named Tyson who the school took on as a community service project, of sorts – are whisked away and helped by Annabeth to go back to Camp Half-Blood.

But, of course, there’s something wrong at Camp Half-Blood. The tree that protects the camp is dying, and they don’t know who could have poisoned the tree, but Percy, Annabeth, and Tyson set off to save the tree and the camp. And Grover. Because Grover is currently being held by a cyclops to become his bride and… yeah, he’s a mess.

I thought this second installment was just as fun as the last, and we’re learning a lot more about Percy and the gods around him, as well as who is for him and against him. I love seeing how mythology comes into play in these novels and how the world just continues to expand. It plays on a lot of legends and myths that don’t just center around the Greek gods (such as the Bermuda Triangle), and I think that it ties in well with what’s happening to Percy and his friends.

I also found it interesting when the reveal of his family happened to also learn more about Poseidon and to see how Percy reacts and grows from it. He learns a lot in this adventure about family and how you can’t necessarily choose who is your family – at least not by blood, anyway. And I think that that lesson is a great one for a young teenage boy to learn.

The action and adventure that he and his friends take is a long one, and it was nice to see him working alongside someone who he (still) doesn’t get along with to get through some trials that he and the others might not have been able to win on their own. I liked seeing how different monsters came into play, how different islands in the Bermuda Triangle attacked or affected them, and how they were able to overcome those trials.

I thought that Percy and Annabeth did really well planning together on how to take down the cyclops – at least temporarily – so that they could escape. And there were several moments where I was cheering because of events that happened on the island with the cyclops. Like I was literally sitting there and going, “YAY!” Probably clapping my hands, too. It’s fine.

Overall, this next installment was a fun one, and I can definitely see some growth in Percy and Annabeth as they’re slowly getting older. The lessons that they’re learning are also expanding, too.

I’m definitely interested to see how Luke’s role plays out in this and how the possibility of releasing Kronos might happen. It’s all very exciting and I can’t wait to continue and see what happens next at Camp Half-Blood!

★★★★☆

A Monster Calls | Book Review

Title: A Monster Calls
Author: Patrick Ness
Publisher: Candlewick
Publish Date: September 27, 2011
Genre: Young Adult – Fantasy, Fiction, Horror
Pages: 224
Format: Kindle eBooks

An unflinching, darkly funny, and deeply moving story of a boy, his seriously ill mother, and an unexpected monstrous visitor.

At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting– he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd– whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself– Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.

This book follows a preteen named Conor during a time when his mother is fighting cancer, and his anger and grief takes the form of a monster that he sees outside of his window one night: an ancient tree that came to life. The tree tells him four stories – well, only three, as Conor has to tell him the fourth – and with each Conor learns something, or something happens in his environment as a result of each story.

I thought that this novel was a great exploration into grief and how it can manifest itself into something entirely different if it’s not dealt with properly. The book didn’t make it something that could easily be covered up, it didn’t make light of it, but rather the story focused on how, over time, grief can become a catalyst for events to happen and take place. It can be dangerous, destructive, wild, or it can be very lonely and heartbreaking. I personally felt a connection to this due to circumstances with my own family and my own grief and how my own grief manifested, but that’s another story for another day. Delving into grief as a topic is one that I don’t often see in the books I read, so it was refreshing to see.

I personally thought that the way the monster was represented by this ancient tree that Conor’s mother always pointed out was clever. The monster would come at the same time every night – 12:06AM – and after every encounter it would leave a mess behind to show that it had, in fact, been there and been real (such as leaves or branches).

I kind of expected Conor to act a bit more…surprised or scared at the fact that, you know, a giant walking tree was at his window, but he wasn’t as wary as I was expecting him to be. Of course, the more the monster came, the less he was afraid, which makes sense.

The relationship between Conor and his mother was super sweet, and I love to see how close a mother and son could be. Even though his parents are divorced (and the interaction between him and his father was awkward), it was nice to see parental units that actually loved and cared for their son. Though, Conor’s relationship with his grandmother was very much strained until the end, I thought that it was all very realistic as far as familial relationships go.

As far as relationships at Conor’s school went, I thought that it was all very interesting to see. If it’s a small school, I could understand why everyone was acting especially careful around Conor, and even the bullies were interesting. By this I mean I found the head bully to be… almost like a monster himself. I don’t know for sure if he was really real or what. But I also think he got what he deserved in the book, so that’s that. I did appreciate the one friend that tried to reconcile and help Conor, but of course, grief can make you say and do things – and avoid things – that may otherwise be of help to you.

The story ended in a way that had me crying at 2AM for several reasons, and I loved it. It was a heart-wrenching dive into what happens when you’re losing someone whom you love more than you could ever express, and how, if handled poorly, grief can manifest into a monster.

★★★★☆

The Book Junkie Trials & Medievalathon TBRs

Why, hello there. It’s been a hot minute, hasn’t it? Well, today I’m coming at you with a couple of TBRs as I make July a super busy month filled with writing for Camp NaNoWriMo, as well as two month long readathons, and moving to a new state! Fun fun!

The Book Junkie Trials

This first readathon is The Book Junkie Trials, created and hosted by Rachael Marie of Rachael Marie Book Junkie. Her announcement video covers all the bases as far as what the reading challenges for every team are, so I’ll let you peruse that, but basically there are four teams: Scribe, Mage, Outlaw, and Bard. You take a quiz to be determined which team you’ll be a part of, and then you can follow the respective leader’s video to learn about each trial and their destinations to The Bookie Grail.

So I am part of the Magi team, and as such, we are following the map that Rachael Marie created from Orcs Cove, down to Ol’ Pirate Cove, through Glimmer, into the Draconic Isle, and finally to the Bookie Grail.

Each stop has a specific goal that each team must achieve in their respective routes to reach the Bookie Grail.

  • Orc Cove: Some say there are no talking to orcs, but a good political relationship is needed. Learn some orc customs by reading a book that is gruesome, gory, or gritty.
  • Ol’ Pirate Cove: Shiver me timbers! You’ll be walking the plank if you don’t learn how to sail better. Read a book that takes place, at least in part, at sea.
  • Glimmer: This isle is alight with gems and crystals, one of the most picturesque spots in the High Queendom. Make sure you fit in with a beautiful or colorful book.
  • Draconic Isle: Oh my! This island is swarming with wyverns and dragons. Brush up your draconic knowledge with a book that features dragons.
  • The Bookish Grail: Here you find a lost manuscript, delivered on this forgotten isle by a fallen star. Read the group book: Stardust by Neil Gaiman.

And each team has one ability and one flaw that can either help or hinder them. So the Magi’s ability is time manipulation. We have a three day lead on all other teams (which means we were able to start our first book on June 28th).

As for our weakness: One of our spells went awry, and now they are forced to read a book outside their comfort zone.

So here’s my TBR for this readathon:

  • Orcs Cove: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (already completed with my time ability)
  • Ol’ Pirate Cove: Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
  • Glimmer: Crystal Crowned by Elise Kova
  • The Draconic Isle: A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan
  • The Bookish Grail: Stardust by Neil Gaiman

I want to say my flaw book is Sea of Monsters because I don’t read middle grade all the often, if at all (minus the first Percy Jackson a few months ago).

This readathon lasts the whole month, so I’m excited to dive into these books!

Medieval-a-thon

This readathon is also taking place for the whole month, and it’s hosted by Holly of Holly Hearts Books. Her announcement video explains in detail everything that is taking place for this readathon, but basically it’s like a build your own character RPG type of thing, and I am here. For. It.

So the more books you read, the higher your rank will become, from lowly peasant all the way up to king or queen.

And the way this works: you get to dress your character.

  • Crown: A book where a character fights for the throne.
  • Helmet: A book with a dragon on the cover.
  • Breastplate: A shiny book.
  • Shin guards: A thick book.
  • Boots: A book that has yellowed over time.
  • Cloak: A book with red on the dust jacket.

But not only do you get to earn your armor, you also get to pick a weapon of your choice!

  • Sword: A book with something pointy on the cover.
  • Dual blades: A book with assassins.
  • Bow & arrows: A book with elves.
  • Ax: A book with mercenaries.

So, here is my TBR for this readathon:

  • Crown: The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton
  • Helmet: A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan
  • Breastplate: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  • Shin guards: Stupid Love Comedy by Syusyusyu Sakurai
  • Boots & weapon: Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  • Cloak: Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto

This is a very hopeful TBR lol I don’t know how many I’ll actually get to finish, but I hope it’ll be a lot of them over the course of the month!

Let’s chat! ❤

What do you think of these readathons? Are you participating? What’s your most anticipated read? How many books do you have set out to read for July, even if you don’t participate in these readathons? Let me know!