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Book Riot's 2021 Read Harder Challenge - January Update: Vampires Never Grow Old & For A Muse Of Fire

Happy Saturday everyone!  I hope everyone's been staying healthy and happy.  I can't believe it's already the end of the first month of 2021.  It seems like it's been simultaneously extremely long and also quite short.  Anyway, that means that I've now completed the first 2 tasks of Book Riot's 2021 Read Harder Challenge.  The tasks I completed this month required me to read an SFF anthology edited by a person of color and an own voices book about disability and I selected Vampires Never Grow Old: Tales With Fresh Bite edited by Zoraida Cordova and For a Muse of Fire (Shadow Players #1) by Heidi Heilig respectively.  Read on to see my mini reviews and what's coming up for February:

 ❋ ❋  

I can never resist a good vampire story and most of the stories featured in Vampires Never Grow Old: Tales With Fresh Bite edited by Zoraida Cordova are pretty good. My favorites here are Seven Nights for Dying by Tessa Gratton, Senior Year Sucks by Julie Murphy, A Guidebook for the Newly Sired Desi Vampire by Samira Ahmed, Mirrors, Windows & Selfies by Mark Oshiro, and First Kill by Victoria "V E." Schwab. Plus, I really enjoyed those pages between each story that kind of operates as a real life behind the scenes on a certain vampire related topic from Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker.

My review is also on Goodreads.

❋ ❋  

For a Muse of Fire (Shadow Players #1) by Heidi Heilig had been sitting on my shelf for way too long and I'm glad I finally decided to pick it up for Book Riot's 2021 Read Harder Challenge.  It gave me the perfect excuse to start in on this trilogy and now I have a great reason to catch up on the series before the release of the final book in the trilogy because I really enjoyed this series opener.  It may not have found myself quite as enamored with it as I was with Heilig's The Girl From Everywhere but I still devoured this one.  As always, the author's world-building is outstanding.  The real life inspiration of the colonization of Southeast Asia by France set in the magical fantasy world of the novel is quite unique and complex.  The only character I was particularly invested in was Jetta herself.  I don't often have the opportunity to meet a main character in fantasy or sci-fi with a mental illness (bipolar disorder, in this case) that has the chance to be the hero and Jetta's journey over the course of the story is something to see.  Another element of this novel that I appreciated was that it also intersperses maps, letters, telegrams, plays, and sheet music.  That was a cool little touch there to see those elements presented directly in the story.  Overall, this series opener comes recommended from me especially if you're a fan of historical fantasy that has very clear real world inspiration.  I am looking forward to reading the sequel, A Kingdom for a Stage, hopefully very soon.

My review is also on Goodreads.

Next Up For February:

Read a romance by a trans or nonbinary author

My choice: I Wish You All the Best (I Wish You All the Best #1) by Mason Deaver - I've been eyeing this at my local library for ages and it's time to pick it up.

Read a middle grade mystery 

My choice: Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's' Library (Mr. Lemoncello's' Library #1) by Chris Grabenstein - My library has a copy of this on Playaway and I've been considering taking it home what seems like years, so this challenge is giving me the reason to finally try it.

Have you read either of these books?  Are you taking part in Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge this year?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and perhaps even commenting down below!


  1. I agree, January was an odd month, and I can't believe its almost February! I think I would enjoy Vampires Never Get Old😁

    1. I bet you would Tammy. It has been such an odd month.


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