‘The Ringmaster’s Wife’ spoiler-free review!

Hi beautiful people! Today, I’m reviewing The Ringmaster’s Wife by Kristy Cambron, which was my book club’s pick for September!

 

What the book is about…

Rosamund Easling is no stranger to opulence. As the daughter of an earl, she’s grown up with every comfort money can buy. But when hard times befall the family’s Yorkshire estate in the aftermath of the Great War, Rosamund’s father sells her beloved horse, setting the stage for a series of events that would extend beyond even her wildest dreams.

Though expected to marry for a title instead of love, Rosamund feels called to a different life – one of adventure outside the confines of a ladies’ parlor. She abandons all she’s known and follows in pursuit as her horse is shipped to the new owner – an American entertainer by the name of John Ringling. Once introduced to the Ringling Brothers’ circus and knowing she has much to learn, Rosamund agrees to a bareback riding apprenticeship in the shadow of the Ringlings’ winter home—Ca’D’Zan. It is at that mansion, in what would become the last days of the enigmatic Mable Ringling’s life, that Rosamund finds a deeper sense of purpose in the life she’s been given, and the awakening of faith in her heart.

With a supporting cast of characters as mysterious and dazzling as the Ringlings’ big-top world, Rosamund’s journey takes her from the tradition of the English countryside to the last days of America’s Roaring ‘20s—a journey that forever changes what one life might have been.

 

What I thought of it…

I love a circus book but I’ve not read many with a historical setting. This was a nice introduction to the genre. Kristy Cambron did a great job of creating a vivid picture, capturing all the opulence of 1920s America and the less beautiful behind-the-scenes work of the circus. This, combined with the storyline, made for a very dreamy and romantic read.

I really liked the cast of characters. Rosamund was a feisty heroine who was easy to root for and Colin made for a wonderful love interest. But my biggest love was Mable Ringling. I’m ashamed to say I hadn’t heard of her before reading this book but I would love to find out more about her as it seems as though she was a person of great merit.

I did have a couple of small gripes with the book. Mainly, I was slightly confused by the timeline as it jumped about quite a bit. I also was frustrated to see that horrific cliché “she let out a breath she hadn’t known she was holding” – please can we stop using this line?!

Overall though, I really enjoyed this read. The ending took a surprising turn that I did not see coming but I really loved this journey through the circus world of the 1920s.

 

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What are some of your favourite circus books? x

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‘The Book of M’ spoiler-free review!

Hi everyone! Before I start today, I just want to say a big thank you for 200 followers! I know this must seem like a tiny number to some of you but it means so much to me that there are 200 people interested in what I have to say; I appreciate every single one of you!

Today I’m reviewing The Book of M by Peng Shepherd, which was very kindly sent to me by the lovely people at Harper Collins.

 

What the book is about…

Set in a dangerous near future world, The Book of M tells the captivating story of a group of ordinary people caught in an extraordinary catastrophe who risk everything to save the ones they love. It is a sweeping debut that illuminates the power that memories have not only on the heart, but on the world itself.

One afternoon at an outdoor market in India, a man’s shadow disappears—an occurrence science cannot explain. He is only the first. The phenomenon spreads like a plague, and while those afflicted gain a strange new power, it comes at a horrible price: the loss of all their memories.

Ory and his wife Max have escaped the Forgetting so far by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods. Their new life feels almost normal, until one day Max’s shadow disappears too.

Knowing that the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to Ory, Max runs away. But Ory refuses to give up the time they have left together. Desperate to find Max before her memory disappears completely, he follows her trail across a perilous, unrecognizable world, braving the threat of roaming bandits, the call to a new war being waged on the ruins of the capital, and the rise of a sinister cult that worships the shadowless.

As they journey, each searches for answers: for Ory, about love, about survival, about hope; and for Max, about a new force growing in the south that may hold the cure.

 

What I thought of it…

This was a stunning debut. The concept is so unique and had me completely engrossed from start to finish. The novel’s apocalyptic opening had me immediately gripped. The story definitely has a Station Eleven vibe (which is one of my very favourite books) but it’s also completely original.

The quality of writing is absolutely excellent, so much so that it’s hard to believe this is a debut. I was absolutely captivated and could not stop thinking about this book whenever I wasn’t reading it. There were some really strong descriptions of the post-apocalyptic world and I could visualise everything very clearly.

Shepherd has created a diverse cast of characters, all of whom felt well fleshed-out. I don’t always get on with multiple perspective books but it worked really well here. The way the storylines converged into the novel’s conclusion was fantastic and I did not see any of it coming. I do have a slight issue with the fate of the two gay characters; I like to think it was just an oversight and not the author’s intention but what happened to them made me a little uncomfortable.

Some elements of the book were a little confusing (I couldn’t really get my head around how people could force things to happen by forgetting about them? Like how can you force yourself to forget something?!) It went over my head a little bit.

But, on the whole, I really enjoyed this one and would recommend it! Despite it’s length, it doesn’t feel like a book that goes on forever. It really is an awesome and ambitious story; it felt very cinematic and I could definitely see this being made into a movie. It’s well worth a read if you’re a fan of post-apocalypse stories with a difference!

 

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Has anyone read this one? What is your favourite post-apocalyptic book? x

10 books I’m excited to read soon

Hi lovelies! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is ’10 books on my Fall 2018 TBR’, which is perfect as I had already planned a post talking about upcoming releases and books I’m excited to read soon! Some of these are books I’ve been saving ALL YEAR to read during the dark cold nights and others are sequels I’ve been dying for over the last few months.

[Top Ten Tuesday was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish, and now lives over at That Artsy Reader Girl.]

 

New releases

 

Muse of Nightmares

Pretty sure this is most people’s most anticipated read of the year?! And rightly so. Strange the Dreamer was such an absolute masterpiece with a totally killer ending and I just know that Queen Laini is going to deliver once again with this conclusion to the duology. I’ve got it preordered and fully intend to read it as quickly as possible when it arrives.

 

Fierce like a Firestorm

Lana Popovic’s debut Wicked like a Wildfire was one of my favourite books of 2017 and I have been going out of my mind waiting for this sequel! The first book was so magical and full of the most divine purple prose; I can’t wait to flail over this one.

 

A Storm of Ice and Stars

It seems like this is the year of the duology’s end. All three of these anticipated releases are the second and final books in duologies! A Shiver of Snow and Sky was another book I really loved last year, though I initially thought it was a standalone. I’m delighted that Lisa Lueddecke has written another book set in the same world and can’t wait to get back to the snowy land of Skane!

 

Autumnal reads

 

Sweet Pea

I got this book for an absolute steeeal recently – that, combined with Zuky’s praise, bumped it right up high on my TBR list!

 

My Best Friend’s Exorcism

Everyone RAVES about this book. It’s something I liked the sound of but resisted buying… until last week when I saw yet another glowing review and decided on impulse to get it!

 

The Halloween Tree

In 2016, I read Fahrenheit 451 and in 2017, I read Something Wicked This Way Comes. So I decided to continue my tradition of an annual Ray Bradbury with this October-appropriate story which comes highly recommended!

 

The Witchfinder’s Sister

This is a book that I wanted to read last year when it came out – but I couldn’t justify spending the money on the hardcover. I was then really shallow and refused to buy the paperback because it wasn’t as pretty (I know, *shame*). As luck would have it, my shallowness actually paid off because I found the hardback in a charity shop for £2! I’ve been saving it for October for a witchy-themed buddy read with an Instagram friend!

 

Rebecca

I bought this edition of Rebecca in a January sale and have diligently saved it until now because I wanted it to be a really atmospheric read on cold dark nights! I love Gothic literature so I’m really hoping this will become a new favourite.

 

Bonus reads I’m excited for

 

The Handmaid’s Tale

This is a book that has been on my TBR for years and I am finally going to read it! I know it’s one of those that divides opinion but I’m hoping to fall into the love camp. Either way, it’s time to see what all the hype is about!

 

Water for Elephants

Another book I’ve been aware of for years but never picked up! It actually fits one of the PopSugar 2018 reading challenge prompts (a bestseller from the year I graduated high school) so I’m delighted to finally have an excuse to make time for it!

 

What are some books you’re excited to read this autumn? x

5 reasons to read ‘The Color Purple’

“I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t notice it.”

The Color Purple, Alice Walker

 

Hello everyone! I’m back with another instalment of my ‘5 reasons to read’ series. I recently reread The Color Purple by Alice Walker, which I first read a few years ago in sixth form. It was nice to go back and reread without over-analysing everything, and it made me realise just what an incredible book it actually is!

 

Explores LGBTQ+ themes without making a big song and dance about it

There was something so nice about reading a book that doesn’t shout “hey, look at me, I have LGBTQ+ themes!” Yes, I love that books are becoming far more diverse these days and that sexuality is a much less taboo subject. But sometimes it’s nice to be surprised. I had honestly forgotten that this book looks at the theme of homosexuality/bisexuality because it does so in such a gentle, quiet way. Celie talks about how she is not interested in men. The book features a f/f relationship but doesn’t make it into this huge thing. It was nice to read something that just felt real and honest.

 

Female empowerment/love of the female body

Further to the previous point, this book contains so much feminism but I feel like it’s never talked about in that respect?! Shug educates Celie on the joy of sex and teaches her not to be ashamed of her body, and I think that’s such an important topic that is not given enough attention. It also raises the issue of a woman’s body being a possession, and the right to say no. Girls everywhere should read this.

 

Cultural representation

Obviously, I can’t speak from experience but I feel like Alice Walker is accurate in her representation of African-Americans and native African people. It is nice to see a contrast between how black people live in the United States and how they live in the missionary colonies. There is a lot to consider, from religious beliefs to marriage to the practice of scarification.

 

Epistolary form

For those readers who like their books written as a series of letters, this one is perfect. Celie’s letters read like a diary and make you feel closer to her as a character and more invested in her story (especially considering how the novel opens). It also really helps to move the pace along, as most of the letters are fairly short.

 

Love and Family

None of the family units in The Color Purple are very conventional but that is what makes it so beautiful. These people band together through love, not obligation, and create their own group where everyone belongs and has a place. Celie appears to be the person to whom everyone is connected and it’s lovely to see.

 

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This is one of the books I’ve read this month for the BookBum book club! The theme this month is ‘back to school’ and I’m hoping to read two books – one that I studied in school (this one) and one that is (or should be) required reading in schools that I haven’t read yet (The Handmaid’s Tale).

Have you read The Color Purple? Did you study it in school like me? What was your favourite required reading in school?

 

‘A Thousand Beginnings and Endings’ spoiler-free review!

Hello lovelies! I was recently sent A Thousand Beginnings and Endings by Harper360YA (thank you!) I’m so grateful I got the chance to read this #ownvoices collection of retellings of Asian myths and legends, and would love to see more stuff like this on the market.


What the book is about…

Star-crossed lovers, meddling immortals, feigned identities, battles of wits, and dire warnings: these are the stuff of fairy tale, myth, and folklore that have drawn us in for centuries.

Fifteen bestselling and acclaimed authors reimagine the folklore and mythology of East and South Asia in short stories that are by turns enchanting, heartbreaking, romantic, and passionate.

Compiled by We Need Diverse Books’s Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman, the authors included in this exquisite collection are: Renée Ahdieh, Sona Charaipotra, Preeti Chhibber, Roshani Chokshi, Aliette de Bodard, Melissa de la Cruz, Julie Kagawa, Rahul Kanakia, Lori M. Lee, E. C. Myers, Cindy Pon, Aisha Saeed, Shveta Thakrar, and Alyssa Wong.

A mountain loses her heart. Two sisters transform into birds to escape captivity. A young man learns the true meaning of sacrifice. A young woman takes up her mother’s mantle and leads the dead to their final resting place.

From fantasy to science fiction to contemporary, from romance to tales of revenge, these stories will beguile readers from start to finish. For fans of Neil Gaiman’s Unnatural Creatures and Ameriie’s New York Times–bestselling Because You Love to Hate Me.


What I thought of it…

This is such a fantastically valuable book. I’m so glad this has been put together. Like all anthologies, it has its highs and lows – the middle dipped quite spectacularly but the last few stories made up for it with their awesomeness. I did not really want to summarise what each story is about, I just wanted to talk about my thoughts on them but if anyone is interested in finding out more about each individual story, I would like to direct you all to Melanie’s fabulous review! For now, I will talk briefly about each story individually below 🙂

 

Forbidden Fruit by Roshani Chokshi – 4 stars

The first story in the collection was beautiful and heartbreaking. This was my first experience of Chokshi’s writing and I found it sumptuous and gorgeous.

 

Olivia’s Table by Alyssa Wong – 5 stars

This was so well-developed for a short story! It made me feel so much in so few pages. It was darkly fascinating and full of foody descriptions which is always the way to my heart 😉

 

Steel Skin by Lori M. Lee – 3 stars

I didn’t really connect with this sci-fi story. The writing was ok but the whole thing felt a bit rushed. I did like it slightly more when I learned the folklore that it was based on, but it wasn’t my favourite.

 

Still Star-Crossed by Sona Charaipotra – 2.5 stars

I wasn’t feeling this one at all. It had weird creepy vibes and I didn’t enjoy it. It was an interesting ‘Romeo and Juliet’ type of story but I found it quite strange.

 

The Counting of Vermillion Beads by Aliette de Bodard – 3.5 stars

I’m not gonna lie, I did struggle to differentiate between Tam and Cam! But I did love the magic in this one. It reminded me of some magical realism I read recently. Though I think I might have preferred the original ‘nasty’ version of the story!

 

The Land of the Morning Calm by E. C. Myers – 5 stars

This is my favourite story of the collection. It was so very touching. The folklore was incorporated seamlessly into the story and I never once felt confused because it was explained as it went along. I would gladly read more stories set in this world and I will certainly be looking for more of this author’s work.

 

The Smile by Aisha Saeed – 4 stars

This one was short but powerful, with a great feminist message.

 

Girls who Twirl and Other Dangers by Preeti Chhibber – 3 stars

Another story that I struggled to connect with. The contrast between the old myths and the contemporary references felt jarring in this one and I just didn’t really ‘get’ it. It also felt very young in tone.

 

Nothing Into All by Renée Adhieh – 5 stars

I love anything to do with goblins so this was a delight. Adhieh really captured the fairytale feeling with her writing.

 

Spear Carrier by Rahul Kanakia – 2 stars

This felt like information overload. It was all very weird. I think it was a bit too deep for me; I did appreciate it more once it was explained but I found it longwinded and harsh.

 

Code of Honour by Melissa de la Cruz – 2 stars

This one felt totally out of place in this collection. There was barely a link to any mythology and it was reminiscent of teenage paranormal romances of the 2000s.

 

Bullet, Butterfly by Elsie Chapman – 5 stars

Joint favourite story! This was utterly heartbreaking but oh so beautifully written. I cried.

 

Daughter of the Sun by Shveta Thakrar – 5 stars

Absolutely gorgeous writing and great feminist messages. This read like a real fairytale.

 

The Crimson Cloak by Cindy Pon – 5 stars

Sumptuous! I’ll never look at a sunset the same way again. I love that the author gave voice to a character who has even less dialogue than an ox in the original legend! I also really enjoyed that the reader was addressed directly; I always think that adds to the magical fairytale feeling.

 

Eyes like Candlelight by Julie Kagawa – 5 stars

This was surprisingly dark to end on but had some lovely descriptions. I loved it.

 

Out of a possible 75 stars (five stars for each of the 15 stories), I gave this collection 59 stars. I gave the book an overall rating of 4/5 stars.

 

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Has anyone else read this anthology? If anyone does want to know more about any story in particular, do get in touch 🙂

What are your thoughts on short story collections in general? Let me know your favourite in the comments! x

A-Z bookish survey!

Hello dears! I recently saw the lovely Melanie doing this tag and thought it looked like a fun way to share some bookish facts with you all! 🙂

 

Author you’ve read the most books from

Terry Pratchett (no surprise given how many books are in the Discworld series!)

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Best sequel ever

I struggled to answer this one as I tend to prefer first books! But I recently read Scythe and Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman, and holy heck, that was some follow-up!

 

Currently reading

I’m currently reading The Ringmaster’s Wife by Kristy Cambron with my bookclub.

 

Drink of choice while reading

Tea! Always tea.

 

E-reader or physical book

Physical. E-readers give me headaches.

 

Fictional character you probably would have dated in high school

I was a massive wallflower in school so probably no-one haha. But if I’d not been so shy, I’d have gone for someone like Lazlo or Levi ❤

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Glad you gave this book a chance

The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech. A recent find – and a beautiful read.

 

Hidden gem book

The Universe versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence. I never see anyone talk about this book but I love it so much.

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Important moment in your reading life

I was always a reader but when I went to university, my reading habit got pushed way down and I would hardly ever pick up a book. University ended up being a horrible experience for me and thank goodness I rekindled my passion for reading in my final year or I might never have got through it. From there, I discovered bookstagram – and the rest is history!

 

Just finished

A reread of The Color Purple.

 

Kind of books you won’t read

Mills and Boon! I’m sorry, I just need more than that from my books.

 

Longest book you’ve read

According to Goodreads, it’s A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin at 911 pages!

 

Major book hangover because of…

The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley. I could not get that book out of my head!

 

Number of bookcases you own

4 – one for classics/fancy editions and three for everything else! (And yes, I use any excuse to show off my shelves…)

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One book you’ve read multiple times

I’ve read Wuthering Heights more times than I can count.

 

Preferred place to read

In bed or in my comfiest chair in the living room.

 

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels

I can’t pick just one but More Than This by Patrick Ness is full of stunning quotes.

 

Reading regret

I’m not sure what this is actually asking but I don’t regret reading anything. Even if I don’t like a book, it gives me things to think about.

 

Series you started and need to finish (all books are out)

I’m not sure. I suppose I’d say the Three Dark Crowns series… but I’m not in any great hurry!
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Three of your all-time favourite books

The Book Thief

The Secret Life of Bees

Station Eleven

 

Unapologetic fangirl for…

Laini Taylor. She is my queen.

 

Very excited for this release more than all the others

After the last question? Of course it’s Muse of Nightmares!

 

Worst bookish habit

I wrote a post about this 😉

 

X marks the spot: start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book!

A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. Schwab

 

Your latest book purchase

I bought a short story collection by an indie author; I’ll be reading and reviewing it this month!

 

Zzz-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY too late)

Perfect Prey by Helen Fields. Such a gripping thriller!

 

There you go guys! Hope you enjoyed those 26 facts 😀 and please, anyone who hasn’t done this tag, give it a go!

‘The Lion Tamer Who Lost’ spoiler-free review!

Hi everyone! Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech. This is the first book I’ve read by Beech and I’m very impressed!

 

What the book is about…

Long ago Andrew made a childhood wish. One he has always kept in a silver box with a too-big lid that falls off. When it finally comes true, he wishes it hadn’t…

Long ago Ben dreamed of going to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally goes there, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…

Ben and Andrew keep meeting where they least expect. Some collisions are by design, but are they for a reason? Ben’s father would disown him for his relationship with Andrew, so they must hide their love. Andrew is determined to make it work, but secrets from his past threaten to ruin everything.

Ben escapes to Zimbabwe to finally fulfil his lifelong ambition. But will he ever return to England? To Andrew? To the truth?

A dark and poignant drama, The Lion Tamer Who Lost is also a mesmerisingly beautiful love story, with a tragic heart.

 

What I thought of it…

This was a wonderfully moving story. I went into this book knowing very little about it and I would suggest other readers do the same, because each new development really had an impact. As the story unfolded, I became more and more invested, and fell deeper in love with the characters and the setting.

The writing here is top quality, with evocative descriptions that reminded me of my time in Uganda (though I wasn’t on a lion reserve!) I found it to be a very immersive reading experience. The author conjured both the sounds and smells of Africa, and the more subdued gloom of the UK; I was completely transported.

Louise Beech deftly explores themes of love and family, creating a multi-layered plot full of nuance. There are honestly so many levels to this book. Again, I will say that it’s best to go in blind and let the story sweep you along. I don’t think I could do it justice with a summary anyway, it’s just so clever and compelling. I definitely did not expect the direction things took and this really added to the emotional impact the story had on me.

I’m really pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this one and definitely recommend it to readers who like their books full of heart.

 

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Make sure you check out the other stops on the tour for more thoughts on The Lion Tamer Who Lost! Huge thanks to Anne Cater/Orenda Books for providing me with an ARC!

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‘Autoboyography’ spoiler-free review!

Hello my lovelies 🙂 Today, I’m reviewing Autoboyography by writing duo Christina Lauren. I’d always heard great things about this book – and my own opinion is not going to be any different! This is a new favourite of mine.

 

What the book is about…

Three years ago, Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. Now, with one semester of high school to go, and no obstacles between him and out-of-state college freedom, Tanner plans to coast through his remaining classes and clear out of Utah.

But when his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High’s prestigious Seminar—where honor roll students diligently toil to draft a book in a semester—Tanner can’t resist going against his better judgment and having a go, if only to prove to Autumn how silly the whole thing is. Writing a book in four months sounds simple. Four months is an eternity.

It turns out, Tanner is only partly right: four months is a long time. After all, it takes only one second for him to notice Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before and who now mentors the class. And it takes less than a month for Tanner to fall completely in love with him.

 

What I thought of it…

Oh my heart, this book. This was the most adorable thing I have ever read; I had so many feelings upon finishing this story.

Right from the outset, I knew I was going to love Autoboyography. It opens with some amazing banter that felt very realistic, and introduces one of the best friendships in any book I’ve ever read. Tanner and Autumn have the most special relationship and it was truly heart-warming to read about.

Tanner is a fantastic protagonist; he is completely adorable and so freaking awkward, I love him. I ship him and Sebastian more than I’ve ever shipped anyone in my life. Their blossoming romance is so sweet and heartfelt. And I have to say, this book has one of the hottest first kiss scenes EVER.

It’s not all cute fluff though. This book handles the very serious matter of religion and sexuality in a tactful and respectful way. Sebastian’s struggle felt so real. It broke my heart to think of all the kids and young people out there who feel they have to hide who they are because they don’t have a strong support system around them; I genuinely want to hand this book out to every scared teenager and have them treat it as a life manual because its message is truly wonderful.

In saying that, I’m so glad that the authors gave Tanner an awesome supportive family. It made my heart so full to read. But, at the same time, that only increased the pain of seeing Sebastian UNsupported. I was emoting everywhere. There was a lot of sadness but also so much joy and hope. I was laughing with tears in my eyes.

I really do urge everyone to read this book. As well as being a beautifully-written story, it has such a positive and uplifting message. I truly believe this book could help so many people. I will forever adore it.

 

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Have you read this one? Leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts! x

#NEWTsreadathon2018 wrap-up!

Hello my lovelies! As promised yesterday in my wrap-up, I have a post for you now all about the NEWTs readathon that was hosted by Book Roast during the month of August.

The basic premise of the readathon was that there was a category for each subject on which Hogwarts students could sit a NEWT exam. There were three subcategories for each subject, making up the grades Acceptable, Exceeds Expectations and Outstanding. So if you read one book for a subject, you’d get an acceptable grade, two books would get you Exceeds Expectations and three books would get you an Outstanding. All in all, you could read a potential 36 books (3 books for 12 subjects).

I don’t know how well I’ve outlined all that so please do refer to Book Roast’s video for a better explanation! 😀

Anyway, I managed to read 16 books gaining myself 3 ‘outstandings’, 1 ‘exceeds expectations’ and 5 ‘acceptables’! Read on to find out what subjects I completed….

 

Arithmancy

A book that is at least 300 pages – The Forgotten Guide to Happiness

A book that ends on an even number – Notes on a Nervous Planet

A book that is not the first in a series – Perfect Prey

 

Astronomy

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A book with stars on the cover – Hold Back the Stars

The other prompts for this subject were: a book with the word ‘sky’ in the title and a book that takes place on another planet. I had hoped to achieve at least an ‘Exceeds Expectations’ grade by reading A Sky Painted Gold but time didn’t allow for it!

 

Care of Magical Creatures

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A book with an animal on the cover – Pax

The other prompts for this subject were: a book under 160 pages and a book featuring dragons but again, I didn’t have time for these.

 

Charms

A book with magic – The House at the End of Hope Street

A book with a cover that charmed you (i.e. a cover buy) – Autoboyography

The final prompt for this subject was a book that you think will leave a mark.

 

Divination

A book set in the future – Tell the Machine Goodnight

A book under 200 pages – The Reason I Jump

A mythology book – A Thousand Beginnings and Endings

 

Herbology

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A book with a green cover – The Roanoke Girls

The other prompts for this category were a book with illustrations and a book with the word ‘light’, ‘air’, ‘sun’ or ‘water’ in the title. I had hoped to read The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford and Thin Air by Michelle Paver for these prompts.

 

Muggle Studies

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A book by a favourite author – More Than This

The other prompts for this subject were a biography and a retelling, but I never really planned to hit these categories.

 

Potions

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A book with a colour in the title – White Fang

I never really planned to do Potions but then I thought I might as well listen to my audiobook of White Fang. The other prompts were a book with a male lead character and a book over 350 pages.

 

Transfiguration

A book with a grey cover – Do No Harm

A book from an author you’ve never read before – The Thing About Jellyfish

A book with royals/kingdoms – Heart of Thorns

 

The other three subjects which I didn’t tackle are as follows:-

Ancient Runes

– A book set in the past

– One of the books that has been on your shelves the longest

– A book translated from another language

 

Defence Against the Dark Arts

– The last book in a series

– A book with foil on the cover

– A book with the word ‘dark’ in the title

 

History of Magic

– A book that would look at home in the Hogwarts library

– A book published at least 5 years ago

– A book that’s at least 400 pages long

 

This readathon was so much fun and really helped me to tick a lot of books off my TBR (especially ones that I might not have read any time soon!) I’m also delighted that I managed to make some of my review books fit prompts. I already can’t wait to participate again next year!

Is anyone else a fan of readathons? If you took part in this one, how did you do? What was your best subject? 

 

 

August Wrap-Up! (In which readathons help me smash it)

Time for another monthly wrap-up! This month, I took part in the #NEWTsreadathon2018 hosted by Book Roast, which was a magical Harry Potter-themed readathon! It was so nerdy and awesome, and really helped me to get through more books than I might otherwise have done. I’ll have a detailed post about the readathon up in the next day or so but, for now, here’s everything I read in August!

 

 

Classics

White Fang by Jack London

Thankfully, this one was nowhere near as harrowing as The Call of the Wild. I’m still not convinced that these kinds of books are for me but I did find this one slightly more enjoyable and the ending was precious.

 

Review books/Books I was sent

Do No Harm by L. V. Hay

This was a gripping thriller with lots of misdirection which made for a fun read! Some of the dialogue felt a bit forced but it was fast-paced and exciting.

 

Tell the Machine Goodnight by Katie Williams

This was a well-written and entertaining literary debut, building a fascinating story around an intelligent concept.

 

The Forgotten Guide to Happiness by Sophie Jenkins

Sadly, I was disappointed by this one. The protagonist made some infuriating decisions and I found her very unlikeable. The plot was wishy-washy and ultimately forgettable (ironically).

 

Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton

Another lukewarm read. This had a very generic feel to it, with bland characters and a distinct lack of world building. There’s definite potential from this author but the execution here wasn’t the best.

 

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Elsie Chapman and Ellen Oh

Like all anthologies, this was a mixed bag. Thankfully, there were more highs than lows. I’m so glad I got the chance to read this as it’s definitely a valuable book.

 

 

Books from my TBR

Hold Back the Stars by Katie Khan

This one didn’t have enough depth for me. There was no real sense of drama or tension and I didn’t particularly like the characters.

 

More Than This by Patrick Ness

One of my favourites of the month. I listened to the audiobook and it was so well done. It was just so tender and sweet, and the characters filled my whole heart. I was 100% invested from start to finish; I never wanted it to end.

 

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

I was wary of this one as I’d heard mixed reviews but I found it enjoyable. I wasn’t at all shocked by it but I did find it compelling and I loved the claustrophobic feel that the author created.

 

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

This was a sweet middle grade that tackled some heavy themes but it lacked the emotional punch that I was looking for. I found it hard to connect with and thought the ending was far too abrupt.

 

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

This was a strange little book but one that I found intriguing and poignant. Suzy’s family was wonderfully portrayed.

 

 

Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig

Matt Haig really gets humans. I loved Reasons to Stay Alive but found this book, which focuses more on anxiety, SO relatable. I want to give a copy to all of my loved ones so they know exactly what I battle on a daily basis.

 

The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida

I’ve wanted to read this account of autism for a few years now but, for some reason, never got round to it. Then my friend lent me her copy this month so I had no more excuses! It was a quick read but one that offered a lot of insights and I recognised a lot of the things that I see in my job as a support worker.

 

The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna van Praag

Another book by this author was one of my favourite reads of 2017 but unfortunately, I didn’t love this one as much. It felt much more ‘chick-lit’ which isn’t really my thing. However, I can allow for the fact that this was the author’s debut and she has obviously improved since then.

 

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

My other favourite this month, I am so thankful this book exists. It is such a special, heart-warming story and it also kind of broke my heart. I’ll be reviewing this one in full soon – but in the meantime, I urge everyone to read it!

 

Perfect Prey by Helen Fields

My last read of the month was the second book in the Perfect series. This is fast becoming my favourite crime thriller series; it is so gritty and I love everything about it. Can’t wait to read books 3 and 4!

 

Stats

Total pages: 5364

Average pages per day: 173

Longest book: Heart of Thorns (464 pages)

Shortest book: The Reason I Jump (192 pages)

Favourite read of the month: Autoboyography/More Than This

Biggest disappointment of the month: Hold Back the Stars/The Forgotten Guide to Happiness

Male authors: 4

Female authors: 12

Books read towards Pop Sugar Reading Challenge: 3

 

august 2018 reading wrapup

How many books did you read in August? What was your favourite read of the month? If you did a wrap-up post, link up to me in the comments below! x