NEWTs Readathon | Progress Report #1

As you may be aware if you saw my TBR post a few weeks ago, the entire month of August for me is taken up by those dreaded Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests aka NEWTs examinations! For the entire month of August, Gintare from the Book Roast is hosting a readathon based around the examinations at Hogwarts. Pretty cool, isn’t it? If you need more info, definitely check out Gintare’s announcement video, or head over to the readathon hashtag on Twitter.

As well as my usual readathon Twitter thread, I thought I would do progress reports every so often throughout the month, mainly to keep myself accountable, but also to take stock every once in a while amidst all the fun of the readathon (*cough* I mean er- amidst all the intense studying *cough*) and to see how I’m doing on my grades for my exams.

For those not familiar with (or who need a little reminder of) the NEWTs examinations, the pass grades are A (Acceptable), E (Exceeds Expectations), and O (Outstanding). I’m an overachiever so obviously I’d love to get Os in all of my exams, but we’ll see if that’s even probable given my progress after one week…

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The Full Monte Readalong | Week Five

Bonsoir mes amis et bienvenue sur le blog pour la cinquième semaine du ‘Le Comte de Monte Cristo’.

For those unaware of the reason for my (frankly shoddy) French, I am currently taking part in Laura from Reading In Bed‘s 2018 summer readalong for Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. To catch up, check out my sign-up post, my week one update, my week two updatemy week three update, and my week four update which will bring you up to speed with summaries of the first eighty chapters of the book. You can also see how I’m doing (or not doing) every single day, by checking out my reading progress spreadsheet and I’m also updating periodically in a Twitter thread, using the hashtag #TheFullMonte.

Guess who didn’t learn from the last couple of weeks and left all her reading until the weekend like an idiot? This girl! My poor life choices are nothing if not consistent… (I also had the excuse of the NEWTs readathon this time)

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Review | Roomies by Christina Lauren

Title: Roomies (2018)
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Little Brown Book Group- Piatkus
Read: 14th – 22nd July 2018
Genre: contemporary; romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“Monday night. Wednesday morning. Friday lunchtime. Holland Bakker plans her journeys to work around the times the handsome Irish musician, Calvin McLoughlin, plays his guitar in the 50th Street subway station. Lacking the nerve to actually talk to the gorgeous stranger, Holland is destined to admire him from a distance. Then a near-tragedy causes her busker to come to her rescue, only to disappear when the police start asking questions. Keen to repay Calvin, Holland gets him an audition with her uncle, Broadway’s hottest musical director. When he aces the tryout, Calvin’s luck seems to have turned – until his reason for disappearing earlier becomes clear: he doesn’t have a visa. Impulsively, Holland offers to wed the Irishman to keep him in New York, still keeping her infatuation secret. Calvin becomes the darling of Broadway, while their relationship evolves from awkward roommates to besotted lovers. Yet surrounded by theatre and actors, what will it take for Holland and Calvin to realise that they both stopped pretending a long time ago?” (Synopsis from the publisher)

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Wrap Up | July 2018

Welcome one, welcome all, to my July Wrap Up. It’s been a pretty good month overall. Although I’ve had a massive impending deadline at work which is super important of 1st August (fingers crossed all is well since I’m writing this post the day before then!) and has made me a little stressed, thereby aggravating my skin (ugh) again, there have also been some good things to come out of this month. For a start, me and Liz went to see The Killers play the Macron Stadium in Bolton as part of their UK Wonderful Wonderful tour. We’d caught them earlier in the tour when they stopped by Liverpool but we jumped at the chance to see them again. Unfortunately, the venue itself was terrible and the organisation wasn’t just shoddy, it was downright dangerous. (Although I’m not one for writing letters, believe me, a complaint letter is pending on this occasion.) However, The Killers themselves were incredible. There’s something about their music that just makes complete strangers feel it’s acceptable to grab you and pull you into a dancing circle of people for no other ulterior motive than simply wanting to belt out All These Things That I’ve Done together. It’s genuinely great. I’ll be keeping an eye out for when The Killers visit the UK again because I’ll be there, with (metaphorical) bells on.

In terms of my reading, July has been a funny sort of month. As you will see from the post below, my productivity definitely fluctuated in July, but I didn’t realise just how badly it had until I put together the dates I’d started and finished these books. Even so, it picked up towards the end of the month and I managed to get some books read and discovered a new favourite graphic novel series, so that was very pleasing news! Also, I started participating in Laura’s The Full Monte readalong, where we’re reading Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo in six weeks – check out my weekly posts on that, if you’re curious. On top of making progress in that, I also managed to re-read a book I’ve been meaning to for a long time now and I’m also tentatively making my first steps towards finishing off some series I really need to finish.

It’s safe to say that I well and truly embraced my newly purchased Scribd subscription (with a little back-up from my Audible account on one occasion) as you can see from the fact that every single one of these books was either an ebook or audiobook. I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the amount of new and interesting releases available on Scribd so I’m really happy I took the plunge and signed up, though I will say that my physical TBR is now looking on with jealousy since I’ve sorely neglected it this month – let’s hope August sees a return to my bookshelves so they don’t feel too put out by my new love for Scribd. (I swear I’m not spon.)


So without further ado, let’s take a look at the books I read in the month of July:

In June, I read a total of 7 books 7 fiction and non-fiction – and were re-reads (marked by *). This amounted to 1873 pages in total.

In terms of format: 4 were ebooks and 3 were audiobooks.

And as for genre, very broadly speaking, 2 were contemporary romancewas YA sci-fi/romancewas a classic; and were contemporary graphic novels.

Onto the books themselves…

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The Full Monte Readalong | Week Four

Bonsoir mes amis et bienvenue sur le blog pour la quatrième semaine du ‘Le Comte de Monte Cristo’.

For those unaware of the reason for my (frankly shoddy) French, I am currently taking part in Laura from Reading In Bed‘s 2018 summer readalong for Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. To catch up, check out my sign-up post, my week one update and my week two update, which will bring you up to speed with summaries of the first sixty chapters of the book. You can also see how I’m doing (or not doing) every single day, by checking out my reading progress spreadsheet and I’m also updating periodically in a Twitter thread, using the hashtag #TheFullMonte.

This week has proved (yet again) that I shouldn’t leave the majority of my reading until the weekend because I will hate Past Emma for her poor life choices. With two weeks left of the readathon, we shall seen if I learn from experience or continue to bumble on just about keeping up with the reading schedule. Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at what happened in Chapters 61-80 in my usual overly long and slapdash (but not at all comprehensive) manner…

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NEWTs Readathon | Sign Up & TBR

Back in April I sat my O.W.Ls (as you may remember from my Twitter updates thread and my mid-way progress report), and I ended up passing Ancient Runes, Astronomy, Charms, Muggle Studies, Potions, Transfiguration. Well, friends, August has now rolled around which means it’s time to sit those dreaded N.E.W.Ts! For the entire month of August, Gintare from the Book Roast has once again decided to host such a fun themed readathon based around the examinations at Hogwarts, and I’m super excited to take part again, and (hopefully) pass all my exams! If you need more info, definitely check out Gintare’s announcement video, or head over to the readathon hashtag on Twitter.

Which N.E.W.Ts you sit depends entirely on which O.W.L qualifications you were able to get in the previous readathon, and this exam period/readathon works on a level-up system so you need to read a book each to earn your ‘Acceptable’ ‘Exceeds Expectations’ and ‘Outstanding’ grades in those subjects – it is nastily exhausting, isn’t it?

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at which books I’ll be reading in order to sit my N.E.W.T examinations!

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Review | A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

athousandpiecesofyouTitle: A Thousand Pieces of You (2014)
Author: Claudia Gray
Publisher: Harper Teen
Read: 22nd – 24th July 2018
Genre: young-adult; science-fiction; romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. None more so than the Firebird, a device that allows users to jump into different universes, which catapulted them into instant fame. But then Marguerite’s father is murdered, and the killer – her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul – slips into another dimension before the law can touch him. Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt and her own heart. And soon she discovers that the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined. A Thousand Pieces of You explores a world where other versions of our own lives are possible in an amazingly intricate multi-universe, and where fate is unavoidable, and true love inevitable.” (Synopsis from the publisher)

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Down the TBR Hole #23

Welcome folks to the twenty-third round of Down the TBR Hole! As I mentioned in my last round of DtTH (nope, that acronym isn’t particularly attractive, is it?), this little project has been a great way of weening down my TBR over the past year so I’ve decided to keep it up and make it a semi-regular feature in order to spring clean my TBR aka be realistic about what books I aspire to read and what books I actually will read.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, check out the previous posts via the tag or check out Lia at Lost in a Story who is the creator of this wonderful meme/project.

I’m trying to make this a regular feature of my blogging schedule because it’s good to regularly reevaluate if/why you want to read a book – that way you don’t come back to your TBR years later and have no clue why a title piqued your interest in the first place. I’ve also added a summary of results bit at the bottom of each round so I can track how many books I’ve kept and ditched from my TBR shelf in each round and overall.

Just a reminder of how this works:

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

Outside of doing these posts semi-regularly I have also been culling my TBR list at random points when I’m bored – all of this is good in terms of getting my TBR to a reasonable amount of books but it also means that these posts are getting harder for me to do as I’m beginning to really agonise over whether to ditch or keep books on there. Not that any of this is a bad thing! Let’s get going on the 10 books under scrutiny today…

1. A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood

Why is it there? I’ve seen the film and absolutely adored it, so naturally I wanted to read the book for myself. I don’t really know much about how this reads as a story, but I’m sure it will be enormously sad, based on how I felt about the film, and I just need to wait to be in the right mood for reading that sort of thing…
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Keep

2. The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens

Why is it there? Since I haven’t read nearly as many Dickens novels as I feel I ought to have, as a Literature graduate, I added all the Charles Dickens books to my TBR list many moons ago… and then did precisely nothing about it. As it stands, I’ve only read 5 of his novels and there’s like 15/16 – this is one of the many I haven’t yet read, but it sounds absolutely bonkers so I’m here for it, when I finally decide that reading a 500-page book is a good idea.
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Keep

3. Jackaby by William Ritter

Why is it there? I remember vaguely seeing this book pop up in some Booktubers’ hauled videos and then I saw Stephanie from Adventures of a Bibliophile review the series very positively, and that helped to move this book onto my actual TBR. It’s often described as a late 19th-century historical fiction/paranormal mystery that’s reminiscent of Doctor Who meets Sherlock, so I’m definitely up for trying that out sometime (hopefully) soon.
Do I own it? Yes
Verdict? Keep

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The Full Monte Readalong | Week Three

Bonsoir mes amis et bienvenue sur le blog pour la troisième semaine du ‘Le Comte de Monte Cristo’.

For those unaware of the reason for my (frankly shoddy) French, I am currently taking part in Laura from Reading In Bed‘s 2018 summer readalong for Alexandre Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. We’ve reached Week Three in which I had a rather big crisis of faith as to why I was reading this book but I think I came out mostly unscathed, it’s just this post’s comprehensiveness which may be compromised in the struggle.

To catch up, check out my sign-up post, my week one update and my week two update, which will bring you up to speed with summaries of the first forty chapters of the book. You can also see how I’m doing (or not doing) every single day, by checking out my reading progress spreadsheet and I’m also updating periodically in a Twitter thread, using the hashtag #TheFullMonte.

At the end of Week Two, we left the Count of Monte Cristo having breakfast with his new found pals in Paris and (spoiler alert) Week Three sees more society schmoozing and maybe a vendetta or two and ends with another rather civilised invitation to dinner (it’s all about the food with these people). But let’s take a closer look at what happened in Chapters 41-60 in my usual overly long and slapdash (but not at all comprehensive) manner…

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Review | A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

torch.jpgTitle: A Torch Against the Night (2016)
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Read: 24th – 30th June 2018
Genre: young-adult; fantasy
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt Elias and Laia as they flee the city of Serra. Laia and Elias are determined to break into the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison to save Laia’s brother, even if for Elias it means giving up his last chance at freedom. They will have to fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene, Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike. Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own, one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape … and kill them both.” (Synopsis from the publisher)

* It goes without saying but, as this is a sequel to the first novel An Ember in the Ashes, there will be spoilers for the events/ending of the first book within this review. However, there will not be specific spoilers for the events, or ending, of A Torch Against the Night. *

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