Tome Topple 7 | Sign Up & TBR

Welcome one and all to, you guessed it from the title, a sign-up post for Tome Topple. The seventh round of Tome Topple is taking place from the stroke of midnight on 16th November and runs through until 11:59 pm on 29th November.

For those who don’t know, Tome Topple is fortnight-long readathon in which the goal is to focus on reading “tomes”, i.e. books of 500 pages (or so) in length. It was created by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes and she now has a whole gang of co-hosts to help run the readathon and keep us all enthused and reading. For extra info, check out the readathon’s Twitter account or the Goodreads group.

If you’ve been a reader of the blog for a while, you may have seen that I’ve participated in previous Tome Topple rounds, to varying degrees of “success”, but I’ve always gave it my best shot. This round will prove to be no exception since I’ll be away from home for a few days at the start of the readathon so I’m not sure how my reading will be affected by that. This does mean I’ll be sitting on a couple of train journeys though so maybe the travel will turn out to be a bit of a blessing in disguise for Tome Topple? We shall see!

As ever, there are the reading challenges to help shape your TBR. I’m not sure whether I’ll focus on these but in the interests of having a bit of structure to the whole thing, I’ve picked out a couple of them to try to fulfil with my reading.

Reading Challenges

  1. Read more than 1 tome
  2. Read a graphic novel (still over 500 pages!) – I won’t be doing this one, I never do!
  3. Read a tome that is part of a series
  4. Buddy read a tome
  5. Read an adult novel

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Challenges: 1/4/5
This one was on my Disney holiday TBR but Disney World proved to be far too distracting and I ended up only just almost finishing one book which was decidedly not this one. Therefore, it was on my mind to pick it up anyway, and now that Tome Topple is here and this book definitely counts as a tome, it seems almost fortuitous. I’ve heard that this is a book you really need to focus on so it would probably be a good idea to only be reading one book at a time when I read this – I tend to try to do that during Tome Topple so this is the perfect time to give it a go.

The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman

Challenges: 1/3
I absolutely loved the first book in the series, The Dark Days Club, because it’s basically a Jane Austen-esque Regency society story but with added demons. The heroine, Lady Helen, is basically a demon hunter and that’s all kinds of MY JAM so I adore this series. The author, Alison Goodman, was also super lovely on Twitter when I gushed about the book so I’m automatically even more endeared to this series. I really need to pick up this second book as its sequel aka the third in the trilogy (?), comes out in November.

So, that’s it, that’s my Tome Topple TBR. I’m trying to keep it relatively simple and manageable (for once). Are you taking part in the readathon? What are you planning to read? Let me know and we can cheer each other on!


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Charms Extra Credit | Wrap Up

This past week I’ve been loosely participating in the Charms Extra Credit readathon, as orgnanised by the lovely Gi of the Book Roast. This is supplementary to the OWLs and NEWTs readathons that she runs and is a fun and creative way to get a little head-start on your exams before the next round of the readathons. If you have no idea what I’m talking out, it might help to check out Gi’s Extra Credit announcement video!

I decided to take part even though I’m focusing most of my energy this month on the month-long Victober readathon. Because Victober can be quite demanding in terms of the types of books you’re reading, I decided to take it easy with Charms Extra Credit and help myself out a bit by being kind to myself and choosing mostly graphic novels and comic books for my TBR. Let’s wrap this readathon up and see how I did, shall we?

The Challenges & How I Did

✓ Alohomora: read a book that’s first in a series 
Lumberjanes, Vol. 1 by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, and Brooke Allen
This was really cute! I already knew I’d adore the art style and bright colours because I’ve had a peek at Noelle Stevenson’s character styles before thanks to Nimona . The story line was weird and wacky but it completely fit with the larger-than-life colour palette. I’m hoping to read more volumes in this series and see where it goes!

✓ Accio: book that’s top of your TBR
Saga, Vol. 9 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
I cannot with Saga anymore. I was not prepared for this and, friends, neither will you be for this volume. I hated that I loved it because, oh boy, that ending was something. I love this series with all my art, the story, the CHARACTERS, the art style, the HUMOUR, the HEARTBREAK, and, yep, I now officially feel personally victimised by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples.

✗ Incendio: words ‘fire’ or ‘flame’ in the title/series name, or flame picture on the cover
Ten Thousand Skies Above You (Firebird #2) by Claudia Gray
This is the book I unfortunately didn’t get to during the readathon. In a previous month I’d listened to maybe 40% of the audiobook before setting it aside and I thought this readathon would be a good opportunity to maybe pick it up again. I think the problem I’m having with it is that it’s not immediately gripping me like the first book in the trilogy did (I loved the imperial Russian setting), so I’m less excited to make it a priority in my TBR. It’s a shame, but I didn’t even think about reading this book this past week.

✓ Rictusempra: book that ‘tickles you the right way’ (exciting trope/theme/genre)
Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince, Issue 1 by V.E. Schwab, Enrica Eren Angiolini and Andrea Olimpieri
The comic I have waited months for and it was awesome! I wasn’t sure what I’d think of the art style at first, and even as I turned the first few pages, I still wasn’t sold… but then I fell into the story of V.E. Schwab’s Red London all over again and I was hooked. Maxim is going to be a fantastic protagonist to this comic book series (well, he already is) and I’m super excited for the next issue. (Full disclosure: it felt a little bit lot like cheating including a 32-page comic for a readathon challenge whilst some participants are over here reading full-length books but, hey, I’ll readathon how I like.)

✓ Lumos: book with a light cover
Captain Marvel, Vol. 1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick and David Lopez
I really enjoyed this one! I’m a sucker for the MCU so I’ve always meant to pick up some of the more recent comic book arcs and this has always been on that list. The art was bold and colourful but, to me, still felt recognisably ‘superhero comic book’ style. I’m not going to lie, though, some of the storylines in this confused me because I thought I was missing something. As it was the first volume in a new iteration of Captain Marvel, I thought I wasn’t expected to have knowledge of her previous escapades, but even so I felt like at times the story just expected me to go along with stuff that wasn’t explained all that well. Controversial opinion? I don’t know, maybe I’m just not used to reading this kind of comic book series where there’s so much history and lore behind the character. I’ll still try to pick up other volumes though because Captain Marvel is bad-ass and I dig it.

 

So, all in all, I think 4 out of 5 challenges is pretty damn good! (We’ll ignore the fact they were all really short books, ‘kay?) This means that, if/when I participate in the OWLs readathon next year and if/when I choose to study Charms, I’ll be able to start my book for that challenge 4 days earlier than the official start date of the readathon. Not bad, eh?

Did you take part in the Charms Extra Credit – what did you read? If you didn’t, let me know what you’ve been reading lately anyway as I always love to hear book recommendations. Let me know in the comments below!


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Charms Extra Credit | Sign Up & TBR

Have you heard, Hogwarts students? Professor Flitwick will be accepting extra course work for Charms between the 8th and the 14th October. This means getting a little extra credit and a helping hand towards the Charms examinations coming up later in the academic year. Doesn’t that sound sensible to put in a little work now?

For those who have zero idea what I’m going on about (and possibly think I’ve gone a little barmy), Gi of the Book Roast has decided to run a week-long readathon to accompany her (hopefully annual) OWLs readathon and NEWTs readathon, both of which I took part in (with varying degrees of success) earlier this year. You can watch her extra credit announcement video to find out more about the readathon and its challenges, or check out Professor Flitwick’s announcement, or just take a look at my TBR below to get a sneak peek of what I’m planning to read in order to hopefully score some (much needed) extra credit.

The Challenges & my TBR

Alohomora: read a book that’s first in a series
Lumberjanes, Vol. 1 by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, and Brooke Allen

Accio: book that’s top of your TBR
Saga, Vol. 9 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Incendio: words ‘fire’ or ‘flame’ in the title/series name, or flame picture on the cover
Ten Thousand Skies Above You (Firebird #2) by Claudia Gray

Rictusempra: book that ‘tickles you the right way’ (exciting trope/theme/genre)
Shades of Magic: The Steel Prince, Issue 1 by V.E. Schwab, Enrica Eren Angiolini and Andrea Olimpieri

Lumos: book with a light cover
Captain Marvel, Vol. 1 by Kelly Sue DeConnick and David Lopez

 

I’ve kind of not really cheated a little bit by making sure that these books are principally graphic novels/comic bind-ups, to make things easier on myself, but hey I am doing Victober throughout the month of October so I have to make sure that this readathon doesn’t jeopardise that readathon either. It’s a hard life being a reader, isn’t it? Still, I have included one “proper book”, as you might say, on this TBR so I’m hoping that trying to read that next week won’t distract me too much from Victober reading. Let’s see…

Are you taking part in the Charms Extra Credit – what are you planning to read for it? Or have you taken part (or want to take part) in the OWLs or NEWTs readathons? Let me know in the comments below!


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Victober 2018 | Sign Up & TBR

Hello lovely people! Can you believe that next week it will be October?? I know, I know, take a minute to really let that sink in – the tenth month of the year is dawning. Finished reeling from that realisation? No? Me neither, but let’s distract ourselves from the horror of time passing too quickly by talking about a month-long readathon that will be returning in October, namely Victober! As it says on the tin, Victober is the month of reading (you guessed it) Victorian literature, that is any book written or published by British or Irish authors (or a writer living in Britain or Ireland) between the years of 1837 to 1901.

If you want to know more about the readathon, please do take a look at the Booktube channels of the hosts – Katie (Books and Things), Kate (Kate Howe), Lucy (Lucy the Reader), and Ange (Beyond the Pages) – or visit the Goodreads group for more information!

I’ve previously “participated” in Victober (you’ll see what I mean), back in 2016 and in 2017, but I didn’t do the crucial thing of actually finishing any of the books I wholeheartedly pledged to read. This year will be different, this year I swear I will actually finish what I set out to read, this year I will combine Victober with knocking a couple of books off my Classics Club list (and participate in the #CCdare too) and hopefully this ‘kill two birds with one stone’ approach will persuade me to stick with it. Also, ‘third times a charm’ and all that rot? Let’s jump straight into taking a look at the challenges and my TBR whilst we’re being so optimistic about how well this is going to go this year!

Challenges

  1. Ange’s challenge: Read a book by one of the hosts’ favourite Victorian authors (Charlotte Brontë, Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell or Thomas Hardy).
  2. Kate’s challenge: Read a Victorian book with a proper noun (i.e., a place name or person’s name) in the title .
  3. Katie’s challenge: Read a book from the first ten years of the Victorian period and/or a book from the last ten years of the Victorian period (i.e., 1837-1847 or 1891-1901).
  4. Lucy’s challenge: Read a Victorian book written by a woman anonymously or under a pseudonym.
  5. General challenge: Read a Victorian book and watch a screen adaptation of it.
  6. Group readalong: Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell

TBR

  1. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell [challenges 1/6]
    Not only is this the group readalong book and fulfils Ange’s challenge to read some Gaskell, it’s also on my Classics Club TBR and will qualify for the CC Dare because it is well and truly a book that “scares me” due to its massive size and how much I’m expecting to love it given how much I enjoyed North and South – I so hope it doesn’t prove disappointing!
  2. Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell [challenges 1/2/5]
    This is on my Classics Club TBR too! I got like 60 pages through it a couple of months ago but then put it down for more action-packed reads, so I never did finish it. I was actually really enjoying it so I need to get back onto it and start from the beginning and finish it this time. Plus, I really want to watch the miniseries of it (and bought the DVD this summer with the intention of doing just that) so I shall take these Victober challenges as a sign that it’s meant to be.
  3. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde [challenges 3/5]
    I have a collection of Oscar Wilde’s plays as I had to read one of them (I can’t for the life of me remember which one, possibly A Woman of No Importance) back in first year of university. I’m still yet to read the other plays in the collection but I do want to give it a go so I’ll plump for Wilde’s most famous, I think. If all goes wrong with Cranford I could also watch a screen adaptation of this play!
  4. Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte [challenges 2/3/4]
    I very much enjoyed Anne Bronte’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall which (rightfully) deserves all the praise it gets, in fact I vastly preferred Anne’s novel to Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights so I’m hoping her debut will be the same. I’ve just downloaded the audiobook of this, as read by Emilia Fox (whose voice is SO compelling), so hopefully I’ll be able to make my way through this as it fulfils quite a few challenges!

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I’m unlikely to keep an updates post up-to-date on here for a whole month’s worth of reading so I won’t even pretend like I will – however, I likely will be updating a Twitter thread so please do follow me on Twitter and say hello if you’re also participating and we can cheer each other on with Victober!


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September TBR

You all know I don’t consistently post TBR lists, but this month I feel like I need to, because it’s already 12 days into September and I haven’t made enough progress on my hastily scribbled TBR list. I actually always draw up a monthly TBR in my bujo at the end of the previous month, but I rarely share it here, unless it happens to coincide with a readathon I’m doing, but this month should be an exception otherwise I won’t get anything read at this rate. Accountability and all that jazz.

If you saw my recent Choosing My Holiday TBR post you might have a little inkling already of some of the books I want to knock out of the park this month, but let’s look at the rest, shall we?

Books to Finish This Month

  1. The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
    I started this during the NEWTs Readathon but unfortunately didn’t finish it, despite it being quite short, beautifully packaged, and a children’s book. I didn’t get too far into the story, all I know so far is that a young girl has gone missing on the island. That’s it. I need to get back to this, it’s been on my shelf for MONTHS.
  2. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
    This is due back to the library any day now and I’m only little over halfway through it. Honestly? I’m not loving it. I don’t really feel connected to the characters at all. I feel like I’m definitely missing something key because everyone else I’ve seen reviews from seems to love this… I just don’t seem to be one of them?? Even so, I feel like I need to keep giving this a chance and finish it. Wish me luck? If you’ve struggled with this book too, can you let me know in the comments if you pushed through, and if it was worth it?
  3. Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray
    I’m a broken record but I started this for NEWTs but didn’t manage to finish the audiobook before August ended. I’m finding the story a little hard to follow but I think that might be because I listened to a large portion of it on audiobook at work when I was multitasking – I’m sure if I give it my full attention, I’ll get more into the story.
  4. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
    After finishing the NEWTs  at the end of August I realised I rather randomly felt like re-reading The Bone Season so I foolhardily picked it up, knowing fine well I was going on holiday for a week at the start of the month and wouldn’t be able to take it with me as it’s a hardcover. So I still need to finish this re-read soon because I LOVE this book series.

Books to Read This Month

  1. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
    This was one of the successful choices in the Try a Chapter post I did to choose my holiday TBR for Barcelona and I cannot WAIT to get started on this one. I’ve heard so many great things about this and I am here for it.
  2. If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio
    This book is a risky choice for holiday because I want to love it SO badly. It’s frequently described as The Secret History but with Shakespeare students and I’m like… that’s me in a book, I want it, I need it, let me love it. But I’m also ever so slightly worried in case I don’t end up loving it because it will be SUCH a disappoint. Is that likely? Yikes, let’s see…
  3. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
    Everyone and their mother has read this… apart from me. Let’s change that in September, shall we? People told me it’s complicated but I read the opening chapter and it… seems ok? Promising! I’ll report back in October (hopefully).
  4. Vicious by V.E. Schwab
    If you’re at all a V.E. Schwab fan, you’ve probably read this by now. am a V.E. Schwab fan so I should have read this by now, especially as I follow her on social media and the past months have been full of watching her revise and get ready to publish the long-awaited and anticipated sequel, Vengeful. So I need to jump on this bandwagon before the second book is released and FINALLY read Vicious.
  5. City of Ghosts by V.E. Schwab
    This is Schwab’s latest release and this, along with Vengeful, has filled her social media. It sounds SO good and is set in Edinburgh which I adore, and I know V does too, so I’m sure her love for the city will come through in this story.

I think we should leave it at that, shouldn’t we? Because, let’s face it, 9 books is quite enough to be getting along with!

What are you hoping to read this month? Do you line up books in a TBR or do you prefer to completely mood read? Let me know what you’re reading at the moment in the comments below and let’s chat books!


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NEWTs Readathon | Progress Report #3

I know, I know, it’s late, this post is probably late, and my blogging game on the whole has been seriously lacking these past couple of weeks. I could make up plenty of excuses but what it comes down to is that I’ve just lacked motivation. All that being said, I have been reading so I’m definitely still trying to complete some of my NEWTs with semi-good grades!

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, it might be best to pop over to my TBR postmy first progress report, or my second progress report, but tl;dr version is that the NEWTs Readathon is happening in August. It’s a month-long readathon based around the NEWT examinations in the Harry Potter series, and it’s hosted by Gintare from the Book Roast – check out the announcement video, or head over to the readathon hashtag on Twitter for more details. I’ve been sort of keeping up to date with my reading progress on my usual readathon Twitter thread, but I also like to keep myself accountable with more overarching progress reports such as this one you’re reading right now. So let’s see how I’m doing, shall we?

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Bout of Books 23 | Sign Up & TBR

Hola all, coming at you today with a sign up and TBR post for yet another readathon. I am obviously still participating in the month-long NEWTs Readathon, but it just so happens that the next round of Bout of Books is this week and it would be rude to neglect one in favour of the other, so I guess this TBR also functions as an idea of the books I hope to read this week for my NEWTs!

For those unaware of the delight that is the Bout of Books readathon, the organisers have a handy blurb available to clue you in:

bob23The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 20th and runs through Sunday, August 26th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 23 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

I don’t have much planned for this week and though I’m very sure work will be quite busy, my social engagements are next to non-existent, which makes for good quality reading time. If nothing else, Bout of Books is well and truly low-key and low pressure and I like that kind of readathon, I can get onboard with that. So let’s take a look at my TBR, shall we?

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NEWTs Readathon | Progress Report #2

Howdy folks. It’s been a little while hasn’t it? I dropped off the face of the blogging world for a week or so because last weekend I went home and did… pretty much nothing, just hung out a little bit with family and that was it. As nice as that was, it meant I didn’t have much motivation to blog towards the end of last week and, as I took Monday and Tuesday off work, come Wednesday I was trying frantically to catch up with stuff at work to the point where I’ve found it quite tiring by the time I get home on an evening. Add onto the fact I managed to get an annoying cold on Wednesday and that hasn’t particularly left me in the right head-space to blog. Still, I have been reading a little bit, which is good because that’s the subject of this post… I come to you today with the second of my progress reports for the NEWTs Readathon.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, it might be best to pop over to my TBR post or even my first progress report, but tl;dr version is that the NEWTs Readathon is happening in August. It’s a month-long readathon based around the NEWT examinations in the Harry Potter series, and it’s hosted by Gintare from the Book Roast – check out the announcement video, or head over to the readathon hashtag on Twitter for more details. I’ve been sort of keeping up to date with my reading progress on my usual readathon Twitter thread, but I also like to keep myself accountable with more overarching progress reports such as this one you’re reading right now. So let’s see how I’m doing, shall we?

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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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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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