Wrap Up | July 2019

Welcome one, welcome all, to my July Wrap Up! July was an interesting month. There was an important conference I had been building up to at work for months which turned out to be not as terrifying as I worried it would be but it was still A LOT, especially when it came to getting over it (I came back with definite conference flu). As a result, my reading was quite disrupted in the first half of the month whilst I worried about that conference and whilst I attended it. The conference was held in Edinburgh so me and Liz made a weekend of it before it started up and I got to show her some of the sights of a city I love visiting (and maybe one day wouldn’t mind living in).

Thankfully, my reading picked up in the latter half of July when I realised I needed to get reading or I would fail The Book Junkie Trials spectacularly! I am pleased to report I did reach the Bookie Grail but, as for the Reading Rush, I slightly failed that since I was a day late with finishing my TBR. Even so, I’m glad I took part in both of these readathons, and they helped to pull me out of what could have been a reading slump post-conference/Edinburgh. Let’s get onto the books themselves…


In July, I read a total of 12 books 11 fiction and 1 non-fiction – and were re-reads (marked by *). This amounted to 2998 pages in total.

In terms of format: 1 was a hardbackwere paperbacks, 2 were audiobooks, and were ebooks.

As for genre, 5 were graphic novelswere fantasywas YA paranormal, 1 was YA fantasy, was contemporary/romance, 1 was a classic, and 1 was non-fiction.

Onto the books themselves…

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NEWTs Readathon 2019 | Sign Up & TBR

Hello witches and wizards, it’s that (dreaded) time of year again – the exam season is upon us… but that’s ok because these are exams I actually might enjoy studying for! That’s right, it’s time for the second round of the Magical Readathon- the NEWTs Readathon 2019 which is taking place for the entire month of August.

For those unfamiliar with the readathon, this is a Harry Potter/Hogwarts themed readathon – it has two main readathon rounds, the OWLs and the NEWTs, which correspond with the sets of wizarding examinations that Hogwarts students face in their fifth and seventh years respectively. For each round of exams, the wonderful creator of this readathon, Gi from the Book Roast, circulates a list of revision topics (read: readathon prompts) from Professor McGonagall herself which you need to swot up on if you hope to pass all your exams!

hermioneexam

Because Gi is incredible and completely extra she has put together incredible materials that detail the ins and outs of the Magical Readathon (seriously, I’ve not seen detail like it before), so be sure to check out the NEWTs prompts and the Wizarding Careers Guide to see which prompts you need to complete during the readathon if you’re interested in taking part! There’s also a Twitter account and hashtag dedicated to the readathon so any questions you might have probably been answered there.


As with the OWLs I took in April, I’m still striving for that coveted position as a Hogwarts Professor, teaching Charms! This means I have to study specific revision topics and pass specific exams aka fulfil some challenge prompts! As their name suggests, these tests could be nastily exhausting so let’s waste no more time and take a look at what’s on my revision schedule aka TBR:

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The Reading Rush | Daily Updates

Hi everyone! You may have noticed I’ve been a bit quiet on the blogosphere in the last week or so, principally because of taking part in two readathons – The Book Junkie Trials and The Reading Rush (formerly known as the Booktubeathon). The latter took place this past week and I was focusing most of my energy on trying to read 7 books in 7 days, which is no mean feat. I prepared a TBR accordingly but, unsurprisingly, I didn’t quite stick to it. I did do little daily updates so I could compile them into a post so, hey, if you like stats, you’ll enjoy this post below. If not, I’m sorry, I’m hoping normal(ish) service in terms of blogging will resume in August. Until then, enjoy these shoddy attempts at diarising my readathon experience…

reading rush stats

badges earned

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The Reading Rush | TBR

I know what you’re thinking: ‘Emma, you’re already trying (and failing) to take part in one readathon, adding another into the mix would be stupidity of the highest order’. If you thought that, you’d be completely right, but I must highlight for your consideration that this particular readathon I’m flirting with joining is The Reading Rush (formerly known as Booktubeathon) which has a whole website and BADGES. So you can see why it is so appealing, yes? Us readers are nothing if not predictable and easily swayed.

So, for those who don’t know, The Reading Rush is a week-long readathon that is taking place 22nd to 28th July. It has a whole bunch of challenges, including a bonus one that is a legacy from the readathon’s time as Booktubeathon. I’m hoping that taking place in this will serve as something of a last hurrah for the Book Junkie Trials too and help me finish some books/quests there.

Without further ado here are the Reading Rush reading challenges:

CHALLENGES & TBR

1/ Read a book with purple on the cover
Stardust by Neil Gaiman

2/ Read a book in the same spot the entire time
Paper Girls by Brian K Vaughan

3/ Read a book you meant to read last year
Uprooted by Naomi Novik

4/ Read an author’s first book
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

5/ Read a book with a non-human main character
Loki, Issue 1 by Daniel Kibblesmith, Oscar Bazaldua, and Ozgur Yildirim

6/ Pick a book that has five or more words in the title
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

7/ Read and watch a book to movie adaptation
Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Bonus/ Read 7 books!
Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
V for Vendetta by Alan Moore

readingrushtbr.jpg

It’s quite an optimistic TBR but I really need this extra push to avoid sliding into a reading slump (just in time for the NEWTS readathon to start!) and I’m looking forward to a shorter-length readathon too. I’m not sure what challenges (if any) I’ll be able to do on social media but here’s hoping I just participate as fully as possible and enjoy reading (hopefully) seven books in this coming week.

If you’re taking place in the Reading Rush this week please do let me know in the comments below and/or add me as a friend on the readathon website!


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Review | Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins

hrhTitleHer Royal Highness (2019)
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Publisher: Penguin
Imprint: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers)
Read: 20th – 24th June 2019
Genre: young-adult contemporary
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

“Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. Heartbroken and ready for a change of pace, Millie decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools… the farther from Houston the better. Soon, Millie is accepted into one of the world’s most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Here, the country is dreamy and green; the school is covered in ivy, and the students think her American-ness is adorable. The only problem: Mille’s roommate Flora is a total princess. She’s also an actual princess. Of Scotland. At first, the girls can’t stand each other, but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, but Millie knows the chances of happily-ever-afters are slim… after all, real life isn’t a fairy tale… or is it?”(Synopsis from publisher)

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Review | Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

lesmiserablesTitleLes Misérables (orig. 1862, ed. 1987)
Author: Victor Hugo
Translator: Lee Fahnestock and Norman McAfee
Publisher: Signet Classics
Read: 1st – 31st May 2019
Genre: classics
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Introducing one of the most famous characters in literature, Jean Valjean–the noble peasant imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread–Les Misérables ranks among the greatest novels of all time. In it, Victor Hugo takes readers deep into the Parisian underworld, immerses them in a battle between good and evil, and carries them to the barricades during the uprising of 1832 with a breathtaking realism that is unsurpassed in modern prose. Within his dramatic story are themes that capture the intellect and the emotions: crime and punishment, the relentless persecution of Valjean by Inspector Javert, the desperation of the prostitute Fantine, the amorality of the rogue Thénardier, and the universal desire to escape the prisons of our own minds. Les Misérables gave Victor Hugo a canvas upon which he portrayed his criticism of the French political and judicial systems, but the portrait that resulted is larger than life, epic in scope–an extravagant spectacle that dazzles the senses even as it touches the heart. (Synopsis source)

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Down the TBR Hole #33

Welcome folks to the thirty-third round of Down the TBR Hole! 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. The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood

Why is it there? After reading The Handmaid’s Tale I did that thing we all did of thinking I’d read the rest of Margaret Atwood’s books. It never came to fruition though, and I’m not sure if it ever will because I never prioritise it. What do you think – what’s the Margaret Atwood you’d recommend? In the meantime…
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

2. All That Is Solid Melts into Air by Darragh McKeon

Why is it there? This is a book that I have no clue how it ended up on my TBR, aside from the fact that the cover is quite pretty? I think it’s focused on life around the Chernobyl disaster which, honestly, isn’t really something I read or watch things about??
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Ditch

3. Men Explain Things To Me by Rebecca Solnit

Why is it there? I hear this essay collection is a bit of a mixed bag, but it’s something that I still want to get to eventually. I just haven’t really been reading non-fiction lately so I’ve not picked it up yet… but I’m sure I eventually will!
Do I own it? No
Verdict? Keep

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Tag | Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag

That’s right, folks, it’s time for the infamous Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag. Originally created by Ely and Chami, this tag always does the rounds of the online book community at this time of year and it’s something of a tradition to take part so this year is no exception for me. We’re a couple of days past the official middle of the year but what’s a couple of days between friends, eh?

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2019

This question is always difficult and I never answer with a single book title so get ready to hear a list: Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo, The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon, Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend, Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, and The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty.

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2019

As seems tradition with this question, it makes me realise just how badly I’m doing at continuing series I haven’t yet finished. But without even thinking about it the best sequel I’ve read has to be The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty. All of these characters are absolute idiots and I love them.

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

I have a bunch of new releases to catch up on, including Kingsbane by Claire Legrand, Romanov by Nadine Brandes, and Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan. I still need to buy the latter two so pray that the book guilt gods are on my side long enough to let me buy them without feeling bad about how big my TBR is.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

Easy: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. Next question…

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Review | Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter

ghostlyTitleGhostly Echoes (2016)
Author: William Ritter
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Read: 26th – 27th June 2019
Genre: YA fantasy; historical; mystery
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Jenny Cavanaugh, the ghostly lady of 926 Augur Lane, has enlisted the services of her detective-agency tenants to solve a decade-old murder— her own. Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, R. F. Jackaby, dive into the cold case, starting with a search for Jenny’s fiancé, who went missing the night she died. But when a new, gruesome murder closely mirrors the events of ten years prior, Abigail and Jackaby realize that Jenny’s case isn’t so cold after all. Soon Abigail’s race to unravel the mystery leads her down to the mythical underworld and deep into her colleagues’ grim histories to battle the most deadly foe she has ever faced..” (Synopsis from publisher)

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Wrap Up | June 2019

Welcome one, welcome all, to my June Wrap Up! June was a bit of a mixed bag month. Reading wise, I ended up deciding to take part in two readathons – A Game of Booksathon and Simsathon – despite the fact that I knew full well that I had a couple of holidays booked over half of the weekends in the month. You would think I would have realised that, for all I aspire to read on holidays such as these, I never do. And I was true to form and didn’t. That put me a little behind where I originally hoped to be with the two readathons but I won’t beat myself up about it too much because I made up for it a little bit in the second half of the month when I read, read, read to try to get some more challenges done for both of the readathons and I really did have such fun on both my holidays.

Firstly, me and Liz (and our other friend Cathy) visited our university friend Sarah in the town she now lives – Cardiff. Despite the fact I now live in Liverpool (and am therefore not far at all from the Welsh border), I’d never been to Wales until then. I know, I know, it’s crazy to think but I hadn’t ever had the reason or opportunity to do so. It was a lovely long weekend, we mostly just chilled out and hung out and we went for a walk in the Gower Peninsula which is just… stunning. Then, for my second little holiday, I went to the Scottish Highlands with my group of friends from school and it was just lovely. Our Air BnB was wonderful and so huge and my friends Kate and Tom brought along their gorgeous dog Daisy so many a petting of Daisy was had – and it made me feel a lot better. (Guys, I need a dog.) We went on a couple of walks, visited a castle (it was the place they filmed that Highlands episode of Downton Abbey for any Downton fans in the house), and generally just hung out and played a lot of boardgames (Obama Llama, Chameleon, and Scrawl now firm favourites). It’s also made me realise that I really do actually like going on longer walks and I should make an effort to get out more and do it more often, especially considering I don’t live far from arguably one of the most stunning National Parks – the Lake District.

But enough about me realising I hope to someday genuinely fulfil my aesthetic of walking boots, a dog, and the Lake District, let’s see how my reading went in June!


In June, I read a total of 8 books 8 fiction and 0 non-fiction – and were re-reads (marked by *). This amounted to 3272 pages in total.

In terms of format: 2 were hardbackwas paperback, and were audiobooks.

As for genre, were fantasywas middle-grade/children’swas romancewas YA contemporary, 1 was YA fantasy/mystery, 1 was YA fantasy/paranormal, and 1 was historical fantasy.

Onto the books themselves…

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