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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Tome Topple 6 | Sign Up & TBR

If you’ve been around the blog for any length of time, you will have discerned that I’m quite a fan of a readathon and I’m even more so a fan of Tome Topple as it ditches the frenzied nature of many readathons to instead focus on the longer, weightier books on your TBR. The last Tome Topple round I participated in was back in August 2017 and it has been very much missed by me so I was delighted to see Sam was bringing it back for the end of June.

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 the brilliant Thoughts on Tomes but she now has a whole gang of co-hosts to help run the readathon and keep us all enthused and reading. This round, round 6, will be taking place from 12:00am in your timezone on 29th June until 11:59pm on 12th July. There are also some reading challenges which you can use to help shape your TBR but I’ve mostly ignored these for this round… you’ll see why soon so I don’t think it’s too much of a problem. For even more info, you can check out the readathon’s Twitter page or see Sam’s announcement video. Otherwise, let’s take a look at what I plan to read…

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

I have an embarrassing confession: I was actually reading War and Peace during the last Tome Topple (see my Tome Topple #4 TBR for the shameful evidence), and yet I still haven’t finished it months later. At the time, I was taking part in Laura from Reading In Bed‘s summer readalong called the War and Peace Newbies Readalong (I did a whole series of summary posts of what I did read, for anyone curious) but I fell off the wagon when I went on holiday near the end so I never finished the book. And then I lost all momentum I gained by reading it along with other people. And here we are now, practically a year later, and I still haven’t managed to finish this bloody thing. I have something like 300ish pages of it left (out of 1500!) but I think we can all agree that Tome Topple would be the perfect time to finally finish off this tome, especially since I want to join in with Laura’s big summer readalong this year too.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Remember that big summer readalong I said Laura was doing? Yeah, The Count of Monte Cristo is the book she chose for this year, and I’m actually really excited to join in and pick it up, as it would have otherwise taken me years to do so off my own back. The readalong starts on 2nd July, so that crosses over with quite a large portion of Tome Topple as well. I know next to nothing about this book – something about a wrongfully imprisoned man who gets out of jail and comes into money and then sets about to get revenge on those who accused him? (That sounds like the start of Les Misérables so is this just something that French authors like writing about? I mean, admittedly Valjean goes on more of the redemption arc than the revenge arc but…) Digression aside, I’m really excited to take part in another chunky book readalong (I posted my sign-up post last night, if you missed it) and I hope to keep up with fun weekly posts summarising what I’ve read, like I did for War and Peace, but maybe this time I’ll actually finish the book?

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

I know what you’re thinking, Emma, two books is definitely enough. However, since neither of these books will be consumed in their entirety in Tome Topple, I’d feel deceitful if I didn’t include on this TBR a tome I was intending to read cover-to-cover during the course of the readathon itself. So here we are, and here I am thinking rather optimistically that I’m going to read A Reaper at the Gates, the third book in the Ember Quartet, by Sabaa Tahir. I’ve recently re-read An Ember in the Ashes, and am in the midst of finally getting around to A Torch Against the Night. Providing I finish that second book by the time Tome Topple starts, I would like to then maintain that momentum with this series and move straight onto the newly released third book. I’m slightly fudging the rules since it’s not quite 500 pages but what’s 10-20 pages here and there between friends? I’ll probably be listening to this on audiobook too so I’m not going to worry myself over that, the book is going to be dramatic and heart-wrenching enough, I’d imagine.

So, that’s it, that’s my (sort of) Tome Topple TBR. As you can see, I’ve paid little attention to the challenges or even to the rules of the readathon (they’re more guidelines than actual rules, to paraphrase Captain Barbossa), but I’m going to take part and read some tomes all the same. Are you taking part in the readathon? What are you planning to read? Let me know below and we can cheer each other on during Tome Topple!


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Marvel-A-Thon | Sign Up & TBR

I know what you’re thinking – Emma, didn’t you just post a monthly June TBR? Why yes, astute reader, I did… but then I learnt from Kelly that the Marvel-A-Thon readathon was a Thing that was happening, and pretty much any TBR plans I had were kicked to the kerb because I love the MCU. I decided it would be pretty poor form to bypass the opportunity to take part in a Marvel-themed reading challenge… so here we are with another TBR post in the space of a few days. But it’s ok, everyone loves a TBR, right? Right!

If you haven’t heard about the Marvel-A-Thon, let me explain: it’s run by Jamieson of Jamishelves and you should pop over to her blog to see the official announcement post with all the relevant details. Put simply, it runs from midnight on 1st June until midnight of 1st July and there are 21 MCU-based reading prompts to try to read books for. These challenges are split into the Phases of the MCU and you must complete a phase before moving onto the next. You’re allowed two skips per phase, and you can carry over any skips you didn’t use in a previous phase. Also, if you buddy read something with a reading pal then you can also ‘give’ one of your reads to your buddy, and vice versa. E.g. if you buddy read something for ‘Hulk’ you can give your buddy the ‘Thor’ challenge, and get the ‘Avengers’ challenge read from them – which is what myself and my buddy are probably going to do!

Sound fun? You in? Well, Avengers Assemble and let’s look at the challenges and what I’ll be reading for them:

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June TBR

As you may have noticed in my May TBR, I am often very ambitious and very fool-hardy when it comes to setting TBRs as I almost never stick to them 100%. If I’m lucky, I stick to them 50%. Not to spoil my May Wrap Up but I’d say this past month has been about 16.66666%, and I’ve stalled on another book I was reading so I can’t even really count it into that percentage calculation. The point is, I am neither a mathematician, nor a strict enough disciplinarian when it comes to TBR lists. So, the focus this upcoming month is to clear out that NetGalley backlog.

I’m trying to be really strict with myself now so if I don’t read any of these eARCs by the end of June, unless I have a really good reason (and I’m meaning like humongous reading slump or illness), I have to DNF them and tell the publisher my reading interests have changed, I’m no longer interested in the ARC so my review wouldn’t do the title justice etc. etc. It’s high time I did this because it’s getting ridiculous now given when some of these titles were actually released. I’ve been a bit better about restraining myself from requesting too many eARCs on NetGalley so I just need to work through this pile as soon as possible… and I’m also trying to quickly get on top of the ones that are released soon!

June TBR

  1. The Summer of Us by Cecilia Vinesse (eARC)
  2. The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green (eARC)
  3. Fragile Lives by Stephen Westaby (eARC)
  4. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin (eARC)
  5. The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton (eARC)
  6. Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody (eARC)
  7. Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
  8. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy (I’ve had <300 pages left to read for months, it’s time.)

What books are you planning to read in the month of June?
Are there any new releases you’re really looking forward to picking up this month?
Are there any readathons happening this month that you’re taking part in?
Let me know in the comments section below!


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Bout of Books 22 | Sign Up & TBR

Oh, look, Emma is back armed with nothing but good intentions and a TBR to foolishly try to participate in yet another readathon even though she kind of sucks at them in terms of productivity! Yep, it’s time for another round of Bout of Books, everyone’s favourite low-key readathon!

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

bob22The 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, May 14th and runs through Sunday, May 20th 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 22 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

So this coming week I will be participating in Bout of Books 22 to the best of my ability. I don’t have too much planned, aside from going to see a comedy gig on Friday night, so I should be able to get some much-needed reading time in after work and (especially) at the weekend. Often with Bout of Books, I end up being really quite overly ambitious with my TBR (for proof: see my previous Bout of Books Sign Up & TBR), and my May TBR is pretty damn optimistic already, so I have tried to be conservative and realistic with what I can achieve this time round when constructing my TBR for the readathon. Without further ado, let’s take a look at it…

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May TBR

Hello folks, I hope you’re all well on what is a rather nice Spring day in England. This past weekend was filled with low-key fun with friends from university who decided to visit me and Liz up in Liverpool and soak up some of that totally unexpected sunshine. We wandered around pretty places, ate a lot of breakfast food, and just generally chatted – it was lovely and exactly what I needed. That meant that my blogging fell by the wayside but rather than bore you with apologies, let’s just get this metaphorical show back on the road with a May TBR post.

You may have seen my recent April Wrap Up and deduced, based on my April TBR post, that I’m not exactly brilliant at sticking to “assigned” books in any given month. That is, I think, the mild way of putting it. However, I am trying. So, to paraphrase Captain Barbossa, the books that appear on these TBRs are more what you’d call guidelines than actual rules… and it is a fun surprise to see how I have fared come the end of the month.

(One thing is for sure – there’s no way I’m getting to all twelve of these books in the month of May unless I develop some wicked speed reading skills… here’s to hoping!)

May TBR

  1. The Dark Days Pact by Alison Goodman
  2. The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
  3. The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar
  4. Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster
  5. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
  6. Cranford by Elisabeth Gaskell
  7. The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven (for Crone Bloggers Book Club)
  8. The Summer of Us by Cecilia Vinesse (eARC)
  9. The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green (eARC)
  10. The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton (eARC)
  11. The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty (eARC)
  12. Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody (eARC)

What books are you planning to read in the month of May?
Are there any new releases you’re really looking forward to picking up this month?
Are there any readathons happening this month that you’re taking part in?
Let me know in the comments section below!


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Spring Cosy Reading Night | TBR

Hello, folks! I come to you today with a tentative TBR for the upcoming Cosy Reading Night. This is the Spring round of the Cosy Reading Night and will take place during the hours of 7:00-10:00pm GMT on Friday 20th April and I’m really looking forward to going into my weekend by dedicating an evening to getting cosy with a book and a cup of tea. But I’m getting ahead of myself so let me explain for those unaware: Cosy Reading Nights are an evening dedicated to snacks and reading, hosted by the lovely Lauren from Laurenandthebooks from YouTube. You can check out her announcement video here.

This Cosy Reading night comes handily during the OWLs Readathon that I’m currently taking part in, so I’m hoping it will provide a much-needed boost to my reading progress for that. I don’t have huge ambitions for this Cosy Reading Night, I just thought I’ll probably be reading anyway so I might as well make the most of it and participate in this little event. It will make me feel more accountable/less susceptible to getting distracted by watching old episodes of The Great British Bake Off on Netflix (the struggle is real, guys, seriously). So let’s have a gander at what books I plan to read on Friday night, shall we?

TBR

  1. Saga Volume 8 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
  2. Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
  3. The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

 

 

As you can see, I’m aiming fairly low by choosing to put on my TBR two graphic novels and a book I’ve already started. In fact, it might get to Friday with me already having finished The Dark Days Club and, if that’s the case, I’ll be starting another book from my OWLs Readathon TBR. Regardless of how much (or how little) I end up reading, I’ll be sure to get cosy with a book and my cup of tea which, let’s face it, are the minimum requirements to participate in this lovely low-key readathon.

Are you joining in with the Cosy Reading Night on Friday? Have you participated in a Cosy Reading Night before? Let me know in the comments!


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April TBR

As you may have seen me mention in my March TBR post, I have a tumultuous history with TBRs since I rarely stick to them 100%. As you can see if you compare my March TBR with my recent March Wrap Up post, my monthly TBR never gets fully defeated without something else catching my eye mid-way through the month… I think it’s important to be aware of your reading habits and be realistic. However, since I scribble my TBRs into the monthly spreads of my bullet journal anyway, it makes sense to put my TBR on this blog to hold myself a little bit more accountable. If nothing else, it’s a good snapshot of where my head is at for my reading goals and it admittedly does help me to choose a book if I’m in a funny mood where I finish a book and don’t know what to pick up next. But don’t expect me to ever (god forbid) actually stick to my TBR! So let’s have a look at what I plan to read in the month of April…

img_0368April TBR

    1. The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty [eARC]
    2. Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
    3. The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton [eARC]
    4. The Elite by Kiera Cass
    5. The One by Kiera Cass
    6. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin [eARC]
    7. Almost Love by Louise O’Neill [eARC]
    8. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

8 books seems like enough to be getting on with. I tend to read 6ish books a month but I have literally no idea how busy or not busy April is going to turn out to be. I don’t have any major plans for April in terms of going away or anything and I don’t anticipate anything tumultuous in my “personal” or “professional” life so hopefully it will be plain sailing as far as my reading goes this month.

And, as you can probably surmise, I have quite a few eARCs I need to get through soon to help my NetGalley review ratio look a little healthier so that will be one of my main focuses in April. However, I’m also very consciously trying to maintain a good mix of ebooks and print copies on my TBRs so that when I’m tired of looking at a screen all-day I can take refuge in an actual book instead. It’s quite likely I’ll end up adding another couple of physical books onto this TBR as the month progresses but, for now, these are the books I’m planning to read in April. Wish me luck?

What books are you planning to read in the month of April?
Are there any new releases you’re really looking forward to picking up this month?
Are there any readathons happening this month that you’re taking part in?
Let me know in the comments section below!


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TBR | Easter Weekend Readathon

Hi everyone, it’s Thursday so that means it’s time for… nope, not a Tag Thursday after all! Like a lot of people, I’m officially heading into a 4-day weekend thanks to Easter. I have tomorrow off work (there’s nothing more glorious than a weekday off from work) as well as Monday, and it feels so good to not be in work now until Tuesday – I practically skipped out tonight after setting the out-of-office message on my emails. I was already planning to have a fairly low-key Easter weekend; I’m not a big religious observer of it so I don’t have family plans in that respect (plus my family is, you know, well over 100 miles away). I’m going for food and to the cinema on Saturday but aside from that I was just planning to rest and relax. And also read. I’d really like to just read in lovely long uninterrupted blocks of time. What a handy dandy time for a readathon!

It turns out, Kate from Reading Through Infinity thought much the same and she decided to set up an impromptu readathon which will take place over this coming weekend – you can find her announcement and TBR post here, if you’re curious. It’s very low-key and has simple guidelines – two of my favourite things for a readathon – so I’m definitely participating as much as I can.

For those interested in taking part you can check out Kate’s announcement post for more details but, in a nutshell, the Easter Weekend Readathon starts at midnight in your timezone on 30th March and runs through until midnight on Monday 2nd April but you can take part in as much or as little of that time as you want, depending on your own commitments. I have very few commitments so I should be well-placed to get some serious reading in, providing I don’t end up slumping for no apparent reason. Also, as it’s nearing the end of the month, I’d like to finish up some of these books so that I can start April afresh with a new TBR. Let’s see, shall we?

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