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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Wrap Up | September 2018

Welcome one, welcome all, to my September Wrap Up. As a month, September was pretty great for one key reason – I started off the month with a quick jaunt to Barcelona, a city I’ve never been to before despite having frequented coastal Spanish towns for yearly family holidays since I was 18 months. How I managed to reach almost 26 years old having never visited Barcelona, I don’t know. But I’m SO glad I finally got to see it because it was beautiful and I loved the city and it’s a place that I know I will be visiting again in the (hopefully near) future.

September also brought my friends’ wedding which was a whole experience. The trip meant a long weekend spent in the ever picturesque Cambridge and having that city as a backdrop for your wedding makes for a rather lovely day indeed. I’m so incredibly happy for my friends and it made me realise suddenly that yep, we’re now officially all grown ups and I should expect many more of these sorts of events in the future. (Also, side note for Future Emma in case she somehow miraculously ends up getting married: have a ceilidh at your wedding reception, they’re so much fun.) Since I was spending time with school friends (some of whom I haven’t seen properly for a sustained period of time for years), reading wasn’t exactly a priority. So that was a good portion of September taken up by, you know, going outside and doing things and socialising.

Because of all this, you will see from the statistics below that my reading pace took a sharp nose-dive this past month. I don’t know what it was – being on holiday for the first week and spending too much time eating paella to think about reading whilst there, or having fun at a friends’ wedding, or just not really finishing as many books as I started this month. On which note, I am halfway through the audiobook for V.E. Schwab’s latest release City of Ghosts and I’m reading A Discovery of Witches which is taking… a while to get through. What’s more, I’m not sure when I’m going to finish either of these current reads because with the dawn of October comes Victober and thereby a restricted monthly TBR. Still, before I turn to October, let’s break down September, shall we?


In September, I read a total of 3 books 3 fiction and non-fiction – and was a re-read (marked by *). This amounted to 1195 pages in total.

In terms of format: 1 was hardback and were paperback.

As for genre, 1 was historical fictionwas YA dystopian; and was fantasy/sci-fi.

Onto the books themselves…

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Wrap Up | August 2018

Welcome one, welcome all, to my August Wrap Up. Life wise, August has been a bit of a non-month. Nothing terrible happened, nothing amazing and new happened. It’s very much the month of transition, as summer has its last gasp and we begin to head into Autumn. For me, August has been the month of trying not to spend too much money because we’ve started to pay off a lot of the holiday to Disney and saved for our upcoming trip to Barcelona at the beginning of September.

Meanwhile, reading-wise, August was the month I finally finished The Count of Monte Cristo – let the hallelujah chorus begin… I’m so glad I managed to finish that beast of a book and, despite some rocky patches where I considered throwing in the towel, I did end up having a tonne of fun doing weekly updates for it as part of the Full Monte readalong, hosted by Laura of Reading In Bed. Aside from finishing that tome, August was mostly dedicated to the NEWTs Readathon, as hosted by Gi of the Book Roast. I was very excited to take part in this and I immensely enjoyed the theme of the readathon. Unfortunately, I didn’t plan my TBR with enough care or realistic idea of what I could actually get read in the space of a month. I think if I’d been better at planning, and putting in some shorter books for the first grades, I would have done much better than I ended up doing. Still, it helped me to read a bit more than I would have, and it did tick off some books I’ve been meaning to get to. It’s also meant I’ve half-read quite a few other books which isn’t ideal considering we go into September with a trip away looming during which I can’t pack hardcovers, so most of these half-read books will have to wait until a week or so into the month to be completed. Such are the troubles of a reader, eh?

But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves with what I’ll read in September without first taking a look at what I read in August…


In August, I read a total of 9 books 8 fiction and non-fiction – and were re-reads (marked by *). This amounted to 4181 pages in total.

In terms of format: 3 were hardbackswere paperback2 were ebooks/eARCs and 2 were audiobooks.

And as for genre, 2 were fantasywere YA fantasywere YA contemporary; and were classics; and was an autobiography/memoir.

Onto the books themselves…

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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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Wrap Up | June 2018

Welcome one, welcome all, to my June Wrap Up. Let us all ignore the fact that we’re 6 days into the month and I’m only just posting my Wrap Up, ok? Cool cool cool cool no doubt cool cool. (Can you tell I’ve been watching Brooklyn 99 lately?)

In terms of life, June was pretty damn ok. Work’s being a little bit busy and generally stress inducing, a fact I only realised when my eczema flared up on my hands). For some reason, the UK at the moment is enjoying actual summer, as in it’s summery and sunny and not just a sun peeking out from behind grey cloud every once in a while. It is properly summer which is… novel. And kind of teasing when you’re mostly stuck in work 9-5 Monday-Friday. It turns out that this is what being an adult is like – watching university students outside your office window enjoying themselves chilling out with a nice cold pint outside a pub whilst you’re squinting at data at your job. I used to be on the other side of that equation (mostly, anyway), so now I’m getting major envy of anyone able to enjoy the sunshine. Yes, I am actually enjoying it being warm – it’s something of a revelation this year and I have to say I’m glad for it, after being a winter person for so many years of my life. Turns out summer isn’t as unbearable as I thought it was!

Aside from the weather, I have very little to report in June. Liz and I went to Chester Zoo finally and it was a very nice day and a fun day out for all involved. We also went for a walk at Croxteth Hall which, again, was very nice and I should have visited it sooner considering I’ve lived here for almost 2 years now and I’m quite the sucker for period houses. I also visited Wagamama’s for the first time ever and discovered I probably quite like it and ought to go back soon and explore more of their menu. We went there for tea before going to the cinema to see Ocean’s 8 and I have to say I thought it was a bloody great film. I don’t think it deserves anything like the criticism it’s getting, it was a completely necessary film, and fucking refreshing, let me tell you. It helps that Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett are some of my favourite people ever and seeing them concoct a heist plan whilst dressed in leather pants and/or in suits is (apparently) my jam. I’m not mad about it.

But, enough about my rather mundane life, how was my reading during the month? Once I discovered it existed, most of my reading month was wholly dedicated to Jami’s Marvel-A-Thon so my reading was dictated by the challenges there. Let me tell you, it worked, I’ve read the most I’ve ever read in a month (I think?), and I had a great time doing it too. I think I like longer readathons like this that have a lot of prompts/challenges, because it’s super challenging, but also very rewarding. And, let’s face it, the fact it was MCU themed really helped keep up my motivation. The downside was that the TBR I wrote for June was concocted before I knew about the readathon so I only managed to complete 2 out of the 8 books on there – I still don’t think that’s too bad though?


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

In June, I read a total of 13 books 12 fiction and non-fiction – and were re-reads (marked by *). This amounted to 4303 pages in total.

In terms of format: 4 were paperbackwere hardback, was an eARC, and 3 were audiobooks (marked by ^).

And as for genre, very broadly speaking, 4 were YA fantasywere children’s fantasywas YA mysterywere fantasywere graphic novelswas non-fiction, and was YA contemporary.

Onto the books themselves…

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Marvel-A-Thon | Wrap Up

Welcome all – how are we on this lovely Sunday afternoon? It’s July. Ju-ly. Can you believe it? I can’t. If it wasn’t for the strangely seasonal and sunny weather we’ve been enjoying in the UK for the first time in as long as I can remember, I wouldn’t believe it was July. However, the fact it’s now 1st July means we say goodbye to the month-long Marvel-A-Thon readathon which has been running all throughout June.

(If you have NO IDEA what I’m talking about, please pop over to my Sign Up & TBR post first because I explain about the readathon and its challenges over there.)

I did surprisingly well during the Marvel-A-Thon – I even kept up to date using my tried and tested method of the Twitter updates thread. More importantly, I was smart about saving my “skips” in the earlier rounds, utilising the buddy read system, and taking tactical “buddy give/gain” opportunities when they came round. So I’m REALLY pleased with the challenges I managed to read for during the readathon and I LOVED the entire concept of the readathon so I really hope Jami runs more (or similar) readathons in the future too. For now, though, let’s look at how I did in more detail…

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Wrap Up | May 2018

Welcome one, welcome all, to my May Wrap Up. As a month, May has been pretty damn great. We’ve had not one but two Bank Holidays (which has meant glorious 3-day weekends), during one of which I went home to visit family and during the other of which me and Liz had a couple of our friends from university visiting Liverpool. We took advantage of the very lovely (suspiciously so) weather we’ve been having here in England and walked around Liverpool before chilling with a picnic in the park with them on one day and visited beautiful Chester on the other day. It was a very low-key and enjoyable visit and it makes me realise I actually don’t hate summer and hot weather after all – for someone who has vehemently defined herself as a “winter person” for so many years, this has been quite the life-altering revelation.

As far as other fun happenings, I managed to score tickets to see one of my favourite comedians, Dara O’Briain, at the Liverpool Empire whilst he’s touring his latest show. It was SUCH a good night and the show is, as expected, hilarious. I took Liz along and she came away saying she really, really enjoyed so I’m really glad I persuaded her to come and that she enjoyed Dara’s stand-up – I was like 87% sure she would though, to be fair! I also managed to handily coordinate needing to be in Oxford for a work meeting with visiting my friend Ceyda there for a couple of days and getting to see V.E. Schwab give Pembroke College’s Annual Tolkien Lecture (I have a post about that, if you’re interested!). Oxford was, as always, beautiful, and I even participated a little bit in the (frankly ridiculous) tradition of May Morning which resulted in a 4:30am wake-up call so that I could stand at 6am at the foot of Magdalen Tower and hear a choir sing a hymn before walking down the High Street amidst Morris dancers and folks dancing to drums. It was very odd and very Oxford and I’m glad I made the effort to see it because it really is quite something. (I posted about it on Instagram, if you’re curious to see evidence of the weirdness.)

But, enough about my life, how was my reading during the  month? Well, it’s safe to say I pretty much ignored my well-intentioned (but very ambitious) May TBR (apart from 2 whole books from that list) but I did still read a few books, so that has got to count for something, right?


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

In May, I read a total of 5 books 5 fiction and non-fiction – and were re-reads. This amounted to 2066 pages in total.

In terms of format: 3 were paperbackwas an ARC, and 1 was an e-ARC.

And as for genre, very broadly speaking, 1 was YA fantasywas fantasy, and were YA contemporary.

Onto the books themselves…

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Wrap Up | April 2018

Welcome one, welcome all, to my April Wrap Up. April opened up with the end of the Easter weekend which, for me, meant a whole lot of relaxing and doing not very much apart from staying home and reading. There were 2 very important events on my calendar for April – seeing Hairspray when its UK touring production came to the Liverpool Empire and seeing Avengers: Infinity War. I enjoyed both very much – though “enjoyment” seems a loaded word for the latter, for reasons why you can check out my “discussion” post about it but DO NOT read it unless you’ve seen all the MCU films, Infinity War included. Aside from this, there were a couple of book releases and readathons in April and it’s been generally a good month overall in terms of books, films, work, and life in general.

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

In April, I read a total of 7 books 6 fiction and non-fiction – and were re-reads (marked by *). This amounted to 2129 pages in total.

In terms of format: were paperback and 1 was an audiobook.

And as for genre, very broadly speaking, 2 were YA fantasywere children’s fantasy, was a YA dystopianwas science-fiction, and 1 was non-fiction.

Onto the books themselves…

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Wrap Up | March 2018

Welcome one, welcome all, to my March Wrap Up which is relatively on time, for me at least. March as a whole was ok – I officially started my new job, I still work for the same place but I’ve moved into a newly created role, a promotion for all intents and purposes, so this month ended up being a lot of me trying to find my feet when none of us at work really fully know what my role entails until I do it for some time and work out what the teething problems are. That’s fine, but it has made me feel a little unsure and, at times, like I’m achieving nothing. It’s going to be a slow process into making this job my own, I think, and I’m trying to be ok with that. That has probably affected my reading a little in this past month but hopefully now I’ve found my feet a little, it’ll be on the up from here on in.

Aside from work stuff I also was fortunate enough to see Wicked as it is currently touring the UK and made a stop in Liverpool. It means I’ve finally seen a show at Liverpool Empire and I’ve also managed to tick off one of my ‘must see’ musicals from my list. It was also really good so I’m glad we got tickets and saw it. The Fiyero wasn’t quite to my tastes but he was accomplished enough, and the Elphaba was amazing so that redeemed that really. I also thought the Wizard and Madame Morrible were great! Like I said, I’m just glad I finally got to see a musical that, up until then, I’d only experienced through the original cast recording.

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

In March, I read a total of 6 books 6 fiction and non-fiction – and was a re-read (marked by *). This amounted to 2572 pages in total.

In terms of format: 2/3 were paperback, 2 were hardbackwas an eARC, and 0/1 was an audiobook. I should explain the weird X/Y numbers – I read one of these titles by alternating the print and audiobook version throughout so that has messed with my statistics a little. I’m sure I’ll figure out how to settle it when it comes to my overall wrap/statistics at the end of the year.

And as for genre, very broadly speaking, 2 were fantasy, 1 was a YA dystopian, 1 was YA fantasy, 1 was contemporary, and 1 was historical fiction. Quite the nice spread of genres which is something of a change for me!

Onto the books themselves…

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Wrap Up | February 2018

All in all, February has been a pretty damn good month – I’ve got around to reading some books that I’ve been meaning to read for months/years at this point and, personally speaking, life is just pretty good. The January blues seemed far behind as I officially signed a contract for my promotion at work  (which technically starts tomorrow on 1st March – woo!); my parents came for a flying visit to Liverpool and I introduced them to the Tavern and they loved it; I saw a couple of films I had been anticipating and enjoyed them immensely (Early Man and Black Panther); and I became quickly obsessed with the Winter Olympics, limited basically to the mixed doubles curling (John Morris and Kaitlyn Lawes all the way, “HARD KAITLYN HAAAARD”) and the ice skating (what a rollercoaster ride of emotion discovering Virtuemoir has been for me). So February has treated me rather well, professionally and personally speaking. And, as I said, reading-wise it’s also been very consistently brilliant and I’m happy with where my reading is at now we’re two months into 2018.

In February, I read a total of 6 books fiction and non-fiction – and was a re-read (marked by *). This amounted to 2292 pages in total.

In terms of format: were paperback, 2 was an ebook, and 1 was an audiobook.

And as for genre, very broadly speaking, book was young-adult fantasy1 was sci-fi/dystopian; were young-adult contemporary; 1 was non-fiction/memoir; and 1 was a romance.

Onto the books themselves…

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