Friday, 19 July 2019

NEWTs Magical Readathon TBR 2019

This is the second part of the amazing magical readathon created by Book Roast on Youtube. 

The first part of the readathon happened in April this year and the idea is that you can take any of the subjects in the NEWTs readathon that you completed in the OWLs readathon. This year Gi has gone all out and not only created reading prompts for each subject but has also created wizarding careers to choose from. If you want more information then I'll leave her explanation video here so you can check those out as she explains it far better than I could! You can also find all the reading prompts and career paths in that video too.

The NEWTs readathon starts on August 1st and lasts the whole month (until August 31st) and during this time everyone will be taking their 'NEWT Examinations'. In my OWLs I managed to pass every subject which means I could take any of the subjects I want and attempt to complete them all. However, there are 33 prompts so I'm definitely going to narrow it down to a more do-able TBR! I've still decided to be ambitious and chose the Alchemist career path which means I will need:

O - Ancient Runes
O - Arithmancy
O - Herbology
O - Potions
O - Transfiguration
E - Astronomy

This means I will need to read 17 books in the month of August, which feels very do-able as I've been reading around 20 books a month lately. If I surpass the above then I'll also try to fit in other subjects as well but we'll see how it goes! (Also, note that you have to complete the prompts in order so you can get the NEWT, e.g. you have to complete the Acceptable, then Exceeds Expectations, and finally Outstanding).

So, without further ado, here are the prompts and my TBR for the NEWTs Magical Readathon.

Ancient Runes
A: Ehwaz (partnership) - A read recommended by a friend
Red Rising by Pierce Brown - A book I keep being told to read!

E: A Book written in the past tense
Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

O: Book that has been on your TBR for ages
Over to You by Roald Dahl - This is one book in the bind-up I have that I still haven't read yet and it's been over 10 years since I bought this collection.

A: Book that ends on an even page number
The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder - 282 pages.

E: Read a standalone
Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) by Lev A.C. Rosen

O: Read a book that's longer than 350 pages
Golden Son by Pierce Brown - 444 pages.

A: A book with a moon on the cover or anywhere in the title
The Girl King by Mimi Yu - A crescent moon is visible on both the cover and the spine.

E: Word "night" in the book title or series name
Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

A: Mandrake! Quick, put your headphones on! Listen to an audiobook (or read a book with green on the cover)
The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Stephen L. Brusatte or I may pick up an audiobook if I'm able to!

E: Read a book between 350-390 pages
Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan - 352 pages.

O: Read a book with a flower on the cover
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

A: Polyjuice Potion: Read your friend's favourite book
The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher - I have the ebook of this so I'll be reading it on my Kobo.

E: House ingredient: Read a book with a cover in your Hogwart's house colour (Blue for me!)
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor - Blue for Ravenclaw!

O: Book that starts with a prologue
All These Beautiful Strangers by Elizabeth Klehfoth

A: Read a book with LGBTQA+ representation
The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson - I believe this has trans representation.

E: Read a book that is not a first in the series
Morning Star by Pierce Brown - The third book in the Red Rising trilogy.

O: McGonagall does not mess around! Read a book over 500 pages
The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch - 722 pages.

So these are the 17 books I'm hoping to read for the readathon. It's a pretty ambitious TBR but I'm feeling confident right now. I might switch out some books if I need to, but this is it for now. Let me know if you've read any of the books above and what you thought of them. Also, if you're participating in the readathon feel free to link your TBR below!

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Mid-Year Book Freakout Tag 2019

The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag is one of my favourite tags to do each year and I always look forward to June/July to do this! This is an original tag was created by Chami so all credit goes to her (readslikewildfire). Basically, the tag goes through all of the books you've read so far this year and what we're most excited about for the rest of the year. I've actually managed to read 92 books so far this year  already (at the time of writing this post), which I'm really happy about. 

I'm going to try not repeat myself too much with these so hopefully there'll be no books mentioned twice. I'm also going to try and not mention any books that are re-reads so that I can talk about some new books instead. If you want to see all the books I've read so far this year you can click hereHere we go:

1. Best book you've read so far in 2018

I've read so many amazing books so far this year so I'm going to pick two books for this. It would have to be either Vicious by V.E. Schwab or The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. Vicious was a huge surprise to me because I've read other Victoria Schwab books in the past and have found them fine, but they were ever my favourites. This book on the other hand was everything I wanted and I adored it. The characters are all complex and it basically follows Victor and Eli, who start out as college roommates, who discover how to gain Extraordinary abilities, and go from friends to enemies almost overnight.

The Lies of Locke Lamora is a high fantasy novel (and probably one of the best I've ever read), that follows Locke and a gang of con artists who are attempting their biggest con yet, but a bloody coup threatens to destroy everything and everyone in their lives. The plot twists and intrigue in this book were just fantastic. The city itself felt like a character and the flashbacks that linked to the present were unbelievably well done. Highly recommend to any fantasy lover (don't be intimidated by its size!).

Honorary mentions: Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant and Confessions by Kanae Minato

2. Best sequel you've read so far
For this I'd have to go with Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray, which is the third book in The Diviners series. This is a paranormal/historical fiction series that follows Evie, in 1920s America, who has a supernatural ability and is determined to keep it a secret after it gets her into a lot of trouble. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol, Evie realises her gift could help catch a serial killer. I adore this series; it's so thrilling and fast-paced and I just can't wait for the final book to be released.

3. New release you haven't read yet, but want to
For now, I think either Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) by Lev A.C. Rosen or A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer. I've heard great things about both of these books and I'm very excited to get to them. 

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year
Definitely Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo. I don't know too much about the plot but I love Leigh Bardugo's other books and this is her first adult fiction book so I'm very excited to see what it's like.

5. Biggest disappointment
I've read a few disappointing books this year already sadly, but I think this has to go to The Young Elites by Marie Lu. I found the Legend trilogy relatively enjoyable when I read it a few years ago and I'd heard this trilogy was so much better as it followed teenagers with 'super powers'. However, I found the plot to be so dull and predictable, and none of the characters felt three dimensional to me. Everything about the book just felt very meh and I was so sad because I was sure I was going to enjoy it! However, I will still be reading Warcross by Marie Lu to give her books another chance. 

Honorary mentions for other disappointing reads are: The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi and The Iron King by Julie Kagawa.

6. Biggest surprise
I think I'm actually going to go with two books for this one as I had two very good surprises this year. First up was A Blade so Black by L.L. McKinney. I bought this book on a whim (mostly because it was buy one book and get one half price), but afterwards I only heard bad things about it. I was very dubious (and if I'm honest, I was prepared to dislike this book) when I picked it up. However, I ended up LOVING this book and read it in pretty much one sitting. This is an own voices retelling of Alice in Wonderland with a black female lead and I loved every second of it. Not only does it do an interesting and unique take on Wonderland and the Hatter, it also explores modern-day issues in America (such as police shootings and what it means to be black in relation to the police). I really loved this and do highly recommend picking it up.
Next was Blood Red Road by Moira Young. This is the first book in a dystopian trilogy that was published in 2011 (during the YA dytopian phase). The book follows Saba who has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when four cloaked horsemen capture Lugh, Saba's world is shattered, and she embarks on a quest to get him back.

Because of when it was published, I was a bit dubious when I went into this, that it would be exactly like other dystopians published at this time. I'm so glad I was wrong. I was also doubtful that I would enjoy this because of the writing style, which is written as though the main character is talking (e.g she sed it was enuff). But I soon got past this and completely understand why the author made that choice. I found this whole trilogy addicting and interesting, as well as unlike anything I've ever read before.

7. Favourite new author (Debut or new to you)

I've read 63 new to me authors so far this year and for this I'm going with Scott Lynch, Holly Bourne, or Elizabeth Acevedo. All of these authors are fantastic and I will 100% be reading more books from all of them. Scott Lynch has written the Gentleman Bastards series; Holly Bourne has written the Am I Normal Yet? trilogy; and Elizabeth Acevedo wrote The Poet X (I usually don't tend to like poetry but this was a book written in verse and I absolutely loved it!).

8. Newest fictional crush

Meh, I don't usually get these to be honest! Genuinely can't think of any stand-out love interests in any of the books.

9. Newest favourite character
I think I'll have to go with Iseult and Aeduan from the The Witchlands series by Susan Dennard. They are both so unique and I adore the magic of both of these characters (also my new favourite ship). 

10. Book that made you cry

None yet this year! I came close in The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch and Lost & Found by Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, but none have really hit me that hard yet this year.

11. Book that made you happy

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman and The Extinction Trials by S.M. Wilson. Both of these were just such enjoyable reads that I really needed when I picked them up. Radio Silence is a contemporary, while The Extinction Trials is effectively Jurassic Park meets the Hunger Games and it was just so fun.

12. Favourite book to film adaptation you saw this year

I haven't seen any yet this year!

13. Favourite review you've written this year

I actually haven't written any full reviews this year!

14. Most beautiful book you've bought so far this year (or received)
This has got to be The Girl King by Mimi Yu. This was totally a cover buy, I'm not going to lie.

15. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

SO MANY BOOKS. I have a very large TBR Pile which I love but for the sake of this list I think I'll limit it to the top five books I want to read this year:

1.  The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs by Stephen Brusatte
2. Jade City by Fonda Lee
3. Needful Things by Stephen King
4. Ink by Alice Broadway
5. Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch (currently reading)

Hope you enjoyed this tag! Let me know if you've done this tag and if you've read any of these books, what you thought of them! :)