Curse breaker looking for a job | N.E.W.T.s wrap up

The end of August marks the end of the #newtsreadathon2019, a month-long readathon hosted by Book Roast. I love the magical readathons because a) they’re Harry Potter themed, and b) they truly push me to read more or to pick up books that I’ve been putting off for a while.

August was such a fantastic reading month for me! I finished 17 books (and manga) and DNF’ed another one. First, let’s talk about the books I read to pass the NEWTs I need to become a curse breaker.

curse breaker exams

ancient runes

A > Shortcake Cake vol. 1 by Suu Morishita – ★★★.₅
I really enjoyed the introduction to this cute manga. As usual, it’s an incredibly quick read, and you’ll find yourself glued to the pages until you’ve reached the end. While it was an adorable volume and I enjoyed it enough to continue the manga, I don’t like how the sentences are cut across panels. It makes the reading experience a tad choppy.

E > Blood for Blood by Ryan Graudin – ★★★
I was quite disappointed by this finale to the Wolf by Wolf duology. I read the first book a few years ago, and remember really liking it. Here are my thoughts in a nutshell: I find the story line itself very fascinating but the way Graudin tried to make it clear to the reader that the characters were German grated on my nerves. I wrote all about it in my mini Goodreads review.

O > The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton – ★★.₅
If this wasn’t the disappointment of the month. When I first got this book (4 years ago), everyone was raving about it. The Miniaturist is such a praised novel, and I’d been putting it off for ages. I should’ve just listened to my instincts and unhauled it because this book was a) not what I was expecting based on the synopsis, and b) boring as hell.

arithmancy

A > Shortcake Cake vol. 2 by Suu Morishita – ★★★.₅
After finishing the first volume I immediately continued with this one which resulted in me not remembering where the story of one ends and the other begins. Anyway, just like the first volume it was cute and fun, yet the sentences were way too short.

E > Mango Summer by Agay Llanera – ★★★
I would recommend Mango Summer for those of you looking for a cute adult romance novel. It feels a little bit like reading a romcom set in the Philippines. The pacing of the book was a tad off and I didn’t love the writing, but it was a solid read still.

O > The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus #1) by Jonathan Stroud – ★★★★.₅
I bought this one secondhand last year after realizing how much Annemieke loves this author, and figured this readathon was the perfect time to pick it up. I absolutely loved this book. It was so engaging and captivating, and I couldn’t stop reading. What’s truly fascinating about this novel is that it’s partly told in third person and partly in first.

charms and DADA

Charms A > Our Dreams at Dusk vol. 1 by Yuhki Kamatani – ★★★★
Another manga volume I breezed through. I really wish I had bought more than just the first one though, because I really enjoyed it. It’s the story of a boy struggling to love and accept the fact that he’s gay. He meets a group of people going through a similar thing. One of the things I loved most about this story is discovering that the author is non-binary (and loves dogs). I’m so happy to support LGBT+ authors and mangaka!

DADA A > Contagion (Contagion #1) by Erin Bowman – ★★★.₅
I got this one from the library, actually. I’ve seen a few people mention it before, and it seemed like an interesting concept. However, I wasn’t fascinated enough to buy my own copy immediately. Imagine my surprise when I spotted it in my local library. It was quite a captivating read. I really enjoyed this YA scifi/horror story, and I’ll definitely read the sequel!

DADA E > Fullmetal Alchemist 3-in-1 edition vol. 5 by Hiromu Arakawa – ★★★★★
I truly adore FMA. That’s all I have to say.

other exams I took

care of magical creatures

A > All the Young Dudes – ★★★★.₅
There’s no actual cover for this one because it’s a fanfiction available on AO3. Now, I know what you’re thinking. We’re counting fanfiction now? Honestly, this one is on Goodreads which is the qualifier for the NEWTs but it’s also 526.969 words long. That makes it good enough to go on the list, right? I absolutely adored this fanfic, and it might be one of the best Remus Lupin/Sirius Black stories I’ve ever read.

E > Girls on the Verge by Sharon Biggs Waller – ★★★★★
Another epic read. I read this in one day. I can’t even describe the rollercoaster ride my emotions were on while devouring this book. Anger, sadness, happiness… I felt it all. If you haven’t read this YA contemporary novel yet, fix that right now. This story is about a Texan girl who is driving hours out of her way to find pills to get an (illegal) abortion, as abortion has become illegal in Texas.

charms and DADA

Charms E > Fullmetal Alchemist 3-in-1 edition vol. 6 by Hiromu Arakawa – ★★★★
I sped through these bind-ups in August even though they’re all 500+ pages.

Charms O > Fullmetal Alchemist 3-in-1 edition vol. 9 by Hiromu Arakawa – ★★★★★
I can’t believe I finished this manga in August! I can’t believe it’s over! I wasn’t READY YET.

DADA O > To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo – ★★★★
Another library book I really enjoyed. I’d seen some of my favorite bloggers give positive reviews to this YA fantasy centered around a siren who kills princes and a prince who kills sirens. Did I love it? Yes, I really did! It was a fantastic read, and I can’t wait to see what Alexandra Christo will write next.

transfiguration

A > The Black Tides of Heaven (Tensorate #1) by J.Y. Yang – ★★★★.₅
I put off reading this SFF novella for ages which I’m now kicking myself for. It blew my expectations out of the water. If you’re looking for diverse SFF to add to your to-read list, go for the Tensorate series of novellas. I promise they won’t disappoint.

E > Fullmetal Alchemist 3-in-1 edition vol. 7 by Hiromu Arakawa – ★★★★.₅
Like I mentioned before, I flew through this manga in August. I think I read over 2000 pages worth of FMA alone.

O > Fullmetal Alchemist 3-in-1 edition vol. 8 by Hiromu Arakawa – ★★★★★
The final 6 volumes of this series were so captivating! It was all came to a close in an epic manner.


That’s it, everything I read in the month of August! I did DNF one book, which was The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison. 20 pages in I knew I wouldn’t like it, so I decided to just let it go.

I managed to pass all the exams needed to become a curse breaker and I’m so proud of myself! I will graduate Hogwarts with an Outstanding in Ancient Runes, Arithmancy, Charms, Defence Against the Dark Arts, and Transfiguration as well as an Exceeds Expectations in Care of Magical Creatures. Not a bad resume, in my opinion!

My N.E.W.T.s TBR, my quest to become a curse worker continues

It’s almost time for the N.E.W.T.s readathon to take off, and I couldn’t be more excited. The Magical Readathons that are hosted by Book Roast are some of my absolute favorite readathons of the year, and I always try to participate in them. In April, we had the O.W.L.s, and I managed to pass 11 exams! I could pick from a wide variety of careers, but decided to stick with my original choice: becoming a curse breaker.

For all the information on the readathon, you can watch her announcement video here!

To be able to become a curse breaker, I need to pass the following N.E.W.Ts: Ancient Runes (O), Arithmancy (O), Defence Against the Dark Arts (E), and Charms (A). That totals to 9 books to read in August. I hope I’ll be able to do it, even though I have barely read any in the past 2 months. Either way, I’ll try my best. Here are some of the books I plan to read for the readathon!

Ancient Runes

Acceptable – read recommended by a friend
At the moment, I will probably read Shortcake Cake vol. 1 for this prompt. I feel like I consider every content creator I’ve followed for quite a while a friend, and I saw this manga on Pages and Panels’ YouTube channel. I’m traveling at the start of August, and this might be easier to take with me. I could also pick VengefulShit My Dad Says or Under Rose-Tainted Skies which were recommended to me by Inge, Sorcerer to the Crown or Seraphina, recommended by Annemieke, The Falconer which was recommended by Dina, or The Great Believers, recommended by Ely.

Exceeds Expectations – book written in past tense
I could pick sooo many books off my shelves for this prompt, so this is a very loose choice right now. I definitely want to read Blood for Blood soon because I’ve been putting off reading this sequel for way too long already. This readathon might just give me the push I need.

Outstanding – book that has been on your TBR for ages
I’ve had The Miniaturist since early 2015, which is kind of embarrassing to be honest. At first, I saw nothing but glowing reviews on it. Later, a lot of reviewers I trust mentioned it was a boring novel. Now I’m scared to read it, but I can’t let it sit on my shelf unread for much longer either…

Arithmancy

Acceptable – book that ends on even number of pages
Another book that has been featured on countless of my TBRs yet I still haven’t read. I have read and loved two of Ruta Sepetys’ works before, and I know I will probably love Between Shades of Gray too.

Exceeds Expectations – a standalone
I could pick so many books for this prompt! At the moment, I’m leaning towards Mango Summer, which sounds like an adorable romance. Exactly what I need in my life.

Outstanding – book that’s longer than 350 pages
This is technically an omnibus of three manga volumes instead of one novel. However, the edition is 576 pages long, and in my opinion it should count for this challenge. I’ve been loving the Fullmetal Alchemist manga, and this is the 3-in-1 edition vol. 5.

Defence Against the Dark Arts

Acceptable – book that’s black under the dust jacket
I saw on the Magical Readathon discord that it was okay to use a black paperback if you didn’t have a hardcover to fit this prompt. I don’t own many hardcovers, so I might take advantage of that. I believe that the hardcover of Contagion is black underneath the dust jacket, and I recently got that from the library. I also have The Silent Wife and The Girl King out from the library, both being (mostly) black paperbacks.

Exceeds Expectations – first book you remembered just now from your TBR
Honestly, my mind went completely black when I first read this prompt. It’s like I couldn’t remember a single book that’s on my shelves! Then my mind went to Fullmetal Alchemist, perhaps because I’m currently reading one of the volumes. As I added volume 5 of the 3-in-1 editions for one of the earlier challenges, I’m adding volume 6 here.

Charms

Acceptable – read a book you think has a gorgeous cover
I will most likely read Our Dreams at Dusk volume 1another recent manga purchase. However, if I’ve already completed my Acceptable level for Ancient Runes, I might read Shortcake Cake vol. 2 instead, to continue the manga. If by some miracle, I have quite a lot of time left in the month and can pick up a novel instead, I’ll go with Record of a Spaceborn Few, one of the most beautiful books I own.


If I have the time, I might try for more N.E.W.Ts than just the ones I need to become a curse breaker. I highly doubt that though, so I’ll focus on these first. I tried to pick different genres and formats because I find that helps speed up my reading process.

Have you read any of these? Are you participating in the N.E.W.Ts readathon?