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?

July reading prompts, my random monthly TBR

As I have been doing every single month of this year so far, I’m here to talk to you about my monthly reading prompts for July. If you’re unaware what this entails, each month I chose 3 or 4 prompts of the Popsugar Reading Challenge through a random number generator. This challenges me and guides my reading without creating a TBR that’s set in stone.

I haven’t had much luck with reading the past two months, honestly. I haven’t read all that much, and if it weren’t for manga my reading count would be much lower. I’ve actively decided to not participate in any readathons in July (even though there are so many great ones happening) because I need to relax about my reading before the NEWTs in August come around. First, I need a few weeks of non-pressured reading. Anyway, let’s take a look at the prompts I’ll hopefully be able to tick off the list by the end of July.

a book published posthumously

The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
This book has been on my shelf for years, even though I’m such a huge Tolkien fan. His works are just so intimidating! However, as July is a month of non-pressured reading I might finally be in the mood to pick a book I won’t be able to finish immediately.

Persuasion by Jane Austen
While doing research for this prompt, I discovered that Persuasion was also published posthumously! If I don’t feel like reading The Silmarillion after all, this could be a good option. Especially as there are audiobooks available for free.

If you have any other recommendations on works published after the author passed away, please let me know! I had a lot of difficulty with this one. The few books (outside of these two) that fit the challenge I was either not interested in, or had already read.

a book you meant to read in 2018

Daughter of the Blood (The Black Jewels #1) by Anne Bishop
I adore Anne Bishop’s The Others series, and have been meaning to branch out into her other works for years. Somehow, that still hasn’t happened. Even though I put this book on countless TBRs in 2018.

Record of a Spaceborn Few (Wayfarers #3) by Becky Chambers
Record of a Spaceborn Few was one of my most anticipated releases of 2018, and I definitely meant to read it as soon as it was released. However, the paperback was so expensive I simply couldn’t justify it. I finally bought a copy a few weeks back, and am dying to finish the trilogy.

The Mime Order (The Bone Season #2) by Samantha Shannon
I read The Bone Season, the first book in the series, in 2016 and somehow still haven’t managed to continue it. My inability to keep up with series has become utterly embarrassing. I actually meant to read this in 2016, so it’s safe to say this fits the prompt.

The Year of the Gadfly by Jennifer Miller
Last year, I picked up a copy of The Year of the Gadfly because Olive (abookolive on YouTube) recommended it in a video of books similar to The Secret History. That sounds like everything I need in life, yet it’s still sitting on my shelf, unread.

a book set in Scandinavia

The Keeper of Lost Causes (Department Q #1) bu Jussi Adler-Olsen
This is a Danish crime novel that centers around a detective who has been assigned cold cases. It sounds really intriguing! I haven’t read much Scandinavian fiction, even though their mystery and crime novels are quite popular in Belgium.

The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist
If I’m not feeling like reading a crime novel, I could pick up this Swedish dystopian novel instead. I’ve never heard anyone talk about The Unit, but it sounds fascinating. In this setting, women over fifty and men over sixty who are single and childless start living in The Unit, where they slowly start taking part in drug testing and donating organs until their final donation.

a book about someone with a superpower

The Mime Order (The Bone Season #2) by Samantha Shannon
I loosely interpreted the ‘superpowers’ in the prompt, and feel like it does fit the world of The Bone Season. I really need to read this book soon. Honestly, I’m out of excuses.

Black Butler vol. 3 by Yana Toboso
The butler in this manga kind of has superpowers, right? Supernatural powers, superpowers, it’s all the same…

Fullmetal Alchemist 3-in-1 vol. 3 by Hiromu Arakawa
Alchemists have powers that count as superpowers, right? I’m stretching this here, but I couldn’t care less. I feel like it fits! I’m really enjoying this manga, so I’m taking any excuse to add it to my reading list for the month.

Have you read any of these books? Which ones should I read first?

my summer to-read list (why do I even try?)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week, we’re talking about our summer (or winter, depending on your location) TBR. Now, I don’t even know why I try with these to-read lists. I always pick books I’m dying to read, and when the season is over I’ve barely read 2 of them. However, I’m not willing to give up. So what am I going to read this summer?

Fullmetal Alchemist 3-in-1 edition volume 3 by Hiromu Arakawa
This contains volumes 7, 8, and 9 of the Fullmetal Alchemist manga. I recently ordered 4 of the omnibuses because I want to start collecting those instead of the used single volumes I have now. I’ve already read volume 7, and can’t wait to read 8 and 9 as well.

Fruits Basket Collector’s Edition Vol. 1 by Natsuki Takaya
This edition contains the first two volumes of Fruits Basket. Once again, I’ve read the first volume already and can’t wait to continue. It was so cute!

Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
I requested this from the library, have had it for 2 months, and still haven’t read it. I really want to change that this summer. I’m feeling like reading epic fantasy at the moment. What’s better than fantasy with dragons and a sapphic relationship? NOTHING. Nothing is better than that.

Record of a Spaceborn Few (Wayfarers #3) by Becky Chambers
I finally bought a copy of this book in June, after wanting it ever since its release last year. It was always so expensive though, and I couldn’t bring myself to actually buy it. When I was in London, I spotted a copy with blue sprayed edges at Waterstones and knew it was time to get it.

Shortcake Cake Vol. 1 by Suu Morishita
I have no idea what this manga is about. I saw one of the YouTubers I’m subscribed to mention it as a series they’re currently reading and loving, so I had to buy it. The first two volumes are on their way to me, and I can’t wait.

Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1) by Neal Shusterman
A hyped book I’ve been putting off for ages. Like I mentioned before, I’m in the mood to read SFF, which makes it a perfect time to give Scythe a try. If you’re unaware, this is about a society in which people don’t die unless their lives are ended by a scythe.

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
In case my mood does a complete 180, I have some contemporary romances on this list as well. Love & Gelato is set in Florence, and follows a girl trying to learn more about her parents.

Our Dreams at Dusk Vol. 1 by Yhuki Kamatani
An LGBT+ coming-of-age manga! The description says, “In this realistic, heartfelt depiction of LGBT+ characters from different backgrounds finding their place in the world, a search for inner peace proves to be the most universal experience of all.”

Mango Summer by Agay Llanera
An adult contemporary this time around… This is set in San Antonio on a mango farm, where all the fruit goes sour for the first time in a century. According to a family legend, the only way to keep the mangoes sweet is for the women who run the farm to be married and bear children. If I’m not mistaken, it’s a romance between the 34-year-old owner of the farm, Fiona, and her best friend’s younger brother, who is 28.

The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth #2) by N.K. Jemisin
I really want to continue this series. I read, and loved, the first book last year and don’t want to wait another 3 years to continue the trilogy. I’m not sure how to explain the storyline, or whether I should even try. It’s adult SFF, and everyone should read it. That’s all you really need to know.

Have you read any of these books? What are you reading this summer?

June reading prompts | monthly random TBR

If you’ve been following my blog for a few months, you’re probably familiar with these posts already. If you’re not, no worries! Here’s what the monthly prompts entail. Every month, I choose 3 or 4 prompts from the Popsugar 2019 reading challenge with a random number generator. This guides my to-read list for the month somewhat, but doesn’t set anything in stone. As a mood reader, this is the perfect way of creating a TBR.

I started off really well with this challenge. The first few months, I always completed my prompts. April was a bit more challenging with the O.W.Ls readathon happening, so I cut myself some slack there. Then came May… I didn’t read all that much in May, and only managed to tick off 1 prompt. I’m not punishing myself for this, however, since there are quite a lot of months left.

Let’s see what June has in store for me!

a book you think should be turned into a movie

Isn’t this quite hard to pick if I haven’t read the book yet? I guess I’ll have to go with first impressions of the cover and synopsis here.

I’ve had a copy of There’s Someone Inside Your House on my shelf for about 2 years now, so it’s high time for me to read it. In my opinion, it fits for this prompt because it’s marketed as similar to Scream Queens, which is already a TV show. I could also pick up Blood for Blood for this challenge, because it’s about a motorcycle race in a world in which the Axis powers won WWII. Perfect movie material! Speaking of WWII, another option I have is The Girl With the Red Balloon. While this is not set during WWII, it does take place in East Berlin in 1988. It’s about a girl who is on a school trip to Berlin, sees a red balloon, takes it, and is transported to East Berlin during the Cold War. I can already envision this scene in a movie.

a book featuring an extinct or imaginary creature

This is such a fun prompt!

I still have a copy of The Priory of the Orange Tree from the library, which I’d like to read soon. It’s an epic fantasy standalone with dragons, so perfect for this challenge. However, I have a lot to read in June already, and Priory is a huge book. I might go for Jurassic Park instead, which I still have never read or watched. A third possibility is Throne of Jade, the second book in the Temeraire series. I started this series a little while ago, and then found the sequel in a used bookshop. It’s a historical fiction series with dragons!

a book with an item of clothing or an accessory on the cover

Honestly, there are so many options on my shelf for this prompt. Having people on the cover is still a very popular thing in cover design, and (luckily) these people happen to be dressed in clothes. Here are just a few options already. I could pick up The School for Good and Evil, which is a middle grade fantasy. Longbourn is also an option. It’s a retelling of Pride and Prejudice from the perspective of a servant. A manga possibility is We Were There, a contemporary romance. Lastly, I could also go for Changeling, a historical fiction with fantasy elements.


I’ve only picked 3 for June since I managed to complete so little last month, and don’t want to put extra pressure on myself. I’m really happy with the challenges the random number generator picked. They seem like so much fun, and I hope I’ll be able to finish a book for each of them.

Have you read any of these? Which ones should I pick up first? 

my sims-a-thon TBR (I really need to stop with all the readathons)

I’ve been participating in so many readathons lately, it’s kind of ridiculous. However, I might actually need the push in June. I didn’t read that much in May, and fell into a mini reading slump. I need to nip that slump in the butt, because there’s just too much I want to read this year. I stumbled upon the sims-a-thon through Aprilius Maximus’ YouTube channel, when she posted her TBR for the readathon last week, and thought it looked fun. I don’t even play The Sims, yet I want to take part in this readathon so badly!

Here’s the basic information. The readathon takes place throughout the entire month of June, and is based on The Sims. You can find all the information in this video, and this Google Drive folder. There are the basic challenges to build your sim/household, there are live mode challenges, and career challenges. I don’t exactly know which of the latter two I’ll be doing because there are so many options and I’m a mood reader, but here are some of the challenges I might try to tackle!

STARTING CHALLENGES

 

Choose a household
> Read a late book in a series
> Fullmetal Alchemist volume 4 by Hiromu Arakawa
> I’m going easy on myself by picking some manga for this readathon already. They’re pretty quick reads, and tend to break me out of a reading slump immediately. I’ve been loving the FMA manga, so I’m excited to continue!

Build a house
> Read something set in another world
> The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
The Goblin Emperor has been on my shelves for quite a while now, and it’s time for me to pick it up. I’ve read so many positive reviews on it

Interior design
> Read a book with a pretty cover
> The Heart of the Circle by Keren Landsman
> I absolutely love the cover of this book! I recently requested this Israeli fantasy novel from Netgalley, and got approved – which hasn’t happened in a long time. I can’t wait to get to this novel. It’s got sorcerers, empaths, killers, religious extremists, and love. Sounds epic to me!

Landscaping
> Book featuring nature in cover/title/theme
> Walk on Earth a Stranger (Goldseer #1) by Rae Carson
> Earth is in the title, and that counts, right? Once again, this book has been on my shelf for absolute years. I loved the author’s Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, and wanted to read everything else she has written. Now, it’s been years and I still haven’t picked up another book by Rae Carson.

LIVE MODE CHALLENGES

(I will talk about the “get a job” live mode challenge later, when I talk about the chosen career.)

 

Get a promotion
> Read a 5-star prediction
> Age of Myth (Legend of the First Empire #1) by Michael J. Sullivan
> I’m sure you’re all sick and tired of seeing this book on my to-read lists. I’m sorry! I know I should have picked this up ages ago, but I didn’t. I really need to change that soon, especially since this is one of my 5-star predictions.

Eat a cookie
> Read a book under 200 pages
> Blue Exorcist volume 1 by Kazue Kato
> I picked up the first two volumes of Blue Exorcist in a secondhand book haul a little while ago. The first volume is 200 pages long according to Goodreads, which still counts for this challenge in my opinion. Do I have any idea what this manga is about? No, absolutely not. What else is new.

Pay bills
Read your most recent purchase
> Black Butler volume 3 by Yana Toboso
> I bought a whole lot of manga in one haul, so I could pick quite a few for this topic. I will probably go with Black Butler though, since I recently read the previous volume.

Burn down the kitchen
> Book with flames on the cover

> Changeling (Order of Darkness #1) by Philippa Gregory
> I’ve had this book on my shelf for ages, but haven’t picked it up because I haven’t really heard the most positive things about the novel. It’s really short, though, so I can’t unhaul it without giving it a try.

 

Gain a fishing skill
> Randomize your TBR

> Longbourn by Jo Baker
> I was actually supposed to read this in May. Oops. This is a Pride and Prejudice retelling told from the perspective of the Bennet’s servant!

Take a bubble bath
> Read a book over 400 pages

The School for Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil #1) by Soman Chainani
> While this novel is more than 400 pages long, it is middle grade. Usually, MG books are pretty quick and captivating reads, which is perfect for a readathon.

Become a ghost
> Read a spooky book

> There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
> I’ve had an ARC copy of this book since 2017 and still haven’t read it…

Fall in love
> Read a book with a romance element

> We Were There volume 1 by Yuki Obata
> Another manga I picked up in a used book haul! I’ve never really heard anyone talk about We Were There, but the synopsis caught my attention. It’s about first love, grief, and is set in high school. Since the entire manga is about a girl falling for a guy whose girlfriend passed away the year before, I’d say this fits for reading a book with a romance element.

 

Have your birthday
> Read an adult book

> The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
> I received an e-ARC for The Bride Test (release date in June – UK), and I can’t wait to read it! I absolutely adored The Kiss Quotient, Helen Hoang’s previous book, and have high hopes for this one as well.

Get a job > business
> Read a book with a number in the title

> Twelve Kings in Sharakhai, Empress of a Thousand Skies, A Thousand Splendid Suns, The Thousand Names
> Thousand seems to be a really popular number, doesn’t it? I have all of these on my shelves at home, unread, but don’t know which one I’ll feel like reading in June. Let me know if you have read one of these!


Obviously, I won’t get to all of these but I’ll pick and choose during the month of June. I’m a mood reader, so I need options! Have you read any of these books? Are you participating in the sims-a-thon?

May prompts | monthly TBR challenges

I’ve been doing these monthly prompts since January, and I really like it. April wasn’t as successful as the previous months because I participated in a month-long readathon as well, and there’s only so much I can read. This will probably be the case for May as well, but I think it’ll be easier to combine this month’s prompts with the Asian readathon.

If you haven’t read one of these posts before, I use a random number generator to pick 4 prompts from the Popsugar 2019 reading challenge to guide my reading every month. It gives me some direction and push, but doesn’t give me a set TBR (which never really works well for me).

Let’s take a look at the challenges for May!

a book published in 2019

holy sister

Finally an easy challenge! Last month, I received my pre-order of Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence, the third book in the Book of the Ancestor series, and I still haven’t read it. Since the previous two books were on my favorite books of last year list, I can’t wait to read the conclusion to the trilogy. MY FAVORITES BETTER BE OKAY, MARK.

a book written by a musician

every heart a doorway

I had to do some digging for this prompt, not going to lie. I didn’t really feel like reading a biography (although that might change during the month of May) so I felt a bit discouraged here. Then I discovered that Seanan McGuire is a musician, thanks to the lovely Goodreads group dedicated to completing the Popsugar challenge. Every Heart a Doorway has been on my to-read list for a while and it’s quite short so I should be able to read this in May.

a retelling of a classic

I have two options for this prompt! Longbourn is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice told through the eyes of a servant of the Bennet family. I’ve had a copy ever since I read P&P in late 2016, and still haven’t picked it up. This is the perfect time to change that! I might end up listening to The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein instead though, which is available on Scribd. I’m intrigued by this retelling of Frankenstein, but I haven’t heard the best things about the book in reviews…

zodiac sign or astrology term in the title

Another novel that has been sitting on my bookshelf, still unread, for ages is A Thousand Splendid Suns. I’m so intimidated by Khaled Hosseini’s works, and I have no idea why. I need to get over this ridiculous fear I won’t like it, and just pick it up. If I somehow still don’t get to that one, I can pick up Starfish on Scribd instead. I honestly have no idea what this is about, all I remember is that the main character is half-Japanese and has social anxiety.


There you have it, my monthly prompts for May! I think achieving these should be doable, right? I can even read the books for the last prompt for the Asian readathon as well, which is perfect. I’m all for combining challenges. Have you read any of these books? Which ones should I get to first? I’d love to hear your opinion!

my to-read list for the #Asianreadathon in May

Cindy has quickly become one of my favorite BookTubers, so it’s really no surprise I immediately jumped on the readathon she’s hosting during the month of May. I know I have been participating in so many readathons these past few months, but I’m having lots of fun with them! As a bonus, I do think they help me read more than I would otherwise.

You can find all the information on the #asianreadathon here, such as the hosts, challenges, and tons of recommendations. There are a few challenges, and then there’s an additional twist to the challenge. You can use a book for multiple challenges, but as an additional twist, every book you read for the readathon should feature a character or author of different Asian ethnicity.

I probably won’t do the fifth challenge because that is to read the group book, which I don’t own.

read any book by an Asian author

There are so many possibilities here! They’re endless. Here are some books I either have a physical or digital copy of, I can borrow from the library, or are available on Scribd. I only added books in this category that I didn’t mention for the other challenges. 

Here’s a list of possible reads for this prompt!

Sorcerer to the Crown A Thousand Splendid Suns | The Poppy War | Severance | Forest of a Thousand Lanterns | The Gilded Wolves | On Such a Full Sea | Emergency Contact | All You Can Ever Know | Sea of Strangers | AI Superpowers | Ninefox Gambit |From Twinkle, With Love | If the Dress Fits | Descendant of the Crane | Empress of a Thousand Skies | Shadow of the Fox | Markswoman

read a graphic novel/manga with Asian characters/written and/or drawn by an Asian author

I might read Fullmetal Alchemist volume 3 as I’ve been really loving that series, or pick up Black Butler volume 3 or Death Note (Black Edition) volume 2 instead. All three are written/illustrated by Japanese manga artists. I could also go for We Were There volume 1, which I bought second hand on a whim last year. I could instead go for American Born Chinese as well, if I want to read a graphic novel written by a Chinese author.

read a book featuring an intersectional Asian character or written by an intersectional Asian identity

I recently spotted Not Your Sidekick on Scribd, which seems like a fun story about superheroes and villains, and an LGBT+ main character. The author, if I’m not mistaken, is Chinese-Vietnamese-American, bisexual, and open about her struggles with mental illness. Starfish is another book I spotted on Scribd, and could fit for this challenge. The main character is half-Japanese and struggles with social anxiety. There’s a huge chance I’ll go with The Black Tides of Heaven though because it sounds amazing and has been on my TBR for a while. J.Y. Yang is an author from Singapore, and identifies as queer and non-binary. There’s apparently a lot of discussion on sexuality and gender in their book, which I can’t wait to read. Lastly, I could listen to the audiobook of Darius the Great Is Not Okay for this challenge, which is the story of a biracial Iranian-American boy who goes to Iran for the first time. There’s also (according to reviews I’ve read) great depression representation.

read a book by an Asian author that was originally written in their native language

I could combine this challenge with any of the manga I’ve planned for the second challenge, as those have all been translated, but here are some other options too.

I have three more novels by Japanese authors for this challenge. Last year, I bought a copy of Train Man used, which seems like a funny, contemporary novel. I could also go for The Travelling Cat ChroniclesI bought it on a Kindle sale, as I heard nothing but great things about it. I’m pretty sure someone said it would make me cry. Lastly, I could go for the audiobook of Norwegian WoodI’ve never read any Murakami, which I think is a crime in some places.


Obviously, I won’t read all of these in May. That would be insane! However, I do think I have a decent amount of books I could choose from, no? Have you read any of these books? Which ones should I pick up first? Let me know if you’re participating in the readathon as well!