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!

may wrap up – everything I read last month

A mini reading slump hit me last month, and I found myself unable to commit to a book. I finished a lot less books than I did in the previous 4 months, but that’s okay! Reading is a hobby, after all, and shouldn’t come with pressure. Let’s talk about what I managed to read in May, shall we?

Death Note Black Edition Volume 2 by Tsugumi Ohba – ★★★★★
The first volume of these black editions left me pleasantly surprised and wanting to continue the series, which is exactly what I did at the start of May. This might be my favorite Death Note volume yet. It was absolutely brilliant, and I ended up devouring it.

Holy Sister (Book of the Ancestor #3) by Mark Lawrence – ★★★★.₅
You knew Holy Sister would end up in the wrap up, didn’t you? I fell in love with this series last year, and was both excited and sad to read the final book in the trilogy. I have to admit that it was a lot shorter than I was expecting. While I still adored it, I prefer the first two books in the trilogy over the conclusion. It seemed a little bit rushed at times, and I just wanted a tad more from the romance. It’s still a 4,5-star read though. If you haven’t picked up the trilogy yet, please do so.

Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 3 by Hiromu Arakawa – ★★★★
Aside from Death Note, I’ve also been endlessly fascinated by Fullmetal Alchemist ever since I started the manga this year. I think the first volume is still my favorite, but I really like every volume I’ve read so far!

Death Note Black Edition Volume 3 by Tsugumi Ohba – ★★★★
After the brilliance of the second volume, I had to continue with the manga as soon as possible. Death Note is so compelling! I find myself glued to the pages whenever possible. Volume 3 wasn’t as great as volume 2, but I don’t think it’s possible to be as great or better than the second one.

Death Note Black Edition Volume 4 by Tsugumi Ohba – ★★★★
Once again, after finishing volume 3 I immediately picked up the next one. I was absolutely devastated at something that happened in this one, let me tell you. I might never be the same again.

Death Note Black Edition Volume 5 by Tsugumi Ohba – ★★★★
After the devastation of volume 4, I was hooked. I immediately bought the remaining two volumes and devoured them. I don’t love this volume as much as the early ones, but it’s really incredible to see the characters’ journeys. Light has come from a arrogant high school boy into an adult with the largest God complex I have ever seen. It’s fascinating!

 

Death Note Black Edition Volume 6 by Tsugumi Ohba – ★★★★.₅
This finale had me stressed to the max. I didn’t even know how I wanted it to end. Good vs.  evil – who should win? I’m very satisfied with the conclusion to the series, even though I’m a little sad the story is over. I’m definitely watching the anime adaptation soon.

The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart – DNF
There you have it, my first DNF of the year. The Sacrifice Box is a YA horror novel of which I received an ARC at YALC in 2017. I know, I got a copy almost two years ago and still hadn’t read it. After 200 pages, I still couldn’t care less about the novel. I wasn’t attached to any of the characters, wasn’t interested in what the evil actually was, or how they would survive what was happening to them. I simply didn’t care, so I decided to put it down.


Apparently, May was the month of manga for me. Or maybe it was just the month of Death Note? I fell into a mini reading slump at the start of the month, and manga is a great way to try and crawl out of the slump. If you have any manga recommendations for me, I’d love to hear about it! There are so many on my to-buy list, but I can always use more!

Have you read any of these books? What did you read in May?

November wrap up | #theonereadathon + more

I’ve already shared my wrap up for The One Readathon with you all, which you can find here. I will add the books I read during the readathon here, but I’ll keep it short. If you want to know which challenges they all fulfilled, you can take a look at that wrap up. I did read some other books outside of the readathon that I wanted to talk about. I didn’t read a lot during November because so much has been happening in my life. Enough waffling, let’s talk about the books!

Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye – 4 stars
It took me quite a while to read Jane Steele, through no fault of the book itself. I’ve been feeling a bit slumpy lately, and just had no desire to read. I think if I had read this book during a different time, it could’ve been a 4.5-star read. This is about a girl called Jane Steele, who loves to read about Jane Eyre. She’s also a murderer. You follow her from childhood through adulthood, and see how her life mirrors Jane Eyre’s – with murders. I loved the characters, the atmosphere, and pretty much everything about this book. I also found myself rooting for Jane as the killer, and had little to no sympathy for the victims. All in all, would highly recommend!

WomanCode by Alisa Vitti – 3 stars
I bought this book because I had seen so many people rave about it on YouTube and Instagram. This book is about cycle syncing, and adapting your life and food to your menstrual cycle. I was expecting something mind-blowing after everyone’s comments, but I was left disappointed. A lot of the things about your menstrual cycle I already knew (thanks high school biology specialization), and the rest just seemed common sense. Don’t push yourself to do HIIT workouts on your period, save those for your follicular phase when you have more energy. I mean, that’s just pure logic. I do want to give her food recommendations per phase a try, to see if it lessens my headaches and PMS. It also bothered me that she spent 50% of the book talking about how much of a genius she was and how this will change your life, instead of actually teaching you HOW to change your life.

Girls of Paper and Fire (Girls of Paper and Fire #1) by Natasha Ngan – 4.5 stars
This was the first book I read for #theonereadathon, and I absolutely loved it. I didn’t have too high expectations, as I’d seen a lot of mixed reviews already. I have to say that it surpassed those expectations easily, and I ended up enjoying it immensely. I’ll write a full review soon, but I’d highly recommend this book.

The Cruel Prince (Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black – 4 stars
I caved in. I wasn’t planning on read this, but the hype was so strong that I gave in. I didn’t want to buy a copy of this, mostly because I haven’t had much luck with faerie stories. Imagine how excited I was to see it in my local library! I did enjoy this book, but the second half of the book is what made this a 4-star read. The first half was more of a 3-star one.

HP and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2) by J.K. Rowling – 5 stars
Obviously, a 5-star read. I read this one for the rereading prompt in #theonereadathon! It’s a very short one, so I managed to finish it in only a few hours.

Wundersmith (Nevermoor #2) by Jessica Townsend – 5 stars
The easiest 5 stars, ever. In September I read the first book in the series, Nevermoor, and ended up loving it. It was the first middle grade book I fell in love with in a while. I knew I had to read the sequel as soon as possible, and the readathon seemed like the perfect time for that. I can now happily say that I enjoyed reading the sequel even more than I did the first book.


That’s everything I managed to read in November! I know it’s not a huge amount, but I’m still quite happy with it. What did you read this month? Have you read any of these books?

My #contemporaryathon wrap up!

I realize I’m a bit late in writing this, but you’ll have to forgive me because I’ve been quite busy. I did want to write a quick post about all the books I managed to read during last week’s readathon though, because I had so much fun with it!

So what did I end up reading?

Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians #1) by Kevin Kwan – 4/5 stars
I am so glad I finally picked this up! I listened to the audiobook while walking around Seoul, and I had a fantastic time. This book is funny, intriguing, not to mention full of scandalous gossip and crazy rich Asians. I laughed out loud multiple times while listening to this book, and was entertained the entire way through. Is it perfect? No. Is it still great, and would I recommend it to everyone? Hell yes. I’m reading the sequel as we speak (as I type?).

Crazy Rich Asians fulfilled the following challenges

  • read a book with orange on the cover
  • read a diverse contemporary
  • read a contemporary in a non-traditional format
  • read a new-to-you author

Giant Days volumes 1,2,3,4, and 5 by John Allison – average rating 3/5 stars
I am not entirely sure how this ended up happening, but it did! I saw the first volume on Scribd and decided to check it out because a) I had heard some good things about it, and b) I wanted to get the most out of my Scribd subscription. These are quite addictive, considering I ended up reading 5 volumes in one day. While I enjoyed them, found the main characters interesting, and could relate to some aspects of their college life, I didn’t find them to be mind-blowing and settled on this rating. Some of them were 3.5/5, some of them 3/5.

Giant Days ended up fulfilling the following challenges

  • book with orange on the cover (vol. 2)
  • diverse contemporary
  • contemporary in non-traditional format
  • new-to-you author

Eeny Meeny (Helen Grace #1) by M.J. Arlidge – 3/5 stars
I have to admit I’m a tad disappointed in this book. I was expecting an epic mystery/thriller from the synopsis, as it stated that people were being kidnapped in duos and only released when one of them killed the other. That sounds epic! But it ended up being just okay. The murderer-aspect of this book was the best part, and it’s everything else that ended up bringing this book down. The characters, the clearly male writer, the use of transphobic language (in my opinion, at least) at times.

Eeny Meeny ended up fulfilling the following challenges

  • read a dark/taboo/spooky contemporary
  • read a contemporary with your initials on the cover (J, D and L)

It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne – 5/5 stars
I LOVE THIS BOOK. No, this does not surprise me. It’s Holly Bourne after all. I squeezed this book in on the last day of the readathon and flew through it. I always do that with her books, and often end up reading them in one sitting. I was scared I wouldn’t love this as much as her Spinster Club series, but boy was I wrong. I’m going to write a full review on this soon so I can gush all about it there.

It Only Happens in the Movies ended up fulfilling the following challenge

  • read a 5-star prediction

Which means…

that I managed to complete all the challenges! I’m so surprised I managed to do this while traveling. It helped that Giant Days are quick reads, and that Crazy Rich Asians was in audio format, of course. I’m really proud of myself, and I had such a great time during the readathon!

 

Week 2 of the #NEWTsReadathon2018 | an update

Last week, I managed to read 3 books for the #NEWTsReadathon2018. This week was not quite as productive in terms of reading, unfortunately. I’m trying to combine my current reads for the NEWTs readathon with the #POCathon that’s going on from August 12th to August 19th, as well. Let’s see what I managed to read for my NEWTs from August 8th until August 14th!

long way down

 

I started my week off by listening to the audiobook of Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds. This is a very short yet impactful book. It takes place in the span of 1 minute, when Will gets on the elevator to go out and kill the person who shot his brother. In that minute, lots of people in Will’s life get on the elevator to talk to him; only all of them are dead.

This story is told in verse, which gives it a sense of urgency and reality, and I’d highly recommend listening to the audiobook. The author narrates the book himself, and he brings it to life.

I gave this 4/5 stars, and I would encourage everyone to pick this book up.

Book Finished: Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
Grade earned: Acceptable in Transfiguration (book with a grey cover)

That’s the only book I managed to finish for the NEWTs readathon this week. I did start another book and it will count for an Exceeds Expectations in Transfiguration when I finish it, so let’s talk about it for a second.

on such a full sea

 

I started reading On Such a Full Sea by Chang-rae Lee. This is a science fiction story set in the future in B-Mor, a worker colony formerly known as Baltimore.

It’s the story of a woman called Fan, who disrupts the whole order of B-Mor society by leaving after her boyfriend is removed from the colony.

So far, it’s very interesting! It’s told from a removed position. It’s like someone in B-Mor is telling us the legend of Fan. What her life was like, what lead up to her leaving, how it affected the rest, etc. It creates more of a distance between you and the main character, but I honestly don’t mind. It’s such an interesting way to tell a story, by creating a legend around it already.

I’m looking forward to reading more of this book in the coming days!


That’s it! I did read another book but it didn’t count for the #NEWTsReadathon2018. I’m hoping to read some more this week, and I really want to finish On Such a Full Sea. How are you doing with the readathon?