The House Cup Reading Challenge | Sign Up & TBR

Guess what everyone? I haven’t learnt from any of my mistakes in the past few months (don’t join in on multiple readathons and readalongs, folks) and I’m enthusiastically signing up for the House Cup Reading Challenge. That’s right, it’s a Harry Potter themed readathon… so you can see why I had an issue saying no, right?

The readathon is taking place from Sunday 15th October until Sunday 1st November and is hosted by Lauren of Live, Love, Read/@BetweenDPages; Alex of Book Daisy Reviews/@booksydaisy; Kelsey of Kelsey’s Cluttered Bookshelf/@Kelsenator; and Erica of Escape Under the Cover/@slychica08. The aim? Read some books based on the challenges which (you guessed it) are Hogwarts-themed! You earn points based on the number of books you complete which fulfill the Main and Bonus Challenges (20 points and 10 points respectively) and then report your points to your House’s Head Girl at the end of the readathon. Using the hashtag #housecupreadingchallenge on Twitter will also earn you 1 point per tweet (limited to 20 points total). Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

The Reading Challenges

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Tag | The Harry Potter Tag

Guys, it’s Thursday again so you know the drill – it’s time for Tag Thursday. *cue moderate applause*

This week I bring you the excitingly named Harry Potter Tag and yep it does what it says on the tin – this tag is about all things Potter! I was tagged by my good friend Liz from Travel in Retrospect (check out her post here) and I’m not sure who created this originally but, if you know, please do let me know so I can credit them properly!

What house are you in?

I’m definitely a proud Ravenclaw through and through, guys. Although I nearly had an existential crisis when I signed up for Pottermore because it declared me a Gryffindor. I have since decided to reject its reality and substitute my own. Apparently I would be in Thunderbird at Ilvermorny, whatever that means.

What is your Patronus?

A husky – how cute!

What is your wand?

Elder wood with a unicorn hair core, 14 1/2 inches, and unyielding flexibility. Good??

What would your boggart be?

I hate slugs, so potentially a slug. Just one huge gross slug. I don’t even like having to walk around them on paths, it makes my skin crawl. By contrast, snails, fine – no, it doesn’t make sense.

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Review | Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander

Title: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2001)
Author: “Newt Scamander”/J.K. Rowling
Read: 10th September 2017
Genre: fantasy; children’s
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

“As featured in the first year set texts reading list in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is an extensive introduction to the magical beasts that exist in the magical, non-Muggle world. Some of the animals featured in the A-Z you will have already met in the existing Harry Potter books: for example Hippogriff, Flobberworm, Kappa – others you certainly won’t: read on to find out exactly what a Chizpurfle is, or why one should always beware of the sinister Lethifold . . . As Albus Dumbledore says in his introduction, this set text book by Newt Scamander has given the perfect grounding to many a Hogwarts student. It will be helpful to all Muggles out there too . . . On reading the book you will also find that Harry, Ron and (in one instance) Hermione – couldn’t resist graffitiing the book, and adding their own hand-written opinions.” (Synopsis from publisher)

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TBR | Harry Potter Cosy Reading Night

Greetings witches and wizards, today marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone! Since that very first opening line “Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much” the Harry Potter books have gone on to sell over 450 million copies and have been translated into 79 languages. Not only have they spawned a series of blockbuster films and enchanted both readers and viewers of all ages, the series has had an immeasurable impact on an entire generation of fans who grew up with Harry Potter. I’d like to consider myself one of that number.

And it’s because of that that I will be participating in the Harry Potter Cosy Reading Night. For those unaware, to mark the occasion Lauren from Laurenandthebooks over on YouTube will be hosting one of her Cosy Reading Nights especially for all things Harry Potter – you can check out her announcement video here. Taking place on 26th June (today!) between 7pm-10pm BST, it’s a low-key readalong in which you make yourself comfy, get some snacks, and just READ! I very much enjoy Lauren’s Cosy Reading Nights because of how snack-based and low-key they are, so when I heard she was organising a Harry Potter one I was delighted.

This won’t be a very surprising TBR; given that it is a TBR for a Harry Potter related event that leaves a finite number of books I could possibly be reading. But tonight I have decided to go back to where it all began with Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. The first book has such a strong sense of nostalgia for me (it’s definitely a “cosy” read) and I get something new from it every time I (re)read it. As today is the 20th anniversary of its release it seems downright rude not to join in the Cosy Reading Night with the book that started it all. I’m going to try to make it through the entirety of Philosopher’s Stone – some quick maths (bear with me, it’s not my forte) suggests I’d need to read 223 pages in 3 hours, so that’s 74 pages an hour or just over a page per minute. That’s doable, right? Wish me luck?

Most importantly, though, I’ll be wearing my Harry Potter pyjamas, snuggling down with Philosopher’s Stone and a mug of tea and eating some lovely snacks, enjoying all things Potter for a lovely evening, and maybe popping into the #hpcosyreadingnight hashtag on Twitter. I encourage you to do the same and read along with us! And remember…

Are you joining in the Harry Potter Cosy Reading Night tonight? Have you participated in a Cosy Reading Night before, or a Harry Potter related readalong? Let me know in the comments and let’s chat all things Potter!


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T5W | Side Ships

Welcome one and all to this week’s Top 5 Wednesday post! For those of you who don’t know Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is Side Ships – tell us your favourite relationships that don’t involve the protagonist! Although I try to hide it, I am just a huge romantic masquerading as a cynic and shipping is when that tendency is given truly free reign. So obviously I have side ships, I have all kinds of ships, but side ships are the best, let’s be real here.

And, in case you’re concerned about this kind of thing, in this post there are (kind of) spoilers for A Darker Shade of Magic, Harry Potter, Six of Crows, and Pride and Prejudice (does a 200-year old book still need a spoiler warning?). 

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T5W | Ravenclaw Books

Welcome one and all to this week’s Top 5 Wednesday post! For those of you who don’t know Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is Books For Your Hogwarts Houseshow your Hogwarts House Pride, and tell us the top 5 books that represent your house! As I am a very proud Ravenclaw, this week I bring you my top five books that I think represent my house and, moreover, that my fellow Claws would enjoy too! Ravenclaw’s dominant traits include wit, learning, and wisdom, (“wit beyond measure is a man’s greatest treasure” after all!) so I’ve been sure to choose books that champion the pursuit of knowledge, that include wittiness, or that are books which can really sink into and think deeply about.

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T5W | Books as Event Themes

It’s going to be a quick one from me today, folks, mainly because I’m tired but also because it’s Bout of Books this week and I’d like to dedicate most of my free time to reading for that – I think that’s an acceptable excuse, right? That being said, I had to participate in this week’s Top 5 Wednesday because it’s such a fun topic! For those of you who don’t know Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme/challenge which was created by the wonderful Lainey from gingereadslainey and is now overseen by the equally lovely Sam from Thoughts of Tomes. Every Wednesday, participants devise their Top 5 based on a given topic.

This Wednesday’s topic is Books as Event Themesit’s party season, whether that is high school prom, weddings, or summer holiday events. What books would make a good party/event theme? I’m definitely not much of one for parties or a party-planner (and I think it shows), but I’ve tried nevertheless because, hey, it’s just a bit of fun after all!

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April 2017 | Wrap Up

Well, well, well, yet another month has passed – does anyone actually remember April happening? Because I sure as hell don’t know how it’s May already (cough it’s gonna be May cough) and yet here we are. I think a large part of that is due to the fortnight-long readathon that I took part in in the middle of April. The Tome Topple readathon meant that I focused more on getting through some hunkers of books rather than the amount of books read this month… which is my way of saying I didn’t read many books so there’s my excuse. Plus, with finishing up at my job, this month has seen me be a little bit preoccupied with one thing or another – that will change as we head into May and I (hopefully) get settled into my new work place with no huge problems. Mostly though, I am glad I got round to a couple of books that I was really long overdue to finish and I hope to continue this kind of finishing spirit into next month as I still have some A Song of Ice and Fire to catch up with. But, for now, let’s look back at how April’s reading went…

In April, I read a total of 4 books – 4 fiction and 0 non-fiction, amounting to 2036 pages in total, and, of these, 1 book was a re-read.

In terms of format: 2 were paperback, 1 was an e-ARC, and 1 was an audiobook.

And as for genre, very broadly speaking, books were fantasy and 1 was a classic.

Onto the books themselves…

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WWW Wednesday #2 | 22nd March 2017

Exactly a month after I did my last WWW Wednesday, I bring you another! (You have to admit: this is a sort of consistency… just not the regularity the meme originally suggests.) Whilst you can always find out what I’m reading via Goodreads (mainly because I update my page number obsessively in case my bookmark falls out of my book, true story) it’s nice to pause, mid-week, and reflect how the week is going and, mostly, what I’m reading at the moment. WWW Wednesday is currently hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words so do head over to her blog if you want to see more readers’ WWW Wednesday posts.

The Three Ws are:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

 

thesongrising1. What are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading Samantha Shannon’s The Song Risingthe third book of seven in her Bone Season series. I’ve been anticipating this for so many months and I’m so glad that Samantha pushed back the release to make sure the story was as wonderful as it possibly could be because, boy, was it worth the wait. Attending YALC last year and getting to meet the author reignited my love for the first two books in this series so once the pre-order link came up, I knew I had to have it as soon as I could get my grubby little hands on it. I’m really enjoying this instalment in the series as the action is now moving away from Scion-controlled London and exploring other parts of the UK (such as Manchester and Edinburgh), which is completely my jam because dystopians that only focus on one city/place always leave me wondering how everyone else out there is faring – this is answering that query!

 

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2. What did you recently finish reading?
Since I was planning to pick up The Song Rising, I made sure to re-read The Bone Season and The Mime Order first since it’s been a few months since I read them (ok, re-read them, I’m obsessed, what can I say?). I’m very grateful for that decision because it cemented in my head how much I love the second book, The Mime Order, and I definitely picked up on things in it that I must have just skimmed over when reading it for the first and second times. Third time’s a charm! If it wasn’t obvious… I completely recommend this series.

 

smoke3. What do you think you’ll read next?

If you saw my recent blog post about my TBR Jar project then you will have seen that I picked a book from there to read next, and that was Smoke by Dan Vyleta. I’ve been meaning to read it for months, the concept sounds super intriguing so, despite some not so favourable reviews, I’m going to give it a go asap. Because I’m incapable of just reading one thing at a time I’ll also probably be listening to the audiobook of either J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince or Clariel by Garth Nix. I’m feeling a little bit neglectful of my classics too so I may (and it’s a very big “may”) pick up something extra like Emma by Jane Austen or something Dickens (super specific, I know, but hey I have many to choose from!). I don’t do monogamous reading, as you might have realised.

Ok, that’s all the time we’ve got, folks  I hope you enjoyed this insight into my current reads. Do you have a WWW Wednesday post of your own? Please link it below if so (or answer in the comments), I’d love to hear your responses.
Have you read any of the books I mentioned – how did you like (or not like) them?
Until next time – happy reading!


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Six Degrees of Separation | Fever Pitch

It’s that time, folks, I bring you another Six Degrees of Separation, book-style! If you don’t know what this meme is then see my previous post or the creator’s website for more details. Basically, every month a book is chosen and participants have to get as far away from the book as possible in six steps. Here are my efforts…

This month’s chain begins with a book I’ve not read unfortunately, it’s Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch. What I do know about it is that it was made into a film in the UK, starring Colin Firth and Mark Strong (so obv, I’d know about it)…

Mark Strong also starred in a book-to-film adaptation of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy by John le Carré which follows retired deputy chief George Smiley’s efforts to uncover a Soviet mole lurking within MI6. One of MI6’s Soviet sources is code-named Merlin…

Merlin, of course, is a legendary wizard who appears in Arthurian legend and many a derivation of that legend, including Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur. But of course Merlin is also woven into the society of…

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, in which characters use “Merlin’s beard!” as a form of exclamation, and which features an honour called the Order of Merlin (the wizarding world’s version of an OBE). The series was published by Bloomsbury, who also publish a book often compared (erroneously, I think) to Harry Potter and that is…

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, a YA dystopian/fantasy which takes place in a Scion-controlled London where clairvoyants are considered dangerous and so form a sort of Victorian-inspired gang system within the criminal underbelly within the city (and also I love it a lot ok?). Not to spoil the entire plot but this book also takes place in Oxford (a beautiful place I also love), as is…

Philip Pullman’s Northern Lightsthe first book in the His Dark Materials, a wonderful fantasy trilogy telling the story of Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry and there’s polar bears and parallel worlds and witches but it also has some really dark undertones regarding religion and theology and by god it’s SO good. The title of the trilogy (and the entire trilogy) is inspired by…

Paradise Lost by John Milton, an epic 17th-century poem which retells the Biblical story of the Fall of Man and the Original Sin etc. I studied this in my Renaissance to Restoration class at university and I never did finish it but the lectures and seminars I had about this text were genuinely some of the most amazing I’ve ever had. The poetic style of this text is extraordinarily cinematic and visual and it’s pretty damn impressive and I completely understand why it holds the place it does in the canon of English literature.


And there we have it, folks, from Fever Pitch to Paradise Lost, which are two things I never thought would be said in the same breath! I highly encourage you to try it out this little game for yourself and share in the comments below or link to your own Six Degrees post.


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