March and April Wrap-up inc OWLs Magical Readathon 2020

Hello there!

I have been majorly neglecting the writing of wrap-ups lately so tadah – here is a combo wrap-up of March and April! These months have been absolutely crazy and I haven’t been able to read as much as I would have liked but that’s fine 😊 There’s no need to be super productive during a pandemic after all!

March and April were also special to my reading situation in other ways – in March I made myself a TBR flowchart for the first time and used it to select the books I read, and in April I took part in the OWLs Magical Readathon ✨ I loved doing both!

What I read in March

Here’s the March TBR flowchart that I tried my very best to follow:

I had such fun doing the flowchart and even more following it! But I have to admit that I wasn’t completely faithful to it 🙊

Books I read inspired by the flowchart

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The Confession by Jessie Burton

The Confession is a deeply emotional (read: soul-destroyingly good) story about Rose trying to find out what happened to her mother 30 years ago. This book has depth and complexity, and it was everything I wanted! Jessie Burton is the author of The Miniaturist, and so I didn’t expect anything but greatness from her, but The Confession managed to live up to my high expectations and it even exceeded beyond them.

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Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3) by Cassandra Clare

I binge-listened to the audiobooks of The Infernal Devices during February and March, and really enjoyed all of the three books! I craved Clockwork Princess to have a more of an emotional punch to it, and I was nearly disappointed until the epilogue – and then the epilogue killed me. I was still crying 30mins after I finished it 😭

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Autumn by Ali Smith

Autumn is the first book in the Seasons series and it mesmerised me. This weird little thing feels realistic and relatable, but also pretty manic at times. It is political and follows events after the Brexit referendum in Britain – but it touches on so many common topics of injustice in everyday life that I believe it could also be easily enjoyed by someone who doesn’t know much about Brexit!

I also started Wicked as you Wish by Rin Chupeco but decided to DNF it early on – the writing style really didn’t work for me and I found it very infodumpy. I have a more elaborate exploration here in my Goodreads review. I also started Queen of Ruin by Tracy Banghart inspired by the flowchart but didn’t finish it before April.

I would declare the flowchart a success! It helped me to select books that fit my ever changing reading mood and I ended up really enjoying all of those three books.

Books I randomly read in March

or books I picked up even though they weren’t in my flowchart

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No One is too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg

This short book is a collection of speeches by Greta Thunberg. The audiobook came suddenly available from my library and as it was very short, I flew through it in one evening while reorganising my bookshelves. It was very enjoyable and overall an empowering collection, although understandably repetative. I wished there was more of it; I wanted to see interviews with environmental researchers and explanations of the research that Greta references. It isn’t a self-help book or a manual on fixing the Earth – but hopefully it does make every reader act, move and think.

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The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman

This one I should have just skipped. But I kept seeing glowing reviews everywhere about how the Bookish Life of Nina Hill is a booklover’s dream come true; a relatable story about navigating the busy world as an anxious bookwork. But it wasn’t that at all for me. My opinion is very unpopular, and I have a full rant-review here in Goodreads. But here is a summary of it: Nina isn’t that bookish but more of a collector of random information, she wasn’t relatable to me and she was pretty prejudiced and annoying. The plot is ridiculous when it shows up at all, and I simply hated reading it.

Books I started before March but finished in March

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Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices #2) by Cassandra Clare

I mentioned above that I binge-listened to the Infernal Devices, Clockwork Prince included. I really enjoyed this sequel to the Clockwork Angel although not quite as much (the first book got 5 stars from me). The plot wasn’t as gripping as in the first book but I still enjoyed it, and I grew to love the characters!

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The Corset by Laura Purcell

This beauty was a buddy read with Stephen @ Stephen Reads! I had such a great time buddy reading it, and we had amazing, detailed discussions of it. Stephen wrote a review of the Corset in his blog and I agree with everything he says about it whole-heartedly! Go check it out here. The plot was gripping but the book didn’t manage to hold my attention all the time. Even though the book had two POVs, I grew strongly attached with only one of these main characters and I found the other POV slightly uninteresting.

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Happy Fat: Taking up Space in a World that Wants to Shrink You by Sofie Hagen

Happy Fat is an impactful and empowering book against fatphobia and fatshaming. It is one of those rare nonfiction books that is actually successful in holding up both the enjoyable, light and funny tone, and the important, strong message. Sofie Hagen’s stand-up comedy is brilliant – she is witty, compassionate, feminist and really funny. Her personality also shines in the book and I laughed out loud quite a few times, but the light tone doesn’t dull the impact of the message. Sofie manages to convey painful experiences and stereotypes with care, and the book includes multiple interviews to gather together multiple perspectives of fatness. My only problem was that the beginning of the book could have done with a bit more editing – I felt like the writing style changed dramatically after the first 50 pages.

What I Read in April

Every year G @ The Book Roast organises a Magical Readathon, the OWLs in April. The month-long readathon is always a highlight in my reading year! This month my plan was to reach the career of a Spell Maker 💫

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But although I tried my best to reach the excellency of Hermione, my spell making was Ron-level at best 😂 For real, I somehow got distracted – ehrm I bought a Nintendo Switch and Animal Crossing oops.

Here are the prompts that I aimed to finish. There were 7 of them which was pretty ambitious to begin with.

During the readathon I managed to finish:

  • Astronomy: Read a book when it is dark outside 🌘
  • Charms: A book with a white cover 🌟
  • History of Magic: A book featuring witches 🔮
  • Transfiguration: A book featuring shapeshifting 🐱

I started reading books for Ancient Runes and Arithmancy too, but I didn’t manage to finish them in April. I also pulled and stretched at the prompts to make some books fit that I reaaally wanted to read 🙊

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The Reader by Traci Chee

Read for History of Magic 🔮

So this book kind of features witches – I counted it for the prompt as witchery was mentioned on the first page, but this witchery was a bit vague when I look back on it now. The Reader is a YA fantasy about a world in which reading is unheard of. I was completely immersed in it at the beginning and dying to find out what was going to happen, until the plot took a turn to pirates. I’m not a big fan of books about pirates, and my enthusiasm for The Reader also significantly deflected when I realised what it is about. But along with pirates came a shift in the plot; the story started to drag and some scenes didn’t make much sense to me. Overall, I found the worldbuilding confusing and by the half-way mark I felt detached and uninterested in the story. However, the way The Reader was written was beautifuly throughout, and I would love to read a contemporary by this author!

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Queen of Ruin (Grace and Fury #2) by Tracy Banghart

Read for Transfiguration 🐱

The shapeshifting in this book isn’t the McGonagall type, but valid shapeshifting nevertheless; the characters in this series grow so much that they are nearly unrecognisable by the end of this second book! This series is cheesy yet empowering. It is an unapologetically feminist YA fantasy about women who have been treated badly and who are ready to fight their way to equality. It is so feminist that it becomes borderline preachy at times, and I’m so here for it – too many fantasies are described as feminist when they fail to address important issues or they tiptoe around difficult topics. Queen of Ruin didn’t hesitate to educate & entertain!

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Hold Back the Tide by Melinda Salisbury

Read for Astronomy 🌘

Hold Back the Tide is just enough horror for a chicken like me – about the same level of horror as Illuminae which also made me very spooked. I read it only when it was dark outside, and dang reading this in the middle of the night was terrifying. But I couldn’t stop because it is so immersive and addictive! An eerie atmosphere and Melinda Salisbury’s enchanting writing style made sure that I got chills from the very beginning. I highly recommend that you read this one without as much as a quick glance at the blurb! It was so enjoyable reading it without any idea about what would happen next. I’m only saying this; a girl who lives with her murderer-dad in the middle of the woods, and nearby villagers hate them both.

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Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore

Read for Charms 🌟

Blanca & Roja is just lovely. It is a story about sisters of whom one must turn into a swan so that the other gets to live as a human. This book has great pan and trans rep, and the fairytale atmosphere swept me away. It is a retelling of Snow-white and Rose-red which I have been intrigued by since I came across it in a storybook when I was 8, this book reignited my love for that story and now I’m eager to reread it. I have only one reason for not awarding Blanca & Roja with full 5-stars; within all the emotional conflict, I sometimes lost sight of the plot. I would be so immersed in the metaphors and beautiful scenery that I didn’t realise that something actually happened, which made me confused and pulled me out of the story.

It’s time to take a quick peek at the OWLs career guide to see if I qualify for a career with these OWLs…

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and after a quick browse it seems like I haven’t 🙈 To avoid turning into an unemployed witch, I think I’ll try to resit OWLs sometime before the NEWTs take place in August! This is actually quite fun, I have never resit an exam before 😂

What have you been reading lately? Did you take part in OWLs? Did you do better than I did (as in did you pass lol)? Did you read any good books? I would love to know!

Hope you’re safe and well, and I promise to work harder for the next readathon in May; the Medieval-A-Thon! Are you taking part?

Thank you so much for reading!

Reading Wrap-Up: January & February

Hi all ✨

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This wrap-up post for January and February is royally late as the end of March is near! I stubbornly want to dedicate an entire post to March alone to see how I managed with my new TBR flowchart, and I need to discuss Jan and Feb first 😱 Quick, before March ends, let’s get started!

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All Books I Read in 2019 – Ranked from Best to Worst

Hi all 💕

Today I get to share with you a post that I have been wanting to do for a long time! I’m diving back into 2019 reading for a bit, and I’m going to be going through all of the 85 books I read in 2019, ranked from my favourite to my least favourite!

This post is going to be a massive, delicious list of books without any explanations, ratings or rantings! The list is mainly based on my enjoyment of each book, in comparison to everything else I read in 2019. If you are interested in getting more information and my full thoughts, take a peek at my other end of the year posts:

Best Books of 2019

Worst Books of 2019

You can also find a review of most of these books on my Goodreads page (I’d love to be your friend there too!).

Also keep your eyes peeled for these posts that are coming up soon:

  • 2019 Bookish Statistics
  • 20 for 2020: A year-long TBR & Reading challenges

I was lucky in 2019 and I mostly enjoyed the books that I read 😊 Even though something is lower on this scale doesn’t mean that I hated the book!

Let’s get into the list 🤩

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Bottom 10 of 2019: Least favourite books of 2019

Welcome to my second post in the Best & Worst of 2019 series 🤩 Although 2020 is in full swing, I still want to ponder some 2019 reads! Today I’m here with the worst 10 books I read in 2019. It’s time to spill the piping hot tea!

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I try to always pick up books that I think that I’ll enjoy and I never hate-read books. But sometimes, a blurb or a pretty cover lures me in and I end up struggling my way through the book. Although I DNF books quite frequently (DNF as in did not finish), sometimes I finish novels that I dislike. Most often that happens when I’m taking part in a readathon and I can’t afford to DNF a book that I have already invested a lot of time in, because *gasp* I might lose the readathon! Sometimes I keep reading because I hope the book redeems itself or I have spent a lot of money on the copy that I have.

I don’t mean to offend anyone who loves one of these books! They simply were not for me.

But let’s get into the WORST of 2019, I’ll be listing the titles from the least bad to worst if that makes sense – #10 has just about stepped into the chamber of worst books whereas #1 is in the deepest pit of that place.

Click here to read the entire blog post

Top 10 of 2019: Best Books of 2019

Welcome to my Best & Worst of 2019 series! Although 2020 is in full swing now, I’ll traipse down the memory road to reflect on my 2019 reads throughout January and February!

Today I’m here to present 10 best books I read in 2019. The books may have been published whenever, but I happened to read them in 2019. I’ll start from #10 and move towards my top favourite 🤩

You’ll notice that my ratings of these books don’t perfectly correspond with their position in this list; a 4-star book may be ranked higher than a 5-star one. But that’s because I use different ranking scales for giving star-ratings and listing my favourites. Whereas I try to find a balanced star-rating between quality of the book and my enjoyment of it (see more here about my star-ratings), I decide my favourites mostly based on my enjoyment of the novel and how much I thought about the story since I finished reading it. It’s a funky mix of different ratings and rankings and stars and lists and and and

Ah let’s just get started, I can’t wait to show these books to you!

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Everything I read in October: Wrap-up

Welcome to my fashionably late October wrap-up 💕

Only a couple days ago, on the 15th of November, I realised that HEY it’s not October anymore 😂 I’m still living that autumnal life although it’s so cold outside that I’ll attempt to stuff my shoes on while wearing fluffy socks and I stopped by a Christmas market yesterday. Actually, now that I stop and think about it, I have already started making a list of Christmas gifts! Whaat where did the fall go?? (Although I’m also a huge Christmas person so I guess it’s fiiine.)

But anyway – here’s everything I read during the month of October!

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September Wrap-up: Bookish Stats & Mini-reviews

September was a crazy month for me! I started a PhD in informatics and I have been very confused and overwhelmed for my first month there. Everyone is lovely and I can’t wait to get properly started, but I have to admit that going from psychology to informatics was a big jump!

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Even though I was busy with university, I still managed to read some books. YAY! I feel like finishing even one should be considered a victory. But I managed to get through *three*! I’m hoping to start reading my usual 5-9 books a month again once I’ve gotten used to what I’m doing, but I’m good with 3 for now (really I need to start reading to wind down, lately I have just been staring at ASMR videos to get my mind off work).

First let’s go over some stats and then let’s dive into the books I have finished.

This month I had less stats (cause I only read 3 books hah) so I could fit it all into an infograph!

I read two classics this month which is a bit of a suprise. Although I like classics, I’m exceptionally bad at finishing them. But this month Currentathon kicked my butt up to gear!

I read 1 print book and two e-books. One of the books I read was an arc. I gave one of the books 4 stars, one 3.5 stars and one of the books received 2 stars (more on that below!).

The books were pretty short with an average page count of 287. The age-categories included adult, YA and middle-grade.

I DNFed three books this month which is an unusually large amount for me. I just felt like I didn’t have as much time to read and I couldn’t be bothered to push myself through something I wasn’t enjoying. I got about half-way through all of the books I DNFed (=did not finish).

I also started quite a few books that I haven’t finished yet. I’ll do that in October! I’m especially close to finishing Skyward.

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The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

Classic

4/5 stars

I really enjoyed this classic novel from Kazuo Ishiguro. It is about an ageing butler who reflects back on his life and is relatively overwhelmed about all the changes that the time has brought about. Although it might not sound riveting, the writing was spectacular and I was very immersed while reading this. The butler reminds me so much of Downton Abbey’s Mr Carson that I couldn’t help but think that this could be his diary!

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The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett

Classic

2/5 stars

I really liked the beginning of the book in which we focus on the main character, Mary, and how she struggles to come to terms with her new life. But somewhere in the middle, the focus oddly switches to a side character who I didn’t like as much. This really took me out of the story and I felt like it turned into a book which is meant to teach stuff to children rather than an engaging story.

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The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Fantasy

3.5/5 stars

Find my full review here!

This dark and eerie fantasy follows twin sisters Kizzy and Liz whose life is torn apart one evening. The book was twisted and atmospheric but I found it oddly constructed. It almost felt like the middlepart was missing a portion of the book.

That’s my September wrap-up! Have you read any of the books that I read, DNFed or put down in September? How did you find them?

Also, how was September for you? I would love to know!

I’m hoping that October will make a more chilled reading month than September. Keep your eyes peeled for my October TBR that’ll be up this Sunday!

Thank you so much for reading!

April Wrap-up: Tome Topple and OWLs Magical Readathon

April, the Queen-Month of Readathons, has come to an end. I took part in two readathons: Tome Topple Round 8 in which the goal is to read tomes with more than 500 pages and the OWLs Magical Readathon which is a month-long readathon inspired by the magical exams that Hogwarts students take in their fifth year. Let’s see how the month of reading went!

An accurate representation of me wanting to continue reading books for the readathons even though the month has ended
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March Wrap-up with Mini-reviews and Delicious Stats

Hi there! Welcome to my Late As Always Reading Wrap Up ™️

How was March for you?

For me, it included a great deal of stress and anxiety at university, too little time to read and it finished with a bang of celebrations. Both tears and grins, pretty mixed feelings I would say.

I also have some news that I want to share with you all. 🎊 🎉 At the end of March I got to hear that I have been granted full PhD funding to start my doctoral studies in the University of Edinburgh in September! 🎊 🎉 I have been designing my PhD project for years now while working on my bachelors and masters degrees, and I’m still over the moon about this all! I get to study recreational reading in everyday contexts to see how reading influences our lives and how it fits into the hassle of everyday life. My partner and I will be moving to Edinburgh this Summer! 🎊 🎉

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I have been crying from happiness non-stop since I heard the news 2 weeks ago.

I am so greatful and very excited to start my PhD. It’s surreal that I get to say that; I’ll start my PhD! EEK.

But I also read books in March!

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January + February Wrap-up

The beginning of the year has been a rollercoaster with a bit of homelessness, loads of PhD applications, an endless amount of university assignments and some stolen moments for reading. All of this has unfortunately meant that I haven’t been as present in the book blogo-sphere as I would have wanted, I’m sorry!

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My blogger-self singing to my distracted lazy-self

My reading life han’t been perfect either! In January I only managed to finish two books while in February I read 8, but many of them were slightly disappointing. But ahoy let’s wrap this crazy beginning of 2019 up

Continue reading “January + February Wrap-up”