Top ten extraordinary book titles

Inspired by Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme managed by That Artsy Reader Girl, I am going to talk about my favourite book titles. Some of them are really original, others are beautiful or very well-chosen.

Extraordinary book titles part 1

1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
From the start it’s clear that The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a book club. But the origin of the name is revealed later. I loved to find out where it came from!

2. The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
This book title is of course remarkable because of the length. It’s also a small, but accurate summary of the book.

3. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
A beautiful and meaningful book title. I’m pretty sure if refers to one of the main characters: Marie-Laure, a blind girl. To teach her the way, her father made a miniature of her neighbourhood in Paris. But when the Nazis occupy Paris, they have to flee. The title is also a quote in this beautiful written book.

4. Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire
This one sounds beautiful and fits the book too. The story is set in Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. It’s a special school for children who once went through a magical doorway. But they came back from their magical world and no longer feel at home in our world. Most of them are still looking for the doorway that will return them.

5. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Another one that sounds good and is also meaningful. Though it’s hard to explain why, because it’s been a while since I read the book. I do remember that the whole title and the words ‘extremely loud’ and ‘incredibly close’ are used a few times in the story.

Extraordinary book titles part 2

6. My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
This striking title immediately made me curious about the story. The book is on my TBR-list for The Literary Grand Tour of the World.

7. The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O by Neal Stephenson & Nicole Galland
When reading this abbreviation on a book in a bookshop, I really wanted to know what it meant. It stands for Department of Diachronic Operations. They have some old documents that prove that magic actually existed, but stopped working due to the industrialisation. The organization wants to develop a device to bring back magic. I haven’t read this book yet, but it does sound interesting!

8. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
This book isn’t on my TBR-list, but it has a great title. It sounds magical and a bit weird in a good way. Next to fantasy, on Goodreads the book is also tagged as magical realism. That’s exactly what I think of when reading the title.

9. We Speak in Storms by Natalie Lund
This title sounds so intriguing. The book came out a month ago, so I haven’t read it yet. It’s a magical realism story about a tornado that hits the same place twice.

10. Spellbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle
Another book with a title that feels magical. It immediately makes me curious about this spellbook. According to the description it’s an ancient spellbook, full of hand-inked charms to conjure back lost things. It’s the chance for the main characters to set everything right.

Beastly books for World Animal Day

The fourth of October is the day to celebrate the lives of all animals on Earth. All animals; your pets, but pigs, cows and wild animals as well. So do give your cat, dog or rabbit an extra snack, but also consider eating vegetarian or vegan today. It’s actually quite easy. And why not read a novel with animals in a leading role?

Beastly books for World Animal Day

The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa
This is one of my all-time favourites! The fact that the story is narrated by a cat is just one reason why I love it. It’s also a beautiful book that made me laugh and almost cry. At the start of the story Nana is a stray cat. Saroru gives him food and is sometimes allowed to pet him. When Nana is hit by a car, Satoru takes the cat home. Five years later they go on a road trip though Japan. Nana is not sure why or where they are going.

Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver
I read this book as child and really enjoyed it. It’s the first part of a prehistorical fantasy series about Torak and his Wolf. I can’t remember a lot about it, but I know the friendship between them is amazing. I would love to reread this book or the whole series at some point.

Eric in the Land of the Insects by Godfried Bomans
I wanted to include this book, because it’s the only one I could think of where insects play an important role. They are animals too after all. This is a Dutch classic that was first published in 1940. It may be an old book, but it’s still a nice story. It reminded me a little of Alice in Wonderland. One night the nine-year-old Eric enters a landscape painting. In there he becomes miniscule and gets to know all kinds of insects.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
I had to read this book in high school. My English wasn’t very good at that moment, so reading it required quite some time and effort. I probably didn’t understand everything and the story bored me. That’s why I never finished this book. I still like the premise, so I may give it another chance. The story is about Pi, the son of a zookeeper. When he and his family emigrate with all their animals from India to North America, their ship sinks. Pi finds himself alone in a lifeboat with a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra and a big Bengal tiger.

What are your favourite books about animals? Tell me in the comments!

Hogwarts House Battle readathon – wrap-up

This month I participated in the Hogwarts House Battle. This readathon was organized by Katie from BookMarked. I managed to read a lot: 8 books with a total of 3067 pages! With 400 points for the class challenges I ended the month with 3467 points for Hufflepuff. Not bad! Here are my thoughts about the books I read.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. RowlingHerbology – Caring: Read a book that means a lot to you
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling – reread
After rereading Order of the Phoenix I couldn’t resist the temptation to continue with Harry Potter! What I admire about the last three parts is that they are quite dark, but still have a lot of funny moments. During this reread I also noticed that the focus of the books is slowly shifting. In the fifth part the lessons still have a prominent place in the story. But in the Half-Blood Prince they are more in the background. Instead Voldemort and the relationships between the characters are most important.

The Hound of the Baskervilles - Arthur Conan DoyleCare of Magical Creatures – The Beasts: Read a book with an animal on the cover
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle – 3,5 stars
A man visits 221B Bakerstreet to ask for advice. He tells a legend about a fearsome hound. Than he explains the possible connection between this legend and the death of Sir Charles Baskerville. This is the start of an interesting mystery. While reading it’s obvious that the book was published more than hundred years ago. The language is a bit archaic and the pacing is slower than most modern mysteries. I still enjoyed reading how Sherlock Holmes and Watson solve the mystery. I do have to admit that I prefer the modern Sherlock from TV. In the series Watson has more personality and Sherlock is even more iconic than in the book.

I'll Give You the Sun - Jandy NelsonApparation – Teleportation: Only read this book in public
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson – 4 stars
The chapters of this book alternate between twins. Noah tells the reader about his life when he and his sister are thirteen and later fourteen years old. Jude’s story is set three years later. While reading the book I was not sure what to think about the characters. But the beautiful writing style kept me going. It’s a bit “artistic” and full of metaphors. The writing style fits with an important theme in both story lines: art. It also reflects in a wonderful way how the characters look at the world. In the end I came to understand Noah and Jude and they really grew on me.

Cloud Atlas - David MitchellDivination – The Future: Read a predicted 5-star Read
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell –  4 stars
This book is made up of six stories. Although my expectations were a bit too high, I liked most of them. After reading the first one I was quite disappointed. But I kept reading and the stories became more and more interesting. Each of them is set in a different moment in time and about other characters. As reader you can discover connections between the stories. Each time I found a reference to another story, it felt like a small reward. There are also themes that play a role in each story. If you want to read this book, I would recommend to start it without knowing a lot about it. I think Cloud Atlas is best to discover by yourself.

Eva Luna - Isabel AllendeHistory of Magic – Historical: Read a book from another generation
Eva Luna by Isabel Allende – 3,5 stars
Just like most other books from Isabel Allende, this was a beautiful character-driven story. Eva Luna is an extraordinary woman that tells the reader about her life. Some parts are a bit weird, but overall I enjoyed the story. It was easy to read and I liked the writing style. Next to Eva, the book also has a couple of other interesting characters like a found grandma that sleeps in a coffin and a famous trans actress.

The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret AtwoodStudy of Ancient Runes – Ancients: Read a classic novel
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – 4 stars
This book is set in a terrible, dystopian version of the United States. As a Handmaid, the protagonist has only one function: to breed. For other women life isn’t much better in this society. From the first page onward the story is grim, but captivating. The word-building is done incredibly well. We can only see the world through the eyes of the narrator. What’s going on and how this situation came to be is slowly revealed. And for once I didn’t mind the open ending. It actually fits the story and probably made it even more powerful.

Want - Cindy PonFlying – Fly High: Read your most anticipated book
Want by Cindy Pon – 5 stars
I expected to enjoy this book and I was entirely right! It has an interesting world, great characters and an amazing story. The world attracted my attention since I heard about Want. The book is set in a future where the air is seriously polluted. The rich wear special suits that protect them from getting ill, the rest is doomed to die young. Our narrator, Jason Zhou, and his friends want this to change. This exciting story is not only enjoyable, it’s also very relevant right now. There are lots of similarities between the book and the world we live in.

The Last Namsara - Kristen CiccarelliCharms – Something New and Unexpected: Read a new-to-you book
The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli – 3 stars
Main character of this book is the most feared dragon slayer of the country. Despite her powers, Asha must mary a cruel man. Her one chance to escape this arranged marriage is to kill the most powerful dragon. I did enjoy reading this story, but I wasn’t really feeling it. The idea was interesting, but I think the writer could have developed the plot better. The characters were okay, but none of them really came alive for for me.  It’s a shame that I didn’t like the book more, because I do understand why many people are enthusiastic about it.

My TBR-list for The Literary Grand Tour of the World

This autumn I am going to participate in The Literary Grand Tour of the World, organized by Kat from Minas Morgul. This reading challenge will take place from 1st October till 31st December. During these three months we have to read as many books set in different countries as we can.

We get points for every country we “visit”. How many point depends on the country:
1 point: United States, United Kingdom
2 points: Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Russia, Scotland, South Korea, Spain
3 points: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Switzerland
4 points: any European country not already listed
5 points: any non-European country not already listed
You can get extra points if the book has a non-White protagonist/largely non-white cast, LGBT+ protagonist/mainly LGBT+ cast or a disabled character.

It’s hard to estimate how many books I’m going to read this autumn. Ten books seem like a good start. Linking up with Top Ten Tuesday, here is my TBR-list.

My TBR-list for The Literary Grand Tour of the World part 1.jpg

The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht
Setting: The Balkans (the country is not mentioned)
The main characters of this book are Natalia and her grandfather. He recently died under inexplicable circumstances. In search for clues Natalia turns to the stories he told her when she was a child.

Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
Setting: Barbados
This looks like a great book for the challenge! The elven-year old slave Washington Black is chosen to be the manservant of Cristopher Wild. This explorer invented a flying machine. After an incident the two have to get away. What follows is flight along the eastern coast of America and beyond.

The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley
Setting: Brazil
Multiple people have recommended these books to me. The series start in Geneva, at the childhood home of the sisters. Six sisters are told that their father, who adopted them all as babies, has died. Each book of the series is about one of the sisters. The first part tells Maya’s story.

Labyrinth by Kate Mosse
Setting: France
This book has two stories. One is about a young woman in 1200s, the other about an archaeologist in the present. I usually like it when a book alternates between characters in different times. So I am looking forward to reading this book!

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
Setting: Italy
This book is about the friendship between two girls. After the book was made into a TV series, it became really popular. I am curious to find out what I will think of this story.

My TBR-list for The Literary Grand Tour of the World - part 2

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Setting: Mexico
I’m very excited about this book! Not a lot of other fantasy books are set in 1920s Mexico. The story is also inspired by Mayan mythology.

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
Setting: New Zealand
This is a historical mystery set in the nineteenth century. The structure of the book is especially interesting. The first chapter has the most pages, the second chapter is half as long, the third chapter has half the pages of the second, etc.

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
Setting: Nigeria
The title is quite striking and got me interested in this book. Ayoola has a habit of dispatching her boyfriends. Korede should go to the police to report her sister. But she loves her and family comes first. Until Ayoola starts dating a man Korede has long been in love with…

Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All by Jonas Jonasson
Setting: Sweden
Just like other books by Jonas Jonasson, this is a humorous story with a couple of bizarre characters. The three main characters are a Hitman who is just out of prison, a female protestant vicar who happens to be atheist and a homeless receptionist of a former brothel.

Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp
Setting: United States, asexual & aromantic MC
Best friends Corey and Kyra were inseparable until Corey has to move away. Just before she returns, Kyra dies. Corey is devastated, but also knows something is wrong.

The Pancake Book Tag

The Pancake Book Tag

Earlier this year Marie from Drizzle & Hurricane Books did this tag. Since I love pancakes, I thought I should do it too! I like to make pancakes myself, but occasionally I also go to a pancake restaurant. The last time I got a huge pancake with warm cherries, ice cream and whipped cream. So delicious!

The rules
– Link back to the original creator in your post.
– Feel free to use any of my pancake graphics in your post, or create your own!
– Tag 5 other people at the end of your post, and let them know you’ve tagged them.

The Pancake Book Tag - 1. Pancakes & a Sprinkling of Sugar.png

Indigo - Strange the DreamerAll books by Laini Taylor are beautifully written. My absolute favourites are Strange the Dreamer and its sequel Muse of Nightmares. I believe she can do magic with words. Her descriptions of the characters are excellent. Just read what Laini Taylor writes about Lazlo Strange: “Lazlo couldn’t have belonged at the library more truly if he were a book himself.” & “His nose was broken by a falling volume of fairy tales his first day on the job, and that, they said, told you everything you needed to know about Lazlo Strange: head in the clouds, world of his own, fairy tales and fancy.”

(By the way: sugar is simple, but delicious on pancakes)

The Pancake Book Tag - 2. Pancakes & Lemon Drizzle.png

Nevernight - Jay KristoffMia, the main character of The Nevernight Chronicles by Jay Kristoff is definitively sharp in wit. After the execution of her father, she wants revenge. That’s why Mia becomes an apprentice of the Red Church, a school of assassins. She has to be smart to survive. During the lessons teachers poison their students and let them fight with each other. Furthermore, an unknown killer is after the students.

(I never had lemon drizzle on my pancke, and it doesn’t sound very appealing…)

The Pancake Book Tag - 3. Pancakes & Chocolate Nutella Drizzle

The Neverending Story

I could choose multiple books here, but I will go for The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. It’s not a book I reread very often, but it is a childhood favourite I still love. In this book, Bastian reads a book called The Neverending Story. He slowly discovers that he plays a role in this story. At a certain point he gets into the book!

(What food doesn’t get better when you add chocolate? Well, I can name a few dishes, but pancakes isn’t one of them!)

The Pancake Book Tag - 4. Pancakes & Golden Syrup

Between Shades of Gray - Ruta SepetysThe last novel that left me with a serious book hangover is Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. It’s set in the Second World War, so the theme is quite heavy. The book is written in such a way that it’s easy to read, but the story still gave me so many feelings. After finishing this book I kept thinking about it for a long time.

The Pancake Book Tag - 5. Pancakes, Strawberries & Cream.png

Tilly and the Bookwanderers - Anna JamesTilly and the Book Wanderers by Anna James felt like an unexpected present! It’s an amazing book about books that reminded me of Matilda and The Neverending Story. Main character of this story is the eleven year-old Tilly who lives above her grandparents’ bookshop. One day a character from the book she’s reading appears in the shop. Basically the dream of every booklover!

(Pancakes and fruit are a great match! I also love pancakes with apple, raisins and cinnamon)

The Pancake Book Tag - 6. Pancakes & Blueberries

Ship op Magic (Liveship Traders, #1) - Robin HobbIn Ship of Magic, written by Robin Hobb, the thirteen year-old Malta is a spoiled and cunning girl that is obsessed with boys and clothes. In this book I didn’t like her as a character. But Malta’s character development in the second part of The Liveship Traders trilogy is amazing. She learns from her mistakes and turns into a brave, young woman. Malta became one of my favourite characters of the trilogy.

The Pancake Book Tag - 7. Pancakes & Banana Toffee

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg LarssonThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the first part of the Milennium Trilogy written by Stieg Larsson. The main character is Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist. He is hired to investigate the disappearance of a member of a wealthy Swedish family. Usually I prefer other genres, but this mystery is so good. It’s a complex book that takes its time to introduce the characters to the reader. But the book also is exciting and it kept surprising me. Only in the end we get all the answers.

(I never ate a pancake with banana toffee, but it sounds good)

The Pancake Book Tag - 8. Pancake & Crispy Bacon.png

A Thousand Pieces of You - Claudia GrayMarguerite & Paul from A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray didn’t really seem a good match at the start of the book… Marguerite’s parents are scientists and invented the Firebird. This is an instrument that can be used to jump into multiple universes. When Marguerite’s father is killed, Paul is the main suspect. With the Firebird he escapes to another dimension. Marguerite follows him. On this journey she meets alternate versions of people she knows, including Paul…

(Since I’m vegetarian, I wouldn’t choose a pancake with bacon. In any case, I rather have something sweet!)

The Pancake Book Tag - 9. Pancakes & Peanut Butter.png

The Loneliness of Distant Being - Kate LingI strongly disliked Seren, the main character from The Loneliness of Distant Beings by Kate Ling. The whole story wasn’t my thing. The book is set in a spaceship that is on long journey to a new planet. Most people on the ship were born there and will never leave it. Interesting idea, but I don’t think it was very well executed. My main problem is the characters. I didn’t like any of them, especially not Seren. She is selfish, annoying and constantly complaining about everything. On top of this, the book also has a bad case of insta-love.

(I do like peanut butter, but I woudn’t combine it with pancakes)

The Pancake Book Tag - 10. Pancakes with a bit of Everything.png

On the Edge of Gone - Corinne Duyvis.jpgOn the Edge of Gone by Corrine Duyvis is a great book with a diverse cast of characters. The story starts a few days before a comet is scheduled to hit the earth. Denise, her mother and sister Iris have to go to a temporary shelter. But Denise’s drug-addicted mother isn’t in any hurry and they don’t know where Iris is. In this way they won’t reach the shelter in time… The book is narrated by Denise, a biracial girl who has autism, just like the writer. Reading this story really helped me to understand how it is to have autism. Iris is a bisexual trans girl, and the story also features lesbian, Muslim and Jewish characters.

I won’t tag anyone, but feel free to this tag if you like pancakes! 🥞

Five books on my TBR I’m avoiding reading

When writing about my TBR I am usually talking about a list with books I want to read. I do have some unread books at home. Currently I own 10 books I haven’t read yet. I managed to neglect some of them for ages… I also have a couple of library books, but I usually read those within a month. This post was inspired by the Top Ten Tuesday of this week. That is of course a weekly meme managed by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Five books on my TBR I'm avoiding reading

1. Zenith (Exodus, #2) by Julie Bertagna
I found a Dutch edition of Exodus, the first part of this trilogy, at a library sale. It’s an amazing dystopia about the consequences of climate change. After reading it, I immediately put the sequel on my TBR-list. But two years later I still haven’t bought Zenith. I would like to have a Dutch edition of the book. I could totally read it in English, but I want the books to match. The problem is that Zenith is never translated in Dutch (as far as I know). I could totally buy the whole trilogy in English, but for some reason I haven’t done this yet…

2. Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All by Jonas Jonasson
My mother found this book in a street library and gave it to me. I own it for a while now. The writer is famous for his book The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared. I enjoyed reading that book. So I’m probably going to like his other books too. But I often prefer to read books I borrow from the library. Those books have a due date and the books I own haven’t. For this reason I have avoided reading Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All.

3. Want by Cindy Pon
I want to read this book since I first heard about it. However, I still haven’t bought it… I don’t know why, because I’m pretty sure I’m going to like it!

4. Het Levende Labyrint (De Verborgen Universiteit, #2) by Natalie Koch
I loved the first part of this Dutch trilogy; De Erfenis van Richard Grenville. The sequel bored me, so I put it down and never finished the book. I hope to give it another try this month. Just like Want, I put Het Levende Labyrint on my TBR for the Hogwarts House Battles.

5. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
I feel like everyone has read this book, except me. It’s so popular. Due to this hype I’m afraid it will disappoint me. But I have read other books by Maggie Stiefvater and liked all of them. So I really should buy this book and just see if I will like it.

Magical Readathon – N.E.W.T.s: The results

First, I want to thank G from Book Roast for organizing the Magical Readathon! I enjoyed participating in both the O.W.Ls and the N.E.W.T.s. At the start of August I shared my TBR-list for the N.E.W.T.s. I intended to read four books. I did and even read an extra one! Here are my thoughts about the books I read:

Muggle Studies

A – Cover that includes an actual photo element
The Throwaway Children - Diney CosteloeThe Throwaway Children by Diney Costeloe – 4 stars
Just after the Second World War Rita and her little sister Rosa are left with their widowed mother Mavis. She marries again with a terrible man. He pressures Mavis to send the children to an orphanage. It is meant to be a temporary solution. But the papers that were signed, tell something else. Mavis doesn’t realize that she actually gave her children away. What follows is a heart-breaking story. Many times I felt really sad for these two children! Partly because this story may be fiction, but things like this actually have happened. The book does a wonderful job in telling this story.

Transfiguration

Timekeeper - Tara Sim

A – Read a book with LGBTQIA+ representation
Timekeeper by Tara Sim – 3,5 stars
This book is set in a version of London in 1875 where a damaged clock can fracture time. If a clock isn’t repaired on time, the time in a town just stops working. So a mechanic like Danny is literally a timekeeper. The premise of this book is so original! I enjoyed reading it. I do think the pacing could be better. The book dragged at some points. Especially the middle was a little boring.

History of Magic

A – Read a fantasy book
The Bone Witch - Rin ChupecoThe Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco – 4 stars
Tea never intended to raise her brother from his grave. She also never expected to be a bone witch. After this revelation Tea has to leave her home to train and control her magic. As reader I learned just as much about the magic and her world as Tea herself. The world building in this book is amazing! This did slow down the story. At some points the book was a bit too descriptive. But overall I didn’t mind the slow pacing. The writing style also totally made up for it. This book is the first part of a trilogy, I hope to read the other books at some point.

The Valley of Horses - Jean M. AuelE – Read a book that includes a map
The Valley of Horses (Earth’s Children, #2) by Jean M. Auel – 4 stars
Apparently most of the books I have read this month have a slow pacing. This story too, it’s entirely character-driven. The chapters alternate between Ayla and Jondalar. I knew for sure that these two characters would meet each other. This happened only 150 pages from the end. So some parts of the book really felt like waiting. But I kept reading, because it was interesting to read how the characters lived 35.000 years ago. Especially Ayla’s story was fascinating.

O – Tom Riddle’s diary: Fond memory — reread a favorite (or read a classic)
Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5) by J.K. Rowling – reread
I have read Harry Potter many times. When I was younger I reread the whole series at least twice. After that I chose to reread some of the books separately. So this is probably the fifth time I read Order of the Phoenix. This part has always been my favourite. It’s darker than the earlier books. Harry has to deal with the aftermath of what happened at the end of part four. What he experienced is already upsetting. In addition to this, half of the wizarding population doesn’t believe him. All these circumstances cause Harry to really grow as a character.

Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Test Results

Pass grades:
Outstanding (O)
Exceeds Expectations (E)
Acceptable (A)

Anouk has achieved:

History of Magic: O
Muggle Studies: A
Transfiguration: A

The requirements for the career I chose are:

Wizarding career - Journalist or writer

In July I got six O.W.L.s including one for History of Magic and for Muggle Studies. Now I succefully passed the N.E.W.T.s in three subjects. This means I fulfilled all the requirements to call myself a journalist/writer!

Hogwarts House Battle readathon – TBR

Before participating in the Magical Reathon I thought readathons weren’t my thing. But I really came to love them! Especially if they are Harry Potter-themed! So I decided to take part in another readathon in September: The Hogwarts House Battle. It is created by Katie of BookMarked. Everything is explained in the video and on this twitter page. The idea of the readathon is that you can get a house point for every page you read. You get 50 extra house points for every class challenge you complete. There is also a group assignment and special weekly tasks to earn even more house points.

Hufflepuff badger - from Pottermore
I belong to Hufflepuff!

There’s a reading prompt for every class, fifteen in total. I won’t be able to read so many books in a month, but I did make an extensive TBR for the class challenges. In this way I can choose what books I want to read during the month.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet - Becky ChambersAlchemy – New Forms: Read a recommendation (from a friend)

It wasn’t exactly recommended by a friend, but this book is specifically recommended for Hufflepuffs by multiple bloggers. That makes it a great choice for this readathon. I’m talking about The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. The story is described as feel-good science fiction and the diverse cast of characters is often praised. The book has 404 pages.

Apparation – Teleportation: Only read this book in public

This is a fitting prompt for me, because I usually read a book while traveling to and from work. So for this class I could choose any book. I’m going for one I recently borrowed from the library: I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson. The Dutch edition has 364 pages.

Arithmancy – Numbers: Read a book with a number in the title

Since I found out that Gabriel García Márquez was a big source of inspiration for Isabel Allende, I want to read one of his books. For this prompt I have chosen One Hundred Years of Solitude. I am probably going to read the Dutch edition with 491 pages.

Astronomy – Reading Under the Stars: Only read this book at night

Sometimes I read before I go to bed, but not always. So usually there aren’t any books I only read at night. For this challenge I am choosing a small book: The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald. The book has 163 pages, so I can easily read it on a Friday evening.

The Hound of the Baskervilles - Arthur Conan Doyle

Care of Magical Creatures – The Beasts: Read a book with an animal on the cover

Years ago, before watching Sherlock, I read A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle. I liked the book, but I wasn’t very fond of it. This year I found The Hound of the Baskervilles on a library sale. I am curious if I will like the Sherlock Holmes books more now. I did enjoy the episode in Sherlock based on this story. The book has 214 pages.

Charms – Something New and Unexpected: Read a new-to-you book

For this class I want to read The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli. The main character of this story is a female dragon slayer. It sounds like a story I will love. The Dutch edition of the book has 379 pages.

Defence Against the Dark Arts – Can’t Last: Read a book you previously put down

I’m not entirely sure if I am going to do this prompt. But there’s one book I DNF’d a while ago that deserves another try. It’s a Dutch book called Het Levende Laybrint, written by Natalie Koch. This is the second part of a trilogy. I loved the first part, De Erfenis van Richard Grenville. The sequel bored me, so I put it down and never finished it. This definitively had something to do with the length of the book, it has 663 pages.

Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

Divination – The Future: Read a predicted 5-star read

For this prompt I want to read Cloud Atlas from David Mitchell. I never read anything from this writer, but I am very curious. The book has six stories that are in some way linked to each other. It is said that the book has an unusual narrative structure. Just like some of my favourite books. So this could be a new 5-star read! The Dutch edition of the book has 551 pages.

Flying – Fly High: Read your most anticipated book

Since the start of the year I want to read Want by Cindy Pon. And I still haven’t read it… The book sounds so interesting. It’s set in a future where the place Taipei is plagued by pollution. Rich people can wear special suits, but the rest gets sick and dies early. The main character, Jason Zhou, will do everything to change this. The book has 328 pages.

Herbology – Caring: Read a book that means a lot to you

This seems like a great opportunity to re-read an old favourite! It will be hard to choose, but I would love to read Strange the Dreamer and Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor again. Another posibility is one of the Harry Potter books.

History of Magic – Historical: Read a book from another generation

I struggled a bit with this prompt. But I decided to go for a book from Isabel Allende. She is definitively from another generation than I am. And the book I am going to read, Eva Luna, was first published in 1987. The Dutch edition I have at home has 305 pages.

Muggle Studies – Blending In: Read a hyped book

It seems like everyone has read The Raven Boys. I did read other books written by Maggie Stiefvater, but never this one. By now I want to find out if the story is worth the hype. The book has 409 pages.

The Swarm - Frank SchätzingPotions – Mixing: Read a genre you wouldn’t usually pick up

I don’t read a lot of thrillers. The books I did read in this genre weren’t that memorable. This is probably because I like character-driven books more than plot-driven books.  But The Swarm by Frank Schätzing sounds like a thriller I might enjoy. It’s an apocalyptic thriller with all kinds of natural disasters. I enjoy watching disaster movies, so chances are I also will like this book. The Dutch edition has 704 pages.

Study of Ancient Runes – Ancients: Read a classic novel

For this class I want to read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. The book is set in a dystopia. That already raised my interest. The story is also said to be powerful and thought-provoking. I’m curious what I will think of this book. It has 324 pages.

Transfigurations – Change: Read the last book you bought

I already read the last book I bought, but I may buy a new book later in September.

Most loved & hated tropes in books

The last time I took part in a Top Ten Tuesday was a month ago. So here I am with a new list! The topic of this week is ‘Favourite tropes’. A trope is a commonly used theme or plot device. I extended the topic and also included my least favourite prompts. Top Ten Tuesday is of course the weekly meme managed by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Tropes I love

The Name of the Wind - Patrick Rothfuss1. Magic schools
I totally blame Harry Potter for this! But I just love to read about characters learning some kind of magic and going to classes. I really like the vibes of a school setting. Other than the Harry Potter books, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is also a well-known book set on a school of magic.

Singing the Dogstar Blues - Alison Goodman2. Unlikely friendships
I love friendships between characters from different species or people you just wouldn’t expect to get along. A good example is the friendship between Gimli and Legolas in The Lord of the Rings. Another great book with this trope is Singing the Dogstar Blues by Alison Goodman. In this book Joss studies at the Centre for Neo-Historical Studies. For the first time an alien studies at the Centre. He becomes Joss’ study partner.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Laini Taylor3. Enemies to lovers
I haven’t actively been looking for books with this trope, but I seem to like it. I enjoy reading how two characters that are meant to hate each other slowly fall in love. My favourite book series with this trope is The Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor. Karou and Akiva are a great couple!

Tropes I hate

1. Special snowflakes
I am talking about those characters who are not only the Chosen One, but also very handsome and unique®. I think the Chosen One on itself is a trope that is used a bit too often. But it becomes annoying when a character also acts like they are super special and “totally not like other girls”…

2. Evil with no reason
This one is often used in movies, but I also came across the trope in books. I don’t like it, because it’s too simplistic. People do bad things for a reason. I want to know how characters came to be the way they are. Besides no one is completely evil or 100% good. Show me heroes who do bad things and give me morally grey characters!

3. Secretly royal
The main character finds out that he or she is secretly that lost princess, prince, king or queen. I don’t like this trope, because it’s usually no longer a surprise when it’s finally revealed.

The Disney princess sidekicks tag

Today seems like a good moment to do this funny book tag! I found it on The Literary Phoenix. The tag was created by Mandy and Sha from Book Princess Reviews. It’s all about the sidekicks. We start with my favourite childhood movie!

Mushu from Mulan

The comic relief: Name your favourite hilarious character or your favourite comedy/funny  book

Mushu from Mulan  Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda - Becky Albertalli

A book that made me smile a lot while reading it was Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I wouldn’t call it a funny book, but it did make me happy.

The Seven Dwarves from Snow White

Favourite group/ensemble

The Seven Dwarves from Snow White  Illuminae - Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

The characters from The Illuminae Files are a great team! My favourites are Kady and Ezra, but I love to see how they worked together with the others in Obsidio.

Pascal from Tangled

The loyal cheerleader chameleon (not a frog, Flynn Rider): Name a book that started one way but changed for you

Pascal from Tangled  A Court of Thorns and Roses - Sarah J. Maas

Sometimes I don’t like a book at the beginning, but I come to like it later on. This was the case with A Court of Thorns and Roses.

Meeko from Pocahontas

Pocahontas’ sly and sneaky raccoon friend: Name a plot twist that you didn’t see coming

Meeko from Pocahontas  Strange the Dreamer - Laini Taylor

One of my favourite plot twists is the ending of Strange the Dreamer. I don’t want to spoil it, so I can’t tell more about it… But if you read the book, you definitively know what I mean!

Rajah from Aladdin

Gentle with their princess but protective with everyone else – Name your favorite best friend in a novel

Rajah from Aladdin  Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Laini Taylor

That must be Zuzana in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy! She was a great friend for Karou when she needed it most.

Cogsworth, Lumiere, Mrs. Potts, & Chip from Beauty and the Beast

The Musical Bunch – Name a novel where music played a big part or made you want to sing its praises

Cogsworth, Lumiere, Mrs. Potts, & Chip from Beauty and the Beast  De erfenis van Richard Grenville - Natalie Koch

The Dutch book De Erfenis van Richard Grenville is set on a small university in London. Hidden between the regular students, some of the students secretly study magic. One of them is Alexa. But even stranger things start to happen: people suddenly loose conscious without waking up. Music plays a role in the plot of this original story.

Maximus from Tangled

The obstacle in Flynn Rider’s way – Name a character that faces a lot of obstacles

Maximus from Tangled  Assassin's Apprentice

Fitz from the Farseer trilogy doesn’t have an easy life. There are many people, enemies as well as friends, in his way that prevent him from becoming happy.

Hamish, Hubert, & Harris from Brave

Favorite family dynamics in a novel

Hamish, Hubert, & Harris from Brave  The Boy Who Steals Houses

The chaotic Delainey family in The Boy Who Steals Houses is amazing! This is a big family with a father, lots of boys and one girl. They do have their quarrels, but they are great together.

Three Fairies from Sleeping Beauty

The Advice Givers – Book that most impacted your life

Three Fairies from Sleeping Beauty  Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone  The Creative License - Danny Gregory

It was so hard to choose one book! When considering fiction, the Harry Potter books were important in my life. I read each of them so many times, that the characters feel very real to me. A non-fiction book that changed my life is The Creative License. This book was the reason I started an art journal, and have been keeping one for years.

Hei Hei from Moana

Name a character that steals the show

Hei Hei from Moana  Will Grayson, Will Grayson - John Green & David Levithan

The book Will Grayson, Will Grayson has two protagonists with the same name. One of them is befriended with Tiny. You could argue that he is the main character. Tiny definitively steals the show in both story lines!

Gus & Jaq from Cinderella

Opposites Attract – Name your favorite or worst opposite attracts pairing

Gus & Jaq from Cinderella  Cress - Marissa Meyer

Cress and Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles are an amazing example of opposites attract. Cress is an introvert girl, while Thorne is a sarcastic thief. Despite their differences, they are a great couple.