O.W.L.s Readathon 2020: TBR

Last year I loved to participate in the Magical Readathon organized by G from Book Roast on YouTube! This readathon consists of two parts: the O.W.L.s and the N.E.W.T.s. Hogwarts students in Harry Potter take the O.W.L.s in their fifth year and the N.E.W.T.s in their sixth year. We take the O.W.L.s in April and the N.E.W.T.s in August. I was immediately excited when I saw the announcement for this year. Of course there are new reading prompts. Just like last year you can choose a career. There are also new careers available! This time I would like to become

Librarian  OR  Trader of Magical Tomes

Librarion - Magical Readahton Trader of Magical Tomes - Magical Readathon
Click on the images to read the whole Wizarding Careers Guide made by G from Book Roast.

Which career I am going to choose depends on how many books I will be able to read. To become a Librarian I have to get five O.W.L.s, but to become a Trader of Magical Tomes I need only four O.W.L.s. I am going to try to read books for all subjects. So I can still choose what suits me best when I take the N.E.W.T.s in August. Here are the books I want to read in April for each prompt:

O.W.L.s Readathon 2020 TBR part 1

Ancient Runes – Heart rune: heart on the cover or in the title: Tash Heart Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee
After buying it a few months ago, this book is still on my TBR-pile. This prompt is the perfect opportunity to finally read it. It’s about Natasha, “Tash”, who is a huge fan of Anna Karenina. She made a modern adaptation of the story. After a shout-out from a popular vlogger, her show goes viral. Next to this pressure, Tash also has to figure out how to tell her crush that she is asexual.

Charms – Lumos Maxima: white cover: In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende
The Dutch edition fits the prompt with its white cover. This is the ninth book by Isabel Allende I will read. She writes beautiful and I always like her stories. I try to read at least one of her books every year.

History of Magic – Witch hunts: book featuring witches/wizards: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
I read this book four years ago and really loved it. I wanted to read the sequel, but still haven’t. By now I don’t remember a lot about the first part and I don’t even know if I still love it. So it’s time for a re-read! I actually love to re-read books, but there are so many new books to read that it’s hard to find time for it.

O.W.L.s Readathon 2020 TBR part 2

Transfiguration – Animagus lecture: books/series that include shapeshifting: Soulless by Gail Carriger
I would like to read more steampunk, because I love the fact that steampunk is basically a mix of my favourite genres: fantasy, science fiction and historical fiction. I put this book on my TBR-list in SciFiMonth, and now I finally ordered it. According to the description one of the characters is a werewolf, so it suits the prompt. I really hope I will love it!

Arithmancy – Magical qualities of number 2: balance/opposites – read something outside your favourite genre: Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood
Since fantasy and science-fiction are my favourite genres, I choose a contemporary novel for this prompt. I am currently reading The Testaments by the same author. She writes well, so I’d like to read more of her books.

Defence Against the Dark Arts – Grindylows: book set at the sea/coast: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
The main character of this book is violinist who turns out to be a time traveller. When done well, I think time travelling in books can be really interesting. At least a part of this book is set at sea, so it also fits the prompt.

Another plan for this spring will be to participate in Wyrd & Wonder in May. More about this in a few weeks! Because this post is a spring TBR, I tag along with Top Ten Tuesday. This weekly meme is managed by That Artsy Reader Girl. What are your spring reading plans? Tell me in the comments!

Magical Readathon – N.E.W.T.s 2019: 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!

Magical Readathon – N.E.W.T.s 2019

In August the second part of the Magical Readathon takes place! This reading challenge is organised by the amazing Book Roast on youtube. She also came up with prompts for the N.E.W.T.s, but they work slightly different than the O.W.L.s. For the N.E.W.T.s you can get different grades for each subject: Acceptable (A), Exceeds Expectations (E), and Outstanding (O). For every grade you have to read a certain kind of book. Watch Book Roast’s video to get a detailed explanation.

To become a journalist/writer I need an E for History of Magic, an A for Muggle Studies and an A in an subject of my own picking. I chose Transfiguration. In total I have to read four books this month.

History of Magic

A – Read a fantasy book: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco
E – Read a book that includes a map: The Valley of Horses by Jean M. Auel

The Bone Witch - Rin Chupeco  The Valley of Horses - Jean M. Auel

Muggle Studies

A – Cover that includes an actual photo element: The Throwaway Children by Diney Costeloe

The Throwaway Children - Diney Costeloe

Transfiguration

A – Read a book with LGBTQIA+ representation: Timekeeper by Tara Sim

Timekeeper - Tara Sim

This August I am going to work as recreation worker. I may not have time to write blog posts, but I hope to find some spare time!

Magical Readathon – O.W.L.s 2019: The results

This Magical Readathon is organised by Book Roast on youtube. At the start of this month I shared my TBR-list for the O.W.L.s. I read six books and managed to get all the O.W.L.s I hoped for! Here are the results.

Assassin's Quest - Robin Hobb

History of Magic – Published at least 10 years ago
Assassin’s Quest (Farseer Trilogy, #3) by Robin Hobb – 3 stars
This is probably one of the biggest books I ever read, the Dutch edition has 911 pages! The best thing about this book is definitively the relation between Fitz and Nighteyes. These parts are very well-written and made the story worth reading. But I think the book didn’t need to have so many pages. I also was a bit disappointed with the ending.

Dear Martin - Nic Stone

Muggle Studies – Contemporary
Dear Martin by Nic Stone – 4 stars
A powerful and very relevant story about being black in the United States. We follow Justyce, who was put in handcuffs for helping a drunk friend. To make sense of this incident, he starts to write letters to Martin Luther King. The book does a great job in discussing racism and its consequences.

Defence Against the Dark Arts – Reducto: Title starts with an “R”
Rebel of the Sands - Alwyn HamiltonRebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton – 3 stars
This action-packed story starts in a town in the middle of the dessert. Amani is desperate to leave it. She grabs her chance when a mysterious foreigner appears. Personally I think the story went a bit too fast. Action scenes quickly succeeded each other. I would have liked more space to get to know the characters. Because I didn’t really care about the characters, I lost interest in the story. This was a pity, because I liked the setting. It’s a fantasy world inspired by the Middle East with Western elements.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson - John Green & David LevithanArithmancy – Work written by more than one author
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan – 4 stars
I did need some time to get used to the characters. After that I loved the two Will Graysons. They are well-written and realistic. I never mixed them up, even though the characters have the same name. Most things that happened to them, never happened to me at that age. But the vibes felt familiar. I also loved the ending!

A Court of Thorns and Roses - Sarah J. MaasTransfiguration – Sprayed edges or red cover
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas – 4 stars
This is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, but with more magic and an amazing plot. I actually didn’t expect to like this book so much. The first half of the book was okay, but not very exciting. I knew what was going to happen and I felt quite indifferent about it. But at a certain point the story started to make more sense. Feyre also grew on me. She is a strong and admirable character. I came to like her and the story too.

Circe - Madeline MillerAncient Runes – Retelling
Circe by Madeline Miller – 4 stars
This is a retelling about the witch Circe. It was interesting to learn more about Greek myths! I already knew some of them, but I never looked into it. The thing with myths is that they are usually about fundamental events and actions of the gods. In this book the focus is on the character development of Circe.  I liked that we really get to understand her. The story is also beautifully told.

In August I will start with the N.E.W.T.s. Look out for my TBR!

Book recommendations for the Hogwarts subjects

Last week I couldn’t find the time to write a blog post. This week I am back with a post inspired by the Magical Readathon! While making my TBR for the O.W.L.s, I thought it would be interesting to make a required reading list for the most important classes at Hogwarts. I did deviate somewhat from the prompts made by Book Roast.

Astronomy

In your study of stars and planets, it’s helpful to read books set in outer space.

The Martian - Andy Weir  Illuminae - Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

The Martian* by Andy Weir: Mark Watney is one of the first people to walk on Mars. He may also be the first to die there. His crew had to evacuate the planet and thought he was already dead. Although Mark is alone, far away from Earth, he isn’t ready to give up yet.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff: An amazing book told through a collection of emails, military files, IMs and more. The biggest part of the story is set on a couple of space ships where a deadly plague and the fleet’s Artificial Inteligence cause a major threat.

Charms

For this class, I recommend to read books that discuss different forms of magic.

Akata Witch  Assassin's Apprentice  Spellsinger - Sebastien de Castell

Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor: When the Nigerian Sunny learns that she is a Leopard, she discovers a whole secret society. The magical abilities of the Leopard people are based on their personality. Someone’s weakness becomes their greatest power.

The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb: There are basically two kinds of magic in this world. Wit is the ability to make a connection with an animal. Most people detest this ability. Skill is a power usually found in the royal family, it’s a type of magical telepathy. The royal bastard Fitz has a talent for both.

Spellsinger by Sebastien de Castell: All the Jan’Tep have six tattooed bands on their arms. Each band has to be activated to do the type of magic that matches that band. Children at the age of sixteen must prove that they have magic powers. It’s almost Kellen’s birthday and he has a problem: his magic is gone.

Defence Against the Dark Arts

Of course practicing is the best way to learn in this class. But reading books to better understand the Dark Arts will help as well.

The Lies of Locke Lamora - Scott Lynch  The Poppy War - R.F. Kuang

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch: The main characters in this book are the Gentleman Bastards, a band of clever thieves lead by Locke Lamora. You could call them antiheroes, but they would also pass as sympathetic villains. No wealthy noble is safe for their heists.

The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang: This is a remarkable military fantasy book based on Chinese history. The first part is largely set on Sinegard, the best military school of the country. When the war starts, the story becomes very dark. It really shows what becomes of characters when they have to fight in a horrific war. Proceed with caution if you are sensitive for torture, genocide or rape.

Herbology

Plants, gardens or nature in general play an important role in these books.

The Signature of All Things - Elizabeth Gilbert  The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett  The Clan of the Cave Bear - Jean M. Auel

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert: A beautiful story about a female botanist in the 19th century. Just like Darwin, her research leads her to the mysteries of the evolution.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett: This wonderful book shows how the discovery of a walled garden changes a little girl.

The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel: The people who lived circa 30,000 years found everything they needed in nature. This novel is full of vivid descriptions of how they lived, including the plants they found and how these plants were used for food or as medicine.

History of Magic

For this class I suggest some novels that are set in the past, all with a touch of magic in them.

I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem - Maryse Condé  House of Spirits - Isabel Allende

I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salem by Maryse Condé: This book is inspired by a black, enslaved woman who lived during the 17th century. She was accused of practicing witchcraft during the Salem witch trials. In reality a lot is unknown about Tituba’s life and fate. Maryse Condé described how her life would have been if Tituba actually was a witch.

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende: This family saga is about three generations of Chilean woman. It’s a beautiful family portrait with a lot of historical details mixed with some magic realism.

Potions

When studying potions, it can’t do any harm to know a lot about poisons (so you will recognize the difference, hopefully before you drink it…)

Nevernight - Jay Kristoff  Poison Study - Maria V. Snyder

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff: When her parents are murdered, Mia wants revenge. She becomes apprentice at the Red Church, a school for assassins. She learns to fight with different kinds of weapons, how to seduce people or poison them.

Poison Study* by Maria V. Snyder: Instead of being killed, Yelena is offered the opportunity to become food taster. To prevent that she escapes, the chief of security feeds her poison. By appearing for the daily antidote, she can delay death a little longer.

Transfiguration

The characters in these books are going through some kind of transformation.

Phase 9 - Thinking about the future: A book or series you know you will re-read many times in the future?  Northern Lights (His Dark Materials #1)

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor: Karou changes in major ways in this story. The book also has an interesting kind of magic involving beads and teeth.

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman: At the start of the trilogy, Lyra is a young and wild child. On her adventures she meets armoured bears, witches and angels, makes new friends, and learns about herself. Her journey transforms Lyra.

* I haven’t read these two books (yet).

Magical Readathon – O.W.L.s 2019

Back in April I came across the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon 2019, organised by Book Roast on youtube. The O.W.L.s are tests Hogwarts students in Harry Potter have to take in their fifth year. For this readathon there is a book prompt for every subject. There’s also a beautiful booklet with wizarding careers. For every career you have to get O.W.L.s in certain subjects. Unfortunately, I was too late to participate in this event. But yesterday the N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon 2019 was announced on Book Roast. This is part 2 of the readathon. It takes place in August. I would love to join! You can participate without doing your O.W.L.s, but I think it’s more fun to do both “exams”.

Although the official event has ended on April 30th, I decided to do my O.W.L.s in July. Then I can join the others with the N.E.W.T.s in August. I have chosen to become a

– Journalist / Writer –

For this career I need three O.W.L.s: for History of Magic, Muggle Studies and one O.W.L. in a subject of my own picking. I will attempt to get some extra O.W.L.s, and hope to read six books. Because I am not very good at sticking to TBR-lists, I have picked multiple books for each subject. In this way I am able to change my mind if I want.

History of Magic – Published at least 10 years ago

Assassin's Quest - Robin Hobb   One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel García Márquez

Muggle Studies – Contemporary

Before I let go - Marieke Nijkamp   Dear Martin - Nic Stone

Ancient Runes – Retelling

Circe - Madeline Miller  Heartless - Marissa Meyer

Arithmancy – Work written by more than one author

Will Grayson, Will Grayson - John Green & David Levithan  Blue Monday - Nicci French

Defence Against the Dark Arts – Reducto: Title starts with an “R”

Rebel of the Sands - Alwyn Hamilton  The Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater

Transfiguration – Sprayed edges or red cover

The Rosie Project - Graeme Simsion  A Court of Thorns and Roses - Sarah J. Maas