April wrap-up + favourites 📚❤️

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Hello There

I hope that you and your loved ones are okay, please take care of yourselves as much as you can. I’m sending you all a lot of love. ❤️

For me, April was one of those months where you carry on, and there isn’t much to say about it, which is totally okay. It was a month of homeschooling my two youngest brothers due to the current situation and of carrying on with projects I’m currently working on. On a more positive note, April was also the month of the O.W.L.s readathon and I dedicated so much time to reading, often in the sun in the garden or way past midnight. I also figured out my working out routine, which I’m really happy about. Last but not least, our kitten Peter (who is not a kitten any longer, I guess) celebrated his first birthday. 😻

peter

what i read

In April, I participated in the O.W.L.s readathon and it motivated me so much to read! I passed all the O.W.L.s I needed within the first two weeks (I got carried away because of my excitement) and it was so much fun, I can’t wait for August to pass my N.E.W.T.s and become a Spell Maker.

Here are the novels I read:

  • Witches of Ash and Ruin by E. Latimer, 4/5 stars
  • Red Sister by Mark Lawrence, 4/5 stars
  • Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier, 4.5/5 stars
  • The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren, 3/5 stars
  • House of Names by Colm Toibin, 2/5 stars
  • Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri, 4/5 stars
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, 3.5/5 stars
  • Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier, 4/5 stars
  • Furyborn by Claire Legrand, 3.5/5 stars
  • Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence, 4/5 stars
  • Bound by Mark Lawrence, 3/5 stars
  • Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence, 3/5 stars

I mainly read adult fantasy during the month and managed to finish two book series: the Blackthorn and Grim trilogy by Juliet Marillier, as well as The Book of the Ancestor by Mark Lawrence. I also finally read The Hobbit, which I’m weirdly proud about, as I was intimidated by Tolkien’s fantasy works for the longest time. I’m quite looking forward to reading the Lord of the Rings series at some point now!

I also read a few comics:

  • Monstress, vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda, 3.5/5 stars
  • DC Comics: Bombshells, vol. 5: The Death of Illusion by Marguerite Bennett, Laura Braga, Mirka Andolfo and Elsa Charretier, 4/5 stars

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My favourite book of the month was Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier, second book in her Blackthorn and Grim trilogy. It follows a healer who was wrongly imprisoned and has to make a deal with the Fair Folk to assist anyone who asks for her help for the next seven years. These books are set in medieval Ireland, are inspired by Irish folklore and feels like fairy tales, Tower of Thorns having Beauty and the Beast vibes, which I adored. I can’t recommend Juliet Marillier’s books enough. ❤️

favourites

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🎵 MUSICAL // Watching The Phantom of the Opera

Over the past month, The Shows Must Go On! on YouTube has made available a performance of one Andrew Lloyd Weber’s musicals for free for 48 hours. I was over the moon the week they made The Phantom of the Opera available, as it’s one of my top 3 musicals ever and the only one of my favourite musicals I have yet to see live (at least the 2004 movie exists, so I watched that a few times).

It was such an amazing experience, I love Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess as the Phantom and Chrisine, The Music of the Night is still my absolute favourite musical number in it (though The Point of No Return isn’t far behind) and I’m back at listening to the musical all the time. I love this story so much and it makes me a little bit nostalgic of when I dressed up as the Phantom for Halloween two years ago. 👻

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📺 TV SHOWS // Fleabag, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and The Clone Wars

Because of lockdown, I feel like I’ve been watching TV shows more consistently than usual: there are so many of them I’m watching weekly, as new episodes are released, and I’ve been catching up on and finishing others! Among all of them, my favourites were Fleabag, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and The Clone Wars.

I binge-watched Fleabag in an afternoon and an evening, I couldn’t get enough of it! It’s a British TV comedy-drama television following Fleabag, a free-spirited and sexually active but angry and confused young woman in London. It has such a stellar cast, with Phoebe Waller-Bridge as the lead, but also Olivia Colman AND Andrew Scott in the second series. I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first, but I ended up loving it, found it really clever (the fourth wall!) and I still haven’t recovered from the second series. I finally get what all the fuss was about Andrew Scott in series two because d a m n that chemistry (… and now I want to rewatch Sherlock). 😳

I’ve been putting off watching the final season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend for a year, because I didn’t want to say goodbye to this show, but I finally watched it in April and I loved it! It was a satisfying ending, I loved the new songs and what it talked about. They even did a concert special as a bonus episode and it was a lot of fun! I’ve been listening to Hello, Nice To Meet You on replay for most of the month and while I’m sad I finished yet another show that means so much to me, I’m glad I finally did. ❤️

I’ve also been watching the final season of Star Wars: The Clone Wars weekly (I just watched episode 11 and had to relive Order 66… I’m sad) and I adore this show so much, it’s my favourite animated TV show. Set between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, it got cancelled before its final season, but they decided to finish it on Disney+ and I’m so glad they did. This season keeps getting better and better and the last three episodes were EVERYTHING. There was a scene with a dark side user offering their hand to a light side user once again, I’m fine. Honestly, other than The Mandalorian, it’s the best Star Wars we’ve had since The Last Jedi in my opinion, and that’s the tea. ☕

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Chilling in my campsite ✌️

🎮 VIDEO GAME // Animal Crossing Pocket Camp

As Animal Crossing: New Horizons came out on Nintendo Switch recently, there’s been a lot of Animal Crossing hype everywhere. I didn’t plan on getting the newest game, but I still wanted to play Animal Crossing, so I downloaded the Android version, Animal Crossing Pocket Camp and I’ve been having fun with it. In this one, you’re in charge of a camping, then later a house, and I love decorating everything. Thanks to all the seasonal events, both my campsite and house are all pink and it makes me so happy.

Looking Ahead

Just like for April, I don’t know what to expect for May considering the current situation, so I decided not to have any specific goals for now. Sometimes you have to accept that you can’t always get through huge to-do lists, so I’ll just try my best, and that’s okay.

The only thing I know for sure is that I’ll be participating in the new round of Tome Topple, which was created by Sam @ Thoughts on Tomes, from May 9th to May 22nd and I’m so excited to get through my tomes!

What about you, how was April? Have you discovered any new favourite books?

lots of love

Magical Readathon 2020 — O.W.L.s TBR 📚✨

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Hello There

April is around the corner, so it’s time for the Magical Readathon once again! 🎉

If you don’t know this readathon, it was created by Book Roast on YouTube and it is a month-long readathon based around the exams students take at Hogwarts, which happens twice a year, once in April for the O.W.L.s and once in August for the N.E.W.T.s. You can even pick a wizarding career and choose your O.W.L.s/N.E.W.T.s depending on it, which is so much fun. This is the third round of the readathon and my second time participating, so I’m super excited about it. Last year, I successfully participated in both the O.W.L.s and the N.E.W.T.s, which means I became a Magizoologist! Here is G’s video, if you want to know more about the readathon:

This year, I’m pursuing a new career & decided I’d be studying to become… *drum rolls*

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A SPELL MAKER!

To become a spell maker, I have to pass seven O.W.L.s, which are Ancient Runes, Arithmancy, Astronomy, Charms, Divination, History of Magic and Transfiguration. If I succeed, I’m also hoping to participate in two courses if I can (which are optional, but I’ll be living all for the Magical Readathon in April), Dragon Tamer Training and Merpeople Linguistics (can you tell I became a Magizoologist last year? 😂).

Here is what I’m planning to read for the O.W.L.s:

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❤️ Ancient Runes – Heart rune: heart on the cover or in the title

For this prompt, I’m planning on reading DC Comics Bombshells, vol. 5: The Death of Illusion. This comics series is about DC Comics’ female characters fighting in different countries during World War II, it’s so empowering and it makes me so happy to see them team up together. It’s one of my long-time favourites, it’s about time I finish it (it’s taking me forever because well, comics understandably cost a lot of money) and as there are little hearts all around Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy on the cover, it’s the perfect excuse to read it during April!

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2️⃣ Arithmancy – Magical qualities of number 2: read something outside of your favourite genre

For this prompt, I thought I’d go with a non-fiction book, as I don’t read that many of them. My favourite genre being fantasy, I guess non-fiction is *quite* far enough. My pick is a biography of Berthe Morisot by Dominique Bona, which is about a French painter, who was part of the first Impressionists and is considered to be a founder of the movement. I fell in love with her paintings a few years ago, then saw an exhibition about her in the Musée d’Orsay last year and picked up this biography about her then. I’m so excited to rediscover her life through this biography, even if it might take me longer to read than the rest of the books on my TBR (it’s in French though, so it might be alright).

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🌙 Astronomy – Night classes: read majority of this book when it’s dark outside

I made a list of the books I wanted to read the most at the moment for the Divination prompt (see below!) and decided I’d pick one of the remaining books for Astronomy, as I mainly read at night anyway, so I decided I’d read Red Sister by Mark Lawrence. It’s the first book in an adult fantasy series about a young woman who is part of a convent training young women to become assassins and that’s all I need in my life. I adored the His Fair Assassin series by Robin LaFevers which had a similar prompt and I’ve wanted to try Mark Lawrence’s books for a while now, so now is the time! I’ll probably read most of it during the Magical All-Nighter, a 24 hour readathon organized during the month.

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✨ Charms – Lumos maxima: white cover

For Charms, I’m hoping to read House of Names by Colm Tóibín. This is a Greek mythology retelling focusing on Agamemnon, who sacrificed his daughter to the gods so they’d grant him a favoured wind for his fleet of ships to sail to Troy, and his family. After the Trojan War, Clytemnestra, Agamemnon’s wife, plots revenge against him. While I know the story in passing, I’m really curious to see Tóibín’s take on the story, and I’m always there for a good Greek mythology retelling, so.

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🔮 Divination – Third eye: assign numbers to your TBR and use a random number generator to pick your read

For this one, I made a list of the books I was most excited to read at the moment and my choices were Red SisterEmpire of Sand, Children of Virtue and Vengeance and The Shadows Between Us (which I ended up picking for Astronomy!).

My third eye decided Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri would be the one I’d read (it’s actually the one I most wanted to read, so well-done, third eye!). This Mughal India-inspired fantasy novel is about Mehr, the illegimiate daughter of an imperial governor, who inherited the magic of her exiled mother, who is part of the Amrithi, nomads descended from desert spirits. When her power comes to the attention of the Emperor’s mystics, she will have to resist their cruel agenda, or the gods may awaken. I also know it has my favourite romance tropes in it, so I’m super excited to get to it!

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🧙‍♀️ History of Magic – Witch hunts: book featuring witches/wizards

I’ve been eyeing out Witches of Ash and Ruin by E. Latimer for a while, as it came out recently, so this prompt is the perfect opportunity to get to it! This novel is about Dayna, a young witch who was recently outed as bisexual in her conservative Irish town and has to deal with the aftermath of that. She is about to ascend and join a coven when another coven arrives in town with premonitions of death and it all goes down from there. It is said to be a blend of modern witchcraft and ancient Celtic mythology, so I’m super excited to read it!

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🐺 Transfiguration – Animagus lecture: book/series that includes shapeshifting

For this one, I’m going with Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier, second book in the Blackthorn and Grim trilogy. This trilogy follows a healer who was wrongly imprisoned and one of her fellow prisoners. To escape prison, she makes a deal with the Fair Folk to assist anyone who asks for her help for the next seven years, which means she can’t get revenge on the one who imprisoned her. Juliet Marillier’s books are filled with folklore and feel like fairy tales: the first one in this trilogy featured a transformation and considering there is a howling creature in Tower of Thorns, I’m thinking there will be some sort of transformation. 👀

and for my two optional courses…

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🐉 Dragon Tamer Training – Read an extra book with dragons

Ever since I saw an exhibition about Tolkien back in December, I’ve been dying to finally read The Hobbit by him, so now is the time! It’s about Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, who reluctantly gets involved in a company of dwarves’ quest in search of dragon-guarded gold. I know bits and pieces of the story (plus my 12 y.o. brother read it last month for school), but I cannot wait to finally experiment the story for myself at last!

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🧜🏻‍♀️ Merpeople lingustics – Herbology, Mimbulus mimbletonia: title starts with an M

Last but not least, I’m planning on reading Monstress, vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie M. Lu. I’ve had my eye set on this comics series for a while now, as it got a lot of praise a few years ago. It’s set in an alternate 1900s Asia, in a world of art deco-inflected steam punk, and follows a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power. I’ll probably read this one during the Magical All-Nighter and I can’t wait!

There you have it: I am beyond excited to read all of these books and to participate in this readathon, I’m sure it’ll be amazing, as always!

Do you like taking part in readathons? Are you participating in this one? Do you have any reading plans for April?

lots of love

Wrapping up the #NEWTsReadathon2019 ✨ | August wrap-up

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Hello There

HAPPY BACK TO HOGWARTS DAY!

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Everyone is on board the Hogwarts Express, getting excited for a new school year in the most magical school and I’m not among them… Because I have graduated from Hogwarts and am now a Magizoologist! 😱

In August, I participated in the Magical Readathon hosted by Book Roast, a month-long readathon based around the exams students take at Hogwarts. I was studying to become a Magizoologist and managed to pass all my exams! I thought that I’d wrap it up today and of course, share my passing grades. 😉

To become a Magizoologist, I needed to get an Outstanding in Care of Magical Creatures and an Exceeded Expectations in both Charms and Herbology. I *really* wanted to get an Outstanding in everything though, and that’s what I did, so here are the books I read to pass these exams!

♡ Care of Magical Creatures

  • Archenemies by Marissa Meyer, 3/5 stars
  • Thor, Volume 1: The Goddess of Thunder by Jason Aaron, 4/5 stars
  • Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield, 2/5 stars

♡ Charms

  • The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty, 5/5 stars
  • Thor, Volume 2: Who Holds the Hammer? by Jason Aaron, 3.5/5 stars
  • The Door by Magda Szabó, 3/5 stars

♡ Herbology

  • King Lear by William Shakespeare, 4/5 stars
  • A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood, 2.5/5 stars
  • The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon, 4/5 stars

I am so happy to have passed all these exams, I was quite the reading machine in August and that’s how… I finished my required reading on August 15th. After that, I studied a bit harder to get an Outstanding in everything (see above), but also decided to pass additional exams (can you tell I’m a Ravenclaw, studying for exams I don’t even need to pass?!).

hermione-library.gifSo anyway, I also got an Outstanding in both Astronomy and Divination, plus an Exceeded Expectations in Ancient Runes.

♡ Astronomy

  • Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, vol. 3, by Naoko Takeuchi
  • Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
  • The Mighty Thor, Volume 1: Thunder in Her Veins by Jason Aaron

♡ Divination

  • Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, vol. 4, by Naoko Takeuchi, 4/5 stars
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, 4/5 stars
  • Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, vol. 5, by Naoko Takeuchi, 4/5 stars

♡ Ancient Runes

  • Wicked Fox by Kat Cho, 3.5/5 stars
  • The Deathless Girls by Karen Millwood Hargrave, 3.5/5 stars

August was probably my best reading month so far this year in quantity, but my ratings went from 2 stars to 5 stars, so it was quite a mixed bag. My highlights of the month in terms of reading were The Kingdom of Copper, my first five-star read since March, but also Nevernight, which I had been putting off for the longest time but adored! ❤️

All in all, this readathon was a lot of fun once again. In the end, I passed everything I needed to, I graduated from Hogwarts and am now free to be a Magizoologist and wanders the world with magical creatures! I sure will participate in the Magical Readathon next year!

What did you read in August? What was your favourite book of the month?

lots of love

Magical Readathon 2019 — N.E.W.T.s TBR

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Hello There

I am beyond excited that August is around the corner, because with August, the Magical Readathon is coming back and it is time to sit for my N.E.W.T.s!

The Magical Readathon was created by Book Roast on YouTube and it is a month-long readathon based around the exams students take at Hogwarts, which happens twice a year, once in April for the O.W.L.s and once in August for the N.E.W.T.s. You can even pick a wizarding career and choose your O.W.L.s/N.E.W.T.s depending on it, which is so much fun. I already participated in April for the O.W.L.s and adored it, so I’m really excited to pass my N.E.W.T.s. I’d recommend to check G’s video announcement for the N.E.W.T.s, it has all the information you need.

Without any surprise, I am studying to become a Magizoologist and I need to study Care of Magical Creatures (I need an Optimal to pass), Charms (I need an Exceeded Expectations) and Herbology (I need an Exceeded Expectations as well). Overachiever as I am, I really want to try to get an Optimal in everything, so we’ll see how it goes. In the meantime, here’s my TBR for the N.E.W.T.s!

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A: book title that starts with a letter AArchenemies by Marissa Meyer

I read Renegades last year and absolutely adored it: I loved that it was about people with superpowers and the two main characters are amazing. I had been aching to read its sequel, but hadn’t found the perfect occasion to do so yet (so many books, so little time), so when I saw this prompt, I knew I had to finally get to it. I am so looking forward to going back into this world and well, at least I won’t have too long to wait until Supernova‘s release.

♡ E: book under 300 pagesThor, Volume 1: The Goddess of Thunder  by Jason Aaron

I’ve been planning to read these comics for the longest time, but now that they have announced that Natalie Portman was coming back to the MCU to become the Goddess of Thunder, I have to. In this 2014 comics run, Thor is unworthy and Mjolnir lies on the moon, unable to be lifted, until… a mysterious woman grasps it and takes Thor’s mantle! It sounds so good and I mostly read comics about superheroines, so it’s perfect for me!

♡ O: read a book with a bird on the coverOnce Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

The Thirteenth Tale is one of my favourite books of this year and I am so looking forward to reading more by Diane Setterfield. Once Upon a River is her newest release and follows the discovery of a girl’s lifeless body, who later returns to life and is claimed by three families. It seems to be quite dark and atmospheric and it combines folklore and science, so I’m really intrigued about it.

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♡ A: read a book that you think has a gorgeous coverThe Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty

The City of Brass was one of my favourite books of last year and helped a lot to get me into a huge fantasy slump, because I loved it too much. This fantasy book is inspired by Middle East folklore, set in 18th century Cairo, and follows Nahri, a con woman who accidentally summons a djinn. The Kingdom of Copper is the second book in the trilogy, its cover is stunning (it’s the UK cover if you’re wondering, it wins!), and I’ve been rereading the first book to be able to get to it, so I’m really excited!

♡ E: read a comic/graphic novel/manga — Thor, Volume 2: Who Holds the Hammer? by Jason Aaron

Of course, after reading The Goddess of Thunder, I will have to finish reading this comics run, as there are only two volumes! It is perfect for a month-long readathon, as I have longer reads like The Kingdom of Copper to get through.

♡ O: read a paperback book — The Door by Magda Szabó 

I won this book in a giveaway hosted by my friend Anna @ AnnaofBookingham on Instagram and I’m so curious to read it, because I know she adored it! This Hungarian novel follows Emerence, a domestic servant, that young writer Magda takes in, and the relationship they develop for the next twenty years. I can’t wait to discover it and to chat with Anna about it!

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A: listen to an audiobook — King Lear by William Shakespeare

I’ve been trying to read one of Shakespeare’s plays every month this year (I’m two plays behind though, oops), so I definitely have to read one of them in August and I adore to listen to them via audiobooks, as they have entire casts and sometimes background noises. They also are really quick to go by, as the audiobooks usually last three hours, so it’s perfect for a readathon. This time, I’m giving a try to King Lear and I’m really excited, I’ve heard amazing things about it!

♡ E: read a book between 350-390 pagesA Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood

To be honest, the second I heard this book was set in Cornwall, I knew I had to read it. I’m fascinated with Cornwall (thank you for that, Daphne du Maurier) and I’m always really excited to read books set there. A Sky Painted Gold is also set during the 1920s and is about Lou, a young woman who stumbles into the world into the glittering world of the Cardew family. Lucy @ Lucy the Reader has been raving about it for months and she said it was perfect for summer, so I’m all about that!

♡ O: read a book with a flower on the cover The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

I read The Bone Season earlier this week and I really liked it, I found the world to be fascinating and I can’t wait to get back into it, because the second book, The Mime Order, sure sounds promising. This series is about Paige Mahoney, who is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, in 2059. Her job is to scout information by breaking into people’s minds, a power… which is illegal. I am so excited to get more into this series!

So that’s it for my TBR for the N.E.W.T.s! My Optimal reads for Charms and Herbology aren’t my top priorities, but fingers crossed I can get to them and maybe other books. In any case, I’m so motivated to prioritize reading in August.

What are you planning to read in August? Are you participating in this readathon?

lots of love