Recently I came across a post by Bex @ BexnBookx in which she was discussing prepping for a readathon based on the OWL exams of the Harry Potter series. However, confession time: I’ve never participated in a readathon. *gasps*
Yes, I know.
It’s super weird considering that I’ve now been book blogging for over a year. So, as you can imagine, I was extremely curious about this one and decided to look into it some more. Honestly, the minute anyone says the words ‘Harry’ and ‘Potter’, I’m like WHO, WHAT, WHERRRREEE.
Anyway, so it turns out that this readathon was created by booktuber G @ Bookroast and was actually held back in April – I am clearly late to the party. However, she had so much fun doing the OWLs readathon that she’s now created a second one based off the NEWTs set to be held in August. Because of this, many of the people who missed out on doing the OWLs back in April have decided to take them in July, meaning they’ll be able to participate in the NEWTs the month after with everyone else. This seems like the perfect opportunity for me to test the readathon waters and embrace my HP obsession in a new and very TBR productive way.
The way it works is, there are twelve challenges which correspond to each of the courses Hogwarts students take for their OWL exams in their fifth year. By reading a book that fits the challenge, you complete that OWL.
The scores to pass are (because let’s face it, failure isn’t an option in my mind):
A – Acceptable – Sit and Pass at least 2 OWLs
E – Exceeded Expectations – Sit and Pass at least 3 OWLs
O – Outstanding – Sit & Pass at least 5 OWLs
I’ve had a good, long think about the challenges and what books will work for both them and me, and man, some of them were hard. I, in no way, intend to complete every OWL on the list, my average book count per month is about 5, but I wanted to have some choice depending on how I’m feeling throughout July so I’ve tried to find a book for as many of the subjects as I can. Here is the TBR I’ve come up with:
A Book With A Symbol on the Cover
The Wicker King – K. Ancrum
As you can probably see, there’s a lot of symbolism going on with this particular cover. This is a bit different from my usual reads but it’s got some really great reviews, and I’m very curious about it. It doesn’t look like it’ll be a long read either which is great for a readathon.
When August learns that his best friend, Jack, shows signs of degenerative hallucinatory disorder, he is determined to help Jack cope. Jack’s vivid and long-term visions take the form of an elaborate fantasy world layered over our own—a world ruled by the Wicker King. As Jack leads them on a quest to fulfill a dark prophecy in this alternate world, even August begins to question what is real or not.
August and Jack struggle to keep afloat as they teeter between fantasy and their own emotions. In the end, each must choose his own truth.
A Book with a Number on the Cover or in the Title
One of Us is Lying – Karen McManus
It always seems like I have heaps of novels with numbers in the title but trying to find a book for this one ended up being a struggle. That is, until I remembered that I’d bought my sister a copy of One of Us is Lying which I’d been considering reading a little while back. Apparently this book is the love child of The Breakfast Club and Pretty Little Liars or Riverdale. I’m a fan of TBC however I’m not that big on the other two. Apparently the culprit is pretty obvious but hey, it might be a fun read.
Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.
A Science Fiction Novel
Saga Vol. 1 – Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples
According to the rules, graphic novels count! I normally don’t read much in the way of graphic novels or comics but I’ve seen Saga popping up repeatedly on people’s blogs so last week I went out and bought the first volume. It looks weird but cool, and at the very least it’ll be a quick read which fulfills the prompt!
When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.
From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.
Care of Magical Creatures
A Book that Includes Magical Creatures OR Features a Magical Creature on the Cover
To Kill a Kingdom – Alexandra Christo
I’ve wanted to read this one for ages now and I’ve heard SO many good things. I’ve never read a The Little Mermaid adaptation before so that’s exciting, and the fact that it features sirens makes it a good fit for Hagrid’s favourite prompt. Here’s hoping it lives up to the hype. I’d rather not be bitterly disappointed.
Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.
The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?
A Fantasy Book
Truth be told, I haven’t selected a book for this OWL yet and that’s because I have so many books to pick from for this one. Fantasy books are my usual go to novels so I have a lot of freedom here. I’ll probably just select whichever fantasy book from my existing TBR I most feel like reading during the month.
Defence Against the Dark Arts
A Book about/Featuring Secret Societies or Clubs
I tried guys, I did, but I honestly have no clue about a book for this one which is really annoying because if I was selecting subjects based off my choice of wizarding career, as some people are, this would probably be a necessary subject. *sighs*
A Book Featuring Prophecies
The Lost Hero – Rick Riordan
Despite my mixed feelings at the beginning of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, by the end I was really enjoying myself and I’m now so, so keen to get stuck into The Heroes of Olympus. I’ve heard these ones are a bit more maturely written than Percy and it might help having it in third person. I’m also interested in the introduction of the Roman vs Greek gods mythologies and finding out about everyone’s favourite character, Leo.
Jason has a problem.
He doesn’t remember anything before waking up in a bus full of kids on a field trip. Apparently he has a girlfriend named Piper, and a best friend named Leo. They’re all students at a boarding school for “bad kids.” What did Jason do to end up here? And where is here, exactly?
Piper has a secret.
Her father has been missing for three days, ever since she had that terrifying nightmare about his being in trouble. Piper doesn’t understand her dream, or why her boyfriend suddenly doesn’t recognize her. When a freak storm hits during the school trip, unleashing strange creatures and whisking her, Jason, and Leo away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood, she has a feeling she’s going to find out.
Leo has a way with tools.
When he sees his cabin at Camp Half-Blood, filled with power tools and machine parts, he feels right at home. But there’s weird stuff, too—like the curse everyone keeps talking about, and some camper who’s gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist that each of them—including Leo—is related to a god. Does this have anything to do with Jason’s amnesia, or the fact that Leo keeps seeing ghosts?
A Book with a Nature Related Word in the Title
Stormdancer – Jay Kristoff
I think we can say ‘Storm’ meets this criterion pretty well. I’ve had Stormdancer on my shelf for a bit and I’m not sure why I’ve taken so long to read it. I really love Jay’s books and this was his first published series. Finger crossed it’s as enjoyable as his other books. I’m always up for badass female protagonists who know their way around a sword.
Arashitoras are supposed to be extinct. So when Yukiko and her warrior father Masaru are sent to capture one for the Shõgun, they fear that their lives are over – everyone knows what happens to those who fail the Lord of the Shima Isles. But the mission proves less impossible and more deadly than anyone expects. Soon Yukiko finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in her country’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled arashitora for company. Although she can hear his thoughts, and saved his life, all she knows for certain is he’d rather see her dead than help her. Yet trapped together in the forest, Yukiko and the beast soon discover a bond that neither of them expected.
Meanwhile, the country around them verges on collapse. A toxic fuel is choking the land, the machine-powered Lotus Guild is publicly burning those they deem Impure, and the Shõgun cares for nothing but his own dominion. Authority has always made Yukiko, but her world changes when she meets Kin, a young man with secrets, and the rebel Kagé cabal. She learns the horrifying extent of the Shõgun’s crimes, both against her country and her family.
Returning to the city, Yukiko is determined to make the Shõgun pay – but what can one girl and a flightless arashitora do against the might of an empire?
History of Magic
A Historical Fiction
Circe – Madeline Miller
Okay, yes we’re being a bit liberal on the “historical” side with this due to it’s reliance on Greek myths and legends as well as historical elements but hey, it still meets the brief. I’m currently reading The Song of Achilles and really enjoying it so I’m looking forward to this one, especially after how much praise it’s been getting since its release. It also happens to have the kind of cover that makes people jealous on a train, so there’s that too.
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe has neither the look nor the voice of divinity, and is scorned and rejected by her kin. Increasingly isolated, she turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft.
When love drives Circe to cast a dark spell, wrathful Zeus banishes her to the remote island of Aiaia. There she learns to harness her occult craft, drawing strength from nature. But she will not always be alone; many are destined to pass through Circe’s place of exile, entwining their fates with hers. The messenger god, Hermes. The craftsman, Daedalus. A ship bearing a golden fleece. And wily Odysseus, on his epic voyage home.
There is danger for a solitary woman in this world, and Circe’s independence draws the wrath of men and gods alike. To protect what she holds dear, Circe must decide whether she belongs with the deities she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.
A Non-Fiction Book
The Princess Diarist – Carrie Fisher
This is another genre I don’t usually spend much time with. I bought this book along with Lauren Graham’s memoir in the hopes of shaking my reading up a bit. Carrie was supposedly a very witty and funny woman, and I’m a big Star Wars fan so this feels like a good choice.
The Princess Diarist is Carrie Fisher’s intimate, hilarious and revealing recollection of what happened behind the scenes on one of the most famous film sets of all time, the first Star Wars movie.
When Carrie Fisher recently discovered the journals she kept during the filming of the first Star Wars movie, she was astonished to see what they had preserved—plaintive love poems, unbridled musings with youthful naiveté, and a vulnerability that she barely recognized. Today, her fame as an author, actress, and pop-culture icon is indisputable, but in 1977, Carrie Fisher was just a (sort-of) regular teenager.
With these excerpts from her handwritten notebooks, The Princess Diarist is Fisher’s intimate and revealing recollection of what happened on one of the most famous film sets of all time—and what developed behind the scenes. And today, as she reprises her most iconic role for the latest Star Wars trilogy, Fisher also ponders the joys and insanity of celebrity, and the absurdity of a life spawned by Hollywood royalty, only to be surpassed by her own outer-space royalty. Laugh-out-loud hilarious and endlessly quotable, The Princess Diarist brims with the candor and introspection of a diary while offering shrewd insight into the type of stardom that few will ever experience.
Read a Book about/with Alchemy
I kind of wish I hadn’t already read The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue because it would have worked perfectly for this prompt but as things are, this has definitely stumped me. If you have any good recommendations, hit me up in the comments.
A Book that Deals with Transfiguration/Shapeshifting or a Similar Theme OR A Book with a Cat on the Cover
My Lady Jane – Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows
I was struggling to find a book for this heading but then I realised that My Lady Jane, which I was really looking forward to reading very soon, actually involves a character that changes into a horse! I’m so keen for this one, I think it’ll be good for a laugh. I’ll have to buy it to read it which is unfortunate but eh, I was going to do it anyway so now I have a good excuse.
Edward (long live the king) is the King of England. He’s also dying, which is inconvenient, as he’s only sixteen and he’d much rather be planning for his first kiss than considering who will inherit his crown…
Jane (reads too many books) is Edward’s cousin, and far more interested in books than romance. Unfortunately for Jane, Edward has arranged to marry her off to secure the line of succession. And there’s something a little odd about her intended…
Gifford (call him G) is a horse. That is, he’s an Eðian (eth-y-un, for the uninitiated). Every day at dawn he becomes a noble chestnut steed—but then he wakes at dusk with a mouthful of hay. It’s all very undignified.
The plot thickens as Edward, Jane, and G are drawn into a dangerous conspiracy. With the fate of the kingdom at stake, our heroes will have to engage in some conspiring of their own. But can they pull off their plan before it’s off with their heads?
I think I’ve assembled a good list of books with these ones and I’m really looking forward to tackling my first readathon challenge. If all goes well, I’m hoping to take on NEWTs in August. Unsure how many of these I’ll actually get through but I’ll do my best to read as many as possible and open up my options for the NEWTs challenges. Regardless, I’m sure it’s going to be a really good reading month!
What’s on your TBR for July?