The Architect’s Apprentice

O.W.L.’s Magical Readathon 2020

The O.W.L.’s Magical Readathon returns next month! This month-long readathon is the brainchild of Gi at Book Roast on YouTube and it’s the third year it’s happened. Last year was the first year I took part and after successfully completing my O.W.L.’s and N.E.W.T.’s I qualified to be a Ministry Worker in the Department of International Magical Cooperation.

The challenge is based on the Hogwarts examinations in the world of Harry Potter, but you don’t need to know a lot about it or be a Harry Potter fan to take part in the challenge. The basic premise is that each Hogwarts subject has its own prompt, you read a book that fits that prompt and then you’ve achieved an O.W.L. in that subject. This readathon lasts the entirety of April so it gives you plenty of time to try and cram in as many O.W.L.’s aka books as possible. For more information on the readathon see Gi’s announcement video. It’s clear she puts in a lot of work into this challenge, she makes study guides and a career guide that has information on lots of magical careers and the subjects you need to study in order to be able to progress in that career.

This year there’s some new careers and bonus courses, seminars and training if you want to challenge yourself. I’ve decided that my chosen career this year is Mage of Visual Arts. This sounds like a fun career as you make the pictures and portraits move and it’s the most like the muggle world of film. The O.W.L.’s I need to earn are in Astronomy, Charms, Divination, and History of Magic. That’s four books I need to read but I would also like to push myself and do an extra training course. I would like to learn to operate locomotive trains aka the Hogwarts Express. I love driving cars, so as there’s no course on learning how to drive a flying car (yet!) it’d be fun to learn how to drive a train. The O.W.L.’s I need for that are Defence Against the Dark Arts and Muggle Studies. So, the total number of books I need to read in April is six. That’s doable for me.

I’ve had a look at my bookshelves and below are the books I plan to read to get my O.W.L.’s to become a Mage of Visual Arts. I’ve also got books for the other O.W.L.’s in case I do better than expected and can fit in a couple more books during the month.

Ancient Runes – Heart rune: heart on the cover or in the title
A Dream So Dark by L.L. McKinney
I’m reaching a bit here, but it has the word “heart” and a heart shaped key on the cover, so I think it counts. I read A Blade So Black last year for my N.E.W.T.’s so it’d be cool to read the sequel for my O.W.L.’s.

Arithmancy – Magical qualities of number 2: balance/opposites – read something outside your favourite genre
Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
I’m not even sure what my favourite genre is anymore (I’m going to probably do a blog post about that at some point) but a genre I don’t read that often is sci-fi so that’s the reason I’ve chosen Gemina.

Astronomy – Night classes: read majority of this book when it’s dark outside
Three Summers by Margarita Liberaki
This book is relatively short at 240 pages and is about sisters growing up in the countryside in Athens before the Second World War.

Care of Magical Creatures – Hippogriffs: creature with a beak on the cover
Infinite Son by Adam Silvera
After going through all my books because I really wasn’t sure if I had a book that had creature with a beak, I found one!

Charms – Lumos Maxima: white cover
The Bloodprint by Ausma Zehanat Khan or The Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak
The Bloodprint is a book I bought just because the cover was super pretty and all I know is it’s a fantasy. The Architect’s Apprentice is a historical fiction and is set during the Ottoman Empire. Both have white covers.

Defence Against the Dark Arts – Grindylows: book set at the sea/coast
Viper by Bex Hogan or The Gloaming by Kirsty Logan
Both books take place on islands and heavily involve the sea. I think Viper is more of a pirate book while The Gloaming is more of a mermaid/fairy tale book – I think!

Divination – Third eye: assign numbers to your TBR and use a random number generator to pick your read
Hawkeye: Avenging Archer by Jim McCann, David Lopez, Duane Swierczynski, Manuel Garcia and Paco Diaz
Putting together all the unread books I have on my kindle, on audio and in my flat (there’s more unread books at my mum’s) I had 47 books for the random number generator to choose from. It picked number 17 which was Hawkeye: Avenging Archer which I couldn’t have picked better myself as comics/graphic novels are always a good idea in a readathon.

Herbology – Mimbulus mimbletonia: title starts with an M
Mama Hissa’s Mice by Saud Alsanousi
Turns out I have one book that has a title that begins with the letter M so I guess I’m going to be reading Mama Hissa’s Mice.

History of Magic – Witch hunts: book featuring witches/wizards
Angel Mage by Garth Nix or Truthwitch by Susan Dennard or mystery book
This one was surprisingly difficult. I’m not sure if Angel Mage has witches or wizards in it but there is magic. Based on the title and the premise I’m pretty sure Truthwitch features witches. Or the last witchy-book I could read for this prompt is one I don’t have yet. I’ve ordered April’s Wildest Dreams book box and the book apparently has “Witches and scientists, sisters and lovers, priestesses and rebels” so that could work too.

Muggle Studies – Book from a perspective of a muggle (contemporary)
The Places I’ve Cried in Public by Holly Bourne
This looks like it’s a sad contemporary about a relationship that’s ending and it’s potentially wasn’t a healthy relationship either.

Potions – Shrinking Solution: book under 150 pages
A Small Place by Jamaica Kincaid
I’ve got A Small Place on audiobook and according to Goodreads it is 81 pages long so definitely works for this challenge.

Transfiguration – Animagus lecture: book/series that includes shapeshifting
Downfall by Rob Thurman or The Invasion by K.A. Applegate
This subject was hard to find a book for as I don’t really read many books with shapeshifting in them and I don’t think any of my unread books have it in either. After looking at my bookshelves, the only book I could find that would fit was Downfall. It’s an urban fantasy and I remember earlier on in the series there were werewolves so that’d count. The other option is the fact I recently learnt that apparently all the Animorphs books are available online for free. Animorphs isn’t a series I read as a child but I have vague memories of the TV show, and as they’re children’s books they’re likely to be short and easy to read (which is always a good thing for a readathon) so I could pick up the first book in the series.

That’s my TBR for this years’ O.W.L.’s Magical Readathon. Are you taking part in the readathon and what career are you aiming for? In August there’s the N.E.W.T.’s which can be even more challenging and will be the final hurdle for achieving your chosen career. Wish me luck!

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books That Have Been On My TBR the Longest and I Still Haven’t Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January 2018. As the title suggests, this week is all about those books we bought and totally meant to read them and still haven’t. Oops!

In no particular order, here’s the ten books that have been sitting unread on my shelves for the longest.

The Time in Between by Nancy Tucker
Thanks to an Instagram pic of a bookhaul I can tell you when this book came in my possession – August 2015! And I still haven’t read it. it’s a non-fiction book and I’m not always in the mood for that so I think that’s one of the reasons I just haven’t got to it yet.

Truthwitch by Susan Denard
I got this in an Illumicrate box in early 2016 and I still haven’t read it. I did try it when I first got it, but I didn’t make it past the first 20 pages. Maybe I wasn’t in the right mood for it? I do want to give Truthwitch another go as I’ve heard nothing but great things about the series.

Uprooted by Naomi Novak
I’ve got Uprooted in the hardback, and I think I got it for either my birthday or Christmas so that means it came to me late 2015. I think this was another book I wanted because everyone was talking about it and then because of the hype I put off reading it.     (more…)

Book Haul

I don’t think I’ve ever done a Book Haul post on here. That’s mainly because I don’t often buy books at all or I just get one or two during the month and it’s nothing special to write home about. Over the past month though I have accumulated a lot of books. So without further ado here’s what I’ve got.

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These books come from everywhere, Orbital Comics, my buddy Julie via the mini NinjaBookSwap, having poor impulse control in WHSmith’s and Waterstones and then having poor impulse control and taking advantage of the Booktubeathon discount at the Book Depository – go here for 100 books at a discount if you use the code BOOKTUBEATHON10 at the checkout – this offer ends soon.

So what do you guys think? Have you read any of the above and what do you recommend? I probably shouldn’t have acquired so many books recently but oh well – we all have these moments of weakness.

List of books:
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick
The Hounding of David Oluwale by Kester Aspden
Night Owls by Jenn Bennett
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
The Murdstone Trilogy by Mal Peet
The Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Unwind by Neal Shusterman
The Time in Between by Nancy Tucker
#GirlBoss by Sophie Amoruso
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Secret Avengers Volume: 3 God Level by Ales Kot and Michael Walsh
Thor: Goddess of Thunder by Jason Aaron and Russell Dauterman
Runaways: The Complete Collection Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughn and Adrian Alphona