Space Opera September Readathon TBR

space opera september

(Banner created by SFF180)

Hello intrepid space travelers! So, I know that next month there is going to be a Tome Infinity and Beyond readathon, but my friend Emily @Embuhleeliest told me about this brand new readathon that is being put on by Thomas at SFF180and we both decided we wanted to give this new readathon a try instead. Part of the reason is that Tome Infinity has become a big time “team” readathon, and Emily and I are much more “single player” types, but also the Space Opera September readathon is much lower intensity (i.e. way fewer prompts) which will be nice after the N.E.W.T.s conclude at the end of August.

Anyway, for more information on the readathon, check out this totally awesome video:

If you don’t want to watch the video (though you should, cuz it’s awesome), you can also find the info at the Goodreads group. The important things to know are:

  • The readathon lasts the entire month of September
  • You only have to read 4 books to “win”

There are actually 2 tracks you can take, Federation or Rebel, and you must complete one prompt in order to rank up. There are 4 ranks, so that means 4 prompts total. The prompts differ slightly depending on which track you decide to take.

space opera september tracks.png

I, of course, wish to be a space pirate, so I will be taking the Rebel track, and will have to complete the following prompts (FYI, I am only going to read books I already own…gotta cut down that TBR pile):

1. Read a space opera novella

The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard – I literally just bought this book a week ago, and was going to read it as soon as it arrived, but then I heard about this readathon and decided to wait to read it (though it is torture).

2b. Read a space opera by a diverse author featuring a diverse protagonist and/or major characters

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie – I am really excited about this book, and to see just how it subverts gender.

3. Read a space opera published before you were born

The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge – I didn’t think this book would count as Space Opera originally, and was worried about this prompt, but then I found this book on a Barnes and Noble list of 55 Essential Space Operas of the Last 70 Years and figured if it was on the list then it must count as a Space Opera. It was originally published in 1980, 6 years before I was born, so I should be good to go for this one.

4. Read a space opera 500 pages or longer

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – I plan to read the same book as my friend Emily @Embuhleeliest but for a different prompt…I wonder if we should/could do a buddy read? ^_^


There are some long books on this TBR, but I should be fine since it is only 4 books total. It will feel easy peasy after the N.E.W.T.s.

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N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon Mid-way Update

NEWTs Readathon banner

Hi everyone! Sorry I haven’t been posting. I have been reading lots this month trying to get through my N.E.W.T.s exams and it has taken time away from everything else. I have made some good headway with my exams though, so I thought I should share my progress with you all.

As some of you may or may not be aware, this month I am participating in the N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon. I gave myself a lot of options for the prompts in my TBR post, and I think it has helped a lot to keep me going with this readathon.  There is definitely less stress when I don’t feel locked into the TBR choices I make.

Anyway, here are the N.E.W.T.s I need in order to achieve my chosen profession of Metal Charmer:

Metal Charmer Newts

And here is where I am with my exams:

Arithmancy

  • A: Book that ends on an even page number – Complete!

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Vol. 10 by Fuse and Taiki Kawakami

I watched the anime of this and adored it. This manga fills in some of the stuff that was left out of the anime, mainly Rimuru making more alliances with other countries. 3 stars.

  • E: Read a standalone – Complete!

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

OMG this book was so amazingly good! I just picked it up on a whim, though I had heard some buzz about it online. I read it as an ebook and as soon as I finished it I went out and bought a physical copy because I decided I had to own it in physical form. 5 stars.

  • O: Book that’s longer than 350 pages – Not Started

Still not exactly sure what I am going to read for this prompt, but I am leaning towards Rosewater by Tade Thompson.

Charms

  • A: Read a book that you think has a gorgeous cover – Complete!

The Mercenaries of the Stolen Moon by Megan Derr

I adore Megan Derr, but I have been hesitant to pick this book up because it didn’t sound like my cup of tea. But then I read a review that made me think I would like it so I got it and read it (I love all the covers of this series btw) and I was right that the romance was not to my taste, but I did enjoy the characters and the overall story. 3 stars.

  • E: Read a comic/graphic novel/manga – Complete!

Asterisk Vol.1-8 by Shuu Morimoto

These were a re-read as I actually own all of the volumes of this series in Japanese. However, this time I found English translations online and read those. I love this series and wish there was more but alas it is finished. 5 stars.

  • O: Spongify (softening charm) – Read a paperback book – Complete!

The Vision of Escaflowne Vol. 1 by Katsu Aki

I am not certain exactly how I feel about this manga. They warn you at the beginning that the anime came first, and this is one of 2 manga versions that was developed from the anime (this is the shonen, or boys, version, there is also a shorter shojo, or girls, version) but that it has been tweaked so it doesn’t follow the anime exactly. In fact, it is very different from the anime, and I wonder if I would prefer the shojo version of the manga…anyway, 3 stars for now.

Transfiguration

  • A: Read a book with LGBTQ+ representation – Complete!

Bone Rider by J. Fally

Also picked this one up on a whim and holy crap was it batshit. Really fun read. 4 stars.

  • E: Read a book that’s not a first in the series – In Progress

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

Just finished The Raven Boys yesterday for another prompt, so I have only just read the prologue on this one. I have heard that for most people, this is their favorite of the series, so I am looking forward to it.

  • O: McGonagall does not mess around! Read a book over 500 pages – Not Started

 

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo or The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty

For this prompt, I will probably read one of these two books. I read Six of Crows earlier this month for one of the other N.E.W.T.s exams, so I am leaning more toward that one at the moment…however I did read The City of Brass several months ago and would really like to know what happens next. So, really, I could go either way with this one.

Ancient Runes

  • A: Ehwaz (partnership) – Read a book recommended by a friend – Complete!

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

This series was recommended to me by my friend Sarah @WindsorWrites (in fact she bought me all the books for…Christmas I think it was). I had a lot of trouble getting into this book, but once I got about half way I started to enjoy it. 3.5 stars.

  • E: Book written in past tense – Not Started

No clue what I am going to read for this one.

Defence Against the Dark Arts

  • A: Book that’s black under the dust jacket – Complete!

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I am actually borrowing this book and Crooked Kingdom from my friend Emily @Embuhleeliest. I enjoyed this one a lot, though I found myself comparing it a lot to Foundryside which I read last month. I really want to know what happens next, which is why I am currently more inclined to read Crooked Kingdom for the Transfiguration prompt.


I have completed 8 out of 12 exams…all in all not bad, however the rest of the books I have planned to read a on the longer side, so wish me luck!

July 2019 Wrap-up

Hello lovely readers! July was a bit of a banner month. I didn’t have any readathons and pretty much ended up reading whatever I wanted. It was great! Now that August has arrived, so too have the N.E.W.T.s, which is both good and bad. Good because I love this readathon, bad because I can’t totally mood read anymore since I am constrained by reading prompts. Anywho, on to the stats for July!

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I ended up completing my Goodreads challenge. I am still undecided if I am going to up the number on my pledged books or just let the tally run completely over. It is kinda fun to just let it run over….I am also apparently 46 books ahed of schedule, and I suspect that number will get bigger by the end of August, considering how many books I need to read this month for my chosen wizarding profession.

Here are my stats from July:

  • 19 books read
  • 250 average pages per book

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It seems to me that I tend to read either a high-up-in-the-teens number of books, or I read less than 10 in a month. Yes, I know I included the 2 books I have already read for August in this screenshot. No, those books are not included in any of the other screenshots since I remove all books besides the July books from the algorithms when I take the following screenshots.

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This one was a bit wacky, but as I have said before, unless I can find preferred pronouns written by the author somewhere (Goodreads, author site, Twitter, etc.), I put down gender as “Unknown”. Well, I ended up reading books by 3 authors last month, two who are complete mysteries, and one who only refers to themselves as “I” in their blurbs about themselves so…yep, into the “Unknown” category they go.

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Muuuuuch better on the New Reads front this month. I hope to continue this trend into August.

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I really think I need to stop having anxiety over this chart. I will never read more standalones than series, because my preferred genres are just insanely series heavy. Seriously, I need to just accept this truth.

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Sigh. I think I should also probably stop having anxiety over this chart as well…except I have so many print books that need to be read. I need to stop. Buying. More. eBooks. Ugh.

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………I am really predictable aren’t I?


Anywho, this concludes the July wrap-up. I might try and see if any of the books I read last month work for the r/Fantasy Book Bingo Challenge.  If so, I will make a post with the updated bingo card.  Happy reading everyone!

N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon TBR

NEWTs Readathon banner

Buckle up people, cuz the N.E.W.T.s Magical Readathon is coming for us. The N.E.W.T.s exams are set to begin on August 1st and run for the full month. Go here to see the N.E.W.T.s announcement video.

Back in April I participated in the O.W.L.s Magical Readathon, and managed to pass all the required exams for my chosen profession of Metal Charmer. Since I managed the O.W.L.s, I am going to attempt the N.E.W.T.s…even though I will need to read 12 books for it. A little difficult, but doable.

The N.E.W.T.s work a little differently than the O.W.L.s. For the O.W.L.s, I just had to read one book per required subject to qualify for Metal Charmer. For the N.E.W.T.s, your grade in the required subjects is much more important. To clarify, here are the N.E.W.T.s requirements for a Metal Charmer:

Metal Charmer Newts

Each subject has 3 different grade levels, A for “Acceptable, E for “Exceeds Expectations”, and O for “Outstanding”. Each of these grade levels represent a different reading prompt. So, for example, I must get an O in Charms, which will require me to complete the A level prompt, the E level prompt, and the O level prompt. Oh, and the prompts must be done in order…so I can’t just skip to the O level prompt and go back and do the A and E level prompts later on. Oh, and I can’t double up on prompts. I must read a different book for every prompt. Tricky right?

Anyway, one other thing, though it is related to TBRs in general, not to this specific readathon, I have decided I don’t like giving myself just one reading option per prompt for TBRs. It makes me feel like I am locked into that choice (even though I am not) and then I end up feeling disappointed in myself (kinda like I have failed or something) when I end up reading a different book instead for a particular prompt. So rather than just picking one book per prompt, I am instead giving myself a couple of options per prompt, so that way I don’t feel locked into the choice.

I am also trying to whittle down the pile of books that I own but haven’t read yet. So, most if not all of the options in the following list are books I already physically own.

Arithmancy

A: Book that ends on an even page number

E: Read a standalone

  • It’s kinda scary how few standalone books I have, but here are a few options:
  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Gilgamesh by Anonymous (translated by Stephen Mitchell) – True, since we don’t know who wrote this, it is possible it isn’t a standalone, but since only this story survived, it is technically a standalone now
  • Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

O: Book that’s longer than 350 pages

  • This covers a lot of the books I own, so I will just pick one I feel like reading and read it.

Charms

A: Read a book that you think has a gorgeous cover

  • This is also covers a lot of the books I own, so again will probably just pick one I am in the mood for and read it.

E: Read a comic/graphic novel/manga

  • Paper Girls Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang
  • Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran – this one could be tricky since it isn’t even available to buy until August 20th
  • The Vision of Escaflowne (vols. 1-5) and The Wicked + The Divine (vols. 5 or 6) are also possibilities here

O: Spongify (softening charm) – Read a paperback book

  • I own a lot of these too…see earlier responses.

Transfiguration

A: Read a book with LGBTQ+ representation

E: Read a book that’s not a first in the series

  • The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater – This would require me reading the first book in the series, The Raven Boys, first (which I haven’t) but see Ancient Runes below…as I might have a plan
  • The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty – This one is long, so I might end up using it for the O level prompt below
  • The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden – This is an option for A level Arithmancy as well

O: McGonagall does not mess around! Read a book over 500 pages

  • The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty – As I said above I might use this book for this prompt
  • Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell – This is the group read book, and it has a special power. You can use the group read book for any prompt, so since this prompt is a beast, I might use the group read book special power here.

Ancient Runes

A: Ehwaz (partnership) – Read a book recommended by a friend

  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater – As I said earlier, in order to read The Dream Thieves, I would need to read The Raven Boys first. Well, this is the prompt I could use to read The Raven Boys. This book (in fact the entire series) was recommended to me by my friend Sarah. She also bought the entire series for me and gave it to me as a gift. I just haven’t had the time to read it, but this readathon might give me the chance to do so.
  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee – This was also recommended to me by my friend Sarah and I have been borrowing it from her for more than a year
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – My friend Emily is the one who recommended this to me. I recently borrowed the Grisha trilogy from her and read it, and the other day she lent me the Six of Crows duology, as well as King of Scars, to read.

E: Book written in past tense

  • Again, most of my books are written in past tense so…I will just choose one off the TBR shelf

Defence Against the Dark Arts

A: Book that’s black under the dust jacket

  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – I might have to read this book for this prompt due to lack of other options
  • Vita Nostra by Marina & Sergey Dyachenko – I am supposed to buddy read this with my friend Emily at some point, but I actually have surprisingly few options for this prompt…I will try to be good and not read it…but I might not have a choice

That’s it! It seems like a lot of books, and it is, but I am going to try and read manga/graphic novels where I can to help alleviate the load. Good luck to everyone else who is planning to sit their N.E.W.T.s exams!

Half Year Book Tag 2019

book tag

Thank you for the tag Emily! ❤ This tag was created by BexnBookx! I know I already did the Freak Out tag, but, I mean, we are already approaching mid July so…yeah still freaking out that we have less than half a year till a new decade and decided to distract myself doing book tags. Anywho:

Favorite standalone book hauled and read so far in 2019:

Circe by Madeline Miller – TBH, this is the same as the freak out tag I did a couple of days ago. This prompt is for favorite standalone, the other was for favorite book, but my favorite book happened to be a standalone. Go figure. I read so many series that I am a bit surprised by this.

Favorite series that I started or continued to read in 2019

The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells – For this one, I went with the “favorite series that I started” part of the prompt. I have actually also finished this series. The series is only 4 books long and the books themselves are fairly short, but the story is phenomenal.

Favorite bookish items purchased or received this year:

You know what, I don’t think I have actually gotten any bookish items yet this year. I have plans to get more bookshelves soon…but I haven’t actually bought them yet.

Favorite debut author:

Looking at my list…it seems I haven’t read any debut authors yet this year. I am really trying to focus on reading the print books I already own rather than buying more ebooks, and most of the print books I own are by established authors.

Favorite under-hyped book that I read this year:

Isola by Brenden Fletcher, Karl Kerschl, and M.Sassy.K – I came across this comic quite by chance at a local comic book store and I really like it. I am eagerly awaiting the second volume.

Favorite book read this year that you were late to the party on:

You mean besides Circe? I’m gonna have to go with The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin. I wish I had read this book years ago. It was phenomenal.

Potential favorite that you haven’t gotten around to reading yet:

The Fold by Peter Clines – My friend Emily recommended this to me ages ago and I bought it, but never got around to actually reading it. I think I will really like it once I do finally read it….though I need to read 14 first.

Favorite re-read in 2019:

Truth in the Dark by Amy Lane – This is my absolute favorite Beauty and the Beast retelling. I read it at least once a year.

Favorite cover on a book released this year:

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James – This is the same answer as the freak out tag. I love this cover so much, even though the book was so difficult. I still plan on reading the rest of the trilogy though.

(Optional) Favorite book box this year:

I haven’t gotten any book boxes yet (and in fact, I haven’t bought one in years), but I am currently reading the 3rd book in the Grisha trilogy, Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo. If I like it, I will probably get a box set of the trilogy.


So, even though the questions on this tag were different than the freak out tag, I still ended up having a lot of similar answers hahaha. Oh well. Happy reading everyone!

Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag 2019

book tag

Hi all! I saw this tag over at Zezee‘s blog, though my friend Emily was the one who was originally told me about it. It was created by ReadLikeWildFire and Ely Jayne.

(Also, I know this is supposed to be called the Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag….but I re-arranged the words in the title because I think it flows better. Plus I am more inclined to freak out about the fact that we are already halfway through 2019 (how did that happen!?) then to freak out about books that I may or may not have read so far this year.)

Best book I’ve read so far:

Circe by Madeline Miller – Holy crap was this a good book. I was a bit late to the party for reading this book but you know what? I don’t care. I am just forever grateful that I decided to jump on the bandwagon. It deserves all the hype and more. You know those books that immediately suck you in from word one? Yeah, that was this book.

Best sequel I’ve read so far:

The Arm of the Sphinx by Josiah Bancroft (The Books of Babel #2) – It was hard to choose just one book for this prompt, since I have actually read a lot of good sequels this year (yay!), but in this end this book won out over all of them. I love everything about this series so far. I actually have the third one, just haven’t had time to read it yet.

New release I haven’t read yet but want to:

The Hod King by Josiah Bancroft (The Books of Babel #3) – Speaking of the third book in this series….it was released in January of this year. I have just either been involved in readathons where this book didn’t work for any prompt, or just haven’t had time to read it. I really should make it a priority though.

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year:

The Deep by Rivers Solomon – I read An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon back in January this year and it…I have no words. I cannot wait for this book.

Biggest disappointment:

Vikram and the Vampire (aka Baital Pachisi) by Anonymous – I have been trying to learn more about the myths and legends of India, but man, I did not enjoy this book at all, mostly because of how horrifically women are treated and talked about. And yes, I realize it is a product of its time and culture but still, it was hard to read.

Biggest surprise:

The Many Adventures of Peter and Fi by Kelvyn Fernandes – I don’t normally read YA or middle grade books (though, I am not really sure this could be called middle grade considering how dark it gets at parts), but the author reached out to me offering a free ebook and…I really liked it. Liked it enough that I am still thinking about it, and waiting patiently for the sequel.

Favorite new author (debut or new to me):

Hmm…gonna go with 2 here. First off, Indra Das who wrote The Devourers, one of my favorite books I read this year. Also, Martha Wells who wrote The Murderbot Diaries.

Newest fictional crush:

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells – Speaking of The Murderbot Diaries….Murderbot is fun and all, but I heart ART so hard! <3<3<3 I wish it was in more than just the one book. ;~;

Newest favorite character:

Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett – I just picked up Foundryside yesterday and, OMG, Clef is the best!

Book that made me cry:

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin – Estraven </3 ;~;

Book that made me happy:

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor – There is just something so joyous about the love and respect Binti has for her culture, her family, and her home. And the comfort she receives from continuing her culture’s traditions is beautiful. I love it.

Favorite book to film adaptation I saw this year:

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman – Ok, so, it’s a show, not a film, but even so it is hands down one of the best, if not the best, book adaptation I have ever seen.

Favorite review I’ve written this year:

An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon – Here is my review: “I…don’t think I have adequate words to talk about this book. It is magnificent, and it is terrible. It makes me want to simultaneously destroy all human life and give everyone a giant hug. I think I am going to curl up with some tea and watch cute cat internet videos now.”

Most beautiful book I’ve bought so far this year

(or received):

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James – Holy hell was this book hard to read, for more than one reason, but my gosh does it have a stunning cover.

Books I need to read by the end of the year:

Hoo boy, too many to list them all here, but Red Sister by Mark Lawrence is at the top of my “I need to read this, like, now” list.


That’s it for this book tag. If you enjoyed it and want to do your own, well, consider yourself tagged!

Mid-year Reading Check-up 2019

Hello everyone and welcome to the mid-year check-up where I go over my reading stats from January 1st till June 31st (seriously, how is it July already!?). Here is my progress so far on my Goodreads reading challenge:

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This screenshot is actually 1 book off. I had already added a July read before I took the screenshot, but rather than go through the trouble of removing it and then re-adding it, I let it stand. So, really I had read only 83 books in the first half of the year. I am 32 books (now 33) ahead of schedule so, not too shabby. I might need to up my pledged book amount.

Here is a quick run down of the stats:

  • 83 books read
  • 224 average pages per book
  • 29/88 authors are POC
  • 32/88 authors are non-USA nationality
  • 56/88 authors are USA nationality

Note: There are 88 authors for 83 books because some of the books are anthologies with multiple authors (there would, in fact, be a lot more authors but I don’t count authors that are repeated. Each author is only counted once).

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Reading has been all over the place this year. March and June were a bit slumpy, but the rest of the months were pretty good, in some cases because of readathons. Here are the readathons I have participated in this year:

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As I said in my May and June 2019 Wrap-up post, I need to actually start reading some Mystery, Horror, and New Weird books (particularly New Weird).

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Still super proud of this graph because I continue to read way more new-to-me books than re-reads. The number of re-reads has slowly eked up, mostly because I was using re-reads as a way to get out of reading slumps. So, I can’t be too mad about it.

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Still skewed toward female authors. Don’t really foresee this changing.

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This one just keeps getting worse, little by little, but I think it is unavoidable considering the genres I read. I should just accept that series are going to far outstrip the standalones.

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Ugh, this is the one I am least happy with. It keeps getting worse, and I really REALLY need to focus on reading all the print books I own but haven’t read yet. I have over 100 of them now. This cannot stand.


That’s it for my mid-year check-up. I am currently participating in the 2019 Fantasy Book Bingo reading challenge, but I haven’t made any more progress since my last post about it. I really need to crack down and start reading more books for it.