The O.W.L.’s Magical Readathon is hosted by Book Roast on YouTube. It’s based on the exams the students take in Hogwarts from the Harry Potter books.
Basically, you choose a career path and complete the tasks assigned to it in the booklet. I chose Journalist because there was only 3 tasks assigned and I figured I could manage that with everything else I had going on.
My subjects were History of Magic, Muggle Studies and one more of my choosing which was Potions.
🦉 History of Magic – Published at least 10 Years Ago
For this one I read No Rest for the Wicked by Kresley Cole which was released in 2006. I LOVE this book! This was actually a reread which I’m not sure is allowed but I’ve done it now anyway 😊
In this next installment in the Immortals After Dark Series, USA Today Bestselling author Kresley Cole delivers a scorching tale about a forbidding vampire who lives in the shadows and the beautiful assassin who hunts him there.
A vampire soldier weary of life…
Centuries ago, Sebastian Wroth was turned into a vampire—a nightmare in his mind—against his will. Burdened with hatred and alone for ages, he sees little reason to live. Until an exquisite, fey creature comes to kill him, inadvertently saving him instead.
A valkyrie assassin dispatched to destroy him…
When Kaderin the Cold Hearted lost her two beloved sisters to a vampire attack long ago, a benevolent force deadened her sorrow—accidentally extinguishing all of her emotions. Yet whenever she encounters Sebastian, her feelings—particularly lust—emerge multiplied. For the first time, she’s unable to complete a kill.
Competitors in a legendary hunt…
The prize of the month-long contest is powerful enough to change history, and Kaderin will do anything to win it for her sisters. Wanting only to win her, forever, Sebastian competes as well, taking every opportunity—as they travel to ancient tombs and through catacombs, seeking relics around the world—to use her new feelings to seduce her. But when forced to choose between the vampire she’s falling for and reuniting her family, how can Kaderin live without either?
🦉 Muggle Studies – Contemporary
Again I’m not sure if urban fantasy is acceptable for this but White Trash Zombie has a contemporary setting so I’m going with it. This series is so good!! Even if you hate zombies you should check this series out. If you enjoy the iZombie TV show you will probably like this. I listened to the audiobook which I highly recommend as well.
Our favorite white trash zombie, Angel Crawford, has enough problems of her own, what with dealing with her alcoholic, deadbeat dad, issues with her not-quite boyfriend, the zombie mafia, industrial espionage, and evil corporations. Oh, and it’s raining, and won’t let up.
But things get even crazier when a zombie movie starts filming in town, and Angel begins to suspect that it’s not just the plot of the movie that’s rotten. Soon she’s fighting her way through mud, blood, bullets, and intrigue, even as zombies, both real and fake, prowl the streets.
Angel’s been through more than her share of crap, but this time she’s in way over her head. She’ll need plenty of brainpower to fit all the pieces – and body parts – together in order to save herself, her town, and quite possibly the human race.
🦉 Potions – Next Ingredient: Sequel
I had no book in mind for this one because I read mostly series anyway so I was going to read whatever was next for me. I went with Harry Potter cause it worked for another reading challenge I’m doing on Goodreads.
It is the middle of the summer, but there is an unseasonal mist pressing against the windowpanes. Harry Potter is waiting nervously in his bedroom at the Durselys’ house in Privet Drive for a visit from Professor Dumbledore himself. One of the last times he saw the Headmaster was in a fierce one-to-one duel with Lord Voldemort, and Harry can’t quite believe that Professor Dumbledore will actually appear at the Dursleys’ of all places. Why is the Professor coming to visit him now? What is it that cannot wait until Harry returns to Hogwarts in a few weeks’ time? Harry’s sixth year at Hogwarts has already got off to an unusual start, as the worlds of Muggle and magic start to intertwine…
Did you take part in the O.W.L.’s Magical Readathon?
The Irish Readathon is a readathon (or reading challenge) running for the whole month of March. The main goal is to read at least one form of Irish literature but we have some challenges that you can do as well if you want.
What happens when a psychic tells Lucy that she’ll be getting married within the year? Her roommates panic! What is going to happen to their blissful existence of eating take-out, drinking too much wine, bringing men home, and never vacuuming?
Lucy reassures her friends that she’s far too busy arguing with her mother and taking care of her irresponsible father to get married. And then there’s the small matter of not even having a boyfriend.
But then Lucy meets gorgeous, unreliable Gus. Could he be the future Mr. Lucy Sullivan? Or could it be handsome Chuck? Or Daniel, the world’s biggest flirt? Or even cute Jed, the new guy at work?
Maybe her friends have something to worry about after all….
From the bestselling author of the multi-award-winning Burial Rites
County Kerry, Ireland, 1825.
The fires on the hills smouldered orange as the women left, pockets charged with ashes to guard them from the night. Watching them fade into the grey fall of snow, Nance thought she could hear Maggie’s voice. A whisper in the dark.
“Some folk are born different, Nance. They are born on the outside of things, with a skin a little thinner, eyes a little keener to what goes unnoticed by most. Their hearts swallow more blood than ordinary hearts; the river runs differently for them.”
Nóra Leahy has lost her daughter and her husband in the same year, and is now burdened with the care of her four-year-old grandson, Micheál. The boy cannot walk, or speak, and Nora, mistrustful of the tongues of gossips, has kept the child hidden from those who might see in his deformity evidence of otherworldly interference.
Unable to care for the child alone, Nóra hires a fourteen-year-old servant girl, Mary, who soon hears the whispers in the valley about the blasted creature causing grief to fall upon the widow’s house.
Alone, hedged in by rumour, Mary and her mistress seek out the only person in the valley who might be able to help Micheál. For although her neighbours are wary of her, it is said that old Nance Roche has the knowledge. That she consorts with Them, the Good People. And that only she can return those whom they have taken…
☘ Challenge 2: Read a Book by a Female Irish Author
It’s a real shame that the male authors (Joyce, Wilde, Yeats, etc.) are usually the ones people think of when they think of Irish literature. We have some amazing contemporary female authors but classics can be very hard to find.
If the bus hadn’t broken down that August afternoon on the road between Dublin and Cork, Elizabeth Sullivan would never have met George Gallaher, a travelling actor of infinite charm and fatal weakness. She would not have been forced to marry, nor found herself trapped in an alien landscape.
(If you can find it 2nd hand I highly recommend this book. It’s out of print and there isn’t an ebook)
New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor has joined with Heather Webb to create this unforgettably romantic novel of the Great War.
August 1914. England is at war. As Evie Elliott watches her brother, Will, and his best friend, Thomas Harding, depart for the front, she believes—as everyone does—that it will be over by Christmas, when the trio plan to celebrate the holiday among the romantic cafes of Paris.
But as history tells us, it all happened so differently…
Evie and Thomas experience a very different war. Frustrated by life as a privileged young lady, Evie longs to play a greater part in the conflict—but how?—and as Thomas struggles with the unimaginable realities of war he also faces personal battles back home where War Office regulations on press reporting cause trouble at his father’s newspaper business. Through their letters, Evie and Thomas share their greatest hopes and fears—and grow ever fonder from afar. Can love flourish amid the horror of the First World War, or will fate intervene?
Christmas 1968. With failing health, Thomas returns to Paris—a cherished packet of letters in hand—determined to lay to rest the ghosts of his past. But one final letter is waiting for him…
☘ Challenge 3: Read a Book by One of the Hosts Favourite Irish Authors
Louise O’Neill, Marian Keyes and Sarah Rees BrennanI chose Marian Keyes for my favourite author because she’s the first author whose books I automatically bought and got really excited about reading. I was a teenager at the time though and I haven’t read much of her recent work but I still love her. She posts regular chatty vlogs on YouTube and her pure Irishness is just fantastic.
It’s the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O’Donovan is eighteen years old, beautiful, happy, confident. One night, there’s a party. Everyone is there. All eyes are on Emma.
The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can’t remember what happened, she doesn’t know how she got there. She doesn’t know why she’s in pain. But everyone else does.
Photographs taken at the party show, in explicit detail, what happened to Emma that night. But sometimes people don’t want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town’s heroes…
Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy #1) by Sarah Rees Brennan
Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met… a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.
But all that changes when the Lynburns return.
The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown—in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?
‘Myself and Hugh . . . We’re taking a break.’ ‘A city-with-fancy-food sort of break?’
Amy’s husband Hugh says he isn’t leaving her.
He still loves her, he’s just taking a break – from their marriage, their children and, most of all, from their life together. Six months to lose himself in south-east Asia. And there is nothing Amy can say or do about it.
Yes, it’s a mid-life crisis, but let’s be clear: a break isn’t a break up – yet . . .
However, for Amy it’s enough to send her – along with her extended family of gossips, misfits and troublemakers – teetering over the edge.
For a lot can happen in six-months. When Hugh returns if he returns, will he be the same man she married? And will Amy be the same woman?
Because if Hugh is on a break from their marriage, then isn’t she?
The Break isn’t a story about falling in love but about staying in love. It is Marian Keyes at her funniest, wisest and brilliant best.
☘ Challenge 4: Read a Book that isn’t a Novel
So this could be a play, poetry or non-fiction.Just something that isn’t a novel.
Writers, killers, nuns, patriots, artists, healers, pirates, politicians, entertainers, saints, courtesans, leaders, revolutionaries, lovers, warriors, witches, record-breakers, and eccentrics are among the eclectic roster of Irishwomen resurrected from the dustbins of history by this “rollicking read” (according to Books Ireland). In times when women were expected to marry and have children, they traveled the world and sought out adventures. In times when women were expected to be seen and not heard, they spoke out against oppression and used every creative means available to express their ideas and beliefs. Editor and writer Marian Broderick provides us with a series of lively portraits of seventy-five unorthodox Irishwomen. In these pages you will meet women you will never forget: Maria Edworth, Lady Jane Wilde, Lady Augusta Gregory, Peig Sayers, Nora Barnacle, Kitty Kiernan, Anne Bonny, Anne Devlin, Mother Jones, Countess Constance Markievicz, Hanna Sheey Skeffington, Fanny and Anna Parnell, Maud Gonne, St. Brighid, Margaret Leeson, Lady Betty, Queen Maeve of Connacht, Molly Brown, Kathleen Behan, Lola Monez, Daisy Bates, Greer Garson, Lilly and Lolly Yeats, and many more.
In a land like ours, the old beliefs bring pleasure and wisdom…
Exploring the legends, special places and treasured practices of old, Jo Kerrigan reveals a rich world beneath Ireland’s modern layers.
So many of today’s Irish traditions reach back to our ancient past, to the natural world: climbing to the summit of a mountain at harvest time; circling a revered site three, seven or nine times in a sun-wise direction; hanging offerings on a thorn tree; bringing the ailing and infirm to a sacred well.
Old Ways, Old Secrets shows us how to uncover the wisdom of the past, as fresh as it is ancient.
☘ Challenge 5: Read a Book Older than You are
This one basically means read a classic. I think when people think of Irish literature the classics are probably what comes to mind first. Yeats or Wilde would be perfect for this one and you could double up and use them for this and challenge 4.
— Nobel Prize winning writer and poet W.B. Yeats included almost every sort of Irish folk in this marvelous compendium of fairy tales and songs that he collected and edited for publication in 1892. — Yeats was fascinated by Irish myths and folklore, and joined forces with the writers of the Irish Literary Revival. He studied Irish folk tales and chose to reintroduce the glory and significance of Ireland’s past through this unique literature.
Oscar Wilde’s brilliant play makes fun of the English upper classes with light-hearted satire and dazzling humour. It is 1890’s England and two young gentlemen are being somewhat limited with the truth. To inject some excitement into their lives, Mr Worthing invents a brother, Earnest, as an excuse to leave his dull country life behind him to pursue the object of his desire, the ravishing Gwendolyn. While across town Algernon Montecrieff decides to take the name Earnest, when visiting Worthing’s young ward Cecily. The real fun and confusion begins when the two end up together and their deceptions are in danger of being revealed.
So those are just some of the books you could read for The Irish Readathon. Most of these I have already read but some are books that I might read for the readathon. I had never heard of Sarah Rees Brennan before this and her series seems to be quite popular so I will have to check out her books.
You could also read something by Nora Roberts. She’s American but bases a lot of her books in Ireland or with Irish characters.
What books by Irish authors or set in Ireland have you read?
Romanceopoly is a reading challenge game hosted by Under the Covers and Peace Love Books.
The game is based loosely on Monopoly and set in the fictional city of Romanceopolis. You can roll a die to make your way around the board or just do each task which is how I’m going to play.
The website the creators have made is so helpful with tasks. They have a list of recommendations for each task here which I have found great because there are a few tasks that require books I wouldn’t normally read.
Tasks & TBR
LEATHER LANEUrban Fantasy Read an urban fantasy where the series is already completed
KICKASS LANEUrban Fantasy Read an urban fantasy with a picture of a kickass heroine on the cover
DOWNTOWNSubway Read a rock star romance
GROWING PAINS PLACEYoung Adult Read a young adult book (fantasy or contemporary)
MEMORY LANEHistorical Fiction Read a historical fiction novel
WOMEN’S AVEWomen’s Fiction Read a women’s fiction novel
DUNGEON Corner Read a book with a hero in prison or who is an ex-con – OR – Read a book on UTC’s or PLB’s Book Boyfriends List.
COLLEGE ROWNew Adult Read a new adult book set in college
BUSTransport Read a book where the character(s) have to go on a journey which involves travel (this includes fantasy)
LGBT LANELGBT Read a new adult LGBT romance
FREEDOM FRIARSLGBT Read an adult LGBT romance
SWEET STREETContemporary Romance Read a sweet or small town contemporary romance
BAD BOY CIRCUSContemporary Romance Read a contemporary romance with a bad boy hero or bad gal heroine
EROTIC EAVESErotic Romance Read a smoking hot erotic contemporary romance
FIRESTATIONCorner Read a book with a firefighter hero/heroine – OR – Read an ON FIRE HOT erotic romance (can be other than contemporary)
WARRIORS WAYParanormal Romance Read a paranormal romance that involves a band of warriors
MAGIC ROWParanormal Romance Read a paranormal romance where the hero/heroine can wield magic
CREATURE CRESCENTParanormal Romance Read a paranormal romance where the hero/heroine isn’t human (shifters, vamps, angels, demons, gargoyles, etc)
COZY CORNERMystery Read a mystery or cozy mystery
MILITARY MEWSRomantic Suspense Read a romantic suspense with a military hero/heroine
TAXITransport Read a book on UTC’s or PLB’s Recs List (any genre).
MURDER MILLThriller Read a thriller or romantic thriller
HEARTBREAK HOSPITALCorner Read a book with a doctor hero/heroine – OR – Read a tearjerker
FARAWAY LAND Fantasy Read a fantasy romance or a fantasy novel
LONDON STREETSteampunk Read a steampunk romance or steampunk novel
ALIEN AVENUESci Fi Read a sci fi romance or a sci fi novel
AUSTEN ROWHistorical Romance Read a classic romance – OR – Read a historical romance on UTC’s or PLB’s Recs List.
UPTOWNSubway Read a chef/foodie romance
MAYFAIRHistorical Romance Read a historical romance where there is a class disparity
Be sure to check out the website if you’re interested in the challenge. It is seriously the most informative site I’ve seen for a reading challenge.
It’s time for New Year reading challenges, yay! The Historical Fiction Reading Challenge is hosted by Passages to the Past which is an amazing blog focusing on historical fiction. All subgenres of historical fiction are welcome so romance, young adult, mystery, whatever, all are welcome 🙂
The challenge runs from January 1st to December 31st 2019 and has 6 levels.
20th Century Reader – 2 books Victorian Reader – 5 books Renaissance Reader – 10 books Medieval – 15 books Ancient History – 25 books Prehistoric – 50+ books
I’m going to aim for Ancient History – 25 books. In 2018 I read about 20 historical books so 25 should be attainable.
Historical Fiction MBR
MBR stands for “might be read”.
I often see classics being tagged historical fiction so I’m including them in my list. I’m just going to pick out 5 books now because I will most likely discover some new ones throughout 2019.
“They call me a heroine, but I am not deserving of such accolades. I am just an ordinary young woman who did her duty.”
Northumberland, England. Longstone Lighthouse on the Farne Islands has
been Grace Darling’s home for all of her twenty-two years. When she and
her father rescue shipwreck survivors in a furious storm, Grace becomes
celebrated throughout England, the subject of poems, ballads, and plays.
But far more precious than her unsought fame is the friendship that
develops between Grace and a visiting artist. Just as George Emmerson
captures Grace with his brushes, she in turn captures his heart.
1938: Newport, Rhode Island. Nineteen-years-old and pregnant, Matilda Emmerson has been sent away from Ireland in disgrace. She is to stay with Harriet, a reclusive relative and assistant lighthouse keeper, until her baby is born. A discarded, half-finished portrait opens a window into Matilda’s family history. As a deadly hurricane approaches, two women, living a century apart, will be linked forever by their instinctive acts of courage and love.
I received this book from Harper Collins a few months ago, started reading it, liked it but stopped for whatever reason. I recently listened to the audio of Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb and loved it so. I’m really excited to read more by both of them. Heather Webb has a retelling of The Phantom of the Opera that I will likely pick up in 2019 as well.
Leo Drake, the “Mad Monk of Monkcrest,” is notoriously eccentric and unquestionably reclusive. But he is also a noted antiquities expert, which is why Beatrice Poole has demanded his reluctant assistance. The freethinking authoress of “horrid novels,” Beatrice is searching for the Forbidden Rings of Aphrodite, a mythic treasure she suspects played a role in her uncle’s death. Beatrice finds Leo every bit as fascinating as one of the heroes in her novels-and she’s convinced he’s the only one who can help her. But after only five minutes in her company, Leo is sure he’s never met a woman more infuriating…and more likely to rescue him from boredom. Yet the alliance may well prove to be the biggest mistake of their lives. For a villain lurks in London, waiting for the pair to unearth the Forbidden Rings-knowing that when they do, that day will be their last….
So, I did the unspeakable and read the second and third books in this series before reading the first book. It seems like a strange thing to do but I had those two and had to wait for this one. I also read a review on the second book that said there was no tangible connection between them and could be read as a stand-alone so I went with it. Now I can read the first one and get the series straightened up.
Their lives were perfect… Lady Hero Batten, the beautiful sister of the Duke of Wakefield, has everything a woman could want, including the perfect fiancé. True, the Marquis of Mandeville is a trifle dull and has no sense of humor, but that doesn’t bother Hero. Until she meets his notorious brother…
Until they met each other. Lord Griffin Reading is far from perfect – and he likes it that way. How he spends his days is a mystery, but all of London knows he engages in the worst sorts of drunken revelry at night. Hero takes an instant dislike to him, and Griffin thinks that Hero, with her charities and faultless manners, is much too impeccable for society, let alone his brother. Yet their near-constant battle of wits soon sparks desire—desire that causes their carefully constructed worlds to come tumbling down. As Hero’s wedding nears, and Griffin’s enemies lay plans to end their dreams forever, can two imperfect people find perfect true love?
‘Such whispered tales, such old temptations and hauntings, and devilish terrors’
Gaskell’s chilling Gothic tales blend the real and the supernatural to
eerie, compelling effect. ‘Disappearances’, inspired by local legends of
mysterious vanishings, mixes gossip and fact; ‘Lois the Witch’, a
novella based on an account of the Salem witch hunts, shows how sexual
desire and jealousy lead to hysteria; while in ‘The Old Nurse’s Story’ a
mysterious child roams the freezing Northumberland moors. Whether
darkly surreal, such as ‘The Poor Clare’, where an evil doppelganger is
formed by a woman’s bitter curse, or mischievous like ‘Curious, if
True’, a playful reworking of fairy tales, all the pieces in this volume
form a start contrast to the social realism of Gaskell’s novels,
revealing a darker and more unsettling style of writing.
Laura Kranzler’s introduction discusses how Gaskell’s tales, with their ghostly doublings and transgressive passions, show the Gothic underside of female identity, domestic relations and male authority. This edition also contains a chronology, further reading and explanatory notes.
Graham Greene’s classic Cuban spy story, now with a new package and a new introduction
First published in 1959, Our Man in Havana is an espionage thriller, a penetrating character study, and a political satire that still resonates to this day. Conceived as one of Graham Greene’s ‘entertainments,’ it tells of MI6’s man in Havana, Wormold, a former vacuum-cleaner salesman turned reluctant secret agent out of economic necessity. To keep his job, he files bogus reports based on Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare and dreams up military installations from vacuum-cleaner designs. Then his stories start coming disturbingly true.