OWLs Readathon: April 2020

It’s time for Book Roast‘s annual OWLs Readathon! I won’t write about the crazy times we’re in other than to say, I hope that everybody and their families are safe. I’ve read very little over the past few weeks, not so much because I can’t concentrate (although that is in part true) but more because work has been absolutely mental since lockdown. The initial rush seems to have died down a little now and we have a long bank holiday weekend coming up in the UK in which I will not be taking my planned trip to Berlin and will instead be hunkering down to read. So let’s readathon!

I took part in the OWLs Readathon last year and it’s a truly incredible Harry Potter themed readathon. The detail is amazing, the materials are so lovely and the whole thing is just…well, magical. If you want to find the materials and the intro video, head HERE. In short, read books that fit the prompts and pass your OWLs, a la Harry Potter and his pals!

This year, I’ve decided to go for a career as a Ministry Worker, ideally in the Department of Magical Law and Enforcement, because I’m a loser and I’m a lawyer in real life and would quite like to be the magical equivalent!  To get there, I need to pass OWLs in: Charms; Defence Against the Dark Arts; History of Magic; Potions; and, Transfiguration!  All of which is to say my TBR for April now looks like this!

Charms: Lumos Maxima – a book with a white cover: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Yes, I do know I’m years behind! I have a fair amount of fantasy mixed in so I fancy something different mixed in.

Defence Against the Dark Arts: Grindylows – a book set at the sea/coast: Bone China by Laura Purcell. Man takes family to Cornwall for some restorative sea air, creepy happenings ensue.

History of Magic: Witch hunts – a book featuring witches/wizards: Witch Hat Atelier: Vol 1 by Kamome Shirahama. I’ve never read manga before but this looks super cute and, conveniently enough, is all about witches! Bonus points for giving me half a chance of reading all of these books in a month…

Potions: Shrinking solution – a book under 150 pages: A Meal in Winter by Hubert Mingarelli. At 138 pages, this novel of three German soldiers sent out into the night to track down a Jewish person sounds heartbreaking and I’ve been meaning to read it for a while.

Transfiguration: Animagus lecture – a book/series that includes shapeshifting: Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger. I love Gail Carriger’s writing and I’ve had this series opener for years. I think (hope!) the series includes werewolves.

I’d also really like to get a certificate from the Defence of Fantastic Beasts seminar, for which I’d have to also pass an OWL in Care of Magical Creatures by reading a book with a creature with a beak on the cover. For that I’m going to read Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor. I’ve technically read about 10% of it already but I’m ok with counting it given I have over 500 pages left! Be kind about my technical rule breaking 🙂

Drop me a link to your TBR if you’re taking part too!

Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon: TBR and Intro

It’s been ages since I’ve taken part in the Dewey’s 24 hour readathon. I need far too much sleep and will be far too busy at work on Monday to read for 24 hours but the weather is truly terrible here in Yorkshire today and just screams ‘stay inside and read’. So until later on this evening, that’s what I’m going to do! I’m out for dinner with my husband but will have plenty of time for reading before and potentially after and tomorrow morning.

My TBR is pretty simple – read The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan. I started it this morning and I’m already hooked so I’m sure it’s going to be a fast-paced read perfect for a readathon. I also have a graphic novel (the third volume of Sagaand a book of short stories (The Ghost Stories of Edith Wharton) on standby in case I fancy a change of pace.

As ever, I’ll start with a stopwatch and ultimately forget and end up guessing at actually how long I’ve read for our of the 24!  I’ll mostly be updating on Twitter (@SheReadsSheRuns) because updating here will take me too long.

So before I get cracking on my TBR pile, here’s the opening survey!

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

Yorkshire, England. Currently being a little less than fine and raining constantly. You can tell I’m also actually British because I’ve already mentioned the weather twice…

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

The Dead-Tossed Waves. It’s been 6 years since I read the first in the series (The Forest of Hands and Teeth – best title ever) but I fancied something action-packed and you can usually rely on zombies for that.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?

I’m actually going out for dinner this evening to a local vegetarian Indian restaurant and while not a snack, I am VERY much looking forward to the food interlude. The paneer starters are to die for and I’m already starving at the thought of it.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

What to tell? I’m a 33 year old lawyer (I know) living in a relatively small village in Yorkshire with my husband and two cats, Bridget and Molly. I read a lot and I love running and exercise (hence the blog title!). I’m also a massive food nerd and love messing about in the kitchen. Straight-forward stuff, really! What else? I’m super frightened of dogs, cows and birds so not what you’d call “outdoorsy”.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

I didn’t participate last time but I have before. The main thing I’m going to focus on this time is updating on Twitter rather than trying to blog and read and chat on Twitter and then just doing very little of anything. So onward to the books!

Are you taking part too? What are you planning on reading?

N.E.W.T.s Readathon: August 2019

I’m very excited about it being August. It’s my birthday month but, more importantly, it’s also the month of the N.E.W.T.s Readathon 2019! I *loved* the O.W.L.s version earlier this year so I can’t wait to get stuck back into the prompts to hopefully chase down my chosen career of Hogwarts Professor of Potions.

As with the O.W.L.s, there’s an amazing introductory video with all of the detail you could want at Book Roast HERE. The list of prompts is as fantastic as I’d hoped and I had so much fun just picking out my TBR! You can only do a N.E.W.T in something that you have an O.W.L. in, and if your goal is to get Outstanding for example, you have to run through Acceptable and Exceeded Expectations first. To teach Potions, I’ll need an O in Potions (obviously), an E in Defence Against the Dark Arts and an A in two other subjects. That’s 7 books, which is a bit of a stretch for my usual reading habits. Still, exams are meant to be challenging! 🙂


Acceptable: Polyjuice potion – Read your friend’s favourite book: I don’t have any of my friends’ favourite books that I haven’t read so I’m following the intro video’s advice and going with a favourite of what seems like the whole of the fantasy reading world and finally picking up The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin. I’ve been reading this since the 1st and I’m about half way through and I love it.

Exceeded Expectations: House ingredients – Read a book with a cover in the colour of your Hogwarts House: I’m a Ravenclaw so it’s a blue cover needed for me. I’ve gone with Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens because the series looks like it’ll be super fun. Strictly not the right shade of blue but I’m making my peace with that.

Outstanding: Book that starts with a Prologue: I’m trying to read more translated fiction so I’ve chosen White Hunger by Aki Ollikainen. At 136 pages, I’m hoping it’ll help me along the way to reading 7 books in the month! It also sounds like a really moving book about a famine in 1860s Finland.

Defence Against the Dark Arts

Acceptable: Book that’s black under the dust jacket: I actually have very few books that even have dust jackets because I’m not a hardback book fan. I do have Sleeping Giants by Sylvia Neuven though and fortunately (as it’s the only book I have that fits the brief) it comes highly recommended.

Exceeded Expectations: Gilderoy’s memory charm – the first book you remembered from your TBR: Thank goodness the first book I remembered wasn’t a whopper of a tome! Instead it was Nine Man’s Murder by Eric Keith. I love me a locked room mystery and I think that this is one such mystery. I’m excited to finally get to it.

Muggle Studies

Acceptable: Cover that includes an actual photo element: I’ve gone one better and picked out The Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs, the final instalment in the series of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and packed full of creepy old photographs!


Acceptable: Mandrake! Quick, put your headphones on! Listen to an audiobook (or if not, a book with a green cover): I’m going through more of a podcast phase at the moment and I’m not fancying audiobooks but I have had The Lost Boy by Greg Ruth on my shelves for a few years and it has a mostly green cover.

Drop me a link to your TBR if you’re joining in too! I’ll be updating on progress here and on Twitter at @SheReadsSheRuns.

Magical Readathon: O.W.L.s Wrap Up

Better two weeks late than never? I really enjoyed the O.W.L.s Readathon so even if it is super late, I wanted to wrap up so that I could pick back up with the N.E.W.T.s in August!

In the end, I passed 8 O.W.L.s, which I’m super pleased with! Exceeded Expectations isn’t too shabby 🙂 I had to change up my TBR mid-month as my original pile proved a little ambitious but even so I’m happy with what I read, not least because there were books I picked up that I really enjoyed that I’d had on my shelves for years.

Potions – Read a sequel – Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

I flipping loved this one. I read the first book in the trilogy, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, last year and liked it but was a bit lukewarm about the romance thread. The series features some pretty kick-ass angels and a war between them and the chimaera (the ‘demons’ of the world).  I really like that Taylor is playing around with good and evil and all of the grey areas in between and her world building is just incredible. Surprisingly for a middle book in a trilogy, this was actually stronger than the first and I can’t wait to see how the series wraps up soon.

Defence Against the Dark Arts – Read a book with a title beginning with ‘R’ – Reckless by Cornelia Funke

This was a bit of an odd one. I’ve had it on my shelves for about 4 years without realising that it’s translated fiction, fitting this read neatly into my goal to read more translated fiction this year. In some ways, this was beautiful – it has a whimsical fairytale feel to it, set in a world reached through a mirror that is full of fairies and other magical creatures. The plot was a little bit too runaway for me in the end though. It follows Jacob trying to find a cure for his cursed brother and it barrels wildly through encounters with man-eating creatures, jealous fairies, dragons and cottages belonging to carnivorous witches. It’s easy reading and fun in a way but just a bit off the wall.

History of Magic – Read a book published at least 10 years ago – Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Another one that I really enjoyed! I actually wrote a full review of this one so won’t say too much here. It made me cry and I can absolutely see why it’s generally regarded as a sci-fi classic.

Charms – Read an adult novel – The Missing Girl by Shirley Jackson

This was where I went off script. I’m not usually a short story fan but I am a Shirley Jackson fan so thought it was worth a shot. There are three short stories in this Penguin Modern mini and I kind of liked two and think I was missing something on the other.  At less than 60 pages, it’s probably handy if you want to try out Jackson’s style but I wasn’t blown away.

Divination – Read a book set in the future – Red Clocks by  Leni Zumas

I was expecting more from this than I ended up getting, unfortunately. It’s set in a future where abortions have become illegal and women are arrested for either having one, performing one or even attempting to have or perform one. The novel follows a few different characters – a pregnant teenager, a miserable wife, a woman who is desperate to have a baby and a woman who performs abortions (among other things). I liked some narratives more than others, which meant that there were whole sections that I eventually just stopped enjoying. The wife in particular drove me bonkers. It makes some fascinating points about what it is to be a woman and what defines what a woman is but it’s a little bit off as a novel.

Herbology – Read a book with a plant on the cover – The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

This was a huge book in 2016 and everybody seemed to love it. Now I really liked it a lot but I didn’t quite love it. The writing is gorgeous and the characters are excellently developed and balanced but (and I do hate to say this) it was a bit dry in places. It felt just a bit too long to me. Cara, a newly widowed young woman, moves to the country and meets William, a pastor in a small village congregation. The story of their relationship is charming and I’m always there for a story of women in Victorian England trying to live independently. It’s not one for you if you’re all about pace and action but it’s absolutely worth a read.

Transfiguration – Read a book with sprayed edges or a red cover – Feminists Don’t Wear Pink: Essays by various women collated by Scarlett Curtis

The older I get, the more I find myself identifying as a feminist. This book (with delightfully pink end sprayed edges) is a collection of essays, poems and other writings from a whole host of women about what being a feminist means to them. There are some that are hilarious, some that are so inspiring and others that are moving. I read it throughout the month, picking it up for half an hour here or there, and every time I picked it up, I found myself feeling uplifted and really positive. It’s a great collection and one I think should be required reading for young girls and women.

Muggle Studies – Contemporary – Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith

This wasn’t on my original TBR but I borrowed it from the library and it fits into this prompt so bonus! I haven’t read a poetry collection since I was about 17 but I heard a lot about this one last year and I was curious to give one a try. I wasn’t prepared for how genuinely emotional I’d find reading it. Danez Smith is a gay black man who is HIV positive and his writing is unflinchingly direct, raw and hugely impactive. It’s absolutely for adult readers but I’d really recommend it if you’re not usually a poetry reader but fancy giving some a try.

What have you been reading recently? Let’s chat in the comments!

Magical Readathon: O.W.L.s TBR

I remember hearing about the Magical Readathon last year but by the time I did, it was too late for me to take part. This year, I’ve managed to spot the sign-up prompts in time to actually pull together a pile of books to read and I am EXCITED.

love the idea for this readathon – it’s Harry Potter inspired and you get to choose a career and then read books to pass your O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s. I don’t even know why you’d want to know anything else. There’s an amazing introductory video with all of the prompts you could want at Book Roast HERE.

It took me far, far too long to pick a career. I considered Auror, Librarian and Ministry Worker (because honestly the Ministry of Mysteries sounds awesome) but in the end I’ve gone for HOGWARTS PROFESSOR. Living at Hogwarts and getting to swish around in robes and eat in the Great Hall every day? Yes please. Also, in the real world sense, it means there’s a little bit more flexibility over which O.W.L.s are needed and ultimately the books that I’ll be reading during March…

So what do exams do you have to pass if you want to be a Hogwarts Professor? You need 7 O.W.L.s, which means I’ll need to read 7 books. That’s 1-2 books more than I would usually read in a month so it seems like a decent stretch and challenge for a month in which I’m doing a readathon. You need one in the subject you want to teach, five additional subjects and Defence Against the Dark Arts. I love to cook so I feel like I’d also love potion making and am going for being a Potions professor.

All of that means that my TBR looks like this:

Potions – Read a sequel – Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Defence Against the Dark Arts – Read a book with a title beginning with ‘R’ – Reckless by Cornelia Funke

History of Magic – Read a book published at least 10 years ago – Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Charms – Read an adult novel – The Photographer by Meike Ziervogel

Divination – Read a book set in the future – Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Herbology – Read a book with a plant on the cover – The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

Transfiguration – Read a book with sprayed edges or a red cover – Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey

I’ll be tweeting my way through the challenge and might do a half time wrap up if I get time! I’m super excited about this readathon. Let me know if you’re joining in too and if you are, what career you’ve gone for and what books that means you’ll be picking up!

24 in 48 Readathon: TBR

I’ve had quite the week this week and am in dire need of some quiet time at home with a pile of books, some good coffee and plenty of snacks.  Enter the 24 in 48 Readathon with impeccable timing!

The premise suits me down to the ground:

Beginning at 12:01am (official timezone is EST) on Saturday morning and running through 11:59pm on Sunday night, participants read for 24 hours out of that 48-hour period.

You can split that up however you’d like: 20 hours on Saturday, four hours on Sunday; 12 hours each day; six four-hour sessions with four hour breaks in between. You can pause as much as you need, enjoy regularly scheduled weekend activities, nap, stop for dance breaks with your kids or pets or neighbors. Whatever works for you.

And that’s it. The format never changes but it’s always an adventure.

I’m hopeless with 24 hour readathons because I’m always too busy during the week to completely miss a night’s sleep over the week. Spreading 24 hours over 48 is also a bit of a challenge for me but I’ll give it a shot and frankly if I just read more than normal and faff about less I’ll be happy!

So. My TBR.

I’ve intentionally gone for a mix of genres so that I can switch it up during the day.  On the pile is…

Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan – A reread for me but one I’m finding surprisingly fun! If I’m in the mood for some fantasy or for something meaty, this is where I’ll turn.

Feminists Don’t Wear Pink and Other Lies by Scarlett Curtis – The older I get, the more I identify with more ‘brands’ of feminism. I’m looking forward to this essay collection, which is a first for me!

Sparkling Cyanide by Agatha Christie – This is the grey hardback you can’t see but I was in the library the other day and saw this vintage style hardback edition of a Christie novel that I’ve heard nothing but great things about. I love a vintage crime novel and I can’t wait to get stuck into this one.

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf – I’ve wanted to read this for years but given that I’m buying no books at the moment (and this always seems to be expensive anyway), I plumped for the library. It’s a graphic novel telling of one man’s relationship with a now infamous serial killer. I find the idea of it morbidly fascinating and it’s another one that I’m really looking forward to.

So all in all, I’m super looking forward to tomorrow!  Time to get stuck into the books! I’ll be updating here and on Twitter @SheReadsSheRuns.

You can still sign up HERE if you want to take part! Join us 🙂 If you’re already sign up, let me know what you’re reading!