In April, I participated in the Magical Read-a-thon, which is a month long read-a-thon inspired by the Harry Potter series. This is the third year it has been running, but the first time I have managed to participate. Even this time, I missed the start of it and didn’t get my TBR put together until part way through the first week, but I am so glad I finally managed to participate.
This is an exceptionally creative read-a-thon hosted and created by G from the YouTube channel Book Roast (here is this year’s intro post if you’re interested). The read-a-thon consists of two parts, the OWLs in the spring and the NEWTs in the summer. There are also shorter, special events throughout the year. The NEWTs build on the OWLs, but you can always jump in at any time.
The read-a-thon is divided into Hogwarts subjects that you pass by reading books that fulfill the related prompts. You read one book for one prompt. There is no doubling up. The subjects you pass in the spring (OWLs) will determine which subjects you can take in the summer (NEWTs), which in turn determine which career you can choose. G has created an amazingly detailed course and career guide that outlines all the possible careers, as well as the subjects you need to take to qualify for that career. There are 12 subjects, as well as some additional challenges if reading 12 books in one month is not enough of a challenge for you.
Even though I started part way through the first week, my goal was to read books for all 12 prompts. I wanted to leave myself as much choice as possible for the NEWTs later this year. I also went in with a specific career goal in mind (Curse Breaker), that way if it looked like I wasn’t going to be able to read all 12, I would have a smaller list to focus on. I wanted to make sure that the subjects I completed would actually lead to at least one career option.
I ended up reading 9 out of the 12 books. By part way through the third week, I was on track to read all 12 books but I lost most of my reading motivation at that point and it took me the entire last week to finish 1 book. I finished all 6 books for my chosen career, and I think that the extra subjects I read will give me some flexibility if I change my mind come summer. Overall, I am really happy with my results.
Without further ado, let’s get to the prompts and the books I read!
OWLS I passed for my Career Path
1. Ancient Runes – A book with a heart on the cover or in the title
Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody – 4 Stars
This book has been on my TBR since it came out a couple years ago. I had heard some mixed reviews, so I kept putting it off and letting it sit on my library wish list, taunting me every time I would scroll through trying to decide what next to read. I am so glad that this prompt finally forced me to pick it up, because I really enjoyed it! It is a fantasy set in a Las Vegas type city. There is magic and danger, and ever raising stakes. I will definitely be picking up the next book shortly.
2. Arithmancy – Read a book outside your favourite genre
The Test by Sylvain Neuvel – 3 Stars
This was a last minute swap in to my TBR when I realized that I didn’t have enough short books on my list. The Test is a short, science fiction book, set in a not too far in the future UK. The main difference in this world is the peculiar test immigrants need to pass to be granted citizenship. I am not going to give too many details, because it is better to go in blind, but overall I really enjoyed it.
3. Charms – A book with a white cover
Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny – 5 Stars
I started reading Louise Penny a couple years ago, and this one is my favourite so far. Penny has a beautiful writing style, and she writes intricate, character driven mysteries. The mysteries are suspenseful and well written, but just as much emphasis is placed on character and human nature. The more I read, the more I fall in love with her quirky cast of characters.
4. Defence against the Dark Arts – A book set at sea or on the coast
Murder on Cape Cod by Maddie Day – 3 Stars
This one was another last minute swap in as I was struggling to find a book available at the library that fit the prompt. I stumbled across this one available as an audiobook. This book is a cozy mystery set in a small tourist town in Cape Cod. The main character owns a bike shop, which I thought was unique. The read was enjoyable, and overall it was well written. My one complaint is that the wrap up was too abrupt and I didn’t think there were quite enough clues to point to the culprit’s identity. I do plan on picking up more from this author.
5. Potions – A book under 150 pages
In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It by Lauren Graham – No rating
Since this is a graduation speech converted into a book, I decided not to give it a rating. I have had it on my TBR for a long time now, because I really like Lauren Graham, and it did not disappoint. I would definitely recommend it in audiobook form, as it is read by the author, which is the perfect way to read this type of book.
6. Transfiguration – A book or series that includes shapeshifting
A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer – 4 Stars
There may come a time when I don’t want to read another Beauty and the Beast retelling, but now is not that time. This is the first book in a fantasy series that takes a really fun twist on the classic story. The main character, a teenaged girl with Cerebral Palsy is amazing. She is fierce and kind and I absolutely loved her. I am so excited to pick up book two.
Bonus OWLS I passed (not in my career path)
7. Astronomy – A book where you read the majority when it’s dark
Stormfront By Jim Butcher – 3 Stars
This was the read-a-thon of getting though books that have been on my TBR forever. Stormfront is the first book in a fantasy series set in a Chicago where magic and the supernatural exists. The main character, Harry is a Private Investigator, and he is the only openly practicing wizard around. As such, he often consults with the police to solve magic related crimes. I really enjoyed this book, and I have already have book two from the library. I hear it only gets better from here.
8. History of Magic – A book featuring witches or wizards
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo – 4 Stars
Up until this point, I had liked but not loved, all of the Leigh Bardugo books that I had read. I am happy to say that this one has changed that. I loved the combination of fantasy and mystery, and the Yale university setting. It took me awhile to get into the story, since the beginning is very much an information dump, but once I got past that, I was hooked. I cannot wait for the next book in the series.
9. Muggle Studies – A book from the perspective of a muggle (Contemporary)
One More Moment by Samantha Chase – 3 Stars
Completing this point was all luck. I missed the start of the read-a-thon by almost a week, and was please to discover that the first book I read in April would fit one of the prompts. This is the third and final book in a contemporary romance series where each book is focused on a different member of one rock band. I have really enjoyed this series, and Chase’s books are perfect for when I want a light, fun romance.
OWLS I did not complete
10. Care of Magical Creatures – A book with a creature with a beak on the cover
11. Herbology- A book with a title starting with an M
12. Divination – A book picked at random off your TBR (use a random number generator)
Do you enjoy participating in read-a-thons? If so, what are your suggestions for ones I should check out next?