December Wrap Up!

December Wrap Up!

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Today I thought I would post a little update about all the books that I read in December. December was a bit of a hectic month but I was also off over the Christmas period so I did manage to get quite a bit of reading done. In total I read 13 books, so let’s dive into what they were!

Gemina – Ami Kaufman & Jay Kristoffbook cover (1)
First off I continued my love affair with the Illuminae series. I couldn’t wait to dive into the second instalment and if it’s possible I loved it even more than I loved Illuminae. This was a definite favourite. (5/5 stars.)
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The Island – M. A. Bennett

I really enjoyed S.T.A.G.S by the same author and was really looking forward to reading this one. It was a bit unbelievable and I really struggled with the main character. Overall it was an interesting story but it didn’t live up to my expectations. (2.5/5 stars)

The Language of Thorns – Leigh Bardugobook cover (65)
I finally got around to reading The Language of Thorns and I really enjoyed these beautiful fairy tale stories. It was interesting to get another take on the Grishaverse and while these stories didn’t hook me in the same way as Bardugo’s other books, I still really liked them. (4/5 stars)
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The Lost Sisters – Holly Black

I am just obsessed with all things related to The Cruel Prince so as soon as I heard about this little short novella I dived straight into it. Told from the perspective of Taryn, I loved every second and if anything it just made me more desperate to read The Wicked King (5/5 stars)

My Sister – Michelle Adamsbook cover (63)
This creepy psychological thriller was an intense, wild ride. The story follows a young woman who is estranged from her family. When her mother dies she returns home to uncover why she was sent to live with her aunt as a child. The story is multi-layered with lots of sinister twists I didn’t see coming, it was a brilliant read. (4/5 stars)

The Perks of Being A Wallflower – Stephen Chobskybook cover (34)
I remember reading this as a teenager and thought it would be interesting to revisit the book as an adult. I enjoyed reading the story, mainly for the feeling of nostalgia, but I didn’t love it as much as I did when I read it the first time. I think possibly my tastes have changed in a big way, but overall I found it a fairly average read. (3/5 stars)

Lifelik3 – Jay Kristoffbook cover (62)
After reading Gemina I wanted to dive straight into Obsidio but I didn’t have a copy, so instead I picked up Lifelik3. This story is crazy fast paced with brilliant characters and an unforgettable story. I’m so excited to read the next book in the series, I’m only hoping I won’t have to wait too long for it to be released. (4.25/5 stars)

book cover (3)To Kill A Kingdom – Alexandra Christo
I was really excited to read this after all the buzz around it when it was released. I love retellings and this sounded like the dark and sinister Little Mermaid retelling we’ve all been waiting for. I thought this was easily going to be a five star read for me, and while I really enjoyed it, it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I liked the characters and the story was fun and interesting I think it just didn’t live up to the expectations I had in my head. (4/5 stars)

Artemis – Andy Weirbook cover (61)
This is one that has been sitting on my shelf for a while and since I’ve really been in the mood for space stories I decided to pick it up. This is my first Andy Weir book and I really liked it. My enjoyment was much more focused on the characters rather than the actual plot. I loved Jazz and her band of merry helpers, she was such a funny fascinating character that you can’t help but love her. (3.5/5 stars)

book cover (32)Wild Magic – Tamora Pierce
I think I’m one of the few people that didn’t read Tamora Pierce growing up. Wild Magic is my first book by her and I found it a little difficult to get into. The story was a little slow paced for me and I found the story left me wanting more. I am interested to continue the story and learn more about this large cast of characters that are so well known in fantasy fiction. (3/5 stars)

book cover (60)Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass – Lewis Carroll
I haven’t read a classic in quite a while and I thought it was time to revisit an old favourite. Alice’s Adventures are stories that I will never tire of. They’re fun, fascinating and so easy to dip in and out of. If you haven’t read Lewis Carroll’s books before, you should definitely give it a shot. (4/5 stars)
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My Sister, the Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite

This caught my eye honestly because of the title. It arrived from the publisher and I ended up reading it in one day. It was dark, at times funny and honestly just such a gripping story. I really loved the authors writing style and I flew through this short, original story. (4.25/5 stars)

The Winter of the Witch – Katherine Ardenbook cover (53)
The last book I read in 2018 was also probably my favourite book of the year. The conclusion to The Winternight Trilogy was everything I hoped it would be and more. It broke my heart and I am so sad to be saying goodbye to the characters from one of my all time favourite series. Everything about these books has captured my attention. The gorgeous writing and the stunning setting, the blend of magic and mystery as well as a memorable cast of characters. If you haven’t read The Bear and the Nightingale then now is the perfect time to pick it up as you can binge read all three (5/5 stars – all the stars!)

So those are the books I read in December! If you’ve read any of these definitely let me know what you thought and also let me know what the best books you read in December were!

2018 Wrap Up!

2018 Wrap Up!

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Now that January is here and I’ve finally managed to pick my favourite books of 2018. You can check that post out here, if you want to know what made the top fifteen. After deciding I thought it would be fun to do a little wrap up just to look at my reading over the last twelve months.

So in 2018 I read 142 books.

One of my reading goals for this year was to read more books. In 2017 I read 91 books so I was hoping to up it to 100. I’m so pleased I managed to completely blitz this challenge and read way more than I expected.

Breaking down what I read:

Review copy/ARC: 66book cover (56)
Backlist: 20
Newly Purchased: 37
Re-read: 19
I’m not particularly surprised about this as I tend to reach more for review copies and the titles I’ve most recently bought. I’m definitely going to aim in 2019 to read more of the backlist books on my shelves. (We’ll see how that goes!)

In terms of genre I read:

Non-Fiction: 3
Graphic Novels: 4
Poetry: 1
Science Fiction: 14
Crime/Thriller: 13book cover (57)
Classics: 7
Historical Fiction: 10
Contemporary: 19
Horror: 10
Fantasy: 61

There’s no surprises that fantasy was by far the most popular. I did plan to read more contemporary books in 2018 so I’m pleased by the 19 on the list and that’s definitely something I want to continue in the new year.

My average length of book was 345 pages with the shortest book being Warm Up by V. E. Schwab (15 pages) and the longest Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (744 pages).

My average rating was 4.0, which definitely shows how many amazing books I’ve read this year that the average rating is so high.

2018 was a brilliant year for books and I’m so excited to read and review more brilliant stories in 2019!

Readathon Wrap Ups!

Readathon Wrap Ups!

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I participated in two readathons recently so I thought I would do a quick wrap up post for them both just to see how I got on with the challenges!

Tome Topple

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The first readathon was Tome Topple, which is a readathon focusing on reading books over 500 pages. For this I had planned to try and read four books, including The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue and Illuminae. You can see my TBR post for the readathon here.

In the end I didn’t really read any of the books I had planned to read. I read Illuminae and loved it so much that I ended up diving straight into Gemina. I read the majority of Gemina but didn’t manage to finish it before the readathon ended. The challenges were:

book cover (1)Read more than one tome: Technically I did that though I didn’t finish the second.
Read a tome that is part of a series: Both books are part of the Illuminae files series.
Buddy read a tome: My boyfriend read Illuminae with me.
Read an adult novel: This is the one challenge I didn’t fulfil.

So although it didn’t go quite how I expected I’m so glad I participated because I’ve found a new series that I absolutely adore.

Falling Into Fantasy Readathon

This readathon focused on reading those fantasy books that have been on your TBR for a while. There were eight challenges and I knew I wouldn’t finish all of them but in the end I completed four books and I really loved quite a few of them. If you want to see my full TBR you can take a look here!

The challenges completed were:

Untitled design (76)1. Read the first book in a series: I read Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart and really enjoyed this fast paced dystopian story.

2. Read a book that’s been on your TBR too long: I FINALLY read The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. These short stories set in the Grishaverse are so beautiful and a perfect read for this time of year.

3. Read a diverse fantasy: For this I picked up Mirage by Somaiya Daud and honestly Untitled design (97)this is one of my favourite new books. I loved everything about it and I’m desperate for more.

4. Read a book with multiple POVs: Grace and Fury fulfilled this challenge too, it has alternating POVs of two sisters.

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5. Read a new fantasy: I read Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa for this one. This imaginative adventure is a brilliant read and I have a full review posted if you’d like to know more you can take a look here!

6. Read a booktube recommended book: I’ve seen pretty much each of the books I read recommended on booktube but particularly Shadow of the Fox has been getting lots of recommendations there recently so that luckily fulfilled this challenge too!

So those are the wrap ups for the recent readathons I participated in. Are you taking part in any festive readathons? If you are let me know which ones and what you’re planning to read!

November Wrap Up!

November Wrap Up!

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November was another great reading month and I read some really terrific books. Now that December is here I’m hoping to squeeze in another bundle of books before the end of the year and make my Goodreads Challenge. In November I read 11 books so let’s dive into what they were!

book cover (6)Harley Quinn: Mad Love – Paul Dini & Pat Cadigan
This is a new novel which describes Harley Quinn’s origin story and really dives into the famous Batman villain. Harley Quinn is one of my favourite characters from the DC Universe so I jumped at the opportunity to read a book written by Harley’s co-creator Paul Dini. It was everything I hoped it would be and more. (5/5 stars)

book cover (7)Dracula – Bram Stoker
I started rereading this around Halloween but didn’t finish it until the first week in November. (It’s huge!). Dracula is one of my favourite classics and I find I enjoy it even more each time I reread it. It has that sense of nostalgia and familiarity that I love. Beautifully written with a compelling story, I couldn’t give Dracula anything less than 5/5 stars.

Untitled design (51)Skyward – Brandon Sanderson
Skyward was my first real outing in a Brandon Sanderson book (I read Snapshot a few months ago but it was only a novella). This was another magnificent read that I just couldn’t put down. I’m definitely now itching to read more from Brandon Sanderson. I participated in the blog tour for this book so if you want to know more of my thoughts you can take a look at that here! (5/5 stars)

Untitled design (93)Shadow of the Fox – Julie Kagawa
Shadow of the Fox was another book that was my first time reading a book by a much loved author. This story is so exciting and engaging and again I’m definitely excited to read more from Julie Kagawa. I also participated in the blog tour for this one so the full review for Shadow of the Fox is here if you want to know more!

book cover (8)Glass Town Wars – Celia Rees
The lovely Andrew over at The Pewter Wolf ran a giveaway for this book and I was lucky enough to win one. This is the newest book from Celia Rees, an author that I completely loved growing up. I enjoyed this one though I found it a little slow in the middle and it didn’t grip me in the same way that Witch Child or Pirates did. (3.5/5 stars)

book cover (9)Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – J. K. Rowling
This old thing. I love J. K. Rowling and I love the Harry Potter world and everything that goes along with it. I did enjoy this book, it was quick paced and it was nice to be back in the world of magic and adventure but honestly this book felt like it was filler. I read it in one sitting but I’m now not even sure I can remember what happened it in and it’s definitely my least favourite of Rowling’s books so far. (3/5 stars)

Untitled design (86)The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson
My time reading books by Shirley Jackson has been a bit of a mixed bag. I read We Have Always Lived in the Castle and I gave it 3.5 stars. I read The Missing Girl and gave it 3. I really want to love her work because she writes these strange creepy stories but I hadn’t found one I loved yet. I picked up The Haunting of Hill House after watching the Netflix show and I loved this one. It was everything I was hoping for. It was completely different from the TV show and it is my favourite Shirley Jackson book by far. (4/5 stars)

Untitled design (72)Illuminae – Ami Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
THIS BOOK IS EVERYTHING. Illuminae was one of the books I listed on my five star predictions post. Was I right? ABSOLUTELY. I loved the way this was told, it was gripping, a fresh perspective and had the best kick ass characters. I ran out to buy Gemina and immediately started it (I finished it in December but it was brilliant). I can’t believe it took me so long to pick it up because it is definitely a new favourite. (5/5 stars)

Untitled design (97)Mirage – Somaiya Daud
Another book that I adored! (Told you November was an excellent reading month!) I raced through this fresh mix of science fiction and fantasy. I loved the characters and the complex layer of the story. I still find myself thinking about this book and I’ve recommended loads. I’m desperate to read book two and if you fancy reading my full rather rambling review of Mirage, you can check that out here. (5/5 stars)

Untitled design (90)Girl Squads – Sam Maggs
This was a surprise piece of book post that arrived from Quirk Books which tells the story of twenty female friendships from around the world. The stories were really fascinating and it was lovely to read stories of women building each other up and reaching their goals. I did find the narrator a little on the annoying side but overall this was an enjoyable read. (3/5 stars)

Untitled design (76)Grace and Fury – Tracy Banghart
My last read of the month was a quick and fast paced story in which women are treated like second class citizens. The story follows two sisters and it has very Handmaid’s Tale esque vibes. I read it really faced and I enjoyed the differing POV’s between each sister. Some of the plot points felt a little too convenient, but overall it was a fun and interesting read. (4/5 stars)

November was such an excellent reading month! So many of the books I read were 5 star reads and honestly what more could I ask for? If you’ve read any of these let me know yours thoughts and if you had any favourite books in November definitely let me know what they were!

Strangeathon Wrap Up!

Strangeathon Wrap Up!

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I recently participated in a spooky Halloween readathon called Strangeathon. The challenge was to read fourteen books in two weeks which I didn’t manage at all because I was working on passing my theory driving test (I passed!) I did manage a fair few of the challenges though so I thought I would do a quick wrap up post. I’m not really going to talk about the books because I talked about most of them in my October wrap up so if you want to know more you can take a little look here!
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Challenge #2 – Thriller Killer: Read a thrilling book

I picked up a little penguin classic of Shirley Jackson’s The Missing Girl and two other tales. These were thrilling unsettling tales that I absolutely flew through and I enjoyed them. Overall rating for this one was 3/5 stars.

Challenge #3 – Halloween Icon: Read a book with something iconic to Halloween on the cover
For this I read Strange Ink by Gary Kemble. It has a skeleton on the cover and it was dark and gripping and a really well done thriller. You can take a look at my full review for it here! I gave it 4/5 stars.

Untitled design (18)Challenge #6 – Horror Monster: Read a book with a creature that is often the villain
For this I read The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein as Frankenstein’s Monster is often a horror monster. I absolutely loved this book and it was one of my favourites of last months reading. I gave it 5/5 stars.

Challenge #8 – Tales From the Grave: Read a short story collection
For this I picked up some classic Edgar Allan Poe tales in The Murders In the Rue Morgue. These three tales are seen as the forerunner to well known detective stories by the likes of Arthur Conan Doyle. They were really fascinating and I gave them 3/5 stars.
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Challenge #9 – Setting Fun: Read a book with a spooky location

For this challenge I completed Strange Places by Katherine Arden which was a spooky fun ghost story that I completely adored. It’s set on a haunted farm which I thought was a pretty spooky location and I gave it 5/5 stars.

Challenge #10 – Blood Red: Read a book with a red or orange cover
I had originally planned to read Last Time I Lied but I ended up reading Spellbound by Cate Tiernan which has an orangey/red cover. I’ve really been enjoying revisiting this fun witchy series and gave it 5/5 stars.

Untitled design (70)Challenge #11 – Darkness Within: Read a book in darker conditions that normal
I picked up Bram Stoker’s Dracula for this because I haven’t read it in so long. I ended up reading it on the Kindle and pretty much only read a few chapters in bed each night in the dark so that definitely counted as darker conditions than normal.

Challenge #12 – Striking Title: Read a book based purely on the title
Without a doubt I had to read The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton. The title really drew my eye and I was really excited to read this witchy tale. I enjoyed it but I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I’d hoped so I only gave this 3/5 stars.

Untitled design (22)Challenge #14 – The F-Up: Read a book that has nothing to do with Halloween
I ended up reading Sleeper: Red Storm by J. D. Fennell for this as I had a blog tour review coming up for it. I really enjoyed this action packed spy thriller and it had nothing Halloweeny about it so it fit the bill really well and I gave it 4/5 stars.

So I completed nine out of the fourteen challenges and I’m pretty pleased with that! Did you participate in any readathons in October? If you did what did you read?

October Wrap Up!

October Wrap Up!

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October is one of my favourite reading months. So many spooky books come out and it’s dark and cold outside and all I want to do is huddle under a blanket with my cat and a good book. Somehow in the month of October I managed to read sixteen books and one short story – I’m not even sure how that happened. I participated in a readathon which I think really helped and also quite a few of theses were on the shorter side. I’m going to keep it brief about each book because quite a few of them have featured in readathon wrap up posts or have full review posts up already.

Untitled design (59)1. A Blade So Black – L. L. McKinney
This Alice in Wonderland retelling was quick paced, action packed and so much fun. I raced through it and it’s definitely one of my favourite Alice retellings that I’ve ever encountered. I participated in the blog tour for this and you can check out my extract from the book here. (Rating: 4/5 stars)
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2. The Woods Vol 1 – James Tynion IV
This is the first instalment in a graphic novel series about a school that disappears into another realm. Full of strange monsters and dark and creepy sequences I thought this was an interesting start, although it didn’t grip me as much as I hoped that it would. (Rating: 3.5/5 stars)
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3. The Wicked Deep – Shea Earnshaw
This was the biggest surprise of my October reading. I adored this book. Dark and creepy, this story was so atmospheric and unfolded in such a clever way. It was the perfect Halloween read and it is definitely going on my favourites list. (Rating: 5/5 stars)
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4. Vicious – Victoria Schwab
I finally read Vicious and it was so amazing. Victoria Schwab is pretty much the Queen of books, everything I’ve read by her is magnificent and it just makes me want to read everything that she’s ever written. (Rating: 5/5 stars)

Untitled design (58)5. Warm Up – Victoria Schwab
In the back of my edition of Vicious there was a short story entitled Warm Up, which shows another EO and his encounter with Eli. It was pretty short but I enjoyed the chance to see Eli from another perspective and of course to read more of Victoria’s writing. (Rating: 4/5 stars)
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6. Daughter of the Siren Queen – Tricia Levenseller
I absolutely loved the first book in this duology and was really excited to dive back in. This one is a bit darker than the previous book and definitely felt a lot more intense and high stakes. It was a brilliant read and I highly recommend these books. (Rating: 4/5 stars)

Untitled design (7)7. One Of Us Is Lying – Karen McManus
This YA thriller is incredibly popular so I was looking forward to picking it up and seeing what all the fuss is about. The story is quick paced and enjoyable and there were more than a few twists that I didn’t see coming. I fell the ending was a little unbelievable but it was still a really fun read. (Rating: 3.75/5 stars)

Untitled design (16)8. Small Spaces – Katherine Arden
Katherine Arden is one of my favourite authors so I was really excited to see how she writes a Middle Grade novel. Honestly I absolutely loved this. Ollie is a brilliant protagonist. The story is dark and creepy with plenty of adventure. It’s a perfect autumn read and I’m so glad I picked it up. (Rating: 5/5 stars)

Untitled design (26)9. The Price Guide to the Occult – Leslye Walton
I haven’t read The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender but I know lots of people adore that book. This is the authors newest release and honestly I was a bit disappointed. I was expecting a very atmospheric magical read but I didn’t really connect with the characters and the story fell a bit flat for me. (Rating: 3/5 stars)

Untitled design (57)10. The Murders in the Rue Morgue – Edgar Allan Poe
It wouldn’t be Halloween without reading some Edgar Allan Poe! This is a set of three stories featuring Dupin, one of the earliest detectives who uses logic and reasoning to discover who did the crime. The stories were interesting and I enjoyed the big reveal of how the crime was committed but I definitely prefer his more Gothic and creepy tales. (Rating: 3/5 stars)
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11. The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein – Kiersten White
This is my first book by Kiersten White and certainly not my last. I love Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein so to read this reimagining from the point of view of Elizabeth was just a dream. I loved the characters and I think White did a brilliant job. (Rating: 5/5 stars)

Untitled design (12)12. Strange Ink – Gary Kemble
This has got to be one of the most original concepts I’ve ever read. The story follows a man who wakes up one morning with a tattoo he has no memory of getting. He chalks it up to too much alcohol but as more and more tattoos keep appearing and he becomes wrapped up in their mystery, he discovers he’s actually part of a much bigger plot. This book was so fascinating and I couldn’t put it down. (Rating: 4/5 stars)

Untitled design (53)13. The Missing Girl – Shirley Jackson
Shirley Jackson is relatively new to me, I read We Have Always Lived in the Castle earlier in the year. I thought I would try my hand at some of her short stories. This little Penguin Modern Classic features three of her tales full of eeriness and that unsettling feeling. This is another one that is definitely perfect for Halloween. (Rating: 3/5 stars)

Untitled design (56)14. Spellbound – Cate Tiernan
This is the sixth instalment of the Sweep series by Cate Tiernan. I loved these books as a teenager and so I am revisiting them slowly. I love the blend of magic in these books and the sense of nostalgia reading them again. These books are pretty short and really quick so they’re perfect for reading in a single sitting. (Rating: 5/5 stars)
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15. The Last Namsara – Kirsten Ciccarelli
This is the first book in a YA fantasy featuring a whole host of magic, folklore and DRAGONS. It’s a really exciting book and I loved the blend of action and romance that this story has. (Rating: 4/5 stars)

Untitled design (54)16. The Caged Queen – Kirsten Ciccarelli
The Caged Queen is the second book in the Iskari series. This book follows a different character – one we meet briefly in The Last Namsara. This book was much more focused on politics and intrigue and I ended up loving it even more than the first book in the series. You can see my stop on the blog tour here! (Rating: 5/5 stars)

Untitled design (22)17. Sleeper: The Red Storm – J. D. Fennell
Sleeper: The Red Storm is the second in the series that features Sleeper agent Will Starling. I loved the first book in the series so I was so excited to dive back into this mixture of historical fiction and spy thriller. Bursting to the seams with action, explosions and fighting, The Red Storm is a fantastic new instalment to the series and I’m already dying to find out what happens next. You can take a look at my full review here! (Rating: 4/5 stars)

So that’s all the books I read in October! What did you read in October? And if you read any of these let me know what you thought!

Magical Readathon – Charms Extra Credit Wrap Up!

Magical Readathon – Charms Extra Credit Wrap Up!

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So for the Magical Readathon I was hoping to try and read five books and that will give me a five day head start next year. Alas that didn’t quite work out. I read three books from my TBR, started the fourth and then also finished a book that wasn’t on my TBR at all –  so let’s take a look at the books I managed to read.

Untitled design (5)Challenge #4 – Rictusempra (a book that tickles you in the right way i.e an exciting trope/genre/theme)
For this I went for The Wicked Deep by Shea Earnshaw because I love stories about witches and I got this book for my birthday. I thought it would be totally up my street and I was absolutely right. It was full of surprises, it was so atmospheric and beautiful and I flew through it. I gave it 5/5 stars and a full review for this book will be coming really soon!

Untitled design (6)Challenge #2 – Accio (Read a book at the top of your TBR)
For this I read Daughter of the Siren Queen by Tricia Levenseller. I read Daughter of the Pirate King earlier and the year and have been dying to pick this up. This was another birthday book so I was really excited to get to it. The second instalment was a lot darker, dealing with the horrible things Alosa’s father has done. I enjoyed it a lot, but not as much as the first book in the series, so I gave it 4/5 stars.

Untitled design (7)Challenge #5 – Lumos (Read a book with a light cover)
I’ve had this book on my TBR for quite a while so I went with One of Us Is Lying by Karen McManus. This book is so twisty and turny, I really had no idea who was behind the murder and who was telling the truth. I also liked the romance aspect of the story, it was nice to have that additional layer to the story. I read this one really quickly and gave it 4/5 stars.

Untitled design (8)Challenge #1 – Alohamora (Read the first book in a series)
Now I had originally planned to read Mirage by Somaiya Daud, and I have started this and am really enjoying it, however I did end up starting and finishing Vicious by V. E. Schwab. This is the first in her Villains series with Vengeful having just come out. I was dying to read them both so who can blame me for picking up Vicious? I absolutely loved the complex morally gray characters and the dark plot of this story. Needless to say I gave it 5/5 stars and I can’t wait to read Vengeful.

So those are the books I managed to read for the magical readathon. I’m pretty pleased with my four out of five challenges complete and I really enjoyed all the books that I read. I’m still hoping to read the two other books I mentioned – Mirage and The Winter of the Witch – this month, so check back for my October wrap up and see if I manage it!