GoodReads Around the Year in 52 Books 2021

1. A book related to “In the Beginning…”: Tunkashila
2. A book by an author whose name doesn’t contain the letters A, T or Y: The Reluctant Assassin by Eoin Colfer
3. A book related to the lyrics for the song “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music: Girls Made of Snow and Glass
4. A book with a monochromatic cover: Medicine Walk
5. A book by an author on USA Today’s list of 100 Black Novelists You Should Read
6. A love story: The Prodigal
7. A book that fits a prompt suggestion that didn’t make the final list
8. A book set in a state, province, or country you have never visited: Bring Jade Home
9. A book you associate with a specific season or time of year
10. A book with a female villain or criminal: The Puffin of Death
11. A book to celebrate The Grand Egyptian Museum
12. A book eligible for the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation
13. A book written by an author of one of your best reads of 2020
14. A book set in a made-up place: The Lust Lizard Of Melancholy Cove
15. A book that features siblings as the main characters: The Sacrifice
16. A book with a building in the title: The House in the Cerulean Sea
17. A book with a Muslim character or author: The Olive Season
18. 3 books related to “Past, Present, Future” – Book 1: The Reluctant Assassin
19. 3 books related to “Past, Present, Future” – Book 2: The Lesson
20. 3 books related to “Past, Present, Future” – Book 3
21. A book whose title and author both contain the letter “u”: The Master Butchers Singing Club by Louise Erdrich
22. A book posted in one of the ATY Best Book of the Month threads
23. A cross genre novel:
24. A book about racism or race relations: This Is What America Looks Like
25. A book set on an island: Claire of the Sea Light
26. A short book (<210 pages) by a new-to-you author
27. A book with a character who can be found in a deck of cards
28. A book connected to ice
29. A book that you consider comfort reading
30. A long book
31. A book by an author whose career spanned more than 21 years: Aleph by Paulo Coelho
32. A book whose cover shows more than 2 people: My Two Moms
33. A collection of short stories, essays, or poetry
34. A book with a travel theme: Gullible’s Travels
35. A book set in a country on or below the Tropic of Cancer
36. A book with six or more words in the title: The Woman Who Died a Lot
37. A book from the Are You Well Read in World Literature list
38. A book related to a word given by a random word generator
39. A book involving an immigrant: The Buddha in the Attic
40. A book with flowers or greenery on the cover: The Olive Tree
41. A book by a new-to-you BIPOC author
42. A mystery or thriller: Gone Bamboo
43. A book with elements of magic: The Bear and the Nightingale
44. A book whose title contains a negative: We of the Never-Never
45. A book related to a codeword from the NATO Phonetic Alphabet: Secret Daughter (India)
46. A winner or nominee from the 2020 Goodreads Choice Awards: The Midnight Library
47. A non-fiction book other than biography, autobiography or memoir: What If?
48. A book that might cause someone to react “You read what?!?”
49. A book with an ensemble cast
50. A book published in 2021: The Immortal Boy
51. A book whose title refers to person(s) without giving their name: The Boy from Baby House 10
52. A book related to “the end”: Armageddon Summer

Published in: on January 16, 2021 at 5:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

2021 Book Riot Read Harder Challenge

Read a book you’ve been intimidated to read
Read a nonfiction book about anti-racism
Read a non-European novel in translation
Read an LGBTQ+ history book
Read a genre novel by an Indigenous, First Nations, or Native American author
Read a fanfic
Read a fat-positive romance
Read a romance by a trans or nonbinary author
Read a middle grade mystery
Read an SFF anthology edited by a person of color
Read a food memoir by an author of color: Eat a Peach
Read a work of investigative nonfiction by an author of color
Read a book with a cover you don’t like: Keeper of the Female Medicine Bundle
Read a realistic YA book not set in the U.S., UK, or Canada
Read a memoir by a Latinx author
Read an own voices book about disability
Read an own voices YA book with a Black main character that isn’t about Black pain
Read a book by/about a non-Western world leader
Read a historical fiction with a POC or LGBTQ+ protagonist
Read a book of nature poems
Read a children’s book that centers a disabled character but not their disability
Read a book set in the Midwest: My Two Moms
Read a book that demystifies a common mental illness
Read a book featuring a beloved pet where the pet doesn’t die: Bring Jade Home

Published in: on January 16, 2021 at 4:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

2021 Popsugar Reading Challenge

Another new year of reading! I’ve joined this challenge since 2018, so this is my fourth year participating.

Last year I wrote “Of all the challenges I participate in, this one really takes me out of my comfort zone, not to mention introduces me to some new genres and words” and seems like this continues to be true! I’ve never heard of Afrofuturist? And what is dark academia? And locked room mystery is definitely something I would read for the challenge.

1. A book that published in 2021: The Immortal Boy
2. An Afrofuturist book: The Lesson
3. A book that has a heart, diamond, club, or spade on the cover
4. A book by an author who shares your zodiac sign
5. A dark academia book
6. A book with a gem, mineral, or rock in the title: Bring Jade Home
7. A book where the main character works at your current or dream job
8. A book that has won the Women’s Prize for Fiction
9. A book with a family tree:
10. A bestseller from the 1990s
11. A book about forgetting: The Book of Lost Names
12. A book you have seen on someone’s bookshelf (in real life, on a Zoom call, in a TV show, etc.)
13. A locked-room mystery
14. A book set in a restaurant: The Apprentice
15. A book with a black-and-white cover
16. A book by an indigenous author: Medicine Walk
17. A book that has the same title as a song: Gone Bamboo
18. A book about a subject you are passionate about
19. A book that discusses body positivity
20. A book on a Black Lives Matter reading list
21. A genre hybrid: Keeper of the Female Medicine Bundle
22. A book set mostly or entirely outdoors: Row for Freedom
23. A book with something broken on the cover: The Woman Who Died a Lot
24. A book by a Muslim American / Muslim British author: This Is What America Looks Like
25. A book that was published anonymously
26. A book with an oxymoron in the title
27. A book about do-overs or fresh starts: My Maasai Life
28. A magical realism book
29. A book set in multiple countries: The Book of Lost Names
30. A book set somewhere you’d like to visit in 2021: A Van of One’s Own
31. A book by a blogger, vlogger, YouTube video creator, or other online personality: What If?
32. A book whose title starts with “Q,” “X,” or “Z”
33. A book featuring three generations (grandparent, parent, child): Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
34. A book about a social justice issue: My Two Moms
35. A book in a different format than what you normally read (audiobooks, ebooks, graphic novels)
36. A book that has fewer than 1,000 reviews on Amazon or Goodreads: Gullible’s Travels
37. A book you think your best friend would like: The Buddha in the Attic
38. A book about art or an artist: The Last Nude
39. A book everyone seems to have read but you
40. Your favorite prompt from a past POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

41. The longest book (by pages) on your TBR list
42. The shortest book (by pages) on your TBR list
43. The book on your TBR list with the prettiest cover
44. The book on your TBR list with the ugliest cover
45. The book that’s been on your TBR list for the longest amount of time
46. A book from your TBR list you meant to read last year but didn’t
47. A book from your TBR list you associate with a favorite person, place, or thing
48. A book from your TBR list chosen at random
49. A DNF book from your TBR list
50. A free book from your TBR list (gifted, borrowed, library)

Published in: on January 16, 2021 at 12:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Dewey October 2020 Readathon

Six months since April, still in a stay-at-home hermit-like existence, which means I get to participate fully in the readathon again! More than my average “fully”, I’m to host a Twitter party as well as a mini challenge, woohoo!! This does side track me from reading more, but at least I get to knock off a few Ballycumbers, I hope.

Conclusion: Well, the page count is rather dismay. I just can’t seem to pull the 1000 pages I used to do. I seriously need to lock my phone away… : ( But at least I cleared off some of my Ballycumbers. Also, it was fun hosting the Twitter party and I’d like to do it again if given the chance. A little sad my challenge only got 3 replies though.

Total Pages read so far: 569

Dreaming Water pgs 188-288 (101)
Sexing the Cherry pgs 70-144 (75)
Soaring with Fidel pgs 140-286 (147)
A Street Cat Named Bob pgs 50-232 (183)
The Song That Owl God Sang pgs 1-62 (63)

Total Time spent reading so far: 10 hr

Mini-challenges I’ve entered:
Fall/Autumn Reference
Readathon Snack Attack

Published in: on October 24, 2020 at 11:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Make Their Dreams Come True

Have you ever read about a character who has financial woes and you just so wish you can help them? Well, here’s your chance! Help them achieve their dreams, and imagine a better life for them!

I wonder if anybody else is reading memoirs today? A good one can be as much a pageturner as the best novels. For this readathon, one of the books I am reading is The International Bank of Bob by Bob Harris. The author travels around the world to find out how microloans are helping people in developing countries, which inspires this mini challenge. is a nonprofit that links people in need with those who can help. When you visit the site, you can check out the borrower profiles and see who you would like to lend your money to: an artisan in Bali, a bookstore in Kenya, a coffee grower in Nicaragua…

For this challenge, you will help a book character write their story, in a few short paragraphs, about them and what they aspire to do with the loan. You can click on a few profiles on to get some idea how the profile looks like.

Here’s an example:

Liz is a high school senior in Indiana who lives with her grandparents and her brother. She has excellent grades in school and plays the clarinet as well as compose music. Liz is accepted into a prestigious college, and she hopes that Kiva loaners can help her with her education fees. She hopes to play in the orchestra in college and her dream is to become a doctor and cure her brother’s sickle cell disease. (You Should See Me in a Crown

Please post your loan profile, or a link to your reply, below. I will randomly select a winner for a Kiva gift card, so you can make a real life loan to help someone. You will need to provide me with an email for me to send the prize.

Published in: on October 20, 2020 at 10:42 pm  Comments (7)  

2020 April Dewey Readathon

I haven’t participated in Dewey’s 24 Hr Readathon much in the last few years; April and October are busy travel seasons for me. However, this year… everybody is staying home due to the coronavirus.  I still have to work, but it’s easy enough to arrange the day off.

That said, while my phone clocked me at reading close to 16 hours, I have to admit that I do spend a good chunk of time being distracted on my phone, what with Pokemon and Animal Crossing, which definitely slowed down my reading speed. I did finish a few books, but if I did the math, the page count per hour is probably dismal.

I’ve read and finished:

Raspberries on the Yangtze (148 pages)
Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen (214 pages)
(both of which are for the OWLs Readathon as well)
Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids (189 pages)

as well as read partially:

Rescue Road
Tall, Dark & Hungry


Published in: on April 30, 2020 at 9:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

2020 Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge

This is the sixth year of the Read Harder Challenge and my fourth year participating.  This challenge really does help me “break out of your reading bubble and expand your worldview through books”.  This year’s challenge seems relatively easy, or rather, not too far from what I normally read. The only one that’s a little challenging is the play, which I won’t imagine picking up to read unless I’m in a class, lol. 

1. Read a YA nonfiction book – Tisha

2. Read a retelling of a classic of the canon, fairytale, or myth by an author of color – Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen

3. Read a mystery where the victim(s) is not a woman – The Fire Kimono

4. Read a graphic memoir – Dare to Disappoint

5. Read a book about a natural disaster – The Preservationist

6. Read a play by an author of color and/or queer author – Yellow Face

7. Read a historical fiction novel not set in WWII: A Mercy

8. Read an audiobook of poetry – Poetry of K.Y. Robinson

9 Read the LAST book in a series – Silvertongue

10. Read a book that takes place in a rural setting: Driving Over Lemons

11. Read a debut novel by a queer author: You Should See Me in a Crown

12. Read a memoir by someone from a religious tradition (or lack of religious tradition) that is not your own: The Betrayal

13. Read a food book about a cuisine you’ve never tried before: Gastronaut

14. Read a romance starring a single parent: Born to Bite

15. Read a book about climate change: South Pole Station

16. Read a doorstopper (over 500 pages) published after 1950, written by a woman: Midnight Sun

17. Read a sci-fi/fantasy novella (under 120 pages): The Artemis Fowl Files (includes two novellas)

18. Read a picture book with a human main character from a marginalized community: The Last Story of Mina Lee

19. Read a book by or about a refugee: I Shall Not Hate

20. Read a middle grade book that doesn’t take place in the U.S. or the UK: Lara’s Gift

21. Read a book with a main character or protagonist with a disability (fiction or non): Ghost Boy

22. Read a horror book published by an indie press: Slightly Spooky Stories

23. Read an edition of a literary magazine (digital or physical): Tiny Words

24. Read a book in any genre by a Native, First Nations, or Indigenous author: The Song the Owl God Sang

Published in: on January 13, 2020 at 3:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

2020 Around the Year in 52 Books

Last year I stumbled across this challenge rather late in the year, but easily managed to fit the books I’ve read into most prompt, and in fact it was the first yearly challenge I completed for the year.  Let’s see how I do this year!

1. A book with a title that doesn’t contain the letters A, T or Y: Frog Music
2. A book by an author whose last name is one syllable: The Ghost Bride (Yangsze Choo)
3. A book that you are prompted to read because of something you read in 2019: Stargirl
4. A book set in a place or time that you wouldn’t want to live: The Zombie Autopsies
5. The first book in a series that you have not started: Kare First Love
6. A book with a mode of transportation on the cover: A Whale Hunt
7. A book set in the southern hemisphere: A Long Petal of the Sea
8. A book with a two-word title where the first word is “The”: The Betrayal
9. A book that can be read in a day: Dare to Disappoint
10. A book that is between 400-600 pages: Russian Winter
11. A book originally published in a year that is a prime number: In the Garden of Beasts
12. A book that is a collaboration between 2 or more people: Overdue: The Final Unshelved Collection
13. A prompt from a previous Around the Year in 52 Books challenge (Link) – A dual-timeline novel: Easter Island
14. A book by an author on the Abe List of 100 Essential Female Writers (link): Everything I Never Told You 
15. A book set in a global city: The Sun Is Also a Star
16. A book set in a rural or sparsely populated area: Himalayan Dhaba
17. A book with a neurodiverse character: Motherless Brooklyn
18. A book by an author you’ve only read once before: The Rabbi’s Cat 2
19. A fantasy book: Graceling
20. The 20th book [on your TBR, in a series, by an author, on a list, etc.]: Living in a Foreign Language (20th oldest TBR)
21. A book related to Maximilian Hell, the noted astronomer and Jesuit Priest who was born in 1720: South Pole Station
22. A book with the major theme of survival: Song Yet Sung
23. A book featuring an LGBTQIA+ character or by an LGBTQIA+ author: Every Day
24. A book with an emotion in the title: I Shall Not Hate
25. A book related to the arts: Russian Winter
26. A book from the 2019 Goodreads Choice Awards: The Starless Sea
27. A history or historical fiction: The Twentieth Wife
28. A book by an Australian, Canadian or New Zealand author: Tall, Dark & Hungry
29. An underrated book, a hidden gem or a lesser known book: Dare to Disappoint
30. A book from the New York Times ‘100 Notable Books’ list for any year: A Mercy
31. A book inspired by a leading news story: Oranges and Sunshine
32. A book related to the 2020 Olympic Summer Games in Japan: The Fire Kimono
33. A book about a non-traditional family: The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
34. A book from a genre or sub genre that starts with a letter in your name: Supernaturally
35. A book with a geometric pattern or element on the cover: MWF Seeking BFF
36. A book from your TBR/wishlist that you don’t recognize, recall putting there, or put there on a whim: Graceling
37. Two books that are related to each other as a pair of binary opposites: Book #1: Supernaturally
38. Two books that are related to each other as a pair of binary opposites: Book #2: Naturally Tan
39. A book by an author whose real name(s) you’re not quite sure how to pronounce: Ciao, America!
40. A book with a place name in the title: The Dressmaker of Khair Khana
41. A mystery: The Clockwork Scarab
42. A book that was nominated for one of the ‘10 Most Coveted Literary Prizes in the World’: Everything Inside
43. A book related to one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse: I Shall Not Hate
44. A book related to witches: Tarnished and Torn
45. A book by the same author who wrote one of your best reads in 2019 or 2018: Clockwork Angel
46. A book about an event or era in history taken from the Billy Joel song “We Didn’t Start the Fire”: The Girl-Son
47. A classic book you’ve always meant to read: Tisha
48. A book published in 2020: The Henna Artist
49. A book that fits a prompt from the list of suggestions that didn’t win (link)  – A book featuring a child being raised by someone other than their biological parents: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
50. A book with a silhouette on the cover: Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids
51. A book with an “-ing” word in the title: Spinning Silver
52. A book related to time: Nineteen Minutes

Published in: on January 13, 2020 at 2:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

2020 Ultimate Popsugar Challenge

My third year doing this challenge. Of all the challenges I participate in, this one really takes me out of my comfort zone, not to mention introduces me to some new genres and words, like bildungsroman. Of course I’ve read my fair share of “coming of age” stories but I didn’t know there’s a fancy word for that.

This is the first year I manage to complete the advance prompts as well! There are quite a few books in this list that I really enjoy, including the medical thriller which is totally out of my normal reading preference.  

Regular prompts

1. A book that’s published in 2020: The Henna Artist
2. A book by a trans or nonbinary author: Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars
3. A book with a great first line: Raspberries on the Yangtze
4. A book about a book club: The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
5. A book set in a city that has hosted the Olympics: The Fire Kimono
6. A bildungsroman: Graceling
7. The first book you touch on a shelf with your eyes closed: Ka Shin Fu
8. A book with an upside-down image on the cover: A Thousand Pieces of You
9. A book with a map: The Twentieth Wife
10. A book recommended by your favorite blog, vlog, podcast, or online book club: The Henna Artist
11. An anthology: Switch Bitch
12. A book that passes the Bechdel test: Frog Music
13. A book with the same title as a movie or TV show but is unrelated to it: Internment
14. A book by an author with flora or fauna in their name: Magyk
15. A book about or involving social media: The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success
16. A book that has a book on the cover: The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry
17. A medical thriller: The Sisterhood
18. A book with a made-up language: The Artemis Fowl Files
19. A book set in a country beginning with “C”: A Long Petal of the Sea
20. A book you picked because the title caught your attention: The Solitude of Prime Numbers
21. A book published in the month of your birthday: Spinning Silver
22. A book about or by a woman in STEM: The Pull of the Stars
23. A book that won an award in 2019: The Grief Keeper
24. A book on a subject you know nothing about: The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success
25. A book with only words on the cover, no images or graphics: Eating Animals
26. A book with a pun in the title: Naturally Tan
27. A book featuring one of the seven deadly sins: Switch Bitch
28. A book with a robot, cyborg, or AI character: Clockwork Prince
29. A book with a bird on the cover: Dare to Disappoint
30. A fiction or nonfiction book about a world leader: In the Garden of Beasts
31. A book with “gold,” “silver,” or “bronze” in the title: McIlhenny’s Gold
32. A book by a WOC: A Mercy
33. A book with at least a four-star rating on Goodreads: Graceling
34. A book you meant to read in 2019: The Solitude of Prime Numbers
35. A book with a three-word title: Howl’s Moving Castle
36. A book with a pink cover: Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars
37. A Western: The Vengeance of Mothers
38. A book by or about a journalist: The Dressmaker of Khair Khana
39. Read a banned book during Banned Books Week: George
40. Your favorite prompt from a past POPSUGAR Reading Challenge – A book that involves a bookstore or library (2018) – The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

2020 Challenge – Advanced prompts
1. A book written by an author in their 20s: Barnheart
2. A book with “20” or “twenty” in the title: The Twentieth Wife
3. A book with a character with a vision impairment or enhancement (a nod to 20/20 vision): Castle of Water
4. A book set in the 1920s: Tisha
5. A book set in Japan, host of the 2020 Olympics: The Samurai’s Tale
6. A book by an author who has written more than 20 books: Clockwork Prince
7. A book with more than 20 letters in its title: The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pim
8. A book published in the 20th century: Home Sick
9. A book from a series with more than 20 books: Tall, Dark & Hungry
10. A book with a main character in their 20s: Farewell to the East End
Published in: on January 13, 2020 at 2:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

666 Challenge (2019)

I first participated in this challenge from BookCrossing in 2017. After having to read several books that I didn’t care for and only persevere because of its geographic affiliation, I decided to take a break. This year I have accumulated enough books from around that world that I feel that this challenge will be a good chance to push me to read some of them.

Here are the rules:

You aim to read 6 books which are set in OR are written by an author from 6 different countries in each of the 6 continents within 2017. You cannot count books of the same country twice and you cannot count one book for more than one country.


IVORY COAST – Aya: Life in Yop City
NIGERIA – Stay with Me
EGYPT – Distant View of Minaret
MALAWI – The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
SOUTH SUDAN – A Long Walk to Water


GERMANY – The Spy Who Came in From the Cold
CROATIA – Baba Yaga Laid an Egg
PORTUGAL – Alentejo Blue
FINLAND – The Summer Book
FRANCE – My French Whore
ROMANIA – Train to Trieste


IRAN – A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea
TIBET – Dalai Lama, My Son;
INDIA – Sister of My Heart
MALAYSIA – The Gift of Rain
AFGHANISTAN – Shooting Kabel
JAPAN – Strangers


USA – Sourdough
BARBADOS – And a Bottle of Rum
CUBA – Child of Exile
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC – With the Fire on High
CANADA – The Night Shift
HAITI – The Farming of Bones


MICRONESIA – Island of the Sequined Love Nun
AUSTRALIA – Unpolished Gem
FIJI – Getting Stoned with Savages
HAWAII – East Wind, Rain
NEW ZEALAND – Married to a Bedouin
ANTARTICA – The Stowaway


BRAZIL – Don’t Sleep, There are Snakes
PERU – The Last Days of the Incas
ARGENTINA – The Whispering Land
COLOMBIA – Fruit of a Drunken Tree
CHILE – Island Beneath the Sea
BOLIVIA – Affections

I managed to finish this challenge on New Year’s Eve. As usual, S. America is a challenge. With Paulo Coehlo and Isabel Allende it is easy to get the first few, but then it gets hard to find something interesting from the rest of the continent. I still have quite a few books left over, so I plan to do it again for 2020.

Published in: on December 25, 2019 at 6:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

Around the Year in 52 Books 2019

So, while chatting with fellow readers during a reading challenge, someone mentioned the ATY reading challenge. Naturally… I couldn’t resist finding out what it is about.  While we are already into October, reading the prompts I realize that a lot what I’ve read fit neatly in.  It is almost like emptying out a box of jigsaw puzzles and somehow the pieces fall in place to near completion.  If I knew about this challenge at the beginning of the year, I probably would have said that I’ve signed up for too many already. Now, however, I decide to just copy this down out of curiosity how much I’ve already done.

Dec 16: I just finished the Fruit of a Drunken Tree, thus completing this challenge. Turns out this challenge, the last to join, is the first to finish, due to its less restricting prompts.  So happy to complete it!

1. A book that was nominated for or won an award in a genre you enjoy – The Girl Who Drank the Moon (Newberry 2017)
2. A book with one of the 5 W’s in the title (Who, What, Where, When, Why) – The Dogs Who Found Me
3. A book where the author’s name contains A, T, and Y – The Samurai’s Garden (Gail Tsukiyama)
4. A book with a criminal character (i.e. assassin, pirate, thief, robber, scoundrel etc) – Malice at the Palace
5. A book by Shakespeare or inspired by Shakespeare – Uppity Women of Shakespearean Times
6. A book with a dual timeline – The Lake House
7. 2 books related to the same topic, genre, or theme: Book #1 – Body of Work
8. 2 books related to the same topic, genre, or theme: Book #2 – The Anatomist
9. A book from one of the top 5 money making genres (romance/erotica, crime/mystery, religious/inspirational, science fiction/fantasy or horror) – My Jane Austen Summer
10. A book featuring an historical figure – Nine Days a Queen
11. A book related to one of the 12 Zodiac Chinese Animals (title, cover, subject) – The Hare with Amber Eyes
12. A book about reading, books or an author/writer – Tolstoy and the Purple Chair
13. A book that is included on a New York Public Library Staff Picks list – With the Fire on High
14. A book with a title, subtitle or cover relating to an astronomical term – Walk Two Moons
15. A book by an author from a Mediterranean country or set in a Mediterranean country – Four Seasons in Rome
16. A book told from multiple perspectives – Stay With Me
17. A speculative fiction (i.e. fantasy, scifi, horror, dystopia) – Strangers
18. A book related to one of the elements on the periodic table of elements – Crucible of Gold 
19. A book by an author who has more than one book on your TBR – The Renegade Hunter
20. A book featuring indigenous people of a country – #NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women
21. A book from one of the polarizing or close call votes: A book by an author from an island – The Farming of Bones
22. A book with a number in the title or on the cover – Ajax Penumbra 1969
23. 4 books inspired by the wedding rhyme: Book #1 Something Old – 1421
24. 4 books inspired by the wedding rhyme: Book #2 Something New – Brand New China
25. 4 books inspired by the wedding rhyme: Book #3 Something Borrowed – The Borrower
26. 4 books inspired by the wedding rhyme: Book #4 Something Blue –Alentejo Blue
27. A book off of the 1001 books to read before you die list – Fugitive Pieces 
28. A book related to something cold (i.e. theme, title, author, cover, etc.) – The Spy Who Came in From the Cold
29. A book published before 1950 – Just So Stories
30. A book featuring an elderly character – Unforgettable
31. A children’s classic you’ve never read – Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
32. A book with more than 500 pages – Perdido Street Station
33. A book you have owned for at least a year, but have not read yet – Getting Stoned with Savages
34. A book with a person’s name in the title – Ajax Penumbra 1969
35. A psychological thriller – Strangers
36. A book featured on an NPR Best Books of the Year list – Sourdough
37. A book set in a school or university – The Golden Day
38. A book not written in traditional novel format (poetry, essay, epistolary, graphic novel, etc) – Milk and Honey
39. A book with a strong sense of place or where the author brings the location/setting to life – The Summer Book
40. A book you stumbled upon – The Realm of Shells
41. A book from the 2018 GR Choice Awards – Fruit of a Drunken Tree
42. A book with a monster or “monstrous” character – Perdido Street Station
43. A book related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) [fiction or nonfiction] – Brilliant
44. A book related in some way to a tv show/series or movie you enjoyed (same topic, same era, book appeared in the show/movie, etc.) – The Art of Aardman
45. A multi-generational saga – The Years of Rice and Salt
46. A book with a (mostly) black cover – Blackfish City
47. A book related to food (i.e. title, cover, plot, etc.) – Banana
48. A book that was a finalist or winner for the National Book Award for any year – Challenger Deep
49. A book written by a Far East Asian author or set in a Far East Asian country – Ceres: Celestial Legend
50. A book that includes a journey (physical, health, or spiritual) – Tales of a Female Nomad
51. A book published in 2019 – House of Salt and Sorrows
52. A book with a weird or intriguing title – Island of the Sequined Love Nun


Published in: on October 2, 2019 at 1:13 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hogwarts House Battle Readathon 2019

Truth be told, I am a bit fatigue after two months of readathons, the Book Junkie Trail and the NEWTs, but how can I not give my support to my house and participate in a HP-themed readathon?  I read most days anyway, and I have to read books for two BookCrossing books coming my way: the Biography of Things bookbox and the Books about Books bookbox. So may as well let my page counts go to some use.

Oct 1: I finished all the classes in this reading challenge!  In fact, I did really good, finished 24 books with 2 half way through, a total of 5676 pages.  Also had fun with the weekly challenges.  Best of all, Ravenclaw won the House Cup!! Yay!!

Week 1 challenge
Week 2 Challenge
Week 3 Challenge

Prompts for the readathon:

Alchemy ~ Read a Recommendation from a Friend: Stay with Me

Apparation ~ Only Read This Book in Public: 9 Days a Queen

Arithmancy ~ Read a Book with a Number in the Title: 9 Days a Queen

Astronomy ~ Reading Under the Stars (Only Read This Book At Night): The Art of Aardman

Care of Magical Creatures ~ The Beasts (Read a Book With an Animal on The Cover): Grayson

Charms ~ Something New and Unexpected (Read a New-to-you Book): Ah Choo!

Defense Against the Dark Arts ~ Can’t Last (Read a Book you Previously Put Down): Getting Stone with the Savages

Divination ~ The Future (Read a Predicted 5 Star Read): Stay with Me

Flying ~ Fly High (Read Your Most Anticipated Book): The Perfect Fruit

Herbology ~ Caring (Read a Book That Means A lot To You): The Samurai’s Garden

History of Magic ~ Historical (Read a Book From Another Generation): Crowned and Dangerous

Muggle Studies ~ Blending In (Read a Hyped Book): Fire on High

Potions ~ Mixing (Read a Genre You Wouldn’t Usually Pick Up): Milk & Honey

Study of Ancient Runes ~ Ancients (Read a Classic Novel): Dandelion Wine

Transfiguration ~ Change (Read The Last Book You Bought): Slash with a Knife

Published in: on September 2, 2019 at 4:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Magical Readathon: The NEWTs 2019

NEWTs stands for Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Tests.  Seriously?  That doesn’t sound formal, but rather a joke of an official acronym.  Whatever it is, it’s in a month’s time so time to get the deets squared away. 

Please tell me I am not the only one.  I keep telling myself, this is a just a freaking readathon, my life doesn’t depend on it, my future happiness and material wealth and personal fulfillment does not depend on it, but I still couldn’t make up my mind about my career choice after Hogswart!

I browse the career guide; I am not sure I have the stuff for Auror or a medical career. Broom maker sounds janitorial to my muggle ears. Should I be a magizoologist? Hmmm…

I am most attracted to Aurologist. Years ago I was fascinated by someone doing Aura Reading at a New Age fair. May include travel to France, Japan and Nepal?  Sign me up!! It requires:

OWLs: Astronomy, Divination, and History of Magic
NEWTs: E in Astronomy, E in Divination

(Each subject has 3 pass grades. A for Acceptable, E for Exceeded Expectations & an O for Outstanding, the highest grade.)

Ha, so happened I did not pass Astronomy (book with star in title) and Divination (a book that takes place in the future) in my OWLs.  But I know I can do it Hermione style, talk Professor McGonagall into letting me take the NEWTs in those subjects anyway.

Here’s the curriculum for Aurologist, a easy-peesy four books, six for overachievers :

A: Moon on the cover or anywhere in the title
E: Word “night” in book title or series name
0: Read a sci-fi book (or book with stars on the cover

A: Read a white book
E: Read a short story or a collection of short stories
O: Read the last book you bought/took from your library 

The over achiever in me finds the curriculum for Metal Charmer, my second choice, much more challenging:
OWLs: Ancient Runes, Arithmancy, Charms, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Transfiguration + 2 more subjects (I have History of Magic and Care of Magical Creatures)

NEWTS: O in Arithmancy, O in Charms, O in Transfiguration, E in Ancient Runes, A in Defense Against the Dark Arts

A: Book that ends on an even page number
E: Read a standalone
0: Book that’s longer than 350 pages 

A: Read a book that you think has a gorgeous cover
E: Read a comic/graphic novel/mang
a (or book under 150 pages)
O: Spongify (softening charm) – read a paperback book 

A: Read a book with LQBTQA+ representation
E: Read a book that’s not a first in the series
O: McGonagall does not mess around! Read a book over 500 pages

Ancient Runes 
A: Ehwaz (partnership) – read recommended by a friend
E: Book written in past tense
0: Book that has been on your TBR for ages 

Defence Against the Dark Arts
A: Book that’s black under the dust jacket
E: Gilderoy’s memory charm – (grab a pen! first book that you remembered just now from your TBR!
0:Cornish pixie! Swat it away with a book written by an English author or set in England


Published in: on July 5, 2019 at 7:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Book Junkie Trails

Ok I stumbled upon the Book Junkie Trails Reading Challenge online…

Pretty cool… You get sorted into different groups, kind of like HP houses, and based on that, you have to complete different challenges.

I tested twice, and both times I am a scribe, so scribe I am!! I don’t understand though why we have to make up our TBR list ahead of time. But well, can’t complain as I am not the Queen.

As a Scribe my required five challenges are:


Dwarf Mount: You spot a fair tavern wench, however the Dwarf Mines, grimey and dusty, didn’t evoke a very romantic feeling. Read a book with a hint of romance to get you in the mood. ~ The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

Apothecary Towers: Where the wizards dwell. Tricksters. They have blind-folded you and randomised all your books, choose a book at random from your bookshelf. ~ Mountain Girl, River Girl by Ting-xing Ye

The Great Library: Ahh the great archives, find and read a book that has been on your TBR forever. ~ Swallow by Mary Capello (Have this since 2013, not oldest but old enough)

The Drowning Deep: The Whirlpool… is so…. mesmerising. Read a book with rich world-building that will suck you into its own world, instead. ~ The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

The Bookie Grail: Here you find a lost manuscript, delivered on this forgotten island by a fallen star. Read the group book: Stardust. ~While I love Stardust and have it on my permanent collection, I see that many people are going with an alternate, so I decide to opt for something new and help reduce my TBR by reading instead Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name by Vendela Vida. Also read Ajax Penumbra 1969 for it.

The ability to rewrite their tale.
Their unique ability is to read a book that wasn’t on their declared TBR
– as long as it still completes the challenge.
As scribes spend so much time documenting their findings,
one of their challenges will take MUCH longer than normal.
They must read a book over 500 pages.

As I do read more than 5 books a month, I will try to do some of the other challenges as well…

Crimson Peaks: These peaks are about to blow! Re-read a favourite to soothe them into dormancy ~ Aya: Life in Yop City by Clement Oubrerie
Queendom Stone: The stone of our Royal Majesty – what are the royal customs of other lands? Read a book featuring Royalty. ~ Malice in the Palace by Rhys Bowen, Books of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
The Forgotten Forests: All those open series, the forest knows and feels your forgetfulness. It will sing a mournful lament, tormenting you until you read the next in a series. ~ Ceres Vol 13-14 by Yuu Watase, The Renegade Hunter by Lynsay Sands
The Weeping Falls: To pass through the rapids unscathed, you must give to the Falls. Read a tear-jerker. ~ Ceres Vol 12 by Yuu Watase
Orc Grove: Some say there is no talking to Orcs, but a good political relationship is needed. Learn some Orc customs by reading a book that is gruesome, gory, or gritty. ~ Vampire Hunter D vol 4,  Body of Work by Christine Montross
Ol’ Pirate Cove: Shiver me timbers. You shall be walking the plank if you don’t learn how to sail better. Read a book that takes place, at least in part, on sea. ~ The Children of the Sea by Daisuke Igarashi
Glimmer: This Isle is alight with gems and crystals, one of the most picturesque spots in The High Queendom. Make sure you fit in with a beautiful or colourful book. ~ The Secrets of Pistoulet by Jana Kolpen, Dalai Lama, My Son by Diki Tsering 
Draconic Isle: Oh My! This island is swarming with wyverns and dragons. Brush up on your draconic knowledge with a book that features dragons. ~ Blood of Tyrants by Naomi Novik
The Elven Guard are surprised by your visit, and are immediately on the offensive: Read a book with War, Military or Political Themes to learn how to help calm the situation. ~ Animal Weapons by Douglas J. Emlen
On the Hallow Isle, lurk incorporeal monsters and the ghosts of your past: Read an Atmospheric or Horror Book to pass this test of nerve. ~ The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde
Empty Barrel Inn, everyone deserves a swig or too, some say it even aids warming up those vocal cords: Enjoy An Indulgent Read. ~ Sheets by Brenna Thummler
Giant Squid, a fearsome fellow: Read a book that intimidates you, and this foe shall be a doddle. ~ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Earth Edition (no kidding… I was doing a reading sprint and fell asleep with this…) 

Yay, I finished the whole trial!! 17 destinations total, with a few extra places I revisited.  Now on to the NEWTs!!

Published in: on June 18, 2019 at 12:21 am  Leave a Comment  

Magical Read-a-thon: the OWLs

While posting for the Dewey Read-a-thon, I noticed that some of my friends are hashtaging OWLSreadathon. I was really curious and tried to find more info about it, but it wasn’t as easy as I thought. Finally through another blog I found the Youtube video with links to the docs on Google where things are explained to me. I love the idea, but just wish they have posted the info on a blog or instagram directly.

The read-a-thons take place in April and August. April is the OWLs (Ordinary Wizard Level, a word play on the muggle’s O Level) exams and August is the N.E.W.T.s. We can select a career path, like herbologist, seer, wardmaker, etc, and based on that, select the classes, aka challenges, we want to focus on.

So happens I have been reading a ton of books in April for my trip to BookCrossing Readathon, and it was relatively easy to fit many of them into the categories.  The grades are: 2 passed exams – Acceptable, 6 passed exams – Exceeding Expectations, 9+ passed exams – Outstanding.

Useful link to people who can explain it better than I can:
OWLs Magical ReadAThon TBR 2019

ETA: Okay, Report card is out… Looks like I may have a bright future in magical zoology. As I was reading exclusively books to take to the convention, either on another BookCrosser’s wishlist or to release there, I didn’t look for books to fit the titles but rather see whether the books I read fit any of the courses. As I’ve read books in 9 subjects, I managed to get an Outstanding.  But of course, what would you expect from a Ravenclaw?

Really glad to find this reading challenge, I enjoy it a lot!  Look forward to NEWT in August!

Ancient Runes – Read a retelling

Arithmancy – Work written by more than one author

Astronomy – “Star” in the title
Care of Magical Creatures – Land animal on the cover

Charms – Age Line: Read an adult work

Defense Against the Dark Arts – Reducto: title starts with an “R”

Divination – Set in the future
Herbology – Plant on the cover

History of Magic – Published at least 10 years ago

Muggle Studies – Contemporary

Potions – Next Ingredient: Sequel
Transfiguration – sprayed edges or a red cover

Published in: on April 20, 2019 at 12:48 pm  Leave a Comment