Another Magical Readathon is slowly closing in on us and it time to get our TBRs in order for the
NASTILY EXHAUSTING WIZARDING TESTS!
1ST – 31ST OF AUGUST
For all the details on how to participate make sure to check out G’s announcement video.
Headmistress G has selected some members of the four houses to help you select study material and pass all your N.E.W.Ts. We have scoured the Hogwarts Library to find the best textbooks hidden deep in the restricted section. Each house will provide recommendations for their assigned subjects. I am one of the three Ravenclaws who will be recommending books for the subjects of Astronomy, Charms and Divination.
While Headmistress only requires use to recommend one book per prompt, I have been my usual over achieving Ravenclaw and I’ve tried to give you varying options to help all those with varying reading taste. I’ve tried to select an Adult and a YA for each prompt as well as some of my more personal favourites. These are all books I’ve read and would recommend others pick up.
Also keep an eye out for my OUT OF THE BOX recommendations. These are those recommendations that, like fellow Ravenclaw Gildroy Lockheart, are a little bit devious and logically interpret the prompt in a very Ravenclaw way (which that may appeal to the Slytherins too!).
Wands AT THE READY!
Everyone knows that Professor Flitwick is head of the Ravenclaw house. In order to make him proud with our perfect pronunciation and those sharp swish and flicks, here are my recommendations for passing Charms
ACCEPTABLE: Read a Book that you think has a gorgeous cover.
I love bold, striking graphic covers so I have picked a few that are as beautiful inside as they are outside!
My YA pick is Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. I adore the bright vivid blue of this cover with the detailed gold embossing of the moth. It really compliments the gorgeous lyrical story telling inside.
V.E.Schwab has been blessed by some amazing cover designers for her UK and Special Editions. I love how both her Adult and YA series all use the same colour schemes so they look outstandingly beautiful on the shelves. Her signature colour scheme is not by accident.So what would be better than to read the book that started those beautiful covers and visit the many Londons of A Darker Shade of Magic?
Exceeds Expectations: Read a Comic/Graphic Novel/Manga
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson is a fantastic intro into graphic novels for those that may not have delved into that realm before. Soon to be its own movie this is the perfect time to pick this one up.
The Adventure Zone is also a great gateway into how fun and diverse graphic novels can be. Its based on the DnD Podcast of the same name, where the Comedy group, The McElroy Brothers, play DnD with there Dad. This is the first of their adventures and what is great is you can also listen along in the podcast for more and inside jokes. Though I will say the language does get a little fruity!
My personal recommendation in Mouse Guard by David Peterson. While this may look cute it is anything but! This is a gritty medieval based fantasy set around a society of Mice trying to survive in a very cruel world. The art work is stunning and the storylines are fantastic. It is worth the read.
Outstanding: Spongify – Read a Paperback
In the UK we are somewhat spoilt for choice in this category. Most of our Sci-Fi and Fantasy market wither its YA or Adult are published directly in paperback. This means that a large proportion of my book collection is in paperback. Here I selected some favourite for various reasons.
The Spellslinger series by Sebastian DeCastell. Not only is Spellslinger the restricted section book but these are some of the most beautiful paperbacks that I own. All of them have gorgeous cover art and fabulous matching sprayed edges. It is also one of the best YA series I have read and I will be re-reading Spellslinger (again). I have whole series of reviews and posts dedicated to this series from spoiler free reviews (Books 1, 2 ,3 ,4) to spoiler filled discussions while I re-read them.
Christina Henry is one of those authors that goes straight to paperback when published in the UK but I adore her work. She does deeply dark Horror retellings. Lost Boy is a disturbingly dark adult retelling of the origin of Captain Hook from Peter Pan and it is one of my favourite depictions of this tale. Also all her paperbacks match in art style which my shelves also appreciate. I have a spoiler free review here.
Another series I have only found in paperback is The Invisible Library by Geneieve Cogman. It is a great mix of steampunk, multiverse, fantasy that has a little something for everyone along the way, from the fae to dragons, Victorian detectives to inter-dimensional travel.
TELESCOPES and star charts!
As a Ravenclaw I spend hours whiling away the hours studying up in Ravenclaw tower and when we hit the wee hours of the morning it is the best place to be to study Astronomy outside of the Astronomy tower itself. So instead of sneaking out at midnight and risking being caught in the glowing eye of Mrs Norris. Grab your telescope and join us in the common room to study for our Astronomy N.E.W.T.
ACCEPTABLE: A Moon on the cover or anywhere in the title.
Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend has a lovely full moon right in the middle of the cover and this book is a fantastically magical read for this N.E.W.T. I think moonlight, just captures the slightly mystical, but slightly dark feeling this book has, with curses, magical lands and secret societies. It is a middle grade that creates such a fantastic world that I adored every minute of. I have a review here.
Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovich is the only book I own with Moon in the title. It is actually the second book in one of my favourite series River’s of London. It is an adult Urban fantasy that is well worth the read, this one features Jazz based emotional vampires! Why Aaronovich maintains you do not need to read them in order I think your would need to pick up the first one to get the full story. So if you can fit in Rivers of London, maybe for an A in Ancient Runes/ Potions or an O in DADA both are well worth it (The audiobooks are amazing too).
Exceeds Expectations: Word ‘Night’ in the book or series title
My choice for the YA read is my favourite stand alone. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstren. While not everyone’s cup of tea, this is a book based solely on world building and as it is primarily set at night it is the perfect read for this prompt.
Nevernight, book 1 of The Nevernight Chronicles is a perfect choice as an adult read for this prompt as night is both part of the name and the series title. There is also a read-along happening of this series in July (Nevernight) and August (Godsgrave) in anticipation for the last book in the series which is released in September. I adore this series and I will most likely be continuing my re-read in this prompt.
Outstanding: Read a Sci-Fi
Oh I couldn’t choose there are just too many great books out there for both YA and adult audiences that I am just going to dump a bit list of them all here and let you explore.
The collective works of John Scalzi, he is my favourite Sci-fi author, I love his approach, his dark humour and how his plots always question humanity. He has a series for every taste while still sticking to the pulp sci-fi range. You want space opera/ military feel go for Old man’s war, you want more of a western in space feel go for The Collapsing Empire (my review). Want to keep your feet on the ground try Lock in. Don’t want a big time investment go for one of his short stories such as Three Robots which inspired the Netflix cartoon in Love,Death, Robots collection.
Want something a little different try Sleeping Giants by Slyvain Neuvel (my review of books two and three) which is all told in interview format. While The Long way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers is fully character driven space adventure, with all manner of alien races.
For those that want to stick to YA there are a number of amazing options, Binti is a short story by Nnedi Okorafor that mixes African culture with alien exploration. The Lunar chronicles by Marissa Meyer twist your favourite fairy tales into shimmery science fiction epics and Skyward by Brandon Sanderson (my review) gives you a taste of Sci-fi told in a very fantasy based way.
If you are more visual, for YA I cant recommend the Illuminae files enough. While they look like chunkers, due to the unique layout style they read like graphic novels that will have you twisting the book this way and that to read all the text. For an adult read, the graphic novel series Saga is just a tour de force that everyone should try.
Few! OK no one can say that they dont have an idea for what to read for that prompt!
Put the Kettle on! Its time for TEA LEAVEs
Now I am a sceptical science based Ravenclaw and I don’t hold much stock in the fortune telling arts, but I do like to make sure I pass my exams so if that means reading for divination, pass me my tea cup and tarot cards and lets get predicting.
ACCEPTABLE: Read a White book.
Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus is a great YA Mystery that I really enjoyed. In fact any of McManus’ UK paperbacks could count for this prompt as they all follow this stunning yet simple design. Her books are fun escapes that are great for readathons. I have reviewed the book here.
If you are trying Spellslinger as the restricted book why not try De Castell’s Adult series that is set in the same universe (but different contients according to De Castell) with Traitor’s Blade? This is a Three Musketeers feeling novel that has all the wit and sword play expected from one of De Castell’s books. The rest of the Greatcoat’s series also has these stunning cover designs. My spoiler free review (with a tiny spoiler section) was my first full review on this site!
Another personal favourite is, An Unkindness of Magician by Kat Howard. This is an Urban fantasy that throws you in the deep end of a magical competition. It is great for those not looking for a commitment of a series but is wanting a great character driven story of magical duels and political manoeuvring. I have a spoiler free review here.
Exceeds Expectations: A Short Story or collection of Short Stories
Agatha Christie is the Queen of Crime but also of Short story collections. She has a number of them in both her Ms Marple and Hercule Poirot series. Some of her most famous works are actually from short story collections which can most often be found in large bind ups of 50+ stories. One of my personal favourites is The 13 problems from the Ms Marple series which is 13 short stories all about crimes that have occurred that a dinner party are trying to riddle out each time they meet. Read one, read all 13 you wont regret it.
The Paper Menagerie and other stories by Ken Liu are just so rich in description and emotion that I can only read one at a time and then sit and savour them. These are short fiction at it’s best and I cannot recommend them highly enough you will laugh you, you will cry they just are so jam packed with gorgeous story telling in so few pages.
Outstanding: Read the last book you bought/borrowed
As I haven’t yet read the last books I have bought/borrowed I cant really recommend them so instead here are some 2019 releases I have loved.
For The YA category I have chosen Sorcery of Thorns by Margeret Rogerson (my review) and The Kingdom by Jess Rothenburg (my review). Both were 5 star reads for me. Sorcery of Thorns is a magical fantasy filled with sword wielding librarians, talking grimoires and sassy sorcerers, while The Kingdom has a little bit of everything from AI princesses, to sinister theme parks and court room drama as we follow a distopian murder mystery.
For those that want to dip into adult fiction we have Seven Blades in Black by Sam Sykes (my review), with a nod to RPGs, this its a jam packed action adventure across an amazingly realised world. While those that want a bit more of a spine tingling thrill might prefer The Furies by Katie Lowe (my review) which is a sinister psychological thriller with a touch of the craft set in the UK.
Wow OK, I might have gone a bit overboard on all the prompts as I have recommended over 33 books (when I was meant to pick 9). But hopefully you can find something in this massive list that will not only fill these prompts but potentially a number of others. I love all of the books on this list and would recommend them to any one.
I want to say a HUGE!!! Thank you to G for letting me take part in this. Make sure you check out her recommendations video as well as all the other house recommendations. In particular check out my Fellow Booktube based Ravenclaws :
Are you participating in the N.E.W.Ts are you thinking of reading any of the books above? Are there any amazing books I have missed off this huge list? Let me know in the comments?
Happy Reading and good luck planning your N.E.W.Ts TBR!!!!