The Bookie Trials Royal Weekender Wrap-Up

Hello, friends! I come to you today to talk about my adventures through the land of the Queendom, and what I managed to accomplish this weekend with my fellow Bards~

If you’d like to see what I wanted to read, as well as the Badges of Honor I set out to achieve, then check out my TBR post here!

First, let us discuss the Badges of Honor I managed to achieve during the Royal Weekender!

These were the badges that I, as a bard, could win if I completed each of these tasks. I was close to getting all eight, but I only ended up with seven. Here are the ones that I won, and with what.

  • Oath Maker – I shared my TBR with you lovely folks a few days before the Royal Weekender took place, thus securing this badge for myself!
  • Power Surge – I participated in a two hour long sprint on Saturday, from 8AM-10AM EST. I managed to read 78 pages during that time, which was fantastic!
  • Tome Champion – I managed to complete Percy Jackson: The Titan’s Curse on midnight on the dot Sunday night/Monday morning. It was quite good!

As you can see, the only badge I did not win in this was the Tournament Ready badge, as I was unable to attend the tournaments due to 1) my forgetfulness, and 2) my laptop crapping the bed because of a slug.

Yes. A slug got into my laptop and now I have to get a new part to fix it. So. That happened and I didn’t read all the books I wanted to, but I did finish reading the one book that was my primary goal, so, yay me!

And the Bard specific badges I won:

  • Superior Inspiration – Percy Jackson is all about Greek mythological retellings, so yay!
  • Song of Joy – For my song, I chose Crazy for Love by Mondays, which is a cute song perfect for closing your eyes and just having a blast dancing to.
  • Soft Heart – The cinnamon roll character in the Percy Jackson series, I find, is Grover. He seems like such a cinnamon roll, and I want to protect him.
  • Simple Soul – All of the covers of the books are illustrated, and so, this simply fit!

So, as you might have already be able to tell, I completed only Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Titan’s Curse.

You can check out my complete review here, but in short, I really enjoyed it! I think this is my favorite of the series so far, and I’m really excited to continue reading and see what happens next in the exciting life Percy is having.

The books I didn’t get to were the first six volumes of My Hero Academia, which is a manga series (an anime!) by Kohei Hoshitori. Due to the unforeseen circumstance with my laptop, that took a chunk of my time out from reading, but I am still glad I was able to finish at least the one book for the event – which was the primary goal, anyway!

Overall, this was a fun event, and I’m definitely excited for the full Bookie Trials event in July. I can’t wait!

Did you participate in the trials? What team were you on and how did you do with your goals? Do you think you’ll be participating in the bigger event later this year? Let me know in the comments!

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Titan’s Curse | Book Review

Title: The Titan’s Curse
Series: Percy Jackson & the Olympians #3
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publish Date: May 5, 2007
Genre: Middle Grade – Fantasy, Mythology
Pages: 312
Format: Kindle eBook

IT’S NOT EVERYDAY YOU FIND YOURSELF IN COMBAT WITH A HALF-LION, HALF-HUMAN.

But when you’re the son of a Greek god, it happens. And now my friend Annabeth is missing, a goddess is in chains and only five half-blood heroes can join the quest to defeat the doomsday monster.

Oh, and guess what? The Oracle has predicted that not all of us will survive…

As this is the third book in the series, there might be spoilers!

Oh man, this series is SO fun to read! Why didn’t I read these before? Haha, anyway, I found myself enjoying this third installment quite a bit. It was just as fast-paced and action-packed as the first two, but I found myself seeing Percy and his friends starting to mature as they get older with each book, starting to grow into their young teenage years. So not only do they have to face the monsters, gods, and other such things in their environment, but they also are starting to really come into their own and to discover more about themselves.

This particular book follows Percy, Thalia, and two Hunters who are usually hunting with the goddess Artemis: Bianca and Zöe, in their journey to not only save Artemis, but also Annabeth.

It felt like Percy was dealing with a lot more inner turmoil and emotions in this one than the last two. Being left alone or cast out, depending on where he was, he definitely seemed lonely a lot of the time. But through that, there was a determination to help his friend Annabeth, to save her from wherever fate might have taken her.

Thalia – who used to be a tree thanks to her father, Zeus, who changed her into one so as to save her life – is navigating her own feelings on her father, as well as her own situation and whether or not she fits into a prophecy told about a child of the three big gods betraying them. Though we see everything through Percy’s eyes, I still felt a sense of anger and frustration of Thalia at her decisions, and how she makes an ultimate decision so as to not be the one spoken of in the prophecy – which I thought was very mature for her to decide.

Bianca, and her younger brother, Nico, were such a mystery in the book, but when the reveal happened as to who they were, I had guessed it just before I read it. It was still shocking, but oh man, I wonder if and how they’ll return and how the situation could play out in the future. Although, I’m sad about Bianca, but also I found her to be very selfish in leaving her brother behind to join the Hunters, but… Ah, I don’t know what else I can say on that because of what happened to her in the desert.

And then Zöe. Oh man, I thought she was very mature for her “age,” though, to be fair, she was thousands of years old at that point. I didn’t quite understand the hostility between her and Thalia, though it was explained eventually later on, but I still thought that maybe they could have gotten along more. However, I did almost cry at the end with what happened to her because I really grew to really like her, and I wanted to know even more about her past, but I don’t think we’ll get any more than what we got.

And of course there were new villains to face in this story – a manticore, as well as a god who helped the Titans long, long ago – and it was interesting to see how it played out! I actually really liked the villains, in terms of villainry, and I’m interested to see if the betrayer god will make another appearance later on.

Overall, the plot was fast-paced, and it included a couple of twists I wasn’t expecting, as well as a few that I was. I found this particular installment to be really good, and probably my favorite of the series so far. There was a lot more at stake in this book, and I can’t wait to see what comes next for Percy and the crew because I’m sure, especially after that ending, that there’s going to be a lot more trouble for the young teens to go through.

★★★★☆

Get to Know the Fantasy Reader | Tag

Hello lovely people! Today I have a fun tag that I saw on Sam’s channel on Thoughts on Tomes. The original creator of this tag, Bree of Falling for Romance, created the tag to get to know the romance reader, but the questions here were tailored more toward those who read fantasy (which I do lol). So, let’s jump right into the tag, shall we?

1 . What is your fantasy origin story? (How you came to read your first fantasy novel)

Oh man, I have to think way back. Unlike many people my age (late twenties), my first fantasy read wasn’t Harry Potter or Percy Jackson (both of which I’m reading for the first time now, in my twenties). I think for me it was a collection of some fairy tales such as Rumpelstiltskin, The Old Lady in the Shoe, etc. I can’t for the life of me remember who this particular collection was by, but it should still be at my parents’ house somewhere.

But, in much further memory, the first fantasy/paranormal book that really pulled me into the genre was A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb. It was on the reading list for that year’s summer reading and, admittedly, the only time I actually did summer reading and enjoyed it. I mean, it’s hard to get high schoolers to actually read something off of those lists, let me tell you, so to say I’m glad it was on her list is an understatement.

It was the first young adult novel I read where I was actually hooked on the story and the characters and wanted to learn so much more about them. I still have the book and hope to do a reread of it sometime this year or soon to see if I’ll still enjoy it, but it has a special place in my heart as the first fantasy-esque book that sent me off on my current journey today.

2. If you could be the hero/heroine in a fantasy novel, who would be the author and what’s one trope you’d insist be in the story?

Oh man, Laini Taylor, hands down. I’d love to be written beautifully into one of her worlds – new or old. She’s an incredibly poetic author and I love her books and worlds so much.

As for a trope I’d insist being written into the story… Ooh, I know: give me that enemies-to-friends-to-lovers trope. I love iiiiiiiit~

3. What is a fantasy you’ve read this year, that you want more people to read?

I mean, considering at the time of writing this post I’ve only read one fantasy novel so far this year, and that’s Strange the Dreamer (which I loved, spoiler alert), I definitely want more people to read it. It’s beautiful and so complex and intriguing. Go check out my review for more mushy feelings about it.

BUT, I do have a few fantasy-esque webtoons/comics I can definitely recommend!

4. What is your favorite fantasy subgenre? What subgenre have you not read much from?

My favorite fantasy subgenre is probably high/epic fantasy. I love to be immersed in new worlds, magic systems, political systems, and just all manner of things. And the books and series are usually super huge, so I can stay with those characters for a lot longer, which is nice.

The subgenre I haven’t read much from is probably grim dark. I’m the kind of person that enjoys reading about happy things and really loves fluff. Not that I mind reading the darker stuff, I just don’t like it when it’s all encapsulating in the novel. But sometimes the darkness of my soul needs to be fed, so.

5. Who is one of your auto-buy fantasy authors?

Laini Taylor

I was just going to move onto the next question, but I guess I’ll elaborate a little lol I just love her worlds and the way she writes. I feel like I can taste and feel and sense what her characters do, and I get so attached and want to know what will happen next. She’s just a fantastic writer and I look forward to her work.

6. How do you typically find fantasy recommendations? (Goodreads, Youtube, Podcasts, Instagram..)

Ah, well, because I pulled back a lot from the book community in the last year, I haven’t actually been getting a lot of recommendations (which is fine, my TBR appreciates it), but typically through YouTube or just browsing sites like Amazon or WEBTOON.

7. What is an upcoming fantasy release you’re excited for?

The Stormlight Archives book 4, Rhythm of War, by Brandon Sanderson. I mean, I know I’ve only finished the first book in the series – Way of Kings – but it’s one of my new favorite series of all time, so of COURSE I’m excited for this book, even if it takes another five years to get to it, but by that time, the fifth book will have come out, so it all evens out haha!

8. What is one misconception about fantasy you would like to lay to rest?

Not all GOOD fantasy books are written by white, straight, male authors. There are many female writers who write amazing worlds, stories, characters, scenes, etc.

9. If someone had never read a fantasy before and asked you to recommend the first 3 books that come to mind as places to start, what would those recommendations be?

Oh man. This is a tough question because 1) every book I ever read would cease to exist in my mind, and 2) I’d need to know their own reading tastes and such before telling them, but these three are ones I think I’d recommend:

10. Who is the most recent fantasy reading content creator you came across that you’d like to shoutout?

I don’t think I have any new ones, but I’ll shoutout some of my favorites:

And that’s it for the tag! If you’d like to do this, please feel free to do so, and let me know if you do!

What’s one fantasy book/series you’d recommend anyone? Let me know!

Magical Readathon | TBR

Hello there, magical people~ I hope you’re doing well. Today I’m going to be talking about the Magical Readathon hosted by Book Roast over on YouTube. This readathon is themed around the Harry Potter universe and includes classes in twelve subjects at Hogwarts, as well as twelve potential careers (and extra seminars and courses) you can take in your time at and after Hogwarts! This seemed like such a fun activity, and I was a bit too late to join the last few times I saw the announcements, but I’m finally early and ready to try this readathon for myself!

Now, if you would like all the details about the readathon, there are links in the video that Book Roast talks about the announcement here, but to summarize, it’s an event that’s taking place for the entire month of April from the 1st to the 30th, and during that time you pick books based on the prompts given for each of the twelve classes, and each class comes with a prompt designated to it:

  • Ancient Runes: Heart Rune – heart on the cover or the title
  • Arithmancy: Magical qualities of number 2 – balance/opposites – read something outside of your favorite genre
  • Astronomy: Night classes – read majority of this book when it’s dark outside
  • Care of Magical Creatures: Hippogriffs – creature with a beak on the cover
  • Charms: Lumos Maxima – white cover
  • Defense Against the Dark Arts: Grindylows – book set at sea/coast
  • Divination: Third Eye – assign numbers to your TBR and use a random number generator to pick your read
  • Herbology: Mimbulus mimbletonia – title starts with an M
  • History of Magic: Witch hunts – book featuring witches/wizards
  • Muggle Studies: Book from the perspective of a muggle (contemporary)
  • Potions: Shrinking Solution – book under 150 pages
  • Transfiguration: Animagus lecture – book/series that includes shapeshifting

You can also pick a career path to take after your Hogwarts career (this is totally optional) and allows you to focus on and potentially narrow down which books from which class you read. Careers include: Alchemist, Astronomer, Aurologist, Auror, Broom Maker, Care of Magical Children, Culinary Sorcerer, Curse Breaker, Graphic Designer, Healer, Herbologist, Hogwarts Professor, Journalist or Writer, Librarian, Mage of Visual Arts, Magizoologist, Metal Charmer, Mind Medic, Ministry Worker, Potioneer, Quidditch Referee, Seer, Spell Maker, Trader of Magical Tomes, and Wandmaker. (For more on these, check out the video I linked above!)

So for this readathon, I want to get back into the swing of reading novels (as has been in the case in almost every post I’ve made lately lol), but I didn’t want to overwhelm myself as it’ll be the first actual readathon I participate in this year. Picking a career was tough, but I decided to go with Writer, and I might double up with Graphic Designer, if I have the time and energy to do so. I’ll also be taking a bonus course called Merpeople Linguistics.

Let’s break this down!

Writer O.W.L.s Needed

  • History of Magic
  • Muggle Studies
  • 1 other subject of your choice (I chose Astronomy)

The books I chose for this Writer O.W.L. are:

Graphic Designer O.W.L.s Needed

  • Ancient Runes
  • Charms
  • History of Magic
  • Transfiguration

The books I chose for the Graphic Designer O.W.L. are:

And for my extra course/seminar, the Merpeople Linguistics course, I’ll be reading a book for Herbology: Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. This one will be a reread for me.

Oh man, it’s a lot to take in, but I’m very excited. All of these books (except for Heartless) are also on my POPSugar Challenge for 2020, so I’m killing two birds with one stone.

I’m definitely aiming for just the first three books in the Writer’s career O.W.L.s as I don’t want to overwhelm myself, but I think having plenty of options is good for this challenge.

There will also be other challenges hosted on the Twitter, @magicathon, and there’s also a discord for you to join if you want! (Links in the video listed earlier in this post!)

Are you going to be joining the readathon? Which career are you aiming for? Is this your first O.W.L.s? Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below!

Strange the Dreamer | Book Review

Title: Strange the Dreamer
Series: Strange the Dreamer #1
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: March 28, 2017
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Pages: 528
Format: Hardcover

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep.

You know, I started reading this book what feels like forever ago, and I put it down not because I was bored with it or anything – quite the opposite! – but because I was in a reading slump of sorts. Now that I picked it back up and finished it over the last two or three days, I’m SO glad I did because WOW, was this a great book.

Laini Taylor never ceases to amaze me with her works. She is one of my favorite authors, and this book definitely showed me why. The writing, of course, was elegant and poetic in many different ways. She has a way of describing feeling and the human emotion in such depth that it makes you feel like you’re experiencing what that character experiences, rather than just sitting back and watching it happen.

Among those well-written words are the characters and the plot of the story, both of which I feel are both dynamic as they are complex. The story unfolds in a fantasy world (though it feels a lot like Earth), with gods who lived among the people, great creatures that could tear a person apart, and many mysteries that have yet to be revealed. The world itself felt very large, but also very small, given most of it is told from Lazlo’s point of view (as well as several others).

Besides that, the characters themselves had such varying histories behind them that I felt drawn to learn more about each one. Lazlo, an orphan made librarian, seemed like such a dreamer that he felt very naive and new to much of the world. I loved his love for stories and how he would often describe the world around him as something very poetic and beautiful.

Sarai felt so troubled, so tired, and I felt like I could feel how tired she was. She was holding onto old anger that she no longer held in her heart, but a curiosity that was sparked in kind thanks to Lazlo and his dreams.

The other godspawn, as they’re called – Minya, Ruby, Feral, and Sparrow – had all such distinct characteristics and personalities, and powers. They each felt real and had their own share of problems, worries, etc.

Among other characters, such as Eril-Fane and Azareen, who share horrible pasts due to the gods, there was one that stood out a lot that I felt frustrated with but also very intrigued by: Thyon Nero. He’s the son of a king and queen who were losing their kingdom, until one day, Thyon managed to turn things into gold. But he has a lot of secrets, and a bad personality, but I can’t say that I don’t want to see more of what he’s capable of.

The story to save Weep – the town whose name was stolen – is one of adventure and many questions and uncertainties. I could feel the sorrow of the city even in the small bits and glimmers we got through the other characters.

Honestly, this book was so wonderfully done. If you’re looking for a book with fantastical elements, deep emotions explored, dark pasts, and hopeful futures, then you’d enjoy this novel.

★★★★★