O.W.L.s Readathon Wrap-Up

May 23, 2020 in Wrap-Ups

I love reading – it’s basically become my coping mechanism for these uncertain times. And yet, I had no idea that readathons existed… until last month!

As soon as I heard about the Magical Readathon run by G of Book Roast, I knew I wanted to participate. Except I found out about it on the 10th of April when it started on the 1st – eek! So I had a flick through of the career guide and made a choice that I decided was realistic – broom maker. Within a few days, I changed my mind and wanted to pursue a career as a Ministry Worker. And then I decided to go for Hogwarts Professor… In the end, I read a book for each of the 12 prompts and can take my N.E.W.T.s in August for any career.

That worked out as a total of 3345 pages. In terms of ratings, there were 5 x 3 stars, 3 x 4 stars and 4 x 5 star reads so a pretty good month overall! So without further ado, let’s see what books I read! 

Ancient Runes

The Gifts of Imperfection
by Brene Brown

Heart rune: heart on the cover or in the title

It’s a non-fiction all about how shame holds us back from living our best lives and how we can work towards fixing that problem through vulnerability. 

This read gave me a lot of food for thought and dare I say, it was a game-changer for me! I think I ended up highlighting about 30% of the book – oops. Here’s just one of those many quotes that spoke to me:

“Overcoming self-doubt is all about believing we’re enough and letting go of what the world says we’re supposed to be and supposed to call ourselves.”

I don’t know about you but that’s the kind of messaging I need in my life. In fact, I actually talk a bit more about my journey towards wholehearted living in my personal manifesto.

Rating: ★★★★
Format: eBook – Scribd
Pages: 192


by Alexis Jones

Magical qualities of number 2: balance/opposites – read something outside your favourite genre

My favourite genre is thriller fiction so I had a lot of options for this prompt. In the end I went with yet another non-fiction read.

I AM THAT GIRL is all about being a kickass modern female. It’s filled with real life experiences from women of all walks of life, all on their own unique journeys and I absolutely loved the way that it embraces the idea that success isn’t a one size fits all thing.

In fact, one of my favourite things about this book was that the majority of the guest writers were in the same stage of their life as I am. It was really empowering to see these women in their late 20’s and early 30’s take the reins in their life, define what matters to them and just go for it. 

Rating: ★★★★★
Format: eBook – Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 279


Two Can Keep A Secret
by Karen McManus

Night classes: read majority of this book when it’s dark outside

Another book that I absolutely loved during this readathon was Two Can Keep a Secret. I read One of Us is Lying earlier on this year and loved it but nothing could prepare me for this. 

So Two Can Keep a Secret is about twins Ellory and Ezra who go to live with their grandmother in her small town. A town which has already seen one girl go missing (the twins’ aunt) and another murdered so naturally people get a little bit freaked out when someone starts publicly claiming that they will take another victim soon. Yeah, it’s a wild ride. I honestly had no idea what was coming and that last page took my breath away.

Rating: ★★★★★
Format: eBook – Library
Pages: 330

Care of Magical Creatures

Fantastic Beasts and Where to FInd Them
by J. K. Rowling

Hippogriffs: creature with a beak on its cover

For Care of Magical Creatures, I finally read Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Now I have this in a physical copy but I actually chose to read the animated Kindle version. I loved the way some of the illustrations moved around the screen, truly bringing the magic to life. 

But other than that, I have very little to add about the book itself. It’s essentially a short guide to magical creatures – some you’ll recognise from Harry Potter and elsewhere and others that you might never have heard of. One “beast” I particularly enjoyed reading about was the Porlock which is a horse guardian found in Dorset. As someone who lives in Dorset, I’ve yet to witness one of these but I’ll be sure to keep an eye out.

Rating: ★★★
Format: eBook – Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 160


Little White Lies
by Philippa East

Lumos Maxima: white cover

It begins with the safe return of an abducted child and quickly descends into a domestic thriller all about the lies and secrets within this girl’s family. And boy, is it a tense ride!

I was so mesmerised by this book that I managed to read it in less than a day. I loved the complexity of the plot – how the adults carry around their guilt and how Abi tries to make sense of her new normal after spending almost a decade with her captor. In a room that looked identical to one she had as a small child. Creepy, am I right?

While I loved the entire book, I was a teeny bit disappointed with the ending. It just felt like it pushed on a few pages longer than it needed to. The last chapter was completely redundant to me or maybe I just missed its value, I’m not entirely sure. Still – a solid 4 star read for me!

Rating: ★★★★
Format: eBook – Kindle
Pages: 352

Defence Against the Dark Arts

You Let Me In
by Lucy Clarke

Grindylows: set at the sea/coast

This thriller is set in Cornwall, England which is where the main character, Elle, lives in a redeveloped fisherman’s house by the sea. Nice, huh? All except things get more than a little creepy after she rents out her house on Air BnB – sort of like her guest never left, if you catch my drift.

Now I have to admit that I really struggled to get into it at first. I’m not a huge fan of dual/multiple narratives as it is but even less so when there are different timeframes too. But it did become fairly enjoyable as the plot progressed!

Even though there were plenty of potential bad guys, I did guess who it was early on so it wasn’t a massive shock when it was revealed. However, there were a few revelations throughout the book that did shock me to my core!

Rating: ★★★★
Format: eBook – Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 418


The Perfect Neighbours
by Rachel Sargeant

Third eye: assign numbers to your TBR and use a random number generator to pick your read

Divination was the subject I was most excited about completing. As I’d just joined Kindle Unlimited, I created a mini TBR of books I wanted to borrow and then used the random number generator. It ended up choosing The Perfect Neighbours by Rachel Sargeant.

I’ve got to throw my hands up and admit that I didn’t love this one. I read The Roommates earlier this year and loved it so expected to enjoy this too. But I just didn’t. Don’t get me wrong it’s an interesting read with lip-biting suspense but there was maybe too much going on? And I guess I couldn’t relate to it in the same way that I could The Roommates? But anyway…

This was another domestic thriller about a woman who moves to Germany to join her husband who works out there. It starts with our main character, Helen, in a cell having been accused of the murder of three people. And then you go back in time to when she first arrives in Germany to piece together what happened. But that’s not all. There’s also a secondary plot about a German teenager who committed suicide and a narrative whose identity remains a mystery until later on in the book.

Now onto content warnings, there are a lot of heavy themes in this book. I mean a lot of a lot. There’s references to rape and sexual assault, abortion, manipulation, domestic abuse, suicide, murder, cruelty to animals, alcoholism and if I remember correctly, references to drug use. Some of the murder scenes and references are pretty graphic as well, so bear that in mind.

Rating: ★★★
Format: eBook – Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 333


by Sophie Draper

Mimbulus mimbletonia: title begins with an M

I’d heard some rave reviews for Magpie but I’ve got to admit, I don’t think it lived up to the hype!

Magpie is centred around Claire: a woman living in an unhappy marriage but bearing it for her son’s sake. Now that he’s old enough, she’s made the decision to move out. But then her son goes missing and things get more than a little weird. I don’t even know how else to explain it!

I think the main reason for my disappointment was that there are these two narratives throughout and neither of them were relatable to me. Still I read on because I was compelled to know the answers to the book’s many mysteries and I’m glad I did as the ending makes the whole read worthwhile.

Rating: ★★★
Format: eBook – Library
Pages: 377

History of Magic

The Near Witch
by V. E. Schwab

Witch hunts: book featuring witches/wizards

Perhaps my favourite read of the entire readathon, I ventured into the fantasy genre for my History of Magic exam. It’s not something I would have read under other circumstances but I absolutely loved it and can’t wait to read more of Schwab’s work.

This fantastic novel has it all: missing children, magic, romance, fear and even some toxic masculinity. So it’s basically about how Near’s children start going missing from their beds one by one the same night that a stranger is spotted in their village. The townsfolk are certain that the stranger is behind the abductions but Lexi isn’t so sure.

I’m not kidding when I say that I was hooked from the first page. The whole story had a Bag of Bones vibe about it and it was super creepy at times. I especially loved the emphasis on the consequences of fear and the need to place blame because our society is all about the blame game. In fact there’s been so much of it lately that I’m spending less and less time on social media – it’s dangerous and toxic. But I digress. It’s become a favourite of mine which is why I’ve given The Near Witch a five star rating!

Rating: ★★★★★
Format: eBook – Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 320

Muggle Studies

Those People
by Louise Candlish

Book from a perspective of a muggle (contemporary)

Have you ever seen The Nightmare Neighbour Next Door? It’s this sort of docuseries about real life nightmare neighbours and how it affects the lives and wellbeing of those around them. This book is basically the fiction version of that. A domestic thriller centred around a close-knit community whose lives are changed when a new couple moves to their quiet street. We know early on that this arrival ends in death but we don’t know who dies or who is to blame.

Now you already know I’m not the biggest fan of multiple POVs and this coupled with super long chapters meant that the book felt slow and tedious at times. But I really wanted to know what happened so I plodded on. I guessed the perpetrator of the initial crime early on but there were a lot of twists! So many twists!

I have to give Candlish credit for her incredibly complex character development. I can honestly say that not one character is who you’d expect them to be. This is where Those People really shines in my opinion.

Rating: ★★★
Format: eBook – Library
Pages: 384


by Benedict Ashforth

Shrinking Solution: book under 150 pages

For Potions, I decided to borrow a Kindle Single on my Kindle Unlimited subscription. A spot of browsing led me to Verona and just wow. It took my breath away.

The story is centred around a couple who decide to go on holiday to Verona in an attempt to forget about their infertility problems. But their trip changes their lives forever when they wind up in a haunted hotel room. Yes, it is every bit as creepy as it sounds.

The parts of the book that don’t take place in Italy are largely set in Purbeck, Dorset which is just down the road from us! I thought that was quite a cool coincidence.

I’m really looking forward to reading more from Ashforth as this story has rekindled my love for the Gothic/ghost story genre. And there was just something about the writing style that I enjoyed but I couldn’t put my finger on it – critiquing style isn’t my strong suit!

Content warnings: infertility, abortion, suicide, filicide

Rating: ★★★★★
Format: eBook – Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 134


The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
by Robert Louis Stevenson

Animagus lecture: book/series that includes shapeshifting

I wasn’t sure what to read here so ultimately went with Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde because it’s been on my TBR for over a decade. And you know, it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. In my head it was a dual narrative that eventually intersected but actually it’s narrated by a secondary character, Dr Jekyll’s lawyer and friend. What?!

Ultimately I enjoyed this exploration of the duality of man but I wasn’t blown away by it.

Rating: ★★★
Format: eBook – Kindle
Pages: 66

Well there you have it: the 12 books I read for my O.W.Ls! I’m really looking forward to the NEWTs in August and I’ll be sharing a TBR sometime in July.

If you can’t wait that long, fear not because I’ve decided to take part in the Olympic Games readathon in June. I’ve already selected my books and have a little TBR heading your way next week so keep an eye out for that!


  • Jess May 23, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    This was fantastic! I love, love, love the thought of this as well. How fun! I have to say it must have been so fun to do. I’ve always been curious about Fantastic Beats And Where To Find them!

    • Hayley July 4, 2020 at 8:43 pm

      Thanks so much Jess! It was a lot of fun!

  • Lauren May 26, 2020 at 11:43 am

    Wow you got through so many book! This sounds so much fun too.

    By the way I’m loving your new blog!

    Lauren | https://www.laurenyloves.co.uk/

    • Hayley July 4, 2020 at 8:44 pm

      Thanks Lauren, the challenge spurred me on a little bit haha. Thank you so much!

  • […] books #17 to #40. You might already know how I feel about some of these if you’ve read my O.W.Ls readathon wrap-up but those weren’t the only books I read in April and I’ve never shared what I read in […]

  • […] I’ve got to admit I’m not feeling overly excited about this one? I didn’t enjoy Fantastic Beasts as much as I wanted to so I feel like this will probably get a low rating from me. But hey, […]

  • […] Speaking of time, there’s been an awful lot of it available for hobbies. This month I even participated in my first ever readathon: the Magical Readathon O.W.L.s! […]

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