Harry Potter Tag

So, I’m in a bit of a reading slump.

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I know, Fred and George, I know.  To work through it, I’ve been reading the Harry Potter illustrated additions and listening to the audiobooks because that’s just what you do during a reading slump.  

I also decided to do a Harry Potter book tag because why the heck not?  I also decided to make up my own tag, so here it is:  the Anti Reading Slump Harry Potter Book Tag.

**Obviously contains Harry Potter spoilers.  If you haven’t read the books yet, omg what in the world are you waiting for??!!**

Question 1: Which book is your favorite?

All of them, obviously.  This may be cheating, but this kind of is my tag, so I can cheat if I want to.  Seriously though, this is a really tough question because I love them all for different reasons and I appreciate them as a collection.

Question 2: Who is your favorite character?

Besides Harry, Ron, and Hermione, I am definitely Dumbledore’s girl, through and through.

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Question 3: Which house are you in?

Gryffindor lyfe

Question 4: What is your patronus?

Per Pottermore, my patronus is a wood mouse.  How incredible is that?

Question 5: What is your favorite magical creature?

Thestrals, Hippogriffs, and Nifflers

Question 6: What is your favorite class at Hogwarts?

Definitely Defense Against The Dark Arts.  Transfiguration is pretty neat too.

Question 7: Which Quidditch position would you play?

I’d totally be a Chaser

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Question 8: Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley?

While Diagon Alley is obviously awesome, there is something really magical about Hogsmeade, especially during Christmas.  Also, butterbeer at the Three Broomsticks.  It doesn’t get much better than that.

Question 9: Who is your Harry Potter crush?

Bill Weasley and Oliver Wood.  *swoon*

Question 10: What would you use the Room of Requirements for?

As a really comfy, safe place when I just needed to be alone.  With lots of pillows, books, and a coffee pot.

Question 11: What is your favorite moment from the books?

Wow, thanks for asking such a hard question.  Obviously when Voldemort is defeated.  But when Ron and Hermione *finally* admit their feelings for each other and when Umbridge is packed off into the forest by Centaurs are two great moments as well.  And one of my favorite parts is when Dumbledore’s portrait is placed in the Headmaster’s office.  I lost it.

Question 12: Who is your favorite professor?

McGonagall is such a badass and I love her.

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Finally, Question 13: Why do you love Harry Potter so freaking much?

I grew up with Harry Potter and like so many others, it means the world to me.  The writing, the world J.K. Rowling created, the hope, the friendship, the adventure, it’s pure magic.

I challenge anyone who wants to do a Harry Potter tag of any sort to do it!  I love talking about Harry Potter and will find any excuse to do so.

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Book Review || The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck

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Title: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach To Living A Good Life

Author: Mark Manson

Publication Date: September 2016

Version: Physical Book

Genre: Nonfiction, Self-Help

Rating: 3/5 Stars

In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.

There are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter, Manson makes clear. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.

I usually don’t like self-help books.  I find that a lot of times, they are repetitive, can be condescending, and many times aren’t backed by enough research to support the “facts” given.  While I am glad I read this book and appreciated some unique key points, I had similar faults with The Subtle Art.

I’ll start with what I liked about the book.  I really appreciated that this book does not put forth the positivity outlook.  While I think this can be helpful for many people, it has never worked with me.  “Think your way into happiness” is something I have found in several different self-help books I’ve read and I just don’t think it’s feasible for everyone 100% of the time.  It’s important to understand that it’s okay to not be okay and that we have to work through the hard stuff in life and I appreciate that this book put forth that message.

I also enjoyed that this book read like a book and not a diagnostic manual.  While there is a place for clinical writing, I appreciate the balance books like this one bring to the table.

One of the biggest faults I have with this book is that whenever a self-help books brings up mental illness, I am very hesitant mainly because there isn’t always a lot of research to back up the ideas presented or because the author doesn’t have a background in mental health.  This book discusses OCD in particular and while the author uses a few case examples to back his ideas, it’s not a very strong argument in the context.  If, like me, you have a mental illness, reading any self-help book with a critical eye may be a good idea.

I also felt like the last half of the book had a tendency to veer off topic and sometimes it felt more like the author’s memoir more than a book about The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck.

I don’t think this book will be for everyone (obvious explicit language and mature content), but if traditional self-help books aren’t your thing and you’re looking for something on the lighter and humorous side, this book may just be for you.

 

Book Review || Bad Romance

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Title: Bad Romance

Author: Heather Demetrios

Publication Date: June 2017

Version: Physical Book

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Rating: 4/5 Stars

**TRIGGER WARNING: As the description suggests, this book contains abuse and discusses suicide.  This book has very heavy themes throughout, as it deals with several abusive relationships.**

*This review also contains spoilers.  The review will be spoiler free for the first part and contain spoilers in the second part below the line.*

Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.

Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it’s too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she’s unable to escape.

Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.

I just finished this book last night and have needed some time to process all the feelings I was feeling while reading because there were a lot.  Of feelings.  Just feelings all over the place.  There were things I liked and didn’t like about this book and I want to get into both, so let’s talk about the good first.

I think one of the things Demetrios did well with this book is make me feel uncomfortable, sad, and angry at the characters.  An author who can make you really feel, good or bad, is doing it right.  There were times when I wanted to scream because it was just so obvious that Gavin is manipulative and abusive, and yet, that’s the point.  Grace and Gavin’s relationship slowly spirals downward until Grace feels completely trapped.  In addition, Gavin will do something wonderful and meaningful that will leave Grace wondering if the relationship is really all that bad, which leads us to:

Relationships.  Whether it’s the strained relationship between Grace and her mother, the fearful relationship between Grace and her step-father, or the incredible relationship between Grace and her best friends, Nat and Lys, this book does not hold back when painting the flaws and perfections that come with real relationships.

I also want to point out that I am just so grateful for a book that does a pretty good job of not glamorizing toxic relationships, particularly in YA.  I felt like there were points when I have seen aspects of Grace and Gavin’s relationship portrayed in other books, but IT IS SEEN AS HEALTHY.  I am very grateful that there are more and more books moving away from this trend and I believe Bad Romance is one of these books.

The reason this book isn’t a 5 star read for me mainly has to do with the ending.  IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THIS BOOK, THE NEXT PART OF THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS.  THIS IS A GREAT PLACE TO STOP AND READ THE BOOK.  

 


 

Are you sure you’ve read the book?  Okay, great.  My main issues with this book were in the ending.  While I understand and appreciate that there was never going to be a happily ever after all tied up neatly with a bow after the trauma Grace experiences, I wanted more closure for Grace at the end.  I finished reading the book and was afraid that Gavin would find her or that she would find someone else like Gavin.  I also felt like so much of the story was about Gavin (the books is addressed to “you”, or Gavin, after all) that it ends right when Grace finally ends it with him.  I wanted to know more about how Grace heals what happens next.  This was probably purposeful on Demetrios’ part, but I can’t help feeling like I was so invested in Grace throughout the story and then it ends when her relationship with Gavin ends.

Book Review || Homegoing

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Title: Homegoing

Author: Yaa Gyasi

Publication Date: June 2016

Version: Physical Book

Genre: Historical Fiction, Contemporary

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Two half sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.

I am so happy I finally got to read this book!  I have had it on my TBR shelf for a while now and had such high hopes for reading it during the Booktube-A-Thon, but didn’t finish it in time.  And now, I am just glad I have read the book that has had so much hype surrounding it.

I want to start by saying I completely understand the hype.  There is no question in my mind that Yaa Gyasi can write.  She can write really well.  With this book, she created a heartbreaking narrative of two Ghanaian women, half-sisters, who are separated by slavery and we see glimpses of their life and hardships living in Ghana and the US through generations.  There is also no doubt that this story was an incredible insight into the horrors each generation presented for both of our characters and their families.

The reason this book is only a 3 star read for me has nothing to do with the story, which was excellent, or even really the writing.  My biggest issue was the format.  I felt like I would be invested in one character just as a new chapter started and the POV switched.  At the beginning, I didn’t mind as much, but as the book went on, it started to feel much longer than its 300 pages.  For such a sweeping and powerful story, for me, the multitude of POVs didn’t quite work.

I can absolutely understand why there are so many perspectives in this book, particularly because we follow a two whole lines of descendants as we see the huge changes that occur from generation to generation.  However, this did make it hard to really connect with some of the characters and their perspectives.

Despite not liking the short story aspect, I would still 100% recommend this book.

July Wrap-Up

It’s that time of the month!  Um, no not that time, the other one.  The end of the month wrap up!

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It also just so happens that today’s wrap up falls on Harry Potter’s birthday.  Happy birthday, Harry!

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And above, we see a slice of true artistry.  Now, on to the books.

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Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay

If you aren’t sure what Harry Potter is about, I cannot stress to you enough that you immediately close this page down, run to the nearest bookstore and devour it (through your eyeballs, not your mouth).  That is all.  But seriously, this illustrated version is so lovely that I was crying on the dedications page.  I kid you not.  Obviously, this got a 9 3/4 out of 5 stars.  (If that reference is really confusing, then seriously, why are you still reading this?!  Your FAVORITE BOOK EVER is waiting on you!)

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One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.  Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

I gave this book 2.5/5 Stars and I was super torn over it.  The first 2/3 was mostly a 4 star rating for me as the mystery was intriguing and I was getting some serious Pretty Little Liar vibes in the best possible way.  However, the ending was definitely a 1 star ending.  I don’t want to give away too much, but there are some issues surrounding mental illness that I though weren’t handled well.

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Puddle Jumping by Amber L. Johnson

When it comes to love there’s no such thing as conventional.  Everyone thinks Colton Neely is special.  Lilly Evans just thinks he’s fascinating.

Once friends when they were younger, their bond is cut short due to her accident prone nature and they go their separate ways. Years later, they meet again and Lilly learns that there is something special about the boy she once knew, but she has no idea what it all means. And she’s not sure if she’s ready to find out.

When he walks through the corridor of her school the first day of her senior year, she knows that it’s time to get to know the real Colton Neely. The more she learns, the deeper she falls.

2/5 Stars  I have no idea how I found this book or how it ended up on my Kindle, but I did and it was, so here we are.  I don’t want to say too much about this book because it’s super short (127 pages), but I was just not a huge fan of the writing and the multiple mistakes in the book (published only as an ebook) were distracting.  This is not to say the story was bad because I think it was a unique perspective and had potential with better editing.  However, the Goodreads reviews are overwhelmingly positive, so I am in the minority with this one.

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The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

Roger Ackroyd knew too much. He knew that the woman he loved had poisoned her brutal first husband. He suspected also that someone had been blackmailing her. Now, tragically, came the news that she had taken her own life with a drug overdose.

But the evening post brought Roger one last fatal scrap of information. Unfortunately, before he could finish the letter, he was stabbed to death…

I don’t know if it was me or the narrator or the story or what, but I had a hard time following this audiobook.  I couldn’t quite keep the characters straight and had to backtrack several times for the plot to make sense.  Overall, a solid 3/5 Stars for me even though I guessed the ending (I was a little excited because I didn’t think I would be right.  TBH with Christie, I usually never am, so it was pretty sweet.)

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Unbreakable by Kami Garcia

When Kennedy Waters finds her mother dead, her world begins to unravel. She doesn’t know that paranormal forces in a much darker world are the ones pulling the strings. Not until identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break into Kennedy’s room and destroy a dangerous spirit sent to kill her. The brothers reveal that her mother was part of an ancient secret society responsible for protecting the world from a vengeful demon — a society whose five members were all murdered on the same night.

Now Kennedy has to take her mother’s place in the Legion if she wants to uncover the truth and stay alive. Along with new Legion members Priest and Alara, the teens race to find the only weapon that might be able to destroy the demon — battling the deadly spirits he controls every step of the way.

Ah, Unbreakable.  Tied for least favorite book of the month.  I gave this a 1/5 Stars and the full review is here.

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I See You by Clare Mackintosh

You do the same thing every day.  You know exactly where you’re going.  You’re not alone.

When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a website, a grainy image and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.

Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . .

3/5 Stars This book had a unique, if not very realistic premise.  I thought the writing was good and each character had a unique voice, but the “why part” of the thriller felt more than a little ridiculous and the big reveal was disappointing.  Overall, a fast and creepy read, but not very memorable.

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Because You Love To Hate Me by Ameriie, Various

In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains’ points of view.

3.2ish/5 Stars I took an average rating since I had some 4 and 5 star ratings of stories I really enjoyed (from Victoria Schwab, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon, Adam Silvera, and Nicola Yoon) and stories I didn’t like so much.  My full review is here.

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Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

Welcome to Midnight, Texas, a town with many boarded-up windows and few full-time inhabitants, located at the crossing of Witch Light Road and Davy Road. It’s a pretty standard dried-up western town.

There’s a pawnshop (someone lives in the basement and is seen only at night). There’s a diner (people who are just passing through tend not to linger). And there’s new resident Manfred Bernardo, who thinks he’s found the perfect place to work in private (and who has secrets of his own).

Stop at the one traffic light in town, and everything looks normal. Stay awhile, and learn the truth…

1/5 Stars and my other least favorite book of the month.  For a book about a vampire, witch, psychic, and a murder mystery, this book was just really boring.  I can understand why readers loved the Sookie Stackhouse novels so much, but this one just wasn’t great.

Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski 4.5/5 Stars

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera 4/5 Stars

Find Her by Lisa Gardner 3.5/5 Stars

These are the books I read for the Booktube-A-Thon 2017 and the wrap-up can be found here with links to reviews.

Those are the eleven books I read in the month of July and for reading to the very end, I say

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Booktube-A-Thon 2017 Wrap-Up

The booktube-a-thon 2017 officially ended last night and we made it!!!

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I want to do a mini wrap-up since this is my first ever read-a-thon I’ve participated in!  So, without any further ado, here are the challenges and books I completed over the past week:


  • Read A Book With A Person On The Cover
  • Read A Book You Bought Because Of The Cover

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Find Her by Lisa Gardner (link to full book review here.)


  • Read A Hyped Book
  • Read About A Character That’s Very Different To You

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More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera (link to full book review here.)


  • Finish A Book In One Day

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Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski (link to full book review here.)


To recap, I was able to read three books over the last week, which I am pretty happy with!  I knew I wouldn’t be able to complete seven books (major props to those of you who did!) and I was busy the whole weekend, so I was only able to read Monday-Thursday.  All of that being said, I am definitely pleased with completing three books during the read-a-thon.

My original goal was to read We Were Four by Alexandra Sirowy, but I DNFed it after I sadly just couldn’t get into it.  I also wanted to read Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (which I am currently reading), but couldn’t finish it in time.

However, I was able to complete five of the reading challenges with the three books I chose.  I wasn’t able to read a book completely outside because of the alternating heat and constant rain for three days straight and I wasn’t able to read seven books this time around.

I had a ton of fun watching the youtube videos and reading everyone’s TBRs for the read-a-thon and I’m excited to participate in more read-a-thons throughout the year!

Book Review || Six Stories

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Book: Six Stories

Author: Matt Wesolowski

Publication Date: March 2017

Version: Kindle eBook

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

The novel is constructed as a series of podcasts, in which an investigative journalist describes the circumstances around the death of a teenaged boy in an outward-bound centre, interviewing witnesses, suspects and people close to the incident. Their six accounts form the six stories of the title, creating a “chilling and compelling, page-turning thriller that also delves deep into notions of truth, perception and loyalty”.

Um wow, this book.  Okay, I need to collect my thoughts for a moment because I finished this about an hour and a half ago after an all day reading marathon (for the Booktube-A-Thon yay!!) and I am still processing.

Thoughts (mostly) collected:

First, this book has such a unique format.  If you have listened to the podcast “Serial”, then this book will feel very familiar to you but without being a direct repeat.  If you have never listened to “Serial” or a podcast at all, don’t fret because this book is exciting and suspenseful and you will follow the format easily.

There are six “stories”, or accounts, of what happened the months leading up to and the night a boy dies.  Was it an accident?  Was he murdered?  Or is there something more sinister and supernatural at play?  I kid you not, this book has it all.

I was immediately pulled into the story that takes place in the 90s (surrounding the death) and the story that is happening present day with the podcast as everyone reflects on past events.  The author also does an excellent job with pulling you into the characters’ lives and the secrets they may be keeping.

Finally, the ending.  I feel like I have read a lot of thrillers recently that promise a shocking, twisty ending with out the shock or twist and boy oh boy, was I happy that this book definitely has shocking twist towards the end.  I took off a half star because there was one part of the ending that I saw coming and wasn’t that surprising, but the rest was fabulously written.

For a book as short as this one (clocks in at 225 pages), it also manages to highlight issues surrounding bullying and the damages bullying inflicts, which is another reason this book stands out so much.

I highly, highly recommend this one!