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.