Month: January 2016

Jan 28

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Audio Books, Contemporary Fiction, Women's Studies 14

G’Day, Bookworms!

Man, do I ever love audio books. The last time I read a book by Liane Moriarty, I spent the first few chapters thinking the What Alice Forgot (review) was set in England only to be jarred when a mention of Sydney forced me to re-align my mental accent. I’m sure I would have remembered that Liane Moriarty is Australian and had that carry over into my reading of Big Little Lies, but if I’d done that, I wouldn’t have gotten to listen to a delicious Aussie accent for hours. That would have been tragic, I think. But, oh, this book!!!

biglittleliesBig Little Lies tracks the lives and scandals of the kindergarten class parents of Pirriwee Public, a beachfront Australian suburb. While a number of parents chime in, the story primarily follows three women. Madeline is a feisty 40 year old mother juggling a part time job, her three kids, and a complicated relationship with her ex husband (including his new yogi wife, and the teenage daughter they share.) Celeste is mother to a set of twin boys. She and her extremely wealthy husband cut an impressive figure at school functions, and appear near perfection… On the surface. Jane is a very young mother, new to the area. She does her best to fly under the radar with her son Ziggy, but circumstance renders that difficult.

Holy crap on a cracker, this book was amazing. I wouldn’t ordinarily go for a book so entrenched in the Mommy Wars and schoolyard scandal, but I could not get enough. Madeline, Celeste, and Jane contributed such compelling narratives to the story. It was fascinating and well crafted and deliciously deviant. A wicked sense of humor underscored some of the more traumatic story lines, making me laugh and gasp and sigh and scowl. This would make for brilliant book club fodder, my friends. Take note! (I’ve heard this is going to be made into a limited TV series for HBO. You can bet I’ll be watching!)

Talk to me Bookworms! Have any of you read this book? Those who have and are parents of school age kids, does the gossip mill portrayed in this book ring true to you?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

 

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Jan 26

Top Ten Tuesday Freebie: Potter Binge Highlights

Top Ten Tuesday 10

Happy Tuesday, Bookworms!

It’s been an age since I participated in a Top Ten Tuesday with The Broke and the Bookish. Me and my lazy pants blogging haven’t been feeling up to the challenge. Today’s topic is a freebie, though, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity to put together my highlight reel for the Potter Binge! I’m going to list out my favorite notes from each of my eleven Potter posts. I like breaking rules, okay? And because I can’t contain myself, I’m adding additional commentary in bold.

toptentuesday
  1. If Hagrid is allergic to cats, does that mean he can’t be around Professor McGonagall? Or perhaps only when she’s a cat? Are animagi hypoallergenic? This mystery has yet to be solved. (Original Post)
  2. Who does wizard laundry if house elves can’t handle clothes? I have a hard time imagining Narcissa Malfoy scrubbing anyone’s under drawers… This has been bothering me for years. Yes, I am sure laundry spells are a thing, but so are cooking spells and cleaning spells, yet Wizarding families keep House Elves anyway. A weird tweet to JK Rowling was not answered, not that I expected it would be. I may never have closure. (Original Post)
  3. I GET that Snape hated James, but what kind of person bad mouths an orphan’s parents to their sorcerersstoneface? Seriously douchey move, Snape. Probably why I can barely muster any sympathy for the man. Ever. Besides. Everyone knows that the best revenge is making the child of your enemy think you’re cool. Duh. I stand by this statement. Making the children of your enemies think that you are awesome is, indeed, the best revenge. Way to muck it up, Snape. (Original Post)
  4. When you have to be kept alive by milking your enormous horcrux snake, you should question your life choices. (Cough, cough, VOLDEMORT.) Seriously, could your method of survival BE any grosser? (Original Post)
  5. I want the prefect’s bathroom in my house. Minus Myrtle the voyeur. The hazards of teenage ghosts, I guess. Though speaking of bathrooms, why is this one so far away? I know it’s just for the prefects, but it seems inconveniently located. They’ve got to have toilets in the dorms somewhere, don’t they? I mean, since students aren’t technically allowed out at night and all? This thought contributes to my deep and abiding concern that ghosts may be watching me shower. This is in no way helped by the very dearly departed Alan Rickman’s commentary on the subject in Dogma. (Original Post)
  6. This has been bugging me for a while now, but why all the handshaking? Like, Lupin sees Harry for the first time in a year and is all “let me shake your hand like we don’t actually have feelings.” I hug the children of my dear friends ALL THE TIME and usually give them a big fat smooch on the cheek to boot. Granted, the oldest of them is 7, but still. Prepare yourself, Jack, Crazy Aunt Katie is going to be hugging you until forever. Are British people just less huggy? Is it a guy thing? Teen angst Harry needs more hugs, guys, and Mrs. Weasley, Hermione, and Hagrid can’t be expected to do all the hugging. (So far, the only three Harry huggers I’ve noticed. But big props to Hagrid who apparently doesn’t buy into non-sentimental machismo.) So, Sirius eventually gives Harry a one-armed hug and Lupin hugs Harry when he asks him to be Teddy’s Godfather. They both die shortly thereafter. That’s enough to give anyone a complex. (Original Post)
  7. Dear Dumbledore, Sirius was many things, but he was not the closest thing to a parent Harry ever had. That honor belongs to MOLLY WEASLEY. #TeamMolly Despite any flaws Molly may have had, she was certainly the most parental figure in Harry’s life. Sirius was awesome, but he so often treated Harry like his long lost BFF James that he wasn’t especially fatherly. (Original Post)gobletoffire
  8. The tale of the Gaunts is so utterly troubling. Generations of cousins marrying cousins is never a good idea. Science affects wizard kind, too, and that concentration of genes is never a good thing. I mean, look at the royal families of Europe. We actually studied that family tree as an example of the inheritance patter of hemophelia in biology. I didn’t really want to google the consequences of inbreeding on mental health, but I’m sure it’s a terrible idea. All that aside, though, I can’t help but assume that Merope and Morfin did not attend Hogwarts. I’ve stated before that wizard kind could seriously use a social services department, but I don’t think either child would have been so thoroughly broken had they spent large swaths of their childhoods out from under the thumb of their fanatical father. They’d have had the option to stay at school during holidays and likely would have made friends that would have offered them some respite during the summer months. And even if they had to suffer through summers and holidays with the man, once they were of age they’d have been independent enough to break free, get jobs, and stop living in crazytown. Also, how would homeschooling work in the wizarding world? The reasonable restriction for underage magic was written in 1875 (I looked that up) so how would the Gaunt children have been able to perform spells outside of school? I wonder if there’s some sort of waiver… Hmmmm… I’m more than a little long winded with some of these soliloquies. SorryNotSorry. (Original Post)
  9. “You thought I would not wish to marry him, or perhaps you hoped? What do I care how he looks? I am good-looking enough for both of us, I think. All these scars show is that my husband is brave.” And with that, Fleur cements her place in my heart. And Molly’s, apparently. (Yeah, yeah, I took out the accented spelling. I was listening to the books because JIM DALE is the man and I didn’t feel like looking up Fleur’s accented speech.) Honestly, this was probably the only thing Rowling could have done to make Fleur less annoying. I’m surprised at how genial her family turns out to be when they visit for the wedding. (Original Post)HP
  10. Ugh. FIGURES Umbridge would end up with a horcrux as a friggin accessory. That woman. And stealing Mad Eye’s magical eye?! What the what? You’re grave robbing now? That’s just gross. Given the massive body count in this book, I can’t say I’m not disappointed that Umbridge wasn’t among the dead. I can’t even think of her name without scrunching up my nose in distaste. It’s involuntary. She’s just that bad! (Original Post)
  11. Voldemort had a serious case of James Bond villain syndrome. He and Harry have quite a long conversation before either attempts to cast a spell, most of it Voldemort posturing and over-explaining himself. Why don’t you just throw Harry into a tank of sharks with frickin laser beams on their foreheads? I realize that Voldemort’s speeches serve to provide some closure and explanations, but you’ve got to wonder why a dude who was so into murder would stall so dang much. (Original Post)

Alright, I promise that’s my last Potter Binge post. Probably. Thanks for bearing with me, I had the best time. I’m sure I’ll read the books again (and again, and again…) but this free form blogging thing? SO much fun.

Talk to me, Bookworms! What is your theory on wizard laundry? Apparently JK just doesn’t want us to know.

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Jan 25

Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson

Audio Books, Cozy Lady Fiction, Tear Jerkers 12

Happy Monday, Bookworms!

You know what my favorite thing is? No? I don’t really know either, I have so many favorite things. One of the things I do happen to love, though, is when I pick up a book by an author I’ve not read before and upon finishing it want to add said author’s entire back list to my TBR pile. Loving new-to-me authors is a blessing and a curse, the never ending TBR list makes me shake my fist toward the heavens. I took a little road trip to visit some friends and family recently, nothing huge, just a weekend away, but as I was driving solo I simply had to have an audio book to keep me company. I was lucky in that a copy of Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson was available for immediate download from my local library. Score!

someoneelseslovestoryI’ve actually had a paper copy of Someone Else’s Love Story sitting on my shelf for a while now, but I hadn’t gotten around to it. I have reasons for this. Terrible reasons, but reasons nonetheless. The big one? I do the vast majority of my reading in bed. Like, while my husband snoozes next to me. This means overhead lighting is not an option. Juggling a book light is a pain in the tush, but the light in my Kindle Paperwhite is magical and perfect. Hence, my time reading actual paper books is super limited. Of course, I don’t want to purchase a copy of a book I already own just because I’m lazy and it’s easier for me to read digitally, so it sat and floundered sadly. The cool thing about libraries? They’re free. Heck yes!

I should probably tell you about the book, shouldn’t I? Shandi Pierce is a 21 year old single mother of a precocious 3 year old with a genius level IQ. Her life consists of juggling college, motherhood, and attempting to keep her long divorced parents from all out warfare. As she’s moving from her mother’s house into a condo her father owns (much to her mother’s chagrin) Shandi finds herself in the middle of a gas station holdup. Because she obviously didn’t have enough going on.

It is inside this gas station where her path crosses with geneticist William Ashe, who, in addition to being brilliant, looks fantastic in a pair of jeans. His entire world fell spectacularly to pieces a year previously, and Shandi feels their destinies have collided for a reason. It’s a charming book full of heart, humor, and a cannily crafted plot.

Two things stick out to me about this book. First. William Ashe is on the autism spectrum. This is easily one of the best portrayals I’ve ever read about someone on the spectrum, and it seemed very authentic. I’m no expert on Asperger’s or autism, but my reading experience leads to polarized portrayals; either a quirky, humorous angle or a desperately tragic one. William Ashe had a good dose of both, he was a masterfully drawn character.

The second thing that sticks out to me is a less awesome one. Shandi came to have her son under some pretty upsetting circumstances. I don’t want to hit y’all with spoilers, buuuuuuut I think that Jackson may have done better to take a different angle on Natty’s paternity… I’m all for understanding the shades of gray in a situation, but I wasn’t super keen on how she dealt with it.

Still, that’s not enough to keep me from plowing head first into Joshilyn Jackson’s collected works. You can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be checking those out. In short? Someone Else’s Love Story is definitely worth your time.

Talk to me, Bookworms. Have y’all read this book? Or anything else by Joshilyn Jackson? I want to talk about all the things. In code, probably, because I like to pretend I’m a spy sometimes.

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Jan 21

Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn

Epistolary, Language 11

Good Day, Bookworms!

Last year I participated in a super fun book blogger Valentine gift swap and received a copy of Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn. It took me nearly a year to get around to reading it, of course, but you understand. The burden of an overflowing TBR list is a real struggle.  Read it, I did, though, and now I’m going to tell you all about it.

ellaminnowpeaThe titular main character of Ella Minnow Pea is a young woman living on a fictional island off the coast of South Carolina. The island nation of Nollop was named for Nevin Nollop, the man credited with creating the pangram “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” A favorite of typing students everywhere, no? (Oh my gosh, do they even teach typing and keyboarding anymore? Excuse me while I crank up my Victrola and lament my age.) All is well in the little nation of luddites until letters begin falling off Nollop’s statue. The town’s totalitarian council takes the letters falling as a sign that Nollop is sending them a message from the great beyond and they ban the usage of any letters that have fallen from the statue in both speech and writing.

As this is an epistolary novel, the entire plot unfolds via letters written by Nollop’s inhabitants. As letters are progressively removed from the alphabet, the residents are forced to get wildly creative with their vocabulary. Remember that episode of Gilmore Girls where Rory is introduced to the Life and Death Brigade and runs across a group of over privileged dudes who are speaking without the use of the letter “e”? It’s a bit like that, only it wasn’t a game and you could get yourself severely punished by slipping up. As more and more letters were removed from the alphabet, the missives got increasingly more difficult to read.

I want to take this book at face value and think of it as a quirky little book playing with language. Unfortunately, if I think about it too hard, it feels like it’s going hardcore at allegory territory and I don’t really care for any of the allegories I’m coming up with. I guess I’d better quit thinking so hard about it, huh? I’ll end up foisting all sorts of unintentional meaning upon the thing and lose all the enjoyment I got from it. That’s it. I’m turning off my brain right now. We’re done here.

Talk to me, Bookworms! Do you ever feel like you read too much into an author’s motives? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Jan 19

Bite Size Reviews: Jan 2016 Edition

Bite Size Reviews 8

Greetings Bookworms!

I’ve been reading more than I’ve been blogging lately, and believe it or not, I’ve been reading things OTHER than Harry Potter. Of course, Harry Potter is so SOUL CONSUMING that I didn’t feel like discussing anything else. Today we’re going to play catch up and take a quick look at some of my recent reads.

bitesizereviews

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson: I feel like a turd for throwing this into a mini review because I love The Bloggess and I wanted to dedicate a whole post to her. I mean, I love her enough to spend like 6 months worth of Amazon Affiliate commissions on her book. (You think I’m exaggerating, but my affiliate commission account currently has 16 cents in it. When I talk about small commissions, I mean smaaaaaaaaaall.) Of course, I left it so long between reading the book and talking about it, I’ve lost some of my brilliant insights. Mental illness is different for everyone who suffers, but Jenny Lawson tells her stories with such grace (it’s a relative term, okay?) and humor that on the rare occasion I couldn’t relate to an anecdote, I at least felt like I understood on some level. Lawson’s humor is bizarre and random, but I feel like she’s on my wavelength. If you’ve ever read and enjoyed her blog, definitely give her books (both of them!) a whirl.

Sheltering Rain by Jojo Moyes: I checked this bad boy out of the library digitally because that’s how I roll. What can I say? I felt like exploring the Jojo Moyes backlist because she is some kind of wonderful. Sheltering Rain delivered some serious emotional punch along with painfully gorgeous Irish scenery. I liked it, though not as much as some of her other books. I probably would have liked it more if I knew anything at all about horses. Or if the horses had been penguins. Only that would have been really weird because you can’t ride a penguin. Although, you guys remember Even Stevens? Louis wore a penguin jockey costume one Halloween episode. Man. Now THAT was a Disney Channel show.

How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez: I’ve had this sitting on my kindle for FAR too long, but since it was a free download (there was some sort of rockin’ special once upon a time, I didn’t pirate it. I denounce all piracy that doesn’t involve parrots, eye patches, and sea chanties), I don’t feel too guilty about the procrastination. A family of four daughters immigrate to the US after being persecuted by a super scary secret police force in the Dominican Republic. The family were essentially the Kennedys of the Dominican Republic- they had money, power, and lived on a massive compound with a whole bunch of staff. When they came to the states, the story was COMPLETELY different. The book was all kinds of interesting and is ripe for the intellectual pickings. Unfortunately I’m not in a very intellectual mood, so I’ll just tell you that you ought to read it.

So, Bookworms. Whatcha reading? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a teeny tiny commission.*

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Jan 18

Thoughts on Revisiting Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2

Audio Books, Coming of Age, Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction 7

Oh Bookworms,

It’s time. We’ve reached the very last half of the very last book of the Potter Binge. I want to thank the Estella Society for hosting this re-readalong. I’ve had so much fun reliving the magic. It’s worth every minute of the Harry Potter hangover I’m about to endure. My emotional stability is about to be tested and found inadequate. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallowspart 2, is happening right now. SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER. You’ve been warned.

HP
  • The Tale of the Three Brothers is pretty creepy, but reading the original versions of muggle fairy tales show a serious creep factor, too. Apparently traumatizing children is a tradition we share with our magical counterparts.
  • Oh Hermione. Every once in a while your rationality is a terrible hinderance.
  • Ted Tonks doesn’t make it. So sad. But Dean escaped, so that’s something. I like to think that Ted and Dirk Creswell protected Dean in the end.
  • The wizarding broadcast is such a bittersweet moment. Lupin’s message to Harry makes me cry (as does most of this book.) Thank heavens for Fred and George. Comic relief is so necessary. I do hope Lee Jordan continued his broadcasting career on the Wizarding Wireless post war.
  • DAMNIT HARRY! The name is TABOO you fool!!!!!!!!
  • Hermione’s stinging jinx saves the day. (Well, mostly anyway) Because Hermione always saves the day. For heaven’s sake, that girl is BRILLIANT.
  • Dobby to the rescue. But I know how this ends. And nooooooooooooooooo!
  • Well, Wormtail, you had it coming buddy. Can’t say I’m sorry to see you go.
  • Hasta luego, Grindelwald. THE BODY COUNT is NUTS.
  • DOBBY!!!!!!!!!! Why can’t they save youuuuuuuuuuuu??? If only Madam Pomfrey had been on hand. Then again, if he’d been stabbed right in the heart (which it appears he was) it may have been too late for him to be saved, even with an ultra skilled healer. I love you, Dobby, you glorious free elf!
  • Damnit. Crying again. That was such a heartfelt little funeral. Dobby would have been pleased.
  • I wonder if Fleur cooks only French food or if she mixes it up with some English dishes. She seems quite adept at household spells, though.
  • The baby!!!! Lupin and Tonks and Teddy! Yaaaaaaaaaay! AND LUPIN HUGGED HARRY!!!!!!!! He asks Harry to be Teddy’s godfather and then he gives him a REAL hug! FINALLY!
  • The lack of a wand completely crippling wizards troubles me some. I mean, kids accidentally do magic before they have wands all the time. Maybe involuntary magic children do is schooled out of them? Regardless, it would really really suck to lose your wand if you were so dependent on it. Just think of how frustrated you’d feel to be completely without your phone, am I right?
  • Harry, Ron, and Hermione escape from Gringotts via dragon. Our trio has style, no doubt.
  • Aberforth’s patronus is a goat. Because of course. That man and his goats.
  • Neville just keeps on fighting. Hot damn, Neville. You are something else. Rebel. And Granny Longbottom kicking Death Eater ass and going into hiding? Ooooh goosebumps.
  • I should just buy stock in tissue. For the love, this whole book just tears me apart. The remaining DA members in the Room of Requirement. Now the supporters are flooding in. Luna and Dean. Ginny and the twins and Lee. Cho shows up. I’m misty as all get out.
  • Enter Minerva Raging Badass McGonagall and her triple cat patronus. She doesn’t even scold Harry for using an unforgiveable curse on the Carrows, and then busts out with one of her own. Nobody spits in McGonagall’s face and gets away with it. Nobody.
  • God help me, I love Flitwick. And Sprout. And bringing Peeves into the fight. Brilliant.
  • And then EVERYONE is there in the Room of Requirement. Oliver Wood, Katie Bell, the whole gang. The Order. Again with the tears. Damnit. Ginny arguing about leaving her family kills me every dang time.
  • Just when I think I can’t be any more of a mess, Percy shows up. Finally. I am sobbing all over the place. It’s going to be a complete shit show from here on out.
  • The Grey Lady, what whaaaaat?! She gives a back story to the Bloody Baron too. Scandalous. AND IT EXPLAINS ALBANIA! I hadn’t paid super close attention to why Albania had been Voldemort’s hiding place in the past, but now I know all the things. It only took … Well. A few read throughs. It’s an intense portion, I can’t be expected to grasp details when I’m this unhinged.
  • Neville battling with Mandrakes is awesome. Dude’s a gardener through and through. Herbology, FTW!
  • Ron opens the Chamber of Secrets by mimicking parseltongue. Ron and Hermione, I love you so so so much.
  • I love that Granny Longbottom comes to help, and that she finally seems to appreciate the awesomeness that is Neville. Took you long enough, Granny. We’ve known it for ages.
  • Ha! Crabbe’s own stupid dark magic destroyed that horcrux. Serves you right, jerk. Fiend fire.
  • FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED. He went out the way he’d have liked it, though. Fighting and joking. Respect.
  • I’m crying anyway.
  • McGonagall has a herd of galloping desks. OF COURSE SHE DOES. Don’t mess with Minerva.
  • I’m surprised the Patil twins were still at Hogwarts. I know it became mandatory, but their mom tried to keep them home at one point in an earlier books. I’d have thought she’d have taken them into hiding, but maybe she’s made of sterner stuff.
  • Does Lavender Brown actually die? She’s feebly moving when we last see her, so one must wonder. Does she become a werewolf? I would totally read The Adventures of Lavender Brown: Fashion and the Full Moon.
  • Luna, Seamus, and Ernie with the patronuses rescuing a badly disheartened and traumatized Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Again with the tears. I CANNOT EVEN.
  • I wish I could say I was devastated by Snape’s death scene. I mean, he does redeem himself (more or less) but he was still a big mean bully. I’m… Conflicted.
  • But what DOES devastate me? Tonks and Lupin. THEY JUST HAD A BABY. And the grieving Weasleys? I just can’t take this.
  • Hearing that Harry is to be a sacrificial lamb is a punch in the gut.
  • Aaaaaaaaaand the mystery of the silver doe is solved. Heart = Broken. Snape, though hideously flawed, has one saving grace. He was able to love. Only one person, but he really did love her.
  • RIP Colin Creevy. You were such a sweet kid. Poor Dennis is going to be devastated.
  • Harry facing his own death is just so… I don’t even know. SO MANY FEELINGS.
  • And now the Resurrection Stone. Good heavens, I can’t take it.
  • My brain is too full to really comment on the conversation between Harry and Dumbledore in the peaceful great beyond.
  • “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry. But why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” Ooooh Dumbledore, you and your wisdom.
  • And now for Narcissa Malfoy’s redemption. For selfish reasons, of course, but still. Better than nothing.
  • Voldemort, you are SUCH a douchebag. Ugh.
  • God love you, Neville, you are the BEST EGG. “I’ll join you when HELL freezes over!” And then he gets the sword of Gryffindor. Nobody ever deserved it more, buddy. Is there a Neville Longbottom fan club? Can we start one?
  • Thestrels and Hippogriffs and Centaurs, oh my!
  • And then the reinforcements arrive! EVEN SLUGHORN! A Slytherin. Seriously, they aren’t ALL bad. Good on you, Slughorn.
  • For the love, the house elves led by Kreacher! I’m crying again. Damnit.
  • “NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!” –Molly Weasley, Queen of the Universe.
  • Voldemort had a serious case of James Bond villain syndrome. He and Harry have quite a long conversation before either attempts to cast a spell, most of it Voldemort posturing and over-explaining himself. Why don’t you just throw Harry into a tank of sharks with frickin laser beams on their foreheads?
  • Voldemort is killed by his own rebounded curse. Serves him right.
  • Using the elder wand to repair your wand. Nice move, Harry.
  • I don’t care what anyone thinks, I effing love the epilogue. I love every little thing about it. I like hearing that Teddy Lupin comes to the Potter house for dinner several times a week. I like hearing that he’s dating Bill and Fleur’s daughter. I like that Ginny and Harry ended up together and that Hermione and Ron have a family. It is utter perfection to my mind and nobody will ever convince me otherwise.

I can’t believe it’s over. I’m going to be suffering a severe Harry Potter hangover for a while, but it’s wonderful to revisit my old friends. Thanks for bearing with me through these incoherent posts. I’m toying with the idea of creating a top ten list of my favorite random insights from the Potter Binge as a sort of last hurrah.

Tell me Bookworms. Did anybody sob as much as I did through the entirety of this book?!

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Jan 13

Thoughts on Revisiting Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1

Coming of Age, Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction 12

Greetings, Bookworms.

We’ve reached the final, darkest, and most emotionally draining installment of the Potter Binge (sponsored by the Estella Society), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. You know it’s going to be intense immediately if you’re listening to the audio books, because the musical introduction changes from a jaunty tune to a rather creeptastic interlude. We’re tackling this in two installments because I simply cannot contain my commentary. There are SO MANY SPOILERS in this and all of my Potter Binge posts. DO NOT READ THEM until you’ve read the books. Just don’t do it. I’m gonna need some fire whiskey to deal with all these feelings, guys. Here goes nothing.

HP
  • Of COURSE the Malfoys have Peacocks. Pretentious much?
  • Dudley brings home the shocker of the century. A heartfelt goodbye for Harry. (I’ll admit it. I get a little misty here.)
  • I really feel for Harry when everyone gets to see him in his underoos. I mean, he’s 17, that’s a terribly awkward time of life. E’erybody got a peek. Heck, they got to BE him. That’s unsettling in the extreme.
  • D’awwww why’d she have to kill off Hedwig? I mean, she wasn’t cuddly or anything, but she was the first real birthday present Harry ever got (beyond his first birthday, obvi. Sirius did hook him up with that killer toy broomstick.)
  • More hugs from Hagrid. HARRY NEEDS HUGS, GUYS!
  • And a Molly Weasley hug, thank heaven. Poor girl. Her whole family in mortal peril all the time!
  • Snape sectum sempra’d George’s ear. (By accident, we later learn, but still.) Ouch. But, leave it to George to make a terrible pun whilst injured.
  • The body count in this book. I can’t even. Mad Eye. Terrible shame.
  • The more I learn about “the trace” the more I wonder about this underage magic ban. It seems like a thoroughly empty threat to any child growing up in a magical family. It only detects magic performed nearby, so anything in the home would probably not even register. I had a conversation with a coworker (Hi, Kyle!) about how the Malfoys probably never policed Draco at home and how that’s completely unfair given that someone with Hermione or Harry’s living situation would have no opportunity to practice over the holidays. I wonder if potion making counts as magic? Or only magic performed with a wand? What’s traceable?
  • Molly gave Harry her brother’s coming of age wizard watch. In case you didn’t realize Fabian and Gideon Pruett (two members of the original Order of the Phoenix bravely killed in action) were Molly’s brothers, now you know. That makes the gift extra special.
  • I love that British wizards still rock the wedding hat tradition. Bewitched birds add a certain panache to any occasion.
  • Bill and Fleur’s wedding sounds ridiculously gorgeous…
  • Until it’s crashed by the fall of the Ministry. RIP Scrimgeour. THE BODY COUNT.
  • Ron and Harry would have been so screwed without Hermione. That handbag of hers was a stroke of absolute genius. All the packing. All the books. All the everything. Hermione wins at life, as per usual.
  • Harry is terribly tactless with Lupin, but sheesh. I imagine fatherhood is terrifying for many, even without the whole werewolf and ministry persecution angle, but that’s still a crap reason to cut and run. I’m glad he has a change of heart.
  • Ugh. FIGURES Umbridge would end up with a horcrux as a friggin accessory. That woman. And stealing Mad Eye’s magical eye?! What the what? You’re grave robbing now? That’s just gross.
  • For as long as it takes the trio to discover and figure out how to destroy the locket, the last few horcruxes seem to present themselves and be dispatched with surprising ease.
  • RIP, Gregorovich. Body Count like whaaaaaaaat?
  • Man. The horcruxes are kind of like the RING. They make everyone all crazy like. You think Voldemort ever called a horcrux his “precious”? Probably. He was way too close to Nagini.
  • Ron suffers from a severe case of HANGRY. I can’t blame him. I suffer the same affliction.
  • I get so sad when the trio come upon the refugee muggle born campers. Ted Tonks. And Dean! He’s only a kid!
  • The bleakest part of the series has got to be Harry and Hermione wandering around aimlessly sans Ron.
  • Godric’s Hollow. So many emotions.
  • Um. A Bathilda suit? Gross move, Nagini. Ew. (But that’s another dead body, if you’re counting. And I am.)
  • Oh gosh, I’d forgotten about Harry’s busted wand. That suuuuuuuuuuuuuucks.
  • Dude, Aberforth’s fascination with goats is… Troubling.
  • RON IS BACK!!!!!!!!!!
  • Aaaand you deserved Hermione’s pummeling, Ron. But she loves you, you ridiculous git.
  • The Lovegoods are rather into conspiracies for Ravenclaws, but, then again, we also apparently claim Sybil Trelawney. Stone cold pack of weirdos. Ravenclaw 4 Life!

Holy smokes. I’ve already cried several times and we’re not even to the REALLY rough part yet. It just hurts so good.

How you holding up, Bookworms? Have your insides been chewed up and spit out, or are you still hanging in there all strong waiting for the emotional blows still to come? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Jan 11

Thoughts on Revisiting Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Part 2

Coming of Age, Fantasy, Readalong, Young Adult Fiction 11

Hidey Ho, Bookworms!

I simply cannot get enough of The Estella Society sponsored Potter Binge. Honestly, I’ve had so many great conversations with real life friends and coworkers as well as with the internet that I just want to bring y’all over for a nice warm butterbeer and some treacle tart. Except, I’ve never had treacle tart so I’m not sure I’d like it. I could make you apple crisp. Would that work? We are coming in on the home stretch here, and I’m starting to get a little nostalgic. I mean, remember back when Harry just found out he was a wizard? They grow up SO FAST. In a matter of weeks, it seems. Let’s savor each moment, shall we? The second half of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince awaits! Oh and SPOILERS. OMG the SPOILERS. I can’t even begin to tell you about the SPOILERS. Seriously. Be careful.

Harry potter half blood prince
  • Why isn’t side along apparition more popular? Harry was the only one who’d ever done it, but you’d think it would be the most convenient form of transport. Maybe they don’t recommend it for hauling children about because it’s sort of painful? Maybe it’s the splinching risk? Food for thought.
  • For the love, Dumbledore. Must you always be so enigmatic? Just SPELL IT OUT.
  • Apparating instructions sound SO VAGUE. The lessons basically consist of closing your eyes, hoping something will happen, and a pirouette. There’s not even a spell for it. Seriously HOW does that even work?!
  • Given my teenage self’s penchant for falling in love with boys who weren’t into me, I’m quite relieved I never had access to love potion.
  • Madam Pomfrey is the unsung hero of Hogwarts. The things this woman must have seen!
  • OMG, Myrtle. Get out of the boys’ bathroom, you crazy voyeur! Draco will never love you anyway. You’re muggle born! And, well, dead. Sorry.
  • Slughorn, you poor misguided fool. Riddle played you like a fiddle. (Nope, not sorry that rhymed. Not in the least.)
  • Dumbledore is in the cave. I kind of want to hide under a blanket until it’s all over, but I’m a masochist.
  • I’m going to need a moment.
  • Several moments.
  • Draco, Draco, Draco. You try to be a badass, but you’ve still got a teensy bit of humanity left in you. Embrace it, boy!
  • Having read the books before, I’m trying really hard to remind myself that Snape’s actions are a mercy killing… Really, really hard.
  • MY HEART IS IN TEN THOUSAND PIECES.
  • “You thought I would not wish to marry him, or perhaps you hoped? What do I care how he looks? I am good-looking enough for both of us, I think. All these scars show is that my husband is brave.” And with that, Fleur cements her place in my heart. And Molly’s, apparently. (Yeah, yeah, I took out the accented spelling. I was listening to the books because JIM DALE is the man and I didn’t feel like looking up Fleur’s accented speech.)
  • Tonks and Lupin. The scandal! Lupin is right. He is too old and too dangerous for Tonks. He totally doesn’t deserve her, but darn it, nobody does.
  • I simply cannot hold it together. Every dang time. I know it’s coming, and I still get the awful lump in my throat and then the tears come and I just can’t.
  • Ugh. The funeral. Seriously, you guys.
  • “The last and greatest of his protectors had died, and he was more alone than he had ever been before.” SOB.
  • Harry thinks he sees a phoenix in Dumbledore’s funerary fireworks- was it his Patronus being freed? Is that a thing that happens?
  • Oh heavens. Being dumped at a funeral has to suck. Ginny accepts things with good grace, that’s for sure.
  • And then Ron and Hermione say they’re going with Harry no matter what and I fall apart AGAIN. Because FRIENDSHIP.

Holy smokes, you guys. This is the last book wherein I preserve any shred of dignity and I’m afraid I’ve ruined it by sobbing all over the place. What is it about these characters and this world that just dig into my very marrow? My soul belongs to Hogwarts.

Talk to me, Bookworms. If you’re re-reading something that breaks your heart, do you skip over the sad parts? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Jan 06

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

Chick Lit 13

Good Day, Bookworms.

It’s no secret that I’ve got something of a soft spot for books about books. Or books about readers. Or books about book clubs. What can I say? I can relate to the characters so easily if they like to spend their time with their noses in a book, you know? Of course you know. You’re a very intuitive bunch. I recently acquired a new title, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald, that falls into just such a category. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley for review consideration. This fact in no way bought my good opinion. I’m much too cranky for that sort of thing.*
readersofbrokenwheelblueSara is a lonely Swedish gal who works in a bookshop. In Sweden. I feel like I ought to mention that, seeing as the book takes place in Iowa. She befriends an elderly American woman named Amy through an online book exchange and they become as close as any international pen pals ever could. Eventually, Sara plans a trip to visit Amy in small town, USA. The book details Sara’s adventures stateside, the dynamics of tiny Broken Wheel, Iowa, and the power of a bookshop in a community. It’s a sweet little novel with echoes of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (review), flecks of Fannie Flagg, and dashes of Hallmark original movie. (Lacey Chabert, work on your Swedish accent and talk to the network. I smell success, here, people.)

If your goal in reading a book is to feel better about the world, this is what you ought to be reading. It’s the perfect novel to curl up with on a cloudy day and enjoy a mug full of hot beverage. Cozy mysteries are a thing, but is there such a thing as cozy lady fiction? I’m going to make it so. COZY LADY FICTION, right here, guys. Read The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend with a happy sigh and start your year off with a little ray of sunshine.

Talk to me, Bookworms. What’s your goal when reading? Escapism? Learning? Language? I’m fascinated by what makes you tick.

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

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Jan 04

Thoughts on Revisiting Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, Part 1

Fantasy, Readalong, Young Adult Fiction 13

Happy New Year, Bookworms!

I thought about kicking off the new year with a big old list of resolutions or something, but who are we kidding? I would break every last one of those resolutions and then feel worse about it because I’d announced them to the world. Why should I put myself under that kind of pressure, I ask you? I’ve decided to stick to what makes me happy, and what makes me happy is Harry Frickin Potter. Just because 2015 ended doesn’t mean The Potter Binge did! I’m still trucking along with the glorious re-readathon sponsored by The Estella Society. We’re closing in on the tough stuff, guys. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is not for the faint of heart, but, much like life, if it weren’t for the ugly heart wrenching bits, we’d never learn to appreciate the happy parts. It is with great trepidation that I embark on re-reading this novel. Hold me? (PS, this is so chock full of spoilers it’s not even funny. You’ve been warned.)

Harry potter half blood prince
  • As if the Prime Minister didn’t have enough to worry about without people popping out of his fire. Poor guy.
  • There’s an ice storm raging outside my window at the moment. Makes me wonder if dementors are running amok. Then again, winter.
  • Oh gross. The dementors are breeding?! That’s a mental image I could’ve lived without.
  • I don’t like Narcissa Malfoy. At all. And part of me wonders if she’d still love her son if he weren’t a chip off the old evil block. BUT. She DOES love Draco, so, I guess she could be worse. I mean, lack of capacity to love was Voldemort’s downfall. At least she’s got a shred of humanity. Presumably.
  • Slughorn is a muddy character for me. He’s got plenty of faults: he’s vain, fame seeking, and cowardly. Then again, I don’t think he’s rotten to the core. If he’s not actively good, he certainly doesn’t mean any harm.
  • Fleur and Bill! I think part of the reason Fleur is so difficult for the Weasley women to handle is because she’s part veela. She’s quite full of herself and rather annoying, but I think they’d find her easier to deal with if it weren’t for that whole veela effect of making women undeniably hostile.
  • The disappearances of Florian Fortescue and Olivander totally bum me out.
  • Aaaaand Hagrid pulls through with a bone crushing hug for Harry, as per usual. Well done, sir!
  • I hate seeing brokenhearted Tonks, it’s so sad when she can’t pink up her hair at will. Also, Patronuses are a very confusing little bit of magic, aren’t they? Major life shakeups seem to cause them to take a different form. Which begs the question. If one’s patronus remains the same after they fall in love, are they less in love than anyone else? Or is it simply a result of trauma?
  • I wouldn’t mind a bit of Felix Felicis, I’ll tell you what.
  • The Half Blood Prince and I have something in common. I make little notes on the few recipes I successfully cook so I don’t screw them up. Granted, mine usually say things like “you actually need to measure the evaporated milk. Remember that time you used the whole can and got fudge sludge?”
  • The tale of the Gaunts is so utterly troubling. Generations of cousins marrying cousins is never a good idea. Science affects wizard kind, too, and that concentration of genes is never a good thing. I mean, look at the royal families of Europe. We actually studied that family tree as an example of the inheritance patter of hemophelia in biology. I didn’t really want to google the consequences of inbreeding on mental health, but I’m sure it’s a terrible idea. All that aside, though, I can’t help but assume that Merope and Morfin did not attend Hogwarts. I’ve stated before that wizard kind could seriously use a social services department, but I don’t think either child would have been so thoroughly broken had they spent large swaths of their childhoods out from under the thumb of their fanatical father. They’d have had the option to stay at school during holidays and likely would have made friends that would have offered them some respite during the summer months. And even if they had to suffer through summers and holidays with the man, once they were of age they’d have been independent enough to break free, get jobs, and stop living in crazytown. Also, how would homeschooling work in the wizarding world? The reasonable restriction for underage magic was written in 1875 (I looked that up) so how would the Gaunt children have been able to perform spells outside of school? I wonder if there’s some sort of waiver… Hmmmm…
  • Hannah Abbott’s mother was found dead, poor girl. Probably part of the reason she and Neville eventually ended up together. Oh gosh. Knowing that people were brought together in part by a shared parental tragedy is heartbreaking. Dangit, Jo, my eyes are leaking!
  • Katie Bell! Ooooh I hate it when you get cursed!
  • I love Ron when he thinks he’s on the Felix Felicis. Positive mental attitude can be such a big factor in success, on and off the Quidditch pitch. I’m abysmal at keeping a positive mental attitude. Thanks for the reminder.
  • Ron and Lavender. Extremely annoying, however, in my experience, extremely reminiscent of being 16 or so, and the novelty of making out once discovered. Thank heaven this is relatively short lived. Won Won. Bleh.

Knowing what awaits us in the second half of this book puts knots in my stomach. I’m glad you’re with me for this, I don’t want to be alone right now!

Talk to me, Bookworms! What are you reading right now? Are you Pottering along with me or have you tackled something completely new?

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission.*

 

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