Category: Fantasy


Jan 27

Nightmarish Mermaid Novellas

Audio Books, Fantasy, Science Fiction 5

Howdy Howdy Bookworms!

How’s about that title? Those are words I wouldn’t have expected to put together, but here we are. I spent a chunk of last week listening to some nightmarish mermaid novellas. It was wild and I’m going to tell you all about it. Prepare yourselves, Ariel stans: this is going to get ugly.
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The Deep by Rivers Solomon had been on my radar for a while. I thought their book An Unkindness of Ghosts was PHENOMENAL so I was looking forward to diving into their take on mermaid lore. These aren’t like, Lisa Frank style mermaids though. This is a dark, devastating, intense mermaid situation:

Yetu is the historian for a community of water-dwelling descendants of the pregnant African women tossed from slave ships (yes, this is a real thing that happened because the slave trade is endlessly horrifying.) Yetu doesn’t simply keep the records, though: they’re the only one who actively remembers the group’s history. And they remember constantly. Every single painful, traumatic incident in the community’s past is stored within Yetu’s overburdened mind to be doled out annually to community. In this way, the community is not overcome with sorrow, but Yetu, as the keeper of the memories, being destroyed by the knowledge.

Daveed Diggs (of Hamilton fame- he’s Lafayette/Jefferson from the original cast and generally awesome) narrates the book because the novella was inspired by a song his rap group (why do I sound like a Grandma?) produced. His group’s song was inspired by another musical work: it’s kind of a game of extremely intelligent and artistic Telephone, which is a metaphor I’m borrowing from the end notes of the audio book. It was really amazing, but also, I feel like I’m not really smart enough to appreciate all its nuance. Rivers Solomon is a genius. Daveed Diggs was the perfect narrator. My brain is going to be digesting this one for a long time.

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Since I was already on a mermaid kick, I thought, “What the heck? Let’s go listen to that Mira Grant novella about mermaids. I’ve seen it a few times, it makes me get Adele songs stuck in my head. Sounds like fun.” And with that in mind, I decided to put Rolling in the Deep into my earholes.

This was a straight up horror story about mermaids. A crew of scientists, TV producers, and mermaid impersonators set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to create a documentary about mermaids. The TV network commissioning the voyage is not above sensationalism (hence the troupe of human women who make their living as “professional mermaids” they hired in case their search came to naught.) The scientists are real, though, and have taken this rare opportunity to gather data on their varying fields of study. As you might guess, the crew finds more than they bargained for. (Dun dun dun!)

I love Mira Grant (AKA Seanan McGuire) and Rolling in the Deep had a tone similar to that of the Newsflesh novels (Feed, Deadline, Blackout). But, you know. Instead of zombies, it was mermaids. Bioluminescent mermaids who devour humans. Nobody on the crew was actually expecting to find anything, but some harbored hopes of discovering something along the lines of Ariel. Instead, they got Jaws. It’s definitely worth a read/listen, but if you want a meatier, more literary mermaid novella, stick with Rivers Solomon.

Now that I’m in a mer-mood (hi, I’m a walking Dad-Joke) do any of you bookworms have recommendations? I’m open to happier mermaid tales, too!

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. Text links go to Amazon, but clicking the images will take you to IndieBound which will allow you to purchase through a local, independent book store.*


Sep 30

The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate by NK Jemisin

Audio Books, Dystopian, Fantasy, Science Fiction 7

Rusting Earth, Bookworms!

I’ve told you before that I rely on my bookish friends on Twitter for oodles of recommendations, but I cannot thank Shaina enough for raving about NK Jemisin. I devoured The Fifth Season (with my ears) and waited on tenterhooks for a few weeks before the sequel, The Obelisk Gate was released. Obviously, I gobbled that book down as well, but I was only semi-lucky in the timing of my reading because now I shall utterly rot in wait for release of the conclusion to the trilogy. Siiiigh. But let me tell you about these phenomenal books in the meantime, so that you may read them and then join me in my anticipation.

fifth-seasonThe world is ending… Again. Sometime in the distant future, the Earth has begun a series of catastrophic “seasons.” Seismic instability leads to volcanic eruptions that cause apocalyptic ash clouds. Unprepared populations even in The Stillness are unable to grow crops during this period and populations dramatically decrease due to violence, illness, famine, and desperation. But humanity has evolved somewhat. There are some who wield power that can help control the tumultuous earth- or use it as a weapon. Post apocalyptic society plus geological superpowers equals WHOA.

That abstract I just wrote completely sucks and in no way explains how great these books are. In fact, the world building is so incredible and detailed, it takes a bit of reading to fully understand everything that’s going on. Stick with it, though, the payoff is one thousand percent worth it. NK Jemisin is a master craftswoman. I want to thrust these books into the hands of every science fiction and fantasy reader I know. And then I want to thrust these books into the hands of people who think they don’t like science fiction and fantasy. They’re just so dang innovative! I mean, this world has NOTHING WHATSOEVER in common theobeliskgatewith Medieval Europe. It’s not just the Middle Ages plus dragons and magic (not that that isn’t great in its own way) it’s a whole different world. Except it’s THIS WORLD. Sort of. It might make your head spin a little. Don’t worry, that’s a good thing. I’m sure the books are fabulous in print, but the narrator of the audio books is superb. Besides, I always like to hear how names are meant to be pronounced, especially in fantasy novels. It adds a little something to the experience, I think. Plus it prevents me from sounding dumb when discussing the book with folks in person. The ONLY problem I can find with these books is the fact that I unwisely started the series before it was completed and therefore am prevented from full binge reading.

Alright Bookworms, who has already read The Fifth Season and The Obelisk Gate? And does anyone know if NK Jemisin’s backlist titles are anywhere near this awesome? I think I’m going to have a LOT of reading to do while I wait for the final installment of this series… 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. The author will too, obviously, because royalties, so you’d be doing us both a solid.*


Sep 06

Disjointed SPOILERY Thoughts on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Fantasy 8

Hi Bookworms,

I’ve had some time to ruminate on this, and I think I’m finally ready to discuss Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. In case you couldn’t tell by the title, this is the SPOILERIEST POST OF ALL TIME when it comes to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER if you have not read the script, okay? Assuming you actually care about spoilers. If you don’t care, proceed. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

In case you are living under a rock, a play was written as a sequel to the much loved and adored Harry Potter series. Because the play was only being put on in London and the fandom is absolutely rabid, the script of the two part play was released to the public. The script was “based on an original new story” by JK Rowling but written by John Tiffany and Jack Thorne. I’ll start by saying I didn’t HATE this. I mean, I certainly wasn’t thrilled by it, but I think it would be really cool to see in the theater. It was wonderful to step back into this world, and there were a few things that made me really happy. Mostly though? It wasn’t great. Rants and raves commencing in 3…2…1….

HPCursedchildFIRST: The time turner was always SUCH a problematic element of the original story. I think Rowling realized that by book 5 when she smashed them all. I get that the crux of this play tried to address some of those problems by screaming BUTTERFLY EFFECT into the ether, but it was kind of like trying to touch up an imperfect paint line by blobbing paint all over the wall. The time turners also seemed like a ploy to bring back dead characters. If I were a dead character, this would annoy me. I can only imagine the epic eye roll Snape would produce. Though I did sort of appreciate the look at Voldemort’s hellscape. The fact that THIS was the gimmick used to center this whole story just irked me.

SECOND: Has wizard kind not figured out a way to make sugary treats somehow devoid of calories? Why is everyone off sugar? This is a level of adulting I never wanted to see in the wizarding world. What’s next, kale smoothies?

THIRD: Alternate timeline Hermione was so bitter. I mean, girl is a catch, you think she wouldn’t have found somebody else if the Ron thing hadn’t panned out? Though, she was pretty badass in the Voldemort hellscape timeline, so I guess it wasn’t all bad.

FOURTH: Scorpius and Albus. I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here when I say these fellas were more than platonically in love. I like to think they’ll figure this out eventually.

FIFTH: Ron + Padma = Panju? I’m no expert on Indian names, but I’ve heard from several reliable sources that “Panju” isn’t an Indian name at all. It’s not even a word. Like… Couldn’t that have been googled? (Apparently Cho Chang’s name is also pretty awful because it’s basically two last names which is not a thing that happens in Chinese. Unless, of course, Cho’s parents were heavily influenced by the whole last-name-as-first-name trend that was happening in the English speaking muggle world? Yeah, I know. It’s a stretch.)

SIXTH: Okay, you guys. I think the sorting hat is smarter than we give it credit for. It KNEW that Albus had trouble making friends and had already bonded with Scorpius. Since Scorpius was sorted before Albus, don’t you think a little part of him was thinking “I want to hang out with my friend and be my own wizard.” Personally, I think that’s part of how Harry landed in Gryffindor, a knowledge that it was probably where his new BFF Ron was headed…

SEVENTH: The lack of internal monologue makes this play super frustrating. I was discussing this with a friend, and we decided that if we just SAW book 5 Harry out of context he’d come across as suuuuuuuuuuch a whiny pain in the ass (which, even with the benefit of being inside his head, he still comes across as whiny pain in the ass). Maybe missing out on being inside the characters’ heads made the whole thing harder to swallow.

EIGHTH: At one point in the original series, McGonagall takes several stunning spells to the chest which is rough, especially “at her age.” And now she’s headmistress of Hogwarts. 20+ years later. Can the woman not retire? She must be EXHAUSTED. (Right now in some alternate universe, Minerva McGonagall is giving me a NASTY look.)

NINTH: Ron in the play was way more of a buffoon than book Ron. He seemed… Stoned.

TENTH: That damn baby blanket. Does nobody do laundry?! A good washing would have destroyed that secret message. And since a blanket is NOT clothing, it doesn’t even feed into my AS YET UNANSWERED query about House Elves and laundry. If this play could have cleared up ONE SINGLE THING, I’d have liked that to be it.

Alright Bookworms, SOUND OFF! What did y’all think of the play?

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


May 02

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Coming of Age, Fantasy, Humor, Vampires, Young Adult Fiction 12

Hello Bookworms,

I’ve told you how much I love Rainbow Rowell before, right? In case you missed my reviews of Attachments, Eleanor & Park, Fangirl, and Landline, you can check them out here, here, here, and here. After devouring Landline much too quickly, I decided I’d wait on reading Rowell’s next release. Instead of begging the publisher for an advanced copy, I put myself on a seemingly endless library wait list so that by the time I read it, the wait for the next book wouldn’t seem as long. I probably won’t do that again because it kind of sucked, but I thought I should try it. The good news is that the library wait list eventually ended and I got to read Carry On!

carryonCarry On is the story of Simon Snow. Yes, THAT Simon Snow. The one Cath and Wren were totally enthralled with in Fangirl? Of course, it’s the fan fiction version of Simon Snow, not “canon” (which doesn’t actually exist. Wow. This is harder to explain than I thought it would be.) Okay, so. You don’t HAVE to have read Fangirl to enjoy Carry On because I think it can stand alone, but you should read both regardless because they’re delicious. Back to Simon. He’s a magician who attends a magical boarding school and he just wants to get through his final year without any of the life threatening shenanigans that have plagued his school career up to this point.

Unfortunately, his mentor wants him to hide out in the mountains, his roommate is missing, and his girlfriend just broke up with him. Ghosts are coming out of the woodwork, vampires are a thing, and don’t get me started on the super villain. Suffice it to say that our dear Simon probably isn’t going to get his wish for an uneventful school year.

I love Rainbow Rowell. This book was such a playful take on Harry Potter-esque stories, what with the punny spells and such. Plus, it’s a bit of a swoony love story. It’s not a spoiler for those who have read Fangirlbut it becomes apparent quite early on in Carry On that Simon and his roommate/potential vampire Baz have some serious sexual tension happening. Which means, yes, there are boys falling for other boys. Which is, in my opinion, pretty awesome. Even if the dudes in question are magicians/potential vampires, it’s nice to see some LGBT representation in YA literature.

Talk to me, Bookworms! If you were to write fan fiction, what would be your fandom of choice?

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


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.

  • 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.*


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.

  • 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.*


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.
  • “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? 

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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.*



Dec 22

Thoughts on Revisiting Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix: Part 1

Fantasy, Readalong, Young Adult Fiction 2

Hello Bookworms!

I’m still Pottering along with the Estella Society’s Potter Binge and thank goodness for that. Even when things get rough for Harry, these books are basically a cheering charm for my soul. That said, Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix is when we enter Harry’s massive teen angst phase and man alive, this boy is a bit of a mess. Without further ado, I give you my disjointed thoughts on revisiting Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, Part 1. Spoilers abound, but if you haven’t read these books you probably won’t read this post so, whatever.

  • Oh there you are, teen angst Harry. Nice (ish) to see you again.
  • Mundungus Fletcher is described as bandy-legged and ginger… Are we SURE he’s not Crookshanks’s animagus? (I kid, obviously. But it is sort of amusing to imagine Dung as a human version of Crookshanks.)
  • If you’re a Squib, are you allowed to use magical objects that other people have bewitched for you? That would be a consolation prize, at least, for an otherwise muggle-like existence.
  • TONKS! You are adorable.
  • 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.)
  • Molly schools Sirius when it comes to parenting. She may have hit below the belt a wee bit when she scolds him for going to Azkaban, but he wouldn’t have been there were it not for his impetuous behavior. She’s the only real mother figure Harry gets and dagnabit, she’s good at it. Loves him like one of her own. She only wants what’s best for him, and he IS only FIFTEEN. #TEAMMOLLY
  • UMBRIDGE IS A SADISTIC MONSTER! She should have to write THAT a zillion times with her nasty quill.
  • Percy Weasley! You are the world’s biggest git.
  • Neville wanting to beat the crap out of Malfoy after his nasty crack about St. Mungos makes me want to hug him. I want to punch Malfoy too, Neville. Of all the fictional characters I’ve wanted to punch in my time, he’s quite high on the list.
  • Oooh the side effects of Fred and George’s snackboxes. Butt boils. That’s commitment to the craft, right there.
  • If you follow me on twitter, you’ll likely have realized that my nickname in high school was Katie Belle. My middle name is not Belle, it just sort of became a thing as such things do during high school lunch hours. In any case, I have a special affinity for Gryffindor seeker Katie Bell. (No E, mind. Bell is just her last name. Of course my ACTUAL last name is also a first name- the world is a confusing place.) This girl has it rough. Peeves poured ink all over her head. She gets a weird eyebrow curse from a Slytherin (giiiiiirl, I feel you on that one. Without wax I’d have the eyebrows of Sam the Eagle from the Muppets.) AND she’s going to end up getting cursed by a necklace? This poor girl!
  • Lifetime. Quidditch. Ban. UMBRIDGE!!!!!!! YOU ARE EVIL!!!!!!!! ::Shakes fists toward the heavens::
  • And now Hagrid is back, and we must pause. Simply too much still to come!

Whew, what a ride! I know Harry’s “nobody gets me” stuff gets a little annoying, but that’s what I love so much about Rowling’s writing. I didn’t attend Hogwarts and I’m (depressingly) a muggle, but all those adolescent feelings are so perfectly depicted. We all had those days at 15. Jo’s special magical ability is bringing it back to life.

What is the moment in the HP books that most reminds you of your adolescence and/or teen hood? 

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