Tag: Readalong

Dec 08

Thoughts on Revisiting Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire: Part 1

Fantasy, Readalong, Young Adult Fiction 2

Hello my Darling Bookworms!

We’ve reached the midpoint in the glorious Harry Potter Re-Readalong with The Estella Society. I’m working my way through Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire. Now. As you are all aware (I assume, because HARRY POTTER) after Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (review) the books start getting a lot longer. Because my audio book files were split into pieces, I’m going to do my reactions to the remaining books in two parts a piece. It seems fitting as I want to discuss all the things and I’d feel the need to edit myself if I tried to review the whole darn thing in one go. Fasten your Firebolts, people, we’re doing this.

  • When you have to be kept alive by milking your enormous horcrux snake, you should question your life choices. (Cough, cough, VOLDEMORT.)
  • I really hate Dudley but I get unreasonably sad for him when he’s put on that diet. Diets are hard, Dudders. I get it.
  • I will NEVER block up my fireplace. Aside from it being lovely and adorable, you never know. Floo Network, FTW!
  • Fudge’s encounter with the Bulgarian Prime Minister makes me feel better about being monolingual. It’s pretty hilarious that the Bulgarian PM pretended not to speak English all day just so that Fudge would keep playing charades to get his point across. You’d think there would be some sort of translating spell, though. Maybe there is and Fudge is too pompous to learn it. Seems like a very Fudge move.
  • Wizards are TERRIBLE at secrets! Good heavens every single person EVER hinted at the tournament. It makes me question the Potters’ decision to employ the secret keeper charm in the first place. Obviously it was a tragic mistake to trust Pettigrew, but Sirius was so bombastic and ridiculous, you know he’d have been waving the “I know something you don’t know” carrot in front of the Death Eater’s noses. They must reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally have been out of options.
  • There is no better moment than when (fake) Moody turns Malfoy into a ferret. But it begs the question. McGonagall can turn into a tabby cat, and a tabby cat is also her patronus. Do you think Moody’s spell specifically demanded he turn into a ferret, or the animal his personality most mimicked? What I really want to know is if Malfoy’s patronus is a ferret. If it is indeed a ferret, do you think that if it were to fight Mr. Weasley’s weasel patronus it would lose? Weasels seem scrappier than ferrets for sure, but a Malfoy ferret would fight dirty. My money is on Weasley’s weasel to win the day. Say that 5 times fast.
  • The Beauxbatons horses only drink single malt whiskey and baby dragons need whiskey and chicken blood… Are all magical creatures lushes?
  • For a teacher who wants to spend as little time with Harry as possible, Snape doesn’t go light on the detentions. Isn’t it also a punishment for him to have to spend more time with Harry and Ron? Or is it fun because he can torment them? I wouldn’t know, I’m not that mean. Ugh.
  • Rita Skeeter or Gilderoy Lockhart: Who is more annoying?

And there we have it, Bookworms! The first half of Harry Potter And The Goblet Of FireHave y’all been enjoying the Harry Potter binge? I know I have!

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Nov 24

Thoughts on Revisiting Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets

Fantasy, Readalong, Young Adult Fiction 10

Great Maggoty Haggis, Bookworms!

I’m trying to work that phrase into my lexicon because I like coming up with alternatives to swearing. Not that I have a problem with profanity, because I don’t, I just prefer my language to be a bit more colorful. The Harry Potter books never fail to supply me with entertaining phrases. Which brings me to the point! I’m still trucking along with The Estella Society’s #PotterBinge re-read-along and it has been delightful. Since I had so much fun logging my thoughts with The Sorcerer’s Stone, I thought I’d continue the concept with Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets. Ready?!

  • Oh Dobby! The self flagellation! He’d fit right in to one of those penance parades they had in The Seventh Seal. Yeesh.
  • I love me some lock-picking Weasley twins.
  • I am still desperately ashamed that GIlderoy Lockhart was a Ravenclaw. Ugh.
  • Ginny almost forgot that blasted diary at The Burrow! If only she’d left the darn thing!
  • For some reason imagining a pair of 12 year old boys driving a car on the road seems much more insane than a pair of 12 year old boys flying an enchanted car through the air…
  • Fred and George never got caught with the car despite having taken it out a number of time. It proves, once again, that they are criminal masterminds working for the greater good and general mischief.
  • Oh, Errol. You poor, ridiculous owl.
  • I want to punch Lockhart ALL. THE. TIME.
  • The earmuffs in the mandrake scene made me think of Scream Queens and that girl who always wears fancy designer earmuffs. Apparently there will be a scripted reason for her doing so at some point, but since the actress is Carrie Fisher’s daughter (!!!) they thought the Princess Leia homage would be funny.
  • Alright, you guys. Cornish Pixies. Is it not more correct to call them “piskies” in the Cornish dialect? Did they get translated to “pixies” in the American version or is it like that in the British version too?
  • Peeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeves! That punk never made it into the movies, but I forgot that he was the one who broke the vanishing cabinet Draco ended up fixing to cause all that trouble later on!
  • Even the Hufflepuff ghost is cheery. Go out and hug a Hufflepuff! I bet they give the best hugs.
  • “Great Maggoty Haggis” is my new catch phrase. (See? I’m already putting it into practice.)
  • Hermione steals from Snape. Classic. Badass.
  • Dear Ginny, since when are fresh pickled toads in any way romantic?
  • “When in doubt, go to the library”- sound advice.
  • Dude, Harry can put together crazy clues about the Basilisk and reflective surfaces but it takes him FOREVER to figure out that Tom Riddle is up to no good.
  • 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.
  • A pajama feast is obviously the best way to end a story.

There we have it, Bookworms. My thoughts on the second installment of the #PotterBinge. Is anybody else playing along? I’m seriously pondering this laundry issue, I’d love to hear your theories on it. 

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Nov 16

Thoughts On Revisiting Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Fantasy, Readalong, Young Adult Fiction 23

Happy Monday Bookworms!

I know, I know. It sucks to start a brand new work week or school week or whatever. Heck, I’ve got a Monday fever, and the only cure is HARRY POTTER. I’ve been blogging for over 3 years and have talked about Harry and the gang plenty, but I’ve never done any sort of official review of the books. When some of my favorite bloggers at The Estella Society (Heather, Andi, Amanda, I love all your faces) announced a Harry Potter re-read-along, it seemed like kismet. There are few things that are guaranteed to lift my mood the way Harry Potter can. Since everyone already knows all the HP things (and if you don’t you probably don’t give a figgy pudding about spoilers) I thought I’d forgo official reviews with synopses and such and focus on my raw reactions upon re-visiting these books. Without further ado, I present my rambling thoughts on Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

  • Dumbledore, I love you, I really, truly do, but WHO LEAVES A BABY ON A DOORSTEP?! Does the Wizarding World have any sort of Child Protective Services? Seriously, Ministry of Magic, you need to get your act together.
  • Harry didn’t even have a library card when he lived with the Dursleys. SOB.
  • “Hamburger restaurants” are mentioned repeatedly. I suppose in England not every single restaurant in the history of ever serves hamburgers? #cluelessAmerican
  • “I don’t like cats. They make me sneeze.” ME TOO, HAGRID!
  • Although, 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?
  • Dude, why are Olivander’s eyes silver? That’s pretty friggin creepy.
  • Molly Weasley is the BEST EVER. (And I’m so glad I named my car after her.)
  • I know that I have the American version of HP, as the British version was The Philosopher’s Stone (not Sorcerer’s), but it made me wonder. In the original when they referred to Harry’s hair, did they use the term “bangs” or “fringe”?
  • Rats are not on the approved pet list. Scabbers being banned from Hogwarts from the get-go would have been helpful, no? Hindsight being 20/20 and all. Cats, owls, and toads are the only pets mentioned in the supply list…
  • I WANT A WEASLEY SWEATER! Seriously, I can think of nothing more wonderful than opening up a lumpy, magically knit, monogrammed sweater for Christmas. Does Molly have an official fan club? Because I would join it.
  • Baby dragons thrive on a mixture of brandy and chicken blood, which explains why dragons raid liquor stores and chicken coops in equal measure. (I can’t back up that last part, but it makes me laugh.)
  • I wish my final exams had consisted of making pineapples tap dance. I would have owned that challenge. There’d have been sequins, you guys.
  • I get goosebumps EVERY SINGLE TIME Neville gets awarded those last ten points and Gryffindor wins the house cup! Oh Neville!

I’m kind of surprised by my reactions too. I mean, not a single ode to Hermione? I do love her, she just didn’t make my notepad for some reason. Oh well. The series is young. We have six more books in which I can fawn over everyone. Siiigh. It’s like visiting old friends.

Talk to me Bookworms! Do YOU think animagi are hypoallergenic? And do you think it’s advised that pregnant dragons drink alcohol, seeing how beneficial it is to the hatched offspring? I mean, if they’re not mammals then they don’t nurse, so what would wild dragon babies be eating? Chickens would be easy enough to come by, but brandy? In remote Romanian mountains? Hmmm….

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Sep 15

The Sparrow Readalong Halfway Point

Readalong, Religion, Science 14

Take Me To Your Leader, Bookworms!

I know, I know. Cheap alien joke. I work with what I’ve got stored in the ol’ gray matter, and sometimes that ain’t much. Terrible jokes aside, today marks the halfway check in point for The Sparrow Readalong hosted by Trish at Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity. I love Trish, and not just because she uses the Oxford common in her blog title (but let’s face it, that doesn’t hurt!) I’m actually on track with my reading, a fact which shocks me. So. How is it going so far?


The Sparrow started out kind of slowly for me. I’m not entirely sure why, perhaps it was just fatigue? Once I got rolling though, I was hooked. I can’t put it down. I hit the halfway point after midnight and forced myself to get some sleep. It was a work night, for heaven’s sake!  I NEED TO KNOW what happened on the mission! I NEED TO KNOW what becomes of the crew! I NEED TO KNOW if certain romantic tensions ever boil over! I also want to have dinner with Anne and George. Anne is easily my favorite character so far. She’s spunky and fun, smart and cynical.

I’m finding all the Jesuit stuff rather fascinating, too. I typically avoid discussing religion because it always turns into A THING, but having been raised Catholic, I’m connecting with this story in ways I didn’t expect. Characters are having crises of faith all over the place and I just want to jump into the pages and give them hugs! It’s refreshing because though the religious aspects are presented with a hefty dose of skepticism, I haven’t found it to be disrespectful. Irreverent, maybe, but never mean-spirited. Some of the lines are downright cracking me up, too, especially when the characters get all philosophical. Here’s one of the many reasons I love me some Anne:

Faced with the Divine, people took refuge in the banal, as though answering a cosmic multiple-choice question: If you saw a burning bush, would you (a) call 911, (b) get the hot dogs, or (c) recognize God? A vanishingly small number of people would recognize God, Anne had decided years before, and most of them had simply missed a dose of Thorazine.

Seriously, how could I not be loving this book? I can’t wait to tackle the rest of this bad boy. I’ll be in touch with a wrap up post in a couple of weeks.

Talk to me, Bookworms. Do you ever start a book slowly only to have it grow on you like gangbusters?

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Sep 01

Kicking it Off: The Sparrow Readalong

Readalong 12

Good Day, Bookworms!

You know how sometimes you just need a push in the right direction to finally tackle a project? I have had a chunkster of a book sitting on my virtual shelf for far too long. It’s gotten amazing reviews from some of my favorite people and I keep finding reasons to put it off. Ridiculous, right? That’s why I was SO EXCITED to see that Trish from Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity is hosting a Readalong of The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell this month.


This is obviously just the thing to get me off my bum an read the book! I’ll be doing a halfway check in post on the 15th just to hold myself accountable and should finish things up by the end of the month. I can’t wait!

‘Fess up, Bookworms. Who among you has a bit of a procrastination problem? (No judgement, swearsies!) 

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Feb 27

Wilkie in Winter: The Woman in White Epoch 3

Classics 7

Wahoo, Bookworms!

I feel so accomplished, I finished The Woman in White! A classic and a chunkster. Bam. I must extend my gratitude to The Estella Society, because without their read-a-long, I don’t think I would have tackled it. Since I’m talking about the final third of the book, consider this your SPOILER ALERT. Let’s take on these discussion questions!

wilkieinwinter-1024x1024 (1) 1. How do you feel about the way this novel wrapped up? Too clean and tidy? Just right? How about Fosco’s tell-all confession?

Was anybody else a little creeped out that half of Fosco’s confession was a love note to Marian? I guess I should expect such behavior of a villain, but still. I was pleased with the way the novel wrapped up, Fosco’s Marian obsession aside. I like it when the bad guys get their comeuppance. The ending was rather tidy, but I happen to like tidy endings. All that open ended stuff that goes on in the new-fangled books these days usually just leaves me grumpy. Closure. It’s a beautiful thing!

2. Did you feel the characters got what they deserved in the end? Namely, Sir Percival. But also Marian? Fosco?

Sir Percival! I can’t say that I think he deserved to be trapped inside a burning building, but he was evil and he did set the place on fire, so… FOSCO. Oh man. I’m glad that the secret society was the one to take him out, because that meant Walter didn’t have to duel him in some unspecified future. You know Fosco would have cheated. But Marian, sweet Marian. I love her. I wish she could have found some nice autonomous happiness, but I suppose spending your life with family you genuinely love isn’t such a terrible fate.

3. What do you think of Wilkie’s treatment of the ladies? Heather, Amanda, and I all sort of wondered if he was screwing with us at times. The sticks to convention but it also seemed a little tongue-in-cheek at times. Or maybe those are just our contemporary female sensibilities…and wishing.

Ah the ladies. Well, Marian was AWESOME. I’m glad she was such a badass, especially since she went against the grain. It’s unfortunate that she only got to be such a badass because she wasn’t pretty and/or marriagable, but whatever. Laura though. What a ninny! I mean, I KNOW that being locked up in an asylum for weeks being told you aren’t who you think you are could screw a girl up, and she was kind of a wimpy wimperson to begin with, but DAYUM. Childlike damsel in distress much? Wilkie seems to admire and respect Marian infinitely more than Laura, so maybe he was ahead of his time, while still being the product of his time?

4. Wild card! What other issues did you take note of in this epoch?

The secret society! I was happy to see Pesca come back because he took up quite a chunk of real estate at the beginning of the first epoch. I thought it was kind of weird that he came back as a secret society operative, but since he was instrumental in the demise of Fosco I cannot complain. Man. I love to hate that guy!

Bookworms, tell me. When reading older novels, do you ever get frustrated with the way female characters are portrayed? 


Feb 13

Wilkie in Winter: The Woman in White Epoch 2

Classics 10

Greetings Bookworms,

It’s time to talk about The Woman in White again! MORE WILKIE. Epoch 2 was, uh, EPIC. Before I get started, I’m gonna hit you with a SPOILER ALERT. It’s basically impossible for me to talk about the midsection of a book without spoiling something or another. If you don’t want to be spoiled, stop reading RIGHT THIS MINUTE. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Now. Before we start, I have some random thoughts for you…

wilkieinwinter-1024x1024 (1)Fosco! What the deuce? Best villain ever. Though he’s never described as twirling his mustache, that’s what I see. He’s also a weird dude who likes birds and mice. Puppet master.

Mr. Fairlie! His entries made me laugh so hard. I don’t know what it is about someone so unyielding and neurotic that is so utterly amusing. Snobby, self important, insufferable… I want to show up at his house for the express purpose of annoying him. WITH TAP SHOES!

POWER OF THE DOPPELGANGERS! Laura and Anne pull the old switcheroo, classic to every sitcom starring twins ever. If I were to ever pull such a thing off, I’d have to get Danielle Fishel on board (you know, Topanga from Boy Meets World?!) I’m not even kidding, it’s kind of creepy.

Imagine me with professional hair and makeup, or her in a penguin hat.

Imagine me with professional hair and makeup, or her in a penguin hat. You can see it right? Just let me have this delusion.

1. Was the second epoch more successful for you than the first?

Yes, it was! I found this epoch moved faster. Exposition is all well and good, but I like a little meat to my story. This epoch was a veritable meat lover’s pizza. So good.

2. What do you think of ole Fosco? There were DEVELOPMENTS in this section that gave oodles more insight into his character, and things aren’t pretty.

FOSCO! I was warned that he was downright dastardly, but I underestimated him. How did he manage to make his wife into his minion? What is with the obsession with tiny animals? What is he hiding?! Secrets and scandal, no doubt!

3. What do you think of the relationship between Sir Percival and Fosco?

Oh that Fosco has some sort of dirt on Sir Percival, I just don’t know WHAT yet. If Fosco were in the now, he’d be running a ponzi scheme… But he’d somehow manage to pin it on Percival. Just as evil, less likable. Fosco would get off with probation.

4. We touched on the literary ladies in the first Epoch. How do you feel about the developments in Marian’s and Laura’s character?

I still love Marian. She’s amazing. She’s smart and brave and willing to send secret letters and spy in the dark of night. Laura is still kind of a damsel in distress… Or at least she was until the end. EEEEP!

5. Go nuts! It’s a free-for-all! Tell us what’s on your mind.

Is it weird that I’m really happy that Anne was buried exactly where she wished to be? I’ve got a soft spot for mentally disturbed characters getting their heart’s desire.

Who is excited for Epoch 3?! This girl!