The Cemetery of Forgotten Books Series – Carlos Ruiz Zafon- Review

51gU0eNxl+L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_There is a place where forgotten books find a home. It is a secret bestowed on a select few. Once you are brought into the cemetery you are given a chance to chose one book. This becomes your book, you are charged with protecting it.

This series tells the story of one particular family, the Sempre family. They are booksellers, a family that understands the intrigue and power of books. A family that understands the importance of books and keeping them safe. The series is a tale of this family keeping not only their business alive but also finding ways to make connections with others around them. It is a tale of a family who gets intertwined in mysteries that change their lives forever.

What I loved:

I actually started this series backwards. I started with The Angel’s Game, not realizing it was part of a larger series. The Angle’s Game and the subsequent books had this deep air of mystery. You were always wondering what exactly was going on. Each book had its own mystery, one that slowly unwound around the reader.

I enjoyed the slow and steady pace of these books. Sometimes with mystery books there is a long drawn out hint at what is going on. Then at the end everything gets wrapped up in a few pages. This was different. The mystery unfolded piece by piece. We meet new characters and figure out what is happening. This pace is what keeps you reading, wanting to find out the exact details.

I also like that this whole series was around one family. I enjoyed slowly learning about them. We got different generations in the books. We saw the evolution of the family and the long term effects of events in the earlier books. I liked this connection that built on themselves throughout the stories.

I also enjoyed the air of otherworldliness in The Angel’s Game. This was the first one I read and I twas captured by it because I had this feeling something was happening under the surface. I liked this kind of floating feeling I had throughout the story. I had a theory and later learned I was right; but I liked that it was in another novel that I found out what was truly going on. This was what kept me reading this series. I wanted more of this atmosphere though unfortunately  that wasn’t present in the the other books.

1232What I was just okay with:

I started with The Angle’s Game and found out that it was the second book in a series of three. When I finished The Angel’s Game I believed that The Shadow of the Wind would have taken place before The Angel’s Game, or at least have a solid logical connection it. That was not the case.

The Shadow of the Wind actually took place after The Angle’s Game which left me very confused. I could not fathom why the series was written in this order. I read The Shadow of the Wind expecting to have more understanding of The Angle’s Game but that wasn’t true. It did nothing to help tell The Angel’s Game any different.

I struggled I think because I started The Shadow of the Wind with a certain expectation. When I realized it was not going to do what I expected it to do, I felt let down. I felt lost which I think took me out of the series.

If I had read the series in order maybe I would have felt differently about the series as a whole. But as the way I read them, I felt I was missing a vital piece to this story in the end.

9781922079886What I wished was different:

The last book The Prisoner of Heaven felt like it had nothing to hold itself up. The Angle’s Game and The Shadow of the Wind were two good stories that stood alone if necessary. The Prisoner of Heaven did have a nice connection to The Angel’s Game but it was a history of one of the characters, nothing more.

I wanted to hold a true story but it felt like it could have been integrated into the other books. The last book felt unnecessary which left me feeling detached and disappointed by the series as a whole.

 

As a whole the series was alright. I gave it between 3-4 stars on Goodreads. I liked the mystery elements, I liked how it held me captivated but wish that the series felt better connected with one another. In the end I felt like the series could have been stand alone stories and it would have worked as well if not better.

My Inspiration for My Short Story Collection- Is There More?

IsThereMore_AmazonOne of thing I find most fascinating about novel or stories is where the author got their inspiration. What made them think to write about that specific topic? What made them ask the question the story is trying to answer? Why did they choose to write an adventure tale or a romance? Who inspired the character traits of the protagonist? Is the story close to them or is it them trying to work out issues in their own life?

When I write I find inspiration from a number of things but mostly it comes from me asking, What If? . I ask the question and then use my writing to explore the number of avenues the story could go down.

My short story collection, Is There More? consists of a number of stories over a span of years. Each one has their own unique story about how it came to life. I thought it would be fun to write a post about where the inspiration from each story came from. I will give a short summary of the story and then a bit about how I came up with the idea or why I wrote the story.

If you find this interesting and want to read the stories for yourself be sure to check it out on Amazon, either as a paperback or ebook. And if you do read it and enjoy it, a review is always appreciated!

Always Been Ours

Always Been Ours is a cautionary tale about what happens when you abandon the books and stories that created you. It is a reminder to never forget how important reading and books can be for your everyday life, especially for a writer.

This story is the oldest in the collection. It was written when I was a junior in college. It was written (at least the first draft) as part of an assignment: write a short story. That was all we were told.

I wanted to write a story about books whispering inspiration to a writer. I wanted it to be about the creative process but as I wrote I could not get the idea of the books being angry out of my head. Every time I wrote their voices, it was with an edge to it. If I wrote them helpful and inspiring it felt forced and flat. I finally gave in and this story was born.

This was the first time I remember a story writing itself. I always heard authors talk about that feeling but never quite understood it until this tale. I could not write anything else, this was the story that had to be told.

This was also the first time I wrote a story and someone outside of my family was intrigued by it. I remember my professor (my favorite throughout my college career) writing the note “Intriguing”. He wanted to hear more and it made me want to write more, to keep working on this story until I got it just right; which took about 3 years.

So Many Faces

This story tells the tale of love in its many different forms. A number of people tell about their love lives through letters.

This story started off as an idea of writing a letter. That was all that I wanted to do. I didn’t know exactly what the letters would be about, just that I wanted to write a story in letter form. As I wrote I figured out that I wanted to write it about love.

I know that love comes in many forms and different ways throughout a romantic relationship. I played with the different types of love and how relationships work. My favorite is the joking, teasing, fun time with one another.

From the people I have spoken to this is a favorite. I was surprised because I didn’t think this one would strike a chord with as many people as it did. Many liked the different format and I definitely will keep that in mind for future stories.

I Like a Good Fight

In this world there is an app that is designed to help you find your soulmate, or The One. You send in some of your blood and it uses it to find your match. Our protagonist doesn’t buy into it.

I wrote this one because I keep seeing apps and dating services. I am someone who doesn’t quite like the idea. I am cautious of it, mostly because you don’t know who exactly you are meeting.

I wanted to explore the idea of an app maybe actually working. I modeled the protagonist after myself. I wanted to explore my attitudes towards the idea and see if there was a way I could be okay with it. It was fun to think about what I would want from a relationship and how if you give someone a real shot, it may actually work out.

Rogue

A writer is trying to get some words down onto a paper about a story. They are having problems getting a scene to work, not because they can’t find the words but because one of the characters will not stay where they belong. It is a story about an author fighting with their story to get it become what it is destined to be.

I wrote this one because I liked the idea of exploring a writer fighting with a character. I always see tweets and comments from writers talking about how they can’t get a character to behave. They want them to do one thing but they won’t. Or they try to give them a certain personality trait but it doesn’t work. Writer’s all know that struggle and I thought it would be fun to personify it.

Goodbye

A woman calls a friend desperate for help. She is afraid of what she has found in her home but is also reluctant to do anything about getting rid of the problem. Her friend helps but we learn that sometimes helping others is an excuse to not help yourself.

This one was actually inspired by a song lyric, “I’m friends with the monster that’s under my bed/Get along with the voices inside of my head.,” from  “The Monster” By Eminem featuring Rihanna. I heard the lyric and instantly thought about skeletons in a closet and what if the demons we carry with us weren’t scary? What if we could make them friends instead? What happens then?

I used this as a way to explore the idea of inner demons and what they mean to different people. I also wanted to explore the idea that our inner demons are only scary if we let them be.

Reset

A woman and a couple are arguing in a doctor’s office. The woman’s boyfriend is dying and there is only one way to save him. A treatment that will cure him but will destroy everything they have built. Is it worth it?

This story was inspired by a conversation I had with a friend. We were talking about how easy it was to fix a computer by resetting it. We joked about how it would be nice to be able to reset ourselves back to a point where things were going as we wanted them to go. I took that conversation and ran with it.

What if you could reset a human being? What happens after the procedure? Is all that time you take a way really alright to lose? Is it okay because someone gets a second chance?

Keep Them

A couple is arguing. They are at impasse in their relationship and the woman begins to see that what they have is toxic. She wants to leave but her boyfriend holds what she believes is the most important thing in her life. Can she walk away from him and start new? Or is she trapped forever because of what he possesses?

This story was inspired by the idea of keeping your dreams in a box. I have heard people talk about writing down dreams or aspirations and putting them somewhere where you can find and read them later. What if that box could hold literal dreams? What if someone stole it or held is hostage?

Can dreams be reworked to fit the new circumstances? Or are they shot because they revolve around one person or one place in time? What can you do to save those dreams?

Whole Again

A call comes in for a heart repair. A higher up is given the task because it is unlikely the heart can be fully put back together. A lesson is taught and a secret is revealed.

This is my favorite story in the collection and one that I have gotten a number of compliments on. This one came about from a song title, “Where Do Broken Hearts Go?” by One Direction. The song came on my Pandora and I found myself asking, where do broken hearts go? If you could physically have your broken heart somewhere, where would it be? What would do you be able to do if someone could hold it and mess with it? How would that change the way we handle broken hearts, despair or break ups?

This story was one I read at writers group I was apart of for a short time. I knew it worked when everyone was shocked by the end and it was a stunned silence. Then I got some great feedback and praise about it. It was a story I only rewrote a few times but it was one of those stories that again wrote itself.

The End

A choices is presented to a young woman. A choice she has no idea how to make. A choice she has to make. She chooses and the world come crashing down around her.

I love “Choose Your Own Adventure” novels. I also love games that change based off your choices. I like the idea of being able to chose where the story goes. In this story I wanted to explore that idea on a  higher level.

What if your life was dictated by a “Choose Your Own Adventure” novel? What if you could do nothing unless you made a choice? What if you chose and found out you were going to lose someone or die yourself? How do you go on? How much control over your life do you truly have?

 

That is a glimpse into what inspired by stories. I hope it gave you an idea of what to expect in my collection. If any of the stories sparked interest or intrigued you, the collection is available on Amazon.

Black Mirror – Season 4 – Review

black-mirror-logoBlack Mirror was one of the shows that I didn’t quite understand until I watched the first few episodes. My brother continually told me to try it and when I finally did I became obsessed. I love shows like The Twilight Zone and Black Mirror because of the twists and the way they keep you on your toes. You never quite understand what is going on and never quite know where the show is going to turn.

Black Mirror is a show that prays on our fear of technology and what it can do. Since the beginning of computers and machines people have had fears about them taking over and destroying our lives. Black Mirror brings out those anxieties and wraps you up in that fear. This season centered on a number of different ideas.

I am going to rank the episodes in the order of my least favorite to my favorite. Some episodes this time weren’t as thrilling as others, but I did enjoy them all in some way or another. There are minor spoilers but nothing that ruins the episodes.

6. Crocodile

BM_CROC.0Crocodile is about a woman trying to hide a mistake made in her past. In her desire to hide what she did, she destroys lives and hurts people.

This episode was interesting, and suspenseful. I wanted to know how far this woman would go to keep her secrets hidden. I was surprised how far she truly went. The end was also surprising and ironic. I did enjoy that aspect.

The reason it is last on my list is because I felt like the technology angle was only there because of the idea behind this show. It wasn’t absolutely necessary to the plot. Black Mirror is about what technology can do if left unchecked. In this episode I felt like the whole story would have been the same with or without the technology. I wanted a bit more twist from it.

5. Metalhead

imagesThe episode surrounds a woman who is trying to bring something back to her community in an apocalyptic wasteland. She is followed by a robot dog and has to decide how and if it is possible to escape.

I saw that this one was liked a lot on Twitter. It was definitely suspenseful. It felt like an early episode of The Walking Dead. It was full of action. I was always afraid, waiting to see if the protagonist was going to get away or not. It was a constant ride, moving at a quick pace. I enjoyed the ride but I wanted more from it.

I felt like it would have been improved if there had been more details about what was going on in this world. I wanted to know who created the robot guard dogs and why. I wanted to know why the world was in survival mode. I felt like it was only this running and hiding episode. I have seen that. I watch this show for something that I haven’t seen before and this episode just wasn’t that for me.

4. Arkangel

black-mirror-s4e33

Black Mirror

A woman almost loses her daughter when she is young. As a way to ensure she will never lose her again, she enters her into a trial for a new technology. This technology implants a chip in a child’s head and allows you to use an app to watch their every move. Not only is there GPS to track them but you can see what they see, hear what they hear and get up-to-the-minute notifications about their health and safety. As the child grows, the mother learns that constantly watching your child can have its downsides.

I enjoyed this episode. It was a cautionary tale about helicopter parenting. I liked the technology. I felt like this was something that I could actually see happening. We already can track people’s phones. The more advanced our phones get the more we are going to be able to follow everyone. And while I understand the desire to know what is going on with you chid, there is a way to take it too far.

I also really liked how the beginning of this episode paralleled the end. It was a great way to end it. I was extremely satisfied by the end and how they used the fear in the beginning and twisted it for the end.

While this was a good episode, I did feel like I could predict much of it. One of my favorite aspects of Black Mirror is not quite knowing where things are going to go, and I was almost spot on with my predictions for this episode.

The episode also felt like it had two storylines at first. The storyline when the girl was a child was interesting and I wished they had pursed that for the whole of the episode. It diverged and went into a pretty simple storyline as she got older. In the end I think this would have been higher on my list if they had taken it in the first direction instead of the second.

3. Hang the DJ

MV5BN2UyMDQyMmQtNDVlNC00ZDU0LTlkMGItNWMwYTNiOTJmZTMxXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyODE1NDk0NzQ_._V1_.0Two people are set up on a date. At first it seems like a blind date and then it feels more like speed dating. You learn that they are using an app that sets them up, and determines a pre-set amount of time for them to be together. They are given a number of relationships to try until the app has enough information to find them their perfect match.

I really loved this episode. I know people have been comparing it to San Juniper from last season and saying that it was just not as good. I can see the comparison but I felt like this was a different story and was just as sweet.

This is one of the few episodes in this show that has a hopeful ending. It is rare to be smiling at the end of a Black Mirror episode. I liked the idea of the app doing all the work of not only setting you up but also of breaking you up.

I also loved the relationship between the two main characters. I thought their relationship was sweet and felt very real to me. I kept watching, hoping things would work out for them. When I watched the end I was excited. I loved the way the app worked, it was clever.

My only issue with this episode was that I felt like this undertone of something sinister was not well developed. You have an idea of it in the beginning then it fades away until the end. I felt like if it had been better spread throughout the episode you would have felt more urgency for the two to get together. Also the end may have had a bigger impact if that feeling was better used.

2. USS Callister

landscape-1508343510-screen-shot-2017-10-18-at-171757The episode begins with a cheesy over the top seeming episode of a space type opera. The crew defeats a villain and everything is awesome. Then you transition to the real world and see the man who played the captain is at work where he is barely noticed let alone respected. It becomes even more tragic seeming when you find out he owns the company but no one seems to care about him.

We learn that the beginning was his own version of a virtual reality game he developed. He has this version of his life where he is respected and loved, a stark difference to his real life. We quickly learn though that his little world is much more sinister then it appears.

This was the first episode of the season. I loved this episode. I loved the twist and the commentary on some important topics. I loved that the episode didn’t make you wait long for the twist, it put it early and then gave you a journey to go on.

It looked at the way women and minorities are treated. I looked at toxic masculinity and how someone can think they deserve more than they really deserve just because of their name and position. I liked how it explored power dynamics. It felt relevant. I did what I loved this show for doing; it took our everyday lives and showed how technology can twist it to make it worse if we let it.

This episode also showed us what happens though when we fight the injustices. It showed that that fight is possible and if all those who are marginalized come together then something can be done. I think this was a very important episode for our current time. It left an impact and made me think hard about it afterward.

1. Black Museum

black_mirror_black_museumA young woman stops to charge her car. While she is waiting she sees a museum and decides to check it out. She learns that it is a museum of criminality. Everything in it was used for a crime. It is a dark place. She talks with the curator and learns the dark history behind some of the artifacts. It turns out she knows more about this place then she lets on.

I absolutely adored this episode. It was the perfect way to end this season. It was intriguing and interesting from the first minute. I loved all the easter eggs hidden throughout this episode. If you have not watched all the other episodes of Black Mirror, watch those first then come back to this one. You will appreciate it so much more.

I liked how this episode literally centered on the evil that technology can do if used wrong. It shows what happens when we are given too much power, when we think we can control it but learn that we can’t. It is almost like a preview for this whole series.

The atmosphere was dark and forbidding for the beginning. You know that this place is not good, you know that things are not going to end well here. I was worried the whole time for what was going to come.

The two vignette stories before the end were interesting and highlighted interesting technology. I thought I knew where it was leading but was wrong and I love when I am wrong. I was surprised when I watched the end but I was also very satisfied. It was the ending this episode deserved. It explored some tough topics and we are again forced to reflect not only on how we let technology work in our lives but how we exploit and use certain people because we think we are higher than them.

This season was good, not my favorite but it still made me think and reconsider things around me. I think these episodes  weren’t my favorite because the technology wasn’t as front and center as it usually is. I think they tried to tell some other type of stories this time, which was alright but veered away from what I am used to.

In the end this season was fascinating and a fun ride as usual. It still makes you rethink how you use your phone and computer and what it can do to you.

Reader Confession Tag

I saw this tag on Interrobang and thought it would be fun to do. I am working on a number of reviews but not sure if I will have time to complete them before the New Year. I know its been a minute since I posted anything so I thought this would be a good one to post for the moment.

1280px-Stipula_fountain_penHave you ever damaged a book?

Unfortunately the answer to that is yes. There was one incident that I won’t talk about because it is definitely something I am ashamed of now. Though I know as a child I am sure that I accidentally hurt a book. Though I can say now, I treat book with the greatest amount of respect.

Have you ever damaged a borrowed book?

Not that I can remember. To be honest it is rare that I borrow books, I usually buy my own so that I can not worry about anything happening to them.

How long does it take you to read a book?

It all depends on the book and what is going on in my life. If I get wrapped up in it, I can finish it in a day or so. If it is good but doesn’t keep me wondering about it, it will take a few days. If it is slow and I am busy then it make take a few weeks. I almost always read before bed so that sometimes can dictate how long a book takes me to read. I wish I could read faster but I always make sure that I am able to appreciate what I am reading.

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick. It is four separate stories that are related. So far it is an interesting look at the process of life and death and I am interested to see how all these stories come together.

What book haven’t you finished?

I rarely leave a book unfinished but it has happened. I have tried to read Little Women about four times and can never get past the first four chapters. I also couldn’t finish Winter’s Tale either, I read about 200 pages and it just did not make any sense to me. I will try, sometimes too hard, to finish a book but sometimes that is just not possible.

Hyped/Popular books that you just did not like?

The book that comes to mind is The Fault in Our Stars. I read it because of how much everyone was talking about it but I just did not feel the depth of emotion attached to it that I was expecting. I wanted to cry and feel the pain of the book but I felt like the true emotions weren’t explored as much as they could have been.

Is there a book you wouldn’t tell anyone you were reading?

I can’t think of a book that I would be ashamed of telling people about. I think any and all books are worth reading. No one should be ashamed of what they are reading, as long as you are reading. I have read everything from nonfiction to paranormal romances and I wouldn’t be ashamed of telling anyone about any of them.

How many books do you own?

That would take a while to count. I have four full bookshelves and need another one because I am out of room. I love being surrounded by books and I do not plan on downsizing my collection anytime soon.

Are you a fast or slow reader?

Again this depends on the book. If I am hooked and enraptured by the book then I will soar through it. If it is only alright then I am slower. It also depends on what is going on in my life. Lately because of the holiday and personal things on top of getting a new job my reading time has been very limited.

Do you like to buddy read?

I can honestly say I have never done it.

Do you read better in your head or out loud?

I definitely read better in my head. I tend to stumble over my words when I read outloud. I can read faster in my head which is how I like to read.

If you were only allowed to own one book, what would it be?

This is a tough question because I think that if I had only one book sooner or later that book would get old and tiring to read. But I HAD to chose I would definitely chose Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I adore that book and I think though I might tire of it eventually it would take quite awhile before I got to that point.

This was a fun tag to do, so if you are looking for a tag consider yourself tagged!

What Makes a Great Christmas Gift? My Book!

IsThereMore_AmazonDo you have a book-lover on your Christmas list? Looking to give someone a fun and interesting book that will make them rethink the world around them? Want a book that makes you look at the world a bit differently? Like stories similar to Twilight Zone and Black Mirror?

Then you my book, Is There More? ,is the perfect Christmas gift. It is a book of 8 short stories that all explore the world from a different angle. My book is a quick and interesting read.

As one reader put it on Goodreads: “Spinning stories that span lifetimes, Brittney Rz deftly takes readers on a journey through her wild imagination. If you’re a fan of the Twilight Zone and stories with surprising-yet-satisfying twists, you’re going to love “Is There More…?”’

Is There More? is available as a paperback and an e-book as well. Be sure to check it out on Amazon! And if you enjoy it or those you share it with enjoy it a review is always appreciated!

Thank you and have a great holiday and a Happy New Year!

Squint – Review – Jack Kardiac

51ep5qKxHYL(Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own).

Ten stories that as you read you get a feeling something is different, a feeling that you aren’t getting the full picture. A collection of short stories that as you reach the end you realize that you were only seeing a small portion of the story. You finish a story and want to go back and reread, hoping to pick up on the little details you missed the first time. Ten stories that by the end you have something to think about.

What I loved:

I was interested immediately in the collection when it began with a prologue. I am not used to seeing prolongs in a collection of short stories. I usually attribute a prologue to something setting up pieces later for a story. I was interested to see how a prologue worked in a short story collection.

The prologue set up the fact that all these stories take place in the same universe, or at least most seemed to. I wasn’t expecting for this greater connection. I not only enjoyed the overarching redemption storyline but I also liked the little nods to stories that had taken place previously. I liked to be able to say, “Oh yeah, I remember her or that incident.” These little call backs were fun and kept me reading because I wanted to see how things would connect further.

I also really enjoyed some of the twists in the story. There were a number of stories that you didn’t quite understand what you were reading until the end. Then I got what it was about and was eager to go back and find the clue that I missed earlier. Any story that keeps you wondering and has a satisfactory reveal is always fun.

What I was just okay with:

I am not an overly religious person. I am not an atheist but I don’t talk about religion often and I don’t connect life events to a religious meaning. This might be why the religious undertones sometimes threw me out of the story.

I won’t say it was too much, it wasn’t preachy. I am always hesitant to read stories that have religious overtones because I worry that it will become preachy and make me feel like I am being lectured. This collection didn’t do that until probably the last story. That one was the wrap up story and I understood why it made use of religion as it did but I just didn’t find myself as enthralled by the story as I was with the rest of the them.

I think most of the talk about God and spiritual connections was wrapped up in the stories well. It made sense most of the time. It was just personally for me I felt myself pulled out once in awhile.

What I wished was different:

This is another personal preference thing. I always enjoy author notes about their stories but for I wish they were in an appendix at the end of the collection. I feel like the explanations take me out of the world, especially with this collection because they were all  connected. If I want to know more about the inspiration for a story I will go and read the explanation. If I am satisfied with how I read the story I may not read the explanation. I know I could skip the those but being right in front of my face I feel drawn to at leas scan them. For me, I just prefer the explanations at the very end.
I gave this collection four stars out of five on Goodreads. I enjoyed it. I liked the twists. I liked that they were all connected in some fashion. It was a quick and enjoyable read.

If you are interested in this collection there are a few giveaways and promotions that the author is currently running.

Amazon giveaway, 10 ebooks which ends on Nov. 22nd.

Goodreads giveaway, 5 paperbacks which ends on Nov. 24th.

Kindle Free promotion on Nov. 22nd and Nov. 23rd.

So if this collection sounds interesting to you, take advantage of any or all of these promotions! Or if you want to purchase it outright, be sure to check it out on Amazon.

WWBookclub Prisoner of Azkaban questions

I recently finish a re-read of the Prisoner of Azkaban after getting the illustrated version. I decided to choose a handful of the Wizard World Book club questions for Prisoner of Azbakan and answer them instead of choosing just one. 

 

274794_1311712503065_300_314Why does Lupin ask Neville to face the Boggart?

Lupin is one of the those people who can see past the outer facade of someone. He was able to see past Neville’s timid self. He saw past the self-doubt and fear. He saw the true potential that Neville held.

Lupin knew that Neville had power inside of himself. He knew that Neville just had to see himself succeed. Once Neville was able to stand up to his fear, he started on a path to becoming the Neville we see at the end of the series. I believe this moment gave Neville a test of what he could do and who he could become. In the end he learned that anyone, no matter their past, can face their fears and succeed.

QpZNtWhy is Harry so determined to prefect his Patronous?

The Patronous is a tool against something that terrifies Harry. The Dementors are a fear that at first he can’t see a way around. They pulled him down and he didn’t see how to make them go away.

He wants his Patronous perfect so that he can banish these things that bring him down. Harry can’t let anything defeat or hurt him. He needs power over these creatures. He can’t and he won’t let them rule him or over him. His Patronous gives him his power back.

Harry_Potter_and_the_Prisoner_of_Azkaban_(US_cover)Is Snape right to draw comparisons between Harry and James?

Snape can’t help but draw comparison. Harry is Jame’s son. It is natural to look at someone’s child and see their parent. People tend to look for traits so that they can say, “You are just like your father/mother.”

Snape sees Harry’s reckless behavior and sees a man that used to torment him. He sees a similar strong attitude, an attitude that makes him wonder if Harry is heading down a similar path to his father. Harry isn’t as arrogant as James but Harry does hold an opinion about himself, one he won’t let anyone change.

Harry disregards rules like James and his friends did. Snape sees these traits and draws an easy comparison. I don’t think it is a question of right or wrong. I think it is more of asking, can Snape see the difference between the two people?

581313c6c1b88058d834c695529b7d8c--harry-potter-professors-harry-potter-worldIs Hermione close-minded as Trewlaney suggest?

Hermione is not necessarily close-minded. She is open to new things, she accepts Lupin, sticks up for house-elves and tries to not judge people too quickly. She can open her mind when necessary. What she can’t do is believe in something she can’t prove.

Hermione is someone who needs facts and figures. She needs to see the details, and be able to use evidence to prove something. She needs books to supply her with knowledge and lessons.

Divination takes a bit of ability to go beyond facts and figures. You have to believe a bit in what you can’t tangibly understand with book knowledge. Hermione can’t do that. She can’t work with something that can’t be learned from books.

I wouldn’t say she is close-minded but she is hesitant to go with what she can’t learn and prefect.

DH-Promotional-Picture-draco-malfoy-27114107-960-1280Has Malfoy inherited the grudges he bears from his father?

I would say in a way, yes. Malfoy grew up with a mindset drilled into his head. He was taught that Muggleborns are beneath him. He was raised thinking his family name made him important. He believes this because of his father.

During his time at school he starts to see the difference in what is real and what his father has drilled into him. He sees the way attitudes are different. By book six and seven we see Malfoy becoming detached with his father’s way of thinking and acting. He begins to doubt the way he was told to understand the world.

HpBpHDo the Marauders trust each other?

In school, yes they did. They had no reason not to. Once they learned each other’s secrets, they learned who they were. They helped one another and in that process formed a strong bond. A bond that made them put all their trust into one another.

As they grew up and life got darker, misgivings snuck into their thoughts. They were in the middle of a war where no one knew who they could trust or not trust. People who never seemed evil were being caught as Death Eaters and hurting others. Even their strong bond began to crumble a little bit.

To keep Lily and James safe, they had to hide all they could from everyone. It was a dark and scary time, it was natural for them to wonder about the people around them. I think though that true trust between Sirius, James and Lupin was unbreakable.

NaNoWriMo 2017

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It is that time of year again! NaNoWriMo is right around the corner and this year is going to be a serious challenge for me. For those of you who have no idea what NaNoWriMo means, it stands for National Novel Writing Month. It is a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in a month in November.

I have been doing NaNoWriMo since 2012. I have only “won” twice, in 2014 and 2015. I have written a number of draft for novels though none have quite gotten past the initial draft stage. I use NaNo as a time to get as much of the idea onto paper as I can. Sometimes the stories just get stuck and I have to place them to the side until I can determine if they have anything to them.

Winning NaNo is difficult. You start off full of determination but as the month wears on you realize that writing a novel in a month is not easy. Many people get stuck in the middle and have no idea how to move forward. You get that beginning moving and when you hit the middle everything comes to a screaming halt.

Or you set up a schedule and in the end figure out that it just will not work for every day. One you miss that first day of words you find yourself trying to catch up and sometimes it just seems nearly impossible. The two times I have “won” I have been working until the last day. The years I have not won is because I get behind and can’t close that gap.

I love doing NaNo because I love the challenge. It pushes me to get as much of my novel done as I can. I need to get as many words down as I can throughout the month. I also make it more of a challenge for myself because of the fact that I hand write everything then type it up. Sometimes I think that makes it that much harder for myself.

This year will be my biggest challenge because I currently work two jobs and finding time to write has been difficult. I want to use November to see how I can better use my time. I know that “winning” this year may not be in the cards. I have two major work events in the middle of the month and then there is Thanksgiving and a shopping day with my brother. So I know there will be at least 4 days where I will get almost no writing done. But I want to see what I can do.

The best part of NaNo is that there is no real way to lose, unless you never start I guess. As long you get something written and get that work moving then it is worth the time. You may not get 50,000 words done but getting any words one the paper is what counts. Novels don’t get written by thinking about the story, they have to become physical for anyone to read them. NaNo helps give that push in order for you to get started. Once you have something on paper you have something work with.

This year I am going to be working on the novel I have been working on for two years now. It is about a world where alternate universe are kept in books and timelines, every choice made results is a new life and new world. Callie is in charge of keeping everything in order but once The Voices threaten her life and sanity she runs, leaving things to deteriorate. A group of people whose lives begin to devolve because of her choice must find her and put life right again.

I love the idea and have been struggling with particulars of it. Some pieces don’t fit and I have had trouble explain other aspects. Recently I rethought a huge portion of the story, got rid of a useless character and I now think I have it in a position where it can really roll. I am going to use NaNo to push this story as far as I can and see where I end up.

Who else is taking on this challenge in November? If you need a writing buddy find me on the site, my username is Shmibby. I would love to have some virtual writing friends to work on this with.

Good Luck to all those doing NaNoWriMo this year!

The A-Z Book Tag

I saw this tag over on Mud and Stars Book Blog and thought it looked fun. It is going to be a minute before I finish my next book for a review so I thought this would be fun to do in-between.

Author You’ve Read the Most Books From:

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I have a few authors I follow but I would have to say that J.K. Rowling is the one I have read the most books from. I have literally read all that she has written including all the original things put out on Pottermore. There is a slight obsession there.

Best Sequel Ever:

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I would have to say Conjuring of Light, which is the last book in the Darker Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab. I loved how well it wrapped up the story. It left me wanting a bit more and I am super excited for her new story in that universe!

Currently Reading:

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As of this typing I am actually between books but I plan on starting The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. It is the last book in “The Cemetery of Forgotten Books” series. Though I plan on starting that and then putting it aside to move to the illustrated version of the the third Harry Potter book this weekend.

Drink of Choice while Reading:

I don’t have anything that I specifically drink. I am usually reading at home and I almost always drink milk while at home. So milk would probably be the most common thing I drink while reading.

E-reader or Physical Book?

I am a physical book person all the way. I have nothing against e-readers, if it allows someone to read better I am all for it. I just can’t focus on a screen for a long period of time. I also need the feeling of a book in my hands and the ability to pull it off my shelf.

Fictional character you probably would have Dated while in High School?

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This one is tough because I don’t usually think about myself dating anyone in the books that I read. I usually pair them up with other characters and not myself. In high school I probably would have dated someone like Simon from Mortal Instruments, sweet yet dorky.

Glad You Gave this Book a Chance:

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The one that comes to mind is one I recently finished, The Angle’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I was intrigued by the initial concept and ended up becoming engrossed in it. It has a mysterious air that was interesting. Thought I read the first book in the series and I am not sure what I think about it compared to The Angel’s Game.

Hidden Gem Book:

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We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson. I picked up this book because of the alien plot but it turned out to be so much more. It is one my favorite books of all time. It is deep and emotional and sweet and a fantastic story. It does not get the attention it deserves

Important Moment in your Reading Life:

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This is easy, the moment I picked up the first Harry Potter book. I always enjoyed reading but I don’t know if my love would have become as deep without those books. I also don’t know if I would have become as passionate about writing without those books.

Just Finished:

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The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. It an intriguing mystery but I wasn’t as thrilled about it as I wanted to be. I was expecting more from it and it confused the timeline for the series.

Kind of Books you Won’t Read:

I won’t say there is anything that I absolutely will not read but there a few genres I am not thrilled with. I don’t generally read nonfiction biographies unless I am super interested in the person. I also tend to have an issue with romance novels unless it has a supernatural twist to it. I like the more fantastic genres because they tend to give me something I can’t find in the real world.

Longest Book You’ve Read:

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I think that would probably be Gone with the Wind when I was in junior high. I remember it being about 1000 pages. It was super long and I was not thrilled with it but was determined to finish it. I also remember that the liberian got on my case because it took me so long to read. It wasn’t like it was on a waiting list so I don’t know what her issue was.

Major Book Hangover Because of:

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Most recently my book hangover came from They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera. I knew where the book was going and how it would play out but I was so hoping it would be different. I was just emotionally drained at the end.

Number of Bookcases you Own:

In my apartment I currently have 4 that are completely full. I need another one but I am running out of room for more shelves.

One Book You have Read Multiple Times

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Harry Potter is my obvious choice but the other would be the Everworld Series by Katherine Applegate. I read these all the time as a teenager. I loved the characters and the story was original and fun. I am a bit worried about reading them now though, hoping they don’t lose their magic as I age.

Preferred Place to Read:

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There is nothing better than reading in bed with my cat curled up on my lap fast asleep.

Quotes that Inspires You/Gives You all the Feels from a Book You’ve Read:

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I have a number from Harry Potter but my favorite has to be from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. “It is our choices Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

Reading Regret:

I am not sure I have that many reading regrets. I would have to say I regret ever feeling ashamed of loving to read. In school I did get teased about it often and sometimes it got to me but in the end it never dampened my love for books. In reality it probably made me love reading more.

Series You Started and Need to Finish:

I rarely don’t finish a series. I am very intent on making sure that I read a series right through. I am technically in the middle of the Cemetery of Forgotten books series by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I paused it in order to read the illustrated version of the third Harry Potter book, but will go back to it soon.

Three of Your All Time Favorite Books:

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson. I could read all of those books multiple times.

Unapologetic Fangirl for:

Harry Potter is obvious but I also adore Malec from the Shadowhunter series. Magnus and Alec are just adorable to me. I have also become a serious fangirl for anything V.E. Schwab and Adam Silvera write.

Very Excited for This Release More than All Others:

Hmmm, I am trying to think of what is coming out soon. I think either Shaun David Hutchinson’s new book The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza or the Malec series that Cassandra Clare is supposed to be writing.

Worst Bookish Habit:

I tend to lose bookmarks and thus always dog-ear a book. I know that some readers detest people who dog-ear but it doesn’t actually bug me. I just wish I didn’t lose a bookmark between books. I always use it for one book then lose it before starting the next one.

X Marks the Spot: Start at the Top Left of Your Shelf and Pick the 27th Book:

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I am too lazy to get up and go through any of my four bookshelves so I put my Goodreads shelf on random and counted the 27th on that list, Depths of Time by Roger MacBride Allen. I haven’t read it in a while but I do remember it being a good time-travel book.

Your Latest Book Purchase:

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Just recently I went book shopping with my mom for an earlier birthday. I bought a number of books but the one I was most excited for, beside the illustrated version of the third Harry Potter book, was Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. I have heard great things about this one so I am eager to start it soon.

ZZZ-Snater Book (The Last Book that Kept You Up WAY Late):

I think that was finishing The Angle’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I had to figure out how it ended, though I wasn’t sure how to understand the ending. I am still not sure how it works in the whole series yet either.

I am not going to tag anyone, just if you are bored this was fun to do. What are your opinions on some of the books I mentioned?

 

 

They Both Die at the End – Adam Silvera – Review

1487621303004What would you do if you knew today was your last day to live? You will die before the day is over, there is no way around your fate. Would you live the life you always wanted to live? Would you open yourself up to a complete stranger? They Both Die at the End explores this idea through a bittersweet tale that will make you smile and cry at the same time.

Mateo and Rufus have both received their Death-Cast call. They will die within the next 24 hours. Mateo becomes trapped by fear in his apartment, afraid to take a step outside and truly live for his last day. While Rufus, a foster child, has lost himself in grief and survivors guilt after surviving the car crash that killed his family. He has no idea who he is anymore but he is determined to live his last day as the person he always wanted to be and not as the one other’s have started to see him as.

They both turn to the Last Friend App to find someone to live their last hours with. Together they extract their real selves from one another. Mateo puts fear aside and truly lives. Rufus lets go of his guilt and shows his true soft and loving side that got lost in the tragedy. They find not only friendship but love and a connection with one another on their last day.

What I loved:

Adam Silvera is the king of emotion. He knows how to invoke that tightness in the chest and that sting of tears in the eye. He knows how to create heartache from sadness and a bittersweet pull as well. He is among a handful of authors who make me fall into my emotions. It is rare I feel so connected to a set of characters. I desperately wanted this to end differently.

Mateo and Rufus were so well written. It is difficult to create round and dynamic characters with only one day of time to work with. Both of these characters start off one way and do a complete turn around by the end. In less than 24 hours Silvera manages to bring both of these boys out of hiding and put them into the lives they were always meant to live.

Mateo is lost and scared. He is a little obsessive. He is scared to experience life. He has no support system life, his mother having died giving birth to him and his dad in a coma.He would have stayed inside, letting his last day slip away.

Instead he uses the Last Friend App to find someone to spend the day with. He wanted to truly live but he doesn’t know that in this last day he will end up living the life he always dreamed of living.

Watching Mateo open up and be purely happy was sweet and heart wrenching at the same time. I felt a rock on my heart knowing he couldn’t get to truly live with this new side of himself. I imagined him making it though the day and becoming this full and whole person.

I felt connected to Mateo. I have always had a fear of taking risks and experiencing the world. His fear hit close to home for me. I have recently walked outside my fears and the feeling is freeing and exhilarating. I wanted Mateo to feel that full experience and see how awesome life can be.

Rufus is lost in his grief. He survived a crash that killed his family. He doesn’t know what to do with himself. He lashes out and hurts other without meaning to. He is lost and scared, much like Mateo.

Watching him push off that guilt and live with Mateo was exhilarating. He showed Mateo that he was a kind soul. He was able to show that he was someone to be loved. His transformation was satisfying. I wanted him to be able to show the world who he truly was. Knowing he wouldn’t leave that impression with everyone was hard to read.

I also really enjoyed the short snippets from other lives that we saw in the story. Each one had some small connection to Rufus and Mateo. Not all the connections ended well but it was this glimpse at how connected everyone in life is. No one exists in a vacuum. We touch lives in some way everyday.

I thought this was a nice touch to alleviate some of the pain and sorrow that clouded the story. The idea that we got to take a step away from the story for a moment and recollect and see that life went on for the people was a good way to ease some of the heavier emotions in this story.

What I was just okay with:

The only thing I was sort of only okay was the concept of Death-Cast itself.  There is no explanation of how it works, which bugged me for the beginning of the story. I found myself asking questions about it but once I got into the story I realized it didn’t matter how it worked. Death-Cast wasn’t the main element of the story, it was the vehicle by which these boys were able to change. The story was about two boys connecting and living while discovering love and was not about the technology itself.

What I wished was different:

I honestly wouldn’t change anything in this tory. I read it in 3 days. There was nothing that help me back or anything that I couldn’t manage to get past. Even the insta-love aspect didn’t hold me back because of the finite time line that we were working inside of.

 

I gave this 5 stars on Goodreads. If you want a story about living life to its fullest, young love and finding your true self you will love They Both Die at the End.

 

Quotes:

“It’s just the fear of disappointing others or making a fool of myself always wins.” (pg.109)

“I may not be able to cure cancer or end world hunger, but small kindnesses go a long way.” (pg. 126)

“Entire lives aren’t lessons, but there are lessons in lives.” ( pg. 334)

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