April was a decent month for me. I read give books and a short story. I also made some progress on a short story I am working on. I want to push myself writing more in the month of May.
April was a super busy time at work for me, we have three huge events between April and the first week of May so I have been coming home quite tired and with no drive to do much but relax. After the first week of May though work life should calm a little which will allow me to have more energy to do more work when I come home.
I am still 5 books ahead of my Goodreads challenge which is exciting. I am currently at 18 books read for the year. I also went only a small book buying binge this month.
The Raven King – Maggie Stiefvater- This was the final book in the Raven Cycle series and I enjoyed it. I found the ending a bit odd and vague which left me a bit indifferent to it. I did enjoy the way the character wrapped up but the story itself left me feeling a bit up in the air.
Opal – Maggie Stiefvater – This was a short story about Opal. I enjoyed this one a lot. I think it provided some answers I was missing form The Raven King. I also really enjoyed the deeper look at Ronan and provided a bit of an idea of what his series is going to look like.
Origin – Dan Brown – I had high hopes for this one. In the end it let me down in a lot of ways. I missed the ties to the historical aspects of his previous novels. I also missed the sense of adventure and the ‘”twist” at the end was predictable.
A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness – This was a somber read. I liked it and thought the way it deal with a very heavy subject was great. I think it gave real humanity to situation that can feel so uncontrollable.
Scythe – Neil Shusterman – This was so much fun to read. I loved the concept of the reapers and exploring what it truly means to be immortal. I also loved the look at the moral dilemma of taking lives and what that means for the people who have to do it.
Thunderhead – Neil Shusterman – This was a ride of a book. That ending left me dying to know what happens next. I don’t know how I am going to be able to wait until the last book gets published!
Love Simon – Movie Review
Reading Helped Shape Who I am
Down the TBR Hole #4
Blue Lily, Lily Blue – Maggie Stiefvater
Origin – Dan Brown
The Raven King – Maggie Stiefvater
Book tag: How deep is your book addiction?
How Well Does Goodreads Know Me?
Leah and the Offbeat – Becky Albertelli – This is a sort of sequel to Simon and The Homo-Sapiens Agenda and I am super excited to read it.
Dread Nation– Justine Ireland – I have been hearing fantastic things about this one and I am eager to see how it holds up to the reviews and recommendations I have read.
Circe – Madeline Miller – I am a sucker for anything related to mythology. I think is going to be a fun and different read.
“Hogwarts Mystery” – I downloaded this on my phone and have been playing it off and on all week. It is fun though I do see it starting to get a bit repetitive. I am interested though where the story goes. It is one that requires “energy” to do things so you have to wait for it to recharge before you can continue with the game. This is a great feature for me because it forces me to put the phone down and accomplish something while waiting.
How was your April? Any new books you recommend? New TV show? New movies? New games?
The Wizarding World Book Club has moved onto Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets. The questions for the rest of book one were alright but none of them sparked any discussion post ideas for me.
From the week of August 4th there were two questions that interested me. Both of them centered around the concept of home and how it is defined. Home is one of those words that has numerous definitions. For most it is a house but it does not always have to be. A lot of the times people talk about the difference between a house and a home. The house is the building you go to at the end of the day whereas a home is where you feel safe and loved. Both of the questions from this week center around how Harry and Ron define home.
The first question was pretty simple to answer; “Why is The Burrow so appealing to Harry?” The Burrow is appealing to Harry because it contains what the Dursley’s house does not, love. The crooked structure contains a family that adores and loves one another.
Harry grew up with nothing but anger and disdain thrown his way. No one wanted him around, no one gave him a second thought, no one cared about him. He had no purpose and no power in the Dursley household. He just made it day to day. Privet Drive was just house to Harry, somewhere for him to sleep and eat.
Harry meets the Weasley and realized that life could be better. He is welcomed into their home and their family with a smile and a hug. Mrs. Weasley treats him as one of her own. He is treated as someone who matters, someone who has a life that matters.
The Burrow itself is falling apart, it is crooked and nowhere near perfect, but it is what is on the inside that matters. Ron is ashamed of his house, not realizing what it means for Harry.
The way Ron talks about The Burrow reminds me of the way my parents talk about my childhood home. It is too cramped, dirty and broken. To me and Harry all those marks and scars are what make the building a home. It represents a family, a safe place and love. When I go home I am content and happy no matter what dishes are in the sink or what holes are in a door. It is somewhere where I am wanted and loved and I think it is the same for Harry. For Harry The Burrow is the definition of what a home means, it contains love and comfort and makes Harry feel safe and wanted.
The second question was a little tricker and required a bit more thought. “Where do you think Ron feels most at home?” I don’t think there is a particular place where Ron feels at home. I think it is more about the people that around Ron and what they make him feel. For him most of the time he is at home when he is with Harry and Hermione.
Ron grew up overshadowed by his siblings. He never got a real chance to stand out. We see in the first book that when he looks into The Mirror of Erised he sees himself the best of all his brothers and sister. On top of that he has a piece of himself that feels ashamed for his family’s status.
Unlike Harry The Burrow isn’t Ron’s favorite place. It isn’t a bad place to him, he loves his family and he knows that he is safe at The Burrow. When he is at The Burrow he is reminded of the people that overshadowed him. It is a safe place but it isn’t a place where he can find who he truly is.
When Ron is with Hermione and Harry he is able to stand out. Ron has a place and a purpose inside their group. He is not just a name in the middle of a giant family. He is an essential part of the group. I think for him that is where he feels most a home, a place and time where he feels like he matters, is wanted and needed and can make a difference.
In the end Harry and Ron were able to provide homes to each other. Both of them felt loss and powerless at the time when they met and in the end they gave each other places where to they could feel safe, wanted, cared for and needed.
My obsession with Harry Potter is not a secret. When Pottermore announced that they were going to start a Harry Potter book club a few months ago I was excited. One of my friends saw the announcement and passed it on to me. It sounded like a perfect place for me to geek out about Harry Potter with fellows Potterheads.
The bookclub officially started in mid-June, unfortunately for me it is limited to a Twitter chat (as of right now). The chat takes place on Friday at 11am which is when I am at work (damn bills needing to be paid!). So I can’t take part in the official chat. I glanced through the feed though and saw that some of the questions they asked were interesting.
After looking through the chat I decided that, once in a while, I am going to do blog posts on the questions that I really like or have a strong opinion about. It won’t be something I do every week, just when I like the questions asked. I figured this would be a fun way for me to still take part in the idea of the bookclub in some way.
The way it appears to be working is that they are going to break the books down into small sections. Last Friday was the first few chapter of the first book. They had three questions that they asked and the question that I found the most interesting was “Why do you think the Dursleys are so afraid of magic?”
From the first chapter I knew that the Dursleys were going to be people who feared and detested anything that was different or unexplainable to them. I knew that they were going to be people who liked life one way and one way only. Vernon came off as the worst of the three of them.
They are the kind of people who believe the world should run in a way that they can define and understand. If something different happens or comes up that is beyond their comprehension they want it gone. The last thing they want to do is learn a new way of life. For Vernon, especially if he can’t define it, it is dangerous.
The Dursleys are the type of people who don’t want to learn anything new. They don’t want to find out that their way of thinking may be wrong. To them the “other” is wrong and thus dangerous. Unfortunately today this attitude is all too prevalent.
I feel like Vernon was always this type of person from when he was a child. I feel like he grew up thinking he was superior and looking down on anyone different than him. Whereas Petunia was more open-minded at one time but jealously and resentment clouded that aspect of her personality. She was so hurt to not be a witch and to be rejected by Hogwarts that she internalized that anger and turned it into fear.
She met Vernon who thought in that narrow minded way and it fit in with her anger. He allowed her to build this wall and then hide behind it. She didn’t have to deal with why she was upset and angry, instead she made it so that the wizarding world and magic were to blame. She fell into this blackhole of fear and anger. It became so deep that it took having to hide and leave Harry behind to even begin to crack that exterior.
Dudley is his parents son and we know he inherited their narrow-mind set and fear of the “other.” Though his parting words with Harry showed that redemption is possible; if he wanted it.
Why do you think that the Dursleys fear magic?
I was excited when I heard that there was going to be another Harry Potter movie. When we first learned about it all I knew was that it was going to be written by J.K. Rowling and it was going to center around Newt Scamander the author of the book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, (which is a school book of Harry’s). I had no idea what a movie about that book could actually be about.
Over the months before the movie came out I still had no idea what the movie was going to be about. I knew that the creatures got out and seemed to be wreak havoc on New York. I wondered if that was going to be it. Was it just going to be a fun novelty movie but not much more to it? I wondered how it was going to tie into what we already know about the Harry Potter world, if it was going to tie in at all.
To be honest I was a little worried that it was going to feel like a whole separate world and story. I adore the Harry Potter series, as I have stated before in a number of reviews. I knew this story took place years before Harry was even born, it was even before his parents. I wondered if it would feel like a Harry Potter story or just a fun fantasy adventure. But I had my trust in J.K. Rowling and she did not disappoint me.
The movie is about Newt coming to New York in order to release one of his creatures back to the wild. While there his case, full of all the creatures he has collected over the years, gets mixed up with a No-Mag (or what Americans call non-magical people). Three of the creatures get out and start running around the city.
Newt runs into a wannabe Aurora, Porpentina Goldstein (though everyone calls her Goldstein), and her sister Queenie. They join together with the No-Maj, Jacob Kowalski to find the missing creatures. Through their adventures they stumble upon more important mysteries and twists.
I won’t reveal too much more about the plot because I don’t want to ruin the experience of the movie for anyone. It is so much fun to watch it, not knowing how things tie together and finding the easter eggs about the Harry Potter world we already know.
The reason I loved the movie so much is because it sets up a story for the rest of the films. If the films continue down the road they are heading we are going to get a very interesting story. The main arc connects in with a pretty big part of the later part of the Harry Potter series. It sets up a history for a character we know slightly and seems to be furthering a story of a character we all love. There is so much potential in place.
I cannot wait to see where this series goes. I am excited because it feels like I am right back in the world that I have loved for ages. We are getting history without it feeling forced. She is setting up a fun story, with an expanded world and tying it right back into what we already know. This movie is giving us a way to enter back into this world and explore the history of it even further.
If you enjoy fantasy movies, with action, comedy and some fun animals you will enjoy this movie. You don’t have to be a Potterhead to appreciate this story. You don’t have to know much more than the very basics of Harry Potter appreciate the fun that is this movie.
If you are a Harry Potter fanatic like me you will love this movie. You will pick up on little things that other people won’t know. And after seeing it once you will want to see it again to see how subtle things change when you know everything that is going on. You will enjoy the way it builds on the stories and characters we already know while creating a new world for us to explore.
I am hoping to see the movie again sometime soon. After I see it again I may end up writing a theory piece about what I think is going to happen in the future movies. I already have an idea of where the story may go and if I am anywhere close to right, it will be a great series.
(This is full of spoilers. If you have not finished The Cursed Child yet then stop reading now. I couldn’t find a way to talk about it without spoilers. You have been warned!)
When I heard there was going to be a Harry Potter play I was excited yet sad at the same time. The possibility of me actually being able to see the play was next to nothing. There is no way I can afford to go to London and I had no idea if/when it would come to the U.S. And when it does come here who knows if it would be possible to get tickets or if they would be affordable. So when I heard they were going to release the script in book format I was super excited. I have been anticipating this for months now. All I wanted was to be able to read the story.
I went to a midnight released event for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I felt like I had gone back ten years to the release of the final book. I went with my best friend, mom and brother. I was once again surrounded by Harry Potter enthusiasts and it was a great feeling. Not only have I missed the Harry Potter world but I have also missed the air of excitement and anticipation for a new story/book.
I read the whole thing in one sitting. I have many thoughts about the story so this does get a bit long. This will probably be one of my longest reviews, but I have so much to say about this story.
I wanted to start off by saying that I ultimately loved this story. I loved the greater depth we got to some of favorite old characters as well as meeting some new ones. I thought the story did a great job of introducing us to the next generation of Hogwarts students. One of my favorite aspects of stories is the characters and this script delivered on that. There were some plot points I had some trouble with but more on that later.
I do think that there is something missed from this story by just reading the script. Plays are meant to be watched not just read. I think portions would have had a bigger impact watching the action take place. I got a good feeling for the story but I think it would truly come alive seeing it performed. I hope that one day I am able to see it live and then compare it to my reading of the story.
Cursed Child takes place exactly where the seventh book ended. The opening scene is actually part of the epilogue. Albus Severus Potter is off to his first day at Hogwarts. He says good-bye to his parents and he and his cousin Rose head off down the train to find somewhere to sit. They encounter Scorpius Malfoy.
Rose is reluctant to stay around him. Both her and Albus know the history their parents have with the Malfoys. They also know the rumors about Scorpious being Voldemort’s child. Rose doesn’t want to stay but Albus does. Albus and Scorpius become fast friends.
Albus gets to Hogwarts and he is sorted into Slytherin which creates a rift between him and Rose as well as the rest of the kids in the school. The play does a quick pass through time going through Albus’s first four years at Hogwarts. We learn quickly that Hogwarts isn’t a sanctuary for Albus like it was for Harry. Albus is ignored and bullied. His only friend is Scorpius.
Albus is not popular like Harry. He is not a great student and he is not athletic. He is an outcast at school and at home he doesn’t feel much better. Him and Harry do not have the closest relationship. Harry is having trouble understanding Albus.
After a huge fight between Albus and Harry, Albus decided he needs to right a wrong of Harry’s past, which hopefully will change his relationship with his father. Albus decides that they need to save Cedric Diggory.
Albus and Scorpius steal the last remaining Time Turner and use it to go back and try to save Cedric. As always happens with trips through time, things do not go as planned. They try two different times to save Cedric and end up making a bigger and bigger mess. They work to fix it and in the process learn that the whole thing was being manipulated by a woman called Delphi, who they think is Cedric’s cousin. Turns out she is actually Voldemort’s daughter and she is intent on saving him and meeting her father. Albus, Scorpious, Harry and the others all work together to stop Delphi and in the process Harry and Albus learn how to understand one another and begin to repair their relationship.That is the basics of the plot.
At the end of the seventh book Harry and Albus have a discussion about Albus’s fear of being placed in Slytherin. After their talk I thought that Albus would ask to be in Gryffindor just like Harry did. I did not expect him to end up in Slytherin, but he did. I love that Albus is in Slytherin. That is probably one of my favorite parts of the story.
People have a misconception about Slytherin, one that J.K. Rowling is constantly trying to change. The idea that Slytherin is full of dark or evil wizards is warrented. In the books we are told that the most dark wizards have come from Slytherin. Many of the characters we dislike are in Slytherin. But Slytherin house is not a bad house, there is nothing inherently wrong with the people in that house.
Slytherins are ambitious, stubborn, and cunning people. They will do whatever they have to do in order to get what they want. They do not back down easily. None of those are bad traits. They are traits though that can be used in the wrong way if they are allowed to go in that direction. Because Slytherin’s have some more extreme traits they tend to be the darker wizards but making Albus a Slytherin does a lot to change this idea.
We get to see that there is nothing wrong with this house. Albus is not evil. Scorpius is not either. It helps to show that each person is an individual. Just because your family has a certain leaning toward a house or set of traits does not mean you have to be same way. Everyone is different. Albus is a good kid, and him being in Slytherin will help adjust the attitude that may permeate about that house.
One of my new favorite character is Scorpius Malfoy. Scorpius is funny and has some of the best lines in the play. He is not like Draco, a lot like Albus is not that much like Harry. Scorpius is the smarter one of the two of them, he is a bookworm and has great grades. He is the perfect pair to Albus. I love their friendship. I also love what their friendship does for Draco and Harry’s relationship.
Draco and Harry have not become friends over the last 19 years. They tolerate each other’s presence. Throughout the story they have to work together in order to find and help their children. They have arguments, but in the end they realize that they have some things in common. Both are having trouble relating and reaching their sons. Both have certain expectations for their children and both are having an issue connecting to their child.
Parents tend to envision certain lives for their children. They see them as a certain profession, or see them getting great grades and having lots of friends. Some see their children as hugely successful or similar to themselves when they were children. One of the most difficult things for a parent is to take a step back and see the child they have in front of them. Some can do this (my parents did a great job at it) while others have trouble reconciling their imaginary child and the child they have in front of them.
This is the main thing Harry is dealing with in this story. Harry has three children, James, Lily and Albus. He seems able to connect with James and Lily. Albus is an enigma to him and they can’t find common ground. Not only is Albus a Slytherin but he hates Hogwarts, is not popular, not a great student and is not athletic. He is a loner and Harry can’t understand how Albus go to this point.
One of the problems is Harry doesn’t listen to Albus. He keeps getting frustrated with his son and he thinks he knows best. He doesn’t understand why Albus won’t listen and do what he says. He can’t reach his son and he makes some bad decisions along the way.
By the end of the play he has to put his expectations and images of Albus aside and see Albus for who he is. They are in fact much more similar than either is willing to admit. Harry is not perfect. He has always had trouble adjusting his opinion about someone or something. He tends to get an idea in his head and won’t let go. In this play we see that this is something he continues to struggle with no matter how old he has gotten.
Cursed Child also gives us a new way of seeing Draco. Draco’s wife passes away early in the story and he is now a single father. He is struggling to connect with his son just as Harry is. Draco was a character that got much deeper in the last few books and this play just adds more depth to his character.
Draco ends up opening up a bit to Harry in this story which made me like him more than I have ever done before. We see that Draco loved his wife and loves his son. He did not have the greatest example of a father to emulate; and like Harry he is making things up as he goes. Draco does not want to be stereotyped by his past decisions or for his son to suffer for his past.
Harry and Draco will never be best friends but the friendship between their children will help repair past wounds. They can be cordial to each other and even work together when necessary.
This was a great play for characterization. It evolved the characters we know and love and helped us form new connections to new characters. The main plot point, the whole time travel aspect, is where things got a bit complicated.
I love time travel stories. I also love stories that explore the idea of the repercussions of changing things in the past. I was excited to see that this was the main idea of this story. What I found though was my wanting of more details. I know a play can only give you so much detail and explanation to the story. You can’t have a huge amount of time dedicated to explaining how pieces work. I thought this story could have benefited from a bit more detail about how the time travel worked and how the consequences came about.
Albus and Scorpius change history twice trying to save Cedric. The first time they try to make Cedric fail the first task of the Triwizard Tournament. The effects of this one are subtle. Albus is now a Gryffindor. Ron and Hermione aren’t married. Hermione is not Minster of Magic, but a teacher and she is strict and just plain mean.
Harry is also a bit rougher around the edges. He threatens McGonaglla with legal action if she doesn’t do as he wants. He tries to keep Scorpius and Albus separate from one another, all which is very out of character for Harry.
The issue I had with this part was there was little -to-no explanation of why these are the consequences of that change in history. Why is Albus now a Gryffindor? How does his character change because of this? Yes, Hermione went to the Yule Ball with Ron instead of Krum but why did that have such a negative effect on their relationship? Why is Hermione so bitter now?
There is a base line explanation for everything but I felt like I needed a bit more explanation. That may be because I am so close to these characters that I need to know everything about them and how they change. These aren’t characters I just met. I believe I know their behaviors and thoughts and would know how things would change for them.
The second time they humiliate Cedric in the second task. Somehow this makes Cedric become resentful and in the end he becomes a Death Eater. At the Battle of Hogwarts he kills Neville, which means Nagini is not killed and Harry dies in the battle. Voldemort takes over and everything is horrible. Again, I had questions.
Why does Cedric being humiliated end up with him as a Death Eater? And how does that alone put things in place for Vodemort’s take over? Did Cedric blame Harry somehow? I think we do not know enough about Cedric alone to be able to reconcile these changes in a way that made sense to me. Again I think this would have benefited from more details about what happened and why. But I know that is difficult with the time frame of a play.
Then there is the idea of Delphi being Voldemort’s daughter. This was the part I had the most trouble with. It may be that for me Voldemort always seemed like a very asexual person. I did not see him having any real connection with anyone, not enough to create a child. I also can’t put Belletrix into a timeline where she would be pregnant.
This idea was interesting and I would have loved to explore it more. I would have loved to understand better how it happened and if it was just about creating an heir (which makes little sense since Voldemort never planned to die) or if there was more to it. Again I think I desired more details because I am used to getting it with the novels. In a play you can’t do all of that or the whole thing would last hours. There has to be a cut off and some things get left out. The basics are explained for the plot line but I wanted a bit more.
Again I did not dislike this story. I loved the idea. I loved the growth of the characters and the introduction to the new characters. I just think this may have all worked better as either a novella or even a novel. I am also used to a certain way Harry Potter stories are told and this is very different so that may be me trying to adjust to this change.
In the end I loved this addition to the Harry Potter world. I have new favorite characters. I got to see how Harry as an adult, which is nice since I am now an adult myself. I got to go back into the world that I have always loved and adored. This was a great adventure and I do believe that anyone who likes Harry Potter should enjoy this additional story. You get to step back into the magical world and walk alongside some of these fantastic characters yet again.
Thank you to Trisha over at Yellow, Green and Read All over for nominating me for this challenge!
- Thank the person who nominated you
- Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote a day)
- Nominate 3 new bloggers each day
My second quote had to come from one of my favorite book series of all time, and that is Harry Potter. I have a slight obsession with the series and it is one of the main reasons that I became a writer in the first place. I wrote a whole blog post on the series influence to me, called, Why I write…
Dumbledore is the wise character of the stories which is why it is perfect for him to say something like this. He points out his own faults and Harry’s without being demeaning or angry. He recognizes that both those who are older and those who are younger tend to forget how each other sees the world.
I love this quote because we tend to have this issue in our world today. The younger generations think the older generations are out of touch and don’t understand them. While older generations sometimes seem to believe that the younger generation are not as good as they were, or don’t contribute or function as well in society as they did in their time.
What both sides don’t do is learn from each other. I have seen this and I have argued this many times, especially being a waitress. There is plenty we can learn and knowledge we can gain from the older generations. We have to understand that they came from a different time and adjusting to vast changes so quickly can be difficult. Youth always can learn from age.
But Age can always also learn from Youth. The younger generation learns new things and have changing world views, that grow as the world grows and changes. Age can learn from the youth, see the world through their eyes once in awhile, and see a new view on what they thought they knew and understood. The world will continue to change and both youth and age have to change with it. They can help each other learn from the past while learning how to survive and thrive in this ever-changing world.
Nominations- If you have already done this challenge or it doesn’t interest you, no worries, no obligation to take part!