Harry Potter Spells Tag

I saw this great tag on Becky’s Book Blog and I just had to do my own. If you don’t follow her blog, you’re missing out.

Expecto Patronum- A Childhood Book Connected to Good MemoriesImage result for trixie belden booksI remember my mom reading the old Trixie Belden books to me, a chapter a night. I loved those things! Of course, they’re completely dated, but that’s part of the charm.

.Expelliarmus- A Book that Took You By Surprise:

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Daisy Jones & the Six completely blew me away. I read it simply because several bloggers whose taste I trust had raved about it and I am so, so glad I did! (Read my review: here).

Prior Incantato- The Last Book You Read:

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Shadow Frost by Coco Ma. I don’t want to mention to much about it because I’m going to post a review in the next day or so, as soon as I gather my thoughts, but if you’re interested, this book will be available to buy on October first.

Alohamora- A Book that Introduced You to a Genre You Had Not Considered Before:

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I will read pretty much anything, except for romance and erotica, but I guess I’d have to say that The Clockmaker’s Daughter is the first that comes to mind. I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, but this book makes me willing to read outside my usual genres more often.

Riddikulus- A Book that Made You Laugh:

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I haven’t read all of Janet Evanovich’s books (I think I stopped around nineteen or so), but the first few cracked me up. They’re zany fun

.Sonorous- A Book You Think Everyone Should Know About:

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At the risk of sounding like a broken record (yes, I’m aware that phrase dates me), I have to go with the Dragonlance Chronicles. Again. I will never stop suggesting that everyone read these.

Obliviate- A Book or Spoiler You’d Love to Forget Having Read:

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Honestly, I wish I’d never read The Hunting Party. I am not going to say why, because it’s a major spoiler, but I ended up being very, very disappointed. I’m taking a break from that crime/thriller genre for a bit specifically because of this book

Imperio- A Book I had to Read for School:

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Narrowing it down to one book is difficult, but I remember loving the Beowulf unit we did in eleventh grade. I’ve reread that one several times and I still think it’s fantastic.

Crucio- A Book that was Painful to Read:

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This book is a gut-punch. I could not believe what this poor child went through. I cried through most of the book, only finishing because I had to know that things got better.

Avada Kedavra- A Book that Could Kill (interpret as you will):

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I was in danger of choking from laughing too hard. It’s so ridiculous!

Feel free to participate if you want! I would love to read other answers!

Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This book is the engrossing story of the rise- and implosion- of the seventies band Daisy Jones and the Six. It was written so skillfully that I honestly thought it was nonfiction until about two thirds of the way through. I was actually about to look up some of their songs on Youtube when I saw the blurb on the back of the book jacket and realized the band doesn’t really exist.

Told in the band members’ “own words,” it’s written completely in the form of multiple interviews. Each band member (I can’t say “character” because the book feels so much like nonfiction to me) has his or her own separate version of events, the way things would be remembered by actual band members. Each person has their own stuff going on which blends into the band drama during its rise to fame and, ultimately, its ending.

There’s sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll, of course, but it’s much more than that. It tells the story of misunderstood love, learning who you are, hitting rock bottom and where to go from there, and choices. I was enthralled by the entire book, hanging on every word. I hoped for them, got angry when they did something stupid, and was filled with pity when life dumped on them.

This is the first book I’ve read by Reid, but I’m determined to read her others. If they’re half as good as this book, I’m in for a treat. Have you read this? What are your thoughts?

A Map of Days: The Fourth Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

          Warning; this will contain slight spoilers for the previous three books.

I was originally interested in the series because it made use of odd- and sometimes creepy- old photographs. The idea of crafting an entire world around those old photos was incredibly creative. The plot-line of the first few books wrapped up pretty solidly in the third book (Library of Souls), so I didn’t know what to expect in A Map of Days. In this fourth installment, Jacob is back in his home state of Florida, surrounded by people who know nothing about peculiars or wights, and wouldn’t believe him if he told them. The peculiars that went through his adventures with him in the three previous books have shown up out of the blue, and Jacob is asked to give them lessons in “normalization,” so they can pass for children of the present day. What begins as a crash course in being a modern child soon turns dangerous as the peculiars learn secrets about Jacob’s grandfather that send them on a secret mission across the U.S., in and out of the different time loops. There are also several new characters introduced, one of whom is seriously cool.

I felt that Ransom Riggs becomes a better writer with each subsequent book, and this one is by far my favorite. It has a different feel than the others, and the fact that it takes place on a different continent opens Riggs’ world up and makes the stakes feel higher. I also like that it wasn’t just a rehash of the other three books: there are new villains to fight, and new problems to solve. In a lot of ways, it seemed like a treasure hunt: there were clues that needed to be put together, and a lot of second-guessing as far as whose motives were questionable.

This book split the peculiars into a smaller group, which meant each character was able to have more focus put on them. That had both good and bad points for me: Millard was given a lot more attention, which I love because he’s one of my favorites, but Horace wasn’t in it much, completely bumming me out. Millard had several new experiences, though, and there was at least one “aww!” moment for me involving him. The whole Jacob- Emma relationship thing kind of weirds me out, seeing as the third member of the unintentional love triangle involves Jacob’s deceased grandfather. I mean, come on Emma! Maybe try dating outside the family. Thankfully, all that is resolved without becoming the main focus of this book. All in all, despite a few odd moments here and there, I felt this was the best book in the series to date. It’s a fun read, and absolute one-of-a-kind. I’m looking forward to picking up the next book when it releases.

Have you read this series? What are your thoughts?

I Watched it Before I Read it

Like, most readers I know, I prefer to read a book before I see a movie or TV show adaptation, but every once in a while I see the movie first. Usually, it’s because I didn’t realize that whatever I’d seen was based on a book until afterward. So, coming clean: here are a few that I did backwards:The Shining by Stephen King:Image result for the shining movieImage result for the shining bookI saw the movie long before I read the book. I love the movie: it’s good, over the top fun, and Jack Nicholson gave that role everything he had. The book is very different, and I didn’t like it, to be honest. I might have enjoyed it if I had read it before seeing the movie, but Stephen King is real hit-or-miss for me, so it might not have made a difference.The Disaster Artist:Image result for the disaster artist movieImage result for the disaster artist book
The book was on my to be read list for so long that I just kind of forgot about it. I saw the movie, starring James and Dave Franco, and was fascinated. The book is even more engrossing. The biggest difference for me is that Dave Franco portrayed his character as being a very likable, boy-next-door kind of guy. That character, Greg, comes across as a selfish freeloader in the book, which is interesting to me, since Greg helped write it. I recommend both the book and the movie. They’re both fantastic.Whip It:Image result for whip it book Image result for whip it movieThe movie is a blast to watch, full of fun, sassy women. I didn’t realize that it was based on a book until after watching it. I didn’t like the book at all. The main character, Bliss, is such a jerk! I couldn’t connect to her character at all. The movie is much better, in my opinion.Killing Eve:Image result for killing eve bookImage result for killing eveThis show is phenomenal. About a female MI5 officer who realizes the trained assassin everyone is looking for is female long before anyone else does. She enters into a game of cat and mouse with the assassin: but who’s the cat and who’s the mouse? Sandra Oh acted it brilliantly (I believe she won an award for it) and I”m dying to read the books the show is based on. I haven’t gotten to them yet, but I’m hoping to soon.Cirque Du Freak:Image result for cirque du freak movie Image result for cirque du freak  bookI have no idea what about the movie made me want to read the book. It was just sort of “meh” for me. Unfortunately, I felt the same about the book. You win some, you lose some.Catch Me if You Can:Image result for catch me if you can movie Image result for catch me if you can bookI’ve seen this movie so many times! I love how it showcases Leonardo D’Carprio’s ability to portray so many different characters so flawlessly, and Christopher Walken just flat-out rocks. The book is similar to the movie in many ways, with the notable exception of the relationship between Frank and his dad. That was very different in the movie. One thing I do wish they’d put in the movie that they didn’t is that Frank managed to teach at BYU in Utah for a while. I think that’s hilarious since I grew up in Utah. I like both the book and the movie and I suggest you check them both out.And the entire reason I got thinking about the movies I’ve seen first is…The Dirt:Image result for the dirt bookRelated imageI just saw this (sort of: I looked away from a lot of it because. It was incredibly interesting and I’m curious about the book, which I have yet to read. I’m honestly amazed that all the band members are still living, considering the things they did to themselves. Anyway, full disclosure: the movie is pretty harsh and abrasive. Fascinating, but harsh.What are some books that you’ve read after seeing their cinematic adaptations? Thoughts?

Swords, Sorcery, and Self-rescuing Damsels- ARC Review

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Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion. This will be available to buy on April 16th.

This collection of short stories by several fantasy authors all feature strong female lead characters. It was so cool to see how varied the stories and settings were. While I liked some stories more than others, I thoroughly enjoyed the entire book.

I really loved Falcon’s Apprentice, about Marie-Jeanne, a falconer’s daughter whose life changes when she goes on a hunt with the lord of the manor. I thought it was incredibly creative and Marie-Jeanne was a great character to read about because she wasn’t born with special abilities, or with the desire to save the world. She just wanted to make her dad proud. It is the mark of a good author that I was riveted by such a simple tale.

The other short story that really stood out to me was Ashna’s Heart. It was an incredibly interesting tale that touched on subjects of destiny, and how far someone will go to set things right. I really liked that one. It had a fairy tale feel.

This is a solid collection, and now I have new writers to be on the lookout for. This was an entertaining, easy read.

For the Love of Books: Stories of Literary Lives,Banned Books, Author Feuds,Extraordinary Characters, and More by Graham Tarrant- ARC Review

Image result for for the love of books by graham tarrant       Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This book will be available to purchase on June 18th, 2019.

The word “incredible” does not do this book justice: I love, love, love it! Containing a wealth of information, this book is for anyone who loves to read. It’s both entertaining and incredibly informative at the same time. The history of books is just as fascinating as the books themselves. And some authors’ lives are even more sensational than many works of fiction!

Containing everything from the history of different genres to the genesis of popular terms; author feuds (there are a few authors who seem to only be happy if they’re mad at someone) to bizarre deaths; this book has it all. I learned so much that I almost wish I was a social person so that I could quote some of my new knowledge at parties.

I will most definitely be reading it again. This is a book that I want to own in hardback. Not only is it absolutely fascinating, but it will make an excellent addition to my homeschool. The information in the chapters is easily accessible and very well organized.

This book sucked me in and reminded me why I love to read in the first place. I can’t recommend this one enough.

Read it.

In the Shadow of Spindrift House by Mira Grant- ARC Review

Thank you to Netgalley and Subterranean Press for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest opinion. This will be available to buy June 30th.

Edgar Cantero’s Meddling Kids meets The Haunting of Hill House (the Netflix show) in this eerie tale about a grown-up Scobby-esque group wanting to solve one more mystery. Told from the perspective of Harlowe, the orphaned “brains” of the group, this book was more ghost story than mystery.

Harlowe, who isn’t ready to stop being a teen-sleuth and start paying for things like insurance, convinces the rest of the mystery solvers (Andy, Addison, and Kevin) to join her in a “haunted” house, to discover who actually owns it: two of three families are offering a pretty penny to anyone who can find proof of ownership (each hoping it’s theirs). The catch? The whole “haunted” thing. It seems no one has been able to last in the house long enough to discover who owns it.

Mira Grant did a wonderful job of setting an eerie tone, making the house feel like a separate, malevolent character in its own right. Her choice of wording, especially in the first couple of chapters, was perfect. She chose atmospheric horror over gobs of gore, which was fantastic for this sort of book.

I actually felt that the house was a more developed character than any of the actual people in this book- including Harlowe, unfortunately. I liked Kevin, but I felt that none of the characters were fully realized or grew at all.

The reason for this could be that this book wasn’t all that long. It could have benefited from an extra hundred pages or so. That’s not the say I didn’t enjoy this book- I did. I liked it a lot. The setup was fantastic, and the ending was creative. But..it wasn’t amazing.

It’s worth reading, but if you want a good representation of the “grown up Scooby gang”, grab Meddling Kids as well.

For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig

Jetta’s family is famed as the most talented troupe of shadow players in the land. With Jetta behind the scrim, their puppets seem to move without string or stick-a trade secret, they say. In truth, Jetta can see the sould of the recently departed and bind them to the puppets with her blood.

But ever since the colonizing army conquered their country, the old ways are forbidden, so Jetta must never show, never tell. Her skill and fame are her family’s way to earn a spot aboard the royal ship to Aquitan, where shadow plays are the latest rage, and where rumor has it the Mad Emperor has a spring that cures his ills-and could cure Jetta’s too. Because seeing spirits is not the only thing that plagues her.

But as rebellion seethes and as Jetta meets a young smuggler, she will face truths and decisions that she never imagined- and safety will never seem so far away. (taken from Amazon)

First of all, wow. I loved it. I had high hopes going in because I enjoyed The Girl From Everywhere, also by Heidi Heilig. Add the fact that the main character is part of a family of traveling performers, which I always like, and I was half in love with this book before I even started it.

This book did not disappoint. There is so much going on, not just with Jetta, but with the country. A war is being fought, but things aren’t as black and white as they appear, and Jetta unintentionally gets drawn into the thick of it. While that plotline was excellent, there’s also Jetta’s trying to understand and come to grips with both her forbidden talent, and her illness. More on that in a minute.

The entire cast of characters was great. I liked not just Jetta and Leo, but Cheeky, an exotic dancer. She added a dose of optimism when parts of the story badly needed it. In fact, all the characters were woven together so skillfully that the book would have been lessened had even one of them not been in it.

Another really cool thing about this book was its usage of songs, scenes written like plays, letters, and telegrams to show things that are happening simultaneously with several different characters without it being too overwhelming or slowing the plot at all. Heilig is a master storyteller in that way.

Now, back to Jetta and her illness. I found myself empathizing quite a bit with the symptoms, even leading me to wonder if it was based in some part on bipolar, which I have. According to the author’s note at the end, it was! I was absolutely blown away! I published a post yesterday lamenting the lack of characters with mental illness in fantasy and thrillers that aren’t horrible people. I loved, loved, loved that it was the main character who deals with it, and that it was dealt with so gracefully. All I can say to Heidi Heilig is, Thank you.

I loved this book and highly recommend it.

Genre disappointment

I was going to review a mystery/thriller that I finished not too long ago, but I’ve decided not to review this particular book. It wasn’t poorly written, full of typos, or incoherent. So, why am I not going to review this book, you ask? Three words: mental illness stigma.

Now that you’re probably rolling your eyes and preparing to unfollow my blog, let me give you a bit of my background. Around twenty odd years ago, I was diagnosed as having bipolar type 1, as well as an anxiety disorder. Actually, let me back up: I was diagnosed with grand mal epilepsy, an unspecified sleep disorder, major depressive disorder, and the lovely generalized anxiety disorder. Eventually, bipolar 1 replaced the mdd diagnosis. Then came the pills; lots and lots of them. I was a minor when all this started, so I had very little say in my own treatment (remember, this was twenty years ago). Chances are, if you can name it, I’ve been on it at some point. Mental illness treatment is seldom linear, and in my case, I was also being put on different medications for epilepsy (oddly enough, I’m currently on a mood stabilizer that also acts as an anti-convulsant. Go figure). There were upsets, bad side effects (one antidepressant actually made me suicidal), and several hospitalizations.

I don’t write any of this in an attempt to receive anything remotely resembling pity: I’m here, I’m currently doing well, and my mental illness is simply one part of the person I am- and not even the most defining part. However, it does play into why I’m so bummed about the book I finished recently.

This book, which I will not name, had an interesting premise, unique characters, and a fantastic setting. It moved at a good pace, and had several twists and turns that kept me reading. But, once again, as has happened quite often recently, the murderer’s sole reason for committing the crime was simply “mental illness.” And with that, this book lost me. I feel that, not only is it lazy writing for a character’s complete motivation to be thrown on ye random mental illness (in the case of this book, it was undefined, but I’ve seen a lot of schizophrenia and borderline personality disorders filling in that blank lately), it can be harmful to those who are just beginning the very long road to getting help with mental illness.

I read because I love to visit different places, see through different eyes, and experience new things. If I’d read multiple books describing violent, irredeemable monsters as having a mental illness back when I was still struggling horribly to just continue, it would have broken me.

Now, of course authors are free to write anything they want. And of course, people reading my ramblings might think I’m overreacting (maybe I am), but I want to try something: I want any of you who are still with me at this point to comment with a mystery/thriller or fantasy that portrays mental illness in a healthy light. I’d love to read those books. And, maybe- just maybe- I’m not the only one.

So, weigh in please: let’s get a good list going. And I promise, the next blog post will be back to my semi-regularly scheduled broadcast.

The Fairy Tale Book Tag

This one is fun! It’s also a lot more thought provoking than I thought it would be. I originally saw this here on this great blog: bookishwisps.

Here are the rules:

  1. Answer as many questions as you can!
  2. Tag five fairy tale lovers.
  3. Creator of the Tag Adele of Dellybird

Have fun!

The Questions

1. Beauty and the Beast

“He’s no monster…” A character that makes mistakes but redeems themselves in the end.

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Wow, there are some seriously terrible mistakes made! Hal, in particular, comes to mind when I think of a character who redeems himself.

2 – Sleeping Beauty

“One upon a dream…” A book that put you to sleep

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I tried so hard to get into this book, but it just…never…started. I ended up not finishing it. Look at the fantastic cover, though!

3 – The Little Mermaid

“Nothing gave her greater pleasure than to hear about the world of human beings up above” – A book that excites you or is full of adventure.

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Anyone who loves fantasy needs to read this book! The setup is fantastic, the story is interesting, and the battle scenes are epic! I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book. I could go on at length about this book, but I already did in a previous post, so I’ll refrain.

4 – Cinderella

“Perhaps the greatest risk any of us will ever take is to be seen as we really are” – A book where a character is mistreated.

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I was first drawn to this book by the somewhat eerie photographs; writing a book around them was a very unique idea. I’d really love to ask Ransom Riggs how he was able to come up with the story he did, based on just a few odd photos. Kudos to him for creativity! I must say, though, that poor Miss Peregrine, among others, wasn’t treated all that well by the villains in this series.

5 – Peter Pan

“Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away, and away means forgetting” – A book that you will never forget!

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I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 1 about twenty years ago. Reading Kay Redfield Jamison’s account of her life with bipolar was an incredible experience for me, partially because she’s incredibly successful in her field, despite having mental health setbacks along the way. There were a few times where I had to just stop reading and sit for a minute because I had that “Finally, someone understands what it’s like!” moment. I’ll never forget that.

6 – The Ugly Duckling

“It is only with the heart that one can see clearly, for the most essential things are invisible to the eye” – A book or character that you love but others don’t see the same way.

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For some reason, this one seemed to slip under the radar. It’s very well written, with a bit of a spooky feel to it, which I really liked. I would absolutely love to read a book of short stories based around the Hinterland (read the book; you’ll know what that means)!

7 – The Princess and the Pea

“She had felt one pea all the way through twenty mattresses and twenty more feather beds” – A book or character that made you uncomfortable.

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Neither Victor nor Eli are what you’d call nice people. Their moral compass seems to be skewed. Unfortunately, even though the writing was superb, I was unable to finish this book because there was a lot of self-mutilation which really bothered me. If that sort of thing is something you can handle, please read this book and tell me how it ends. I’m dying to know!

8 – Little Red Riding Hood

“Oh Granny, what big teeth you have!” – A book or character that wasn’t what they seemed.

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I refuse to give anything away, but I will say this: I guarantee you’ll be surprised. Read this book!

9 – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

“I’ll take a chance for her” – A book with great friends.

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If you have a friend as loyal and considerate as Charlie, you’re a very fortunate person.

10 – Alice in Wonderland

“Who in the world am I? – A book about identity or a character who questions themselves.

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I’m about three quarters of the way through this book and the main character, Jetta, definitely has some questions about who (what?) she is. Some of the tidbits that I’ve read about her throughout the book are very intriguing. So far, this has been an excellent read.

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Feel free to write your own post – I’d love to see more answers!