Tag Archives: Harry Potter

All the things the Witches of Harry Potter Taught Us (Part 3)

See part one here (all about Hermione) and part two here (Luna and Ginny)


Image by Jodi Jones


I doubt there is a Potter fan out there who doesn’t love the moment when Molly shouts “Not my daughter you bitch!” before defeating Bellatrix, in some ways it’s a surprise because we never really saw Molly using non-household spells, we know she’s good at those, but it doesn’t make us expect her to be a powerful witch, but on the other hand we know how much she cares about her family, of course she’s going to do everything she can to protect Ginny, and we know she’s fierce, even Arthur seems a bit afraid of her! It’s easy to underestimate her, but we really shouldn’t.


Image by julvett


Lily shares a lot with Molly when you think about it, her strength is her love for others, she even sacrifices herself for Harry. That’s pretty much the bravest thing she could have done. From what we have been told about her we also know she is a very powerful witch.

I also want to mention Narcissa here, although not exactly a hero just as Molly and Lily she puts her family first. She took a risk with making the unbreakable vow with Snape, and lying to Voldemort about Harry’s death. Her decisions weren’t the best, but I sort of see her as how Lily might have been if she had followed Voldemort to protect Harry instead (which I know wouldn’t have worked, but if it could have she may have been quite similar).


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All the things the Witches of Harry Potter Taught Us (Part 2)

Hermione fans see part one here


Image by Felicia Cano



If you were to ask me who my favourite Harry Potter character is I would probably tell you that it’s Luna. Luna is ‘different’ but she doesn’t seem fazed that people think she is ‘loony’, she stays true to who she is which is a really difficult thing to do when you don’t really fit it, especially when you’re a teenager. I also love how Luna is so able to believe in things, maybe they don’t exist, but rather than believing what she can see Luna also believes that you can’t prove that things don’t exist just because you can’t see them. It’s where Luna and Hermione can really clash, but in a way they are both clever for the way they see things, Luna wants to explore and discover, whereas Hermione is about knowing things which are already known, Luna might not be able to reel off parts of Hogwarts; A History, but she could tell you how to know when a wrackspurt is about.

Luna is also very loyal, even though the trio haven’t exactly been the best of friends to her she still helps fight, firstly at the Ministry of Magic, and the mural in her room, whilst a little disconcerting shows how much her friends mean to her. Plus she’s kind and caring to others, helping Mr Ollivander when they are both locked up in Malfoy Manor, and helping those students who were having trouble once the deatheaters ruled the school.


Initially I didn’t really like Ginny, she just seemed a bit flat as a character, I suppose at least part of that is because we see things through Harry’s eyes, and Ginny was fan girl type obsessed. In that sense she’s probably initially the closest we get to a stereotypical teenager, and also with how she comes out later. I also didn’t really like the Harry/Ginny thing, I think it was just too perfect, although by that point I did like Ginny herself.

As we learn more about Ginny I came to like her more. Despite being the youngest of 7, and with all her older brothers she managed to make herself known. From breaking into the broom closest to practice flying, to her bat boogey hex, size is no measure of power.

We also see her caring side with Luna, and with Harry.

One thing I really haven’t like is a tendency for fans to ‘slut shame’ Ginny for basically being a normal teenager. So she dated more than any of the trio but they are probably the exception, I imagine that there are plenty of others in Hogwarts who dated just as much (or even more) than Ginny did, we just never heard about it (I bet Bill was popular in his day!).


I think this post is long enough now. I’ll continue later in the week.


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All the Things the Witches in Harry Potter Taught Us (Part 1)

It has been 20 years (20 years!) since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone first made it’s quiet little entrance onto our shelves, who would have thought that kid’s book I pulled out my stocking on Christmas day 20 years (20 years!) ago would turn into what it has today. Books, and films, and spin-offs and theme parks. My first home online, with the old DSL connection, on the very basic Bloomsbury message board where you had to type in your username everytime, was because of Harry. I have spoken often before about how much these books have been so important to me, and I don’t want to just be rehashing old ground (I’ll leave some links at the bottom though). but I do need to do something.

So I was thinking, and I thought about those beautiful new house editions which came out yesterday, and I was thinking about how they are a thing to possess and treasure, rather than just a book to read, but it’s not really the books as an object that are the things you treasure. You treasure the memories, and the stories, and the characters.

Then I started thinking about how J.K has been criticised for her books being too white, too middle-class. Maybe it’s not representative of the whole world, maybe it doesn’t have to be because guess what? There are some amazing characters in there. And, at a time when J.K was being told not to put her first name on books because it would put boys off, she wrote some really amazing, strong women. Harry Potter isn’t a feminist novel, but maybe it should be. Let’s see we have to of course start with…


Copyright Jim Kay


The ‘Greatest Witch of Her Age’. Hermione I think is so many of us, she was certainly the character I would have said I had most in common with, at least early on. She’s smart, and bookish, and ‘good’, and she doesn’t have many friends. She’s not beautiful, she has big teeth and bushy hair (let’s put to the side the idea that she’s black, imagine her how you always imagine her). I even thought that I looked like Hermione. We can all see why she’s bookish, we are all the readers escaping into another world, and think about it Hermione was actually escaping into another world, she was muggleborn, she’d probably read The Hobbit, and The Secret Garden, and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, things like that don’t happen to ‘normal’ people. She must have been so excited.

So with this bond of hers of course Hogwarts was exciting, and of course she wanted to do well, so of course she spent days reading the textbooks and anything else she could lay her hands on, it was a dream. I even imagine that it was disappointing to find how much was the same as a muggle school. No wonder she was upset that ‘nobody liked her’ it stopped the place from being an amazing fairytale she had ended up in. The  Harry and Ron brought that fairytale back (maybe more than she would really have expected!).

She was the clever one, Harry may have thought with his heart, but he really needed Hermione to be his head. And she ended up not being such a goody-two-shoes after all.  In first year she set a teacher on fire. In second year she brewed an advanced potion which required taking a book from the restricted section of the library, stealing potions from the Snape’s  personal supplies, and hiding it in a bathroom. And that was just the first two years!

I guess what I’m saying is that she had a sense of being good, and right. She appreciated the rules, but she was willing to break them for the right reasons, and her friends were top of that list of reasons.

She taught us that it’s ok to be clever, and strong, and to stand-up for people (and house elves). She showed us that women can get high up  politics without having to be ‘bitches’ (even if she did have a slight bossy streak).

We are all Hermione, and that’s awesome.

(ok so I got here and realised I’d basically written a mini essay on Hermione….so stay tuned for part two)

Other places where I rave about Harry Potter:

How to Know You’re Still a Potterhead

If You Could Only Remember 1 Book

Chamber of Secrets Forum- In Memoriam

Looking back, teenage reading

Harry Potter Week

Me and Harry

Me and Books


Filed under general, Musings

How to Know You’re Still a Potterhead


1) The word “Always” “Always” has quotation marks around it

2) Everything can be linked to Harry Potter


3) You’re still half-convinced Sirius is actually alive

4) It takes you hours to write a simple list post because you get distracted by all the Potter stuff online

5) You never give up hope for ‘The Scottish Book’…

6)…or a prequel

7)…or sequel

8) You have a strange relationship with the films, they aren’t the books, but you still can’t quite resist

9)…and when you watch them you “Always” complain about what was changed or left out

10) New covers aren’t right, but you still covet them

11) They are your comfort read

12) You still want to re-read no matter how many times you’ve read them…

13)…even if you practically know them off by heart

14) There are several copies of the books in your house because nobody wants to get rid of theirs (and they are half fallen apart so you needed new copies)


15) When you re-read Deathly Hallows you still cry at Harry’s death, even though you know it’s not really death

16) Getting a tweet from J.K. is a dream

17)…and if you get one you have a mini panic attack

18)…God know what you’d be like if you actually met her

19) You are disappointed in the lack of book based merchandise

20)…but you still own some sort of Potter merchandise


21) Dumbledore is the wisest person you know

22)…even if he is a bit shady

23) And Snape is still a villain (unless you were a Snape fan already)

24) You still ship non-canon pairings

25) You plan on naming your kids after Harry Potter characters (or have already)

26) You’re still waiting for your Hogwarts letter

27) You write posts about how you are still a Potterhead

28) You miss Harry



Filed under general, Musings

On Cover Art and New Covers

This week there have been a few new covers revealed this week. Both the US and the UK covers of Go Set and Watchman  (the ‘new’ Harper Lee novel) were released this week, and so was the cover of the illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I had planned to write this post just about the Go Set A Watchman covers, but when I saw the Harry Potter cover I thought I may as well use that too.

US Cover

The first cover I saw was the US Go Set a Watchman cover. My initial feelings were ‘meh’ it’s ok, but not great. There’s something kind of amateur about it I think. It looks like a good indie ebook cover, not remarkable, but better than a lot of things out there. There’s also a bit of an old fashioned air, which I think is probably to reflect the time when it was written. I can see reflections of the original To Killa Mockingbird cover with the tree. Plus apparently a train journey is apparently important, so I suppose it makes some sense at least.

UK cover

I guessed that the UK cover would somehow link with the To Kill a Mockingbird cover too. I was pretty much right, there’s the tree which reflects the original cover, and the bird which reflects some of the subsequent covers, including the longest standing cover. Plus the orange reflects the orange from the original and later covers. Generally I prefer the UK cover, although I don’t like the text on the cover, it’s silly to read, first time I read it as “Go Set A To Kill A Watchman Mockingbird” which makes no sense. Then I began to wonder if the UK publishers are trying to trick people into thinking they’re buying a double edition, then text for the To Kill a Mockingbird bit is just too big to seem to refer to a by the author of note, which is what it actually is. Really I can’t say I like the UK cover so much either, but it is more instantly likeable.

So onto the illustrated Philosopher’s Stone. We’ve seen a few images from this already (if you look at the pictures on the amazon page you can see what has already been released) and I’ve had mixed feelings about them, I can certainly see the appeal, but I’ve grown up with the original covers, anything else just seems strange. I do like the cover art though. It makes Platform 9 3/4 seem more magical than the original covers. Generally I have to admit the illustrations are good. I especially have liked how Hermione is drawn. I think this is a book I would like to posses when it is released.

What do you think of these new covers?

Pre-order ‘Go Set a Watchman’ (UK cover):

Hardcover (£9.00)

Kindle (£7.47)

Pre-order the illustrated edition of Philosopher’s Stone:

Hardcover (£30.00)


Filed under general, Musings

Famous Writers and New Books

I have posts planned to write, reviews, a different musings post, but yesterday the news was revealed that Harper Lee is releasing a new book, after over 50 years.

Technically it’s not a new book, but an old one. It features ‘To Kill a Mockingbird”s Scout as an adult and was actually written before ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, only the manuscript was thought lost.

This got me thinking about authors who are famous for one book releasing new books. ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is a modern classic. It has lots of fans who think it’s one of the best books ever written.

So what does this mean for ‘Go Set A Watchman’ (that’s the title of the new book)? Well for one thing it will probably be pretty much required reading. Whether or not it’s any good I should think that it will get plenty of sales (which almost makes one doubt the lost manuscript story).

Then of course there are all the expectations which come with the book. You would expect it to be at least as good as ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, so if it isn’t then that would be a great disappointment. You would expect some great moral story, but does it really have to be that, after all authors have worked in different genres before. Although it still featuring Scout suggests that it will at least have some moral standing.

Will it be as good though? It was written before ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ which could suggest that Harper Lee knew less of what publishing wanted (whether or not they know what will make a good, and successful book is a discussion for another day). In fact it was because the editor liked the looking back sections of ‘Go Set a Watchman’ that ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ was written, and it seems that it was meant as a replacement, rather than a prequel. Does that mean that ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is basically the best bits of ‘Go Set a Watchman’?

It reminds me a little of when authors back catalogues are re-released because they have become more popular since the books were first released. The author who springs to mind is Jodi Picoult. I’ve still (generally) enjoyed her older books, but they have been a bit disappointing in comparison to some of her more recent novels.

At the moment I’m reading J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. Anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis will know what a big Harry Potter nut I am. So why has it taken me so long to get around to reading The Casual Vacancy. Partly it was that I was worried I would end up being disappointed, or that I would have a bias favourable view just because it’s J.K. I think I might end up the same with ‘Go Set a Watchman’. I certainly want to read it, but I have reservations (not least that Harper Lee may not actually want it to be published). I will probably wait for the paperback.

I’ve always thought that I understand J.K. Rowling wanting to write a novel not as J.K. Rowling, which she did. It means it would be judged for it’s own merit. The Cuckoo’s Calling did get quite good reviews prior to J.K. being unmasked as the real author, but it wasn’t until after then that it got to be a best seller. It’s a shame in a way because it is a pretty good crime story, and so many people read it because it was J.K. rather than because they actually wanted to read it.

So what do you think. Do you want to read the new Harper Lee? Do you think that your reading of books by favourite authors are coloured based on who the author is?

You can already pre-order ‘Go Set a Watchman’ which is set for release on 14th June 2015

Hardback (£18.99)

Kindle (£10.99)


Filed under general, Musings, News

Harry Potter re-reads

If you follow me on twitter or facebook you may have noticed that I’ve been re-reading the Potter books.

After each book I have done a ‘thoughts on re-reading’ post on facebook. I thought I would post them all here, with the photots I posted to twitter.

This post contains spoilers

Philosopher’s Stone

1) a lot happens for such a short book

2) chapter 1 is so Rowling… it’s the best way to see her style… and be able to tell Galbraith is her

3) Reading PS with a knowledge of what happens later is heart wrenching

3a) and in light of that Dumbledore is the stupidest genius

4) Considering Harry’s link to Voldy do his dreams in PS mean now than it seems? They are described in surprising detail

5) Hermione really keeps her promises

6) I should have started this re-read as soon as I first had wanted to

7) Why did Harry’s scar hurt at the welcome feast? Voldy wasn’t attached to Quirrell then and Harry didn’t get the same affect from shaking Quirrell’s hand

8) Chamber of Secrets next… my joint favourite

Chamber of Secrets

I’m Sure I remember writing thoughts for Chamber of Secrets, but I can’t seem to find them

For some reason I can’t imagine Harry clutching a mop without seeing him laughing














Prisoner of Azkaban

1 ) you know what POA might be my least favourite *cue cries of horror* I know it is important plot wise but it doesn’t seem to add much. Not that I don’t still love it

2) Lupin oh Lupin what happened?

2a) Only kidding… still can’t help loving you even after the fiascos of Deathly Hallows
2b) and you are more attractive than David Thewlis

The introduction of Lupin

3) If Lupin isn’t gay Sirius has to be

4) Whatever happened to Penelope?

5) ugh, Snape

6) The way Pettigrew pays back his debt to Harry is rubbish

7) Did Lupin really think Sirius being an animagus wasn’t something people needed to know?

8) Why was Sirius so insistent on killing Peter? He was the easiest way to show proof of Sirius’ innocence

Goblet of Fire

So of course Harry gets it

1) How many girls actually are there in Hogwarts? It seems there are more boys

2) If the Patel twins are the hottest in the year why didn’t they get dates sooner?

3) This one took me longer this time, not sure why.

4) Charlie is the most underated Weasley. He works with dragons, that’s hot.

5) Harry is a real idiot sometimes

Touching an unknown magical substance with your finger is dangerous, but obviously touching it with your wand will be ok

6) as is Ron (but that is a major characteristic of him)

7) If Barty Crouch Jr was a deatheater why did he teach kids how to fight the Imperius curse?
7a) yeah, yeah, I know it’s what Moody would have done

8) How would anyone ever be able to complete the triwizard tournament without cheating. I mean how do you just know how to get past a dragon? Who would think to open an egg under water? The only vaguely possible task to complete without cheating is the last.

9) I really do like Hermione

10) Why did the films give do much Dobby material to Neville? It would have made Harry’s life easier if Neville knew his problem with breathing underwater

Order of the Phoenix

1) I really enjoyed it this time for some reason

2) I am still in denial about Sirius’ death

3) If I could ask JK anything it would probably be about the veil

4) Luna is awesome…There should be more Luna
4a) I’m convinced she had a thing for Ron

5) Umbridge is the worst. I actually hate her more than Voldy
5b) And it really irritates me that I can’t see Harry getting angry at her without seeing Daniel Radcliffe’s awful emotionless acting

6) The best fighting scenes are in this book

7) why is it that we know Fred and George passed a handful of OWLs when school finishes in GOF but the trio have to wait for the holidays?

8) We never really do find out when James stops being an ass

9) The DA. Yay!

10) Harry, it is time I told you everything… except that you’re a horcrux, because, you know, that’s not important…

When you know what it really means this moment is so sad

11) It’s actually quite surprising Harry isn’t all emo before now

Half-Blood Prince

1) My favourite along with Chamber of Secrets

2) oh the feels! Snape kills Dumbledore! Hogwarts might close

3) I think I have finally accepted the Harry and Ginny thing. It was always just too expected, I wanted a coupling which wasn’t so set out from the start

4) Voldy is 1 evil dude

5) I never got why they didn’t just try spilling the green potion. It probably wouldn’t have worked, but you know they didn’t even try

6) How do you actually learn to fight like Dumbledore? Harry really doesn’t seem equipped to fight Voldy

7) Here goes Harry being noble and stupid again. Does he really think Voldy wouldn’t use Ginny just because they spilt up?

8) Harry also doesn’t seem to be very equipped for finding other horcruxes, or destroying them. Couldn’t Dumbledore just have told him there are 7 horcruxes, here’s how you destroy them,and here are some awesome spells so you can actually defeat Voldy?

9) If Snape is the half-blood prince then why doesn’t Harry do better in potion lessons prior to this book? Does Snape just not teach the best method?

10) Luna is the best commentator

11) So close to getting another Horcrux

Deathly Hallows

1) Whilst not my favourite Potter this has probably been my best re-read. I felt almost as hooked as first time round (although without having to read a bit if I awoke during the night). Probably because I haven’t read it as much so there were bits I had forgotten, or at least don’t know off by heart.

2) Lupin is such an idiot in this book, but still understandably so.

3) If Harry’s cloak is THE cloak of invisibility why can Moody see through it?

4) All the tears

5) I still don’t 100% get why Harry doesn’t die

6) Neither do I think Snape is a big hero. He may not be a villan as such, but I don’t think his motives are completely good either

7) The epilogue still disappoints me

8) Dumbledore is totally channeling Stephen Fry in ‘King’s Cross’
8a) and he is rather shady

9) I can’t believe my re-read is over


Filed under Fiction review

Sunday Surfing 8/12/13

bird surf

Those of you who follow me on twitter might have noticed I’m been posting a lot of links recently. Sunday Surfing is a feature (inspired by Chrisbookarama‘s Friday Bookish Buzz, which is one of my favourite features) where I share my favourite links from during the week, about books and blogging.

Plus a little about what’s happened on the blog this week. Lets get started.

Around the web this week

The winners of the Goodread’s Choice Awards were revealed. And what was probably my favourite book this year is on the list

And the (less wanted) winner of the Bad Sex Award was also revealed

Over 42,000 people completed NaNoWriMo this year. I almost did.

Behind on your reading goal. Here are some quick classics All under 200 pages

Harry Potter is redesigned, again. I quite like the illustrations… generally speaking

Mary Poppins, Disney and Saving Mr Banks. Is it just me that finds Saving Mr Banks being a Disney film a bit weird?

Speaking of Saving Mr Banks…

And on the blog this week…

It’s been pretty busy here this week. The reviews to be written were stacking up over November, so I’ve made a start on those, plus the usual features and a bit more…

I gave my last NaNoWriM0 update. You can still sponsor me until the end of January.

I reviewed 4 to 16 Characters

I posted my annual Bookish Gifts post

The kids read Oh No, George!

And I reviewed The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest

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Filed under general, Memes, Sunday Surfing

Chamber of Secrets Forum- In Memoriam

This week has been a sad week for Harry Potter fandom. First, Richard Griffiths (who played Uncle Vernon in the Potter films) dies, and then I find out that the wonderful Chamber of Secrets Forum is to close.


I joined Chamber of Secrets forum almost 9 years ago. It was after the Bloomsbury Harry Potter forum closed down and when I was still insisting that Sirius was not actually dead (and yes there is still a part of me that believes that).

I’ve spoken before of how Harry Potter was my introduction to the online life, and this was mainly through The Chamber of Secrets Forum (CoS)

I enjoyed discussing various theories there and found that Harry Potter was more than just an imaginative and engaging book. There is so much behind it that once I did not see but soon learnt to discover for myself. Many an evening was spent talking about the various details of each of the books and what they meant. I didn’t even need the books to help my theorising, I lived them enough to know even small details off by heart.

But CoS was more than just a Harry Potter forum for me. I spent more time in general discussion threads than I did in the Potter threads most of the time. I made my first online friends, some of whom I met later during the release of Deathly Hallows.

I used the spend lunchtime at school on CoS, I stayed up late on CoS at weekends, when I started at 6th form I often spent free periods there, and even when I started uni and didn’t expect to be able to visit so much anymore I still managed to find a way to chat to my friends.

After the release of Deathly Hallows we all knew things were bound to change. With nothing new to discuss things could only go so far. The owner and moderators opened some new areas for more varied discussion but whilst they were used they never became as popular as the actual Potter areas were, and of course people don’t join Harry Potter forums to talk about other things.

I stuck around for quite a while after Deathly Hallows. At first there were Harry Potter things to discuss. I had my friends to talk to, and I started to explore other areas of the site. However things did start to drop of. Threads seemed to go round and round in circles, less people were visiting, you could wait days sometimes for a thread to be updated. Gradually I started visiting less and less. I still haven;t completely abandoned the forum but I visit less than monthly, and don’t always comment on things when I do visit.

I will be sad to see CoS go. There are so many happy memories there for me. But all good things must come to an end, and this day has been coming for a long time.

The Chamber of Secrets Forum will officially close in July



Filed under Musings, News

On Covers, Readership and The Bell Jar

Recently there has been lots of fuss around the new cover for The Bell Jar (see above). Lots of people have been saying that the cover doesn’t reflect the book, that it makes the book look unsubstantial, that it has an aura of chick-lit around it.

Really this post isn’t about The Bell Jar cover as such, but I feel seeing as it’s what has inspired this post then I should at least make my own feelings on this known. So, in brief. I can see how the cover can be seen as being chick-lit like. The lipstick, the pretty woman, the mirror. However I think if it’s a chick-lit cover then it’s chick-lit about a sad woman, I mean look at those lips, look at that reflection. If it does indeed attract chick-lit readers then once they see the image closer up then they will see that it is different, but may be interested enough to look further.

Anyway Faber & Faber answered the concerns this week. Key in their reasoning was the idea of a new readership, a reader who…

will enjoy its (The Bell Jar’s) brilliance without knowing anything about Plath’s other work.

There’s a certain deja-vu about it all. What was it that Bloomsbury said of the new editions of Harry Potter? What did Headline say of their new ‘chick-lit style’ Austen covers? It always seems to be finding a new readership, but does it work?

Well there could be quite a shock for people who pick up The Bell Jar based on its new cover, especially if they are reading it based solely on the cover image. Whilst I can personally see a sadness there is it just because I know The Bell Jar? If I knew nothing of the Bell Jar would I pick it up expecting something light and easy? Even having read the blurb (which gives no real allusions) would I still expect everything to turn out perfectly (because, you know, there aren’t sad endings in chick-lit)?

Even if this new cover gets people to buy The Bell Jar who wouldn’t have previously will you actually be getting a new fanbase (for want of a better word)? How many of these people will give up when they don’t get what they expected and how many will become Plath convertees*? I imagine that there would be people who wouldn’t have considered Plath before who find they actually enjoy The Bell Jar so look into her other works, However I also imagine that there will be people who go for The Bell Jar expecting something else and feel a little like they have been tricked.

After all that’s what a new cover is about isn’t it? About making a book appear differently. I don’t really think that the new cover for The Bell Jar is too bad for this but whilst Jane Austen is in a way the mother of chick-lit the chick-lit style covers do suggest something other than a classic. If you live in a hole and have never heard of Jane Austen you may actually think they are your stereotypical chick-lit books based on the covers (see right). Just don’t ask me what type of hole you can live in to have access to chick-lit but still not know who Jane Austen is.

So what do we think? Are different covers a good idea because they might bring new lovers to old books? Are they just a trick which might get up sales for a bit but ultimately lead to nothing? Or are they just an attempt which will never do anything?

Have you ever bought a book based on a new cover?




*yes, I do realise that convertee is not a real word, but it works, so I’m keeping it


Filed under Musings

Top 10 Children’s Books

Top 10 Tuesday is a meme hosted every Tuesday at The Broke and the Bookish where bloggers compile lists of different top 10s. This week it’s a rewind where we pick any previous top 10 we missed. I’ve chosen:

Top Ten Children’s Books

1) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory- Roald Dahl Who doesn’t love a good Roald Dahl book? Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is my favourite, I only wish Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory really existed, it would be tons better than Cadbury World. I just found out there’s a pop-up version of this too, how awesome.

2) Not Now Bernard- David McKee I found this book very funny as a child, the idea that a parent might not notice that their son has become a monster! As an adult I can appreciate things about it which I didn’t as a child.

3) A Squash and a Squeeze- Julia Donaldson This is one I discovered working in the nursery. I love how dramatic the old lady is.

4) Special Powers- Mary Hoffman This was my favourite book for years and years. I used to borrow it from the library again, and again, and again. I probably should have saved up my pocket money and bought it. I would quite like to own it now but I have a feeling it wouldn’t meet up to my memories.

5) His Dark Materials- Phillip Pullman It’s been a few years since I last read about Lyra and her adventures, but I have re-read Northern Lights (or The Golden Compass if you live across the pond) more times than I can count. It was my favourite book for years. Even though it didn’t have such a big significance in my life I do actually prefer it to Harry Potter (Shock! Horror!).

6) Harry Potter 1-7- J.K. Rowling I’m sure it won’t take much browsing of my blog to realise how much I love Harry, and what an impact J.K’s books have had on my life. This blog probably wouldn’t exist if I hadn’t read Harry Potter.

7) Tom and Pippo- Helen Oxenbury another one I borrowed from the library again and again, this time when I was a pre-schooler. The tales of Tom and his toy monkey are cute and funny, and possibly where my obsession with monkeys came from.

8) The Alfie Stories- Shirley Hughes I loved the Alfie stories when I was little. I tried to share them with the toddlers at work recently, but I think maybe they were a little to young.

9) Bad Girls- Jacqueline Wilson I read a lot of Jacqueline Wilson books at the end of primary/beginning of secondary school. I think it was when I really started getting into ‘issue’ books. Bad Girls was my favourite.

10) Remembrance- Theresa Breslin was my favourite of a series of war books I read in my early teen years. I still have it on my shelves, and I’ve re-read it a few times. It still beats some of the adult war books I have since read.

11) (oops) The Hobbit- J.R.R. Tolkien I thought I had finished my list then I thought of this one. I’ve never managed to finish Lord of the Rings but I loved The Hobbit. My Mum read it to my sisters and I when we were younger and I still associate it with snuggling up on my parent’s bed.

If you have enjoyed this post you may enjoy my Children’s Hour feature.



Filed under Memes, Top 10 Tuesday

Book Blogger Hop

It’s Friday, and the Book Blogger Hop started yesterday. I actually have a chance to sit down and write a post so thought I would join in this week (despite to fact I have a couple of reviews waiting to be written…shhh).

This week’s question suits e quite well as I’ve been in a bit of a rut recently- although I seem to be coming out of it now.

Who is your go-to author when you are in a reading rut?

Well I tend to more go for a style than anything else. Most books I can just read through a rut with, but when I’m really struggling I know if I find an easy read I should be okay. For this reason I tend to only read Chick-Lit when I’m in a reading rut, (generally speaking) the writing style is easy to understand, the stories aren’t too complex (although they can often be rather predictable), you never really have t think when you’re reading chick-lit. I also find that Jodi Picoult rarely fails to draw me in- her books do make me think, but the writing style is easy and there tends to be a great need to know what’s going to happen next. The other thing is my Harry Potter books. I know them pretty much off by heart but they still excite me.

Related Reviews:

Harvesting the Heart- Jodi Picoult

Sing you Home- Jodi Picoult

Handle with Care- Jodi Picoult

House Rules- Jodi Picoult

Songs of the Humpback Whale- Jodi Picoult

Picture Perfect- Jodi Picoult

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The Tales of Beedle the Bard


Filed under Blog Hop, general

On Series

Recently I posted a review of The Hunger Games (which I loved more than I felt I really should) which is of course the first books of The Hunger Games Trilogy. In the comments I got a comment from Andrew @ Where Pen Meets Paper. Andrew suggested that The Hunger Games lost something simply because of its nature as a first book of a series. It’s never something I have really put any thought into before but Andrew if right in at least one sense, when you read a book from a series it automatically has a predictability just because it is a series book. You know that no matter what happens in the story the main character is going to be okay (at least until the last book in the series) because otherwise the series couldn’t continue.

Does this really mean the book is spoiled though? Certainly it takes a certain level of suspense out of the story, and this is particularly pronounced in The Hunger Games because the main bulk of the story is about a battle to the death. However I do wonder how much you think of it at the time of reading though. If you are caught up in a story do you really start thinking rationally at moments of high tension? When Katniss was in danger can I really say that I thought ‘it’ll be okay, there are 2 more books, she has to survive’? I honestly can’t say I remember for that particular book that I thought it.

Plus maybe sometimes it’s a good thing to be able to think it. When all feels in despair and like nothing can ever save your lead character there is a certain comfort that you can think it will be okay because there is another book to come. I think I used this protectionism for a certain extent when reading the Harry Potter series, at times things looked helpless, I thought there was no way Harry could survive but I gained comfort from knowing there were still more books to come, so he must survive. It’s the same reason that only the last book really made me cry, I couldn’t have that comfort anymore.

I guess as well reading a series really spreads out the suspense, because you know someone will be okay by the end of the first books and the penultimate books but do you really know that they will be okay by the end of the last book?

What do you think does reading a series take something away from the story? Does it add something? Or is it just like reading a very long book with lots of twists and turns?

1 Comment

Filed under Musings

So, J.K Rowling is writing again.

Image from The Telegraph

JK Rowling announces new novel – for adults | Books | guardian.co.uk.

Not much to tell really…barely makes an article. J.K will be releasing a new book which is aimed at adults and “very different” from Harry Potter. She is going with a new publishers, supposedly to separate her new novel from from her Harry Potter novels.

In the past I remember her talking about the possibility of writing a crime novel after Harry Potter (although I can’t seem to find the interview so I could be wrong), which isn’t actually a genre that far from Harry Potter, what with the solving of mysteries that tend to happen especially in earlier Harry Potter books- Chamber of Secrets leaps to mind. However in the past Rowling has said that she would want to write crime under another name- maybe she has abandoned this plan, or has been persuaded to- I am sure her name adds a lot to the prospects of a book selling, at least her first novel for adults anyway. Or maybe she already has done this and now that no new Harry Potter books are coming out she has decided to start using her names to sell things.

I don’t really care about her motives for choosing to use her name- or not as the case will be, I am however intrigued to see what she has come up with away from Harry, and it she can pull off writing for adults. Personally I’ve always thought that her writing style had more to it than you would initially see. This I suppose is from years of dissecting Harry Potter on The Chamber of Secrets Forum.

The real question I suppose is will I read it? And that, well, to be honest I really do not know.

There is a part of me that really wants to. The part of my that wants to see what a different novel by J.K. is like. The part of me that wants to read it just because it could be just as good as Harry- and that doesn’t want to miss out on that possibility.

Then there is the bit of me that says, but what if you don’t like it? Won’t that be a great disappointment? The part of my that says I should just judge it as a book rather than a book by the author of Harry Potter.

The thing is can I judge it just as any other book? Even if I try to do into it open minded won’t there still be the bit of my that’s squeeing to have a new book by J.K. Rowling…because I always wanted more Harry, and well isn’t this the next best thing? Will I ever be able to get past comparing it to Harry Potter, when he has been in my life for so many years, and been a big part of my life for some of that?

I would love to walk in to a bookshop, maybe see a book I like the look of, read the synopsis and like the sound of it and not know right till the end that t was by J.K. that way I would have no preconceived ideas. But that’s not going to happen is it?

Related Links:

J.K. Rowling’s New Book: Clues Suggest a Turn to Crime Fiction (Guardian online)

Chamber of Secrets Forums

J.K Rowling’s Site

Accio-Quote (Quotes from interviews)


Filed under general, Musings, News

Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince- J.K. Rowling

Image from Amazon

This book was read as part of the Harry Potter read-a-long.

Synopsis (from Amazon)

‘In a brief statement on Friday night, Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge confirmed that He Who Must Not Be Named has returned to this country and is once more active. “It is with great regret that I must confirm that the wizard styling himself Lord – well, you know who I mean – is alive and among us again,” said Fudge.’ These dramatic words appeared in the final pages of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. In the midst of this battle of good and evil, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince takes up the story of Harry Potter’s sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, with Voldemort’s power and followers increasing day by day …



Oh dear I am a bit late with this one aren’t I? November’s read for the Harry Potter read-a-long. I almost finished it in time, I finished on the 1st December so only a day over but it’s taken me up till now to actually write this post.

Half-Blood Prince is my favourite Harry Potter book along with Chamber of Secrets. I especially like learning about Voldemort’s background, and I would probably quite happily read a book just about his rise to power, as a sort of prequel. There is quite a romantic level to this book too, I think we know by now where things are going in this sense. Initially one of the pairings I wasn’t too happy about, mainly because it just seemed too predictable and…perfect, but it grew on me.

And of course we know know what everything has been leading up to.



Filed under Fantasy, Fiction review, YA

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix- J.K. Rowling

Image from Amazon

I re-read this book as part of the Harry Potter read-a-long.

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Dumbledore lowered his hands and surveyed Harry through his half-moon glasses. ‘It is time,’ he said, ‘for me to tell you what I should have told you five years ago, Harry. Please sit down. I am going to tell you everything.’ Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizadry. He is desperate to get back to school and find out why his friends Ron and Hermione have been so secretive all summer. However, what Harry is about to discover in his new year at Hogwarts will turn his whole world upside down …But before he even gets to school, Harry has an unexpected and frightening encounter with two Dementors, has to face a court hearing at the Ministry of Magic and has been escorted on a night-time broomstick ride to the secret headquarters of a mysterious group called ‘The Order of the Phoenix’. And that is just the start. A gripping and electrifying novel, full of suspense, secrets, and – of course – magic.


Considering that Order of the Phoenix is the longest Harry Potter book I feel that very little of importance really happens in it. After the ending of Goblet of Fire I must admit I would have expected a really action packed book, but really it isn’t. That’s not to say it has nothing of importance to the overall Harry Potter storyline. The prophecy is of utmost importance, and some of the knowledge about Voldemort and the Order are useful later on too. Of course to say a book contains little of importance doesn’t mean it’s not good. In fact as a stand alone book Order of the Phoenix is quite possibly my favourite. I really enjoy reading about DA (yes DA not the DA, that would mean the Dumbledore’s Army, which makes no sense). I love hating Umbridge, in the same way I liked hating Snape in the early books, it actually makes her a really entertaining character. Oh and Fred and George’s antics in this book are a favourite bit too, especially the ‘Give her hell from us Peeves’. Awesome. I wish there were more fights like the one between Voldemort and Dumbledore too. The battles are good but you never see that expanse of magic again, and haven’t before. Oh and the introduction of Luna who is my very favourite character.

Plus you know this is the book which really introduced me to Harry Potter fandom. There is no greater praise.



Filed under Fantasy, Fiction review

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire- J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Image via Wikipedia

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was a re-read as part of the Harry Potter Read-a-Long.

This review may contain spoilers for the Harry Potter series of books and films.

Synopsis (from Amazon)

The summer holidays are dragging on and Harry Potter can’t wait for the start of the school year. It is his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and there are spells to be learnt and (unluckily) Potions and Divination lessons to be attended. But Harry needs to be on his guard at all times – his worst enemy is preparing a terrible fate for him.


Oh I had forgotten how much I loved this one. I mean I knew I love it but I had forgotten how much. I suppose the fact that the spine has fallen off my original edition shows how much it has been read, and that must show some love. I decided to buy a new copy because I neither wanted to destroy my original nor lug a great big hardback around with me (not that that ever stops me but it’s a bonus to buying a new copy). So I bought one of the new signature editions, which I think are really quite pretty but don’t hold the same wonder for the that the original children’s editions do, maybe simply because they are not the Harry Potter books I know. Anyway I am waffling.

Right from the onset Goblet of Fire promises an excitement which isn’t promised at the start of the previous three books. The Riddle House is somewhat of a mystery in the way it links to the whole story (I remember when I first read it someone asking me about The Riddle House). Savy readers will see the link between Voldemort’s real name (Tom Riddle) and the house, I don’t quite understand how I didn’t get it the first time, maybe just eagerness to get on with the story.

Then of course the excitement continues at the Quidditch World Cup, then there’s the Triwizard Tournament. It’s just excitement after excitement from start to finish. Considering how long this book is that’s no mean feat.

A lot of my feelings to do with this book are to do with my own personal Harry Potter history. It was the release of this book that made me realise that there were other people who loved Harry’s world as much as I did when I saw its release on newsround. I remember reserving the book at my local bookshop (which is the strangest bookshop come newsagent come grocers) and actually getting it a day early because that was when it was delivered. Oh the excitement that I could read this eagerly awaited book before most people had even got their hands on it! It was also this book which started getting me into fandom, so indirectly it’s to thank (or blame!) for this blog.

Ooh Order of the Phoenix next…that means I get to meet Luna!




Filed under Fiction review, YA

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban- J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Image via Wikipedia

This book was a re-read as part of The Harry Potter Read-A-Long.

This review contains spoiler for the Harry Potter series

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Harry Potter is a wizard. He is in his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It’s always a relief after summer with the Dursleys, however, Harry doesn’t realise that this year will be just as eventful as the last two! The atmosphere at Hogwarts is tense. There’s an escaped mass murderer on the loose, even the Muggles have been warned. The sinister prison guards of Azkaban have been called in to guard the school and Harry, Ron and Hermione rapidly discover why all witches and wizards live in fear of being sent to Azkaban. Lessons, however, must go on and there are lots of new subjects in third year – Care of Magical Creatures and Divination among others. Plus the delights of Hogsmeade, the only village in the UK entirely populated by the magical community.


I know this book is a favourite among many of Harry’s fans but of the books I’m read so far it’s been the one I’ve looked forward to the least. It’s not my least favourite but it is far from my favourite and my excitement about the read-a-long has abated a little. I was trying to stop myself reading The Prisoner of Azkaban at the beginning of the month but suddenly the end of the month was here and I was worried I wouldn’t finish it in time! Luckily I finished it today just within the time!

Having said this is not my favourite there still are a lot of things I like about it. Not least of all. I love the introduction of Lupin in this book, I think he remains my favourite teacher, or at least my favourite Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher. In fact Lupin remains a favourite character of mine all the way through, despite his behaviour in Deathly Hallows. I also quite like hearing a little bit about James’ time at Hogwarts and his friends, and finding out a little about what happened the day Harry’s parents died. Those who know my love of Harry will confirm I’ve always been very interested in back story. However Marauder back story, although interesting is not something I feel the need to explore, I would much rather read about Voldemort’s school days. I think that’s one of the reasons I don’t like Prisoner of Azkaban so much, it’s very light on Voldemort. Despite that I do think it’s important in Voldemort’s gradual rise to power



Filed under Fantasy, Fiction review, YA

Harry Potter Week: Summery Post

I don’t think I have ever posted so much in a week before! I’ve made so many Harry Potter posts that I thought a post linking to all the posts would be a good idea. I hope you have enjoyed this week as much as I have and if you have entered my Harry Potter Giveaway you will hear from me tomorrow if you are the lucky winner.

For any readers who aren’t Harry fans, thanks for baring with my fanaticism for a little bit, normal programming will resume tomorrow.

The Giveaway

My Reviews

Chamber of Secrets

The Tales of Beedle the Bard

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (part 2)– film

Reviews by others

Philosopher’s Stone

Chamber of Secrets

Prisoner of Azkaban

Goblet of Fire

Order of the Phoenix

Half-blood Prince

Deathly Hallows

Other Posts

Harry and Me (My life with Harry)

Harry Potter Comics

Harry Potter Videos

Harry Potter Merchandise



Filed under general

Harry Potter Reviews: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows


Last but by no means least

A Book a Week “This book was really worth the wait, and not at all a let-down.”

Alison’s Book Marks “The elements of this story twist and turn and come back around on you”

Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review “A fitting end to the journey but a bumpy ride along the way.”

3 Evil Cousins “We wanted his final story to end spectacularly. Alas, it was not to be.” (can I just say despite the fact that I loved Deathly Hallows this review is awesome!)

The Symposium “this is definately not one of my favorite books in the series and not one of Rowling’s better efforts.” (this review is very detailed, and I found it a little difficult to find a summing up quote)

Geeky Blogger’s Book Blog “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is an odyssey the likes of which Rowling’s fans have not yet seen, and are not likely to forget.”

1 Comment

Filed under general, Other Blogs

Harry Potter Reviews: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix







One Librarian’s Book Reviews (Order of the Phoenix and Half-Blood Prince) “Rowling is a master of the multiple plot lines”

Word Lily “At this point, I’m a bit disappointed”

Library Queue “really not a lot happens in this book considering it’s the longest book in the series.”

Bookish “I think it’s pretty amazing that Rowling’s fantastical series is the closest thing to reality I’ve seen in a long time.”

Books, time and Silence “Yes, Order of the Phoenix may be dark, but it is gloriously so.”


It is sad that I found it difficult to find much love for this book (or at least from bloggers who I have not already mentioned in these posts). Of course I want to show both sides of the coin but it makes me sad when people don’t like books I love.


1 Comment

Filed under general, Other Blogs

Harry Potter giveaway closes today

Don’t forget to enter my big Harry Potter Giveaway. Entries close tonight 11:59pm GMT. Last chance to win all 7 Harry Potter books.

There are currently 72 entries!

1 Comment

Filed under general, Giveaway

Me and Harry

I can’t believe it’s the end of Harry Potter Week already! This was fun. Today is a bit more personal. I want to talk about my relationship with Harry Potter, it really feels like the end of an era, Harry Potter has been more that just a book series for me, it’s been a part of life. Yes maybe it’s time to let go but sometimes things aren’t that easy.

I first read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone when I was about 12. I had never heard about it but my Dad had read about it in The Guardian. I’m always happy to say I read it before all the hype, I even have the version of Philosopher’s Stone with the random wizard on the back (as opposed to Dumbledore who now adorns the back of the first book, due to much fan puzzlement about who the guy on the back of Philosopher’s Stone actually was). I’ve said before here that I almost gave up on Philosopher’s Stone first time around. I found it a little difficult to get in to. if it hadn’t been Christmas I may never have finished it.  But I carried on, and by the time Hagrid had turned up I was hooked. Until very recently I skipped the first few chapters when re-reading Philosopher’s Stone however with the consequence that I actually know the first bit of the first book less well than the rest of the series (despite innumerable re-reads).

Oh I remember looking for another book by Rowling (hoping it would be about Harry) for what felt like months and months. I think Chamber of Secrets may have actually been out by then seeing as I am far from having a first edition, but maybe my local Waterstones (or was it Dillons back then?) didn’t have it in stock? It wasn’t the most well known book then (although J.K. was already a double Smarties Award winner) but I for one wanted it. I am sure the anticipation for Chamber of Secrets has actually contributed somewhat to it being one of my favourite Potter books.

Lets skip forward a few years. I happily read Prisoner of Azkaban, managing to get hold of that one fairly early on. Then the hype started Goblet of Fire was released on the 8th July 2000 (wow was it really that long ago?!)  and the preceding months it was mentioned on TV (I remember first realising that my favourite books were actually really popular after seeing a report on Newsround), and advertised for pre-order everywhere! I ordered it from a local bookshop, it was a shop I passed everyday so why not? That was a really good idea, they didn’t seem to get the idea of a release date but phoned me as soon as the book came through, a day before it was released. Of course I had to start it straight away, and I was a good 100 pages in before most other people even had the book- it’s one of my favourite stories! I remember coming in to school the next day and people asking me questions about what they had read, thinking I would have the answers seeing as I had read so much more.

This is around about the time I started getting into fandom a little. I wasn’t the most popular of girls at school, a little geeky and awkward, incredibly shy, I never really felt I fit in. Yes I had friends but I still spent lots of time in the library and in the I.T rooms. Reading and Harry Potter was a real escapism for me, it was almost like another friend, and the internet gave that distance and anamosity which meant I didn’t have to be shy, if I embarrassed myself who cares? I could just disappear and nobody would know who I was. Maybe it was a bad way to deal with things but I think it’s part of what makes me who I am today. Yeah I’m still pretty shy but I’m much more comfortable with myself, and I do think the internet helped with that. There is something with the internet community that is very accepting, everyone is there and it’s so easy to find a group where you feel like you.

I started off on the (now closed) Bloomsbury Harry Potter forums, which were the most basic of forums ever, no log in, just write your name in a little box under your comment, no comment threads, just endless comments on random topics. Completely crazy forum, partly for that reason, when it got boring we used to pretend to be other people. After a while it got closed down just because it was a moderating nightmare. For a while I drifted around the internet then I hit upon Mugglenet, complete Mecca of Harry Potter fandom, at that time Mugglenet still had a link to their once official forums the Chamber of Secrets Forum and that’s where I ended up, sometime after the release of Order of the Phoenix. After the Bloomsbury forums the Chamber of Secrets Forum was like a maze, every possible theory, what felt like hundreds of people all talking about Harry Potter. I must admit the actual Harry Potter threads were somewhat daunting and I actually spent almost a whole year barely visiting them but just chatting in the chat threads, I’m still in semi-contact with people from that time even though most of us no longer visit the forums. Gradually I  started participating in more and more Harry Potter discussions till it came to a point that for the release of Deathly Hallows I actually went to London to meet with people I had met on Chamber of Secrets Forum.

I still visit the forum occasionally, but now the series has ended it doesn’t hold the same draw for me. But in some way it has led me to this blog. I needed something to replace Chamber of Secrets, it had been a part of my life for so long I couldn’t just let go of the online world all together. I have a Livejournal which is pretty much only followed by Chamber of Secrets friends so I kept updating that, then I joined the Bookclub Forum. My book blog started as a thread on there and after a while I decided to bring it to a larger audience.

I don’t think I will ever completely let go of Harry, he still holds a part in my heart, but he is less of my life now, and I think that’s how it should be. I’ve grown up with Harry, he’s important to me.

Must admit though I am still fairly excited to see Pottermore– although I am doubtful it will offer much new.



Filed under Musings

Mini Review: Tales of Beedle the Bard

This review is more from memory than from a recent read, but I wanted to mention it

The Tales of Beedle the Bard

The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a book of Wizard’s Fairy Tales. It features strongly in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and the story of the Hallows is taken from it. It’s a charming little book, the fairy tales follow a structure which will be familiar to anyone who has ever been told a fairly tale, but they are completely new tales. Of course the Tale of the Three Brothers is the one which is interesting in terms of the series itself, as it is the tale of the hallows, but in terms of The Tales of Beedle the Bard we already know the story from Deathly Hallows. My favourite is The Fountain of Fair Fortune, I’m not really sure, maybe just because it’s the closest to a ‘muggle’ fairytale. The book also includes notes and a forward written by Dumbledore, which is funny and well worth the read.

Don’t forget to enter my Harry Potter Giveaway, entries close tomorrow.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard

Image via Wikipedia


Filed under Fantasy, Fiction review, YA

Harry Potter Reviews: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Truth, Beauty, Freedom and Books “completely un-put-downable (I read all 700-ish pages in a single day), and the ending totally blew me away.”

2 Kids and Tired Books “I think this is the funnest Harry Potter book.”

Reading Comes From WritingOnce I finished I felt that it was worth it all in the end”

The Avid Reader’s Musings “The fourth book marks a drastic changing point in the series.”

You’ve GOTTA Read This “Terrifying, gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, with a few hormones thrown in just to prevent tears”

1 Comment

Filed under general, Other Blogs

Harry Potter Reviews: Harry Potter and the Prisioner of Azkaban

As before I’m trying not to use the same blogs over and over but post reviews that I liked reading.

Book Addiction “this book is a true comfort read for me… I love going back to the familiar story and rediscovering Sirius Black and his contribution to Harry’s history.”

Jules’ Book Reviews “Most will agree that this is one of the best in the series, and this kicks off the rest of the books.”

Notes from the North “There is a great mixture of excitment, humour, and scariness.”

Pile on the Books “Since this is my favorite of the movies, I found myself many times wondering why things hadn’t happened/weren’t happening in the book.”

Jenny’s Books “Yeah, no. Nope. I can’t think of anything bad to say about Prisoner of Azkaban. Every time I read it, I have one of those reading experiences where everything else falls away.”


Filed under general, Other Blogs

Harry Potter Videos

Today I have a few Potter related videos for you, favourites of mine.


Filed under general

Harry Potter Merchandise

Today I’m looking at some of my favourite Harry Potter objects on sales, I’m trying to do for less official merchandise and I hope you like it.

PrettyLittleCharmsUK over on etsy sells a lot of these beautiful charms, some just show words (as the one displayed, which is unfortunately sold) while others have other little charms added, such as the Patronus charm

There are lots of beautiful Golden Snitch necklaces around but I particularly like the below one from oldjunkyardboutique (also on etsy)








On Folksy CutiePies makes a whole series of potion bottle pendants, I especially like the Felix Felicis





I own an awesome Snape lego keyring which glows in the dark but lego doesn’t seem to make it anymore. This is the closest I could find on Amazon


Filed under general

Deathly Hallows Comic

So I completely and utterly failed to get a post up yesterday but (in my defence) I was ill with a migraine and could barely see let alone type!

Tomorrows review list will have to be massive because I should really me getting to bed but I still wanted to give you something for today.

These amazing comics are made by the fantabulous Lucy Knisley (the link is to her livejournal but if you google her name she also has a website, do check both out)

She has done a comic for each book in the Harry Potter series, as well as a giant picture summarising the whole series. Seeing as Harry Potter week is to commend the release of Deathly Hallows though I thought that would be the best to show you. Click to look closer.



Hope you like them 🙂


Filed under general, Other Blogs

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets- J.K. Rowling

Cover of "Harry Potter And The Chamber Of...

Cover via Amazon

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the second book in the Harry Potter series and was read as part of the Harry Potter read-a-long

Synopsis (from Amazon, adapted by me)

Harry Potter is a wizard. He is in his second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Little does he know that this year will be just as eventful as the last …even getting there is an adventure in itself! The three firm friends, Harry, Ron and Hermione, are soon immersed in the daily round of Potions, Herbology, Charms, Defence Against the Dark Arts, and Quidditch. But then horrible and mysterious things begin to happen. Harry keeps hearing strange voices, and sinister and dark messages appear on the wall.


How much I love his book, for the longest time it was my favourite Harry Potter book, and now it shares that position with Half-Blood Prince (if you have read both you can probably guess what I liked about these two). I must admit part of what I loved about this book is that I felt I was looking for it for forever after having loved Philosopher’s Stone- I must have missed it immediately though because I don’t have a first, or even second edition. My joy when I found it, finally, though was so strong.

I must admit this is the one book where I really like Ginny, and it’s a book where we first really see her (apart from a small couple of glimpses in Philosopher’s Stone) [highlight for spoiler]as well as a book where Ginny is a very important character. I guess I like the funny little moments when she is in front of Harry she seems so young and innocent [highlight for spoiler] and yes I think that picture of her is important, you would never in a million years suspect Ginny, or at least not until she was going to tell Harry and Ron.

Something I do find about the book though is that it really is very, very dark. I know they say that the books get darker, and maybe in ways they do, certainly there is more of a threat a little later on, but at least that threat is known. I mean nobody knows what is happening in the school, nobody knows who is controlling what is happening, and Harry is hearing voices in the wall. Sometimes an unknown horror is worse than one that you at least know something about, at least with the later books they knew the threat was Voldemort and they knew, at least up to a point what they would get from him. Even when you know what this horror is it still seems so unknown and impossible to control [highlight for spoiler]I mean even Voldemort can’t kill you by simply looking at you! (As they say in Potterwatch (Deathly Hallows:

“So, people, let’s try and calm down a bit. Things are bad enough without inventing stuff as well. For instance, this new idea that You-Know-Who can kill with a single glance from his eyes. That’s a basilisk, listeners. One simple test: Check whether the thing that’s glaring at you has got legs. If it has, it’s safe to look into its eyes, although if it really is You-Know-Who, that’s still likely to be the last thing you ever do.”

And that’s not even mentioning giant spiders, or an angry Snape!

What I really like about this book though is the information we get about Tom Riddle. It’s really interesting to see where he came from, and a bit of what he was like in school. I find it interesting that even early on I liked this aspect, even when I did not know how important it would turn out to be later on


Don’t forget to grab your chance at winning the whole Harry Potter Series in my giveaway


Filed under Fantasy, Fiction review, YA

Harry Potter Reviews: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

I promised that everyday during Harry Potter week I would share some Harry Potter reviews from other blogs. I’m trying to share reviews that I think you guys would like to read, if you think you’re review could be featured here please link me up of e-mail me.

Today we’re looking at Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, book 1:

Giraffe Days “There are so many things to love about Harry and this series, it’s hard to know where to begin”

Whatcha Readin’, Books? “What is not to love about this book?”

Loving Books “While Sorcerer’s Stone isn’t my favorite of the Harry Potter books, it does provide a great base for the entire series and leaves me hoping that my Hogwarts letter is just 10 years late.”

Lovely Little Shelf “Re-reading this first book was like sliding into a warm bath.  It was the coziest thing in the whole world.”

And you can read my own review of Philosopher’s Stone here


Filed under general, Other Blogs

Harry Potter Giveaway.


It’s day two of Harry Potter Week here at Lucybird’s Book Blog and today I am launching my BIG giveaway.

I will be giving away all the Harry Potter books (yes that’s right books 1-7) to one lucky person. You can choose between either the new Signature Editions or the Adult Editions (sorry my budget won’t stretch to the original children’s editions)

What you need to know

1) This giveaway is international, so long as The Book Depository does free shipping to your country

2) You don’t have to be a follower to take part- although if you’d like to subscribe you are very welcome

3) You can get extra entries if you subscribe by e-mail, RSS feed or through your wordpress dashboard, and if you follow me on Twitter (@lucybirdbooks)- up to 2 extra entries (there is no point subscribing to e-mail, RSS and wordpress as they give you the same)

4) You can get an extra entry by promoting my blog and/or this giveaway. Feel free to steal my banner at the top of the page.

5) Entries for this giveaway will close next Sunday (24th July) at 11:59pm GMT. The winner will be announced and contacted the next day.

How to enter

Simply fill in the form

EDIT: 1) Some people have said they are having trouble finding my twitter the link to my profile is here

2) You must fill in the form to enter, I won’t enter anyone who enters only by comment


Filed under general, Giveaway

Film of the Book: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (part 2)

WARNING: This review contains SPOILERS for the Harry Potter books and films including Deathly Hallows

You can read my reviews of part 1 of the Deathly Hallows film and the book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Well I must say I was disappointed. I never really like the Harry Potter films much, I’m such a massive fan of the books that I hate every little change. Since the second film I’ve tried to be more relaxed and see the films as films themselves rather than films of books. I can’t stop myself comparing a little (the flying dementors for example really get to me for some reason) but I am able to enjoy the films as themselves, I even bought a copy of Order of the Phoenix after being impressed with Luna but regretted it. However I was impressed with the first part of Deathly Hallows, and I must admit I have been hopeful and excited for this film, partly because of that and partly because of a sort of end of an era feeling about the film. It kind of meant that it was the end of new Harry Potter stuff, and that’s sad.

So on to the film. I feel like my thoughts are a bit all over the place, so rather than my usual review style I’m going to make a list of things I liked, and things I didn’t, and try and explain why.


  • The fight between Voldemort and Harry, more epic than in the book, I think that sort of thing lends itself to film.
  • Neville’s awesome-ness, he was awesome in the books, but in a different way. I was disappointed how they changed the most awesome Neville moment in the book though, there didn’t even seem to be any point to do it that way…and they had all the ingredients there to actually do it.
  • Luna’s awesomeness when it came to finding the diadem. Another pointless change but Luna is my favourite character, and there wasn’t enough of her in Deathly Hallows.
  • The scene where Harry returned to Hogwarts, it did bring a little tear to me eye knowing what was to come after all the happiness.
  • Ginny’s reaction to Harry’s death, made me cry a little even though I knew he was alive
  • The deaths generally, but especially Fred’s killed me in the book, almost killed me in the film
  • 19 years later, I’m sure it wasn’t meant to be funny but it was hilariously cheesy!
  • McGonnagal’s awesomeness, again different to the book but still awesome.
  • The bridge scene, pretty cool and clever.

What I didn’t like:

  • Those damn flying dementors, DEMENTORS DON’T FLY!
  • Snape’s memories, how can he remember things he didn’t see (i.e. Lily’s death)? And what was with the memories coming from his tears? So cheesy and rubbish.
  • The sword of Gryffindor just appearing, what was that about? The burning sorting hat is an epic scene and could have been so good on screen.
  • Not my daughter you bitch! So uneventful, it’s one of the best parts of the book but it was just so undramatic.
  • The lack of Ravenclaw back story, I like the Helena/Bloody Baron story. And her knowing where the diadem is…she didn’t know that in the book right?
  • Ron and Hermione’s kiss. Meant to be totally happy moment in the middle of crazy battle and also a bit funny for inappropriate timing, just wasn’t.
  • Ron copying Harry’s parseltongue, not the best part of the book but it sounded like he could speak parseltongue rather than he was copying.
  • Neville and Luna pairing, Why? Just why? JK has said they are friends, nothing more, I don’t want them to be anything more, it’s to perfect in a sort of everyone has to be in a couple way, why is that?
  • No Kreacher. No fighting for Master Regulas
  • Ron not wanting to save the house elves, that’s why Hermione kissed him, not because of some stupid flood moment the same as every other scary slightly death like moment.
  • Harry not remembering that he had actually already seen the diadem when he hid the Half-blood Prince’s potion book, but randomly searching for it in this giant room
  • No explanation of the tunnel and new room of requirement
  • Whoops Harry forgot to fix his wand before he broke the elder wand
  • Putting the Slytherins in the dungeon, they were meant to be able to leave or stay and fight, as were the rest of the school

Ok so it technically took me till Sunday to write this…




Filed under Film review

It’s Harry Potter Week on Lucybird’s Book Blog


Yes that’s right, in commemoration of the release of the final Harry Potter film and the end of an era this week is going to be Harry Potter Week here  at Lucybird’s Book Blog.

I’ll be posting a Harry Potter related post everyday this week, starting off with a review of the film later today. Plus keep tuned tomorrow for my Harry Potter Giveaway.

Plus everyday I’m going to be posting links to Harry Potter reviews on other blogs, so if you would like your blog to be featured please link me to your post.

Leave a comment

Filed under general

Because I want to!


Image by dr. muerte se come el mundo via Flickr

Oh I really shouldn’t have made that my title! I have The Billie Piper song in my head now (I dare you to click the link go on!). Was that really 1998? Yeah shut-up Lucy.

So if you can’t guess from that beginning I really wanted to write a blog post today, but I have no reviews to post because I’ve finished no books this week, and no inspiration for a musings post. Which leaves me sitting here with a blank page and a Billie Piper song stuck in my head.

suddenly this is turning into a post about Billie Piper, strange for a book blog right. Err but it can connect I suppose err Billie Piper plays Hannah in The Secret Diary of a London Call Girl which was a book first (or was it a blog first, whatever I read the book before there was a TV show). Out of interest has anyone read The Further Adventures of a London Call Girl, is it any good? It’s been on my wishlist for literally years.

Ok so I thought maybe talk about why there has been no review this week. It’s pretty unusual for me not to read a book in a week, my general rate is pretty much a book a week, a review a week which is a comfortable level for me, I don’t feel the need to blog everyday and so long as I get a none meme post off about once a week I’m happy, if it’s more that’s even better. Yes this week I have posted none meme posts (both about Pottermore I think, but so what it’s exciting!), so why do I feel the need to blog today?

I suppose it’s unusual for me not to post a review and that makes me feel somewhat out of sorts. Especially when I have already read 6 books this month, somewhat of a record for me. Not that this fixes that but whatever. Blogging for the sake of blogging right?

Why haven’t I finished a book this week? While I can honestly say I’m not getting on too well with The Piano Tuner. I’m about 150 pages in currently which is past my I can give up if I get to this point, point. So that means it’s not a total loss, but I think it still says something when it takes me a week to get to a point that would usually take me a couple of days. I don’t know what it is with the book really. I can tell the style of writing is good and everything feels very authentic it just doesn’t really feel like much is happening. Sure things have happened, and those are the parts that have kept me reading really, for more parts like that. It still feel like a scene is being set too which makes me think there’s still some potential for this to be a good book, it’s just taking it’s time getting there.

It think it says something that I didn’t really feel like reading it one evening and picked up a book which has been on my To Be Read Pile for about 6 years, Pooh and the Psychologists. It’s a book that feels right to read slowly. It’s a bit silly, and a bit far-fetched but the psychology behind it is genuine enough and the way it’s presented it pretty fun. It’s not going to replace The Piano Tuner, because I can see it driving me crazy if it was all I was reading but it’s good as something light and easy enough to put down before bed.

So yes there is no review instead there’s a random post which can only very loosely be called a post of musings!

Actually speaking of random musings I found a bookmark in The Book Tuner (it was sent to me from bookmooch), it’s one of those arty type book marks which doesn’t really look that arty but like he sort of picture postcard art which is really a bit tacky. All the same it’s quite nice to find things in books. You could say I found something in Pooh and the Psychologists too (bought from a charity bookshop) but that was a message because the book was originally a present. I actually thought the message sounded quite personal at the time and that it was quite sad that someone had given away the book, but apparently I have an unnatural attachment to my books. The boyfriend has the attitude that it doesn’t matter if they get battered because you can always buy another (which makes me tell him off when he throws book across the room…yes I did say throws).

Oh and on the 100 page policy. I started it after reading the first Harry Potter, because I may actually have never finished it if it hadn’t been the school holidays and I wanted to read something because it took quite a lot for me to get through the first few chapters, but it’s ended up being a favourite of mine (even if I do still started at The Shack in the Sea). So to stop the same happening again I told myself that I couldn’t give up on a book until I had read at least 100 pages. It seemed a sensible number of pages, readable in a day if I really raced through them (although that barely ever happens when I am contemplating giving up, and if it did I would probably decide to carry on because I don’t really like giving up on books, and it would only take a little longer to do), long enough that a scene could be set and the story really started, but not so long that it would feel like a chore to get that far. In reality I rarely do give up at 100 pages, I have to really hate a book to do that. If there is any sign of promise I will plough on. It’s seems a pretty good system, I have ended up loving books that I considered giving up before 100 pages. Maybe the struggle makes it more rewarding?

Right am going to shut-up now. Well done if you got this far through all the waffle, especially all the rubbish about Billie Piper at the beginning! Maybe you should reward yourself by entering my giveaway?


Filed under Musings

eeek excitement POTTERMORE!


Wow this is much much excitement! See I can’t even use words properly!

From the video I am most excited about the extra snippets J.K talks about, anything new always drives me crazy and I still want to know MORE!

It sounds kind of like an online community too, I love forums so am happy in that respect but wonder how much it will actually give us that a ‘normal’ forum doesn’t? And how awesome would it be to be one of the people to be let in early?

There is more information on The Leaky Cauldron

  • You will be like another character, getting sorted and even getting a wand from one of 33,000 combinations!
  • There will be lots of information on McGonnagal’s backstory (which could well be interesting)
  • You will get exclusive information about your house (unless you are sorted into Gryffindor)
  • Will not included the encyclopaedia, this will be a paper book, if it ever happens (WHAT it might not happen…I was hoping for it for so long though!)

Can’t wait for 31st July to try and get in early!



Filed under Musings, News


So I did find out about Pottermore not long after it had been released that Pottermore is the answer to the clues but I thought here I am self confessed Potter addict and I haven’t even mentioned Pottermore on my blog!

Of course there is little really to say, I mean it’s just “Coming Soon” currently which really shows very little about what it will actually be. J.k. has said it’s not a new book but I am still hoping for the encyclopedia (or The Scottish Book).

Still something new that actually comes from J.K. Rowling…very very very exciting! And it means my final Harry Potter straw will not have to be the last Harry Potter film, this make me very happy as I don’t even really like the films.


Filed under Musings, News

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone Discussion

So Shannon has posted some discussion questions for the Harry Potter read-along on her blog Giraffe Days

1. How many times have you read this particular book? Did you like it more or less on this read?

I used to really, really be into Harry Potter in a big way. Until very recently I was a frequent visitor at The Chamber of Secrets forums talking about different theories so I’ve read all the books more times than I can remember. I’ve read Philosopher’s Stone at least 8 times because every time there was a new book out I used to read it then read all the books leading up to it before reading it again. The only one I haven’t read more times than I can count though is Deathly Hallows. I think I liked this one more this read through, simply because it’s been a while since I last read it nd it felt a bit like coming home.

2. Did anything surprise you on this re-read, something you never noticed before perhaps or a detail that struck you as more important, knowing what’s coming later?

You know what I’ve read them so many times that I anticipate rather than find new things, but I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the first few chapters which I usually miss out.

3. What is your favourite scene in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone?

Oh hard one! Probably where Harry realises what Hagrid has done, it just gives so much anticipation!

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Filed under general

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone- J.K Rowling

Cover of "Harry Potter and the Philosophe...

Cover via Amazon

I read this book as part of my re-read of the Harry Potter books

This review contains spoilers

Synopsis (from Waterstones)

Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy. He lives with his Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and cousin Dudley, who are mean to him and make him sleep in a cupboard under the stairs. (Dudley, however, has two bedrooms, one to sleep in and one for all his toys and games.) Then Harry starts receiving mysterious letters and his life is changed forever. He is whisked away by a beetle-eyed giant of a man and enrolled at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The reason: Harry Potter is a wizard! The first book in the “Harry Potter” series makes the perfect introduction to the world of Hogwarts.


Oh Harry how I have missed you! I didn’t realise until I was getting excited about every little bit of Philosopher’s Stone (if you follow me on twitter I am sure you will agree with me on this point!) how much I have missed Harry. Since the release of Deathly Hallows (the book not the film) my Harry Potter activity has dropped dramatically. I barely ever visit the Chamber of Secrets forums anymore, I don’t really use my Livejournal now except to read other people’s posts (and I didn’t talk about Harry on there much anyway, it was just very connected to the Harry Potter side of my life)., and unless you count my re-read of Deathly Hallows last year I haven’t read the books for years.

It’s a bit difficult for me to write a balanced review of Philosopher’s Stone simply because Harry Potter has been such a big part of my life for so long. I love it just because it’s part of Harry and part of my history. I am trying to remember how I viewed it when I first read it but it was so long ago that I can barely remember. I grew up with Harry so my first reading of Philosopher’s Stone was over 10 years ago.

I do know for sure this is my least favourite of the books. First time round I actually almost gave up within the first few chapters just because it takes a long time to get going. Of course I am glad I didn’t because by the time Harry got to Hogwarts I was beginning to really get into it. In truth I usually actually don’t start my re-reads at the beginning but skip to Hagrid’s entrance at the shack in the sea. This time though I decided I should do it properly and actually found myself really enjoying reading those bits I usually miss. I mean the bits when the letters come give a kind of exciting anticipation for what I know is coming up.

As I came further towards the end it struck me that although this is the lightest-hearted of the Harry Potter books in some parts it is pretty dark. I mean that image of Quirrel-mort drinking that unicorns blood is certainly very chilling, and when you are so engrossed in Harry’s world you can actually feel the revulsion Harry would feel from seeing that image. Then there is Quirrel having Voldemort sticking out the back of his head, that isn’t exactly a nice image either. Of course the way Harry wins in this book is amazing, and in some ways less scary, although you’re rooting for Harry there is something about the way he wins that seems so innocent and right, almost as if he is not really fighting.

I remember eagerly looking for the next book after I finished this one and now I am eager to start my re-read of The Chamber of Secrets.



Filed under Fantasy, Fiction review

Harry Potter Read-A-Long


I had been thinking about re-reading the Harry Potter books and I saw that one of my favourite blogs Giraffe Days is hosting a read-a-long so it’s the perfect opportunity. It’s pretty easy going, a book a month starting this month.

I’ve been thinking about Harry a lot recently. Even though I don’t really rate the films the last one coming out this summer means that I feel a little like it’s the end of an era. It’s not the same as the release of the last book, but there’s a certain sadness and I want to connect with that world again


Filed under general

It’s Friiiiiiiday!

…and of course that means blog hop day!

This week Jennifer asks

 “What book-to-movie adaption have you most liked?  Which have you disliked?”
I recently saw the adaptation of  Water for Elephants (film review, book review) and although not as good as the book I did enjoy it. My favourite book to film adaptation, though, has to be Lord of the Rings. I loved the films but have never managed to finish the books (despite loving The Hobbit). As for worst, The Harry Potter films (reviews of film and book 7) simply because I love the books so much that I hate everything that is changed and when things are left out.


Filed under Blog Hop, general

Characters come to life

Writing samples: Parker 75

Image by churl via Flickr

For once the daily question over on the post a day/post a week blog is one I can actually answer without completely going off topic!


If you could bring one fictional character to life for a day, who would you choose?

Now to answer the question is pretty difficult. I mean there are characters that I’d love to meet and become friends with, Claire from The Time Traveller’s Wife, Luna from Harry Potter, Elphaba from Wicked, Hoshino from Kafka on the Shore. Then there are those who would be interesting to meet, Henry from The Time Traveller’s Wife, Max from The Confessions of Max Tivolli, Cal from Middlesex.

How to choose just one? I guess I could pick Claire, because I think she would be great to have as a friend and  she would have some of the interesting-ness from Henry. I think Cal would be someone I could get on with too, so they would be a pretty good pick.


Filed under general, Musings

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Image via Wikipedia

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Harry has been burdened with a dark, dangerous and seemingly impossible task: that of locating and destroying Voldemort’s remaining Horcruxes. Never has Harry felt so alone, or faced a future so full of shadows. But Harry must somehow find within himself the strength to complete the task he has been given. He must leave the warmth, safety and companionship of The Burrow and follow without fear or hesitation the inexorable path laid out for him.

In this final, seventh installment of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling unveils in spectactular fashion the answers to the many questions that have been so eagerly awaited. The spellbinding, richly woven narrative, which plunges, twists and turns at a breathtaking pace, confirms the author as a mistress of storytelling, whose books will be read, reread and read again.


I am a complete Harry nut but all the same it’s been a couple of years since I last read a Potter book, and I’ve only read Deathly Hallows a couple of times. Part of it is that there’s a sadness to this book other than the story itself. It’s the end of something which has been in my life for so long, and which has effected my life. If it wasn’t for Harry this blog would probably never exist because it’s Harry that started my internet life. I wanted to re-read Deathly Hallows after seeing the film, I felt I wanted to know it better- as well as I know the other books, and I wanted the satisfaction that doesn’t some from the film. I never really like the films, they just don’t match up to the books.

As far as the book itself is concerned it’s not my favourite (that jumps between Chamber of Secrets and Half-Blood Prince….can you see the common theme?) but it’s not my least favourite either. There is a lot of time when there isn’t actually that much happening. When they have no idea where to find a horcrux- or at least no probable idea. In fact finding out where the next horcrux is was pretty much good luck really, and not that much they actually worked out for themselves. That’s not to say it was boring. Maybe it’s my love for Harry that kept me reading, that I had to know how it ended? But I don’t think that would keep me reading a second and third time. I think that there was the right balance of realistic timing and events which kept the reader reading.

This book is by far the saddest for me. In a way it is sadder after the first reading because you anticipate what is coming. You’re sad before what makes you sad has actually happened. There was one bit which was less sad than the first time for me because I know what was about to happen, although it was still somewhat upsetting. (highlight for spoiler)This was when Harry thought he was going to die. I can remember being so shocked the first time and trying to convince myself that he couldn’t die , and I really thought he might. Deaths wise this book was so sad because there was a realism there. That war isn’t fair and the people who ‘shouldn’t’ die aren’t exempt. It’s not nice but it seems right, I think I would have disliked it if only people we didn’t care for died, because it would be like Rowling was trying to stop fans from being upset.

As for the controversial epilogue? I’m not a fan. It answered very little for me, and somehow made everything as the fans expected- not that that’s a problem, but it’s kind of too perfect, and it’s what I would have presumed for myself- I wanted to know other things. Some of it Rowling has revealed in interviews but I am still hoping for the rumoured encyclopaedia. I like to debate but it would be nice to know.



Filed under Fantasy, Fiction review, YA

Banned Book Week

Book burning

Image via Wikipedia

I thought that seeing as it’s banned books week a musing about banned books would be appropriate (and, well, I haven’t updated in the last week, so it’s about time).  Now I’m sure everyone would be talking about the top 10 most banned books…and I will too but when looking around I also came across a list of less obvious banned books, the ones you wouldn’t guess I suppose.

I wanted to start, though with my general opinion on banning books, before I go into more specifics. I am totally against banning books. I can admit that a parent may not think a book is suitable for heir child, and sure if that’s the case don’t let your kid read it.Just don’t prevent others from reading it. Every child is different and what some kids can’t cope with might be standard reading material for another kid. Yes, some issues are difficult to read about, but isn’t it better to be exposed to them through a safe medium of reading rather than in real life. I have heard of Junk by Malven Bragg being banned before. I can understand why, there are some uncomfortable scenes of drug taking, prostitution and it’s consequences, but, and this is important, it doesn’t glamourise drug use. It shows the real effects. I doubt very much anyone has decided to try drugs as a consequence of reading Junk, if anything the opposite is probably true. Possibly this can’t go for all books but it all goes towards knowledge, and I would rather my teenager (if I had one!) was reading about certain things than doing them, just like I was as a teenager. Really it has a lot to do with how the reader can review what they read. How they can criticise it and not believe all they read. If they can make the decision for themselves it’s much better, and truer than being told.

Anyway onto the ‘traditional’ list. This one is taken from The American Library Association and show the top 10 banned books of 2009.

1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: drugs, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
2. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: homosexuality
3. The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: anti-family, drugs, homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited to age group
4. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Reasons: offensive language, racism, unsuited to age group
5. Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
6. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
7. My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult
Reasons: homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
8. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
9. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
10. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
Reasons: nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

I can only really talk about what I’ve read. So lets start from the bottom (just to mix things up a bit!). I read The Chocolate War a few years ago, and can barely remember it. This is the sort of banned book I love to laugh at because it teaches good stuff. I mean yeah, it may have offensive language and some sexual content (neither of which particularly stick with me, in fact I can’t even remember any sexual scenes) but it anti-bullying and pro free-choice. Maybe what people don’t like is the free-choice element…I mean if their kids can’t choose what books to read surely they aren’t able to competently choose how to lead their lives!

The Color Purple. I do actually remember sexually explicit bits in this one. However again it’s all about the message, this time an anti-racism one.

My Sister’s Keeper well where do I start. I love this book. Ok fist things first can someone point out the homosexual content in this book? I can’t remember any homosexual content. Even if it is there that’s the most homophobic pile of crap I have heard of. I can understand not wanting your kids to read about sex, or violence or drugs, but why is reading about a character who is homosexual any worse than reading about a person who is straight. Do people think it’s going to turn their children gay?! Or is it just that they don’t want their children to have a balanced view of people? They want them to grow up with the same stereotypes they have? It totally doesn’t fit with books being banned for being racist either- obviously being discriminatory of homosexuals is nothing like the same thing. Oh it makes me mad! I also see no sexism- and oh it’s just the same thing again of complaining of racism with one hand and being homophobic with the other. There is sexual content and violence but both are very mild as I remember.

Twilight I hate this book it should be banned so nobody has to suffer. Lol only joking. I wouldn’t call it sexually explicit…maybe the later ones (I haven’t read Breaking Dawn) are a bit suggestive but really isn’t it meant to be all virginity and purity and waiting till you’re married?

To Kill a Mockingbird. To call this book racist is stupid. It’s anti-racism. it shows racism but it also shows that it shouldn’t be that way. People are stupid.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Yeah I get this, the drugs, the sex, I can understand parents not wanting their kids to read it. Still it’s a fantastic book.

I have read Catcher in the Rye too, but it was quite a long time ago and hasn’t stuck with me.

My unusual banned books list comes from yahoo news:

“Captain Underpants”

Some folks had their underwear in a bunch over this children’s book series by Dav Pilkey. The “Captain Underpants” series — about two fourth-graders and their superhero of a principal — was one of the top 10 most frequently banned and challenged books for 20022004 and 2005. The books were said to contain offensive language, to be sexually explicit and to be anti-family.

“The Lord of the Rings”

J.R.R Tolkien’s book was burned, not in the fires of Mount Doom, but outside of a church in Alamogordo, N.M., in 2001 because it was viewed as “Satanic.”

Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary

When it comes to banning books, even the dictionary gets no respect. The Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary was pulled from the shelf of a school in Menifee, Calif. The offending term in the dictionary? “Oral sex.” The entry references of the dictionary also included cunnilingus and fellatio, which were not cited as the reasons for pulling the dictionary off the shelf. Merriam-Webster has been publishing language reference books for more than 150 years. They were bound to offend someone along the way.

“Fahrenheit 451”

Could a book about censorship really be banned? Absolutely. Enter “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury. The book has been banned by the Mississippi School District (1999). It’s also No. 69 on the American Library Association’s list of top banned/challenged books from 2000 to 2009.

Harry Potter series

One of the most surprising banned books sits at the No. 1 spot on the ALA list. It’s not even a book. It’s the entire Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. The Harry Potter series is to teens what “Star Wars” was to an entire generation of now-40-somethings. The series has been challenged for occultism, Satanism, violence, being anti-family and having religious viewpoint. The series is No. 1 on the ALA’s most challenged book list for 2000 to 2009.

“The Grapes of Wrath”

John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” is not just another classic on the list. The book was originally banned in California due to obscenity, but the catalyst behind the banning was based more in embarrassment: The people in the region did not like how their area and the workers’ situation was portrayed in the novel.

“Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?”

Most parents of kids under 5 have seen Eric Carle’s art accompanying the book by Bill Martin. The Texas Board of Education banned the book, in January 2010, because it thought the book was written by the same Bill Martin who penned the nonchildren’s book “Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation.”

“James and the Giant Peach”

Author Roald Dahl is no stranger to being banned. His book “The Witches” is on the ALA’s 100 most frequently challenged books for 1990 to 1999 for its depictions of women and witches. But what about James and his peach? Was there witchcraft at work? James was disobedient and there was violence in the book.

American Heritage Dictionary (1969)

The American Heritage Dictionary of 1969 was also banned in 1978 from a library in Eldon, Mo., because of 39 objectionable words. The dictionary continued to cause trouble as far away as Alaska, where it was banned by the Anchorage School Board in 1987 for its inclusion of slang words, including “balls.”

Grimm’s Fairy Tales

Fairy tales have always held a precarious place in children’s literature. On one side, readers have fairy-tale purists who lament the morals lost in fairy tales that have been too cleaned up. Others object to any violence in fairy tales. A couple of California school districts found a whole new reason to ban Grimm’s Fairy Tales in1989: misuse of alcohol. Little Red Riding Hood’s basket for her grandmother includes wine. Maybe it wasn’t a California red.

I’ve only read 2 of these but thought the list was interesting anyway. James and the Giant Peach I read so long ago but most of the complaints on that can be ascribed to most Dahl books, books which thousands of kids have enjoyed without any ill effects. In fact in ways Dahl is very moral. He hates spoilt, cheeky, rude, bratty kids. The good kid always wins out. Look at Matilda, Charlie, and James himself. Yes he was disobedient but only towards adults who deserved it (and he didn’t try to poison his aunts like George did to his Grandma!).
And Harry Potter. Well what can I say. As a giant fan of Harry Potter I’ve always been incensed by the anti-Harry ‘parade’. I’ve visited a few anti-Harry websites, finding most have no real foot to stand on seeing as they don’t seem to have actually read the book. Some even quote The Onion as a serious reliable source! Whether they’ve read the book or not though, Harry Potter, yes, is a wizard, but he’s far from evil for it. In fact the book’s key theme is the power of love- a power that is greater than any magic. It’s about friendship, about the battle of good against evil- you could even draw parallels with The Bible. It’s far from a book which inspires hate and dark magic.
I could go on but I think this post is long enough already…and soon it will be turning into a real rant. I suppose we can rest in the hope that events like Banned Book week give, and at least be content that book burnings are rare- because I couldn’t even be happy about the worst of books being burnt.

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Book Blogger Hop

Again I’m taking part in the Book Blogger Hop, which is a great event taking place every week that helps book blogggers to find one another. To have a look just click the picture. If you’re here from over there welcome! I hope you enjoy looking around, feel free to comment anywhere and pop in to say hi here- I promise to visit your blog in return.

As usual I will be posting my best finds on Monday.

Over the last couple of weeks Jennifer has been asking questions so we can get to know each other better this week she’s asking about our favourite authors and why they are our favourites.

I have a few favourites. JK Rowling because I just love the Harry Potter books, they completely take you into a different world- it’s escapism, and it’s what really brought me to the online world (for more see my me and books section). Jasper Fforde because his books are so clever, there are all types of references that readers like us will appreciate, plus his books are funny and exciting. Sebastian Fawkes because he can really take you into another time and get inside another person’s head. Birdsong remains one of my favourite historical fiction books even though I read it when I was back in school, and Engleby actually made me like a potential murderer. Haruki Murakami, because his writing is so beautiful that it’s almost poetic and his stories are like nothing I’ve ever read before.


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