Harry Potter 10 Years On: The Half-Blood Prince

Time to reflect on my reread of the penultimate book in the Harry Potter series! Two weeks tomorrow, I’ll be flying to London for the studio tour!

Previous posts in this series can be found here:-

Harry Potter 10 Years On: The Philosopher’s Stone

Harry Potter 10 Years On: The Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter 10 Years On: The Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter 10 Years On: The Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter 10 Years On: The Order of the Phoenix


Initial Thoughts…

I forgot how much I like this one! The opening scene is great.

I want a Pygmy Puff!

I wish Neville and Luna had a bit more faith in themselves, they break my heart.

I get so panicked when Harry is stuck in the train!

Rowling continues to astound me with her character and plot development.

The backstory! Gah.

Ron and Ginny arguing about snogging, hahaha

Oh my days, the angst is REAL.

The Christmas chapters are always sooo good.

Harry putting the minister in his place, yasss go on son.

Dumbledore is so sassy in this book.

Luna commentating on the Quidditch game gives me life.

Ron’s comedy is some of its best in this book.

The horcrux plot is honestly mind-blowing.

The room of requirement scene! The clues! The foreshadowing!

“I am not worried, Harry. I am with you.” Crying.

The end of this book is so dark and dramatic.

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Thoughts Upon Finishing…

I vividly remember queuing in W.H.Smith to get this on release day. This series was such a formative influence in my youth and I am completely loving revisiting it.

I always think I don’t like this book as much as I do but it’s actually the movie that irritates me, because it leaves out so much awesome stuff and focuses mostly on the romantic angst! I think I disagree with the director’s choice to make the relationships as big a deal as the Voldemort plot haha.

Yet again, Rowling’s character development is superb and the way she leaves little clues of what is to come has made this such a rewarding series to revisit. Even if it does have me shouting at the pages trying to warn everybody!

I’m now so excited to complete this journey with the final book! Though I’m not ready to be emotionally destroyed…

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Where does this book rank for you? What are your thoughts on the movie adaptation? Let me know in the comments! x

“I Will Not Be Erased” – Our Stories About Growing Up As People Of Colour

 

gal-dem I will not be erased review

Hey everyone! Today is release day for a collection of essays by gal-dem, published by Walker Books! I’m going to be totally honest, I had not heard of gal-dem before being invited to review this book so I had to do a little research. Basically, they are a group of women and non-binary people of colour who run an online magazine promoting writers from marginalised groups. I think this is such a great initiative and I’m really glad I got the chance to read this book.


synopsis

Fourteen joyous, funny and life-affirming essays from gal-dem, the award-winning magazine created by young women and non-binary people of colour.

gal-dem, the award-winning online and print magazine, is created by women and non-binary people of colour. In this thought-provoking and moving collection of fourteen essays, gal-dem’s writers use raw material from their teenage years – diaries, poems and chat histories – to explore growing up. gal-dem have been described by the Guardian as “the agents of change we need”, and these essays tackle important subjects including race, gender, mental health and activism, making this essential reading for any young person.


my thoughts

Now obviously, I have to start out by saying that I do not come from a marginalised background. Maybe some people will think that should have disqualified me from commenting on this book but I disagree. I think books like this are so important, not only in giving marginalised readers a place where they can be seen and heard, but also in educating readers like myself who come from a more privileged social position. I’m really glad to see the publishing industry making an effort to provide us with more literature like this and giving everyone the representation they deserve.

I will say that even though I couldn’t necessarily relate to the struggles of the writers on a fundamental level (ie. I’m not a person of colour), there were still themes that resonated with me very deeply. I think this book is a great gateway to opening up some important conversations and I genuinely hope it finds its way into schools because this should be required reading for all young people. 

In terms of the book itself, it was extremely readable. Each essay is only a few pages long and punctuated with cute illustrations, meaning it is easy to dip in and out of when you have a few spare minutes. I was really intrigued by the authors’ use of real raw material such as poems and diary entries from their teenage years. I thought this really added to the emotion throughout the book.

And wow, was there a lot of emotion. My heart broke for these young girls. Knowing that bullying and racism like this occurs is one thing but to have it written down on the page in front of you is difficult and eye-opening. I can only hope that things have improved from when these women were going through their teenage years, and that we will all continue to learn and improve. Books like this are surely a great step forward in educating people.

Overall, this is an important and necessary collection that I think everyone should read. Thank you to Walker Books for providing me with a free copy!

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What are some books you think are important? Let me know in the comments! xsignature (2)

‘The Missing Years’ spoiler-free review!

Hey everyone! I’m delighted to be helping kick off the blog tour for Lexie Elliott’s The Missing Years! Huge thanks to Anne Cater for sending me a free copy of one of my most anticipated releases of the month!

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synopsis

Ailsa Calder has inherited half of a house. The other half belongs to a man who disappeared without a trace twenty-seven years ago—her father.

Leaving London behind to settle the inheritance from her mother’s estate, Ailsa returns to her childhood home, nestled amongst the craggy peaks of the Scottish Highlands, joined by the half-sister who’s almost a stranger to her.

Ailsa can’t escape the claustrophobic feeling that the house itself is watching her—as if her past hungers to consume her. She also can’t ignore how the neighbourhood animals refuse to set one foot within the gates of the garden.

When the first nighttime intruder shows up, Ailsa fears that the manor’s careless rugged beauty could cost her everything.


my thoughts

This was so good!! I love stories where the setting is almost a character in itself so as soon as I heard about the creepy house in this book, I knew I wanted to read it. And it didn’t disappoint! The Gothic atmosphere was perfect; I was hooked immediately and could barely put the book down. I would have devoured it in one sitting if time had allowed.

The author created a creeping sense of unease from start to finish that had me questioning everything. Seriously, everything that happens in this book is deliciously ambiguous. The author did a brilliant job of making sure I didn’t trust ANYONE and I loved trying to figure out if there was something supernatural going on or if there were simpler explanations for things. Mentions of the Jacobite rebellion had me so intrigued, as did so many other thematic elements. Honestly, my mind was working overtime!

While there were moments that felt a little repetitive, these didn’t bother me too much because I felt they added to the sense of uncertainty. Was Ailsa going mad? What was actually going on? I was kept in suspense the whole time and it was glorious.

This is definitely a slow-burning thriller but I wouldn’t let that put you off. There are some fantastically creepy moments interspersed throughout the story but also an insightful look at family and relationships. I particularly liked the inclusion of various possible scenarios regarding the disappearance of Ailsa’s father – I thought this was a unique and interesting touch.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good haunted house story!

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Make sure you check out the other stops on the tour for more reviews if you like the sound of this one!

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Music Monday: These Are the Days of Our Lives (Queen)

Happy Monday everyone 🙂

I’ve been doing a lot of requests lately but this week, I’m being a bit more selfish and playing a song that I’ve been loving recently. Written largely by Queen’s drummer, Roger Taylor, this is a poignant song that was released as a single not long after Freddie Mercury’s death in 1991. It topped the UK charts. The video was the last time Freddie ever appeared on camera – I can’t watch it without getting emotional at how frail he looks. It is a song so full of feeling. I hope you enjoy it ❤

June 2019 Anticipated Releases!

I’m a day late but I’m here to shout about some books coming out this month that have caught my eye! All synopses and covers are from Goodreads.

June


Wild and Crooked by Leah Thomas

Release date: June 4th

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In Samsboro, Kentucky, Kalyn Spence’s name is inseparable from the brutal murder her father committed when he was a teenager. Forced to return to town, Kalyn must attend school under a pseudonym . . . or face the lingering anger of Samsboro’s citizens, who refuse to forget the crime.

Gus Peake has never had the luxury of redefining himself. A Samsboro native, he’s either known as the “disabled kid” because of his cerebral palsy, or as the kid whose dad was murdered. Gus just wants to be known as himself.

When Gus meets Kalyn, her frankness is refreshing, and they form a deep friendship. Until their families’ pasts emerge. And when the accepted version of the truth is questioned, Kalyn and Gus are caught in the center of a national uproar. Can they break free from a legacy of inherited lies and chart their own paths forward?

Why I’m interested: This sounds like it could have THUG vibes and I’m also really intrigued by the disability rep. I haven’t heard a lot of buzz about this one so I’ll be looking out for the first reviews rolling in!


The Missing Years by Lexie Elliott

Release date: June 6th

the missing years.jpg

Ailsa Calder has inherited half of a house. The other half belongs to a man who disappeared without a trace twenty-seven years ago—her father.

Leaving London behind to settle the inheritance from her mother’s estate, Ailsa returns to her childhood home, nestled amongst the craggy peaks of the Scottish Highlands, joined by the half-sister who’s almost a stranger to her.

Ailsa can’t escape the claustrophobic feeling that the house itself is watching her—as if her past hungers to consume her. She also can’t ignore how the neighbourhood animals refuse to set one foot within the gates of the garden.

When the first nighttime intruder shows up, Ailsa fears that the manor’s careless rugged beauty could cost her everything.

Why I’m interested: I’m actually on the blog tour for this one and you’ll be getting my post tomorrow! But what immediately caught my attention about this one is the eerie house setting – something I always enjoy.


All of Us with Wings by Michelle Ruiz Keil

Release date: June 18th

all of us with wings

Seventeen-year-old Xochi is alone in San Francisco, running from her painful past: the mother who abandoned her, the man who betrayed her. Then one day, she meets Pallas, a precocious twelve-year-old who lives with her rockstar family in one of the city’s storybook Victorians. Xochi accepts a position as Pallas’s live-in governess and quickly finds her place in their household, which is relaxed and happy despite the band’s larger-than-life fame.

But on the night of the Vernal Equinox, as a concert afterparty rages in the house below, Xochi and Pallas accidentally summon a pair of ancient creatures devoted to avenging the wrongs of Xochi’s adolescence. She would do anything to preserve her new life, but with the creatures determined to exact vengeance on those who’ve hurt her, no one is safe—not the family she’s chosen, nor the one she left behind.

Why I’m interested: This honestly doesn’t sound like the kind of read I’d normally go for but the inclusion of both music and what I’m taking to be magical realism could do it for me.


Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food and Love

Release date: June 18th

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A shy teenager attempts to express how she really feels through the confections she makes at her family’s pasteleria. A tourist from Montenegro desperately seeks a magic soup dumpling that could cure his fear of death. An aspiring chef realizes that butter and soul are the key ingredients to win a cooking competition that could win him the money to save his mother’s life.

Welcome to Hungry Hearts Row, where the answers to most of life’s hard questions are kneaded, rolled, baked. Where a typical greeting is, “Have you had anything to eat?” Where magic and food and love are sometimes one and the same.

Told in interconnected short stories, Hungry Hearts explores the many meanings food can take on beyond mere nourishment. It can symbolize love and despair, family and culture, belonging and home.

Why I’m interested: I’m super excited for this one! There have been some fantastic anthologies coming out in recent years and I have been getting really into them. The fact that this one is about food is speaking to my soul.


Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh

Release date: June 18th

silver in the wood

There is a Wild Man who lives in the deep quiet of Greenhollow, and he listens to the wood. Tobias, tethered to the forest, does not dwell on his past life, but he lives a perfectly unremarkable existence with his cottage, his cat, and his dryads.

When Greenhollow Hall acquires a handsome, intensely curious new owner in Henry Silver, everything changes. Old secrets better left buried are dug up, and Tobias is forced to reckon with his troubled past—both the green magic of the woods, and the dark things that rest in its heart.

Why I’m interested: THIS. This just sounds like it will be AWESOME.


The Record Keeper by Agnes Gomillion

Release date: June 18th

the record keeper

After World War III, Earth is in ruins, and the final armies have come to a reluctant truce. Everyone must obey the law–in every way–or risk shattering the fragile peace and endangering the entire human race.

Although Arika Cobane is a member of the race whose backbreaking labor provides food for the remnants of humanity, she is destined to become a member of the Kongo elite. After ten gruelling years of training, she is on the threshold of taking her place of privilege far from the fields. But everything changes when a new student arrives. Hosea Khan spews dangerous words of treason: What does peace matter if innocent lives are lost to maintain it?

As Arika is exposed to new beliefs, she realizes that the laws she has dedicated herself to uphold are the root of her people’s misery. If Arika is to liberate her people, she must unearth her fierce heart and discover the true meaning of freedom: finding the courage to live–or die–without fear.

Why I’m interested: This sounds like it could be a really important read. I can’t wait to receive my copy from Titan Books!


The Sharp Edge of a Snowflake by Sif Sigmarsdóttir

Release date: June 27th
the sharp edge of a snowflake

The snow is falling thick and fast now. Snow in Iceland is dangerous.

Hannah Eiríksdóttir has been banished from her home in London to a place of eternal punishment for the wicked. No, not Hell, but close: Iceland. There, she faces a new life working as a journalist for her father’s newspaper – a man she barely knows.

Imogen Collins has the perfect life as a social media influencer, showing off her glamorous London existence to adoring fans. But behind the filters lies a dark secret. She thought she’d buried it: But the Beast is back – a ghost from her past who’s threatening to ruin her future.

When a man is found murdered at the edge of the road in snowy Iceland the girls’ lives collide. Imogen had the motive. Can Hannah find out the truth, and discover the reality of the girl beneath the filters?

Behind perfection often lies unbearable ugliness.

Why I’m interested: I love a good Nordic thriller and this one sounds like it could be quite unique and modern with its inclusion of social media themes.


So actually, there aren’t many books coming out this month that have caught my eye – except for on the 18th apparently! It’s probably just as well since my TBR is already out of control…

What new releases are you looking forward to this month? x

May 2019 Wrap-Up!

Hey everyone 🙂 May was a very slow reading month for me, the main reason being that most of my mental energy has been going into getting myself a new job!! I’ve been unhappy at work for a while now so I’m hoping this change will do wonders for my mental and physical health. I’ll be leaving my current job at the end of the month and starting on a new adventure!

So yeah. I’ve been feeling a lot of stress and various emotions, going for job interviews and handing in my resignation, then breaking the news to colleagues who have become good friends. But I feel like it’s the right time. Anyway, all of this has meant that I’ve been pretty exhausted and haven’t been picking up as many books.

Let’s see what I did manage to get through!

May 2019 wrapup


Review Books

Vox by Christina Dalcher

I started the month reading Vox, which I really enjoyed. If you take it as a standalone piece of literature and don’t try to compare it to what has come before, I think this a strong story. And I loved all the science-y stuff that was included – I thought it gave the book a unique twist.

 

The Forgotten Girl by Rio Youers

I pushed myself out of my comfort zone with this one and I’m so glad I did as I loved it! It was creepy and thrilling, and unlike anything I’ve ever read before.

 

The Den by Abi Maxwell

This book wasn’t quite what I expected it to be but I still enjoyed it for its small-town American setting and its exploration of women’s roles in two different eras of history.


Books from my TBR

finale

Finale by Stephanie Garber

I’m genuinely gutted by how this trilogy ended. This final book felt unstructured and lost a lot of what I enjoyed about the first two books.


Rereads

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

Rereading this one reminded me why it’s one of my least favourites in the series. This book gives me a lot of angry feelings! And I’ll never be over that significant plot event at the end.

 

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling

I actually loved this one so much more this time around. I don’t know why I had it built up in my head that I wasn’t going to enjoy it as much? Maybe after the chaos of book five haha. My reactions post will be up soon 😉


Stats

Total pages: 2971

Average pages per day: 95.8

Longest book: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (766 pages)

Shortest book: The Den (288 pages)

Favourite read of the month: The Forgotten Girl/Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Biggest disappointment of the month: Finale

Male authors: 1

Female authors: 5

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How was your reading month? Did you find any new favourites? Or have any major disappointments? x