Harry Potter 10 Years On: The Goblet of Fire

Hey everyone! I’ve been continuing my first reread of the Harry Potter series in a decade and I’m enjoying documenting my thoughts and reactions. Please proceed with caution as there will be some spoilers in this post!

If you missed my previous posts, you can find them here:-

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban


Initial Thoughts…

This is already so much darker than the previous books, I love it.

Voldemort’s servants should “give their right hand”, should they? Hehehehe

I love that Harry gets letters delivered by tropical birds instead of owls.

Honestly, the build-up to the Quidditch World Cup is so much more interesting than the game itself, am I right?!

Winky breaks my heart!

I think I have a bit of a bookish crush on Bill Weasley, please tell me I’m not the only one?

The ‘mundane’ details about lessons at Hogwarts are some of my favourite bits of this series.

“Harry, did you put your name in the Goblet of Fire?” CALMLY. Dumbledore asked CALMLY.

Snape is so awful to Hermione, omg.

I would actually slap Rita Skeeter.

Hedwig is one of the best animal sidekicks in any book, ever.

Krum has a Gregorovitch wand? Ooooh.

Dumbledore finding the room full of chamber pots when he needs the toilet during the night – is this the Room of Requirement?! Honestly, Rowling’s foreshadowing blows me away.

As if we’re only just discovering that Hagrid is half giant? I kind of took it for granted that we just always knew that.

And Dobby gives Harry the gillyweed? I forgot they changed that in the movie.

There’s so much backstory we don’t get in the movies!

Omg Nifflers. Heart eyes.

So sad about Neville’s parents 😦

It warms my heart when Mrs Weasley and Bill turn up in place of Harry’s family.

Guys, this book is DAAAARK.

Man, Voldemort likes the sound of his own voice.

I forgot that it was Fawkes who provided the tail feathers for the two wands!

Dumbledore’s speech at the end is so sad 😦

“What’s coming is coming and we’ll meet it when it does” – I love this quote.

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Thoughts Upon Finishing…

So as you can see, I had quite a lot of thoughts on this one! Though I suppose it helps that the book is so much longer than any of the first three.

This book is where the plot arc of the series is really starting to ramp up. Right from the start of this one, you can feel that things are much darker and it is so awful to know that not everyone is going to survive. I remember being so shocked reading this as a child that Rowling would kill off her characters; it wasn’t something I’d ever seen before.

The characters develop wonderfully in this instalment and Rowling does a great job of capturing the teenage angst that would have accompanied all of those hormones! Her portrayal of the struggles of puberty is very nuanced. Even though I’m no longer experiencing these things along with the trio, I was still feeling all the empathy for them.

Once again, I absolutely loved this book (perhaps even more than I remembered) and I give it all the stars. And now I’m bracing myself for the heartache to come in book five…

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What are your thoughts on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire? Is it one of your favourites in the series? Anyone else a fan of Bill Weasley?! x

 

 

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Alex’s Alphabeticals: E

Right. This blog series is being resurrected. (For real this time, I know I said this in the last post which was months ago now, oops).

Thank you to those of you who have been participating in this little idea that I created! If anyone else is interested, here are the rules:-

  1. Credit/link back to me so I can see your posts!
  2. List your favourite Authors, Books and Characters beginning with a certain letter of the alphabet
  3. Do as many or as few letters as you want

Authors beginning with ‘E’

Shea Earnshaw

Ok, so she only has one book published right now but I absolutely loved it. The Wicked Deep is an atmospheric witchy story that I read last year and that I am itching to reread.

 

Gavin Extence

Gavin Extence wrote one of my favourite books, which is grossly underrated – The Universe vs Alex Woods. I have another of his books on my shelf that I’m hoping to get to this year.

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Books beginning with ‘E’

Eclairs for Tea

First of all, I want to give a shoutout to indie author Julia Blake whose short story collection I read last year and really enjoyed. There’s definitely something for everyone in here.

 

Equal Rites

The third book in the Discworld series and remaining one of my favourites that I’ve read so far. I love the sassy witches and Pratchett’s tongue-in-cheek humour.

 

Egg and Spoon

I love books set in Russia and this one was super unique. I described it in my review as Studio Ghibli meets The Prince and the Pauper.

 

Even the Darkest Stars

This is the first book in a duology (I’m still to read the conclusion, of course). I loved that the story centred on a journey, and the Tibetan-inspired world building was amazing.


Characters beginning with ‘E’

Elia Lear

I read The Queens of Innis Lear last year and it was one of my favourite books of 2018. I loved all of the characters, particularly the three strong women at the heart of the story. Elia was glorious.

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Erik

He might be a serious anti-hero (you could even call him the villain) but I have a major soft spot for the Phantom of the Opera.

 

Eril-Fane

It just shows how skilled Laini Taylor is at her craft that she can make me feel so many emotions for minor characters. Her exploration of Eril-Fane’s PTSD in Muse of Nightmares was outstanding.


What are your favourite authors/books/characters beginning with E? I’d love to see your posts if you’d like to participate in Alex’s Alphabeticals! x

‘When The Moon Was Ours’ spoiler-free review!

Hello lovelies! I recently read When The Moon Was Ours, which was the Dragons and Tea Book Club pick for April. Anna-Marie McLemore is an author who I’ve wanted to try for a while, as I had a feeling I would love her magical realism stories. Let’s see what I thought of this, her debut novel!

when the moon was ours


synopsis

To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.


my thoughtsThis book is purple prose at its most flowery. Don’t get me wrong, I love that style of writing; all that lyrical, metaphorical stuff gives me the biggest heart eyes. But this was really laid on thick and I was worried it would be too much even for me. I did love it though and found that it made for an amazing sensory reading experience. The imagery, the sights and smells – McLemore’s details were exquisite.

This is definitely a character-focused book. The plot is totally secondary to the exploration of these individuals. I loved Aracely’s character and I thought Sam was an absolute darling. His is some of the best trans rep I’ve ever read. It was clear, even before I read the author’s note, that this is a subject McLemore is passionate about. And wow, was that author’s note a thing of beauty. So much heart right there.

I did find that I had to concentrate quite hard while reading this book; it wasn’t an effortless read. The imagery was beautiful but I did find it hard to wrap my head around some of it. I also thought that some sentences were a little bit clunky and awkward to read; the phrasings would take me a couple of tries to get right in my head. It meant things didn’t flow as I would have liked.

But overall, this was a stunning book and I’m glad to have finally begun my Anna-Marie McLemore journey. Thanks to Melanie and Amy for hosting the readalong!

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Have you read this one? Or any of McLemore’s other books? What did you think? Let me know in the comments! xsignature (2)

Music Monday: Robin Hood Movie Themes!

Hey everyone! I’m treating you to two pieces in one today! The first is the main theme from the 1976 film Robin and Marian, starring Sean Connery and Audrey Hepburn. The soundtrack was composed by John Barry (who also composed the theme to Raise the Titanic which I played a few weeks ago).

The second piece is more well-known. Taken from another movie adaptation of Robin Hood, this time in 1991, Everything I Do (I Do It For You) was written by Bryan Adams and spent 16 consecutive weeks at number one in the UK singles chart. It is one of the best-selling singles of all time.

If I’d been on the ball, I would have played the Game of Thrones theme this week since it’s all anyone is talking about! But I didn’t think of it soon enough haha. If that’s something you’d like to hear, let me know in the comments!

My ‘Pick Me Up’ Playlist! Tag

Hey guys! So I’ve got a bit of backlog of tags that I’m trying to start working through. Some of them (like this one) I can’t even remember who tagged me so I do apologise and please let me know if it was you! I’m going to try and do a tag every Sunday for the foreseeable future, so that I stop putting them off!

I love this idea of sharing my ‘pick me up’ playlist, songs that make me smile or put me in a good mood. As you all know already, music is a huge part of my life and I firmly believe that it can influence our mood in a big way.

Here are some songs that never fail to make me feel happy!


Queen – Breakthru

You didn’t think I’d make a playlist post and not include Queen, did you? I thought I might as well get them out of the way first 😉 I could have picked the obvious Bohemian Rhapsody which also never fails to make me smile but I wanted to highlight a lesser-known song. I love the punchy baseline in this one and the cheery chorus with its 80s summer vibes. Plus, how can you not smile at Freddie gyrating around on top of a train?!


Pentatonix – Sing

I love Pentatonix and their amazing acapella sound. This song is one of my favourites. It’s so catchy and impossible not to join in with. I also have very happy memories of driving along the west coast of Scotland in the sunshine, blasting this.


Simon & Garfunkel – Cecilia

I used to have this song on cassette tape (I know!!) It’s one of the first songs I ever loved.


Cosmo Sheldrake – Come Along

I first heard this song on a tv advert and for some reason, I just really enjoy it? Every time I hear it, I feel like a child again and just want to bop along.


George Ezra – Budapest

Honestly, I could have picked any of George Ezra’s songs as I just love his whole vibe. But I decided to go with the first one I ever heard and still love to this day.


The Greatest Showman Cast – The Greatest Show

There’s a reason the soundtrack for this movie has been played to death on the radio stations: it’s so damn catchy! I love it.


Meghan Trainor – No Excuses

This song came out during a period of really lovely weather and I remember being in the garden at work one day and everyone dancing and singing. It’s a happy memory and I like being reminded of it whenever I hear this song.


Paolo Nutini – Pencil Full of Lead

I defy anyone not to dance to this song.


Jason Mraz – I’m Yours

This is just another one of those inherently happy songs, right? It’s sweet and catchy, and I’m yet to meet a person who doesn’t like it.


Melanie – Brand New Key

I discovered this song when I was at sixth form and became mildly obsessed with it. It just makes me grin like an idiot.


Noah & the Whale – 5 Years Time

The whistling, the ukulele, the harmonies – it’s just great.


Bellamy Brothers – Let Your Love Flow

An oldie but a goodie.


Jonas Blue ft. Jack & Jack – Rise

Another catchy pop song that gives me all the summer feelings. I love that flute!


Ike & Tina Tuner – Proud Mary

I am in no way condoning Ike Turner’s actions so please don’t see this that way. This is purely a shoutout to Tina. But I can’t be the only person who just has to get up on the dancefloor when this song kicks into gear? My shoulders take on a life of their own!


Rusted Root – Send Me On Your Way

Ending on this absolute classic because you’d have to be a soulless bean to not enjoy this one. Granted, I can’t make out half of what he’s saying. But what a tune.


Well, that’s my ‘pick me up’ playlist! I think I was probably supposed to stop at 10 songs but I kept thinking of more that I had to include! Hopefully this shows how eclectic my tastes in music are 🙂 Do you like any of these songs? x

‘The Binding’ spoiler-free review!

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all having a wonderful April so far 🙂 I’ve got another review for you today, for a book I recently loved! I’m excited to share it with you.

the binding


synopsis

Young Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a strange letter arrives summoning him away from his family. He is to begin an apprenticeship as a Bookbinder—a vocation that arouses fear, superstition, and prejudice among their small community but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.

For as long as he can recall, Emmett has been drawn to books, even though they are strictly forbidden. Bookbinding is a sacred calling, Seredith informs her new apprentice, and he is a binder born. Under the old woman’s watchful eye, Emmett learns to hand-craft the elegant leather-bound volumes. Within each one they will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there’s something you want to forget, a binder can help. If there’s something you need to erase, they can assist. Within the pages of the books they create, secrets are concealed and the past is locked away. In a vault under his mentor’s workshop, rows upon rows of books are meticulously stored.

But while Seredith is an artisan, there are others of their kind, avaricious and amoral tradesman who use their talents for dark ends—and just as Emmett begins to settle into his new circumstances, he makes an astonishing discovery: one of the books has his name on it. Soon, everything he thought he understood about his life will be dramatically rewritten.


my thoughtsThis is a book of my heart. I bought this because it hit a lot of my buzzwords but I honestly didn’t expect to love it quite so much. I instantly connected with the beautiful prose; seriously, the descriptive writing was so gorgeous!

I was completely enthralled from start to finish, feeling immersed in the story every time I picked it up. It was all a little bit dark and a lot mysterious, and I was living for it.

The characters are so fully realised that I could picture them all so vividly. It honestly felt like I was reading about real people. I will admit that the change in perspective in part three did throw me a little but I soon got myself used to it.

Collins did a great job of revealing just enough information to tantalise the reader and keep them hooked in. I was desperate to find out more, just as Emmett was, and it felt wonderful to follow along on his journey.

If you’re a fan of books like Rebecca, The Shadow of the Wind or The Thirteenth Tale, I would definitely recommend you pick this one up!

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And now I’m going to leave you with this quote which really spoke to me:

May your darkness be quiet and the light come sooner than you need” – how lovely is that?!

Happy reading lovely people! x

Music Monday: Nuvole Bianche

Hey everyone! I hope you’ve had a peaceful start to the week – and if you haven’t, fear not because I’m about to chill you right out! 😉

I got a lot of requests for this piece so I really hope that some of you will enjoy it.

Meaning ‘white clouds’, this song was composed by Italian pianist Ludovico Einaudi and has been featured in the 2010 film Insidious and This is England ’86. It can be found on the 2004 album Una Mattina.

Einaudi has been hailed as a modern-day Mozart but I’ll leave that to you to decide. I hope you enjoy this one.

 

 

’55’ spoiler-free review!

Hello everyone! Today is my stop on the blog tour for 55, a debut thriller published by Simon and Schuster.

55 review


synopsis

Wilbrook in Western Australia is a sleepy, remote town that sits on the edge of miles and miles of unexplored wilderness. It is home to Police Sergeant Chandler Jenkins, who is proud to run the town’s small police station, a place used to dealing with domestic disputes and noise complaints.

All that changes on a scorching day when an injured man stumbles into Chandler’s station. He’s covered in dried blood. His name is Gabriel. He tells Chandler what he remembers.

He was drugged and driven to a cabin in the mountains and tied up in iron chains. The man who took him was called Heath. Heath told Gabriel he was going to be number 55. His 55th victim.

Heath is a serial killer.

As a manhunt is launched, a man who says he is Heath walks into the same station. He tells Chandler he was taken by a man named Gabriel. Gabriel told Heath he was going to be victim 55.

Gabriel is the serial killer.

Two suspects. Two identical stories. Which one is the truth?


my thoughtsThis is a really good debut thriller! The book starts off at a break-neck pace and continues to hurtle through the next 400 pages. The concept of two men walking into a police station and claiming that the other is a serial killer immediately caught my attention and held it until the very end. There were a couple of moments that felt a little repetitive but I suppose that’s unavoidable in a story with this concept.

I liked the Australian setting, having not read many books set there. The author really captured the stifling heat of the Australian wilderness; I felt transported.

I appreciated that the protagonist, Sgt Chandler Jenkins, seemed different to the police officers we so often read about. It would have been very easy for the author to fall into the trap of writing the usual stereotype. It was nice to instead read about a single father trying to do right by his kids and hold down a career.

I will say that there’s no big reveal like you might expect from a thriller. Instead, we learn things slowly and are led to question everything we are reading. I personally didn’t find it too hard to make connections between certain clues but maybe that’s because I always try too hard to work things out!

Overall, 55 was gripping, fast-paced and easy to read, with a shocking ending. Thanks to Anne Cater and Simon Schuster for the opportunity to read it!

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Make sure you check out the other stops on the tour! x

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What makes me want to pick up a book?

Hello all! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt was ‘things that make me pick up a book’ and while I missed the day itself, I really liked the topic and wanted to share my answers. So I hope you won’t mind me jumping on board a little late!

Here are some things that make me highly likely to pick up a book!


Circus settings

Set a book in a circus and I am already halfway sold on it. They are just such magical settings, brimming with atmosphere and sensory details.

 

Anxiety Rep

As an anxiety sufferer myself, I’m always interested in books that portray this mental illness. It’s always nice to see my own life experiences represented and to feel like I’m not alone in my struggles.

 

Fairytales

There’s a reason why the book market is so saturated with fairytale retellings – because readers like me can’t get enough of them! I just love seeing the classic tales reimagined, particularly if they have a slightly darker twist to them.

 

WWII

I quite enjoy all historical fiction but I tend to be even more interested when they are set during the second World War. Maybe it’s a morbid fascination but I just find that they always have the emotional pull I’m looking for.

 

Witches

There’s a part of me that’s always secretly wanted to be a witch. Maybe that’s why I love reading about them so much?

 

Magical Realism

Magical realism is one of my favourite genres; I just adore those settings that almost feel like the real world but that have that extra little spark of something.

 

Roadtrips

My aforementioned anxiety often prevents me from travelling so I love living vicariously and reading about characters going on epic roadtrips!

 

Books about Books

Is there any book lover that doesn’t enjoy reading about one of the things they’re most passionate about in this world? Books about books are just so satisfying to me and remind me why I adore reading so much.

 

Sibling relationships

Maybe it’s because I’m an only child but I love reading about the bond between siblings. It always feels so special.

 

Old/Atmospheric Houses

This one stems back to my Gothic literature class in sixth form. I developed a love for those atmospheric houses and to this day, if a blurb mentions an old house setting I’m immediately interested.


So those are some of my buzzwords when it comes to picking up a book to read! Do we have any in common? x

‘Dry’ spoiler-free review!

Hey everyone! I’m having a weird burst of energy so let’s run with it, shall we?!

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synopsisEveryone’s going to remember where they were when the taps ran dry.

The drought—or the tap-out, as everyone calls it – has been going on for a while. Life has become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t take long showers, don’t panic. But now there is no water left at all.

Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation and violence. When her parents go missing, she and her younger brother must team up with an unlikely group in search of water. Each of them will need to make impossible choices to survive.


my thoughtsYou guys, this was so stressful. I found it impossible to put this book down because I just absolutely had to know what would happen next. The tension was REAL.

I mean, I can’t say the characters were the most likeable. And their decisions were highly questionable at times. I was shouting at the pages in frustration at one point! I suppose I should say well done to the Shustermans for giving me anxiety. But even though I didn’t always like them, I still wanted to see them succeed. That’s some pretty good writing, right there.

I was gripped right from the outset of the book and found the plot to be hugely compelling. It was scarily plausible! I enjoyed the multiple perspectives and I appreciated the inclusion of little snippets from the likes of news stories, etc. There were also some lovely meaningful quotes to take away.

Dry was a book club pick and it was excellent to discuss with a group. I would definitely recommend it!

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Have you read anything by Neal Shusterman? I loved this one and Scythe/Thunderhead! x