Monday, July 21, 2014

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

My favorite teacher finally arrives! All of the old friends of Harry's dad come around. It's like Harry's family presenting themselves to him.

First Sentences:

"Harry Potter was a highly unusual boy in many ways. For one thing, he hated the summer holidays more than any other time of the year."

Last Sentences:

"He's a convicted murder, but he's broken out of wizard prison and he's on the run. He likes to keep in touch with me, though... keep up with my news... check if I'm happy...." And grinning broadly at the look of horror on Uncle Vernon's face, Harry set off toward the station exit, Hedwig rattling along in front of him, for what looked like a much better summer than the last.

Favorite Quotes:

He raised his hand automatically and tried to make his hair lie flat.
"You are fighting a losing battle there dear," said his mirror in a wheezy voice.

"I'm not going to be murdered," Harry said aloud.
"That's the spirit, dear," said his mirror sleepily.

The mirror's responses to Harry were pretty funny. It kind of reminds me of Belle's talking mirror but much wittier.

Sybill Trelawney by eighthSun
"You look in excellent health to me, Potter, so you will excuse me if I don't let you off homework today. I assure you that if you die, you need not hand it in." - Professor McGonagall

This is after the Divination teacher basically said he was going to die this year. McGonagall can be hilarious sometimes.

"I solemnly swear that I am up to no good."

One of the most famous quotes in the Harry Potter series. I love that the Marauder's map ended up being in part created by his father. It's nice that Harry has a part of his father's memory in his hands. 

"Do you know, Harry. I think she might have been." he said thoughtfully. "Who'd have thought it? That brings her total of real predictions up to two. I should offer a pay raise...."

And we all know what the first prediction was... It's funny how Dumbledore reacts to things. He's usually very calm, sarcastic, or funny in the way he reacts to situations.

Favorite Moments:

"But Aunt Marge suddenly stopped speaking. For a moment, it looked as though words had failed her. She seemed to be swelling with inexpressible anger - but the swelling didn't stop. Her great red face started to expand, her tiny eyes bulged, and her mouth stretched too tightly for speech - next second, several buttons had just burst from her tween jacket like a monstrous balloon, her stomach bursting free of her tweed waistband, each of her fingers blowing up like a salami -"

Probably the greatest karma anyone has received in any book ever. She even said the line about if there is something wrong with a mother dog there's something wrong with the pup but said not so nicely. 

"Harry ate breakfast each morning in the Leaky Cauldron, where he liked watching the other guests: funny little witches from the country, up for a day's shopping; venerable-looking wizards arguing over the latest article in Transfiguration Today; wild-looking warlocks; raucous dwarfs; and once, what looked suspiciously like a hag, who ordered a plate of raw liver from behind a thick woolen balaclava." 

Harry's describes how he's never had more freedom in the previous paragraph to this one. In this one he's describing basically what I do. Go somewhere alone to eat and observe people. It reminded me so much of how I suddenly felt when going to college the first time.

"Have you ever seen anything quite as pathetic?" said Malfoy. "And he's supposed to be our teacher!" Harry and Ron both made furious moves toward Malfoy, but Hermione got their first - SMACK! She had slapped Malfoy across the face with all the strength she could muster. Malfoy staggered. Harry, Ron, Crabbe, and Goyle stood flabbergasted as Hermione raised her hand again. "Don't you dare call Hagrid pathetic, you foul - you evil -"

All I can think of in this moment is GO HERMIONE! Malfoy needed a smack a long time ago.

Moody, Padfoot, Wormtail, and Prongs - Viria
"You think the dead we loved ever truly leave us? You think that we don't recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble? Your father is alive in you, Harry, and shows himself most plainly when you have need of him. How else could you produce that particular Patronus? Prongs rode again last night!"
...."You know Harry, in a way, you did see your father last night.... You found him inside yourself."

I don't remember catching this before. Harry conjured up a Patronus his father was as an animagus without knowing it. How touching is that? He has this connection with his father that he wasn't aware of. I love that his mother's Patronus is a doe. They are both deers!

Ron's eyes widened. The minute owl was still hotting excitedly. "Keep him?" he said uncertainly. He looked closely at the owl for a moment; then, to Harry's and Hermione's great surprise, he held him out for Crookshanks to sniff. "What do'you reckon?" Ron asked the cat. "Definitely an owl?" Crookshanks purred. "That's good enough for me," said Ron happily. "He's mine."

Pig! I love this little owl. I honestly forgot about him. I need to make sure to keep an eye out for him in the next books.

Thoughts on Prisoner of Azkaban:

Remus! I love Remus. He's such a caring guy. He's the first person that was really close to Harry's parents that Harry knows of that he can talk to about them. Not including Dumbledore. 

I forgot about Crookshanks too! I'm forgetting all the animals... I forgot how he was so smart and became friends with Sirius the dog. I think he's supposed to be a type of creature... not just a cat. Something else that distinguishes him. Now that I think about it. What happens to Pig and Crookshanks? I can't remember.

Snape really has a chip on his shoulder. He can't seem to forgive or even try to see things from other points of view like when they all were trying to explain about Wormtail. He seriously belongs in Slytherin. 

Hagrid basically taught his class about two creatures all year. How on Earth is he allowed to teach!? No one learned anything!

I'm glad Harry has someone he can talk to about his parents now. I wish Harry was able to stay with Sirius wherever he is.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Harry Potter Questionnaire Part 1: Hogwarts/Places

I found some questions on tumblr and I thought I would answer here for fun. It'll be in 4 parts over the time I'm reading the last Harry Potter books. You can see what the other questions are about on the tumblr link to the person who originated the questions -Millie @

1. Hogwarts: Where’s your favorite place in the world?
A: My favorite place in the world is at the beach soaking in the sun and swimming in the salty ocean. It's possibly the only place where I feel completely relaxed. 
2. Sorting Hat: What Hogwarts House would you place yourself in?
A: I've looked at the traits for all of them and I'm still not so sure after all these years. I'd probably see myself in Hufflepuff because I'm not manipulative (Slytherin) or extremely brave (Gryffindor). Although I love books and believe I am very smart I'm probably not as academically smart or clever as the kids at Ravenclaw. Hufflepuff is considered the place where everyone else is placed who don't fit into a category. They are also very loyal which I consider myself to be. I would defend you to the end if you were my family or friend. Unless you want to get yelled at don't mess with my friends. I'm not very cheery or patient though but out of all of them I identify with Hufflepuff the most. Second would be Ravenclaw...

3. Gryffindor: Talk about a situation where you had to be brave.
A: Huh. I probably have never been in a situation where I had to be truly brave except maybe learning to drive which I'm doing now. I've avoided it so long that it's a miracle I was brave enough to start driving at all.
4. Ravenclaw: What’s something you’re good at?
A: Not much unfortunately. Haha! I'm an excellent reader and I'm pretty good at History when I've had to study for tests. I've always liked History. It's pretty interesting so I've always been good at the subject.
5. Hufflepuff: Talk about someone that you are loyal to.
A: I'm extremely loyal to my brothers. I would destroy you if you dared to hurt them. I'd always be on their side against anyone in the world. They probably don't know how much I would have their backs if they needed me - most likely because I need them more as well as being the youngest sibling.
6. Slytherin: Talk about your greatest ambition.
A: My greatest ambition is having the life I want the most. I want to fall madly in love, get married, have kids, run all the time, spend time in nature, have books all around my house, travel when I can, try to be more adventurous, and let go of my fears. I would ultimately like to be happy and feel secure in what I'm doing and who I am as a person. That is my greatest ambition.
7. Diagon Alley: What is something you’ve always wanted to buy?
A: Always?... I guess I've always wanted my own house. I'd decorate how I wanted it. It would be filled with books, movies, cds, clocks, and art. I'd have a french country style kitchen. My whole house would be filled with bookshelves. I'd have a secret door behind a bookshelf leading somewhere else... I plan on my house to be awesome.

8. Ministry of Magic: What would be your dream job?
A: Sit around and read... If that was a job that I could have I would be so happy. 
9(3/4). Platform 9 and 3/4: What’s something that’s always seemed impossible to you?
A: Working and being good at my job. It just seems impossible for me at the moment especially since I'm going into teaching. There's so much to learn and do! I'm also extremely shy with new people and large groups so... we will see how that goes. I also just have never had a job so it worries me that I won't be prepared and someone is bound to yell at me. This is why I could never get into retail...
10. Hogsmeade: What’s the best school trip you've ever been on?
A: I've hardly been on any but Grad Bash was really cool. I only wished that before I went to Universal I realized I could go on another line that was much faster than the main line - that way I wouldn't be stuck in one line for hours on end (if that made any sense...). I need to go back to Universal and visit the Harry Potter section more thoroughly. I had lots of fun with my friends but none of them really liked Harry Potter so I was in the Harry Potter World for such a short time. I did end up buying some lemon candies at Honeydukes. I regrettably bought the Butterbeer that's not the slushy ice one. It kept frothing up all over the place and I didn't like it so I ended up throwing it away... Next time it will be on ice so I can actually taste and enjoy Butterbeer. I really want to go back!!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

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

I was wondering this morning why I was dreaming about spiders and then I realized it was because I just finished reading Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets. I've been slower than expected reading all the books but I haven't been feeling so hot. At least I've had Harry Potter to comfort me when I was feeling up to reading his adventures.

First Sentences: 

"Not for the first time, an argument had broken out over breakfast at number four, Privet Drive. Mr. Vernon Dursley had been woken in the early hours of the morning by a loud, hooting noise from his nephew Harry's room."

Last Sentences:

"Proud?" said Harry. "Are you crazy?" All those times I could've died, and I didn't manage it? They'll be furious..." And together the walked back through the gateway to the Muggle world.

Favorite Quotes:

"Famous Harry Potter," said Malfoy. "Can't even go into a bookshop without making the front page."

I love this line from Malfoy although I feel like he says bookstore in the movie. Maybe though it's just that I have to repeat that line whenever he says it in the movie.

"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."

Too true. You know who you are and who your true friends are by the choices we make.

Favorite Moments:

There was a thud of metal as Ginny's cauldron went flying; Mr. Weasley had thrown himself at Mr. Malfoy, knocking him backward into a bookshelf. Dozens of heavy spellbooks came thundering down on all their heads; there was a yell of, "Get him, Dad!" from Fred or George; Mrs. Weasley was shrieking, "No, Arthur no!"; the crowd stampeded backward, knocking more shelves over; "Gentlemen, please - please!" cried the assistant, and then, louder than all - "Break it up, there, gents, break it up -"

Lucius Malfoy was insulting Mr. Weasley and his family which I'm sure he's heard before. He goes too far when he insults Hermione's parents so he tackles him to the ground. Mr. Weasley was DEFENDING Hermione's parents. Lucius's ignorance and rudeness was too much not to respond to especially since prior he was getting to know the Granger's and they became friendly with each other. Loyalty to friends and doing what's right - Mr. Weasley is pretty bad-ass.

Swedish cover for Chamber of Secrets
Lockhart and Snape turned to face each other and bowed; at least, Lockhart did, with much twirling of his hands, whereas Snape jerked his head irritably. Then they raised their wands like swords in front of them.
"As you see, we are holding our wands in the accepted combative position," Lockhart told the silent crowd. "On the count of three, we will cast our first spells. Neither of us will be aiming to kill, of course."
"I wouldn't bet on that," Harry murmured, watching Snape baring his teeth.
"One - two - three -"
Both of them swung their wands above heir heads and pointed at their opponent; Snape cried: "Expelliarmus!" There was a dazzling flash of scarlet light and Lockhart was blasted off his feet: He flew backward off the stage, smashed into the wall, and slid down it to sprawl on the floor."

Any moment where Lockhart gets what he deserves is a great moment for me.

There had been no more attacks since those on Justin and Nearly Headless Nick, and Madam Pomfrey was pleased to report that the Mandrakes were becoming moody and secretive, meaning that they were fast leaving childhood. "The moment their acne cleats up, they'll be ready for repotting again," Harry heard her telling Filch kindly one afternoon.

... in March several of the Mandrakes threw a loud and raucous party in greenhouse three. This made Professor Sprout very happy. "The moment they start trying to move into each other's pots, we'll know they're fully mature," she told Harry. "Then we'll be able to revive those poor people in the hospital wing."

I loved the updates on the Mandrakes. They are so funny - throwing a party and being secretive like teenagers. Haha!

"Potter! Weasley! What are you doing?"
It was Professor McGonagall, and her mouth was the thinnest of thin lines.
"We were - we were -" Ron stammered. "We were going to - to go and see -"
"Hermione," said Harry. Ron and Professor McGonagall both looked at him.
"We haven't see her for ages, Professor," Harry went on hurriedly, treading on Ron's foot, "and we thought we'd sneak into the hospital wing, you know, and tell her the Mandrakes are nearly ready and, er, not to worry -"
Professor McGonagall was still staring at him, and for a moment, Harry thought she was going to explode, but when she spoke, it was in a strangely croaky voice.
"Of course," she said, and Harry, amazed, saw a tear glistening in her beady eye. "Of course, I realize this has all been hardest on the friends of those who have been... I quite understand.

This moment was so touching. I've read McGonagall cry before in the last book when she was told Harry's parents died and Harry had to be left with the Dursleys... It was very sweet how touched she had been that Harry and Ron cared so much for their friend even if they were lying about seeing her.

"The adventure ends here, boys!" he said. "I shall take a bit of this skin back up to the school, tell them I was too late to save the girl, and that you two tragically lost your minds at the sight of her mangled body - say good-bye to your memories!"

And then Lockhart loses his mind. Love this moment! Lockhart is one of those people who justify their cruelness. He got what he deserved. I only hope that the real people who did the fearless acts in his books get their memories back and get recognition.

Thoughts on Chamber of Secrets:

I didn't realize how jealous Draco is of Harry. Harry catches Draco talking about him and he sounds absolutely jealous. It's interesting to see Draco at this moment of his life and how mean he is compared to the later book. He's a mean boy but not a heartless one. He just needs to get over himself to see what's really right and wrong.

I don't know why the Dursleys cared so much to lock Harry up. Just let him go. You rather him not around anyways, don't you?

I wonder if there are other types of animal languages people can know in Harry Potter's world other than Parseltongue. It would be so cool to speak Dragon. Also, if Salazar Slytherin's logo is a snake because he could speak Parseltongue does that mean the others can speak their Houses animals or do they just really like badgers, lions, and ravens? I don't see how badgers would represent loyalty and patience so that's why I'm wondering. Maybe it was their pets that inspired their Houses...

Oh Dobby, how you annoy me...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Top Ten Favorite TV Shows

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

This was a really hard list to come up with. I watch a LOT of shows. I'll watch anything. I even watched golf one time... that was a lazy day. I tried to get the list as accurate as possible. I would love to know if you've watched any of these shows and what are some of your favorite tv shows too.

10. Parks and Recreation

I used to watch Parks and Recreation all the time but with the last couple of seasons I stopped for some reason. I got into it again a while back and I'm re-watching all the seasons now. Mainly I did this because I always loved Andy and April's romance and personalities. I forgot how much I loved Ron Swanson's attitude on life and Leslie's crazy work ethic. I love how Leslie and Anne always say nice things to each other. As friendships go they have one of the most inspiring especially since girls tend to judge each other more than lifting them up.

9. Bates Motel

This show is so dark and wonderful. Norma Bates is so crazy controlling. Her relationship with Norman borderlines creepy... okay no it's all the way creepy. I love the back story to Norman Bates the killer from Psycho. The setting, the secrets the town keeps, Norman's trances, and his brother's side business are all amazing parts that make this show amazing. 

8. The Fosters

I think I love this show too much... There are so many twists that keep getting added on which always makes each episode super interesting and fun to watch. I love how the characters - especially Callie - have grown. She's faced so much. I don't know how she's keeping it together.

7. Veronica Mars

How could I not include the lovably sarcastic Veronica Mars? Her wit and loyalty to her friends has always made her one of my favorite tv show characters. This show was really good and should have lasted longer.

6. Teen Wolf

There is so much variety in this show. It's comedic at one point and grim at another. Season 3B in particular was one of the darkest seasons in the show. The story behind each season and what's going to befall Scott and his friends is always amazing.

5. Fullmetal Alchemist

One of the best animes ever made. I remember loving this show when I was a kid and I still love it. 

4. Friends

I used to watch this Everybody Loves Raymond and Seinfeld all the time. It was a really weird thing for me as a kid to watch these shows but I loved them nonetheless. Friends is my favorite out of the bunch. It's funny and heartwarming. It's a show I know I always will enjoy watching.

3. Brooklyn Nine-Nine

I didn't expect this to be as hilarious as it is. So funny!

2. Bob's Burgers

One word: Louise. Oh my goodness this girl is the sassiest, most wonderful fictional being in the world! This show is so funny; it's unbelievable.

1. Avatar: The Last Air Bender

Avatar will always be my favorite show. It is absolutely flawless. That is all you need to know about this show.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

As you may know I'm going on a reading binge with the Harry Potter series. I just finished the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and I wanted to highlight some favorite moments, quotes, and relationships that I loved in the beginning of this amazing series.

First Sentences: 

"Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number 4, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you'd expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they didn't hold with such nonsense."

Last Sentences:

"They don't know we're not allowed to use magic at home. I'm going to have a lot of fun with Dudley this summer..."

Favorite Quotes:

"He hurried to his car and set off for home, hoping he was imagining things, which he had never hoped before, because he didn't approve of imagination." - Mr. Dursley

I think this perfectly describes the horribleness that are the Dursley family. Not only are they prejudiced, do not care at all about Harry, selfish. and downright rude - they have no imagination. They are just boring people who can't see anything wonderous about the world or what it could be. Magic or no magic.

"I would trust Hagrid with my life," said Dumbledore.
Artwork by Mike Maihack

This really gets to me; how much Dumbledore cares for and trusts Hagrid. Hagrid is half giant and was expelled from Hogwarts but Dumbledore trusts him wholeheartedly. Hagrid meanwhile proves himself time and time again not only to be a trustworthy, loyal friend but a caring magical being.

"I'm half-and-half," said Seamus. "Me dad's a Muggle. Mom didn't tell him she was a witch 'til after they were married. Bit of a nasty shock for him."

There are a lot of lines that I recognize from the movies from the books including this one. I'm still impressed how well the movies translated the books even by the fact almost no one can repeat that phenomenon. This would be wonderful and hilarious to see happen.

"I hope you're pleased with yourselves. We could all have been killed - or worse, expelled.  Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to bed."

I'm kind of with Hermione on this one. If I found out I was a witch and had that taken away I wouldn't know what to do with myself.

"Harry - you're a great wizard, you know."
"I'm not as good as you," said Harry, very embarrassed, as she let go of him.
"Me!" said Hermione. "Books! And cleverness! There are more important things - friendship and bravery and - oh Harry - be careful!"

If I had Hermione's wit and determination I would have been truly happy with myself. I do understand why she chose to say the things she did because without bravery and friendship life would be pretty boring.

The Sorting Hat's Song:

"Oh, you may not think I'm pretty,
But don't judge on what you see, 
I'll eat myself if you can find,
A smarter hat than me.
You can keep your bowlers black,
Your top hats sleek and tall,
For I'm the Hogwarts Sorting Hat 
And I can cap them all.
There's nothing hidden in your head
The Sorting Hat can't see, 
So try me on and I will tell you
Where you ought to be.

You might belong in Gryffindor,
Where dwell the brave at heart, 
Their daring, nerve, and chilvary
Set Gryffindors apart; 
You might belong in Hufflepuff,
Where they are just and loyal,
Those patient Hufflepuffs are true
And unafraid of toil;
Or yet in wide old Ravenclaw,
If you've a ready mind,
Where those of wit and learning,
Will always find their kind;
Or perhaps in Slytherin
You'll make your real friends,
Those cunning folk use any means
To achieve their ends.
So put me on! Don't be afraid!
And don't get in a flap!
You're in safe hands (though I have none)
For I'm a Thinking Cap!"

Favorite Moments:

"Harry ignored her. Blood was pounding in his ears. He mounted the broom and kicked hard against the ground and up, up he soared; air rushed through his hair, and his robes whipped out behind him - and in a rush of fierce joy he realized he'd found something he could do without being taught - this was easy, this was wonderful."

This moment is really special particularly because it happened to Harry. He's lived his life in the shadows trying not to be seen so he wouldn't get yelled at or hit. He finally finds something that he can excel at - something that makes him infinitely happy. 

"But from that moment on, Hermione Granger became their friend. There are some things you can't share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them."

Kind of a momentous occasion. The three most popular fictional friends finally coming together.

"She was a very pretty woman. She had dark red hair and her eyes - her eyes are just like mine, Harry thought, edging a little closer to the glass. Bright green - exactly the same shape, but then he noticed that she was crying; smiling, but crying at the same time. The tall, thin, black-haired man standing next to her put his arm around her. He wore glasses, and his hair was very untidy. It stuck up at the back, just as Harry's did.
Harry was so close to the mirror now that his nose was nearly touching that of his reflection.
"Mon?" he whispered. "Dad?"
They just looked at him, smiling. And slowly, Harry looked into the faces of the other people in the mirror, and saw other pairs of green eyes like his, other noses like his, even a little old man who looked as though he had Harry's knobbly knees - Harry was looking at his family, for the first time in his life."

This kind of killed me inside. It's just so heartwarming and unbelievably sad. Harry's had family for sure but no one who felt like REAL family. And here they all were, smiling and happy he was there.

"Your mother died to save you. If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. He didn't realize that love as powerful as your mother's for you leaves its own mark. Not a scar, no visible sign... to have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever. It is in your very skin. Quirrel, full of hatred, greed, and ambition, sharing his soul with Voldemort, could not touch you for this reason. It was agony to touch a person marked by something so good."

A mother's love saved Harry as a little boy and continues to save him today. What a wonderful sentiment that love can save us.

"Nah. Dumbledore gave me the day off yesterday ter fix it. 'Course, he shoulda sacked me instead - anyway, got yeh this..." 
It seemed to be a handsome, leather-covered book. Harry opened it curiously. It was full of wizard photographs. Smiling and waving at him from every page were his mother and father. "Sent owls off ter all yer parents' old school friends, askin' fer photos... knew yeh didn' have any... d'yeh like it?" 
Harry couldn't speak, but Hagrid understood.

Harry's speechlessness... he'd never seen his mother and father other than in the mirror. Now he could always have them encapsulated in moving pictures.

Mrs. Weasley's kindness in her short moments with Harry... I'm sure there is more in the next book but I had to mention that even in the short amount of time they interacted she was kinder to him than any of the Dursley's ever were. She even gave him a sweater and fudge for Christmas. I love that woman.

Thoughts on the Sorcerer's Stone:

I never expected Hermione and Neville. I loved how Hermione instantly was by his side and was originally his friend before she was Ron's and Harry's. 

Neville really got to me like he hasn't ever before! He is bullied relentlessly and always clumsy and forgetful. He really has a tough time in life in Hogwarts and out of it. I found it so interesting in his particular case that the Sorting Hat knew he was brave enough to be Gryffindor material. 

Hermione ended up doing the best on her exams for the first years. That means she did better than the Ravenclaw crowd. It's funny how Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Neville have other Houses in them Harry has cunning, Ron is very loyal, Hermione has her intelligence, and Neville always seemed like a Hufflepuff kid.

If you've read the books you've read about Peeves. My goodness that guy annoys me to know end. I would be terrified to cross his path. He'd probably throw a bunch of brooms at my head.

I know from reading this series before but I noticed now how much of a children's book this first book is and how much darker it gets later on. The books really grew up with the readers.

What are some of your favorite moments from Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone? If you were sorted into a House which would you prefer and which one do you actually think you'll land in?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Harry Potter Reading Binge Here I Come!

I have had the most wonderful craving to reread the Harry Potter series. I've only read the books once oddly. I grew up with the movies and my brother grew up with the books. I never really wanted to read the books for some reason even though I loved the movies so much. I don't know why I refused for so long but right before the sixth movie came out I decided to go on a reading marathon and read all the books as fast as I could so I would know how it ends. I believe I took a week or less. As I was on this week long journey I could not stop reading. It led to many sleepless nights... I resorted to tricking my parents to thinking I was asleep then getting up and putting on a dim light so I can continue reading for just one more chapter. I knew what happened in the books based off the movies but the story was on a whole different scale of captivating. Also, there are some events the movies don't get to so it was always fun exploring new to me moments in the books.

So after what... four years? of not reading Harry Potter I've decided I'm going to give in to my inhibitions and read the whole series. Later on I might write about my favorite quotes or scenes from each book or note something interesting that you don't see in the movies. Hopefully I survive this craziness and you'll actually see me on here. Wish me luck!

Do you absolutely LOVE the Harry Potter books or have you never picked up a single one of the books? What do you think of the series as a whole?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

2014 Summer Reading Program Update #5

Books read from 6/28/14 - 7/5/14:

Book #1
Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis
Pages: 298
Thoughts: Sooo good! I'm getting really lucky lately. Kat is spunky, strong, and an amazing heroine. I'm ordering her next books from the library right away!

Book #2
Renegade Magic by Stephanie Burgis
Pages: 331
Thoughts: I continue to love Kat. I feel her frustration in this book. I really want her to learn to harness her powers already. Nice to have her brother and father put into the mix.

Book #3
Stolen Magic by Stephanie Burgis
Pages: 383
Thoughts: YES! Provided me with more sisterly bonding with Kat still being the center of attention. So happy where Kat's story ended. I can't wait to read the novella about her all grown up in August.

Overall: I've read seventeen books out of forty toward my goal. All I read was the Kat, Incorrigible series but it was amazing so I have no regrets. I read them all one after the other, probably only a day between them. I've been reading Legend this week and I'm almost finished. Didn't like June for a long period of time but she's coming around.

My tbr books for 7/5/14 - 7/12/14

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Renegade Magic by Stephanie Burgis

Kat, Incorrigible #2. Atheneum Books (April 2012) Library
Is nineteenth-century England ready for the magic and mischief of Kat Stephenson?Kat Stephenson may have inherited her mother's magical talents, but not everyone in the Order of Guardians is ready to accept her. When she is tricked into losing her temper in front of the most powerful Guardian in England, she finds herself expelled without a single magic lesson.After a devastating accusation shatters her sister Angeline's romance, their stepmama whisks the family away to the fashionable city of Bath and orders Angeline to find a new fiance. But as Angeline plays a dangerous game with a scandalous rake, their brother Charles, tumbles headlong into danger... and Bath's wild magic gets ready to explode. With more than one life at stake, will Kat's untrained magic be enough to reunite Angeline with her true love, conquer the danger at Bath, and prove she truly has what it takes to be a Guardian?   

Burgis does it again! Kat comes back as her rebellious, wonderful self in Renegade Magic. Once again she has to help save her sister's love life even if that sister doesn't want any part of her help. This was another brilliantly told story about Kat doing whatever it took for her family's happiness as well as standing by them no matter who they are perceived to be even if that means getting something precious taken from her.

Renegade Magic starts off the day of Elissa's wedding where trouble soon follows. After what was supposed to be the happiest day of Elissa's life she gets bombarded by a mother who doesn't want her son being bewitched into being in her family. It isn't Elissa who is in trouble this time around; Angeline is the one who gets the rug pulled from under her when she's told she cannot marry her true love by his (Frederick's) mother. If he does try to marry Angeline he will have his inheritance taken away and he will wind up penniless. 

I sensed the loss of Elissa in this story the same way Kat did. I felt like I lost a bit of the sisterly dynamic that I grew to love so much in the last book. I liked how Kat's emotions over her sister's absence were addressed. The author didn't bypass what would be obvious conflicting emotions stirring up inside Kat over her sister not living with her anymore. I loved that Angeline was still around and continuing her old scheming ways. I wish I saw a little more of her but I still got to see her make a mess of her situation in a ridiculous way again. I noticed with Angeline and Kat and with a lot of people really... that no one quite trusted Kat. Sure, she tells wild stories and lies sometimes but she does them to protect her family. When she says she's telling the truth or that something is not the way it is I wish people would cut her some slack and believe her. I do have to say that even if people underestimate her, it's always nice to have an underdog to root for.

I am so happy that Kat's brother Charles and her father actually had interactions and substantial dialogue in this book. I thought after Kat, Incorrigible that had to happen so I was genuinely pleased to know that I was right. Kat will always have the spotlight in this trilogy of course. She had her own troubles to deal with. I felt the frustration she had when she wasn't able to learn to control her magic and be a part of the Order. She is still remarkably smart on her feet on her own. I love how even if people stop believing in her she does the right thing. She's always striving to help those around her which is a great trait to have in a heroine.

Lucy! I loved Lucy. Lucy is a new character that comes about in this particular book. Lucy is usually in a fit of giggles. She's super sweet and bubbly. She plays a surprising role in this story - actually the main part of the trouble that Kat has to face. She reminds Kat how lucky she has it with Angeline when her beastly mother and sister are all up turned noses at everyone and don't seem to care about her as much as they should. That's unfortunate but she does shine as the best one out of the bunch. I do hope I see her later on. I really want to know what becomes of her.

Although it doesn't quite compare with the first book, Renegade Magic is still completely fantastic. I worry about losing Angeline and what that will do to the next book. However, I'm sure Kat can manage to entertain me on her own if it comes to that. I really want to read about her learning some practical magic in the next book. It's going to be an amazing finish to a series that has captured my heart.  

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Dirt Diary by Anna Staniszewski

Standalone. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (Jan. 2014) Netgalley
WANTED: Maid for the most popular kids in 8th grade.                                                              
Cleaning up after the in-crowd gets Rachel all the best dirt.                                                    
Rachel can't believe she has to give up her Saturdays to scrubbing other people's toilets. So. Gross. But she kinda, sorta stole $287.22 from her college fund that she's got to pay back ASAP or her mom will ground her for life. Which is even worse than working for her mother's new cleaning business. Maybe. After all, becoming a maid is definitely not going to help her already loserish reputation.  
But Rachel picks up more than smell socks on the job. As maid to some of the most popular kids in school, Rachel suddenly has all the dirt on the 8th grade in-crowd. Her formerly boring diary is now filled with juicy secrets. And when her crush offers to pay her to spy on his girlfriend, Rachel has to decide if she's willing to get her hands dirty...

Rachel's been asked by her mother to help her clean houses in exchange for some monetary compensation. Now being in the 8th grade even with the chance at getting extra cash would stop any kid in their tracks from accepting such a deal. What if someone from class saw her? What if Briana, the most popular girl in her grade as well as her bully, saw her? She'd be more ruined than she already is. Unfortunately for Rachel she has to take the job in hopes to pay off some college money she "borrowed" for a plane ticket to see her father.

The Dirt Diary has more complexity than I thought at first glance. Rachel is dealing with a bully who takes any chance to put her down, a mother who doesn't understand her love of cooking as a career goal, a father who went off the Florida without her, and a boy who she can't possibly like. Her bully situation is kind of outrageous. Her bully finds creative ways to make her miserable. I don't even think I understood why. Because she was different? I can't remember if the book gave any details but you do know that Briana is not a good person. Rachel makes her own set of mistakes but she does it like any kid her age would. 

Rachel can be stubborn; the sort of stubborn that can get in your way if you let it rule you. She also takes a while to see others people's perspectives but she does come around. She loves to bake and experiment with food which is what originally wins me over to her. I really like that she's a typical girl and in her situation she acts rashly but in a way I would expect. She's a believable character that really grows into her own in this story. 

The main thing about this story is Rachel needs to get a certain amount of money before her mother finds out she took it from her college fund account. Her father left on a business venture to Florida and she really wants him to come back. She wants to convince him that they need to be a family again. Meanwhile her mom doesn't seem to care that her husband isn't around. She calls him irresponsible and that frustrates Rachel. Yes, he did something foolish but she believes they need him. Her father understands her and her love of food. He believes in her unlike her mother so it was really sad to see her feel that she didn't have her best supporter with her. 

The Dirt Diary was a very sweet story about growth, family, and friendship. It was about owning up to your mistakes and taking others perspectives into account. Rachel was a very likable and believable character. This was a very nice, light read with great character growth.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

June 2014 Wrap Up

June has been a great month. I've read so many fantastic books, books that I am considering buying in the future to keep on my bookshelf. I've been on such a roll just like I wanted and needed out of this Summer vacation. I have the whole month of July to do nothing but read and that is why I will always be eternally grateful for Summer. 

This June I read 10 books.

Books I've read:

I loved Poison Study, Life is But a Dream, Kneebone Boy, and Kat, Incorrigible. Kat, Incorrigible wins as my favorite this month since I get to indulge in her madness further in her other two books and since she might be one of my favorite characters of all time.

July Plans:

I'm buddy reading Legend this month and should have it read by the end of this week. I'm reading a couple of classics I've put off. I'm also planning to read more books for the graphic novels and manga challenge I'm participating in. I'm continuing the Kat, Incorrigible trilogy which I found out has a novella coming out soon showing readers Kat as an 18 year old looking for love. 

What are your book plans this July?