Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne (Script Book)

Based on the new story by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne, Jack Thorn has created a new play that premiered in London, and luckily for Harry Potter fans, it was published as a script book. 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child follows Harry 19 years later, and his son, Albus. Harry is now a busy Ministry worker with three children and struggles to deal with his past. Albus has to deal with the expectations that come with being the son of the famous Harry Potter, ones he does not seem to meet. 

Rate: 3.5/5 stars

I don't want to give away too much about this book since I think it is best if you go into without knowing much and with low or no expectations. It is a completely different format than the original seven books, and I wouldn't compare them. In my head I don't even really think of this book as canon because I found some of the characterization off, some other things unrealistic and at times, this book felt like fanfiction. All that being said, I did enjoy this book and I got through it quickly. I would recommend you read this if you are a fan of Harry Potter, even if it's just to see what it's all about.

Spoilers ahead.

The non-canon feel of the book was created by the fact that many of the plot points seemed quite unrealistic to me. It seemed completely ludicrous to me that Bellatrix and Voldemort had a child and that they were able to hide it so well. What are the chances of that happening?!

There was also the fact that, surprise, there are more time turners! First of all, I found it really unlikely that that Albus, Scorpius and Delphi were able to get their hands on the time turner that Hermione had hidden so easily. There is no way that they would be able to outsmart Hermione's defences like that. Plus, if find it highly unlikely that Ron/Albus was able to distract Hermione with that "I want a baby or vacation" thing without her thinking something was up. Then, when Albus and Scorpius were lost in time and another time turner was needed to reach them, Draco just happened to have one that worked perfectly.

Also, who would think that Cedric would become a Death Eater and kill Neville in an alternate world just because he was humiliated at the Tri-Wizard Tournament? I think that's slightly ridiculous.

Some of the characterization also contributed to making the book feel unrealistic. The Harry from the original books would never say that he wished his son wasn't his son. He would never have wanted Albus to stop seeing his only other friend and he would never have talked to McGonagall the way he did.

I found that Ron's character was diminished to just the funny friend who is only there to add humor to the plot. Also, I found Ginny was pushed to the side and had about as much personality as movie-Ginny.

All of this being said, there were some good parts to this script book. I liked seeing where everyone was in the future, especially Hermione as she had become the Minister of Magic.

As far as new characters go, my favourite was Scorpius due to the fact that he was a total dork. The other characters were okay, but none of them really blew me out of the water. I liked Albus and Scorpius's friendship, although I started to think it might turn into a romance (which definitely made it feel like fanfiction). Also, where were Harry and Ginny's other kids? We barely saw them! I can understand why a lot of the other characters like the other Weasleys and Teddy Lupin weren't included because it would be too much for a play, but I thought we'd see more of the other Potters.

I think it was great that the alternate world where Voldemort won was included. It's something people have wondered about, and it showed just how dark the world would have been if Harry Potter was killed opposed to Voldemort.

I definitely didn't expect the plot to go where it did, but I think it worked well for a play. It made sense (for once) that Delphi would want to go back in time to Voldemort to save him from his demise so that she could share the glory. This part of the plot added some extra complexity (maybe too complex when it comes to how time turners work) to the storyline, which I appreciated.

I'm glad that the book didn't end with everything between Harry and Albus completely fixed (although I think the real Harry would have been closer to his son in the first place). They still had to work on their relationship, but they ended up understanding each other better because of what they went through.

Even though this script book had a lot of flaws, it was enjoyable overall. Let me know what you thought of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Midnight Magic: A Midnight Release Party for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is finally here! To celebrate its release, I went to the midnight release party my local Chapters hosted. Also, I'd like to apologize for the terrible quality of photos you will see in advanced. The pictures are better than none (barely).

I wore my Marauder's Map shirt with my time turner necklace to the event and we (my parents, younger brother, my friend and I) got to Platform 9 3/4 (the line outside the store) around 9:30 since the party started at 10, and they gave you a numbered ticket at the door so you didn't have to stand in line for the entire time. 

While my parents and brother held our spot in line, my friend and I looked at the Harry Potter themed drinks in the Starbucks (The Leaky Cauldron) connected to the store to see what we wanted to order.

They had butterbeer along with themed drinks for each house. Ten points for Starbucks because Ginny was serving us as well. 

I got the Slytherin Snake Bite (green tea with lemon and lime if I remember correctly), my brother got the Ravenclaw Raven (something with vanilla, coffee and blue whipped cream), and my friend got the Hufflepuff Badger Blaster (a mango smoothie-ish concoction). I wanted to go back later to try the butterbeer, but the line was huge. I did really enjoy the Slytherin though.

When we walked in at 10:00, we were given the Marauder's Map, which showed us a map of the store and activities. They had live snakes, that I unfortunately didn't get to see because the line was huge and my friend is not very fond of snakes.

Also there was my city's university's Quidditch team. They had some of their brooms and one of the goals, plus a highlight reel.

There was also a dementor and a green screen that you could take pictures with, so that's what my friend and I did (as you can see).

In the middle of the store, there was a bunch of Harry Potter merchandise and colouring activities. The day before I was there and bought a Hermione Funko Pop, and I'm glad that I didn't wait until the release party because it didn't look like any were left.

At 10:30, the Harry Potter improv started. I was skeptical of it at first, but it turned out to be really great. Before it actually started they took down names and places from Harry Potter and they used these throughout the performance. The improv lasted for an hour, so there was only a half hour before the release.

About five minutes before the release, they called up the first twenty people to get in line for the release, which fortunately included my friend and me. They had all the books in boxes wrapped up with plastic (as you can see above) and the staff were not allowed to open it until precisely 12:01 (otherwise they were promised a lunch date with a Dementor). 

There was a ten second countdown, and then the book was released! Once my friend and I got our books (and tote bag), we headed home where I proceeded to read the first 80 or so pages, slept, and then finished the book day of.

That about wraps it up! Did you go to a midnight release party? Have you finished the book?

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Book Review: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

The famous Greek god of the sun, archery, music and (bad) poetry, Apollo, has gotten into some trouble with his father, Zeus. Apollo has been outcasted as a sixteen-year-old mortal boy and will have to face many trials to become the god he once was. The Oracle of Delphi has been inactive, unable to produce prophecies, so Apollo sets off to Camp Half-Blood to hopefully find some help from the demigods there to restore the Oracle's power. 

3.5/5 stars

It's been a while since I posted a review, so here's my incredibly late review of The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan.

I was highly anticipating the release of this book, just like so many other people. I had pretty high hopes, after all, we were promised more of the seven and Camp Half-Blood. However, I was let down by this book. Don't get me wrong, it definitely wasn't a bad book, but it fell short for me. I found I wasn't flying through it like some of Rick's other books, and I just didn't love the new characters. 

Spoilers ahead.

Let's talk about the negatives of this book first. As a mentioned above, I wasn't a huge fan of the new characters. I didn't hate Apollo, but he wasn't my favourite of Rick's protagonists. He was just mediocre for me. Then there was Meg. Honestly, she was a bit annoying, and not in a good way. The new side characters, Apollo's children, didn't stand out for me either. I just wish we got to see more of the old characters, like Nico and Will. Also, we only got to see two of the seven, Percy and Leo. We didn't even get to see Annabeth (but I guess she was in Boston with Magnus), and we only got minimal updates with the remaining seven, which I found disappointing. 

One of the pros for me is that it looks like Leo is going to be playing a larger part in this series, which is great because he was one of my favourites of the seven. 

Also, Solangelo became canon! Although, I'm slightly disappointed that we didn't get to see more of them. I also appreciated that Apollo was openly bisexual, and Rick treated it like it was a completely normal thing (which it is). It's really great that his books are getting more and more diverse.

The fact that Nero was basically made into a god because people remembered him opened up a whole new can of worms in this universe. Does that mean anyone with a Wikipedia page can become a god? 

On the topic of Nero, do you think Meg will stay loyal you him? I think that she will realize that she was being abused and will have a character arc throughout the series, eventually coming over to the good side. Hopefully she will also become less annoying.

Overall, The Hidden Oracle was a slight disappointment, but still enjoyable.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Quick and Easy Reads

Recently I've been wanting some enjoyable books that are easy to read and/or that I can just plow through as I'd been feeling slightly slumpy (although I think that as mostly passed now), so I thought I would compile a list of quick and easy reads.

1. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan

Let's get the obvious out of the way. This series is super fun, quick and easy to read because of Rick's great writing style. Really, any of his books are, but more so the first few books in this series before they start getting too serious. I flew through these as I'm sure many others have.

2. The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

Disclaimer: I've only read the first two books in the trilogy. These aren't the lightest books, but they are quite easy to read. The writing isn't too dense for a fantasy novel, which is quite a contrast from some other fantasies.

3. The Selection Series by Kiera Cass

I'm pretty sure this is everyone's guilty pleasure read. The characters aren't great (especially America), the plot is mediocre, the world building is pretty bad and the writing is only middle of the road, but somehow it just hooks you. I originally was going to stop after the original three, but I was feeling slumpy a few months ago and picked up the last two (although I have no intentions of reading Happily Ever After) on a whim and whipped through them. 

4. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

This was another book that I picked up on a whim recently and whipped through. It's a light contemporary, and usually I try to avoid them since I don't usually enjoy them as much as most people, but I picked it up because I wanted something different. Although I found the plot got increasingly unrealistic, I still enjoyed it overall.

5. The Shatter Me Trilogy by Tahereh Mofi

This trilogy is super easy to get through and has some beautiful prose (although I do find they can be over the top sometimes). However, they aren't the lightest or fluffiest reads.

6. The Split Second Duology by Sophie McKenzie

This duology hasn't gotten much attention, but I think it would appeal to anyone looking for a fast-paced and action packed read. My copies have fairly large text too, and that seems to also speed up the reading process for me.

7. Since You've Been Gone and The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

These are the only two Morgan Matson books I've read (well, I'm reading The Unexpected Everything right now), and they are the epitome of light summer reads. They would definitely be a great read for right now.

8. Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

If you are looking for a fast-paced and action filled book, READ THIS. I absolutely love this book, and never wanted to put it down!

9. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

This is my favourite Rainbow Rowell book, and I got through this even faster than her smaller contemporaries. I just really loved it and its characters (especially Baz). 

Hope these recommendations help! They are just what I whipped through and found easy to read, so some of them may not be the same for you. Let me know in the comments some of your favourite quick and easy reads!

Monday, 27 June 2016

Booksthetics: Wolf by Wolf

Thought I'd start a new thing where I do book aesthetics or "booksthetics". Just thought it would be fun, so here's my first one for Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin. Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Book Review: Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

Wolf by Wolf is an alternate history set in the year 1956 where the Axis powers won World War II. To commemorate their victory, a motorcycle race across Europe and Asia is held with the prize being a private audience with Hitler. Yael, having previously lived in a death camp, has the ability to shape shift (due to the experimenting in the death camp), and her goal is to enter the race as last year's victor, win and kill Hitler.

Rate: 5/5 stars

This book was FANTASTIC! If you didn't know, I love the WWII era, so that on top of a SUPER interesting premise, a shape shifting assassin, deeper running themes, interesting characters and relationships, plus a cross-continental motorcycle race made this book one of my favourites. This book also switched between two timelines seamlessly, and it was wonderful. Wolf by Wolf is an extremely underrated book, and I encourage you to read it!

Spoilers ahead.  

So as I mentioned before, Ryan Graudin did a fabulous job of switching back and forth between timelines. I loved seeing Yael's background in the labour camp and how she got to where she was currently in the story. But I have to say that I loved the race just a bit more. I just love the whole feel of it! The action, the scheming, the plotting, the secrets and the characters just made that part of the story amazing.

I really loved the interactions between Luka and Yael as we knew that there was something between Luka and Adele. It created this really interesting dynamic between Yael, as she tried to pretend to be Adele and did not know everything about her and Luka while simultaneously trying to not have any feelings for anyone in the race (especially not a German who she is supposed to hate after what she went through). While on the other hand Luka was in love/falling in love with someone pretending to be the girl he knew for last race. The theme that there are so many different sides to people emerged, and I was happy to have deeper meanings wrapped up in the story. I also liked how Yael was constantly fighting her demons, creating another deeper theme within the story.

The constant action in this book kept me at the edge of my seat and was another one of the reasons why I whipped through this book. The constant plotting and sabotaging was great! Some of my favourite action-y parts where when the racers had to escape from the Soviets they encountered, the sabotaging of Katsuo and his death, along with the part at the very end where Adele finally managed to kill "Hitler" who turned out to be another shape shifter. And speaking of the other shape shifter, that opens up a whole other can of worms for the next book. I can't wait to see what happens in Blood for Blood!

Overall this book was freaking AMAZING! I loved the characters, relationships, plot, action and the overall feel of this book! I NEED the sequel now!

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Trailer Reaction

I'm SUPER excited for this movie (like every other Harry Potter fan), so I've decided to do a trailer reaction/talk/review. If you haven't watched the trailer yet, what are you doing with your life?! I've already lost track of how many times I've watched it! But you can watch it here if you haven't already.

First of all, I love the feel/aesthetic of this movie so much! I love the fact that it is set in the 20s in New York. If you didn't know, I adore movies and books set anywhere between the 20s and 40s; I think it makes for an atmospheric and fascinating setting. The costumes and set for the movie really makes the feel of the movie amazing. I mean look at Newt Scamander's coat! It's absolutely gorgeous (and so are the other costumes)! 

Also, who are all these new characters?! I can't wait to see who they are, because the only character we really know about is Newt. I'm also excited to see where the plot goes since we know so little about Newt Scamander and the wizarding world in the 1920s. Plus there is a whole new wizarding culture to explore since the movie is set in America this time!

Now let's talk about the actual beasts. We only get to see a handful of them in the trailer, so I'm hoping there will be lots more in the actual movie.

My favourite is the mole thing in the last picture! It's so cute! The blue, winged creature is also pretty cool, and I don't even know what the thing inside his suitcase is supposed to be.

It was also mentioned that Newt was expelled from Hogwarts and that Dumbledore argued against his expulsion, so hopefully they will expand on that. I wonder if we'll see a young Dumbledore?

And finally, I wanted to talk about the music. It was so GOOD! I loved how they incorporated some of the old music (Hedwig's Theme) from the original Harry Potter movies. It was just done so well and it really added to the overall greatness of the trailer!

Overall I was really pleased with the trailer! I loved the aesthetic/feel of it, and the cinematography, costumes, setting and overall quality was fantastic (*wink*). I can't wait for November! Let me know down below what your favourite part of the trailer was!

Friday, 1 April 2016

The Hamilton Book Tag

So, lately I've become a little bit obsessed with this musical, Hamilton. If you haven't heard of it before, it is a musical that tells the story of Alexander Hamilton (one of America's founding fathers) and the American Revolution through hip-hop/R&B songs. It's SO GOOD and I would definitely recommend checking it out (it's on Spotify). So, I'd thought I'd do this tag, which was created by Maureen Keavy. Link to her video here .

Anyways, here we go.

1. The Room Where it Happens: A Book World You Would Put Yourself In
I'm going to go with the obvious choice here and choose the wizarding world of Harry Potter. I would absolutely love to live in that world! Ever since reading that series I've wanted to attend Hogwarts!

2. The Schuyler Sisters: An Underrated Female Character
I think that Zu from Alex Bracken's The Darkest Minds trilogy is pretty underrated. She has been through A LOT at such a young age and I think she is one of the strongest characters in the series because of this. She need some more recognition!

3. My Shot: A Character That Goes After What They Want and Doesn't Let Anything Stop Them
Celaena Sardothien from the Throne of Glass series definitely goes after what she wants. She is a super strong female character and is willing to manipulate and kill for whatever she wants.

4. Stay Alive: A Character You Wish Was Still Alive
I wish that everybody from The Book Thief was still alive. Especially Rudy, Hans and Rosa since they died during the bombing and not of old age like Liesel.

5. Burn: The Most Heartbreaking End to a Relationship
The end to Ruby and Liam's relationship (kind of) in The Darkest Minds was super devastating and frustrating since Ruby didn't have to erase herself from Liam's memory (and they are one of my OTPs). The fact that it also ended in a cliffhanger made it that much worse.

6. You'll Be Back: The Sassiest Villain
Here I'm going to have to say Moriarty from BBC's Sherlock, which is kind of cheating since I've only seen the show and not read the stories (I know, I'm terrible). But Moriarty (played by Andrew Scott) is my favourite villain of all time, he has some of the best dialogue, and impeccable taste.

7. The Reynolds Pamphlet: A Book With Twist You Didn't See Coming
There were a ton of scheming and twists in Queen of Shadows. You'll know what I'm talking about if you've read it.

8. Non-Stop: A Series You Marathoned
Last Year I marathoned all of Rick Riordan's completed series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Heroes of Olympus and The Kane Chronicles (with a break between each series, mind you). I read all of PJO first, then later went back to marathon HoO, and then again later that year I read KC.

9. Satisfied: Favourite Book With Multiple POVs
I'm going to have to go back to one of Rick Riordan's books, The Mark of Athena. I was super glad that we finally got to see some of the story from Annabeth's point of view, and I loved her narration!

10. Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story: A Book/Series That Will Be Remembered Throughout History
Harry Potter obviously! Enough said.


11. Helpless: A Relationship You Were Pulling For From the Start
Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase. OTP, OTP, OTP.

12. Ten Duel Commandments: Favourite Fight Scene 
The fight scene at the end of The Last Olympian was great. The whole book was basically one huge battle, it was amazing!

13. Say No To This: A Guilty Pleasure Read
I don't really have an answer for this question. The Selection series maybe?

14.  What Comes Next: A Series You Wish Had More Books
Again, Harry Potter! I think everybody wants more.

15. Right Hand Man: Favourite BROTP
I'd have to say that one of my favourite friendships would have to be the golden trio from Harry Potter, but I also really love [Spoiler (ish) for The Throne of Glass series] Aelin and Lysandra's friendship.

16. What'd I Miss: A Book or Series You Were Late to Reading
PJO and HoO. I only got around to them last year (crazy right?!)!

That's it for the tag! You should definitely go check out Hamilton if you haven't listened to it yet!

Friday, 25 March 2016

Easter Reading!

This long Easter weekend I hope to get a good amount of reading done! Yesterday (Thursday), school was cancelled due to bad weather, so I ended up getting a five day weekend! Unfortunately, I've been a sick since yesterday afternoon, which has limited my reading a bit. 

Currently I'm reading Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, and I'm about 80 pages in. I hope to finish it and then move on to A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab (finally).

So far Miss Peregrine's is pretty good and I'm enjoying the narration! Can't wait to finish it so I can watch the trailer (and then the movie when it comes out)!

Well, that's it for this reading update. What are you guys reading over the Easter break?

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Book Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

This synopsis contains spoilers for the previous books in the series.

In the fourth installation of the Throne of Glass series, Celaena Sardothien, who has now embraced her title of Aelin Galathynius, Queen of Terrasen, returns to the kingdom of Adarlan to deal with her past and fight for her country.

Overall this book was really great (even though it took me a while to read). It has become my second favourite book in the series next to the first novel. Characters changed, new ones were introduced, ships sank and battles were fought. I would recommend reading The Assassin's Blade before you read this because it has connections to the novella woven in, and it gives the story more depth.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Spoilers ahead.

Some of my favourite parts of this book were the epic battle scenes, specifically the one between Manon and Aelin. I was glad that we the two characters met, and I thought the fight between them was amazing and well written. I also enjoyed the final battle at the castle with the King of Adarlan, Dorian and Aelin. Magic was freed (finally), Dorian became himself again (mostly) and the King died. But as it turns out, he might have just been a chess piece in a bigger plan, Erawan might just be Perrington. I also loved how Aelin and Dorian's magic worked together seamlessly. 

Manon's chapters also got more interesting. She's starting to become more "human", and tensions seem to be rising between and her grandmother. The scene where she fled Morath while Kaltain burnt it to the ground. I think it will be interesting to see where her character will go in the next books.

Another one of my favourite parts of the book was when Aelin was planning to kill Arobynn. The dinner, Aelin playing up Celaena's character, the part where I thought she was under Arobynn's control, the extreme scheming, everything about that part of the book was just great.

Finally, can we just talk about the characters and their relationships? Aelin's character certainly changed quite a bit, maybe to the extent of it being a bit unrealistic. She and Chaol have both changed so much that I think we've come to the conclusion that that ship has sunk. A relationship between Aelin and Rowan seems to be building though, which I'm fine with this, but I don't love them. After reading about her and Sam in The Assassin's Blade, I just don't think that Aelin and Rowan's relationship is as great. The one relationship that I absolutely loved though was Aelin and Lysandra's! I love that we got an amazing friendship between two female characters, something that I think we need to see more in the YA genre.