Thursday, September 3, 2015

Harry Potter Moment #106

Harry Potter Moment of the Week 

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a  meme hosted by Leah @ Uncorked Thoughts  and Me @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews. The idea is to share a favorite moment, magical item, character, spell, quote, object from the books, films or J.K.Rowling herself!  How to join up &  upcoming topics here.


Place you wish we'd explored in the series but didn't?

Oooh, this is a toughie! We explored SO.MUCH.terrain in the series but at the same time, there's an entire Wizarding World out there and we hardly scratched the surface. Let's hope the Fantastic Beasts film quells our thirst for more (somewhat).  In any case, I would have loved if we'd gotten to explore DurmstrangBeauxbatons and other Magical Schools because I think it would have been cool to compare how other schools do things differently.  Closer to home, I could have done with exploring the Great Lake at Hogwarts more, because it seems infinite and we barely made a dent in GoF

But I think my final answer has to be Godric's Hollow. It seems like such a legendary place filled with ancient magic.  I mean, the Peverells and Godric Gryffindor himself have history there. So do Dumbledore, Bathilda Bagshot AND Harry Potter. All legendary wizards with roots in that very same place! I think that's fascinating. Plus, it's a charming little village with a Wizarding settlement - what's not to love?!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #32

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish which features a variety of bookish top ten lists!

Ten Characters You Just Didn't Click With


Disclaimer: I have some very popular characters below that have huge and devoted followings - hopefully you'll all still be my friends after reading my picks this week *crosses fingers*

- Eleanor - Eleanor & Park - As a self-described outsider and misfit who loved being different, I was sure that Eleanor and I would be thick as thieves. Unfortunately try as I might, I simply could not connect with her - or her love-interest/romance for that matter. Eleanor never felt like a girl I could relate to or even one that I'd want to hang out with, which is a shame :(

- Clary - The Mortal Instruments - probably my biggest issue with the TMI series (you know, other than the blatant plagiarism) is Clary herself. I might have been able to get over the whole Harry Potter-fanfic thing, IF I could have connected with Clary. But we all know that that never happened. Despite liking some things about the series, Clary was forever my biggest complaint. She's flat and uninteresting and as a main character, that's a big problem. One that I could never get over.

- Tris - Divergent - I connected with Tris well enough in Divergent. In fact, she was well on her way to being a new favorite heroine of mine. She took a serious hit in Insurgent though but I was still willing to give her a pass. Until Allegiant. To be clear: the BIG THING that had everyone enraged wasn't my issue. At least, not really.  If it would have happened for a legit reason, I'd have been ok, but it all went down so...pointlessly. And I never got over how stubborn and idiotic she was throughout books 2 and 3.

- Nyx - Cruel Beauty - I had high hopes for Cruel Beauty but in the end, I had too many issues with too many aspects to fall in  love with it, like so many others did before me. Black Sheep Alert!  Nyx certainly had some admirable qualities but she never seemed to be able to get a handle on who she really was -OR- what she really wanted, which drove me batty!

- Araby - Masque of the Red Death - Another book I was so sure I'd fall head over heels for. Considering my love of Edgar Allen Poe and all things gothic and atmospheric, Masque seemed like my perfect book. So, what went wrong? In one word: Araby. She was completely apathetic to everything so, in turn, I didn't care at all about her or her problems. Fans of the series will tell me that given the world that Araby inhabits, her attitude was to be expected, but true or not, I couldn't bring myself to care.

- Nym - Storm Siren - There's been a recent surge of positive (read GLOWING) reviews for this one, and it makes me wonder if we all read the same book?! Sure, Nym started out as a fascinating creature, but she quickly turned into a love-struck ninny who'd rather focus on a jerk love-interest rather than mastering her lethal powers. No thank you.

- Tana - The Coldest Girl in Coldtown - My very first Holly Black read turned out to be a letdown and it was due in no small part to Tana. Tana...well, Tana was an idiot. She'd get herself into horrific situations and seemingly never felt an ounce of fear. Which is lucky for her I guess, considering the idiotic decisions she kept making throughout her story.

- Katie - Ink - The gorgeous setting wasn't enough to make up for Katie's lack of personality. Basically her story exists just so she can fall in love with her boy. He's got all the powers and all of the adventures they have are thanks to him. I barely remember anything about her other than her love-sick tendencies. And I have a fantastic memory.

- Paige - The Bone Season - *cries over my shattered hopes and dreams* I SO wanted to love this book guys. But I couldn't. Paige just didn't do it for me and it's not so much that I didn't like her, but more like she was never able to make me care for her, her situation (which was dire), her abilities (which were wicked), or her plight (which was noble). Oh well, can't win 'em all I suppose.

- Sophie and Josh - The Alchemyst -  This book was my very first DNF and I feel absolutely no guilt in placing the blame squarely on those two kids! The premise was exciting, the side characters were interesting but those two idiots could not make me care for any of it - and I've never forgiven them for sullying Nicholas Flamel's good name in the process. *glares*

- Bonus: Jordan - Weather Witch - When you pick up a book about witches, who can control the weather, all set in a steampunk environment, packaged in a gorgeous cover, you expect to be entertained at the very least. And that might have happened if not for the main protagonist Jordan. Jordan was easily one of the worst 'heroines' I have ever encountered in my years of reading. She was shallow, ignorant, stupid, oblivious, petty and selfish. Truly horrible things happened to her and a part of me felt like she deserved it all! And that's just all kinds of wrong. O.O

*hides from the Eleanor & Park, Divergent, Cruel Beauty and The Mortal Instrument fangirls* Try not to throw your rocks too hard guys, my intentions were pure going in, I SWEAR!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Fandom Mashup #17

Fandom Mashups
Fandom Mashups is a new original feature here at Lunar Rainbows Reviews and it's basically my way of creating dream teams of all my fandoms and having some fun with them.  The idea is that every week, I propose a unique fictional scenario and then build my personal dream team of five fictional characters from five different fandoms to complete the task!  Anyone is welcome to join in on the fandom fun and whip up a post - all I ask is that you link back to me somewhere in your post :)


Hi all and happy Sunday! In a surprise turn, I'm actually off today and I won't be working Sundays anymore - cause I got a new job, which I'll be starting tomorrow :D I don't know how many of you have worked Sundays but my feeling is that it should be illegal. For everyone. We should all have at least one day a week where EVERYONE is off work. Anyway, that's another discussion for another time. Here's this week's topic:


You've found a time machine. Yay! Who do you take with you to travel through time?

Ha! If anyone is surprised by my first choice - and if it's not all of your first choices, I'll eat my slippers XD

The Doctor
*reaches out hand* OK!!!! (♥.♥)

If I found a time machine, it would be the TARDIS and let me just tell you that if I found the TARDIS, I am never, ever getting out...until The Doctor agrees to take me along that is. Travelling through time has been forever altered for me and now all signs point to The Doctor and his Tardis - which is coincidentally the name of my Doctor Who board on Pinterest XD

Hermione Granger

Hermione handled time-travel like a pro. She followed all of the rules (naturally), she didn't use the power for any selfish reasons and she promptly realized how dangerous it could be in the wrong hands. Hell, she used it to take MORE classes at Hogwarts. The Doctor approves and I do too.

Castiel

Castiel is the only character on Supernatural powerful enough to allow Sam and Dean to time-travel, but only briefly while greatly depleting his powers. He obviously knows that time-travel is serious business and he'd be a huge asset to the group if ever we got separated from the TARDIS, as one does from time to time.

Spock

Spock has some experience with time-travel as well, and we all know he'd do just fine following all the rules, and pointing out new ones we might not have thought of. He's brilliant after all, so he's a must on this adventure.

Captain Jack Sparrow

Captain Jack Sparrow is well travelled, PLUS he got sent to World's End, where time didn't move forward, or backwards... or any which way - that's kind of like time-travel, right?! Sure, he'd probably get us into all kinds of trouble, but hopefully the rest of our crew could keep him in line. Or, you know, fix his mistakes as they happen. If all else fails, hell we'll just be stuck together somewheres for that much longer! And all I can say to that is:

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Harry Potter Moment #105

Harry Potter Moment of the Week 

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a  meme hosted by Leah @ Uncorked Thoughts  and Me @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews. The idea is to share a favorite moment, magical item, character, spell, quote, object from the books, films or J.K.Rowling herself!  How to join up &  upcoming topics here.


Would you rather be locked in a room with Voldemort or Bellatrix?

O_O


Holy hell. Can we just go with neither and leave it at that?! I would never, ever be want to be locked in a room with EITHER of these crazies. I have a feeling that I'd be a half-blood at best in the Wizarding World, so I wouldn't be safe either way.  Both are formidable villains in their own way but let's face it: both of them give me nightmares too.  In the books, Voldemort has those creepy red eyes, and he's definitely not giving out hugs to anyone - Malfoy or otherwise.  And then there's Bella, who as Dumbledore put it: 'likes to play with her food'  *shudder*  Seriously, I really don't want to answer this week because it's an impossible choice....but, that wouldn't be much fun would it? So, if I'm forced to choose, I'll go with:

Voldemort

And, looking at this image is already making me regret my choice D:  Ok so, Voldemort is the Dark Lord, but I figure that since I'm NOT Harry Potter, he'd probably just kill me and be done with it. Which sucks, sure but it would never be that easy with Bellatrix. She'd want to torture me, laughing all the way. She's like a female Joker and well, who wants to be locked in a room with that?! Worst case with Voldemort: I end up dead. Worst case with Bella? I end up like Neville's parents, and that's as bad as it gets. Plus she killed Sirius, and despite everything, I'd want her to pay for that and likely end up dead. Granted Voldemort is the one who gives me nightmares and Bellatrix doesn't, but this was an impossible question and that's the best I can do with it LOL!

So who did you guys pick?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #31

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish which features a variety of bookish top ten lists!

Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught Fantasy 101

*Since we're operating under the assumption that this is my class, we'll be studying full-series instead of just single books. Clearly, my class would last 2 semesters (at least!).*


  • ALL of the Brandon Sanderson! - We'd start off with Mistborn naturally, but I'd want to dive into The Stormlight Archive as well too.  The world-building, the magical systems, the characters arcs,  the magic powers and abilities, EVERYTHING.
  • Lord of the Rings - Clearly. You can't study fantasy without exploring Tolkien's classic to the fullest extent. Without LotR the face of modern fantasy would be vastly different indeed.
  • Throne of Glass - You all know I adore ToG and SJM, but the reason it made the list is that the series starts off on the lighter side of fantasy, but with every new installment, the fantasy world expands and the magical system evolves. It's a great example of fantasy-light morphing into full-fledged fantasy.
  • Harry Potter - Of course: it is my favorite series after all ;)  The world-building is incredible, the magical-system is brilliantly thought out and detailed with rules, and limitations. Think of the studies and discussions we could have about the Philosopher's Stone, the Sword of Gryffindor, the Marauder's Map, the Time-Turner,  It's a new classic but it's a classic all the same!
  • Chronicles of Narnia - Another classic bit of fantasy literature that can hardly be ignored. In this case, it's the creatures that are magical while the world is relatively normal - other than being able to travel between worlds of course. It also has some examples of 'what not to do' in fantasy, in my humble opinion, especially in the later books.
  • Sabriel - I might be new to the series, but Nix's take on necromancy, spirits and magical powers in general blew me away. Plus the way the lead female is portrayed and developed as a character would make for some great feminist discussions. I could totally see studying it in greater depth. It'd be awesome!
  • Warriors - This might seem like an odd choice, especially to those who consider the series to be exclusively for children, but hear me out: The series shows how you don't have to limit yourself to writing books with human protagonists. Animals can carry a series. Animals can have magical powers. In a fantasy world, animals can build a society, elevate leaders, fight wars...all of it! I think it'd be a great way to think, and read outside of the box (and no, not the litter box LOL)
  • A Darker Shade of Magic - Parallel Londons. Magical powers. Unique worlds that sort of mirror each other at first glance but are really as different as can be. Kell's coat! All of it is gold.  This might be a newer book but it's totally going on the syllabus.
  • His Dark Materials - This is another newer classic but it has so much potential in terms of study and discussion materials.  The portal world premise for one. And then there's the host of magical items to deconstruct, like the compass, the knife and the spyglass. Finally we could probably spend one entire semester on daemons :)
  • Alanna: The First Adventure - Finally, I think Alanna would be fun to study, It's a fantasy with a feminist bent, plus it has tons of awesome classic magical objects as well. Swords, amulets and a witch's familiar, not to mention knights, healers and sorcerers!


So what do you all think of my Fantasy 101 study materials? Would you want to take my class?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Fandom Mashup #16

Fandom Mashups
Fandom Mashups is a new original feature here at Lunar Rainbows Reviews and it's basically my way of creating dream teams of all my fandoms and having some fun with them.  The idea is that every week, I propose a unique fictional scenario and then build my personal dream team of five fictional characters from five different fandoms to complete the task!  Anyone is welcome to join in on the fandom fun and whip up a post - all I ask is that you link back to me somewhere in your post :)


Hi everyone and a very happy Sunday to you all! I hope the weekend has been good to you so far. I had the whole weekend off which has been a real treat - and it's not over yet :) Let's check out this week's topic:

You come face to face with an actual ghost. It seems friendly but you're not sure what to do next. Who's going to help you figure it out? 

Luna Lovegood

Luna has shown herself to be exceptionally accepting and open to all magical beings, ghosts included. If I want help deciding if a ghost is friendly or not, I want Luna on hand! She'd be sure to give the ghost a fair shake by approaching it and trying to befriend it. Plus, if ever the ghost isn't friendly, well, she has magic ;)


Bobby Singer

Bobby is undoubtedly a pro when it comes to any and all supernatural beings, ghosts included. My only concern is that he'd insist we vaporize the ghost before knowing if it's dangerous or not, but I'm willing to risk it for his expertise. I figure the rest of the team could keep him in line in any case.

Charley Davidson

Charley Davidson is THE grim reaper. Ghosts are kind of her bread and butter. She'd be able to talk to the ghost if we couldn't and if need be, she could send it on it's way in no time flat.

Blue Sargent

Blue not only makes other people's paranormal gifts stronger, but she's well attuned to spirits and all things within the spiritual realm. She'd be a total asset here, helping to fuel their magic and contributing her own knowledge all the while.

Chloe Saunders (Darkest Powers Trilogy)

Chloe also sees ghosts, but without the whole grim reaper deal like Charlie. She's about as powerful a necromancer as they come so naturally, I thought of her as soon as this topic came up. Any team taking on a ghost would be lucky to have her!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Review: In the Hand of the Goddess

In the Hand of the Goddess
by Tamora Pierce  (Song of the Lioness #2)
Published September 1st 1984 by Atheneum

"I don't want to fall in love. I just want to be a warrior maiden."

Still disguised as a boy, Alanna becomes a squire to none other than the prince of the realm. Prince Jonathan is not only Alanna's liege lord, he is also her best friend -- and one of the few who knows the secret of her true identity. But when a mysterious sorcerer threatens the prince's life, it will take all of Alanna's skill, strength, and magical power to protect him -- even at the risk of revealing who she really is...

Filled with swords and sorcery, adventure and intrigue, good and evil, Alanna's second adventure continues the saga of a girl who dares to follow her dreams -- and the magical destiny that awaits her.

In the Hand of the Goddess is the sequel to Alanna: The First Adventure, one of my new favorite classic fantasies from this year. Naturally, I was anxious to keep going with this series and see what adventures Alanna would get up to this time around.  I listened to this one on audio and despite the fact that I'd read the first one, the transition from book to audiobook was easy. The narrator did a really good job voicing Alanna as well as all of the secondary characters so that was a plus. I will undoubtedly be listening to the rest of the series on audio!

In the Hand of the Goddess picks up not too long after the events of The First Adventure. Alanna, still posing as a boy in the hopes of becoming a knight is now officially a squire to none other than Prince Jonathan himself! With everything that Alanna went through on her way to becoming a squire, and she's become quite the force to be reckoned with, which means two things: 1. she's grown a lot, become stronger and more confident. And 2. she's made some enemies along the way. Powerful ones at that.  Soon Alanna is tested even further as a war looms and she must protect her Prince and her Kingdom from its destruction.

Right from the first chapter, I was brought back to what makes this series great.  We're introduced to Alanna meeting her very own animal familiar, a magical black cat with matching violet eyes to her own.  Instantly, she adopts the sweet thing and names him Faithful.  Faithful and Alanna quickly learn that can communicate with one another and that Faithful can sense when Alanna is in danger. Knowing how much I love magical animals and cats in general, I think you all can guess how over the moon I was about this new development.  In addition to Faithful, there's the usual variety of unique magical items that seem to the a staple in this series. This time around, there was an enchanted amulet to go along with Alanna's epic sword but I won't divulge what the amulet does, because: spoilers ;)

Despite it's impressive beginning which also included a Goddess, as the name would suggest,  I found that In the Hand of the Goddess couldn't quite escape the dreaded 'second-book syndrome'.  The war was an engaging twist, but it failed to deliver as much battle-action as I would have liked.  Then, there was the new romantic development.  As much as Alanna vows to never fall in love, she becomes a young woman in this installment and begins to have feelings for...someone. The focus on the romantic side of things was a little surprising, considering how insistent Alanna has always been about not falling in love. The romance itself wasn't unpleasant. In fact, it was downright believable but it never really successfully made me swoon like the best ships do. Even the final showdown with the main villain (so far)  fell a bit flat for me, which was surprising considering that the tension had been building since the first book.

I also have to share about a personal pet-peeve: when authors age up characters up very quickly and/or time jumps ahead by increments for no clear reason. I don't know why, but it bugs me. When I become attached to a character, I like to see them grow/mature in a normal progression. Alanna seemed to go from a young squire to a woman in the blink of an eye. I found myself wishing that Tamora Pierce had slowed things down considerably, even if it meant that Alanna had stayed younger for longer.  I feel like she was aged up quickly just to add romantic tension to a story where the heroine didn't really need romance to begin with. At least not straight away. I just wanted to see my girl grow up normally!

Regardless, In the Hand of the Goddess was a solid follow up, even if it fell short of its predecessor. I enjoyed being reunited with Alanna, returning to Tortall, and watching the wonderful magic grow and evolve anew.  I cheered along with all of Alanna's friends as she made the journey into Knighthood, which was filled with it's fair share of exciting ups and downs, not to mention a few good twists thrown in for good measure! This series is a must for classic fantasy readers and I'll definitely be reading all of the rest of the books by Tamora Pierce.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars