Thursday, July 31, 2014

An Ode to Harry Potter, the Character.

Harry Potter Month
Harry Potter Month is a blogger event put together by Faith over at Student Spyglass for the month of
July. For more information visit this link.

So we're at the end of Harry Potter Month and it's truly been brilliant reading everyone's posts and celebrating this life-altering series.  Right from the start I wanted to finish this off by having a post go up on the day of Harry's (and JKR's) Birthday to celebrate him as a character. See, Harry is in fact my favorite character in the series. Yup. I said it.  It's more than that though:  Harry Potter is without a doubt, my all time favorite hero. Of life. Out of all the epic heros I've come across in the hundreds of books I've read, Harry is still the best of the best.

Harry Potter hardly knew anything about himself or his family when he found out he was a wizard at the tender age of eleven. In an instant, his entire world changed and he took it all in stride. After all, it had to be a better life than the one he'd known until then right?  It wasn't long before he found out that his parents had been wizards too and that the darkest wizard of all time had, in fact, murdered his parents. And tried to murder him. After that, Harry pretty much put himself smack dab in the middle of harm's way every year and made it his mission to stop Voldemort - or die trying.  He's the most heroic character ever, but just in case all of that isn't enough, well here are all the other reasons why Harry is MY hero:

* I loved every single aspect about Harry's character.  Yes, even his flaws. I loved him at his worst: when he was being all self-righteous or arrogant or angry or impulsive.  Even when he makes mistakes, I could understand why he thought he was doing the right thing and my heart went out to him. In truth, Harry Potter owns my heart the way no other fictional character ever has before, or ever will again.  I'm convinced of that.

* The losses he suffers early on, combined with his terribly lacking childhood at the hands of The Dursleys should have broken Harry.  Instead his heart is just so full of love and caring it's almost bursting..  He has fierce love and loyalty for his friends and would never think twice about sacrificing himself to keep them safe.

*  In addition to the loss of his parents so early in his life, Harry then continues to lose loved ones, almost every year like clockwork. To me, this could have been enough to make even the strongest wizard lose it, go dark, or just plain give up.   But not Harry. Never Harry.  Nothing ever really broke him, he just kept on fighting the good fight, and never lost focus on his goal.  He never gives up.  NEVER.  How do you NOT get inspired by that?!

*Sassy Harry wins at life.  The movies didn't quite do his sassiness justice, but it is in full display in the books.  I can't count the number of times I laughed out loud when he got all snarky with Ron, Hermione, Snape, Cedric, Neville, Umbridge...the list goes on. Often times, the protagonist of a book doesn't get to have all this sass, but JKR proved she is the queen yet again by making Harry so flipping brilliant.

Harry bringing the sass^^

* Harry just never ever back down from fighting for what is right.  Even in the face of certain defeat, he stands tall and never falters.  He will defend house-elves and save goblins and even risk dying to save even his enemies (Malfoy). He has an incredible sense of morality and what's right, despite how unfairly his childhood years treated him.  I mean, it's not like he learned all about fairness and justice over at The Dursleys!

* Speaking of which, Harry's heroism, self-sacrifice and bravery just blow me away at every single turn. No matter how many times I read the books (7) and how many times I see the films (too many times to count!), his strength of character continue to amaze me.  I regularly tear up just witnessing him put himself in harm's way.  I know he comes of reckless a lot of time but I just see it as him doing everything in his power so no one else dies for of him. *sniff*

* And since we're on the topic of being a hero?  He faced THE most powerful dark wizard of all time, what NINE TIMES?!  And the boy just kept walking away.  AMAZING.

* He also faced death a ton of times and a lot of those times, he faced it knowingly. The most significant one was, of course, when he thought that was what his destiny boiled down to: dying to save everyone else.  And even though that might have been his true faith, he faced it with his head held high. *sobs all the tears*

* For whatever reason, I've never related to a character's inner voice, thoughts and feelings more than I did with Harry.  I felt like I could always understand him, even when he was being irrational.  To me, his reactions, feelings and thoughts were always perfect for whatever situation he was dealing with.  Bottom line: he felt real. His thoughts and actions weren't always right, but they were believable. And to me, that just makes him all the more loveable.

* Harry Potter is everything. That's all there is to it.  He's sassy, stubborn, determined, relentless, arrogant, brave, noble, true, angry, fiery and above all else, a hero.

So, with all this fangirling, did I miss anything? What makes Harry a hero for you?
Share your Harry Potter love with me so we can gush some more ♥

**Happy Birthday Queen J.K. Rowling & The Boy Who Lived, Harry Potter**

Also thanks to Faith over at Student Spyglass for organizing Harry Potter Month! xx

Harry Potter MotW #53

Harry Potter Moment of the Week 

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted over at Uncorked Thoughts. The idea is to share a favorite moment, magical item, character, spell, quote, object from the books, films or J.K.Rowling herself! Upcoming topics & how to join here.

  Most Inspirational Moment/Passage

Woah.  This is another time when I feel like there are just too many moments AND passages to chose from. Instantly, my mind goes to the infamous 'The Forest Again' chapter from Deathly Hallows highlighting Harry's amazing courage and sacrifice...but man, I must have used that bit like 50 times now.  I think you all get how much I adore that particular moment now.  So... I guess I'll just have to pick my other favorite moments from DH! ;-D

The Wandmaker

To me, this entire chapter is so unbelievably poignant. With the loss of poor Dobby, Harry finds some much needed perspective.  He finally stops being angry for the things about Dumbledore that he never knew, and instead focuses on the man he did know.  He trusted Dumbledore and so he finally trusts him completely again.  He makes a huge decision to let go of his desire for Hallows and continue on with the mission that Dumbledore had entrusted him with: finding Horcruxes.  He makes his peace with the loss of his biggest inspiration and with all his strength, he carries on. ♥

And since it wouldn't seem right if I didn't give more than one answer every.single.time. Here's another favorite moment of mine:

King's Cross

It was a very special treat that Harry got to speak with Dumbledore again.  Throughout DH I longed for Harry to be able to ask his mentor some questions, discuss everything they'd shared and make peace with how things had changed.  I was over the moon when King's Cross made it possible.  Dumbledore was very truthful and so very sweet as he admitted his worst failings to Harry, and especially when he praised The Boy Who Lived on being everything Dumbledore himself couldn't be. And after everything, he still gave Harry one last choice.  Go on from here or return to war, one last time and end it all. *sobs* And his words inspire Harry to once again make the bravest choice and return into battle. Perfection.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday *84*

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by  Breaking the Spine which spotlights upcoming book releases that we're especially looking forward to!

Here's my pick this week:

Fairest by Marissa Meyer
The Lunar Chronicles # 3.5
Expected Publication: January 27 2015 by Feiwel & Friends

In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.
I've ALWAYS been fascinated with the story of how notorious villains become...well, so notorious and villainous. So I guess it should come as no surprise that I am super pumped to read all about the evil Queen Levana's story!  Are we going to get glimpses into her childhood?  Will there be a single defining moment that turns her from regular girl to pure evil, or a combination of things?  What does she REALLY look like under that glamour?  These are all questions I hope Fairest will answer. And I can't wait to see how everything unfolds!

Are you looking forward to Fairest?
Let me know when you link me up to your WoW post below :)

Friday, July 25, 2014

ARC Review: The Young World

The Young World by Chris Weitz
The Young World trilogy #1
Expected Publication: July 29th 2014 by Little Brown Books

After a mysterious Sickness wipes out the rest of the population, the young survivors assemble into tightly run tribes. Jefferson, the reluctant leader of the Washington Square tribe, and Donna, the girl he's secretly in love with, have carved out a precarious existence among the chaos. But when another tribe member discovers a clue that may hold the cure to the Sickness, five teens set out on a life-altering road trip to save humankind.

The tribe exchanges gunfire with enemy gangs, escapes cults and militias, braves the wilds of the subway and Central Park...and discovers truths they could never have imagined.
*An ARC was provided by Little Brown Books in exchange for an honest review.*

The Young World was all the buzz at BEA this year - everywhere you went there were ads for it, even in the bathrooms! For real though, see for yourselves. Since it's been awhile since I read a really good dystopian, naturally I got really excited about getting my hands on it, and I've been eagerly awaiting cracking this baby open since then.  Sadly, this one didn't end up living up to it's own hype...not for me, at least.

The Young World started out with loads of potential.  There's this virus that annihilated most of the world's population; the adults and the young kids are all gone.  Only teenagers remain but when they turn into adults (around 18 years old or such) they start to get sick, and soon die.  For some reason, the hormones that teens produce made them immune to the sickness, but the second their body stops producing said hormones - a.k.a. when they become adults, they're out of luck.  No adults means that all types of media and technology went down with them, seeing as there are none of them left to run things.  And considering that all the teens have a pretty short life-expectancy; well things have turned bleak pretty quick. You don't fear dying or killing when you know you have little to no time left.

Set in New York City, The Young World focusses on a tribe of teens, led by Jefferson, which is one of the story's narrators.  Jefferson and his friends have made a more or less peaceful existence for themselves in Washington Square. They haven't taken to killing for no reason, the girls living with them are treated as equals, not play-things and they try to keep the peace whenever possible.  The story is told in alternating point of views, switching every chapter from Jefferson to Donna, the main female of the tribe whom Jefferson also happens to have a crush on.  While I had no issues with Jefferson's voice, Donna was something else. In an attempt to make these characters sound like true teenagers, author Chris Weitz (Director of New Moon and The Golden Compass to name a few) gave Donna major teen-speak.  She spoke every sentence like she was asking a question, even when she was stating a fact - like she wasn't even sure herself of whatever the hell she was saying.  And then she inserted 'like' into almost every sentence she spoke OR thought. At first, I figured I would get used to it, but to be honest I never did.  Her chapters annoyed me on a constant basis and I found myself wishing that Jefferson would be the only MC. I mean, it's not like Donna's chapters added that much extra insight anyways.

So this crew has carved out a semi-peaceful existence amidst chaos, until they find a clue that might just lead them to an eventual cure to this sickness and save humanity.  Then they set off on a quest all over New York, where they face one crisis after another. When they first set off, I was all for it.  I loved the idea of exploring New York City, especially now that I've actually been there a few times.  It was fun reading about familiar streets and places and actually recognizing them.  Without getting into any spoilers, the stuff Jefferson and his tribe faced seemed to get more and more ridiculous as the story progressed.  It's like they randomly found themselves in these far-fetched situations just for the sake of adding action to the plot. And to me, questing out in a hellish war zone set in NYC should have been exciting without even trying. Instead it just felt like Weitz was trying too hard.  Not many of these trials felt like they added anything to the story, instead it was like they were filling up time till we got to the ending.

When we were privy to useful information, about the virus or how it all started, it was mostly in the form of info-dumps.  And when combined with the random action sequences, lackluster romance and characters that ranged from average to worse, The Young World simply did not cut it for me.  I had high hopes for a nice, quality dystopian to suck me in and never let go but this just didn't measure up.

My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Harry Potter MotW #52

Harry Potter Moment of the Week 

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted over at Uncorked Thoughts. The idea is to share a favorite moment, magical item, character, spell, quote, object from the books, films or J.K.Rowling herself! Upcoming topics & how to join here.

  Best 'Ron' Moment

Ahhh Ron Weasley, it seems to me like the poor guy is so underrated! I think it's because people tend to remember his moments of weakness, when he puts his own issues ahead of his friendship with Harry - and his loyalty to the cause.  I've always thought that having been compared to all his older brothers and his gifted little sister would have been awfully tough on the guy.  Being a part of a big family sometimes means slipping through the cracks for some kids and clearly Ron had a hard time differentiating himself from the pack.  It makes me sad though that people forget all the brave moments Ron's had throughout the series, so I've taken it upon myself to highlight some:

That epic chess game

Setting out with the twins to rescue Harry from Privet Dr

Facing a debilitating phobia by 'following the spiders'

Willingly entering the Chamber of Secrets (twice!)

And my favorite:
Saving a drowning Harry, facing what was in the Horcrux and destroying it!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday *83*

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by  Breaking the Spine which spotlights upcoming book releases that we're especially looking forward to!

Here's what I'm waiting on this week:

Firefight by Brandon Sanderson
Reckoners #2
Expected Publication: January 6th 2015 by Delacorte Press

They told David it was impossible--that even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic. Yet, Steelheart--invincible, immortal, unconquerable--is dead. And he died by David's hand.

Eliminating Steelheart was supposed to make life more simple. Instead, it only made David realize he has questions. Big ones. And there's no one in Newcago who can give him the answers he needs.

Babylon Restored, the old borough of Manhattan, has possibilities, though. Ruled by the mysterious High Epic, Regalia, David is sure Babylon Restored will lead him to what he needs to find. And while entering another city oppressed by a High Epic despot is a gamble, David's willing to risk it. Because killing Steelheart left a hole in David's heart. A hole where his thirst for vengeance once lived. Somehow, he filled that hole with another Epic--Firefight. And he's willing to go on a quest darker, and more dangerous even, than the fight against Steelheart to find her, and to get his answers.
It seems like it's been far too long since I featured a Brandon Sanderson book as my WoW pick.  Clearly, I'm dying to get my hands on Firefight and see how David and the rest of the crew will attempt to take down more Epics.  Learning about these super-heroes and their skill sets was beyond fascinating in Steelheart, and I can only assume things will get a lot more epic as the series progresses ;-)

Who else is excited for Firefight? Let me know!
Don't forget to link me up to your WoW ♥

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Best Characters from Harry Potter

Harry Potter Month
Harry Potter Month is a blogger event put together by Faith over at Student Spyglass for the month of
July. For more information visit this link.

Hi all!  Today's addition to Harry Potter Month is all about chatting with you all about my Favorite characters from the series. Obviously, there are A LOT of characters to choose from - is there any aspect of this story that doesn't shine through as being beyond brilliant?  I think not. Anyways, I tried to narrow it down as best I could to the bare necessities. Everyone ready? Here we go:

Harry himself of course, but I won't go into all the details in this post, I'll save that for my upcoming post on the boy himself ;-) Suffice it to say he's THE hero in this story.  He saved the world...oooh I don't know, like 7-8 times and survived the Dark Lord himself just as many times! Enough said.

Dumbledore. The man is a genius clearly. His mind boggles my mind; I mean everything about him was so elaborate and wonderfully complex! He knew Harry was up for the challenges he faced so he allowed him to keep trying.  He always had a plan and helped out as much as he could.  He taught Harry all he needed to know.  Sure he had secrets but how could you be Dumbledore and NOT have secrets.

Sirius. Obviously right? The guy is a cool rebel with a tragic life but he was such a bright light for Harry...and one that was so very needed.  Their time as a family burned out too soon but it was worth EVERYTHING!  I love his recklessness and impulsiveness an the fact that he would always risk himself to save Harry. His love for his godson is one of my absolute favorite parts of the series.

Lupin. Another clear choice for me.  THE BEST DADA teacher we ever got to know, no contest.  He taught Harry how to make a Patronus Charm, he was one of the few who trusted Dumbledore no questions asked, till the very end AND he overcame his demons and found love.  Another tragic life ended too soon but he was oh-so important for Harry...I just love him to bits.

Hermione.  THE brightest witch of her age, hands down.  Hermione is handy in a tight spot, as brave as any boy and twice as smart. She's not afraid to proudly display her inner nerd, she never backs down and she will fight for what she believes in.  Sure she always doubted Harry when he was clearly right O.O BUT she was the voice of reason, she always did her research and she saved the trio's asses too many times to count.

The Entire Weasley Clan: Ron, Ginny, Mrs Weasley, Mr. Weasley, the twins, Bill & Charlie. I only left out Percy (for reasons) even though he came around at the end there...But yeah, this is a fantastic family.  Ron faced almost everything Harry did and willingly followed him into mortal danger nearly every.single.time.  Ginny is my hero but she's also sadly under-appreciated.  That girl was worthy of Harry more than any other girl in Hogwarts.  She's ridiculously powerful and gifted, fiery and fearless - I just love her.  Mr & Mrs Weasley need no explanation I think.  These people took Harry in as one of their own and risked everything over and over for him and for what was right. They're the best fictional parents EVER.  The Twins were at Harry's side when it counted too, they made us laugh and then made us cry (WHY?!) Even the lesser known Bill & Charlie were always kind, cool and brave - I have nothing but love for this family. Except Percy.

Luna.  I freaking love Luna.  She's wonderfully weird, has a huge heart and cherishes her friends above all else.  She's just impossible not to love, from her offbeat beliefs to the way she is so fearlessly herself. I wish I'd known strong female characters like her growing up! She's an inspiration.

Neville.  The final member of the Silver Trio (Ginny, Luna & Neville) who went through things worse than Harry himself.  He came a long way from his first year at Hogwarts and his character evolution throughout was probably the most impressive.  I was so proud of him when he came into his own and really lived up to his true potential, I wanted to cheer.

Ollivander.  Possibly an odd choice, I mean the man was clearly impressed by all kinds of power, good or bad.  But I love that he gave Harry his wand, I love his knowledge of wands and since I like to think I'd take over his wandmaking business for him, he gets my vote.

And that's it for me, although I'm sure I must have missed someone important.  
I'm curious: Who are your favorites? Let me know :)
...which will also help me remember if I missed anyone >.<

Friday, July 18, 2014

Review: The Night Gardener

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
Published May 20th, 2014 by Penguin Canada

When orphaned Irish siblings Molly and Kip arrive to work as servants at a creepy, crumbling English manor house, they discover that the house and its inhabitants are not what they seem. Soon the children are confronted by a mysterious spectre and an ancient curse that threatens their very lives. With Auxier's exquisite command of language, The Night Gardener is a mesmerizing read and a classic in the making.

A Victorian mystery in the tradition of Washington Irving and Edgar Allan Poe. The Night Gardener is a mesmerizing read and a classic in the making.

*An ARC was provided by Penguin Canada in exchange for an honest review*

I was lucky enough to win The Night Gardener through the Goodreads First Reads Program.  It had been on my reading list for quite some time so I was really psyched about getting my hands on a copy.  Since I haven't read a middle-grade book in awhile, I jumped right into this one as soon as I could and it turned out the be a welcome return to the genre!

The Night Gardener focuses on two abandoned Irish children, Molly the older sister and her younger brother Kip, as they are hired as servants in an eerie English Manor on the verge of disrepair. Of course, it soon becomes clear that something is very much amiss in this house.  It isn't long before the children encounter an evil spirit that haunts the house and it's inhabitants, while they sleep. What's not clear is why exactly the place is cursed and what the terrible specter is up to when he appears - other than terrifying everyone, of course.  The story is told in alternating points of view from Kip and Molly and I really enjoyed both their voices a lot.  It's clear that these two siblings love and care for each other very much so their relationship with one another is sweet. More than that though,  their unique voices and their individualized take on the events taking place gave the story added perspective and colour.  Both Molly and Kip do speak in a sort of Irish slang and I know sometimes writing slang can be hit or miss, but in this case once I got used to it, I found it only added another layer to the sibling's personalities and helped set them apart from the stuffier English family that hired them.

Now normally you all know that I don't do scary books, but I figured I was safe with a nice creepy middle-grade ghost story.   The Night Gardener was just the right mix of childhood innocence and eeriness to keep my attention throughout.  I was quickly pulled into the mystery of the chilling spirit that haunts an equally unnerving house and I needed to know all the details: Why was this house haunted? When did it start?  Is the ghost really evil or is something else going on?  Are the family that live in the house responsible for it's haunting in any way? Are they all safe?  And how do our two young MC's Molly & Kip fit into it all?

Luckily these mysteries were revealed one by one but honestly, the fun part was in the 'not-knowing'!  I thoroughly enjoyed the journey from wondering what was up, to starting to realize there is something very wrong here, to HOLY HELL EVERYONE GET OUTTA THAT HOUSE!! AAAHH!  Author Jonathan Auxier did a wonderful job of delving out the suspense one tiny morsel at a time.  It was always a perfect balance of wonderment and anxiety, and paired up with short chapters and a simple, yet engaging writing style made for a delightfully quick, not to mention enjoyable read.

Now I realize my review for The Night Gardener has been mostly vague but I think this is a book best experienced by knowing as little as possible about the plot going in.  I feel like both the author and publisher tend to agree because the blurb is kept decidedly short and enigmatic. But I will say this: if you're a fan of middle-grade books and enjoy a good haunting/ghost story that's both deliciously atmospheric and ominous, I'd recommend checking this one out!

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Harry Potter MotW #51

Harry Potter Moment of the Week 

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme hosted over at Uncorked Thoughts. The idea is to share a favorite moment, magical item, character, spell, quote, object from the books, films or J.K.Rowling herself! Upcoming topics & how to join here.

  Bravest Character Moment

I *almost* feel like for me, all the Harry moments should be eliminated, since I gush and rave about him all the time...and I've probably highlighted his bravest moments a million times...buuut I can't bring myself in doing so.  So, forgive me for repeating myself but I had to pick:

The Forest Again

Yup.  #sorrynotsorry, but knowingly sacrificing yourself to save your friends and loved ones is kind of hard to top. Read: impossible to top. Harry is and forever will be my hero and the bravest wizard ever.

Ok, since I love you guys so much and I don't want you to come over and read the same stuff time and time again, I decided to highlight some other favorite character's bravest moments:

Ron: following Harry on every crazy quest since day one.  Playing a wicked game of chess. Rescuing Harry from Privet Drive.  Facing those spiders - which were his PHOBIA by the way.  Destroying a Horcrux. Willingly venturing into the Chamber of Secrets (twice).

Hermione: again, following Harry since day one and facing most of the terrors he did.  Figuring out that the Basilisk was petrifying students (ON HER OWN, with only a mirror and a library!) Voluntarily going into the Shrieking Shack. Making excellent use of her Time-Turner. Getting the idea to form the D.A. Destroying a Horcrux.

Sirius: Facing & surviving the death of his best friends AND then Azkaban.  Being a member of the Order of the Phoenix.  Being brave enough to be himself (and a Gryffindor) when his entire family were dark wizards.  Risking everything to talk to Harry, help Harry, visit him and even going straight into the Ministry to save him *sobs*

Dumbledore: Gathering intel on Tom Riddle. Living every day knowing he might have ended his sister's life. Not bowing down to Fudge or the Ministry.  Facing/fighting/denying Voldemort time and time again. Voluntarily dying to make sure his plan to take down evil succeeded.

Lupin: Facing every damn day as a werewolf. And THEN facing losing all his dearest friends in one single night (death Azkaban). Risking his life time and time again to fight evil.  Allowing himself to be loved and have a family.  Trusting Dumbledore and Harry until the very end.

Neville: Living his life knowing what was done to his parents and being unfairly compared to them. Standing up to his friends so they don't get Gryffindor in trouble again :)  Letting go of all his fears and making an incredible amount of progress as a wizard.  Offing Nagini and destroying a Horcrux in the process.

I could go on and on...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday *82*

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by  Breaking the Spine which spotlights upcoming book releases that we're especially looking forward to!

Here's what I'm waiting on this week:

Winterspell by Claire Legrand
Expected Pub Date: Sept. 30th '14 by Simon & Schuster

The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince . . . but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.

New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor's ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother's murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.

Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.

Her home is destroyed, her father abducted--by beings distinctly not human. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they're to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets--and a need she can't define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won't leave Cane unscathed--if she leaves at all.

Inspired by The Nutcracker, Winterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear.
Inspired by The Nutcracker.  Need I say more? Well, in case I do, here goes:  It's set in turn-of-the-century New York, and the MC is secretly trained to kick some butt.  Her travelling companion is a brooding dethroned prince...AND they've teamed up to take on the Fae. Uhm, YES PLEASE.  I have a collection of Claire Legrand books on my TBR so I'm hoping to kick things off with Winterspell!

So what about you guys? Excited about this one?
Link me up to your WoW post below & let me know your thoughts :)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Book Recommendations for Potterheads

Harry Potter Month
Harry Potter Month is a blogger event put together by Faith over at Student Spyglass for the month of
July. For more information visit this link.

Hey guys! Today's post is all about book recommendations for Harry Potter fans. Now these won't necessarily be stories that are super similar to the Harry Potter books - let's face it: there will never be another series quite like HP - so instead, I went with stories that have some elements to them that made me feel the same way HP made me feel in one way or another. It might be because the hero made me want to rally behind him or her in the way Harry does, or it might that the setting or plot had some Potter-ish leanings...or it just might be because the story consumed me in the same way HP did.  I hope these have or will captivate you all in the same way :) So here goes:

*click book covers for Goodreads links*

Mistborn - This book is perfection. It features an evil dark lord, an orphaned MC who's abused and broken down, lots of darkness, an inspiring mentor and some seriously kick-ass magic - not to mention EPIC world-building. It is an adult trilogy but it has tons YA crossover appeal, and has recently been relaunched as a YA series. If you still haven't read Mistborn, you need to do so. SOON.

Throne of Glass - Another mind-blowingly amazing series.  Throne of Glass features a hero to rally behind (despite her flaws) who's suffered an incredible amount of pain due to an evil ruler.  I features wicked action, a brilliant plot and characters and it's fair share of dark magic. I have so much love for the MC Celaena, I won't even attempt to get into it here.  Just read.this.series.people!!

The School for Good & Evil - This is cuter than the HP series and doesn't have quite as much depth to it. BUT, it has it's own version of a magical school away from home where kids learn magic. Magical schools are always brilliant if you ask me. This one has a fairytale twist to it but it's mix of humor and darkness makes for a really nice balance and a fun read.

His Dark Materials - This is a classic to be sure and one I'd recommend regardless.   It featuring a feisty heroine, good morals, lots of adventure and truly unique magical items.  The secondary characters vary from human to animal...even witches!  It's well plotted and engaging throughout.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone - With absolutely gorgeous writing that's sure to bring all kinds of feels, the series was guaranteed to make the list. At it's core, it's a battle between good and evil with stunning characterization and staggering twists.  I have rarely felt this much love for a main character, her love interest and her friends.  Karou has my heart and there's no going back.

Raven Boys - Sure this has a private boarding school, paranormal 'magic' and is beyond engrossing but mainly it displays heart-warming friendships that are sure to capture your heart and soul.  I mean friendships like our golden & silver trio in HP had.  The pacing is a bit slower than the usual YA fare, but the story will take over your life like nothing else!

Percy Jackson - This is a no-brainer for me when you think of what to read after Harry Potter: it has kids with magical powers, a 'chosen one' and epic battles. Though it never quite drew me in the same way HP did, it's certainly entertaining and exciting enough to make the list. Plus it has mythology which is a pretty sweet bonus if you ask me.

Liesl & Po - With it's whimsical and enchanting tone, not to mention good moral values, this standalone is worth checking out!  I was instantly drawn into Liesl's story as she befriends a ghost named Po.  It has a bit of a fairytale feel to it but the writing style alone made this story really stand out.

Fangirl - This one deals with fangirling about a HUGE and life changing fantasy series similar to Potter. It's hard not to relate to the MC and the way the fandom has shaped her life. It's a contemporary but the references to fantasy fiction are everywhere.

LotR - Another no-brainer. For real though.  If you haven't read this classic yet, after a HP bender is the perfect time to do so. It starts off quite slow, with lots of descriptions but if you can make it past that initial part, you're in for a treat!  It's definitely a classic though, so the writing style isn't what you'd expect from a more modern read.  All the same, I was taken in by the quest and it's characters.

So.  What did you think of my picks?  Did I miss anything important?
Let me know :)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Favorite Harry Potter MEMEs

Harry Potter Month
Harry Potter Month is a blogger event put together by Faith over at Student Spyglass for the month of
July. For more information visit this link.

Today, I wanted to share some of the best Harry Potter pictures, MEMEs, art and jokes found on the internet.  My Pinterest account is basically overflowing with HP goodness and I figured this would be a good way to share some of my favorites with fellow bloggers, readers & HP lovers. I only shared the ones that best encapsulate the series and the fandom (in my humble opinion).  These were all taken from my Harry Potter ϟ The Boy Who Lived board so the original sources for these would be there for anyone wishing to view them. And here.we.go:

Anime Harry Potter Art - very cool.

Hogwarts at Christmas Time...
Series Cover Artwork by Marie Grandpre 
And all of a sudden, they could be playing Sirius & Remus instead...
hahahah XD

They don't play Lucius & Draco, Lucius & Draco play Jason & Tom.
This is 100% accurate ^^
Yer a Wizard!
The Qualities of Harry Potter...these are all very true.

Walking at night. Light goes out- :O DUMBLEDORE!

Aaaaand cue the feels from this point on:

All was well. *SOBS*
Harry Potter reading Harry Potter on the set of Harry Potter. EPIC. (Potterception)
Thank You, Harry - My Favorite ♥