Monthly Archives: January 2017

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5)

Read from 3-14th January, 2017

Author: J. K. Rowling

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5 Stars

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Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermione have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on. However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected…

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I’ve been rereading the Harry Potter books for some time now, but this is the first instalment where my thoughts are extensive enough to warrant a review. That said, please forgive the fact that there are no prior reviews on these books and that I am instead jumping in at number five.

Many people say that this instalment is their least favourite of the series, but I didn’t find that at all – perhaps because I listened to the audiobook rather than reading a physical copy. At any rate, I loved this book.

Professor McGonagall and Ginny Weasley completely stole the show with their vibrant personalities and high levels of sass. Luna, Hermione, Neville, the twins and Tonks were also fantastic.

Umbridge has always been a fantastic love-to-hate villain and she certainly did not disappoint. There was also an interesting detail about her that I had forgotten until rereading which I quite liked. She was completely horrible and cruel, and it was a delight seeing her in disarray when the Weasley twins were up to mischief.

Harry really frustrated me, but I actually think that this was a good thing. Harry’s temper was quick and destructive (his friends were even scared of him at times), he didn’t appreciate the people around him, he was selfish, and he was rash. However, some of those qualities (such as the temper) I believe may have been (at least to some degree) appropriated from Voldemort. It also made him flawed and somewhat more relatable. It will be interesting to see his character development through the next few novels – you can already start to see it at the end of Order of the Pheonix in his interaction with Luna.

I really didn’t like Cho but I understand that she was needed to help Harry grow as a character. Personally, I found her to be selfish, extremely shallow and rather superficial.

Dumbledore was interesting. For the majority of the novel, I, like Harry, was frustrated at and disappointed in Dumbledore, who had been like a father figure to Harry in his time at Hogwarts to date. It had been such a long time since I’d read “Order of the Phoenix” that I’d entirely forgotten his motivations – but Rowling did a fantastic job at portraying them in the reveal at the end, painting Dumbledore as flawed, vulnerable and… old. That conversation was perhaps one of my favourite scenes in the novel.

Overall, it was a fantastic read with brilliant characters, mixing entertaining times with frustrating ones.

If you are struggling to get through, I do thoroughly recommend listening to the audiobook as I feel it would help out significantly. However, that is coming from someone who loves audiobooks and what works for me may not work for you.

Let’s Discuss!

Have you read Harry Potter? Are you one of the few who haven’t?

What’s your favourite instalment? Least favourite?

Favourite character?

Any unpopular opinions?

Come chat with me! I love to discussions.

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October, November & December Wrap-Up 2016

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Hey everybody! It’s been ages but I’m finally back! She say the month before year 12.

Over the next couple of weeks I’m going to be doing a slight redesign as well as uploading new content – I have big plans and I’m really excited about them.

Over these past three months I read a total of 25 books.

Note: like my previous wrap-up this one is extremely long. You have been warned.

 

The Books

All titles link to Goodreads

 

October

 

Omari and the People

By Stephen Whitfield

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3.5 Stars

A character-driven exodus of a people lead by hope and just looking to survive. While this story does have some elements of romance it is more a side element than anything.

You can find my full review here.

 

Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3)

By Leigh Bardugo

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4 Stars

A great, satisfying read with beautiful writing.

I marathoned this trilogy earlier this year, with the exception of the last two or three chapters of this novel. I really wish I had kept on reading as there were a few things I was slightly confused about upon completion – definitely a case of “it’s not you, it’s me.”

 

Hollow City (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #2)

By Ransom Riggs

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4.25 Stars

I liked this instalment a lot better than the first, which is a relief.

It was a lot more engaging, the characters more developed, the writing better (there were quite a few great quotes!) and the romance between Jacob and Emma a lot less creepy (I’m kind of behind it now, but we’ll see).

I especially liked how Jacob’s peculiarly was further developed and we get a hint at another unexpected aspect (but that could just be me overthinking).

Again, I really liked how the characters were explored. In Miss Peregrine’s I felt rather detached from the cast, but I came to care about them in Hollow City.

To be perfectly honest, I was unimpressed with the first book and had to push myself to read this one. However, I am extremely glad I did and am excited to see how this series ends.

 

These Broken Stars (Starbound #1)

By Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

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4 Stars

Although it took a bit to get into, I ended up really enjoying These Broken Stars.

The character development was definitely a highlight and is what stands out for me. The characters really came into their own and also came to fit with each other really well.

Recommend for people looking for a solid sci-fi survival romance. I’ve also heard it described as “the titanic in space”, though it was more focused on surviving the planet than the high society/world aboard the spaceship.

 

This Shattered World (Starbound #2)

By Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

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4.25 Stars

This Shattered World was easier to get into than These Broken Stars for me. I really enjoyed the characters (plus those epic action scenes) and the plot was more politics and conspiracy theories than survival, though they both share a strong military vibe.

I really appreciated the diversity in this book; Lee is half Chinese and Flynn is Irish, and there was a fair amount of culture surrounding that, which was really cool.

I will say that I was (and still am) confused about the dream passages that we get every few chapters. It made sense to include them but I’m still rather confused. I preferred the interview excerpts from These Broken Stars in that regard.

I would recommend reading this series back to back if possible, because there are a few subtle references and cameos that are easy to miss.

Tarver and Lilac have a cameo! Which was a lot of fun. I also really liked how there was an obscure mention of Lee in These Broken Stars, Sofia was a minor character in this book and Gideon was also mentioned (though more obscurely). Excitement levels = very high.

Overall, this series so far is an excellent sci-fi with great characters and an intriguing plot. I would recommend to those who enjoy YA books and may want to dabble in sci-fi.

 

Their Fractured Light (Starbound #3)

By Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

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4.75 Stars

I really loved this book, and reading it also made me appreciate the previous books more.

I was initially disappointed to find out that this finale was only in Sofia and Gideon’s POVs, but it worked out really well.

I loved all the connections between characters that have been woven in from the beginning. Seeing everyone interact and the threads finally coming together was absolutely fantastic and rather fulfilling. However, I must admit, my favourite parts were the excerpts from the whispers before each chapter. My heart soared, broke, and everything began falling into place.

I will say that the characters do feel older than teenagers – but then again, these characters have been forced to face a lot of challenging situations and grow up fast.

The plot took unexpected turns, often throwing me for a loop, which is always great.

An easy read and a solid finale, Their Fractured World is definitely worth the read. Again, I suggest marathoning this series if that is at all possible as there are subtle connections and foreshadowing threaded throughout all three books.

I’m also left wondering if Amie enjoys writing zombies as they have appeared in both her series to some degree…

 

Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2)

By Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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5 Stars

While I didn’t like Gemina quite as much as Illuminae I still really enjoyed it. Despite it being over 600 pages, the format and the fast pace meant that I finished it in a single day (and a school day none the less).

I really enjoyed the new characters we were introduced to, though it took me a little longer than with Hannah and Ezra. Nick and Hannah were pretty great, though Ella was by far the standout. Ella was severely disabled but she didn’t let that stop her – she was sassy and amazing and an incredibly talented hacker.

In this instalment we also meet Isaac, Kady’s dad, which was great.

I will say, I went into Gemina expecting the surviving crew from Illuminae to come in around half way through, but it was more like two thirds.

I loved all the plot twists – which are essentially staples in both Amie and Jay’s writing. The character one was great, but at the end when we find out what “gemina” means? Genius. (And yes, I am being deliberately vague, thank you for noticing).

Suffice to say, I recommend this series to pretty much everyone and I can’t wait for the third one (in which my name will be included!)

 

Matilda

By Roald Dahl

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4 Stars

This was my first Roald Dahl book.

Matilda was a surprisingly good read with a humorous voice, an incredibly intelligent protagonist who loves to read, a horrid antagonist and some great friendships.

In terms of plot, I pretty much knew what was going to happen as I’d seen the movie as a child and saw the musical just before I picked up the book. It’s always really interesting to see different takes on a story and how it changes the meaning. Both adaptations are quite good but there is a definite innocence and charm about the original source material.

A recommended read to all ages, especially if you have seen or are going to see one of the adaptations. Dahl’s narrative voice is certainly one I will be exploring further.

 

November

 

Infinity (The Infinity Division #1)

By Jus Accardo

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5 Stars

A surprisingly brilliant read, Infinity features fantastic characters, a great plot, and a focus on perspective.

You can find my full review here.

 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3)

By J. K. Rowling

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5 Stars

It’s been years since I first read the Harry Potter series, and I’ve been really enjoying listening to them on audio. It’s amazing the little details you forget even when you think you know the stories so well. Prisoner of Azkaban is perhaps my favourite so far.

 

Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them

By J. K. Rowling

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3.75 Stars

Note: this is the textbook, not the screenplay.

I read this in anticipation of the movie. As expected, it was interesting but rather dry as it is, in fact, a textbook.

 

Library of Souls (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #3)

By Ransom Riggs

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4 Stars

Library of Souls was an average read for me, but it wrapped up the series well.

This series put me in a slight reading slump as I simply had no read desire to pick it up. I felt no connection to the characters, the plot was okay, the world was decent and it was overall just a “meh” book (and series) for me.

I feel that 4 stars is somewhat generous so that may be subject to change, but we’ll see.

Personally, I wouldn’t recommend this series but that’s just my opinion – I know several people who love it. However, I feel like these books will ultimately prove forgettable and I’ll likely unhaul them.

 

December

 

Lady Helen and the Dark Days Club (Lady Helen #1)

By Alison Goodman

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4 Stars

A fun and historically accurate read, (well, excluding the whole demon hunting thing) Lady Helen has a strong, stubborn, intelligent protagonist, an alluring love interest and great female friendship.

I was hoping for more training on Helen’s end but I understand that this was very much an introductory novel where she was still working out where she stood. However, I sincerely hope that there will be more training in the second instalment.

 

Lusus Naturae: A Lord Carlston Story (Lady Helen #1.5)

By Alison Goodman

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3 Stars

An okay read, this is just a short novella from Carlston’s point of view when he first meets Helen. It doesn’t tell us all that much that we didn’t already know, save for the fact that his wife did indeed go missing as her body was never found. Again, I hope that more will be revealed around this in the second book.

 

Saga Volume 1

By Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

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5 Stars

New to graphic novels though I am, I found Saga to be an absolutely fantastic read.

The art was beautiful, the characters great and the plot intriguing. However, my favourite part was definitely the fact that their daughter is the one narrating the story.

I absolutely flew through these first three instalments – I read them back to back and it took me less than an hour for each. I can’t wait to read the rest. (Shout out to my friend Tara who leant me her copies. You’re a gem.)

However, I will say that there is sex, nudity and violence in these comics. If you’re not comfortable with that, maybe give Saga a miss.

 

Saga Volume 2

By Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

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5 Stars

 

Saga Volume 3

By Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

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5 Stars

 

Ms Marvel: No Normal (Ms Marvel #1)

By G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona

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4.5 Stars

A whole lot of fun, Ms Marvel was a great read. Kamala Khan is an adorable, nerdy teenager who is also a muslim – that alone had me sold. She writes fanfics too! So relatable and awesome. Her friends and family were also fantastic and I can’t wait to see where this story goes.

 

On the Fence

By Kasie West

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4.5 Stars

A fun, light read, On the Fence was exactly what I needed to get me out of my slump – I breezed through it in a single sitting.

Reminiscent of Sarah Dessen (who got me into contemporary) it has great characters, an interesting story and deals with more serious issues of identity and family.

 

The Distance Between Us

By Kasie West

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4.5 Stars

Another fun story to read in one sitting, The Distance Between Us is full of vibrant characters and dynamics, sarcasm, banter and wit. It has people being people, raw and unfiltered.

Kasie is fast becoming a favourite author if mine, and I’m amazed that I haven’t picked her up sooner – the Sarah Dessen vibes, the light, fluffy story, the rave reviews… I also really appreciate how her stories feature cameos from other stories – One the Fence briefly mentions this protagonist, and has more in-depth mentions from two others.

A great read, I can’t wait to read the rest of her collection.

 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4)

By J. K. Rowling

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4.25 Stars

Another great instalment, The Goblet of Fire was fun.

The biggest thing rereading this series has done for me is making me appreciate Ron’s character – prior to the re-read, I simply thought he was an idiot. Now, even though I still sometimes think he’s an idiot, I really appreciate his friendship with Harry.

However, I am left with a question: why is it that Harry can’t see the thestrals at the end of Goblet of Fire but can in the beginning of Order of the Phoenix?

 

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda

By Becky Albertalli

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5 Stars

This book is so completely adorable I think my heart has melted. (I mean, I was warned but…)

Everything is just so cute and fluffy and adorable and I love it so much! It does also deal with friendships and family which is cool, but I’m currently riding the high from this book.

I am extremely tempted to immediately reread so I can catch all the adorable moments irl with Blue now that I know who he is (and he’s perfect btw) – I can only remember a few.

Anyway, I love it, should have read it sooner and must now impasse upon you all the importance of reading this book ASAP.

 

Milk and Honey

By Rupi Kaur

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4 Stars

A beautiful, moving, accessible collection of poems that anyone can read and understand.

 

The Fill-In Boyfriend

By Kasie West

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4 Stars

While not my favourite work of hers, The Fill-In Boyfriend was still a great read.

Highlights include expansive character development, a focus on family and friendships, as well as encouraging us all to be better, more authentic and open people.

Kasie has definitely earned her place as one of my favourite contemporary authors and I look forward to reading more from her.

 

Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)

By Leigh Bardugo

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5 Stars

So, after much delay, I finally picked up Six of Crows and, as anticipated, absolutely loved it.

The plot twists were amazing and the heists excellent, but the characters are what really made it for me. – The wit, the chemistry, the genius… I loved it all (especially Kaz).

Though I’m still not 100% sure that it’s necessary to read the Grisha trilogy before Six of Crows, it definitely helps. I’m also glad that I listened to the audiobooks as it definitely helped my mental pronunciations of the various terms that otherwise I would have had no idea.

I will say, I kept getting distracted by the sheer beauty of the physical book. I managed to score the black stained hardback, and it is utterly gorgeous – the colours are so deep and (again) gorgeous.

I definitely recommend this book and can’t wait for the next one.

 

Blog Posts

 

Other Notable Points

  • The Gemina launch happened! I got to meet so many of my amazing twitter friends for the first time and/or again. It was amazing! Plus, I actually took photos this time.
  • I’m still obsessed with Hamilton. I really don’t think that’s going to stop any time soon.
  • I got my dream job at a bookstore.
  • The school year finished! Hooray for holidays but cue existential crisis about year twelve.
  • I marathoned all of the Gilmore Girls episodes ever and am now obsessed. However, I’m not really a fan of the revival – though there are parts that I like, not least that it’s existence pushed me to start watching the show in the fist place. Highlights of the revival include the introduction and Emily’s story arc.
  • I’ve been organising my life – to some extent. Let’s not talk about the homework that’s glowering at me ominously from the corner. I got rid of a lot of clothes, I unhealed a heap of book, I rearranged my bookshelves and I got a diary.
  • I made my first instagram post, which is cool. I’m @joysofbookworms if anyone cares. However, I doubt I’ll be posting much – twitter is where my heart is. Self-promo much?

 

Let’s Discuss!

So, what have you been reading lately? Any exciting life occurrences? Any new years resolutions?

Have we read any of the same books? Do your opinions differ from mine?

Please leave a comment so that we can discuss!