Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child — by J.K. ROWLING

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Cover image and summary from goodreads.com.

Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Author: J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne

Rating:  ★★★★★★★ (7 of 5, which I’ve never actually given any book before.)

Genre/Pages: Fantasy / 343

Summary: “Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places”

Cover Review: I love it. I love it so much. It’s perfect.

My Review: This will be my actual review. My next post will be my defense of Cursed Child, which will be me combatting the most common attacks I get for my public profession of my love of this book. I have now read this book three times, and I love it more each time.

So my friend Analee and I went to the midnight release party of this book at the giant Half-Price Books next to us, and you know what every HP fan was thinking:

 

So, this is a return to the Wizarding World in a play format. As someone who personally LOVES reading plays, that part wasn’t weird for me at all. It brings it’s own kind of special magic (though I absolutely am still hoping that they will do a film recording of the original cast performing it so that we can all watch their beautifullnes, cuz MAN that cast is amazing!). This isn’t Harry’s story, though. It’s the story of Albus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy. 

Characters: It was like returning home. This is the same Harry Potter that we have all known and loved since 1997. He’s all grown up now, with kids of his own, and how all of these character’s interact is wonderfully faithful to the original series and the original character development. We automatically fall in love with the new characters, especially Scorpius. Oh man, I love Scorpius. He’s the best.

Sometimes, authors of plays have trouble making the heart and soul of character’s come across well in the scriptbook, but Jo & Company did not have that problem. These characters make you scream, they make you cry, they make you laugh, but most of all, they make you love them. They are real. They make dumb mistakes. They have poor judgement sometimes, but at the end of the day, the moral of Cursed Child is the same thing we’ve seen throughout the entire Harry Potter series: Love conquers all. Family and friends are more important than any prejudice or bias. No dark magic can stand against Harry & Friends because they are there “Until the very end.”

Plot: It was about 2 am by the end of part one, and Analee and I were hardcore freaking out. Like, we couldn’t handle this plot. The ending of part one had me torn between two equally strong emotions: 

 

Personally, I loved the plot. I thought it was perfectly faithful to the formula of the Original Series, while still being a story completely of it’s own. It brought new light to aspects of the wizarding world that I had only ever wondered about, and it gave me a greater love and understanding for this series and universe that Jo has so carefully and painstakingly created and allowed us to enter.

Reading this script book with an open mind was like visiting an old friend after a very, very long time — it was like returning home. Read it with an open mind and I promise you will not be disappointed. It’s action packed, it’s heartfelt, it’s poignant, and crazy fun. This is the best book ever. I loved it more than I can possibly put into words. I highly recommend this script book to Harry Potter fans of all ages. I think everyone should read this book. 

P.S. Pro tip: This book is best read aloud with friends, to get the full scope of the play. 

Content Advisory: Some deaths, and intense fantasy violence, but nothing graphic.

To Sum It Up: Me, right after finishing it:

I Just had the Most Mind Blowing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Revelation

Check out my better articulated version HERE: https://creators.co/posts/4127433

 

imageY’all, I’m serious about this. It’s midnight and I was about to go to sleep, but I was video chatting with my friend Matthew who had just finished Cursed Child – and then it hit me! The Cursed Child theory / connection that no one has been talking about. I may be the first one who thought of this, I don’t know, but I need to share it with the world. Obvs, a detailed account of my Cursed Child midnight release party and my review of Cursed Child will be forthcoming – BUT THIS IS MORE IMPORTANT. I need to know what y’all think about this!

 

In case you hadn’t caught on yet: SPOILER ALERT. THIS POST WILL CONTAIN MAJOR SPOILERS FOR CURSED CHILD. YOU DO NOT WANT TO BE SPOILED. GO AWAY NOW.

….

…..

Alright, my fellow Potterheads who have already read Cursed Child: here I go! This theory is not perfected yet, but I just had to get it out there in its rambling form.

Okay, two points: first: Why does Harry’s scar hurt? Voldy hasn’t returned when it first starts hurting.  Second point: Why does he hear Voldy’s voice? And Why does Harry speak Parsletongue? None of this has happened since Voldy died. But I believe that it’s at this point that Delphi Riddle has reached full Dark Lord power – she has learned to fly. (Side note: remember those giants Hermione was so worried about? THEY HAD WINGED TATOOS ON THEIR BACKS. This plot point was never resolved. Delphi is not staying in Azkaban. This story will continue! )

How is his scar hurting at her return possible? Yes, she has the blood of Voldy in her, but Harry no longer has Voldy in him. That part of Harry was destroyed in DH.

But. Get this. Voldy has Harry in him! Remember in The graveyard in Goblet of Fire? HARRY’S BLOOD was necessary to bring Voldy back to life. Lord Voldemort was reborn through Harry’s blood. This is what made it possible for him to touch Harry. Because he had Harry’s blood running through HIS veins.

Delphi is Voldemort’s blood daughter.

Delphini Riddle has Harry Potter’s blood in her veins.

*BOOM*

This is how they’re connected. She has his blood. Also, side note: she and Albus both share Harry’s blood! Intriguing, no?

 

Okay, Potterheads, weigh in! Am I crazy? What does all this mean? Help me out here, Potter fandom!

 

 

It’s July 31st! That can only mean four things….

You’re probably wondering what those four things are. Let me explain…

My photo, via Instagram. Photo links to my account. @escapingreality1bookatatime
My photo, via Instagram. Photo links to my account. @escapingreality1bookatatime

1. It’s J.K. Rowling’s 50th birthday! Happy Birthday, Queen Rowling!

Photo property of Light Up Jo's Birthday. Image links to fundraiser page.
Photo property of Light Up Jo’s Birthday. Image links to fundraiser page.

Her books have brought me happiness when I’ve been down. They’ve taught me about victory, even after suffering a horrible defeat. They taught me to be confident in myself. Words can’t really express how much I owe to her. I love her! She’s helped me so much. They’re the best books I’ve ever read.

Oh, Jo. Thank you!

2. It’s Harry Potter’s 35th birthday! Happy Birthday, Harry!

Image mine via Instagram. Photo links to my account @escapingreality1bookatatime
Image mine via Instagram. Photo links to my account @escapingreality1bookatatime

And Harry… Harry taught me that friends are more important than anything else. He taught me that anything is possible. And he taught me that love is the greatest weapon of all.

3. It’s J.A. Dalley’s 23rd birthday! Happy Birthday, James!

Image mine via Instagram. Photo links to my account @escapingreality1bookatatime
Image mine via Instagram. Photo links to my account @escapingreality1bookatatime

Author of the Almek Manning novels, my favorite YA military sci-fi series. Have you read it yet? If not you HAVE to check it out here! And to give you an idea of what it’s about…

The synopsis of the first book, the Zochtil:

Jump to the Stars! Join the Solar Fleet!

The Solar Fleet faces just two problems: one, the alien blockade that prevents any ship from leaving the solar system, and two, the United Monarchy of Europe, which is tying up most of the Solar Fleet’s resources, thus preventing them from attacking the blockade.

Almek Manning is eighteen and wishes to join the Solar Fleet as a midshipman and train at the Academy. However, Almek has a few problems of his own to overcome before he can go to the Academy, the first of which is to escape from a United Monarchy of Europe detention facility.

Go buy it now! You won’t regret it!

4. And finally…. the big announcement… I have a #Bookstagram account! 

Image links to my account: @escapingreality1bookatatime
Image links to my account: @escapingreality1bookatatime

So, maybe this wasn’t given for the 31st, but I figured it was as good a time as any to make my announcement. Head on over to Instagram and follow me for lots of bookish fun! You won’t regret it! Also, if you have any tips for new Bookstagramers, I would be ever so grateful for them! Y’all are the best!

Now go celebrate these 4 things! Have a wonderful day!

Tips for Bookstagrammers? Has Harry Potter / J.K. Rowling influenced your life? What do they mean to you? Have you donated to Light Up Jo’s Birthday yet? Followed me? ;) Comment below!

BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: Very Good Lives — By J.K. Rowling — Waiting on Wednesday

I’m publishing this a few hours early — cuz it’s just TOO EXCITING TO WAIT.

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

I am so incredibly excited about this announcement. I read it on Mugglenet a few minutes ago, and almost screamed. No joke. So, OF COURSE, I was going to pick it for today’s Waiting on Wednesday! J.K. Rowling’s 2008 Harvard speech will now be released in illustrated hard cover form for the public enjoyment!!!!

PRE-ORDER YOUR COPY NOW

Check out the official page here.

  

Quotes from Little Brown official site. Images as well. Click on image to go to goodreads book page.
Quotes from Little Brown official site. Images as well. Click on image to go to goodreads book page.

Very Good Lives

By J.K. freakin ROWLING

Publication date: April 14th, 2015.

Synopsis:

In 2008, J.K. Rowling delivered a deeply affecting commencement speech at Harvard University. Now published for the first time in book form, Very Good Lives offers J.K. Rowling’s words of wisdom for anyone at a turning point in life, asking the profound and provocative questions: How can we embrace failure? And how can we use our imagination to better both ourselves and others?

Drawing from stories of her own post-graduate years, the world-famous author addresses some of life’s most important issues with acuity and emotional force.

Sales of Very Good Lives will benefit Lumos, a charity organisation founded by J.K. Rowling, which works to transform the lives of disadvantaged children, and university-wide financial aid at Harvard University.

 

Okay, so I don’t even see the need to explain why I’m so excited because — HELLO. J.K. Rowling. THE JKR.  THIS JKR:

Good Old JK!
Good Old JK!

So, yes, of course I’m excited. I am a #Potterhead to the core. My very life revolves around Rowling. So, yeah, you can watch the speech here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UibfDUPJAEU

But why on earth should that mean I can’t be excited about it anyway? It’s a new book with the name J.K. Rowling on my shelf. It may not be new material, but it’s certainly inspiring. J.K. Rowling is a wonderful icon, and has many words of wisdom to share. If all that wasn’t enough — the profits of this book go to Lumos, an AMAZING charity organization which you can learn more about, and donate to, here. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-children-with-disabilities-go-to-school

Are you a Potterhead? What are your thoughts?

What’s your “Waiting On” book for the week?

Attention All Potterheads! No More School, No More Rules.

Severus Snape and the Marauders — A Harry Potter Fan Film

School’s Out. 

Click on the image to be directed to the Kickstarter page! Image and quotes from the Harry Potter Untold Tales Facebook page, and the Kickstarter page.
Click on the image to be directed to the Kickstarter page! Image and quotes from the Harry Potter Untold Tales Facebook page, and the Kickstarter page.

“The filmmakers who brought you “The Greater Good – Dumbledore and Grindelwald” want to bring young Snape and the Marauders to life!”

SIDE NOTE: “Bring them to life”: BECAUSE THEY’RE ALL DEAD NOW.  *Runs into corner and begins to sob*

They're all dead, Jim.
They’re all dead, Jim.

Do you remember The Greater Good? No? Then you probably just haven’t seen it! CLICK HERE. You want to watch it! It’s a 20 minute long spectacular fan film about the duel between Dumbledore and Grindelwald — The one that killed Arianna. (sp?) Anyway, now our amazing director Justin Zagri wants to tell the story of Severus Snape and the Marauders post-Hogwarts, Pre-Death. (Obviously). I’m on the social networking crew of this amazing film, so I’m here to tell you ALL about it!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/911680275/snape-marauders-film/widget/video.html

FIRST OF ALL, WordPress wouldn’t let me embed a video. So click the link to watch the trailer! CLICK IT! You know you want to!

…. Have you clicked it yet?

… Now?

Okay, good. Wasn’t that AMAZING???

Now, I know you’re all asking…

How do I watch the whole thing?

Well, I have the answer. If you help us fund it via Kickstarter, not only will you get amazing perks (see perks below), but you can also help to make this film the very best it can be. You won’t regret it!

Click to go to the Kickstarter page!
Click to go to the Kickstarter page!

Pretty awesome right? But what’s the story, you ask? What’s the film about?

“Snape, Lily, and The Marauders have graduated Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. At a local pub, James Potter and his friends Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew, reminisce about their last seven years, and contemplate their future. Snape heads to the same pub in the hopes of finding Lily and making amends after inadvertently ruining their friendship two years before. When James spots his old rival, thinking about the war they are to join and the part Snape might play, James decides to do something about him once and for all.

The story will be from Snape’s perspective, but is just as much a Marauders story as it is about Snape, and all characters will be treated objectively and fairly. It is about the reality of the wizarding world at the time and the choices they make after Hogwarts can no longer protect them.”

AND, in addition to ALL OF THAT… Check out our amazing cast! Wonderful casting, BTW, whoever did that. Especially James. Even without seeing him act beyond those few seconds it is PERFECT.

Look at this beautiful cast!
Look at this beautiful cast!

Because everybody is amazing, we’ve already hit our first goal — so the film is definitely being made. BUT, if you want this to be the very best film possible… Please, help us reach our stretch goals! 22 more days! Let’s get it to Stretch Goal #3!

Photo and quote from Kickstarter: "We get better equipment, an extra shooting day, and more crew! ALSO, if we hit this budget, everyone who donated $10 or more gets a free digital copy of the movie AND digital press kit! Complete with concept art, script notes, behind the scenes photos, everything!"
Photo and quote from Kickstarter: “We get better equipment, an extra shooting day, and more crew! ALSO, if we hit this budget, everyone who donated $10 or more gets a free digital copy of the movie AND digital press kit! Complete with concept art, script notes, behind the scenes photos, everything!”
Photo and image from Kickstarter: "The movie is entirely funded! The visual effects, music and sound are covered. Everyone who donates $25 or more gets a free signed poster! If you donated by the time we hit our initial goal, you get two! If you also did the new $60 perk, you get three!"
Photo and quote from Kickstarter: “The movie is entirely funded! The visual effects, music and sound are covered. Everyone who donates $25 or more gets a free signed poster! If you donated by the time we hit our initial goal, you get two! If you also did the new $60 perk, you get three!”
Photo and Quote from Kickstarter: "We make a SECOND FILM based on the short story J.K. Rowling wrote about James & Sirius being chased down by a couple of police officers!"
Photo and Quote from Kickstarter: “We make a SECOND FILM based on the short story J.K. Rowling wrote about James & Sirius being chased down by a couple of police officers!”

I know this post has been VERY picture heavy… but there are just SO MANY AMAZING pictures! Like this poster. vvv Share it with your friends! Plus, a new perk: “NEW PERK! NEW INCENTIVES FOR EXTENDED GOALS! (oh and new poster)

Please, Kickstart it!
Please, Kickstart it!

“We have a new perk! $60 gets you a free signed poster! We only offered posters for people who donated $25 or more before 3pm Saturday Nov 15th. Now you have another chance! If you have already donated and raise your donation to $60, you get two posters!

If we reach $23,000, everyone who donated $25 or more gets a digital press kit! It will have a scanned copy of the script with production notes, behind the scenes photos, concept art and AND a digital copy of the film!

If we reach $30,000, everyone who donated $25 or more gets a free signed poster! That’s a potential three signed posters you can get!

If you have already pledged, we cannot thank you enough and ask you to share! Show your friends this new poster of James and Lily!” ~ From the Harry Potter Untold Tales FB page

If ALL of this isn’t enough, there have been some amazing Q&A’s going on with the cast. Check them out here: https://www.facebook.com/hpuntoldtales . You’re gonna want to read these. They’re beautiful.

So, VERY long story short: Pledge on Kickstarter, Like on Facebook, Subscribe on Youtube. Make this film happen!

 

#SnapeMaraudersFilm

Thanks all!

Love,

❤ Lynette ❤

P.S. Do you write fan fiction? Then you have an amazing opportunity via this project. Win a chance to be in the film!

P.S. More beautiful pictures all credited to The FB page of these wonderful people:

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A Literary Halloween!

I love Halloween By far, my favorite part is getting to dress up as a literary character. Last year, I was Alyss Mainwaring from the Ranger’s Apprentice series. This year, I was…

Drumroll, please!

Queen Lucy the Valiant of Narnia!

Lucy Pevensie, of C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia fame. I did have a LOT of fun with this one. It’s been a childhood dream of mine to be a Narnian (as probably presented by my Pinterest board). Since I’d gone with a more formal, dressy look last year, I decided to show case Lucy’s outfit from the Dawn Treader movie. Also, it worked much better with my actual age… ;) I am indeed carrying a replica of Lucy’s dagger, along with Lucy’s vial, and, just to tip people off as to my identity, her crown.

I truly enjoyed this costume, even though the majority of the people just thought I was “a pirate.” But those who WERE able to guess my costume… they were what made the whole thing worth it. Plus, I just felt pretty awesome in that outfit. I wonder what would happen if I wore it out in public more often… haha.

Anyway, there was one more aspect to my literary halloween: My pumpkin!

This pumpkin was a double meaning. Most interpreted it as a general Harry Potter reference. Which it was. But there was more to it. That butterfly like shape? The logo of J.K. Rowling’s charity, Lumos.

Lumos themselves responded to my tweet about my pumpkin, saying:

Screenshot 2014-11-02 at 11.10.14 PM

Do you go all out for Halloween? What do you think of my costume? Comment below with pics/links to pics of your Literary Halloween costumes! I’d love to see them!

#SHELFIE

So, I decided to hop on the bandwagon. However, when I took the #Shelfie I was in a hurry to get to school, so it’s not a very high quality one. Anyway, this is one of my 5 personal bookshelves. It’s my personal favorite. Isn’t it beautiful? In my room, I own about 400 ish books. 50 of which are signed by the author. In my house? Well, let’s just say, I wouldn’t want to attempt to count them. Each room has at least one, if not two, bookshelves, and then we have a library and hall which are floor to ceiling bookshelves, soo…

Anyway, I thought this was a good way to begin the end of the hiatus! Enjoy!

 

My shelf!
My shelf!

Since it’s such a terrible picture, I figure an explanation is in order. My top shelf has my legend books. Le Morte D’Arthur, Sherwood Forest, etc. They’re mostly Robin Hood and Arthurian legends, my two personal favorites. It also houses some of the spillover Harry Potter memorabilia. :)

The second shelf is part of my Harry Potter collection. I have the full Mary Grandpre editions, half of the original British children’s editions, plus tons of related books such as Page to Screen, Harry Potter and the Art of Spying, We Love You Harry Potter, We’ll Tell You Why, etc.

The third shelf is my Work and the Glory collection. Along with a few carefully placed vintage books that I’ll probably never read, but they LOOK gorgeous! This is the closest my shelf’s have ever come to pretty over practical.

The fourth shelf is a bunch of my random books that I love, along with a few of the horses from my Breyer collection. I’ve got The Illiad, Four, Lincoln, 7 Habits of Highly Effective teens, Gregor and the Code of the Claw, the Buffy books, and more.

The fifth shelf didn’t fit in my frame. I’ll try to post a high quality image of this shelfie soon, so if you can’t read the titles now, just wait a few hours!

Love,

Lynette ❤

 

Review: Harry Potter and the Art of Spying – by Lynn Boughey and Peter Earnest

 

Cover image from goodreads.com. Click on image to go to goodreads book page.
Cover image from goodreads.com. Click on image to go to goodreads book page.

 Title: Harry Potter and the Art of Spying

Author: Lynn M. Boughey and Peter Earnest

This review is of an ARC. Purchase the book September 15th at these links:

Amazon. The International Spy Museum (Available now!). Itasca Books. Hooray for Books. Red Lodge Books.

Goodreads. Official Website.

Summary: The Harry Potter series is more than just a story about a young wizard who saves the world from He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. The seven-book saga is an excellent primer on spying, intelligence, and politics. Join spy novelist Lynn Boughey and thirty-six-year CIA veteran and executive director of the International Spy Museum Peter Earnest as they review the spy craft employed and celebrated in J.K. Rowling’s bestselling books. From the invisibility cloak to house passwords to Fred and George Weasley’s Extendable Ears, “Harry Potter & the Art of Spying” is full of spy lessons for the secret-agent-in-training in the Muggle realm. Learn how to break secret codes, gather intelligence, read character’s motives, and why Severus Snape is the best double agent ever.

Genre/Pages: Fantasy Analysis/Espionage non-fiction/632

Rating: ★★★★ (4.5 of 5)

A Quote: “Severus Snape was perhaps the best spy ever portrayed in literature. But we must remember that there are real spies out there, spies who take all the risks, perhaps more than Snape did. The World is full of risk. It is a very dangerous place. Only through information can our leaders make the right decisions.

And information is hard to come by.

Countries hide what they are doing. Leaders make statements that are intentionally false. And informants are often untrustworthy or just plain wrong.

It is spies — and intelligence analysts — who derive truth from a blurry world.” ~pg 541 of Harry Potter and the Art of Spying.

My Review:  When I first heard about this book I was sitting on my bed listening to Alohomora! I knew as soon as I heard authors Lynn Boughey and Peter Earnest analyzing Harry Potter with the Pros (read: The Alohomora! cast), that I HAD to read this book. It was a given. I had to get my hands on a copy of this book. Weeks later, after many, MANY delays and mail mix ups I finally got to hold a copy of this wondrous book in my hands. I was overjoyed. I cannot possibly fully express my thanks to Lynn, Peter, and all of the other amazing people who helped me to get an ARC of this book for review. Y’all are the best! All of this aside, however, I do consider this an unbiased review.

The first half of this book is a play-by-play analysis of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. At first I was nervous. Was there REALLY enough information in OotP to create a full-on chapter-by-chapter, line-by-line, espionage analysis? Believe me, there is. Lynn and Peter will bring up points and theories I had never even considered.

The second half of this book is a series’ analysis from an espionage perspective. It focuses on the specifics of character motivation, different types of spies throughout the series, Wizard security, Magical (and muggle) means of tracking and spying, personal espionage experiences from the authors, and so much more. This was probably in some ways my favorite part of the book. Not only did you get HARRY POTTER, but you also will be absolutely astonished by how much you learn about how Muggle world spying works. It’s fascinating!

So, at this point I’m typically writing about my thoughts on the hero/heroine. Well… As you’ve probably deducted by now, there isn’t one. So I’m going to split these next two sections (Usually Hero/Heroine and Plot) into the two main focuses of the book: Harry Potter Analysis, and real life Espionage.

Harry Potter Analysis: A word about Harry Potter Analysis: HARRY POTTER ANALYSIS. (Oh, all right, that was three words!) << Did you see what I did there??? There are quite a few running jokes throughout the book, but it wasn’t annoying, actually. It was more like a smile and eyeroll type of running gags. They were legitimately amusing. Anyway, I digress. The blow-by-blow analyzing got a little bit slow at times, since I already know the series (and particularly OotP) so well, but I understand that it was necessary for the points they were trying to make. This book had many laugh out loud moments, some due to the genius of J.K. Rowling, and some to the genius of Lynn and Peter. This form of analysis, however, fully immersed you into the world and you were able to have many Ah-ha! moments of realization. No matter how many times I read the books, listen to the podcasts, or read books like this, I can ALWAYS learn new things about Harry Potter, and new mind-blowing JKR things. This is my OGM for the day. (Obligatory Genius Moment to JKR). Some might think that the book recap would get boring, but it honestly stayed pretty intriguing. In fact, I’m even more desperate to go back and re-read OotP AFTER reading this book. I love getting to see my favorite books from the eyes of someone else, and what better way to get a new perspective on my all-time-favorite book than through the eyes of a CIA veteran and a spy novelist?

Espionage: A word about Espionage: ESPIONAGE! This was absolutely fascinating  — I read it in no time! The depth and detail was enthralling! You learned immense amounts about the intricate functioning of the Order of the Phoenix, the Ministry of Magic, Dumbledore’s Army, and much more. This book merely expanded upon the genius that is the world of Harry Potter, and made you understand JUST how great it REALLY is.  In addition to that, with many personal stories and real-life events, you get to learn how the muggle world of espionage works, as well! It was a very enlightening read on many levels. Peter and Lynn did a fantastic job with the formatting and layout of this spectacular novel.

Content Advisory: Ummm….Nothing. Absolutely nothing inappropriate. 

To Sum it Up: It’s not what I’d call an EASY read, but if you love Harry Potter, then you will love this book. If you’re intrigued  by spy stories, then you will love this book. If you’re interested in the political and social themes of the Harry Potter novels, you will love this book. Written in an easy to read format, with plenty of side notes, digressions, and personal stories, you will not regret reading this book. I HIGHLY recommend this book to all Die-Hard Potterheads.

Have you heard of this book before? Have you read it? Did you like it? 

Bookish Survey: Cast a Harry Potter Spell!

Hosted at Flip That Page

Hosted at Flip That Page. Image links to original blog post.
Hosted at Flip That Page. Image links to original blog post.

All banners and formatting from Flip That Page. Enjoy!

HP1

Reparo

fixes damaged objects

A book that needs some serious fixing: Rumplestiltskin – By Jenni James. I couldn’t even finish it. In fact, the dialogue and writing was so unrealistic, stilted, and rushed, that I even broke my cardinal rule of always read 5 chapters before quitting. I couldn’t get past 5 pages of this dialogue.

Lumos

creates a narrow beam of light

A book that deserves more attention: Knightley Academy – Violet Haberdasher. Maybe if this book got more attention the author would flippin’ FINISH THE SERIES ALREADY. You can’t just end the second book on a cliffhanger, PROMISE a third book, then change your name and disappear off the face of the writing earth. That said, oh my gosh, I ADORED this book. It’s the kind of book that fans of Percy Jackson, Ranger’s Apprentice, Beyonders, etc., would enjoy.

Nox

counters the effects of Lumos

An overhyped book: (I’m going to ignore the obvious answer of Twilight), Matched – By Ally Condie. It wasn’t horrible — heck, I even followed through and read the entire series. But… eh. It just fell flat for me. Very flat.

Accio

summons an object from a significant distance

A book you’re anticipating: The Blood of Olympus – By Rick Riordan. Need I say any more? It’s the series finale. The end of Percy Jackson. After more than 10 books… it’s all going to be over.

Alohomora

opens unlocked doors, unless bewitched

A book you want to be more open about: Sweet Romances in general. I’ve started reading a handful of them lately, but I always feel like I can’t talk about how much I loved them, because sweet (AKA clean) romance novels aren’t “cool.”

Expecto Patronum

conjures an incarnation of positive feelings

A book that made you cry, or at least want to: The Burning Bridge – By John Flanagan. Anyone who’s read the ending of this book understands. I was crying. I was sobbing. It was uncontrollable. OH, the feels. Never has a book ended that horribly. And beautifully. And tragically. Oh, goodness, if I keep on talking about it, I’m gonna start crying all over again.

Morsmordre

conjures the Dark Mark

A book you wish to mark as one of your favorites: The Captive Maiden – By Melanie Dickerson & The Dark Lord of Derkholm – By Diana Wynne Jones. The Captive Maiden is a retelling of Cinderella — except I actually loved it! It was very different from the classic, and the characters were actual people. I loved it. It was a feel good happy ending book. Ranger’s Apprentice meets Cinderella. The Dark Lord of Derkholm… Well, I love books written in that era. It is a wonderful fantasy high adventure for middle grade and YA. I loved it.

Petrificus Totalus

petrifies victim

A book you wish to keep forever: I can’t pick one… So I have two. Harry Potter – By J.K. Rowling & Narnia – By C.S. Lewis. I really don’t think an explanation is necessary for either of these. I will treasure these books all my life, and read them to my children from a young age. This will be a part of their lives forever.

Protego

shield charm

An intimidating book you keep putting off: The Illiad – By Homer  and The Odyssey – By Homer. I think it’s quite obvious why they’re so intimidating. You know… 500+ pages, in prose, of greek mythology. The original greek mythologies. I desperately want to read these books, but they’re just SO HUGE.

Riddikulus

used against a boggart

A book with a deceiving synopsis: North of Nowhere – By Liz Kessler. The synopsis makes it seem quite boring. Stereotypical, cliche, been there, read that. But the actual book? PHENOMENAL! It was a middle grade mystery with suspense that actually had me enthralled and engaged by the mystery.

Lacarnum Inflamarae

shoots fireballs

A book you wish to burn out of your mind completely: Unwind – By Neal Shusterman. Even just thinking back to this book makes me nauseous. The premise was fascinating, but the dystopian world was far to intense for me. I don’t often abandon books, but I couldn’t physically bring myself to continue this one. It was sickening. It felt rated R. Everything was too intense, too graphic, to messed up. The world was just so twisted I couldn’t physically handle it. If I could, I would burn this book completely out of my memory. That would be wonderful.

Wingardium Leviosa

levitates objects

A book you wish to reread: Harry Potter – By J.K. Rowling. Seriously? I ALWAYS need to re-read this series. You can never read Harry Potter enough! I’m actually in the middle of a Harry Potter Movie Marathon (13 hours and counting! 8 hours left! Wish me luck!), so I REALLY want to read the books again. And again. And again. Best books in the world.

Avada Kedavra

causes instant death

Worst book EVER: Switched – By Amanda Hocking. I’m in the hated minority here. Everyone loved this book. I hated everything about it. Starting with the main character (she was a brat! and a totally undeveloped one at that!), and ending with the entire world. In the middle was the writing, the backstory, the so-called “romances”, and the awful, awful, everything about this book. Horrible, abusive relationships. Word to the wise? If a mysterious stranger’s been stalking you for days, asks you to dance at the school dance, yells at you while dancing, and then shows up at your bedroom window (on the second story) that night, WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU LEAVE YOUR FAMILY AND TRAVEL TO AN ALTERNATE REALM WITH HIM?!?!?!? Let alone spend all your time thinking about nothing but making out with him. Ughhh…

HP2

Stupefy

puts victim in unconscious state

A book with a chapter you couldn’t seem to get over:  All is Well – By Gerald N. Lund. Having spent THOUSANDS of pages invested in these wonderful characters, and the historical fiction era they lived in… To finally read that last chapter — Where everything had finally wrapped up so perfectly… It was… Heartwarming. Overwhelming. Tear jerking. Beautiful. Satisfying. Perfect.

Confundo

causes befuddlement or forgetfulness

A book that generally confused you: Proxy – By Alex London. In the moment, while reading it… I sorta enjoyed it. Anytime I’d put it down I would think that I didn’t like it. But then at the climax, I did like it. But then in retrospect, I thought that maybe I hadn’t liked it afterward. But the ending had made me cry. But I didn’t even LIKE the characters ALL that much. Confused is a good word to describe it.

Crucio

inflicts unbearable pain

A book that was a pain to read: Mockingjay – By Suzanne Collins. I could go on for hours about all the things I hated about this book. Long story incredibly short? The entire book was painful. A horrible end to a wonderful series by a truly talented author. This book crashed and burned. It was hard to read, to see these characters, the world,  coming to this.

Episkey

heals relatively minor injuries

A feel good book that you enjoyed: Appaloosa Summer – By Tudor Robins. This book was phenomenal. I thought it was going to be a YAWN been-there-read-that horse story. But this one was different. It was amazing. Even the (sweet) romance! I adored this book, and HIGHLY recommend it to all horse lovers! I would re-read this in a heartbeat on a bad day. It’s like my happy book.

Expelliarmus

temporarily disarms an opponent

A book with a swoon-worthy character: Persephone – By Kaitlin Bevis. I never thought I could love a Persephone retelling — let alone FALL in love WITH Hades, Lord of the Underworld. The sweet romance is perfect, and the mythology is like none you’ve ever read before! A modern retelling with PLENTY of new twists. You can never see them coming until they hit you in the face. And Hades. He’s got a rough side, a wild side, a sweet side, a gentle side. He’s not a “bad boy,” so to speak, but he’s not an angel, either. He’s the perfect guy. Flawed, but caring.

Impedimenta

impedes target’s progress

A book that kept you up all night reading: The Ruins of Gorlan – By John Flanagan

 I’d been meaning to read this book for quite some time, but nothing about it ‘spoke’ to me…so, it just sat there. Finally, late one night, at about 10 pm,  my stack was gone. All that was left was The Ruins of Gorlan. So, I picked up, I was desperate. About 4 hours later, I closed it. THIS BOOK WAS PHENOMENAL. This series is my LIFE! I love it!

Silencio

immediate silencing

A book that left you speechless after you read it: The Shadow Children series – By Margaret Peterson Haddix. Every single one of the books did this to me, but particularly the first book and the last book. The dystopia she creates is so believable, so close to modern society, it is terrifying. The characters she creates are phenomenal… you become so deeply attached to them, it hurts.

 

Legilimens

allows you to delve into someone’s mind

A book with well-developed characters: The False Prince – By Jennifer A. Nielsen. Sage, Jason, Imogen, Mott, Amarinda… Jennifer creates a character, you fall in love with him/her. The complexity of her characters is breathtaking, and the dialogue is absolute perfection. I cannot possibly speak highly enough of these characters. I adore each and every one of them.

Levicorpus

a spell that turns you upside down

A book that changed your mind about a character from its prequel:  I can’t think of any book characters. However, the one character that does come to mind is Wesley Wyndham-Pryce of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel fame. In Buffy he’s the most detestable character on the planet… in Angel, you fall in love with him. He changes, and you understand him. By far the best character development I have ever seen on television.

Obliviate

used to hide memories

A book with a story you can’t remember: The Amaranth Enchantment – By Julie Berry. Apparently, I read this book in 2011, and gave it a 4 star review. Even looking at the cover and reading the synopsis… Nothing about it rings a bell. I basically have NO memory of this entire book.

Peskipiksi Pesternomi

useless spell

A boring book that had absolutely no effect on you: Prep School Confidential – Kara Taylor. I wouldn’t say it had no effect on me — It definitely succeeded in making me incredibly angry, frustrated, BORED, and completely lose faith in humanity at large.

Reducto

breaks through solid objects

A book that convinced you to reconsider a certain genre: Her Ex Next Door – By Beverly Farr. This was the first sweet romance (or, really, any romance, but I only read the clean stuff) that I had ever read. I actually ended up thoroughly enjoying it, and have since read 5 or 6 books in the genre. I love it!

Rictusempra

tickling spell

A book that made you laugh: Slaves of Socorro – By John Flanagan. Brotherband meets Ranger’s Apprentice in this amazing book! It’s hilarious, and Flanagan has a sense of humor that never fails. He (and occasionally Rick Riordan) is the only author who came make me ACTUALLY laugh out loud. And I laugh until tears roll down my cheeks — I laugh until I’ve completed my ab workout for the day… all because of this amazing book. It was far too short.

Sectusempra

offensive spell that violently wounds the target

A book that may have scarred you for life: Gregor and the Code of the Claw – By Suzanne Collins. MAY HAVE?!?!??!?! This entire series scarred me for life! In the best way possible, of course. I adore this series to no end, and would absolutely adore to re-read the series. But this is written for middle grade children. NO. I was 15 when I read it, and it scarred me. I love this book so much! Emotionally scarring, but one of the best books ever!

Tarantallegra

makes you dance uncontrollably

A series finale that made you feel giddy: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – By J.K. Rowling. No words are needed. Harry Potter is the best series ever written, and Jo is the best author ever. She is the Queen.

Bombarda Maxima

causes an explosion that breaks through obstacles

A book that made you explode with the feels: Allegiant – By Veronica Roth. All I’m going to say is that I ADORED Allegiant. ESPECIALLY the ending. The ending was literary perfection. Don’t even try to argue this point with me. I LOVE THIS ENDING.

Finite Incantatem

nullifies other spells

A book you thought you’d dislike, but ended up loving: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – By J.K. Rowling. I’ve got an interesting story on this one. SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER  So, I have always loved Sirius Black. By far my favorite character in the series. My brother was listening to the audiobook the day it came out, and little six year old me overheard Harry’s vision about Voldemort torturing Sirius. I demanded that my brother tell me if Sirius ACTUALLY died. He told me yes. And, little six year old me who had read the first 3 books, and watched the first 3 movies, determined never to read OotP. Half-Blood Prince came out, and, as a family, we all listened to the book day it came out. By the end, I was THOROUGHLY confused, and determined that my hand was forced — I had to go back and read OotP. I went into it knowing I would hate it. When I finished the book shortly thereafter, I proceeded to read it again. And again. I loved it. It is my favorite HP book.

I’d like to add one spell/mini review that was not included in the original post:

Animagus

being able to turn oneself into an animal, this process is highly

Cover image from goodreads.com. Click on image to go to goodreads book page.
Cover image from goodreads.com. Click on image to go to goodreads book page.

dangerous, and yet authorization is rarely given out. (this one’s a bit of a stretch, honestly).

That fandom analysis book you’ve read and loved with “unathorized” on the cover (e.i. The Unathorized Harry Potter coobook, etc.): Harry Potter and the Art of Spying – By Lynn Boughey and Peter Earnest. I was given an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am almost done with this book, so you will soon be able to access the full review. However, here is my mid-way, mini-review. I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH. It’s written by two amazing people, Lynn (Author of spy novel, Mission to Chara) and Peter (Executive Director of the International Spy Museum). Basically, they’re analyzing the Harry Potter series (particularly books 5-7), from the persepective and experience of spies. Not only do you get to see the series in an entirely new light, but you also get to learn a lot about real-life spy techniques and missions. This is a SUPER fun and easy read. I thought it might be difficult to read, seeing as it’s non-fiction, but it’s actually quite the page turner! This book is set for release September 15th, 2014.

Soo… This is a Harry Potter heavy post, but I AM 6 movies into a Harry Potter Movie Marathon, and haven’t slept in over 30 hours, sooo…

Week of Potter: July 30th, 2014 — Bite-Sized Book Reviews

“In honor of the birthday of the boy wizard and his creator, I am throwing a Week of Potter right here on Escaping Reality — One Book at a Time. It could be anything. Whatever I’m feeling like at the moment I decide to write a post. It might be a “Dear Jo” letter, a “Dear Mr. Potter” letter, it might even be the ramblings of a member of the Fred Weasley Death Denial Support Group. Or it could be mini-reviews highlighting my favorite parts of the books.” Day One can be found HERE. Day Two can be found HERE. Day Three can be found HERE.

I’ve never really felt the need to review the potter series seeing as they’re basically my life, and there’s really not a lot you can say about them. However, in this post I’m going to attempt to highlight my very favorite parts of each of the books.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Harry1
“The Boy Who Lived.” I do not own this image.

By – J.K. Rowling – Published June 26th, 1997

The beginning of an era… There’s something wonderfully magical about this book. You open this book never having entered this world before, and you get to become fully immersed as the story slowly unfolds around you. You’re thrown full tilt into the end of a war, and the beginning of freedom. …But is it really all that it seems? This book is pure perfection. You feel Harry’s pain, the horror of his childhood, and you feel his absolute ecstasy when he discovers that he is special. A lot of people don’t like “Chosen One” stories starring orphans, because people think that it is just far too “convenient,” but Harry’s story isn’t like the others. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. I first read it at the age of 4 or 5. It was the first real chapter book I ever read. This book changed my life. ★★★★★ 6 Stars.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

By – J.K. Rowling – Published July 2nd, 1998

The adventure continues… This book is hilarious. It’s in this book that you begin to get to know Fred and George a bit better, which is absolutely fantabulous. In fact, this entire book stars the Weasley family — Percy, Ginny, the twins, Ron, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley,  the whole deal. You get to know all of them! The story really begins to develop here, as you (unknowingly) confront and destroy the first of Voldemort’s horcruxes, as well as discovering his identity. Chamber of Secrets is definitely a mystery. You don’t know how anything’s happening, you just know that Harry’s being blamed for all of it. Rowling lays out the clues so carefully and discreetly, that you never feel frustrated, but you never could have guessed who it really was. Rowling expertly crafts the story of Harry’s second year at Hogwarts, while further progressing the overall story arc. Because of Ginny, this was a childhood favorite of the series. ★★★★★ 6 stars

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

By – J.K. Rowling – Published July 8th, 1999

The Prisoner escapes… This book shakes things up. 3 is a big year for the Hogwarts students, but it’s much bigger for Harry than anyone possibly could have considered. This the last truly happy and bright book of the series. This is Harry’s final year as a child. The reason this is the best book ever??? SIRIUS BLACK. AND REMUS LUPIN. TOGETHER AT LAST. Victory! I still remember the first time I read this book. The excitement and suspense, and the climax!  Everything you previously believed is completely unraveled, and the action is at break-neck speed. You, and Harry, are given a burst of hope, you can see the light, the answer, pure happiness. To good to be true, right? Right. :/ And, of course, the wizard time travel! The best thing about this book is the excellent writing of J.K. Rowling. She is a master of her craft, Joanne Rowling is The Queen of fantasy literature. This book is definitely one of my favorites, of the series. Well, they all are, actually. ★★★★★ 6 stars

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

By – J.K. Rowling – Published July 8th, 2000

Darkness returns… This is the beginning of the Second World War, and the end of Harry’s childhood (if it hadn’t already been obliterated during his time in the cupboard). It begins with a bang! and doesn’t slow down for an instant. Chapter by chapter, it gets darker, and darker, as you slowly struggle to discover who’s really behind it all. The magic of J.K. Rowling is that you never suspect the true perpetrator until it is revealed, but you believe it right away. Sometimes when I’ve read books like this, when the bad guy is finally revealed, you just get mad, because the author didn’t handle it well. Fortunately, that’s now how Rowling works. Everything is absolutely perfect. Each piece revealed at just the right time. And the end of the book? It brings tears every time. Harry’s just a child – fourteen! Your world, and his, is ripped to pieces.

★★★★★ 6 stars

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

By – J.K. Rowling – Published June 21st, 2003

Dumbledore’s Army begins recruiting… This is my personal favorite of the series. Originally, I refused to read it. I even went so far as to read books 6 and 7 before I finally broke down, and opened OotP. But when I did, it instantly became my all-time favorite. As soon as I finished it, I read it again. Harry is a PTSD wracked teenager, the Dark Lord is back, and he’s lying in a garden of rose bushes, listening to the news, because, you see, “it changes everyday.” Sassy Harry has finally appeared! Even though this book is the darkest Harry’s life has ever been, you never get hopelessly deperessed. There are still those happy moments, those moments of laughter, the smiles, the complete joy. Harry’s character development within this book is incredible. Yes, we have Angst Harry, but it’s so very realistic. Harry is broken, and this book certainly doesn’t heal any wounds. This book probably makes me cry more than any other book I’ve ever read. I love it. Continually in a state of re-reading. ★★★★★ 6 stars

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

By – J.K. Rowling – Published July 16th, 2005

Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen?… Even though I still absolutely adore this book, it’s always been the most “meh,” for me. I don’t know what exactly it was, but it just isn’t my favorite of the series. It’s a new brand of darkness, and one that I just don’t like. However, Quidditch is back! Quidditch! YAY! This book sets off all the sequences of events to make book seven possible. You don’t understand everything at the time, but it’s all of the absolute essence. Even the characters! The DA has been dissolved (but we all know that won’t last for long), and Snape has finally received the coveted post of DADA teacher. It’s a strange world you have returned to. But you still love it. The ending of this book… it’s horrible. Heart breaking. But it’s a wonderful finish. I loved every second of it. This book moves the series to a new level. ★★★★★ 6 stars

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry2
“All was well.” I do not own this image.

By – J.K. Rowling – Published July 21st, 2007

The end of an era… The grand finale. How does one truly describe a book as superb as this one? I’ll attempt it, but I can’t guarantee it’ll be cohernet. And I can promise that it won’t come near to expressing how phenomenal this book is. This is the first book that does not spend the majority of it’s time at Hogwarts. The war is in full swing, and the Golden Trio are out trying to save wizard – and muggle – kind from an unthinkable evil: the uncontested reign of Lord Voldemort. The character development in this book is definitely at it’s high point in the series. Characters you love make horrible mistakes, say horrible things, do horrible things, and again and again you are forced to remember that these are teenagers. Hardly more than mere children. They’re ‘so young, to be fighting so many.’ Another think I love about Rowling’s writing is that even when it seems like there is no hope left in the world… well, let’s just say that “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” The big finish was done with the spectacular story telling that only Jo could have pulled off. Loose ends are tied up, and everything comes full circle. Watch out, you’ll cry, a lot. No matter how many times you’ve read the series. ★★★★★ 6 stars

To Sum it Up: Best series ever written. 

OBLIGATORY GENIUS MOMENT. 

JKR is The Queen.

Harry

And as always…

In the true spirit of Harry Potter, and the love that Potter fans share… Don’t forget toDONATE to Lumos so that we can Light Up  Jo’s Birthday 2014! Lumos is an amazing organization founded by our Queen Rowling in order to work towards stopping the institutionalization of children world wide. Light up Jo’s Birthday seeks to get extra donations for Lumos as a special birthday present to Jo. Please, please, PLEASE donate! <3 :DHP10