Tag Archive | LOVE

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:

Review: The Girl Who Remembered Horses — by Linda Benson

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Cover image and summary from goodreads.com

Title: The Girl Who Remembered Horses

Author: Linda Benson 

Rating:  ★★★★★ (4.5 of 5)

Genre/Pages: Dystopian / 214

Summary: “In a world that has forgotten the ancient bond between horses and humans, can one girl’s dreams make people remember?

Sahara travels with her clan in a future, barren environment where recyclables are bartered for sustenance, and few remember horses or their connection to humans. But Sahara has recurring dreams of riding astride on magnificent animals that run like the wind. At the Gardener’s Camp, she discovers a valuable book and learns that her visions are real. But how can she persuade others of the ancient bond between horses and humans, when she is labeled just a foolish girl?

When Sahara discovers a helpless young horse, she must use both her courage and inborn knowledge to keep the animal safe, convince others of the true worth of horses, and learn the secret of her real identity.”

Cover Review: It’s pretty, but I wish it was artwork. It’s a very nice picture, though. I dislike the fact that it’s so completely unrelated to the book. The horse doesn’t look like the horse in the book (if I’m remembering right) and overall, the cover gives a contemporary feel to the novel. I really think this book could benefit from having a cover that actually portrayed the dystopian nature of this book.

My Review: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. If memory serves, I actually requested this book from the author, because the premise fascinated me so much. I’ve read plenty of equestrian fiction over the years, but equestrian dystopian? That’s completely new to me. It was a really fun book!

Characters: The characters were possibly my favorite thing about this story. The main cast of characters was good-sized, but they were all very well-developed and fascinating. They were flawed and independent and believable. I especially loved the character’s dynamics and interactions with each other — that, I think, is really where Linda Benson’s skill in writing shines the brightest. I loved each and every one of these characters, even the not-so-lovable ones, and that can be a very difficult thing for a lot of books to achieve. But The Girl Who Remembered Horses had a cast of characters that makes me desperately wish to return to the world in a sequel to learn more about them. I especially loved Sahara, who was worthy of an entire set of American Girl Doll books and merch.

Plot: The plot was really moving and emotional. It kinda felt like a Dystopian Little House on the Prairie, if that makes any sense. Thinking back on what I said about Sahara being like an AG doll, my feelings towards this book make a lot more sense. That’s exactly what this book felt like! It was a story of heart, of love, and of determination. Sahara is the American Girl Doll of the dystopian future, and her action-packed and heartwarming story illustrates that beautifully.

Content Advisory: Talk of death and butchering animals. An elderly person dies in sleep.

To Sum It Up: This is the perfect book to read with your pre-teen and teenage daughters. Who am I kidding? It’s perfect for all ages — middle grade to adult! This was a really fun and worthwhile book. It’s one of those books that I want to read to my own children one day. I highly recommend this book for readers ages 7 and up.

Review: Ambition — By Natalie Keller Reinert

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Cover image and summary from goodreads.com.

Title: Ambition (The Eventing Series, #1)

Author: Natalie Keller Reinert

Rating:  ★★★★★ (5 of 5)

Genre/Pages: Equestrian Fiction / 368

Summary“Jules Thornton didn’t come to Ocala to make friends. She came to make a name for herself. Young, determined, and tough as nails, she’s been swapping stable-work for saddle-time since she was a little kid – and it hasn’t always been a fun ride. Forever the struggling rider in a sport for the wealthy, all Jules has on her side is talent and ambition. She’s certain all she needs to succeed are good horses, but will the eventing world agree?

On her own at last, Jules is positive she’s poised to become eventing’s newest star, but soon finds she’s making more enemies than friends in the close-knit equestrian community. Little mistakes cost big — her students are losing faith in her; her owners are starting to pull their horses. And then there’s the small matter of Peter Morrison, the handsome, on-the-rise event rider who keeps showing up when she least expects him.

Jules is convinced that all she needs is good horses — not friends, not romance, not anyone’s nose in her business. But it’s just the beginning of the long, hot, Ocala summer, and as Jules tumbles through the highs and lows of a life with horses, she might find she’ll need help after all to weather the coming storm.

Cover Review: It’s pretty, and it does a good enough job of portraying the book accurately. I think it could greatly benefit from some real artwork, not just an image with text over it, but it’s not the worst I’ve ever seen.

My Review: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is a difficult book for me to review. As you can clearly tell from my five star rating, I really really loved this book. But the protagonist was infuriating, and the love interest was almost unrealistically obsessed with someone who had made it crystal clear that she despised him… But I still loved it. And I even loved the protagonist and the love interest (he wasn’t quite fleshed out enough to be anything more than that right off, unfortunately). They were just infuriating and dumb enough to be realistic, tbh. 

Characters: So I guess I already started into this. Jules had a ridiculously huge victim complex, and was convinced that the ENTIRE world hated her (And if the person in question was rich, then they were basically personally responsible for every single one of her life problems), and as much as that part of her character made me want to talk (scream?) some sense into her, it was still very realistic. I mean, what’s the point of reading a book if you want the characters to be fairytale perfect without any unfair prejudices?  Unless, of course, you’re reading a legit fairytale, and even then, those are darker than we give them credit for.

Aaannd… I’m off topic again. Anyway, I really loved Jules. She was fiercely independent, she was very knowledgeable about horses, and had worked insanely hard to get where she was. She was a beautifully complex and flawed character, and I cannot WAIT to read the second book and get to know her better. Mostly I loved her because of the huge amount of character development she underwent throughout the book. The other characters in the book were all wonderful, as well, adding great depth to the story as a whole. 

Romance: I know I don’t usually have this section in my reviews, but I felt that if I didn’t have it, I would just rant about the strange relationship everywhere else. This is my attempt at some semblance of organization and self-discipline. So, I said above that Pete wasn’t fleshed out enough to constitute a co-starring character in the book, and unfortunately, that was true. He really was just an unusually complex love interest. I really hope he actually becomes a character in his own right in the second book. I really did love his character, though! I thought he was a pretty fabulous person, with amazing potential, and he was pretty fantastic with dealing with crazy-pants Jules. I definitely liked him more than I liked her, hahaha. He was really good at keeping a cool head all the time. I did wonder why he kept pursuing her when she kept telling him she hated him because he was rich / competition / both… But I suppose that’s just how romance novels are written. Once they finally got their act together, I thought the romance was beautiful and fun.

Plot: This was my favorite part of the book. I love love loved it. From the day-to-day drudgery and dangers of horse training and stabling, to the high stress competitive eventing environment, to the devastating natural disasters of Florida — this book had it all, and handled it all in such a way that made me always anxious to flip the next page and figure out what happens next. The plot and story of this book were absolutely PERFECT. The plot is definitely what made this a 5 star book.

Content Advisory: Some minor swearing, some huge and terrifying disasters, but nothing graphic. 

To Sum It Up: Not too long ago, I had sworn off of equestrian fiction entirely. But then something changed — I read Appaloosa Summer, and my hope in equestrian novels was restored. So I was only slightly hesitant about accepting this book, and I loved every single action packed second of it! highly recommend this book to all horse-crazy readers 16 and up!

Review: Blast of the Dragon’s Fury — by L.R.W. Lee

 

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Cover image and summary from goodreads.com.

Title: Blast of the Dragon’s Fury (Andy Smithson, #1)

 

Author: L.R.W. Lee

Rating:  ★★★★★ (5 of 5)

Genre/Pages: High Fantasy / 200

Summary: “From the After Life, ten-year-old Andy Smithson’s relatives initiated a curse 500 years ago. Now they no longer agree it should continue and one is willing to sacrifice Andy’s life to end it. Unaware of the disagreement and with no say in the matter, Andy is unexpectedly and magically transported from his home. He finds himself in the Land of Oomaldee, facing mortal danger at every turn as he seeks to find a scale from a rare red dragon, the most ferocious of dragon species, to break the curse and save his life.”

Cover Review: A++ This cover is absolutely beautiful! Low-budget, but compared to mainstream published books, this is the Mona Lisa. (Have you noticed yet that I hate mainstream clipart covers?)

My Review: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I loved this book. I really did! It took ages for me to get around to reading it, but literally from the first page, I was hooked. This is one of those books where the second you start to read it you get completely transported to a world of ghosts in the afterlife submitting revenge plans to companies and getting authorization from the afterlife government to bring a modern ten year old into a medieval world to break an ancient curse. Crazy, huh? But you kinda fall in love with it immediately. 

Characters: I’ll admit, I was a bit skeptical about a ten-year-old protagonist. Most books I read nowadays are YA, where the protagonist is 12 at the very youngest, but usually 16. Often, young characters suffer from a severe lack of realism when they suddenly become master swordsman and battle strategists overnight. But that’s not quite what happened with this book. Yeah, you kinda have to suspend disbelief when dealing with a character this young, but I say go out and hang out with some ten year olds for a while, and maybe it won’t seem quite as unbelievable to you. Kids are smarter than we give them credit for. Now that I have totally derailed this paragraph, I’ll suffice it to say that ALL of these characters were complex, layered, and emotionally engaging. 

Plot: Wow, did I love this book or what? It was like going home to the MG books of my childhood. But I was very pleasantly surprised to discover that even as an adult (still haven’t fully accepted the fact that I’m 19 now) the plot of this MG novel was still wild, fun, and unpredictable. This book was more than just a fun read, though. It was a tale of friendship, of forgiveness, and of redemption. It was an adventure unlike any other. 

Content Advisory: Characters are put in deadly and intense situations. But this book is written for 8-12 year olds, so it’s really not very scary.

To Sum It Up: Do you know a ten year old? If yes, absolutely read this book with them, they will love it! If no, read this book yourself, you will love it! I highly recommend this book for readers 6 and up. 

Review: Marry The Doctor – By Beverly Farr

 

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Title: Marry the Doctor (Love and Chocolate, #2)

Author: Beverly Farr

Rating: ★★★★★ (5 of 5)

Genre / Pages: Sweet Romance /143

Summary: Since the death of his wife, Frank Brannigan has focused on raising his two daughters and furthering his medical practice, but he’s lonely. Maybe it’s time to get married again, but how?

Marry the Doctor is book two in the Love and Chocolate Series. Each book is a stand-alone sweet romance without cliff hangers.

Cover Review: Okay, this cover may be kinda cute, but it’s super misleading. The characters portrayed on the cover actually like 40ish. Not 18. So the pic is just kinda awkward, tbh.

My Review: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Every time I read a Beverly Farr book, it hits me how much I love her writing. I always forget just how beautiful it is. Every time I open one of her books, I get re-immersed not just in her worlds and her characters, but her masterful writing. It pulls me in immediately.

I thought the premise of this one was very intriguing and refreshingly different. The characters were middle-aged, quirky, and realistic. Frank was dealing with the passing of his wife, being the single parent of two daughters, and when he finally ventures back into the dating world, he deals with countless people who are just after his fortune, and don’t actually care about him.

As I read the book, I became quickly invested in the characters and their lives. In addition to the stars of this book, there were some cameo appearances from the main characters of the first book, and the main character of the third book was introduced. It adds to the realism of the world, and Beverly weaves all of these storylines together effortlessly.

I highly recommend this book! I read it in one sitting — it was impossible to put down. I loved Marry The Doctor! It was the perfect way to spend a relaxing summer day.

Content Advisory: It’s a sweet romance novel. The author puts it this way:

“Very little swearing. There may be an occasional hell or damn, maybe even a b*tch, but there will be no Lord’s name in vain and no f-bombs. No explicit sex scenes. Characters might discuss sex, but any love scenes are off screen (Think AFRICAN QUEEN).”

To Sum It Up: Another fantastic novel from Beverly Farr! Looking for a light, fun, sweet romance? The best part is, though this is technically part of a series, it IS a standalone novel in it’s own right. I highly recommend the first book, but you don’t have to read it first! You’ll love this one, too. :)

I would recommend this book to anyone over 16+.

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!

 

 

Review: The Hidden Oracle (Trials of Apollo, #1) — By Rick Riordan

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Cover image and summary from Goodreads.com

Title: The Hidden Oracle (Trials of Apollo, #1)

Author: Rick Riordan

Rating: ★★★★★ (5 of 5)

Genre / Pages: Mythology / 376

Summary: 

“How do you punish an immortal?

By making him human.

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus’s favour.

But Apollo has many enemies – gods, monsters and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go . . . an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.”

Cover Review: ★★★★☆ (4.5 of 5). As always, John Rocco’s work is gorgeous. I wish more authors would hire REAL artists to do their book covers, not all that lame photoshop junk that’s normally on covers. The real, gorgeous artwork like this is the best in the industry!

Book Review: Usually, you’re supposed to love a book’s protagonist from the very first page. But in The Hidden Oracle, the opposite is actually true, and it was a refreshing break from the stereotypical MG novel formula. The most rewarding part of this novel was growing to love Apollo, and the godly jerk that he can be, haha. Also, pretty much every Percy Jackson character makes a cameo of some sort in this fantastic book — our beloved hero Percy included! And is there anyone who DIDN’T miss Rachel Elizabeth Dare? No? I didn’t think so. Getting to see her again was amazing!

 

I’m really tired and am not really feeling like writing a review in my typical format. Honestly, I’ll just be happy when I get this one published. I haven’t been doing a very good job of staying on top of these things, unfortunately.

Rick Riordan does NOT disappoint with this latest book. HUGE story arcs that go back to the very beginning of the PJ&O series are coming to light and being explained – and frankly? It’s crazy awesome. Nostalgia and over arcing plots aside, though, this story still plays out to perfection. Our newly introduced characters are complex, flawed, and completely unpredictable. And seeing the god Apollo as a mortal, interacting with our friends at CHB (his children included)? Well, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Content Advisory: Some death and fighting, but nothing graphic.

To Sum It Up: Rick Riordan has outdone himself once more, and I cannot wait for the second installment of ToA. Adventure, laughter, betrayal, fighting… The Hidden Oracle has it all. I recommend it to Readers 8 and up.