Tag Archives: Witches & Wizards

Fast Five Friday | Historical Fiction With a Twist

fast five friday

I love blogging and writing and recommending books… but I know that I tend to get a little long-winded in my blog posts! FAST FIVE FRIDAY is a means for me to recognize some favorite books and round them up for recommendations without talking your ear off.

FAST FIVE FRIDAY | HISTORICAL FICTION WITH A TWIST

I’m currently reading HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA, the sequel to STALKING JACK THE RIPPER by Kerri Maniscalco and loving it! I’m not really a big historical fiction person but I have found that I’ve been loving historical fiction with a twist of its own. Whether it’s the addition of magic, a brand-new mystery, or an alternate timeline, historical fiction with a twist has really been grabbing me lately and I’m loving the intrigue of true life meets fiction!

kerri maniscalcoGrave Mercy

What: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Who: Kerri Maniscalco
Why: Audrey Rose is all thorns and roses, feminine and yet tough, and she starts on the Jack the Ripper murders while apprenticing for her uncle as a forensics student.
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: The Crown’s Game
Who: Evelyn Skye
Why: Imperial Russia takes a twist with the introduction of a history of magic. A battle to the death arises as two enchanters fight to become the right-hand magician of the Tsar of Russia.
Where: Goodreads| Review

What: Born Wicked
Who: Jessica Spotswood
Why: Historical fiction meets magic again, this time with more witchy involvement in our past. An alt-history take on the Salem Witch Trials. Are these books good on audio? I desperately need to finish this series!
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Grave Mercy
Who: Robin LaFevers
Why: Grave Mercy is some serious historical fiction complete with wars, tactics, and actual historical figures. There’s a lot of history in these books but I didn’t feel bogged down with facts and data. The story was fantastic, plus, assassin nuns. Nice mythology twist to bring a dark and mystical side.
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Walk on Earth a Stranger
Who:  Rae Carson
Why: I actually wasn’t the biggest fan of this book because for as much as it was advertised as historical fantasy, there wasn’t a whole lot of magic in this first book, BUT I did love that it focused on a time/place that isn’t often covered — the Gold Rush.
Where: Goodreads | Review


That’s my fast five for today! Do you have any other favorite historical fiction novels with a good twist to them? I’m totally in the mood for these right now and always up for more!

Fast Five Friday | Witchy Reads

fast five friday

I love blogging and writing and recommending books… but I know that I tend to get a little long-winded in my blog posts! FAST FIVE FRIDAY is a means for me to recognize some favorite books and round them up for recommendations without talking your ear off.

FAST FIVE FRIDAY | WITCHY READS

Halloween may be over but I’m joining my two best friends in Salem this weekend and I thought it would be fun to share my favorite witchy reads this Friday! I’m so excited to see all of the Salem sights and maybe even delve into some spooky spots, even though i’m a total chicken!

I actually haven’t read as many witchy books as I thought I have but I’m really loving how different each of these books is from the next! It’s really neat to see the different settings and plot selections for these types of characters!

adriana mather how to hang a witchBorn WIckedHeir of FireHarry Potter and the Sorcerertrial by fire book cover

What: How to Hang a Witch
Who: Adriana Mather
Why: Salem Witch Trials in a modern day setting, with some real and some made-up history to tie it all together! Also has a Hocus Pocus meets The Craft feel. And the author is a real descendant of some of the people involved in the witch trials!
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Born Wicked 
Who: Jessica Spotswood
Why: The first in a witchy, alt-history trilogy. This book was so interesting and I don’t know why I STILL haven’t read more of this series but I really need to!
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Heir of Fire
Who: Sarah J. Maas
Why: I’m sure most of us are no strangers to this series but I really loved the addition of Manon and the witch clans to this saga! It’s neat to see witches in a high fantasy setting instead of urban fantasy.
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Harry Potter
Who: J.K. Rowling
Why: How can we talk about witches and not talk about Harry Potter? It’s truly a classic in so many ways and I love that the world is still growing so many years later.
Where: Goodreads | Review

What: Trial by Fire
Who:  Josephine Angelini
Why: Another first in a trilogy, TRIAL BY FIRE is a fantas-sci collection, meaning that it’s fantasy as in witches, but sci-fi as in other dimensions. Very cool.
Where: Goodreads | Review


That’s my fast five for today! What are some of your favorite witchy reads? Which witchy books should I read next??

How to Hang a Witch – Adriana Mather

How to Hang a Witch – Adriana MatherTitle: How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather
Publishing Info: July 26, 2016 by Random House Publishing Group, Listening Library
Source: ALAMW16
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: August 2, 2016

It's the Salem Witch Trials meets Mean Girls in a debut novel from one of the descendants of Cotton Mather, where the trials of high school start to feel like a modern day witch hunt for a teen with all the wrong connections to Salem’s past.
Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves The Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were?
If dealing with that weren't enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real live (well technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with The Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it's Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.

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** This is a spoiler-free review EXCEPT for the last paragraph about the romance in the book. It’s a very minor spoiler (and some may not even consider it a spoiler) BUT if you don’t wish to know any details, avert your eyes at the end! ** 

I first heard of HOW TO HANG A WITCH at ALA this past January and was instantly attracted to the “Mean Girls meets Salem Witch Trials” pitch. When I saw an audio review copy from Listening Library, I knew I wanted to read it soon and I quickly dove into the audiobook. I was surprised to find out that the author, Adriana Mather, narrates it herself! It was such a fun experience overall and I really enjoyed the entire vibe of the book.

The “Mean Girls meets Salem Witch Trials” pitch is pretty spot on. I was actually reminded a lot of The Craft as far as the Mean Girls aspect went with Sam having several conflicts with The Descendants, a group of classmates who are actual descendants of the families involved in the Salem Witch trials and who may or may not dabble in actual witchcraft. They dress in all black and are generally surly bunch and this totally reminded me of the movie The Craft! (And I loved it.) I also totally picked up a Hocus Pocus vibe with Sam moving to Salem from the city and being the new kid in school. She meets a boy, has a crush, communicates with spirits, and gets involved with witches. Not to mention the whole thing takes place during the fall and I was just totally pining for autumn and Halloweentime! My only regret about reading this book when I did is that it wasn’t fall already! I absolutely loved the overall feel of the book — movie vibes included — and really enjoyed how it was a contemporary take on the witches without being historical fiction or total fantasy world. It had that perfect modern feel that fit so well with the book’s overall tone.

The plot kept me hooked and entertained from start to finish. There were a lot of interesting twists and like your average book, some were predictable and some totally weren’t. I liked that the past played a really strong part in the present and there are so many ways that Sam’s current situation is intertwined with the actual history of the Salem Witch trials. Some twists really surprised me and I had a long-standing theory for a couple things that were happening that turned out to be incorrect, which I actually love because I think it’s great when an author can surprise or mislead me to keep a big reveal for the ending! There were a couple spots that got a little confusing or convoluted with some extra details that didn’t end up playing a part in the book but those details also kept me on the trail of something that turned out to be a red herring and maintained the element of surprise, so I guess that was good in one way!

The really, really neat thing about HOW TO HANG A WITCH is Adriana Mather’s actual, real-life relation to the Mather family of the Salem Witch Trials. She really is a direct descendant and there’s a neat author’s note that I listened to at the end explaining a long and rather important family history in which her ancestors played big roles in some major historical events. I thought it was really neat how she used her own family connection to create this story! Obviously some historical elements were changed to tweaked to accommodate a young adult novel as well as creating into a modern work of fiction, but there are a lot of general concepts and even some specific facts relating to the Salem Witch Trials and the Mather family specifically that are totally true! With Adriana Mather’s narration of the audiobook as well, it was just really neat to see so many specific elements of involvement in the production of her book and it felt like such a personal touch and connection.

(Possible spoiler paragraph) The one thing about the book that I really had a hang-up with was the romance. I was really accepting of everything — witches, ghosts, paranormal activity, a gang of descendants — up until this romance thing took a turn. It started out sweet with Sam and neighbor boy Jaxon slowly starting to develop a little bit of a romance but then Sam’s involvement with Elijah, the ghost that follows her around, starts to become romantic. And then you lost me. I can handle fond feelings for the ghost-boy but Sam wanted to actually start like… dating him. Sweetie. You realize he’s a ghost, right? Sam has the ability to physically interact with him and it’s pretty consistent  but things get weird when you start kissing ghosts of boys who have been dead for hundreds of years. Thankfully, that resolved itself but why throw in a love triangle angle with a ghost? That was my one big turn-off.

HOW TO HANG A WITCH was an overall fun and enjoyable read! I just really dug the whole vibe of the book, from The Craft and Hocus Pocus feel to the contemporary take to the sarcasm and snark, the book really just fit with me! Some readers will probably be anticipating a little more depth because for all of its history, it did still feel on the lighter side but I personally really liked that about it. I really enjoyed the levity while still digging into actual history (with a little bit of creative licensing) and having a book that was easy to breeze through and kept me entertained! I think this is a really fun fall read and should definitely be on your reading lists this autumn if you love reading spooky or seasonal reads before/around Halloween!

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Yes, I used a gif in my status update. Look at those skills! (ha) 

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Sam // Character obsessions: Her father’s health, being a loner, solving mysteries.
Sam was a fun character for me! I loved her sass and snark and with Adriana Mather’s voice narrating the audiobook, she kind of reminded me of the middle sister Mandy in Last Man Standing… Except not dumb haha. (That’s what her voice reminded me of!) I liked how she grew Elijah // Character obsessions: Protecting, watching, seriousness.
I had kind of a love-hate relationship with Elijah. I kind of liked his presence but I also got annoyed by it. I enjoyed how he interacted with Sam but I also really disliked it at times. I’m still on the fence about him but I’m glad things wrapped up the way that they did at the end of the book!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Modern History. I really liked that the history was so involved in a contemporary setting. It was fun to see witches but in a contemporary fashion and still have that Salem Witch Trials connection!
Left Me Wanting More: Platonic relationships. The romance aspects of the book felt a little forced. I think this is a book that could have done really well with little or zero romance at all! Instead there was a little too much and things got a bit carried away.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

This was just a really fun book from start to finish. If you’re into The Craft or Hocus Pocus, I totally recommend it because I had friends who picked up on those vibes as well! It’s a fun fall read and one I’ll be recommending come Halloweentime!

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BOOKS LIKE HOW TO HANG A WITCH

(Click the cover to see my review!)

    possess

Trial By Fire (Worldwalker #1) – Josephine Angelini

Trial By Fire (Worldwalker #1) – Josephine AngeliniTitle: Trial by Fire (Worldwalker #1) by Josephine Angelini
Publishing Info: September 2, 2014 by Macmillan
Source: Netgalley
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Parallel Universe
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: October 2, 2015

Love burns. Worlds collide. Magic reigns.
This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying many of the experiences that other teenagers take for granted...which is why she is determined to enjoy her first (and perhaps only) high-school party. But Lily's life never goes according to plan, and after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class Lily wishes she could just disappear.
Suddenly Lily is in a different Salem - one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruellest of all the Crucibles is Lillian . . . Lily's identical other self in this alternate universe. This new version of her world is terrifyingly sensual, and Lily is soon overwhelmed by new experiences.
Lily realizes that what makes her weak at home is exactly what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. It also puts her life in danger. Thrown into a world she doesn't understand, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can't hope to shoulder alone, and a love she never expected.
But how can Lily be the savior of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?

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TRIAL BY FIRE was a really interesting book! I admit that I was a bit hesitant about the mash-up of science-fiction and fantasy with the alternate universe and magical powers merging into one story line but the further I got into the world building, the more I really enjoyed it! It was one of my first adventures into “fanta-sci” (the very first one didn’t go so well) and although it took a bit of adjusting, I really got into Lily’s world in TRIAL BY FIRE!

The beginning of the book was a bit slow for me. There were a lot of mixed messages regarding characters in terms of who was good to Lily and who was not so I was on a bit of roller coaster for the first portion of the book trying to get a hold on who I should like and who went on the naughty list… Once all of that sorted itself out and the focus started to turn more to Lily, I rather ended up enjoying things! All of the friendship/relationship drama in her “actual world” (or the world as she knows it) grew a bit tiresome but I also think it was supposed to. Clearly from the synopsis of the book and general concept, the reader knows that Lily is destined for bigger and better things… just in another universe. I was happy and totally hooked to see Lily’s place in the alternate world and what exactly she could do there.

The world building and magic system were really interesting for me! It took me a while to really wrap my brain around the fact that we were dealing with an alternate world but then throwing magic in there, but I rather enjoyed that the magic was grounded more in science and that the differences in the world were because of scientific reasons. Once I got to that point, I think I was able to see it more as an alternate universe instead of a fantasy world — even though it was a little bit of both! My brain really just has a hard time merging the two because sci-fi is obviously based on reality, a what-could-have-been, or speculation about the future and a fantasy world is something totally unrelated to our world as we know it. (I supposed there are exceptions to that like urban fantasy, paranormal aspects, and where other mash-ups but since I’m mainly a high fantasy reader, it was a bit harder for me to reconcile).

The relationships in the alternate world totally pulled me in too. I loved seeing Lily’s relationship with Rowan develop, as well as how complicated things are for Lily in general given that there’s already a Lily (known as Lillian) in this alternate world. Things really started to get complicated for everyone with a Lily and a Lillian and I got even more curious how Lily was pulled into New Salem to begin with! I loved the growth of each of the characters throughout the book and I was so happy to see Lily really come into her own.

TRIAL BY FIRE was definitely enjoyable and by the end of the book, I was sucked into this new fanta-sci world. I wanted to essentially binge read the series but I didn’t end up reading the second book right away so I think I’ll save it for when book three comes out! I’ll need to keep myself up to speed for this exciting series!

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

trial by fire gr updates

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Lily // Character Obsessions: Health, magic, learning, friendship. 
I wasn’t totally sure about Lily at first but she really grew on me throughout the book! I was so glad to see her mature — both mentally and with her abilities — as the book went on. I was really happy to see her get a new perspective on her relationships and her own self-confidence.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Fanta-sci. This is still a really new concept for me but I enjoyed how this came together! I think it was easier for me to grasp a little magic in a sci-fi setting than science fiction in a fantasy world.
Left Me Wanting More: Connection. Overall I was missing just a bit of connection — to characters, to the world, to the story — that prevented me from falling in love with it. If that was there, it could have been a home run!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

This was an interesting concept and I think the series will only get better! I can’t wait to  see where it goes!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE TRIAL BY FIRE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

TANDEM    DREAMSTRIDER

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7) – J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7) – J.K. RowlingTitle: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7) by J.K. Rowling
Publishing Info: July 21, 2007 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: Library
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: February 27, 2015
Related Posts: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter #1), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2), The Hogwarts Library, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Harry Potter #8)

     Harry has been burdened with a dark, dangerous and seemingly impossible task: that of locating and destroying Voldemort's remaining Horcruxes. Never has Harry felt so alone, or faced a future so full of shadows. But Harry must somehow find within himself the strength to complete the task he has been given. He must leave the warmth, safety and companionship of The Burrow and follow without fear or hesitation the inexorable path laid out for him.
In this final, seventh instalment of the Harry Potter series, J. K. Rowling unveils in spectacular fashion the answers to the many questions that have been so eagerly awaited. The spellbinding, richly woven narrative, which plunges, twists and turns at a breathtaking pace, confirms the author as a mistress of storytelling, whose books will be read, reread and read again.
  

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** There WILL be spoilers for this book and previous books so if you haven’t read them yet, BEWARE. You’re gonna get spoiled! ** 

Ahhhh, at last, my Harry Potter re-read is finally over! I started back in September 2013 when I decided that I wanted to re-read the entire series via audiobook and a year and a half later, that re-read has come to a close! The experience was absolutely delightful and so much fun to experience both through a different format and much later on in my life.

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS has always been the big question mark book in the series as far as how I would rank it. I had a clear favorite and I had clear least favorites (I love them all, but you know) but DEATHLY HALLOWS was just such a DIFFERENT book than the rest and that made it hard to place. There’s barely any time at Hogwarts (until the Battle of Hogwarts — ohhhh let’s not go there yet), no Quidditch, and a whole lot more focus on, well… the END. The books grow darker over time but this is definitely the one with the most hardships, evil, and battles but it also has a incredible amount of bravery and victory.

I’m still finding it hard to place this book in a line-up but I will say that this was the book out of the series that really evoked the most feeling from me as I was listening. Of course, there are some MAJOR losses as far as favorite characters go and even though I knew they were coming, it didn’t soften the blow any less. In fact, no matter how much I missed Sirius and Dumbledore, their deaths in the previous books didn’t really tug on my heartstrings for whatever reason… and they really do make up some of my favorite characters! But when I was listening and realized that this was the last time we’d see and hear Lupin and Fred alive… GAH. Then once we had to see them after they’d been lost in battle. MY HEART. I think maybe because I made more of personal connection with those characters along the way. Sirius was Harry’s godfather but I always felt like Lupin was more of a father-figure. And it just pains to me lose Fred because the Weasley twins are some of my absolute favorites.

Besides the obvious deaths though, I really finally connected with so many of the characters. I’m not a Harry/Ginny shipper but I really understood their connection a bit more in this book. I felt love between friends and love amongst families. I think everything just really stepped up a notch in this book and actually, I feel like J.K. could have really dug into those moments a bit more to wrench some more emotion out of it but… that could also not impact me as much from so many re-reads!

I’m actually excited to start this process all over again. I’d definitely like to re-read this series every couple of years or so. Maybe next go around I’ll switch back to print! But I will say that there’s definitely a reason why we’re all so in love with Harry Potter. There’s some real magic in there besides what Harry can do with a wand. This series is utterly captivating and from childhood to adulthood, I will always hold the Harry Potter series in my heart.

Ranking after re-read of book #1: [1] // [6, 4, 5, 7, 3, 2]
Ranking after re-read of book #2: [1, 2] // [6, 4, 5, 7, 3]
Ranking after re-read of book #3: [3, 1, 2] // [6, 4, 5, 7]
Ranking after re-read of book #4: [4, 3, 1, 2] // [6, 5, 7]
Ranking after re-read of book #5: [4, 3, 1, 5, 2] // [6, 7]
Ranking after re-read of book #6: [6, 4, 3, 1, 5, 2] // [7]
Ranking after re-read of book #7: [6, 4, 3, 7, 1, 5, 2]

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

Deathly Hallows GR updates

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Severus Snape // Character Obsessions: Lily, suppressing emotions.
I really REALLY love Snape’s connection with Lily — and it’s the most amazing to look back on the whole series and see HOW MUCH that impacted EVERYTHING. I think the book definitely does a better job of bringing out that friendship and exactly how much Snape cared for Lily. There’s an extra scene that the movie cut out where Snape and Lily are teenagers — later on in their Hogwarts years — and maybe because I’m a YA reader? I’m not sure, but I felt like that was a REALLY important moment of their friendship. They weren’t just two eleven or twelve-year-olds who were friends because they lived near each other and they were both capable of magic. Despite their different tastes, different upbringings, different groups, they were still best friends. I think that really reminded me exactly how strong that relationship was so it made everything MUCH more powerful. Snape and Lily weren’t just classmates. They used to be best friends and that makes his loyalty to Lily even more respectable to me (not like having a crush and falling in love isn’t, but the friendship aspect of it feels much more powerful).
Although I will say, I DO love the movie version because Alan Rickman as Snape forever <333

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Kept Me Hooked On: Full series re-read. WOW, I don’t know if I’ve EVER done a full series re-read from start to finish. I’ve meant to but I don’t think I ever made it all the way though. I’d pick up a book here and there or start in the middle, jump around… This was so great!
Left Me Wanting More: Emotion. This book really, really gave me the feels, more so than any other Harry Potter book buuuuut I feel like there could have been JUST a touch more — time for the death scenes to really sink in, time for the romances to really blossom — and it would have totally wrecked my heart in a good way.

Addiction Rating
Re-read the WHOLE THING.

Do it, friends. You won’t regret it. Especially if it’s been a long time since you’ve read the books! I watch the movies all the time but reading them (again) is a totally different experience.

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BOOKS LIKE HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

              shadow and bone          throne of glass

 

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6) – J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6) – J.K. RowlingTitle: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6) by J.K. Rowling
Publishing Info: July 16, 2005 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: Library
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: December 6, 2014
Related Posts: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter #1), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2), The Hogwarts Library, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Harry Potter #8)

     The war against Voldemort is not going well; even Muggle governments are noticing. Ron scans the obituary pages of the Daily Prophet, looking for familiar names. Dumbledore is absent from Hogwarts for long stretches of time, and the Order of the Phoenix has already suffered losses.
And yet...
As in all wars, life goes on. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate — and lose a few eyebrows in the process. The Weasley twins expand their business. Teenagers flirt and fight and fall in love. Classes are never straightforward, though Harry receives some extraordinary help from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince.
So it's the home front that takes center stage in the multilayered sixth installment of the story of Harry Potter. Here are Hogwarts, Harry will search for the full and complex story of the boy who became Lord Voldemort — and thereby find what may be his only vulnerability
.

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** There WILL be spoilers for this book (and the final book) so if you haven’t read it yet, BEWARE. You’re gonna get spoiled! ** 

I felt a bit of pressure before starting HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE. It’s been a long time since I’ve re-read all of the books but I always claimed this one as my favorite of the series. After realizing how much my opinion of ORDER OF THE PHOENIX had changed, I was totally unsure of how HBP would go.

Right off the bat, though, I was still in love. I just love how this book really brings everything to the next level — from the plot to the adventure, Quidditch to romances — everything just gets bigger and better in HALF-BLOOD PRINCE. I think one of my favorite things about it is the introduction to Horcruxes. I just really love the layers that it adds to the plot and how it adds another sense of adventure for the characters. I also really, really love that we get to know more about the villain’s past. I LOVE when the reader gets to know more about the villain and his backstory. I think it adds so much to a book and even makes that villain a bit more human — whether that’s by a little or a lot. We all know how amazing J.K. Rowling is at her world building in these books so I guess I should never be surprised but that really is one of my favorite things about the entire series.

I really wasn’t big on many of the romances in this series. For me, Harry Potter was always more about action, adventure, friendship, learning, and well… magic. Movie Ginny kind of ruined book Ginny for me so I was really trying to give book Ginny another shot since I know where this story goes… I felt like she actually wasn’t hugely present in HALF-BLOOD PRINCE still so I didn’t feel like I had the opportunity to be bothered or charmed by her. She did make many appearances at the Slug Club parties and Quidditch matches, etc but for some reason I still felt like she wasn’t a very big character… I’m really interested to see how I feel about her in book seven because so far reading the books, I still don’t feel a lot! I do, of course, love the Ron and Hermione romance. You know I love best friendships turning into something more and this was a long time coming. It’s really interesting to see how this tension has slowly built and comes to its breaking point at the end of HALF-BLOOD PRINCE.

As always, I love the layers upon layers of world building. From getting to know more about Voldemort to the different classes the students take to the different places they visit… I just love getting lost in this world and something about the writing just makes me feel like it’s a real place, just out of my reach. I always love learning more about magic and what the rules are and what the limitations are. The Felix Felicis chapter is still one of my favorites and the cave scene at the end still creeps me out a lot. Then of course we have Dumbledore’s death. I’m not sure why — maybe I know the books/movies too well? — but I never really feel shaken by the deaths in these books (except for probably Fred, oh god, how will I read that) so I really didn’t get too worked up over his death… But I think for Dumbledore, it doesn’t really feel like he’s gone, you know? His portrait is in the headmaster’s office and we know he sort of… appears to Harry in the final book too. It’s Dumbledore. He’s the greatest wizard of all time. He may be dead but only kind of?

The great news is that HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE still stands as my favorite of the series so far! I was never able to place my love for the final book so it’ll be interesting to see where I come out on this re-read!

Ranking after re-read of book #1: [1] // [6, 4, 5, 7, 3, 2]
Ranking after re-read of book #2: [1, 2] // [6, 4, 5, 7, 3]
Ranking after re-read of book #3: [3, 1, 2] // [6, 4, 5, 7]
Ranking after re-read of book #4: [4, 3, 1, 2] // [6, 5, 7]
Ranking after re-read of book #5: [4, 3, 1, 5, 2] // [6, 7]
Ranking after re-read of book #6: [6, 4, 3, 1, 5, 2] // [7]

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

half blood prince reading updates

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Lavender Brown // Character Obsessions: Frivolous things, Won-won, kissing, giggling.
I kind of love Lavender Brown a little bit. She’s SO ridiculous but I really do like what she adds to the story. Without Ron & Lavender’s relationship, I don’t think Hermione’s jealousy would have escalated enough to FINALLY hit Ron over the head about their feelings for each other. Lavender was a little bit necessary for that so thank goodness for her, huh?

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Kept Me Hooked On: Felix Felicis. Can you imagine what a day would be like with Felix Felicis? I can only picture what one perfect day would be like… I loved that chapter when Harry took it! It was so interesting to see how things magically fell into place.
Left Me Wanting More: Ron & Hermione. They are JUST STARTING to realize what they actually mean to each other. GO FORTH, KIDS. Go forth and love!

Addiction Rating
RE-READ IT!

Well, re-read if of course! This is still one of my favorites and I still highly recommend re-reading this whole series.

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BOOKS LIKE HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

              shadow and bone          throne of glass

 

Fortnight of Fright 2014: Book Recommendations + Quiz (Caroline from The Attic)

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Welcome to our third annual FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT event!
October 17th – October 31st, 2013

Two years ago, Alyssa (Books Take You Places) and I really bonded over our mutual love of Halloween and came up with the idea for A FORTNIGHT OF FRIGHT: a two-week long event celebrating everything Halloween and horror-related! We decided to bring it back again for the third annual Fortnight of Fright event, this time along with Amy (Tripping Over Books), so this event is brought to you by all of the gals from On the Same Page!

Today we have Caroline from The Attic bringing you some Halloween book recommendations, but not just any old recs! Find the best Halloween read for you with her awesome quiz! Don’t delay — check out the graphic below!!


Having trouble figuring out what to read for Halloween? No worries! This handy-dandy quiz should help you out!

halloween quiz

The books:

Sadly, I could not fit every book into the quiz. But if you want even more Halloween bookish recommendations, check out this infographic from Epic Reads. Some books were on the quiz, some just missed the cut, and some are brand new!

What is your All Hallows Read?


A big thanks to Caroline for these fantastic Halloween recommendations! I just love the infographic/quiz (you know I do) and it’s just the thing to help people choose their next spooky read!