Book Reviews

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

I CANNOT BELIEVE IT’S OVER! Books never make me cry, they don’t have that kind of effect on me. But my eyes definitely got a little misty over this one…. 

In this book, everything finally comes together. Questions are answered and good ultimately triumphs over evil. Yet, it was not all sunshine and roses. There were some heart-wrenching parts that simply tore me to pieces. Fred…Lupin…Tonks… I can’t even. I feel like this had to happen, though. This was war and couldn’t come without its losses. 

“He can run faster than Severus Snape confronted with shampoo.”

Harry’s decision at the end felt right too. After all of his character growth, he finally came to this moment and made the right choice. I’ve definitely been frustrated with him on many occasions, but I think he wouldn’t have become that wizard without those struggles. 

“Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all those who live without love.”

I really loved Mrs. Weasley’s moment of triumph. I was cheering her on like crazy! 

A few things that I didn’t care for in this book…. The pacing was a bit slow in some parts – something  I’ve never really noticed in this series before. It was especially so during those weeks that they weren’t sure what to do next. I understand that Rowling wanted to finish everything at the end of what would’ve been their seventh year at Hogwarts, but it was frustrating that they didn’t take action for so long. I was also surprised that Harry didn’t seem shocked after he saw Snape’s memories. That was a big deal but instead, he obsessed over his own death. Also in this book, I found multiple editing errors. 

Ah, but what to say in closing? I was rather skeptical when I started this series. Yet, I was dragged in – hook, line, and sinker. Rowling has created a wonderful masterpiece that isn’t just about a boy who could do magic. It’s about loyalty, friendship, courage, endurance. It’s about the conquering of good over evil. Yes, the world-building is fantastic, yes, the characters are wonderful, but I think that these values inspire the reader and cause them to walk away feeling stronger. I think that is the true magic of the Harry Potter series.  

“We’re all human, aren’t we? Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.”

P.S. That last scene “nineteen years later” is so sweet. 

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

Book Reviews

Gellan Parker and the Black Owl by A.L. Wicks

BLURB

Gellan always was odd. He just didn’t realize how odd. It all started when he happened to be exploring along the cliffs like he usually did. Or maybe it had started long before that.With no other option, he ends up in Cremstoll at a school called Gilsthorne. Only this school is different, like him. He finds he just might fit in for the first time. Until he realizes he can’t quite do everything everyone else can . . . and maybe, just maybe, that’s a good thing.

REVIEW

This was a really fun read. I don’t typically read children’s fiction, but I’ve been making my way through the Harry Potter series, so I thought “Why not try this one?”

I think my favourite thing about it was the setting. For some reason, I got a Nova Scotia, Newfoundland sort of vibe and I thought that was really fun. Overall, Wicks built an interesting and compelling world.

The characters were great too! I especially loved Drina. She was smart and brave, and her relationship with Gellan was really sweet.

I thought that the pacing was a bit slow, though. It felt like there was a lot of explaining at the beginning that dragged down the action. I was really excited for Gellan to arrive at Cremstoll, but it took him a while to get there.

I also found that there were a lot of details that were very close to the Harry Potter series. It was interesting how Wicks put her own twist on these details, but I did wish that she had strayed a little further away from them.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Book Sirens. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Book Reviews

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4) by J.K Rowling

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“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”

This was another great read from J.K Rowling. Everything became a little bit darker and more intense. Again, we had the privilege of travelling with Harry, Ron, and Hermione through another year at Hogwarts. I will confess, that I watched the movie before listening to the audiobook. I really can’t say if I regret it or not, but I think maybe if I had listened to the book first, I would have been immensely disappointed by the movie. But who knows, I might have still liked it. 

“It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.”

Anyway, the extra details in the book and of course, the complexity of the characters were so fun to read about. Hermione’s tirade about elf freedom gave her character a whole new depth. I think it showed that she’s starting to grow up and look more at the world around her. This was also shown through her relationship with Krum. Which brings me to a whole other thing. The boys and girls of Harry’s year started to notice each other. His dilemma of having to ask a girl to the ball was quite amusing. Also, I’m really starting to get a sense of the chemistry between Ron and Hermione which is interesting to see. Oh, and I must say, I really liked the addition of Bill (the “cool” brother) and I’m excited to read more about him in the next book.

“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”

The Triwizard tournament brought many more exciting thrills and dangerous experiences that had me sitting at the edge of my seat. Sometimes I got really frustrated with Harry and wanted to just grab his shoulders and shake him and tell him to hurry up and figure out the next task. Seriously, he needed to get his priorities straight. I can’t finish without mentioning the ending. It was actually quite scary! Rowling does a fabulous job of painting Voldemort as a terrible, frightening, and evil villain. When he came out of that cauldron…… I wanted to hightail it out of there. I’ve already started reading the Order of the Phoenix so far and I’m absolutely loving it. Fred and George are a hoot and Dolores Umbridge is a complete toad. 

Stay tuned for my next review and a little (or big…) writing update. 
Ta ta for now. 

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Book Reviews

My Top 10 Reads of 2020

I know this is a little late, but here it is: my favorite books of 2020. Because I am so indecisive, they are in no particular order and I cheated a little by counting a series as one book.

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Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

An absolutely charming and enthralling read! I was blown away by every splendid detail. This was a story about love, abuse, literature, friendship, and faith. 

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Lost Shadow (The Neverwood Chronicles #3) by Chanda Hahn

What a crazy, intense, exciting read! I’ve been in love with series since book #1 and in this last book, all the pieces come together to create this insane conclusion. Reading this book made me want to start all over again at book #1 so I can take this journey again. 

Harry Potter Volumes 1 - 3 Box Set: J. K. Rowling: Amazon.com: Books

The Harry Potter Series #1-3 by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone; Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Witch of Edgehill Series # 3 & 4 by Melissa Erin Jackson

Pawsitively Secretive ; Pawsitively Swindled

If you haven’t read the Witch of Edgehill this series and enjoy cozy mysteries, I absolutely recommend that you do!

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Spellbreaker (Spellbreaker Duology #1) by Charlie N. Holmberg

This was the first book I’ve read by Charlie Holmberg and I must say, I was absolutely charmed.

The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen #1) by Jodi Meadows; The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

I found myself being swept away by these stories. 

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The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

This was a lovely and unique adventure! Harrow has a beautiful writing voice that is quite charming. I think it was my favourite part of the book. I found myself lost in a forest of colourful descriptions and creative similes. It was quite enjoyable to read! 

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Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson

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Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

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Jackaby by William Ritter

So there you have it! Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments below!

Book Reviews

Spellbreaker (Spellbreaker Duology #1) by Charlie N. Holmberg

This was the first book I’ve read by Charlie Holmberg and I must say, I was absolutely charmed. The first few chapters were a bit of a rough start not because of the writing or the story, but because I picked it up near the end of my semester when deadlines were crashing in around me. Once things settled down and I could simply sit and read, I was transported to a unique and exciting magical place. We are given a Victorian England where magic is commonplace and most of those with magic are part of an organized system. The protagonist, Elsie Camden, is unregistered and works in secret for an insurgent group. Through one of her missions, she is discovered by Bacchus Kelsey who promises to keep her secret if she helps him break some spells.


Their relationship was a slow burn and was very sweet. They went from disliking each other to being friends to having feelings for each other. I also loved Elsie’s relationship with Ogden and Emmeline. Although they were not related they created a beautiful family atmosphere.

The writing was very nice. It was not extremely flowery, but it had some nice flourishes to it. Holmberg also moved things along nicely. She spent time where time was needed but didn’t dwell on things either.

Lastly, I loved that the ending surprised me! I was not expecting Elsie’s secret employers to be who they were and I was not expecting them to be so devious either. I had thought that there would be some great reveal of how the Cowls were right and the others were misusing their power, but I was so wrong!

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This was a clean read – there was no profanity or explicit scenes.
I am excited to read the sequel to Spellbreaker which will be coming out on March 9, 2021.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Reviews

The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

In this sequel to the Orphan Queen, Wilhelmina and Tobiah must fight against all odds to stop the wraith from destroying both of their kingdoms. 

“No matter the masks we wear, we always end up together.”

The character development for Wilhelmina was fantastic. She had to learn what it meant to be queen not only in name but also in action. She was forced to make some decisions that were not at all easy and that her haunted afterward. Despite this, she persevered and always strove to do what was best for her people. Tobiah went through many of these struggles too, as well as grappling between duty and desire. Plus, he had some pretty big secrets he was hiding. The first time I read this a few years ago, I remember being quite shocked. Chrysalis was an interesting addition to this story, but I felt that he was terribly mistreated. Yes, he was made of wraith and he often acted without considering the consequences, but I thought that Wilhelmina could have been a little nicer to him. It felt like she either ignored him or yelled at him. 

“Sometimes we hate others for the things we hate in ourselves”

I loved that Meadows finally took us to Aecor. After all the hype around this country, it was great to be there; I just wish there was more time spent exploring it and getting to know the culture.  

I also found that the first ½ of the book was rather slow. It felt like they spent a lot of time talking about the problems and not doing too much to fix them. Despite this, I did still enjoy the book overall and would love to read some more by Jodi Meadows.  

Lastly, this was a clean read. There was no profanity or sexual content. 

“Reasons we should get married:
Because I love you.
We both look good in black boots.
I spent some time without you, and I didn’t like it.
You make me happy.
I make you laugh.
I like the way you fight.
You see through my masks.
I really love you.
You love me, too. (Though you’ve mostly said this while yelling, so perhaps I should have double-checked.)
Army of tiny vigilantes. (I have name ideas.)
Various political reasons that make sense but don’t fit with the theme of this list.
I’m holding your handwriting hostage. You can have it back when you say yes.”

Until next time!

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Book Reviews

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

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“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

I was quite curious as to how much I would like the second book of the Harry Potter series. Part of the charm of the first book is that everything is new and exciting. Well, I can tell you that I enjoyed it immensely. 

“When in doubt, go to the library.”

As in the last novel, the characters were absolutely charming. I loved how Harry, Ron, and Hermoine’s relationship developed. They did almost everything together and stuck out for each other.

Gilderoy Lockhart, Order Of Merlin, Third Class, Honorary M GIF | Gfycat

If one of them was in a fix, the others were quick to help; even if it meant breaking school rules. And I mean, it was kinda sweet that Ron and Hermoine forgoed their Halloween feast to go to Nearly Headless Nick’s 500th deathday party. I must mention the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher Gilderoy Lockhart. He both made me cringe and bust out laughing. His infatuation with himself was totally over the top, but I think it was meant to be. I felt really bad for Ginny, though. What a way to start her time at Hogwarts…it does not bode well.   

“Lockhart’ll sign anything if it stands still long enough.”

This time, the way that Voldemort tries to get to Harry was quite creative. I started guessing at it a little, but there were so many pieces that were tied into the mystery of the heir of Slytherin and the Chamber of Secrets! Rowling did a fabulous job with this and also with upping the danger and intensity from the last book. 

I’m excited to read book #3 and accompany Harry, Hermoine, and Ron on their next adventure. 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Rowling, J.K.: 8601404281891:  Books - Amazon.ca
Book Reviews

Belvedor and the Four Corners by Ashleigh Bello

Blurb

The Hunger Games meets Red Queen and Throne of Glass in this action-packed Epic Fantasy Adventure series.

On a quest for freedom from a tyrant king, follow Arianna Belvedor as she unearths the enchantment buried beneath her dark world and learns how to wield magic alongside her swords. She will either win or die; whichever her fate, freedom is certain.


Arianna Belvedor has only ever dreamed of winning her freedom from the Four Corners—a cold and cruel city where all the children of the world are kept, each with an opportunity to earn their citizenship upon their eighteenth year. Just months away from her ultimate battle, she is certain that her notable skills as a warrior-slave (having been trained by Master Solomon Bell, a formidable mentor in Warrior’s District) will give her an edge during the annual Free Falls Festivals: Free for the slaves who earn their citizenship. Falls for the ones who die.

Alas, Arianna’s talent with a sword cannot outmaneuver the burning curiosities of her heart, leading her to reveal a shocking yet spectacular secret about King Devlindor and his long-standing reign as High King of Olleb-Yelfra.

The world as she knows it is a lie, its true spellbinding history exploited and suppressed under centuries of deceitful acts.

Her world turned upside down with new, unfathomable knowledge, Arianna must make a choice that could change her life forever—ignore the truth and continue following the path laid out for her since birth or break free from her chains and carve her own… if she can survive.

Immerse yourself in this addictive fantasy world as Arianna is thrust on a thrilling journey to uncover magic and more than earn her rights to freedom.

Belvedor and the Four Corners is a recipient of the 2017 Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion Award.

Review

This book has a lot of potential! I found that the world was unique and interesting, it had some suspenseful action scenes, and the friendship between Arianna and Lessa was sweet. Unfortunately, though, this was not a book for me. Some points of the storyline were a little awkward like how four slaves from different districts just happened to meet as they escaped. There was also a lot of dialogue. I know that some people really enjoy this, but I prefer a balance between dialogue and colourful prose.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Book Reviews

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

Best Hogwarts Castle GIFs | Gfycat

Sooo I’ve never read this series before…. I know, I know! Don’t shoot me. I was a little curious about what all the hype was about, but I never had the motivation to actually acquire copies of this series. Now that I’ve read the first book, I think I understand. J.K. Rowling creates a world that is colourful and absolutely bursting with creative attributes. There were so many times when I thought, “Wow! What a brilliant idea,” or was astounded by how unique and imaginative it all was. It makes me curious about Rowling’s thought process and also super impressed!

“It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

Harry was, of course, a sweet and brave boy with perhaps a streak of recklessness. Sneaking a dragon up to the astronomy tower at midnight…? Well, I suppose it was for the greater

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good. I loved Ron and Hermione, Harry’s best friends. They were adorable and their friendship was admirable; although, there were definitely a few bumps in the road. Then there was also Hagrid and Dumbledore and Neville and so many more characters. I enjoyed them all! Even Snape’s creepiness was great. The negative characters gave the cast such a full dynamic. Of course, he-who-must-not-be-named was a chilling villain and the fact that everyone (except Harry) was afraid to say his name made it even more so.

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The world-building was absolutely marvellous. Rowling makes everything so vibrant and colourful that you almost, for a little while, believe Hogwarts is real and that your letter will come by owl any day.

“The truth.” Dumbledore sighed. “It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution.”

The pacing of the story had a nice rhythm to it. I think because there was so much to experience and discover, I was kept engaged. I’m curious to discover if this will be the same in the following books. Which leads nicely into my last statement. I will definitely be reading the next book! I actually have already started…. If you have not read this book (which I highly doubt), then you should. If not for the enchanting story, then at least for the experience. Harry Potter is a classic (and I can see why now), so you should add it to your list alongside books such as The Chronicles of Narnia.  

Bye for now!

Harry Potter Waving GIFs | Tenor
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
Book Reviews

The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen #1) by Jodi Meadows

This is my second time reading The Orphan Queen and even though I knew what was going to happen, I still found myself being swept away by the story. 

“I was there was the war began. And when it ended.”

The world that Meadows creates is unique and enchanting, yet dangerous and harsh. It was thrilling to join Will as she went undercover as a refugee noblewoman and navigated the court and the streets of the Indigo Kingdom. Will was brave and kind and independent, not only in taking care of herself but also in the decisions she made. She wasn’t afraid to go against what other people wanted her to do especially if she knew it to be wrong. And Tobiah? Who is the real Tobiah? It was almost hard to get to know Blackknife because Will and him did a lot of fighting and not so much talking. Then with the prince, I was never quite sure how he actually felt about something. One thing I’m a little confused about is whether or not Tobiah knew who she was the whole time. I think he did, but I’m not sure if that was super clear.  

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“Oh, nameless girl. When will you learn to trust me?”

As for the writing style, the main thing that I really loved about this book is how Meadows is able to just sit in a scene and completely fill it out. She doesn’t just drop us in a scene for a few pages, then move on to another, she actually lets us explore it and look around a little. I think this is definitely something I can apply to my own writing! 

“A queen who wouldn’t take risks for her people wasn’t worthy of being a queen at all.”

Before we go, I do want to briefly touch on the magic element in this book. It was interesting that it’s illegal and that throughout the story, Will’s relationship with it grows; and perhaps she becomes less afraid of it. But I’m a little confused about the wraith. What exactly is it? This might be explained more in the next book. I mean, why should the readers completely understand it when the characters don’t either.    

Lastly, this was a clean read. There was no profanity or sexual content, so I could fully enjoy this adventure. 

Ta ta for now!

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