Harry Potter Christmas Book Tag

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It’s been a while since I’ve done a book tag, so when I came across the Harry Potter Christmas Book Tag over at A Court of Coffee and Books, I knew I had to participate!

This tag was created by Charleigh over at Charleigh Writes. Her rules are simple:

  • Please link me back so I can read your answers.
  • You can’t choose a Harry Potter book for any of your answers.
  • Tag however many people you wish.
  • Most importantly, have fun!

Let’s get right to it!

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It’s your first Christmas at Hogwarts. What’s one book you’ve asked for this year?

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The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus is one of my favorite books, and I still haven’t been able to read The Starless Sea.

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You spot Hagrid hauling the Christmas tree through the grounds. What is the longest (or heaviest!) book you own?

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Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson

All of the three books in The Stormlight Archive series are over 1,000 pages, and this is the longest. It’s like hauling a brick around in my bag, but so, so, so worth it.

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It’s time for the famous Great Hall feast. What’s one book you can’t read without snacks?

With the Fire on High

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

I don’t usually snack while I read, but this novel about inspiring chef and teenage mother Emoni never fails to make me hungry.

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Well done, you’ve brewed your first Polyjuice potion. What’s one book you’d change the cover of?

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An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Any book with a movie or T.V. tie in cover. Seriously. My real answer for this, however, is is the Ember in the Ashes series. I’ve never cared for people on the cover of books, and I feel as though this series could have much more beautiful covers (to match how beautiful the story is!).

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You receive a brand new Firebolt for Christmas. What’s one book you read super quickly?

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The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

This book is only 181 pages, but it packs in an amazing amount of storytelling. This is one of my favorite Neil Gaiman novels, and I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read it. I can usually finish it in just an hour or two.

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You join Harry for his first proper Christmas. What’s one book you’d love to receive this year?

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A Hero Born by Jin Yong

Any of the special editions published by The Folio Society, particularly this copy of A Hero Born, one of my favorite books of 2019.

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You get hit by one of Fred and George’s flying snowballs. What’s a book you wanted to throw across the room?

Echo North

Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer

I had high hopes for this book going into it, but by the end of it, I really did want to throw it at something. If you want to know all the details about why I thought this book was terrible, read my full review. To summarize, though, the main character falls for an abusive love interest who frequently lies to her and manipulates her.

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You’ve just visited Hogsmeade for the first time. What’s one popular book you haven’t read yet?

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Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

I’ve had this book on my shelf since it came out and I still haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. I definitely will be in 2020 though!

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Congratulations, you’ve been invited to the Yule Ball. What book about Christmas do you love?

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A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

I honestly haven’t read very many Christmas books, so I’m going with this tried-and-true classic.

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You find Ron’s deluminator. What’s one book that’s helped you through some dark times?

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The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time you’ll know that The Hobbit is my favorite book, and it never fails to bring a smile to my face. I have so many memories associated with this classic fantasy novel, and it’s been my favorite since I was a child.



If you want to do this tag, consider yourself tagged! If you do, leave your links below so I can see your answers!




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

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
Middle Grade | Fantasy | Classic Literature
Goodreads | Amazon
Published by Scholastic
Released June 26, 1997
Rating: 5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars

I was eleven years old when the first Harry Potter book came out in the United States. I grew up with the series, eagerly awaiting each next book. When the 800+ page fifth book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was released, I read the entire book in a single day because I refused to do anything else. The series will always have a special place in my heart, and I hope that if I have children one day, I can pass that love onto them.

I’ve been wanting to reread this series for so long. I reread it once in my early twenties, and now that I’m in my early thirties, I thought it would be a good time to do so again. My house burned down when I was 19, so I lost all of my original copies, but I found this set on Amazon of the hardcovers that came in a cute trunk and purchased it.

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When I started reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone this time around,I was worried that I might have outgrown it. These are middle-grade books from twenty years ago, after all. I needn’t have worried, however. By the end of the first chapter, I was hooked all over again and felt as intrigued and excited as I did when I was eleven and reading it for the first time.

I’m assuming you know what the plot of Harry Potter is, so I’ll jump straight into the review.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is the first and shortest book of the collection. It follows Harry and his new friends during their first year at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

One of the first things I noticed on this reread was my absolute fury towards the Dursleys for the child abuse they constantly throw Harry’s way. When I read the book at eleven years old, I know this wasn’t something that I would have paid much attention to, as I was more focused on the magic and the creatures and wanting my own wand. As an adult, however, the level of abuse shook me. As a result, when Harry gets to leave and go to Hogwarts, despite the protests of his adopted family, I felt a wonderful sense of relief for him.

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The Harry Potter novels are the only books I’ve read by J. K. Rowling, but I’ve always loved the pacing of these books and her writing style in them. Nothing in the books is unnecessary or pointless fluff – every word matters. There’s also a great deal of foreshadowing that you might not pick up on during your first read through. That’s always a trait I love in books and it made the story move at a steady and fast pace.

The story is sad, funny, infuriating, and endearing all at once. Each character has their own distinct motivations and personalities that bring them to life. They’re courageous and imperfect, making plenty of mistakes along the way, but do the right thing in the end. I was reminded in this reread that Hagrid is one of my favorite characters, at least in this first book. His loyalty to Hogwarts and to Harry is wonderful and he’s so full of life.

I knew before reading this that I would be sticking with my rating of five stars. Its status as a modern classic is well-deserved.

This month I’m going to be picking up the second book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of SecretsI can’t wait to continue this journey!




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The J.K. Rowling Controversy, Explained

J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has been all over the news and social media sites this week due to statements she’s made regarding a sexual relationship between her characters Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald. Here’s a quick rundown on what exactly is happening.

The Statement

In a special feature for the Blu-ray release of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, J.K. Rowling stated that Dumbledore and Grindelwald had an incredibly intense and sexual relationship, specifically, that “it was passionate, and it was a love relationship.

The Controversy

Nowhere in the Harry Potter or Fantastic Beasts books or films is the relationship between Dumbledore and Grindelwald displayed. This has left many fans of the series feeling that J.K. Rowling is just playing lip-service to the LGBTQ+ community without doing anything to actually portray such a relationship. There has been a lot of public outcry on social media, particularly on Twitter (where there are now also some hilarious memes popping up), where she is being accused of queerbaiting. So far J.K. Rowling has not offered any commentary on the controversy.

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Other people are supporting J.K. Rowling’s statements, claiming that she’s the creator and can say what she wants:

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My Thoughts

As much as I love the Harry Potter universe and grew up with it, it’s not exactly a diverse cast of characters. I feel like these days, in a world that embraces diversity (and rightly should), J.K. Rowling is performing a retcon of her own work to make it more diverse. There’s nothing wrong with making her characters gay, but maybe she should have written that into the cannon or have it portrayed in the films. It wouldn’t be that hard to do, and this controversy wouldn’t exist. It’s important to respect diverse communities, and I don’t feel that J.K. Rowling is doing that.

What Do You Think?

I want to hear your take on all this. Let’s have a discussion down in the comments.

Holiday Gift Guide – Harry Potter Edition

The holidays are coming up fast, and so many people are already starting their gift shopping. Shopping for your bookish friends (and yourself!) is fun, so here are some great gift ideas for the Harry Potter lover in your life!


A Gryffindor Scarf  to keep you cozy this winter

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The Harry Potter Illustrated Collection

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These Harry Potter Playing Cards That’ll Fit Perfectly in a Stocking

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This Harry Potter Chess Set 

(I’m not going to lie – I love chess and I want this so bad!)

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A Hermione with Sorting Hat POP Figure

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A Gryffindor Shield Throw to Cuddle Up in While You Read

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A Harry Potter Coloring Book to Help You De-Stress

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These Amazing Hogwarts House Ornaments

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What are your favorite Harry Potter themed gifts? Do you have any fun Harry Potter themed holiday plans? Let me know in the comments!

The Greek Gods Book Tag

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Time for another book tag! This one was created by Zuky at Book Bum, and I first saw it on Lori’s Bookshelf Reads. The images used are from Book Bum with Zuky’s permission.


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ZEUS: KING OF THE GODS – YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK

Although I generally consider my favorite book to be Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, I wanted to say something different this time around since I did another book tag recently that featured The Road.

The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman
The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman

For this particular question, I’m going with Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. I first read this book years ago after picking it up at a thrift store, and I immediately fell in love with it. It’s a middle-grade story about a boy named Nobody Owens, aka “Bod,” who is raised by ghosts in an ancient graveyard after his family is murdered.

I’ve long been the type of person to hang out in graveyards, my favorite being Riverside Cemetary in Asheville, NC (see photos above), and because of that I just adored the setting. It’s such a whimsical, wonderful adventure story.

 

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 HERA: QUEEN OF THE GODS – A BADASS FEMALE CHARACTER

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I just finished reading Sabaa Tahir’s A Reaper at the Gates and it’s fresh in my mind, so I’m going with Laia for this question. The reason I love Laia so much is that she’s so realistic and multi-dimensional. When we first meet her in An Ember in the Ashes she’s frightened and meek, afraid of breaking the rules of the Martial Empire. By the end of A Reaper at the Gates, however, she’s learned how to stick up for herself and fight for her people. I love her character so much, and I can’t wait to find out the rest of the story in the fourth book in this series.

 

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JANUS: GOD OF BEGINNINGS – YOUR FAVOURITE DEBUT(S)

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi; great books to read; best books of 2018; read yourself happy; book review; book blog

Children of Blood and Bone is Tomi Adeyemi’s debut novel, and it completely blew my mind. I finished the book with my mouth hanging open in shock, and I immediately had no idea how I’m going to wait for the sequel. The quality of this young adult fantasy novel is so high. It’s one of the best books I had the pleasure of reading in 2018.

 

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ATHENA: GODDESS OF WISDOM – YOUR FAVOURITE NON-FICTION BOOK

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Probably due to the fact that I’ve always been obsessed with post-apocalyptic stories and settings, nuclear disasters such as the one that happened at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986 has always fascinated me. Svetlana Alexievich’s Voices from Chernobyl is a collection of first-person accounts of the disaster and the aftermath. It’s heartbreaking and horrifying.

 

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APHRODITE: GODDESS OF LOVE – A BOOK YOU ADORE AND RECOMMEND EVERYONE READ (OTHER THAN YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK!)

I’m selecting two books for this question because I couldn’t choose between them. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue and The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy are both written by the marvelous Makenzi Lee. The follow a pair of siblings, Monty and Felicity, on their respective adventures. Both novels are hilarious, heart-breaking, and exciting. I recommend these books to literally everyone who approaches me for book recommendations.

 

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HADES: GOD OF THE UNDERWORLD – AN EVIL BOOK YOU WISH DIDN’T EXIST

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I had trouble thinking of an answer for this question, so I’m going with a book series that I haven’t read but that I’ve been sick of hearing about: Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. The fact that it started as Twilight fan fiction, the subject matter, everything I’ve heard about it – I’m never going to read it, and I have no desire to keep hearing about it.

 

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POSEIDON: GOD OF THE SEA & EARTHQUAKES – A BEAUTIFUL & GROUND-BREAKING BOOK

The Road - Cormac McCarthy
The Road – Cormac McCarthy

I always have to find a way to work Cormac McCarthy’s The Road into any book tag I do! Despite the novel being soul-shattering, it’s very darkly beautiful. The story follows a nameless father and son as they try to survive in the dangerous and brutal remains of our world. The love they have for one another is endless and perfect. I’ve read this book every November since I discovered it, and it always leaves my face streaked with tears.

 

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APOLLO: GOD OF THE ARTS – A BEAUTIFUL BOOK COVER

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You can’t tell from the image above, but the physical copy of Melissa Albert’s The Hazel Wood is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever seen. The gold foil on the cover is perfect. I actually just picked this novel up from my local library, and I’m looking forward to reading it.

 

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HYPNOS: GOD OF SLEEP – A BOOK SO BORING YOU ALMOST FELL ASLEEP

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I admit that I haven’t read Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes since my freshman year of high school, which was well over a decade ago. While I will probably give it another try at some point, when I read it as a teenager I hated every second of it and thought it was incredibly boring. I’m not even positive that I actually finished reading it.

 

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HERMES: MESSENGER OF THE GODS – A BOOK YOU SPED THROUGH

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I grew up in the Harry Potter era, and I remember how excited I was when J.K. Rowling’s final installment in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was released. Despite the novel being 759 pages, I read it in a single day while throwing off every other single thing I was supposed to do that day. Needless to say, it was a pretty wonderful day.


That’s it for this fun book tag! Have you read any of these books? What were your thoughts?

Banned Books, Part Five

September 23-29 is Banned Books Week, a week that promotes the freedom to read. Every day this week, I’ll be sharing three banned books that you should add to your TBR lists.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

 

 

The Witches by Roald Dahl

Beloved children’s authors are not exempt from having books banned. Some libraries considered the book misogynistic and sexist, feeling that it teaches boys to hate women.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

This classic novel was banned by schools and libraries for many reasons: promoting euthanasia, offensive language, racism, and being anti-business.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

I remember hearing about all the controversies surrounding the Harry Potter series when I was growing up and still reading the series. Some schools and parents challenged and banned the book due to witchcraft, being anti-family and, my favorite, “setting bad examples.”

Have you read any of these books? What were your thoughts on them?

Read part six of this series
Read Part Seven


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