Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday – 2/12/19

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Teaser Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by The Purple Booker. Here are the rules if you want to play along:

• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

In truth, she would not. There had been Childric d’Essoms, before, and a minor lordling named Rogier Clavel. Delaunay had used me to get to them, and then to get to the Duc L’Envers. Neither of of us had forgotten. “I do not think the Lady Nicola is lost, my lord,” I said carefully. “Say rather she thinks we are about the same business, you and I.”

Kushiel’s Chosen by Jacqueline Carey

Got a good teaser for the week? Please leave it in the comments!

Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Chapter 8 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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In Chapter 8, we learn the woes of improper decapitation, learn something new about the Hogwarts caretaker, attend a death-day party, and see the first victim of the mysterious voice Harry heard. Let’s go!

(I actually wrote this yesterday, or most of it, and saved it in my drafts folder to finish when I got home. Which I didn’t do. Oh well. Enjoy it today!)

Oh, Nearly-Headless Nick. I love this character. The chapter starts off with Harry coming from Quidditch practice and running into Nick, lamenting the fact that once again, he has been denied membership to the Headless Hunt because he is not completely headless.

“Half an inch of skin and sinew holding my neck on, Harry! Most people would think that’s good and beheaded, but oh, no, it’s not enough for Sir Properly Decapitated-Podmore.”

Poor Nick.

They are interupted by Mrs. Norris, Filch’s cat, followed closely by Filch himself. Filch is always in a bad mood, but is particularly nasty today. He drags Harry to his office, intending to punish him for something, anything. Fortunately, they are interrupted and Filch runs off to see what the commotion is. While he is gone, Harry sees some papers on his desk for “Kwikspell,” a correspondence course in magic. Looks like Filch isn’t a proper wizard. This is the first, and probably only, time that I feel bad for Filch and see why he might be so unpleasant. You can imagine that, as a squib (although we don’t learn that word until the next chapter), he probably didn’t get treated very well by the rest of the wizarding world (look at how some of them treat Muggleborns, after all). Still, that’s no excuse for being so awful to everyone.

Filch is so flustered when he comes back and sees that Harry saw the Kwikspell course, he lets Harry go without any punishment (yay!). Turns out Nick helped out there, convincing Peeves to drop a heavy cabinet right above Filch’s office. To pay Nick back for helping him (and to make him feel better, since Nick still looks so sad), Harry reluctantly agrees to go to Nick’s Deathday party on Halloween. Apparently that’s a thing for ghosts, celebrating the day you died. I don’t know if I would want to do that, but hey, I’ve also never been dead either.

The party itself does not sound like a good time. Terrible screechy music, rotten food, freezing cold temperatures. We also meet another Hogwarts ghost: Moaning Myrtle, who haunts the girls bathroom. What a lovely place to live, eh? We also get to see the aforementioned Headless Hunt, who crash the party and distract everyone from Nick’s speech. I must say, they seem like jerks. Nick is better off without them, I don’t care how prestidgious an organization it is.

Harry, Ron and Hermione leave the party, hoping to catch the end of the Halloween feast, when Harry hears that spooky voice again. Ron and Hermione don’t hear it at all, but Harry runs off to see if he can find it.

“. . . rip . . . tear . . . kill . . .”
“. . . sooo hungry . . . for so long . . .”
“. . . kill . . . time to kill . . .”
“. . . I smell blood . . . I SMELL BLOOD!”

Why in the actual hell are you following this voice, Harry!! Why aren’t you running in the opposite direction as fast as you can!!????!!!

They find that Mrs. Norris has been attacked, hanging from a sconce on the wall, looking for all the world dead. There are also words written on the wall in what looks like blood.

“THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS HAS BEEN OPENED. ENEMIES OF THE HEIR, BEWARE.”

Y’all, the first time I read this book, this is where I was hooked. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true. This was no longer a happy little children’s book. This was DARK! This was CREEPY! I was so excited.

Before they can leave the scene of the crime, the rest of the school arrives, having just left the feast. Draco Malfoy, of course, has to say something nasty, which makes him seem like a suspect perhaps, or at least that maybe he knows more than he should about what’s going on. I love these little throw away clues that Rowling includes. We know now that he was not involved with the Chamber of Secrets at all, but Rowling sure does throw that red herring in there. I love when she does that. It makes it easier to discount in later books when Draco is actually up to something, but we’ve seen him act suspicious in the past and it turned out to be nothing. Such a good bait and switch. Rowling is a master at this.

See you after Chapter 9!

Added to GoodReads

Added to GoodReads – 2/11/19

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Happy Monday, everyone! Welcome to my list of books added to my GoodReads list last week.

  • The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides – I’ve seen several people talking about this book, but Cleo at Cleopatra Loves Books shared a preview of this one.
  • Enchanteé by Gita Trelease – Check out this review posted by Alison at Alison in Bookland.
  • The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber – Not only did she post a great review, but Beth at Bibliobeth said this one was one of her all-time favorites.
  • The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas – I’ve seen this one around a few places (and love the cover art), but also really loved this review posted by Yvo at It’s All About Books.

One more book got added to my GoodReads this week: another ARC from NetGalley! Coming in April 2019, I will be reviewing The Raven’s Tale by Cat Winters!

Got any books to recommend? Want to share your reviews? Let me know!

Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Chapter 7 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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Chapter 7 includes Quidditch practice, an unfortunate incident with Ron’s wand, an ugly incident of Muggle classism, and the upping of the stakes. Let’s go!

It’s finally the weekend (both in the book and in real life right now – yay!), and Harry has to go to Quidditch practice. Oliver Wood, their team captain, so obsessed with finally winning the Quidditch cup this year and forces everyone out of bed early. I would have smacked him at some point, but anyway. Other people who need a good smacking? Colin Creevy. Boy, you need to take a hint. Harry does not want you hanging around! He’s busy!

At practice, they also find out that Slytherin (who has gone over their heads to double-book the field) has a new Seeker – Draco Malfoy. Who had to buy his way on the team by his father donating brand new Nimbus 2001 brooms for all the players. I like how Draco thinks that he’s so amazing, but couldn’t get on the team based on his own merit. We see a much darker side of Draco here too, as he calls Hermione a “mudblood.” This is a terrible phrase in the wizarding world, basically like a racial slur would be to us. One of my favorite things is how quickly Ron jumps to Hermione’s defense – and how quickly it goes wrong.

Poor Ron.

They end up at Hagrid’s with Ron vomiting slugs into a bucket.

Poor slugs.

Also, Hagrid is the best. I will accept no arguments to the contrary.

Here’s where things finally start to get interesting, and the part of the book that really had me hooked the first time I read it. Harry has to go to detention (as punishment for driving the car into the Whomping Willow) and was requested by Lockhart to help him answer his fan mail. I’m sorry, but that does sound absolutely insufferable. I’d rather help polish trophies too, Harry. While in there, Harry hears a voice:

Come . . . come to me . . . Let me rip you . . . Let me tear you . . . Let me kill you . . .”

Okay, that’s just creepy. What’s creepier is that the other person in the room, Lockhart, doesn’t hear it at all. To me, this is what took this book to a whole new level. This isn’t just fun and games and petty school rivalries. Something truly dark and sinister is going on, something that has completely changed the game of EVERYTHING!

See you tomorrow for Chapter 8!

Weekly Wrap-Up

Weekly Wrap-Up – 2/8/19

Oh boyo, am I glad it’s Friday! I only have a few plans this weekend, so I am hoping to relax for a bit. Maybe. Hopefully. Maybe get some gaming in. That would be nice.

Reading progress this week was slow, but it’s also just been a weird week in general. Still, progress is progress. As of yesterday, I have:

  • Read the last chapters of Kushiel’s Dart, chapters 81-96.
  • Read the first 16 chapters of Kushiel’s Chosen.
  • Started Heir of Fire and read the first 25 chapters (that’s actually more than I expected.
  • Read the first 6 chapters of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

Overall, that’s not bad. I had forgotten how far I got into Heir of Fire before I looked it up. I’ve been keeping a daily reading log to see how far I get each day. For some reason, that has been the main thing that has kept me from falling into another reading slump. I like jotting down that I read two chapters here, five chapters there. It keeps me focused.

Blogging has been going really well. I am very excited about starting up my Chapter-A-Long posts with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I haven’t done that in a really long time and, while it is not the fastest way to read a book, it is kind of fun to really dig into the little pieces that you enjoy instead of just remembering the larger, overall plot lines. I’m going to try to do this with all the #PotterheadReadAlong19 books this year, which will go into July. Might have to do more than one chapter at a time, or just multiple blog posts each day for it, since the later books are much, much longer. I’ll have to think about it.

I’ve also started blogging a bit more, not too much, on my personal blog, My Crooked Little Path. It’s a lot of venting and complaining right now (or screaming into the void, as I like to call it), but it’s helping me work through some stuff. I actually have some followers over there now, which is nice.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I will probably be back tomorrow with another Chapter-A-Long post (and of course, another one today in a little while), but other than that, I will see you all on Monday! Cheers!

Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Chapter 6 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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In Chapter 6, we see Harry’s first day of class at Hogwarts and meet some new faces. Let’s go!

There is a lot to unpack in this chapter, but one of the funniest things in the chapter (possibly the whole book) are howlers. Mrs. Weasley sends Ron a howler, which is basically an exploding letter that loudly yells at him. It’s the best. Honestly, it is a good thing that howlers aren’t real, because my daughter would be in trouble. I’d use them all the time.

Another thing that is nice about this chapter is that we get to see more class time and get to know the Herbology professor, Professor Sprout. We didn’t see her much in Sorcerer’s Stone, so it’s nice to see what her classes are like. They are repotting mandrake plants, which is messy and potentially dangerous, but nothing that pink, fluffy earmuffs can’t handle. What’s funny is that we also see Sprout before class coming back from the Whomping Willow carrying bandages. It has a boo boo!

We also see Gilderoy Lockhart. So let’s talk about him. He is, truly, one of the most annoying people. First, he pulls Harry aside before Herbology and gives Harry some very unasked for advice about being famous, since Lockhart believes Harry took the flying car to Hogwarts in order to generate publicity. Which of course he didn’t, but that’s beside the point. Later, when Harry meets a new first year, Colin Creevy, who is star struck by Harry and wants to take his picture, Lockhart jumps in again to advise Harry that posing for pictures might make him seem a bit pompous, and maybe he shouldn’t do that in this stage of his fame.

Ugh. Harry is much more famous than Lockhart, but he also doesn’t necessarily want to be famous at all. It’s not as if he is famous for a good thing, or anything he had any control over. Lockhart’s assumptions are ridiculous at best, but by the end of this chapter, we start to wonder whether or not Lockhart might just be a fraud. His class, which starts off with a ridiculous quiz, asking questions like “What is Gilderoy Lockhart’s favorite color?” but ends with Lockhart releasing a bunch of pixies out of a cage and being unable to get them back in. Instead, he runs away and let’s a bunch of twelve year olds clean up the mess for him. Hermione is still infatuated with Lockhart, but Ron is the first one to say out loud that maybe Lockhart has made up his adventures.

Quote for the day comes from another class they had that day, Transfiguration:

Ron was having far worse problems. He had patched up his wand with some borrowed Spellotape, but it seemed to be damaged beyond repair. It kept crackling and sparking at odd moments, and every time Ron tried to transfigure his beetle it engulfed him in thick gray smoke that smelled of rotten eggs. Unable to see what he was doing, Ron accidentally squashed his beetle with his elbow and had to ask for a new one. Professor McGonagall wasn’t pleased.

Books I've Read

Book Review: Throne of Glass

throne of glassTitle: Throne of Glass

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Genre: YA Fantasy

Series: Throne of Glass #1

Edition: Ebook

Blurb: After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her … but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead … quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Review: I picked up this book after being emphatically told that I must read this series by my very dear friend and former podcast co-host, Jess. Actually, what she said was more along the lines of, “I need you to read these books right now because I really really really need to talk to someone about them before I lose my mind!!!” She has done this to me before, and usually, she recommends good stuff. Our reading tastes are very similar, which is why we get along. I also noticed that, back in 2016, I had read this book and gave it a 4 star review on GoodReads, but never read the rest of the series. This makes it eligible for my “Complete the Series” challenge, an added bonus.

I have to say, I read this book very quickly. I was immediately pulled into this world and these characters. Maas is very good at making the story seem simple at first, but leaving little hints of the depth of the world behind it all. It is very easy to be captivated by Celaena’s story and struggles to win the competition, but it is also very clear that there are deeper mysteries that she will need to contend with.

I really liked Celaena as a character. She is feisty, sarcastic, and does not take any crap. While the love triangle thing is played to death, especially in YA, I also really like the two men who in her orbit. Dorian is the son of a terrible, cruel king, but Dorian does not want to be like his father. He is kind and compassionate and will hopefully survive to become a benevolent ruler. Chaol is the captain of the guard, keeping his feelings close to his chest, but you can also tell that his grudging respect for Celaena will grow into something more.

The plot and pacing of the story was good, very exciting. The competition aspect was good, but adding the whole intrigue layer with champions being attacked and killed just upped the ante. The final battle, both of the competition and of the book itself, we both satisfying and open enough to make you want more.

GoodReads rating: 4 stars, but probably more like 4 1/2

Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Chapter 5 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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Chapter 5 finally gets us to Hogwarts, but not in the way you would expect. Let’s go!

The Weasleys remain the most wonderful people on the planet. They all celebrate the last day before school with a good meal and good fun. It makes me so sad that Harry is not used to being treated like a normal kid, much less a magical one. He is so happy to be there and so grateful, dreading what it will be like to go back to the Dursleys. I want to adopt him so bad!

I love their car. The Ford Anglia. Mr. Weasley is so proud of it! He has magically enhanced it so that it is much larger on the inside (Mrs. Weasley doesn’t suspect, and is quite impressed). I think what I like best about Mr. Weasley is his childlike fascination with Muggle objects. He loves driving the car and is thrilled with the idea of trying out the Invisibility Booster so they can fly without being seen.

They get to Kings Cross and head towards the barrier to Platform 9 3/4. They end up crashing into the brick wall and can’t get through. This leads them to make, what I think, is a big mistake: flying the car to Hogwarts. Seriously, boys? You really thought this was a good idea? Ron is worried that if they can’t get through, maybe his parents can’t get back, but really, I would have at least waited a few minutes to see. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley would have to come back eventually to pick up their car anyway. Slow down, kiddos! Just be patient!

Of course, patience is not a teenage boy’s strong suit. They head off, trying to use the Invisibility Booster (which doesn’t work so well), and follow the train to Hogwarts. Trouble is, the car has never flown this far before and starts to break down. In the air! No gonna lie, I would have freaked out at this point. They crash into a tree (breaking Ron’s wand in the process), but turns out, that tree isn’t particularly happy about being crashed into. It’s hard to read the books at this point without drawing comparisons to the films, but I thought the Whomping Willow was so perfect (although I could have done without the flight in the car with Harry almost falling out). I also liked how the car itself is just fed up at this point and takes off. Can’t say I blame it, really.

They sneak into school, missing the Sorting, but realize that Professor Snape isn’t at the Head Table. That’s because he’s RIGHT BEHIND THEM!!! They get lectures galore (due to the car being seen by several muggles) and are threatened with getting expelled. Professor McGonagall also berates them for their actions instead of, oh I don’t know, using Hedwig to send word that they were in trouble. Seriously, I would use owl post all the time if I had an owl. I’d send my husband notes from upstairs all the time. Come to think of it, it’s probably good that I don’t have a magic owl.

Luckily, Dumbledore does not expel them. We know why now, but it does seem unfair that Harry gets away with things so easily. He isn’t really punished at all. Just detention. They even talk their way out of losing House points. Once they get up to Gryffindor Tower, they are lauded as heroes for their daring, except for Hermione, who treats them as the irresponsible yahoos that they are. Hermione, you are my spirit animal. I relate to her so much.

That’s it for this chapter. Tune in tomorrow for Chapter 6!

WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday 2/6/19

WWW New

WWW Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Sam at Taking On a World of Words. Three questions, three answers. Let’s go!

What are you currently reading?

So many things! Well, not really, but it seems like a lot by my usual standards. In case you missed it, I am currently reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling for the month of February. This is part of the #PotterheadReadAlong19 hosted by The Perks of Being Noura. I am also currently reading Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas. This is book #3 in the Throne of Glass series and I am really enjoying it so far. Things are getting much more complex, the world building more vast. Love it! Also reading Kushiel’s Chosen by Jacqueline Carey, book #2 in Phedre’s Trilogy. Her writing is so beautiful and poetic, and this book is no exception.

Also, both Phedre’s Trilogy and the Throne of Glass series are on my “Complete the Series” challenge list, so that will be two series towards my goal of three to finish this year! Huzzah!

What did you recently finish reading?

I recently finished a bunch of books in rapid succession, which I am definitely not used to. I finished Crow Flight by Susan Cunningham, an ARC that I received from NetGalley. You can read my review here. I also rushed through Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling in order to try and finish up in January for #PotterheadReadAlong19 – started the book on the 25th and finished on the 30th! Not too shabby! I also finished Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey, book #1 in Phedre’s Trilogy. I was very glad to finish that one. It took me over a month, but that book also has 900 pages. Her books are LONG! Also finished Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas, book #2 in the Throne of Glass series.

What do you think you’ll read next?

There are only three that I can count on reading next, and that would be the next three books in the three series I am reading: Kushiel’s Avatar by Jacqueline Carey (Phedre’s Trilogy #3), Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #4), and in March, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (you know). I also have a few ARCs coming up in March and April, but I’ll talk more about them when the time comes.

That’s it for me! How is your reading going this week?

Chapter-A-Long

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Chapter 4 (#PotterheadReadAlong19)

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Welcome to Chapter 4! As always, there are spoilers afoot, so read at your own risk.

Let’s start off with one of the saddest lines ever:

What Harry found most unusual about life at Ron’s, however, wasn’t the talking mirror or the clanking ghoul: It was the fact that everybody there seemed to like him.

Okay, y’all. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: how on earth did Harry end up to be such a decent, well-rounded person? He grew up in such a toxic, horrible (and most likely abusive) household and yet doesn’t seem to suffer any side effects from that. It is shocking to me, honestly.

Also, love love LOVE the Weasleys so much! They don’t care who Harry is or that he’s famous. He’s a kid who needs a loving home and they treat him just like their other kids. They are awesome.

Also, also, poor little Ginny! It’s so hard to feel awkward around your crush, but to have your crush living in your house? I would die. Harry even notices that Ginny always knocks things over when he’s around.

We also learn about floo powder in this chapter, which is my least favorite means of wizarding travel. Seriously, who wants to show up to your destination covered in soot? Especially since it is such an imprecise form of travel? You need to speak clearly, keep your elbows tucked in and eyes shut, don’t fidget in case you call out of the wrong fireplace. It’s no wonder Harry ends up in the wrong place. And what a wrong place it is. Our first introduction to Borgin & Burkes in Knockturn Alley.

Again, this is another place where Rowling drops something that seems insignificant in an early book and it turns out to be huge later on. We don’t know anything about Borgin & Burkes, except that it seems like a dark magic shop, but we know now that several items in the shop were used by Deatheaters in later books and that a young Voldemort actually worked there. So cool.

We also get to see Draco being a little snot, but also see that his father is quite horrible. Hints of the hatred towards Muggleborns here, as Mr. Malfoy is upset that Hermione, “a girl of no wizard family,” got better grades than Draco did, and Mr. Borgin laments that “wizard blood is counting for less everywhere.” We also hear Mr. Borgin mutter to himself that the Malfoys probably have a ton of Dark artifacts that no one else knows about. Who’s surprised by that? Show of hands? Oh, right. No one is surprised by that.

Also, Borgin was super creepy in the video game adaptation, just saying.

A nice little red herring thrown in here, as Harry is rescued by Hagrid, which sets up the suspicions about Hagrid later in the book – if Hagrid is hanging around Knockturn Alley, a place known to cater to Dark wizards, could he be hiding something? It’s very neat and tidy the way Rowling does that, putting just the slightest suspicion in the reader’s head.

I just want to have one little shopping spree in Diagon Alley. Just one. That would make me very, very happy.

Finally, towards the end of the chapter, we meet one of the center pieces of this book: Gilderoy Lockhart. And can we just say, he was portrayed to perfection in the movie by Kenneth Branaugh. This guy is so smarmy! I really don’t understand why the ladies love him so much. I don’t think I would have fallen for that, no matter how handsome he is. He clearly uses Harry as a prop to get even more publicity and announces that he will be teaching at Hogwarts.

This last part of the chapter is so important and gets completely missed when you read the book for the first time: the confrontation with the Malfoys. Lucius is able to plant Tom Riddle’s diary on Ginny during a scuffle with the Weasleys and NO ONE NOTICES. I have always wondered what Lucius’s intentions were. Why was he even carrying it with him that day? He couldn’t have planned to plant it on the Weasleys, but even if he did somehow, what was the point? Was it just to mess with them, or to rid himself of a very Dark artifact that could get his family in trouble? It seems odd to give it to the youngest of the bunch, although Ginny would clearly be the more vulnerable of them, easier to influence.

Tune in tomorrow for chapter 5!