Thursday, May 25, 2017

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (167)

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme created by Uncorked Thoughts and hosted by Lunar Rainbows Reviews. The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object or quote from the books/films/J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related! A list of upcoming topics can be found here.

This week's topic is:
Which Books Would You Recommend to Fred and George?

I tried to come up with some books that the twins might find hilarious, since they know a thing or two about humor. I also came up with one series that has a pair of evil twins in it, and believe me, they're absolutely terrifying!

  • Percy Jackson's Greek Gods by Rick Riordan & John Rocco: I've read exactly one book in the actual Percy Jackson series (shame!), but I can vouch for the high hilarity factor in this book, which finds Percy himself retelling some famous myths.
  • The Curse Workers by Holly Black: Fred and George would probably dig the snark of protagonist Cassel, who also has a penchant for finding trouble.
  • Chronicles of Nick by Sherrilyn Kenyon: Here's another character with lots of sass who also often finds himself in a predicament.
  • Shades of Magic by V.E. Schwab: And here's the series with the evil twins in it! There's also some very cool elemental magic and lots of witty banter between the non-evil characters.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (166)

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme created by Uncorked Thoughts and hosted by Lunar Rainbows Reviews. The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object or quote from the books/films/J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related! A list of upcoming topics can be found here.

This week's topic is:
Favorite Dobby Moment

Brave Dobby—he had the biggest heart and so much courage. What he did in Deathly Hallows still makes me tear up. :-( So I want to go with a happier moment: when he dropped the pudding on Mrs. Mason's head in Chamber of Secrets. I know that poor Harry got into so much trouble for it, but I can't help but laugh at the sight of Mrs. Mason covered in pudding every time I watch the CoS movie.

Monday, May 15, 2017

ARC Review: Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh
Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1)
By Renée Ahdieh
Publisher:
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Format: eARC
Source: First to Read
Publication Date: May 16, 2017

To Sum It Up: Hattori Mariko has grown up in a privileged world and is about to fulfill her family duty by marrying the son of the emperor. As she and her convoy travel to the imperial city, they are ambushed, leaving Mariko as the lone survivor. She suspects that a band of mercenaries known as the Black Clan is behind the attack, and Mariko sets out to track them and discover who ordered them to kill her. Meanwhile, Mariko’s twin brother Kenshin, a renowned samurai, refuses to believe that his sister is gone and is determined to find her. As Mariko, disguised as a boy, goes on her own dangerous search for answers, she begins to realize that the truth behind the attempt on her life is much more complicated than she first thought.

Review: Having heard so much about Renée Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn (which, alas, I still have not read), I jumped at the opportunity to read Flame in the Mist. I was even more thrilled to find out that the book is set in feudal Japan and is loosely based on the story of Mulan.

Ahdieh builds the world very well, really making you feel as though you’ve been transported to another time and place. The eARC has a glossary of Japanese words at the end, but I never really felt the need to consult it because the context clues were often enough to glean the meaning of any unfamiliar terms.

Where the book faltered for me, and it always pains me to say this, was with its protagonist. Mariko is the type of heroine who makes a lot of epic statements about how much ass she’s going to kick but doesn’t really follow through. She talks about female empowerment and becoming more than the dutiful daughter marrying to elevate her family’s status, but by the end of the book, I wasn’t quite convinced that Mariko had transformed into the fierce warrior she thought she was. I found her decision-making skills lacking, despite the frequent mentions of her keen mind. I wish that there had been more demonstrations of Mariko’s keen mind to back up the references to it.

I also expected a bit more to the plot than just Mariko’s quest to worm her way into the Black Clan, the group of bandits she believes tried to kill her, in order to learn who hired them. The novel occasionally cuts away to follow Mariko’s twin brother Kenshin, the famed samurai known as the Dragon of Kai, as he searches for his sister. As with Mariko’s arc, there wasn’t a whole lot more to Kenshin’s than finding his sister.

Flame in the Mist features some hints of magic that definitely left me looking for more than hints. What is this magic? How does it work? Why can certain characters wield it? I felt as though the details weren’t all filled in so that readers would be eager to find out more about the magic in the sequel. I needed answers to at least a few questions with this book, though.

Another underwhelming aspect of the novel for me was the romance. Most of the time, I absolutely adore romances that start out rocky but do a slow burn into swoon-ville. I just wasn’t swept away by the love story here; the relationship didn’t develop gradually enough for me. I thought the two characters involved went from loathing to love without much of a transition in between.

Aside from the setting, I couldn’t find a lot to get invested in. Mariko didn’t quite fit my notion of a badass heroine, and the magic wasn’t explained adequately. The next book might provide the details, but I’m not curious enough to read it for that reason alone.

All in All: I loved the setting, but everything else was pretty meh.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Fandom Mashups (88)

Fandom Mashups is a feature hosted by Lunar Rainbows Reviews. There's a different scenario each week, and you choose a "dream team" of five characters from five different fandoms whom you think are best suited for the situation.

This week's topic is:
You're trapped in an elevator when the power goes out (damn Muggle technology) - and using magic to get yourself out isn't an option (Statute of Secrecy and all that) so which characters would you prefer to spend that time with?

I actually do worry about getting stuck in an elevator, lol, specifically the one at work. I used to take the stairs until the stairwell became a constant bathroom for patrons of the neighboring restaurant. So elevator it is, but the damn thing always sounds like it's on its last leg and has occasionally tries to move with the door open. :O If I'm getting trapped, then I'd love to hang out with:

  1. Harry Potter: I solemnly swear that I'm not asking him to break the Statute of Secrecy! XD I mean, it's Harry freaking Potter!
  2. Blue Sargent (The Raven Cycle): Because I need updates on how everyone is doing post-The Raven King.
  3. Aelin (Throne of Glass): My favorite fire-breathing bitch queen! If we can't magic ourselves out, Aelin will just bust us out of there.
  4. Jon Snow (Game of Thrones): I need some kind of new news from Westeros.
  5. Homer Simpson: We can count on Homer to make us laugh while we wait for the door to be fixed . . . or for Aelin to get impatient and break it open.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Harry Potter Moment of the Week (165)

Harry Potter Moment of the Week is a meme created by Uncorked Thoughts and hosted by Lunar Rainbows Reviews. The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object or quote from the books/films/J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related! A list of upcoming topics can be found here.

This week's topic is:
Would You Rather Take Transfiguration Class Through McGonagall or Dumbledore?

This is another one of those topics where it's nearly impossible to pick between the two choices! I love them both, and they're both phenomenal professors. I do think that I'd be a bit intimidated by how stern McGonagall is, LOL, and I feel that Dumbledore would be a little more easygoing and have a more relaxed vibe in the classroom.

Monday, May 1, 2017

April 2017 Recap

Happy May! I can't believe we're almost halfway through 2017! I seriously need a do over on some of the previous months. :/

April was pretty much the usual—lots of adulting (I think I'm stuck in a permanent adulting loop. Someone reprogram me, please!). The blog turned 5, which I'm quite proud of because I'm still at this 5 years later.

It was a very quiet reading month yet again, but I absolutely LOVED this book:

I'd been struggling so much with getting into books and finishing them before reading Defy the Stars. It's exactly the book I needed to remind me how much I love reading.

Abel, one of the protagonists, is a mech, which is essentially a robot. For me, the most fascinating aspect of the novel was watching his programming evolve. This quote made me laugh out loud:

At some point Abel will have to analyze whether he has developed the capacity for passive aggression.

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