Harry Potter Spells Tag!

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I found this over on my friend Becky’s new blog (check her out here) it combines three of my favourite things, Harry Potter, books and fun tags. So, here we go! Remember I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

  1. Expecto Patronum – a childhood book connected to good memories

 

Lola Rose – Jacqueline Wilson

This was the first time I met an author I really admired and got a book signed. It was the first time I saw an author as a real person and she signed in pink pen. Pink. Pen.

2. Expelliarmus – a book that took you by surprise

How to Be a Woman – Caitlin Moran

I tried reading this initially when it was first released, but I was too young to get it and thought she was a bit mad. I read it again last Summer before starting a Writing Women class and it changed my life and made me embrace feminism. I never thought it would become one of my favourite books.

3. Prior Incantato – The last book you read

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman. So freaking good.

4. Alohamora – A book that introduced you to a genre you hadn’t considered before

Star Wars Moving Target made me realise I might like Sci-fi and give it a go.

5. Riddikulus – a funny book you’ve read

Why Not Me? – Mindy Kaling. Kaling’s second book was MUCH better than her first and had me in stitches.

6. Sonorous – a book you think everyone should know about

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath.

I cannot describe what this book means to me, or how much Plath means to me as a writer. There are few books that deserve the title of classic, but The Bell Jar really, really does.

7. Obliviate – a book or spoiler you would like to forget having read

The Storyteller – Jodi Picoult, that spoiler was incredible.

 

8. Imperio – A book you had to read for school

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Most people hate the books they’re forced to read, I on the other hand fell in love with TKAM. It started my love for reading novels about and based in the civil rights era and the treatment of African Americans.

9. Crucio – a book that was painful to read

I’m choosing to see this in the light of a book that was so GOOD it put you in pain emotionally.

The Fault in Our Stars – John Green.

My heart still hurts. Still.

 

10. Avada Kedavra – a book that could kill (interpret as you will)

 

Maestra by L.S. Hilton

Sex, Scandal, Murder. Don’t give this book to your Nan, could induce a heart attack.

As always if you’d like to do this tag then go right ahead! Drop me a link in the comments as I’d love to read your responses!

Image from Pinterest.

Harper Lee

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The literature world was shocked and saddened to hear the the great writer Harper Lee passed away today. We have truly lost a great talent, she’s a writer that had an idea and ran with it, the end result was educating millions about being a good person and created a literary legend in the character of Atticus Finch.

I first time I picked up the Pulitzer prize winner I was 15 and about to start the final year of my GCSEs. It had been around for a year before as my boyfriend studied for his, but I hadn’t read it because I had no idea what it was about. As soon as I opened that first page though, I was hooked. The book had such a profound effect on me, I truly believe it was what started my love for academics. I went on to pass my GCSE and went on to study a whole project on the African American woman, inspired by the mother figure of Calpurnia and the mistreatment of the African American community in To Kill a Mockingbird.

When Go Set a Watchman was released last year, I preordered, managed to leave work a little early and started as soon as I got home. While there were a lot of reviewers who hated it, I loved it. I loved the fact that it showed how people change and the people who you thought were heroes growing up were just ordinary people.

She rarely gave interviews and had only released those two books, but they were enough. Enough for us to see her wisdom and intelligence and continue to  Even though she kept to herself, she was an icon in literature.

Rest in Peace Harper Lee.

My Top 11 Books of 2015

At the time of writing this I’ve read 77 books this year, which is less than I wanted to read this year! Boo! Although there is still time…I might get to 80. So for today’s review I thought I’d tell you the 11 best books I’ve read this year, because I couldn’t get rid of one.

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How to Build a Woman– Caitlin Moran

This is definitely the most influential book I read this year. I tried reading Caitlin’s book when I was younger and hated it, but I decided to try again for my Writing Women class this year. I laughed so hard reading it and just felt I could say I’m a feminist without seeming crazy or arrogant. I’ve not religiously watched all of Caitlins talks on YouTube and read How to Build a Girl and a good chunk of Moranthology. Read my review here.

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Reasons to Stay Alive – Matt Haig

Haig has written a phenomenal book. I’m usually sceptical of books related to mental health, because it’s so hard to put into words but somehow Haig has put in exactly how I’ve felt. It’s also great if you’re living with someone with depression too. Read my review here.

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Beautiful & Beautiful Ever After – Katie Piper

I have been a fan of Katie Piper for years. Getting to meet her and get my own message and autograph was a huge highlight of my year. Both of these books are incredibly honest, Katie has the ‘just getting on with it’ attitude a lot of us with physical and mental disabilities have. Her two autobiographies are a brilliant read and full of heartbreak but also full of hope. Review to come in 2016 but you can read about when I met Katie here.

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Go Set a Watchman – Harper Lee

I rushed home from work to buy this the day it came out. There was a lot of divided opinion but I for one thought it was an incredible book. There is a completely different message than there was in To Kill a Mockingbird, but I think that it is just as important. Read my review here.

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Am I Normal Yet? – Holly Bourne

I have a book crush on Holly Bourne. Am I Normal Yet? is a fantastic piece of YA literature. Bourne always manages to create a magnificent story and this one is no different. Considering mental health, young people and what ‘normal’ is, she created an instant favourite once again. Read my review here.

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This Book is Gay – James Dawson

I picked up this book a long time ago and decided to finally read it (before James announced he was transgender, he is still using male pronouns for now) because I was curious. I felt like I could know more about the LGBTQ community and I’m so glad I did. I honestly think this book should be given out in schools during sex education! Review to come in 2016.

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The Art of Being Normal – Lisa Williamson

This was the first book I read in 2015 and I absolutely loved it. It’s a great addition to YA literature and has the power to open up conversations about the Trans community. I completely forgot to review it so I’m afraid it will be a 2016 review!

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Orange is the New Black – Piper Kerman

Unlike most of the people I know I wasn’t addicted to the TV show. I didn’t mind it but I just didn’t find it as engaging. Instead I saw a Ted Talk by the real Piper Kerman and decided I want to read her book. I didn’t regret it. This is so interesting it looks not only at Piper but at the women around her and casts a critical eye on the prison system. I really recommend this as something to pick up in the new year.

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Extraordinary Means – Robyn Schneider

I was recommended this book by a friend of mine, I’d been curious about it for a while but also sceptical of the blurb. I was totally wrong, if you are a fan of John Green then this is definitely a novel to pick up. It’s funny, heartbreaking and I’m not ashamed to say I cried at one point. The review for this is coming up in February and I can promise you will love the main character as much as I did, so keep your eyes peeled!

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Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls – Lynn Weingarten

I can easily declare that this was the most amazing book that I read and that was released in 2015. I have told everyone to buy this because Weingarten has an incredible talents for writing that will keep you up until the early hours. I said ‘oh my god’ multiple times while reading and still think the twist is genius. Read this but make sure you don’t have to be up early the next day as you’ll devour it in one sitting. Read my review here.

I just wanted to say thank you so much for all of the support I’ve received about my book reviews. I’m so grateful for all the feedback and love I’ve received. There are going to be reviews throughout 2016 and I have some great books coming up!!

Book Review: Go Set a Watchman – Harper Lee

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Five minutes ago I put down my copy of Go Set a Watchman in a state of, well, loss but also amazement. To Kill a Mockingbird is without a doubt one of my favourite books ever. I fell in love with it as a sixteen year old and it sparked a love that not many other books have. I’ve been worried about reading it because of all the controversy in the news but I had to read it anyway, it’s a sequel to a novel I’ve treasured for years.

While there have been numerous bad reviews of the novel, this will not be one. Is this novel as polished as To Kill a Mockingbird? No, I don’t think so. I also think that the negativity is because of what people wanted to read. They wanted the world to be free from racism and for Scout to still be the lovable kid we first read about. The difference is that Scout, now called by her real name Jean Louise, has grown up. She’s twenty-six years old and a lot has changed for her. She no longer had older brother Jem and her best friend Dill to rely on (something which initially upset me but made sense at the end of the novel) and has to make her own sense of the world.

Before long and reader familiar with Lee’s work falls into Maycomb again. While 20 years have passed, it seems to Jean Louise Maycomb has stayed frozen in time. She’s still told off by Aunt Alexandra for not being as feminine as she should be, which made me laugh. While the sleepy town is the same, the reader is introduced to Henry, a Maycomb County boy, Atticus’s law partner and Jean Louise’s on, off love interest. The relationship between the two characters is vital to the plot and to Jean Louise becoming who she is at the end of the novel.

There has been a lot of controversy about Atticus, people have screamed about him being racist and letting go of everything he stood for in To Kill a Mockingbird. I don’t want to spoil the novel, but I do want to say wait. Read the book before you get mad and start ranting. If you start reading and want to throw it at all wall, carry on because I promise you there is a reason for this, a reason that is vital for Scout to grow into JEan Louise.

I could not put this book down for the life of me. I needed to read it, even when I was frustrated or didn’t understand (there is a lot of historical knowledge that I wasn’t too sharp on) I needed to get to the end. I found that I really connected with Jean Louise, she will always be Scout to me though. I just felt what she was feeling, when you go back to your hometown and you just feel like you stick out. When you need to realise that ultimately, everyone is human, even if it hurts.

Aside from the heavy parts of this novel, some of which had me on the edge of sobbing my heart out, there is laughter. The novel gives us glimpses of our favourite trio growing up. It felt almost like a comfort blanket reading about Scout, Jem and Dill and the things they got up to after that eventful summer, as well as who they grew up to be.

I thought long and hard while reading about how I was going to rate this and what I thought of it. While reading the majority of it I had a solid 3 star review in my head, and then I got to part seven, which changed everything. It explained what I needed explaining and made me think about my own life. I have to give it to Harper Lee if she can take credit for anything it’s making people think.

I want to give the novel four stars ****. Before people question it, let me just say there was something in this novel that caught me. Jean Louise is only six years older than me and I felt a connection with what she see’s and how she tries to make sense of the world around her. Lee has taken To Kill a Mockingbird and shown us again that life isn’t clearly divided into good and bad, black and white. I think for anyone who loved To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman is a must read, especially for those of us at a confusing time in our lives.

Review by Chloe Metzger