Tuesday, 4 July 2017

The Harry Potter Spells Tag! CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF HARRY POTTER #HarryPotter20


I've been wanting to do an exciting and creative blog post for a while and what would be better than to do it celebrating the 20 year anniversary of Harry Potter! I haven't exactly read the books yet (if you count me being forced to read the Philosopher's Stone when I was ten and when I chose to skim read the Half Blood Prince before the movie came out when I was fourteen) but I plan to, and I've watched all the movies at least twice. Plus I just recently got a copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them: Screenplay and I've been sorted into Hufflepuff so I guess I am valid enough to be able to post this (please don't judge me for not having read enough or being a Hufflepuff!).


1. Expecto Patronum!
(A childhood book connected to good memories)

I could have chosen Roald Dahl's Matilda, The Twits, or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as I read all of those at least twenty times or more when I was still in primary school, but to be fully honest, my best childhood memory was reading Stacy Gregg's Pony Club Secrets series from the time I was eleven. These books basically introduced me to reading with a passion and also cured my obsession with horses - they didn't, however, help me get me horse riding lessons like I always wanted. But these made my life bearable during those hard years of pre-teen life and I will be forever grateful.

2. Expelliarmus!
(A book that took you by surprise)

I don't think I've ever read a historical fiction novel before but this one blew me past the stars and back. Not only was Kiersten White able to successfully write a story about a Vlad the Impaler that made my heart fill with excitement, but she did it by gender swapping Vladislav to create Ladislav Dragwyla AAAAAAND also adding in an element of LGBTQ! I was surprised because I saw no faults in anything and I don't think many other people did either - NOT MANY PEOPLE CAN PULL OFF SOMETHING AS BADASS AS THIS, GUYS! The sequel has also just released and I can't stop thinking about it because I'm broke and can't even afford to buy a $16 paperback... this post is soon going to be nothing more than a 'I need this but can't afford it but happy anniversary Harry Potter!' post.

3. Prior Incantato!
(The last book you read)

This has got to be the best contemporary novel I've ever read and best of all... it's written by a fellow kiwi (New Zealander)! I thoroughly enjoyed this book because it is probably the most accurately written young adult novels about being a teenager suffering from depression with themes including self harm, loss, and grief. It was terrible for my emotions but great to show how it really is for a teenager in this day and age.

4. Alohomora!
(A book that introduced you to a genre you had not considered before)

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly was the very first review book I'd received from HarperCollins New Zealand and it will forever hold a place in the darkest part of my heart. I had never read a mystery or thriller before this one and it definitely scared the living daylight out of me but gave me a new appreciation for books like this that have bigger themes and symbolism for us to understand. It was moving and brilliant and beautiful and sad: just go read it and humour me.

5. Riddikulus!
(A funny book you've read)

I've never read something where I've laughed out loud more than once, let alone more than like ten times maybe. I still need to read the third instalment, American Monsters, but oh my, this was a read I wish wouldn't end! The protagonist, Amber, finds out she is a demon and ends up on a long road trip with a guy called Milo because she is running from her parents. Why? Because they want to eat her. Typical right? Well it's so worth it! You be the judge! This book did not disappoint and I hope you'll try it too!

6. Sonorus!
(A book you think everyone should know about)

I received this book from Tammy because I found her through YouTube and after I heard her read the synopsis, I practically BEGGED her to send me a review copy. She is such a darling because she sent me a copy all the way from the U.S.A to New Zealand and just recently sent me the sequel too. I absolutely loved this book! If you loved Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout then you will absolutely LOVE this book! Just saying but I could absolutely see Kat Graham or Zendaya as Jaylen if this were turned into a movie and I fervently hope it will be one day!

7. Obliviate!
(A book or spoiler you would like to forget having read)

It's so stressful when a book from your favourite book series comes out and then social media basically blows up with spoilers... well unfortunately this book was somehow released early in some parts of the U.S.A and I was spoiled about a certain character's fate before it was even out! So yeah... I just wish that had never happened. Otherwise I'm still excited to read it and hopefully will get to read this and A Court of Wings and Ruin veeeeerrryy soon!

8. Imperio!
(A book you had to read for school)

I didn't really read this because we got to watch the movie as well so technically I only read maybe a few pages. It's also the only book I remember having to read for school so here it is! It was a sad but beautiful story though!

9. Crucio!
(A book that was painful to read)

I hate being that person that hates a book but I really hated this one. It had terribly overused clichés and just made me feel like I was wasting my time on a book that someone clearly didn't really feel passionate about when writing. When I mean passionate, I mean writing a well-written novel that has meaning, purpose, and doesn't shove unnecessary themes in your face. This book might have seemed okay if I were ten years old, but I truly feel like this was absolutely cringe-worthy.

10. Avada Kedavra!
(A book that could kill - interpret as you will)

I also have to be that person where I am absolutely typical and say that A Court of Mist and Fury tore me apart limb from limb, organ by organ. Yes, Sarah's books have become somewhat of a cliché for posts like these, but I am dead serious (no pun intended) when I say that this book ripped me to shreds emotionally and I am so happy for that. I'm sure many other people chose books that were terrible or ones where the protagonist or their love interest dies and it's just absolutely devastating, but this just killed me because it was so good and I am so happy and scared to read A Court of Wings and Ruin because I KNOW it'll just do the exact same thing to my heart, if not do any more damage. Please have mercy on my soul, Sarah!


That is it! I hope you enjoyed reading through my little celebratory post for Harry Potter's 20th anniversary. I hope I can actually get around to reading them soon but I'll actually have to acquire them all first (Bloomsbury Australia, all eyes are on you right now)!

If you are reading this now, you are officially tagged! Please remember to tag me on your social media accounts so that I can see your posts. I would love to see all your answers - I tried to be creative with mine but I still feel like I need to be more selective. Improvements will be noted for the future!

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Monday, 3 July 2017

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel: Book Review


Vowing to discover the fate of her missing cousin, a woman returns to her family’s Kansas estate where she spent one haunting summer as a teen, and where she discovered the dark heart of the Roanoke clan that left her no choice but to run.

Lane Roanoke is fifteen when she comes to live with her maternal grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, at the Roanoke family estate in rural Osage Flats, Kansas, following the suicide of her mother. Lane knows little of her mother’s family, other than the fact that her mother ran away years before and cut off all contact with her parents. Allegra, abandoned by her own mother at birth and raised by her grandparents, introduces Lane to small-town life and the benefits of being one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But there is darkness at the heart of the Roanoke family, and when Lane discovers its insidious pull she has no choice but to run, as far and as fast as she can.

Eleven years later, Lane is scraping by in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls with the news that Allegra has gone missing. “Come home,” he beckons. Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to Osage Flats, determined to find her cousin and assuage her own guilt at having left Allegra behind all those years ago. Her return might mean a second chance with Cooper, the boyfriend whom she loved and destroyed that fateful summer. But it also means facing the terrible secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

As it weaves between the summer of Lane’s first arrival and the summer of her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.

SPOILER FREE REVIEW

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The contents of this book had me in a whirlwind of captivation, despite the disturbing truth that comes with the Roanoke legacy. The one thing I loved most about The Roanoke Girls is that it pointed on something that is very real for some people and families and the lesson at the end doesn't sugar coat it. The author clearly did enough research to ensure that anyone reading this that might be able to relate won't feel like their experience was represented badly. I personally don't know what it is like since I've never gone through what the Roanoke girls did, but I can imagine that it would be almost exactly how it was portrayed in the book. Amy Engel stated that she had researched this horrible reality thoroughly to ensure her accurate portrayal of the events within her novel. I'm glad that authors like her have taken precaution and proceeded with absolute care when trying to present a novel that is not only fascinating, alluring, and filled with dark themes, but is also somewhat of a realistic setting which most people have sadly had to deal with in their own lives.

“Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.”



Lane Roanoke was the sole focus of this novel, the story being told mainly through her eyes - though many of the multiple POV's were from the other dead Roanoke girls, such as Lane's mother, Camilla, Camilla's sisters and her aunties before her. All in all, Amy Engel did the most amazing job at time-lapsing between when Lane went to live with her cousin, Allegra, after her mother died when she was sixteen, and when she came back after Allegra went missing eleven years later. Never once did I get confused as to who I was reading about or what was happening and I definitely enjoyed how the story played out even though there were some tear-jerking scenes that broke my heart.

“Sometimes it's a revelation, even to me, how much more comfortable I am with cruelty than with kindness.”

The dark scenes that plague this novel are intriguing but gruesome, much of it showing how the reality of the Roanoke's past have emotionally destroyed all of the girls. Lane and Allegra are now the remaining heirs of their grandfather and grandmother who have acted as guardians of Allegra after her mother ran away. The girls are known for their similarities in beauty but not in personality, however they both seem to grow closer thanks to the outcry of Allegra's need for attention and a sister who will have her back when there is no one else there for her. As Lane begins to realise the disturbing truth that hides behind the closed doors of the Roanoke mansion, her escape from the madness of her mother's deep depression seems to become more and more of a prison than a safe haven. When she returns to Osage Flats eleven years later, still harbouring the knowledge that she learnt all those years ago, things are strained with her family and the close bonds she developed with Allegra's friends, Tommy and Cooper. With the help of her first love, Cooper, she manages to find the safe haven she longed for and accepts the harsh reality that the Roanoke family will never be as innocent and desirable as what everyone else thinks. The message behind the Roanoke girls' growing madness made me realise how some people do struggle to accept the love they are given and feel that they deserve less than what they're offered when it comes to being happy. Lane goes through a number of gains and losses before she finds the answer to Allegra's disappearance and can start to heal from her past.

“You can't outrun what's inside of you. You can only acknowledge it, work around it, try and turn it into something better. I may not know exactly where I'm headed, but this time I'm choosing my own destiny.”

This book breaks from the typical themes that most books show and I loved that even though the reality of this story was pretty out of the ordinary and scarily real for some people, it committed to being tender to the touch, a great thriller, and overall a gripping read that you all should pick up. I gave The Roanoke Girls a 5 out of 5 stars!


Thank you Hachette NZ for the review copy!
Like and follow their links here:

Official Website: hachette.co.nz

Go add The Roanoke Girls to your Goodreads list HERE

Go buy it on MightyApe with 1 day delivery in New Zealand HERE
Buy it on Book Depository with free shipping world wide HERE
Find it on the Hachette NZ website HERE


Are you suffering with a mental illness such as depression or anxiety? Here are some helpful links from BetterHelp that you can check out and find tips on how to live a happier life:

BetterHelp Advice - Anxiety
BetterHelp Advice - Depression
How To Deal with Depression: Tips, Techniques And Finding the Right Treatment

How Do I Find A Therapist Near Me?



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