Saturday, December 31, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Review




Pottermas 2016 is coming to an end and with the last day of December, Elizabeth from Book YAbber, Marci from The Plot Bunny and I reviewing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child screenplay or Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film. The three of us hope to see the play either in London or in New York City sometime in the future. The play will premiere on Broadway in 2018! SO EXCITING! Catch up on Pottermas 2016 here!



Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Author: J.K Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books (US), Little Brown UK
Publication date: July 31, 2016
Pages: 320

Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Synopsis (from goodreads.com):

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a new play by Jack Thorne, is the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. It will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on 30th July 2016

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes darkness comes from unexpected places.

M Y  T H O U G H T S

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the 8th book in the Harry Potter saga. The only difference is that J.K. Rowling did not write it and it's a screenplay format. Some readers may see this book as a fan fiction which I don't blame them. There are many fanon theories regarding Harry Potter after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out. Because of the gap between Deathly Hallows and The Cursed Child, some fans cannot fathom to agree that what happened in The Cursed Child is now canon.

I too fall under this category. I think because I read so much fan fiction, my brain cannot wrap around that some of the fanon theories are now canon. What did I just read? Although I enjoyed the story very much, I believe the execution of the story is not as strong as Rowling's previous work. However, I understand that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is co-written and in a different format. Rowling gave the approval but the plot line is not her work.

If I didn't read so much fan fiction about Harry Potter and co. after the epilogue, I believe my stance on the book might change slightly. However, some of these theories are insane!!! I am surprised they even became canon! I read countless stories about some of the theories back about when Deathly Hallows came out. Some I deemed could become canon and some are just crackpot theories!

Although, I was wary about the execution and the plot unoriginality, I found the friendship between Albus and Scorpius to be charming. Their strong friendship and it is what helps them survive. Without their friendship, they would not be who they are today. Because they can only rely on each other, their perseverance is on point. There are many returning characters which I cried over. I disliked Harry's character in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. My favorite character is definitely Scorpius. He's so sassy and is definitely up there on my list of favorite Harry Potter characters.

No spoilers here but if you are a Harry Potter fan, it doesn't hurt to read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I believe seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child live might increase your willingness to dive into the screenplay but it's a solid book nevertheless. I cannot wait until Harry Potter and the Cursed Child reaches Broadway in New York City!


Did you read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child? If so, what did you think? Did you love, hate or did you feel indifferent about the book?

Friday, December 30, 2016

Best Reads of 2016

2016 is coming to a close but it's not a bad thing. Before venturing toward 2017, I would love to share some of my favorite books of 2016. We are fortunate enough to have so many wonderful novels being released this year! There are still many novels that I still want to pick up that I haven't yet but I hope that will change soon. If you would like to read my reviews for each book, please click the novel's title. Caraval's review will be up sometime during the first couple weeks of 2017.


1. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi is a stunning and beautifully written fantasy/retelling that you are sure to love! Chokshi's debut is fantastic and I cannot wait for her sophomore novel, A Crown of Wishes, to be published next year.


2. When We Collided by Emery Lord touches upon mental illness, dealing with loss, acceptance, love, family and friendship. This coming-of-age novel is a must read for everyone. The ending is bittersweet but it works very well.


3. Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum is a contemporary that touches on issues such as being the new kid in school, loss of a family member, having a parent remarry and learning what it means to be happy. If you enjoy The Start of Me and You, check out this novel!


4. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch is a contemporary novel set in Florence, Italy. You will fall in love in one of the most romantic places on Earth! This is an excellent read if you like books such as Anna and the French Kiss.


5. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco is a suspenseful debut and will keep you guessing throughout the whole novel about who the murderer is. If you like historical fiction and thrillers, this is a book for you!


6. The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski is the perfect ending to The Winner's Trilogy! I can't say too much about this installment, but if you've read The Winner's Curse and The Winner's Crime, definitely pick up this epic book!


7. Starflight by Melissa Landers is the first book in the Starflight trilogy. If you're a sci-fi and adventure fan, you might want to check out this novel. Also, the companion novel, Starfall, is coming out next year!


8. The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee is a heartfelt contemporary novel with some aspects of magical realism that will capture all of your senses! It's such a cute book and you can't go wrong with mother/daughter bonding and sister/sister bonding. Through some perfumes, flowers and essences, you will be entranced!


9. Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi is a whimsical middle grade novel for fans of Harry Potter and Alice in Wonderland. Furthermore is a coming-of-age story about acceptance, embracing your talents and discovering your deepest desires.


10. How to Hang a Witch by Adrianna Mather is the perfect autumnal read or for those who love anything to do with Salem. It's one part Mean Girls, one part Sleepy Hollow and one part Hocus Pocus.


Bonus (Books coming out in 2017)

11. The Last Harvest by Kim Liggett doesn't release until January but it is definitely on my list of favorite reads of 2016. If you love horror, read this novel!!! The Last Harvest is chilling to the bone and exquisitely twisted! You won't regret it!


12. Caraval by Stephanie Garber is a magical debut novel that lures you in from the first page. This novel doesn't release until 2017 but I had to add this to my best reads of 2016 list. Join Scarlett on an adventure of a life time. After all, it's only a game, right? This novel will suit readers who enjoy The Night Circus, The Crown's Game and The Hunger Games.


What are some of your favorite reads of 2016? Do we share any of the same novels?

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Favorite Harry Potter Quotes and Moments




Elizabeth from Book YAbber, Marci from The Plot Bunny and I are sharing some of our favorite character quotes today. There are many quotes that I adore in the Harry Potter series but for times sake, I only highlighted a handful of favorites. For those who are following Pottermas 2016, make sure to check out the introduction here. Also, follow us with the hashtag #Pottermas16.

Harry Potter Character Quotes

“There are all kinds of courage," said Dumbledore, smiling. "It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

“Books! And cleverness! There are more important things — friendship and bravery and — oh Harry — be careful!” - Hermione Granger

“Honestly, am I the only person who’s ever bothered to read Hogwarts, A History?” - Hermione Granger

“Because that's what Hermione does,” said Ron, shrugging. “When in doubt, go to the library.”

Image from Pinterest
“Ron, just because you have the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn't mean we all have.” - Hermione Granger

“Not my daughter, you bitch!”- Mrs. Weasley

 “We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.” -Albus Dumbledore

Image from Pinterest

“Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.” -Albus Dumbledore

“Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory.” -Albus Dumbledore

“Dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy. But remember this, you have friends here. You're not alone.” - Dumbledore

Image from Pinterest

J.K. Rowling Quotes

“Books are like mirrors: if a fool looks in, you cannot expect a genius to look out.”

“We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already.”

“I don't believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book.”

“Whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.” 


Favorite Harry Potter Moments

When Harry receives his Hogwarts Letter.

When Harry realizes he wasn't the only one that can see Thestrals.

Image from Quora
The Portable Swamp piece that is roped off as tribute to the Weasley Twins in Hogwarts.

When Hermione uses the Time Turner.

Christmas and Halloween at Hogwarts.

Image from metro.co.uk
When Draco mends the broken vanishing cabinet in the Room of Requirement.

The Marauders and the Marauders Map.

Dobby always trying to save Harry's life.

Dumbledore's Army never dies.

Image from Pinterest
Neville Longbottom having the most growth out of any character in the series. He takes on a leader role in Deathly Hallows.

The magic of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley.

And of course everything single thing Luna does and says.


What are some of your favorite quotes and moments in the Harry Potter Wizarding World?

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Yule Ball 2016 Recap

On Sunday, December 18, 2016, I had the pleasure to attend The Yule Ball at the Middle East Downstairs in Cambridge, MA for a night of Wizard Rock which is also known was Wrock. The lineup was fantastic and I had a wonderful time. You can see below for the lineup of the night. I ended up skipping out on Harry & The Potters due to how late the their act was and because I needed to get home at a decent time in order to go to work with enough sleep.

How awesome is this line up?
The Yule Ball is always fantastic and I love how $5 of the admission ticket goes toward the Harry Potter Alliance. The HPA changes the world by making activism accessible through the power of story. They have been around since 2005 and have engaged millions of fans through work for equality, human rights, and literacy though many different projects such Accio Books, Not In Harry's Name and Odds in Our Favor.

Some of my favorites songs of the nights include the following:

Lauren Fairfeather: Lost and Found, And Then I Died (song from when Lauren was in the band Moaning Myrtles), Home and It's Real For Us
Whomping Willow: I Believe in Nargles and In Which Draco and Harry Secretly Want to Make Out

Although I am not a Star Wars fan, Blue Milk Run is definitely band to see! It's my second time seeing them and they are fabulous. Blue Milk Run is a Star Wars fandom band and they are pretty fierce. They are definitely an awesome opener for the Yule Ball.

My favorite act by far was the Potter Pupper Pals. Neil and co. never disappoint and I love seeing their acts live. They are very innovative and he always adds just the right amount of humor.


Potter Puppet Pals hosted a Secret Santa exchange that went terribly wrong. Dumbledore calls everyone in Hogwarts, which to him includes himself, Ron, Harry, Hermione and Snape. He produced a goblet which has names for the Secret Santa exchange. Because Harry got Snape's name after the name drawing, he had an idea to bewitch the goblet for his name to be on all of the pieces of paper. Because the Trio had no money and Harry couldn't loan his own savings to Ron and Hermione due to some investments (his savings and checking accounts were zero), they all decided to get seasonal jobs. Ron of course talked about rubbing spices in meat.

Ron ended up getting a job helping Hagrid chop down trees but it was difficult since Hagrid fell in love with the first tree they saw and didn't want to chop it down. They finally found a tree but Ron was pretty much chopped up with the tree and was sent off to Madam Pomprey's.


Hermione sported a red polo shirt and was employed at the wonderful Target. Snape was a customer there buying some pants and also wanted to get a bar of soap for his Secret Santa. Funny thing is that Snape nicked the soap from the Men's bathroom and wanted Hermione to wrap it. However, Hermione told him she can't gift wrap it because it's still wet.


Harry ended up being an entrepreneur and had opened up his business to make money off of kisses. Hilarious how Ron gifts Harry a present of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them on DVD. Hermione walks in and gifts Harry a copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Harry was not pleased that he wasn't in the Fantastic Beasts movie and he was not happy that he has a child. Hermione realized that Ron also had Harry for the Secret Santa and was questioning about it.


Snape comes in and gives Harry a bar of soap. Harry cries for joy because the Dursley's never gave him a bar of soap and he was the stinky kid. He tells Snape that he had Snape's name but didn't have a gift for him.


When Dumbledore comes around and finds out Harry bewitched the goblet, the Goblet "starts devouring Harry's soul." It was pretty much a prank and it taught Harry a good lesson. Snape said all he wanted for a present is to see Harry pretty much scream in agony. Lol. Also, apparently Dumbledore mentioned how Snape usually wears Khaki pants under his robes.




Check out this video for the opening of the Potter Puppet Pal act. Thank you Imagineeri for the video capture.

A video posted by Eeri (@imagineeri) on

All and all, this year's Yule Ball was fantastic! Thanks everyone for making the annual Yule Ball a success! I always look forward to attending this wonderful event every year.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Favorite Harry Potter Spells

Elizabeth from Book YAbber, Marci from The Plot Bunny and I will be sharing our favorite Harry Potter Spells today. I decided to showcase seven of my favorites because of the significance of seven in the books. Make sure to check out Elizabeth's and Marci's blogs. For those who are following Pottermas 2016, make sure to check out the introduction here. Also, follow us with the hashtag #Pottermas16.


Ascendio is a spell that is used to lift the caster high into the air or propel them to the surface. This is only seen in the movies during the second task of the Triwizard Tournament. 


Gif from harrypotter.wikia.com
Lumos is one of my absolute favorite spells. This spell illuminates tip of your wand creating a light. To extinguish the light, say Nox.

Gif from harrypotter.wikia.com
Evanesco is the spell to make things vanish.This is a complex spell that usually fifth years will practice during Transfiguration class. Students are tested on this spell during their practical for O.W.L.s.

Aparecium is a revealing charm that makes invisible ink or hidden messages appear. Hermione used this spell on Tom Riddle's diary in the Chamber of Secrets.

Image from harrypotter.wikia.com
Dissendium is a spell to reveal hidden passages. It is used when Harry taps the one-eyed witch's hump that near the secret tunnel that leads from Hogwarts to Honeyduke's cellar.

Incendio is a fire making spell. Be careful with this one.

Image from oneclaymore.wordpress.com
Accio is a summoning charm and is quite useful. The fact that Harry was able to summon his Firebolt during the first task of the Triwizard Tournament is impressive because of the distance. This spell is probably one of the most used spells in the Wizarding World.

Gif from harrypotter.wikia.com


What are some of your favorite spells in the Wizarding World?

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Top Ten Harry Potter Gifts I Wouldn't Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree


Since Pottermas is coinciding with Top Ten Tuesday, Elizabeth from Book YAbber, Marci from The Plot Bunny and I decided to combine forces to showcase top ten Harry Potter gifts we wouldn't mind Santa leaving under our trees. Of course I want a Hogwarts letter but I highly doubt I'll get one so these Potters items below are the next best thing! The items below are in no particular order. They also make greats gifts for any Potterhead! For those who are following Pottermas 2016, make sure to check out the introduction here. Also, follow us with the hashtag #Pottermas16.


1. The Case of Beasts: Explore the Film Wizardry of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Mark Salisbury - $45.00
If you've seen Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them in theaters, you will love this very interactive book! It's chockfull of information and images from the film and I love how you can pull out posters, maps and more. This book is probably on of the most put together wizarding film books I have ever seen. I had a chance to flip through this beauty at Barnes & Noble and boy is it stunning!


2. The Art of the Film: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Dermot Power - $50.00
Of course I want to read about the magical film making journey about how Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them the film came to be. The set design and costume design are some of the most magical and it would be wonderful to see the makings of the film behind the scenes. The book has hundreds of production paintings, concept sketches, storyboards, blueprints and matte paintings.


3. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Soundtrack - $11.86
I am in love with the score in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them! It's mesmerizing and probably one of my favorite wizarding world scores. The emotions that run through the music amplifies in my ears and I can clearly picture the scenes from the film in my head.


4. Felix Felicis Mug by Harry Potter Alliance - $13.00
I love mugs and this mug is perfect for any day for some luck! From coffee to tea to even Butterbeer! Cheers! You can never have too many mugs.
5. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: MACUSA Hardcover Ruled Journal by Insight Journals - $19.95
How gorgeous is this journal? MACUSA's emblem logo is embossed in gold foil. This lined notebook would be perfect to jot down notes about future cosplay ideas, Pottermas ideas or anything Harry Potter related.


6. Floo Powder Soy Candle by From The Page - $11.00
I am loving this Harry Potter inspired candle. Callie has some of best Harry Potter soy candles around and this one sounds fantastic. With notes of roaring fire, amber and a hint of clean cotton who doesn't want the ambience of a toasty fire while snuggling under a blanket?


7. Wizard Quibber Editior in Chief Pin by ohsogeeky - $2.00
There is no doubt that I am a huge Luna Lovegood fan so there is no surprise that I love this Quibber pin. Show your pride for the Quibber with this kickass pin!

8. Newt Scamander and Pickett Funko Pop - $12.50
Newt is one of my favorite characters in Fantastic Beasts and I also adore Pickett. I currently own the SDCC version of Newt but I wouldn't mind adding this Pop to my collection! By the way, this is a limited edition Hot Topic Exclusive. Get this Newt Pop soon before he disappears.


9. I Solemnly Swear That I am Up to No Good & Mischief Managed: Marauder's Map Inspired Shot Glass Set by Alder House Market - $18.00
Alder House Market makes some fantastic shot glasses including these wonderful Marauder's Map inspired ones. Definitely check out the other Harry Potter inspired ones such Polyjuice Potion, Obliviate, Deathly Hallows, Felix Felicis and more! You can never have too many Harry Potter glassware items! There are other glassware for other fandoms as well.


10. Harry Potter Horcruxes and Items 11 oz. Mug by GorillaWolf - $15.00
This mug is fantastic adorned with all seven of the Horcruxes and other wizardry items. This is the perfect mug for coffee, tea, hot chocolate or whatever your poison is. Seven cheers for Harry Potter!


BONUS:

11. Harry Potter Soappes by House of Wormwood - $7.00
Sidney creates some of the best cold processed soaps around. I am a big fan of her Harry Potter line as well as her other bath and body products such as spritzers. 3 Blondes is my absolute favorite soap by House of Wormwood. If you like Tobacco Flower, Black Tea, & Honey, you will LOVE 3 Blondes! Follow the House of Wormwood Facebook page here.



What do you hope Santa will bring you this year? Leave your comments below.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Harry Potter Owl Melt and Pour Soaps, A Craft Tutorial

Elizabeth from Book YAbber, Marci from The Plot Bunny and I will be sharing some fun Harry Potter related crafts today. Each of us will be showcasing a different craft so make sure you check Elizabeth's and Marci's blogs! For those who are following Pottermas 2016, make sure to check out the introduction here. Also, follow us with the hashtag #Pottermas16.

I recently bought supplies for soap making and found out it's very easy to make your own melt and pour soaps. Melt and pour soaps are very easy to make and is very customizable. If you prefer a different soap base, soap mold or fragrance, please feel free to substitute. This is a wonderful activity to do with younger ones with supervision of course. The soaps make fantastic gifts as well!


OWL MELT AND POUR SOAPS

(yields 4 soap bars)

Ingredients

1 lb of Shea soap base (I used detergent free shea soap base)
Butterscotch fragrance oil
Plastic pipettes
Milky Way owl soap mold
Pyrex measuring cup or glass bowl/cup
Plastic Spoon
Cutting board
Knife
Little spray bottle with 99% isopropyl alcohol aka rubbing alcohol (optional)
Colorants (optional)

Many soap ingredients can be found on Wholesale Supplies PlusBramble Berry Soap Making Supplies and Amazon. Please use quality soap base and fragrance. When choosing fragrance oil and/or colorants, please make sure are skin safe to use in soap. Some fragrances and/or colorants are for candles only and you definitely want to avoid ones that aren't skin safe.

Instructions 

1. Cut 1 lb of Shea soap base into small 1 inch squares or smaller.

2. Fill up the measuring cup with half  (8 oz.) of the chopped up squares and place into the microwave. You can heat up the soap base in 10 second intervals until the soap melts completely, stirring occasionally. Please be careful of melted soap. It will be very hot. 

4. Add about .16 oz to .22 oz of butterscotch fragrance with a plastic pipette to the glass measuring cup. Stir mixture slowly with the plastic spoon. You can add colorant at this time if you wish.

Please do not add more than .22 oz of fragrance oil per 8 oz of soap base. Adding more fragrance oil will irritate your skin. As a reference, do not add more than 3% of fragrance oil compared to the soap base. If you want a medium scent throw, chose .16 oz and for a stronger scent throw, please choose .22 oz. The butterscotch fragrance oil smells divine!

4. Carefully pour the liquid soap into two of the molds. Each mold should hold approximately 4 oz. You can spritz the tops of the soaps with the rubbing alcohol to prevent bubbles forming.

5. Let the soaps sit in a dry area and let them completely harden before popping them out of the molds. I let the soaps sit for a couple of hours to make sure they are completely hardened.


6. You can repeat steps 2 to 5 to fill up the other mold cavities when the other two soaps are completely hardened. Unfortunately this mold comes only with 3 cavities and not 4 but I love the owl design. You can always buy multiple molds to speed up the soap making process if you plan to make multiple bars.

However, fill free to use other molds of different designs and sizes. Just take in consideration of how many cavities there are and how much each cavity holds to figure how much soap base mixture to melt in one go.


Note: White soap will turn slightly brownish (as seen in the first photo) after a few weeks of aging. The vanilla in the butterscotch fragrance cause the color change. Scent should still be the same.


Have you made melt and pour soaps before? If not, would you like to?