Harry Potter and The Cursed Child – Parts 1 & 2 – Jack Thorne, J.K. Rowling, and John Tiffany


Source: Goodreads

Albus Severus Potter has just started at Hogwarts and is really feeling the length of Harry Potter’s shadow. Faced with never living up to his father’s legacy, he ignores his cousin’s advice and befriends Scorpius Malfoy, around whom many rumors swirl.

Harry James Potter, 19 years after the battle of Hogwarts, is still adjusting to his job at the Ministry of Magic, and learning through trial and error how to be a good father to James, Albus, and Lily when he has few father figures to look up to.

After much magical mayhem, it is up to our heroes to return the world to rights and hopefully live to see another day.

From the beginning, I was extremely scared to read this book. I know J.K. Rowling helped idealize the original story, and was on hand to keep things from getting crazy, but this play was not really built by Jo, and therefore, I was scared. It happens. I actually made my brother read it when I first got it just so I could make sure it wouldn’t ruin my life forever. He read it in two days and assured me I wasn’t walking into a trap. So I read it, even though I felt as if I was going to have a heart attack just thinking about it. I just want you to know, I was wrong, and it’s great. But let me start at the beginning.

It’s been a long journey here. I just finished rereading the original seven books for the first time since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out in 2007. It was rough, and I relived all of the deaths and the hopes and dreams of the millions of people who’ve read and loved this series. When I closed the last book, I picked up this one almost immediately. I’ve had it on standby since it came out.

The first act was rough. Extremely rough. It picks up at the same place the epilogue to Deathly Hallows does, but it changes some of the wording, which rather annoyed me. Beyond that, in the first act, no one felt like themselves. It was all a bit uncomfortable, as if new people were stepping into the skins of our beloved characters and had to stretch them out to make them fit more comfortably. Thankfully everyone became much more themselves in the following three acts. A bit of warning, though, don’t stop reading at the end of the first act. I was actually so pissed off at what was happening that I put the book down for nearly a MONTH, and I almost didn’t pick it back up again. But I am so glad that I did.

Act two was much better, and everyone started acting normally again. Huzzah! I started to see where the storyline was going, and everything became significantly less cringe-worthy. Also, the cliffhanger is pretty marvelous. I did not expect this play to get that colorful, but this…this is some great stuff right here. And the fact that Part One ends there, and if you didn’t buy tickets for Part Two you are just screwed is just bloody brilliant on Jack’s part. (Can I get a round of applause for Jack Thorne please?)

Act three. We pick up a few days after the end of act two, and it’s still pretty awesome. The plot twists! SO FREAKING AMAZING. Somehow, I did not see it coming. I’m an idiot sometimes. I had to stop at the end of act three because I was babysitting and the baby woke up, but I was dying to read act four.

Seriously, act four was super action packed, and super heartfelt, and just ALL OF THE FEELINGS. So, SO good. Did I mention how glad I am that I picked this up again? I was so beyond worried that everyone was going to stay wonky that I didn’t want to finish it and then they all went and became awesome and saved the world again. However, I’m still not 100% sure who the cursed child is supposed to be, nor do I completely understand how the cover art plays into the storyline. But who cares, it’s magical and intriguing and exactly what I should have expected from J.K. Rowling. I am sorry I ever doubted you, Joanne. It won’t happen again.

If act one hadn’t been so weird, I would probably give this book 4 stars, but alas, act one kind of, well, it sucked. The other three acts more than make up for it, though, so I tried not to penalize it too badly. Also, and I understand it would have been way too much work to include them all, but I really missed many of my favorite secondary characters, and I wanted to know more about Ginny’s life outside of being a wife and mother. So, no five stars for you. Sorry.

HHC Rating: 3 Stars

Other reviews in this series:
Book #1 – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Book #2 – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Book #3 – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Book #4 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Book #5 – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Book #6 – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Book #7 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Fantastic Beasts #1 – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7) – J.K. Rowling


Source: Goodreads

Harry James Potter is about to turn 17. He’ll finally be a full-fledged wizard, legally allowed to cast spells outside of school. He’s also leaving home for the last time. The magic that protects him at the Dursley’s ends the night of his birthday, and he’ll be free game for any dark wizards who wish him harm. With a whole list of things to do before he can even attempt to face-off with Lord Voldemort and stand a chance of surviving, Harry will make some of the toughest choices of his life.

This book. THIS BOOK. Oh my goodness. When I first read it (9 years ago) in 2007, it was July, and I had just finished my freshman year of high school. We always pre-ordered the Harry Potter books because if you didn’t it was sold out for like a month, and by then everyone had already told you what had happened. So, on the morning of July 21st (or it might even have been the 20th. They sometimes delivered a day early back then because there were just too many copies that had to be shipped out.) it just happened that no one was around except me when the UPS man arrived. I took the package and sprinted up to my room, where I closed the door, tore the book out of the box and immediately started reading. I didn’t even bother telling anyone it had come, because when the previous book arrived my mom and brother had started trading it back and forth to read it, and I had had to wait through an entire agonizing week of listening to them talk about it before I was allowed to read it. Their reasoning was that I read too slowly. So this was a combination of excitement, straight up selfishness, and maybe even a wish for revenge.

I hid the book under my pillows whenever anyone came into my room (thank goodness they always knocked so I had time to hide it), and I only left to use the bathroom or attend meals. It was summer. I didn’t have responsibilities. In the end, it took me about 36 hours to read the entire 759-page novel, and I don’t think I slept more than 3-4 hours. It was worth it. Not just because I loved the book, but also because the look on my brother’s face when I knocked on his bedroom door and handed him the book whilst saying, “Here you go, I just finished it.” when he didn’t even know it had arrived yet was PRICELESS.

Of course, I’ll have to argue about whether I read the whole book in 36 hours or not for the entire rest of my life, but who cares. I know I  did it, and that’s all that matters. And they thought I read too slowly. HA!

So, clearly, you can see how much I love this series. The first book came out in 1998 in the U.S.A., when I was just 6 years old, and my mom read them to us the next year, so we read books 1 & 2 back-to-back before eagerly awaiting the publication of book 3. For all intents and purposes, I learned to read with the Harry Potter books. Those 10 years of my life were incredibly magical because of them, and don’t even get me started on going to see the films. I was that child that immediately poked holes in all of the book/film differences the second we left the theater, to the point where my family banned me from speaking for the entire rest of the day after we saw the last three movies. I’m a pretty diehard fan.

Rereading this series has been pretty magical, too. There’s nothing like reading it for the first time, not knowing what’s coming, but reading it a second time is pretty amazingly wonderful also. I really appreciate all of the secondary characters a lot more now. Everyone is human to me, even Hannah Abbot who we hear about a total of maybe three times in the whole series. When I first read the books, and the films came out, I desperately wanted to be Hermione. To the point where I wanted to hate Emma Watson for getting the part, even though I was only 8 when the casting happened and was too young (and not anywhere near British enough) to try out. Hermione was smart, she was pretty (but not too pretty), and she had great friends. During my reread, though, I found that I identified a lot less with Hermione, and a lot more with Ginny. She’s quiet, she’s fierce, she’s determined, and yet she can still be silly in love sometimes, like when she sent Harry the singing valentine in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Her peaceful courage and undying loyalty are two of my favorite things about her, and I identify so hard with that. I’m even considering dying my hair red, though not exclusively because of my admiration for Ginevra Molly Weasley. I’ve been thinking about it a lot longer than I’ve been rereading the series.

Still, reading the first 300 pages of this book was agony. And trying to stop reading it is like wearing a Horcurx, or asking a dementor to please follow you around every second of the day while you wait to find out the fates of your favorite characters. It feels like there’s not a whole lot going on, and in the movie it doesn’t look like there’s a whole lot happening, but it is. Inside of you, the reader, and inside the characters. Everyone is rising to the challenge, marking off their to-do lists and gearing up for war. All 759 pages are needed because that’s how long it takes for you to be ready to fight the ultimate evil that is Lord Voldemort. That’s how long it takes for your courage to rise to the top, to stamp down your fears, and face the true evil head-on. And after countless deaths that you can still feel, echoing through the years, you are finally prepared for your destiny.

“That which Voldemort does not value, he takes no trouble to comprehend. Of house-elves and children’s tales, of love, loyalty, and innocence, Voldemort knows and understands nothing. Nothing. That they all have a power beyond his own, a power beyond the reach of any magic, is a truth he has never grasped.” pgs. 709-710 (US 2007 Edition)

So, yes. This book is wonderful, amazing, magical… everything you hoped and wished the final Harry Potter book would be. It is also heart-tearing, gut-wrenching, and exhaustingly sad, yet somehow we still love to read it.  This book, I am convinced, is why the series is so beloved to this day. Also, I blew off NaNoWriMo for a day in order to read the last 459 pages because I couldn’t take the waiting any longer. It was worth it.

HHC Rating: 5 stars

Other reviews in this series:
Book #1 – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Book #2 – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Book #3 – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Book #4 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Book #5 – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Book #6 – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

The Cursed Child – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Fantastic Beasts #1 – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay

November Update – 2016 Goals Check-In


Well, I can’t say the past two weeks have really flown by, but neither can I say they crawled. They seemed a mix of endless days and quick parts. I am now mostly settled into my new residence in Boston. In case you’ve missed the past two updates, I’m living with my aunt and uncle and watching my baby cousin during the day because they needed to go back to work.

Thus far, I love it. In fact, today might be the first day of real rain we’ve had since I arrived, and I find that I don’t mind it at all. The sound is actually pretty soothing as I write. I’ll be sharing a post about my adventures in the city probably sometime next week.

Watching the monkey, aka my cousin (who like myself and my uncle were born in the Year of the Monkey!) is actually pretty fun, though mostly only because I’m not on night duty, so I start each day with enough sleep and energy to keep up with him. It’s interesting to watch him develop and learn new things. So far, I’ve taught him how to do raspberries… which may have backfired in the form of me getting spit on every time we feed him solids. Oops. My Bad. But it is adorable to hear him practicing though the baby monitor when he first wakes up from a nap.

We celebrated my grandmother’s 80th birthday at the beginning of the month! She’s one of my favorite people in the world, and while my mom and I couldn’t attend the actual party, we both drove to Connecticut (my mom from NJ, I from Boston) and had our own party the next weekend. Any time I can spend with her is always well spent.

I’m headed to my parents this weekend for the first time since the move! Sometimes it’s weird to think that I don’t live there anymore, but to me it will always be home, whether I’m at college, living with my aunt and uncle, or living on my own. I’ll be home for a whole week, and I’m excited to get some quality family time in, as well as some quality writing time. NaNoWriMo is hard work! Hopefully, I’ll be able to pop down to the bridal shop to visit my old co-workers as well!

So far this month, I think I’m doing pretty okay with my goals. Let’s check them out:

TOTY 24 Goals:
Write Every Day – Almost! I’ve missed a total of three days, and I half-assed it for two more. So, I’ve basically written 10 of the first 14 days. Two-thirds isn’t bad, though!! I’m only down ~5,000 words from where I’m supposed to be word count wise for the month.

Apply to Full Time Jobs – COMPLETED!

Apply to Grad School – After attending the open house at Emerson, I really like their program. AND I found out that I don’t have to take the GRE! So, come December when NaNoWriMo ends, I can start on the essays, brushing up my professional/academic resume and speaking with contacts about recommendation letters.

November Goals:
Write 50,000 words of the Everest Chronicles – I’ve just crossed 20,000 words yesterday! I’m on track for 40,000, but I’m still hoping to hit that goal of 50k! See my NaNoWriMo weekly updates for more information. Links will go live with the posts.
NaNo Prep
Week One (1-7)
Week Two (8-15)
Week Three (15-21)
Week Four (22-30) + Wrap Up

Write 8 posts – This is number 3? I think? I have the first two weeks of NaNoWriMo updates posted already, and there should be 2-3 more of those, as well as 1-3 posts pertaining to my exploration of Boston. So far it is much smaller than I expected.

Walk 30 miles – Being in a new city means there are endless things for me to explore! I use a step counter app on my phone, and so far I’ve walked ~22 miles! It’s not much, but I’m getting there!

Read 5 books – So Far: 1. As in, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It took me a while, as you can see. And yet,  it was the first 300 or so pages that took me the longest to read. I spent them curled up in the fetal position, waiting for the pain to start, rather than tearing through the plot like people sometimes rip off band-aids. I knew what was going to happen. I’ve read the book before. And yet… and yet trying to stop while you read that book is like wearing the Horcrux too long, or asking a dementor to please follow you around every minute of the day while you wait in agony to find out the fate of your favorite characters. Let’s just say there is a reason I finished the novel in 36 hours when it first came out. And yes, I still cry for every death, and yes, the first time I read about THE DEATH, I threw the whole book against the wall. Or, well, I would have, but at the last minute I aimed for my pillows because I had signed for the book when it came and hadn’t told the rest of my family it had arrived yet, and therefore didn’t want them coming in to find out what the noise was. I felt that I deserved to read it first after having to wait a solid week when Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince came out before I could pry it away from my mother and my brother, who quite literally just passed it back and forth 24/7 until they finished it. Apparently, they thought I read too slowly.

I started Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, but that’s a whole other story I don’t need to get into right now. Basically, I had to stop because it was distracting me from NaNoWriMo. My brain simply could not process new Harry Potter information while trying to live in the made up world that I’m writing about.

I have a list of other books I want to read this month, but I have no idea how far I’m going to get with them, especially since I’m already behind on NaNoWriMo after spending two days travelling for my grandma’s birthday and another day that was devoted simply to reading the last 500 pages of Deathly Hallows. Not sorry about it. Not at all.

Updated November TBR:
Definitely Reading:
Harry Potter (7): Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Completed
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – 25% finished
FB&WTFT (1): Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Still on Pre-Order
Big Magic – Just started
2016 Best American Travel Writing – This is my read-on-the-train book. Quite good so far!
Ebenezer Scrooge Mysteries (1): The Humbug Murders

Hopefully Reading:
You Are A Badass
Present Over Perfect
Pretty Happy

December TBR:
Definitely Reading:
The Boston Girl
The Keepers (1): A Wizard Named Nell
Lois Lane (1): Fallout
TH&TC (1): The Hammer and the Cross
TH&TC (2): One King’s Way

Hopefully Reading:
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Manage Your Day-To-Day
Explorer’s Guild G (1): A Passage to Shambala (~300 pages left!)

NaNoWriMo Update #2 – Week of November 8-15

writin-edmund-narnia-1Source: Pinterest

Ok, so I’m separating the month into weeklong chunks rather than actually adhering to the conventional ‘week’, but who cares. This week was all about getting back to where I needed to be. Annnnd then the U.S. Presidential Election happened and I needed a minute. And then Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows was begging me to finish it. Also, the combination of those two was not pretty. I had actual nightmares where I went for a walk or a drive and ended up on a hill watching whatever town was below me being bombed. It was awful.

So, I’m not back to where I should be word count wise. In fact, I’m just about 5,000 words behind (mostly because I haven’t written yet today, but I’m about to as soon as I’m done here). We’re supposed to be hitting 25,000 today and I just crossed the 20,000 word count threshold yesterday. Still, I’ve gotten significantly farther than I did last year, so I’m not too mad about it all. However, I am going to keep this short and get right to it.

This week I finished that awful scene I was writing and moved on to the third character… where I’ve been ever since. Clearly, I’m eventually going to have to cut back huge chunks of this section since it’s already 9,500 words and will probably be closer to 13-14,000 by the time I hit the character change. I didn’t realize I had this much to say about this character, but somehow she suddenly became much more complex than I thought she was. Surprise, surprise. I think that’s my favorite part about NaNoWriMo so far, actually, just writing and seeing what happens to the characters. I don’t always know what they’re going to say or do before they do it. I just know that they have to get from point A to point B and a few people have specific things they need to do or say along the way, but a lot of it is just kind of happening, and that’s really exciting. Add this character’s complexity to the fact that she’s actually interacting with people (whereas the first two have barely spoken to anyone beyond themselves so far), and you can see how what was supposed to be a short chapter has ballooned into half of my current manuscript. Oops. Anyways, onward and upward!

And now let’s look at the notes I made this week along with my actual word counts:

(DAY) # – WORD COUNT GOAL / WORD COUNT ACTUAL (Daily Total) (+ Ahead/- Behind)

(Monday) End of Day 7 Total – 11666/9444 (2134) (-2222)
(Tuesday) Day 8 – 13333/11848 (2404) (-1485)
Not bad! Catching up! That makes two 2000 words days in a row!
(Wednesday) Day 9 – 15000/11856 (8) (-3144)
That’s right. I wrote 8 words. I think we can all understand that I was exhausted, etc. after staying up to watch the U.S. Presidential Election results. I shouldn’t have done it, but I couldn’t sleep.
(Thursday) Day 10 – 16666/12575 (719) (-4091)
I’m still exhausted, and I need to finish Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It’s haunting me and hanging over my head, and I just need to finish the last 500 pages because I can’t think about anything else. Also, my review of it is scheduled to go up in 2 weeks, so I kind of have to finish it. Also Also, I really want to finish it as well as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child before my copy of the screenplay of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them gets here next week. This problem has quickly spiraled out of control, as you can see. But I’m trying to write. I am.
(Friday) Day 11 – 18333/12575 (0) (-5758)
I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. #NotSorry
(Saturday) Day 12 – 20000/14619 (2044) (-5381)
Feeling supremely unmotivated.  I started Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and it’s thrown me for a loop. Trying to get off this ride and back on to my own, thank you very much, so I can write. Broke down and opened up my copy of 300 Writing Prompts to get the ideas flowing. That sent me off on a tangent of looking at baby names, which eventually led to my breaking down and watching a movie (Love, Rosie), which made me bawl my eyes out, but ultimately kicked me off the Harry Potter ride and allowed me to jump back into my writing and actually do some quality work.
(Sunday) Day 13 – 21666/17873 (3254) (-3793)
Attended a write in! Whoopie! Also my biggest writing day to date!
(Monday) Day 14 – 23333/20078 (2205) (-3255)
Finally broke 20,000! SO EXCITED!

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6) – J.K. Rowling


Source: Goodreads

Strange things are happening, and they are no longer confined to the wizarding world. Bridges less than 10 years old collapsing in the middle of rush hour, hurricanes that never appeared on the forecast tearing apart communities, gruesome, grisly murders. Amidst all of the chaos, Harry Potter is headed back to Hogwarts for his sixth year. With stories about a prophecy concerning Harry and his parents’ killer circulating the school, Harry has a lot to prove. Newly reinstated to the Gryffindor Quidditch team, he would love nothing more than to have a normal year; but with every overheard conversation, every accident, and every potion he brews, Harry knows that this school year will be anything but normal.

After all the whining that goes on in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, this book is like a gasp of fresh air. It moves through the story well, character communication is good, Harry stops doing stupid shit stuff. Sure, there’s a lot of dating/ feeeeeelings going on, but rather than allow them to slosh all over the work of pure art that is this plot, Rowling offers these romances as a tasty side, occasionally even a foil to the storyline.

I must say, I love the fact that we don’t get to Harry until chapter three. And the way the secondary character storylines are woven in, Bill, Fleur, Tonks, Lupin, Malfoy, Snape, Dumbledore, Slughorn, Hagrid, Dobby, Kreacher, etc… I could go on all day. It is ruddy perfect is what it is. Even Percy the prat.

Like the fifth book, everyone grows so much. The character development is off the charts. Maturity shows itself in everything they do, and everyone gets there at their own pace. Every character is such an individual that it often occurs to me when I’m reading these books that J.K. rowling must have had some magical help because it’s just too amazing for words.

It would be too easy to spoil this book by attempting to talk about any particular scenes, so I will leave with a quote:

“He will only be gone from the school when none here are loyal to him,” said Harry, smiling in spite of himself.

Obviously, this is a big favorite and I highly recommend it. I’m sincerely upset that I only have one book left to read, and I am so thankful that I get to read Harry Potter and The Cursed Child right after it, but then, once again, I’ll be at the end.

HHC Rating: 5 Stars

Other reviews in this series:
Book #1 – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Book #2 – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Book #3 – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Book #4 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Book #5 – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Book #7 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The Cursed Child – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Fantastic Beasts #1 – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay

October Update – 2016 Goals Check-in



This month felt like a solid decade.  I meant to write this post like I did the others, around the middle of the month, but I found I was just too emotional to do it justice. Packing for the move, finishing my last couple weeks at the bridal shop, prepping for NaNoWriMo, there was a lot more going on than I was ready for.

The month started out with me realizing that I actually was moving. I’d been discussing the idea with my aunt and uncle for so long that it seemed like it would never happen. Being a pro at packing because I’ve basically lived out of a suitcase for the last 10 months when I was staying with Big Red, I kept feeling like I was missing things, but for the most part I wasn’t. The only things I forgot in the move were soap, my razor, tape for my posters, my yoga mat, and my desk chair that didn’t fit in my car anyway. Otherwise, my entire life fit in my little blue Prius. It’s a weird feeling when you realize that your life can fit in your car. Very scary and yet freeing as well. I plan to go out and purchase a bookcase for my room since I brought about 25 books with me, plus all of my writing notebooks. I know. I brought books with me. But I only brought the ones I plan on reading before I visit my parents again since I really don’t have space here to store all of my books. It hurts, not having all of my books in one place. #BookishProblems

I attended homecoming at my alma mater, East Stroudsburg University in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, on the 15th. My friends Jordan, Connor, and I revived our radio show The SoundWave for the day, which was fantastic. Then we wandered around campus and grabbed a bite to eat downtown. It’s one of the best feelings, returning to a place that brought you so much joy and taught you so much about life. ESU and WESS 90.3 FM are a couple of those places for me.

Hanging out with my local friends one last time before I made the move was hard. I know I’ll see them during holidays and everything, but with everyone basically out of college now and working, it’s difficult to make time to see each other, especially during this time of year. I’m so thankful they were all able to take the time out of their busy schedules to see me before I moved.

The hardest part of making this move was leaving the bridal shop. The last 10 months there have taught me an extraordinary amount of things. My customer service skills have increased tenfold. My understanding of logistics and conversion rates, and sales in general, has improved astronomically. I now know the difference between the colors Guava, Punch, and Coral, Blush, Bellini, and Petal, Pool, Malibu, Spa, Oasis, and Capri, and Portobello, Mystic, Mercury, and Pewter, something I never thought would be relevant to my life, but now seems indispensable. The ladies I worked with showed me new points of view to just about every aspect of life, and I made some friends there that I will never find the likes of anywhere else. I truly hope I never lose touch with them. Working at that bridal shop has been one of the best choices I’ve ever made, and I will never, ever, regret it.

Still, making this move, I think, was the right choice too. I’ve always been one to explore new things and love new experiences, and so far I’m loving my new city. Boston feels pretty homey. My arrival here wasn’t full of hoopla or craziness. Walking the streets, even for the first time, feels like greeting an old friend I haven’t seen in years. Yesterday I overheard two girls talking about their new favorite word, ken, which comes from Gaelic and means to know. I’ve always liked that word, and I find that I like it when other people have really crazy intelligent conversations just walking down the street. Living near Harvard has its perks. I passed a group of stay-at-home-parents the other day, and two stay-at-home-dads at the back of the pack were discussing toxicology. How neat is that?


Source: MemeGenerator


Let’s take a look at how I did on my goals. I’m sure it’s atrocious.

TOTY 24 Goals:
Write Every Day – This didn’t happen, again. But I’m getting better! I actually had a dream Thursday night that turned into 3,000 words of a new story, so there’s that. Unfortunately, I spent the majority of the month packing all my stuff and working, so I didn’t have a lot of  free time to locate my notebook and get some writing done. I did, however, do a lot of organizing of my background material for my novel. This will hopefully help me not get distracted when I attempt NaNoWriMo next month.

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, which is a project that people sign up for, where the goal is to write 50,000 words of a story during the month of November. why November, nobody knows, especially since we have Thanksgiving in there and everything. It’s exhausting. I attempted it last year when Iw s taking a break from my main storyline and working on a spin-off, but I only got 4-5,000 words into it because I kept getting lost in my background information. This year I’m hoping to tackle a full draft of my main story, so it’s going to be an interesting ride!

Apply to Full Time Jobs – I think I’ve succeeded for the year with this one! As I mentioned before, I’ve moved to Boston, MA to nanny full time for my baby cousin. He turned 7 months old on Saturday! I’m beyond excited, and so far I’m enjoying myself. I’m only a week in, and while my muscles are tired and I’m actually really, really exhausted, I absolutely love it. And I’m getting more writing done than ever before because nap times are a wonderful thing. So, check getting a full time off the list for this year!

Apply to Grad School – I’m going to the graduate open house at Emerson this weekend! But I haven’t done any GRE prepping yet beyond buying a GRE prep book…

If I like the school on Saturday, I’ll start prepping on Monday. I know it’s going to be hard. Supposedly the math portion goes up through Calculus?? 😦  but I’ll survive. I do still have to look into where/when the test is being offered in/around Boston, and I’ll need to contact professors to ask for recommendation letters, but there’s no point in jumping the gun if I end up not liking the school, is there?


October Goals:
Read 7 books – Ha. Ha. Ha. With all the packing, I finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at the beginning of the month, attempted reading A Passage to Shambhala and gave up after 2 weeks and getting nowhere after 400 pages, and I just finished Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which I read this week during, you guessed it, nap time. So that brings the total up to two? and a half? maybe one and a half? It all depends on whether you count Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix as this month or last month because of when I read the majority of it vs. when I finished it.

Exercise – Does walking 4 miles round trip to visit a bookstore yesterday count?  I hit 10,000 steps for the first time in ages. It seriously only used to happen when I went to NYC like once a year.

Write 5 posts – I wrote my moving info post on October 1st, and I haven’t posted since. Oops! Well, here is number two, and my NaNoWriMo prep post should be up tomorrow. So that makes three! Next month you’ll mostly be getting my weekly NaNo updates, as well as a post or two about exploring my new city, and of course the monthly update, so you can look forward to 6-8 posts next month at minimum because let’s be honest, I’m probably going to gush about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them when it hits theaters in two weeks as well.

Write 10,000 words – Well, if we count the dream I had that turned into ~3000 words of a new story, I wrote a total of 5,519 words this month. which isn’t bad, but it’s nothing close the the 50,000 that I’ve signed up to write next month as part of NaNoWriMo. And a lot of it went towards that new story, which doesn’t help me in the long run with working on my main novel.

Move to Boston – Now this, I succeeded at. I’m currently writing from my desk in my new room. It’s in the attic, so I think I’m going to call this place the Aerie. It feels fitting. My desk chair only arrived yesterday, so I’m very excited. I’m headed to Target tomorrow to buy a bulletin board. I thought I could live without one, but my desk is kind of small and I am in desperate need of space for NaNoWriMo notes, so to the store I go!

Write 14 book reviews – This one was heavily dependent on me reading all seven books on my TBR list, and since that included the last three big Harry Potter books, A Passage to Shambhala, and Moby Dick, I’m not really that surprised that I got nowhere near this goal. I have written 5 reviews so far, and I’m halfway through a sixth. I’m hoping to finish the sixth and complete another one tomorrow before the month ends, bringing my total up to seven. Also, in case you were wondering, Moby Dick has been tabled until further notice, because I can only have one massive and boring book in my TBR pile at a time, and A Passage to Shambhala has usurped that position.

November TBR:
Will Definitely Be Reading:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (the screenplay, which I have on pre-order)

Might Be Reading:
A Passage to Shambhala (~300 pages left to go!) – Jon Baird and Kevin Costner
Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
You Are A Badass – Jen Sincero
Thrive – Arianna Huffington
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Marie Kondo
Present Over Perfect – Shauna Niequist
Manage Your Day-To-Day – Jocelyn K. Glei

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5) – J.K. Rowling


Source: Goodreads

Frustrated and lonely, Harry is stuck at number four, Privet Drive, for yet another summer. Making matters worse is the lack of news from the wizarding community. The Ministry of Magic and The Daily Prophet are refusing to allow the truth to be printed, the magical world is completely in the dark. Worst of all, Harry faces potential expulsion even before the school year begins. With the Dark Lord back on the loose and a scary new Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher watching their every move, it might just be time for the students of Hogwarts to take their futures into their own hands.

This fifth story in the Harry Potter series is a tough one to get through. At 870 pages, it’s the longest book, and the first 100-150 pages move as slow as molasses. Even worse, just about every character (except Hermione, who accomplished this feat in book four without much fuss) hits puberty. Harry becomes whiny, Ron sulks a lot, and Ginny starts dating. Of course, all of the adults continue to treat them like children and hoard information from them, with naturally disastrous consequences.

On the bright side, this book introduces what I like to call the silver trio. Much like Harry, Ron, and Hermione are often referred to as the golden trio, Ginny, Neville, and Luna quickly spring to mind as a second grouping, which I like to call the silver trio. Ginny finally becomes a real person in this book, as does Neville and many of the other secondary characters. Luna  Lovegood, aside from a brief mention of her family near the start of the fourth book, is really introduced here.  Luna, in a way that only Luna could possibly do, quickly becomes near-central to the main storyline. It always surprises me how seamlessly J.K. Rowling weaves Luna into the story, with her odd habits and strong opinions. Luna, so shamelessly herself, is easily one of my favorite characters of the books, and we don’t even meet her until more than halfway through the series!

While it is widely acknowledged that this book is really too long to be its best, it is difficult to find things that could be cut out. The only possibilities would be the cleaning scenes and the emotional roller coaster that is Harry’s thoughts in this book. However since these things really make up most of the story and establish multiple relationships that are important later on, they really have to be left in.

The new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher is a nightmare. I actually had a teacher in highschool who closely resembled her in not just looks, and we subsequently warned anyone who would listen about “Umbridge”. I actually had an underclassman insist that I was wrong for an entire year because they were convinced another teacher should have the title. The next year they had a class with the real “Umbridge” and promptly apologized for doubting me. I am aggressively not sorry we gave her that nickname.

Personal stories aside, this book, although seriously massive and slow except for the last 100 pages, was pretty great. The character development is so on point it’s almost painful (because puberty). Everyone becomes so much more complex in this book and it’s wonderful. Definitely recommend.

HHC Rating: 4 Stars

Other reviews in this series:
Book #1 – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Book #2 – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Book #3 – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Book #4 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Book #6 – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Book #7 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The Cursed Child – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Fantastic Beasts #1 – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay

Let’s Talk Patronuses

Pottermore, that wonderful place built in the name of J.K. Rowling for all of the Harry Potter fans out there, launched it’s Patronus quiz today! As it firmly states that the quiz may only be taken once, I naturally took it six times, as I did with the Sorting Hat Quizzes.

Pottermore seems to be only sharing what a general Patronus is, rather than background on the what the specific conjurings mean (if they mean anything), so here are my results along with what I’ve found out about each of them, and the symbolism regarding each of the animals I was assigned to better understand how they might possibly represent me as my Patronus.

First of all, each Patronus was different. I had no doubles. Part of that is because the quiz doesn’t always ask the same questions, and part of that is because the whole thing is timed, so if you do get a question you’ve already seen it takes less time to answer it than it did when you had to read the question through. Unless you’re a robot and you got exactly the same questions, I don’t believe there is a way to get the same Patronus twice.

Second of all, any sites I used for researching this post will be linked at the bottom. Photo links are located below each picture for easy sourcing.

Now, on to the Patronuses! 🙂

Source: Britannica

1. The Stoat
Also known as an Ermine, in the winter its coat turns completely white. Related to the weasel, marten, fisher, and otter.

The stoat has a vast range, seen everywhere from North America to across Eurasia. You could call them global citizens. They symbolize royalty, purity, and strong morals mostly. There’s a myth about a queen in Brittany who was hunting a stoat and when they reached a mud pit, rather than cross it and ruin its fur, the stoat turned to fight in the face of certain death. The queen was so inspired by the animal that she kept it as a pet and made it the symbol of the royal family, their motto being ‘death over defilement’, meaning something along the lines of they would die before they would lower their standards, besmirch their good name, etc.

The stoat also symbolizes the spiritual journey to enlightenment; something or someone who has gone through all 4 spiritual seasons, including a dark night of the soul and being born again into a new dawn.


Ragdoll Source: Kids Britannica                 Ocicat Source: Kids Britannica

2. The Cat(s)
General Cat Symbolism
There is no specific symbolism for either the Ragdoll or the Ocicat, probably because they’re both specific breeds and symbolism tends to a generalized study. Cats are known to symbolize a bridge to the spirit world, communication, unpredictability, independence, and creativity.

a) Ragdoll Cat
The Ragdoll cat is a long haired domestic cat with blue eyes and mostly white fur except for bits of brown, especially on its face and paws. It loves people and tends to follow them about doglike. It loves to be picked up and gets its name from the way it goes limp when you do pick it up.

b) Ocicat
The Ocicat is a fairly new breed of domestic cat that looks like a tiny cheetah. They are known for being extremely sociable, affectionate, and intelligent.

Source: Britannica

4. The Black Swan
Much of the symbolism for black swans is the same as your average white swan, but there is a myth about how it got its dark color.

The story goes that in the aboriginal tribes of Australia, there were only a couple of women who knew the secret to making boomerangs. A group of men decided to steal the boomerangs, and to distract the women two of the men decide to turn themselves into swans and land on the nearby lake. The women were distracted by the birds’ beauty for a time, but they caught the men in the end. The women shoo the swans off the lake and they settle on another lake where some eagles live. The eagles attack and rip all of the swans’ feathers out, leaving them for dead. To spite their enemies the eagles, a murder of crows offer the swans some of their own feathers to create new coats.

Because of the trial that the black swans went through, they symbolize the spiritual journey, especially suffering and faith. Swans, in general, symbolize the journey to purity and perfection, as well as the balanced life. In Astronomy, the constellation of the Northern Cross is also known as Cygnus the swan.

Source: Britannica

5. The Osprey
Also known as a fish-hawk and a sea-eagle, the osprey is the only known bird in the eagle family that lives not just in the air, but in the water. Other eagles may grab fish near the surface or those that jump with their claws, but ospreys are known for diving under the water in search of food. Much of the fish that other birds eat are in fact stolen from ospreys.

The osprey symbolizes the guardian in much of Native American folklore. It also symbolizes acuity of sight, abundance, salvation, redemption, resurrection, the sun, nobility, deep creativity, good timing, respect, communication, vigilance, the soul, and a beacon. In myth, the osprey was the animal symbol for Hermes, the messenger. It is also known as a guide of souls, as it is the only animal that moves seamlessly between air, symbolizing the mind and the conscious as well as the land of the living, and water, symbolizing emotions and the unconscious as well as the land of the dead.

The osprey is known for going after what it wants rather than staying back and waiting for an opportunity. It is known for building strong boundaries and respecting the boundaries of others.

Source: Britannica

6. The Fox
The fox is known for persistence and patience, as well as creative, out-of-the-box solutions that often make it seem eccentric, if quick minded. The fox symbolizes loyalty, wit and quick thinking, longevity, protection from evil, fortune, luck, opportunity, the jack-of-all-trades, and the arrival of solutions. Foxes are known to adapt and ‘blend in’ to their environments. They can be tricksters as well as teachers, and they possess an uncanny ability to find their way around. They are often respected as guides and honored for their wisdom.

So there you have it, the six Patronuses I was assigned: Stoat, Ragdoll Cat, Ocicat, Black Swan, Osprey, and Fox. When I first got each one, I thought they were all completely different and didn’t really understand how they related to me or could possibly be my Patronus. After doing the research and better understanding the symbolism of each animal, however, I can see how they relate to me. As a proud Gryffinclaw Hornedwudgie with some Hufflepuff and Wampus tendencies, I can see how the strong morals of the Stoat, the communication skills of the Ragdoll Cat and the sociability of the Ocicat, as well as the faith of Black Swan, the vigilance of the Osprey, and the persistence of the Fox, could all represent me in some way. Even if I could cast a real Patronus charm and none of these animals came out of my wand, I am pretty grateful I had the chance to learn about them. They are daring and smart, loyal and cunning, just like the heraldry animals of Hogwarts, and I am proud to be associated with all of them.

30th September 2016 –  EDIT: I’ve been getting a lot of questions asking me what I say when people ask what my Patronus is since I took the quiz multiple times. For all intents and purposes, I’ve been saying the Stoat, since that’s what I got the first time when I took the quiz the way a normal user would, not knowing what type of questions to expect.

What animal or fantastic beast is your Patronus? Head on over to Pottermore.com/Patronus to find out. You just need a Pottermore account to take the quiz. Let me know over on Twitter, and I’ll see y’all next time!


Further Reading/Where I Did My Research:
Stoats in Folklore
Cats as Spirit Animals
Swan Symbolism
Swans as Spirit Animals
Osprey as a Power Animal
Ospreys as Spirit Animals
Ospreys – Guide of Lovers and the Heartsick
Osprey as a Totem Animal
Foxes as Spirit Animals
Animal Symbolism – Meaning of the Fox
Spirit Animals and Animal Totems – Fox Symbolism
Universe of Symbolism – Symbolic Meaning of Fox

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4) – J.K. Rowling


Source: Goodreads

Fourteen-year-old Harry Potter is ready for his fourth year at Hogwarts; preferably a quiet one where nothing goes wrong and no monsters try to attack the students. Unfortunately, this is Harry’s life we’re talking about, and things are never easy or simple where Harry is concerned. After a terror-filled night at the Quidditch World Cup, Harry finds himself thrown into hot water again as students arrive from other European wizarding schools to compete in a time-honored traditional trial by magic. Harry will need all of the help he can get to survive the challenges that face him in the coming year, but will it be enough?

This fourth book in J.K. Rowling’s best-selling series is a marked turning point from Juvenal Fiction to YA. The tone of the book becomes darker as Harry’s life becomes more dangerous, and all of the characters begin to hit the dreaded puberty.

I absolutely love how the characters were developed in this book. There were so many new people to introduce and examine because of the visiting schools, and we gain a much better picture of the overall state of the global wizarding community. It’s no surprise that at over 700 pages this is one of the longest books in the series. It’s a whopper of a book to be sure, but it reads very quickly. Rowling’s writing is so compelling that it is extremely hard to put the book down. I ended up finishing the last 300 pages in one sitting. Whoops. What is sleep, anyhow?

There is just so much about this book that I love, not the least of which is Hermione coming out of her shell and becoming a much bigger character. Ron kind of takes a back seat in this one as he spends much of the story grouchy and jealous of various people and happenings.

Hermione though, Hermione shines in this book. She’s in her element, studying anything and everything to help Harry out with his situation, and mediating between Harry and Ron, and just generally being the voice of reason in an otherwise crazy world.

“You can’t Apparate inside the Hogwarts grounds, how often do I have to tell you?”
~Hermione Granger

But that’s not all. No, this is the book where Hermione finds her passion(s). This is the part of the story when Hermione begins to take note of the world around her. She discovers boys, and she discovers human rights issues (which may sound a tad boring compared to the magical world, but I assure it is NOT), and with a little magic on her side, she finds the confidence to be herself and speak up for what she wants. Best of all, she’s not afraid to tell it like it is (I’m looking at you, Ron), and put people in their place (Also you, Rita Skeeter). It just makes me so happy to see the character of Hermione grow so much in one novel.

Not everything was cake and roses in this book, though. There is a lot of darkness and a lot of plot set-up for the final three books, which of course means a lot more Voldemort. As much as we wish Harry’s path wasn’t headed in that direction, the Dark Lord is a continual evil that plagues our young protagonist.

Overall, this is an amazing read. The first time I read this book, I was 8, and I was moving. To me, it was the darkest thing that had ever happened in my life. I was leaving all of my friends, and in the 90’s/ early 00’s, this basically meant that aside from long-distance calls on the landline or writing snail-mail, I was losing everyone I knew. Having something, like the Harry Potter series, that followed me from house to house and had characters that were going through turmoil like I was was remarkable in itself. The fact that they overcame their problems and made new friends with people from new schools helped me to overcome my fear of never having friends again and ultimately helped me adjust to a new town.

I highly recommend this book to literally everyone. Tissues required.

HHC Rating: 5 Stars

Other reviews in this series:
Book #1 – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Book #2 – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Book #3 – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Book #5 – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Book #6 – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Book #7 – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The Cursed Child – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Fantastic Beasts #1 – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3) – J.K. Rowling


Source: Goodreads

Harry has never liked living with the Dursleys, but after his latest accident, he’s not even sure they will take him back. As the thirteen-year-old wizard heads back to Hogwarts for his third year, dark shapes are looming nearer, and Harry might not even be safe in his school’s enchanted halls. On top of that, mysterious figures from Harry’s past turn up, bringing with them new information about the night Voldemort was defeated. Will Harry survive the year? and if he does, will he be living on the streets?

This third book in the Harry Potter series is almost universally acknowledged as the favorite. Until I re-read it, I had nearly forgotten why. If I love the second book for showing us more of the castle and the characters, I adore the third book for introducing us to more of the wizarding world as a culture. There is so much history in these pages. Besides the glimpse in the first book, this is the first time we learn anything about Harry’s parents and their time at Hogwarts. This is the first time we hear about magic in other cultures, and we get to meet more magical creatures thanks to Hagrid.

Of course, the characters haven’t stopped developing. Hermione, Ron, and Harry all grow in so many ways in this book. They learn some hard truths about the world and about friendship and trust. If you’re a fan of this series, you already know that about 100 of the 10,000 Harry Potter references people make daily come from this book. It is one of those books that stays with you years after reading it, and even after you’ve forgotten most of the details like I did, it never really leaves you.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is the beginning of the turning point in the books, from juvenile fiction to young adult. It only gets darker from here, but the light Harry finds in this book serves as a guide towards his ultimate destiny. I’m giving this book 5 stars because I can’t find a single thing wrong with it. There aren’t even any slow parts to speak of. Highly recommended.

HHC Rating: 5 stars

Other reviews in this series:
Book #1 – Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Book #2 – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Book #4 – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Book #5 – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Book #6 – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Book #7 –  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The Cursed Child – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Fantastic Beasts #1 – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay