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Harry Potter Tag

In honour of Harry’s 39th birthday, I thought it was about time I jumped on board with the Harry Potter Tag. I believe this particular set of questions originated with ZombieGoddess Beauty so make sure you check out her answers too.

1. What house are you in?

I am a Ravenclaw to the core. Reading, studying, and learning new things have always been my favourite ways to pass the time, so really it is the only house for me.

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2. What is your patronus?

A Marsh Harrier – this is what Pottermore assigned to me, and actually it seems quite fitting as a Ravenclaw to have a bird patronus. I grew up watching falconry shows with my dad too, so it is even more perfect that my patronus is linked to happy childhood memories.

3. What is your wand?

376751_10151418978549616_1498608765_nI am quite pleased with my wand from Ollivander’s. It is a 10 3/4″ chestnut wand with a phoenix feather core and is of a hard flexibility. Once again, there is the bird connection, and I feel this want will do me proud.

4. What would your boggart be?

Snakes for sure – thank goodness I didn’t end up in Slytherin, because I am petrified of snakes! Although maybe if I was a Parselmouth and could speak with them, they would be less scary.

5. What position would you play in Quidditch?

Cheering from the crowd. I have a feeling that me and broomsticks, we wouldn’t get along so well.

6. Would you be a pure blood, half blood or muggle born?
 

I consider myself a half blood – my Dad has read the books and watched the films almost as much as I have, but my Mum has never gone anywhere near them.

7. What job would you want after to have after graduating Hogwarts?

I always wanted to go into teaching, so I would definitely say a Hogwarts professor – I am undecided on which subject I would teach though, because they all sound interesting to me.P1040250

 

8. Which of the deathly hallows would you choose?

Definitely the invisibility cloak – just think of all the fun you could have exploring Hogwarts with that!

9. Favourite book?

P1040109The Goblet of Fire. I loved meeting the characters from the other wizarding schools, and I thoroughly enjoyed the challenges that made up the tournament. I think as well Cedric’s death came as such a shock that it has always stayed with me, whereas in the books that came after this one, I was always half expecting a character to die.

10. Least favourite book?

I think I would have to say The Half-Blood Prince for this one. I just find Harry a bit whiny and annoying in it.

11. Favourite film?

The Deathly Hallows. Parts one and two count as one film don’t they, because I don’t think I could choose between them.

12. Least favourite film?

The Prisoner of Azkaban – I think this is because it was the first film where the book was just too long to fit everything in, and I wasn’t a fan of how they got around that. It is probably the film I have watched the least amount of times because I am always really disappointed with it.

13. Favourite character?
 

It has to be Neville – just the way he develops from a scared little boy who really isn’t that great a wizard to being one of the bravest heroes of the Battle of Hogwarts. I loved watching him grow and finally accept that Gryffindor was the right house for him.

If I can pick a runner up too, I would definitely say Luna. I love her quirky nature and how she doesn’t let other people stop her from being her wonderful self.

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14. Least favourite/most hated character?

My gut reaction to this would be Dolores Umbridge, but then I think we are supposed to despise her, so actually JK Rowling did a fantastic job in creating a character we all love to hate. Thinking about it for a bit longer, I think in actual fact my least favourite character would be Pansy Parkinson – she is a nasty, vicious bully who just seems to get worse and worse as she grows up.

15. Favourite teacher at Hogwarts?

As much as I hate to be disloyal to my head of house, Professor Flitwick, the only choice for my favourite teacher has to be Professor McGonagall. Isn’t she everyone’s favourite?

16. Least favourite teacher at Hogwarts?

This is a trickier one. Obviously Dolores Umbridge has to be a contender, but actually I think my absolute least favourite has to be Professor Slughorn. Something about him just makes my skin crawl, and the way he name drops and sucks up to the witches and wizards that he think might elevate his position just sets my teeth on edge.

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17. Do you have any unpopular opinions about the series? 

I’m not sure how unpopular this opinion is these days, but I love Draco Malfoy. The poor boy never really stood a chance at being good growing up in the family that he did, but I think deep down he wanted to be a decent person. Just think, if he had ended up in Gryffindor with Harry and Co, instead of in Slytherin, how different his story would have been. I also always wanted Neville and Luna to end up together and I was really disappointed when it turned out they had married other people.

18. If you could save one character from the finale battle who would you save?

Just one? It would have to be either Nymphadora Tonks or Remus Lupin, just so that Teddy doesn’t grow up an orphan. I think I would have to go for Tonks, simply because Teddy was also a Metamorphagus and might need her help managing his abilities. If he had inherited the lycanthropy instead, I would save Lupin.

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Book Review

Heathcliff – Sue Barnard

If you have always wondered what happened to Heathcliff in the years he was away from Wuthering Heights, read on. Many thanks to Sue Barnard and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in birthday blitz for this book, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now…”

Cathy’s immortal words from Wuthering Heights change Heathcliff’s life.  At just seventeen years of age, heartbroken and penniless, he runs away to face an unknown future.

Three years later, he returns – much improved in manners, appearance and prosperity.

But what happened during those years? How could he have made his fortune, from nothing? Who might his parents have been? And what fate turned him into literature’s most famous anti-hero?

For almost two centuries, these questions have remained unanswered.

Until now…

Heathcliff front cover

PURCHASE LINKS:

Buy here

REVIEW:

It has been a long time since I first read Wuthering Heights at the age of eleven. It was recommended to me by my English teacher, along with Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca (in hindsight, I think she thought I was smarter than I was, and I was a little young to fully appreciate either book).

I love the premise of this book, finally uncovering what happened to Heathcliff after his mad dash from The Heights. Over the years, the image I have held of Heathcliff has become distorted, and I had long forgotten just how young he was when he once again found himself penniless and alone. It is also easy to remember the hard, cruel man that he became, and forget that he was once a kind-hearted soul, before the events of his life led him to harden his heart.

The short sections of the book showing the same event from different perspectives read like diary entries written by each of the characters, and made for a fascinating read. I also found that they meant I read this book very quickly.

I thoroughly enjoyed discovering this side of Heathcliff, and it has left me wanting to reread Wuthering Heights.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Heathcliff Sue Barnard Author

Sue Barnard is a British novelist, editor and award-winning poet whose family background is far stranger than any work of fiction. She would write a book about it if she thought anybody would believe her.

Sue was born in North Wales but has spent most of her life in and around Manchester. She speaks French like a Belgian, German like a schoolgirl, and Italian and Portuguese like an Englishwoman abroad.

Her mind is so warped that she has appeared on BBC TV’s Only Connect quiz show, and she has also compiled questions for BBC Radio 4’s fiendishly difficult Round Britain Quiz. This once caused one of her sons to describe her as “professionally weird.” The label has stuck.

Sue’s first novel, The Ghostly Father (a new take on the traditional story of Romeo & Juliet), was officially released on St Valentine’s Day 2014.  Since then she has produced five more novels: Nice Girls Don’t (2014), The Unkindest Cut of All (2015), Never on Saturday (2017), Heathcliff (2018), and Finding Nina (2019).

Sue now lives in Cheshire, UK, with her extremely patient husband and a large collection of unfinished scribblings.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

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GIVEAWAY:

Win a signed copy of Heathcliff (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Book Review

June Book Jar – Part 2

Oops, I seem to have found myself practically at the end of July and I am still only on part two of my June Book Jar update – can someone please tell me where this month has gone? How is it nearly August already? Anyway, jumping straight back in, here is your next instalment of books I read on my holiday!

40383557._SX98_First up, we return to my ever increasing NetGalley reading list with The Rules of Seeing by Joe Heap. I was completely enthralled by this book and once I picked it up it was impossible to put down. It isn’t fast-paced or action-packed, just incredibly beautiful in it’s simplicity. The friendship that develops between Nova and Kate is so gentle and it touched my heart. Experiencing the world as Nova does was mesmerising and displayed a wonderful depth to the author’s writing. This is a book that will stay with you long after you have finished reading it.

18081809._SX98_Our second book in this part of the update is Landline by Rainbow Rowell, another author that I am a big fan – the book jar did well with the authors it presented me with in June. For me, this book felt very different to other Rainbow Rowell books that I have read, and while it is perhaps not one of my favourites of hers (let’s face it, Eleanor & Park is going to take something astounding to knock that off the number one spot), it was still a great read. It was full of flashbacks to my own teen years, in the days before mobile phones and wi-fi, and I loved the references to the old comedies. I found it raised some interesting questions about what I would do if I had a magic telephone connected to the past.

46777._SX98_Next up is Tithe by  the amazing Holly Black. Holly always delivers with her books, and there is an almost lyrical quality to her writing. I love her focus on the Unseelie Court, the darker, malevolent side to Faery as opposed to the sunshine state of the Seelie Court. The atmosphere she creates oozes danger and distrust, and gives you a tingle down your spine. Quite frankly, Holly Black writes the books I wish I had written myself.

 

25659392._SY475_Our fourth and final book in this instalment is Flawed by Cecelia Ahern. I love Cecelia’s usual work. Books like A Place Called Here and If You Could See Me Now always feel like fairy tales for grown ups, they are just so magical. Flawed has a much darker feel to it and the brutal near future world that it is set in was totally gripping. How quickly people turned on their friends and neighbours, and even their family, was astonishing, but at the same time felt all too possible. The need to be perfect seems to be ever-increasing in our own society – how long will it be until being “flawed” really does lead to being an outcast?

If you like the sound of any of these, just click on the title of each of them to find all the info on Goodreads.

Book Review

Battle Ground – Rachel Churcher

Let me introduce you to a new series today with Battle Ground, the first book in the dystopian fiction series of the same name, by Rachel Churcher. Many thanks to Rachel, and to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

Sixteen-year-old Bex Ellman has been drafted into an army she doesn’t support and a cause she doesn’t believe in. Her plan is to keep her head down, and keep herself and her friends safe – until she witnesses an atrocity she can’t ignore, and a government conspiracy that threatens lives all over the UK. With her loyalties challenged, Bex must decide who to fight for – and who to leave behind.

The Battle Ground series is set in a dystopian near-future UK, after Brexit and Scottish independence.

Battle Ground Rachel Churcher cover

PURCHASE LINKS:

Buy here

REVIEW:

I keep hearing people saying that they are no longer reading dystopian fiction because it all just feels a bit too close to reality these days, but surely that is why we should continue to read it, to give us a fighting chance against whatever the future holds.

Battle Ground is set in a post-Brexit, post-Scottish independence Britain, and it really does feel scarily near the mark. Nothing that takes place in this book feels outside the realms of possibility with the current political climate here in the UK. Because of this, it is not always a comfortable read, but it is certainly a gripping one. Once I started I just couldn’t put it down.

Adding to the realistic feel of this book is the fact that the teenagers aren’t just naturally gifted with the skills they need to survive in the new world. Everything they can do has been hard won through gruelling training after their conscription into army. None of the characters are natural heroes, they are all flawed, and struggle with the decisions they are faced with. This just endeared each of them to me more. Further to this, the flashback scenes to when Bex, Margie and Dan were still at school added depth to their characters and showed just how quickly life can be turned completely on it’s head.

The brutality shown by the senior recruits is shocking, especially given their age and relative inexperience as well. I can’t help feeling there is more to their story than initially meets the eye and I am looking forward to seeing this other side of the story in book two, which is thankfully coming out soon.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rachel Churcher Author photo

Rachel Churcher was born between the last manned moon landing, and the first orbital Space Shuttle mission. She remembers watching the launch of STS-1, and falling in love with space flight, at the age of five. She fell in love with science fiction shortly after that, and in her teens she discovered dystopian fiction. In an effort to find out what she wanted to do with her life, she collected degrees and other qualifications in Geography, Science Fiction Studies, Architectural Technology, Childminding, and Writing for Radio.

She has worked as an editor on national and in-house magazines; as an IT trainer; and as a freelance writer and artist. She has renovated several properties, and has plenty of horror stories to tell about dangerous electrics and nightmare plumbers. She enjoys reading, travelling, stargazing, and eating good food with good friends – but nothing makes her as happy as writing fiction.

Her first published short story appeared in an anthology in 2014, and the Battle Ground series is her first long-form work. Rachel lives in East Anglia, in a house with a large library and a conservatory full of house plants. She would love to live on Mars, but only if she’s allowed to bring her books.

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Don’t forget to pay a visit to the other blogs taking part in this blog tour.

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Blog

This Vicious Way – Cover Reveal

I am thrilled to be taking part in the cover reveal for the latest book by Madeline Dyer today. I don’t have the official blurb yet, but here is what I can tell you. This Vicious Way is the second book in the brilliant The Dangerous Ones series, and is set in the same world as Madeline’s previous Untamed series. It can be read as a standalone, but if you want my advice, get yourself to the bookshop/internet and grab a copy of all the previous books set in this world as quickly as you can. You won’t regret it!

The Dangerous Ones series is a dystopian/adventure series, and is aimed a slightly older audience than the Untamed series, being Upper YA/NA rather than pure YA, but honestly I haven’t been able to call myself a young or new adult for quite some years now and I still love them. A Dangerous Game, the first book in this series, is my favourite of Madeline’s books so far, and so I am very excited to find out what is in store with This Vicious Way.

Anyway, without further ado, here comes the cover…

This Vicious Way

The cover was designed by Molly Phipps at We Got You Covered Book Design, and I think it perfectly reflects the tone of the series so far.

If you want to know more about The Dangerous Ones series, have a read of my review of A Dangerous Game.

Book Review

Missing in Wales – Jenny O’Brien

I have a brilliant crime thriller for you today, with Missing in Wales by Jenny O’Brien. Many thanks to Jenny, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to be a part of the tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book. Make you sure you check out the amazing giveaway at the bottom of the post – I am quite tempted by this one myself!

BLURB:

Alys is fine – don’t try to find us

Izzy Grant is haunted by the abduction of her newborn daughter five-years ago. When a postcard arrives from her missing partner, the man she believes is responsible, saying they’re fine and asking her not to try to find them, she knows she can’t give up hoping. Then she sees a face from her past. Grace Madden. Just where did she disappear to all those years ago? And is there a connection between her disappearance and that of her child?

DC Gabriella Darin, recently transferred from Swansea, is brash, bolshie and dedicated. Something doesn’t fit with the case and she’s determined to find out just what happened all those years ago. 

Missing in Wales is the first in an exciting new Welsh-set crime series by Jenny O’Brien, author of The Stepsister. The next in series, Stabbed in Wales, will be available soon. 

missing in wales 2

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

REVIEW:

Wales has a special place in my heart, my grandfather being a Swansea man, so I was delighted to discover a new crime series set there. Although not familiar with St David’s I found I could easily picture the location, and it made me long to visit. It has been too long since I was last in Wales!

Missing in Wales gripped me from the first page. I am not a mother myself, so I can only imagine the agony of losing a child, but reading this book you can almost feel Izzy’s pain. It is truly heartbreaking. As the truth around Alys’s disappearance unfolded I found it impossible to put this book down. It kept me guessing throughout as I tried to work out the puzzle. All too often now I find that crime thrillers are either too easy to guess the ending, or so incredibly complicated that even by the end of the book you still aren’t sure who did it, or how the investigators reached their conclusion. Missing in Wales is perfectly balanced to keep you on the edge of your seat, but not completely blow your mind with confusing conclusions.

I loved headstrong, determined Gaby, a woman fighting not to be defined by her past, and I look forward to getting to know her better.

This is the type of book that you want to devour in one sitting, and I cannot wait for the next book in the series.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Missing In Wales AuthorJenny O’Brien was abandoned in Dublin at the tender age of 17 by her parents when they decided to move to Wales. It was only on the completion of her studies that she was finally able to join them. She’s an avid reader and book blogger in addition to being a RoNA book judge.

She writes for both children and adults with a new book coming out every six months or so.
In her spare time she can be found frowning at her wonky cakes and even wonkier breads. You’ll be pleased to note she won’t be entering Bake-Off. She’s also an all-year-round sea swimmer.

Jenny currently resides on the island of Guernsey with her husband, children and cats. She works as a nurse and writes in her spare time.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

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GIVEAWAY:

Win a signed copy of Missing In Wales and the chance to be a character in the next book STABBED IN WALES. (UK only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Book Review

Second Skin – Sue Bentley

Having read, and loved, Sue Bentley’s previous novel, We Other, earlier this year, I leapt at the chance to take part in the blog tour for her latest book, Second Skin, the first Bridge of Fire Novel. Many thanks to Sue, and Anne Cater at Random Things Tours, for inviting me to take part and for providing me with a copy of the book.

Second Skin Cover

BLURB:

The moon was being devoured.

Estranged from birth and raised on tales of the great mountain castle of Idrith-Core, where her distant father serves as Lord Commander and confidante of the King, Aledra Jewel-Wing was now going there to court.

As one of the Drakkoni, a race of powerful shape-shifters and conquerors of a wild land, she joins her stepmother at the festival for all peoples. But when in attempting to save a life, Aledra shifts into her Drakkoni Secondskin – her beautiful second soul: a giant flighted lizard with flaming breath – she breaks an ancient oath, and the tremulous peace between the Drakkoni and Esrans is shattered.

Branded a fugitive, hunted by her father, and aided in escape by the master-mancer who raised her, Aledra begins a journey for survival across a war-torn continent.

REVIEW:

Having long been a fan of shapeshifting characters in all manner of books, I thought I knew what to expect, but in the Drakkoni, Sue Bentley has created a far more complex race than your average shifter. She weaves a rich tapestry throughout Second Skin, allowing the reader to fully immerse themselves in the world that she has created, giving a full and detailed understanding of clan rivalries and bitter grudges.

Alongside many endearing characters, including one who I hope you will love as much as I do (let me know your thoughts on who this might be), the villains of the piece seem completely bereft of redeeming features making it possible to take a real pleasure in any bad luck that falls their way. As much as I enjoy a bad guy that you love to hate, and sometimes even just love, I am also partial to the occasional character that you can just seriously dislike!

Although this book is something of a slow burner, it is well worth sticking with as the drama intensifies steadily throughout. It is a great introduction to a new world and I look forward to returning to these characters for the sequel.

You can order your copy of Second Skin here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sue Bentley Author Pic

Sue lives in a house surrounded by a wildlife hedge so she can pretend she lives in the countryside. She enjoys reading, walking, cinema, researching her books, and painting and printmaking, when she’s not writing – which isn’t very often!

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Make sure you pay a visit to the other blogs taking part in this tour.

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