“Imperfect understanding is often more dangerous than ignorance.” // Review of “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” by Newt Scamander (J. K. Rowling)

Title: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Author: Newt Scamander (J. K. Rowling)
Genre: Fantasy/series tie-in.
Date Read: 20/10/2016 – 22/10/2016
Rating: ★★

Review:

fantasticbeastscoverOkay, it might not be fair of me to judge a series tie-in written for Comic Relief as harshly as I do books generally, but I’ve got to be honest, this book was kind of boring?

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is the definitive text on magical creatures within the Harry Potter universe, but I found it fairly hard to believe that such a slim volume (80 pages + introduction) would rank so highly on magical bookshelves. There are eighty beasts featured in the book, and there is only a paragraph or two dedicated to each one. Having said that, reading what is supposed to be an academic text would probably not be made more interesting by extra details if one is not inclined to read this sort of thing already.

Many of the creatures featured are ones that are seen throughout the Harry Potter series, so I already had a passing familiarity with them. Others were new to me, or may have only ever got a passing mention that I have since forgotten (it’s been a while since I read a HP book). The writing style is fairly accessible and makes a few comments that raised a smirk, but there was nothing truly revelatory within the pages.

There are also the scribbled notes in Harry, Ron and Hermione’s handwriting. These are cute at first, but a lot of them seem like in-jokes with the reader, more so than actual notes a teenager would scribble in the margins.

I’m reading back over what I’ve written here and part of me thinks I’m being unnecessarily harsh. After all, I did know the book’s format going in. It’s not like I was expecting a riveting plot. But I don’t know, I was expecting something to hold my attention a bit more.

#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 26 October, 2016

Sorry for not getting around to blogs this week! I’ve had a lot going on. I’m hoping I’ll do better this week! 🙂

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This is a blog hop hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for today, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

I ftherookcoverinally finished The Rook! As I said in my review, I probably did myself and the book a disservice by taking so long with it and reading so many other books in between, but it is how it is.

I also read Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which was, to be honest, kind of ordinary, though I felt bad about being so nit-picky about it! My review will go up on Friday.

I also finally wrote a review of The Pickpocket by Celine Jeanjean this week.

What are you currently reading?

illkeptoathcoverI am so behind on my ARCs so today I made a concerted effort to start The Ill-Kept Oath by C. C. Aune. It’s okay at the moment but it’s early days so I’m hoping that it picks up. There’s one character who’s a particular jerk, but he’s meant to be,  so that’s okay.

It’s been a very slow week and I’ve had all sorts of distractions, such as colouring books, so there’s been little to no movement on either The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer or Artie and the Grime Wave by Richard Roxburgh. I’ll get back to these after powering through some ARCs.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Next are the other two ARCs I need to get read by early November: The Infinity of You and Me by J. Q. Coyle and Immortal Writers by Jill Bowers.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

wippetwednesdayThe other blog hop for this week is WIPpet Wednesday. If you’re a writer, you are very welcome to join us in this one by posting an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. You can click the blue guy on the right of this blog to be taken to the link up.

So I concluded that it is silly to wait for arbritrary dates to start new projects, even if I am starting a mini NaNo challenge on November 1. Since the new version of Operation Sugarplum is pretty much ready to go, I went forth and started it! I didn’t outline all the way to the end, but in terms of getting the story from A to B, I know roughly what B is and I think I can wing it… and if not, I can do more brainstorming later. This is from the very first scene. Clara has started awake to find her palace under attack. Now a strange man is on the other side of her bedroom door.

“I’m waiting,” came the voice again. “You can let me in peaceably or I will force my way in.”

Clara held the candle up to the lock on her door, assuring herself that the runes that protected it from destruction were still in place. They would struggle to destroy it without help from a member of the order of Mages that set it there to begin with.

Now if you were paying attention the last couple of weeks, you might know why the lock is not such an issue… 😉

All right, that’s all from me! See you on your blogs.

~ Emily

#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 19 October, 2016

A quick announcement, before I get onto today’s blog hops. The Kindle edition of my novel, A More Complicated Fairytale, will be free this weekend. The GoodReads page is here, if you feel inclined to add it to your TBR, and I’ll do another post here when the promo goes live, as well as remind you on my Facebook page. Just so’s you know. 😉 And now, on with the show!

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This is a blog hop hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for today, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

What have you recently finished reading?

realbookthiefcoverIt’s been a terrible reading week for me this week, and unfortunately, the only thing I finished was The Real Book Thief: (How To Steal an Author’s Work and Nearly Get Away With It) by Ingrid Black, which is the story of how the duo behind Ingrid Black discovered that their books were being plagiarised and published on Kindle under another author’s name. It was interesting also reading the reviews from people who had been friends with Joanne Clancy (the name the plagiarist published under) through social media and had reviewed the books, and seeing how betrayed they felt when this all came out.

I also posted my review of Mara Wilson’s memoir, Where Am I Now: Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame this week.

What are you currently reading?

therookcoverStill going with The Rook! But I’m on the downhill run now. It’s got a bit more interesting again. I am kind of tempted to ignore all responsibiliities for tonight and finish it, but if I do that, I will have no curry to take for lunch tomorrow, and that would make me sad.

badasslibrarianscoverI’ll include these as well, even though I’m only up to about page 6 on each of them: The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu, which is about some archivists who protected priceless manuscripts from destruction by Al Quaeda, and Artie and the Grime Wave by Richard Roxburgh (yes, the actor). Richard did a talk at work last night and I got my book signed. We stood in line for an hour so I started reading the book in the queue.

I’m also beta reading for two members of my writing group, which is fun!

What do you think you’ll read next?

Ifantasticbeastscover picked up Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them by Newt Scamander/J. K. Rowling from the library today. I’ve realised that I need to get a bit of a wriggle on with some of my reading challenges this year, and this is nice and short and fits the “a book that’s becoming a movie this year” prompt. And evne though it’s not like it’s the type of book where you read the book first to know the plot going into the movie, the movie does come out soon, so it’ll be good to have this under my belt.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

The other blog hop for this week is WIPpet Wednesday. If you’re a writer, you are very welcome to join us in this one by posting an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. You can click the blue guy on the right of this blog to be taken to the link up. This scene follows on from last week’s. General Bauer is the he in question at the start of this.  Nine sentences, which I got by adding the digits of 2016 together.

He looks down at me and he’s all smugness and smarm. I feel sick. But I don’t look away.

“We’ve got a surprise for you, haven’t we, gentlemen?”

I look around, and realise there are two men standing at his shoulders. They aren’t soldiers. They’re not his minions. They’re wearing the robes of the Aligar Mages, a group of magicians who swore to protect my family until I came of age and was trained in my powers. They look guilty.

That’s all from me! See you on your blogs.

~ Emily

“My geekness is a-quivering.” // Review of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts 1 and 2” by J. K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne

Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts 1 and 2
Author: J. K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne
Genre: YA/Play script
Date Read: 14/08/2016
Rating: ★★★★

Review:

Having not been involved at all in Harry Potter fandom since about 2008, I wasn’t really worried about whether I read this book or not. However, when my partner finally found an outlet in our city that wasn’t sold out and bought himself a copy, I decided to form my own thoughts regardless. To my surprise, I actually got caught up in the nostalgia, and the new characters, and ended up really enjoying it!

Harry Potter is now 40 years old, struggling with his relationship with his son, Albus, and on top of that, his scar has been hurting and he’s been having nightmares leading him to think that someone connected to the Dark Lord may be at large. Meanwhile, Albus and best friend Scorpius Malfoy, decide to try to right some of the wrongs wreaked by Lord Voldemort in the past, only to almost plunge the world back into darkness again.

I totally get why so many people were disappointed by this new addition to the Harry Potter ‘verse. For a start, the play format is not supposed to be read, and if you’re not used to reading plays (I am, I’ve been doing theatre for 15 years), I’m sure that would have tarnished the experience. A script is not written to be consumed en masse; it’s written to give the actors the necessary information to bring it to life on stage. I’ve seen complaints about some of the stage directions, but the thing is, stage directions aren’t meant to immerse you in the world. They’re the instructions for someone else who is going to do that immersing.

The structure of the story is also different to the novels. There is no starting off pre-school-year and then following the characters throughout the year towards a climax in June. It’s all rather more complicated than that and Hogwarts actually doesn’t play a huge role, so I totally appreciate that some readers did not feel that they were “back”.

As for the characters, I actually found myself sympathising far more with Harry in this story than I ever did in the novels (I always agreed with Hermione about his “saving people thing”). Draco Malfoy still has enough of teenage Draco in him to recognise, but he has matured as well, and tends to bring out the snark only when necessary, rather than every opportunity. There is still a lot of simmering tension between him and Harry, and I can see that playing out really well onstage.

I loved Albus and Scorpius’ friendship of epic proportions, though I did feel their motivations within their arc were a little over the top. Their character development through the course of the plot was well done, though, and their dialogue is great. Scorpius is such an unapologetic little geek, and I loved that.

There are some problems with some character development of other characters, but I was able to shrug it off a bit more. In most cases, it was either a side-character, or it was a development which was later addressed, so I was able to let it go.

There are some twists that are probably not a surprise to anyone anymore (unless you’ve been really, really careful to avoid spoilers). The big one is rather cliché and even a bit squicky, though I hope it would play out better onstage than in a dry script.

Overall, I think Cursed Child has the makings of a wonderful play, which I would love to see onstage. If this is the only preview I get for a while, though, I’ll be happy enough with that .


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#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 13 July, 2016

Edit: Hey guys. Just letting you know that except in a couple of cases, due to blogging technology being against me, I am having trouble commenting on posts on non-Wordpress blogs. I am not ignoring you, I just can’t get them to post! 😦

It’s time for WWW Wednesday! This is a blog hop hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for today, and just answer the three questions.

wwwwednesday

  • What are you currently reading?

secretrivercoverI will finally start The Secret River by Kate Grenville at some point today. I did listen to maybe the first quarter of it on audio earlier in the year, but I realised it was one that I would get through faster by reading the print version. I’ve actually had this out from the library for over a month, but I kept finding other things I wanted to read first.

  • What have you recently finished reading?

gamecoverI’ve had a much better reading week this past week than the last couple. I finished the Jasper Dent series, reading both Game and Blood of My Blood. I thought Game was a good follow-up to I Hunt Killers, though I did think the story got a bit messy in Blood of My Blood.

verygoodlivescoverI also read Very Good Lives by J. K. Rowling, which is actually just a transcript of the 2008 Commencement speech she gave at Harvard University, but I really loved it, despite the annoying illustrations on every second page. (I also looked it up on YouTube, it was lovely watching her deliver it as well).

I ended up DNFing White Cat by Holly Black. I just wasn’t interested, and Jesse Eisenberg wasn’t the most riveting narrator.

Reviews of two memoirs, The Fictional Woman by Tara Moss, and Catch Me If You Can by Frank Abagnale Jr. went up this week.

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

No idea! The Secret River is the last library book I have out at the moment, and I will probably try to get through a few books that I own before I start requesting again. Also, next Monday heralds both the start of the new university semester AND the first rehearsal for a musical I hadn’t intended to audition to, except then I did, and I ended up with a role… so reading might slow for a few months at that point…

wednesdaybannerAnd now for WIPpet Wednesday. This is another blog hop in which writers share excerpts from their current WIP that somehow relate to the date. Clicking the blue guy on the right will take you to the linkup for this one. In this scene, Grace is on her afternoon off, sitting out in the fields with her shoes and stockings off (scandal!) and is about to get caught in a summer storm that has come over very suddenly, when she meets the master of the house, about whom she has heard all sorts of rumours, but who has proved rather elusive up until now. Thirteen lines for the thirteenth of the month.

“Nice day for it!” he called to her. She blushed,  and didn’t reply. To her horror, she realised that he was making his way over to her. She looked down and concentrated on getting her boots done up.  She felt the first splashes of rain on her head, it was going to come on thick and fast any moment.

“Here, allow me,” Mr Merrow said, and Grace’s heart nearly leapt out of her chest in shock as her boot laces started lacing themselves, far faster than her panicked fingers had been managing. She glanced up at Mr Merrow,  and he nodded towards her second boot. She slipped it on, and the laces once again did themselves up under Mr Merrow’s gaze.

“I can trust you to keep a secret, can’t I, Miss…?”

“Kent,” Grace said, looking up from her shoes.  ”Grace Kent.”

“Well, Grace, we’d best be getting up to the house before we’re soaked,” he said. He held out his hand to Grace,. She took it, and he pulled her to her feet. “I can’t control the weather,  though I might be able to keep us a little drier than the rain would like us to be.”

Just how he plans to do that is a WIPpet for another day. (Any typos in the above excerpt are to be blamed on auto-correct, as I was typing that scene on my tablet at a writing group meet-up. Having said that, I think I caught them all).

That’s it from me, see you on your blogs!

~ Emily

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