Harry Potter Spells Book Tag!

Thanks to the lovely ladies at The Book Wars I’m tackling the Harry Potter Spells Book Tag, which was first developed by Kimberley Faye Reads.


Confession: I’m not a Harry Potter fan. I’ve read the books, I’ve watched the films, and they were OK, but nothing spectacular. I honestly have no clue what any of these spells mean, or what they do. I’m a children’s librarian who’s not a Harry Potter fan. There, I said it. Whew, that’s a weight off my shoulders.

And away we go!

1 - Accio

An upcoming release you can’t wait to get your hands on.

Ada Twist, Scientist / Andrea Beaty

This title, coming September 2016, is from the same creative team that brought us Rosie Revere, Engineer and Iggy Peck, Architect, great picture books about kids pursuing their passions, even when no one around them seems to understand. Bonus points for featuring a girl obsessed with science!

2 - Alohomora

Favourite series starter.

The Black Company / Glen Cook

Glen Cook’s The Black Company is fantasy like you’ve probably never read it before – dark, gritty, violent, bleak, and pretty darn amazing. Undoubtedly the finest book in the series, this title served as inspiration for countless “dark fantasy” novels in the years that followed.

3 - Cheering Charm

A book that gave you all the fuzzy/warm feels.

George / Alex Gino

Words cannot describe how much feels this book gave me. While a lot of the book made me angry (mostly at a society that forces children to suppress their true identities and live in fear simply because they do not fit into the boxes that other people have assigned them), the ending made me all warm and fuzzy and hopeful. Feels.

4 - Aguamenti

A book that made you ugly cry.

See You At Harry’s / Jo Knowles

OK, so I’m bonafide sap who cries at credit card commercials, so take this for what you will, but whoo boy, this book made me cry. I don’t know about ugly crying, but there were definitely more than a few tears shed during the reading of this story. This is a fantastic book filled with fantastic characters, but be warned, you will likely need a tissue at the ready to deal with the sadness.

5 - Expecto Patronum

A character you’d consider to be your patronus.

OK, I don’t know if this is necessarily a patronus so much as a book incarnation, but I’m going with it. Junie B. Jones, the spirited kindergartener who just can’t seem to control her mouth and who calls it like she sees it, even when it gets her into trouble is like a little motor-mouth Jane. The parallels are eery. It’s like Junie and I are kindred spirits.

6 - Lumos

A book you intentionally spoiled for yourself.

The Terminal Man

The suspense! I was starting to get a little too stressed out by this thriller, so I skipped ahead just a couple of pages to make sure a character was going to be alright.

By the way, the tradition of the terrible book cover synopsis is a long and proud one (something the team at The Book Wars discusses in their Cover Wars series). “Watch this man become a homicidal maniac!” says the cover. “Ugh,” says the reader, “this book is full of math, computer science, psychology, medical ethics and history! Where’s the homicidal maniac alread?y” A fantastic book with an absolutely terrible and completely misleading cover.

7 - Imperio

A book you wish you could make everyone read.

George / Alex Gino

I wouldn’t want to make anyone read anything, but I do wish more people would take a look at George, or really any book featuring a trans* character. There’s still far too much ignorance, fear and hatred in our world, and not enough awareness and understanding around trans issues.

8 - Engorgio

A book/series you wish never ended.

Discworld / Terry Pratchett

Thankfully Terry Pratchett was a prolific writer, so there’s at least a good number of Discworld books available,  but there’s not nearly as many as I would happily devour.

9 - Wingardium Leviosa

An uplifting book.

Brown Girl Dreaming / Jacqueline Woodson

This elegant verse novel is a story of hope, determination, and the power of words to change a life. I think I would perhaps call this inspiring, rather than uplifting, and Woodson’s perfectly chosen words will touch readers deeply and profoundly. It’s particularly inspiring for educators, as it’s an ode to the power of the written word, and the impact an educator can have on a child’s life.

10 - Obliviate

A book you wish you could forget

I honestly think I’m going to skip this one, because I’m a serial DNF-er, and if I don’t like I book I simply don’t finish it.

11 - Anapneo

A book/series that got you out of a slump.

Sphere / Michael Crichton

I recently found myself in a terrible reading slump. My brain was a scattered mess, and I just couldn’t seem to concentrate on anything. Every book I picked up seemed overly complicated, too deep, too preachy, to hip, too everything. Out of desperation I decided to go back to basics and revisit one of my all-time favourite writers, whose books read like a blend of movie script and college text book – Michael Crichton.

Well, this definitely did the trick. Fast-paced and cleverly written, I devoured this title on a single commute, and the reading spark was lit once again.

12 - Jelly-Legs Jinx

A swoon worthy character.

I’m going to cheat here, and instead share…..

A swoon worthy author.



Steven Johnson is the absolute swoon worthiest author I can think of. Not only is he cute as a button with those stunning blue eyes, he also plays the guitar (swoon), and writes fantastic narrative non-fiction (mega swoon), including one of my all-time favourite non-fiction titles, The Ghost Map. He is also a married father of three, but oh well, a girl can still dream….

13 - Aresto Momentum

A book that made you drop everything in order to finish it.

Ummm….OK, I was going to try and pick a book that wasn’t by Michael Crichton, but dang it, I just love me some Michael Crichton.

The Andromeda Strain

Holy crap, the suspense! Not the biggest fan of the ending (no spoilers, I promise), but the build up, holy smokes! I’ve actually reread this book a couple of times because I love it so much. It plays out like a movie in your brain. Awesome.

14 - Crucio

A book that was painful to read/a book that broke you.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe / Benjamin Alire Saenz

This novel about two young Mexican-American men is heart-rendingly beautiful and at times painful to read, but so very worth it. Life can just be so hard for some people sometimes, especially young people. Let’s all try to remember to choose kindness, because we can never know what other people are going through.

15 - Rictumsempra

A book that made you laugh out loud.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy / Douglas Adams

The original madcap, zany, side-splitting British science fiction classic. Have you read this series yet? If not, what are you waiting for? It’s insane, but in the best possible way.

16 - Expelliarmus

A book you wanted to fling away.

The Exorcist / William Peter Blatty

I read this book as a teenager, and was so freaked out at one point that I threw the book to the floor, just to get it away from me. Seriously, seriously creepy stuff.

17 - Portus

A fictional world you wish you could visit.

Middle Earth! I’d love to sit in Hobbiton and have a pint with the hobbits, or lounge around at The Last Homely House. I have been to New Zealand several times, though, which for some reason looks remarkably similar to Middle Earth…

18 - Stupefy

A plot twist you did not see coming.

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd / Agatha Christie

Twisty and turny but not overly-complicated or too assured of its own cleverness, this is the epitome of a classic who-dunnit by one of the masters of the genre.

19 - Avada Kedavra

A character death that destroyed you.

It’s remarkably hard to do this one without giving away unwanted spoilers….

Chaos Walking / Patrick Ness

Somewhere in this trilogy is an incredibly brutal and painful and seemingly unnecessary death. You’ll know it when you find it.

20 - Finite Incantatem

Best concluding book in a series.

A Memory of Light / Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

The death of Robert Jordan before the conclusion of his Wheel of Time series left many fans in a tizzy, wondering what would happen to the characters that we had all put so much bloody time into reading about (seriously, these books are massive). Hearing that the series would be finished by a different author I was sceptical, but holy smokes, was this ever a fitting end to the series! Brandon Sanderson is a fantastic fantasy author, and he stayed true to Jordan’s vision while bringing in his own unique style. Definitely a satisfying conclusion.

Whew, that was quite the post, thanks for tagging me, The Book Wars! This is actually the first thing I’ve ever been tagged in, so I feel like I’ve finally made it in the world of book / library blogging – I’m one of the cool kids now! 😉


Top Ten Tuesday – Ten Books to Try if You Like Rick Riordin

Top Ten Tuesday is an original meme from the awesome team at The Broke and The Bookish. 

toptentuesdayCan’t wait for Magnus Chase & The Sword of Summer to come out this October? Here are ten books to try if you like Rick Riordin, and are looking for your next adventurous read.

Gregor the Overlander

1. Gregor the Overlander / Suzanne Collins

“When eleven-year-old Gregor and his two-year-old sister are pulled into a strange underground world, they trigger an epic battle involving men, bats, rats, cockroaches, and spiders while on a quest foretold by ancient prophecy.”

The Ruins of Gorlan

2. Ruins of Gorlan / John Flanagan

“When fifteen-year-old Will is rejected by battleschool, he becomes the reluctant apprentice to the mysterious Ranger Halt, and winds up protecting the kingdom from danger.”

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians

3. Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians / Brandon Sanderson

“On his thirteenth birthday, foster child Alcatraz Smedry receives a bag of sand which is immediately stolen by the evil Librarians who are trying to take over the world, and Alcatraz is introduced to his grandfather and his own special talent, and told that he must use it to save civilization. “

The Dark Is Rising

4. The Dark is Rising / Susan Cooper

“On his eleventh birthday Will Stanton discovers that he is the last of the Old Ones, destined to seek the six magical Signs that will enable the Old Ones to triumph over the evil forces of the Dark.”

The Alchemyst

5. The Alchemyst : The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel / Michael Scott

“While working at pleasant but mundane summer jobs in San Francisco, fifteen-year-old twins, Sophie and Josh, suddenly find themselves caught up in the deadly, centuries-old struggle between rival alchemists, Nicholas Flamel and John Dee, over the possession of an ancient and powerful book holding the secret formulas for alchemy and everlasting life.”

Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos

6. Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos / R. L. LaFevers

“Twelve-year-old Theo uses arcane knowledge and her own special talent when she encounters two secret societies, one sworn to protect the world from ancient Egyptian magic and one planning to harness it to bring chaos to the world, both of which want a valuable artifact stolen from the London museum for which her parents work.”

The Hound of Rowan

7. The Hound of Rowan / Henry H. Neff

“After glimpsing a hint of his destiny in a mysterious tapestry, twelve-year-old Max McDaniels becomes a student at Rowan Academy, where he trains in “mystics and combat” in preparation for war with an ancient enemy that has been kidnapping children like him.”


8. Fablehaven / Brandon Mull

“When Kendra and Seth go to stay at their grandparents’ estate, they discover that it is a sanctuary for magical creatures and that a battle between good and evil is looming.”

A World Without Heroes

9. A World Without Heroes / Brandon Mull

“Fourteen-year-old Jason Walker is transported to a strange world called Lyrian, where he joins Rachel, who was also drawn there from our world, and a few rebels, to piece together the Word that can destroy the malicious wizard emperor, Surroth.”

Loki's Wolves

10. Loki’s Wolves / Kelley Armstrong

“Matt Thorsen is a direct descendent of the order-keeping god Thor, and his classmates Fen and Laurie Brekke are descendents of the trickster god Loki. When Ragnarok–the apocalypse–threatens, the human descendents of the gods must fight monsters to stop the end of the world.”

On My Shelf – My To-Read List

Confession time –  I don’t really read YA fiction. I never have. Even as a teen I had no interest in YA – they all seemed to be the same book, with different covers. Boy meets girl in high school. Boy meets girl in the past. Boy meets girl in the future. Boy meets girl in space. Boy meets girl in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust. Angst, hormones, angst, whining, predictable ending. Yawn…. There have definitely been a couple of titles I enjoyed, but on the whole it’s never been a genre I immediately reach for.

Fast forward a few years and I now work with teens and help maintain a YA collection. What better time to give YA lit another chance?

I took a quick walk through the teen section today, and here are a few titles I picked out to try.  I’ve never been a big fan of realistic fiction, but there seem to be enough sci fi / fantasy YA books out there to keep me occupied.

Divergent / Veronica Roth


Better late than never? I wasn’t a big fan of the film so I’m not holding my breath, but I’ll try and keep an open mind…

The Forest of Hands and Teeth / Carrie Ryan


Zombies? I like zombies. There’s potential here.

The Rithmatist / Brandon Sanderson


I loved Warbreaker, so here’s hoping Sanderson’s YA novels are just as good!

Alanna / Tamora Pierce


There are a lot of Tamora Pierce fans at my book club, and I’m always looking for series with strong female leads, so I’m excited to give these books a try.

We’ll see how it goes….!