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.

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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.

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sigh…..

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 Finished Series I Have YET to Finish

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

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This week’s theme: “Ten Finished Series I Have YET to Finish”. I seem to have a tendency to leave series unfinished…!

1.The Wheel of Time / Robert Jordan – This fantasy classic spans 14 MASSIVE books, plus a prequel and a companion book. I must confess, I have only read the first two. I don’t know if I’ll manage to get back into the series – there are a lot of characters, and I would probably have to start from the beginning just to get caught up again.

2. Legend / Marie LuI used to work with teenagers quite a bit, so I made an effort to introduce more YA lit into my life. I was curious about this futuristic dystopia trilogy, in which a boy and a girl must save the world from the machinations of the mean old grown-ups, because the author worked in the video game industry (and I’m a bit of a gamer). I actually enjoyed the first book in the trilogy, but not enough to make me want to pick up the second two. It was a bit of a case of “been there, read that”.

3. Divergent / Veronica Roth Yet another dystopia – come on, teens, lighten up already! Didn’t like the characters, wasn’t impressed by the world building, couldn’t be bothered to finish the trilogy.

4.Chronicles of the Black Company / Glen Cook I really loved the first book in this dark fantasy series – the adventures of a band of mercenaries who get swept up in a terrible battle in which the lines between good and evil are blurred beyond recognition. The second and third books were OK too. As I progressed through the series, though, the magic began to wear off, and it began to feel as though the author was losing interest in the world he created. I never finished this series, and with so many exciting books on my to-read list, I doubt I will.

5.Inheritance Cycle / Christopher Paolini – I actually enjoyed Eragon, and I probably will try to finish this series, but with so many books on my bookshelf waiting to be read, I still haven’t got around to it yet!

6.Time Quintet / Madeleine L’Engle – OK, so I’ll be honest – I didn’t realize this was a series. I remember reading A Wrinkle In Time as a student and not enjoying it, largely because of the tedious extension activities that were thrust upon us by my English teacher. I haven’t picked it up again since, which is a shame, because I have enjoyed other works by L’Engle.

7.The Foundation Novels – Isaac Asimov  – As a teenager I read a lot of science fiction. I really enjoyed Asimov’s Robot series, so I decided to give Foundation a try. I finished the first novel through sheer force of will alone, and was too confused to be interested in picking up another title in the series.

8. Sword of Shannara Trilogy / Terry Brooks – I know this is a classic fantasy series, but I found it painfully formulaic and unbearably predictable. I managed to finish the first book, but I have no interest whatsoever in finishing the series. Note – I actually met Terry Brooks, and he actually seems like a very nice person, but I still didn’t enjoy this series 😦 .

9. The Malazan Book of the Fallen / Steven Erikson – Wow, there’s a surprising amount of fantasy in this list! I didn’t really get into this series, which I found reminiscent of The Black Company. I don’t mind dark fantasy, but this series just didn’t grab me.

10.Dune – Frank Herbert. I wanted to love this series because it’s such a classic of the genre, but for some reason I never got around to finishing it. I think that’s a bit of trend in this list – some series I didn’t bother finishing because I didn’t enjoy them, but others I just seem to have forgotten – I didn’t hate them, but I wasn’t compelled to seek out the remaining books.

Well, that’s that! Who knows, perhaps I’ll finish some of these series yet! Let me know in the comments if you’ve finished any of these series, or if there are any other series that you recommend trying!