The Buffy the Vampire Slayer Book Tag

As my family and close friends know, I’m a big Buffy fan. Huge. Enormous. I mean, this is a show that absolutely revolutionised TV in the 90s. I pretty much try to get everyone I know to watch it at some point. Amazing characters, great dialogue, gripping plots, badass action scenes, female empowerment, one of the first ongoing gay relationships on TV, the best musical episode of a non-musical TV show ever (fight me), some corny but fun CGI…it’s just so good. Go watch it if you haven’t already.

Anyway, when I came across a book tag devoted especially to it, I knew I had to do it. Just HAD TO. This tag was originally created by Lauren over at Book Slaying but was then changed slightly by Sarah at Written Word Worlds. I’m going to do a combination of the two versions, with my own changes and additions because why not? Let’s get slayin’.


Buffy: A Character Who Lives a Double Life

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Nova Artino (Renegades- Marissa Meyer)

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There were a few options for this one but I’ve decided to go with Nova. In Renegades, Nova’s allegiance is to the so called ‘Villains’ group in society. She resents the Renegades, (who act as the city’s political body/law enforcement group) for their past failures, and believes they’re not what they claim or people hold them up to be. In order to gain valuable intelligence on the inner workings of the Renegades team, she joins them, complete with an entirely new (and fake) personal history.


Willow: A Badass Witch

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Manon Blackbeak (Throne of Glass series – Sarah J. Maas)

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I don’t use Throne of Glass related things for many prompts. It’s mainly because I wasn’t a huge fan of the series and only made it about 4 books in. Still, there’s no denying that Manon is 100% a badass witch. Or more specifically, a scary-ass witch. I mean, she’s killed people and actually drank their blood, has retractable iron fangs and nails, and she flies a wyvern. Combine that with an icy, ruthless and determined personality, and the end result is…well, don’t cross her if you can avoid it.


Xander: A Character Who Mostly Provides Comic Relief

M-BOT (Skyward – Brandon Sanderson)

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While M-Bot certainly has its other purposes, as you do being a super advanced stealth space ship, its main contribution to Skyward is as comic relief. If you’re laughing at something during this book, 80% chance it’ll be M-Bot. Sometimes it’s talking about its drive to catalogue mushrooms, others it’s randomly hacking into Spensa’s communications channel to give commentary, and then there’s the constant crapping on poor Rig as he attempts to repair it. Regardless, M-Bot is an easy fan favourite.


Giles: A Parental Figure

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Miss Honey (Matilda – Roald Dahl)

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Honestly, can you guys think of a more perfect parental figure than Miss Honey? She’s kind, gentle, smart, wants the best for each of her students, and tries hard to ensure that Matilda will receive the kind of care and education that she deserves. The two develop a special bond with Matilda using her telekinetic powers to ensure the return of Miss Honey’s home and inheritance from Principal Trunchbull. By the end of the book, Matilda goes to live with Miss Honey and it’s pretty much a happily ever after.


Dawn: Favourite Sibling Relationship

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Tyler & Scarlett Jones (Aurora Rising – Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman)

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Ugh, Dawn. I almost changed this prompt to ‘A character you found ridiculously annoying’. There are a few sibling relationships I really love, but for the sake of variety, I’ve picked Tyler and Scarlett. Having just finished Aurora Rising, these two are fresh in my memory. They have a great degree of banter, trust one another, are able to communicate with little more than a look or a raised eyebrow, and have faith in the other’s abilities. Ty and Scarlet are squadmates and siblings but more importantly they’re good friends.


Oz: A Book With Werewolves

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Nightshade -Andrea Cremer

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I read this book YEARSSSSS ago and I can’t remember anything about it other than it was about werewolves and the main character’s name was Calla. Based on my GR review, I must have liked it somewhat (but not enough to read the sequel). Obviously I was drawn in by the pretty purple cover. Gosh, that’s a nice colour. I have a sneaking suspicion that I wouldn’t be so keen on it were I to read it now – male wolf dominance, love triangles and all that, but eh, it’s a werewolf book and it’s something different from my usual book tag choices.


Cordelia: A Character Who Undergoes Major Growth

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Zoya Nazyalensky (The Grisha Trilogy & King of Scars – Leigh Bardugo)

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When we first meet Zoya, to put it mildly, she’s kind of a raging bitch. But after being knocked off her pedestal and then joining Alina’s & Nikolai’s fight against The Darkling, she undergoes some great character development. However, much like with Cordelia Chase, it’s a spin off that really gives her the chance to shine. Zoya is sassy, resilient, able to handle Nikolai (a feat in itself), a badass grisha, and has not got time for your shit. Basically, we stan. Zoya for Queen of Ravka.


Angel: An Extremely Broody Character

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Victor Vale (Vicious – V.E. Schwab)

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Ah, Victor. You’re certainly a very broody character. Admittedly, this is fairly understandable because: (a) he went to prison for years for a murder he committed accidentally, giving him plenty to brood about, (b) how else would he plot his nemesis & former friend’s demise?, and (c) it just fits his whole gloomy, anti-hero image. So, in Victor’s case, unlike some other’s, it actually works very well.


Spike: A Character with a Redemption Arc

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Severus Snape (Harry Potter Series – J. K. Rowling)

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To avoid reusing Holland from ADSOM for the millionth time, I’m going with Severus Snape. In fairness, I don’t think I’ve ever used this one in a book tag before despite how popular a choice it must be and how much I love HP. Snape definitely has some massive flaws and he’s far from being fully redeemed by the end of the series. However, our view of him as a character is certainly very much improved in Deathly Hallows by the introduction of a whole bunch of new info about past events.


Tara: A Book with a LGBTI Relationship

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Alex & Henry (Red, White & Royal Blue – Casey McQuiston)

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There are so many wonderful LGBTI ships out there in fictional land. I recently finished this book so it’s been on the brain which is probably why I jumped here first. However, it’s also probably because these two are so darn CUTE. Ahhhhhh. Alex is smart-mouthed and outgoing while Henry is a closet-nerd and major romantic. The two start out a bit rough but eventually their relationship develops into hilarious late night texting convos, sexy, secret rendezvous, and some genuinely sweet heart to hearts.


Anya: A Character Who Grew on You

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Nesta Archeron (ACOTAR Series – Sarah J. Maas)

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Yes, more SJM. I’m sorry I’m a cliche, okay.
If you happen to go through my read along posts for ACOTAR, you’ll find that I didn’t have many nice things to say about Feyre’s sisters early on. Nesta can be harsh, closed off and selfish, but after spending more time with her, I ended up loving that she was a more emotionally complex character. Some people will find it difficult to like her but I know she’s going to have her moment once the new series kicks into gear. Also, if she doesn’t end up with Cassian, I’ll riot.


Faith: A Character with Questionable Allegiances

Ashlinn Jarheim (Nevernight Series – Jay Kristoff)

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Ah, Ashlinn. I can’t really say much on this one without giving away major spoilers to anyone who hasn’t read Nevernight. If that’s you, go do it already! Before book three comes out in September! I will say that she’s sassy, resourceful, and calculating, and I’m looking forward to seeing where she ends up at the end of the series. Somehow I doubt she’ll do any more plot twisty things but considering her character, you never can be entirely sure.

Are you a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan? I love finding people to gush about amazing TV shows with, especially older ones. If so, who’s your favourite character?

I definitely think it’s time for a re-watch!

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April TBR: OWLs Magical Readathon 2019

Some of you may remember that last year I took part in both the OWLs and NEWTs magical readathons hosted by the lovely G at Book Roast over on Booktube. Just like G, I’m a huge Harry Potter fan and although I don’t participate in many readathons, I can’t resist doing these ones. This year G has gone all out and has written up an entire booklet devoted to wizarding careers. Each have their own OWLs and NEWTs subject requirements which adds a fun, extra layer to the whole readathon experience.

If you’re interested in taking part, you can find the full list of subject prompts for the readathon here, and the book of wizard world careers here (it looks absolutely amazing!)

MY WIZARD CAREER

Picking a career for this year’s readathons has been a challenge! There’s just so many fabulous sounding professions, but of course, I have to think about what I’m reasonably capable of achieving. I can usually manage about 6 books a month without any hectic scrambling so I’ve got two professions in mind depending on how I end up tracking.

1) Auror – This only requires 5 subjects and sounds right up my alley if I were to actually be a part of the wizarding world.

2) Hogwarts Professor – This career requires 7 subjects and again, seems like something suited to me. If I’m progressing well with the number of books for the month, I’ll swap over to this instead as the subjects are highly flexible and allow for a cross over with the Auror requirements.

PRIORITY TBR

Now onto my TBR for the month. For the Auror career, I’m placing high priority on Defence Against the Dark Arts, Charms, Herbology, Potions and Transfiguration. I’ve added books for some of the other prompts just in case I have extra time and am able to move up to Hogwarts Professor. If so, my specialty subject will be Charms because teaching kids to levitate stuff sounds like fun.

Defence Against the Dark Arts

Reducto – Book or Series Starting with ‘R’

Radio Silence – Alice Oseman

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When I first saw this prompt, I thought it’d be one of the easiest ones on the list. How wrong I was. Turns out, R isn’t as popular a letter for titles as I thought. Not wanting to do a reread just for the sake of it, I ended up going to the bookstore and hurrah! I spotted Radio Silence. I’ve been wanting to read one of Alice Oseman’s books and now I have the perfect opportunity. This book has had some great reviews from my Goodreads buddies so I’m really looking forward to it!

Transfiguration

Sprayed Edges or a Red Cover

Saga, Vol. 2 – Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

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I read the first volume in the Saga series as part of a previous magical readathon and really enjoyed it. I ended up buying the next two volumes shortly after but, as usual, never got around to reading them. These are perfect for bulking up your readathon results so I’m super glad one of the prompts fit. Time to get back to Marko, Alana & Hazel’s adventures.

Potions

Next Ingredient – A Sequel

City of Lost Souls (Mortal Instruments 5#) – Cassandra Clare

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Time to press on with my The Mortal Instruments read/re-read. After getting through CoFA, I’m now finally onto a book I haven’t read. I’m not sure how keen I am though. My sister didn’t exactly give CoLS a glowing review and I am beyond over Jace and Clary’s melodrama, but for Alec, Magnus, Simon and Isabel, I’ll push through. Well, that and because, as I’ve said many times before, I WANT TO READ THE DAMN DARK ARTIFICES like everyone else on the planet.

Herbology

A Plant on the Cover

It Ends with Us – Colleen Hoover

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Thank god, finally a prompt that works for one of the prioritised books on my existing TBR! As you can see, this book features a bunch of crushed flowers on the cover so that works for the prompt. I featured this book on my recent Top 10 Tuesday Autumn TBR post so I really hope I actually get to it (outlook seems good). As I’ve mentioned, it’s supposed to be a good romance read with a decent amount of substance and emotion. It’s not overly long either which is great for a readathon.

Charms

Age Line – An Adult Book

Middlegame – Seanan McGuire

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I was granted this ARC a little while ago now but as we were told not to publish reviews until at least 2 weeks before release (which is in May) I’ve been holding off. With only about a month to go now, I think it’s time to get stuck in. However, I’m a little worried about the fact it’s over 500 pages long and that it may hold me up a bit. Then again, it’ll be an e-read, so maybe it will be okay. The vague (non-full review) comments on this book have been great, meaning hopefully it’ll be so good that I simply race through in the blink of an eye!

BONUS TBR

Arithmancy

Work Written By More than One Author

Always Never Yours – Emily Wibberly and Austin Siegemund-Broka

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Another book from my existing TBR, yay! That means it’s cute contemporary time. As I mentioned in my Autumn TBR Top 10, I’m super keen to read this sweet, fluffy read. And fitting with the prompt, it’s written by two authors – a husband and wife, so adorable. I think this’ll be a quick, easy read which should help maintain my momentum, especially towards the end of the month.

Muggle Studies

A Contemporary

What If It’s Us – Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

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As I’ve mentioned a million zillion times, I’ve been putting this book off for a ages so it’s about time I finally read it. However, this subject isn’t a priority for me with my chosen career so it’s unlikely I’ll get this far. Poor What If It’s Us, it’s always so neglected. I’ll get to you eventually, I promiiiissseeee!!!

History of Magic

Published at least 10 years ago

Pet Sematary by Stephen King

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I was originally torn as to which King book I wanted to do for this one, but having finally decided to try my hand at an audiobook and give myself something to listen to when I go for walks, I downloaded Pet Sematary. I have no idea if I’m capable of listening to the entire thing during the month (it’s like 15 1/2 hours?). At least this one isn’t an essential subject and regardless of when I finish, if I feel like watching the new adaptation (I don’t usually do scary movies but can’t resist King adaptations) I’ll be ready for it.

Ancient Runes

A Retelling

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein – Kiersten White

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Annoyingly, I read the only retelling I had on my purchased TBR in March (A Curse so Dark and Lonely) right before I saw the prompts for the readathon. Now, of course, I have to buy one if I do this prompt. At this point, it’s looking like Elizabeth Frankenstein will be my pick because I’ve been thinking about reading it for a while, it’s short, and, for something different, it’s not a fairy tale retelling. It also looks a tad dark which you guys know I’m always drawn to.

And that’s my ambitious TBR for April 2019! I’m hoping that if I put in a little extra time here and there, more than I usually do, I’ll end up with a good result much like I did in 2018.

Are any of you taking part in the OWLs 2019 readathon? If so, what profession are you aiming for?

The Villains Award Tag

This tag comes to me courtesy of the one, and only, Paper Fury. Everyone knows that a good story needs a fantastically written and memorable villain so let’s celebrate a few of the good ones (or evil, as the case may be).

SPOILER WARNING for some of the below paragraphs.


Villain You Absolutely DESPISE and HATE

Dolores Umbridge (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J K Rowling)

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This was an easy pick. There are some villains you just love to hate but Umbridge, I just flat out hate her. She’s just evil. I mean, the woman tortures students as a form of “punishment”, is a crazy control freak, is so power hungry she basically gets on board with the death eaters when they take over the ministry of magic, treats any intelligent creature that isn’t a full wizard like scum, and worst of all… she thinks kitten plates are good interior decorating.

Villain Who is Entrancing

The Darkling (Grisha Verse – Leigh Bardugo)

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I know, an obvious choice, but how could I not? The Darkling is a dodgy dude. I know it, I really, really do. And yet, he just has something about him. Every time he enters a scene, I’m captivated. There’s this charisma and sense of mystery…I have no idea what it is. But bad guy. BAD.

Book You’d Like to Read From the Villain’s Perspective

The Wicked King – holly black (cardan greenbriar)

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I had a tough time with this one. Like, really hard. I need to read more books with good villains. So I’m going with a sort of anti-hero-ish character? I have no idea at this point. What even is Cardan? While I get what’s happening with him in The Cruel Prince, I would love to have some more insight into what’s going on inside his head in the sequel, especially considering the ending. Plus, there’s an extended period during which Jude is out of commission and a lot of things clearly went down that we don’t have info on. I needs to know, please.

Worst Antagonistic YA Parents

Valentine Morgenstern (The Mortal Instruments series – Cassandra Clare)

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This guy is not winning any father of the year awards. He’s a terrible parent but also a crappy person. He (1) made his wife ingest demon blood against her will which turned their baby into an evil demon-shadow hunter hybrid, (2) tried to enslave the shadow hunter race and then kill them all when that failed, (3) told his daughter that his adoptive son was her blood relation so they’d think they had incestuous feelings for each other, (4) imprisoned and tortured downworlders to “learn” about them, and…the list goes on.

Antihero Who is a Little Bad, Little Good

Gosh, how long have we got? There are so many good picks for this one:

  • Kaz Breker (Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo)
  • Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards Trilogy – Scott )
  • Victor Vale (Vicious Duology – V. E. Schwab)
  • Kelsier (The Final Empire – Brandon Sanderson)
  • Severin Montague-Alarie (The Gilded Wolves – Roshani Chokshi)
  • Lila Bard (A Darker Shade of Magic – V. E. Schwab)
  • Jude Duarte (The Folk of the Air Series – Holly Black)
  • Mia Corvere (Nevernight Series – Jay Kristoff)

Villain Made From Tragic Circumstances

The Nightbringer (Ember Quartet – Sabaa Tahir)

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The Nightbringer was once the leader of the Jinn before the Scholars betrayed them. In a desire for power, the Scholar leaders took advantage of the Jinn’s hospitality and tricked them into handing over their magic. They then proceeded to kill many of them, including their children and the Nightbringer’s family, and bound the rest in a magical grove. As you’d expect, the Nightbringer has good reason to be pissed off.

Minya (Strange the Dreamer Duology – Laini Taylor)

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Minya is one of only a few survivors of her race. After years of torment under the power of their gods, the people of Weep fought back against their oppressors. Worried that the children might grow to become threats, they slaughtered them as well. Only six years old at the time, Minya remembers the day in detail and is haunted by her failure to save more children from the nursery during the attack. For this reason she harbors a deep hatred for the humans of Weep.

Antagonist Who Gets in the Hero’s Way but isn’t Necessarily “Pure Evil”

Cassius au bellona (Red Rising Series – Pierce Brown)

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Cassius actually starts the series as MC, Darrow’s, friend, however, we all knew the minute he found out Darrow had been forced to kill his brother to enter the Gold military academy this would fall apart in spectacular fashion. And it did. Cassius isn’t an evil character. He has strong ideas about loyalty and honour, but because of how he’s been brought up, he aligns with the existing gold elite. He does come through in the end but up until that point, he’s kind of a thorn in Darrow’s side rather than a big bad.

A Non-Human Villain

  • BeiTech (The Illuminae Files – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff): Massive evil megacorporation that decided to take over an illegal mining operation on a distant planet knowing its inhabitants would be unable to call for help and then proceeded to try and murder all the witnesses.
  • Smaug (The Hobbit – J R R Tolkein): Obviously, a dragon. Is all like, NO, YOU MAY NOT HAVE YOUR GOLD AND MOUNTAIN BACK. ALL SHINY THINGS FOR ME.
  • Pennywise (It – Stephen King): Ancient being of great power who feeds off fear and often takes the shape of a creepy ass, child eating clown.

Villain Who you Think is Wicked but they’re Intriguing

Hannibal Lecter (The Silence of the Lambs – Thomas Harris)

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Hannibal is a murderer and a cannibal, but he’s just so smooth, suave and intelligent that sometimes you forget. That is, until he makes some weird and creepy comment about eating some dude’s liver with wine. Every scene he’s in you pause, just waiting to see what he’s going to say or do. The fact that he only gives you half the story at any given time (because he wants Clarice to work out the rest herself) also enhances just how intriguing he is – a truly captivating character.

scythe goddard (arc of a scythe – neal shusterman)

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Good lord, Scythe Goddard is bad news. Honestly, the guy is both a physical and mental threat, and he knows how to command a room too. What a cunning villain. Just when you think he’s failed or there’s a line he won’t cross, think again. Goddard has absolutely no qualms about massacring a room full of people and he genuinely believes scythes are better than everyone else. But while he may be awful, I’m always interested in seeing what his next move will be.

Antagonist Who Gets a Redemption Arc

Holland vosijk(A Darker Shade of Magic Series – V E Schwab)

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Oh, Holland. Sweet baby Holland, who just wants to help his world, but of course turns to a super-duper, evil dark magical being to do it. In the last book of the series, Holland joins Kell, Lila and Alucard’s quest to find an object they believe will save their world. By the end of the story, he redeems himself in a big way and *major spoiler* sacrifices himself to fix the situation he helped create.


Who are some of your favourite literary villains and anti-heroes? What makes them so damn good?

The Fellowship of the Ring Tag

This fabulous Lord of the Rings themed tag (and it’s lovely graphics) comes from Nandini @ Unputdownable Books. As I’ve said before, I’m not a fan of the LotR books (too wordy and too much info dumping, although they do have some really wonderful individual quotes, as you can see from this post) but I looooovvveeee the movies so when I stumbled across this, I knew I had to do it. Nandini’s also added in Gollum just to round out the question total.


Gandalf – A Book that Taught You Something

The Harry Potter Series – J. K. Rowling

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I’m going to double down on Nandini’s obvious answer for this one with good old HP. I grew up with this series and I think I learned a lot about bravery, friendship and loyalty from it. Hermione, in particular, taught me a lot about having a great work ethic and not being ashamed of being smart. Luna showcased the fact that it’s okay to be a little bit quirky and not to worry about what others think of you when you have good friends who accept you as you are. From Neville, I learnt that you can still be brave even if you’re scared and that it’s important to call people out on things even if they happen to be friends. Honestly, I could keep going but better not otherwise we’ll be here all day. 

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Frodo – A Book that Left a Mark on You

Sadie – Courtney Summers

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Sadie was such a raw, emotional and unflinchingly honest read. The book goes to some pretty dark and deep places, and tackles some heavy topics. I don’t think I’ve read many things like it. As a result, it really burrowed its way into my thoughts and emotions. Even without the sudden and open ending, I still think this book would have been playing on me for a long time afterwards. It’s definitely not something I’ll easily forget for a long time.

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Legolas – A Book You Finished in One Sitting

The Selection – Kiera Cass

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I find it difficult to get enough time to read books in one sitting because of my schedule but also because the books I read are often a bit too big. So, instead, I’ve picked something I raced through like there was no tomorrow (which also happens to be very short). The Selection is not well written and its main character, America, can be extremely frustrating, but it’s just so darn addictive in its trashy-ness. I mean, it’s the dystopian Bachelor. I had an absolute ball reading this book and finished it in no time at all.  It’s comfort fiction at its best.

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Gimli – A Book that Features an Unlikely Friendship

Zelie & Amari (Children of Blood & Bone – Toni Adeyemi)

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While I didn’t absolutely adore Children of Blood and Bone in its entirety, one of the parts I really enjoyed was the development of Zelie and Amari’s friendship. These two are from very different worlds and part of a social structure that puts them at odds with one another. When the book starts out, Zelie is extremely judgemental and resentful of Amari, treating her like the snobby and useless princess she believes her to be. However, over time she comes to realise that Amari is a lot more than this. Zelie helps Amari to come out of her shell and be brave. In turn, at the end of the book when Zelie needs it most, Amari is there for her and pushes her to stay strong even when it seems like all hope is lost.

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Merry – A Book that Pleasantly Surprised You

Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell

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I went into Fangirl thinking it’d be another cute, fluffy YA contemporary book that I’d enjoy but because of the hype would likely end up feeling a bit overrated. In the end, I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed it (a lot) but especially by the fact that it actually covered some more serious issues like mental health, broken families, and binge drinking. This book gave me some serious fanfiction nostaglia and while I’m not crazy about it like some people are, I wouldn’t say it’s massively overrated. Also, Levi = major love heart eyes.

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Pippin – A Book that Made You Laugh

The Hating Game – Sally Thorne

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Books rarely manage to make me laugh out loud beyond a casual snort, or maybe a slightly heavier breath, but as I mentioned in my recent review, The Hating Game did it on multiple occasions. I just love the banter and snark between Lucy and Josh – they have fantastic chemistry and although the barbs can be brutal on occasion, I can’t help cracking up when the real winners come out. Lucy, as a narrator, also manages to come up with some pretty funny commentary on events, while even some of the situations themselves are just amusing on their own (e.g. paintball warfare).

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Boromir – A Book/Series that You Think Ended Too Soon

Shades of Magic Series – V. E. Schwab**

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Okay, with already three books in this series I’m probably just being greedy. Also, considering the fact that a lot of series go on far too long beyond where they should have finished, Schwab likely did the right thing going out on a high. Still, I want MORE. *spoilers* A Conjuring of Light ends with Kell and Lila going off to explore the world together. Rhy has become king and is back together with Alucard. I would love to have read about Kell & Lila’s adventures, seen more of the world beyond the taste we got in book 3, and found out how Rhy rebuilt Red London/learned how to be a ruler. *end spoilers* I also feel like there’s a whole bunch of questions I’d really like to get answers for, in particular about Kell’s and Lila’s backgrounds.

** Okay, in the process of writing this post, I’ve actually just realised (HOW DID I MISS THIS) that last year Schwab signed a book deal for three more novels set in the same world as ADSOM. It’ll be called Threads of Power *jumps up and down and screams in excitement*. Okay, it’s not a direct sequel but I’ll take it!

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Sam – A Book with Memorable Side Characters Who Stole the Show

The Shadowhunters Books – Cassandra Clare

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Last year I re-read the first two books in this series (I will eventually re-read/read the rest, okay! I’m slow!) and realised that my favourite characters actually weren’t in them as much as I remembered. Over time, I think Cassie realised that although Jace, Clary and Simon were her leads,  people really loved Isabelle, Alec and Magnus, and as a result, they became much more present as time went on. Honestly, Magnus and Alec are so shortchanged in the early books, it’s almost criminal. I’m so glad that over time they got more page time to properly develop their stories and relationships.

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Aragorn – A Good Book with a Bad/Average Cover

Vampire Academy – Richelle Mead

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I’ve mentioned my eternal love for the Vampire Academy books repeatedly on this blog. It’s one of my absolute favourite series (exciting plots, fantastic characters, dramatic and funny writing, fab ships, and a great friendship at its heart) but the one thing I just can’t get behind is the covers. *sigh* Especially the first book in the series. What is it about YA books and their tendency to put random models on covers in awkward or weird positions? Worse, they’ve been recovered a couple of times and can never seem to come up with a winner. Even the 10th-anniversary edition is lacking a wow factor. Just because a book has vampires in it does not mean it has to look seedy.

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Gollum – A Book that had Great Potential but Disappointed You in the End

Sabriel – Garth Nix

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Sabriel is one of those books in fantasy circles that people seem to really talk up and Garth Nix isn’t exactly an unknown author either. The book has an interesting concept, too, and with all this in mind, I thought I’d be in for a really great read. Parts of it were good but on the whole, I had such a hard time getting into it and often found myself bored. The magic system that I’d heard so many amazing things about massively confused me and the world itself just felt a little odd. If there was one thing I did quite like it was Mogget, Sabriel’s massively powerful magical companion trapped in a cat’s body.


And there we have it. Done and dusted. You guys know I’m not one for tagging people but if you’re a LotR fan and would love to do this tag, I highly recommend it- just make sure to link back to Nandini’s original post.

Who’s your favourite member of the fellowship? Mine is definitely Sam – that sweet little hobbit, saving the world with his heart of gold and a frying pan. But if we’re talking movies,  I should also mention that I’m with you, Eowyn – Aragorn is a total dreamboat.

Top 10 Tuesday: Favourite Friendships in Books

This week’s TTT topic, thanks to host Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl, is platonic relationships in books. I’ve decided to go all basic and just do friendships because there are few things I love more than balanced, well developed and amazing friendships in the books I read. So here are ten of my favourites, of which there are TOO many (and yes, expect to see a lot of frequented choices, sorry not sorry).

Will Herondale & Jem Carstairs (The Infernal Devices Series – Cassandra Clare)

  • They’re so close, they’re basically brothers
  • Jem tells Will when he’s being ridiculous, risky and over the top (demon pox). Will encourages Jem to get out and have hope for the future even though he’s technically dying
  • Even though they’re in love with the same girl, they’re both willing to accept Tessa’s choice and just be happy for their friend because they honestly believe he deserves it *heart tingles*
  • Badass parabatai warriors

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Rose Hathaway & Lissa Dragomir (Vampire Academy series – Richelle Mead)

  • Rose dedicates her whole life to protecting Lissa and is willing to beat up anyone who hurts her (even emotionally)
  • Lissa brought both Rose’s boyfriend, Dimitri, AND Rose back from the dead at risk to her own sanity
  • Their skills and temperaments make up for what the other half lacks and when they work together, they kick ass
  • They have a magical bond that allows Rose to know what Lissa is thinking and feeling, meaning she always knows when her friend needs support

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The Inner Circle (A Court of Thorns and Roses Series – Sarah J Maas)

  • They’ve managed to be friends for god knows how many years and still aren’t sick of each other (well, mostly)
  • Snow ball fights and jokes about wingspans
  • They perfectly span the spectrum of very serious to massive shit stirrer which makes for fabulous dinner parties
  • Would die for each other
  • Basically family and in some instances, probs a better family than actual family

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Harry Potter, Ron Weasley & Hermione Granger (Harry Potter Series – J. K. Rowling)

  • All bring something different to the table – humour, intelligence and…err, sass and chosen one-ish-ness in order to save the day, repeatedly
  • Do not give two stuff about school rules
  • Stick by each other even when things look awful
  • Took down big evil wizard and saved the wizarding world together
  • Bicker in a way I find very amusing
  • Just generally give me life, okay

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Sevro Au Bacca & Darrow (Red Rising Series – Pierce Brown)

  • Sevro stops Darrow from getting a big head when things are going too well and Darrow stops Sevro from going on massive murder sprees except where it serves his agenda= goals
  • Fought side by side during epic space battles and have saved each other repeatedly
  • Trust each other so much they’re willing to follow the other person’s plans even when they’re absolutely insane and more likely to get them killed than succeed
  • That banter

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Nikolai Lantsov & Alina Starkov (The Grisha Trilogy – Leigh Bardugo)

Choosing to ignore the whole potential romantic interest thing and focus on awesome friendship instead because it was honestly one of my fave parts of this series.

  • Can have serious heart to hearts but also two second later switch to Nikolai being a cocky bastard and Alina saying she doesn’t like him at all (LIES)
  • Just generally get each other
  • Alina not being freaked out by Nikolai even when he’s a flying, fangy, people eating darkness creature
  • Nikolai following Alina around while being said people eating creature and still recognising her

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The Losers club (IT – Stephen King)

  • Teaming up to throw rocks at asshole bullies
  • Brave enough to go into scary, dark, icky sewers looking for a child eating clown and to vow to come back and kill it if it ever returns
  • Put up with Richie being a little pain in the ass with terrible impressions (who’s still loveable somehow)
  • Help Bev clean her bloody bathroom after Pennywise badly redecorates

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Anne Shirley & Diana Barry (Anne of Green Gables – L. M. Montgomery)

  • Because they’re kindred spirits and bosom friends
  • Anne saves Diana’s little sister’s life when she gets super sick one night
  • Diana doesn’t get mad at Anne for accidentally getting her drunk off mulled wine when she thought it was raspberry cordial
  • Diana indulges Anne’s insane dramatics and fantasies
  • Anne encourages Diana to live a little and have fun, even though it may be bending the rules

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Eragon & Saphira (Inheritance Cycle – Christopher Paolini)

  • Can read each other’s thoughts – so basically know all the good and bad parts of each other
  • Work in sync to be the dream team in big epic battles
  • Tell each other when they’re being stupid – mostly Saphira telling off Eragon because he does a lot of stupid things and gives her plenty of opportunities for snarky commentary
  • Just generally have a great dynamic

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Kell & Rhy Maresh (A Darker Shade of Magic Series – V. E. Schwab)

Pretty much brothers but great friends too.

  • Kell brought Rhy back from the dead by binding Rhy’s ife to his own. Now that’s friendship.
  • Rhy tricks Kell into going out to bars, drinking and socialising = basically the kind of friends my introverted, couch potato self needs
  • Kell is willing to threaten Rhy’s romantic interests with immense violence to make sure they don’t break his brother’s fragile little heart
  • Rhy encourages Kell to enter a magic competition to blow off some steam even though it is clearly a very bad idea

SPECIAL MENTIONS: Frodo Baggins & Samwise Gamgee (LotR), Mia Corvere & Mr Kindly (Nevernight – Jay Kristoff), Madeline, Celeste & Jane (Big Little Lies – Liane Moriarty)


What are some of your favourite bookish friendships or other platonic relationships?

The Greek Mythology Book Tag

Having just finished another Rick Riordan book, it felt like this particular tag was calling my name when I stumbled across it the other week. However, from what I can see there are two variations of it. For the most part, they’re the same except for a couple of prompts in the middle and at the end so with those, I kind of just picked whichever of the two options I felt like doing. I’m a bit unsure where the tag originated from but if you know, pass the info on. Okay, let’s meet the Gods, shall we?


Zeus, The King Sky God

Favourite Book

Why do you guys insist on making me choose between my beautiful babies? It’s NOT possible! There are so many amazing books out there that limiting myself to one seems unfair. So, unfortunately, I’ll have to pass on this one.


Poseidon, God of the Ocean

A Book that Drowned you in Feels

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

This is a book of so many mixed emotions. There are some really sweet moments between the characters (they’re all really loveable) but there’s also a few heartbreaking ones with regards to recollections from the war and finding out what happened to certain people.


Hades, God of the Underworld

A Book with a Dark/Ominous Plot

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Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

If there’s one thing you can say about Gillian Flynn’s books, it’s that they’re a tad dark. She really digs into the not so pleasant parts of people and uses them to create twisted stories. No one is perfect and everyone has ulterior motives. Even the ending of this one is pretty bleak.


Hera, The Queen Goddess of Family and Marriage

Cutest Fictional Couple

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Percy Jackson & Annabeth Chase (Rick Riordan books)

There are a lot of fictional couples that I adore but not all of them are what I’d describe as “cute”. I haven’t read much of them as a couple yet, but so far Percy and Annabeth are definitely cute. I like the fact that they were friends first and that they complement each other so well – Annabeth is practical and thinks about things first while Percy tends to dive into things head on.


Athena, Goddess of Wisdom and Battle Strategy

Favourite Intelligent Character

Hermione

Hermione Granger (Harry Potter Series – J. K. Rowling)

I really should try to vary my answers a bit for these tags but eh, Hermione’s my girl. It’s not hard to see why she’s called the brightest witch of her age. Good thing too, she needs to be to make up for all the stupid stuff Harry and Ron tend to do. I mean, she was petrified in book two and still managed to give them the necessary information to help them solve the mystery.


Gaea, The Great Mother

Series with the Best World Building

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The Lord of the Rings – J RR Tolkien & A Song of Ice and Fire – George RR Martin

This one’s a tie for me. I don’t think anyone can deny the world-building skills of these two authors. I’m not a huge fan of Tolkien’s writing style but the man created maps, languages, history, music, races, everything you need for a rich fantasy world. Martin’s worlds are also fantastically rich, which is probably why his novels are enormous and take so long to write.


Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Beauty

A Beautiful Cover

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The Last Namsara -Kristen Ciccarelli

I get asked this question in a lot of book tags and in an attempt to try and not reuse the same answers over and over again *cough* Strange the Dreamer *cough*, I’m going with this one. While I found the book itself to be a bit of an average read, I think the cover is lovely. It’s just so sparkly.


Aries, God of War and Battle

Most Violent Book you’ve Read

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Godsgrave (Nevernight 2#) – Jay Kristoff

I almost went with The Hunger Games on this one before I realised that much of the violence actually happens off-screen. Instead, I’ve gone with Godsgrave. Nevernight is pretty violent as well (not that I have a problem with it) but Godsgrave has assassins AND gladiators. There’s bloody chariot races, giant worms burning people with acid stomachs, and lots of stabby, stabby.


Hephaestus, God of Blacksmiths and Flame

A Scorching Hot, Swoon-worthy Character

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Jamie Fraser (Outlander series – Diana Gabaldon)

As if there was any question about how I’d answer this one. I ♥ Jamie. While he certainly has some not so good moments, he always tries to learn from them. He’s kind, brave, and treats Claire as a partner. Oh, and he’s hot. Can’t forget that part.


Artemis, The Virgin Goddess of the Hunt

A Heroine who Doesn’t Need a Man to Save her

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Rose Hathaway (Vampire Academy Series – Richelle Mead)

Rose is one of my favourite heroines and she has been since I was in high school. She’s one of those rare MCs that you actually could say is your favourite character. Rose is spunky, passionate and she kicks so much ass.


Apollo, God of Music, Light, and Healing

A Sequel that Redeemed its Series

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Golden Son (Red Rising 2#) – Pierce Brown

Redeemed isn’t really the word in this instance (the only one that would work for me is  A Court of Mist and Fury by SJM and I don’t want to use it for the umpteenth time) but I scored Golden Son higher than the original book, Red Rising, which is very, very rare for me. It’s a fantastic sequel in a fabulous series. Highly recommend.


Hermes, God of Messages, Travelers, and Thieves

Book with the Best Message

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Queens of Geek – Jen Wilde

There are quite a few books out there that have really nice messages so for this tag I’ve decided to go with Queens of Geek. This novel is massively diverse and inclusive, but even better, it promotes kindness, equality, women supporting other women, self-love, and putting yourself out there even though it might be scary to do so. While there may not be much of a plot and the writing is a little simplistic at times,  it’s definitely a feel-good book.


Hestia, Goddess of Hearth and Home

A Book you go to for Comfort

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Alanna: the first Adventure (Song of the Lioness 1#) – Tamora Pierce

To avoid using Harry Potter AGAIN, which really is my go-to comfort series, I’m going with Alanna: the First Adventure (which yes, I know I’ve mentioned a few times in the past but too bad). It’s the first book in one of my favourite series from childhood. I can always read these books and be taken straight back to primary school, which for some reason is very reassuring. They’re quick, easy reads and Tamora Pierce is a great fantasy writer.  I really should read her newest book, Tempests & Slaughter when I get a chance.


Demeter, Goddess of Agriculture and Fertility

Favourite Bookish setting

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Hogwarts (Harry Potter Series – J.K. Rowling)

Hogwarts. You could ask me this question a million times and I’ll always give you the same answer. I want to go to Hogwarts – hang out in a common room, attend a feast in the great hall, meet the house elves in the kitchens, watch a Quidditch match, take a trip to Hogsmeade, walk the grounds with Hagrid, chat with ghosts, play a game of exploding snap, try out the room of requirement, I WANT TO DO IT ALL.


Dionysus, God of Wine and Feasting

Most anticipated 2018 Release

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What If It’s Us – Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

I’ve mentioned my excitement for Wildcard by Marie Lu & Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor before so for something different, here’s a YA Contemporary due out in October. What If it’s Us just sounds super cute and I think the characters will be really great. I’ve liked both the Becky Albertalli books I’ve read so far and I’ve only heard good things about Adam Silvera. Here’s hoping this one’s a winner.


Hecate, Goddess of Crossroads and Magic

Favourite Magical read

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A Gathering of Shadows (A Darker Shade of Magic 2#) – V. E. Schwab

Now, this was another difficult one because I read so many fantasy books that involve magic. I have a lot of favourites but A Gathering of Shadows is definitely high on the list. The book actually involves a magic competition which was immensely enjoyable for me – how could it not be with three of the major characters as competitors?


Nemesis, God of Revenge

Favourite Revenge Story

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Vicious – V. E. Schwab

Nevernight is probably my favourite revenge story but since I’ve already used Godsgrave above, Vicious is my pick for this one (yep, another Schwab book. I’m in love, no point denying it). There are a lot of morally questionable characters in this story, which is great. This especially applies to Victor, our male lead, who will do whatever he has to do to get back at Eli, even if it means hurting others. It’s different, a little bit dark, and there are x-men-like powers. A great read.


I Tag

You all know the drill, only if you (a) feel like doing it and (b) haven’t already. Don’t worry, I won’t be offended if you don’t! If you do, I’m looking forward to seeing your answers!

Lu @ It’s Lu Again

Dezzy @ The Thoughtful Voice (for after your mini-hiatus)

Priyasha @ Books and Co.

Kelly @ Another Book in the Wall

Rendz @ Reading with Rendz

If I haven’t tagged you and you’d like to do it, go for it!

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There were some really tough ones in here, you’d be surprised how long it took me to complete this tag. Then again, I probably make it harder by trying not to use things I’ve answered with recently (however, in some cases I fail, epically).

How would you have answered some of these questions? Do you have a favourite book or are you like me and simply refuse to choose? 

Love Ashley

The Ultimate Harry Potter Tag

You know me, I never go too long without expressing a lil’ bit of the old Harry Potter love. Tomorrow night I’m attending an HP trivia, dress up, and treasure hunt event at my favourite bookstore so it seemed like the perfect time to tackle this chunky HP Q&A tag. It’s an oldie, but a goodie. I’ve no clue where it originated from but if you know, pop it in the comments and I’ll give them the credit they’re due.


1. Favourite Book?

Goblet of Fire has always been my favourite. I love the challenges (come on, dragons anyone?), Draco Malfoy as a ferret, the Quidditch world cup, introduction of the other schools onto the scene, and dramatic ending. Plus, it’s the last book before things become dark and serious.

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2. Least Favourite Book?

Order of the Phoenix. It’s not that I don’t like Order of the Phoenix, I do, it’s just a lot heavier (in tone and physically) than the previous books. Harry’s extremely angsty through large chunks of it, Sirius dies at the end, and I hate how Dumbledore spends the entire book blowing Harry off. Also, Umbridge. She’s worse than Voldemort.

3. Favourite Movie?

I adore Philosopher’s Stone because it’s the very first and has such a purity to it but my favourites are probably Prisoner of Azkaban (Buckbeak, Lupin, time turners, werewolves, so much to love) and Deathly Hallows Part 2 (it’s not exactly true to book but I love the epicness of the fight sequences).

4. Least Favourite Movie?

Order of the Phoenix. Now, this was a book that could have used two films. They stripped that novel down to the barest of bones and left it feeling hollow and bleak. There’s barely any of the character building elements other than the DA and I feel sad when I think about all of the wonderful side plots that were missed out on.

5. Favourite Quote?

There are so many wonderful quotes in this series, I couldn’t possibly pick just one so here are some of my favourites (which I’m sure you’ve all heard many, many times before):

“…[T]he world isn’t split into good people and death eaters. We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.” – Sirius Black

“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals” – Sirius Black

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.” – Albus Dumbledore

And a quote that’s especially important to remember in the world of today:

“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.” – Albus Dumbledore

6. Favourite Weasley

Fred and George – they’re a package deal. They never fail to make me laugh and I enjoy every scene they’re in.

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7. Favourite Female Character?

Hermione Granger – it may seem a bit cliche but Hermione was one of my favourite characters growing up. She was brave, hardworking, smart, and without her, poor Harry would have been a very dead chosen one not far into the series.

8. Favourite Villain?

This is a tough one. Umbridge, for example, is a “good” villain but she also happens to annoy the hell out of me. I think I may go with Barty Crouch Jr/Mad Eye Moody for this one. Mad Eye is such an entertaining character in Goblet of Fire, but because it’s not actually him, I guess it’s Barty I find so enjoyable. I like the unpredictability, the thought and patience that went into his plans, and the backstory to him ending up masquerading as Moody.

9. Favourite Male Character?

I have a bit of a soft spot for Neville. He’s such a sweet character – clumsy, forgetful, and loves plants. How could you not love that? I also like the fact that over time he gets more chances to showcase just why he got selected for Gryffindor house – deep down, he’s got the heart of a lion (well, except where Snape and his Grandma are concerned).

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10. Favourite Professor?

Minerva McGonagall – that woman is amazing. The sass alone is enough but she also happens to be a badass who can shapeshift into a cat. Need I say more?

Lupin gets points as well for always having a stash of chocolate on hand.

11. Wash Snape’s Hair, or Spend a Day Listening to Lockhart Rant about Himself?

Snape’s hair because I’m sure there’s an easy spell for that somewhere.

12. Duel and Elated Bellatrix, Or an Angry Molly?

An angry Molly because Bellatrix is freaking scary and crazy as hell. At least Molly could probably be reasoned with. Probably.

13. Travel to Hogwarts Via Hogwarts Express or Flying Car?

The Hogwarts Express, hands down. Watch all the beautiful scenery go by and eat a million sweets from the trolley at the same time, yes, please!

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14. Kiss Voldemort, or Give Umbridge a Bubble Bath?

Er, neither. Is that an option? If not, maybe the bubble bath provided I get earplugs and a blindfold.

15. Ride a Hippogriff, or Ride a Firebolt?

Definitely a Firebolt. As lovely as Buckbeak is, I’m not so big on birds (terrified of them actually) and hippogriffs have eagle heads so that’d be a no. Broom all the way.

16. Is there a Character you felt Differently about in the Movies VS the Books?

Ah, Ginny. I really, really like Ginny in the books – she’s such a strong character but she’s massively shortchanged in the films to the point where she’s almost a non-entity unless the plot specifically requires her to show up e.g. Chamber of Secrets, romancing Harry. So disappointing

17. Is there a Movie you preferred over its book?

I do love the movies, but no. The books are better.

18. Richard Harris or Michael Gambon as Dumbledore?

I think Richard Harris is absolutely the perfect Dumbledore. Visually he’s fantastic and just has the perfect combination of quiet strength, quirkiness, kindness, and intelligence that Dumbledore possesses. However, there are moments where I wonder how he would have done with some of the more action-packed parts of the books such as the fight with Voldemort in book 5, especially since Michael Gambon managed these very well. Guess we’ll never know.

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19. Your Top Thing (Person or Event) which wasn’t Included in the Movies that Annoyed you the Most?

God. Just one? Peeves, SPEW and the house elves (especially Winky), Hermione & Ron’s prefecture, Hermione blackmailing Rita Skeeter to help Harry, Cho blowing up at Harry in some teeny-tiny teashop, there are so many things I wish had been included but I recognise the fact that a lot of them weren’t necessary to the overall plot.

20. If you could Remake any of the Potter Movies, which would it be?

Order of the Phoenix, surprise, surprise. I’d split it in two and add in more of the side plots from the book to enrich the characters and story.

21. Which House was your First Gutfeeling you’d be a Part of?

I think everyone wanted to be a Gryffindor when they were little but as I got older I came to realise that Hufflepuff is where my heart truly lies. Loyalty, honesty, and dormitories right near the kitchen. Sounds about right.

22. Which House were you Actually Sorted into on Pottermore?

Back before Pottermore was re-vamped, I did the quiz and got sorted into Hufflepuff. After the changes, I had to do the quiz again for some reason and ended up in Gryffindor, surprisingly. I guess I’m more a Gryffinpuff (or Huffledor) than I realised.

23. Which Class would be your Favourite?

I think Charms would be a lot of fun – levitating feathers, freezing things, making your wand light up, and so on, but Defence Against the Dark Arts could be exciting as well.

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24. Which Spell do you Think would be the Most Useful to Learn?

Lumos would certainly be useful when you need to do something in the middle of the night without waking everyone up (or stepping on a cat, in my case), but I’m extremely lazy so Accio would probably be my pick.

25. Which Character do you Think You’d Instantly Become Best Friends with?

Hagrid – I could teach him how to bake better and he could convince me to get out of the house more. Plus the hugs would be amazing, and I’d get to pat Fang.

26. If you Could Own One of the Three Hallows, Which Would it be?

The invisibility cloak. Nobody should have the power of the Elder Wand, plus I don’t want people murdering me for it.  The stone scares me a little and it seems a bit unhealthy in encouraging you not to let go of those who’ve died. However, I can’t deny that it’d certainly be cool to have conversations with some famous dead people.

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27. Is there any Aspect of the Books You’d Want to Change?

Hm, I haven’t read them in a few years now so things aren’t as fresh in my mind as they could be. The only thing that comes to mind at the moment is maybe the first section of Deathly Hallows. There’s a lot of what feels like nothing and during my first read, it did get a bit boring. I wish there’d been more direction, less bickering.

28. Favourite Marauder?

All of them are great except Peter but if I had to pick, probably Lupin as James and Sirius did some bullying in their teen years which I’m not a fan of.

29. If you could Bring one Character Back to Life, which would it be?

Hedwig. I don’t even like birds and her death was bloody traumatising. I get it was supposed to be about the loss of innocence and all that, but really, WHY??

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30. Hallows or Horcruxes?

Hallows. I’m not really up for (a) murdering people, (b) tearing up my soul, or (c) living forever. Nope, nope, nope.Divider

There we have it, 30 questions done! Some of them were quite difficult, too. Doing this definitely made me want to do a re-read of the series. It’s been AGES. But when do I find the time? The TBR just never stops growing (aka. I never stop buying new books, so it’s my own fault).

Enough from me, tell me all about your own HP favourites and disappointments! What’s your house, favourite book, and fave character?

Love Ashley