Awards

Unique Blogger Award | 3

What a better way to spend a lazy Sunday than sharing a bookish award? Thanks so much to Erin @ Pages of Milk and Honey for nominating me! Erin is lovely, so be sure to check out her blog.

  • Display the award!
  • Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
  • Answer the questions they’ve written for you!
  • Nominate 8-13 bloggers and give them three questions in the spirit of sharing love and solidarity within our blogging family!

If you could only choose one genre to read for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Definitely classic literature. It’s become my favorite genre over the past few years, despite its rather stuffy, dull reputation. (Click here to read more about my adoration of classics.

What is the worst book you have ever read?

I always struggle answering questions like this one because I generally tend to enjoy the books that I finish reading. However, one book that I did not enjoy was Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany and Jack Thorne. If you’ve been keeping up to date with the controversy surrounding this play, then you’re probably not surprised to hear that it left a proverbial sour taste in my bookworm mouth. I’m not sure I would go so far as to say that it’s the absolute worst book I’ve ever read, but it’s definitely up there on the list!

Describe your perfect reading nook!

I’ll read pretty much anywhere, but my favorite places are outside with beautiful scenery in front of me: at the lake, on the quad of Wheaton (fondly known as the Dimple), or even in my back yard at home in New Hampshire.

Thanks again, Erin!

What are your answers to these questions? What do you think of mine? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Liked Characters in Disliked Books?

Happy Tuesday!! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic (hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) is one that I’ve had to think about quite a bit. After scrolling through my Goodreads shelves and pondering all of the books I’ve read recently, I realized that I just couldn’t make a list of ten books I disliked with characters that I did like. I love reading books that are character-driven rather than plot-driven, which means that the reason I usually dislike a book is because I dislike the characters it contains. Because of this connection between liking a book and liking its characters, I thought I’d put a little twist on this week’s topic. Instead, I’ll be sharing ten books I disliked because of the characters. 

What are some characters you’ve liked in books that you otherwise could do without? What do you think of the books I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Tags

Stationary Book Tag

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Hello, hello! Today I bring you another tag, this time about one of my favorite things: stationary! I love school supplies, paper products, pens, pencils, notebooks– if it can be found in an office supplies store, then chances are that I adore it. Luckily, this lovely Stationary Book Tag exists for stationary lovers such as myself. Thanks so much to Giovanna @ Book Coma Blog for tagging me!

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  • Thank the creator: Sam @ RiverMooseReads, Thank you!
  • Answer the questions.
  • Add pictures! (If you want to)
  • Tag (about) 5 people.

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The_BFG_(Dahl_novel_-_cover_art)PENCILS: FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK.

Definitely The BFG by Roald Dahl. I reread this childhood favorite of mine this past summer for the first time since fifth grade and I absolutely adored it. How can you say no to the Big Friendly Giant’s cute, oversized ears?

the great gatsby coverPENS: A BASIC STAPLE FOR ANY READER.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, hands down. There are just so many great reasons to read this classic American novel– the beautiful writing style, the many modern references to the story, the abundant symbolism and questions and raises about the so-called “American Dream.” I think everyone should read about good ol’ Gatsby!

the hobbit coverNOTEBOOKS: BOOKS YOU OWN MULTIPLE COPIES OF.

Surprisingly enough, I think the only book I own multiple copies of is The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I’ve thought about buying different editions of the same book depending on the different covers, but I just can’t justify spending the money when I already own a copy of it.

A Darker Shade final for IreneMARKERS: BOOKS WITH BEAUTIFUL COVERS.

A Darker Shade of Magic and the other books in this fantasy series by V.E. Schwab. I love the color scheme as well as the simple but interesting use of geometric shapes. Plus, just look at that font!

harry potter and the sorcerer's stone coverGLUE: TWO CHARACTERS THAT WORK TOGETHER EVEN IF THEY AREN’T TOGETHER.

Luna Lovegood and Neville Longbottom from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I’ve always wanted these two wonderful characters to end up together– they’re both quirky and kind and would be so cute as a couple!

29069989SCISSORS: WHAT BOOK WOULD YOU LIKE TO DESTROY.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany.  (A bit harsh? Maybe. Do I apologize? Not in the slightest.) I was just really disappointed with this book, as you can probably tell.

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne CollinsART KIT: WHAT COMPLETED SERIES YOU OWN.

From my glory days in the elementary school reading enrichment program I still own the entirety of the Gregor the Overlander series by Suzanne Collins. This was back before she was of Hunger Games fame… boy, that feels like ages ago!

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  1. Marta @ The Book Mermaid
  2. MC @ Blame It On The Books
  3. Emily @ Rose Read
  4. Conny @ Literati Girl
  5. Amy @ Curiouser and Curiouser

What are your answers to these questions? What do you think of the books that I’ve mentioned? What is your favorite kind of school supplies? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Tags

Cliches Book Tag

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Clichés are the best and worst things: though they can help you express your feelings quickly and easily, no one wants to hear the same old clichés over and over again. Luckily, the Clichés Book Tag puts a fresh twist on ancient sayings. Thanks so much to Ugne @ My Passion is Happiness for tagging me!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky“Actions speak loud”: A book that wasn’t or couldn’t be better than the film.

This question is really difficult for me to answer because I’m usually a big proponent of books over their movie adaptations. However, I must admit that I think the movie adaptation of The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is just as good as the book, if not better. Although I really enjoyed the book, I have such fond memories of going to see the movie in a theater with my friends in high school. I love everything about it: the cast, the soundtrack, and the climactic tunnel scene. For me, it’s the exception to the rule!

Great Expectations“The grass is always greener on the other side”: rags to riches, or a riches to rags, story.

How could I not mention my beloved Great Expectations by Charles Dickens? Not only is this a lovely bildungsroman, but it’s also the ultimate story of inadvertently climbing the socioeconomic ladder. The journey is certainly a winding, twisting road, but fortunately it all works out for poor Pip in the end.

the raven boys“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”: A parent-child relationship you loved

No parent-child relationship is perfect, even in fiction. Still, I loved the relationship between Blue and her mother Maura in The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. This series has a strong family presence not often found in the Young Adult genre. Even more rare is that the family Blue lives with is all women– talk about female representation!

city of bones cover“You can’t judge a book by its cover”: A great book that NEEDS a better cover

Though I love Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series dearly, I have to be honest: I really dislike these cover designs! Models on covers are probably my least favorite design a book could have, and I think in this case it makes the covers look overdramatic and over the top. When it comes to cover designs, I believe that simple is always better!

My Antonia“You can’t please everyone”: A book you hated/loved that everyone else loves/hates

Last semester I was assigned to read My Ántonia by Willa Cather for my literature class and I immediately fell in love with it… the rest of my class, not so much. I loved the writing style, the almost ethereal ambience, the fascinating questions about nationality and gender performance that it raises.

16145154“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”: book you are better person for having read

Reading Seth Holmes’ ethnography Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States last semester for my Introduction to Anthropology class made me realize the horrors, struggles, and hardships behind the fresh fruit on my kitchen table. This book has opened my eyes to the maltreatment of migrant farmworkers and the long road we have ahead of us towards changing this horrid, unjust system.

All the Light We Cannot See“Love is blind”: book with disabled character or actual “blind love”

Yes! Another excuse to mention my love for Anthony Doerr’s amazing historical fiction novel All the Light We Cannot See. Featuring Marie-Laure, a blind French girl living in Paris during World War II, this heart-wrenching story will captivate you from the very first page and not let you go until you’ve turned the very last one.

29069989“Ignorance is bliss”: A book you know is bad you don’t want to admit it, or a book you don’t want to read in case it’s bad

Even though I’ve already read it and I strongly dislike it, I’m still going to mention Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany. I went back and forth about reading this play for the longest time before finally giving in because I wanted to form my own educated opinion. I don’t necessarily regret my decision to read it, but I definitely could have lived my life without doing so. It’s safe to say that “disappointing” is definitely an understatement.

Jellicoe-Road-by-Melina-Marchetta_thumb“There is no time like the present”: Your favorite contemporary book

I’m going to go with my old standby favorite: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. I’ve discussed this book countless times on my blog at this point, but that hasn’t stopped me from talking about it even more. If you haven’t read this book yet, do yourself a favor and pick it up ASAP!

a game of thrones cover“Better safe than sorry”: A book you don’t want to read in case it’s bad or vice versa

I’ve been contemplating reading A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin for what seems like ages, but I’m afraid that it’s going to be too graphic or unsettling for me. I’ve heard these things about the TV show and I can’t help but fear that it all stems from the original book series. If you’ve read this series, please let me know what your thoughts on it are!

What books do these clichés remind you of? What do you think of the books that I’ve mentioned? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: When Book Club Becomes Debate Club

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Happy Tuesday!! I hope you all had a fun and safe Halloween if you celebrate it!

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is open-ended, allowing us to choose what kinds of books we would recommend to a book club. In the frustrating, bewildering spirit of the United States presidential election, I’ve decided to go with a rather contentious theme. Without further ado, here my Top Ten Books to Read If Your Book Club Likes to Debate. In some way, shape, or form, these books have sparked debate both within and beyond the book blogging community.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger converThe Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Some people find this book endlessly annoying due to all of Holden’s ranting, while others appreciate it for the way it portrays adolescence and the human experience. Personally, I’m in the latter camp!

we were liars coverWe Were Liars by E. Lockhart

The main point of contention with this short, summery book tends to be the dramatic ending. Was it obvious from the very beginning or does it actually deserve praise for being a shocking twist? Once again, I tend to side with the latter opinion– I never saw it coming!

wuthering heights coverWuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I had a lot of mixed feelings about this classic novel, mostly because I was very confused by the characters’ similar names. It also came across as incredibly overdramatic… am I the only one who feels this way?

gone girl coverGone Girl by Gillian Flynn

This mystery novel is certainly good, but looking back I feel as though it is a bit overrated. There are so many other amazing mystery stories out there! (*cough* And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie *cough*)

anna and the french kiss coverAnna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

I loved this book when I first read it years ago, but I’ve heard a lot of mixed reviews about it since then. It seems like people either really love it or have a lot of problems with the romantic relationships in it.

eat pray loveEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Once again, I loved this book when I first read it; however, I was surprised to find that it has received a surprising number of mixed reviews. Many readers criticize Gilbert’s successful memoir for the story of a privileged, wealthy white women who travels to escape her problems. Personally, I thought it was inspiring, eye-opening, and offered a new perspective on life, happiness, and stepping out of your comfort zone.

the summer i turned pretty coverThe Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

I included this book on the list for one simple reason: sometimes it seems as though everyone loves this trilogy except for me. It wasn’t dreadful, but I disliked the main character and thought the romance was sort of lackluster overall.

allegiant coverAllegiant by Veronica Roth

Oh, the ending of this trilogy was sparked SO MUCH heated debate when it was first published. Though I understand some of the reasoning behind why it ended in the way that it did, I still don’t like it.

Great ExpectationsGreat Expectations by Charles Dickens

While reading this classic novel with my AP English class during my senior year of high school, I quickly realized that this book is pretty polarizing. My classmates tended to either empathize with Pip or think he was incredibly annoying, which made for some very interesting (and frustrating!) class discussions.

29056083Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne

Considering the enormous buzz surrounding this work, I think it pretty much goes without explanation. Though it saddens me to say this, I really disliked this unnecessary additional to the Harry Potter universe.

What books do you find controversial or often sparking heated discussions? What do you think of the books on my list? Do you agree or disagree with my opinions? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Books, Drama

HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne| Review

This review is a difficult one to write.

From the day I first learned about this eighth installment in the Harry Potter series I’ve had very conflicted feelings about reading it. Prior to its release day I had convinced myself that reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child would be a mistake, that the risk of being disappointed was much too high. But my feelings began to change as more and more people read and discussed this rather polarizing script. It seemed as though nearly everyone had a strong opinion about the story, either praising it highly or pointing out its flaws. Part of me felt left out of the conversation, and I decided that the only way for me to jump in was to read the script and form an opinion of my own. 

Now here I am, on the other side as a contributor to this ongoing conversation. I’ve finally read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and, unfortunately, I did not love it. To be honest, I didn’t really even like it. After flipping the final page I was left with a sour taste in my mouth: disappointment.

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One of my biggest critiques of this addition to the Harry Potter world is that it didn’t feel like one at all. It’s immediately obvious that J.K. Rowling played a small role in the actual writing of the script because the style, tone, and portrayal of characters are completely different from that of the original series. I understand that the fact that it’s a script instead of a novel contributes to these differences, but that’s also a factor that the writers should have taken into account. As a loyal fan of the Harry Potter series, I was expecting a similar written quality of work with this new installment; however, that is not what I feel has been delivered.

This difference in writing style is extremely noticeable in the way the characters are portrayed. Harry Potter fans know these beloved characters like the backs of our hands, so why would the writers reduce these complex personalities to mere shells of what they once were? Harry is frustratingly unlikable, Hermione has lost her sharp wit, and Ron’s sole purpose in the play seems to be as a source of comic relief. The only character that feels remotely close to his original personality is Dumbledore, though he plays but a small role in this new story. Once again, I understand that because this story takes place nineteen years after the original series ends it is therefore natural for their personalities to have changed over time. However, it often does not even feel as though Harry, Ron, and Hermione are lifelong friends. At times the members of this terrific trio treat each other almost as acquaintances. The odd changes made to these characters’ personalities is frustrating, disappointing, and simply nonsensical.

Another significant critique of this script is that it feels unnecessary. Nothing about the story made me feel as though it is an important, relevant, or essential addition to the original series. Where do we end by the conclusion of the play? Quite close to where we started, unfortunately, with the exception of some slight character development. No exciting secrets are revealed, no past questions are answered, and the plot does not even directly connect to that of the original series in any significant way. It is clear that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is an afterthought, an extension of a beloved magical world that was not initially planned for. After finishing this script, a saddening question lingered in my mind: What is the point of this play in the first place?

While this review has been rather scathing thus far, I will admit that there are a few positive aspects I should mention. For instance, I really enjoyed Scorpius’ funny personality as well as his optimistic attitude towards life in general. Moreover, despite my harsh criticism, it was fun to return to the world of Harry Potter once again. More than anything, though, this story filled me with a desire to reread the original series. This reading experience was nothing if not nostalgic.

So, where does that leave me, a lifelong fan of Harry Potter who is unhappy with this recent addition to the series? Disappointed, frustrated, and surprised are a few adjectives to describe how I’m currently feeling. However, I don’t regret my decision to read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Now I’m able to form my own opinion of this story, albeit a rather negative one.

My Rating: :0) :0) 2 out of 5. It pains me to give such a low rating to a Harry Potter story, but it’s an honest reflection of my opinions.

Would I recommend it to a friend?: Despite my negative review, I would still recommend this script to Harry Potter fans. I’ve heard numerous glowing reviews o it, so it’s possible that your reading experience could be much more positive than mine.

Have you read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child? How do you feel about the script specifically or the release of an additional Harry Potter story in general? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Bookish, more books

So Long, Summer! | Book Haul

SO LONG, SUMMER!

It’s that time of year again, when students trade in their sunglasses and flip-flops for notebooks and backpacks. While the majority of my book budget has been devoted to purchasing textbooks recently, I have managed to acquire some other lovely books in the month of August.

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Emma by Jane Austen

I picked this book up on a whim at my local independent bookshop because I simply could not resist the gorgeous cover. This is the Penguin Threads edition, which means that it looks and feels like the outside is embroidered. I also own a copy of Little Women in this edition. I’ve been feeling the itch to read more Jane Austen lately, so I can’t wait to dive into this one at some point.

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne

To be honest, I went back and forth so much about whether or not I even wanted to read this script in the first place. My hesitancy stemmed from a fear of being disappointed, and I must admit that I ultimately was let down a bit. While I don’t necessarily regret reading this, I think I could have lived without doing so. It didn’t really add anything of value to the Harry Potter world for me, despite how badly I wanted to fall in love with the story.

FullSizeRenderThe Next Together by Lauren James

I was so happy to find out that I won a copy of this book in a recent giveaway over at Happy Indulgence. Time travel, romance, history, and futuristic settings? This sounds like something I will love! Thanks again, Jenna!

Have you acquired any books recently? What do you think of the books in this haul? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Monthly Wrap-Up

AUGUST 2016 | Wrap-Up

JUNE 2016-3

I’ve always considered August to be one of my favorite months. Not only does it bring a new school year and a promise of the coming autumn, but it also allows you to enjoy the last few weeks of summer without baking in July’s toasty heat. This August was no exception, from both a reading and personal standpoint.
June

7597In August I read a total of 9 books:

  1. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
  2. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
  3. The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
  4. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  5. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne
  6. The Mulligan Guard Ball by Edward Harrigan
  7. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  8. Light in August by William Faulkner
  9. A Little History of Literature by John Sutherland

10974Choosing a favorite book this month is a challenge because I read quite a few 5-star books, but I suppose that’s a good problem to have! I think it’s a tie between One Hundred Years of Solitude and As I Lay Dying. Both are brilliant in different ways, so it’s difficult for me to distinctly favor one over the other.

Reviews of these works will be posted in the near future, so stay tuned!

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The majority of my August was spent preparing for college and tying up lose ends before move-in day. As always, there are many “lasts”: the last time soaking up the summer sun, the last time eating at your favorite local restaurant, the last time sleeping in your own bedroom, the last time seeing friends and family until the next break in several months. These lasts are bittersweet, for they are inevitably accompanied by numerous “firsts”: first time seeing old friends since the end of last semester, first time sleeping in a new dorm room, first night away from home in a while. It’s all new and different but still familiar in some way, reaffirming my belief that August is the most nostalgic month.

This month I completed my internship at a local Child Advocacy Center, an eye-opening experience for which I am incredibly grateful. The purpose of Child Advocacy Centers (CACs) is to provide a neutral, safe, comfortable environment in which to conduct forensic interviews of children who are alleged victims of abuse. Throughout my time working at the CAC I observed several of these interviews, and each time I couldn’t help but be heartbroken by how traumatic and awful their experiences were. It really puts things in perspective.

On a lighter note, I also got new glasses! My prescription changed and my other glasses were several years old, so it was finally time to purchase new ones. I’ve always wanted bolder glasses like these. I love them so much! ❤

As you read this I have already moved back to campus and have settled into my new dorm room for my first semester of sophomore year. It feels strange and exciting and nerve-racking to be back after nearly four months of glorious summer break, but I can’t wait to get the ball rolling at Wheaton again. Bring on the new adventures!

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Here are some notable posts from my blog this past month:

Here’s the thing: because school is now in session, I basically have negative time for blogging. I’ve scheduled posts like a fiend this summer, and I was actually able to schedule posts in advance for all of September and even much of October. However, this means that I won’t be as active reading and commenting on all of your lovely posts and it may take me a while to respond to any comments that you leave on mind. But don’t worry– I still read and greatly appreciate each and every one of them!! ❤

How was your August? What books did you read? What fun things did you do? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY