Book Recommendations Based On Your Hogwarts House: Ravenclaw

Ravenclaw book recs!

Ravenclaw book recs!

Ah, Ravenclaw. My very own Hogwarts house, so I am a bit partial. Although, it was the most difficult house to put together a book list for. I took the house traits of wit, learning, creativity, and wisdom into consideration along with the house colors. I wanted to include a variety of books as I think Ravenclaw gets stereotyped as the nerdy bunch and it is often looked over that we are the dreamers and the creatives. These are my recommendations for fellow Ravenclaws.

ravenclawtraits.png

Red Queen - Victoria Aveyard || I did choose this book because it has a literal diadem on the front cover, and if you are familiar with Ravenclaw you know that the Lost Diadem of Ravenclaw was a critical horcrux in the Harry Potter series. These books tackle things like royal blood, power, and family. It’s not particularly clever or unique in its plot, but it’s good writing all the same.

Study in Charlotte - Brittany Cavallaro || This is an interesting kind of retelling of the Sherlock Holmes trope. Teenage descendants of both Holmes and Watson have become friends and are now solving mysteries together. I would say a fair share of Ravenclaw love to crack a good mystery and enjoy the thrill of a puzzle. These books are for you.

Exit West: A Novel - Mohsin Hamid || My fellow Ravenclaws will appreciate the subtlety in this book. It is quietly powerful, beautiful, and unique. Page after page is filled with gentle truth, and you will be moved. This is the story of the relationship between two young people who are changed by forces out of their control. This is one for the politically minded.

Strange the Dreamer - Laini Taylor || “The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around” This is such a well-loved book. Laini Taylor knows how to world build, and her characters are well done. Strange and beautiful, this is for my fellow Luna-hearted readers.

Star-Crossed - Minnie Darke (May 2019) || A love story with an astrological twist. I thought this was a fun play on love and Fate. Astrology and horoscope are woven through the plot. A fun-loving contemporary for those that look to the stars.

Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafón || I honestly feel like I should re-read this, it has been many years since I picked it up. That being said, it is one of my favorite books of all time. A historical mystery that takes place in the winding streets of 1945 Barcelona. There are banned books, book cemeteries, and dark secrets. I encourage you to get swept up in this immediately.

Light From Other Stars - Erika Swyler (May 2019) || The cover is so beautiful! The main themes of this book are ambition but also dreams. What it means to have a dream, the ways that outside forces can hold us back, and the lengths we go to achieve them. This takes place on the Florida space coast and is for lovers of space, dreams, sacrifice, and feminism.

Binti trilogy - Nnedi Okorafor || You can buy these novellas separately, but they now come bound together in one collection. A sci-fi trilogy about a young girl named Binti who has a knack for math. She has been invited to attend the most prestigious University in the galaxy. If this doesn’t scream Ravenclaw, I don’t know what does. Short and beautifully written, these are a must read for young and older adults alike.

What would you add to the Ravenclaw book list? Let me know in the comments! You can find Hufflepuff recommendations here, and Slytherin and Gryffindor on my YouTube channel.

Book Review: Red, White & Royal Blue + A Word on Representation in Lit

My review for Casey McQuiston’s debut novel,   Red, White & Royal Blue

My review for Casey McQuiston’s debut novel, Red, White & Royal Blue

Have you ever read a book and wondered 1. if you actually blacked out for some period of time and wrote it or 2. it was written with you directly in mind as the reader? This is how I felt the entire time I was reading Casey McQuiston’s new-adult romantic comedy, Red, White & Royal Blue. The story is funny, sexy, HOT, heartbreaking, important, and relevant. Due out in May, pre-order is available now.

REPRESENTATION MATTERS

Expanding our world with different perspectives is part of the thrill of reading, but it can be very lonely to only read books where there isn't anybody like you. I support authors that include a diverse array of characters in their stories. I want younger generations to read a book and find themselves within the pages, I want them to feel included and inspired to be the hero in their own story.

PLOT AND CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

The First Son of the United States of America falls in love with the Prince of Wales. It’s not insta-love but it is a little bit of enemy turned lover. What at first begins as a fake, Instragrammable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. What would (or could) it look like for a political figurehead of the United Kingdom and the United States to fall in love with one another and discover their sexuality along the way?

First Son Alex Claremont-Diaz is so lovable, believable, relate-able. I want to be his best friend so that I can tell him to shut the actual fuck up. Prince Henry is a soul-wrenching heartthrob. He has been forced to divorce from who he truly is for who he was born to be. As these two get to know one another and grow together, you can’t help but fall in love, laugh out loud, scream, and cry along the way.

The secondary characters are well developed. June and Nora are the sisters and best friends I wish I had. It is this kind of character development that makes me cross my fingers and hope for a sequel. The kinds of characters you want to KNOW. The complexities and representations of the characters in this story are genius and cleverly done.

WHY I LOVED IT

  • Besides the fact that it was a romantic comedy centered around a queer couple, I absolutely fucking adored the political and historical plot-line and banter within. My undergraduate degree is in international affairs so I felt that it was an added unique layer that absolutely drew me in.

  • I LOST COUNT OF HOW MANY HARRY POTTER REFERENCES WERE MADE. “Hufflepuff ass bitch” is a direct quote. Need I say more on this?

  • Speaking of Hogwarts, I’m a Ravenclaw, and I appreciate when I can tell that an author did their research. Casey, I see that hard work and I appreciate it.

  • Lots of cussing. I want to read about characters that speak like I speak.

  • The relevancy of the topics within are so good. There are these really smart references to the current political climate that I just could scream about, honestly. It is done in such a clever way. Is the author a Ravenclaw? The wit. McQuiston manages to quietly address gun control, representation in government, “thoughts and prayers”, Brexit, lack of a female POTUS and others that make me want to already go back and read for again. It is in this quiet way that makes it feel even more powerful.

  • I wasn’t sure how it was going to end. There is honestly nothing I dislike more than a predictable ending.

  • It gave me hope. Hope for a future America that looks like the America depicted in this parallel-but-not world within RW&RB

WHY YOU WILL LOVE IT

Would you consider yourself to have a certain amount of sass? Do you identify as a millennial or Gen Z? Did you grow up on Harry Potter? Do you stay up-to-date on current politics? Do you enjoy laughing? Do you wish that there was a show that was a cross between The Crown and Queer Eye? Do you have a soul? THEN YOU WILL LOVE THIS BOOK.

Will this land on my “best of 2019”…the potential is there ya’ll.

Book Recommendations Based On Your Hogwarts House: Hufflepuff

Hufflepuff book recs!

Hufflepuff book recs!

People are always asking me for a good book recommendation, so I decided to take it a step further and create lists of book recommendations based on your Hogwarts House. This is something that I have seen done on YouTube and wanted to put my own spin on it. I will split the lists between my YouTube channel and here on my blog, so be sure to follow on both.

Ah, Hufflepuffs, known for their dedication, kindness, loyalty, and patience. Their house colors are yellow and black. Using both the characters of the house and the colors, I have come up with books that I think any Hufflepuff would love to have on their shelves. Happy reading!

Have you been sorted by the Hogwarts Sorting Hat?

Have you been sorted by the Hogwarts Sorting Hat?

The Female of the Species - Mindy McGInnis || The cover is cute and unassuming, yellow and perfectly Hufflepuff…but the inside is brutal at times. A contemporary YA novel that is complicated and important. This is not the fluffy, sweet book that you would assume to be assigned to Hufflepuffs. Hufflepuffs tend to known as simple and kind, but I know Hufflepuffs would understand the true importance of this book.

Turtles All The Way Down - John Green || If someone randomly asked me to choose an author for each Hogwarts House, I would definitely put John Green in Hufflepuff. This is his latest work about living with mental illness, the intimacy of an unexpected reunion, and Star Wars fan fiction.

Anne of Green Gables - Lucy Maud Montgomery || Can you imagine a better place for a Hufflepuff than the Green Gables? Really, need I say more? Anne’s imagination is vast, her positivity infectious.

Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda - Becky Albertalli || I haven’t read these books, but I did watch Love, Simon and I did, in fact, love Simon. It’s cute, funny, emotional, and really important. It wasn’t so long ago that YA did not, could not, include LGBTQ+ characters. This is one of those feel-good nostalgia types that takes you back to high school and makes you cry and laugh along the way.

Bear Town - Frederick Backman || Loyalty. Family. Bear Town is full of Hufflepuffs. Frederick Backman is a well-known and well-loved author, but this is the first of his work that I have read. I was instantly sucked into the story, his writing is so compelling. Hufflepuffs, you will love this one if you love a tale about small towns, big dreams and the people that feel pressure to live up to expectations.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before - Jenny Han || I’m not sure that Lara Jean is a Hufflepuff, but she definitely has some of the house characteristics. This is such a feel good movie, I have to imagine the books are the same way. It made me laugh and cry and everything in between.

The UnHoneymooners - Christina Lauren (May 2019) || I chose this one for the cover. It is a tale of unlikely love. A romantic comedy, honestly, you might laugh so hard you cry. Good vibes all around, and if there is anyone who appreciates fun-loving good vibes, it’s a Hufflepuff.

I’ll Give You the Sun - Jandy Nelson || Do read this. Not only is the cover warm and perfect, so is the story inside. Every word is such a thing of radiant beauty, i know my soul is incapable of feeling anything other than joy when reading this. this book is true art at its finest. 

Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell || “Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.” This book will make you feel all the feels. Wholesome, adorable, fun-loving…a must read.

Field Notes On Love - Jennifer E. Smith (March 2019) || Two characters meeting under unlikely circumstances setting out on an adventure together. Maybe a bit predictable but fun and heartfelt all the same. It sits snugly as a typical YA romance and if that is your thing, you won’t be disappointed.

What about you… what books would you add to the Hufflepuff reading list? What Hogwarts House do you want to see recommendations for next? Comment below and let me know! And be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don’t miss the next one!

10 Books Every Harry Potter Fan Should Read

The OG  Harry Potter  illustrations!

The OG Harry Potter illustrations!

I have been chasing down books that I could potentially love as much as I love Harry Potter for roughly ten years now. I decided to put together a little list of 10 books every Potterhead should add to their TBR stack. Happy reading!

  1. The Bone Season - Samantha Shannon || This has been my favorite series since Harry Potter. It follows a clairvoyant named Paige through Scion London. “Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.” This series is not complete yet, which is fun when you get to anticipate the next and re-read as the new ones comes out. Full of magic, loss and love these are definitely a must-read for fans of the Wizarding World.

  2. Shadow and Bone - Leigh Bardugo || I am late to the Leigh Bardugo party but I am so glad I have finally arrived. She is a true queen of fantasy. The Grishaverse is brilliantly constructed in a way to make your imagination sing. I would recommend starting here if you are a first time Grishaverse reader. “Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.”

  3. Six of Crows - Leigh Bardugo || Bardugo is the perfect author for those of us who are character driven but still love a good plot. Her characters are three-dimensional and believable and it is here that Bardugo begins to truly shine. “Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .”

  4. A Darker Shade of Magic - V.E. Schwab || This is the first book in the Shades of Magic trilogy. Schwab takes a unique approach on magic. This wasn’t a favorite read but explores magical realms and alternate realities in a way that is intriguing. “Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black. . .After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure. Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they'll first need to stay alive.”

  5. Akata Witch - Nnedi Okorafor || I have seen this called the African Harry Potter. “Will Sunny be able to overcome the killer with powers stronger than her own, or will the future she saw in the flames become reality?

  6. A Court of Thorns and Roses - Sarah J Maas || I absolutely adore these books. If you need a world other than your own to escape to, I would highly recommend Prythian. I know that these will be re-reads for me; the kind of books that you find something different in each time you pick it up. “Feyre's survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price ...”

  7. Children of Blood and Bone - Tomi Adeyem || This is the first in what is to be a series, and with all the buzz already surrounding it, I had to put it on the list. “They killed my mother. They took our magic. They tried to bury us. Now we rise. Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.”

  8. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins || This is now a well known and well loved major motion picture, and for good reason. These were the first books that reminded me that there are other amazing fantasy authors besides just J.K. Rowling.

  9. Throne of Glass - Sarah J Maas || “Meet Celaena Sardothien. Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness. In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, Celaena, an assassin, is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion.”

  10. The Gilded Wolves - Roshani Chokshi || “A novel set in Paris during a time of extraordinary change—one that is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous desires...” That’s really all I needed to know that I would love this. Somewhere between fantasy and historical fiction, you won't want to pass this one up.

Have you read any of these? Do you agree that they should make the cut? What books would you add to the list? Let me know in the comments!

Book Review: A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

My review of Sarah J Maas’s “A Court of Mist and Fury” (ACOTAR #2)

My review of Sarah J Maas’s “A Court of Mist and Fury” (ACOTAR #2)

Oh, Queen Maas. You’ve won my loyalty. In a captivating second installment to A Court of Thrones and Roses (ACOTAR) I can’t help but wonder if this is one of the most riveting pieces of feminist new adult fiction literature that exists. This is my review of A Court of Misty and Fury; I will be giving my opinions on the characters, the love story and the sex but I will mostly be discussing gender, the patriarchy and abusive relationships. This review does contain spoilers.

To the people who look at the stars, Rhys.”
”To the stars who listen—and the dreams that are answered.”

WORLD BUILDING

“I smelled jasmine first—then saw the stars. A sea of stars flickering beyond glowing pillars of moonstone that framed the sweeping view of endless snow capped mountains. Welcome to the Night Court.”

How could you not ache to travel to the Night Court whilst reading about it? The way that Maas describes the sights, sounds, smells, tastes of each Court, but especially the Night Court... I almost feel like I can really book my flight. Even the architectural details (like that bathtub, where can i get one of those amirite?) left me wanting for nothing. And then there’s Starfell, how sublime was reading about Starfell?

Fanart by  BRENDA GROSSOLANO

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

RHYSAND

I feel like it’s possible that I could ramble on forever about Rhysand. I don’t think I’m alone in that. We could feel the pull of him in ACOTAR, but here, we fall. A dreamer, someone who has felt deep, guttural pain and still, he dreams, and loves. Oh, does he love. But more on that later. It’s true of all the characters, but especially true of Rhys, Maas has shown that wholly unique characters can still be brought to life, and that Prince Charming rarely comes in the form of someone like Tamlin.

FEYRE

Feyre is both feminine, sexy and soft and also strong and fierce. You don’t have to be one or the other, you don’t have to fit inside the box that society laid out for you. I appreciate this so much, Sarah J Maas.

Feyre admits to Rhysand, “I’m thinking I was a lonely, hopeless person, and I might have fallen in love with the first thing that showed me a hint of kindness and safety.” And that right there is such a powerful lesson to teach women. Humans, really. That we all are deserving of authentic love, kindness and connection. That you don’t have to settle for less than what you deserve.

On page 533, I almost felt as if Feyre was giving her vows to Rhysand, and I felt emotion well behind my eyes, press at my throat. They reminded me of my own wedding day.

“My friend through many dangers. My lover who had healed my broken and weary soul. My mate who had waited for me against all hope, despite all odds.”

The female characters in this book are varied, but all strong. They are complicated, they have depth. Mor, especially, highlights how Maas has painstakingly included such backstories, so much attention to detail. Feyre, about Mor, “a special strength in enduring such dark trials and hardships...and still remaining warm and kind. Still willing to trust—and reach out.”

GENDER ROLES, TOXIC MASCULINITY AND ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS

I begin to hate Tamlin with such simmering rage. He represents all that is wrong the patriarchy. The ways that men believe they own women, the way they believe they control them, have a right to them. The ways in which they tell us what we can wear, what we can say, where we can go and with whom we go. The control that they seek above all, in order to protect their toxic masculinity. When Tamlin imprisoned Feyre, when he began to forbid her comings and goings, stopped including her in conversation, when he lost his temper so completely that Feyre had to cower in fear for her life...my heart ached for every survivor of abuse at the hands of a lover. That is not love, it never will be.

It is interesting to note that during Feyre’s time at the Spring Court how women are permitted to being sexually active. They are permitted to have multiple partners and yet, still held to the rules of the patriarchy, or traditional expectations as Lucien would called them, at being a “good bride”.

Freedom is a topic woven throughout this book. It begins early on when Feyre is discussing how, in the human realm, even wealthy women, who one would assume to be more free, actually have their freedoms and roles restricted the most. Under The Mountain, freedom was but a dream. And to be expected of that tortuous, terrible place. But in her own home? From the man she thought she loved and that she thought loved her? I love that Maas juxtaposes Rhysand next to Tamlin in this way. Rhysand makes it a point to have Feyre know with a conviction that she is free. That freedom is a relationship is an inherent right, not a privilege. 

One major critique of mine, though. I do find it upsetting that Rhysand and Feyre resort to this whole “you’re mine” thing. I’m a little disappointed that Maas wrote the story in this way. I understand the concept of the mates, I’m as hopeless of a romantic as the next. But, after talking so much about freedom, to have those two characters then repeatedly claim their right to the other? It felt contradictory and strange. People are not possessions. Individuals don’t belong to anyone, as Rhysand said, freedom in a relationship is an inherent right, so I just felt it was really off to include the “you’re mine” thing. 

A WORD ON SEX

ICYMI this is not a “young adult” book. This is some new kinky adult trip, feel me? I’m talking Fifty Shades of Gray type of orgasming. Let’s just say that I noticed there were 69 chapters, and I don’t think that was a coincidence.

Speaking of orgasming, I get that it’s a book but do you think just ONCE we could get a woman that is too distracted by the enemy/concerns about her body/the laundry that needs folded/her ex that she is unable to reach completion? I won’t hold my breath.

Don’t get me wrong, this book has its steamy moments. I appreciated that Rhysand and Feyre didn’t rush into the physical aspect; Rhysand put her pleasure before his own. AND to make my conviction about this being an excellent piece of feminist literature, Rhys and Feyre even discuss birth control.

This is the book that young women need (minus the whole “you’re mine” bullshit). Feyre is the independent, strong-willed, feminine, sexy “princess” that girls need to look up to. Rhysand is the type of character that Prince Charming should be modeled after. And Maas is the author that we should all be reading.


Thanks for reading my review, and if you have read this far I hope this is a book you’ve already completed, so let me know your own thoughts on it in the comments!

Review: 'People Like Us' by Dana Mele

A review of  People Like Us  by Dana Mele

A review of People Like Us by Dana Mele


Another Boarding School?

I don’t quite remember where I first saw this book recommended. It could have been on social media or on someone’s blog at one point or another; wherever it was, the title had stuck with me. People Like Us is a young adult mystery/thriller set at, you guessed it, a boarding school. If you aren’t subscribed to my YouTube channel, you may not know yet that one of my guilty pleasures happens to be YA fiction set at boarding schools. A multitude of books are set at boarding schools, and it seems that I have read at least half of them. At some point it just became a cliche, and yet I still go back for more. If you are like me in this way, you’ll enjoy the blend of predictable prep school elements with unpredictable suspense.

People Like Us brushes up against the likes of Mean Girls and Thirteen Reasons Why and lands somewhere in the middle. The characters felt nuanced and complex while simple enough that the long list didn’t feel overwhelming. Kay, our main protagonist, has pretty one dimensional relationships with her friends, but there are a couple exceptions to this: she is potentially in love with her best friend Brie, at the very least attracted to her. A ways into the story we meet Nola, a classmate who has always been seen as weird. I very much appreciated that Mele treats the main character’s sexuality as just a fact of the story, and that all of them seem to be fairly sexually fluid.

From the onset, i felt drawn in. Dana Mele does an excellent job with her pacing and atmosphere, and my attention was rapt from the start. Peppered throughout are quotes like, “I gaze into her eyes and look for my shadow self somewhere”. I mean, come on. How can’t you highlight the hell out of lines like that?

Mele brings up some interesting points about the human condition. We all make mistakes, some of us do bad things. Does that mean we deserve bad things to happen to us? Overall this is quite a dark psychological thriller, and I wouldn’t recommend it for immature audiences.

As I said, the pacing was great throughout, but it’s almost as if Mele ran out of steam at the end. It just felt like things fell a bit flat, like it was a rush to the end. Details are revealed about Nola that needed to be further fleshed out, or not even mentioned at all. And once we do finally get to the motive, it’s almost as if it’s mentioned in passing.

Something to take note of, if suicide if a trigger for you, please know that before reading. Mental health seems like it should be a big topic in this book, but somehow isn’t addressed properly, and for that I was disappointed.

Who This Book Is For

Overall, a good read. Dana Mele is on my radar for the future. If you enjoy Mean Girls, Thirteen Reasons Why, Riverdale, etc. I am sure you will enjoy this book as well.


Have you read People Like Us? What did you think?

19 Books I Want To Read in 2019

Follow  my bookstagram  account!

Follow my bookstagram account!

I had quite the epiphany lately, and will be doing more bookish posts in this space. More on that in 2019. I thought a great place to start was the books that I am most looking forward to reading in the coming months.

Some of the following books have already been released, while others will be releasing in the coming year. I have included a link to a brief synopsis of each book. They have also all been added to my Goodreads account, if you want to follow along with my current reads and what I’m rating them.

Happy reading, bookworms. . .


19 Books I Want To Read in 2019:

  1. Renegades by Marissa Meyer

  2. People Like Us by Dana Mele

  3. The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton (Apparently the US version had to add the ‘1/2’ but it is the same book as The 7 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle)

  4. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

  5. Shades of Magic series by VE Schwab (A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows, and A Conjuring of Light)

  6. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

  7. Sadie by Courtney Summers

  8. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

  9. The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon (February 2019)

  10. Crazy Rich Asians trilogy by Kevin Kwan

  11. The Diviners Libba Bray

  12. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

  13. Us Against You (Beartown, #2)  by Fredrik Backman

  14. A Man Called Ove by  Fredrik Backman

  15. Again, But Better by Christine Riccio (May 2019)

  16. The Case for Jamie (Charlotte Holmes #3) by Brittany Cavallaro

  17. Era of Ignition: Coming of Age in a Time of Rage and Revolution by Amber Tamblyn (March 2019)

  18. City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert (June 2019)

  19. The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath by Leslie Jamison


I hope you all enjoyed this post and found it helpful for planning your own reads for 2019. What are some books on your TBR pile?