Review: Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies (Pottermore Presents #1)

Title: Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies (Pottermore Presents #1)
Author: J.K. Rowling
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Pottermore Limited
Source: Purchased
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 6, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

‘Minerva was the Roman goddess of warriors and wisdom. William McGonagall is celebrated as the worst poet in British history. There was something irresistible to me about his name, and the idea that such a brilliant woman might be a distant relative of the buffoonish McGonagall.’ – J.K. Rowling

Pottermore Presents is a collection of J.K. Rowling’s writing from the Pottermore archives: short reads originally featured on pottermore.com with some exclusive new additions. These eBooks, with writing curated by Pottermore, will take you beyond the Harry Potter stories as J.K. Rowling reveals her inspiration, intricate details of characters’ lives and surprises from the wizarding world.

These stories of heroism, hardship and dangerous hobbies profile two of the Harry Potter stories’ most courageous and iconic characters: Minerva McGonagall and Remus Lupin. J.K. Rowling also gives us a peek behind the closed curtains of Sybill Trelawney’s life, and you’ll encounter the reckless, magical-beast-loving Silvanus Kettleburn along the way.

Review:

This is a great collection of stories from Hogwarts. It is part of an ebook series created by Pottermore. This book gives some details of characters, which do not appear in the Harry Potter series.

The book begins with Minerva McGonagall’s life story. It wasn’t until I started reading it, that I realized we don’t know much about her past from the series. She faced many hardships in her early adult life, but they shaped her into the strong woman she was as professor and headmistress of Hogwarts.

The second part was about Remus Lupin, so it was definitely a tear jerker. J.K. Rowling even said it was an emotional story to write. He is one of my favourite characters in the series, and he had a tragic life.

The book ends on a lighter note with stories about Sybill Trelawney and Silvanus Kettleburn. They were minor characters, and Kettleburn doesn’t even appear in the original series, but their stories were entertaining.

This is a great start to the Pottermore series, which is a must read for Harry Potter fans!

What to read next:

Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists by J.K. Rowling

Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide by J.K. Rowling

Have you read Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies? What did you think of it?

Review: Father Christmas and Me (Christmas #3)

Title: Father Christmas and Me (Christmas #3)
Author: Matt Haig
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Canongate Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: ebook
Release Date: October 16, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

It isn’t always easy, growing up as a human in Elfhelm, even if your adoptive parents are the newly married Father Christmas and Mary Christmas.

For one thing, Elf School can be annoying when you have to sing Christmas songs everyday – even in July – and when you fail all your toy-making tests. Also it can get very, very cold.

But when the jealous Easter Bunny and his rabbit army launch an attack to stop Christmas, it’s up to Amelia, her new family and the elves to keep Christmas alive. Before it’s too late . . .

Review:

This is another amazing Christmas story from Matt Haig! There were funny parts and sad parts. I don’t normally like reading sad stories, especially sad Christmas stories. Many of them seem to pull on your heartstrings. The sad parts of this story were resolved, so I wasn’t left feeling down. I liked the addition of the Easter Bunny in this story. He isn’t the loving bunny that he usually is in stories. Instead he was more of an evil dictator. That was an amusing twist on the holiday story. I also love the Truth Pixie who appeared in this story. She’s so funny because she can only tell the truth and she must answer all questions. I really enjoyed this book! This is a great series for the holidays!

What to read next:

The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig

Have you read Father Christmas and Me? What did you think of it?

Review: Upside-Down Magic (Upside-Down Magic #1)

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Title: Upside-Down Magic (Upside Down Magic #1)
Author: Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, Emily Jenkins
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Source: Library
Format: ebook
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling authors Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins comes the hilarious and heartfelt story of a group of magical misfits.

Nory Horace is nine years old. She’s resourceful, she’s brave, she likes peanut butter cookies. Also, she’s able to transform into many different animals. Unfortunately, Nory’s shape-shifting talent is a bit wonky. And when she flunks out of her own father’s magic academy, Nory’s forced to enter public school, where she meets a group of kids whose magic is, well, different.

This new, offbeat series from hit authors Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins chronicles the misadventures of Nory and her oddball friends, who prove that upside-down magic definitely beats right side up.

Review:

I’m so excited about this series! I loved this book.

A girl who I babysit loves Sarah Mlynowski’s middle grade books, and she’s always telling me to read them. I loved this one! It’s such a cool concept.

Everyone in this magical world has one of five different powers: Flyers (can fly), Fluxers (can turn into animals), Flares (can create fire), Fuzzie-wuzzies (are close with animals), Flickers (can turn invisible). However, Nory has to join a class for people who have upside-down magic, which means it doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. Nory is a Fluxer who turns into two animals at once, not just one. It is even more embarrassing for her family because her father is the headmaster at another magic school. However, Nory learns how to embrace her special magic with her new friends.

I really enjoyed this book, so I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

What to read next:

  • Sticks & Stones (Upside-Down Magic #2) by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, Emily Jenkins

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  • Fairest of All (Whatever After #1) by Sarah Mlynowski

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Have you read Upside-Down Magic? What did you think of it?

Review: The Girl Who Saved Christmas (Christmas #2)

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Title: The Girl Who Saved Christmas (Christmas #2)
Author: Matt Haig
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Canongate Books
Source: Library
Format: ebook
Release Date: November 3, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

JOURNEY TO THE EDGE OF MAGIC

If magic has a beginning, can it also have an end?

When Amelia wants a wish to come true she knows just the man to ask – Father Christmas.

But the magic she wants to believe in is starting to fade, and Father Christmas has more than impossible wishes to worry about. Upset elves, reindeers dropping out of the sky, angry trolls and the chance that Christmas might be cancelled.

But Amelia isn’t just any ordinary girl. And – as Father Christmas is going to find out – if Christmas is going to be saved, he might not be able to do it alone . . .

Review:

I loved this story!

This story was a lot more complex than the first story, since all of the characters were introduced before. There were three separate plots in this story. First there was Amelia, who was sent to a workhouse and no longer believes in magic. Then there was Father Christmas who helps fix the Elfhelm after it was destroyed in a troll attack. Finally, Noosh and Little Mim went to investigate the trolls.

Amelia’s story reminded me of Charles Dickens stories. She was sent to a workhouse when her mother died to work for an evil old man named Mr. Creeper. He was like Scrooge from A Christmas Story. My thoughts were confirmed when Amelia met Charles Dickens! That was a great cameo appearance that I was so excited to see.

Since this story was more complex, I recommend reading The Boy Named Christmas first, though you don’t have to. Either way, this is another great Christmas story!

What to read next:

  • Father Christmas and Me (Christmas #3) by Matt Haig

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  • The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig

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Have you read The Girl Who Saved Christmas? What did you think of it?

Review: The Adventurers Guild

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Title: The Adventurers Guild
Author: Zack Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: Library
Format: ebook
Release Date: October 3, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Few ever asked to join the Adventurers Guild. . . . Their members often died young.

In one of the last cities standing after the world fell to monsters, best friends Zed Kagari and Brock Dunderfel have high hopes for the future. Zed desperately wishes to join the ranks of the Mages Guild, where his status as Freestone’s only half elf might finally be an asset. Brock, the roguishly handsome son of merchants, is confident he’ll be welcomed into the ranks of the Merchants Guild.

But just as it seems the boys’ dreams have come true, their lives take a startling turn . . . and they find themselves members of the perilous Adventurers Guild.

Led by the fearsome Alabasel Frond, the guild acts as the last line of defense against the Dangers-hungry, unnatural beasts from otherworldly planes. And when the boys uncover a conspiracy that threatens all of Freestone, Zed, Brock, and their new allies-Liza, a fierce noble, and Jett, a brave dwarf-must prove their worth once and for all.

This start of a thrilling new series is sure to be a hit with readers who like their fantasies clever and action-packed, with tons of humor and heart.

Review:

This is a great, fast-paced fantasy story.

It is set in a unique world, where everyone is divided into the guilds where they work. When they are preteens, they are chosen by a guild to work for the rest of their lives. However, the Adventurers guild is a special guild where people can ask to join it and they are automatically accepted. That is because the Adventurers guild embarks on dangerous journeys beyond the walls of the city.

The story was told from the perspectives of Zed and Brock. They are two friends from very different backgrounds. Zed is half elf, which makes him very unique in the town. There are no other elves, so he is the only one with elven blood. Brock is from a wealthier family and he is assumed to join the Merchants guild, but then he becomes a spy for them in the Adventurers guild.

The ending was very fast paced. I liked the conclusion, and it ended on a cliffhanger. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book, which comes out in a couple of weeks.

What to read next:

  • Dragonwatch (Dragonwatch #1) by Brandon Mull

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  • The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1) by Rick Riordan

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Have you read The Adventurers Guild? What did you think of it?

Review: The Light Between Worlds

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Title: The Light Between Worlds
Author: Laura E. Weymouth
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Release Date: October 23, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Five years ago, Evelyn and Philippa Hapwell cowered from air strikes in a London bomb shelter. But that night took a turn when the sisters were transported to another realm called the Woodlands. In a forest kingdom populated by creatures out of myth and legend, they found temporary refuge.

When they finally returned to London, nothing had changed at all—nothing, except themselves.

Now, Ev spends her days sneaking into the woods outside her boarding school, wishing for the Woodlands. Overcome with longing, she is desperate to return no matter what it takes.

Philippa, on the other hand, is determined to find a place in this world. She shields herself behind a flawless exterior and countless friends, and moves to America to escape the memory of what was.

But when Evelyn goes missing, Philippa must confront the depth of her sister’s despair and the painful truths they’ve been running from. As the weeks unfold, Philippa wonders if Ev truly did find a way home, or if the weight of their worlds pulled her under.

Content warnings are available at www.lauraeweymouth.com/books

Review:

I really enjoyed this story! I couldn’t put it down.

I expected this story to have more fantasy elements, since it is marketed as being similar to the Chronicles of Narnia. There are some flashbacks to their time in the Woodlands, especially in the first half, but the story mostly takes place during the years 1948-1950.

The characters felt very real. They struggle with a lot of the things that happen to them. I appreciated the honesty of the characters, and the way they dealt with their problems.

This book was very good! I can’t wait to see what Laura writes next!

What to read next:

  • The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

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  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia #2) by C.S. Lewis

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Have you read The Light Between Worlds? What did you think of it?

Review: A Boy Called Christmas (Christmas #1)

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Title: A Boy Called Christmas (Christmas #1)
Author: Matt Haig
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: HarperCollins
Source: Purchased
Release Date: November 12, 2015
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

You are about to read the true story of Father Christmas.
It is a story that proves that nothing is impossible.
If you are one of those people who believe that some things are impossible, you should put this book down right away. It is most certainly not for you.
Because this book is FULL of impossible things.

Are you still reading?

Good.

Then let us begin . . .

A Boy Called Christmas is a tale of adventure, snow, kidnapping, elves, more snow, and an eleven-year-old boy called Nikolas, who isn’t afraid to believe in magic.

Review:

This is a great, unique Christmas story.

When I was a kid, I loved stories about Santa. I always wondered, Where did he come from? This is a great origin story about a boy named Nikolas who grew up to become Father Christmas.

The narration style reminded me of the narrator of A Series of Unfortunate Events. The narrator would comment on things in the story, that Nikolas didn’t know. The narrator would also speak directly to the reader. Though Nikolas didn’t have as hard a time as the Beaudelaire children in A Series of Unfortunate Events, he did have some hardships, such as losing his family and being on his own.

The next book was set up at the end with the introduction of a girl named Amelia. I’m excited to read the rest of the series.

What to read next:

  • The Girl Who Saved Christmas (Christmas #2) by Matt Haig

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  • The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig

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Have you read A Boy Called Christmas? What did you think of it?