R.I.P. Alan Rickman


This morning I woke up to the news that Alan Rickman had passed away.

Now, fourteen days into 2016 and the world has been hit by one celebrity death after another. Everyone is affected differently and everyone is hit differently.

This one hit me hard.

Alan Rickman was a major part of my childhood. He was Professor Snape. He is Professor Snape.

He brought to life this character we hated and loved and loved to hate and hated to love. He delivered some of the most iconic lines in Harry Potter and delivered them in a way (and at a pace) that we will never forget.

Alan Rickman was a brilliant actor in everything he did. My heart goes out to his friends, his family, and his fans who are feeling this loss today.

Thank you Alan Rickman, for all the work you did over the years and for giving us the best Professor Snape there ever could have been.

You will be remembered. Always.



Featured Author: J.K. Rowling

J.K. RowlingThis is something new I’m going to try on this blog, a featured author. I’ll be doing this every month with a new author and just talking a bit about them and their work. Why? Because I love reading posts like these so I decided to try my hand at writing them.

To kick things off I thought I would start with my favourite author: J.K. Rowling!

Even if you haven’t read one of her books you probably know who J.K. Rowling is. At the very least you’ve heard her name. But who is she? Where did she get her start?

Well, the basic information is this:

Joanne ‘Jo’ Rowling was born on July 31, 1965 (The same day as Harry Potter) in Yate, Gloucestershire, England. Her father was an aircraft engineer, her mother a science technician, and she has one younger sister, Dianne.

She started writing from a young age and in 1990 dreamed up the idea of a young wizard boy on a train ride to London. Rowling taught English for a period of time in Portugal in night classes and wrote during the day.

She has three children: Jessica (with her first husband), David, and Mackenzie (with husband, Neil Murray).

Rowling used a lot of real life influences while writing Harry Potter. The death of her mother greatly influenced how she wrote Harry’s feelings towards the loss of his parents. Not only that, but for a period of time Rowling was clinically depressed and it was this period that inspired the dementors.

Harry Potter was rejected by twelve publishing houses when she first sent it out, but was eventually published in 1997 by Bloomsbury. Despite the initial reaction, it seems there’s a good chance J.K. Rowling already knew how the entire series would end as it’s been said (meaning I’ve read on the internet and seen in interviews, but can’t find the sources right now) that she knew there would be seven books and had already written the end of the seventh.

Harry Potter isn’t her only work. Since the series finished she’s written The Casual Vacancy (I have, but haven’t read yet) and has written other novels under the name “Robert Galbraith”.

But this is all just the basic stuff. What you might not know is that J.K. Rowling is the Twitter Queen. Or that she is a sassmaster and actively engages in debates about things she cares about online.

Seriously, if you don’t follow J.K. Rowling on Twitter you are missing out.

J.K. Rowling

This is just one of the little gems you will find if you follow her. Not only that, but you’ll also be able to see the humorous and wonderful interactions with the Harry Potter cast. Her tweet to Matthew Lewis when he did some scantily clad photos was particularly wonderful.

J.K. Rowling 2

She has had a major influence on many people. One individual in particular was Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood). Lynch wrote to Rowling and told her about her struggles with her eating disorder and Rowling encouraging words back assisted in Lynch finding the strength to not only fight back, but audition and get a role in the film series.

J.K. Rowling has also been a huge influence on me. I’ve never met her (one day), but I can say completely, 100% that I would not be the same person I am today. Not only is Harry Potter a major part of my life, but she’s a big reason why I started writing. Who knows where I’d be if it weren’t for her.

So this was my first Featured Author post. I’m liking the idea, but I may try and change it up a bit in future. Unfortunately I don’t know any of the authors I’m talking about so most of my information has to come from the Internet or my other thoughts. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be able to talk to one of the people I’m talking about. Maybe I’ll interview one of them for this blog.

The possibilities are endless.

Let me know what you thought and what you’d like to see in future for these

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Happy Birthday J.K. Rowling!

J.K. Rowling

Happy birthday J.K. Rowling! Thank you for creating Harry Potter. It truly changed my life and I can’t imagine where I would be today without it.

Also, a big happy birthday to Harry Potter! Apparently he’s 35 and I’m not quite sure how that happened, but here we are!

Harry Potter Bday

25 Books to Read Before You’re 25

25 BooksI am not 25 (yet) nor am I probably qualified to tell you all you should read these books before you reach 25. But hey, it’s the internet and even if you’re already past 25, you should read these books anyway.

1) Harry Potter Series, J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter

Does this one really need an explanation? It’s Harry Potter, even if you haven’t read the books or seen the films yet, you know what it is. I don’t think it’s possible to go through life anymore without knowing what Harry Potter is. This seven-novel series influenced entire generations and it continues and will continue to do so for decades (probably centuries) to come.

Buy Harry Potter on Amazon

2) Grace’s Guide: The Art of Pretending to be a Grown Up, Grace Helbig

Grace's Guide

What better way to enter adulthood than with a guide to adulthood? Grace Helbig is exactly the same in writing as she is on Youtube and her guide to pretending to be an adult is exactly what you would expect. It’s witty and funny and totally relatable.

Buy Grace’s Guide on Amazon

3) Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin

Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones is like the ultimate fantasy series. It combines magic with epic battle sequences and family drama and is unlike anything else I have ever read. I highly recommend starting it as soon as possible, but don’t worry about finishing the series before you’re 25. By the time the final two novels are published, you’ll probably have passed that age already.

Buy Game of Thrones on Amazon

4) The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien


The Hobbit is one of those books that everyone needs to read. Whether you’re five, fifteen, or twenty-five, The Hobbit is a timeless classic. It is also surprisingly relatable despite the fact that majority of the main characters are dwarves, hobbits, and elves.

Buy The Hobbit on Amazon

5) Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

Lord of the Rings

If you read The Hobbit you should probably read Lord of the Rings. Tolkien’s trilogy is an adventure pack series that, if anything like The Hobbit, you’ll be sure to enjoy.

Buy Lord of the Rings on Amazon

6) F*ck! I’m in My Twenties, Emma Koenig

Fck Im in my Twenties

Similar to Grace’s Guide, Emma Koenig created a relatable guide to getting through adulthood. The perfect book for anyone entering their twenties, F*ck! I’m in My Twenties perfectly encompasses all the emotions and happenings of being a new adult.

Buy F*ck! I’m in My Twenties on Amazon

7) Chicken Soup for the Soul, Various Authors

Chicken Soup for the Sul

They have Chicken Soup books for everything: kids, teens, parents, certain careers, and even pets (which is great cause my dog loves to read). The stories in these books all come from real people which makes them easy to relate to and probably some of the best books to read as you start your journey as a real life adult.

8) Anything by Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult

I could probably fill four or five spots on this list with books by Jodi Picoult. She is an amazing author and her books are great reads even for people who may not read much outside a certain genre. They deal with real people with real issues and you won’t be able to put the book down until you’ve reached the very last page.

9) The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

This coming-of-age novel should be a mandatory read for all high school students. It is probably one of the most realistic portrayals of what it’s like to be a teenager. The main character, Charlie, deals with friends, bullies, family, suicide, depression, drugs, and so much more. Through a series of letters he describes his first year of high school in a way that you sit back and go, “Hey, yeah, I get that. That happened.”

Buy The Perks of Being a Wallflower on Amazon

10) The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Great Gatsby

Most have you probably read/will probably read this book at some point as I’m pretty certain it’s a mandatory read in most schools. As it rightfully should be, though you probably won’t enjoy it very much because it’s assigned reading. Gatsby has a lot of messages and meanings behind it, including how a person can be lonely and miserable even if they have almost everything they could ever want.

Buy The Great Gatsby on Amazon

11) Matilda, Roald Dahl


It’s a book about a little girl who loves to read and finds solace in books. Need I say more? Read it as a child, a teen, an adult, and then read it to your own kids. Whatever you do, read Matilda.

Buy Matilda on Amazon

12) Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

Alice in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll’s novel is a like The Hobbit, a timeless classic. It is a novel that can be read by anyone of any age and enjoyed just the same (though some of the stuff will probably go over the heads of kids). Carroll wrote a book that is comprised of colourful characters and fun songs that will have you reading cover to cover.

Buy Alice in Wonderland on Amazon

13) Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet

This is another one you’ll probably read in school and again, because it’s required reading you probably won’t enjoy it. So, once you’re done school read it again. Before you enter your twenties and start thinking logically about the whole situation, read it while you can still romanticize it and enjoy it without the boundaries of reality. Plus, it’s Shakespeare, you need to read Shakespeare at some point in your life.

Buy Romeo and Juliet on Amazon

14) Grimms’ Fairy Tales, Grimm Brothers

Grimms Faitytales

Everyone loves a good fairytale, right? I don’t think I know a single person who hasn’t read/seen at least one. But what about the older, more gruesome versions of the stories? Well if you want those, look no further than the Grimm Brothers book. You read the ones with happy endings as a child, now as teen/young adult, read the versions with not-so-happy endings. You’ll probably enjoy those just as much, if not more, than the cheerful ones.

Buy Grimms’ Fairy Tales on Amazon

15) The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye

There are two strong reasons as to why you should read this book. First, reading it as a teen or young adult instead of waiting until later in life will allow you to understand Holden Caulfield and all the things he talks about and deals with. Second, it’s a banned book and what better book to read than one people really don’t want you to?

Buy The Catcher in the Rye on Amazon

16) Keeping You a Secret, Julie Anne Peters

Keeping You a Secret

It’s 2015, do you know what that means? Not every couple comprises of one man and one woman. Keeping You a Secret is a very real portrayal of two girls, one who is out and confident and the other who has no idea who she is, trying to find a place in the world together despite everything that’s against them. This novel is a great coming-of-age read for anyone trying to find exactly that.

Buy Keeping You a Secret on Amazon

17) A Series of Unfortunate Events, Lemony Snicket

Series of Unfortante Envets

Snicket deals with some pretty horrific situations in his 13-novel series, but he manages to do so in a way that keeps it humorous while still making you think about things. His writing style is so unique and you will be laughing out loud as you read and learn alongside the Baudelaires.

Buy A Series of Unfortunate Events on Amazon

18) The Fault in Our Stars, John Green


John Green is kind of like Jodi Picoult in the sense that I could fill several spots on this list with his novels. While he is known as being an author of Young Adult novels, his books aren’t just for young adults. If you haven’t read The Fault in Our Stars yet go get it and read it now. Stop reading this blog post and go get the book. Go.

Buy The Fault in Our Stars on Amazon

19) Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice

A classic. The story about Elizabeth Bennet, Mr. Darcy, and Elizabeth’s crazy family is one that, whether you’ve read the book or seen the film, you most likely know what it is. Before you reach the age where your whole life becomes consumed with real life issues, take the time to sit down and read about one of the greatest romances written.

Buy Pride and Prejudice on Amazon

20) Inkheart Trilogy, Cornelia Funke


Inkheart is essentially three books written about books and it is wonderful. There is a book the characters read called “Inkheart” inside the book you’re reading called Inkheart. Not going to lie, that messed with my head a bit the first time I read it. The book also has quotes from other books and authors at the start of the chapters and it was definitely one of my favourite parts.

Buy Inkheart on Amazon

21) The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, John Boyne


This is one of the most powerful books I think probably exists out there. Talking about the holocaust from a child’s point of view was a risky move, one that had people talking which is exactly why people need to read this. The best sort of books are the ones that leave people talking after they’ve put it down, and that exactly what The Boy in the Striped Pajamas does.

Buy The Boy in the Striped Pajamas on Amazon

22) We All Fall Down, Eric Walters

We All Fall Down

A book that detail the events of 9/11, We All Fall Down is an important read for any and all middle and high schoolers. It is the sort of book that, like The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, deals with a serious and difficult issue in a way that makes younger generations understand the gravity of the situation without scaring the living daylights out of them.

Buy We All Fall Down on Amazon

23) Save the Humans, Rob Stewart

Save the Humans

Technically this falls under the category ‘biography’, but this is such a good and important read that I felt it deserved it’s own spot on the list. Rob Stewart is a long-time environmental activist, speaking out especially against shark finning. He has directed two films on environmental issues and his book goes into even greater detail about why all of this is so important. Basically, if the oceans die, people die. Everyone should read this book, but I’m including it on this list because it’s especially important for young people to read things like this as they’re the ones that are going to fix things.

Buy Save the Humans on Amazon

24) Anything by Lurlene McDaniel

Lurlene McDaniel

Lurlene McDaniel is kind of like Jodi Picoult except her books are more aimed at kids and teens rather than adults. Dealing with the same sort of issues as Picoult does, McDaniel’s books are fantastic reads. It explains so-called “adult situation” in a way younger people can understand with dumbing it down so much that they feel stupid.

25) Twilight, Stephenie Meyer


I debated a lot about including this on the list and was actually slightly worried I’d be smited for putting it on here. But you know what? You take a moment to forget the teen obsession, forget the faces of the actors playing the characters, forget the fanfiction that followed. Twilight was actually a pretty good series. It gets a lot of flak, but I read it before it was the best thing since sliced bread and before there were shirts with “Team Edward” and “Team Jacob” written on them and you know what? I’m really glad I read this and I think you should read it too.

Buy Twilight on Amazon

But why you should read these before you’re 25? Why not 30? Or 35?

Well first of all I couldn’t think of 30 books along with reasons to go with them. And second these books have already had such an impact on my life whether it was because they’re relatable or it was just because the story was enjoyable. Either way, I highly recommend the books on this list. There are so many others too that I almost included, but maybe I’ll save those for future posts.

Have you read any of these books? Do you have a book you would recommend reading before 25? Or any age for that matter?

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling

Harry_Potter_and_the_Deathly_HallowsHere we are, the end of the line. The last hurrah. The big bang. Alright, I’m finished. But seriously, Harry potter and the Deathly Hallows. It was the end of an era. I said before that I literally grew up with Harry Potter and reading the final novel was quite an emotional rollercoaster as I’m sure it was for many other readers. Now, like always, there will spoilers in this post. So, if you haven’t read the final novel yet, I would stop reading here.

The seventh novel does not take place primarily at Hogwarts like the previous six. Instead, Harry, Ron, and Hermione are having to travel all over to try and locate Voldemort’s remaining Horcruxes (objects containing parts of his soul). As Voldemort is getting stronger and stronger, it is up to Harry, Ron, Hermione, and the rest of their friends to put a stop to him.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is my favourite of the seven novels. I love how different it is from the others. Not just the fact that the setting is different, but we also see new sides of the characters. Each of the characters shows a much darker side and it becomes apparent the toll the fight against Voldemort has had on each of them. But I think this is good. It makes the story more believable to see that the characters aren’t invincible.

Probably one of the most memorable moments out of all the books is The Battle of Hogwarts. It is the final fight between good and evil and J.K. Rowling wrote a battle scene of epic proportions. As sad as I was about the series ending, there really couldn’t have been a better way for it to go out.

The novel ends with an epilogue that takes place nineteen years later. The epilogue had mixed reviews from some people, but I, personally, loved it. It gives you a chance to see what our heroes lives are after everything has returned to normal. We meet Harry and Ginny’s children: James Sirius, Albus Severus (he never stood a chance), and Lily Luna. We also meet Ron and Hermione’s children, Rose and Hugo. There is even mention of Bill and Fleur’s eldest daughter, Victoire, kissing Tonks and Lupin’s son, Teddy (who was born earlier in the book). The epilogue gives both characters and readers closure and I believe it was the perfect way to end the series.

Now, I can’t write a review of the final Harry Potter novel without paying tribute to the characters who died. Especially as both of my favourite characters were killed in The Battle of Hogwarts. While people were lost on both sides, I will only list a handful here: Mad-Eye Moody, Hedwig, Fred Weasley, Tonks, Lupin, Dobby the House Elf, Snape, Bellatrix Lestrange, and, of course, Voldemort himself. Whether good or bad, each of these characters offered something truly unique to the story and I know many readers were saddened by the deaths of many of these characters. When you read a book you become attached and we, as readers, had gotten to known many of these characters over several novels which made it especially hard.

J.K. Rowling did an amazing job with this entire novel, but I think one of the best parts was the final showdown between Harry and Voldemort. In Voldemort’s last moments, Harry calls him Tom Riddle and when Voldemort dies it is not in some magical, spectacular way. He just dies, completely human, and I think this is one of the best things J.K. Rowling did. She humanized the character that was feared for seven novels and I believe, for readers, that was an incredible moment of realization that even the scariest and worst things can end.

All in all, I think Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was the best of all the novels. It was the end of a long road, but it is one of those stories that will stay with you for the rest of your life.


What did you think of the final Harry Potter novel? Which book was your favourite?


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The Tales of Beedle the Bard, J.K. Rowling

It probably would’ve made more sense for me to review The Deathly Hallows before this one, but that’s okay.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a companion book written by J.K. Rowling to go along with the Harry Potter novels. Beedle the Bard is actually talked about in the seventh novel and one of the stories in it (“The Tale of the Three Brothers”) is read out by Hermione.

The book contains five wizard fairy tales: “The Wizard and the Hopping Pot”, “The Fountain of Fair Fortune”, “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart”, “Babbitty Rabbitty and her Cackling Stump”, and “The Tale of the Three Brothers”. It’s a bit like Grimm’s Fairy Tales, but instead of Snow White we have Babbitty Rabbitty. Each of these five stories is unique in its own way and, no matter how old you are, it is incredibly entertaining. Beedle isn’t a long book, but that doesn’t mean it’s only for children. Anyone who has enjoyed Harry Potter should read this.

Out of the five stories, my favourite has to be “The Tale of the Three Brothers”. From the time it was first read in The Deathly Hallows to reading it as its own separate story, I have always found it to be probably the most interesting. It’s the sort of story you can imagine reading as a child and being totally intrigued by. However, unlike “The Tale of the Three Brothers”, I was not that big of a fan of “The Warlock’s Hairy Heart”. Why? Because it is about exactly what it sounds like: a warlock’s hairy heart. I’m not going to delve into what happens in great detail, you’ll have to read it and decide for yourself what you think.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a short, fun read that I recommend to anyone who enjoys Harry Potter or who enjoys a good fairy tale (which, let’s face it, who doesn’t?).

Have you read The Tales of Beedle the Bard? What did you think? Which story was your favrouite?


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Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling – Part 2

052014-books4-6Last month I reviewed the first three Harry Potter novels. Today, I’m going to review books four, five, and six: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Now, if for whatever reason you have not read the books then I’m going to suggest you STOP READING. This book will contain spoilers.

The fourth novel in the series is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This book details Harry’s fourth year at Hogwarts which, because he’s Harry Potter, does not go the way a normal year at school would. Harry, along with Ron and Hermione, encounter many new adventures this year. From the Quidditch World Cup to Death Eaters (Voldemort’s Followers) to the Triwizard Tournament to fighting dragons and mermaids, Harry’s fourth is year is not one of rest. There are several new characters introduced in the fourth novel. First off, is Cedric Diggory, Hogwarts Champion for the Triwizard Tournament. Then there are the students from the visiting schools, Fleur Delacour and Viktor Krum from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang respectively. They both act as champion for their schools for the Tournament. The next new character we meet is Rita Skeeter, a journalist for the Daily Prophet who loves sinking her claws in Harry. While there are several more new characters, I’m only going to mention one more: Mad-Eye Moody. The new Defense Against the Dark Arts (DADA) professor, Mad-Eye is a little mad, as you may expect. But he has a good reason I can assure you. Now I’ve mentioned the Triwizard Tournament several times and if you haven’t read the book, but are reading this post anyway (firstly, why?) then you’re probably wondering what the heck the Triwizard Tournament is. Well, you’re just going to have to read the book to find out.

The next book is Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. In this book we are introduced to the Order of the Phoenix. The Order is an organization led by Dumbledore in the fight against Voldemort. With the introduction of The Order comes the introduction of several new characters. While there are many members in The Order, the two I want to mention are Kingsley Shaklebolt and Nymphadora Tonks (my favourite character in the series). Both work for the ministry as aurors, but rather than listening to the lies the ministry tells, they believe Dumbledore and are Harry’s side. Returning characters are Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, and Mad-Eye Moody. Of course, it’s not just The Order and it’s members that are new this year. Most notably is probably Bellatrix Lestrange, one of Voldemort’s Death Eaters and Sirius’s cousin. There is no doubt that Bellatrix is evil, but she continues to get even worse as the books go on. Finally, there’s the new DADA professor who is determined to make Harry’s year even harder by convincing everyone that the supposed threat of Voldemort is nothing except crazy lies.

In the sixth novel, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Harry’s struggle only continues. The magical world now knows he was telling the truth about Voldemort, but that doesn’t matter to Harry after having lost his Godfather. Instead, Harry focuses on helping Dumbledore with a task hes assigned him: find a way to defeat Voldemort. This includes making nice with new professor, Horace Slughorn. Harry succeeds in this when he suddenly becomes very talented at Potions, a subject which he’d previously been awful in. Surprisingly, this new skill is not found with Hermione’s help, but with a textbook who someone – The Half-Blood Prince – has scribbled his own notes in. But who is The Half-Blood Prince?

The fourth Harry Potter novel is brilliant. It keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time. The new characters J.K. Rowling introduces make the story that much more interesting. I always think it’s great when new characters are introduced, especially to a series as extensive as this one, as it adds a new dynamic to every situation. We know Harry, Ron, and Hermione, but now we’re getting to know Cedric Mad-Eye and, as the story continues, several others. This is also the first book with what I would say is the first major character death. Yes, Quirrel died in book one, Ginny almost died in book two, and several people thought they were going to die in book three, but here we lose Cedric. A character that, over several hundred pages, we’ve been learning about and getting attached to. He was a view into the other students of Hogwarts, outside of the trio, and I think his death is both incredibly sad and extremely powerful. All in all, I love the fourth novel and think it was definitely the perfect start to the darker path Harry and his friends started on.

The fifth novel is one of my favourites. I love the dynamic between the new and old characters. It adds a whole new spin to things because we get to see the characters we know and love interacting with new people we haven’t met until now. This book had my emotions going up and down. From anger to confusion to joy to sadness. I was all over the map with this one. The loss of Sirius at the end particularly had me in a mess. Like the death of Cedric in book four, this was a major character death. Except this one was someone who Harry viewed as a father figure and I think Rowling did a great job at making it so we, the readers, felt the pain along with the characters.

I think the sixth novel was great. I feel that J.K. Rowling managed to balance the serious with the humour amazingly in this one. While there are many serious and emotional moments in this book, there are still times where you go, ‘Oh yeah, these kids are sixteen,’ and it really shows how awkward and weird it can be to be a teenager. As someone who was reading these books when I was around the same age as the characters, this meant the novels were very easy to relate to, even though they took place in a magical world.

I love these three novels. I think they were all fantastic and each was better than the last. From book one to book six, J.K. Rowling did an amazing job at leading up to the moment we were all waiting for: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Have you read books four-six? What did you think? Which was your favourite?


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