Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Rereading Harry Potter as an Adult



On July 21st 2007, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was finally released, my eager hands grabbing a copy as soon as I could. On July 23rd, I'd finished it. Like many others, I'd barely slept for two days whilst devouring every chapter. My fifteen-year-old self cried her eyes out and put the book down. I never picked it up again. Despite Harry Potter being such a huge part of my life, I've never reread the books. I'm not really sure why, and it doesn't mean I love them any less.

Before Deathly Hallows was released, I'd reread the previous books several times. I've just never been one for rereading a series' after it's actually finished. Standalone books? Sure, I'll pick them up again. But a series of books I've dedicated years of my life to, given so much of my time, money, and tears to? I put them down and I move on.

It's strange, when I think about. Looking back to some of my all-time favourite series', they've each changed a little part of my life, all of them shaping me in some way, changing what I look for in a story, what I expect. I love the characters, the plot twists, the moments that made me laugh and cry, but they're memories that I think back to rather than read again. Maybe it's because I've spent so long inside those worlds? Maybe once I've finally got that perfect ending, I feel like I don't need to go back to it. The characters that I've spent so long with are happy (most of the time), they're free and, as a reader, so am I. Usually, I’m content with putting them on my shelves and keeping them as happy memories without diving back in.

My first ever copy of the book!
Things have changed over the past year, though. Anyone who checks this blog even occasionally can see how little I've been posting compared to a couple of years ago. I've been pretty open on Twitter, and a little on this blog, about how much more I've struggled with my mental health, leaving me feeling drained and barely motivated to even read, let alone write posts. For the first time in a very long time, books haven't been a priority for me. I haven't been able to use them as my escape for a while, and it's really sucked.

At the end of last year, I realised that I was putting too much pressure on myself as a blogger. As much as I try to avoid doing it, I can't help trying to keep up with the latest reads, forcing myself to finish certain books quickly so that I can post about them because everyone else has. It wasn't good for me, and reading started becoming more like a chore than an enjoyment, and I never wanted that to happen. Whilst so far this year, I've been able to get my reading back on track a little, I'm still not where I was a few years ago, and I'd quite like to be back there. So, to find my Reading Mojo again, I've decided to go back to the story that first made me fall in love with reading.
 
Hogwarts is like my second home
When I say that Harry Potter played a big part in my life, I mean it really did. So many people in my generation say this, but I literally wouldn't be the person I am today without those seven books. When I was younger, books did not interest me one bit. My idea of hell was the one hour reading class in school when us students would have to pick out a book and read in silence. Back then, bored out of my mind, I had no idea that my entire being would revolve around books in the future. Until the day that my mum practically forced a copy of The Philospher's Stone into my hands, books just weren't my thing. But discovering Harry Potter opened my eyes to a whole new, literary world.


It was Harry Potter that made me fall in love with books, with fantasy, with reading any exciting story I could get my hands on. I have these books to thank for the me I am today, and for every little thing I’ve achieved within the world of bookish things, including this blog. Since I was a very different person when I first picked up Harry Potter, I want to see what I take away from these books as an adult, how my feelings for certain characters have changed, and what I appreciate more now than I did when I was younger. I want to see how my general love for the series has changed over all these years

My Harry Funko. I swear I didn't break one arm of his glasses on the day that I got him.
So, whilst I delve back into the wizarding world, I’m going to be publishing a series of Harry-related blog posts to document my reread. It feels like the perfect way to not only get me back into reading, but to also get me writing blog posts again. 

Here’s to my first ever, full reread of Harry Potter!


How many times have you reread your favourite series, or what do you want to reread in the future? Let me know!



Friday, 13 July 2018

BLOG TOUR: Review of 'Access All Awkward' by Beth Garrod

Hey there, my fellow book nerds. Today I'm thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Bella Fisher's latest adventure in Access All Awkward by Beth Garrod. My thoughts on this hilarious book are below!

Pages: 450
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Scholastic
Genre: Humor, Contemporary
Release Date: July 3rd 2018
Buy The Book: Book Depository - A Great Read

Bella Fisher is stuck in EXAM HELL - with only the promise of a weekend at the RebelRocks festival with her mates as a reward afterwards. OK, so she can't actually afford a ticket and will have to work as a litter picker and toilet scrubber, but it's still going to be epic: the best bands, her best friends and best-boy-in-the-world Adam, with not a parent or teacher in sight. But when she arrives to find annoying older sister Jo has been sent by Mum to keep an eye on her, things go from bad to worse. BFF Rachel is hanging out with some mean girls, awful ex-boyfriend Luke pitches up with his model girlfriend and her pristine Hunter wellies, and the drummer in her favourite band is exposed as a sexist pig. All the face glitter and flower crowns in the world can't save the day... can they?

In Bella's latest adventure, she's stressing over her exams before spending some of her summer working at the RebelRocks music festival in her town. During the festival, Bella and her friends find themselves with even more work to do. They want the world's hottest new boyband, The Session, to apologise for treating their fans, and women in general, like dirt.

The love I have in my heart for these characters is unreal. Bella is utterly hilarious and her narration of the story had me laughing so much. The situations she finds herself in! It's impossible not to love her and her group of friends. Their friendship is always such a central plot within this series and it's focused heavily upon in this book too. I adore Rach and Teegan as much as I adore Bella.

Bella's family are once again amazing in this third book. Their group chat is definitely a highlight in the story. What's especially great about them is that they always work through things together and stand by one and other. It makes for some lovely, heart-warming scenes.

  • REALISTIC TEENAGE CHARACTERS. I never like it when YA characters come across as older than they should be, unless there's a specific plot which revolves around them having to be maturer from a young age. So I adore the fact that Beth writes her teen characters in such a perfect way. Yes, there's a lot of caps lock, and yes the characters shorten or, in Bella's case, join words, and yes they use plenty of references. WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT YA CHARACTERS SHOULD DO. It makes them so much more authentic that way.
  • HEALTHY ROMANCE. I can't write this review without giving a shoutout to the way relationships are handled in this series. Yay for healthy relationships in YA that are positive and in which the characters deal with their problems in a good way! There were so many moments between Bella and Adam that made me want to hug this book.
  • ONE LINERS THAT MAKE YOU HOWL. There are lots of lines I want to put in this review but won't because A) this is a spoiler-free zone and B) you absolutely have to read them for yourself. There were just so many little things that had me in tears. 

I don't want to say too much plot-wise, but I just need to say that I couldn't be more happy with the very ending of the story. Because it's not what I expected to happen, but is exactly what I was hoping for. Again, it goes to show how much it pays off to be realistic in YA stories, especially contemporary ones. Despite the humorous nature of this book, it deals with some very real issues that we have in our society in general, and it also deals with problems that young people who are taking exams and worrying about the future have to face It demonstrates that it doesn't matter if things don't happen as you planned, you can still make things work. And this book manages to do all of that as well as being perfectly hilarious. I couldn't ask for more in a YA story.

Royal Rating:

Be sure to check out the other fantastic bloggers taking part in the tour:



Wednesday, 13 June 2018

I'M CHOPPING MY HAIR

For once, I'm publishing a post that isn't about books! Shocking, I know. Me, not talking about books every second of every day? A rare occurrence only witnessed every thirteen years on a full moon during a time ofANYWAY, today I want to write about A Thing that I'm doing, and I'd be super grateful if you could give it a read anyway. 


My hair has always been my pride and joy. For a long time, it's been the only part of how I look that I've gained any confidence from because it was always something that I was happy with. It's also always been long. From the moment I was old enough to start making my own decisions about my hair, I've grown it. My idea of a trip to the hairdressers would be getting the slightest trim which would leave my Mum asking the same question every time I'd come home: “Did you even get a haircut???”

A couple of years ago, I finally grew tired of the constant terrible dye jobs I was doing on my hair and decided to embrace my natural colour again. To do that, I had to grow it out so that I could fully get rid of the colours, especially the red, that I'd been throwing on it for literal years. So now I have my natural hair back and it's probably the longest I've had it before.

Long hair has been my 'look' for, well, a really long time!

So before making my usual appointment for a trim last year, I stopped and actually thought about the length of my hair for once. Would it really matter if it wasn't as long? I'm so lucky that I get to grow my hair, have a trim, then a few months later be back at the length I started. I'm so lucky that I get to put colour in my hair without a second thought because even if it goes terribly wrong and I end up looking like a little bit of an idiot for a while, it'll still grow out. There are so many children who can't grow their hair, so many young adults who can't experiment with different styles and not think twice about it. There are too many people who have to lose their hair in the cruelest ways. My hair is just a thing to me and I might love it a lot, but it could mean the world to someone else. 

From that point on, I continued growing my hair with the intention of making it something that someone else could be proud of. My hair is the one thing that helps me feel happy about the way I look, but now it's someone else's turn to feel that way.

Long hair has always been my defining feature

My hair has recently reached my waist, and pretty soon it'll be ready to go to a new and deserving home. In August, I'll be cutting and donating around 13 inches to the Little Princess Trust so it can be turned into a natural wig for children who need it far more than I do. In the meantime, I've set up a JustGiving page with the hopes of raising some money for this wonderful charity that helps to give young people the princess hair they deserve. It costs on average between £350-£500 for a wig to be made, which will then be given to a child who needs it for free.

Today is my birthday, and I couldn't ask for a better present than for people to help me raise money for a great charity. If you could contribute even just a little, or share the page so it reaches as many people as possible, I'd be so grateful.

Together we can help the Little Princess Trust bring a smile to young faces.


Thursday, 7 June 2018

REVIEW: Noah Could Never by Simon James Green

Pages: 320
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Scholastic
Topics: Humour, Teen Love
Release Date: June 7th 2018
Buy The Book: Book Depository

Noah and Harry are now officially boyfriends, but is Noah ready to go all the way? It's no help that a group of cosmopolitan French exchange students have descended on Little Fobbing - including sexy Pierre Victoire, who seems to have his eye on Harry! Meanwhile, Noah's paired up with a girl ... who, most outrageously, is not even French. But that's not all: the police are monitoring Noah, and he can't tell if it's because his dad and secret half-brother, Eric, have made off with his gran's fake diamonds; because his PE teacher is receiving mysterious cash infusions from Russia; or because drag queen Bambi Sugapops is hiding out at Noah's house in the midst of a knock-down, bare-knuckled drag feud. Will Noah ever catch a break?

Listen. You have no idea how much I've been looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of this sequel. In case you didn't already know, I adore Noah Can't Even. I love it so much that I scream about it online and recommend it whenever I get the chance. You can officially consider me to be a Noah Grimes Enthusiast. So to say I was pretty damn excited for this book is a bit of an understatement.

Noah Could Never picks up a little while after the events of the first book. Noah and Harry are now officially a couple and all is going well, apart from Noah's constant self doubt, that is. Obviously, I'm not going to go into the plot too much because I really don't want to spoil any of the amazing and completely wild surprises that get thrown at the characters, so I'll keep my fangirling spoiler-free. Just know that I loved the plot very much and it's just so FUN. You literally cannot predict anything that is going to happen in this book. It's impossible. It's also a very difficult book to review because honestly all I want to do is ASDFGHJKL;

actually me trying to write this review

You probably don't need me to confirm for you that this book is as hilarious as the first one, maybe even more so. Honestly. I was almost in tears laughing just a few pages in. I CAN'T COPE WITH THE HUMOUR IN THESE BOOKS.

Things I have learned reading Noah Could Never:
  1. Try to avoid reading it surrounded by family who are going to question why you keep grinning down at the book in your lap like the biggest dork in the world.
  2. READ WITH CAUTION ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT. I sincerely hope the poor commuters sitting across from me on the train didn't catch me fighting back the giggles. There are just certain scenes in this book that CANNOT be read in public. IT'S JUST TOO FUNNY FOR THAT, OKAY?

You also don't need me to reiterate how much I love Noah. I can't help but adore him, even when he's making huge mistakes which you know he's going to end up regretting. I didn't expect to relate to him, but the feelings of self doubt that he has really hit home more than I was ready for! He goes through a lot of moments when he feels like he doesn't deserve Harry, and believing he needs to be a better version of himself, trying various ways to change himself to what he thinks is deemed 'perfect'. Something that I really loved about this book is how, despite all of the laughs and wild situations, there were genuinely heartfelt moments between characters, and some very real issues were dealt with in a lighthearted way. Noah Could Never has a very cute message within its pages.

Whilst I'm talking about characters. Bambi. An incredible edition to this series. Just when you think this story couldn't get any better, we get introduced to the greatest drag queen Little Fobbing has ever seen, with perfect comedic timing and a wonderful catalogue of innuendos (though Pierre might just win the title of Best Innuendo Provider). 

  • Cutest characters you will ever meet. Honestly. How do people get through life without reading about Noah and Harry.
  • LITERALLY THE FUNNIEST. We all need a good, funny story every now and then. No matter what genre you usually read, it's always a good idea to pick up a book that's guaranteed to make you smile.
  • French exchange students because every good YA story needs French exchange students at some point.
  • Millie and the Dickheads. That's all I'm saying.

    Noah Could Never is the perfect sequel. It really is. After all this waiting, it didn't disappoint. From a dodgy protein shake business to a road trip with a drag queen, this book throws so many unexpected yet utterly hilarious situations at the characters, and it's glorious. Hands down my favourite book of 2018 so far. If you haven't had a chance to read the first book, Noah Can't Even, but happen to be reading this review anyway: PLEASE PICK IT UP. It's the perfect read for Pride Month, and trust me when I say that it will make you smile. 

    Royal Rating:

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