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:

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