Tag Archives: JK Rowling

October Short Reviews

Once I completed my studies for university, I definitely jumped into the deep end of the reading pool – reading 10 novels/novellas/short story collections during the last month. My reading list centred almost exclusively on young adult realistic fiction, with the exception of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, the latest in D.D. Marks’s Olesia Anderson spy thrillers, and Tamora Pierce’s collection of short stories.

Many of the novels I read over the past month were fantastic, and really enjoyed reading them. Two in particular stand out for me: When We Were Two by Australian firefighter Robert Newton, and You Against Me by British actress-turned-author Jenny Downham. Though vastly different, these novels stood out for the brilliance of their construction, the approachability of their characters and storylines that kept me interested the who way through. I really cannot recommend these two novels enough.

Featured this month:

  • Double Deals (pt. 1) – D.D. Marks
  • When We Were Two – Robert Newton
  • The Fault in Our Stars – John Green
  • The Casual Vacancy – J.K. Rowling
  • Before I Die – Jenny Downham
  • Tortall and Other Lands – Tamora Pierce
  • Hate List – Jennifer Brown
  • You Against Me – Jenny Downham
  • How to Buy a Love of Reading – Tanya Egan Gibson



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30 Day Book Challenge: Day 4

Day 4: Book that makes you cry

First, a question: I can only choose one?

I’m one of those readers who cannot help but form attachments to the characters in my books. See here. Where there is a challenge, I am with the character as they strive to beat it. Where there is love, I am rooting for that character to succeed. And where there is pain, loss or heartache, I can generally be found to be crying alongside them. Sometimes, when re-reading a book, I can be found to be crying in advance, because the characters are happy, and I know the loss to come.

So the answer is this…

(Almost) All of Them

This is a photo of my old bookshelf, before I moved rooms and got a new one. And I can honestly say that I have cried in almost every one of these books (and many more!). The main ones that will always succeed in bringing at least a tear to my eyes, are these:

  • Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier – it took four times for me to be able to read past a certain scene without balling my eyes out. And it still draws tears to my eyes.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling – there are three particular scenes that I remember shocked me to tears the first time I read it, and subsequent times…
  • Kushiel’s Legacy series by Jacqueline Carey – there is so much pain and heartache in this series… Phedre, as I’ve said previously, is a favourite character, and when she cries, I cry.
  • Into Temptation by Penny Vincenzi – possibly the most heart-wrenching of the books in the series, and the one that made me cry. A lot.
  • The High Lord by Trudi Canavan – a redeemed character redeems himself further by sacrificing everything to protect what they love.
  • Blade of Fortriu by Juliet Marillier – there is a character death in this book that is so horrific, beautiful and heartwrenching that the mere thought of it makes me want to cry…

And there are more. But if I talk about them, I’ll cry for sure!


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30 Day Book Challenge: Day 7

Day 7: Book that you can quote/recite.

First off, I have reaf far too many books over the years to be able to quote and recite any single one. While I’ve re-read several of my favourites over the years, I am no where near being able to recite them! My good friend is able to recite whole passages from pretty much every Terry Pratchett novel… but I just don’t have that much dedication.

Having said that though… I can think of a few books that have particular lines/passages that I love and can recite if need be.

From Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier:

“…it matters not if you are here, or there, for I see you before me every moment. I see you in the light on the water, in the swaying of the young trees in the spring wind. I see you in the shadows of the great oaks, I hear your voice in the cry of the owl at night. You are the blood in my veins, and the beating of my heart. You are my first waking thought, and my last sigh before sleeping. You are – you are bone of my bone, and breath of my breath.”


From Cybele’s Secret by Juliet Marillier:

“If a man truly loves… He gives no heed to what others may think. His heart has no room for that, for it is filled to the brim with
the unutterable truth of his feelings.”


  Several scenes from assorted Harry Potter books, particularly the earlier ones. (Quite a few, really!)

Mostly I remember some of the amazing one liners from the books. For instance, Hermione claiming she can’t make a fire without wood in the first book. To which Ron promptly responds: “Are you a witch or aren’t you?”
Also, Ron refering to the first years in Order of the Phoenix as ‘midgets’, and – after being told off by Hermione – replying with “What? They’re titchy.” Gold. Always gold.
Ooh! And Fred and George in the first book, saying that they don’t know why their mother bothers putting their initals on their jumpers, as “We know our names are Gred and Forge.” So many great moments and one liners in those books! I’ll stop now, as otherwise I’ll just keep going! 😛


And this gem from Page by Tamora Pierce:

“What was that about?” Neal demanded.
Kel turned. All of her friends were arrayed at her back. “He says he’s changed.”
“I suppose he could have changed,” Neal said dryly. “I myself have noticed my growing resemblance to a daffodil.” The other pages snorted.
Kel eyed her friend. “You do look yellow around the edges,” she told him, her face quite serious. “I hadn’t wanted to bring it up.”
“We daffodils like to have things brought up,” Neal said, slinging an arm around her shoulders. “It reminds us of spring.”
“Does dung remind you of spring, too, Princess Flower?” Cleon demanded irritably.


Really, makes me laugh every time! I’m certain that there are many more that I am forgetting, but these are the ones that come immediately to mind. And I did catch myself reciting the scene from Page just the other day. More soon!



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30 Day Book Challenge: Day 10

Day 10: The book that changed your life

This one is kind of cliched. I think I’m only one of a million who would claim that this book (and all of its sequels) changed their life and the way they viewed the world.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – J.K. Rowling

I was tempted to pick a different book, just to remain a bit interesting. But it makes sense. I’m a child of the 90’s, was a teenager during the early 2000’s – it’s a very rare person my age who didn’t grow up alongside the Boy Who Lived. Besides, I realised the other day that I can clearly remember where I was and what I was doing when I first read this book. If that’s not a sign that it changed my life, my approach to reading, then what is?

First off, and (for me) importantly, I live in Australia, where the first book in the series is Harry Potter and the PHILOSOPHER’S Stone, and yet this cover was the first one I read. Some American friends sent me this as a Christmas present in 1999 and I did try to read it soon after. But I gave up part-way through the first chapter. It wasn’t until I was sick sometime in the middle of 2000 that I gave Harry Potter another try, and I haven’t looked back since. It wasn’t long after that I was eagerly awaiting the publication of Goblet of Fire, having already read all of the previous books.

Where Temmi and the Flying Bears was my first real introduction to fantasy, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was the first time I fell in love with it. And I remember it as the book that truly started my love of reading, of adventure and escaping to a different world. Hundreds of books later, that very first book still holds a place of honour on my shelves. 🙂


Filed under 30 Day Book Challenge, Books, Fantasy, Reading, YA Books