Harry Potter Re-Read 2017 (HP & The Sorcerer’s Stone)

For 2017, I decided I wanted to re-read the Harry Potter books since it has been a long time, and to also read HP related books. For January, my husband got me this beautiful edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

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Re-reading the story and seeing all of the beautiful illustrations was a wonderful experience. There were so many little details that I had forgotten, and several I hadn’t. It was a very nostalgic reading experience. I remember my dad giving me the first book. He’d gotten it from a friend and thought I might like it. I loved it. I also seemed to be one of the few people at my school who loved this series until much later on as well. Waiting for new books to come out was torture.

My heart warmed at some moments and I actually found tears in my eyes during others (particularly when Harry, Ron, and Hermione become friends and when Neville wins house points for standing up to his friends). I felt the same when I re-watched the movie as well.

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Along with the movie, I made my first recipe from the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook I got for Christmas: Bourbon Glazed Pork Loin with Peaches for Adults. It was pretty good and probably one of the most complicated recipes I’ve attempted. My husband really liked it as well. I plan to make at least one recipe from the book this year.

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I also got my first Chocolate Frog card. It was fitting considering I was watching the first movie.

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In summary, I loved immersing myself into the world of Harry Potter again. I cannot wait to read the next one, in illustrated form, watch the movie, and make a new recipe. I didn’t get to color in my coloring books yet but I’m sure I will do a few sometime this year.

While I like most of the characters in Harry Potter, Hagrid and Hermione are my favorites. I love Harry, Ron, Neville, and Professor McGonagall as well though.

Until next time!

rvnclaw

 

jnc

 

Love-a-Thon 2017: Mad Libs: Fairytale Edition

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Once upon a time, in a far away beach, there lived a smart wizard. He lived alone in a bookstore, where he had grown up with the deceased owner. He had beautiful feet, and he was known for his shiny red stone, the only thing he had left of his parents.

Alas, the princess of the country became jealous and wanted to own this stone. So, he became a wanted person and had to flee into the forest to find a place to hide. After reading around for hours, hungry and tired, he stumbled upon a forest.

An old lady appeared, offering him shelter from the bitter cold.  She looked at him with sadness and said: “I will protect you, but I need your help first. Years ago I lost something precious and I want it back. You need to climb into the sky and get my flute back. Here is a magical chicken tender, throw it into the earth, sprinkle with water and it will sprout a beanstalk. You have eight days to return before the stalk withers.”

He followed the instructions given to him, and lo and behold, a beanstalk grew and grew and grew all the way up to the clouds. After an exhausting climb, he saw a huge mansion. He walked to the door and knocked. A sweet voice said: “Fee-fi- fo-fum, who dares to come and enter my house?”

He was not afraid and said: “My name is Jamie and I’ve come to collect an item.”

The door made a chiming sound when it opened and revealed a large kitchen filled with golden candles.  He stepped inside and walked towards the spiraling staircase, where a figure moved, cloaked in darkness.

“Who are you? Step in to the light, so I can see your face.”

The beast growled, angry. “Why did you come here? I just want to be left alone.”

Still, he moved and stood in front of it. There were three horns on his head, and hair all over his face and his mouth was filled with large teeth. He wore a masquerade costume and mask.

“What happened to you?” He reached out to touch one of the horns, but the beast flinched.

“Many years ago I was cursed by a witch. I have one year left to write so I can break the spell, but I’m not brave enough.”

“If you give me the flute, I will help you.”

In keeping its promise, the beast and him worked for a few hours and that afternoon, the beast transformed into an ordinary older guy. “I can’t wait to return to my job as a painter in the normal world. Can I come with you?”

Together they climbed down the beanstalk, carrying the instrument for the old lady. The moment she saw the guy and her beloved instrument, she started to weep.

“My husband, you have returned!” They hugged and looked at him.

“We have to tell you something,” the old lady said. “You are our child. We were separated after the curse, but now we are reunited!”

From that day, the three of them lived together in the forest, happily ever after.

 

jnc

Love-A-Thon 2017

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This year I decided I would sign up for this event called Love-A-Thon. It will be hosted from February 18th to the 20th and is basically a way for book lovers with blogs, Instagram, Twitter, Booktube, and the like to connect to one another and share some love. I’m very excited to be a part of it and to also meet new people!

While I will be going out of town unexpectedly on Saturday, I am still going to try and do some challenges and visit other people’s social media platforms whenever I’m able. I’ll probably be more active Sunday afternoon and Monday. This event is being hosted by Alexa of Alexa Loves Books, Cee of The Novel Hermit, Kristin of Super Space Chick & Mel of The Daily Prophecy.

To kick off Love-A-Thon, I will be answering a questionnaire so new visitors (and also my regular subscribers) will learn more about me! Make sure to also follow me on Instagram @ceruleananimation as that is most likely where I will be lurking for this event when I’m not visiting blogs.

 

| QUESTIONNAIRE |

An Introduction to You and Your Blog

1. What’s your name? Where in the world are you blogging from?

I go by many names. My pen name is J.N. Cahill and real name is Jennifer but I prefer people to call me Jen. I am blogging from a little city in Southern North Carolina, USA.

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2. Tell us your history with reading. Were you always a reader? Were you a reluctant reader? Was there a book that convinced you to become a reader?

I have always liked books even before I could read them, probably because children’s books also contain art, another of my loves. However, I have always loved stories and I remember learning to read for myself by the time I was four. My grandmother helped me learn from repetitive reading (so much that she eventually recorded herself reading aloud for me to play in order to save her voice). I’ve been a voracious reader since.

3. How did you get involved in the online book community?

In high school, when the internet was still forming and Youtube, Twitter, and even Facebook didn’t exist, I started with online V.C. Andrews Roleplaying through Yahoo Groups as well as posting stories on Fanfiction.net.

Eventually I started this blog to share my love for books and to also track my writing progress. I also have a Twitter, though I admit I am not a frequent user, though I do enjoy Instagram and am fairly active. I can also be seen commenting on Booktube channels and have made friends with other readers and writers on all social media platforms, which is awesome.

4. How did you choose your primary platform (blog, Instagram, YouTube, etc)? How did you come up with your blog name?

I wanted a place where I could talk about books and a blog seemed like the best option. My blog name is pretty simple–my pen name, along with what I write (YA Contemporary and Horror, unpublished but working on it).

5. What’s your favorite thing about the online book community?

I love how friendly most everyone is and also how excited they get about books and interacting with other book lovers. I have found so many awesome books thanks to them and enjoy recommending them back.  It’s also a lovely thing when you find someone with similar tastes to yours or can gush/rant about a book you’ve all read.

6. What sort of posts can readers expect from you?

I do a mix of reading and writing posts, though my main focus lately has mostly been on reading. I do book photography wrap-ups as well as reading and writing goals each month. Occasionally I will compare a book with a film or TV adaptation or complete a book tag. So mainly what I’ve been reading or writing.

7. What book genres do you talk about most?

Definitely YA. Usually YA Horror, Contemporary, Fantasy, or Classics.

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1. Favorite food? Beverage?

Crab legs or pizza–don’t make me decide. Dr. Pepper.

2. Favorite color?

Blue, particularly cerulean blue. I’ve been obsessed with cerulean blue since I was a kid and discovered the cerulean crayon. It’s my favorite shade of blue and I also love the word so I’ve been known to use it quite a bit. Maybe that explains my Instagram name a little better now.

3. Favorite things to do apart from reading?

Writing, Crafts, Scrapbooking, Swimming, Watching TV or Movies, Organizing, Spending time with my husband, friends, our furbabies.

4. Favorite tv shows?

So many but I’ll try to narrow it down. American Gothic (from the 90s) has always been one of my top favorites. I also love American Horror Story, The Golden Girls, Unsolved Mysteries, Forensic Files, The Grand Tour, Veronica Mars, Goosebumps, and Roswell.

5. Favorite movies?

Another I’ll try to narrow down. Jaws, The Breakfast Club, Cruel Intentions, Labyrinth, The Lion King, The Holiday, and Village of the Damned (1995 version).

6. Favorite musical artists?

Linkin Park, The Birthday Massacre, Lindsey Sterling, Lin-Manuel Miranda (and basically the entire cast of Hamilton), John Williams.

7. Favorite places to shop?

Dollar Tree, Goodwill, Michael’s, Book Outlet, Target, Bath & Body Works, Lush.

| Book Talk |

1. Favorite childhood books?

Rainbow Fish, Harry Potter, Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, The Giver, The Face on the Milk Carton, The Westing Game, Six-Dinner Sid, Go Dog Go, and the Goosebumps/Fear Street/Ghosts of Fear Street/Bone Chiller series.

2. Favorite books read in the last five years?

Duma Key by Stephen King, Speak & Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, The Merciless by Danielle Vega, The Gone series by Michael Grant, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Without Tess by Marcella Pixley, Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes. I could keep going.

3. Favorite genres?

YA Contempory, YA Horror, Adult Horror. Fantasy/YA Fantasy has been growing on me recently though.

4. Underrated book, series or author you love?

I always feel like the Gone series by Michael Grant are kind of underrated. It seriously took me one day to devour the first book and then it was torture waiting on the rest, which took about a year per book.

5. A book you want to see made into a film or tv show?

I think the Jasper Dent books by Barry Lyga or The Cahill Witch Chronicles by Jessica Spotswood would make a cool TV show. I’m really hoping that the Heaven movie based on the book by V.C. Andrews will continue onto production. The Merciless would make a cool horror movie.

6. Book boyfriend/girlfriend? Book BFF? Book family?

Troy Tatteron for Book BF, hands down. Book BFF would have to be Hermione  Granger or Luna Lovegood. Book Family would be the Weasleys.

7. Books you want to read in 2017?

Definitely Six of Crows, The Wrath and the Dawn, This is Our Story, Slice of Cherry, I’ll Give You the Sun, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Meg, Fangirl, Jane Steele, Hotel Ruby, and many, many more.

If you’re new to my blog, welcome! Leave me some facts about yourself in the comments so we can get to know one another!

jnc

January Book Haul

One of my goals for 2017 is to try and buy/receive less books or at least get more that I’m actually going to read this year. I don’t think I’ve done too bad for January since some of these really are books I plan to read for 2017. Trying to do a total book buying ban has proven to backfire so I’m going to try and just aim overall for less. Anyway, here’s the books I couldn’t resist!

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First of all, here is the beautiful special illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling and Jim McKay, a Christmas gift from my husband. However, it shipped from England and took over a month to arrive but it was definitely worth it. I’m sad it won’t fit on my current Harry Potter shelf though. This is the nicest book I own now. Pictures don’t do it justice.

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These were in my library’s outlet section. The hardbacks were $2 and the other were $1. While I already owned Rose Madder and Needful Things (that edition is missing the dust jacket but the spine is beautiful so I grabbed), they were ratty paperbacks. I decided these hardcovers were in great condition so I replaced them. I also got The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush, a children’s book I remember loving, and Meg, a book I plan to read later this year.

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I can usually never resist Book Outlet. They were having some kind of winter sale and they had the last two Jasper Dent books for a bargain. Since I want to finish this series this year and my library only has the first one, of course I snagged them.

They also had the Puffin Bloom Classic edition for Anne of Green Gables, which I’ve never read but since I already have the edition for Little Women, I snagged it too. This set is expensive but Book Outlet occasionally has the singles for $6-7.

My library also doesn’t have Stars Above by Marissa Meyer, though they have the rest of her books for The Lunar Chronicles so I decided to get it. It was decently priced and I plan to eventually buy the series when we have a house with more space.

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I found Burial Rites at Dollar Tree. I’ve heard of this one and it sounded good so I couldn’t pass it up for a dollar. Most of the time Dollar Tree’s book selection is depressing but every once in a while they will have some good ones so always check!

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I signed up for my first Owl Crate because they were doing a classic re-mix and the last box, which I saw someone reveal on Booktube, looked excellent so I decided to try it. It is more expensive than my Horror Block but I’m thinking I might do Owl Crate when I’m not interested in the other. Like for February 🙂 The box came with this Phantom of the Opera re-telling and a signed bookplate. While I’ve never read the classic, it has always sounded good and I am excited to read this!

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And here’s the contents of the box itself since it is book related. I loved everything in this box (though I haven’t tried the tea yet, it sounds good). It came with the hardback of Roseblood by A.G. Howard, a letter from the author about the book, a signed bookplate, a Phantom of the Opera magnet (the purple thing, it’s gorgeous), book soap inspired by The Secret Garden (so cute it’s going to be hard to use it), a pretty watercolor bookmark with a quote from Slaughterhouse-Five, Little Prince inspired herbal tea, a 2017 calendar with classic book quotes and art, and an Owlcrate pin (currently on my purse). Very cool stuff.

I signed up for Feb box as well in place of my Horror Block since the theme is circus and the HB theme wasn’t wowing me. While I’m pretty sure the book is going to be one I already have, I’m okay with it because my edition is a review ARC and the new one (if I’m correct) will be hardcover and have a signed bookplate and letter from the author.

Honestly I don’t think I was too bad for January. One book was a gift, one came with neat bookish stuff, and the rest were fairly cheap. Out of the eleven I acquired, I’ve read one, plan to read five-six of them this year, and replaced two for books I already had. So really only two were complete impulse buys. I feel good about my haul.

I also unhauled about 30-40 from my shelf. All books I’d liked (like the Pretty Little Liars books) but also ones I knew I’d never re-read. I gave some to my co-worker for her younger daughter and plan to take the rest to my local used bookstore. Whichever ones they can’t take will be donated. So not bad at all. Right? How many books did you get this month and which ones are you most excited about?

jnc

Books in January 2017

For 2017, I have challenged myself to read 80 books. In January, I read seven.

 

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New Favorite: FrostBlood by Elly Blake

Least Liked: 5th One Piece (For Whom the Bells Toll) by Eiichirō Oda

Classic: The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Old Favorites (Re-Reads): Heaven by V.C. Andrews, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling.

I loved Harry Potter as much as I always have and reading the new illustrated version was a wonderful way to re-read the book.

I also loved Red Queen. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up was inspiring. The 5th OnePiece manga was decent, but far from my favorite. Overall, I had a great reading month!

Also, if you recognize this background, that’s because you saw it in my book pictures last January–only there was snow then. I decided to revisit this place (the inside of a large bush at my apartment complex of all places) because I think it’s a beautiful backdrop.

 

 

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My “new” favorite read for January 2017. This happened to be a review book, too.

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My classic read for the month.

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This year I decided to re-read the Harry Potter series. My husband got me this beautiful special illustrated edition of the Philosopher’s Stone to begin. The illustrations are wonderful!

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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo has been a huge inspiration to me de-cluttering my life. So far I am more than halfway through my apartment and parting with clutter as well as re-organizing my life has helped so much. Being surrounded only by things I love, need, and use is so much better than hanging onto things I didn’t truly love. Highly recommend if you are looking for a positive change in your life.

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I also decided that I would re-read the Casteel series by V.C. Andrews as well as her original stand-alone, My Sweet Audrina, and the new sequel to MSA. Since VCA died in 1986, only a few books under her name were actually written by her. Heaven was one of the ones she did and I somehow loved it even more now than I did when I first read it at 14 or 15.

Heaven Leigh Casteel will always be one of my favorite fictional characters of all time and while this series is tragic, I am also always there to root for her and her dreams. If you want a book that will touch you, disgust you by the cruelty of the world, and make you want the main character to succeed no matter what, I highly recommend this one. I will be reading the next one in Feburary!

So what did you read in January and what were your favorites? How many books are you tackling for 2017?

jnc

January Writing & Reading Goals Check (February Goals)

Last month I decided to do a post with a list of goals I wanted to accomplish in the coming month. Let’s see how I did.
GOALS FOR JANUARY
✓ Read The Bell Jar for my classic book

✓ Read at least 6 books

✓ Read Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone (illustrated) for my TBR

✓ Read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up for my TBR

✓ Read Red Queen for my TBR

✓ Read Heaven by V.C. Andrews for my TBR

✓ Read Frost Blood for my TBR/review book

✓ do book pictures for the month
✓ Work on Creeper re-write

I got through all of the books plus an extra one (a OnePiece manga) and I plan to do my Book Pics tomorrow. The only thing I did not get to was writing and I hope to get more accomplished next month. I have been really focusing on de-cluttering my apartment so I figure once I am finished I will have much more time to write. I’m halfway through!

GOALS FOR FEBRUARY
✓ Read at least 6 books
✓ Read The Princess and the Goblin for my classic book
✓ Read Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets (illustrated) for my TBR
✓ Read The Wrath and the Dawn for my TBR
✓ Read A Court of Thorns and Roses for my TBR
✓ Read Dark Angel by V.C. Andrews for my TBR
✓ Read When You Came Back for my TBR/review book
✓ do book pictures for the month
✓ Work on Creeper re-write
✓ Enter Pitch Madness on the 24th

Wish me luck! Do you have any goals this month? How did you do with your goals for January?

 

jnc

The Book VS the Movie: Beastly

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Book written by Alex Flinn, 2007
Movie directed by Daniel Barnz, 2011

Synopsis from Goodreads.com:

I am a beast. A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog, but a horrible new creature who walks upright – a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I’m talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It’s no deformity, no disease. And I’ll stay this way forever – ruined – unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and a perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly beastly.

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VS

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Which I Viewed First: The book.

Which I Enjoyed Most: The book.

Out of 5 stars, the Book Gets: 3.5 stars.

Out of 5 stars, the Movie Gets: 2.5 stars.

Things the Book Did Better: Characters were better and the story was deeper. The romance was better than the movie.

Things the Movie Did Better:  Neil Patrick Harris.

Verdict?: Book.

Should the movie be re-made?: Maybe if it followed the book more closely and had a better main cast. I liked Neil Patrick Harris though. He sold it.

What do you think? Agree, disagree? Would love to hear your thoughts!

 

See more Book VS Movie posts HERE.

jnc