Friday, August 5, 2016

Review: The Long Game (Fixer #2) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Title: The Long Game (Fixer #2)
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Rating: 5 STARS!!!
The Kendricks help make the problems of the Washington elite disappear…but some secrets won’t stay buried.
 For Tess Kendrick, a junior at the elite Hardwicke School in Washington, D.C., fixing runs in the family. But Tess has another legacy, too, one that involves power and the making of political dynasties. When Tess is asked to run a classmate’s campaign for student council, she agrees. But when the candidates are children of politicians, even a high school election can involve life-shattering secrets.

Meanwhile, Tess’s guardian has also taken on an impossible case, as a terrorist attack calls into doubt who can—and cannot—be trusted on Capitol Hill. Tess knows better than most that power is currency in D.C., but she's about to discover firsthand that power always comes with a price.--
Summary from Goodreads
The Long Game is everything that The Fixer is and more. More suspense. More drama. More at stake than ever before. Every time something big would happen in the book I just couldn't believe it! And then it would escalate father than I could have ever anticipated... and then that escalated even more. I was literally tense while reading this book. I dreaded knowing what would come next but I couldn't stop reading! I had to know! Even now I can't believe how amazing this book is. It surpassed all my expectations, which is saying something considering how much I love the first book.

All the characters that I love from the first book are back and it's great seeing them in action. The book starts with Tess, Henry, Asher, and Vivvie doing what they do best: blackmailing a powerful person for the right reasons. Asher makes everything hilarious and Tess is as brilliant as ever. But like I said, things get more intense after that. These relationships grow and change throughout the book as events happen and all I can say is that it is completely believable. The same can be said about Tess's relationships with her grandfather, Ivy, and Adam. I love all these characters and the author writes such complex and interesting relationships that are beautiful and sad all at once.

One of the things that makes this book so intense is because it all feels so real. The events in the book are scarily possible and I really couldn't believe the places this story went. The events were handled in a believable manner and Tess's ability to deal with the them as a teenager was realistic as well. I really couldn't respect this series any more than I do right now. I believe this to be one of the best YA series going on right now. THERE BETTER BE A THIRD BOOK!!!

The Long Game is a non-stop, high-stakes, political thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat. If you love The Fixer than you will no doubt love this sequel. This is a book to move to the top of your to-reads list.
                   -Christina

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Never a Ravenclaw, Always a Slytherin

Harry Potter Month is hosted by Faith at Geeky Zoo Girl and Micheline at Lunar Rainbows Reviews. This fun event runs throughout the month of July. Find out more about it here.

When I was being sorted into my Hogwarts house on Pottermore, I assumed, because of some of my answers, that I would be in Ravenclaw. I wasn't trying to get into any house, I like them all, but Ravenclaw just made sense: I am a book nerd and I love learning. Then I was sorted into Slytherin. I was surprised, but I accepted my house immediately and when my sister was sorted into it as well, it just seemed to fit. So I have lived as a smart and kind Slytherin ever since. Then Micheline did a post on Hybrid Hogwarts Houses and so I took the quizzes expecting to get some form of Ravenclaw while fearing that Slytherin would never appear. Out of the three quizzes my hybrid houses were Gryffinpuff, SlytherPuff, and Slytherdor. Basically I am everything BUT Ravenclaw. It was actually really surprising, but I realized not being a Ravenclaw makes me even more of a Slytherin.

I didn't always like to read. It wasn't until I started finding books that I liked that I started to read obsessively. After a few years of this, I decided I was going to read 100 books in a year! And I did. I would read classics! Did that too. I would read all types of genres! And that. I kept logs of all the books I read (this was before I discovered Goodreads) and how long it took me to read each one. I wasn't only reading for the love of books, I was ambitious. Each year I tried to read more than the last. Each year I tried out new books and new genres. It was an obsession that was not always fun, but reading was the only thing I was good at, so I wanted to use that for something. This shows me that my love of books comes more from being an ambitious Slytherin than a brainy Ravenclaw.

Also, I love school, I really do. I love learning and I love the structure of it. But the reason I do good in my classes is because, like reading, I found out I was good at it and so I became a perfectionist. I am not a self-motivated learner, I need school to force me to learn and to do research. I am a last minute studier and sometimes I have severe anxiety about just writing an essay, but I always manage to get through it somehow. These don't sound like the habits of a Ravenclaw. My perfectionism is another form of my ambition. I take a lot of pride in doing things well and I like the recognition of getting a good grade.

So it turns out that all the qualities which I believed made me a Ravenclaw actually tied me to Slytherin. Truthfully, this makes me love being a Slytherin more because through my Hogwarts sorting I was able to learn something about myself that I didn't know previously. Although I may have Ravenclaw hobbies, I'm Slytherin through and through.
                     -Christina

Thursday, July 28, 2016

HP MotW (13): How did Quirrell add to the overall storyline?

Harry Potter Moment of the Week
 A weekly meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts and Lunar Rainbows Reviews. For more information about how to participate and future topics, go here.

This Week's Question: How did Quirrell add to the overall storyline?

This is a really interesting question; I've never actually thought about it before. I can't really think of any specific things that he added except that he showed anyone could be a follower of Voldemort. Quirrell was very young, he was probably a student at Hogwarts right before Voldemort disappeared. It's hard to imagine how he was convinced to keep the Dark Lord in the back of his skull, the only explanation could be a lust for power. Quirrell also  acts as the first in a long line of DADA professors in the series, showing that the curse is real and still functioning (even though we don't know that it exists yet).

From a writer's perspective, Quirrell acts as the primary villain in The Sorcerer's Stone. Yes, Voldemort is the main villain overall, but Quirrell literally acts as his hands and feet in this story. Quirrell is the one who has to be stopped from getting the stone and Harry has to be the one to do it. Harry couldn't defeat Voldemort in the first book or there wouldn't be a series, and the villain couldn't just run away in the end (which is what Voldemort does). Harry had to have a win. He had to defeat someone by the end of the book or else we might be left feeling like there really wasn't a conclusion. Quirrell is that someone. Because Quirrell is human, he can be defeated by Harry; he can die and never return. That is Quirrell's true purpose. If he had known what Rowling had in store for him he probably would have thought twice before putting Voldemort on the back of his skull.
                 -Christina

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Things I Can't Wait to See in the Upcoming HP Illustrated Editions

Harry Potter Month is hosted by Faith at Geeky Zoo Girl and Micheline at Lunar Rainbows Reviews. This fun event runs throughout the month of July. Find out more about it here.

As I said in Thoughts About the Harry Potter Illustrated Edition, it took me some time to get used to the new visual look at the HP world and characters but now I'm in love with the art work. The artists style is really dark and shadowy, while at other times it is filled with vibrant colors I'm really excited to see the future books and the scenes and characters envisioned inside them. After some thought, here are some of the characters and places that I'm most excited to see in the new illustrated editions.

The Chamber of Secrets: The artist does shadowy/creepy scenes really well. I can't wait to see what he does with the Chamber of Secrets.
The Marauders: It always annoyed me a little that in the movies the Marauders were played by actors much older than their characters were supposed to be, but since the actors were so amazing I couldn't complain too much. Still, it would be interesting to see them reimagined.
Thestrals: Beautiful creepiness.
Dementors: More creepiness.
The Department of Mysteries: Mysterious and creepy labyrinth filled with magical things. 
Room of Requirements: So much clutter and interesting stuff to see.
Grimmauld Place: Dark, mysterious, magical, dangerous, chaotic. What's not to love?
Knockturn Alley: More creepy awesomeness.
Rita Skeeter: She's such a flamboyant and extreme character. It would be fun to see her reimagined.
Luna Lovegood: Pretty much for the same reasons.
The Yule Ball: The set in the movie really was visually amazing and it would be interesting to see what the artist does with it.
The Lake: I imagine that it would be cool to see under the water in GoF
Slytherin Common Room: I don't know if this will be included in the CoS illustrated, but I really hope so. There's so much to see in a common room and so many details that could be snuck in. And it would just be really cool to see my common room.
The Ceiling in Luna's Room: This is one of the most beautiful things in DH and I really wish that it would have been in the movie, but I don't think it would have had the same impact as it does in the books. That is why I really hope that it makes it in the pages of the DH illustrated. 


What things do you most want to see illustrated in the new Harry Potter editions?

                    -Christina

Thursday, July 21, 2016

HP MotW (12): HP Lunch Budies

Harry Potter Moment of the Week
 A weekly meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts and Lunar Rainbows Reviews. For more information about how to participate and future topics, go here.

This Weeks Question: You can have lunch with 3 characters from the series, Who are they and why?

This question is so hard! I think I would like to have lunch with the Silver Trio: Luna, Neville, and Ginny. Luna would be such an interesting person to talk to and there would never be a boring moment. And who doesn't love Neville?! He's just the sweetest person and I'm sure we would get along fine. Ginny is the type of person who gets along well with everyone. She's a people person and would keep the conversation lively and loud. I not only love all of these characters, they also get along really well together. I love their friendship and it would be great to be a part of their group for a little while.
           -Christina 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

My HP Profile

 
Harry Potter Month is hosted by Faith at Geeky Zoo Girl and Micheline at Lunar Rainbows Reviews. This fun event runs throughout the month of July. Find out more about it here.

After seeing Lee and Faith's HP Profiles I had to join in on the fun. So, here it is: My HP Profile. Ta-da!

Name: Christina
Hogwarts House: Slytherin
Ilvermorny House: Pukwudgie 
Year I Discovered HP: 2007, my sister decided she wanted to see what all the hype was about so she would read a book and then we'd watch the movie together which hooked me into the series. We read the entire series that year, went to a marathon which ended in the midnight premiere of OotP, and eventually went to the midnight release of Deathly Hallows. What a year to become a fan!
Number of Times I've Read the Series: I'm reading SS for the 10th time and I've read the rest of the series 8 times.
Last time I read the Series: 2014, I was taking a Tolkien and Rowling class. We were only supposed to read 1, 4, 6, and 7, but I'd never read the series out of order and I wasn't about to start so I breezed through the missing books in the free time that I didn't have.
Favorite Book: It's always changing, but right now I love Deathly Hallows the most.
Favorite Movie: I really love Deathly Hallows pt. 1. It's slow and atmospheric and it spends a lot of time on the characters.
Spell I'd Like to Use: Reparo. It would be nice to be able to mend a dish after I break it.
Quidditch Position: Beater. I'm not just saying that because I would get to hit people, when I played soccer I was defense, so being a Beater makes sense.
Pet I'd Like to Bring to Hogwarts: An Owl. Duh.
Class I'd Be Best At: I'm going to go with Charms. It sounds like a fun and creative class which would keep me interested. I'd say History of Magic if it wasn't taught by Professor Binns, but, seriously, how do you fire a ghost???
Class I'd Be Worst At: Transfiguration. It sounds very technical and stressful.
Favorite Hogwarts Hangout Spot: Under the tree by the lake.
Prefect or Prankster: I'd totally be a Prefect. I am (sadly) someone who follows rules.
Kiss, Marry, Avoid (Marauder's Edition): I'd kiss Sirius, marry Lupin, and avoid James.
*Yes, I know the game is supposed to be "Kiss, Marry, Kill", but I am a coward and I think James Potter has been killed enough.
                -Christina

Thursday, July 14, 2016

HP MotW (11): Favorite Ginny Moment

Harry Potter Moment of the Week
 A weekly meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts and Lunar Rainbows Reviews. For more information about how to participate and future topics, go here.

Question of the Week: What is your favorite Ginny moment?

Ginny's got so many awesome moments that it's hard to choose. But the first one that came to mind is from Half-Blood Prince. It's during a quidditch game (I love me some quidditch) and the temporary commentator, Zacharias Smith, is talking trash about Harry as Captain, Ron and Ginny, and the entire team in general. Gryffindor ends up winning the game and shutting Smith up, but that isn't quite enough for Ginny:
"Ginny, Where're you going?" yelled Harry, who had found himself trapped in the midst of a mass midair hug with the rest of the team, but Ginny sped right on past them until, with an almighty crash, she collided with the commentator's podium. As the crowd shrieked and laughed, the Gryffindor team landed beside the wreckage of wood under which Zacharias was feebly stirring; Harry heard Ginny saying blithely to an irate Professor McGonagall, "Forgot to break, Professor, sorry." - Pg. 298, Ch. 14
 You can totally tell that the twins had an influence on Ginny. I love it!

What are some of your favorite Ginny moments?

                     -Christina 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Thoughts About the Harry Potter Illustrated Edition

Harry Potter Month is hosted by Faith at Geeky Zoo Girl and Micheline at Lunar Rainbows Reviews. This fun event runs throughout the month of July. Find out more about it here.

I love the Sorcerer’s Stone illustrated edition, I really do, but I have to admit I was a bit hesitant after I first saw the picture of Diagon Alley. It’s huge, incredibly creative, completely chaotic, and there are so many things to find. It is magical. My problem with it at first was that it was not the Diagon Alley that I knew. There’s nothing in Rowling’s text to say that Diagon Alley doesn’t look the way it does in the picture, but I had grown too attached to the movies.


I am not a visual reader. The majority of the time when I read a book I cannot picture the setting or what people look like. I find magic in the words themselves even though I usually cannot conjure up the picture in my brain. When I watch a movie that is based off a book it gives me the world and the characters in a way I never had before. It gives me something to visualize. So when I read the Harry Potter books I see Hogwarts, I see the lake, I see the great hall, I see the Hogwarts Express. The world that the movies bring to life, the actors that bring the characters to life are what I see when I read. To me, those images are a part of the books.

At first I was hesitant about liking the illustrated book because it was not showing me the world I knew and loved. Now I know that is what makes it magical. The art by Jim Kay is showing us the world of Harry Potter through different eyes. There’s new magic to experience in the artwork and the way it brings the story to life. One of my favorite pictures is the one at dusk where there are dozens of birds sitting on the Quidditch hoops. That one picture seems to bring the story into the physical world; of course the birds would want to sit on the hoops, I wonder if Filch has to go clean them off or if Madam Hooch has a spell to take care of the mess. I wonder if Oliver Wood ever had to chase away birds when he was playing keeper. The picture itself is beautiful, but the way it encourages readers to continue to use their imagination while reading and access the world in new ways is exciting.

Because of this book, I’ve stopped trying to see the Wizarding World one way. The visual world the movies provide will probably always be more prominent in my mind when I read, but now the art from the illustrated edition will help visually enrich the world I love.

                    -Christina

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Harry Potter Month: 4 Reasons to be Excited for Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them


Harry Potter Month is hosted by Faith at Geeky Zoo Girl and Micheline at Lunar Rainbows Reviews. This fun event runs throughout the month of July. Find out more about it here.

A new movie set in the wizarding world is, of course, exciting. But here are four reasons that I'm excited about Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them that really have nothing to do with the amazing trailers that have come out and everything to do with being HP fanatic.

1. The script was penned by Rowling
This woman does everything! MG/YA fantasy, fictional magical textbooks, adult literary, detective novel, and now a movie screenplay. And even if I don't love all of her works, her writing ability is never in question. She will always be one heck of an author whose imagination is magic. I'm excited to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them come to life.

2. It was made to be a movie
Now we can't complain about them cutting out half the book or our favorite characters or weird changes in details. This movie is the complete story that Rowling intended, told in the way she intended. How awesome is that?!

3. A WHOLE NEW WORLD!
Okay, same world, different country. If you've been reading the new content on Pottermore about the American wizarding culture, you can tell this is going to be a lot different. And it's set in the 1920's! From what I've seen of the promo photos and trailers, the historical setting gives is a great atmosphere. The story also follows all new characters who are older and not confined in a school. This is not your typical Harry Potter story.

4. We thought Deathly Hollows was the end
Going to see Deathly Hallows on opening night was one of the best movie experiences I ever had. It wasn't until a year or two later that I realized that HP was over. There were no new books or movies going to come out EVER AGAIN! It was a very sad realization. BUT I WAS WRONG! Just this year we're getting a script to read and a movie which will probably be a trilogy. The HP world is getting all new content from a world that we adore. We are so fortunate.


How do you feel about the upcoming movie? What about it are you most excited for?
                -Christina

Thursday, July 7, 2016

HP MoTW (10): How Long Would You Attend Hogwarts

Harry Potter Moment of the Week
 A weekly meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts and Lunar Rainbows Reviews. For more information about how to participate and future topics, go here.

Question of the Week: Would you finish your studies at Hogwarts in your 5th year, or would you go on until the 7th year?

I'm not quite sure I understand the question, could students dropout after 5th year? Or is it referring to students returning to Hogwarts after the end of Voldemort's tyranny? Either way, as a person who is currently planning on going to muggle grad school, I'd definitely continue attending school for as long as possible. As many subjects as there are at Hogwarts, I would always feel like there's so much that I haven't learned yet. I'm kind of a Hermione like that.

             -Christina