Top 5 Tuesday: Five Complicated Characters for Complicated Slytherins

When I think of Slytherins, and I think of characters like Draco Malfoy and Severus Snape and Albus Severus Potter, I think of one word: complicated.

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            Complicated, because, in the case of Draco, they show different sides of themselves when you least expect it. In the case of Snape, they spend seven books proving how horrible they are until the last second when they do something so unbelievably unselfish you wonder why they acted the way they did. And, because of a character like Scorpios Malfoy, you realize not all Slytherins fit the mold the rest of us made for them.

In the previous posts this month, I recommended specific books for members of the houses. This week, I put on the Sorting Hat and thought of five book characters I think would fit right in with the Slytherins. And it was surprisingly easier than I thought.

 

Lada from And I Darken trilogy by Kiersten White

Screenshot_2019-02-17 And I Darken (The Conqueror's Saga #1)

Lada was the first Slytherin I thought of. The girl is the definition of ruthless. She will attack first, ask questions later. While I admire her determination to take back her family’s empire and to prove a woman can be as strong as a man, she tends to treat those who love her like crap. Though her love interest is seriously unlikeable, her little brother Radu is not. Lada justifies her neglect as a way to protect him so he can’t be used against her, but that doesn’t mean her overall behavior towards him should be tolerated.

 

Audrey Rose Wadsworth from the Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco

Screenshot_2019-02-17 Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #1)

Audrey Rose represents the more positive traits of the Slytherin house: demands respect from others, ambitious, self-reliant, and assertive. She pushes Thomas away not because she is disinterested or denying her feelings, but because she is terrified of losing her independence to a man. She can be charming when she wants to be. She likes praise when it’s owed to her. But, unfortunately, from what I’ve learned of Escaping from Houdini, she might be disloyal, too….

 

Shazarad from The Wrath & the Dawn duology by Renee Ahdieh

Screenshot_2019-02-17 The Wrath and the Dawn (The Wrath and the Dawn, #1)

Like Audrey Rose, Shazi has the better qualities of the House. While her bravery might make her a Gryffindor, once she is inside the palace and interacting with Khalid, she shows her inner green serpent. A Gryffindor would have tried to stab him the first chance she got, but Shazi buys her time. She charms him with the tales from A Thousand and One Nights. She survives on her wits and occasionally uses her charm, or her body, to get what she wants. Shazi went into that palace prepared and driven to get justice for her friend and all those other girls. While she might only trust a few people, once you have her, she is yours.

 

Grace Marks from Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

Screenshot_2019-02-17 Alias Grace

When you look at Grace Marks, you could see either one of two things: an innocent Irish girl falsely accused of a crime or a conniving murderess that seduced a hapless man into killing two people. Grace shows you what she wants you to see. She’s selective with her loyalty, only that is because she grew up in an abusive household, then endured more years of abuse at the hands of a patriarchal society. She’s also realistic in how she sees the world. She has no problem calling out everything wrong with the world others ignore. The best part about Grace, though she comes off as docile, she can cut you down with her words, so politely you don’t realize you’ve been insulted until she walks away.

 

Lizbeth Salander from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Screenshot_2019-02-17 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1)

Lizbeth is the ideal Slytherin. Though she’s not exactly charming, she operates on her own moral code. She is ruthless and determined in her pursuit to make sure those who hurt others don’t get away with it. She makes sure people like rapists and those who take advantage of the less fortunate get what they deserve. Lizbeth also incredibly adaptable, changing her looks and personality to fit in with any setting in her mission. And she’s scary smart.

 

Who is your favorite non-Harry Potter character Slytherin?

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2019 Reading Wrap Up #2 (2/23/19)

When this semester started, I was fully prepared to not be reading much. A month into last semester, I was completing one or two books in the span of a month. So far this semester, I have read seven books.

Granted, most of these were graphic novels. And it helps to have two free days in the middle of the week. Since I get up early enough, I get an adequate amount of homework done where I can read in the afternoons. This also usually leaves my weekends open.

This wrap up is a combination of books I own as well as library books, plus one book that was a recommended read for one of my classes. But more about that in the wrap up.

Between the last week of January until now, I read:

 

Evermore by Sara Holland (library book)

3.5 stars

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Evermore is the sequel to Everless and is the concluding novel to the duology. In case you are unaware, Everless is set in a fantasy world where time is based in currency taken from the blood. The main character, Jules Ember, returns to the manor home she fled years before to earn money for her ailing father. In the meantime, she learns something about herself, as well as the kingdom at large.

While I enjoyed Evermore, I think I liked it a little less than Everless. The writing was atmospheric, yet a little too flowery at times. The magic system was fascinating and so was the mythology, however I think there were still holes in the story. Though I liked Jules and adored the romance in this novel, even if some might say it came out of nowhere, the plot was slow, then rushed to reach a resolution.

I checked both Everless and Evermore out of the library. Despite that I was interested in the synopsis, I didn’t want to risk the money on them. The concept seemed so out there for me to wrap my head around it.

Overall, I say I enjoyed the Everless duology. I might buy my own copies someday, and will likely read anything else Sara Holland writes.

 

Saga, Vol. 9 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

5 stars

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It took me a while to come up with something to say about the ninth volume of the Saga graphic novels. At least, something coherent or not a spoiler.

Even as they brought up strong criticism about media and intentionally spreading fear, there was a point I suspected it would be another “filler” volume, until the ending happened. The last thing I have to say is that what I have been anticipating since the first volume finally happened. Yet, it was not quite how I expected it to happen. This particular event was also coupled with something I had not seen coming. It added on more to the emotional preparation I had built up from the previous eight volumes.

Needless to say, it’s going to be a hard year before the next installment of Saga.

 

Poe: Stories and Poems: a graphic novel adaption by Gareth Hinds

4.5 stars

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Gareth Hinds is a graphic artist that recreates classic stories in graphic novel adaptions. Poe: stories and poems is the first of his that I read. Inside are illustrated adaptions of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death, The Cask of Amontillado, Annabel Lee, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Tell-Tale Heart, The Bells, and The Raven. While the language has been condensed a little to fit the graphic novel format, the artwork in this collection is simply gorgeous. He uses different color schemes to match each work, like beachy pastels for Annabel Lee and a monochromic one for The Raven.

If I was rating the Poe graphic novel on artwork alone, it would be five stars. However, the majority of the stories featured in this were not my favorite of Edgar Allan Poe’s works. Gareth Hinds’ illustrations added something to them, though. The visuals in The Cask of Amontillado gave me a new appreciation for it. I already loved The Tell-Tale Heart, so the artwork added more to it. Yet the artwork for The Masque of the Red Death didn’t quite appeal to my imagination. So, if I’m being perfectly honest, I’m rating this Edgar Allan Poe graphic novel mostly on my reading experience.

 

To Make Monsters Out of Girls by Amanda Lovelace

5 stars

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The Princess Saves Herself in This One had an emotional impact on me, The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One unfortunately did not have the same effect. Because of that, I kept my expectations for To Make Monsters Out of Girls neutral.

To Make Monsters Out of Girls was originally published on Wattpad under a different title. After her success with her previous works, it was republished with a new title as well as illustrations that added something to already hard-hitting, lyrical free verse poetry.

I’m not entirely sure how to review a poetry collection, beyond rating it by how it made me feel. I love Amanda’s style of poetry; how direct and honest she is. I also appreciated how she owned up to her mistakes, like how she was involved with a man already in a relationship. I enjoyed the topics covered in this collection and how it made me think and feel. I had the same kind of reading experience with To Make Monsters Out of Girls as I did with The Princess Saves Herself in This One.

 

And The Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness and illustrated by Rovina Cai

4 stars

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And The Ocean Was Our Sky is a retelling of Moby Dick through the eyes of the whale. Bathsheba is a member of a whale pirate crew that hunt humans, claiming to be protecting the ocean from the world above. When they capture a human, it leads Bathsheba and the rest of her crew on a mission they deem to be their destiny. But as the whales carry out their mission and she talks more with their human captive, she has doubts about not only their mission, but the relations between humans and whales.

I flew through And The Ocean Was Our Sky like I thought I would. It is a combination of prose and beautiful dark blue/black/white/red artwork, as illustrated by Rovina Cai. Patrick Ness does a good job blurring the lines between who is right and wrong between the whales and humans, making neither look entirely innocent. Bathsheba is the narrator and we see directly through her eyes as the world she thought she knew unravels around her. I wanted to give it five stars but the plot twist kind of threw me for a loop. I had no idea where the author was going with it.

 

True Notebooks by Mark Salzman (library book)

5 books

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Nonfiction is a genre I don’t reach for often, if at all. True Notebooks is a book recommended by the professor of my Friday class, Literacy Services to Underrepresented Populations, in preparation for our visit to a correctional facility in a few weeks.

True Notebooks is about the author, Mark Salzman’s, experiences as a creative writing teacher in a juvenile detention center. When his friend first approached him with the opportunity, he tries to think of ways to politely decline until he is persuaded by Sister Janet, a nun in charge of the program trying to rehabilitate these incarcerated minors. The book chronicles the various challenges Mark encounters—rowdy students, illiteracy, prejudice from outsiders and insiders, among other things—and how he not only helps his students, but they help him.

The book is narrated primarily from Mark’s first-person perspective, with samples of his student’s writing. For the first half of the book, the boys annoyed me. By the middle, as they began to understand these writing classes were a privilege that had to be earned, they had my sympathy. I felt the justice system was being too hard on most of them for a single mistake they made at fifteen.

However, towards the end of the book, you realize some of those boys had good reason to be in prison. They severely injured or even killed someone. And, while most of the boys grumbled society failed them (which in some cases, it was true), there were those that understood they were their own people who made their own choices that got them to where they were. That is what I appreciated the most about True Notebooks: there was more gray area than black or white.

 

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black (library book)

3.5 stars

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The Darkest Part of the Forest is a young adult fantasy novel based around traditional, non-Sarah J. Maas fairy folklore that I have had my eye on for years. Holly Black is also an author that has peaked my interest, especially since she published The Cruel Prince. Before I bought The Cruel Prince, though, I had owned one of her first works, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. I read it last year, wanting to read her previous works before the new. While I liked the nostalgia I got for my Twihard years, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown was ultimately boring. Since I heard mention that a character from The Darkest Part of the Forest might make an appearance in The Cruel Prince, I checked it out of the library to read, instead of buying it.

Thankfully, I enjoyed The Darkest Part of the Forest. The writing was lyrical and the town of Fairfold a beautiful, atmospheric kind of creepy. I liked the traditional dark faerie folklore woven in and how the humans coexist with the fairies as they have always been there. The Sleeping Prince, a horned boy sleeping inside a glass coffin in the woods, was treated like a weird tourist attraction. I liked the protagonist, Hazel, her brother Ben, and Jack, Ben’s changeling best friend. The plot twist I kind of saw coming, but I liked it nonetheless, mostly because I don’t see it used often.

My favorite part about The Darkest Part of the Forest was the primary focus the relationship between Ben and Hazel. Though they resent each other deep down for different things and a lot of bad stuff happened to drive an emotional wedge between them, the siblings put each other ahead of everything. They both have love interests, but the romance is more of a side plot than a driving force.

Which leads me into the things I didn’t like about the novel. While I liked Hazel’s love interest, Ben’s romantic relationship feels too much like insta-love for me to get on board with. The writing was overly descriptive and sometimes certain scenes took too long to get to the point. Lastly, the ending seemed to drag on for longer than it should have, although it might feel that way to me because I checked the library book out for too long and I had to return it, so I had to read fast.

 

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

 

In case you are curious, here is the link to my first reading wrap up of 2019.

My Book Buying Ban Challenge of 2019

I’m calling this a challenge as if I have any say in the matter….

I am a month into my second semester. I like my classes so far and I started my archives internship, which could either be pretty fun or really complicated. While I have two full days in the middle of the week where I don’t have to travel two hours into the city and I can devote it entirely to homework, it’s slowly becoming a problem. My temp agency has had a heck of a time finding me part-time work. I’ve applied to several places over these past few weeks, but not all of them responded and the one that did was a rejection.

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Between Christmas, my birthday, and those weeks I didn’t have work on my last assignment, my funds are stretched thin. Buying books right now is not a good idea. I learned that the hard way when I bought two books I really wanted. Whatever money I have left must go towards lunch at school, train rides, and bus fare.

For the next I don’t know how many months, I’m on a book buying ban. Even if the assignment my consultant recently found for me works out, my bank account needs a break. It would be wise if I waited to get my finances under control before I splurged on my next book haul. Especially since it is a big kick in the gut every time I have to accept the money my dad offers me.

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While I have many unread books at home, there are a select few that have been on my TBR for longer than they should have been. Those are the ones I should focus on. I also want to spend this time taking full advantage of the library, checking out books I am interested in, and rereading old favorites.

Recently, I realized I rather like having large TBR piles. It is my over indulgent book hauls that are the problem. In the past, to get my spending under control, I did the “you read X number of books off TBR, you can buy more.” Sometimes, it worked, at least for a few months. Now, I have a stronger motivation of saving money.

The books I want to cross off my TBR the most are:

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Tower of Dawn and Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

Vicious and Vengeful by V.E. Schwab

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Smoke in the Sun by Renee Ahdieh

Fierce Like a Firestorm by Lana Popovic

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

Windwitch, Sightwitch, and Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard

Now I Rise and Bright We Burn by Kiersten White

Lord of Shadows and Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

The Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson

Falling Kingdoms series by Morgan Rhodes

The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

 

I’ve been an avid user of libraries for years. Now that I’m on track to being a librarian, it’s been an even bigger push to practice what I preach. There is a long list of backlist titles I have wanted to get to for years, like The Selection series by Kiera Cass and the Shatter Me trilogy by Tahereh Mafi. Those I am checking out from the library in the next few months, once I get through the stacks I have currently. Also, there are other books that have caught my eye while browsing various places, books I am interested in reading but not enough where I want to risk the money to buy them or they are so old I would have a hard time buying a copy anyway. Or I actually do want to buy them except my bank account is like…

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Thank God for the library.

In case you were wondering, these are the books I currently have checked out:

 

Sweetpea by C.J. Skuse

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

True Notebooks by Mark Salzman (this is actually a book I checked out for school)

A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin

Invisible Ghosts by Robyn Schneider

Where I Live by Brenda Rufener

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce

Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sanchez

Even When You Lie to Me by Jessica Alcott

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

The Disturbed Girl’s Dictionary by NoNieqa Ramos

Black Flowers, White Lies by Yvonne Ventresca

Dead to Me by Mary McCoy

Blood and Salt and Heart of Ash by Kim Liggett

Hunting Annabelle by Wendy Heard

Sad Perfect by Stephanie Elliot

My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier

The Art of Starving by Sam J. Miller

The Treachery of Beautiful Things by Ruth Frances Long

Born of Illusion by Teri J. Brown

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio

The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors

The Looking Glass by Janet McNally

The Healer by Donna Freitas

In Paris with You by Clementine Beauvais

My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life by Rachel Cohn

The Second Life of Ava Rivers by Faith Gardner

The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson

If Only by Jennifer Gilmore

Reader, Come Home: the Reading Brain in a Digital World by Maryanne Wolf (another book I checked out by recommendation of a professor)

Dark of the West by Joanna Hathaway

The Witch of Willow Hall by Hester Fox

White Stag by Kara Barbieri

The Birds, the Bees, and You and Me by Olivia Hinebaugh

The Antidote by Shelley Sackier

Stolen Time by Danielle Rollins

 

Yes. I am a crazy library person. But I will read all these books. Even if I have to renew them.

Rereading books is something I’ve wanted to do for so long. There are series I own in which I read the first book, bought the rest of the series, then never read them. It’s been so long, I have to reread the first book before I even thinking about reading the others. These include the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series by Ransom Riggs and The Queen of the Tearling trilogy by Erika Johansen.

Second, there are books I own that I have marked as “read” but I don’t remember reading them. Before college, I had a habit of reading multiple books at a time, then I would get bored with certain ones and mark them as “read” on Goodreads without having finished them. I was a lazy reader back then, sadly.

My main reading resolution of 2019 is to do an unhaul. There are books I know I will never read again, I realized problems with them, like the Archie Sheridan and Gretchen Lowell series by Chelsea Cain. The same can be said for the Women of the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong; I don’t know if I would be able to tolerate the borderline problematic urban fantasy tropes now like I did at sixteen. Other books I outgrew them and I’m mainly keeping them for the nostalgic value, like The Mediator series by Meg Cabot and the Twilight saga by Stephenie Meyer. Unfortunately, with limited shelf space and outrageous book-buying urges that are constantly at odds with the dedicated librarian, nostalgia has to step aside.

 

 

Right now, I have typed up a whole reading list of books I want to read before I break my book buying ban. Will I be able to stick to this? I have no idea and, if I know myself, there is a strong probability I will change my plans to something else. All I know is that I cannot buy books right now. Which I’m sure my bank account will be very relieved about.

 

Do you have tips for a book buying ban? Any are much appreciated!

 

 

 

 

 

Top 5 Tuesday: Five Books for Hufflepuffs to Give Them All the Feels

The one I’ve been waiting for! My Hogwarts House!

For years, I thought I was Ravenclaw. Then, I finally joined Pottermore around the time everyone else was having their “House crisis” from the updated test. Admittedly, I was surprised by my results. But once I heard someone say “our symbol is the badger because we’re cute and cuddly until someone pisses us off” I fully accepted my Puff status.

Hufflepuffs are known for their loyalty and motivated to always do the right thing. They are also adorable and are deep in their feelings—or at least this Hufflepuff is. Though all these books are some of my favorites, they all have elements Hufflepuffs would appreciate: friendship, love, found family, and a hardworking, determined main character.

Here are my recommendations for my fellow Hufflepuffs:

 

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan

The Astonishing Color of Afterscreenshot

While this book is a far cry from “cute and cuddly” The Astonishing Color of After covers the topic of suicide in a serious but surprisingly hopeful way. The main character, Leigh, is a Hufflepuff: she’s hardworking and determined to get answers, even if everyone thinks she’s going crazy from grief. She is loyal to her best friends and her family. The Astonishing Color of After is filled with all sorts of love, friendship, and family. If you want a good cry or you want to feel everything, this is the book.

 

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

The Upside of Unrequited screenshot

The Upside of Unrequited is the iconic Hufflepuff in book form: cute and fluffy. If she was into Harry Potter, the narrator, Molly, would be a Hufflepuff. Aside from the diversity packed inside, the main friend group is solid. Molly is best friends with her twin sister Cassie as well as her cousin Abby and has two other best friends that are there for her. There is also a tight-knit family and a sweet romance that pulls at your heartstrings. The Upside of Unrequited is a fun read for anyone, not just Hufflepuffs.

 

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Screenshot_2019-02-06 The Secret Life of Bees

I read The Secret Life of Bees in my high school book club. I completely forgot about it until I turned to Goodreads to find inspiration. If you are unaware, The Secret Life of Bees is set in 1960s South Carolina. Fourteen-year-old Lily lives with her abusive widowed father who says Lily killed her mother when she was four years old. The only person that Lily receives any love from is the family’s African-American maid, Rosaleen. After Rosaleen is viciously assaulted while in police custody for something she didn’t do, the two run away to Lily’s mother’s hometown. There they meet sisters and beekeepers August, June, and May, who take them into their home.

The Secret Life of Bees is all about family, specifically found family, and loving yourself as much as others love you. Lily spent her whole life believing her mother abandoned her before accidentally getting shot, then lived with a father who resented her for something not her fault. But with the help of Rosaleen, August, June, and May, she finds acceptance and learns blood does not make a family.

 

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Screenshot_2019-02-06 Eliza and Her Monsters

Another more hard-hitting contemporary but still on the sweet side, Eliza and Her Monsters follows a shy high school student with a double-life as the mastermind behind a popular web comic. Though it gets heavy later on, the first half of the novel is loaded with cuteness. Eliza is a Hufflepuff: works hard on what’s important to her, good-hearted, even when she wanted to hide, and accepting of others most teased or ignored. Her new friend and love interest, Wallace, is another Hufflepuff, with his patience, kindness, and honesty. They packed on the feels already loaded into Eliza and Her Monsters.

 

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Screenshot_2019-02-06 Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity, #1)

Code Name Verity is focused on friendship, particularly female friendship. Two best friends and female pilots in World War II are separated after an attack. One of them is abducted by the Gestapo for enemy intel. Told between flashbacks and alternating points of view, the kidnapped pilot “Verity” reveals her name to be Julie, a British spy. As she hangs on to hope that she will make it out alive, her friendship with Maddie is what gives her strength to endure as, under torture, she reveals her secrets that might or might not save her life.

If you want a book about a good, strong friendship between two strong, flawed women, Code Name Verity is the perfect choice. It’s about what happens when you find your “person,” and how that kind of unconditional love can either make you or break you or both. The novel overall is plain amazing, filled with tense moments, female pilots kicking butt, and real-life action from World War II.

 

Would any of my fellow Hufflepuffs read the books I recommended today?

Top 5 Tuesday: Five Mystery Books for Ravenclaws

Growing up, I thought I was a Ravenclaw. I identified more with Luna Lovegood than Hermione Granger, given that Luna was unapologetically a weirdo. I love to read and I put education ahead of most things. Then, Pottermore crushed my dreams. But more on that another week…

Since Ravenclaws love to use their intellect, mystery books are right up their alley. They also might enjoy books that make them think about serious issues other people avoid in polite conversation, and gain a new perspective on things.

Basically, Ravenclaws love to read. So, here are five books I would recommend to Ravenclaws (or anyone else that likes these kinds of books).

 

Traitor Angels by Anne Blankman

Screenshot_2019-02-04 Traitor Angels

This was the first book I thought of for Ravenclaws. It is a historical mystery set in fifteenth century England and centered around John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost. After her father is arrested by the king’s men, Elizabeth Milton teams up with an Italian scientist named Antonio to clear her father’s name. They find the answers they are looking for hidden within Paradise Lost and uncover a secret that could send the medieval world into a frenzy.

Traitor Angels takes one twist and turn after another. It brings up a lot of questions about religion, science, and morality that make you think. Elizabeth Milton is definitely a Ravenclaw, too. While she can use a knife when she needs to, her best weapon is her brain. She’s smart and keeps a cool head in dangerous situations. If you don’t mind books on the slower side, Traitor Angels is a good read for Ravenclaws.

 

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Screenshot_2019-02-04 And Then There Were None

The mother of all “who done it” books. Agatha Christie does an amazing job at creating morally gray characters and makes it clear no one is innocent. Any of the people trapped on this island inside this mansion could be a killer, or it could even be someone else. You never really know. And Then There Were None is an intense read. I think most Ravenclaws like to be challenged.

 

The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

A book about books? Isn’t that what most Ravenclaws want? Both The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game have mysteries centered around books. The former is set in 1950s Barcelona, where a young boy becomes enthralled with a mysterious author whose books are being systematically destroyed and sets out to find the culprit. The latter takes place thirty years earlier, following a struggling writer with an unexpected connection to the family from The Shadow of the Wind as he goes on a mission from a benefactor with ulterior motives. While I personally enjoyed The Shadow of the Wind more than The Angel’s Game for its mystery aspect, both are complicated stories with complicated characters.

 

I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak

Screenshot_2019-02-04 I Am the Messenger

One of the more contemporary novels on this list, I Am the Messenger is a mystery, but it focuses on the idea of “do the right thing.” Underage cab driver Ed Kennedy is feeling a little lost until he accidentally stops a bank robbery. After that, an enigmatic mastermind sends him on various missions of helping and occasionally hurting others that need it. Along the way, different questions are asked, leaving it up to Ed (and the reader) to find the answers. I felt intellectually and sometimes morally challenged while reading I Am the Messenger, so I think Ravenclaws would definitely like this one.

 

The Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling)

Is it weird to recommend a book written by the same author who created Hogwarts and the four Houses?

Nah.

The main character, Cormoran Strike, is an army investigator turned private detective that toes the line between Ravenclaw and Gryffindor. He is so smart and pays such close attention to detail, it’s amazing how he figures it out. His assistant and the other main character, Robin, is definitely a Ravenclaw; she’s feisty and sharp as a whip. The plots of the novels in this series are intricate, mapped out to the last detail. Something I’m sure a Ravenclaw would appreciate.

 

Have I convinced any Ravenclaws to read at least one of these books? Would you recommend these also?

Top 5 Tuesday: Five Adventurous Books for Gryffindors

First off, shout out to Shanah for this brilliant idea for Top 5 Tuesday. When I think February, I think “love” and “romance,” thanks to Valentine’s Day. But Harry Potter is much better!

For this week’s theme, and the themes following, I selected books I think those in the respective Hogwarts Houses might like based on the personality traits they value. Gryffindors are known for their bravery, but of all the Houses, I feel they produce the least amount of readers (with Hermione Granger being the exception, of course). If a Gryffindor did decide to read a book, it would have to be something with a lot of action. And the protagonist absolutely cannot be a wimp. They would rather be off fighting dark wizards and saving the day, so the book better be worth their time.

The five books I would recommend to the lionhearted, adventurous Gryffindors are:

 

The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan

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Besides being action-packed and bursting with humor, every single one of the seven main demigods could be a Gryffindor. Percy Jackson especially, with his sense of humor, loyalty, and strong moral compass. Leo, Harry, and Ron would be best buds, as none of them take themselves seriously. Annabeth and Hermione would definitely get along, as they are both strong, intelligent women that are natural leaders driven by pride. When first introduced, Hazel and Frank come off as weak, but they grow into their roles, much like Harry did. Piper has a good head on her shoulders and she is there when you need her to be, while Jason has no problem leading the charge in battle. Of all the books I recommend on this list, a Gryffindor reader would definitely enjoy The Heroes of Olympus series.

 

Skyward by Brandon Sanderson

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Skyward is a science fiction novel where pilots risk their lives defending their planet from an evil alien race and the society’s culture thrives on valor. To the point where you show any sign of weakness, you set yourself up for humiliation, even branded a coward in some instances. Protagonist Spensa is definitely a Gryffindor, though unfortunately in possession of the House’s worst qualities: arrogant, impulsive, hot-tempered, and often doesn’t think before she acts.

Which is why only a Gryffindor can truly appreciate Skyward. While the rest of us might see the beliefs of this society as reckless, Gryffindors respect bravery and value it over most things. Also, this book is filled with exciting scenes on the battlefield and there is never a dull moment.

 

The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

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Katniss Everdeen is without a doubt a Gryffindor, one that any would aspire to be. It takes a lot of courage to do what she did—volunteering to participate in the Hunger Games to save her sister, taking on a government system at seventeen—and to survive what she did. While there are some slow moments, particularly in the second book Catching Fire, there is an overwhelming feeling of intensity throughout the series. You’re on edge the entire time, waiting for the next thing to happen.  

 

The Darkest Minds trilogy by Alexandra Bracken

It’s been a few years since I read The Darkest Minds trilogy and, truth be told, I personally didn’t love it as much as I did Alexandra Bracken’s Passenger duology. I don’t know if I would classify Ruby, the main character of The Darkest Minds, as a Gryffindor. Personally, I think she’s more a of a Slytherin or a Ravenclaw, sneaky enough to spend five years hiding her powers in plain sight from those holding her captive. The other main characters, like my favorite Zu, are definitely Gryffindors. But the real reason The Darkest Minds trilogy is on this list is the non-stop action, the violence, and the bold government take-down done by kids with guns. I think some Gryffindor readers might enjoy that.

 

Saga graphic novel series by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples

I’m not exactly sure why, but I feel like most Gryffindors would enjoy comic books or graphic novels. Superhero comic books to be exact, the ones with all the action and butt-kicking and saving the day. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten around to DC or Marvel or any superhero comics yet. In the meantime, I’m recommending the Saga graphic novel series.

These graphic novels are explicit—not for the faint of heart (like a Gryffindor). They are also highly entertaining and the world is complex. The main characters, Marko, Alana, and their daughter Hazel, would all be in Gryffindor House. This family has been through so much, yet they manage to stay together as a group as well as stay strong as individuals. And this series has some good humorous moments, too.

 

Anyone else think Gryffindors are not big readers? Would you recommend to a Gryffindor the same books I did or different ones?