Monday, September 26, 2016

Not One for Competition: My Least Favorite Harry Potter Book

Cursed Child was somewhat of a disappointment. Let's just get that out of the way. I know you haven't gotten my full opinion on it yet (the video has yet to be edited), but it was. The only reason I don't call it a massive disappointment is that I went into it with plenty of caution. I was prepared for the let down.

However, since I'm still not quite ready to accept Cursed Child as Harry Potter canon, I'm not calling it my least favorite Harry Potter book. No, that award goes to a book that, despite any faults, is actually well written and that, funnily enough, ties into the play quite well: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

I remember reaching the fourth book (the last one out then) as a kid and stalling in my reading progress because I was bored by the first chapter. Now, it's possible that the book's length caused me to pause at that age, but considering my feelings on the book even now, I think there's more to it than that.

Quidditch is great. I do love Quidditch to a certain extent, but I was never thrilled to be reading about a Quidditch World Cup. Then there was the Triwizard Tournament. I guess I'm just not someone who's that interested in reading or watching about competition when it's any sort of physical task. It didn't feel like what I wanted in a Harry Potter book either, and I think that is a large part (if not the only reason) that Goblet of Fire is my least favorite book.

It's not that Goblet of Fire is a bad book. We're not talking about something on par with Cursed Child here. It just contains a lot of storylines that aren't my cup of tea.

(Of course, now that I'm writing this, Hunger Games came to mind, which is about a competition and which is a book I love. I think the difference is that the competition in The Hunger Games is inextricably tied to the story. You can't have the story without the competition. I believe the fourth Harry Potter book could have been written without the Triwizard Tournament. Because the tournament was there, it became tied up in the plot, but it wasn't necessary if J.K. Rowling had taken it out and written the story a different way. I think that's a fundamental difference.)

I know I'm not alone in seeing the fourth book as my least favorite, but I'm not quite sure if one book leans towards being the most disliked. So, I'm curious, which Harry Potter book is your least favorite?

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Life Post: Allergies and Such

The past week has been difficult largely because my allergies have been acting up quite a bit. It's left me feeling rather terrible for most of the week, between being congested and constant sinus headaches.

Other than that, however, I'd say my week went pretty well. In my last life post, I mentioned how the fact that I'd completed my student teaching midterm had made me think about what little time I had left, while I'm feeling that even more now. It's made especially apparent by the approach of fall break and the time when I'll be teaching an entire unit that I planned (which is kind of like the grand finale of my student teaching).

I'm both excited and nervous for all of that as well as actually graduating, so I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about those things all the time. When I'm not either teaching or laying down and hoping my headache goes away that is.

This week it's supposed to be cooler, and I'm hoping the change in weather will at least mean that my sinus headaches go away. I'm not sure how much more of that I can take.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Spotlight: The Art of Rebellion by Brenda Joyce Leahy

Hi, guys! I have a post for you today about The Art of Rebellion by Brenda Joyce Leahy. This post is part of a blog tour put together by Chapter by Chapter Blog Tours. Make sure you stick around until the end of the post to participate in the giveaway!

The Art of Rebellion by Brenda Joyce Leahy
Publication Date: June 15, 2016
Publisher: Rebelight Publishing

Art is Gabrielle's passion, but her parents have other plans for her future-marriage to a man three times her age who holds nothing but disdain for art. Gabrielle is determined to escape life as the baron's trophy wife and the confinement of traditional roles. She flees her privileged home in the French countryside for Paris and the grandmother who understands her passion. When she cannot locate her grandmother, Gabrielle is left on her own in the City of Lights. The art world of Paris, 1900, brims with excitement, opportunity, and risk. Should Gabrielle trust her new friends, or will they take advantage of her hopes and dreams?

Purchase Links:

Brenda Joyce Leahy has travelled to France five times but finds there’s always more explorations awaiting her. She loves historical fiction and thinks she was born a century too late but can’t imagine her life without computers or cell phones. So, perhaps, she arrived in the world at just the right moment to tell this story.

She grew up on a farm near Taber, Alberta but now lives with her family near the Rocky Mountains in Calgary, Alberta. After over 20 years practising law, she has returned to her first love of writing fiction. She is a member of several writing organizations, including the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI): her profile there is The Art of Rebellion is also profiled on the Humber School of Writers’ website at Brenda is also a member of the Historical Novel Society:, and leads a YA/MG writers’ critique group in Calgary.

The Art of Rebellion is her first Young Adult novel, published by Rebelight Publishing, spring 2016.

Giveaway Information: Contest ends September 30, 2016

Two (2) winners will received a physical copy of The Art of Rebellion by Brenda Joyce Leahy (US/Canada)
Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of The Art of Rebellion by Brenda Joyce Leahy (INT)

As I can't get the embed code for the giveaway to work here, you can enter here.
Purchase Links:
BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBook
Purchase Links:
BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBook

Monday, September 19, 2016

Life Post: Student Teaching Midterm (i.e. I'm Halfway Done. Wow.)

Today was my midterm for student teaching, so I figured that was a large enough milestone that I should write something to commemorate it. It's so difficult to believe that I'm halfway through student teaching already, yet at the same time, it's not hard to believe at all.

The midterm itself was basically a conference with my cooperating teacher, my university supervisor, and me. We'd all filled out a rubric before that evaluated my performance so far, and today I had to lead a discussion about it. The entire thing went well, and I came out of it feeling positive.

However, the fact that student teaching is half over is also bittersweet. Typically, I would be switching placements now, but I'm actually staying at the same school for the entire sixteen weeks. (I was originally signed up to do two placements, but it was recommended by a professor that I do one placement, not just to me but to others as well.) I'm thankful for that too because I've really grown to love where I'm at and the students there. Now I'm starting to think about leaving and how sad it's going to be to leave before the year's even half over.

That's not for another nine weeks though, so I shouldn't be worrying about it now. Plus, I have plenty of other stuff to worry about, like finding a job. That should hold off the sadness because it's taking up quite a bit of time as well.

Things are good though. I'm very busy, but aside from the moments where I just really want to sleep, I'm enjoying most of what I'm doing. It would just be nice if the future didn't feel so terrifying right about now.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Guest Post: If Characters Blogged (Replacement Crush by Lisa Brown Roberts)

Hi, guys! I have another guest post for you today for a Chapter by Chapter blog tour. This one is a tour stop for Replacement Crush, a new book by Lisa Brown Roberts. To check out the other stops on the tour, check out the tour schedule here. Also, stick around until the end of the post for a giveaway.

Vivian, the main character of Replacement Crush, is a book blogger, so I asked Lisa what kind of blogs she thought other fictional characters would run if they were bloggers. Here's her answer:

What a great question! This one really got me pondering. Here are a few I came up with:

Hermione Granger- Being the Best:
I think Hermione would blog about how to succeed. Study tips, arcane research websites no one else knows about, secrets to getting the perfect scores on the SATs. Also random rants about how to put up with the annoying boy in your life who's an idiot, who you might secretly like.

Sherlock Holmes - Observing the World
I imagine Sherlock's blog as sort of a Zen pastiche- lots of posts about noticing the details all around you that we usually ignore, along with cryptic advice about shaking off things (or people) that bother you. Possibly a few random rants wondering why he has to participate in commercial rituals like Christmas and Mother's Day.

Elizabeth Bennet - Dating Advice
I think the heroine of Pride and Prejudice would have a lot to say about making snap judgments about other people, ideas for what to do on your first date, and how to cleverly talk your way out of unwanted social obligations.

Thanks for having me on your blog; it was fun!


I also want to thank Lisa for stopping by the blog and providing such an awesome post. I know I'd love to read all three of those blogs. Let's be honest, if Hermione Granger ran a blog, I would read it religiously. Who doesn't want to discover new research websites?

The Replacement Crush by Lisa Brown Roberts
Publication Date:  September 6, 2016
Publisher:  Entangled TEEN

True love can’t be strategized.

After book blogger Vivian Galdi’s longtime crush pretends their secret summer kissing sessions never happened, Vivian creates a list of safe crushes, determined to protect her heart.

But nerd-hot Dallas, the sweet new guy in town, sends the mission and Vivian’s zing meter into chaos. While designing software for the bookstore where Vivian works, Dallas wages a counter-mission.

Operation Replacement Crush is in full effect. And Dallas is determined to take her heart off the shelf.

Lisa Brown Roberts still hasn't recovered from the teenage trauma of nearly tweezing off both eyebrows and having to pencil them in for an entire school year. This and other angst-filled memories inspire her to write YA books about navigating life's painful and funny dramas, and falling in love along the way.

Her almost forever home is Colorado, though she occasionally pines for the days when she lived within walking distance of the Pacific Ocean. Her house is full of books, boys, four-legged prima donnas, and lots of laughter.

Author Website:

Giveaway Information:

One (1) winner will receive
  • A signed copy of The Replacement Crush
  • Nerd glasses necklace
  • Button
  • Signed poster
  • Bookmark
  • Spock Funko Pop!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Money, Glory, or What?: The Careers in the Hunger Games

One aspect of the Hunger Games series that has always fascinated me is the careers. We know so little about them, really, except for Finnick, and I don't feel like we ever get a detailed explanation for why Finnick volunteered for the games in the first place (correct me if I'm wrong).

Of course, it seems that the obvious answer as to why people from the richer districts volunteer is because of the rewards, but that says a lot of interesting stuff to me. These districts are already the richest of the districts. The people there are already better off than most in Panem, yet I never got the impression that they were well off enough to love the Capitol. Tolerate it more, yes, but volunteering for the games doesn't seem to be something they would do out of patriotism.

If anyone in Panem was going to volunteer purely for the sake of needing more money and food, you would imagine that it would be the poorer districts where their situations are more dire and more people are starving.

The richer districts  have enough money to throw around to get training for their kids (at least some of the people do), but it's difficult for me to imagine the majority of the people in those districts as being higher than what we would consider working class. I imagine them as able to get by without starving but not as having that much money for luxuries. If parents are paying for the children to train, I imagine the costs taking up virtually all of the extra spending money they have (and possibly cutting into money they would otherwise spend on food and other necessities), though this is my own speculation and not something I can say with certainty.

But why would they do that if they could survive well enough without the money. Why risk death for their children?

The only good answer I have is glory, which still doesn't quite make sense to me if I'm being honest. The richer districts do seem to have a stronger sense of loyalty to the Capitol. It's why it took them the longest to join the rebellion, but why do they? Is it purely because the Capitol is closer and therefore exercises more man power to keep those districts in line? Or do they stay loyal of their own free will (however free that can be within Panem)?

I don't think the books give us a definitive answer despite what characters we get to meet from these districts. They seem to despise the Capitol yet stay out of the rebellion, which to me would hint that their loyalty is more about fear of retaliation, and it is true that they have more to lose than the poorer districts, which is the only reason that makes sense to me as to why they refused to betray the Capitol for so long.

However, that explanation still doesn't feel adequate to me when it comes to careers volunteering for the games. Why would the richest districts be the ones most eager to take their chances in the games? If their loyalty to the Capitol is only about fearing retaliation, why would they seek glory through the games the Capitol has created?

I don't think I have an answer, but I'd be curious to hear from others who might.

Release Day Celebration: Operation Tenley by Jennifer Gooch Hummer (with Giveaway)

Hello, everyone! Today I'm very excited to be a part of the release day celebration for Operation Tenley by Jennifer Gooch Hummer, which is put on by Chapter by Chapter blog tours and Month9Books. While I haven't read the book, it sounds like something I really want to read, and the cover is amazing. Be sure to stick around until the end of the post for the giveaway.

Operation Tenley (The Fair City Files #1)
by Jennifer Gooch Hummer
Publication Date: September 13, 2016
Publisher: Month9Books

Meet Tenley Tylwyth, an Elemental Teen born with the power to produce weather. Cool? Not really. Elementals who can create weather make Mother Nature angry. It’s time she got rid of them. Only one thing is standing in her way—Fair Ones. These ancestors of fairies keep kids like Tenley safe, but when rookie Fair One, Pennie, fails to do so, she’s forced to travel to Earth—a place where no Fair One wants to go. Now, Pennie has forty-eight hours to convince Tenley to give up her power. It won’t be so easy. Tenley’s got a way with wind. And after falling deep into Mother Nature’s gardens, where trees grow upside down and insects attack on command, a little wind might be just what Tenley needs to survive. Even if it kills her.

Purchase Links:

Jennifer Gooch Hummer is the award-winning author and screenwriter of her debut novel, Girl Unmoored (SparkPress). Girl Unmoored has also been published in German (Carlsen).  Jennifer has worked as a script analyst for various talent agencies and film studios. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three daughters.

Giveaway Information:  Contest ends September 30, 2016

  • One (1) winner will receive a scrabble tile book cover charm (US ONLY)
  • Five (5) winners will receive a digital copy of Operations Tenley by Jennifer Gooch Hummer (INT)

Monday, September 12, 2016

Life Post: Mostly Writing

This is another one of those posts where I had the realization "I haven't written one of these in almost two weeks!" and decided that I really needed to write one tonight. However, I don't have much to say that isn't what I have said in my past several life posts.

Student teaching continues to go well, and it also continues to take up the vast majority of my time, which means that most of my days are stuff that I can't recount here on the blog.

As far as things outside of student teaching goes, I've mostly been writing. After reading Cursed Child, I had a strong desire to write a Harry Potter fanfiction, so I've been doing that. You can kind of call it an alternate Cursed Child I suppose, but I'm not writing it as a "This is Cursed Child but better" sort of thing. I just really like some aspects of Cursed Child (like Scorpius' personality and his friendship with Al) and wanted to explore those in a story that I actually liked, so this fanfiction is me having fun with that. I'm really liking writing it so far.

I also have about three other fanfiction one-shots that I'm working on right now, and they're all closed to finished. At least one of them I think that I'm going to post later this week after I go through the edits that my beta reader sent me, so that should be fun.

That really is just about the only two things I've been doing, which I'm not that upset about. There is also searching for jobs, but since that topic makes me nervous just thinking about it, I'd rather not go into great detail here. Maybe once I actually have a job...

Sunday, September 11, 2016

My Hogwarts Story Tag

Danielle at Underland to Wonderland's original My Hogwarts Story tag post:

Tracey at PrintedWordsAnd's post: