Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets *re-read*

The Harry Potter books are still exciting to read even though I know what happens. It’s bringing back memories of reading the books as a kid and the excitement of seeing another Harry Potter movie in theaters. There’s incredible detail in the books with back stories, events the main characters go through in between stopping Voldemort. I just finished Chamber of Secrets and of course I’ll be sharing the moments I forgot about: 

  • Arthur Weasley works at the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts office.
  • Ron is seen reading comics titled “Adventures of Martin Miggs, the Mad Muggle” This made me laugh.
  • It was Ron who knew about mudbloods in the book, Hermione didn’t even know the term. However, in the movie, Hermione knows exactly what mudblood means.
  • Nearly Headless Nick was stabbed 45 times in the neck.
  • Ron informed Harry not to tell Dumbledore about the voices he has been hearing. Another difference where Hermione is made smarter in the movies versus the books.
  • Needing Lockhart’s signature to get the book for the Polyjuice Potion. The one time Lockhart helps with anything.
  • Draco reveals to Harry & Ron under the Polyjuice Potion of all the Dark Arts Lucius has hidden in his mansion. This later gets Lucius into trouble.
  • Aparecium is a spell used to reveal ink which was used on Tom Riddle’s Diary
  • Lockhart obnoxiously decorating the Great Hall for Valentine’s Day. I wish I could have seen Snape’s face when this happened.
  • Dumbledore taught Transfiguration before he became a Headmaster
  • Lucius Malfoy targeting Ginny is more political than the movie lets on. He targeted her due to wanting to destroy Arthur Weasley’s Muggle Protection Act. If Arthur’s daughter opened the Chamber of Secrets, Arthur would have been ridiculed.

My number one complaint with the books versus the movies is how different Ron is. Ron is incredibly knowledgeable on how the Wizarding World operates. He often has to educate Hermione and Harry about certain terms and social norms when they appear in the books. Hermione is seen in the movies as being her intelligent self at the expense of taking that knowledge away from Ron.

The Harry Potter book series has a lot of politics in it. The term “mudblood” is a dirty term almost a derogatory word which has meaning in today’s society. Even looking at Arthur Weasley as a character, he’s a champion of human rights. He wants peaceful witches & wizards to live with Muggles. This gives him bad press, but that’s what makes Arthur endearing. He is standing up for what’s right despite how the majority of wizards feel.

I started the Prisoner of Azkeban already and it makes me look forward to my lunch breaks at work. Reading on my lunch breaks has helped me be more productive. Let me know in the comments below how you feel about the Chamber of Secrets book and how it’s similar or different to the movie. 

Hogwarts 3.jpg

Advertisements

Mr. Mercedes Review

Mr. Mercedes.jpg

My first Stephen King novel I read was Carrie followed by The Green Mile. Carrie is the novel I enjoyed the most due to how much I rooted for Carrie as the protagonist. Carrie’s mother is one of the creepiest fictional mothers I have ever read about. Sitting on my “to be read” shelf on good reads was Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes trilogy which is more detective series than horror. Mr. Mercedes certainly wasn’t my favorite Stephen King novel, but I genuinely liked the story set up along with relationships between the characters.

Detective Bill Hodges is retired, overweight and unhappy. His job was what he lived for, so without it, he doesn’t find meaning in his retirement. When Detective Hodges retired, he left few cases unsolved. One unsolved case was the “Mercedes Case” which involved an unsub plowing a Mercedes into a job rally in 2009 killing eight including a young infant baby. In a private chat, Hodges is contacted by the “Mercedes Killer” nicknamed Mr. Mercedes by the media. This private chat brings Hodges purpose in his retirement as he is willing to risk his own safety in catching this killer. 

Let’s be serious, Detective Hodges isn’t a character I particularly like. He seems somewhat selfish allowing him to put his eighteen year old house helper and a mentally ill woman into incredible danger to apprehend Mr. Mercedes. He has treated persons of interest in the Mr. Mercedes case with such disdain that it probably contributed to a suicide of a person of interest. I’m more attached to who Detective Hodges teams up with which includes the high school senior, Jerome Robinson and Holly Gibney. Even though Hodges puts their lives in danger, they both make him more human.

Brady Hartsfield is revealed to be the Mercedes killer early on in the novel. He has an inappropriate relationship with his mother and killed his poor disabled brother, Frankie, by pushing him down the stairs. He’s racist, misogynistic, ableist and more. There’s nothing unique about his character and reading his story was probably the least interesting, but necessary to build up this dual between Hartsfield and Hodges.

The mystery isn’t the identity of the Mercedes killer, but what his next plan of attack is. It’s hinted at, but his end goal isn’t revealed until the last 100 pages. The latter half of the book moves much quicker than the first half and I did have trouble getting invested into the story because of the slow build up with all the characters. I will say Brady gets what’s coming to him which I found satisfying.

Overall, I had extremely high hopes for this book and I’m a little disappointed I didn’t like the series more. Fans of Stephen King should give this a shot, but go in with lower expectations. I’m planning on reading the other two books in the series, but it’s not a high priority right now. One day I’ll get around to watching the Mr. Mercedes TV show because Brendan Gleeson was perfectly cast as Det-Ret Bill Hodges. I rated this book 3 stars on good reads. 

Harry Potter & the Sorcerer Stone *re-read*

Traveling to Universal Studios last month has inspired me to read the Harry Potter books again. In fact, I finished Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone before I flew out to Florida. I’m currently on the Chamber of Secrets as of this moment, but I hope to have all seven books read by the end of 2019. Briefly, I wanted to share my initial thoughts of little moments in the book I completely forgot about:

  • Ron Weasley is a much smarter character than the movies demonstrate. He was one of the first characters to give Harry inside knowledge into magic on the Hogwarts Express. The movie “dumbs” him down a bit.
  • Wands at their core are made of unicorn hair, phoenix tail feathers and heartstrings of dragons. I don’t know why I forgot this, but I did.
  • Harry named Hedwig after a name he read in “A History of Magic”.
  • There are 142 staircases in Hogwarts
  • Professor Binns who teaches History of Magic is actually a ghost who died after sleepin gwhile his house caught on fire.
  • There’s a paragraph in the first book where several students claimed Professor Quirrell’s turban smelled funny. Foreshadowing much?
  • There are 700 fouls in Quidditch
  • Seekers are the Quidditch players with the worst injuries
  • Nicolas Flamel is 665 years old
  • The movie skipped Snape’s potion challenge that Hermione helps Harry with.

Otherwise, I felt the Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone movie followed the book pretty closely. I didn’t feel much was cut out that was major. I’m glad I’m reading the books again because as you can tell in my list, there’s a lot I forgot about the Harry Potter world. I’m about a fourth of the way through the Chamber of Secrets and when I finish that book, I’ll post my recap on here too.

Me and Matt.jpg

Enjoying the butterbeer 

Mad Cave Comics Unboxing

The Modern Gafa is a geeky, comics themed blog I read consistently. Every week, Victor writes a pull list including his favorite comics he reads. Through these posts, I discovered Mad Cave, an indie studio based in Miami, Florida. One series I’m particularly interested in is Midnight Task Force. After commenting on Victor’s post, Mad Cave contacted me to see if I would be interested in reviewing any of their comics and I freaked out because I was super excited to read new comics from a publisher I had never heard of.

After communicating with Mad Cave, I received the digital comics for free in agreement to write about the comics on either my personal blog or at Twin Cities Geek. However, I made a decision to purchase physical copies of Midnight Task Force, Battlecats, Knights of the Golden Sun, and Honor & Curse. Mad Cave originally said they would send me physical copies of the books at 50% which I disagreed with. I wanted to pay the full prices of these trade paperbacks because I want my money to support them as a business. I received the box right before I went to Orlando on vacation, so I haven’t had a chance to read them yet.

Midnight Task Force Mad Cave .jpg

Midnight Task Force Cover. Image owned by Mad Cave.

The first trade paperback I pulled from the box was Midnight Task Force. This series caught my eye first because it seemed like something I would be into. Midnight Task Force reminds me of Minority Report meets CSI in a dystopian/destroyed Detroit. Aiden McCormick is a disabled war veteran suffering from severe PTSD. He is called in by the Detroit police to investigate grisly murders downtown. Can he bring justice to these victims while also staying sane?

Battlecats #1 Mad Cave .jpg

Battlecats Cover. Image owned by Mad Cave.

The second paperback I received was Battlecats. As a cat lady, any comic that features cats in any capacity will automatically intrigue me. On Valderia, the Battlecats are elite cat warriors protecting the throne from unforeseen evil. I’d like to believe this is a comic similar to the 80’s cartoon Thundercats which I haven’t watched.

Mad Cave 3.jpg

Unboxing all the comics! Image taken by me.

Towards the bottom of the box were the Knights of the Golden Sun four issue comic series. This is a biblical epic detailing what happens between the Old and New Testament. As someone who isn’t very religious, I’m not sure if this series will be my favorite, but I’m willing to read something out of my comfort zone.

Mad Cave 4.jpg

Unboxing! Image taken by me.

Finally, I received issue one of Mad Cave’s newest series Honor and Curse. In Feudal Japan, Genshi Sakagura was adopted by the Iga clan after the slaying of his parents. After an unfortunate encounter with his master, an evil spirit follows Genshi and haunts his dreams. How will Genshi cope with this evil spirit and still keep his sanity? Issue number two is set to be released sometime in March with the last issue being released in May.

Overall, I’m impressed with Mad Cave’s design of their books and their customer service. Eventually, I want to fully review each book I received on this blog. Let me know if you have ordered from Mad Cave before and what you think of their comics. Mad Cave can be found on Instagram, twitter and by their website. You can order digital copies through comiXology.

The Lying Woods

The Lying Woods.jpg

Two years ago I reviewed the first book I read by Ashley Elston titled This is Our Story.. I named it as my favorite book I read in 2017. Ashley Elston is able to create in depth, young adult characters and make you sympathize with those characters. When I found out that in November of 2018 she released The Lying Woods, I immediately pushed it to the top of my TBR pile. It also helps having $100 of spending money in Barnes & Noble gift cards thanks to the holiday season. The Lying Woods isn’t as good as This is Our Story, but it might depend on your book reading preference to determine which book you will enjoy more.

Owen Foster is the stereotypical rich kid: He goes to an elite private school, he has gone on amazing trips with his family and basically has a life any kid would dream of. Until his mother shows up to his school to inform him that his father stole money from the very people who work for his company, Louisiana Frac. Owen is forced to leave his private school and return to his home town where people despise him. Owen’s mother has been receiving death threats as many believe she knows where his father has gone. Where is Owen’s father and why did he steal the money?

The Lying Woods is more of a contemporary young adult story versus a mystery thriller like This is Our Story was. I’m not a huge romance novel fan, but I liked the balance between the romance and the mystery in this book. Owen was someone I originally couldn’t connect with based on his background and how he viewed his up state lifestyle. However, once Owen becomes more situated in his small town in Louisiana, I started to feel for him and what he has been going through. My biggest complaint with this book is it took me a little while to truly get into the story. I read This is Our Story in a day where it took me about a week to read The Lying Woods. Although, once I had 150 pages left in The Lying Woods, I did read it all in a day.

I don’t want to spoil this one because I truly believe all of Ashley Elston’s books are worth purchasing and reading through, but if you want to know what happens in the end, I did include spoilers in my good reads review. If we aren’t friends on goodreads, we should be! I will link my goodreads profile in this post. I also started following Books on the Book Shelf and they had a nice review of The Lying Woods in case you aren’t convinced on reading it yet. The Lying Woods is a great blend between contemporary young adult fiction and mystery. Ashley Elston’s books make me want to visit Louisiana, so who knows maybe I’ll take a road trip to New Orleans someday.

 

Caraval is Decadent

Caraval by Stephanie Garber.jpg

Also look at how gorgeous this cover is. 

Remember, It’s Only a Game. . . 

 

Caraval by Stephanie Garber is my first official book read in 2019. I originally became aware of this book based on Super Space Chick’s book channel. It’s odd because I don’t read much Young Adult Fiction, but the premise sounded intriguing, and I happened to find Caraval on display at my local library. Caraval is spellbinding and it perfectly demonstrates the unbreakable bond between two sisters.

Caraval initially reminds me of Frozen mixed with a psychologically compelling carnival. Scarlett Dragna has become increasingly aware of her awful living situation as she and her younger sister, Donatella [known as Tella], are regularly abused by their father. To escape the abuse, she dreams of attending the faraway carnival known as Caraval. Caraval is a magical game run by Legend, a mysterious man who grants one wish to anyone who wins the game. Eventually Scarlett meets a sexy sailor who allows her the chance to leave the island she has known all her life while also being able to attend Caraval as the guest of honor.

Unbeknownst to Scarlett, Tella is kidnapped by Legend and Scarlett is forced to participate in the game to secure her sister. Everyone tells Scarlett to remember that Caraval is just a game, but she becomes intertwined with the performers and doesn’t exactly remember what’s real or what’s become a fantasy. Scarlett needs to be clever enough to rescue Tella otherwise she may be lost or worse, killed.

The first positive comment about the book is the description of Caraval itself. It seems to be this light-hearted, fantasy carnival with a darker twist to it. Scarlett is forced to face her fears and give out her deepest darkest secrets to save her sister. It seems Scarlett often has to question her sanity throughout the book. I couldn’t imagine being in Scarlett’s position having to save a loved one while contemplating what’s actually happening in reality versus what is magic or fiction.

I also felt Scarlett involved into a completely different character by the end of the game. Before Caraval, she was this scared, shy and distrustful person due to the abuse inflicted by her father. By the end of the book, she took numerous risks while also recognizing her feelings for Julian, the sexy sailor. Originally, I wasn’t a fan of Scarlett’s character based on her personality and how she looked down upon her sister for flirting with men. However, Scarlett truly opened herself up and I genuinely started to feel sympathetic toward her experiences in Caraval.

Caraval reminded me of Frozen because of the bond between Scarlett and Tella. Tella reminds me of Anna as she is the outgoing, flirtatious one while Scarlett is similar to Elsa as she is more reserved, but extremely protective of her sister. The bond between the Dragna sisters is probably one of the best parts about the book.

Another point I wanted to make is how I wasn’t a huge fan of Scarlett and Julian as a couple. Sure, Julian is attractive as there are many descriptions in the book of the muscles on his back. Although Julian is somewhat shady and I’m surprised Scarlett would be willing to trust him so easily. Clearly, he’s hiding something and I wish Scarlett would have questioned him a bit more.

Caraval was a captivating read for me. I became enamored by the Caraval setting along with the character development regarding Scarlett, the main protagonist of the story. The second book in the series, Legendary was released in May of 2018 and the final book Finale will be released May of 2019. I’m hoping movie rights get picked up for this book as it would make for an amazing movie.

Batman: Hush Comic Review

Hush, Little Baby don’t say a word. Mama’s going to buy you a mockingbird. 

HUsh.jpg

Batman: Hush graphic novel cover. Image from Amazon.

After beating Batman Arkham Knight for the 2nd time, I became fascinated with reading more Batman comics. I’m currently reading through Knightquest which is the story line in which Batman’s back is broken by Bane. This story line is what inspired the Dark Knight Rises film in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy. Recently, I finished reading Batman: Hush written by Jeph Loeb. Loeb is a familar face to fandom as he was hired by Marvel Entertainment to co-head the Marvel Television series including Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. This graphic novel is probably one of my favorite Batman stories I have read thus far.

Batman: Hush begins with Batman attempting a rescue mission for a kidnapped boy being held by Killer Croc. After saving the boy, he chases Catwoman around Gotham City for money she stole from Killer Croc. When Batman catches up with her, his grapple gun line snaps and he falls to the ground. Bruce Wayne has devastating physical injuries which are repaired by his childhood friend and renowned surgeon, Thomas Elliot. Throughout the story, we see past memories interwoven in the story detailing Bruce and Thomas’s friendship.

As Batman figures out who deliberately cut his line, he recognizes other super villains coming after him within a few days of each other. It becomes clear to Batman that someone is trying to take him down while also knowing incredibly personal information about him. The main premise behind this story is who could be the mastermind behind the vicious attacks against Batman.

I truly ship Batman and Catwoman together. I enjoy their romantic partnership as Batman and Catwoman are both anti-heroes who think they are doing the right thing while also bending the law to fit their needs. You may have seen this famous image of Batman and Catwoman kissing which is found from this graphic novel:

Batman Catwoman.jpg

Batman & Catwoman. Image by DC Data Base 

Batman: Hush is perfect for introducing comics to new fans. Within the first two chapters, famous Batman villains are introduced which has been a common complaint from other fans about this story. I personally loved it because it fits the plot.

Who else has read Batman: Hush? I would love to hear your comments below along with your favorite Batman comic.