Book Review · Books

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter #1) [BOOK REVIEW]

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It is so hard to write a book review for a book you have known and loved all your life. I think that every praise I have to say here has already been said before. I remember watching the first Harry Potter movie with my family, my aunts and cousins in the cinema. In Macedonia at that time, this was a big deal. My auntie and cousin have already read the books, and they already had their collection set. And I knew I was also going to have my own collection when I grow up.

That is the beginning of how this series became a part of my life. 

Harry Potter followed me through my primary school and then in high school as well. I met friends that also loved the series and we formed a bond similar to what Harry, Ron and Hermione have. We weren’t too much of a trouble makers, but we did know to fight when we thought something was not fair. 

From the very first scene, to the mention of each character, a shiver ran down my spine, of excitement and nostalgia of a world that was always part of me, even though I’ve never been physically there. A world that has accepted me and a place I could always call home when there was nowhere else to turn. 

Reading the book now again, I re-visited moments I never thought I have forgotten: 

  • the list of books and items a first-year student needs. This time, I even made a list of all the fictional books mentioned, and will try to find and read those as well. 
  • the engraved poem when entering the Gringotts Bank. 

Enter Strange, but take heed
Of what awaits the sin of greed,
For those who take, but do not earn,
Must pay most dearly in their turn,
So if you seek beneath our floors
A treasure that was never yours,
Thief, you have been warned, beware
Of finding more than treasure there.

  • the family bond of the Weasleys, alongside with the love their mother has for them and their cheeky jokes. I wish I could visit them on a Sunday afternoon and have a Sunday Roast at their place – it would be such a warm atmosphere with lots of giggles.

‘Can’t stay long, Mother,’ he said. ‘I’m up front, the Prefects have got two compartments to themselves -’
‘Oh, are you a Prefect, Percy?’ said one of the twins, with an air of great surprise. ‘You should have said something, we had no idea.’
‘Hang on, I think I remember him saying something about it,’ said the other twin.
‘Once -’
‘Or twice -’
‘A minute -’
‘All summer -’
‘Oh, shut up,’ said Percy the Prefect. 

***

‘Now you two – this year, you behave yourselves. If I get one more owl telling me you’ve – you’ve blown a toilet or -’
‘Blown up a toilet? We’ve never blown up a toilet.’
‘Great idea though, thanks, Mum.’
‘It’s not funny. And look after Ron.’
‘Don’t worry, ickle Ronniekins is safe with us.’
‘Shut up,’ said Ron.

  • The Sorting Hat scene and the poem where the houses are explained.
  • The train scene where Harry, Ron and Hermione meet each other for the first time. I was reading this scene and I was like: “You’ll all be best friends and you don’t know it yet!
  • Dumbledore – how mysterious he is this whole book! It makes you want to keep reading the other books, because you know you will get to know him better! 
  • Neville Longbottom and his bravery! 

There are all kinds of courage.’ said Dumbledore, smiling. ‘It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.’

Harry Potter will forever be part of my childhood and have an impact on my life as an adult. I will forever cherish this fictional world and I will never get over the fact that when I was eleven years old, I never got the mail from Hogwarts. Maybe they didn’t deliver mails to Macedonia 😀 

It will be my favourite children’s book forever. After all this time? Always.

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| Amazon UK |Amazon US |


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Book Review · Books

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano [BOOK REVIEW]

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Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano is one of the few books that instantly captures your heart, then shatters it into hundred pieces and teaches you many life lessons at the same time.

A reporter holds up a copy of The New York Times to a camera, to show a huge block headline, the kind normally reserved for presidential elections and moonwalks. It reads: 

191 DIE IN PLANE CRASH; 1 SURVIVOR

The relatives have only one question when the press briefing comes to close; they all lean toward it like a window in a dark room:

“How is the boy?”

Dear Edward features a boy called Edward, who is flying with his family to move across states. This is their chance of a new life, a brand new start. When the plane crashes, he is the only survivor.

The author tells the story through two different timelines; during the flight and after the plane crash. We follow Edward’s life and how he is coping with the loss of everything he knew. We also see how he is struggling to cope with the unwanted celebrity title he has now.

I have always been intrigued by planes and plane crashes. I used to watch every single episode of the documentary on Discovery Channel back in the days. And today, I like to listen to the Plane Crash Podcast by Michael Bauer. I have had some bad experiences while flying, and have always wanted to understand what exactly happens when a plane crashes, and what aviation does to prevent this from happening in the future. This book contains amazing details about the crash, and my hidden mystery person inside me was deeply satisfied by all those pilot dialogues and explanations.

Edward’s grief and growing up journey is so painful. He survived, but everyone he loved and cared about in his life died. He is lucky to have survived, but why does he then feel guilty? Why did he swap places with his brother on the flight? If they didn’t – his brother would still be alive now. The brother relationship was written so perfectly. The love and the bond they shared for each other was so strong.

Despite the fact that Edward is the main character in this story, we also get to meet so many other characters, the people who lost their lives in the crash. Through flashbacks and “during flight” scenes, as well as encounters from their families, we get to see all the wishes that will never come through, all the hopes and dreams buried under the plane ash.

And that is why Edward’s journey is so difficult. He doesn’t have to only carry to guilt for his own family, but all those other lives as well. Edward receives letters from the families asking him to do all these things that these people would do. He is asked to become a musician, a doctor, a teacher, to travel around the world, learn knitting, etc, and Edward feels obligated to do all of these things, to give peace to the families.

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✈️ QOTD: Are you scared of flying? 💭 I am always uneasy when I fly, having had some bad landings in my life. Recently, I started listening to the @planecrashpodcast and it is amazing to learn more about the plane crashes that occur and how aviation learns from it. Dear Edward by @annnapolitano is one of few books that instantly captures your heart, then shatters it into hundred pieces and teaches you many life lessons at the same time. A boy called Edward is flying with his family to start a brand new life in another state. This is their brand new start. But the plane crashes, and Edward is the only survivor… I gave this book 5-stars. It is now one of my favourites. Go to my blog to read the full review! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Thank you to @penguinrandomhouse and @lovereadinguk , for providing me with an ARC copy in exchange for my honest review. 💖

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I knew this book would stay with me forever from the moment I started reading the first few pages. It is so harshly real and painful, but what it does it remind us how every day is special and we should be thankful for it! We may not get a tomorrow, but that’s why we have today. Let’s make the best of it!

Thank you to the team at Penguin Random House for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Also thank you to the team at LoveReading UK, for allowing me to be their Super Ambassador of this book for the month of November.

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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

I’ll Be Home For Christmas by Abbey Clancy [BLOG TOUR & BOOK REVIEW]

I’ll Be Home for Christmas is a fast-paced adventure that will keep you on your toes right until Christmas!

I am so thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Mills & Boon for I’ll Be Home for Christmas. Check out the other amazing people that are participating in the blog tour as well:

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BOOK REVIEW

blog tour book review books goodreads netgalley diary of difference diaryofdifference i'll be home for Christmas by Abbey Clancy Mills & Boon UK bestseller

I’ll Be Home for Christmas is the first Christmas book I have read this year, before the holidays begin. It is an amazing story about a popular UK singer, Jessika Malone, who receives an offer from a famous US singer to record a duet and go on a US Tour for a while. This is a dream come true, but this offer comes right after Jessica’s boyfriend proposes. Wanting to spend all the time in her world with him, she is hesitant to go, but at the same time, this is an opportunity of a lifetime.

We see our heroine Jessika travel to the US and embark her adventure. I loved the fact that we get to feel what she feels, and live through her dream. We get to see her cope with new things and learn along the way, and it is amazing being on this journey with her. She is a character that knows what she wants and is not afraid to go and get it.

Be ready for some drama, and also be ready to choose sides.

The author makes it hard to know what is the right choice, and all choices seem to have their pros and cons, which makes the book even more realistic. I wish I knew what was right or wrong in life straightaway – that would be too easy. Instead, I keep coming across tough choices that sound amazing, and I have to really look though everything and choose what is right. You get to see this reality in the book, and it is refreshing.

Despite it being a Christmas book, I didn’t really feel the Christmassy vibes too much, but I think that is due to the fact that the focus on this book wasn’t entirely Christmas. We only got a glimpse of the holiday spirit around the end of the book – but it wasn’t in a Home Alone sort of style. It was simple.

Despite that, I still enjoyed this book a lot, and it was the perfect book for me to get me through my days when I felt poorly and lying in bed. I recommend it to all of you out there that love romance, Christmas, a bit of an adventure and searching for our true selves.

Thank you to the team at Mills & Boon, for letting me be a part of this Christmas adventure! 

Purchase Links:
| Amazon UK |Amazon US |

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Book Review · Books

The Language of Thorns – Leigh Bardugo [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★★ (3.8 ★, to be exact)

Sometimes, we enter a library, not really knowing what we are looking for. One day, I entered the library, only to return a few books. Instead, I returned with two more. The first one didn’t impress me, but the second one was this book –The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo. I only picked it up, because I liked the cover. And I know, we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I guess the magic worked on me this time around.

This book featured six stories, all six magical and beautiful in their own way. Some attracted me more, some a bit less, but I, overall, feel delighted to have read this book. I haven’t read Leigh’s previous books, so I didn’t know about this world before, but these are apparently the same woods featured in those books as well.

I will give a brief opinion on all stories, and the main rating will be the average from them all. Let’s go.

1. Ayama and the Thorn Wood – ★★★★

‘’Interesting things only happen to pretty girls.’’

A beautiful tale that will show you how beauty comes from within. The King and Queen have two sons – one is a beautiful man, the future king, and the other one is a monster. They are scared and ashamed of the monster-boy, and let him live his life in the labyrinth they made for him. In the village, in a poor family, there are two daughters, one as beautiful as the sun, and the other one ugly. When the monster escapes the labyrinth and starts ruining fields and make disasters, everyone is scared to go and talk to him and beg for forgiveness, so the ugly lady is sent to her woods – quite certain she will never return…

‘’This little prince was shaped a bit like a boy but more like a wolf, his body covered in slick black fur from crown to clawed foot. His eyes were red as blood, and the nubs of two budding horns protruded from his head.’’

2. The Too-Clever Fox – ★★★★

‘’Freedom is a burden, but you will learn to bear it.’’

I loved this story the most, out of all six of them. It reminded me of home, and of how we tell stories back there. The whole ‘’Once Upon a Time’’ is real, and I enjoyed every moment of it. The winter theme, the hunting, the girl and the fox. This is a story that will teach you to not be assured you can outsmart everyone. Foxes in stories have always been presented as the smart ones, outsmarting every animal in the woods. This reminds me of Aesop’s Tales, which I really loved as a little girl. But sometimes, you will get outsmarted, and it might cost you your life. The twist was definitely unexpected, but indeed satisfying.

3. The Witch of Duva – ★★★

A story where girls disappear, and one girl decides to go into the woods and try to figure out why. This story upset me, and I didn’t like it. But deep inside, it’s a good one. Very creepy though, and very horror-y, but worth reading. Turn the lights off, get under a blanket, turn your torch on, and only then you will be ready to know the deep secrets this story tells you.

4. Little Knife – ★★★★

The shortest story in the book, but by all means not the least intriguing. A story that features a woman that is too beautiful, that men lose their mind as soon as they see her. To get the chance to marry her, men will have to go through a various of tasks. The twist at the end is incredible, and I really liked it. It starts off as a usual story, but it goes wild.

5. The Soldier Prince – ★★

This was a story I enjoyed the least. It all screamed ‘’The Nutcracker’’ to me, and I couldn’t see it as original. It was a re-make, and it was very different that the story we know, but it just didn’t work for me. This is a story about a man who makes toys and gives them life. And when one toy sort of ‘’wakes up’’, interesting things start to happen. Quite a creepy story. I usually like those, but this one was not my cup of tea.

6. When Water Sand Fire – ★★★★

‘’ We were not made to please princes.’’

This one is the longest story in the book. It features a world of creatures living underwater, and Ulla, who can sing and create magic, but who, as the people believe, is not a true born, but a mix between the underwater world and the humans. She is asked to help the prince become a king, but when the magic price is too high to paid, it doesn’t seem like she has a choice. I truly enjoyed this story, as it’s a beautiful mix of emotions while you read it. It was a bit disappointing that it seems as a remake of the creation of the character of Ursula from The Little Mermaid, at least to me.

Have you read this book, or any of Leigh Bardugo’s books? Let me know in the comments, I love to chat with you!

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Book Review · Books

Curses of Scale by S.D. Reeves [BOOK REVIEW]

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★★★

Book Description:

Sixteen-year-old Niena wants nothing more than to attend an elite bardic college, but when the dragon that shattered the empire awakens again she finds herself on the run, through the fey realm of Fairhome, to the city where she was born. On her trail are her army veteran grandfather, thrown into a commander’s role he doesn’t want, the lord of the fairies, trying to steer her to his own ends, and the husband she won’t meet for fifteen years. If she kills the dragon, she’ll save everyone she holds dear. But if she kills the dragon, she’s cursed instead to become it.

”Dreams starve and die if not fed by imagination.”

My thoughts:

A uniquely designed plot, intriguing and different. I was so excited to read this book. The cover was mesmerising and the synopsis was promising. It made me eager to start the book and I couldn’t wait to dive into this fantasy world.

The first couple of chapters were very slow for me. I had to re-read chapters twice, and I didn’t quite understand what is happening. After a while, things became clearer, and I started to enjoy the story a bit more.

I loved Niena’s character. She was a typical being, where one part gasps with bravery, and the rest gasps with fear. I loved how realistic she was at moments, knowing to be scared when supposed to, and fierce when needed of her.

The story gasps with a lot of intense scenes, full of adventures, that I am sure you will all love and appreciate. From trying to fight a dragon, to running away, to the amazing plot twist right at the very end, this book made me restless, after I started enjoying it.

The only reason I am taking two stars away is because I had to read the first 60-ish pages two-three times, until I finally dived in and started enjoying the story.

”A fairy bargain can live no deeper than your lips, it always dies before reaching the heart.”

A beautiful tale, full of magic, adventure and time travel. And a cover that suits it so well.

If you seem to like these types of books – don’t wait and grab your copy now:

Thank you to the author, S.D. Reeves , for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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