Book Review · Books

The Ickabog by J.K. Rowling [BOOK REVIEW]

The Ickabog by J.K. Rowling [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★★

When I found out that J.K. Rowling is writing a story for children during lockdown, I didn’t really care. But they were releasing a new chapter each week, and I decided to give it a try and read the first few chapters. Maybe it was the beginning of The Ickabog, or perhaps it was J.K. Rowling’s writing that reminded me of my first time reading Harry Potter. Whatever it was, it hooked me to this story, and I kept coming back for more.

Synopsis:

Once upon a time there was a tiny kingdom called Cornucopia, as rich in happiness as it was in gold, and famous for its food. From the delicate cream cheeses of Kurdsburg to the Hopes-of-Heaven pastries of Chouxville, each was so delicious that people wept with joy as they ate them.

But even in this happy kingdom, a monster lurks. Legend tells of a fearsome creature living far to the north in the Marshlands… the Ickabog. Some say it breathes fire, spits poison, and roars through the mist as it carries off wayward sheep and children alike. Some say it’s just a myth…

And when that myth takes on a life of its own, casting a shadow over the kingdom, two children — best friends Bert and Daisy — embark on a great adventure to untangle the truth and find out where the real monster lies, bringing hope and happiness to Cornucopia once more.

My Thoughts:

I really enjoyed The Ickabog. It is very descriptive and full of adventure, from the very first start. From the first chapters, I immediately warmed up to Bert and Daisy, and their everyday lives. I also loved the scenes inside the castle, with the kind and guards.

The world building was amazing, the Kingdom and the Marshlands were so vividly explained, it’s no wonder so many children were inspired to draw them and share those drawings. The intriguing plot twists and backstabbing scenes left me pleasantly surprised as well. What I loved the most, though, was the story about the legend of The Ickabog. This mysterious monster that everyone in the Kingdom fears. The terror that people feel as soon as its name is mentioned.

This story is obviously targeted for the young readers. And for what it is, this book does deliver. There are plenty of adventures, battles between good and evil, scenes that will prompt a discussion with the children and an ending that has a lesson to teach. I recommend it to every child that loves reading about adventures and foreign kingdoms.

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Book Review · Books

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4) by J.K. Rowling [BOOK REVIEW]

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling book review fantasy magic Bloomsbury diary of difference diaryofdifference blog blogger books

Diving into the Harry Potter universe is a treat to my soul every time.

There is something so familiar and comfortable to this world, especially Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, that always pulls me back to where it all started. 

Read my reviews of the previous Harry Potter books: 

  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
  2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Since there is a lot of drama going on with the author at the moment, I want to say just this. While I do not agree with some of the author’s statements, her work meant a lot to me throughout my years, and I have chosen to draw a line between her personal life and her work. You may have a different opinion, and that is valid too. 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling is one of my favorite books from the series.

The year is filled with the Quidditch World Cup, the Triwizard Tournament, the fight for elves’ freedom, the beginning of the rising of evil and the terrible destiny of Cedric Diggory. 

Harry has a weird dream about Voldemort at the beginning of the book. He lets Sirius Black know in a letter. Then, he and his friends, as well as the whole Weasley family attend the Quidditch World Cup, where there is an incident with Harry’s wand – that will start this book in a very dark way.

As the new school year of Hogwarts begins, Dumbledore has an exciting announcement to make. Hogwarts will be hosting the Triwizard tournament this year!

“The Triwizard Tournament was first established some seven hundred years ago, as a friendly competition between the three largest European schools of wizardry – Hogwarts, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang. A champion was selected to represent each school, and the three champions competed in three magical tasks. The schools took it in turns to host the Tournament once every five years, and it was generally agreed to be a most excellent way of establishing ties between young witches and wizards of different nationalities – until, that is, the death toll mounted so high that the Tournament was discontinued.”

When the Goblet of Fire selects the three champions for each house, everyone is ready to move on. Viktor Krum, from Durmstrang, was selected first, followed by Fleur Delacour of Beauxbatons. The Goblet selected Cedric Diggory as the Hogwarts Champion.

But then, the Goblet spits out one more name – Harry Potter!

But how is that possible, when Harry hasn’t put his name in?

“Did you put your name into the Goblet of Fire, Harry?” Dumbledore asked calmly. 

Careful of the fact that someone wants Harry to be in danger, he still needs to compete in the three tasks of the tournament. I loved all three tasks and how smart some wizards had to be to overcome their challenges.

I also really loved the Yule Ball, and the atmosphere it had. Everyone seemed happier and forgot their worries for the evening. Things were calming down before the real storm began. 

The part I loved the most, which wasn’t included in the movies, was Harmione’s fight for the rights of the elves. She fought that they deserved to be free and be paid for their work, not be slaves to witches and wizards. On top of all this, what I loved most was Dobby’s story in this whole situation.

Also, did you know this?

Hermione’s name is pronounced “Her-my-oh-nee”. I have somehow always known this at the back of my mind, but because it’s pronounced as “Her-my-nee” in the movies, I have been saying it like that for a very long time. 

“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.”

Still a favourite and still amazing. After all this time? Always! 

“Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.”

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Book Review · Books

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3) by J.K. Rowling [BOOK REVIEW]

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling book review books goodreads blog blogging blogger diary of difference diaryofdifference

In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter is now in his third year at Hogwarts. The atmosphere is tense. There is an escaped mass murderer on the loose, and the prison guards have been called to guard the school. 

Read my reviews of the previous Harry Potter books: 

  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
  2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

In the third book, we can immediately notice a much darker and dangerous atmosphere, compared to the previous book. During the series, the books do get gradually darker and darker, more and more mature, and I think this is the book where we start to notice this transition for the first time. 

Harry Potter and his friends have grown up a little, and it clearly shows in their conversations and choices. I was happy to see all the things we learn in this book. The dementors and their deadly kiss, patronuses as well as magical creatures. We learn that Hippogriffs are proud and easily offended.

And we also learn that Malfoy is still a little brat.

The fact that little entitles Malfoy is so jealous of Harry that daddy puts him to play in the Quidditch team annoyed me so much. I just wanted to slap him!

“Pity you can’t attach an extra arm to yours, Malfoy,” said Harry. “Then it could catch the Snitch for you.”

I got quite emotional when Harry is troubled by his parent’s death and is grieving openly, probably for the first time. I believe him meeting more people that were friends with his parents helped him heal. It is such a good feeling to know Harry does have a family and things are starting to look a bit better for him. 

“You think the dead we have loved ever truly leave us? You think that we don’t recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble?”

I didn’t quite enjoy the time-travelling part through, I have to be honest. Even though the idea sounds nice, it always troubles me that it is never properly explained and very little attention is being given to it. I wish I read more about it, because then I would have loved it!

I enjoyed this book a lot! It is Harry Potter after all. But it isn’t a favorite of mine. I loved how Harry finds out more about his past and gets a couple of more answers, but I also loved that new paths are opening and are waiting to be discovered in the next books. 

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Book Review · Books

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2) by J.K. Rowling [BOOK REVIEW]

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling book review books goodreads blog blogging blogger diary of difference diaryofdifference

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is probably my favorite book in the Harry Potter series. Read my review of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone here. It’s the second year in Hogwarts for Harry Potter and his friends Ron and Hermione. The year we discover many new things in the Harry Potter world.

This is the book where we meet Dobby. Also the book where we find out about Voldemort’s true identity. The book in which we find out what really happened to Moaning Myrtle.

I have truly forgotten how good the beginning of the book is. Firstly, I cannot understand why Harry has to go back and stay with that awful family during the summer. I know they are his legal guardians, but they don’t want him staying with them either! Then, there is Dobby, who wants Harry to not go back to Hogwarts and creates a huge mess. The best moment though, is when Ron comes to the rescue with the flying car! Because Ron knows Harry might be in trouble. And Harry’s owl secret endeavours are revealed too. And I cannot help but share this moment of Hermione worrying about Harry, as well as Ron’s family owl. 

“I’ve been really worried and if Harry is all right, will you please let me know at once, but perhaps it would be better if you used a different owl, because I think another delivery might finish your one off.”

There is something about the Harry Potter books that I have always loved. The feeling of acceptance they give you. The inclusivity. The ability to be part of the magical world too!

“You will find that I will only truly have left this school when none here are loyal to me. You will also find that help will always be given at Hogwarts to those who ask for it.”

Harry’s curiosity is something I loved since day one.

I love the powerful friendship he has with Hermione & Ron. His bravery and his eagerness to always make things right. I love that danger doesn’t scare him. And I have to admit – I also love Harry’s rivalry with Malfoy! Their encounters are always a treat!

“Honestly, if you were any slower, you’d be going backwards.”

What I loved the most about this book were the conversations between Harry and You Know Who. The moment Harry acknowledged why he is alive and why he is better.

“How is it that a baby with no extraordinary magical talent managed to defeat the greatest wizard of all time?”

“No one knows why you lost your powers when you attacked me. I don’t know myself. But I know why you couldn’t kill me. Because my mother died to save me.”

And on top o all this – the moment Harry finds out why he truly belongs to Gryffindor!

“It is out choices, Harry, that show us what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

Truly a favorite of mine and a series I will be forever recommending. Always!

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Book Review · Books

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

Harry Potter and the philisopher's stone sorcerer's voldemort ron weasley hermione granger j.k. rowling fantasy magic adventure hogwarts love friends friendship book books review blog blogging diary of difference diaryofdifference

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.

Purchase Links:
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