Return to Hogwarts: A HP Review Series

I have no memory of reading most of the Harry Potter books when they first came out. The only one I can remember is that I ordered Deathly Hallows when I was in Arizona, I went to the midnight release, and then stayed up the rest of the night to read it cover to cover. I was only partially on my way to learning that staying up late has never and will never work for me, but that’s a different story.

Lately I have been relying on routine to keep my anxiety at bay. I get up at the same time, I go to bed at (roughly) the same time. I try to keep my mealtimes around the same time every day. When I go to bed I read a chapter of a book and listen to a Headspace meditation followed by a Headspace sleep session (shout out to Night Strings). Predictability helps me stomach the high levels of uncertainty that are waiting for me when the school year finally starts.

I wanted to add a non-screen element to my evening routine, but I didn’t want to read a book that was new or too deep to process when I’m trying to wind down to sleep. I decided that in light of all the J.K. Rowling TERF bullshit I would re-read the HP books to see if they were still good, and decide if I could separate the work from the idiot.

I just finished HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone a couple of nights ago, and I am working on Chamber of Secrets now. I only read one chapter each night and once I finish, I’ll share my thoughts. No set day for them, but when I’m ready, they’ll get posted.

Hideaway

Nora Roberts remains one of my go-to romance authors. Her books are mostly story with the romance being well woven into that story. Other romances I’ve tried seem to be sex focused, which I totally understand, but I’ve always liked how Roberts gives you more than you expect.

This book had a different structure than those I’ve read by her in the past. It was a lot longer than previous Roberts I’ve read too. This book follows Caitlyn Sullivan from her kidnapping at the age of ten, to her early adult years around age 18, to her adult years which I think was mid- to late-twenties if I remember correctly. She journeys through obstacles that ask her to redefine fear, family, and love, so that when she finally has a chance to be with the guy she should be with, she’s ready intellectually and emotionally.

I was surprised that there were very few sex scenes. In a book of this size I expected more, but as the first third was basically her as a ten year old, then the second half was her just out of high school, it stood to reason that you shouldn’t expect hot and heavy scenes until she’s a full fledged adult. Even in the last third of the book we only get two intimate moments, and she wrote such a hot, patient love interest that I could have stood a few more.

The MC comes from an acting dynasty and has a lot of privilege both financially and career-wise, and Roberts addresses that in the book through Caitlyn’s friendships. The first boy she dates is a black man in New York City when she moves there after high school, and he’s beaten on the order of one of her kidnappers who is serving time and using his connections to punish those who were involved with the botched kidnapping and ransom. It’s brief, but the complexity of racism in relationships and in the world at large was dealt with very well.

A theme I love to find in the books I read is the theme of found family, especially if it comes attached to the idea that just because someone gave birth to you, it doesn’t mean you are obligated to love them or even keep them in your life. Caitlyn’s mom Charlotte is constantly being an asshole in this book, and watching Caitlyn slowly let her go is something I really enjoyed.

I am not a big fan of pushy love interests, but Roberts wrote one of the most patient men I’ve ever read here. He’s just doing what he does and when Caitlyn returns to the house in Big Sur where she grew up, he’s already there helping her grandparents, who have connections with his mom and grandmother from when they helped Caitlyn get home safely after her kidnapping so many years prior. He’s also very close to his mom and grandmother, and they all run a ranch/farm/dairy business together and whenever they were all together my heart smiled. Unconventional family themes here too, just a little different but no less fulfilling.

The only area I was really disappointed with was the ending. The thriller side of the story just fizzled out. There was no satisfying punishment or evident resolution of the antagonist, we’re just asked to take for granted that they are dealt with because reasons? All the way up to the last 50 pages of the book you’re like “omg I wonder who is doing this to her (spoilers!) how are they managing it I need to know!” but when you find out who and how you’re going to be like “This feels too convenient” because it is.

Overall it was a heart-warming story/thriller about family, the costs of fame, and how to recover from betrayal. I really enjoyed it and read it in only a few sittings. You should read it too. Go get you some.

Catching Up

I have arrived at the end of the 19-20 school year and the start of summer 2020 and I just wanted to put a small post out there to let you know that I am working on two new reviews with a third to come. It has been an easy escape to read, but difficult to work up the motivation to write down my thoughts on the books. Now that my only obligations are what I want to do, I’ll be getting those written up and out shortly.

Honestly I’m just glad that I made it through another day right now. I hope that if you are reading this that you are safe and healthy and finding a way to exist in this new world that is unfurling before our eyes. Thank you for reading and supporting Angry Angel Books.

The Book Was Better

Food videos are really pervasive right now. Every time I log into Facebook I see at least one in my recent timeline, and sometimes I think “hey, I should try that!” Most of the time I think “that is stupid and complicated for no reason.”

Now I can add the “the original was fine, why did you even mess with it” to my list of reactions. Behold: someone has taken Pillsbury cinnamon rolls and done something unnecessary to them. Just make the fucking buns asshole, you don’t get extra points for saving “dat frosting.”

Enjoy.

Multi-Purpose

If I am honest with myself, my true love in life is reading. If I’m watching tv or movies or playing video games I reach a level of boredom once I’ve been doing it long enough even if I like the things I am watching or doing. When I read a book my mind has to work to create the visuals as I read, and I find myself in another world witnessing the actions and events of a world in which I do not live. I am the kind of person who has stayed up way too late reading a book because I could not stop.

People talk about binge watching Netflix or Hulu, I can’t do that, but I am pretty sure I could binge-read a book or series of books.

I’ve been thinking about the purpose of my blog, and while part of it will be how I interact with the internet, I think at least one post a week (or bi-weekly) should be dedicated to the book I’m reading at the moment. I need to get back to my passion. I need to get my nose back into a book. 🙂