Sunday, June 29, 2014

An American reading the British editions: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

(SPOILER ALERT: I’m sharing details of the Harry Potter series in this post, and in every post on the last Sunday of the month for the next three months. Just so you know!)

This is a blog series about an American girl reading the Harry Potter British editions. Read my reviews of the first three books to catch up: Philosopher’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban! Now to the book at the very middle of the series…



Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

First Line: “The villagers of Little Hangleton still called it ‘the Riddle House’, even though it had been many years since the Riddle family had lived there.”

British vs. American English: I’ve been overseas so there are some things I read in these versions and don’t even recognize as different. Like car park vs. parking lot or jumper vs. sweater. But here are a few differences that popped out to me. 

(British edition word/phrase = interpretation/definition)
gaol = jail

cottoning on = catching on

plus-fours = a pair of trousers that extend four inches past the knee
chivvied = to move by small maneuvers

kip = sleep
prat = fool

quailing = losing heart; shrinking

 

Laugh-Worthy Moment: “They all stood there, in a tight circle, as a chill breeze swept over the hilltop. Nobody spoke. It suddenly occurred to Harry how odd this would look if a Muggle were to walk up here now… nine people, two grown men, clutching this manky old boot in semi-darkness, waiting…” (page 69)


Cry-Worthy Moment: When Harry returns from the graveyard with Cedric’s body, and there’s shouting and crying and chaos and feels. (page 582-584)
 

Notable Quote: “… How could they have believed I would not rise again? They, who know the steps I took, long ago, to guard myself against mortal death.” –Voldemort (page 562)


Last Line:  “As Hagrid had said, what would come, would come… and he would have to meet it when it did.”

 

Thoughts:
This is the first book in the Harry Potter series that begins with a chapter where Harry isn’t present. Chapter One takes place at the Riddle House, where Voldemort and Wormtail are camped. It’s told from the point of view of the gardener, Frank, but at the end, Harry wakes with the scene in his mind as he had just dreamt it. Even though that chapter opened the main mystery of Goblet of Fire, it also begged the question: How can Harry dream what’s really happening to Voldemort?

Goblet of Fire is the first giant-sized volume (which also happens to have the first in-depth mention of giants) which is great for intricacy and subplots. While there is the main Triwizard Tournament/ Who’s trying to kill Harry this year? plot, there are also many subplots that are strung through the book. Some of them start and end with Goblet of Fire, some of them start but don’t end with Goblet of Fire and some of them started before Goblet of Fire and continue through it. This is one of JK Rowling’s greatest feats: being able to weave together the numerous subplots along with the overarching series plot and the major plot line for each book. Not just being able to do it, of course, but doing it well, with just the right amount of mystery and detail. Some of the subplots that line the pages of Goblet of Fire include: Fred and George’s joke shop and blackmailing, Rita Skeeter’s sneaking and stories, Dobby and Winky’s employment at Hogwarts, Mr. Crouch’s madness and secrets, Hagrid’s ancestry and the beginnings of romance (Harry/Cho, Cedric/Cho, Hermione/Krum, Hermione/Ron).

At the end of Goblet of Fire, the thing which we have been dreading (but didn’t know we were dreading until it happens) happens. Voldemort returns. Harry witnesses his rebirthing, his re-assembly of the Death Eaters and participates in duel with Voldemort before escaping back to Hogwarts. If Voldemort hadn’t used and played with Harry, then Harry wouldn’t have survived the night. But Voldemort wanted Harry to die grandly and make it into a spectacle with his Death Eaters watching and Harry with his wand in hand. The moment Wormtail gives Harry his wand, he gives him means to escape. Voldemort proved himself vindictive, powerful and evil but not adaptable. Priori Incantatem proved a surprise that Voldemort was unable to recover from before Harry had reached Cedric’s body, summoned the Triwizard Cup and transported back to Hogwarts. I’m sure Voldemort’s anger after Harry disappeared was menacing. Also, I’m sure there are plenty of things (including the notable quote above) that Voldemort wouldn’t have said in front of Harry if he knew Harry was going to survive the night.

One of the most powerful chapters I’ve read so far is Chapter Thirty-Six: The Parting of the Ways. After Harry recounts what happened in the graveyard for Dumbledore, he is taken to the hospital for some well-deserved rest. However, he’s awoken by Fudge and McGonagall fighting in the hallway because the Dementor’s Kiss was performed on Barty Crouch Jr. and his testimony was lost. Somehow Dumbledore’s word that Voldemort has returned, even seconded by McGonagall and Snape, isn’t good enough for Fudge. He’s in denial and refuses to take any of Dumbledore’s sage advice about removing the dementors from Azkaban or sending an envoy to the giants. So it’s a good thing that Dumbledore’s willing to do what he can on his own. He sends Bill and Sirius to inform their allies and gives Hagrid and Snape special, mysterious missions. Dumbledore’s control of the situation is fierce and inspiring. It shows that when people believe in someone (two someones actually—Dumbledore and Harry), they will rally around them in support and allegiance. As Hagrid says in the last chapter: “Great man, Dumbledore. S’long as we’ve got him, I’m not too worried” (page 623).


Next up month: The allies come together and Harry experiences a little teen angst in the Order of the Phoenix.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

The Purpose of Vacation

Last Saturday I returned from a week-long family vacation to Charleston, South Carolina. There was sand and sun and ocean and relaxation and reading. There was family time and beach time and even a little time for history and shopping. It was fabulous! But now that I’ve been back to the grind for a week, I’ve been thinking: why do we vacation?

 

To Escape


This is not how Indiana looks. There are no palm trees or plantations in my home state (that I know of).  
 
 
To Relax


Nothing says relaxation like a beach chair and the ocean.
 
To Explore


While kayaking down a backwoods river I counted one owl, two alligators and just about a million dragonflies.
 
To Experience Something Different


Charleston is a lot of things I’m not used to. It’s the South. It’s a city that’s older than this country. It’s a harbor town which seemingly has more water than land. There’s seafood, brightly-colored shorts, miles of beaches, cobblestones and lots of “y'alls.”  
 
To Experience Something Risky


Like HOLDING A SHARK. (Don't worry, we threw them back.)
 
To Experience Beauty


*still in awe*
 
To Let Go
Dance with the wind in my arms, the sand and surf between my toes and not a care or worry in my head!
 
 
Why do YOU vacation?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Most Anticipated Teen Releases: Summer 2014

There are many amazing things about summer and one of my favorites is reading by the pool, beach or even just with the window open. Here are eight YA summer releases that I’m excited to dive into with the summer breeze fluttering through the pages!

 

July 8
Kiss of Deception—Mary E. Pearson

What it’s about: In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met. On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.

Why I’m excited: Because (FULL DISCLOSURE) I’ve already read and LOVED this book. I got my hands on the DRC last month and devoured this book in just one evening/night. It was one of those I-don’t-need-sleep-I’d-rather-read reads. I am so excited for it to be released in July so I can grab my own copy and start (continue really) recommending it!

 

July 15
Earthquake—Aprilynne Pike

What it’s about: Tavia Michaels is an Earthbound—a fallen goddess with the power to remake the Earth. The rival faction of Earthbounds, the Reduciata, has created a virus that is literally wiping swaths of the planet out of existence. But before Tavia can act, she’s captured and imprisoned, along with her eternal lover, Logan. Huddled in a claustrophobic cell, they lose track of the days, their attempts to escape proving as ephemeral as Tavia’s newly gestating powers. But then Tavia and Logan are mysteriously rescued and brought to the underground headquarters of the Curatoria, another group of Earthbounds Tavia doesn’t fully trust. When Benson—Tavia’s former best friend and romantic interest—appears at Curatoria headquarters, Tavia will again have to make a choice about who to be with even as she tries to stop the virus that is destroying the world and uncover the truth about the two Earthbound organizations that have her tangled up in their webs.

Why I’m excited: Because I was pleasantly surprised by the first book in the series, Earthbound. It ended in a way that made me want SO MUCH MORE and I have a feeling Earthquake will give me what I want (to a certain extent, and then I’ll be right back in the same position). This is a love triangle (Tavia-Benson-Logan) that will no doubt be ripe with history and possible distrust. Yay!

 

July 24
Like No Other—Una LaMarche

What it’s about: Devorah is a consummate good girl who has never challenged the ways of her strict Hasidic upbringing. Jaxon is a fun-loving, book-smart nerd who has never been comfortable around girls (unless you count his four younger sisters). They've spent their entire lives in Brooklyn, on opposite sides of the same street. Their paths never crossed until one day, they did. When a hurricane strikes the Northeast, the pair becomes stranded in an elevator together, where fate leaves them no choice but to make an otherwise risky connection. Though their relation is strictly forbidden, Devorah and Jax arrange secret meetings and risk everything to be together. But how far can they go? Just how much are they willing to give up? 

Why I’m excited: Because this book is an old story with a new twist. Devorah and Jaxon are two teens in Brooklyn when a hurricane traps them in the same elevator, forcing them together when they never would have met otherwise. Connections and secret meetings = star-crossed love! 

 

July 29
The Young World—Chris Weitz

What it’s about: After a mysterious Sickness wipes out the rest of the population, the young survivors assemble into tightly run tribes. Jefferson, the reluctant leader of the Washington Square tribe, and Donna, the girl he's secretly in love with, have carved out a precarious existence among the chaos. But when another tribe member discovers a clue that may hold the cure to the Sickness, five teens set out on a life-altering road trip to save humankind. The tribe exchanges gunfire with enemy gangs, escapes cults and militias, braves the wilds of the subway and Central Park… and discovers truths they could never have imagined.

Why I’m excited: Because teens run the world in this post-apocalyptic future where a plague wipes out the rest of the world. From the description, it seems that NYC will be a character itself and I’m interested to see the overall eeriness of a Manhattan split into tribes.  

 

August 5
Gates of Thread and Stone—Lori M. Lee

What it’s about: In a city of walls and secrets, where only one man is supposed to possess magic, seventeen-year-old Kai struggles to keep hidden her own secret—she can manipulate the threads of time. When Kai was eight, she was found by Reev on the riverbank and her “brother” has taken care of her ever since. Kai doesn’t know where her ability comes from—or where she came from. All that matters is that she and Reev stay together and maybe one day move out of the freight container they call home, away from the metal walls of the Labyrinth. Kai’s only friend is Avan, the shopkeeper’s son with the scandalous reputation that both frightens and intrigues her. Then Reev disappears. When keeping silent and safe means losing him forever, Kai vows to do whatever it takes to find him. She will leave the only home she’s ever known and risk getting caught up in a revolution centuries in the making. But to save Reev, Kai must unravel the threads of her past and face shocking truths about her brother, her friendship with Avan, and her unique power.

Why I’m excited: Because there are so many good words/phrases in this description that I just can’t contain myself! Magic! Threads of time! Labyrinth! Scandalous reputation! A revolution centuries in the making! LABYRINTH! I think you get the idea. *winks*

 

August 14

Isla and the Happily Ever After—Stephanie Perkins

What it’s about: From the glittering streets of Manhattan to the moonlit rooftops of Paris, falling in love is easy for hopeless dreamer Isla and introspective artist Josh. But as they begin their senior year in France, Isla and Josh are quickly forced to confront the heartbreaking reality that happily-ever-afters aren't always forever. Their romantic journey is intertwined with those of beloved couples Anna and √Čtienne and Lola and Cricket, whose paths are destined to collide in a sweeping finale certain to please fans old and new.

Why I’m excited: Because after Anne and Etienne in Paris and Lola and Cricket in San Francisco, I know Isla and Josh back in Paris is going to be a gorgeous, swoon-worthy love story. (That’s right: I KNOW this.) Perkins writes love that both feels real and feels like it only exists in books and movies. I’m sure this series finale will live up to its predecessors and I very well expect it to surpass them!

 

September 2
Heir of Fire—Sarah J. Maas

What it’s about: Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak—but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth…  a truth about her heritage that could change her life—and her future—forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?

Why I’m excited: Because this is one of my favorite YA series and I’ve been on edge for almost a year waiting for the third book! The second book, Crown of Midnight, ended with a gasp-worthy cliffhanger and I NEED TO KNOW what happens next. That is all.

 

September 16
The Vault of Dreamers—Caragh M. O’Brien

What it’s about: The Forge School is the most prestigious arts school in the country. The secret to its success: every moment of the students' lives is televised as part of the insanely popular Forge Show and the students' schedule includes twelve hours of induced sleep meant to enhance creativity. But when first year student Rosie Sinclair skips her sleeping pill, she discovers there is something off about Forge. In fact, she suspects that there are sinister things going on deep below the reaches of the cameras in the school. What's worse is, she starts to notice that the ridges of her consciousness do not feel quite right. And soon, she unearths the ghastly secret that the Forge School is hiding—and what it truly means to dream there.

Why I’m excited: Because dystopia-meets-reality-TV has been a big hit in the YA world with the likes of Hunger Games and The Selection so I’m eager to see how The Vault of Dreamers does the Forge Show. Plus, dreams to enhance creativity, after-hour adventures and (as always) secrets!! I’m intrigued!

 


*Book descriptions were adapted from those on BN.com. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Reviews: Series Endings

As series begin, so must they end. Here are three reviews of recently released (or in the case of Mortal Heart, soon to be released) series finales! They answer questions for which we’ve been impatiently waiting, mostly to our pleasure. Don’t worry, no spoilers!



Dreams of Gods and Monsters—Laini Taylor
Daughter of Smoke and Bone series

Released April 8, 2014

The most spectacular aspect of this book (and the series) is Taylor’s words and descriptions. They’re outstandingly descriptive, detailed, precise and PERFECT. Her style, explaining everything so thoroughly and with the best words, is hers and hers alone. Most other writers would have written the same book in half the pages but Dreams of Gods and Monsters is over 600 pages. It’s unbelievably in-depth. We experience the 72 hours after the Dominion’s arrival to Earth with Karou and Akiva in exquisite detail. I gasped audibly twice but I won’t divulge why as they’re MAJOR SPOILERS. But suffice to say they are amazing, heart-wrenching surprises. This series is the epitome of YA fantasy! I can’t wait to see what Laini Taylor writes next!

 

The One—Kiera Cass
The Selection series

Released May 6, 2014

This book answers the ultimate question: Aspen or Maxon? Don’t worry, I won’t spoil it for you, but The One (as well as the rest of the series) is about America finding herself and her soulmate. As the end approached, I could sense who America was going to chose and the story became more about overcoming their misunderstandings and admitting their love. Truthfully, I felt a lot of the misunderstandings could have been solved by simple communication, but America and *whomever* are young. One of the best moments of the book was America’s solution when sentencing the thief to punishment, as forced on her and the rest of the Elite by the king. It was a creative surprise which really made me respect America. In the darkness of dystopia, this series is a fun, shining light.

 

Mortal Heart—Robin LaFevers
His Fair Assassin series

To be released November 4, 2014

The third book in His Fair Assassin series focuses on Annith and her journey of breaking free from the abbess who aims to imprison her. I loved that in Ismae’s and Sybella’s stories of Annith, she was always “Saint Annith” but when I got inside her head, I saw she was just as stubborn and rebellious as the other girls, if not more so. When Annith escapes to find her own way, a mysterious and dark man named Balthazar saves her in the forest. I loved his slow, ebbing march into Annith’s life, especially since he’s the strong, quiet, brooding type. One of the best features of this series is how strong the girls are—strong in faith yet strong enough to stand up to the abbess when they see she’s doing wrong. This series is a historical fantasy gem. I’m curious to see what LaFevers has in the works for the future!



Happy summertime!
 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Achievement of 100 Posts

Oh. My. God. This is my 100th blog post!

I almost can’t believe it. Over two years ago, I took a giant leap when I created Jamie, Write Now but I wasn’t thinking about the future of my blog back in May 2012. I hadn’t considered how often I would post or how long I’d keep up with it. And I certainly hadn’t thought about my 100th post!

It’s taken a lot of determination, some courage and a fair amount of writerly sweat to reach this point. So, what does it mean that I’ve written 100 posts? First of all, I have proof that I can stay on a writing schedule (I’ve been posting every Sunday since September 2012). Also, I have a go-to resume of writing samples. (Though not all my posts are resume-worthy, so I’d highlight the few that are.) Personally, I have a journal of my explorations in writing and reading, something I can share with my family and friends. Most importantly, Jamie, Write Now is proof that I’m committed to this being-a-writer thing. 

After two years, I’ve also learned some things thanks to my blog:

Research is important.
I look back at my Rise of Dystopia post with slight contempt. It was only my 9th post, but I know now that I didn’t do enough research on dystopia. It was an under-researched post which I realized a few months later. I wrote The Elements of Dystopia and Apocalypse because I knew I could do better.

Don’t back yourself into a corner.
In my YA All the Way post, I backed myself into a corner without realizing it at first. I proclaimed the awesomeness of YA and said I’d only read YA, primarily due to time constraints. Not long later, I realized I should keep an open mind when it comes to my reading list. Reading outside YA is important to keeping perspective, especially since there’s greatness everywhere.

Variety and quality are necessities.
I try to mix it up when it comes to my posts. One week I’ll post a review, the next week I’ll post about an aspect of writing and the following week about a YA trend.  Even though I like to keep it fresh when it comes to my posts, I know that quality is equally as important. I try my best to get my facts straight, eliminate any spelling and grammar errors and ensure my posts are readable and interesting.


Some of my favorite posts to both write and share include:

·         Declaration to Society (June 10, 2012)

 I took to the streets with a sign and declared myself a writer!

·         Why I’m Struggling to Commit to NaNoWriMo (October 21, 2012)

I explained why I was skeptical about writing a novel in 30 days, then publicly committed myself to doing so.  

·         The Experience of Imperfect Travel (January 13, 2013)

Sometimes it’s the imperfect moments that affect us the most.

·         Balancing Work with Passion (June 23, 2013)

It’s difficult to balance job and passion. I opened up about trying to do both without compromising myself or time with my boyfriend, family and friends.

·         The Lesson of Shitty First Drafts (October 6, 2013)

Writing is hard, but getting it out is what’s important. First drafts are never good. In fact, they are shitty. It’s editing that makes them good.

·         Diversfying my Reading List (May 4, 2014)

I discussed the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign and pledged to read at least 8 diverse books before the end of 2014.

 

I must admit I’m proud of this accomplishment! I plan to keep posting weekly and hopefully grow my readership with relevant and intriguing posts. Here’s to another 100 posts!
As always, thanks for reading!