Top 5 Fictional Places I Want to Visit

Hi everyone! While in isolation, I’m doing a lot of daydreaming. Daydreaming about seeing my friends, family and boyfriend again. Daydreaming about driving again, singing along to the radio with the window rolled down. Daydreaming about the beach, the feeling of sand between my toes.

So why not add to that daydreaming, and talk about fictional places I’d love to visit too?

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Life isn’t much fun at number four Privet Drive, at least not for Harry Potter, living under the stairs in a cupboard full of spiders, but all of that is about to change. On the eve of Harry’s eleventh birthday the letters start arriving; letters written in emerald green ink on yellowing parchment with an unmistakable letter H on purple wax seals. Because Harry Potter is no ordinary boy, he is the boy who lived, the wizard whose name everyone in the magical world knows and he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. An incredible adventure is about to begin and life for Harry Potter will never be the same again.

Obviously this one has to be top of the list. I’d love to be able to wander the hallways of Hogwarts, and I feel lucky enough to be able to do the Studio Tour occasionally.

The Mortal Instruments 3: City of Glass - The Mortal Instruments (Paperback)

Goodreads | Waterstones

To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters – never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.
As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City – whatever the cost?

I remember reading this series and finding the City of Glass sounded so beautiful, I’d love to see it in real life.

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely travelling further than the pantry of his hobbit-hole in Bag End. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard, Gandalf, and a company of thirteen dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an unexpected journey `there and back again’. They have a plot to raid the treasure hoard of Smaug the Magnificent, a large and very dangerous dragon…

One of my bucket list activities is definitely to visit Hobbiton in New Zealand. It looks so beautiful!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve.
Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated–scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

Honestly, all of these books sound beautiful, but especially A Court of Frost and Starlight. I remember reading this book and thinking how beautiful the city sounded!

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a strange book hidden in the library stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues – a bee, a key and a sword – that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to a subterranean library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.
What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians – it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction. Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly-soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose – in both the mysterious book and in his own life.

I just couldn’t write this post without including something written by Erin Morgenstern. Her worlds sound so rich and luscious. I’m sure it would be terrifying but beautiful to visit the world of The Starless Sea.

A worthy mention is also Caraval, which I’m sure would be terrifying too!

Which fictional places would you love to visit?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Let’s Discuss! Visiting Harry Potter Studios

Hi all! This week I had the chance to visit the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio tour again. I visited last year in the Hogwarts in the Snow feature and decided to go again this year for the same feature with my boyfriend and group of friends.

We all noticed the entrance has changed around quite a lot in the past year, with a dragon now hanging from the ceiling and a super cute cafe with a roof shaped like a chocolate frog box!

I love how the Great Hall is dressed for the Yule Ball during the Hogwarts in the snow feature. The Christmas trees look amazing and of course the dinner looks delicious too. Something we noticed this year is how each part of the tables have Christmas crackers for each house!

It was lovely to wander around the rest of the sets. I’ve always adored Dumbledore’s office, so ended up spending a while in there.

Possibly the most exciting thing about our visit was the new feature none of us had seen – Gringotts! It was truly outstanding, especially the part in the top right which I won’t spoil for everybody but was worth taking a video of.

You now enter Diagon Alley through Gringotts, which was so cool but makes Diagon Alley look so small in comparison. It was still so lovely to see though!

Last but not least, we got to see the castle again. I cried the first time I saw this, but I wasn’t expecting to be so emotional this time. However, I still had a few tears in my eyes as it’s just so impressive!

It was so lovely to visit this wonderful and enchanting place again with amazing people who love Harry Potter as much as I do! I even braved Aragog’s Lair this year!

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: The Art of Harry Potter by Marc Sumerak

 

I got this beautiful book for my birthday from my other half and I decided to properly read it! It’s one of those books that you would usually flick through occasionally, but I felt like reading it was so satisfying and wonderful! I’ve been a big Harry Potter fan since I read the books earlier this year and watched the movies soon after. This book was the perfect way to delve even deeper into the world.

Chapter One: The Wizarding World contains beautiful scenes of the Muggle world, Hogwarts, Diagon Alley, Hogsmeade, Wizarding homes and even the Quidditch World Cup!

This was, by far, my favourite chapter in this book. Seeing so many incredible views of the world were just breathtaking. The paper is glossy and shows colours so well, each picture giving off such a rich and lifelike feel.

Chapter Two: Wizards, Witches, and Muggles. This chapter includes Hogwarts students, the Order of the Phoenix, Hogwarts staff, dark forces and even goes into detail about the Triwizard tournament.

Character sketches include in a location, concept sketches, outfit planning and studies. They are, again, beautiful, and it becomes evident how hard the staff worked on getting every little detail just right.

Chapter Three: Magical Creatures includes those such as companions, dragons, house elves, Forbidden Forest dwellers and dark creatures.

This topic also happens to contain my favourite page in the entire book – the patronus of Severus Snape. The glow that seems to shine from this page is just incredible, and I had to include a picture above to show you all. I also includes the funniest page – a study of different House Elves! They were never used in the movie but they made me and Josh laugh out loud.

Chapter Four: Artifacts includes so many items, such as wands, brooms, Quidditch items, dark objects, Horcruxes, portraits and items from Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes.

Again, you can really see the detail when flicking through these beautiful, complicated studies of seemingly trivial items. The thing that really hit me, when reading these chapters, was the amount that makes up this magical world. Such small items require work, and make the world what it is.

The last chapter is a more shocking one, Graphic Art of the Wizarding World. This includes book covers, Quidditch posters, documents, blueprints magazines and newspapers, food and drink and even potion bottle labels!

I have to say, this one surprised me. What might seem trivial turned out to be the beating heart of this world. These things are the foundations that the Wizarding World is built upon, the glue that holds it together. And they are absolutely beautiful and full of colour and detail.

Overall, I found this book pure comfort. It felt so relaxing to be able to be in this world once more, but in a fresh and different way. It’s the perfect book to read in bed on a quiet evening.

It’s absolute beauty. It’s breathtaking magic.

★★★★★
5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

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Goodreads | Amazon

I always have an issue reading small books/novellas and add ons like this. They’re tiny, they’re not ‘full’ books. Do they count towards my Goodreads goal really? But now I’ve hit my 50 book goal for 2018, I thought I’d go through the books on my shelves that aren’t necessarily ‘full’ books.

My boyfriend brought Tales of Beedle the Bard with him when we moved in together and it fits perfectly on our Harry Potter shelf! It was such a cute little read that probably took me less than an hour overall.

“No man or woman alive, magical or not, has ever escaped some form of injury, whether physical, mental, or emotional.”

I really enjoyed reading these little stories, and having Dumbledore’s notes at the end of each one really helped understand the meaning behind each one. They really reminded me of Aesop’s Fables, which I loved as a kid. I loved how each story had a real moral.

“To hurt is as human as to breathe.”

But unfortunately, it’s not all rosy. I did enjoy these stories, but they felt sooo far apart from the whole wizarding world. Dumbledore connected them to a degree, but I still felt like they were just a bit..gimmicky? I’m all for add-on Harry Potter books like The Art of Harry Potter, but this felt a bit thrown together to please the fans and give them something new. But really, who am I to complain? Because as Adam Silvera said when I saw him at a talk a few weeks ago, I am so much of a Potterhead that I would even read Dobby’s story if J.K. Rowling wrote it.

★★★
3 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling

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Goodreads | Amazon

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

I have to start by saying I can completely understand and sympathise with the anger surrounding this book. I can’t imagine being part of the Harry Potter fandom your whole life, find out she’s releasing another book….and it’s a play. Whoop.

But I’m very fortunate to say I never saw it that way. I knew this book would be a play. I treated it very much like a novella. And I loved it.

“Those we love never truly leave us, Harry.”

This book gives Harry Potter fans something fresh and new. It’s a long time since the last of the series came out, and this is a great way to cast our minds back and feel the nostalgia. I loved reading about the group as adults, as well as having a touch of the cast as they were young but in a different mindset. I found the dialogue entrancing and the play format very easy to read, a very different experience to reading Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

“There are things that death cannot touch.”

It only took me a couple of days to read this, and I felt the magic and anticipation just as I did when I read the original series. For Harry Potter fans like me, reading this will make you feel comforted. It’s definitely something to go into with a different mindset, and if you can it’s definitely best to read this with a clean slate in mind, and no expectations.

I went in feeling like that, and it made reading this script feel like coming home.

★★★★★
5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling

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Goodreads | Amazon

J.K. Rowling’s screenwriting debut is captured in this exciting hardcover edition of the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them screenplay.
When Magizoologist Newt Scamander arrives in New York, he intends his stay to be just a brief stopover. However, when his magical case is misplaced and some of Newt’s fantastic beasts escape, it spells trouble for everyone…

I was a little hesitant going into this book – it’s been a while since I read a screenplay – but I loved it! I’m really glad I read it before seeing the film, because I don’t know if I’d have felt the same way, but this was gorgeous. And not just in a literary sense, but a design sense too. Each page has some little detail, and the book is scattered with designs of magical beasts and little beautiful additions.

“Jacob: Tell me — has anyone ever believed you when you told them not to worry?”

As for the story, I loved it! I had to focus a little more than when I’m normally reading to be able to picture everything clearly, but to me this was a Harry Potter fans dream. I loved the characters, especially Jacob and Queenie, and the beasts were so descriptive! It was so fun to read about Newt and his group chasing them all over the city. This screenplay was chaotic, and it was so entertaining to picture all of the scenes.

“Newt: My philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice.”

So this might be more of a collectors item for most, but I adored reading it. It also contains one of my favourite quotes of all time which I included in this post! Onto Harry Potter and the Cursed Child while I’m still in my screenplay mode!

★★★★★
5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

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Goodreads | Amazon

As he climbs into the sidecar of Hagrid’s motorbike and takes to the skies, leaving Privet Drive for the last time, Harry Potter knows that Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters are not far behind. The protective charm that has kept Harry safe until now is broken, but he cannot keep hiding. The Dark Lord is breathing fear into everything Harry loves, and to stop him Harry will have to find and destroy the remaining Horcruxes. The final battle must begin – Harry must stand and face his enemy…

This book is so bittersweet. I’m really happy and so sad at the same time…because I’m no longer in Hogwarts. I’m no longer taking a magical journey with Harry and Hermione and Ron. But I DID IT. After 18 whole years on this planet, I FINISHED HARRY POTTER.

Anyway, enough about that – I have a post scheduled for Tuesday all about my overall HP journey – let’s talk about the last book.

“We’re all human, aren’t we.”

The thing I really noticed in this book is how complicated and complex the storyline is. Hallows, Horcruxes, Hogwarts, fighting. Along with all of the personal parts of the plot (their romances, friendships and families), I felt Harry mature with the story and I loved reading about his thoughts.

I have to say even though I loved this book, it could be a little too complicated for my liking. In fact, I had to read the last couple of chapters in my room, on my own, in complete silence, to be able to fully understand everything that was going on.

The only thing I have to mention I didn’t like in this book was it was very hard to adapt to not being in Hogwarts. As awesome as it was travelling the British countryside, I did want so badly to be back in the castle.

Every human life is worth the same, and worth saving.”

Honestly, my head is in such a mess right now because I’m so confused about not being in the magical world and how I’m going to adapt to not reading about Harry and his friends. I can safely say I loved this book, but it’s so hard to get the words out! So let’s finish up this review with a star rating…

★★★★★

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

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Goodreads | Amazon

When Dumbledore arrives at Privet Drive one summer night to collect Harry Potter, his wand hand is blackened and shrivelled, but he does not reveal why. Secrets and suspicion are spreading through the wizarding world, and Hogwarts itself is not safe. Harry is convinced that Malfoy bears the Dark Mark: there is a Death Eater amongst them. Harry will need powerful magic and true friends as he explores Voldemort’s darkest secrets, and Dumbledore prepares him to face his destiny…

The crying as begun! I’ve always been told the last book is really sad, but I didn’t know it started early. So I’m leaving this book as a complete emotional wreck and I just hope I can get across in this review how the book made me feel.

I’m definitely back to loving these books again – they do improve again after the 5th book! Not back to the standard of the 3rd or 4th, but still, I really enjoyed this one. As I had already been told, they do continue to get darker, and I found the plot a lot more complex! But I really enjoyed that, as there is a lot of progression as the book goes on.

“It was, he thought, the difference between being dragged into the arena to face a battle to the death and walking into the arena with your head held high.”

As well as maturity in story, I’m enjoying seeing Harry progress too. Seeing his friendships and relationships grow is a pleasure, and I loved his lessons with Dumbledore. For such a complex story, I really applaud how Rowling still managed to include Harry’s feelings, especially as he grows and matures.

However, I have to say that even though this book does progress, I found most of it kind of…relaxed. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but the pace was definitely slower until it sped up at the end of the book. It didn’t make it boring – it just made it comfortable.

“Some people, perhaps, would say that there was little to choose between the two ways, but Dumbledore knew – and so do I, thought Harry, with a rush of fierce pride, and so did my parents – that there was all the difference in the world.”

I’m really excited for the last book and to finish this series – but I’m going to miss the world of Hogwarts so much. It’s a story I haven’t stopped loving and I don’t think I ever will. Bring on the tears. Bring on the emotion. Bring on Deathly Hallows.

★★★★★

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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