Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

Over the past few years, J.K. Rowling has made statements that are TERF, or against the trans community (especially towards male-to-female). These statements are completely against the thoughts and ideas of the creator of this blog. I have been and always will be an ally for any member of the LGBTQIA+ community. You exist, and you are valid. If you are struggling and need to talk to a counselor, there are many resources available at thetrevorproject.org.

Reminder: This review is of a series and not an individual book. While I will write a synopsis for each book, I will do my best to not give away blatant spoilers. With that being said, the end of one book more or less is the start of another, so information from the end of the previous book may play a role in the plot of the next book, thus I have to give away the spoiler. Read the synopsis at your own discretion.

Harry spent the summer at the Dursleys’ when a house elf named Dobby appears. He warns Harry not to return to Hogwarts that year. Considering Hogwarts is the only place where he feels at home, Harry chooses not to heed his warning. In order to get his point across, Dobby uses magic in order to get Harry in trouble with both the Dursleys and the Ministry of Magic. The Dursleys put locks on his door and bars on his windows so Harry could not leave his room. However, the Ron Weasley and his twin brothers, Fred and George, showed up in the middle of the night in a flying car in order to rescue Harry and bring him to their house.

When they head into Diagon Alley to buy their school supplies, they learn that Gilderoy Lockhart will become the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. Lockhart, who definitely likes to hear himself talk, creates a crowd, leading to an awkward confrontation between the Malfoys and the Weasleys.

As they head to school, Harry and Ron end up getting stuck out of Platform 9-3/4, leaving them unable to catch the Hogwarts Express. They decided to take the flying car to school with the assumption that there was no other way. When they arrive, the car ends up landing in the Whomping Willow, a tree that clobbers anyone who comes near it. Once they are safely out of the willow’s range, the car kicks out Harry, Ron, and their luggage/pets. Once they return to the castle and get into significant trouble, they begin their year of classes. Harry, Ron, and their friend, Hermione, get invited to Nearly Headless Nick’s Deathday party, where they meet the ghosts of the castle. On their way back after the party, they come across a message claiming that the Chamber of Secrets has been opened. Beside the message is a petrified Mrs. Norris, the caretaker’s cat.

As the year continues, more and more people are coming away petrified. These victims are primarily “Mudbloods”, wizards who came from two muggle parents. In order to see if they could get information from him, Ron, Harry, and Hermione try to use Polyjuice Potion (a potion that allows the user to gain the appearance of another person) to interrogate Malfoy, which unfortunately produces no results. Harry ends up finding a diary in a bathroom that says it belong to Tom Marvolo Riddle. Realizing that he was at Hogwarts when the Chamber was opened before, Harry uses the diary to learn about what Tom saw. According to Tom, Hagrid was the original opener of the Chamber. When Hermione is attacked, Harry and Ron go to Hagrid to see what he can tell them. He leads them into the forest to talk to the original monster Hagrid got in trouble for, Aragog. There they learn that Hagrid had nothing to do with the Chamber of Secrets.

On their return, Harry and Ron begin to realize that if anyone is going to get into the Chamber, it is going to have to be them. As soon as they figure out where and how to get into the Chamber, Ginny Weasley is taken by the Chamber’s monster. Planning on taking Lockhart with them due to his extensive resume, the boys enter the Chamber of Secrets to find the secrets within.

I personally have nothing against the book, but it isn’t one of my favorites. I would probably give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Compared to the Movie

One of the most significant scenes that was not put in the movie was the Deathday party. In fact, wee see a lot of the ghost interactions go to the wayside after the first movie. Otherwise the movie sticks pretty well to the book. One of the very slight things that I noticed at the end of the movie (spoilers ahead), Lucius Malfoy began to say the Killing Curse, but never said that in the book. Whether that was because Rowling had not created the spell yet or because the movie accentuated Lucius’ behavior, but I did find that one an interesting deferral.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Let’s Talk… The postal system in the Harry Potter Universe

Over the past few years, J.K. Rowling has made statements that are TERF, or against the trans community (especially towards male-to-female). These statements are completely against the thoughts and ideas of the creator of this blog. I have been and always will be an ally for any member of the LGBTQIA+ community. You exist, and you are valid. If you are struggling and need to talk to a counselor, there are many resources available at thetrevorproject.org.

I wrote the original post for this over a year ago. I will be honest, I didn’t know I had this many opinions about it, although I have more now a year later. So sit back and relax, this one gets weird.

Okay, I get it, this is probably a weird title for a post. However, I spent an entire night thinking about how dumb the postal service in HP is, so now I share those thoughts with you.

Okay, so the post service is dependent on owls, right? So in order to send out anything, you have to own an owl. Which maybe that’s not a big deal and maybe they aren’t that expensive, but now you are separating muggles from wizards. No wonder everyone in the Wizarding World looks down on muggles, they have no way to communicate with them. It almost is classist the way that the postal service works. And then do you have to have a mailbox because I’m assuming you still have to pay taxes? And while we are on it, how can they afford land? If everything they own is in galleons, do you have to go to Gringotts to exchange the currency? I feel like we just accepted magic, but at a certain point, magic has to be hidden from muggles, so they have to act normal, meaning they have to pay their bills, go to the DMV (imagine Snape waiting for his number to be called to get his license picture taken), and get sent junk mail. So.. what’s the deal with that man?

Okay, but you have to imagine that you need to train owls and get them to return to you. And we are supposed to believe that owls won’t get lost, just naturally have the mechanisms to deliver mail, even with magic, that is hard to believe. I grew up around dogs, and I still can’t convince my dog to go outside by herself, and ya’ll think that owls can be trained to deliver mail like this? Now, I recognize that there was a time when we used carrier pigeons to carry notes and stuff, but that required a lot of training. Even the USPS driver that brings me my mail every day had to go through training. So the question is, did Hedwig get training? And I don’t remember that being something discussed in the books (which probably for good reason, but let me have my rant in peace).

But even then, how do you send out a group invite? How do you get an owl to send letters to a bunch of different people? Do you have to have a bunch of owls, or can one owl send multiple letters? And how many owls are people expected to own? Is it a way to show how wealthy you are by the number of owls you own? It just seems crazy to me that we totally just ignored all of these questions because we were concerned with Harry’s safety. I HAVE QUESTIONS!

(The rest of these thoughts are ones I had while reading the series)

As cool as owls are, and c’mon, they’re pretty cool, why owls? We as pop culture associate bats with witches and Halloween, so why are we using owls and not bats? Does it have something to do with the fact that bats are technically blind? Why is there no mention of bats in the books? Wouldn’t they have made a really cool pet for the witches and wizards? They have to be better than a toad. IDK man, I don’t think we are talking enough about how bats got the worst end of the stick in the series.

But even with owls, can we talk about how messed up it is that owls deliver mail to the Great Hall? Here’s what I do know about birds, they poop. And they don’t aim, they just go. So are they pooping on the tables? And if so, isn’t that dangerous for the students? You know who won’t poop on your food? A postman. Maybe being a wizard isn’t all it is cracked up to be.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Over the past few years, J.K. Rowling has made statements that are TERF, or against the trans community (especially towards male-to-female). These statements are completely against the thoughts and ideas of the creator of this blog. I have been and always will be an ally for any member of the LGBTQIA+ community. You exist, and you are valid. If you are struggling and need to talk to a counselor, there are many resources available at thetrevorproject.org.

Reminder: This review is of a series and not an individual book. While I will write a synopsis for each book, I will do my best to not give away blatant spoilers. With that being said, the end of one book more or less is the start of another, so information from the end of the previous book may play a role in the plot of the next book, thus I have to give away the spoiler. Read the synopsis at your own discretion.

The book is originally called Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. When it came over to America, the title was changed. Since I am American, I will be using the Americanized version in my review.

When the Potters were attacked, only baby Harry Potter survived. Albus Dumbledore decided that the best place to put baby Harry is with his Aunt Petunia Dursley and her husband and son, a family of non-magical “muggles”. In the lead up to Harry’s 11th birthday, letters begin to arrive from a mysterious sender, and ignoring them only seems to increase the amount sent. Finally, on his 11th birthday, Harry gets a surprise visit from Hagrid, a half-giant who informs Harry that he’s a wizard and invited to attend Hogwarts, a school for witches and wizards.

After obtaining all of the materials and books he needs for his first year, Harry gets on the Hogwarts Express. He meets Ron Weasley, a fellow first year. They quickly become friends and once they are both sorted into Gryffindor, their friendship is cemented. They meet a fellow Gryffindor first year named Hermione, whom they joke about because she is incredibly smart and overly attentive in class. When Ron says something mean and Hermione overhears, she runs to a girl’s bathroom, one that just happens to be attacked by a troll. After Harry and Ron save her, the three become a unit.

When they are out of bed after hours, they accidentally run into a restricted part of the castle. There they find a 3 headed dog that is guarding a trapdoor. When talking to Hagrid about it, the name Nicholas Flamel comes up. During the winter holidays, Harry and Ron stay at Hogwarts. As a present, Harry gets an invisibility cloak. Planning on using it to investigate the Restricted Section of the Library for the name Nicholas Flamel, Harry finds the Mirror of Erised, a mirror that shows you what you really want.

When they figure out who Nicholas Flamel is after a Chocolate Frog, they learn that the thing being guarded is the Sorcerer’s Stone. They also learn that two of their professors, Professor Snape and Professor Quirrell, have been arguing with each other in relation to the stone. When things begin to get dicey, Harry feels like he has to obtain the stone in order to prevent the stone from getting in the wrong hands.

We spend a lot of this book learning about what is going on within the wizarding world, so it has quite a bit of background. It is the shortest of all the books, so there are a lot of times where it feels like not much happened, especially compared to the later books. I think that it is a great first book and stand-alone, but it seems lackluster once you read the rest of the series. I think I would give it a 4 out of 5 stars.

Compared to the Movie

The movie is relatively accurate when compared to the book. Once of the biggest changes is how the kids find the room with the trapdoor. In the book, Harry and Malfoy were supposed to duel, but the staircase changes in the movie and that’s how they find it. Also, in the book, the kids give Norbert to Bill, but in the movie, it is glossed over. All-in-all, the movie did a very good job of sticking to the book. The acting was a little stiff, but the special effects in the movie were honestly not that bad.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Over the past few years, J.K. Rowling has made statements that are TERF, or against the trans community (especially towards male-to-female). These statements are completely against the thoughts and ideas of the creator of this blog. I have been and always will be an ally for any member of the LGBTQIA+ community. You exist, and you are valid. If you are struggling and need to talk to a counselor, there are many resources available at thetrevorproject.org.

How I Read It: Audiobook/Print

Dates Read: 12/10/21-12/24/21

How I Found It: Childhood/ Pop Culture

Reminder: This review is of a series and not an individual book. While I will write a synopsis for each book, I will do my best to not give away blatant spoilers. With that being said, the end of one book more or less is the start of another, so information from the end of the previous book may play a role in the plot of the next book, thus I have to give away the spoiler. Read the synopsis at your own discretion.

Why hello everyone! To give you guys some context on my relationship with these books, I’m going to start by saying that I was about 1.5 years old when the first book was published. I was 11.5 years old when the final book was published. Actually, I remember going to a release party for Deathly Hallows in my hometown bookstore where I had butterbeer for the first time and within minutes of getting in the car, my friend read the epilogue of the book and spoiled the ending of the book for us. When I was 13, my dad told me that I could not read adult books if I couldn’t read these books. So as a dutiful daughter, I got to the 7th book and gave up almost 200 pages from the end. I have seen all of the movies multiple times (in large part because apparently they are Christmas movies now) and have even seen the Fantastic Beasts movies when they come out in theaters. But the fact that I never finished reading the 7th book has always been a weight on my shoulders, and something that I wanted to remedy. Almost 2 years ago, having started a blog where I give my opinions on books, I planned to read the books. And with all best laid intentions, I picked up the first book and brought it downstairs and never cracked it open.

The next question I am sure that you are wondering is why now? Well, we have officially reached 20 years since the first movie came out, and in order to honor that, the Harry Potter actors have come together for a reunion to talk about their time in the universe. And as I was trying to figure out what my next book was going to be, there was a huge draw to the series for me. After about 2 weeks, I have officially completed something I have wanted to do for a very long time, read the series that was supposed to be a gateway into adult fiction.

Firstly, it is hard to find fault in a series that has played such a big part in popular culture. With that being said, one of the most disappointing parts of this series is the lack of representation. Not only is there is no explicit LGBTQIA+ characters, but there is little representation of non-white characters, as well as terrible treatment of characters who are overweight.

Secondly, if you are someone who has only seen the movies, you are missing a very large part of the series. The most common thing across the board that is missing from the movies is the ghosts. They are introduced, but are not used, especially as we get later into the movies. Peeves, who isn’t introduced in the movies, plays a part in all of the books even into the 7th book.

And thirdly, the first 3 books are an easily digestible, but the fourth book is when the amount of pages almost doubles. It is actually kinda hysterical when you look at the size of the first 3 compared to the sizes of the last 4. If you have a hard time staying engrossed in longer books, the end of the series is a huge deterrent.

As a series, I would rate the overall series as a 4.75 out of 5 stars. There is definitely some part of that score that is purely due to my childhood memories, but I also think that this is a very well written series overall.

If you would like to see my individual posts on the books and other random Harry Potter topics, check out the links below!

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

How I Read It: Print

Dates Read: 12/23/20

How I Found It: Once Upon a Book Club/ Book of the Month

The 3×5 print from the Christmas 2020 box

Hello friends and happy holidays! Before I go into this book, I want to stress that I know nothing about this book. I am going into this book with you guys as well, so let’s jump in and I will see you all at the first present!

Page 144

“Mom pulls her hair back into a bun, slips on her Mrs. Claus apron, and takes the wooden spoon from my hand, wordlessly telling me that she’ll take it from here.”

In a Holidaze, page 144

In a cabin in Utah, Mae struggles to understand how she ended up making out with her family friend, Theo, especially when she has a huge crush on his brother, Andrew. When she learns that this may be her last trip to the Utah cabin, Mae finds herself wishing for the opportunity to be happy. Suddenly, a car crash derails her, and she wakes up on the flight leading to the exact same trip she just finished. With a bit of a Groundhog Day feeling (says from someone who has never seen Groundhog Day), Mae continues to relive her trip until she reaches happiness.

As for the apron, it is a little on the cheaper side, but I have someone who absolutely loves aprons, so I will be sure to get this one to her the second that the pandemic lets up!

Page 164

“‘Dude.’ He points upward. ‘You two are under the mistletoe.'”

In a Holidaze, page 164

Okay, I am not a mistletoe person, at all. I personally think this is a really dumb tradition. But I do appreciate that this is plastic so that it can be used over and over for Christmases to come!

Page 281

“In my sketch, the figure is easily in his eighties, but clearly Andrew…. We’re sitting on the porch swing of the cabin, side by side, fingers interlaced….”

In a Holidaze, page 281

I was terrified that this was going to be a close up on people. If you know anything about me, then you know that receiving portraits of people that I don’t know is the same as inviting a ghost into my house. So I am incredibly happy that this picture is 1) not creepy and 2) not the main gift that they are trying to give us. Also, I love this frame! I can’t wait to put pictures of my nephew in this!

Page 285

“I lift my foot, pick the item off the bottom, and study the silver object.”

In a Holidaze, page 285

Fun fact about Papa Slick: he is obsessed with this type of Hershey’s Kisses. When we enter December, almost every year, he will buy 3 packs of the Candy Cane kisses, and would take handfuls of these up to his office. Truly, I grew up on these, so I am so incredibly excited by this gift.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Once Upon a Book Club 2020 Advent Calendar Day 12

The Promise by Hazel Prior

I was not expecting Magnus to be illiterate. And while I don’t actually think that this is how to become literate, this is still an incredibly cute story.

This is a terrible picture, but this is an Alice in Wonderland blanket. So in their first advent calendar, I got a blanket with the same script pattern that is in so many of their gifts and packaging. That blanket is still one of my favorite blankets, and I use it to this day. Comparatively, this blanket is a lot thinner, and slightly less quality. And while I don’t want to seem ungrateful, I want you guys to know what I am thinking as I am opening the presents.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Owlcrate 2021 Advent Calendar Day 12

I will say that this is a really disappointing end to the advent calendar for me. It seems like it is just a regular tea strainer that they put a design on, which is beautiful, but lackluster to me.

In terms of the advent calendar, I think there were some great gifts, but overall it was disappointing. For the price, it was worth it, but does not hold up to other higher end advent calendars. I will not be investing in this in the future, but I think it was worth the experience to see what other options are available.

Once Upon a Book Club 2020 Advent Calendar Day 11

The Right Path by Krista Holly

Out of all of the stories, I think this is one of the top ones that I didn’t get into. I think that if this story was expanded or shrunk, it probably would have been better, but because of the size of the story, it didn’t flow very well in my opinion.

...sitting in our camping chairs and taking in each other like we're just now seeing all the connections, he reaches into his pocket, pulls out a small box and opens it.

I’ll be honest, the ring is already on my finger as I am writing this review. I absolutely love it. As for the stool thingy, I probably will never use it. It is annoying to try and put away, and it is incredibly small, but I am saying all of this as someone who never camps.

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!

Owlcrate 2021 Advent Calendar Day 11

Woof! This one has a very strong maple smell! If you have been a fan for a while, you probably know that I am a candle junkie, so I am very excited for this one! Keep in mind that this is probably about 6 hours of burn time, but it seems very potent. I have yet to burn it, but keep in mind that burning it diffuses the smell, which means it might lose a lot of that punch during burning.

Once Upon a Book Club 2020 Advent Calendar Day 10

Long Overdue by Wendy Waltrip

I cannot explain to you how much I love this concept. Heads up for anyone who is trying to date me (though I feel like I am going to already regret putting this energy out in the world), send me cute notes like this. I think everyone wants to feel noticed, and that includes me!

*Copied from Amazon*

How long does it take to travel twenty light years to Earth?

How long does it take to fall in love?

To the universe, eight days is a mere blip, but to Matty Jones, it may be just enough time to change his life.

On the hot summer day Matty’s dad leaves for good, a strange girl suddenly appears in the empty field next to the Jones farm—the very field in rural Pennsylvania where a spaceship supposedly landed fifty years ago. She is uniquely beautiful, sweet, and smart, and she tells Matty she’s waiting for her spaceship to pick her up and return her to her home planet. Of course she is.

Matty has heard a million impossible UFO stories for each of his seventeen years: the conspiracy theories, the wild rumors, the crazy belief in life beyond the stars. When he was a kid, he and his dad searched the skies and studied the constellations. But all of that is behind him. Dad’s gone—but now there’s Priya. She must be crazy…right?

As Matty unravels the mystery of the girl in the field, he realizes there is far more to her than he first imagined. And if he can learn to believe in what he can’t see: the universe, aliens…love…then maybe the impossible is possible, after all.

I’ll be completely honest, out of the books from this calendar, this is the least likely one I would pick up to read. I absolutely love the cover art, and I feel like I probably would have selected this book by the cover, but the synopsis is not drawing me in this time around (which is totally okay. Not all books were made for me).

If you guys have any thoughts or ideas, feel free to leave a comment, find me on the social medias at @elizabooksblog, or email me at elizabethslick@elizabethsbookstore.blog. And as always, I’ll see you all in the next book!