Tag Archives: Harry Potter

Off Topic Thursday: Wizards Unite

27 Jun

My husband will be the first to tell you that I was not encouraging when Pokémon Go came out. He was teaching at the time and would spend six hours a day playing. H would go on hour-long walks and drive to places so he could play the game. It seemed like too much to me.

And then Wizards Unite came out. And I’m doing the exact same things he did. I drove through a parking lot today on my way to a friend’s house to get Spells. I’m using my external battery so I can play for a half hour at the stop closest to my apartment. And I’m having a lot of fun.

I won’t get too deep into the game, but there are a few things I want to touch on. I think the tutorial for battle needed to be stronger. I ended up using a YouTube video to figure it out. I feel like I see the same items all the time and I’ve never seen others which is probably encouraging me to play in other locations. Oh well, I will eventually. I think the spells are very limiting. I think the baby niffler is adorable.

I’m not sure how long I’ll continue to play. I had a slow weekend because it was a recovery week for training and I’m nursing a sore knee and thus not running. It’s good for me to still be getting outside and walking around, stretching it and staying active. With some busy travel coming up, I’m not sure it will go on.

But for now, it’s fun. If you want to add me as a Friend, I posted my Friend ID on Facebook over the weekend so check that link in my closing block.  Maybe we can trade fragments soon? Maybe?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!


Book Review: Harry Potter y las Reliquias de la Muerte (4/5)

24 Apr

I did it! I finally finished my Spanish language book for 2018. It took me almost four months this time but I’m so glad to say I finally finished and even more excited because it means I’ve finished my read through in Spanish which I started in 2012. Yep, it was that long. I started off strong and read the first four in a year but then I slowed way down when I started working full-time. But it’s done and I’m now working on the illustrated versions as they’re released. I’m currently behind and only on the second book. But that’s a story for another post.

Cover image via Goodreads

Harry Potter y las Reliquias de la Muerte (Harry Potter #7) by J.K. Rowling

Other books by Rowling reviewed on this blog:

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I and II by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, Illustrated by Jim Kay
Harry Potter y el Orden del Fenix by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter y el Misterio del Principe by J.K. Rowling
Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

Summary from Goodreads:

Concluye así la serie más vendida de la historia de la edición, que a la postre se ha revelado como un gigantesco puzzle literario de casi 3.700 páginas dividido en siete partes. Con un ritmo infernal que corta el aliento, y un final tan emocionante como inesperado, el último libro constituye un broche de oro en el que infinidad de detalles que surgieron en las seis entregas anteriores cobran sentido y tienen una explicación exacta, dejando al lector maravillado ante tan inmensa obra de relojería.

Man, did my spell check hate the Spanish summary. Oh well. If you don’t know what this book is about, I’m not going to spoil it by posting the summary in English. You’ll have to read the first six first (or at least those summaries). This was one of my least favorite books in the series when I read it the first time and I liked it marginally more now, having watched the final movie enough and recognizing the deep emotions that I flew past when reading it the first time (and admittedly skimming them again this time). I liked the structure that the books got when they focused on a year at Hogwarts. There was Quidditch (except book 4), classes, holidays, and a huge host of characters that showed up each year. I missed this structure in the final book and even though there are epic adventures, there was minimal McGonnagal. And that’s sad no matter how you slice it.

I think one of the reasons this book translated well to screen for me was because the emotional turmoil that Harry goes through fell flat to me a bit on the page. These characters are going through a war and it was hard for me to see that Ron was so moved by his brother’s death or that Harry was scared to face his death. The writing worked better for me in the first six books but it was a bit lacking for me in this one.

I don’t normally say this with Potter books, but Harry was my favorite character in this one. He’s finally matured and stopped yelling at everyone which is really refreshing. He’s also very strong when it’s needed of him. He figures things out and is smart, but not unbelievably so because he asks for help when he needs it. And I can’t forget brave. He’s very brave in this book but he shows his weakness. With the way the plot’s structured, you’re a bit out of luck if you don’t like Harry in this book because the other characters don’t play as big of a role.

Unfortunately, the characters aren’t very relatable in this book. The situation Harry’s going through is very unique and it’s not very comparable to anything in my everyday life. At this point in the series, I’m reading because of my investment in the story, not because I feel a personal connection to the characters.

J.K. Rowling
Image via The Telegraph

I read this over such a long period of time that it’s hard to remember specific parts I enjoyed. I did like the time at Shell Cottage, which was drastically shortened in the movies. I’d forgotten how much they disliked Griphook and it was such a joy when Remus showed up to announce Teddy’s birth.

I’m not a fan of the epilogue. It does show that everything was able to return to normal, in a way, but it also shows that people chose odd names for their children and sets up for a sequel that I’m still sorting my feelings out about. I think it could have involved a lot less name dropping and focused more on Harry and Albus. It was too busy for me.


Love was a very strong theme in this last book. Ron and Hermione’s feelings for one another, Harry for Ginny, love between family members and loving friendships. Voldemort’s lack of love was not as obvious to me as I wish it had been, but I did see some great examples of it. Someone who kills a loyal follower like Severus as quickly as Voldemort did is clearly incapable of love. You do get a glimpse of Bellatrix’s feelings for Voldemort, though, and I liked realizing that wasn’t as much of an afterthought as I originally thought it might have been.

Writer’s Takeaway: Wrapping up a series can be incredibly difficult and I really commend Rowling for how well she was able to do it. Of course, not everyone will be satisfied. But she did a great job of tying up her loose ends and giving readers the ending they wanted without it being easy to get. I can’t say I ever plan to write a seven book series, but if I do, I hope I can wrap it up as well.

Overall an amazing book but hard to compare it to the other amazing books in this series. Four out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” by J.K. Rowling (Book 7) | NardiViews
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling | One Book Two
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows | Vulpes Libris

A Bookworm’s Christmas

8 Jan

Santa knew just what I would like! Well, my husband and future sister-in-law did for sure. It was modest this year with three books gifted to me. I’m excited to read them all!

A staple gift from my husband, I got the new illustrated Harry Potter, Prisoner of Azkeban. I haven’t finished reading the second one yet so the new book will go to my Harry Potter shelf (yes, I have one) while I keep picking away at Chamber of Secrets. I told myself I wouldn’t look at the beautiful pictures, but I may have cheated a bit!

I got two other books this year, too. The first is The Invisible Guardian by Dolores Redondo. My sister-in-law-to-be has cemented a new family tradition in place by buying us books for Christmas every year. I love this. My selection this year was based on my Spanish degree. The book is originally published in Spanish and takes places in Basque Country, Spain. I’m excited to see if there are cultural elements in the book that I’ll recognize from my research.

The final book was a second book from my husband. I’ve been reading more and more running books as I get more involved in distance running and triathlon. This one is about a dog who follows an ultra-marathoner and becomes a training partner. It looks like a really sweet story and I’m excited to read it and find out more.

Did Santa bring you any books? What about friends or family? I hope you enjoy your Christmas reads. Happy new year and happy reading!

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

PotterCon Detroit!

29 May

My amazing husband got me a great birthday present. I went to PotterCon! I didn’t even know about this event when I first opened the present but I got really excited all of April leading up to it.

In addition to my husband and I, another couple was coming with us. Here are our costumes. Can you guess who we are? The thing in my left hand is a book on a stick, that’s not part of the costume.

After waiting forever in line (very confusing which line to go in), we got inside the Masonic. This was the perfect location to have this event because it felt like Hogwarts. We were going up and down stairs, along passages and never really able to find our way from one room to another. If you look at the picture on the web link I included, it shows the room where they held Quidditch demonstrations and trivia. It was beautiful.

The first thing we did was get drinks! The event is 21+ so drinks were happening. I had a Butterbeer (picture below) which was scrumptious. Then we went to get sorted. Or we thought we’d get sorted. You put your name in a lottery and they drew names of people to sort. It was fun; they asked questions and the person answered and then the crowd shouted what house they thought the person should be in. None of my friends were picked, unfortunately.

We explored the castle, looking at wand making, the Diagon Alley stores, and Quidditch-pong. One of the things I really wanted to do was trivia! We ran into two more friends who joined our massive team. We decided to do intermediate trivia because a few of us are pretty knowledgeable. I think there was some kind of huge mistake. Husband and I caught the end of the novice trivia questions and some of them were WAY harder than the ones we got. We only got one question wrong and missed one bonus point. There was a grand suspicion that the questions had been mixed up. Needless to say, there was a massive tie for first and we were part of it! I was selected to represent my team and we went to the stage and were given a category. The category was Hogwarts Professors and we went down the line, each naming one until we couldn’t and were eliminated. I made it through two rounds, which only about eight people did. Not too bad!

After that, we went and got lunch, which was probably the least organized thing of the whole day. There were only 3 food trucks for 9,000 people! It took about an hour for us to eat burritos. After that, we were pretty tired and decided to go watch the costume contest finals before heading home. The finalists were amazing! I was so impressed with their costumes. My favorite was a woman dressed as Madame Pomfrey who had a freaking hoop skirt on! The woman who won was the Fat Lady, complete with frame and broken wine glass. It was really epic and well deserved.

It was a long, exhausting, amazing day. I hope there’s another event like this because it was well worth the ticket price. And I now have a cosplay costume! (Assuming at least two other people come with me.)

To my American readers, enjoy the Memorial Day holiday. I’m relaxing at the lake house.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

My Very Potter Birthday

17 Apr

My birthday was a few weeks ago and I’m very fortunate to have a family who embraces my Potterheadedness. I got pottered from all sides.

The first was my husband. He picked up the mail on his way home one night and when I went to go through it later, I found an envelope addressed to me, living in ‘The Bedroom Next to the Stairs.’ It was perfect and sealed with a green wax seal. Inside was a Hogwarts acceptance letter and a flier for the local Pottercon. We’re going! It was the coolest way to let me know and I am looking forward to it a lot.

The second Harry themed gift was also from my husband. He made me a Harry Potter game. I kid you not! It’s a mix between Clue and a tile-based haunting game we played with some friends which I cannot remember the name of for the life of me. (This also means I can’t find it on Google so it must not exist.) We’ve playtested it a few times and I think we’ve worked out the kinks. It might be time to get some other friends involved.

The third present was from my parents. They got me a Hogwarts Alumni shirt which I’m in love with. I need a good place/reason to wear it soon because I’m dying to. I wore it to the library but it was for a board meeting and I don’t think my fellow board members appreciated it properly.

The final gift was unintentionally Potter-related. I asked my parents for a small bookshelf that I’m using for all my Potter books as well as the other YA series my husband and I own. I’ve been told it ended up quite shrine-like.

I’m excited to keep filling this one up with illustrated editions and future Fantastic Beasts screenplays. It’s going to be awesome.

Happy Potter Birthday to me!

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Discussion: Do you change your world to fit fan demands?

22 Sep

My husband sent me this article from Vox. It talks about the homosexual undertones in the newest Harry Potter installment and the subtextual content of the previous seven books. It’s an interesting argument to be sure, but it got me thinking.

Rowling originally wrote the series for young children (I believe I was in 4th grade when I read the first one). Now, some of you might argue with me here, but my experience was that I wasn’t introduced to homosexuality outright until I was in the 7th or 8th grade. This isn’t to say that my experience is normal or that this is right, it’s just my experience. I grew up with no gay relatives or close family friends that necessitated it being explained to me that not every house was like mine, the assumption I believe many of us make growing up. Now, I’m going to extrapolate here that I’m not the only one who grew up this way though obviously, not everyone did. Breaching the topic of homosexuality can be more delicate in some homes than others and, like ‘the talk,’ I think many parents want to talk to their children about these topics before they come up in social situations. The age at which parents do this, I believe, depends on the culture the child is raised in and the social context of that childhood.

Feel free to argue, this is a set of assumptions based on my (American Midwestern) upbringing. It allows me to make this next assumption.

Because homosexuality can be introduced to children at different ages through adolescence depending on upbringing, I don’t believe it’s common in books aimed at middle-grade reading levels. I’ve seen a surge in YA books with homosexual protagonists or main themes, but I haven’t seen many middle-grade books. I think this is for the reasons I outlined above.

Going back to Harry.

If the first book is aimed at a middle-grade audience, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for Rowling to have excluded homosexual characters from her book. Sexuality in general was not stressed in the novel. Besides parents, there are no references to romantic relationships among the core group of characters and because we looked through Harry’s eyes, any on the periphery didn’t play a main role. Looking at the first book alone, I don’t think many would argue that Rowling stuck to the expected content of a book aimed at that age group.

But there are seven books, not one. And as the characters grew up, so did the reading level and intended audience. 19 years later, we’re reading a book where the 11-year-old who lived under the stairs is the father of an angry 13-year-old. Harry grew up. Should the world have ‘grown up’ too?

The article criticizes Rowling for writing a highly white heteronormative series. With a few exceptions (Dean, the Patil twins, Cho), this is a fairly accurate assumption. Dumbledore was never explicitly gay in the books and fans only know of this because of interviews Rowling later gave.

Here’s my question: Should Rowling have added more explicit descriptions of some characters homosexuality in later books?

PRO: Her audience matured and would have been able to deal with the changing characters as their own worldview was changing as they aged. By the time Cursed Child came out this year, many of us who remember reading the books as they were released are old enough to have children of our own (though some have turtles and that’s totally fine). A lack of homosexual characters is not reflective of reality and we’re to believe that wizards are born the same way as Muggles and would, therefore, have similar instances of homosexuality in their culture. Rowling’s world is not representative of modern Britain.

CON: Rowling started the book series to appeal to a young audience. Adding explicit references to homosexual characters could deter parents from having children enjoy the series at a young age. After the world was established as heteronormative, adding homosexual references would have been forced and might have led to inconsistencies in Rowling’s characterization of many main characters.

I’m unsure what to think about the instance of Harry Potter. As for myself, it’s making me look at my writing and wonder if I’ve included the diversity fans would expect from my stories in terms of sexual preference. Do I have the diversity of characters in terms of race, educational background, religion, etc. that my story deserves or would be expected to have? Should I look at my characters in terms of what (possible) fans might expect from my world or are they my characters to form as I originally saw them? Has being a white heterosexual Catholic tinged my character selection to a point where it’s arguably skewed? What steps should I/would I be asked to take to correct this? Would I be getting too far away from ‘write what you know?’

I think this topic can be applied to all kinds of diversity in a huge number of books. I’m curious how you all feel about this and I love using Harry as a common launching point for discussion. Please be kind and realize we all come from strongly different backgrounds.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling (5/5)

15 Aug

I was so beyond excited to read this book. I’ve been looking forward to it since it was announced and I went to a midnight release party to celebrate it. Would I surprise anyone if I said I finished it by 2:30 PM the day it came out? I didn’t think so.

Cover image via Goodreads

Cover image via Goodreads

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I and II by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne

Other books by this author:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, Illustrated by Jim Kay
Harry Potter y el orden del fenix by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter y el misterio del principe by J.K. Rowling
Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling
Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling
The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

Summary from Goodreads:

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 was apprehensive, to be honest. This is my favorite franchise of all time, what if it wasn’t what I was hoping for? It was so fun to see the characters I love all grown up and grappling with parenting. It was great to meet the young children we only get a very brief glimpse into during the epilog of the 7th book. This was everything I could have hoped for. I’m going to try to keep this spoiler free and I’ll let you all know if you need to skip a paragraph.

I loved Scorpius and Albus. It would have been easy to make them similar to their fathers but Rowling (who I’m going to credit with the plot for this review) built them into entirely different people. I liked how they developed and interacted during the accelerated first years of the book and I enjoyed their relationship during the main focus of the plot as well. Again, I don’t want to get to any spoilers here, but Scorpius was very smart and resourceful when he needed to be and he had that Slytherin cunning to get him through.

If it’s not obvious, Scorpius was my favorite character. It was too easy to read Albus as a whiny teenager while Scorpius had real problems to deal with and a positive outlook on things that were beyond his control. I liked Ron the least. I thought he was turned too much into a bumbling dumb old man. It was disappointing.

I think Albus was easy to relate to. Growing up, I felt the pressure to be like my parents. I should be as successful as them, as happy as them, and do the work they did. I can’t imagine what that pressure would feel like if Harry Potter was my dad! The end of Deathly Hallows gives us a rosy view of Albus but this book really digs into the difficulty he has to go through.

J.K. Rowling Image via The Telegraph

J.K. Rowling
Image via The Telegraph

Ok, being vague here to not give away the plot. I liked Scorpius and Albus’s adventures in the meat of the novel. I liked what they had to go through to fix the problems and put things back to how they were. Was that vague enough? I hope so. If you read the book, I hope you know what I’m talking about.

I think the biggest difference to me between this play and the original novels was the multiple points of view. Not only do we get Albus and Scorpius’s conversations, but we have Harry and Ginny as well as Hermione and Ron. That was weird for me and threw me off a bit. I know it’s better for a play, but it was not ‘Harry Potter-y’ and to me was one of the most marked differences.


I think we’ve all wondered what would happen if one thing in our past changed. Maybe something that we consider insignificant but it could have resounding impacts on the future. I liked the way this was explored in the novel. (Again, trying to be vague here.) I thought the alternatives that were presented made sense and showed how important every part of our past can be.

Writer’s Takeaway: I hadn’t read a play in a while. I read Shakespeare in high school but I honestly think that might be the last time I cracked one open. It was fun to read this style again, but I see why Rowling needed some assistance to be an effective writer in this format. There’s a lot to consider with who is on stage when, how much you can do with effects, scene changes, etc. I think the team pulled the whole thing off well.

Yes, it’s because of the nostalgia and I don’t care. A full Five out of Five stars.

I did the math and the majority of this plot takes place in the future so I’m counting this title toward ‘the future’ time period for the When Are You Reading? Challenge.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on GoodreadsFacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Related Posts:
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling | GemsBookNook
Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne | Bookiecookie Blog

Book Release Party for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling

4 Aug

img_3221It should be no surprise to anyone here that I made a point of going to the midnight release party for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It might surprise you that HP is the only form of cosplay I’ll engage in. My trip to Universal Studios in February added socks, a scarf, and a Slytherin pin to this ensemble. The rest is a time turner from a purchase at Barnes & Noble, a cape left over from one of my husband’s old Halloween costumes, an old black skirt (with running shorts underneath because man is that thing short!) and a t-shirt my sister-in-law made for me that says, “My Patronus is a Bookwork.” I added green eye shadow and was good to go. Thankfully, I was walking around Ann Arbor in a cape and not another city where this might be weird. Seriously, no one stared at me. Really.

img_3225We went to Literati Bookstore for the event. This is probably my favorite independent bookstore in existence for many reasons that I’ve articulated before. It was raining that night so my good friend Kristine (my partner in magic for the night) and I didn’t explore AA too much before the event. We picked up some ice cream (and I Instagrammed the image on the left while in line of my awesome lip-liner scar) before heading over as fast as we could to Literati. The party started at ten but we got there at nine to look at books and grab a cup of tea. I’m glad we got there early because we got to talk to the staff about their amazing costumes and watch them set up, getting a good idea of the different things they’d set up around the store. There was a guest list of those who had registered so the store wasn’t overly crowded and we could get around easily which was great. You were handed a vial of ‘Liquid Luck’ (green tea) when you walked in and I’ll likely save the bottle forever. The basement had a sorting hat quiz. I surprisingly got Gryffindor for my results, with Slytherin second and Hufflepuff third. For consistency’s sake, I still took a Slytherin pin.

7210e9e2-528d-4ced-bfb0-6d595dfd0eb0There were some incredible costumes. The staff was Fawkes, Draco, Harry, Luna, Trelawney, Moody, Dumbledore, Bellatrix, and Rita Skeeter. There was a costume contest for those not on staff and the winner was a girl dressed as Moody with an amazing staff and scars on her face. My second favorite were two moms who dressed as the Weasley twins. Their daughters were so proud. They were serving Butterbeer from the Espresso Bar and there was a birthday cake for everyone to take a slice of. The first movie was playing in the cafe all night except for the costume contest. There were stations for wand making and temporary tattoos. I was surprised to see a few girls get the ‘I must not tell lies’ tattoo on their wrists. Come on, people! My favorite was a young 10-year-old who walked up to her dad and put a lightening bolt right on his hairline and he didn’t flinch. Dad of the year right there!

img_3232At 20-till we lined up on the first floor in front of the registers.  I was so excited! Kristine took a few pictures of me and I think it’s pretty obvious how excited I am! We counted down to midnight and I immediately led the crowd in a chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’ for Harry. I didn’t exactly cry when I was handed my copy, but I was darn close!

It was late and I had a long drive so Kristine and I parted ways and I headed home. Due to some lovely construction (thank you, Michigan Department of Transportation), it took me about an hour to get home. My plan was to read until I feel asleep, but the drive alone was rough so I didn’t want to push it. I read 40 pages before falling asleep.

I picked it right up in the morning and was half-way through before church. I finished it that afternoon. I don’t want to talk too much about the book here because I’ll post a review post next week.

img_3236Huge shout out to Kristine for going to this event with me! I had so much fun. It was 2007 the last time I went to a midnight release for a book and that was Potter as well. I doubt I’ll ever go to a launch for anything different. The magic is real and it never ends!

Until next time, write on.


You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

Book Review(ish): Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, Illustrated by Jim Kay (5/5)

18 Jul

So while this is technically a book review, it’s going to be more of an illustration review. I now own six copies of this story; three books and three movies. For those curious, that’s the original Scholastic (American) printing in hardcover, the Salamandra (Spain) print in paperback, the illustrated, one VHS copy, and two DVD copies (one on its own and the other part of a four-disk set). I’m a bit obsessed and very proud of it. My husband teased me endlessly when I said I wanted the illustrated edition for Christmas. But that was only to dissuade me from buying it so he could give it to me. The little stinker


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay

The beloved first book of the Harry Potter series, now fully illustrated by award-winning artist Jim Kay.

For the first time, J. K. Rowling’s beloved Harry Potter books will be presented in lavishly illustrated full-color editions. Rowling herself selected artist Jim Kay, whose over one hundred illustrations make this deluxe format as perfect a gift for the child being introduced to the series as for the dedicated fan.

Yep, I’m for sure part of the ‘dedicated fan’ this was marketed to. I pre-ordered the Chamber of Secrets illustrated a month ago and it doesn’t come out until October. So. Pumped.

I reread this slowly, in bits as I waited for my husband to get ready for church or while dinner was cooking. The last week, I read it a bit more in a hurry, but never too fast. There’s no reason to speed through these gorgeous illustrations.

Kay does an amazing job. The characters look the way they’re described in the books, not like the actors in the films. Some things were, I thought, a bit too far off (the Sorting Hat) but other things were spot on (Snape). I don’t want to share pictures of it because they deserve to be treasured at their spot in the book as you read it. Which you should. Immediately.

The pages with no pictures were still beautiful, having drops of watercolor on them and a textured background that was lovely. I liked the small in-line pictures as well, of small things like Trevor. The full-page pictures were treasures, giving us images of characters like Dumbledore or Ron and depicting epic scenes like Hogwarts at night or Diagon Ally. There were a few full-page spreads (one is the cover, no big surprise) that were breathtakingly beautiful. I particularly enjoyed two illustrations that were modeled after a page or two from a magical textbook, one on trolls and another on dragon eggs. I thought that was a wonderfully creative way to get into the world.

I won’t say too much more. The story is amazing, as ever, and moved me to tears (as ever). The illustrations made me connect even more with the text and I loved it. I was happily surprised that it was the British text so now I own a third ‘translation’ (this being the original and the American and Spanish being seconds) of the book. I’m looking forward to the next one.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!

B+N Harry Potter Night

28 Jun

In the run up to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child being released next month (so soon), Barnes and Noble held a special Harry Potter themed night last Friday. I gathered up my fellow Potterhead and Cursed Child companion, YA author Kristine Kruppa and we headed out for a night of Harry fun!

Kristine being sorted into Slytherin.

Kristine being sorted into Slytherin.

We look great in paper ties.

We look great in paper ties.

The event was really well put together on B&N’s end. When you arrived, you received a scroll with a list of the activities and some puzzles (which were completed later with the hubby’s help). We were first sorted into our houses. Like in the book, you could ‘ask’ the Sorting Hat to put you into a particular house so into Hufflepuff I went! After we were sorted, we were asked to make house-color ties so we could identify our fellow housemates. I’ve not been so excited about coloring in a long time.

At the location we visited, the local Harry Potter club was volunteering to help run the activities which was great because there were even more fans than normal around. The staff was dressed up, too. My favorite was a bookseller dressed as Moaning Myrtle but another bookseller did a great Quidditch themed Harry himself. Even the baristas at the Starbucks counter were into it. We could go up to any bookseller or club member and be asked trivia questions which were later exchanged for house points. Kristine and I OWNED this. There was only one question I got wrong and I still feel bad about it.

If seen, contact the Ministry immediately.

If seen, contact the Ministry immediately.

There was this great photo booth where you could have your picture taken like an Azkaban headshot. Apparently, I was the first person to not smile in my picture. Who smiles in their Azkaban picture?

After about an hour, we were all assembled together to compete for the House Cup in Jeopardy! We came in third but I feel like it was biased in the favor of Gryffindor, haha. They kept getting bonus questions! Some of the questions were really hard and we ended up getting one wrong (darn).

Overall, it was a really fun night and I had a blast! I can’t wait for the release party. We’re going to a bookstore in a college town so maybe there will be more people our age to nerd out with. There’s got to be a ton of original Harry fans out there, right?

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!