Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten… Harry Potter Character Names

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. If you love books and making lists, this is the meme for you! This week’s topic is:

Best Character Names (make this as narrow/broad as you’d like)

As soon as I started thinking about this topic, I realised just how many great character names there are in J K Rowling’s magical Harry Potter series. So here are my favourite cool and/or amusing Harry Potter character names:

  1. Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore – The eccentric and wise headmaster of Hogwarts, has the longest and possibly the coolest name.
  2. Luna Lovegood – While she is extremely quirky and has some oddball beliefs, you just got to love Luna! And I think her name suits her perfectly. (I also considered her father’s name, Xenophilius Lovegood for this list).
  3. Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank – Hands down the funniest name has to go to Grubbly-Plank, the substitute Care of Magical Creatures professor.
  4. Mundungus Fletcher – A cowardly, light-fingered wizard dragged in to help the Order of the Phoenix – I often call my cat ‘Mundungus’ when she is being shameless!
  5. Fleur Delacour – This French Tri-Wizard champion is part-Veela (a magically seductive creature) who has a name as beautiful as she is.
  6. Salazar Slytherin – Over a 1000 years ago this pure-blood obsessed wizard founded the Slytherin house at Hogwarts and his name screams baddie!
  7. Bellatrix Lestrange – Another name that screams baddie is this for the  sadistic and deranged witch and an ardent follower of Lord Voldermort.
  8. Pomona Sprout – What better name could there be for a small, round witch, who is the magical plant-loving professor of Herbology?
  9. Nymphadora Tonks – This Metamorphmagus (a witch or wizard who can change their appearance at will) is one cool lady with a cool name.
  10. Cornelius Fudge – A whimsical name for the bumbling, good-natured Minister for Magic, who helps Harry out of a few sticky situations, when we first meet him.

What do you think of my choices? What are your favourite Harry Potter character names? Also, please leave a link in the comments below if you have taken part in this week’s TTT topic too.


New Books: April & May 2018

Hello my fellow bookworms, it has been a while but as I only got my hands on a handful of new books each month, I decided to wait and combine my post for April and May. So here are the goodies I have added to my Kindle and shelves:

The Poison Bed by E C Fremantle

The Testament of Loki by Joanne M. Harris

In April, I was thrilled to get my hands on, via NetGalley, copies of historical mystery The Poison Bed (a new direction for Fremantle, who is best known for her Tudor novels) and The Testament of Loki, the second book of Harris’ brilliant re-imagining of Norse Gods and legends. Having previously enjoyed both these authors I look forward to reading more.

Vanishing Grace by Philip Yancey

Also in April, from World of Books, I ordered a bargain, second-hand copy of this Christian non-fiction. In which best-selling evangelical author, Yancey discusses whatever happened to the good news? This is my May read for my church’s book club.

A Symphony of Echoes by Jodi Taylor

Then at the beginning of May, I snapped up this, the second book in Taylor’s The Chronicles of St Mary’s series, for just 99p from Amazon (UK), which I put on my wish list after really enjoying the first book, Just One Damned Thing After Another last year.

The Memory Tree by John A Heldt

Next I was contacted and happily accepted a review copy of Heldt’s new time-travel novel, which is the second book in his Carson Chronicles series. I have enjoyed several books from Heldt’s earlier American Journey series, so I look forward to trying more.

The Little Shop of Found Things by Paula Brackston

Bellewether by Susanna Kearsley

And finally, but certainly not least I acquired, from NetGalley, copies of these two brand-new, dual-narrative/time-shifting novels… if you read this blog regularly you will know this is like one of my favourite genres AND that Kearsley is one of favourite authors! I am immensely looking forward to reading both of these!

Do you fancy any of these? What new books have you got recently?

New Read: Queen of Hearts, Volume 3: War of the Cards

I really can’t believe that it was back in 2014 that I read the fantastic Volume 1: The Crown and Volume 2: The Wonder of Colleen Oakes’ twisted YA Wonderland re-imagining, Queen of Hearts. Finally, three years, a new publisher and republications of the earlier two volumes later, we have the concluding part, Volume 3: War of the Cards! (Warning: this will probably contain spoilers for the earlier volumes).

In this final volume, we re-join Dinah, the exiled princess of Wonderland, as she marches her fractious army of Spades and Yurkei warriors on to the palace of Wonderland. Where her father, the cruel King of Hearts, and his deadly army of Hearts await for a final, bloody showdown. Although gripped by fear and doubt, Dinah is propelled on by a burning rage that seeks revenge for the brutal murder of her beloved brother Charles and to claim the throne which is rightfully hers. But an inner battle rages within Dinah too – with such all-consuming love and fury can she be the ruler the kingdom needs? Or will her tumultuous nature bring Wonderland to its knees?

Through-out this trilogy, I have been fascinated to watch our young, head-strong and rebellious protagonist grow and survive through so many harsh trials and tribulations. Now she is a strong, brave woman with such high expectations on her shoulders to be a strong, wise and victorious leader. I couldn’t help but to continue to pity her in this book. However Dinah is an imperfect character. In particular, in this conclusion, there is one absolutely horrific incident, which, while I could sympathise with how she came to feel so hurt and angry, I could never condone her terrible reaction. If only she could hear me shouting stop!

Although if Dinah didn’t have a darker side to her, she wouldn’t be a very convincing Queen of Hearts now would she! And I do have to praise Oakes’ better fleshed out and more realistic take on the quintessential characters of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, such as Cheshire, the royal advisor; the Caterpillar, a Yurkei witch-doctor and Charles, the Mad Hatter. Also I loved Oakes’ clever twists on the classic elements of the cards, magical food and the Jabberwocky. Even though I went into this knowing what should become of Dinah, Oakes was still able to generate tension, throw me some real curve balls and leave me with a hopeful note.

All in all, I thought War of the Cards was a fitting and very satisfying ending to this clever and refreshing re-imagining of Wonderland. It was worth the wait! After enjoying this and her Wendy Darling series, I am interested to see what Oakes will do next. Great read.

Thank you to the publishers for providing a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Have you read this? Or any other re-imaginings of classic tales?

I am also including this book towards my What’s in a Name 2018 reading challenge, as a title with a shape in it. (1/5)

The Classics Club’s Monthly Meme: May 2018

Happily, I can announce that The Classics Club are bringing back their monthly Classic Meme feature., which I thought was a great opportunity for clubbers to discuss and share all things Classics. This month’s question revisits the very first meme question the club ever did! In the future, we can look forward to new memes, revisiting some old ones and offering our own recommendations, too! So head over to the club’s blog if you have any ideas.

For now though, the question to ponder this month is:

‘What is your favourite classic book? Why?’

I have to admit that this was a tough question to answer the first time and it certainly hasn’t got any easier with time, as I have now read even more wonderful classics! I could pick Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens or Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. However I still find myself drawn back to the answer I gave the first time, which was The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien.

No matter how many amazing, accomplished classics I have read, so far nothing has knocked this childhood favourite from its special place in my heart, and I still find myself returning to it time and time again. Not only is this a magical tale that sweeps me away to Tolkien’s stunning Middle-Earth for a daring adventure with little Bilbo Baggins, this also holds wonderful memories for me. One of my earliest memories is of my dad reading this to me at bedtime and our shared love of this book was a big thing between my nan, my dad and I before she sadly passed. So with adventure, magic, songs, treasure, danger, friendship, a dragon and wonderful memories, what more could I want in a classic?!

What is your favourite classic and why? Also, please feel free to leave a link in the comments below for your own post for this month’s meme.

New Read: God’s Smuggler

As a practicing Christian, I like to read Christian literature to help with the growth of my faith and I am very lucky that my church has it’s own book club to help me with this. In February, we read The Case for Grace by New York Times bestselling author Lee Strobel. Next up was a classic of Christian literature, God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew (with John and Elizabeth Sherrill).

First published here in the UK back in 1968, God’s Smuggler tells the inspiring tale of a young, poor Dutchman, Andrew van der Bijl, who following the rise of Communism after WWII finds himself called to help the Christians trapped behind the Iron Curtain. As a child he dreamt of being a spy, as a man he worked undercover for God: smuggling first a few, then hundreds, then thousands of Bibles across dangerous borders into needy hands. Relying not on his own ingenuity or luck, but on the miraculous ways of God to provide and protect him. At certain points, this true story reads more like a page-turning thriller! I was left in awe of his exploits and tremendous faith.

In the six decades since Andrew’s solo mission to Communist countries of Eastern Europe and China, covered in this book, his vision grew to become the organisation Open Doors, that is still serving millions of persecuted Christians in over fifty countries to this day. Following the success of this book Andrew found himself blacklisted from Communist countries and so he expanded his mission out to the Middle East, Africa, Asia and India, which is discussed in the epilogue by Al Janssen in my 60th anniversary edition.

When my church’s book club met to discuss this there was a general feeling of awe and inspiration from reading it. Although one member shared that Andrew’s courageous adventures made him feel like an inadequate Christian. However if you feel like this too, I would say that in this story there were also many more Christians who – while not physically going out in the mission – provided money, support, encouragement, resources and prayer without which Andrew’s mission could never have happened. I think God has a specific role, best suited to all of us, and all roles, big or small, done in the name of Lord are important.

Overall, I thought God’s Smuggler was an inspiring and thrilling tale of one man’s truly awesome faith and mission, which also made for a wonderful discussion point at my book club meeting. Our next read is Vanishing Grace by Philip Yancey. Great read.

Have you read this? Or heard of Brother Andrew, his mission or Open Doors?

Adaptations: April 2018

Hello my fellow bookworms and adaptation lovers, here are the adaptations I have been watching over the last month:

Troy: Fall of a City (2018)
Read     TV Series     Television

This year, the BBC aired a new ten-part ancient historical drama, based on the Trojan Wars of Greek mythology, which ambitiously spans the entire 10 year siege of the fabled city of Troy by the Greeks, after a Trojan prince steals away the beautiful Helen from her Greek husband. This sexy and stylish retelling of this tragic tale is brought to life by a great cast in brutally realistic detail, with no glossing over of the unpleasant truths of war. Good watch.

Peter Rabbit (2018)
Read     Film     Cinema

I simply had to go to the cinema to see this delightful, modern live action/animated film, inspired by my childhood favourite tales by Beatrix Potter. This mad-cap comedy begins with the arrival of old Mr McGregor’s nephew Thomas (Domhnall Gleeson). Who finds, to his horror, that his new garden, home and blossoming love with animal lover Bea (Rose Byrne) are unbelievably under attack by a band of audacious little rabbits! Good watch.

Ordeal by Innocence (2018)
Not Read     TV Series     Television

Also this year, the BBC aired a new stylish three-part crime drama based on Agatha Christie’s novel. In 1956 the wealthy, cold Rachel Argyll is murdered. Initially her delinquent son Jack is presumed guilty, but the appearance of a new witness throws that into doubt. This is a gripping, twisting mystery, peopled by a large, unpleasant cast of suspects. However the production has come under criticism for changes to the plot, but as I’ve never read the book I watched in blissful ignorance! Great watch.

And Then There Were None (2015)
Not Read     TV Series     Television

After loving the above drama, I watched this earlier three-part crime drama, based on another of Agatha Christie’s novels, which was available on BBC iPlayer. In 1939, eight strangers are mysteriously invited to a small, isolated island off the coast of Devon, only to find themselves being picked off, one-by-one! I loved this bloody, gripping mystery, with a host of British stars and an almighty dramatic twist, even more than the one above. Great watch.

That’s four new-to-me adaptations watched. I also re-watched the brilliant Thor (2011), the very cool Iron Man (2008) and the newer Conan the Barbarian (2011), while this is visually stunning it has not displaced the classic Arnie film for me. That brings my total to seven adaptations.

As for non-adaptations, I watched the heart pounding 7th series of US political drama Homeland and the fascinating documentary Jesus’ Female Disciples: The New Evidence, both on Channel 4.

Have you watched any of these? What did you watch in April?

Goodbye April, Hello May 2018

Hello my fellow bookworms, I hope you are well? Well as you can see from my photo above, Bonnie and I got out to enjoy the few days of sunshine we had this month, although sadly it didn’t last! I also enjoyed celebrating Easter with friends and family, as well as taking a well-earned break over the Easter break. Over the month, here is what I’ve been reading:

Fiction: 2          Non-Fiction: 1

First I finished urban fantasy Hazard of Shadows by Mike Phillips, the second book in Phillip’s Chronicles of the Goblin King series. While I didn’t quite enjoy it as much as the first book, The World Below, it was a fun, light read. Then I was totally gripped by the brilliantly written historical fiction The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory, the second book in Gregory’s popular Cousins’ War series, which shows the War of the Roses from the perspective of Margaret Beaufort, the mother of Henry Tudor.

Alongside these fictions, I also read the Christian classic God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew, the inspirational true story of how a young Dutchman brought hope to persecuted Christians in Communist Eastern Europe. This was my April read for my church’s book club and I look forward to discussing it at our next meeting. My full thoughts on it are still to be posted – look out for my post later this week.

Pick of the Month: God’s Smuggler

Altogether that is three books finished, which is the same amount as last month. Carrying on into May, I have non-fiction, Charles II, Biography of an Infamous King by John Miller; young adult fantasy, Queen of Hearts, Volume 3: War of the Cards by Colleen Oakes and my Classic Club spin result: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë.

In May, I am looking forward to celebrating the birthdays of several friends and family members; my book club meeting to discuss God’s Smuggler and of course more quality time reading.

What did you do and read in April? What are your plans for May?