Celebrate Harry Potter & J.K. Rowling’s Birthdays This Week (YA Book Events NYC 7/30-8/5)

It’s Harry Potter week! Well, kind of. This week Potterheads will celebrate Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling’s birthdays. But that’s not the only thing happening this week. Check out the full schedule below and make sure to follow YA Book Events NYC on Twitter to stay up to date with all the bookish events happening around the city.

Monday, July 30

Launch Event for The Darkest Legacy by Alexandra Bracken at Books of Wonder (6-8 p.m.)

Join NYT best-selling author Alexandra Bracken as she celebrates the release of the newest book in her Darkest Minds series, The Darkest Legacy. Free event.

Jennifer Gilmore: If Only w/ Adele Griffin at Books Are Magic (7:30-8:30 p.m.)

Acclaimed author Jennifer Gilmore will discuss her new novel, If Only, with Adele Griffin (Be True to Me). Free event.

Tuesday, July 31

Launch Event for The Life & Lies of Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore at Books of Wonder (6-8 p.m.)

Celebrate Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling’s birthday by joining Irvin Khaytman as he introduces his new book, The Life & Lies of Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. Free event.

Harry Potter 20th Anniversary Celebration at The Strand (6:30-10 p.m.)

To celebrate Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling’s birthdays, The Strand is hosting an incredible party that will include two trivia events, one for those 21 and under, and another for those 21+. Please note, the 21+ event is already sold out. Tickets for the 21 and under trivia event are available for $10.

Launching Kara Thomas’ The Cheerleaders at McNally Jackson (7 p.m.)

Join Kara Thomas as she celebrates the release of her latest thriller, The Cheerleaders. She’ll be in conversation with NYT best-selling author Karen M. McManus (One of Us Is Lying). Free event.

Wednesday, August 1

NYC Double Launch Event for Heart of Thorns and Sea Witch at Books of Wonder (6-8 p.m.)

Celebrate a wonderful double NYC launch event for two wonderful new teen books: Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton and Sea Witch by Sarah Henning. The event will be moderated by Zoraida Cordova (Bruja Born). Free event.

The Merciless Event at Barnes & Noble Upper West Side (7 p.m.)

Celebrate the release of the Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition of The Merciless by Danielle Vega. Free event.

Saturday, August 4

Fantastic Middle Grade Reads at Books of Wonder (1-3 p.m.)

Join Tui Sutherland (The Lost Continent), Peter Lerangis (Max Tilt), Sayantani Dasgupta (The Serpent’s Secret), Katie Slivensky (The Seismic Seven), and Stacy McAnulty (The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl) as they share their latest novels. Free event.

Fantastic Beasts Review

From Page to Screen: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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[Source: Warner Bros.]

I haven’t read the Fantastic Beasts book (neither the handbook version or the screenplay) so this will be a straight forward review, solely based on the film. Going into this movie I was very excited because it’s been a while since I’ve seen a Harry Potter movie in theaters and it was nice to get to do that again.

I saw Fantastic Beasts opening weekend when the film was of course sold out and everyone there were pretty hardcore Harry Potter fans. I’ve always loved going to see these kinds of movies on premiere weekends for this very reason. The atmosphere is just amazing and you don’t get that vibe if you see it in the afternoon on a random Tuesday.

So going into Fantastic Beasts I was very excited and the movie did not disappoint. The cast was absolutely phenomenal. Eddie Redmayne was the perfect Newt. He was cute and kind of awkward and just amazing. Dan Fogler, who played Jacob Kowalski, brought great comedy to the film. Ezra Miller as Credence was just creepy enough that I was weirded out but sympathetic enough that I was still on his side. Collin Farrell, however, made the perfect villain as Graves.

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[Source: Warner Bros.]

I absolutely loved Alison Sudol as Queenie. She was my favorite character hands down. Her sister, Tina (Katherine Waterston), however, was a bit annoying. I don’t blame Waterston for this though. I think Tina’s personality just irritated me and honestly I’m not exactly sure why. Towards the end she was okay though.

The plot itself was awesome and though I suspected that plot twist at the end I was still a little surprised by it. The action and magical scenes of the film were great as well. I was in awe of Newt’s suitcase and now want to live inside of it. I could’ve done without the bits of romance though. Queenie and Jacob were kind of cute but Newt and Tina’s little flirtation aired closer to the side of cringeworthy instead of awkwardly cute.

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[Source: Warner Bros.]

Overall though I really did like this movie and will probably end up buying the screenplay because honestly the cover just looks so incredibly gorgeous. Definitely go see the movie if you haven’t already. It’s totally worth at least one watch.

Did you see Fantastic Beasts? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below!

"The Cursed Child" Review (No Spoilers!)

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (No Spoilers!)

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Synopsis:

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

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.”

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

I went into this book with low expectations because a) this is a script of a play not an actual book and b) this isn’t really J. K. Rowling’s writing. Yes I’m sure she contributed but Jack Thorne really came up with this play so I didn’t expect it to be like the books and it wasn’t but it was still really good.

The play mainly follows Albus, the son of Harry, and Scorpius, the son of Draco, who were great characters. I truly loved Scorpius and I didn’t think I would, so that was a great surprise. He’s definitely my favorite character from this whole play. I also found it interesting how Albus and Scorpius friendship reflected both the relationships they had with their fathers as well as Harry and Draco’s interesting relationship.

I thought the Golden Trio were a bit different from what I remembered but I also took into account that they’re adults now with kids and that obviously changes a person. The changes I saw in them weren’t so drastic that it was unbelievable and I found Ron to be the most similar to what I would expect from an adult Ron. Ginny is still my fave and that hasn’t changed with this play. I thought she was fantastic and such a good mom and wife.

I found the story itself much different than what I would expect from a Harry Potter book but like I said this isn’t really J. K. Rowling’s writing so I didn’t expect it to be like previous books. As I’ve seen some other people say this story did feel a bit like fanfiction but a well written fanfiction. I do think the major plot point of the story is a bit far fetched and unbelievable to me but in choosing to just go with it I really enjoyed this story. I think if you take this story as something seperate from the Harry Potter stories and just as a fun piece of work that includes some of your favorite characters than you’ll really enjoy.

This one is a buy for me because I can actually see myself reading it again and also because nostalgia. Let me know if you’ve read The Cursed Child yet and tell me your thoughts (no spoilers!) in the comments below.

Stars:

4 stars

Favorite Line:

“That’s the thing, isn’t it? About friendships. You don’t know what he needs. You only know he needs it.”

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

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Synopsis:

It all comes down to this – a final faceoff between good and evil. You plan to pull out all the stops, but every time you solve one mystery, three more evolve. Do you stay the course you started, despite your lack of progress? Do you detour and follow a new lead that may not help? Do you listen to your instincts, or your friends?

Lord Voldemort is preparing for battle and so must Harry. With Ron and Hermione at his side, he’s trying to hunt down Voldemort’s Horcruxes, escape danger at every turn, and find a way to defeat evil once and for all. How does it all end? Find out in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

I finally did it! I have now read all the books in the Harry Potter series and I’m so glad I did. It was amazing you guys. Ginny is my new favorite character; she’s so bad ass. Molly Weasley and Professor McGonagall are queens. Everything about this book was perfect and I absolutely loved how it all ended. It’s so much better than the movies you guys! So much better!

The beginning of this book started a little slow for me. I was ready to dive into the action. Let’s find those Horcruxes you guys! Once it picked up though I was totally enthralled. I needed to know what would happen next (even though I did know what would happen next). I liked all the background we got on Dumbledore in this book and that he was also a flawed character. I also found Snape interesting. I don’t like him like I know a lot of people do because honestly I found his love for Lily to just be a really unhealthy obsession, but I understand him a bit more now so I don’t hate him.

Also, when Hermione and Ron finally kissed it was such a better moment than it was in the movies. It felt more earned to me in the books. When it happened I literally put down the book, laughed, and said, “Finally!” Speaking of kisses, the chemistry between Ginny and Harry in the books is fantastic and I ship them so hard. Did I mention I love Ginny?

Neville, Luna, and Dean were great as well and I’m kind of hoping Luna and Dean are together. I don’t know I just got some vibes there that maybe that was something that would happen. The loss of Lupin, Tonks, and Fred still made be tear up even though I was prepared for it. For why J. K. Rowling?

Overall, I was super happy with the book and I’m glad I finally read them. Now I just need the box set so that I can have these books always. I can’t wait to read The Cursed Child! Are you going to any release parties tonight? Let me know in the comments. Also, Happy Birthday Neville!

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and above all, those who live without love.”

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"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" Book Review

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

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Synopsis:

The war against Voldemort is not going well; even the Muggles have been affected. Dumbledore is absent from Hogwarts for long stretches of time, and the Order of the Phoenix has already suffered losses.

And yet . . . as with all wars, life goes on. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate. Teenagers flirt and fight and fall in love. Harry receives some extraordinary help in Potions from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince. And with Dumbledore’s guidance, he seeks out the full, complex story of the boy who became Lord Voldemort — and thus finds what may be his only vulnerability.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

It’s Harry Potter Week! Soon it’ll be Harry Potter’s birthday and The Cursed Child will be in my hands and thankfully I think I’ll actually be able to finish the last book just in time. For now that let’s discuss The Half-Blood Prince. I unfortunately I didn’t love it as much as The Order of the Phoenix, which I have now decided really is my favorite book, but The Half-Blood Prince was still really good.

I mostly enjoyed the relationships in this one. The characters are older now, which means they’re actually dating now causing a new set of problems for The Golden Trio. Lavender Brown was somehow more annoying in the book than she was in the movie I think, as was McLaggen. To be honest I’m definitely a Harry/Hermione shipper but I’m happy that Ron/Hermione and Harry/Ginny are endgame. Therefore it was painful seeing Ron and Hermione at odds. There were so many times I wanted to hit Ron because it was so obvious Hermione liked him and I couldn’t understand how he didn’t see that.

Also, Harry and Ginny were really cute and I agree with everyone that said book Ginny is much better than movie Ginny. I totally agree. Ginny, in the books, is more sassy and her relationship with Harry is more realistic (although I was surprised at how fast Ginny jumped into it but she obviously never got over Harry). The chemistry between Harry and Ginny was almost non-existent in the movie so it was great to really see why people shipped them together in the books. I get it now and I like them too.

What I most disliked about this book was how frustrating it was that no one believed Harry. I get why no one believed his accusations against Malfoy and Snape but it was so annoying when the whole time I knew Harry was right. Still, overall this book was great. There was romance and action and we learned a lot about Voldemort. I’m excited to finally read the last book and see how it all ends (even though I already kind of know).

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“Harry looked around; there was Ginny running toward him; she had a hard blazing look in her face as she threw her arms around him. And without thinking, without planning it, without worrying about the fact that fifty people were watching, Harry kissed her. After several long moments, or it might have been half an hour-or possibly several sunlit days- they broke apart.”

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Book Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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Synopsis:

In his fifth year at Hogwart’s, Harry faces challenges at every turn, from the dark threat of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and the unreliability of the government of the magical world to the rise of Ron Weasley as the keeper of the Gryffindor Quidditch Team. Along the way he learns about the strength of his friends, the fierceness of his enemies, and the meaning of sacrifice.

Purchase From:

Amazon, Barnes & NobleBook Depository

Review

Going into this novel I knew I was going to be sad by the end of it but I was still excited. I really enjoyed this novel especially because there was a lot more in it than there was in the movie. For one thing I’m pretty sure there’s absolutely no mention of O. W. L. exams in the movie (but if I’m wrong please correct me; I haven’t seen the movies in a while). Also, I don’t remember Harry wanting to be an Auror so I feel like that wasn’t in the movies either, which I think is really important. It was really cool seeing this aspect of the wizarding world. Sometimes I forget Harry, Hermione, and Ron are in school so it was cool reading about them thinking about their futures and having to meet with Professor McGonagall like a guidance counselor.

Speaking of Professor McGonagall she is queen. I loved her so much in this book. The way she didn’t care about Professor Umbridge at all and just straight up disrespected her was amazing. I loved it and Professor McGonagall is definitely my favorite character now. She’s so sassy but also really caring.

The most annoying character was definitely Cho. On the one hand I wanted to feel bad because her boyfriend did die but on the other hand I was like, “Please just stop with all the crying.” Ginny on the other was fantastic and I definitely agree with everyone that said book Ginny is better than movie Ginny. She’s so much better!

The Order of the Phoenix is definitely a contender for my favorite book in the series now. My favorite was always The Prisoner of Azkaban in the past because I just love Sirius so much but this book was really good. I have two more books to read and then The Cursed Child will finally be released and I’ll read that too. I’m so glad I’m finally reading these books. I’d ask why no one told me to read them sooner but literally everyone told me to read them so it’s my own fault. I’ve learned my lesson you guys. I’m a real Harry Potter fan now. Thanks for showing me the light.

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“Anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.”

Other Reviews:

Pass the Feels

The Book Smugglers

Fantasy Book Critic

Book Review: "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire"

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

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Synopsis:

Harry Potter is midway through his training as a wizard and his coming of age. Harry wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the International Quidditch Cup. He wants to find out about the mysterious event that’s supposed to take place at Hogwarts this year, an event involving two other rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn’t happened for a hundred years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. But unfortunately for Harry Potter, he’s not normal – even by wizarding standards. And in his case, different can be deadly.

Purchase from:

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository

Review

Guess who’s finally finishing the Harry Potter series? This girl! I read the first three books and started Goblet of Fire years ago but never finished it and I have no idea why because I loved it the second time around. This book was everything I expected based on the hype. Filled with adventure, a smidgen of romance, and some twists (that I knew about going in but were still very exciting) I was glued to this book. I was worried that because I’ve seen the movies it’d be hard for me to get into reading the books but I loved this book. I just wanted to sit down and read the whole thing in one sitting but I couldn’t because I’m a grown-up with a job.

Even so, I went through this book pretty quickly and I loved it. The only thing that bothered me was Ron. His fight with Harry was so silly but then I reminded myself that they’re only 14 in this book and so the maturity isn’t really there yet. Also, Hermione is amazing. I loved her organization for the house elves and I can’t believe that’s not included in the movies. That’s such a big deal! Also, I can’t remember but I don’t think Dobby and Winky were in the Goblet of Fire movie either, which is just ridiculous. They were so great in this book.

Honestly, I was very nervous the books wouldn’t be worth all the hype. Not to say that I thought they’d be bad but everyone kept telling me, “You have to read the books! You can’t just watch the movies!” which is something I tell people all the time but I loved the Harry Potter movies. I thought to myself, “How could it possibly get better?” but they really were. I truly enjoyed reading this book even though I knew what was going to happen and I’m currently loving the Order of the Phoenix. Hopefully I can finish these books before Cursed Child comes out. Wish me luck!

Stars:

5 stars

Favorite Line:

“It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.”

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