Book Review: “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” by J.K. Rowling

Hello!

Well, this one took me forever to get through–mainly because for a while I was just casually reading this because of its sheer size! I seriously did not think I would be able to finish it this year, but I’m here now and we have much to discuss!

WARNING: If you have not read the books yet and want to sometime in the future, there are spoilers mentioned below so I figured I’d give you a heads up beforehand!


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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 with Hermione, Ron, and the Weasleys. He wants to dream about Cho Chang, his crush (and maybe do more than dream). 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 hundreds of 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.

taken from Goodreads.

After reading the previous books, I knew going into this that I would be introduced to other things that were clearly missing from the film, but I still haven’t been able to wrap my head around everything! Honestly, there was one thing that annoyed me and it was like it just dragged on with certain sections. Other than that, I didn’t have much to complain about and considering it is 734 pages long, I feel like it was a success!

I always adore when Harry and Hermione go to The Burrow at the end of the summer holidays to spend time with Ron’s family. They may not have much, but you can always feel the love in that house, and with this book we get to meet Bill and Charlie! So, it was incredibly crowded and I can imagine Mrs. Weasley’s mind going to explode with all of those people under one “small” roof–especially with the crazy antics of Fred and George! I think James and Lily Potter would be pleased with how much love that Molly and Arthur care for their son and obvious well-being! I do have to mention that seeing Mrs. Weasley and Bill before the third task was so sweet! I totally cried during this scene because for one, you’re not expecting it to happen and if Harry ever thought he didn’t have supporters outside of Hogwarts in the games, he definitely knew at that moment.

We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.

Another element that isn’t mentioned in the films very much is we get to know more about house elves. What are house elves you ask? Well, they are these strange looking characters that work for the elite families in the Wizardry world. In the second book, “The Chamber of Secrets” we meet Dobby, who has the awful job for caring for the Malfoys. Dobby explained to Harry that elves are not allowed to leave unless they are given a piece of clothing, if their master gives them clothes, they are freed. Well, Harry freed Dobby by masking one of his socks as being from Mr. Malfoy. We get to see Dobby again in this book, and we get to know who exactly creates the daily feasts in the Great Hall. Unfortunately, we get to meet a very caring but heartbroken elf named Winky once we head into the Quidditch World Cup, which by the way, I FINALLY get to know who wins that damn game! I’ve hold it off knowing the truth in case I ever decided to read the series and it was awesome!

Now I will say, I wasn’t a blabbering mess after Cedric’s death like I thought I would; the only thing I could understand it was because I knew it happens and yes, as heartbreaking it is for everyone in the book and the Potter fans, I cried more when Mrs. Weasley surprises Harry than anything else. I do know, there would have been no way in hell I’d be able to replay everything in my mind minutes after witnessing Lord Voldemort coming back and everything that is mentioned in that chapter to retell it all to Dumbledore and Sirius. I mean, that is a lot for a person but given Harry is what? Thirteen in this book? Nobody needs to see that but unfortunately it happens and we have to heal and move on. The only thing that got me through this book was a little voice telling me, “we get to meet Luna Lovegood in the next one!”

I am very proud of myself for being able to finish reading this book. So far, this one is the one trying to come out of its spine! There is a good chunk that is now loose but it tucked back together with its dust jacket in the bookshelf. The next seems to be in better shape but we’ll see towards the middle on how much my cousin loved it! I’m not mad at him on the condition, these are first edition hardbacks, so I’m not terribly upset about their rips and tears, as they remind me that somebody before me definitely enjoyed them multiple times and I am perfectly fine with it!

Have you read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling yet? If you have, what were your favorite parts of the story? For those who watched the film before reading the series, how did you handle the death of Cedric Diggory?

Album Review: “Cinematic Songs Vol. 7” by Tommee Profitt

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When Tommee Profitt comes out with something new, especially an album, you know I have to come out of hiatus for it. Fortunately, this isn’t the only review I am doing this summer. There is a big possibility you will get another when I come back for the end of July.

I didn’t even know it was coming out until about four days before it was released. As of the 20th of June, I still hadn’t listened to it because I kept going back and forth whether I wanted to blog about it, like as a proper album review, but since I hadn’t done one of these in so long that I literally almost vetoed it altogether. Thankfully, I changed my mind because I am in need of a cinematic binge, what about you?

So, let’s recap before we go too far into this post. Tommee started launching these clusters back in 2017. It doesn’t seem that long ago, but it might have something to do with the fact I never talked about volume six–I still don’t understand why I never did anything with it but I will say, it is still an album that isn’t as popular compared to the others for me. After that release, he took a mini break and worked with Fleurie (who frequently lends her voice and lyrics on past works) with their ‘Game of Thrones’ project “Gloria Regali” and then he devoted his time with Christian rapper NF on “The Search” (2019) and “CLOUDS MIXTAPE” (2021), but now he’s back with this bad boy, and I think we’re ready to get into it now.

The first track, “Who Will Save Us” actually features Fleurie, which honestly doesn’t surprise me. Tommee is known to work with both veterans in the cinematic world and some newbies too! I really liked the mild sounding of the introduction, it collides into Fleurie’s voice really well and even when the song explodes with this fierce power, neither one of these aspects are lost in the chaos. My only bad thing about is, it’s pretty short and I think I would have liked it more if it was a little longer and surprised me a little more too. Next we move on to, “Sinners & Saints” and this was the song that made me think we could be getting some new music by Tommee but I did not think an album would follow suit! I adore Beacon Light and I always feel happy and sort of lighter while listening to his songs and this one wasn’t any different. The one thing I wasn’t expecting was Moilba Mustapha and that country vibe coming through in the choruses. It is really good and definitely hits differently!

The artist Stanaj has a gorgeous voice! Personally, I am still obsessed with their track “Love Me” so I was thoroughly ecstatic to see them on here working with Tommee. “I Will Be Your Hero” really cuts you deeply with that slow beginning with just Stanaj’s soft vocals and piano in the background. You always know the song is going to be good if the piano is the main instrument–at least for me it always is! This song is so full of emotions and raw; it’s almost sexy in a way. Our fourth song is “Be Careful” with Laney Jones. I’m pretty sure Laney has been on the other albums but don’t hold me against that because I could be wrong. Anyways, I am in love with the music box lullaby start because it gives it a sweetly dark vibe and thankfully we glide into that feeling for the entire track. I need more of these type of songs honestly. I am surprised it was playing during the promos for the new Conjuring film that came out earlier last month.

As much as I didn’t want it the previous to end, we move to “Reign” with Anna Graceman. Now I will say, I don’t recognize Anna’s name nor her voice, but I like it. She has a soulful element that I didn’t think I needed until I heard it for this song. The track is very pop oriented but with her type of voice, it kind of gives off this bluesy vibe that isn’t overbearing by any means, but it is there as she hits those high notes towards the end. One thing I definitely approve of these albums–well, technically, I approve of a lot of things, but this is a favorite of mine!–s that he will include one or two instrumentals and with this installment, we get two of them. We begin with “Nocturnal Opus” and it definitely gives off that feeling it was created either late at night or after you’ve been up wayy over your limit. However, I really enjoy the eerie sound of the choir in the background. The entire track is spooky and wonderful. It ties in beautiful with “Be Careful” although they are two songs apart from each other.

“Powerful” is the one that I’ve been looking forward to the most as it has two of my favorites: Sam Tinnesz and Ruelle. These artists are very well-known in the cinematic pop world, as Ruelle has worked with the TV series Shadowhunters and Sam Tinnesz is basically everywhere now! I hear them all the time and it always makes so happy to see them getting all of this attention. The song itself is pretty mild but I honestly enjoy this seductive balance between Sam and Ruelle’s voices. They are both quite soft and it was nice to hear a beat match their octaves in this way. I had to listen to this one about three times to actually relish in it for a while. However, I had to go on and “Frontlines” was a nice sequel. It has another guest artist that has worked with Tommee before, Jessie Early. She reminds me of Ruelle but with an extra punch, I think Ruelle is very airy, dreamy sound whereas Jessie has a darker edge and is perfect fit on these fast paced tracks. I think my overall favorite element of this one are the string section near the end. They really make the song better!

The eighth record is called “Wake Up” and we have Xeah and this is so beautiful! I really adored the simple introduction, where its just their voice in that low, almost monotone sound and nothing else. We get a few lines like that but then it explodes and it is really strong and suspenseful in every way. The most interesting thing is, Xeah doesn’t have a lot of lyrics so the rest is instrumental, and it is super hypnotic. I thought this was the coolest one on the album, until I heard the next one. “Lament From The Grave” features Stanaj again, and I don’t want language Stanaj is singing but I love it! It kind of gave me like Hans Zimmer vibes because I’ve heard several tracks that are similar, so it was an interesting and new thing for not only me, but Tommee too, because we haven’t heard anything like this before. It sounds exotic and heartwarming at the same time though.

We are nearing the end of our time together; I hope you’re still with me.

I am such a sucker for anything with a little bit of moxie in it. “Welcome to my world” is definitely one of those types of songs. The artist included in this one is :LYRA, and I don’t quite know if they have been on previous numbers or not, but I like their voice. I feel like this could be great playing on the first episode of “Riverdale” new season this fall or perhaps the reboot of “Gossip Girl” It has a gripping but flirty sound and it is so good! Next is our final instrumental, “The Day Before” and I don’t know about you, but anything with these three words will have a sad element to it. You may not hear it at first but it’s there. I think it was really good, not at all crazy but perfectly balanced to showcase both a lighter and sort of panic atmosphere and it really works well with the final track, which is “Tragic” with Fleurie. It is a beautiful broken type of song and I really like these different sounds of bells going on in the background. It was the perfect ending.

I was honestly a little worried after I started this post, because I wasn’t sure I could do it anymore. I feel like I’m not the best person to review albums because I’m not great at describing things–I feel like I’m worse at discussing music. So, I took a big risk at jumping in with a Tommee Profitt produced album but I did it. I may never understand why I didn’t talk about volume seven but this one was really impressive! It was definitely needed after we went through in 2020, so I would rate it as six out of ten stars altogether.

Have you listened to “Cinematic Songs (Vol 7)” by Tommee Profitt yet? If you have, what song(s) was your favorite? What about the guest singers too?

June Playlist

Hello!

It is absolutely crazy that July starts on Thursday, like seriously?! I just embraced June for all its worth and we’re moving on to another month fast as lightning! I have to say, June was pretty good. The temperatures have been fairly high lately but I have figured out a system to hang out with our cats in the evenings. I think they enjoy it just as much as I do because they are super lazy around 5-7pm and they all want to love and I’m here for it! I’ve also found out that my cat Stormy isn’t the only one who enjoys belly rubs: Oscar and Nelson loves it too!

For music though, I have sort of shifted from like this dark pop aesthetic I’ve been in since the middle of March, to suddenly for the last couple of weeks, all I want is rock music. I’ve been listening to Sirius XM Octane like crazy and I’ve heard a lot of really good music on there to the point I have been sharing some of my favorites as part of my “Song Of The Day” Instagram stories in the evenings. And then recently, I decided to use my iPod again and I’ve been bringing back the good old school Kelly Clarkson and rediscovering symphonic metal as a whole, so I’ve been keeping things interesting, that’s for sure!

As for the monthly playlist, especially for this post, I really tried to shorten it but honestly there are a lot of tunes I was thoroughly obsessed with that I couldn’t take them away, although they are included in the Spotify playlist. I ended up creating a Top 30 because of my inability to choose my ultimate favorites for June.

Gettin’ Even by Seasons After
Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran
Macaroni Salad by Niia
Muscleville by Kai Wachi
WYGD by Empara Mi
Peaches (Remix) by Justin Bieber featuring Usher, Ludacris & Snoop Dogg
Dark Side by Blind Channel
Ruthless by Nonpoint

Remedy by Savage After Midnight
Pure Evil by Like A Storm
The Devil by BANKS
Girls by Zella Day

A Girl Like You by Machine Gun Kelly x Travis Barker
Time Warp by Apashe featuring Sami Chaouki
I Care by Paul Hernandez
Parachute by Saint Chaos
Believer by Lea Michele
Your Betrayal by Bullet For My Valentine
Warrior by Atreyu featuring Travis Barker
Only Love Can Save Me Now by The Pretty Reckless
Deal With It by Ashnikko featuring Kelis
Papi by Isabela Merced
Drivers License by Olivia Rodrigo
You Thought Wrong by Kelly Clarkson featuring Tamyra Gray
Astronaut In The Ocean by Masked Wolf
Talkin’ Bout by Loui featuring Saweetie
Right Now by Fire From The Gods
Didn’t Know Love by Celine Dion
Adios by EVERGLOW
MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) by Lil Nas X

I know I might be a little early making this announcement but I have already started keeping track of various songs to include in my Summer 2021 playlist in September. There are some that wouldn’t surprise you at all, but they are a couple of special tunes that I think will make themselves known in the next three months. Have you already discovered your summer anthem for the year yet?

There have been some albums and EPs that I’ve listened to lately, that I thought I would share with you today. If you still enjoy the occasional dubstep genre, you should look into Kai Waschi as they have released a brand new EP a few weeks ago called “MUSCLEVILLE” and even though it only contains five tracks, it is really good! I don’t listen to a lot of dubstep and/or trap music anymore but I keep Kai around for those ‘once in a blue moon’ kind of days. The other artist you should consider is Tommee Profitt, although Tommee isn’t the main artist, he did produce every song on the album, so he is listed first before any of the guest singers. I’ve been thinking of doing a review of the new album: Cinematic Songs Vol. 7 but I already have a tight schedule for July so we will have to see what happens.

What were you listening in June?

Book Review: “Highland Vengeance” by Melanie Karsak

Hello!

It is finally time to talk about the third book in the Celtic Blood series, by Melanie Karsak. If you would like to check out what I had to say about the other two books, they are Highland Raven and Highland Blood. This post will include some spoilers down below, so in case you want to read the entire set (it’s free on Kindle Unlimited right now!) you may want to ditch this review!

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get started on discussing what went on in Corbie’s next stage in life.


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Scotland, 1032

Everything Gruoch loves has turned to ash. With Gillacoemgain gone, Gruoch rides north with her newborn son and a broken heart. While she desperately clings to hope, Gruoch’s new alliance with Macbeth proves more challenging than she ever anticipated. Only her unexpected reunion with an important person from her past offers solace. All may yet be well, but the raven’s wary eyes cannot help but notice clouds gathering on the horizon.

taken from Goodreads.

There were a lot of things I absolutely loved about this book, but it was definitely bittersweet!

When we come to this book, you see the cycle of being a woman of medieval times and I instantly felt horrible for her. However, she isn’t a young girl anymore; she was the raven, a widow, mother of two beautiful babies and she really took control of her life. She returns to Cawdor with only Lulach and they begin on this new journey, and the first thing she does is make the decision to seek out Macbeth instead of her cousin Duncan (for obvious reasons!), and although it was strange to choose the man who may have killed her husband, there would have no way in hell of going with option #2. Unfortunately, this marriage isn’t exactly the happiest for her but I liked the fact that she basically said, forget it! I don’t want no part of this anymore and focused her attention to raising Lulach as the successor of Moray.

“This is the sad reality we must accept. I am Gruoch, Daughter of Boite and Lady of Moray. I am the mother of Lulach, son of Gillacoemgain. You must know me as such.

On top of that, we see a familiar face come back into her life. As much as I really liked Gillacoemgain and how he treated her as both a woman and wife, especially since history has a way of showing the worst in men and when it comes to the line of succession, alliances have to be made and sometimes they don’t work out as you will see in this one, but it was nice to see another person so devoted to Corbie come back into her life. This person is a supporter of Macbeth with Jarl Thorfinn of Orkney, as they will lead the northern party against the king and Duncan.

The only thing I had an issue with was what happens starting on Chapter 42, because Melanie jumps through the years and we are told that they will be a war near the end, we are only centered around the final battle. Corbie joins everyone on the field and embraces the dark goddess, her magic and the raven for this one moment, and she was such a badass! I was proud of her throughout these books, but this was everything to me! She was finally able to get their revenge and it was so glorious!

As we enter the final book, I am slightly unsure of what could happen and basically everyone else close to her. She becomes Queen, but she only has this title because of Macbeth. I think she will have to make some even harder decisions about what she wants for not only herself but children too. I already know I will be crying because I know there will be more deaths and they are going to be hard on my heart as much as Corbie, but I’m ready to finish her story before the summer is over.

Have you read this book or any of the others in the Celtic Blood series? If you have, which one is your ultimate favorite of all time? What were thoughts after finishing “Highland Vengeance” too?

Book Review: “Salvation In The Sun” by Lauren Lee Merewether

Hello!

I have been interested in Ancient Egypt since I was very young, and I know I’ve said this before, but I’ve watched hundreds of documentaries over the years and even visited the King Tut exhibit at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum back in 2009! It was so amazing to see all of these treasures laid out and read about what each item meant to the boy king and the rest of Ancient Egypt too. I still wish I had a blog back then because I would have lots of material to talk about for a few months! I hope this isn’t the only exhibit I will ever visit because it was everything to me.

Now, as for this book, I wasn’t even looking for a new read; it just sort of happened by accident. I was a day away from getting another book and I decided to look up historical fiction books about different eras and places, and this one kind of popped up on the first try and I am so glad I found it because it was nice to be introduced to these figures I’ve heard about for years, and in a strange way, they became so real for me. I just can’t wait to share things with you below.


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This future she knows for certain–the great sun city will be her undoing.

Amidst a power struggle between Pharaoh and the priesthood of Amun, Queen Nefertiti helps the ill-prepared new Pharaoh, Amenhotep, enact his father’s plan to regain power for the throne. But what seemed a difficult task only becomes more grueling when Amenhotep loses himself in his radical obsessions.

Standing alone to bear the burden of a failing country and stem the tide of a growing rebellion, Nefertiti must choose between her love for Pharaoh and her duty to Egypt in this dramatic retelling of a story forgotten by time.

Salvation in the Sun is the first volume of Lauren Lee Merewether’s debut series, The Lost Pharaoh Chronicles, a resurrection of an erased time that follows the five Kings of Egypt who were lost to history for over three millennia. The story continues in book two, Secrets in the Sand.

taken from Goodreads.

I actually didn’t read the blurb so all I really knew was this was going to be the story of a pharaoh. The one hint I did get right was the word “sun” so this instantly lead me to believe we’d be discussing the origins of the Aten. Now for anyone who knows anything about Ancient Egypt, you may be familiar with the amount of different gods, goddesses, and deities and the importance of afterlife. While the book mentions a few things, it focus on the beginning of both Akhenaten and Nefertiti disbanding and creating one singular god, the sun disc, the Aten.

You start with a scene where the “current” Pharaoh and his Queen, are making the decision to basically erase everything about this time. I thought opening it up with this was very interesting! You could tell in a way that they were forced into this idea but before it happens, they discuss it out loud with the priests of Amun-Re one last time; and then we are suddenly brought to a birthing scene and we learn about a fictionized story of Queen Nefertiti. Nefertiti is a very mysterious character in general. We know very little about her, but there are records that speak about how beautiful she was and how she became regent perhaps before the boy king, Tutankhamun.

“It is a wonderful thing, to be the powerful Queen of Egypt, but it is a cursed thing.

You see the makings of a Pharaoh with Amenhotep, and although the main character is Nefertiti, he is just as important because he is the one who made the decision for everything. However, there are some features to Amenhotep that we need to discuss beforehand. Amenhotep is seen as a weakling to basically everyone of the royal family. He fights for acceptance to anyone with importance and the main person is his namesake, his father: Pharaoh Amenhotep III. There were many scenes that I thought were crucial to be understood about the mind of this person, especially after changing the main religion of the whole country. Nobody wants to be a heretic but yet he was so open to the possibly he’d make his father proud of what he was able to do as Pharaoh, but it wasn’t the only element that drove Amenhotep in general. He’s always felt unwanted and the one thing that made him feel better at all was sitting in the sun. He believed that the sun was healing him of his physical aliments and nobody likes to be told something different just because the other disagrees, I mean, trust me I deal with it all the time!

Honestly, I didn’t quite know what to expect once I started reading. but once I got started though, it became very difficult to put it aside for a long period of time, so I managed to get through pretty quickly and still ended up liking it more than I thought I would! There were parts that I found to be like in the times of King Henry VIII’s break from the Catholic faith. If you have watched The Tudors on Showtime, you might remember the contrast between King Henry at the time of choosing an entirely different God and religion to worship for his people and the power struggle for his eldest daughter Princess Mary, because she was still very Catholic and since Henry believed his marriage with Catherine if Aragon was wrong and wanted a divorce from her so he could marry Anne Boleyn. She saw her father and younger siblings as heretics, as they also saw her as one in their Protestant perspective as well!

It may seem like I had a difficult time dealing with what I’ve learned and reading the first book in the series, but honestly, I opened up to it fully. I wanted to see someone else’s “suggestions” in a way. I am finally getting better at reading historical fiction stories and I’m deeply thankful for it because I literally can’t wait to see what else could happen in Nefertiti’s story, because instead of being focused on the statue of her that I’ve grown up knowing about, I am able to see her as a real human being, dealing with life, even in ancient times, they were really alive and endured a lot of things that most people can only think about, or don’t want to think about! If you can separate what history tells you and like to explore new but familiar worlds, I think you may enjoy the rest of the series. Lauren has a wide selection of Ancient Egypt books and they’re available on Kindle Unlimited too!

Have you ever read Lauren Lee Merewether’s “The Lost Pharaoh Chronicles” yet? If you have, what were your thoughts about the story of Nefertiti so far?