Hello, Strangers! Is anyone surprised that I found this tag? No? Good, because you really shouldn’t be. And there’s really no need to explain the tag, as the title does that for me so… Let’s just get on with it, shall we?
- Flagrate (Writing Charm): A book that you found interesting, but would like to rewrite.
The Valiant by Lesley Livingston. I’m not sure 100% on how I’d write it, but I know I’d make the characters more engaging, eliminate the girl hate, and raise the stakes. There would also be more actual gladiator stuff. Oh, and also, there’d be a lot of gay. Fallon and Elka fall in love. Yeah, that works for me.
- Alohamora (Unlocking Charm): A first book in a series that got you hooked.
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. In fact, I wasn’t just hooked by the first book. I was hooked from the first line: “Kell wore a very peculiar coat.” And thus began my journey to finding a new favorite series and adopting said Kell.
- Accio (Summoning Spell): A book you wish you could have right now.
The Becoming of Noah Shaw by Michelle Hodkin. I love Noah Shaw and I love how dark the original trilogy was. Also, Noah and Mara are like the king of OTPs. I mean, the whole “I’ll make you scream my name.” “Maybe I’ll make you scream mine,” exchange still has me knocked out. I can’t wait for more dialogue like that.
- Avada Kedavra (Killing Curse): A killer book.
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco. Following in the footsteps of great YA books like The Young Elites by Marie Lu, this book follows Tea as she decides into possible villainy. Or at least antihero-ny. Tea has necromantic magic, which in and of itself doesn’t make her evil, but when we read about her present day life, we see she has been exiled and is planning on revenge. We still don’t know what exactly happened that brought her here, but we can certainly see the effects. And I am not ready. And, in that sense, this book is killer.
- Confundo (Confusion Charm): A book you found confusing.
Deathless by Cathrynne M. Valente. I understood what was happening while it was happening, but I absolutely could not figure out the larger picture. I’m still not sure what I read. It was well-written but… unclear.
- Expecto Patronum (Guarding Spell): A book that represents your soul.
The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness. Mikey has very serious anxiety, something I’ve struggled with my whole life. By the end, we seem him making progress with it. Also, I mean, it literally takes place in a crazy, fictional universe with world-threatening villains, but the main characters don’t have to be a part of it. They’re just kind of there. And, ultimately, that’s all I want. I want to be in one of these worlds, but not have to carry the mantle of saving everyone. Plus, it’s got my sense of humor. An excellent read that is my soul embodied.
- Sectumsempra (Dark Curse): A dark, twisted book.
Identical by Ellen Hopkins. This book is dark and twisted for several reasons, one of which is a spoiler I will not reveal. However, I can talk about the other reasons. For one thing, Kayleigh’s father sexually abuses her regularly. He’s also a total drunk with a dark past himself. Kayleigh also struggles with binge eating disorder. Kayleigh’s twin, Raeanne, is jealous of Kayleigh’s relationship with their father. She drinks, does drugs, and suffers from bulimia. She’s sexually promiscuous, which is in and of itself not dark or twisted, but she picks terrible guys and does it as another form of self-medication. She’s also more often attracted to older guys, likely due to her warped jealousy of her sister. I bet now you’re wondering how it could possibly get darker and more twisted. Well, honey, you’ve got a big storm coming.
- Expecto Patronum (Guarding Spell): A childhood book connected to good memories.
Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey. In the fourth grade, everybody was obsessed with these books (as well as his other superhero book, The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby). They were the funniest things in the world. I honestly want to reread them so I can relive those memories. (Also, yes, I know the same spell is used twice and it bothers me too, but no other spells fit these questions, so what can you do?)
- Expelliarmus (Disarming Spell): A book that took you by surprise.
Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. When this first got super popular, I wasn’t really that into poetry. And then people starting criticizing it, calling it nothing more than “Tumblr poetry.” I’ve seen some pretty cringy poems on Tumblr, so I thought I’d stay away. But then I read a different poetry book (Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately by Alicia Cook, if you were curious) and loved it. And I also saw some poets make a good point: so-called “Tumblr poetry” isn’t inherently bad. Even if some is embarrassing, there’s also a lot of good stuff out there. But I wasn’t convinced to actually read it until I happened to see it in Walmart one day. And it was really very good. It’s such a feminist body of work and it really pulls at your heartstrings. Thereby, this is proof that not all “Tumblr poetry” sucks.
- Prior Incantato (Reverse Spell): The last book you read.
Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh. This book blew my mind. While it has some similarities and parallels to Mulan, it is not a Mulan retelling. Nonetheless, it’s a moving story about family, proving your worth, and finding a place where you belong. Mariko is so clever and smart. I ship her and Okami so hard. I need the sequel like yesterday.
- Riddikulus (Boggart Banishing Spell): A funny book you’ve read.
My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. This book tells the story of Jane Grey, the Nine Day Queen. However, it takes a few liberties, among which is the fact that some people can turn into animals. Occasionally, the narrators will insert themselves in between telling the story to make a witty observation or explain something. It was really light-hearted and hilarious and I can’t wait for their next one.
- Sonorus (Amplifying Charm): A book you think everyone should know about.
Virgin by Radhika Sanghani. I got this book at a time in my life when I was very insecure about still being a virgin in my early twenties. This book follows Ellie Kolstakis, a 21-year-old virgin desperate to lose her virginity. It’s a hilarious exploration of sexuality and whether or not virginity even matters. I related a lot to Ellie, a curvy English major. This book really helped me change how I felt about my own virginity. Even if it’s not a message you need, this book is still one of the best contemporaries I’ve ever read and the author is a sweetheart.
- Obliviate (Memory Charm): A book or spoiler you would like to forget having read.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany and Jack Thorne. While I refuse to accept it as canon (since Rowling didn’t write it, it technically isn’t), it is still a large blemish on the Potter-verse as a whole. All the original characters were completely out of character, the plot made no sense, and it was full of queerbaiting. Not even my love of Scorpius Malfoy could make me want to remember this atrocity.
- Imperio (Controlling Curse): A book you had to read for school.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. I genuinely do not get the hype for this book. It’s rich white people doing rich white people things and then complaining. Oh, and then Gatsby dies because reasons. Who fucking cares?
- Crucio (Torture Curse): A book that was painful to read.
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. I had to read this book in ninth grade and every single one of us hated it. The story wasn’t engaging and the writing was overly detailed. I’ve tried two other Dickens novels since then (Oliver Twist and A Tale of Two Cities) and just can’t do it. It’s way too much bullshit to get through and makes me want to shoot myself in the head.
And so, there you have it! The end. Love, Rainey.
Do you have any answers to these questions? Let me know in the comments!
Side Note: I will not be posting again for several days, as I am going to the Firefly Music Festival. I will return on June 19th, but probably won’t post again until the following day at the earliest. Let me know if you want me to write about my experience.
Anywho, until we meet again, Strangers!