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My Harry Potter and The Cursed Child Experience

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As you all know, The Cursed Child script was released over a year ago now. However, I stopped myself from reading it until I could watch the play on June 28th 2017. It was so hard, especially because I had the script on my shelf waiting to be read. But I held back, and I am so glad that I did.

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I brought my tickets on 4th August 2016 and decided to take my friend with me, and we had a really good day. It was definitely worth the wait! Obviously, I want to keep the secrets for those who haven’t seen the play or read the script yet, but I will say it was magical. The special effects and the acting was brilliant and I’m so happy that I went. What I will say though, is check the prices in the gift store before you buy something! My friend and I felt really rushed, but wanted to buy something as a souvenir, so we picked up a pen each, thinking it wouldn’t be too much. It was something like… £7 or £8. So yeah, check the prices. It’s a great pen, though, so that makes up for it.

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In between the two parts, we went for dinner and visited Minalima, which was really good. They had loads of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts themed things. It was three or four floors. We spent quite a while in there!

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After the show, we decided to go to stage door to see if we could catch a glimpse of the cast. We got out there fairly quickly as the stage door was close to our exit, and we were right on the barrier, and were lucky enough to meet the cast! I got selfies with most of them, and we had our programmes signed!

Overall, it was a really amazing day! If they release more tickets I’m definitely going to try and go again!

Have you seen the play, or read the script?

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-Books&Belle xx

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To My Grandad

This post isn’t related to books, but instead to something much more personal to me.

On August 19th 2017, my Grandad sadly passed away after 14 months of suffering with heart disease. He was a fighter right until the end, shocking the doctors and nurses with how long he stayed with us, and considering they gave him until September 2016 and he went another 11 months, I have to agree with them.

Despite his serious illness, he still managed to keep a smile on his face and everyone around him laughing at his somewhat weird and wonderful sense of humour.

I will always keep in mind the advice he gave me shortly before he died… “whatever you want in life, you can achieve it with hard work. Go get it, Ginge.”

Today, we said goodbye to him one last time at his funeral, and I wanted to share with you all the poem that I read out.

He Is Gone by David Harkins

You can shed tears that he is gone.

Or you can smile because he lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back.

Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left.

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him.

Or you can be full of the love that you shared,

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live for yesterday,

Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember him and only that he is gone.

Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on,

You can cry, close your mind, be empty, and turn your back.

Or you can do what he would have wanted, smile, open your eyes, love and move on.

-Books&Belle xx

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The Liebster Award

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I was nominated by Megs to do the Liebster Award! So thank you to Megs for that.

The Liebster Award is an award presented to bloggers by other fellow bloggers, with the pure intention of supporting each other! As part of being nominated, you must answer the eleven questions given by the blogger who kindly nominated you. Then in turn nominate eleven more bloggers and leave eleven new questions for them to answer.

My answers to Megs questions:

1. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, which book would it be? Why?

This is so hard! I guess if I couldn’t have the Harry Potter series, it’d be Goblet of Fire.

2. What was the first book that made you fall in love with reading?

I actually can’t remember, I’ve just always loved reading. I can remember being in primary school when you’re learning to read, and counting down until it was my turn to go into the ‘reading room’ to read to the teaching assistant.

3. What is your favourite book quote? Why?

I can’t choose just one, but I did a whole post on this, so thats here if you’re interested.

4. How many books are currently on your TBR?

Oh, the amount is actually uncountable. I stopped counting a while ago now, just because it was being added to daily and it was too much effort!

5. Name one talent that you have (besides reading!)

I’m okay at writing. It’s not something I want to do for a career, though!

6. What is the one musical instrument you wish you could play?

Piano, definitely. I was actually going to have lessons a few years ago but I never got around to it!

7. What is your favourite book genre? Why?

It’s a tie between Fantasy and Thrillers. Fantasy, because I feel like you can really get lost in their worlds, and it’s a really nice escape. Thriller, because I like trying to work out the ending before it’s revealed.

8. Who is your favourite fictional character?

Hermione Granger.

9. What is a meal you could eat forever and never get tired of?

Corn beef hash. I absolutely looooove it.

10. If you could live in any fictional world, which would you live in? Why?

The Wizarding World, just because it’s wonderful. Everything is so pretty, and they have magic!

11. What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

My Grandad, who sadly died last week, once said to me “whatever you want in life, you can achieve it with hard work. Go get it, Ginge.”

My 11 Questions:

  1. Do you prefer paperbacks, hardbacks or e-books?
  2. Why and when did you start blogging?
  3. Who’s your favourite fictional villain?
  4. What was the last book you read, and what did you think of it?
  5. Who inspires you the most?
  6. If you could spend one day as a character in any book, what book would you choose?
  7. What’s your favourite cereal?
  8. What’s a book genre that you never read?
  9. Tell us something interesting about yourself
  10. If you could be best friends with any fictional character, who would it be?
  11. What’s a piece of advice you would give to any new bloggers?

I Tag:

Em – Em’s World

Czarina – Fruit of Solitude

Cassandra – Books With Cassie

Beth – All The Bright Places

Jenna – J. K. I’m Exploring!

Zoe – Abooktasia

Penny – Pebble Pen

Diana – Bookish Sisters

Eram – Literary Team With ER  

Betsy – Bookish Betsy 

Bianca – White Brittle Bird

Don’t feel obliged to do the post, and I’m sorry if I’ve tagged you and you’ve already been tagged, but I just wanted to share a few blogs I enjoy reading!

-Books&Belle xx

Reviews

Blog Tour: A Review of Enshrine by Kay Bennson

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So, I’m lucky enough to be participating in the blog tour for Enshrine written by Kay Bennson. I read this book as an e-copy, which I don’t usually do as I prefer physical copies, but Enshrine intrigued me so much that I had to make an exception, and I’m definitely glad that I did.

Synopsis:

When Sage Wolfe is accidentally mistaken for a peace offering, her world turns upside down. Dayton, the young, handsome, and insane King of Rosementh whisks her away to his castle to be his bride with the promise that he can give her the world and anything she desires. These offers becoming tainted as Dayton’s true colors show themselves; he is cruel and violent and Sage vows to run away or die trying.

Just when Sage thinks she is hitting rock bottom, a hooded stranger named Jonathan Kreider comes to the castle. He doesn’t say much but his actions speak for themselves. Not only can he wield a sword or shoot an arrow better than most of Dayton’s men, but he always seems to be a step behind Sage, and though it should terrify her, for the first time Sage finds herself filling with hope.

Sage is faced with a choice. Should she run away from the wicked king who took her away from her family? Or should she stay to learn more about the man who lurks in the shadows, the man that makes her heart race and almost makes suffering Dayton’s wrath worthwhile? Sage is about to discover that nothing is as it seems and everyone has secrets; Dayton, the man that calls himself Jonathan Kreider, and even herself.

Review:

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“The fire was still there, contained in her heart, and she wondered what would happen when it would no longer be curbed.”

This book is set in a time before modern technology, when it took days, sometimes weeks, to travel somewhere that would only take a few hours today. This was the first thing I liked about this book, it was refreshing to read about a time where technology wasn’t about to make everything just that bit easier for the characters.

The character development for the main character, Sage Wolfe, is also brilliant. You really do see her transform from this innocent and child-like girl, to a compliant and scared prisoner, to a strong woman who won’t take crap from anybody. A lot of the time in books I read, I’ll think to myself ‘nobody can change that much in that amount of time’ but that wasn’t the case here. Sage’s development over time is amazing, and I applaud Kay Bennson for it.

Onto other characters, I really did connect with them. From loving and rooting for Sage, to despising Dayton and pitying Martin and Nev. Oh, and I can’t not mention the hooded stranger, Jonathan! He was so mysterious that I couldn’t stop reading. I actually read the book in one sitting! I had to know his secrets, and I was not one bit disappointed with them when they were finally revealed.

The plot was good, however, there was one major thing (that I can’t mention as this is a spoiler-free review) that I thought was a bit off, and lacked common sense. The brilliant characters and otherwise flaw-free plot did make up for this though, and I’d recommend Enshrine to Fantasy lovers, particularly those that enjoyed the ACOTAR series, as I did see one or two similarities between the two.

Overall, I give Enshrine four stars.

“She was not tamed, and her fire was not out. It was still there, and hissed in retaliation.”

You can pick up a copy of Enshrine on Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.

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Author Bio:

Carroll_KayBenson-Web-4796 Kay Bennson is from Northwestern Connecticut where she lives with her husband. She doesn’t remember a time where she wasn’t writing stories (in fact, some of her best ideas were forged in high school classes and at part time jobs). When she isn’t writing, she is a competitive Irish Dancer. Enshrine is her first novel.

You can find Kay Bennson online here:

Website | Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Instagram  |  Goodreads

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Thank you to Writerly Yours for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour and review Enshrine.

-Books&Belle xx

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Texts I’m Studying at A Level English

I do English Literature and Language at A Level. I started my second year in May, and I’m enjoying it more than ever. I definitely prefer the Literature side, but I do enjoy both. I re-read The Handmaid’s Tale recently, which is what inspired me to write this post. We’re studying three texts that will show up on our exam, so I thought I’d write a post about what I like about them.

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1. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

This book is definitely disturbing, but I like that Atwood doesn’t shy away from anything. In an interview, she actually said that everything in the book is based on events in real life. For example, there is a part where the daughters are being married off to angels/guardians. They had their husbands selected for them, which is very similar to the  Unification Church and Moon choosing who was married. This book was written in the 80’s, but there have been comparisons to present time, which I can see, too.

2. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

There are also a lot of hard-hitting themes in this book, but again, I like how Hosseini doesn’t sugar coat them. He writes the truth… There are awful things that are happening in the world, and I admire Hosseini for bringing awareness to them. The plot of The Kite Runner is also very engaging, and although there are times when I couldn’t stand the main character, I did connect with him.

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3. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

I haven’t read all of this yet, as we read it as a class and we broke up for the Summer Holidays before we could finish it, but I have been enjoying it so far. I find some of the characters annoying (Stanley and Blanche) but the plot has been interesting so far, so I’m excited to finish it when we go back in September.

What books do you like that you read at school, if there are any?

-Books&Belle xx

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#DreamBigPrincess

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For every post on Instagram with the hashtag #DreamBigPrincess Disney is going to donate a dollar to the UN Girl Up Initiative.

About Girl Up

“Girl Up, the United Nations Foundation’s adolescent girl campaign, supports the empowerment of girls everywhere. Since its launch in 2010, the campaign has funded UN programs that promote the health, safety, education, and leadership of girls in developing countries and built a community of nearly half a million passionate advocates – including Girl Up Global Advocates Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan and Latin American business leader Angélica Fuentes. Our youth leaders, representing more than 850 Girl Up Clubs in 55 countries, stand up, speak up, and rise up to support the hardest to reach girls living in places where it is hardest to be a girl. Learn more at GirlUp.org.”

The Girl Up Initiative is something that I definitely support, so along with sharing a post with the hashtag on my personal Instagram and my Bookstagram, I thought that I’d make a blog post about it in attempt to raise some more awareness, as it’s not being shared as much as I think it should be.

To make the post a tad more relevant to my blog, I’m going to discuss my favourite Disney Princess, Belle.

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Belle was always the Princess that I related to the most when I was little. She loved books, was curious about the world, and didn’t really have much interest in things that would waste her time (Gaston!!!).

As I grew older, I began to realise that she was a brilliant role model. Whilst some of the Princesses are typical damsel in distresses, Belle is independent. She willingly ventures into the unknown to find her father, and sacrifices herself to save him. She’s selfless, compassionate and wants more than to just be someone’s wife.

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I was also extremely happy when it was announced Emma Watson would be playing Belle in the live action adaption of Beauty And The Beast, not only is she my favourite actress, she is also the perfect Belle. I know that some people don’t agree, but it really is a matter of opinion. Emma definitely gave justice to Belle’s character and I couldn’t be happier.

If you want to join in with this, simply post a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #DreamBigPrincess, and if you want to help raise awareness of this, you could also write a post about your favourite Disney Princess and give the campaign a mention.

A dollar might not seem like a lot, but the posts do add up and the money will make a difference. If you want to see my post, it’s at: My Post.

-Books&Belle xx

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Favourite Fictional Quotes

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There are so many quotes from books that I love, so I’ll definitely end up re-reading this post in a few days and realising that I’ve missed ones out.

1. Harry Potter

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2.  ACOTAR Series

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3. If I Stay

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4. Perks Of Being A Wallflower

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5. Harry Potter… Again

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6. Pride & Prejudice

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7. Wuthering Heights

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8. A Midsummer Nights Dream (Not necessarily a book, but oh well.)

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9. I Was Here

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10. The Fault In Our Stars

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There are plenty more, but I don’t want to make this post too long. Do you have any favourite book quotes?

-Books&Belle xx

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Buying Books From Charity Shops

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There seems to be a lot of judgement toward those who shop in charity shops, especially from people around my age group. This is something that I don’t understand. Do people not realise how cheap the books are in there?! And a lot of the time, there are some amazing finds, a lot of the time I’m really shocked about what I find.

What inspired this post is my most recent trip to the charity shop to see what books I could discover. I haven’t been for a few months, which is just pure laziness on my end, plus I’ve been a little bit busy with exams, my birthday, and Rome. I brought three books, and they came to £5.50, and I’m really excited to read them.

Book Number 1 – Twilight – £1.50

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I read the Twilight Saga years ago now, but I was only about 11 or 12 years old, so I’ve been meaning to re-read the books and refresh my memory for a few months now. So when I saw the first book in the charity shop for only £1.50, I couldn’t resist.

Book Number 2 – Red Queen – £2.00

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I couldn’t resist this one, either. (When can I resist a good book, though?!) I’ve heard so many people from Bookstagram and the Book Blogging community say how amazing this series is, so I decided quite some time ago I was going to read it. I had planned to wait until I’d finished some more books on my TBR, but seeing it for only £2.00 definitely put a stop to that plan.

Book Number 1 – Matched – £2.00

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My English teacher mentioned this book a while back, and it intrigued me then, but I sort of just… forgot about it. So I’m happy I saw it in the charity shop and brought it because it does look very interesting!

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I’m also going to mention the book my sister brought from the same shop. I dragged her along with me because someone needs to hold my stuff while I browse. She kept nagging at me to hurry up, but she quickly stopped that when I found her this book. Whilst she’s not a big reader, she loves Michael Morpurgo, and has since she was about 8. (She’s 12 now!)

Running Wild – £4.00

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This one was a tiny bit more expensive, but I’m guessing that it’s because it’s a hardback rather than a paperback. As soon as I saw it on the shelf, I knew my sister would want it, and it stopped her whinging, so it was a win-win situation.

So, there it is, my mini book haul from the charity shop. If you don’t already buy books from charity shops, I definitely recommend it. We looked in Waterstones before and it was £7.99 for one book! From the charity shop, I got three books for three pounds less than that!

If you’ve found any amazing finds in charity shops I’d love to hear about them!

_Books&Belle xx

Harry Potter · Tags

The Harry Potter Tag

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Okay, so I was tagged by Britt to do the Harry Potter Tag, which I was very happy about as I’m a massive HP fan so I was pretty sure I’d enjoy doing this tag! On Britt’s post, she explained that Cassie at Zombie Goddess Beauty created this one, so I just wanted to credit her.

The general idea is to answer 18 Harry Potter themed questions, and then tag some fellow Peterhead’s to do the tag, too.

THE QUESTIONS:

1. What house are you in?

Proud Slytherin right here! When I was taking the test on Pottermore I was hoping for either Slytherin or Gryffindor, not that there’s anything wrong with the other houses mind you, I just felt that I’d fit into one of these two quite well, and I wasn’t disappointed with my result.

2. What is your patronus?

A rag doll cat! I was also really happy when I got my patronus on Pottermore, not only because it is really cute, but because I love cats.

3. What is your wand?

Hazel wood, unicorn hair core, 11 ¾” in length, and reasonably supple flexibility is what Pottermore tells me.

4. What would your boggart be?

I expect mine would be the same as Molly Weasley’s. I’m absolutely terrified of losing the ones I love, and I always found her boggart awful.

5. What position would you play in Quidditch?

Seeker, I think. But who knows?! Perhaps that’s another Pottermore test J.K. Rowling could come up with!

6. Would you be a pureblood, half-blood or muggleborn?

So, like Britt who tagged me, and Cassie who created the tag, I’m going to go with your familiarity with the series being the deciding factor for your blood status:

Muggles: People who haven’t seen the movies or read the books

Muggle-borns: People who have only seen the movies

Half-bloods: People who have only read the books

Pure Bloods: People who have read the books and seen the movies

Deatheaters: Pure Bloods that look down on Muggle-borns

So, according to this, I’d be a pureblood.

7. What job would you want to have after graduating Hogwarts?

I’m going to saw an Auror, or at least something to do with magical law, as it’s law I’m interested in in real life, so I expect it would be the same in the Wizarding World.

8. Which of the Deathly Hallows would you choose?

The invisibility cloak, of course.

9. Favourite book?

I hate being asked this because I love every single book. However, if I did have to choose, I’d go with The Goblet of Fire.

10. Least favourite book?

As I said, I love them all, so this doesn’t mean that I don’t like this one, it just means I prefer the others a tad more. Order of Phoenix. It just took me a bit longer to read compared to the rest, it could be the length, I’m not sure. I still love it though!

11. Favourite film?

Again, Goblet of Fire.

12. Least favourite film?

Love them all, but Prisoner of Azkaban.

13. Favourite character?

Hermione Granger, 100000%. I think that she’s a wonderful role model, she teaches girls to be themselves and I think that’s great. There is a whole blog post on my blog about why she is my fictional role model, so you can check that out if you’re interested!

14. Least favourite/most hated character?

I don’t even think I can answer this. There’s plenty of characters I really hate. Dolores Umbridge, because ew. Peter Pettigrew, because he betrayed his friends. Lucius Malfoy, because for several reasons, he was an awful parent, a racist and a pretty selfish character. Cornelius Fudge, for trying to turn a blind eye to something that was so obvious. Bellatrix Lestrange, for torturing Neville’s parents and Hermione, plus murdering Sirius. I just can’t choose one, I’m afraid.

15. Favourite teacher at Hogwarts?

I’m torn between Lupin and Mcgonagall here.

16. Least favourite teacher at Hogwarts?

I’m going to go with Snape. I don’t hate him, but I can’t bring myself to like him, either. I think his cruelty towards his students was unnecessary. Neville was so scared of him, that Snape was his boggart. In my opinion, it’s just not right for a student to be terrified of their teacher. He redeemed himself somewhat, but I he’s still my least favourite teacher.

17. Do you have any unpopular opinions about the series?

I don’t think I do. Could be wrong, though!

18. If you could save one character from the final battle, who would it be?

I’ve considered this before, and have always been stuck between Tonks, Lupin and Fred. Tonks and Lupin because they left a baby behind, and Fred because he was just so young and had so much life ahead of him. After reading Britt’s answer and thinking about it some more, I’d save Fred. Teddy still had family left to raise him, and I think it would break either of their hearts if they survived and their partner didn’t. Fred wasn’t finished in this world, so I’d bring him back. Plus, I imagine it would have been awful for George to loose a twin.

The Questions:

  1. What house are you in?
  2. What is your patronus?
  3. What is your wand?
  4. What would your boggart be?
  5. What position would you play in Quidditch?
  6. Would you be a pure blood, half blood or muggle born?
  7. What job would you want after to have after graduating Hogwarts?
  8. Which of the deathly hallows would you choose?
  9. Favourite book?
  10. Least favourite book?
  11. Favourite film?
  12. Least favourite film?
  13. Favourite character?
  14. Least favourite/most hated character?
  15. Favourite teacher at Hogwarts?
  16. Least favorite teacher at Hogwarts?
  17. Do you have any unpopular opinions about the series?
  18. If you could save one character from the finale battle who would you save?

I Tag:

Raven – The Life Of A Raven

Linda – Linda’s Little Library

Megs – Between The Pages

Bianca – White Brittle Bird

Annina – Blattzirkus

Katie – Queen of Teen Fiction

Maggie – The Caramel Files

Gem and Han – The Queens Of Geekdom

Hannah – A Cup of Wonderland

Sarah Elizabeth – Xpectopatronerd

Jemima – Drinking Books

Simant Verma – Flipping Thru The Pages

I can’t wait to read everyones answers!

-Books&Belle xx

 

 

Reviews

Book Review – Odd & True by Cat Winters (Spoiler Free!)

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Synopsis:

Trudchen grew up hearing Odette’s stories of their monster-slaying mother and a magician’s curse. But now that Tru’s older, she’s starting to wonder if her older sister’s tales were just comforting lies, especially because there’s nothing fantastic about her own life—permanently disabled and in constant pain from childhood polio.

In 1909, after a two-year absence, Od reappears with a suitcase supposedly full of weapons and a promise to rescue Tru from the monsters on their way to attack her. But it’s Od who seems haunted by something. And when the sisters’ search for their mother leads them to a face-off with the Leeds Devil, a nightmarish beast that’s wreaking havoc in the Mid-Atlantic states, Tru discovers the peculiar possibility that she and her sister—despite their dark pasts and ordinary appearances—might, indeed, have magic after all.

Review:

This book was definitely not what I expected it to be, and in this case, that’s a good thing. It took me a few chapters to get into, but after that I was engrossed in the story. The chapters take turns in narrating from Od’s point of view of the past, to Tru’s point of view of the present. I liked this, and thought it was very clever of Cat Winter’s to do. The chapter would end on a mini cliff-hanger, and if you wanted to know what happened next you’d need to read at least two more chapters to find out! I understand that some might find this annoying, but I really liked having an excuse to read even more!

I also love the relationship between Od and Tru. You can see how much they love and care about each other, even though they’ve spent time apart. The way Cat Winters portrays the bond of sisterhood is brilliant, and I couldn’t help but think of my sister and I when I was reading.

The two main characters are written brilliantly, too. I really connected with them, and I loved how Tru didn’t let her disability stop her from doing what she wanted, and how she ignored what others thought of her because of her disability. A lot of the time in YA books, you’ll find that the main characters are next to perfect, or their imperfections are miraculously cured by the end of the book, but it wasn’t the case here, which I thought was amazing. Because what teenager is perfect?

There are also a lot of hard-hitting themes in this book that I really was not expecting, I won’t mention any as this is a spoiler-free review, but I’m glad that Winter’s brought in things that happen in real life and didn’t try and sugarcoat anything.

To conclude my review, I really loved this book and would definitely recommend it. I really like the cover, and the plot line is definitely promising. 4/5 stars overall.

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Thank you to Amulet Books for sending me a copy of Odd & True to review in exchange for an honest review.

Odd & True by Cat Winters (Amulet Books, £12.99).

-Books&Belle xx