Thursday, July 28, 2016

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince by J. K. Rowling

Released: July 16, 2005
Read: First time in 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: Paperback, 608 pages
Series: Harry Potter #6

Description on Goodreads:

   It is Harry Potter's sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As Voldemort's sinister forces amass and a spirit of gloom and fear sweeps the land, it becomes more and more clear to Harry that he will soon have to confront his destiny. But is he up to the challenges ahead of him?

   In her darkest and most breathtaking adventure yet, J.K. Rowling skilfully begins to unravel the complex web she has woven, as we discover more of the truth about Harry, Dumbledore, Snape and, of course, He Who Must Not Be Named ...

    As with all the other Harry Potter novels, Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince is filled with magic, mystery and mischief. This book is my favourite, if I had to pick one, because it still takes place in Hogwarts, but has a major part of the overall series plot. By this I mean, we finally get to know how to defeat Voldemort, and we get to understand how he's survived for so long without a body. J. K. Rowling's ideas are pure genius and have a way of making you feel like every small detail matters in the end.
    The Half-blood Prince is the last novel in the series that has scenes where Ron and Harry goof off like they used to. They fool around in class, can still laugh and make jokes. It's also the last with quidditch, a sport I've come to love over the years. Sirius-ly (sorry I had to), if we had quidditch leagues or learned how to play quidditch in school, I'd definitely be in on that. Talk about a dangerous and nerve-racking game.
    Half-blood Prince is the end to Harry, Ron and Hermione's childish ways. It's depressing, and sad, but true.

Favourite Quotes:

  • "It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more." -Albus Dumbledore
  • "The thing about growing up with Fred and George, is that you sort of start thinking anything's possible if you've got enough nerve." -Ginny Weasley
  • "It was, he thought, the difference between being dragged into the arena to face a battle to the death and walking to the arena with your head held high. Some people, perhaps, would say there was little to choose between the two ways, but Dumbledore knew- and so do I, thought Harry, with a rush of fierce pride, and so did my parents- that there was all the difference in the world." -Harry Potter

Rating: 10/10 (Of course)

Recommended if you like: Fantasy, any of the other Harry Potter books, witchcraft, a world hidden within our own, quidditch, suspense, adventure, wizarding school drama, war, taking life into your own hands. 

Keep flipping pages,

Our Favorite Harry Potter Recipes

It's day five of our Potter Week extravaganza and today we are bringing you our favourite Potter recipes! Here they are!

Lauren: Treacle Tart: This recipe was taken directly from and is absolutely delicious! I hope you enjoy it!

-1 (9 inch) pie crust pastry
-1 cup golden syrup
-1/4 cup heavy cream
-1 cup bread crumbs
-1 lemon, zested
-2 tablespoons lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Press the pie crust pastry evenly into the bottom of a 9-inch pie plate.
2. Mix the syrup, cream, bread crumbs, lemon zest, and lemon juice together in a bowl; pour into the pie crust.

3. Bake in the preheated oven until the filling is set, 35 to 40 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before serving.
Top with ice cream or whipping cream if you'd like!

Ola: Alright who wanted to eat the golden snitch when they were younger? Me, for one. If you ever wanted to try and make it yourself, here are various recipes for this sweet, sweet golden treat! Like this one, that one, or this one!


Well one of the dishes that stuck out to me was in the first book- The Knickerbocker Glory. Let's face it, I was mainly interested by the funny name! Well, here it is:

Vanilla Ice Cream

Raspberry or Strawberry Sauce
Your favorite nut (mine's hazelnut!)
Pieces of shortbread
Whipped cream or Cool Whip (if you don't want to make your own I totally understand!)
A cherry

In a tall glass, alternate each ingredient, until you reach the top of the glass. I like doing something like ice cream, syrup, cookie, nuts. Then when you reach the top, top with whipped cream and a big cherry! Then gorge yourself like lovely Dudley Dursley!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Book Review: The Goblet of Fire

6Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

Released: September 28th 2002
Read: First time, 2007
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: Paperback, 734 pages
Series: Harry Potter #4

Description from Goodreads:
Harry Potter is midway through both 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 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.

Review: This is my all time favorite book ever. As a book blogger that is a pretty big thing to say. I read tons of books a month, let alone a year. But this one holds a special place in my heart. When I was really little, my dad would read the Harry Potter books to me and my sibling. When we finally got to the fourth book, he said we had to read them ourselves since it was getting "too scary" (we were 7 at the time ok?). Well I was pretty bummed out, and when my dad brought home an american version of the book from Austin, Texas, I jumped at the chance to read it. What a great idea of mine... I love this book, because I find that it's the most unique of all. I love how we discover the other magical schools, and that we get to meet delagates from them. Then comes the whole 'girl' situatuion (Harry falling for Cho) and how we get a glimpse of how Ron and Hermione end up. I love that this was such a fast pace book, what with all the tasks. My favorite one is the 2nd Task, because I love how we finally get to find out what is in that darned lake! Through and through this book is the book that defines my childhood, and my own copy is VERY tattered and well loved. 

Favorite Quotes: 
"Percy wouldn't notice a joke if it danced naked in front of him wearing one of Dobby's hats.” 
“Can I have a look at Uranus too, Lavender?”
“If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” 

Rating: 10/10 (because what else would I give it?)

Reccomended for people who enjoy: magic, fantasy, those have been living under a rock for the past decade and a half

Happy Reading,

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Our Favourite Harry Potter Products

Hello all! Since we each got 'into' Harry Potter, you can be sure that we all have actively been seeking (pun!) the best magical products to show off our love for all things Potter. Here are our favourites!

For my last birthday, my sister (Ohana Reads) bought me snitch necklace online at Hebel Designs. This necklace goes perfectly with my Ravenclaw cardigan and the rest of my outfit for McNally Robinson's Potter Party. The metallic and specifically coloured snitch hangs perfectly from a sliver chain, and is adjustable. Harry Potter has only recently come into my life, but ever since it did, I've gone out of my way to buy Harry Potter products. Along with my cardigan and necklace, I own two Harry Potter pillows, one of Hogwarts and one of random subjects and symbols. I also have one that says "I'm solemnly swear I'm up to no good" on the front and "mischief managed" on the back. My last shirt has the Dark Mark.

Growing up, I really never bought any Harry Potter stuff. But there was one that I remember. It was this guide to the Goblet of Fire that had tons of spells and descriptions for characters (even the minor ones). It had a complete glossary at the back that was just completely mind boggling. There was also this store that used to sell knockoff Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans, which was a high point of my childhood. Although it closed down, that was simply the best!

My favourite product is the snitch necklace that my brother gave me one Christmas many years ago. When I opened it, I screamed. It is just perfect!! It is the easiest way to sneak a little magic into an everyday outfit. One thing that I'm trying to get my hands on (so I don't own it) is the magic wand remote control. I think that that is the best merch that you can get. You do "spells" to control the TV, pretty much the closest you can get to being an actual witch or wizard. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Book Review: The Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

Released: August 1999
Read: First time in 2007/08
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Format: Paperback, 317 pages
Series: Harry Potter #3

Description from GoodReads: Harry Potter, along with his best friends, Ron and Hermione, is about to start his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry can't wait to get back to school after the summer holidays. (Who wouldn't if they lived with the horrible Dursleys?) But when Harry gets to Hogwarts, the atmosphere is tense. There's an escaped mass murderer on the loose, and the sinister prison guards of Azkaban have been called in to guard the school...

Review: Okay so this review is going to have a ton of spoilers, but honestly why haven't you read it yet. This book is by far my favourite out of all the HP books. The whole Aunt Marge beginning always creeped me out as a kid, and it sorta still does. But boy does the book just get better and better from there.
  A big part of my interest in this book comes from the focus on the magical animals in the wizarding world. Like the beautiful hippogriff on the cover, or the Animagus and werewolves. Even the boggart was cool. Don't even get me started on the patronuses (patronus'? patroni?)!
  The other amazing part to this book was the time-turner. The whole time-traveling sequence in this book is great and beautifully simple. While there are some obvious questions, like why didn't they go back in time and kill Voldemort, effectively saving Harry's parents and thousands of other people? Why did Dumbledore not think of these ideas before giving Hermione a time-turner to do homework? Are there other magical teenagers who got time-turners to help with their homework? What happened to them???
   Oh and Hermione punching Draco in the face was a blessing.

Quotable Quotes:
"I want to commit the murder I was imprisoned for."
"Why, dear boy, we don't send wizards to Azkaban just for blowing up their aunts."
"Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light."

Rating: 10/10

Read if You Liked: Carry On, School For Good And Evil, Narnia?

Optimistically yours, Ola

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Welcome to Potter Week!

Hey everyone!

   As we all know, the Cursed Child comes out this July 31st, so we decided to host a little Potter Week in anticipation of it. We've got reviews of our top HP books, along with recipes, and other fun stuff. Our local bookstore, McNally Robinson is hosting a midnight release party, and we'll tell you all about what happens there.
   Also this week, our blog birthday! That's right, this Friday is our one year anniversary of starting the Autumn Bookshelf! We're so excited that we'll be doing something special this Friday. Check our twitter later this week for more updates.
   Alright that's about it for this intro, so we'll see you tomorrow!

Love, The Autumn Bookshelf

Monday, July 18, 2016

Book Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

9460487Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Released: June 7th 2011
Read: June 2013 (for the first time), July 2016
Publisher: Quirk
Format: Paperback, 352 pages
Series: Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #1

Description from Goodreads:
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.
A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

Story time! I received this book for my 13th birthday, as my family and I were on our way to a cabin of a family friends. Being an exciting and creepy book, I devoured it on my way there. By the time we arrived, I was a quarter of the way through, and (honestly) a little scared. What made matters worse, was that the cabin was extremely old and used to be a vacation place for many kids (and families). Because of this, the entire yard was strewn with old and abandoned toys, rusting with age. That and coupled with the overgrown forest and yard all around the toys scared me out of mind! When it came that I had to sleep in a old furnished room by myself, I'll admit I started crying. I was completely convinced that the wights (the blank eyed bad guys) would pop out at me during the night! Reading it now older and wiser (only three years later) made me realize that perhaps it wasn't quite as scary as I thought. Even though it scared the crap out of me when I was younger, this is one book that I keep recommending over and over. In fact, I have one friend who hates reading (I know, I know, how am I friends with her?! Love you any ways Lor!) but she absolutely adores this book/series. What I enjoy about it are the vintage photograph that add a whole extra dimension to the plot. From start to finish, the book held my attention, and I finished rereading this in a day. I found the characters wholly formed, and finding out what each persons power was, was one of the best parts of the book. I thought that the plot was executed to a tee, and it left me wanting more. Even though it was mildly terrifying, it makes for a story that is unforgettable to say the least. The only critique I have, is that there should have been more photos included. I felt like that for of book of that size, more pictures could've been added. But it was still a fantastic read!!

Favourite Quote: 
“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was. Likewise, I never imagined that home might be something I would miss.” 

― Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Rating: 8.5/10 

Recommended for people who enjoy: suspense, eerie mysteries, thrillers, mixed media books

Happy Reading,

P.S. Keep a look out for my reviews of the last two books in the trilogy!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Book Review: The Telling

The Telling by Alexandra Sirowy

Released: August 2, 2016
Read: July 2016
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: ARC, 400 pages
Series: Stand-alone

Description on Goodreads:

    Lana used to know what was real.
    That was before when her life was small and quiet.
Her golden step-brother, Ben, was alive, she could only dream about bonfiring with the populars, their wooded island home was idyllic, she could tell the truth from lies, and Ben’s childhood stories were firmly in her imagination.
    Then came after.
    After has Lana boldly kissing her crush, jumping into the water from too high up, and living with nerve and mischief. But after also has horrors, deaths that only make sense in fairy tales, and terrors from a past Lana thought long forgotten: Love, blood, and murder.

  This isn't a spoiler, no matter what you may think, but I am a committed member in the Alive-until-literal-body-is-proven-dead club. As soon as Ben's death was described, and I learned that he fell off a cliff into the water below, I believed that he was alive. I've watched waaaay too many of my favourite characters on TV shows die then come back to life. There's always a loop hole or a small detail that someone missed, that proves the person isn't dead. So for the majority of THE TELLING, I searched for Ben. But what happens, I will not say.
    Ben and Lana share a complex relationship, considering their horrible childhood ( before meeting each other). The stories Ben tells Lana bond them and make them closer siblings. These stories, although quite morbid, are unique and really interesting. Beakless black birds and  rosary peas, an odd combination. Also in these stories, Lana and Ben are the common protagonist, always killing the villain the same way the villain killed its victims. Lana the Brave is outgoing and fearless, unlike her current realistic self.
    Lana's relationship with Josh Parker is short and not really there. Of course they're good friends, but if you're looking for a strong romance, this is not the book for you. They act nervous and semi-casual around each other, but you can't feel their connection. It's as if she doesn't like him and is awkward around him just because he's a guy. In short: not very lovely dovey.
    The mystery was kept alive during the entirety of the novel, and made me switch between many suspects. I couldn't figure out who had the right motive and how each murder was pulled off. Why did Maggie hide where she did? Why does everyone suspect it was Fitzgerald Moore? And what did any of this have to do with Lana and Ben?
    By the end of this thriller, Lana finds out the true nature of many of the people around her. Many are not who they seem to be, and each of these discoveries is even more captivating than the one before.


  • " I was an earthworm dreaming of being a python."
  • " The good and bad are indistinguishable in the dark."
  • " You can't go back in time any more than you can regrow a lung once you've lost it. The only thing to do is learn to breathe with just one."
  • "Gant, the idyllic island where the millionaires of Seattle flock with their 2.4 kids, labradoodles, and trophy wives. Gant, where shit doesn't stink and bullshit is recyclable, where everyone gets to be white, rich, and an asshole."
  • " Perception is nine-tenths of everything, and you only need to appear okay for them to think you are."
  • " People wear sadness like they wear hats."
  • " I'm tired of hearing what anyone but me thinks I should be. I want to define myself. If I am small, it's my choice. If I'm daring, it's because it's who I am. If I'm good, fine. If I'm bad, that's on me."

Rating: 9/10

Recommended if you like: thrillers, high school drama, reading about bullying, family drama, murder mysteries, the Creeping by Alexandra Sirowy, books about story telling, obsessions.

Keep flipping pages,

Monday, July 11, 2016

Book Review: Vango

Vango: Between Sky and Earth by Timothée de Fombelle

Released: October 14, 2014
Read: July 2016
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Format: Hardcover, 432 pages

Series: Vango #1

Description from Goodreads:  A breathless adventure from international award winner Timothée de Fombelle charts a desperate search for identity across the vast expanses of Europe.
   In a world between wars, a young man on the cusp of taking priestly vows is suddenly made a fugitive. Fleeing the accusations of police who blame him for a murder, as well as more sinister forces with darker intentions, Vango attempts to trace the secrets of his shrouded past and prove his innocence before all is lost. As he crisscrosses the continent via train, boat, and even the Graf Zeppelin airship, his adventures take him from Parisian rooftops to Mediterranean islands to Scottish forests. A mysterious, unforgettable, and romantic protagonist, Vango tells a thrilling story sure to captivate lovers of daring escapades and subversive heroes.

Review: This book is a piece of art, and that only partially includes the cover. The characters are beautifully intertwined, and the way new clues are introduced make you discovered them.
  Vango is a paranoid almost-priest being chased by multiple people and countries. When have you ever heard a plot summary like that? Throughout the novel, the hunt is told from many, many interesting perspectives, and across many, many different countries. Oh boy, don't get me started on the well-crafted romance. A better love story than Romeo and Juliet (which honestly, is pretty easy to do). Vango and Ethel are madly in love but haven't seen each other since the summer they spent on the Graf Zeppelin. Ah, it's amazing.
   I was hooked from the very first, very confusing chapter, but the end left me wanting more from this novel. Not in an incomplete storytelling way, but in a "There better be a second book!!" way.
   The only issue with this book is that it's a bit slow sometimes. If you want non-stop, adrenaline high action from every scene, this is not your book. It's more of a slow thriller, and it's worth it, but it isn't high speed.

Quotable Quotes:
-"'I'm claustrophobic.''Nice to meet you! I'm paranoid.'"
-"'The shot has gone under my rib, Boulard my boy, so it must have been the shortest one who fired.' Even his final sigh was a police investigation."
-"Perhaps it was because of his wife that Pippo the farmer dreamt of becoming a sailor. There are certain people on this earth who make you want to sail very far away, and above all for a very long time."

Rating: 10/10

Read if You Liked: the 1930s in Europe, art, Paris, there are no books that I've read like this, the Leviathan (?)

Optimistically yours,

Friday, July 8, 2016

Book Review: A Court of Mist and Fury


A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Released: May 3rd, 2016
Read: June 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Format: Hardcover, 640 pages
Seiries: A Court of Thorns and Roses #2

Description from Goodreads:
Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.
Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

I was lucky enough to be able to read this book right after the first one, and not have to wait a year as many other readers had to do. Can I just say that I am so glad I did? Reading the stories back to back really made you believe in the world. I'm sorry to say, but this book made me hate some of the characters I previously had loved. Like a LOT. No spoilers, but I did scream a little whenever they were mentioned... Unlike most sequels, this one managed to build on what the first created. It also managed to introduce new characters without it feeling forced. Among the new characters that I loved was Rhysand. Although he has a role towards the end of the end of the first novel, we really get to know him in this one. I'm really upset that I said no spoilers before, because I'd really like to spoil right now! But I'll restrain myself. Let's just say that Rhys is one of my favourite characters now, and probably will be yours too... Oh, and Feyre really develops into a heroine who doesn't need any men to conquer the world. I really love how she acts in the Night Court! Way different from the Spring Court. If you read my review for the first book, you'll recall that I wanted more exposure to the other courts. Well I got my wish in this book. From the courts that are visited (Spring, Night and Summer) we got to find out about the 'special powers' were for each court, as well as their fashions and palaces. This book kept twisting and winding, all I could do was keep reading. I really could not put this book down. That twist in the end was AMAZING! Completely took me by surprise. I was screaming out loud in class, and everyone was looking at me strangely! You would not believe the book-hangover I had after this one. Unbelievable. But I was so impressed with this one that I decided to start on Maass' other series, Throne of Glass. I thought this book was simply amazing, and I can't wait until book three!

Favourite Quote:
“I am broken and healing, but every piece of my heart belong to you.” 

― Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Mist and Fury

9/10 Stars

Recommended for people who enjoy: high fantasy, romance, strong female leads, adventure

Note: This novel really is for MATURE readers only. Some scenes are inappropriate for young readers. So be careful who you recommend this to.

Happy Reading,

Monday, July 4, 2016

Book Review: The Marked Girl

The Marked Girl by Lindsey Klingele

Released: June 21, 2016
Read: June 2016
Publisher: Harper Teen
Format: ARC, 400 pages
Series: Marked Girl #1

Description on Goodreads:

    Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (Los Angeles)…

    When Cedric, crowned prince of Caelum, and his fellow royal friends (including his betrothed, Kat) find themselves stranded in modern-day L.A. via a magical portal and an evil traitor named Malquin, all they want to do is get home to Caelum—soon. Then they meet Liv, a filmmaker foster girl who just wants to get out of the system and on with her life. As she and Cedric bond, they’ll discover that she’s more connected to his world than they ever could’ve imagined…and that finding home is no easy task…


    The Marked Girl has been on my TBR list since December, and I'm so glad I finally had a chance to read it. I don't know exactly what enticed me so much, whether it had been the cover or the plot, but the novel is special, the dimensions especially. 
    The way the different dimensions are written and created is reason enough to read this thrilling novel. I mean, who would've thought to include the fact that earthquakes occur when a portal is used? It's genius! Anyway, these portals or tears between worlds add a sort of mysterious quality to the book, and make you want to ask oh so many questions. How do these portals exist and why? How do scrolls effect the portals? 
    Cedric, Merek and Kat have an intricate relationship that is a mix between a dictatorship and just a group of friends. Kat listens to Cedric with soldier-like loyalty and never disagrees with his decisions.  I understand her not wanting to piss off the prince, but it gets to be too much sometimes.She seems like a goody-two-shoes who doesn't want to upset her fiancé. Did I mention their engaged? Since birth. Which was a nice complexity to Liv ad Cedric's friendship.  Merek on the other hand does everything in his power to anger Cedric. Whether it be a random snarky comment or taking action and doing something Cedric told him not to do. This odd friendship between Merek, Kat and Cedric takes on a whole new challenge when Liv joins the party. And it is a change that was well needed. 
    Overall The Marked Girl is a great novel to read if you are looking for something with overlapping plot and complex relationships. 

Favourite Quotes: 
  • "Many people felt it at some time or another, when they passed homeless men muttering to themselves on the street, or a group of teenage boys walking by with their pants hanging low. But Liv knew the most dangerous people were often the ones you didn't expect. Signs of hunger, mental instability, or bad fashion choices weren't the things to watch out for. It was a certain tone of voice, a calculated attempt at humanity. An emptiness."
  • "Maybe hell is just a myth we ascribe to worlds we cannot imagine." 

Rating: 5/10

Recommended if you like: fantasy, simplicity, portals, dimensions, our world described through a realistic teenagers eyes, kingdoms, royalty, interlocking plot points.  

Keep flipping pages,