Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: A Hogwarts Feast

Confession: some of the most memorable scenes from movies and cartoons I watched as a kid revolve around food. The flower petal tea cup Willy Wonka crunches on in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The plate piled high with food that Ichabod Crane eats while listening to Brom's ghost stories in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The cabinet full of cookies and candy in Kevin's suite at the Plaza Hotel in Home Alone 2 ... I'm pretty much obsessed with food, you guys. So while I was trying to come up with ideas for this week's topic, I tried to think of books that had the most memorable descriptions of food, the ones I read and afterward thought, oh my god, I'm SO hungry now! And honestly, what kids' books have better descriptions of food than the Harry Potter books? I mean, who wouldn't want to attend a Hogwarts welcome feast or take a trip to Honeydukes at least once?

So, I did some browsing through the books and made a list of some of the tastiest food descriptions in the HP series. Interesting tidbit: it gets a lot harder to find these sorts of passages the further along you get in the series. I guess it's cause the trio's got "more important" things to worry about, like Voldemort's return or Umbridge's takeover of Hogwarts or finding out where the seven Horcruxes are and other things that keep them from feasting on delicious food. Go figure.

(Okay, so I had to cheat a little with this gif since we don't actually see Florean Fortescue in the movies.)

Finally, shout-out to whoever the awesome person is who made this post over on the HP Lexicon that lists literally every single mention of food in all the books. It would've taken me forever to find some of these quotes otherwise!Now if you'll excuse, I'm off to raid the pantry.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Team Ravenclaw Welcome Post + My House Cup Reading Challenge TBR List

Hey Team Ravenclaw! Welcome to the House Cup Reading Challenge! As the Head Girl for Team Ravenclaw, I'm here to answer any questions you all might have about the challenge. I'll also be the one all you Ravenclaws report your final points to at the end of the challenge on November 12.

A Little Bit About Me ... 

I'm Alex: bookworm, fantasy fanatic, drinker of tea, and lover of all things cute. If this is your first time to my blog (which for a lot of you I imagine it is), welcome! I'm so happy you've decided to join me, Lauren, Erica, and Kelsey for the reading challenge! This all started out as a silly little idea I had back in September, and with the help of my co-hosts, it's morphed into a full-blown challenge! It's my first time hosting a reading challenge, and I'm thrilled to see how many of you have already signed up to join us!

If I Were a Hogwarts Student ...

Name: Alex
Hogwarts House: Ravenclaw
Wand Type: Beech wood and unicorn hair
Pet: An orange tabby cat named Marmalade
Favorite Subject: Charms
Favorite Professor: Professor Lupin

My TBR List

As the head of Team Ravenclaw, I won't actually be participating for points in the challenge, but I'm still planning to read at least seven books (though how many of those I'll get through remains to be seen). I'm trying to pick shorter books off my TBR (with some exceptions) in the hope that I'll actually be able to complete the challenge. I'm a notorious mood reader so I always get a little nervous about setting a hard-and-fast reading list. So for now, here's my tentative reading list with some alternative picks.

Shadowfell by Juliet Marrillier
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
Wicked Like a Wildfire by 
Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
Tower of Dawn by Sarah J. Maas

The Queen and the Cure by Amy Harmon
Rhapsodic by Laura Thalassa
Heart of the Empire by Carrie Summers
A Million Junes by Emily Henry
Vengeance Born by Kylie Griffin

Need Recommendations?

Still not sure what you're going to read? Here's a list of some of my favorite books from the last few years:

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)
Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows, and Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #3, 4, and 5)
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1)
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (Strange the Dreamer #1)
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Hunted by Meagan Spooner
The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon
Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier

Bustle also has a great list of books all Ravenclaws should read.

Remember, sign-ups close Saturday night, so be sure to add your sign-up post the widget here if you want to participate and be eligible for the prizes! And be sure to join us Sunday night at 8:00 p.m. EST for the kick-off Twitter chat! We look forward to seeing you there! :)

Sunday, October 1, 2017

The House Cup Reading Challenge Sign Up

Welcome, welcome to the House Cup Reading Challenge! I along with my lovely co-hosts, Lauren of Live, Love, Read, Erica of Escape Under the  Cover, and Kelsey of Kelsey's Cluttered Bookshelf, invite you to join us for a month-long competition to tackle our TBR lists! As a total HP nerd, I am so excited to be hosting this challenge and hope that you all have as much fun participating as we've had planning it!

What Is the House Cup Reading Challenge?

The House Cup Reading Challenge runs from Sunday, October 15, to Sunday, November 12. During this challenge, you will progress from a first-year to seventh-year Hogwarts student by completing seven books on your TBR list. In addition to the main challenge, you will have opportunities to earn even more points by participating in the themed bonus challenges and tweeting with the challenge hashtag on Twitter. But more on that later! 

How It Works

First, you'll need to choose your Hogwarts house. During the challenge, you'll not only be earning points for yourself but for your Hogwarts house as well. At the end of the challenge, each reader should report their points to their house's Head Girl:

Gryffindor: Lauren @BetweenDPages
Hufflepuff: Kelsey @Kelsenator
Ravenclaw: Alex @booksydaisy
Slytherin: Erica @slychica08

Here's how we're determining the winners:

 4 Individual House Winners
One winner will be chosen from each of the four Hogwarts houses. The person who earns the most points for their house will receive:
$5 Starbucks gift card and some HP-themed goodies (stickers, bookmarks, etc.)

1 House Cup Grand Prize Winner
Here's where the House Cup challenge really comes into play! At the end of the challenge, we will randomly select one grand prize winner from the Hogwarts house with the most points overall. This lucky winner will receive:
A Harry Potter Funko Pop figure and a $25 giftcard to Barnes and Noble

**In the case of an international winner, that person will receive an e-gift card to The Book Depository.** 

**PLEASE NOTE: Because we will need winners to provide us with their addresses in order to send out the prizes, you must be 18 years or older to be eligible to win.**

Challenge Events

To kick off the challenge, we'll be hosting a Twitter chat starting at 8:00 p.m. EST to give everybody a chance to introduce themselves, talk about the competition, and answer some Harry Potter trivia questions. Be sure to follow along with the #housecupreadingchallenge hashtag.

At the end of the challenge, we'll also be hosting a watch-along of one of the Harry Potter movies (to be decided via Twitter poll). We'll have more details about this as we get closer to the end of the challenge.

Challenge Categories and Points Breakdown

Main Challenge (20 points each)
Not everyone likes to be confined to a specific category, so we've decided that all books for the main challenge are reader's choice. This means you can pick any book off your TBR list to count toward the main challenge!

First Year: reader’s choice
Second Year: reader’s choice
Third Year: reader’s choice
Fourth Year: reader’s choice
Fifth Year: reader’s choice
Sixth Year: reader’s choice
Seventh Year: reader’s choice

Bonus Challenges (10 points each)
For those who like categories to help narrow down their reading choices, here are thirteen bonus challenges to choose from. However, books you read for the bonus challenges cannot count toward the main challenge! For example,  if you pick The Hunger Games for the Slytherin bonus challenge (read a dystopian book), you cannot also count it toward your second-year challenge.

Gryffindor: Read a book with an epic hero/heroine
Hufflepuff: Read a book that contains a strong friendship 
Ravenclaw: Read a book that revolves around a mystery
Slytherin: Read a book set in a dystopian world 
Astronomy Class: Read a book set in outer space
Care of Magical Creatures: Read a book that features an animal or magical/mythical creature
Tri-Wizard Tournament: Read a book that includes a competition
Occlumency: Read a book about a character with magical abilities or superpowers
Death Eater: Read a book told from the POV of a villain
Platform 9 3/4: Read a book that features travel
Time Turner: Read a book set in the future or past
Fantastic Beasts: Read a spin-off to a beloved series
Dumbledore’s Army: Buddy-read a book with a friend or group

Social Media Bonus Points
Use the hashtag #housecupreadingchallenge on Twitter to earn 1 point per tweet (limited to 20 points total). 

How to Sign Up

Think you're ready to take on the House Cup Reading Challenge? Awesome! To sign up, grab your house badge below, create a sign-up post on your blog with your challenge TBR list and, if you want, your answers to the questionnaire below. Once you've made your post, be sure to link it back to us using the Inlinkz widget below (or on any of my fellow co-hosts' blogs). We await your owl no later than October 14! ;) Happy reading!

Hogwarts Student Questionnaire

Hogwarts House:
Wand Type:
Favorite Subject:
Favorite Professor:

We can't wait to see you on October 15 at 8:00 p.m. EST for the challenge kick-off Twitter chat!