Book Recommendations, Book Tag, Lists, Uncategorized

Our Favorite Books of 2018

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Usually I would have had this up on the last day of December but I’ve been sick so it’s a little behind. But here are our favorite books that we have read in the past year!

 

Isis:

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Autoboyography by Christina Lauren 

This books started me off on a really positive note for the year. I read it while I was struggling with my mental health and it helped me get out of the hole where I felt I was buried. It’s such a good book about sexuality and religion and how the two can coexist. 

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The Long Walk by Stephen King 

When I finished this book I wanted to cry. I didn’t know what to do because I instantly missed it. This book made me so upset but also so happy. I loved so many of the characters and I felt so attached to their lives and their stories. I’ll never forget this book. 

 

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Turtles All The Way Down by John Green 

I related so much with the characters in this book. This is one of my favorite John Green books. I loved the representation of a character with anxiety and OCD. It was quite a ride. 

 

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Restore Me (Shatter Me #4) by Tahereh Mafi

I was really happy with the continuation of the Shatter Me series. It wasn’t perfect at all, but I got to read it alongside my friends and discuss it and that made it so much better. Also, any book with Warner is an awesome book. 

 

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne 

This is one of the best rom-com books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. It made me love the enemies to lovers scenario and it’s something I still can’t move on from. I loved the characters and the way they fell in love in the most unconventional ways. 

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Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram 

This book was so touching and so heart-warming. I loved the representation of depression and Iranian and Persian culture. It was such a sweet book overall. I wanted to keep reading it even after it was over. 

 

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A Sucky Love Story: Overcoming Unhappily Ever After by Brittani Louise Taylor

 This was a really great book. It was insane from start to finish but I couldn’t get enough of it. Brittani’s love story is quite sucky, but she did overcome some of the worst things a person could go through. 

 

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Riding With Brighton by Haven Francis 

I loved this coming of age story. It’s also a coming out story. The characters were lovely and so was the romance. It was one of those feel good stories that I know will always be there when I need a pick me up. 

 

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Fence Vol. 1 by C.S. Pacat 

This was an amazing start of this series. It totally blew me away. I loved the setting, the characters, and their stories. I can sense a very nice romantic build up between the main characters and it’s awesome. I can’t wait to continue with the series. 

 

Nicole:

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The Assassin’s Curse duology by Cassandra Rose Clark

These two belong together since really they should have been one book. These were my first two reads last year, and I love them so much. The pirates and the magic are everything I love about fantasy. And it has one of my favorite romances of all time.

 

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The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani Dasgupta 

This is the perfect start to a new middle grade fantasy series. It was so fast and funny and simply had everything that I love in a book with the added greatness of Indian rep that I hadn’t seen before.

 

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The Clocktaur War duology by T. Kingfisher

Again I have to put these two together since they should have been one book. This series made me laugh, made me cry, and made me stay up way too late in suspense. It’s one of those books I wish I could erase just so I can read it again for the first time. The lovely characters are some of my favorites of all time, and the romance was so sweet and realistic.

 

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The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

I did not expect much when I first picked up this book. So to have it as one of my favorites of the year is amazing to me. But this is such a hidden gem of a book about being true to yourself and your friends. With the best romance. I almost wrote fanfiction about this book when I finished it simply because I was not ready to leave the characters just yet.

 

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Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

My absolute favorite book of the year also happens to have the best cover. Witches, zombies, female friendship, and fat rep? There was nothing that could make me dislike this book, but Anderson knocked it out of the park. Everyone needs to read this book.

Book Tag, Uncategorized

Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag 2018

1. Best book you’ve read so far in 2018.

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That would definitely have to be The Clockwork Boys by T. Kingfisher

2. Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2018.

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For a book series I didn’t think that I would ever continue, the second and third book of the Fablehaven series has really sucked me in this year.

3. New release you haven’t read yet, but want to.

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I need to read Dread Nation by Justina Ireland soon.

4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year.

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That has to be a tie between Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria (because she wrote Iron Cast one of my favorite books ever) and A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney (because Buffy plus Alice in Wonderland sounds amazing).

5. Biggest disappointment.

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I think this is my only one star on the year, and I don’t believe I ever wrote a review here for it. It was confusing and gave me a headache when I thought I would really enjoy it.

6. Biggest surprise.

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Even though I was excited to read Medium Wave by Rose Zolock, I was still surprised by the book and how much I liked it.

7. Favourite new author. (Debut or new to you)

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That has to be Sayantani Dasgupta. I’m going to be looking forward to whatever she puts out even if it isn’t part of the Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond series.

8. Newest fictional crush.

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Naji from The Assassin’s Curse duology is perfect.

9. Newest favourite character.

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Everyone is this book.

10. Book that made you cry.

None of them has.

11. Book that made you happy.

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This Dragonbreath book in particular though all of them make me happy.

12. Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

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I love the gold lettering.

13. What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

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I need to get to The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas before the movie comes out. I would also love to finish the Percy Jackson series. I only have two more books to go in that first one.

Book Tag, Uncategorized

Bookshelf Tag

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Describe your bookshelf and where you got it from.

Isis: My bookshelf is handmade by an old coworker of my mom’s. She bought the wood and paid him to build it from scratch. I really love it. 

Nicole: I have three bookshelves. One I think belonged to my grandma or someone. One my dad bought at a garage sale for me, and the other my boyfriend bought at a garage sale for me.

How do you organize your books?

Isis: I have two LGBT+ shelves, a Stephen King shelf, and a Benjamin Alire Sáenz shelf. Other than that, there’s no organization. 

Nicole: I try  to by genre, but I don’t have enough space really. So then it dissolves into whatever I have recently bought grouped together.

 

What’s the longest book on your shelf?

Isis: Probably Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Nicole: It by Stephen King.

 

What’s the shortest book on your shelf?

Isis: Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving.

Nicole: One of those Clue books by A.E. Parker.

 

 

Is there a book you received as a birthday gift?

Isis: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. My mom gave it to me on my 22nd birthday before she passed away. 

Nicole: I don’t think so. Not all my books are on my shelves right now. Most are in boxes. 

 

Is there a book from a friend on your shelf?

Isis: Nicole gave me The Novice by Taran Matharu.

Nicole: Isis gave me the City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty.

 

 

The most expensive book on your shelf?

Isis: The Saga Books 1 & 2 I own cost around $50 each. 

Nicole: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas was $22 I think. 

 

 

The last book you read on your shelf?

Isis: Anything Could Happen by Will Walton. It was short and memorable. 

Nicole: Tokoyo, The Samurai’s Daughter by Faith L. Justice.

 

 

Do you have a complete series?

Isis: The Harry Potter series, the Captive Prince trilogy, the Angelfall trilogy, all of the Shatter Me books that are currently out. 

Nicole: The first Percy Jackson series.

 

 

What’s the newest addition to your shelf?

Isis: All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages edited by Saundra Mitchell.

Nicole: Dread Nation by Justina Ireland.

 

 

The oldest book on your shelf?

Isis: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone which I bought for $3 at a Scholastic book fair in 2002.

Nicole: I think School Of Fear Gitty Daneshvari that I bought in 2012.

 

 

What’s a book you’d hate to let out of your sight? (A.K.A. No one is touching it. Ever.)

Isis: My signed hardback copy of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz. 

Nicole: None of them.

 

 

Most beat up book?

Isis: The copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone I mentioned. One of my dogs peed and chewed on it. 

Nicole: The Art of Baking Blind by Sarah Vaughan that I bought at the dollar store.

 

 

Most pristine book?

Isis: My Hufflepuff edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I love that edition.

Nicole: The City of Brass that Isis bought me.

 

 

A book that doesn’t belong to you?

Isis: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexis.

Nicole: I have a whole shelf that is just my current library books and books I’ve borrowed from Isis and my mom.

 

 

A book that is your favourite colour?

Isis: I don’t really have a favorite color, but the colors on the cover of Autoboyography by Christina Lauren are beautiful. 

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Nicole: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary by Brandon Mull. I love purple.

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A book that’s been on your shelf the longest and you still haven’t read it?

Isis: There are too many to choose from. But I’ll go with The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

Nicole: The School of Fear that I’ve mentioned before.

 

 

Of all the books on your shelf, which was the first you read?

Isis: A Separate Peace by John Knowles

Nicole: Let the Circle Be Unbroken by Mildred D. Taylor.

 

Any signed books?

Isis: Most of my Benjamin Alire Sáenz books, and a few by David Levithan, Adam Silvera, and Shaun David Hutchinson. 

Nicole: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Dread Nation by Justina Ireland. Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry.

Book Tag, Uncategorized

Oscar Book Tag

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Best picture: Favorite book series

Isis: The Penryn & The End of Days series was amazing. I loved the first book, Angelfall, and I loved the conclusion to the trilogy. Angels and badass characters. What’s not to love?

Nicole: The Assassin’s Curse duology by Cassandra Rose Clarke is a new favorite. It has pirates and magic, and is simply perfect.

Best foreign film: Favorite diverse book

Isis: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz. Gay Mexican boys. Read it.

Nicole: Iron Cast by Destiny Soria. A bunch of diversity set in a magic world.

Best documentary: Favorite nonfiction book

Isis: Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer.

Nicole: The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story by Hyeonseo Lee.

Best actress: Favorite female protagonist 

Isis: Penryn from Angelfall. Again, she kicked butt.

Nicole: Skybright from Serpentine by Cindy Pon. Smart and kickass and loyal.

Best actor: Favorite male protagonist 

Isis: Warner from the Shatter Me series. I cannot wait for Restore Me.

Nicole: Memphis from the Diviners series. I’ve only read the first book so that could change, but I love how he is in that.

Best supporting actress: Favorite female supporting character 

Isis: Lua from At the Edge of the Universe. Although Lua sometimes uses female pronouns, Lua is gender-fluid, but that’s not an option in this tag unfortunately.

Nicole: Samirah Al-Abbas from the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard by Rick Riordan. She’s always smart and kickass and loyal. I might have a type.

Best supporting actor: Favorite male supporting character

Isis: Prince Robot IV from Saga. Is he a supporting character? I guess he is since he’s a “villain.”

Nicole: Wendell from the Dragonbreath series. He’s so cute and I have a soft spot for anyone with anxiety.

Best screenplay: Favorite standalone book

Isis: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

Nicole: I have to say Iron Cast by Destiny Soria.

Best director: Favorite author

Isis: Benjamin Alire Saenz

Nicole: I feel like I don’t have one to be honest, but I’ll go with Victoria Schwab.

Best cinematography: Best worldbuilding

Isis: I don’t read a lot of fantasy. I guess I’ll have to go with the Harry Potter world.

Nicole: The world in Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia is amazing. 

Best costuming: Best cast of characters

Isis: The Shatter Me characters give me so many feelings. I adore them.

Nicole: The Magnus Chase series. I love all of them

Tag people 

Everyone!

Book Tag, Uncategorized

A-Z Book Tag

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A: Author you’ve read the most books from

Isis: Benjamin Alire Saenz. Anyone who knows me knows he’s my favorite. 

Nicole: Ursula Vernon. I’ve read nine of her books.

B: Best sequel ever

Isis: Prince’s Gambit by C. S. Pacat for sure. 

Nicole: The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan

C: Currently reading

Isis: A Boy Worth Knowing Jennifer Cosgrove

Nicole: The Belgrave Legacy by Zara Hoffman and Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull

D: Drink of choice while reading

Isis: Tea. Usually chai or milk tea are my favorites.

Nicole: I love Dr. Pepper. 

E: E-reader or physical book

Isis: I love physical books but I prefer ebooks for night reading. So, both. 

Nicole: Physical book. I tend to get too distracted with ebooks.

F: Favourite fictional character

Isis: Dante Quintana. No one will ever steal his spot. 

Nicole: Harry Potter. I loved him for so long it’s hard not to say his name.

G: Glad you gave it a chance

Isis: The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. I don’t usually read romance so I’m glad I read that one. 

Nicole: Serpentine by Cindy Pon. I was unsure of going so fantasy with the main character being a half monster, but I’m glad I did.

H: Hidden gem book

Isis: In Perfect Light by Benjamin Alire Saenz. Everyone should read it. 
Nicole: The Assassin’s Curse duology by Cassandra Rose Clarke. That’s two books, but very worth it.

I: Important moment in reading life

Isis: When I read A Separate Peace and fell in love with reading. Also, first time I shipped two book characters.
Nicole: On the Equality of the Sexes by Judith Murray was the first review I did on this blog.

J: Just finished

Isis: Collecting Secrets by PE Kavanagh.
Nicole: Saga volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan.

K: Kinds of books you won’t read

Isis: High fantasy. Although at times I’ll make exceptions. 

Nicole: Erotic, Romance. There are others but there is always exceptions.

L: Longest book you’ve read

Isis: Maybe Order of the Phoenix, but I’m not sure. 

Nicole: Order of the Phoenix.

M: Major book hangover

Isis: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel gave me a big book hangover. I love that book. 

Nicole: The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight. All I wanted was the sequel. 

N: Number of bookshelves

Isis: Just one that was custom made. 

Nicole: Three. Two medium ones, and one short one.

O: One book read multiple times

Isis: Point Pleasant by Jen Archer Woods.

Nicole: Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling.

P: Perfect place to read

Isis: My bed.

Nicole: My bed.

Q: Quote that inspires you

Isis: “So it goes.” -Kurt Vonnegut

Nicole: “To be careful with people and with words was a rare and beautiful thing.” 
― Benjamin Alire Sáenz

R: Reading regret

Isis: Edge of Darkness by Travis McBee. It was the worst. 

Nicole: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. I don’t know why I finished it.

S: Series I started and need to finish

Isis: I want to finish the duology of This Savage Song, which is Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab. 

Nicole: The original Percy Jackson series. I think I have the last two to go through.

T: Three all-time favorites

Isis:

  • At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson
  • Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Nicole:

  • Roll of Thunder, Hear of Cry by Mildred. D. Taylor
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  • Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Saenz

U: Unapologetic fangirl moment

Isis: Meeting Benjamin Alire Saenz, David Levithan, and Adam Silvera all on the same day. It was the best. 

Nicole: When I meet authors I usually can’t talk. Does that count?

V: Very excited for release

Isis: Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi. Give me all the Warner!

Nicole: A Blade so Black by L.L. McKinney

W: Worst bookish habit

Isis: Wanting to read too many books at once, getting overwhelmed, and not reading anything. 

Nicole: Starting and stopping a million books because I get distracted. It results in nothing being done.

X: X Marks the Spot – start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book

Isis: Fat Angie by E. E. Charlton-Trujillo
Nicole: White Cat by Holly Black

Y: Your latest book purchase

Isis: A beautiful B&N edition of Jane Eyre

Nicole: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.

Z: ZZZ snatcher book – last book that kept you up way late

Isis: Autoboyography by Christina Lauren. So worth the lack of sleep. 

Nicole: Iron Cast by Destiny Soria

Book Tag

The LGBTQIA+ Booktube Tag

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I know this is a tag created by booktubers, for booktubers, but since recording a video of myself talking in front of a camera gives me serious anxiety, I am going to just do it on my blog. This is Isis, by the way. I really wanted to be a part of this, so I’m sorry if some of the questions just don’t apply to me. I saw Adriana do this tag on Youtube, which was amazing. So let’s get started!

Question #1: How do you identify?

Pansexual.

Question #2: What are some of your favourite LGBTQIA+ books and authors?

I have a ton! A lot of lgbtqia+ books are an instant buy for me. Some of my favorites are:

Question #3: How often do you talk about LGBTQIA+ books on your channel, and what videos of yours would you recommend people start with, if they’re looking for LGBTQIA+ content?

I try to talk about all the LGBTQIA+ books I read, and review them. I haven’t read as frequently this year as I used to, but I do my best to always read at least one diverse, own voices book. I think Aristotle and Dante is a great start, for which I’ve linked the review above. I think also anything by Benjamin Alire Saenz, Julie Anne Peters, David Levithan, Shaun David Hutchinson, and Adam Silvera is solid.

Question #4: Who are your favorite LGBTQIA+ booktubers?

Adriana from Perpetualpages

Tiernan from TheBooktuber

Ben from Benjaminoftomes

Paige from Enchantology

Peter from Peter Likes Books

Joseph from The Boy Who Cried Books

Question #5 (suggested by Jessie of Cup of Books): When was the first time you encountered an LGBTQIA+ character in fiction?

When I read Luna by Julie Anne Peters. Luna was this force of nature and I was enamored. I know this book is problematic in many ways, but it was my gateway book into more LGBTQIA+ books as well as discovering my sexuality.

Question #6: Anything else you want to add? And who do you tag?

I love LGBTQIA+ books, especially in YA. I think they’re incredibly important and necessary and influential. I’m so happy to know there’s so much to choose from nowadays. Everyone is welcome to do this tag!

 

Book Tag, Personal

The Harry Potter Book Tag

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We were tagged by Lorryn from Reading Parental. Thanks so much for tagging us!

Am I a pureblood, half-blood, or muggle born?

Nicole: I never get answers like this. How am I supposed to know? Do I choose one randomly? Because then I would be a half-blood since they get the best of both worlds. Is it decided in terms of privilege? Then I would be a pureblood, but not the Sacred 28. More like the Weasleys.
Isis: I’m a half-blood for sure.

Which wand chose me?

Nicole: I just took the quiz on pottermore for this and it says elm wood with a phoenix feather core. 10” and unyielding flexibility. Apparently that means I’m capable of highly advanced magic with great range, and I guess it’ll be stubborn about working for other people.
Isis: I took the pottermore quiz as well. I got the vine wood with a unicorn hair core. 13 1/2″ and quite bendy flexibility. Mine is a rare wand, and their owners are those who seek greater purpose. So that’s new.

Did I take an owl, cat, rat, or toad with me?

Nicole: A cat obviously.
Isis: Owl!

Where did  the sorting hat put me?

Nicole: I’ve taken the quiz a lot, and it’s put me in every house. The most recent one was Hufflepuff. But I’m a Ravenclaw.
Isis: Hufflepuff every time!

What house did I want to be in?

Nicole: Ravenclaw
Isis: Hufflepuff!!! Represent.

What lessons are my favorite and least favorite?

Nicole: I always wanted to know more about the Ancient Runes class. History of Magic would be my least favorite.
Isis: I would love the potions class because Snape would be my teacher. I don’t think I would like the defense against the dark arts one because I’m not much of a fighter.

The form my patronus takes?

Nicole: Pottermore said an Osprey. Some type of eagle, I don’t know.
Isis: Deerhound. But honestly, I would have been okay with a snake.

What does a boggart look like to me?

Nicole: I have so many fears how would it just choose one? But uh maybe everyone hating me.
Isis: A giant worm that feeds on humans.

Do I partake in any magical hobbies or school sports?

Nicole: No I hate socializing.
Isis: I would attend every Quidditch game to support my house, of course.

Where would I find myself hanging in my free time?

Nicole: Probably by the lake, the library, or in the dorm when everyone else is in the common room.
Isis: The library, or anywhere where there’s food. Or candy.

What would I most likely get detention for?

Nicole: Being late to class.
Isis: Not getting all my work done.

What career do I want after leaving Hogwarts?

Nicole: Inventor of spells. But also a writer. There’s never any fiction books mentioned, and maybe it’ll make everyone relax if they could read for fun.
Isis: Can I be in film or television? I don’t think that was ever discussed in the books, but I want a career like that in the wizarding world.

Which of the deathly hallows would you choose?

Nicole: The Elder Wand
Isis: The Invisibility Cloak
 

Favourite book?

Nicole: The Goblet of Fire
Isis: I love The Prisoner of Azkaban, although it also breaks my heart.

Least favourite book?

Nicole: Half-Blood Prince
Isis: I’ve never liked the Chamber of Secrets so much.

Favourite film?

Nicole: Prisoner of Azkaban
Isis: The Order of the Phoenix. I loveee Dumbledore’s Army.

Least favourite film?

Nicole: Order of the Phoenix
Isis: The Prisoner of Azkaban. Love the book, but the movie never felt as good or exciting.

Favourite character?

Nicole: Harry Potter until the very end
Isis: I love Sirius Black very much.
 

Least favourite/most hated character?

Nicole: Snape always
Isis: Umbridge.

Favourite teacher at Hogwarts?

Nicole: Hagrid even if he sucked as a teacher
Isis: Snape! He’s my boy.

Least favorite teacher at Hogwarts?

Nicole: Umbridge
Isis: Umbridge, too. But does she count as a teacher?

Do you have any unpopular opinions about the series?

Nicole: Honestly I’m not even sure what’s unpopular or not so here’s a couple of my opinions. Snape wasn’t bullied, and is a horrible person. Draco and Harry are not perfect parallels to Snape and James. Draco deserves more of the redemption arc/hero attention than Snape ever did. Dumbledore sucks and should have been put in Azkaban. Harry is biracial and bisexual. Ginny isn’t Lily reincarnate. Harry isn’t unobservant and stupid. Remus wasn’t a father figure to Harry.
Isis: I love Snape with all my heart. Leave him alone.  Also, maybe not relevant to the 7 “real” books, but MAKE SCORPIUS AND ALBUS GAY, YOU COWARDS!

If you could save one character from the finale battle who would you save?

Nicole: This is so hard but Fred. His death still hurts so much.
Isis: Fred. Honestly, why???? WHY did we have to break up that amazing duo? It’s just not fair. Not fair at all.