Friday, October 7, 2016

Guest post: 5 Harry Potter fan fiction stories to lose yourself in

And now, for something completely different and fun.

I’d like to welcome entertainment and culture writer, Cassie to my blog today. Cassie, who writes features for Culturecoverage.com, has stopped by to chat about a topic that’s both a guilty pleasure and indulgence of mine. Fan fiction.

Not just any fan fiction though. Fanfic from one of my favourite fictional universes – Harry Potter.

I could write essays on my love for HP fanfiction, but perhaps it’s better if I save that for another day and hand over to Cassie who is stopping by to tell us about the HP fan fiction that she highly recommends you check out (if you haven’t already, that is)!

With Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, it may seem like we’re never going to see the end of the Harry Potter universe, even though Rowling has promised she’s not going to write anymore of Harry’s story.

Just because we’ve got Pottermore to fall back on, I can’t help falling in love with fan-made stories whenever I get the tinge to revisit Hogwarts, and since you’re readers of Tammy’s blog, I bet you guys are too. Now, while I admit these are personal favorites, and I have my opinion, I suggest you check these out and at least give them a chance!

1.    Bungle in the Jungle by jbern

I’ll admit I read this one because I loved the name, but “Bungle in the Jungle,” and it’s sequel, “Turn Me Loose” has turned into one of my favorite fanfic series of all time. 

Centering on a confident, independent Harry, these stories really capture the hero Harry truly is and all the hard work it took to turn him into the bold and brave character we know and love. His fights with Voldemort are intense to read and immensely satisfying. The curse-breaking storytelling is one of a kind and at the height of awesome.

2.    Dumbledore’s Army and the Year of Darkness by Thanfiction

If you, like me, ever wondered what the rest of Dumbledore’s Army was doing while Harry, Ron and Hermione were out hunting for Horcruxes or, more importantly, how Neville turned into such an awesome hero, then this fanfic is for you.

For the backstory of what was happening at Hogwarts during the Horcrux quest, “Dumbledore’s Army and the Year of Darkness” is your exposé with some of the best characters who never got enough spotlight in the books.

3.    Harry Potter and the Last Horcrux by Mike

I love “Harry Potter and the Last Horcrux” because it just feels so real, and I still think it’s one of the best fanfics ever written and certainly the best Harry Potter fanfic out there.

The great thing this story does is it expands the universe of the Wizarding World, and it describes exactly how the wizarding wars affected the Muggles (which is something that really interests me, being the Muggle that I am!). Full of magic, fantasy and the great storytelling we trust Rowling for, this is one fanfic I love as much as the original series itself—it’s that good.

4.    My Immortal by Tara Gilesbie

While it sounds like an Evanescence knockoff, the similarities between the popular song and Harry stop with the title. Widely regarded as both the best and the worst of Harry Potter fanfic everywhere, “My Immortal” is about a vampire witch named Ebony Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way who loves Good Charlotte concerts and hanging out with Draco Malfoy.

Sure, the crossover pop culture references may leave half of you rejoicing and the other half cringing, but all in all, “My Immortal” is a great read for laughs.

5.    Harry Potter and the Wastelands of Time by joe6991
 

For readers who think Rowling didn’t exhaust the magical creature arsenal, “Harry Potter and the Wastelands of Time” makes a deal with the devil—yes, the actual devil.

When Harry’s quest to fight Lord Voldemort leads him to make a trade of his soul for fearsome new powers, the battle with Voldemort gets deadly and leads Harry to make new enemies more fearsome than he could have imagined. The great thing is once you finish it, there’s a sequel in the making for avid fans.

For Harry Potter fans everywhere, I definitely recommend these fan fictions, and I hope you respond with recommendations of your own! I’m always on the search for the next great Harry Potter story, and I’m sure you are too.

Comment with your favorite fan fictions stories, and I’ll get to reading them right away!
 

*Reader tip! Since all of these are read online, you might have some trouble pulling them up if you’re not in the U.S. If you’re reading from international waters and can’t access these stories because of geo-blockers, try creating a secure, untraceable connection with a Virtual Private Network. It will let you access from anywhere!

About the Author: Cassie is a Harry Potter junkie and lover of all things Hogwarts. When not planning her next Harry Potter World adventure, she’s totally tied up with being a total book nerd! She hopes you enjoy these stories as much as she did!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Book review: Summer Days and Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins

A collection of short stories that capture the essence of summer in all of its tempestuous moods.

Summer Days and Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins (first published in 2016 by Pan Macmillan)

Purchase a copy of the book from Raru.co.za

I’ve been a huge fan of Stephanie Perkins since I read her debut novel, Anna and the French Kiss. There’s an element of charming quirkiness that make her books adorable, relatable and oh so very swoon-worthy.

When she opted to do something a little different and ended up editing and contributing to My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories, her very first anthology that focused on wintery Christmas romances, I became an even bigger fan.  

This time around, she provides us with the opposite: Summer Days and Summer Nights, a collection of summery short stories that captures the magic of love in all of its sensational and summery glory. In fact, I confess that when I first started reading this book, I was expecting a collection of feel-good, marshmallow-gooey stories to squee over for days.

What I got was that and then some more.

When we talk about summer, we often think of beach days and ice-cream, flip flops and surfing the waves. What we forget is how many layers there are to summer. From those swelteringly humid days, to the tempestuous thunderstorms resulting from the blistering heat, summer is a season that is far from  being one dimensional. It’s a lot like love: hot and steamy, with enough heat to make you burn (from either passion or heartbreak). 

And that is exactly what the marvellous list of authors (including Stephanie, who contributes a follow up to the story originally featured in the winter anthology) have showcased in their stories.

Here’s a quick round up of what I thought of each of the stories:

Head Scales, Tongue, Tail  by Leigh Bardugo (Rating: 3.5/5)

A gorgeous, if rather odd little read featuring river gods, monsters and a girl who isn’t sure whether or not her crush is completely human. If you’re a fan of stories with a magical realism feel to it, you’ll quite enjoy this one.

The End of Love by Nina LaCour  (Rating: 3/5)

A lovely female/female centric romance from Nina LaCour. A meeting with old friends results in a girl running into an old crush. The story feels a bit rushed (but that is inevitably the tricky thing about novellas), but it’s a sweet and beautifully written story. Nina’s writing is gorgeous.

Last Stand at the Cinegor by Libba Bray (Rating: 4/5)

A movie concession stand, two boys, an unrequited crush and a cursed movie makes for one bizarre and hilarious short story with a retro and supernatural feel to it. I’m definitely going to be reading more from this author.

Sick Pleasures by Francesca Lia Block (Rating: 3/5)

A bittersweet story  about the should have and could have been moments that is only all too relatable. It’s not very popular with a lot of readers but I loved the writing style of this story all the same.

In Ninety Minutes, Turn North by Stephanie Perkins (Rating: 5/5)

My favourite out of this entire anthology so far, Stephanie Perkins revisits couple Marigold and North following a break-up. You should definitely read the original story in the first anthology before you read this one.  I squeed all the way through it.

Souvenirs by Tim Federle (Rating: 4/5)
A story of self-absorbed theatre boys, amusement parks and sultry summer days. It’s beautifully written and reflects on the turbulence of summer and the fleeting nature of summer flings.

Inertia by Veronica Roth (Rating: 4/5 )

A story about the memories of summer and the spaces in-between. Of our perceptions, the bittersweet days of summers gone by and of summers lived-but-not-lived. It's only when Claire, the protagonist of this story, realises she's about to lose her best friend in the worst way possible, that she finally begins to work out that sometimes you have to push through the inertia to learn to live again.

Love is the Last Resort by Jon Skovron (Rating: 3/5)

An adorable tale of matchmaking shenanigans at a holiday resort. It features a diverse cast of  characters,  obnoxious and wilfully blind parental figures and an almost unrealistically sappy happily ever after ending.

Good Luck and Farewell by Brandy Colbert (Rating 4/5)

A happy-sad story of saying goodbyes and learning to make room for new hellos. It’s a tale filled with prickly and crackling emotions from two defensive protagonists who slowly learn that there's more to the story if they just listen.

Brand New Attraction by Cassandra Clare (Rating: 4/5)

Fun, action-packed, and set in a carnival with all manner of magical delights and creatures, Cassie  Clare's  short story has all of the perfect summer time vibes and romantic shenanigans you could ask for.

A Thousand Ways this Could Go Wrong by Jennifer E. Smith (Rating: 4/5)

A million points to Jen for featuring a male protagonist with Asperger's syndrome.  It's done beautifully, matter of factly and without being insensitive.  It’s a summer camp romance that is sweet and filled with misunderstandings, but Jennifer handles the communication between the two protagonists deftly and beautifully.

The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things By Lev Grossman (Rating: 3/5)


A weird, but delightful little story about being stuck in a time loop and trying to find the perfect moments when everything seems the same. It’s a tale that plays on our perspective and lack of appreciation of what we have, and features city trekking, map drawing and an adorable science nerd.

Disclaimer: This review originally appeared on W24.co.za

Purchase a copy of the book from Raru.co.za