Fitness Friday

Hi All! I am so happy it is finally Friday. Since the weekend is notorious for presenting bad food and tons of sugar, here are a few quotes to stay on the weight-loss train!

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weightloss inspiration

Have a great weekend!

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Book review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (JK Rowling)

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Book: 15/100

In the third book of the Harry Potter series, it is noticeable that Harry is starting to grow up. He is more mature (though still young at some parts) and has accepted that he is a wizard, and made peace (sort of) that he is a famous one.

When Harry’s temper gets the better of him, and he makes his incredibly rude aunt turn into a balloon shaped human, he isn’t even expelled. Harry suspects something is up when the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, is just happy he is safe and well, and doesn’t care about his serious breaking of wizarding rules. Harry is allowed to spend the rest of his vacation in Diagon Alley, which is great news for him, as he can be away from his relatives.

The leading news story in the wizarding world is the escape of a mass murderer, Sirius Black. He is now famous, being the only person to escape from the wizarding prison, Azkaban, which is guarded by Dementors – terrible creatures that make you remember every bad thing that happened to you.

On the Hogwarts express on the way to school the Dementors enter the train, and Harry is particularly affected by them – he relives when Voldemort murdered his parents. Professor Lupin, the new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, repels the Dementors by casting a spell on them.

At school, Professor Dumbledore informs them that the Dementors will be at school until Black is caught. This is bad news for Harry – they affect him so bad that he passes out mid-air during a Quidditch match. When his captain tells him to sort out the problem before the next match, Harry asks Professor Lupin to teach him how to repel the Dementors. Lupin teaches Harry, warning him that it is very advanced magic for an unqualified wizard.

Meanwhile, Hermoine is confusing Ron and Harry by having classes at the same time. She is very vague when asked how she does this, but they can think of no possible explanation.

Harry finally finds out why Cornelius Fudge was so happy to find him well at the beginning of summer. He accidentally hears that Sirius Black is responsible for his parents’ death, because he leaked their whereabouts to Voldemort. Afterwards, he killed one of his friends, Peter Pettigrew, and a whole street of muggles, for which he was imprisoned. Harry is filled with a sense of righteous anger, and his friends try to get him to understand how foolish it would be for him to hunt down a madman.

Professor Lupin is very popular at school, revolutionising his subject for the students. He disappears once a month, and always returns looking ill. It would seem that the only person Professor Snape (Harry’s arch enemy) dislikes more than Harry is Professor Lupin. It finally makes sense to Harry when Lupin reveals that he and James, Harry’s father, were close friends at school.

Hagrid, the gentle half-giant, is distraught when Draco Malfoy manages to fake a severe injury, causing Hagrid’s Hippogriff Buckbeak to be sentenced to death. Harry, Ron and Hermoine try to help him appeal, but in the end the verdict remains. The three sneak down to support Hagrid on the night of the execution, and when they return to the castle, a huge dog attacks Ron and pulls him under the Whomping Willow. Harry and Hermoine chase after Ron, and they find a passage leading to an old haunted house under the tree.

When they find themselves in the Shrieking Shack, they find that the dog is actually Sirius Black, who is an Animagus. Harry tries to attack him, but is stopped by Professor Lupin. Stunned by this betrayal, Hermoine reveals Lupin’s big secret – that he is a werewolf, and locks himself up once a month when he turns into a werewolf. Lupin and Black tell Harry that their friendship group, James, Sirius and a man named Peter Pettigrew all turned into Animaguses to support Lupin when he turned. They also tell him that it was never Sirius who leaked the information about Harry’s parent’s whereabouts, but Peter Pettigrew, whose Animagus form was a rat, and who disappeared after killing all the muggles, blaming Sirius. It turns out that the rat in question is Ron’s rat, Scabbers, and Lupin turns the Rat into the man Pettigrew. Sirius and Lupin want to kill Peter, but Harry tells them not to, and that they can use him to prove Sirius’s innocence.

When they return to the castle, Lupin changes into a werewolf and the group scatters. They narrowly escape the Dementors, but Peter Pettigrew flees, and Sirius is recaptured.

Dumbledore listens to their story in the hospital wing, and tells Harry and Hermoine (Ron is too badly injured to join them) to use Hermoine’s time turner to help Sirius and Buckbeak. The Time-turner, it is revealed, is how Hermoine has been managing to get to two classes at one time. They use it, and manage to free the Hippogriff and Sirius, and rush back in time before Snape throws a tantrum because Sirius got away.

Rating:

8.5/10

The Prisoner of Azkaban is great on so many levels. Not only are we reading about more mature characters, Harry finally finds a parent figure in Sirius. He learns more about his father and mother, and begins to form into the man who would end up destroying Voldemort for good. My favourite part in the book is definitely when they win the Quidditch cup – there is no finer moment. I get Goosebumps every single time I read it. Oh, and this is the book that I can remember reading when I was eleven years old, and I am sure it is responsible for starting my reading addiction!

Freaking out

ZENQUOTES

Lately I have been trying to be more calm about life. My theory that if you became calm, everything would be okay, was working pretty well until last night.

The picture above isn’t me any more.

I am freaking.

I am writing my three most difficult exams in ONE WEEK. wtf UNISA?

Seriously, Microbiology, Physiology, and Statistics.

STATISTICS.

worst subject EVER.

This means no more fun times for me for about a two months. Oh, the joy.

Now this will be me

Studying

 

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (JK Rowling)

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Book: 14/100

I reached for the second book in the Harry Potter franchise almost immediately after I finished The Philosopher’s Stone. I really adore these books so much, and I was very happy when the Potter bug bit me again.

What Happened (the short version)

Harry returns to school for his second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry after nearly being punished for magic he didn’t perform. The magic performed was done by a house-elf, Dobby, who deliberately tried to get Harry into trouble after Harry refused to listen to his warnings that Hogwarts wasn’t safe for him.

At school, strange things start to happen. After the caretaker’s cat is petrified, there is a message on the wall behind it saying that the Chamber of Secrets has been opened. The History of Magic teacher tells them that the Chamber was created by Salazar Slytherin, when he left the school because he didn’t want any muggle born witches or wizards enrolled. The rumour went that when the heir of Slytherin returned to the school, the Chamber would be re-opened and the monster within would purify the school of muggle borns.

Harry becomes prime suspect when it is discovered he can talk to snakes, a habit that has long since been accepted as part of the Dark Arts. Every crime points to Harry, but people start to believe in his innocence when one of his best friends, Hermoine, is attacked.

This leaves Ron and Harry to solve the mystery. The find out through a secret diary that Hagrid was expelled for the crimes, even though he did not commit them. When Hagrid is taken to prison as a preventative method, they know they must do everything to stop the monster. They go into the Forbidden Forest, and meet Aragog, a huge spider, who tells them that it was never he nor is Hagrid responsible for the deaths of a student during the last time the Chamber had been opened.

Harry and Ron find out that the monster is a Basilisk, a huge snake that can kill you if you make eye contact with it. When they hear the monster took Ron’s sister, Ginny, into the chamber, they set of to find it and save her. Accompaning them is Professor Lockhart, a man who claims to be a type of heroic saviour to the wizarding world. When they enter the tunnel leading to the chamber, he tries to curse Ron and Harry, but the spell backfires, making him lose his memory, and makes the tunnel cave in. Ron stays with Lockhart, and Harry decides to go searching for the monster alone.

In the chamber he finds Ginny, nearly dead. He finally meets the Heir to Slytherin – who came back through the diary Harry saw Hagrid being falsely accused in. Tom Marvolo Riddle, reveals himself as the young Lord Voldemort. He tells Harry that he had used Ginny through the diary to petrify everyone, and when she dies, he will be restored to his former self.

Tom sets the basilisk free on Harry, and unexpected help arrives when Fawkes, Professor Dumbledore’s phoenix, scratches out the Basilisk eyes, ensuring Harry can kill the snake while looking at it. The sword of Gryffindor is sent to Harry, and he kills the Basilisk with it. Harry prevents Tom from coming back by stabbing the diary with a Basilisk fang, effectively erasing Tom from the present. Fawkes heals Harry, and carries him, Ginny, Ron and Lockhart to safety.

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Rating: 8/10

I don’t ever see myself grading one of the Harry Potter books lower than an eight. They are simply so well written that they deserve highest rating.

The Chamber of Secrets is very funny. I love the humour in it, the sarcasm, and all the small events that make the book such a success. If you have read all the books, you notice how Rowling left clues about events that would happen later on. The characters are all a little older, wiser, and braver.

My favourite part is probably the feast the students have in their pajamas after the Chamber has been closed again, and Hagrid returns to the school. Simply excellent 🙂

Read the review on the first book as well here 🙂

Weekend, books and stuff

Morning everyone!

I hope all of you had a great weekend? For me, it was very nice, mainly because I got to be home and read some!

First of all, I just need to congratulate my friends Carla and Johan with the birth of their first-born  daughter Lisha. Congrats guys! I won’t be posting any pics of her, since it is kinda creepy, and falls into the same category of posting pictures of a wedding without permission of the bride first. But let me tell you, she is cute.

Secondly, I seriously need a new laptop. Mine broke completely, and now I need one. I am surprised by how much I miss it. Suddenly I have tons of assignments to type up, series to watch, and not to mention the prepping for this blog. I am still procrastinating the buying of it, since spending at least four grand on one single item is really not appealing to me right now – I just noticed how little winter clothes I have!

On the topic of winter – can you believe it is already April?! I had no idea the time was flying so quickly. It is shocking! I really thought I would have much more done by now. But I will be travelling to Mpumalanga at the end of April, to visit my best friend Zoë for her birthday! It is going to be so awesome!

The beginning of April also means that I am fully on the weight loss train again. I have been neglecting my diet and exercising so much, under the excuse of a busy lifestyle. Well, no more! I am joining the girls at the office for our Weight Watchers type of weigh-ins, and I can tell you, the thought of weighing at work is a wonderful motivator to lose weight!

On the book front, I finally finished Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It felt as if it was taking ages, but when I got to the part where Voldemort returns, I just couldn’t put it down. I started this morning on the Order of the Phoenix. I suspect I will be rather sad when I am finished with all the Harry Potter books. I think I will start on Suzanne Collins’s the Hunger Games after this – I would love to read the books slowly this time.

Here are some motivational quotes for the day

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Have a good one!

Book Challenge – Progress, Part 2

Happy Friday everyone! I hope you all are planning to have a lovely weekend. I myself am planning to rest, enjoy the colder weather here in Johannesburg, and get some of my university assignments done.

Here is my book challenge progress so far – one of the reasons I do these posts is to keep track… it is really hard to remember everything!

Here is my completed reading list so far:

Chasing Fire– Nora Roberts

The Search– Nora Roberts

Hidden Star– Nora Roberts

Fallen Star– Nora Roberts

Captive star- Nora Roberts

Richelle Mead – Bloodlines

Richelle Mead – The Golden Lily

Richelle Mead – Indigo Spell

Nicholas Sparks – The Guardian

Stephen King – Carrie

Lewis Carrol – Alice in Wonderland

Nora Roberts – Montana Sky

JK Rowling – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

JK Rowling – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

JK Rowling – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Currently reading:

JK Rowling – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Nicolas Sparks – The Lucky One

Planning to read:

JK Rowling – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

JK Rowling – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

JK Rowling – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Susan Collins: Hunger Games

Susan Collins: Catching Fire

Susan Collins: Mockingjay

Lewis Carrol – Through the Looking Glass

JK Rowling: The Casual Vacancy

Marian Keyes: The Mystery of Mercy Close

Khaled Hosseini: A thousand splendid suns

Let me know if you have other good books I should try!

And here is a quote, because I like them.

thousand-lives

Book Review: The Indigo Spell (Richelle Mead)

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Book: 13/100

When I finished the second book in the Bloodlines series, The Golden Lily, I was super excited to get to the next novel. Imagine my shock and dismay when I discovered I had to WAIT for Indigo Spell to be released! It was horrific. There is a specific reason I make sure the entire series has been published before I start reading – when I am into books, I cannot put them down.

So when it was finally released (In February) I eagerly got a copy and started reading. I wasn’t disappointed. I enjoyed it as much, or probably more than the first two books.

What happened:

There was no huge time jump between the books, and we meet Sydney again were the Golden Lily left off. She is still at Amberwood prep, in charge of keeping Jill, Adrian and Eddie in check. Another dhampir has since joined their group, Angeline, who gives Sydney more headaches than the other three combined. Raised in a primitive community, she is wild, and thinks violence solves problems. She is routinely in trouble, but shows some development when she starts acting as a true protector towards Jill, leading Eddie to see that she wasn’t as terrible as he initially thought. They start dating, and this starles Jill into realising she cares for Eddie.

Ms. Terwillinger wakes Sydney up at night to have her perform a location spell. Sydney is still training her magical abilities, but she manages to get a view the city where her enemy lie. Ms Terwillinger confides in Sydney that her sister Veronica is an evil witch who steals powers and youth from young, unsuspecting witches. Her concern is for Sydney, who is in danger if Veronica finds out about her.

Sydney still has problems of her own as well. After her kiss with Adrian, and her subsequent denial of feelings, he is now angry with her. She needs to face Jill as well, since Jill witnessed everything because she is spirit linked to Adrian.

Sydney leaves Amberwood for a short while to attend Sonya Karp and Mikael Tanner’s wedding – possible because Sonya had been returned from a Strigoi to Moroi. She is joined at the wedding by Stanton, her boss at the alchemist, and an alchemist Sydney’s age, who has a crush on her.

At the wedding, Adrian causes a stir (as usual) by asking Sydney to dance with him in front of everyone. Refusing would cause further strain on the Alchemist-Moroi relationship, and she agrees, although reluctantly, since being in Adrian’s arms are the most confusing place in the world for her.

Afterwards, Sydney and Adrian set out together to warn other young witches against Veronica, but most often they are either too late or the young witches ignore her warnings. Adrian and Sydney barely control their feelings towards each other, and Sydney constantly fights against it.

When Sydney finally finds Marcus Finch, an alchemist who managed to break the compulsion spell Alchemist are placed under, she is irritated by him already. He is a cocky rebel who loves to break rules and has ton of girls fawning over him. He in turn is fascinated by her, because she doesn’t fall for him or gush when he is around. He tells her how to break the spell, by injecting a liquid into her tattoo that dissolves it. In able for him to help her with that, she needs to do something the Alchemists would never do, to prove that she is really willing to be free from their compulsion.

Sydney manages to get the information Marcus wants relatively easy, and he helps her break the compulsion. She doesn’t feel a startling change in her, but immediately phones Stanton to ask why things are happening behind her back. When Stanton gets angry with her, she immediately realise that she is pushing things to far, and narrowly escapes trouble claiming that she is only worried about Jill’s safety.

On the magical front, Sydney and Adrian eventually track down the witch who is stealing all the younger witches’ powers. It isn’t Veronica, but another witch completely, who attacks Ms. Terwillinger to gain her powers. They manage to save Ms. Terwillinger, but the witch escapes, and now Sydney has other problems, since she managed to anger the witch by hurting her.

Sydney and Adrian agree to start a secret relationship, but when she arrives back at school, Sydney gets a big shock: that the alchemists sent her little sister Zoe to be part of their team. Now the question is: Can Adrian and Sydney keep their love hidden from Zoe, who is desperately seeking acceptance in the strict Alchemist world?

Rating: 7/10

I really enjoyed this book when I finally got my hands on it. Richelle Mead managed to make good books by taking characters from another series (her own Vampire Academy), which I didn’t believe entirely possible. Sydney and Adrian become heroes on their own, and their relationship is so fascinating because they are so different from Rose and Dimitri.

I have to admit I was hoping Marcus Finch to be more like Finnick Odair in the Hunger Games trilogy, but he was somewhat disappointing. He seemed to revel in being the rebel, instead of doing what he did because he truly believed it.

I found out the genre these books fall under, which is apparently YA (Young-Adult). well, you learn something new every day!

Now I just have to wait for the next book…

Read about the two previous Bloodlines novels here:

Bloodlines

The Golden Lily

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (JK Rowling)

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Book: 12/100

The Harry Potter series is very sneaky. Every time I think I have possibly finished it for the gazzilionth time, I get the urge a few months later to reread. I have probably read all the books 20 times (each) but I can’t help myself going back.

This time, I was scrolling through my twitter feed, and I accidentally read the word “Sirius”. And there the urge was! I couldn’t help it – I just had to start! I decided to start at the beginning and work my way through, since that just makes sense. So I took the first book from the bookshelf, and there I went.

In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, we meet young Harry Potter. Orphaned as a child, when Lord Voldemort murdered his parents, Harry was sent to live with his horrible non-magical relatives, Vernon and Petunia Dursley. They have a son, Dudley, who finds delight in being a mean bully and making sure Harry has no friends at school.

Life at Privet Drive is anything but fun for Harry. He lives in a cupboard under the stairs, is treated horribly, and is a glorified slave to his family. He is confused when strange things happen around him; for instance when he made a glass window disappear at the zoo, putting his cousin in a glass cage and accidentally setting a Python free. He is always punished for these random occurrences, even though there is no explanation for it.

Harry is outraged when he receives a letter for the first time in his life, and his uncle snatches it away. Vernon Dursley’s actions become increasingly strange, and he even takes his family to a remote island to prevent the letter from reaching Harry again.

But Vernon just isn’t capable of hiding the truth forever. On the island, a half-giant, Rubeus Hagrid, appears to tell Harry the truth. He tells Harry, after breaking down the door, that Harry is a wizard. And not just any wizard – a famous one, who managed to free the magical world of the most evil wizard of all time when Voldemort tried killing him. Instead of killing Harry, the curse rebounded on Voldemort, turning him to nothing.

Harry finally reads his letter, which is an invitation to attend the famous wizarding school, Hogwarts. When Harry arrives at school, he becomes friends with ginger Ron Weasley, and bossy know-it-all, Hermoine Granger. He is chosen as Seeker in his Quidditch team (a wizard sport), making him the youngest seeker in a century. This angers his new arch enemy, Draco Malfoy. Draco comes from a long line of dark wizards, with his father only escaping imprisonment by claiming that he was forced to help Lord Voldemort. Draco loves trying to get Harry, Ron and Hermoine in trouble. He finally manages to score them detention, when they help Hagrid get rid of a dragon and get caught on their way back.

For their detention they are ordered to work with Hagrid in the Forbidden forest, helping him to find the beast that is busy killing all the unicorns. Harry is nearly attacked by the beast, but is saved by a centaur, Firenze, and carried to safety.

At school, Harry and his friends start to suspect their Potions master of trying to kill Harry. He seems a likely villain, since he expresses deepest loathing to harry from day one. At a Quidditch match, Harry is nearly killed when his broomstick starts bucking, but is saved from death by clever Hermoine, who makes Snape’s robes catch on fire.

They start looking for clues to why Snape is acting so oddly, and eventually find out that Snape is looking for the Philosopher’s Stone – a stone that gives immortal life, and makes you very rich. The only information Snape still needs is how to get past a 3 headed dog, Fluffy, before he gets to the stone. When Harry finds out Hagrid accidentally let that information slip to a stranger, Harry knows they need to get the Stone before Snape does.

The three friends set off to the forbidden third floor, under the trapdoor. They get past fluffy, a humongous chess set, and a series of riddles containing potions. They manage to get through everything because each of them excel at something; Ron at chess, Hermoine at riddles, and Harry at flying.

Ron is injured while playing chess, and Harry and Hermoine set off without him. When they get past the potions riddle, they realise that there is only enough potion for one person. Harry tells Hermione to get back to Ron, and send a message to Dumbledore for help.

When Harry enters the chamber that is supposed to contain the stone, he gets the shock of his life. He finds his defence against the Dark Arts teacher, Professor Quirrel, instead of Professor Snape. But this Professor is startlingly different from the one Harry met at the beginning of the semester. Instead of stuttering and being afraid of everything, he is sarcastic, moody, and a little crazy. He reveals that it was always him that tried to kill Harry, and that Snape always tried to save Harry.

It is finally revealed that Lord Voldemort is controlling Quirrel, and that he lives like a parasite on Quirrel’s head, hidden under a turban. He speaks to Harry, and Harry finally sees what has become of the most evil wizard of all time. Harry finds that the Stone magically appeared in his pocket, and tries to flee from them. Quirrel attacks Harry, and when Harry starts to touch his face in defence, Quirrel’s skin starts to burn. Harry sees Quirrel dying, and the spirit of Voldemort fleeing, before passing out.

When he wakes up again, in the hospital, Albus Dumbledore is there to assure him that everything went well. Dumbledore reveals why Quirrel couldn’t touch Harry – when Harry’s mom died protecting him, she left a magical protection through it.

The book ends on a lovely note, with Gryffindor wins the house cup due to the three’s heroics. Upon his return to the Dursley’s for the summer vacation, Harry conveniently forgets to tell them he isn’t supposed to use magic outside school, making life much easier at Privet Drive.

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*image found on http://www.thechive.com

Rating: 8.5/10

I love these books so much. It is amazingly written, and no matter how many times I read it, I am addicted every time. My heart just breaks for Harry, a sad little orphan with a good heart, who grips to the knowledge that he is something finally. I think Rowling must have known even then how all the books would play out, since all the first books hint at what happens in the later ones. Harry Potter will always be in the same category as Lord of The Rings and Alice in Wonderland.

Easter weekend

Hallo little bunnies

I do hope you had an enjoyable weekend. I am sure everyone is coming down hard from it – whether it is from alcohol, chocolate, or just some lovely laziness.

The weekend was long enough to do everything I love: visit with friends, read, take walks, eat chocolate, and drink wine.

Here are the books I read for my 100 books challenge (I will post reviews on them later this week)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (still busy with this one)

And I got to watch a few movies as well:

This Means War

The Avengers

Moulin Rouge

Pitch Perfect.

I hope you all enjoyed the weekend immensely. Let me know what you all did 🙂

Here is some quotes to get you through the day:

Confusion

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funny work

healthy quote

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Because y’all wanted to see more chocolate 😉

Enjoy!