Archive for July, 2009

Title: Droxy’s Tale
Author: Ladyofthemasque
Story URL: http://restrictedsection.org/file.php?file=3791
Content Rating: NC-17 (ergo, you need to log in and verify that you are old enough to read it in order to access this story)
Ships: HG/SS

Author’s Summary: Hermione overhears something nasty. So does Severus. But why would he do something about it?


I really enjoyed this fic!  It is shorter than the ones that I usually read (only about 22,000 words instead of the epic novel-length ones I usually read), but it was perfect!  It is sweet, and absolutely hilarious at points (I legitimately laughed out loud at certain points – which I almost never do!).  If you’re looking for a quick(ish) read, I’d highly recommend this.

And now that I’ve given you the briefest of reviews, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty, shall we?

The author’s summary doesn’t really say much, so here’s a quick run-down.  Basically, Hermione and Snape both overhear Ron and Harry (slightly smashed) discussing Hermione’s future as a crazy cat lady in a not-so-nice way.  Snape proposes that Hermione and he both help each other do a complete make-over of their appearances (a la “What Not To Wear”).  Hilarity ensues.  Not much in the way of actual plot, but absolutely a fun, sugary story!

Though I normally require a lovely, intricate plot for such a glowing review as this, I felt that this story did its pseudo-plot justice.  The set-up was much more plausible than other PWP (Plot? What Plot?) fics I have read in the past, which certainly helped.  And Ladyofthemasque actually did put a lot of thought into the story, which showed and helped immensely.  This isn’t some sugary boy-meets-girl-esque story, despite its attempts to pass itself off as one.  I could totally see Ladyofthemasque taking some of the ideas that are behind this story and expanding them into something not so PWP.

And I’m afraid I’m being too vague to really help you figure out what the heck I’m talking about/referring, so I’ll just end with this:  Go read it.  Trust me.  It’s good.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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and I’m still only in undergrad!

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I usually try to post book reviews on Mondays, but as I mentioned earlier, I’ve been a wee bit busy, and thus have been unable to read anything (well, in the interest of full disclosure, I did start a book, but it was so bad, I put it down and returned it to the library unfinished – a real disappointment – perhaps I’ll blog about it later).  However, I did discover a new (to me) used bookstore in town!

So el boyo was visiting last week, and one day I was in a pretty bad mood (I can’t remember exactly why), and I felt bad about ruining a day with el boyo, so I finally agreed to walk into town with him, since it was such a lovely day and I needed to get out of the house.  So we spent 45 minutes walking all the way into town (a trip that takes 7 minutes by car).

Walking through the first set of little boutique  stores that make up our downtown, we passed a sign pointing down a small alley, indicating a used bookstore back there.  I had passed this sign countless times in the nine years I have lived here, but never taken the initiative to actually check it out.  Since el boyo loves books as much as I do, we made the decision to check it out.  And I am so happy I made that decision!

The bookstore was tiny, but crammed with books, organized by topic.  There were far more non-fiction books, on a variety of topics, than fiction, which was actually quite refreshing, though I normally read fiction over non.  We spent a good amount of time browsing the selection, and I was delighted by the offerings, as well as the more-than-reasonable prices.  And there was a fabulous selection of really wonderful-looking versions of books, again for great prices.

I did end up buying a book that caught my eye and turned out to have some information that could be useful in my research for my thesis this summer – so serendipitous!  I will definitely be frequenting the shop now that I know it’s there.

The whole visit really perked me up.  It was (and still is, looking back now) astonishing to see the change in my mood from before I entered the store and after.  As I told el boyo (for future reference, of course), any time I’m in a bad mood, simply stick me in a room full of books, and the peace and quiet required to explore said books, and I shall perk right up – and indeed become quite hyper!  The transformative power of books on my mood/soul is amazing!  I shall never understand people who do not feel the same way.

So now I’m thinking (not for the first – nor certainly the last!) that I need to own a small, cozy bookstore when I grow up (and for the record, no, at 20, I am not grown up).  Thoughts?

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I’m Alive!

I swear!  Here’s a quick list of reasons why I have not been blogging recently, which shall perhaps simultaneously serve as a list of potential future topics for this here blog:

  • El boyo came to visit for a week, and, having not seen him in a few months, I was loath to spend any time away from him that was not absolutely necessary (he left Tuesday)
  • Registration is fast approaching, and I have 50 little freshpeeps who are hanging onto my every word of advice for how to game the system (read: I had 50 phone calls to make in the past week, and I still have about 10 who have refused to answer any of the three phone messages I have left them – and registration is Monday!) (and did I mention that I hate talking on the phone – but I discovered that I’m actually not bad at it!  Yey me!)
  • I got sick.  And I never get sick.  But of course I go to the doctor for my yearly check-up, and they discover that I have a fever, so what I thought was just allergies was actually an actual illness!  Maybe I should pay more attention to my body…
  • Oh, and I had to do some research in there, because I had a book or two through Inter-Library Loan that were due with no chance of renewals, so I kinda had to read them

So yea, I’ve been busy.  And I’m starting to freak out more and more about my research, since I love putting tons of unnecessary pressure on myself in that department.  So yea, no time to do anything fun.

In fact, looking back over the summer, I don’t think I’ve had a single stress-free day.  Even at the beach or with el boyo, I’ve freaked out/feeling guilty about advising or research at least once a day.  Sad really.  I need to work on that…  Actually, once registration is finished Monday, all I have to worry about is research (which is a lot to worry about, granted).

But I do have books that I want to read and review, as well as fanfic!  Huzzah!

All I ask is good vibes sent my way to help me accomplish tangible things in the next week (ish).  Love!

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Title: The Apprentice and the Necromancer
Author: Juno Magic
Story URL: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/3733492/1/The_Apprentice_and_the_Necromancer
Also available in a mature, illustrated, multimedia version at: http://juno-magic.fancrone.net/blog/the-apprentice-and-the-necromancer
Content Rating: Teen
Ships: HG/SS, HP/GW, RW/OC

Author’s Summary: Hermione saves Snape’s life in the Shrieking Shack. While he is still in coma at St. Mungo’s, slowly recovering from his injuries, he’s put on trial for his crimes. In spite of Harry’s efforts to get him pardoned, Snape’s freedom comes with a condition. He gets released on probation for three years. To prove his social rehabilitation, Snape needs to find a wife within these three years, or it’s a life-sentence in Azkaban for him.

But finding a wife is not as easy as it used to be in the wizarding world. To prevent genetic defects resulting from constant inbreeding among purebloods, a marriage law has been passed. The wizarding genealogies have been bespelled so that only people with favourable combinations of genes will receive the permission to marry.

Harry and his friends decide to save Snape from Azkaban and to find him a wife. Naturally, things go very wrong and Hermione ends up being volunteered for the job.

Trying to win Snape’s trust as his apprentice, Hermione discovers that there’s more to Severus Snape than she ever knew. At her master’s side, she gets sucked into a web of political and magical intrigue, nefarious plots and evil schemes. Muggle-born witches and wizards die, Necromancers are afoot, a wizarding portrait stops moving, the Deathly Hallows disappear and resurface again …

And in the middle of it all, Hermione falls head over heels, hopelessly and completely in love with Severus Snape.


Despite having been written by the author, this summary doesn’t do the story justice!  What seems at first as a light-hearted, fun romp through the post-DH wizarding world turns out to be an extremely complex and wonderful story that masterfully weaves together both original and canon characters in an entirely plausible, and indeed intriguing, plot.  I can’t say enough good things about this story!  It is quite long, but you wouldn’t notice that, since the story simply sucks you in and refuses to let you leave.

I apologize, but I really am at a loss for words to aptly describe my feelings about this story – especially without giving anything away!

The author, Juno Magic, has created a captivating and complex storyline that could easily be considered equivalent to canon (though I suppose a good number of people would have a slight problem with the HG/SS pairing). There is so much thought that was put into developing this story that it surpasses so many other stories, including published ones (in general I mean, not necessarily J.K. Rowling’s)!  I love how Juno wove together the Muggle and wizarding worlds, including history and politics, without seeming forced in the slightest.  Simply put: I am in awe of Juno’s skills as a story-teller.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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proper-education-for-girlsTitle: A Proper Education for Girls
Author: Elaine diRollo
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5

From Publisher’s Weekly via Amazon.com:

British novelist diRollo’s mixed debut, set in 1850s England and colonial India, tells the story of twin sisters Alice and Lilian Talbot, who were born into an aristocratic but eccentric English family and raised by their widowed father among his collected curiosities and creepy acquaintances. One of those acquaintances, closet pornographer Dr. Cattermole, assists the Talbots in their curatorial obsessions. Their quiet existence is thrown into upheaval when Lilian is married off against her will to a missionary and forced to move to India with him. The sisters struggle and rebel against their suffocating situations—Lilian slogging through the subcontinent, Alice under the cruel and exploitative manipulations of Dr. Cattermole—until Lilian sends her sister a coded letter and a photograph, setting events in motion to bring them together.

Normally I like to include the summary from the inside flap or back cover of a book here, but for this book, I felt it told far too much about the story and was simply far too long.  Indeed, that was one of the reasons that I almost didn’t pick this book up.  But then I happened across a brief, yet positive, review in my newspaper, and was inspired to give it a second chance.  And I’m thankful I did.

diRollo’s writing is sometimes strong, sometimes rather stilted and long-winded, yet overall fairly captivating.  She switches back and forth between Alice and Lilian’s points of view, which can easily go wrong, yet I felt that diRollo pulled it off.  However, there are certain characters, namely any the male characters, that either feel a bit too much like stock characters or aren’t really developed, even though they play a fairly major role in the plot.  Particularly in the case of Mr. Blake, I felt like diRollo may have changed her mind a few times about what to do with him, but never was able to fully fit all those disparate pieces together.

The plot itself is quite well thought-out and intriguing.  The setting, both in England and India, work well, and diRollo does a good job at transporting the reader to each setting.  Also, her descriptions of certain aspects of a Victorian woman’s life (particularly a free-thinking woman’s life, like those of Alice and Lilian) is quite realistic.  Any romantic notions I may have had about living at that time have been stripped away by certain events in this book, which diRollo certainly brings to life.  This, I feel, was the strongest part of A Proper Education for Girls: the depiction of what life was truly like for women back then, the display of how society thought and viewed women, everything about that was so real – hauntingly so at times.  It is when diRollo strays from this path and tries to make the story far more complex than necessary that she strays into dangerous territory.

Overall, I would definitely recommend A Proper Education for Girls, for anyone who enjoys historical fiction.  I will definitely keep an eye out for Ms. diRollo’s next book and have high expectations for it.

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Huzzah!  I’m back from the beach!  It was a lovely vacation, particularly the first part, when I got to see some family and remember why I miss my hometown so much.  Then we headed to the beach, where I enjoyed the sun and sand for three days before becoming overcome with guilt at not doing any work.  So I spent the next two days doing research, finishing an entire book and typing up all my notes from it!  See what can be accomplished when you have no internet access?

By the end of the week, I had realized that I needed to get home asap.  I had more research that needed to be done, 50 phone calls to make that would most likely take at least 20 minutes – and that’s if I got through the first time – and various other smaller yet necessary tasks.  All before el boyo gets here.  Which is tomorrow morning.  Granted, some of the above can be done while he’s here, but I really want to minimize that, considering how little time we get to spend together as it is.  So I convinced my family to come back a day early.  And boy is it good to be home!  I guess I don’t do vacations well…

I did, however, get a lot of reading done.  Though only one actual book.  Fanfiction is far too addicting.  And since I figured out how to read my Kindle on the beach safely (two plastic bags, for the record), that’s about all I read.  Except for my research, of course.  Ah well, that’s what the beach is for, right?  Trashy stories.  Guilty pleasure.  All that jazz.  So maybe I do do vacations well, but only for a limited amount of time.

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