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Hogwarts and Horrendous Weather

 Sunday, 10 July 2011

Thursday was a mixture of Awesome Nerdy times and seriously insane rain. To my extreme joy we went to Universal's Island of Adventure which if you don't know is the home of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!! Last time I'd been to Florida the park was still being built so I've been dying to visit it for *aaages*!

The day started off looking bright enough although it still took a beastie-sized cup of coffee to de-zombiefy my lazy ass. When we got to Universal it was batshit-crazy busy in Hogsmeade, seriously there was a line that looked nearly an hour long just to get into Ollivanders! That's not even mentioning the 75 minute line to get into the Hogwarts Castle ride.

We first hit up the Triwizard Dragon Challenge ride (formally the Duelling Dragons ride) which is a fab way to make yourself light-headed early in the morning. Strangely the queue for this ride was tiny in comparison to the Hippogriff ride which was nothing more than a glorified runaway train, being the adrenaline junkie that I am I found that odd since who'd pass up the chance to get flung around upside down and instead sit and go round and round in speedy circles with a bit of steep banking?

After retrieving our bags from the teeny-tiny-omg-why-are-they-so-small? lockers we wandered towards the castle, shuffled our way through the *extremely* packed shop by the exit to the ride, drooled enviously over purdy scarves, ties and $50 Marauder's maps (yipes that was crazy), before escaping to freedom in the baking sunshine. That's when we noticed the cart selling wands.

Spot my Mommy in Hogsmeade!
Now before this trip I knew that what I wanted most from TWWoHP was a wand, so that I could finally stop messing about like a pathetic muggle with the crappy wand I made from K'nex donkey's years ago (no, really). So my sister and I had a nosy at the different character's wands and decided that we both really liked Ginny's and Luna's wands so we batted our eyelashes like suck-ups and the rentals agreed to let us have them *happy dance*. We also got Hermione's wand for a very special Twin of mine - Jess m'dear we are gonna Accio nerdytimes like nobody's business! I think we should mock-duel in the middle of the cinema when we meet oui?

Ahem, moving on. Thus wandified we then had to decide what to do next and with a choice of humungous queue for Hippogriff ride or humungous queue for the Hogwarts Castle ride... Hogwarts won out. Once again we had to stuff our bags into lockers I swear someone had hexed to be that tiny and useless, and join the endless queue which snaked *outside* of the normal park area into hidden, special staff only areas because it was *SO FREAKING LONG*.

For an hour we shuffled round all the queue lanes, getting baked by the sun (which later became sunburn),  and fanning ourselves frantically with maps so our entire faces didn't melt off. It was actually kinda cool being in the queue as you end up in the Herbology greenhouses just before you enter the actual castle, there were mandrakes behind a little cage thing and what I think might have been a Venomous Tentacula but alas there were no staff around to ask and I'd hate to reveal my extreme nerdiness by asking the general queue-folk.

The House Points system

This is my sister and I just as we get to the castle entrance (praise be to sweet, sweet air conditioning), please ignore how hideous I look as I am not suited to hot climates :S

Inside was super-cool and chock-full of awesome Hogwarty stuff as we continued queueing to the actual ride. Check out ze pics.

Entrance to Dumbledore's Office
 The ride itself was an awesome amalgam of a simulator ride with a big-ass projector screen (like Soaring at Epcot) and a crazy coaster. You have to run down one of those conveyor belts and jump into the four-seat box thing and chuck your harness down as everything keeps moving the whole time so you gotta be quick!

Then you get lifted off the ground and away you go! There's an awesome bar on the front of your harness which you hold like you're on a broom and it seriously feels like your flying round Hogwarts. Occasionally the scene changes and bam! You're in the Forbidden Forest and there's fecking SPIDERS EVERYWHERE! Then everything goes back to nice and normal for a while... wait no NOW THE DEMENTORS ARE COMING FOR YOU!!! *Freaks the frick out*

Sorting Hat!
I will hands-up confess to being genuinely scared when the Dementors appeared because damn... that's one thing the movies did perfectly *shudders*. I will also own up to being a major spaz and yelling "Expecto Patronum" like it would bloody do something, oy vay I'm an idiot.

Overall the ride was absolutely amazing and dang if you didn't feel like you were really flying (I know I was leaning forward to go faster), it was a total rush and *so* worth the hour's queue time. If we could have I would have ran back round and rejoined the line as I wanted to live in that castle!

By the time we got finished in Hogwarts we were starved so we went and sat at the back of the Three Broomsticks and ate our sandwiches whilst cooing over our wands (Beth and me that is, our parents just thought we were mental :P). We still had a few more places we wanted to go in Hogsmeade, like Honeydukes so after lunch we joined the crush in the sweet shop. There were so many awesome looking sweets in there (although jeepers they were pricey) but we eventually got a chocolate frog and some Bertie Bott's beans for my sister and I to share. Later however when my sister butchered the poor frog we realised that the chocolate wasn't all that great so we still haven't finished it *oops*. On the bright side we got Rowena Ravenclaw as our Wizarding Card.

Beth  & Me outside the Post Office
As the day was getting on we had to finally try and do some other rides cos we'd done only two so far and we'd been in the park for 3 hours or more. So we started walking round toward the Hulk ride but as we got into the Jurassic Park area it started. The Rain. The Torrential Monsoon Season Rain. The OMG Will It Ever Stop Rain.

We were stuck inside a restaurant for probably getting on for an hour waiting for the downpour to ease off, in the end we just manned up and got out there in our super-cool yellow ponchos (I was lucky enough to have my special pink mac instead :P). With how shit the weather was the two rides that we'd wanted to go on (Hulk and Dr Doom's Fearfall) were now closed cos of the lightning risk so we decided to schlep our way to the exit and went for an early dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe (the food was really nice btw).

So that was our Epic-turned-Epicly-Wet day at Universal's Island of Adventure where we managed an amazing TWO rides due to the horrific turn in the weather. But in my eyes it was totally worth it because we got to go to HOGWARTS for crying out loud! I kinda wish that the other shops in Hogsmeade were actually accessible instead of just being cool shopfronts with "just popped out" signs on the doors cos that would have been super-awesome. I also think that it would rock if they built a full-size Hogwarts Express that you could travel round the outside of the park on cos then you could sit with other Harry Potter nerds in the compartments and revel in the awesomeness! (Alas I realise that Universal has like no space for expansion unlike Disney who have practically a county to themselves).

But yea, it was a fab day and I gots to say thanks very muchly to my parentals for tolerating my nerdiness enough to take us to the park (not that they'll read this but at least the thought is there).

Has anyone else been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? If so what bit did you like best? Do you think that it could have been even more awesome? What HP goodies did you buy? Let me know!

Witchily Yours


In My Mailbox #53 ze magical one!

Hola mis chicas! (or chicos I dunno what the female:male ratio is for ze blog). Tis the end of the first full week of my stay in Florida and it's kinda scary that in just a week I'll be going home again, gawd knows how I'm gonna adjust to having to go back to work *sad face*. Just as I've got into a routine of responsible adultness this holiday has set me back at least three years on the maturity ladder, so although I'm inching ever closer to my 21st birthday right now I'm feeling rather like a sixteen year old on her summer vacation. Ugh, why can't I just stay here and work at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? I would *kill* to be able to spend all day dressed in Hogwarts robes and to buggery if I'm sweltering in the heat-  I'd have the best job EVER!

But anyways digressions are the bane of my life. To business!
In My Mailbox is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Kristi @The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie

Books Acquired this week
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George
The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June by Robin Benway

Luna Lovegood's Wand *squee* (I did want to maybe get a Ravenclaw scarf but the shops were so crazy-cakes busy that it was a challenge to move around in there so escaping was the sensible option)
Hermione Granger's Wand  - for the Darling Jess of Jess Hearts Books (So we can be nerdy witchy nutters when we go see HP7 Pt2 later this month)

My post detailing the awesomeness of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter avec pictures will hopefully be up later today so keep your peepers peeled for that!

So do let me know what Y'all got in Your Mailboxes this week!

Magically Yours


Book Review - Words

 Monday, 4 July 2011

Cripes, I started this review over a week ago :S I gotta sort myself out.

Title: Words
Author: Ginny Yttrup
Date: 7/6/2011 PM
Source: Received for Review from LTER
Description: Ten-year old Kaylee Wren doesn’t speak. Not since her drug-addled mother walked away, leaving her in a remote cabin nestled in the towering redwoods-in the care of a man who is as dangerous as he is evil. With silence her only refuge, Kaylee collects words she might never speak from the only memento her mother left behind: a dictionary. Sierra Dawn is thirty-four, an artist, and alone. She has allowed the shame of her past to silence her present hopes and chooses to bury her pain by trying to control her circumstances. But on the twelfth anniversary of her daughter’s death, Sierra’s control begins to crumble as the God of her childhood woos her back to Himself.
Brought together by Divine design, Kaylee and Sierra will discover together the healing mercy of the Word. (Description taken from LibraryThing)

My Review
I never thought I'd find myself reading a Christian Fiction book but when I got a message saying I'd won an ARC of Words, I thought why not give it a fair shot? The story sounded genuinely interesting despite my concerns about how strong the religious overtones were going to be.

The two main characters Kaylee and Sierra are remarkably developed for a debut novel, they both have complex histories and are wonderfully flawed. Although very mature for a ten year old Kaylee still has a childish personality that comes across in her POV chapters. She's got a quirky sense of humour which considering the horrors she's been through shows her amazing strength of character.

Sierra is a very admirable woman for actually taking it upon herself to help Kaylee out of her awful situation when so many people in this day and age would just walk away and stay out of what isn't their business. It gives a hopeful message that there are some truly good people in a world where evil people often get away with the terrible acts they commit in their isolated corners of society. 

On occasions the religious aspects of the book got a tad intense, I don't quite care for being told over and over that Jesus is the only way to find the truth/only way to forgiveness etc. but as it wasn't continuous through the whole book it didn't detract from the enjoyment of the story too much.

Overall it was an interesting and uplifting book with realistic and unique characters that make for enjoyable yet serious read.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars

Gawsh it's taken me *waaay* too long to get this review done. I really shouldn't watch tv and blog cos blogging will inevitably be procrastinated. 

Hopefully the next few reviews won't take so long


In My Mailbox #52

 Sunday, 3 July 2011

Morning all, tis very bizarre to be posting 5 hours behind my usual schedule but what the hey that's what post-scheduling is for right? Holidays are a dangerous time for a book addict like myself especially when there are book shops to be found so the next couple of IMMs might be a bit crazy (unless my parents put an embargo on my spending :P).

In My Mailbox is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Kristi @The Story Siren and inspired by Alea of Pop Culture Junkie

Books Acquired this week
Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead (I needed the US edition :P)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Mistwood by Leah Cypess
Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus
Heist Society by Ally Carter

A pretty decent haul for two days, I will be slightly concerned about going home if I buy too many more books though :S

What's in your Mailbox this week?


June Round-Off

 Saturday, 2 July 2011

Aft'noon Folks!
June has been a very quiet month for the Library so this post will be pretty quick. We're now half way through the year and I'm kinda curious to know what the next 6 months will bring, but considering what has already happened in 2011 I seriously doubt that it can get any worse. What will be in store for the blog I don't yet know.

Here's what happened in June.

Books Read
75. Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson (2/6/2011 AM)
76. Words by Ginny L. Yttrup (7/6/2011 PM)
77. The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell (11/6/2011 AM)
78. What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen (12/6/2011 AM)
79. A Map of the Known World by Lisa Ann Sandell (13/6/2011 AM)
80. Last Chance by Sarah Dessen (14/6/2011 AM) Re-Read
81. Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (15/6/2011 AM)
82. The Scorch Trials by James Dashner (19/6/2011 AM)
83. The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen (19/6/2011 PM) Re-Read
84. Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway (25/6/2011 PM) Re-Read

Book Reviewed
As I am woefully behind on my reviews June boasts the lowest count of reviews ever! And this one was a month later than I'd planned to boot so Fail-Rachel all round methinks!
Random Magic by Sasha Soren 
Must.Do.Better :S

Favourite Book of the Month
If I discount re-reads I'm only left with 7 options for favourite book of the month but thankfully it's not too difficult a decision to make.

Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson was a completely unexpected gem, I had no inkling of what the story really was about after reading only the blurb but as the book unfolded so did the fascinating layers of plot and character and boy what a fab read! 

The other favourite of June (I'm changing the rules slightly cos these were both awesome in different genres) was What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen. I love Sarah Dessen's books and this latest one was simply fantastic. It's definitely gonna be tough to decide which Dessen is my all-time fav when it comes down to it.

What to Expect in July
It's very hard to say what might happen as the best laid plans often go awry. I may say that I'll post more reviews and it never happens so to avoid disappointment I won't promise anything and it'll be a pleasant surprise when you get something ;-)
But what I do want to happen is something involving Harry Potter. With the end of the films looming everyone has been feeling rather nostalgic and lamenting it as the end of an era, which is perfectly true in some respects. The end of the films is almost like the end of our childhood, so many fans of the books and/or the films (I'm more a book fan for reasons we won't go into now) grew up with this series that when it's all over we'll have the horrible feeling that we have to move on from Harry Potter and everyone at Hogwarts just like we have to do with High School and the other pillars of childhood and teenagehood.

So there may be some wittering, lengthy posts about Harry Potter coming in the near future, let's just say that I'm gonna have a hard time letting go of that hope that my letter is still coming ten years later :P

Nostalgicially Yours


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