The books I got for Christmas

I’m writing this on Boxing day, at my dad’s house with a cup of tea and the smell of my second Christmas dinner roasting away in the oven. I received so many amazing gifts this year; I’ve been incredibly lucky. I hope you’ve all had a lovely Christmas that’s been warm, cosy and full of fun.

Before Christmas, I posted a list of the books that were on my Christmas list, which did have a few more additions by the time Christmas came around. Some I received and some I didn’t, and I had a few unexpected ones as well. Keep reading to see which ones I had.

A Woman in White – Wilkie Collins

 Image by  Waterstones
Image by Waterstones

This is one of the books that was not my list, but I was still delighted with it. I’ve never read it, but I’ve heard plenty about it. When I was at uni, it was read as part of a module some of my friends were on, and they all spoke highly of it. So now I can read it myself and see if I feel the same.

Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

As I said on my Christmas list post, I thought I had the whole of Little Women, but once I got to the end of my edition, it turns out I only had part one! And so I’ve been wanting to read the next half ever since. I received the Clothbound Classic edition, the one I was hoping for. The cover is so pretty! I know what happens in the next half (which was called ‘Little Wives’ when it first came out) and I can already tell that it’s going to be emotional.

Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen

 Image by  Pinterest
Image by Pinterest

Another Clothbound Classic. I’ve read this story before, and Jane Austen is one of my favourite authors. So naturally, I have to own the Clothbound Classic edition. The cover is stunning, and I can’t wait to give it reread.

Fantastic Beasts and the Crimes of Grindelwald – J.K Rowling

I’m not usually one for reading scripts and screenplays, but I received Fantastic Beasts, and the cover is so beautiful, I think I’m persuaded. The film was incredible, and it’ll be interesting to read the screenplay.

Spelled – Betsy Schow

 Image by  Amazon
Image by Amazon

So I got this the week before Christmas as part of my Bookstagram Secret Santa. My Secret Santa bought me this book because I love fairy tales, and this book combines all fairy tale characters in one world, like Once Upon A Time. The main character is Dorothy from Wizard of Oz, which makes a nice change to many fairy tale rewritings that I’ve read, as I’ve never read one that features her before.

The War of the Worlds – H.G Wells

This is another one that wasn’t on my list. I’m not a big reader of science fiction, but this book was written during the Victorian era, and I think it’ll be interesting to see what sort of ideas there were concerning aliens. I wasn’t aware of how much knowledge there was about the solar system around this era, as the theory of evolution was still considered to be controversial at the time. The Victorian Era is one of my favourite time periods to learn about, so I’m looking forward to furthering my knowledge.

Poor Unfortunate soul – Serena Valentino

 Image by  Amazon
Image by Amazon

This will be the second of the darker Disney books that I’d have read, the first being based on Beauty and the Beast. I love fairy tale retellings, and so seeing ones based on Disney movies is right up my street. The Little Mermaid is also one of my favourite princesses (and I really like the original story by Hans Christian Anderson), so this book is just perfect for me.

A Literary Christmas – The British Library

There are no words to describe how excited I am to read this book. Christmas has been mentioned in so many books and poems over the years, from Dickens to Alcott, Eliot, and Tusser. This little anthology has included all of these authors and more, allowing you to read about the ghosts of Christmas past and present, what Christmas would be like on a diet, or Christmas day as a Tudor. Filled with short stories, poems, and essays, this book explores Christmas in the literary world, and I can’t wait to dive in.

His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman

 Image by  Folio Society
Image by Folio Society

If you read my Christmas list post, you’d know that I originally wanted Folio Society’s edition of Pullman’s His Dark Materials series. However, after finding out just how expensive they were, decided to settle for a cheaper version instead. So you can imagine my surprise when I unwrapped Folio’s books! I was speechless. I now own the most beautiful editions ever, and I’m so so so happy. I still can’t get over how exquisite they are, and not just the cover, but the quality of paper and Folio’s signature stitched binding. The collection weighs a ton, but I love them. The only downside? They make some of my other books look plain in comparison!

 

 

Fantastic Beasts and the Crimes of Grindelwald

The Christmas lights have switched on, and I was cradling a hazelnut and praline hot chocolate from Costa while on my way to consume my body weight in Wagamamas. I then followed this by watching one of the most anticipated films of the year; Fantastic Beasts and the Crimes of Grindelwald.

Taking place not long after its predecessor, Grindelwald opens with an aerial chase through the night sky, complete with a carriage led by Thestrals and vicious thunderstorm. This dark and ominous scene sets the tone for the rest of the film, and I’m already excited to see what happens next.

I wasn’t sure what to think when I first heard that Johnny Depp was starring in Fantastic Beasts. I just couldn’t picture him as part of the Harry Potter franchise. To me, he belongs on The Black Pearl or at the tea parties in Wonderland. However, I was pleasantly surprised. Depp’s portrayal of Grindelwald was hauntingly captivating, and he suited the character well. This role was not as out there as say, Jack Sparrow and the Mad Hatter; this was more solemn and serious. Depp did succeed in bringing out his darker side. I really liked his portrayal of the villain, and I look forward to seeing how he goes in the next film.

On the other hand, Jude Law as Dumbledore was nowhere near as convincing in my opinion. I found myself struggling to forget that this man was not the great and powerful wizard that we all know and love, but that famous actor from Sherlock Holmes. I didn’t learn anything new about Dumbledore nor was I taken back by any of his decisions. There was just no connection. Also, the fact that he was playing opposite Depp, who did an incredible job, made it slightly more noticeable.

The relationship between Queenie and Jacob remains one of my favourite parts of the saga. They’re just adorable! They’re delightful characters who offer a light break from the dark storylines, and, even when they are apart, they’re still enjoyable. Jacob and Newt’s friendship is sweet and comedic in places. Newt and Tina’s plotline is also refreshing, and watching Newt trying to make sense of his feelings, with the help of Jacob, is probably one of the cutest things to happen in this film.

As for the supporting cast, I did like them, but a few were standing out for the wrong reasons. I was looking forward to seeing Nagini and learning more about her, but she didn’t do much in the end. She was hanging about in the background, which rendered her completely unnecessary. There was no development, and I know no more than I already did.

I can also say this about Credence, who makes a return in this film. His character was flat. At first, I could understand his emotional state after what he endured in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, but after a while, it became boring and repetitive. I felt that there needed to be a change in him somewhere, but I remained disappointed.

Overall, I enjoyed the film, but I’m not sure if I prefer it to the first one yet, I was moved and excited throughout, especially when Hogwarts appeared on the screen! Despite the few negatives, I still highly recommend it, even if its just to see Eddie Redmayne in his cute little bow tie again.