The Whimsical Mama

<3 Such is the life of a stay at home mommy and Army wife (:

Top Ten Tuesday #96: Top Ten Books Set Outside the US July 19, 2016


Each week, the girls over at The Broke and the Bookish think up a fun theme for the week and participating bloggers around the net join in. The theme for this week is:

Top Ten Books Set Outside the US

I decided to go with actual locations other than fantastical realms for this week.


  1. Die for Me by Amy Plum. Oh, Paris. I love you.


2. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. This book only strengthened by desire to visit Prague!


3. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. Historical (fantasy) England, but England nonetheless!


4. Blue Bloods series by Melissa de la Cruz. Various locations around Europe, South America, and even Tartarus.


5. The Falconer trilogy by Elizabeth May. Victorian Scotland!


6. Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. England and Scotland (with visitors from other nations too)


7. Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer. Ireland, England, Russia, and some other locations too!


8. Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Scotland and France!


9. His Fair Assassin trilogy by Robin LaFevers. Duchy of Brittany and France.


10. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. Beijing, France, Africa, the Moon.


Where have books taken you?




Throwback Thursday #2: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling October 17, 2013

Throwback Thursday is when I’ll review a book I read before I started blogging.

This week’s selection is:

Rating:  5 stars
Pub date: 26 June 1997
Publisher: Scholastic
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Format: hardback, personal copy
Status: Book one of the Harry Potter series


Harry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick. He’s never worn a Cloak of Invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hatch a dragon. All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley. Harry’s room is a tiny cupboard under the stairs, and he hasn’t had a birthday party in ten years.

But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed. There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that’s been waiting for him… if Harry can survive the encounter.

If you’ve read my About Me page, or know me personally, you know that I got Harry Potter for Christmas in 1999. For those of you unfamiliar with the story, I’ll start at the beginning. My uncle lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. As a result of this, I always got super cool gifts. I’ve gotten several awesome dreamcatchers over the years. Christmas of 1999 ended up being a disappointment. I was shocked to open my present and see the first two Harry Potter books. BOOKS?! I hated reading! Well, reading on my own, I loved being read to when I was little. After much persuasion from my Gran, I caved and gave the first book a try. I struggled through the first bit until Harry got to Hogwarts. I’ve never looked back. I received book three for a late present from a friend, and was at Walmart at 6am to get book 4 that summer. Books 5-7 I was at midnight release parties at Barnes & Noble. Bliss.

Before I get started, let me say I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend this series.

Now, the big players:

Harry Potter (obviously) – Our 10 turning 11 year old protagonist. An orphan living with his aunt, uncle, and cousin. He is visited by a mysterious half-giant, Hagrid, who tells him “You’re a wizard, Harry!”. He’s surprised to learn that not only is he a wizard, his parents were murdered by the most feared wizard of the age – He Who Must Not Be Named!

Ron Weasley – Youngest son of the Weasley family. Poor, but extremely friendly and loyal. Hates being constantly overshadowed by his older brothers and getting their handmedowns.

Hermione Granger – Muggle-born witch to dentist parents. A bit of a know it all. Eventual friends with Harry and Ron, completing the famous trio.

Our story opens in a small neighbourhood in Surrey when Professors Dumbledore and McGonagall and Hagrid bring baby Harry to live with his aunt, uncle, and cousin after his parents had been murdered. Fast-forward 10 years and we see that Harry is living a very neglected life and being forced to sleep in a cupboard under the stairs. Mysterious letters start appearing addressed very specifically to Harry’s location. His aunt and uncle freak out and move him into Dudley’s (his cousin) second bedroom.

Once Harry receives his letter, delivered by Hagrid, and he discovers that he’s a wizard. The torment from his horrific childhood instantly melts away with the elation of getting to escape the Dursleys.

Harry is thrown into the Magical World and a crash course of learning of the world he was forced to leave behind due to his parents’ murder. Harry’s first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is full of adventures. He makes friends, learns a new sport, clashes with Professor Snape, and saves the day. (I’ll let you read the book to find out more details on all of these! I don’t want to spoil the adventure for you!)

Things you can look forward to in Sorcerer’s Stone:

  • flying!
  • Remembralls
  • Magic (duh!)
  • Troll
  • Poltergeist
  • Ghosts
  • Speaking portraits
  • Potions
  • Transfiguration
  • Quidditch
  • Invisibility Cloaks
  • Mirror of Erised
  • Evil professor
  • Centaurs
  • Unicorns
  • Sorcerer’s Stone

I owe so much to JK Rowling. Thanks to her creation of Harry’s world, I was pulled into the lifelong joy of reading. Jo manages to pull so much into her series. Her imagination knows no bounds.

The magic continues in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets!

Recommended for: Fantasy and magic lovers, adventure, levels of mythology spread through the book and the series

Not recommended for: Those who dislike magic or a male protagonist.


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