Who Is Your Favorite Villian in the Harry Potter Series?

The other day, I asked my daughter which Harry Potter book was her favorite. Without hesitation, she answered, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.” When I inquired about her reasoning, she mentioned a certain villain that stood out in that particular book. Though the Harry Potter series boasts a plethora of complex, fascinating, and sometimes horrifying villains, both my daughter and I agree that Dolores Umbridge from the fifth book is, without a doubt, the best. Here’s why.

While Voldemort is the overarching villain of the series, Umbridge is a more subtle, insidious character. She’s the embodiment of the corrupt government, with all of its bureaucratic red tape and ruthless power plays. Unlike Voldemort, she’s human, which makes her even more chilling in some ways. She’s the kind of person who would be happy to exert her authority over you, to strip you of your rights, and to take pleasure in it.

There’s no denying that Voldemort is a fearsome character, but he’s also very one-dimensional. He’s evil for the sake of being evil. He’s ambitious, cruel, and power-hungry, but he’s not much more than that. On the other hand, Umbridge is multifaceted. She’s both manipulative and outright sadistic, but she’s also an excellent bureaucrat who knows how to get things done. She’s clever, calculating, and not afraid to get her hands dirty.

What makes Umbridge truly terrifying, though, is her ability to exploit the system. She’s not just a villain, she’s also a representative of the Ministry of Magic, with all the authority and legitimacy that comes with it. She’s able to abuse her power and get away with it, all while wearing pink cardigans and a sweet smile. She’s a reminder that true evil can lurk behind a benign facade.

Umbridge is more relatable as a villain than Voldemort. While Voldemort is an all-powerful wizard with the goal of achieving immortality and dominating the wizarding world, Umbridge is a more grounded character who represents a type of villain that many readers may have encountered in their own lives: the petty, bureaucratic tyrant who abuses their power for personal gain.

Umbridge is also more directly and intimately involved in the lives of the main characters than Voldemort. While Voldemort is often a distant and abstract threat, Umbridge is a constant and insidious presence at Hogwarts, tormenting Harry and his friends on a daily basis. This makes her actions more personal and her presence more unsettling.

Umbridge is a symbol of the darker aspects of the Ministry of Magic and the wizarding world as a whole. Her character represents the ways in which authority can be corrupted and used to suppress dissent, as well as the dangers of blind obedience to authority. Her actions are a reminder that evil can exist even within seemingly benign institutions and individuals, making her a powerful and thought-provoking villain.

Umbridge’s character also has staying power. Long after you’ve finished reading the Harry Potter books, you’ll find yourself still thinking about her. That’s the mark of a truly great villain – one who lingers in your mind, long after the story has ended.

Who’s your favorite Harry Potter villain and why?

Happy Reading!

Why Character Growth is Important to a Story

One of the most important elements of any story is character growth. It is the process by which a character evolves, learns important life lessons, and ultimately becomes a better version of themselves. Without character growth, a story can feel stagnant and uninteresting, making it difficult for readers to become invested in the narrative.

Here are some reasons why character growth is essential to a story:

  1. It Creates a Compelling Narrative

A character who undergoes personal growth and transformation is more interesting to readers than a static, one-dimensional character. By watching the character face challenges and overcome obstacles, readers become invested in the narrative and the outcome of the story. This investment creates a compelling narrative that keeps the reader engaged.

  1. It Provides Conflict and Tension

Without character growth, a story can lack conflict and tension. If a character doesn’t have to face difficult situations or overcome obstacles, the story can feel flat and uneventful. However, when a character undergoes growth, it creates conflict and tension that propels the story forward, keeping the reader engaged and interested.

  1. It Makes the Story More Relatable

When a character undergoes growth, readers can see themselves in the character’s struggles and triumphs. This makes the story more relatable and allows readers to connect with the character on a deeper level. When readers can see their own experiences reflected in a character’s journey, it creates an emotional investment in the story.

  1. It Helps to Convey Themes and Messages

Character growth is often used to convey themes and messages in a story. By showing a character learn important life lessons and overcome obstacles, authors can illustrate important themes such as perseverance, courage, and redemption. These themes can resonate with readers and provide a deeper meaning to the story.

Below are a few classic and contemporary examples of books with exceptional character growth.

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: This classic novel features a young girl named Scout who learns important life lessons about empathy, courage, and tolerance as she witnesses the injustices of racism and bigotry in her community.
  2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins: The protagonist, Katniss, starts out as a tough and independent survivor, but throughout the series, she grows and learns to trust and rely on her allies, as well as question the morality of her actions.
  3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: The novel’s protagonist, Jay Gatsby, starts out as a mysterious and enigmatic figure, but throughout the course of the story, he learns the value of true love and the emptiness of material wealth.
  4. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger: The novel follows the journey of Holden Caulfield as he struggles to find his place in the world and grapples with issues of identity and conformity.
  5. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho: The story follows a young shepherd named Santiago who embarks on a journey of self-discovery and learns important life lessons about following his dreams and finding his true purpose.

All of these books feature characters who undergo significant growth and transformation over the course of the narrative. By following their journeys and seeing the changes they undergo, readers can connect with the characters on a deeper level and become invested in their story.

Character growth creates a compelling narrative, provides conflict and tension, makes the story more relatable, and helps to convey important themes and messages. By reading books that feature exceptional character growth, we can learn important life lessons and gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

Happy Reading!

Gothic Romance

I’ve been obsessed with gothic literature ever since I read Ann Rice when I was in high school. She is a master of the gothic atmosphere. My favorite gothic genre is romance of course. So what exactly is gothic romance?

Gothic romance is a subgenre of the larger romance genre, characterized by its emphasis on mystery, fear, and the supernatural. Gothic romances typically feature dark, atmospheric settings such as castles, mansions, and ruins, and often involve supernatural elements such as ghosts, monsters, and curses.

In addition to its focus on the supernatural, gothic romance often features strong, independent female protagonists who must navigate complicated relationships and dark secrets to uncover the truth behind the mysteries that haunt them. The genre also frequently incorporates themes of death, and decay, as well as intense emotions such as fear, desire, and obsession.

Gothic romance has its roots in 18th and 19th century literature, with early examples including Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The genre has since expanded to include a wide range of media, including film, television, and video games.

Some common elements of gothic romance include:

  • Dark, atmospheric settings
  • Supernatural elements
  • Strong, independent female protagonists
  • Complicated relationships and secrets
  • Themes of death, decay, and the supernatural
  • Intense emotions like fear, desire, and obsession

Overall, gothic romance is a rich and evocative subgenre of romance that offers a unique blend of mystery, fear, and romance.

Have you read any good Gothic Romances lately?

One Spring Break Book Blog Tour

The Book Blog Tour for One Spring Break is live at Xpresso Tours. I’m excited to work with all these awesome book lovers linked below. Head on over to one of the stops to enter the fifty dollar Amazon gift card giveaway.

January 17th
The Avid Reader >> Excerpt
Two Ends of the Pen >> Interview
Daisy Knox’s Tales of Love, Life and Murder >> Review

January 18th
diary of wannabe writer >> Review
Mythical Books >> Review
Becky on Books >> Interview

January 19th
I Love Books >> Excerpt
Movies, Shows, & Books >> Playlist
Sunny Shelly Reads  >> Review
Iron Canuck Reviews & More >> Excerpt

January 20th
Lynn’s Romance Enthusiasm >> Excerpt
The Phantom Paragrapher >> Excerpt
Adventure in Writing >> Excerpt

January 21st
A Soccer Mom’s Book Blog >> Review
Sushirainbow >> Review
Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author >> Excerpt

Depth of Field Episodes 1 through 5

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Hello and thanks for visiting Depth of Field Episodes One through Five post. I will have a post for each five episodes so that you can discuss anything you want with me. If you love a character, let me know. If you hate a character, let me know that, too! If you think a character is a dumb-ass, or snotty or too stupid to live, I’m all ears. My goal is to become a better writer, so all feedback, good and bad is welcome. Comment below!

A Summoner in London Episodes 1 through 5

Hello and thanks for visiting A Summoner in London Episodes One through Five post. I will have a post for each five episodes so that you can discuss anything you want with me. If you love a character, let me know. If you hate a character, let me know that, too! If you think a character is a dumb-ass, or snotty or too stupid to live, I’m all ears. My goal is to become a better writer, so all feedback, good and bad is welcome. Comment below!

Kindle Vella

Whelp, I’ve gone and done it. I’ve signed up for Kindle Vella. It’s a new platform like Radish that allows serialization of novels. So, why did I decide to give this new program a try? Because I’ve got a dozen books languishing on my hard drive begging me to give them a chance. The simple fact is, I like to write. A lot. The not so simple fact is that it also costs around a thousand dollars to publish a novel. That includes paid beta readers, cover art, editing and formatting. With three kids who need college fund money, I can’t throw that kind of cash around willy nilly.

Enter Kindle Vella.

The beauty of this program is that you only need a jpeg and a decent grasp of the English language to publish. I don’t recommend publishing non-polished work. I definitely spit and shine my chapters before posting, and I have decent grammar. Not perfect grammar, but it’s not bad enough to detract from my stories. (I hope! If you think otherwise, let me know!) So here begins the journey of posting my languishing novels. Wish me luck and happy self-editing!

One Spring Break Cover Reveal

I’m excited to finally reveal the book cover for One Spring Break! This book will be available as an ARC on November 29th and available on Net Galley December 7th. The official release date is January 17th, 2022. I also have a blog tour with Xpresso Tours that begins January 17th.

Goddess Fish Promotions Book Review Tour

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My Review Blog Tour for Cassie’s Temptation, a contemporary new adult romance, has been listed with Goddess Fish Promotions. So far, no one has signed up to review the book which is kind of scary. I’m offering a $50 Amazon gift card to hopefully entice some bloggers to pick up the tour, but I”m not sure if that’s enough to lure reviewers. The Review Book Tour will start on December 9th which means I’ve got time to fill up those slots. I’ll keep you posted as the process continues. When the tour is over, I’ll let you know if it was worth the money.

Cassie’s Temptation Book Tour

It’s official, I’ve booked a book blog tour for Cassie’s Temptation through Goddess Fish Promotions. They were listed by The Book Designer as being one of seven top eBook blog sites and they focus on romance, which is perfect since my book is a new adult contemporary romance. They have seven virtual book tour options available ranging from $55 to $399 dollars. I was pleasantly surprised by how affordable their prices are compared to other book tour sites and as an added plus, the site is run by authors, so I feel like I’m in the hands of someone who’s gone through the trials of publishing.

I picked the “review only tour” since I’m desperate for reviews. Fingers crossed that I get positive feedback! The tour won’t run for several months, I’m anticipating a December date. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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