Harry Potter – thegrammariansreviews.com

How to prep for a read-a-thon.


19 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Discussion

With the start of Bout of Books 5.0 just around the corner, I figured this would be entirely appropriate. Especially because I’m horrible at read-a-thon prepping. (Procrastinator alert!)




1. Wake up early. Or late, depending on how you want to tackle this. I prefer to wake up early in order to start early. But I have known some to sleep late and start in the afternoon/evening.

2. Set aside a few hours of time, even if you have to do it in shifts. Just one hour won’t do it. If you’re really good, you’ll go all Harry Potter and block off an entire eight or so hours. (Of course I say this in reference to when the Harry Potter books were still being released and everyone would set aside an entire day for reading the latest release nonstop until they finished.)

3. Keep your books handy! If you finish one book and don’t have the next one all ready to go, you’re going to get up to look for it, get side-tracked, and end up…you know…not reading.

4. Have snacks and drinks handy! It’s no fun when you look up from the page of your book, snap out of your own little world/reading zone, and hear your stomach grumbling and feel like you haven’t had anything to drink for days.

5. Put your computer on lock-down because you will check Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and all the internet has to offer. Only go on when you want/need to update/track your read-a-thon progress or participate in scheduled read-a-thon chats.

6. Alternate between e-books and actual paper/hardbacks, if possible. Your eyes will thank you.

7. Don’t forget advil. Sounds crazy, right? But, if you’re anything like me, reading for hours on end and straining your eyes sometimes results in major headaches (or worse, migraines) that throw off your entire groove and pacing.

8. Don’t forget bookmarks. If you end up having to leave your reading spot while in the middle of a book, you’re going to need to mark your place. Even if you think you’ll remember the page number. (You’ll thank me when you end up being dragged away for a significant amount of time.)

9. Get comfortable. If you’re going to be reading for hours on end, you won’t want to be in a stiff, back breaking chair. Claim a spot and stay there. Or multiple spots and switch it up!

10. Most importantly, have fun! No stressing allowed. Read-a-thons are meant to be fun, not competitions. If you don’t meet your own goals, no biggie! If you end up chatting more than reading, who cares? It’s all about what you get out of it. Maybe you’ll read two, five, ten books – that’s good! Maybe you’ll meet two, five, ten new blogger/reader friends – that’s good, too! There’s no way to lose. You can only win.



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Armchair BEA: “Real life” experience


23 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized

“real life” experience

It started with the one and only Harry Potter

Many of you know I’m in love with the HP series, as I’m sure many of you also are. But what you don’t know is that I almost passed on reading this beloved series. Way back in 1998, when Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was first published in the U.S., I was too young for the hype to really have an effect on me; I just knew that I kept seeing it all over the place. And then it happened: like a Hogwart’s acceptance letter falling from the sky, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone fell into my hands. It was a gift from my mom, who told me it was supposed to be a really good read.

Being the little bookworm I was (and still am), I set to reading it immediately. And I hated it. I couldn’t make sense of the pronunciation of the characters’ names, I had no idea what was going on, it was boring, it was dull, etc. etc. So without bookmarking a page, I crammed the book into place on my bookshelf and let it collect dust for a long while.

It was two years or so later when I picked it up again, almost embarrassed at the thought of anyone from my family catching me retrieving it from the shelf. After all, I’d badmouthed it, I’d banished it. But now that its hype had spread (and there were already a total of 4 published installments), I was curious. So I read, and I read, and I read, and I read – you see where I’m going with this.

I devoured that book. And the second. And the third. And, eventually, the fourth.

Harry Potter was all I could talk about. I theorized, I gobbled up every bit of information from MuggleNet, I looked forward to standing in ridiculously long lines at midnight to get the next book.

But my obsessing paid off. At a family picnic, my uncle approached me and told me he’d started reading the series. He likes to read, and heard me, for months, going on about all things Harry Potter, so he gave it a try. He loved it! He’d ask me questions, join in on theorizing, and when he’d caught up on the other books we began reading the remainders together. But the payoff didn’t stop there. My cousins, after hearing my uncle and I going on about the series at every family occasion, also joined the HP fan bandwagon.

From there, we basically became our own little family book club. We’d all read the books, then come together either in person or by phone and talk about them for hours upon hours.

It was the best thing, coming together not only as family, but as book lovers. I don’t know that we would have gotten to experience what we did if it hadn’t been for Harry Potter. But I’m so thankful for what the series did for my family and I. Now, because of Harry Potter, my uncle reads YA literature. Now, because of Harry Potter, I’m more readily accepting of fantasy novels than I ever was. Now, because of Harry Potter, my family shares their reading experiences and embraces their love for reading.

I can’t ask for much more than that.

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Armchair BEA: Introductions first!


49 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized

an introduction

Who am I? How long have I been blogging? Why did I get into blogging?

Hello, lovely bloggers! I’m Alissa, the resident self-proclaimed grammarian. I’m a twenty-something student with an affinity for grammar. Me + Grammar = lovebirds. Although I’ve been known to have an intense love for coffee, too. (I’m looking at you, Starbucks.)

The Grammarian’s Reviews was born on July 26, 2010. That’s right – I’ve been blogging for nearly two years! It may not seem very long, but TGR has come a long way since that summer. For starters, I created TGR because I’d heard a classmate started a book blog and I’d never heard of such a community. A ton of people coming together, sharing two of my constant passions (reading and writing)? I knew it was the perfect place for me. If I hadn’t heard about my classmate’s blog, I don’t know that this site would exist. And that’s a scary thought, for sure!

Which is my favorite post that I’ve written that I want everyone to read?

My personal Thank You to bloggers and the book blogging community. Hands down.

The feedback has been insanely positive, and I’m so glad to have gotten some smiles out of it.

What am I currently reading?

White Cat by Holly Black.

Actually, I’m just finishing it. And I have one word for you: AMAZING.

What literary location would you most like to visit? Why?

Anywhere in England. I’m an England fanatic.

As far as specific locations go, I’d have to choose the areas mentioned in the Harry Potter series and Stratford-upon-Avon (because I also love Shakespeare).

If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would it be and why?

There’s a plethora of authors I’d love to have dinner with, but there’s only one character that’s stood out among the hundreds of thousands I’ve come across that I’d love to dine with, and that’s the one and only Draco Malfoy.

Say what you will, but he’s always fascinated me.

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Whip it Up Mondays! {6}


6 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Memes, Whip it Up Mondays

photo credit: slightly everything via photopin cc

When I’m not reading, blogging or doing homework, I’m cooking. Cooking is a lot like reading and writing: it brings ingredients together to create a single dish that tells a story of flavors, family, friends and experiences. And just like with books, you don’t have to be the creator. Sometimes we’re all just looking for a little eye candy. So here’s a little food for thought!

I don’t know if you all know this, but I’m a total foodie. A foodie is “someone who has an ardent or refined interest in food.” Cooking is all about discovery for me – seeing which ingredients work well together, what flavors can be created, and what new foods can be tried. So now I’m bringing this discovery to TGR!

Every Monday I’ll be sharing a new food find, recipe, and of course, some eye candy.

This week: Butterbeer

I didn’t make my butterbeer look nearly as pretty as this.

Have I mentioned I’m a crazy Harry Potter fan? Because I am. When the series finally came to a close, I didn’t know what I was going to do. Pottermore wasn’t around yet, I’d read all the extra books, and I was longing to go to the HP park at Universal. …Then we got the HP cookbook for Christmas. Granted, most of the recipes I had no interest in making or even trying.

But reading it did get me interested in little sweets from the series I’d always wanted to try, like Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans (which I’ve tried – they’re gross!), chocolate frogs (also tried – not worth the money; they’re simply cheap milk chocolates), pumpkin juice, and butterbeer. As far as drinks went, one seemed easy and tasty enough: butterbeer.

That’s when I’d heard that the park at Universal was going to be selling butterbeer for everyone to try. Oh, how I wished I could get there! Luckily enough for me, I’d stumbled across a recipe online and figured, Why not?

Unfortunately I never saved the link and only have the recipe written down on paper, so I don’t know the original source; I do not at all take credit for this recipe.



  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. packed brown sugar
  • 1 mug of milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • cinnamon (to taste)


  1. Melt butter + sugar together (makes caramel).
  2. Add milk, vanilla and cinnamon. Stir.
  3. Bring mixture to a boil and pour back into mug.

Here’s the thing about this butterbeer. It sounds really good, like a cup full of warm and cozy goodness. But it’s potent. If you’ve ever had chai tea or a chai latte, then you’ll understand what I mean by “potent.” Its taste is so unique and strong. It’s almost like a cross between pumpkin pie and chai; it’s a thick, rich mixture of Autumnal-like flavors.

Since the opening of the theme park at Universal, all kinds of butterbeer recipes have surfaced, and from what I’ve seen of them, they all include root beer. This seems more logical to me, since I doubt butterbeer was intended to be a thick, milky drink. But because we didn’t know any better at the time, or have the Universal version of the drink to compare to, I’ll always think of butterbeer as the result of the above recipe. And while it’s not an awesome recipe, it’s an awesome memory. 

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Follow Friday (33)


23 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Follow Friday, Memes

Follow Friday is now acknowledging and promoting the following of blogs through their RSS feeds! Because this site is proudly powered by WordPress, there’s no GFC (Google Friend Connect) option. BUT, you can follow TGR through my feed by clicking HERE or over to the right, in my sidebar. You can also subscribe through email!







Fight! Fight! If you could have two fictional characters battle it out (preferably from books), who would they be and who do you think would win?

James Potter versus Severus Snape.

I don’t know why. I just think it would be epic. Fight to the death for Lily?

Team Snape, baby!


This week at The Grammarian’s Reviews

Vote for TGR at the Independent Book Blogger Awards – help me get to BEA!

The YA tribe

{new feature!} Whip it Up Mondays (2)

In My Mailbox

REVIEW! Perfect by Natasha Friend

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Top Ten Tuesday is brought to us by The Broke and the Bookish.


Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. When I opened this book, I literally could not stop reading. It demands reading in one sitting. IT’S THAT GOOD.

The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa. I understand that this is the last in the Iron Fey series, but it was my absolute favorite in an It-All-Leads-Up-to-This! way. I tore through this book. So good, and Ash is just so swoon-worthy.

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan. This one gets overlooked a lot, but I consider it a treasure. It’s ridiculously cute, and ridiculously short, so there’s no way you CAN’T finish this in one sitting.

The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan. I’m sorry, but I love this man’s writing, and this is another overlooked gem of his. It was one of the first verse novels I ever tried and ended up falling in love with it.

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty. Um, hello? Marcus Flutie. ‘Nuff said.

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. I’m sorry, but there’s just something so wonderful and magical and youthful that keeps me coming back to this tale!

Secret Society Girl by Diana Peterfreund. You probably know her for her killer unicorn stories, like Rampant, but did you know she has this other incredible series? About people IN COLLEGE? I bet you didn’t, or haven’t given it a shot. It’s humorous and just makes me feel good all-around. It takes me to another school and makes me want to be in a secret society for a day, too.

All American Girl by Meg Cabot. This book completely won me over, way back when. It’s just full of good vibes and teen angst, and would be perfect for a day-long reading marathon.

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. It’s not a perfect day if you’re not at Hogwarts.  Granted, this would be a more lengthy challenge for one day, if you’re also trying to tackle nine other books, but. Totally worth revisiting again and again.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares. This is just a wonderful, summery, day-brightening book. I would love to go traveling with these girls again, even if only for a day.

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Follow Friday! (26)


14 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Follow Friday, Memes

If you had to spend eternity inside the pages of a book which book would you choose and why?

I know it’s going to be the #1 answer, but….. c’mon. Is there really any contest? I have to choose the Harry Potter series. I’d be perfectly content spending my days at Hogwarts.

But, since I’ve yet to receive my acceptance letter, I suppose spending some time in Neverland wouldn’t be so bad, so long as Peter shared his inability to grow up.

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