Book Review: Not Without My Daughter

Non-fiction isn’t usually my cup of tea. While it may be informative, I sometimes find it is so clean cut and factual that the genre seems almost callous.  However when history and biographies are novelized they take on an entirely different tone.

My latest novelized non-fiction read is…

Not Without My Daughter by Betty Mahmoody 

My mother and I like to binge watch trailers whenever we are just chilling. One of the trailers we came across was the movie adaptation of Not Without My Daughter. After watching the trailer, I really wanted to see the movie but when I saw the “Based off the novel by Betty Mahmoody” credit, I knew I had to read the book first.

It was a funny coincidence that the next day I found a good copy of Not Without My Daughter at the antique shop I work at. I bought it and immediately started to read. 

(Um, don’t tell my boss I read on the job…it was a slow day anyway!)

The Story

Not Without My Daughter tells the true story of Betty Mahmoody and her daughter Mahtob. 

Betty met and married her husband, Dr. Sayyed Bozorg Mahmoody (Moody for short), in the United States of America in 1976. He had come to America to study medicine and become an established doctor in the USA. 

When Moody takes Betty and Mahtob to an Iran at war with Iraq for a vacation, problems start appearing almost immediately. After meeting with Moody’s family she finds herself either completely ignored or rigorously attacked. Why? Because she is American.

Moody makes the radical decision to keep Betty and Mahmoody in Iran. Once a woman marries an Iranian man, she immediately becomes an Iranian citizen as well as the “property” of that man. Any children they have are the man’s “property” as well. Moody was “Americanized” in the US but seems to have reverted back to his culture’s expectations of what a man is and how he treats his “inferiors.” We might never know for sure if Moody had been under this influence before taking Betty and Mahtob into Iran or if this change happened while staying with his family on “vacation.” The former seems more likely.

Stuck in Iran, Betty’s soul purpose in life becomes clear to her; she needs to protect her daughter and escape. As time continues, however, this objective becomes more strenuous. Moody forces Mahtob to attend school in Iran and Betty finds herself surrounded by people who spy on her every move and will tell her husband of any missteps.

My Thoughts

This book touches so many important social issues on human rights. But what I think Betty Mahmoody most wanted to make clear to the reader was the devotion that bonds a mother and her children. And when that child is in danger, nothing else matters. To Betty, nothing matters more than Mahtob’s safety.

We’ve all heard the stories of the disregard for basic human rights, especially when it comes to women and children. There are hundreds of women and children in captive situations, just like Betty’s. Betty tells her story, not just for herself but for the hundreds, if not thousands, of voiceless victims who have had the most basic of freedoms stolen from them.

Reading this book might not change your perspective if you are already an advocate for women, children, and freedom, but it will give you more of the facts. This is what it’s really like. This is what we should be fighting against, spreading awareness for. This book should reinforce and fortify what you should already know to be true: that people are people and they have the God given right to life and freedom. 

Something I don’t usually gush about is cover design…but I’m going to! This cover I got…guys, this cover! The front cover is obviously an illustration of a woman (Betty) in a chador but if you look closer, you can see the thin golden stars hidden on the cover. I loved the symbolism so much, I just had to *Star Spangled Banner plays.*

The Long and Short of It

This book was potent and left a lasting impression on me. I did watch the movie after completing the book and, though I love Sally Fields, it wasn’t the same. If you’ve watched the movie you should read the book NOW. If you have never heard of Not Without My Daughter before, I encourage you to pick up a copy. 

A big hug to those of you who were motivated to read Not Without My Daughter because of my posts on Instagram about it! I loved talking with you and I can’t wait to hear what you think about the book!

5 Uncommon Books Harry Potter Fans Will Love

Once you’ve finished the Harry Potter series, you feel the desperate need to read it again. And again. And again. And then you read The Cursed Child. And then the Hogwarts Library. And then the Fantastic Beasts screenplays. Eventually you will run out of good Harry Potter related reading material.

But that does not mean you have to stop there. I know the desperate need to find a new world to join and love just as much as the Wizarding World.

Of course, you can read Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia just like everyone else. But there are some lesser known books that anyone who enjoys Harry Potter will find solace in just as much.


Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend is easily my third favorite book of all time. Just like the separation of the Wizard and Muggle worlds, the world of Nevermoor is split.

Morrigan Crow, like Harry Potter, is an normal child save for one thing. She is doomed to die on her eleventh birthday. And, like Harry, a mysterious stranger comes to her aid, Jupiter North. Jupiter takes Morrigan away from the dull and corrupt Wintersea Rublic to the wonderfully crazy Free State city of Nevermoor.

However, she has her own Voldemort pursuing her, the Wundersmith. Nevermoor has two books that succeed it and Townsend is still working on the series, so there is lots to look forward to.

The Night Circus

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is more of a mature read than Harry Potter but I still believe Wizarding World lovers will enjoy it.

Just like Rowling’s unique take on magic, Morgenstern has taken it to the next level. Magic exists, yes, but magicians hide amongst ordinary people. The magicians parade their gifts as mere conjuring tricks but do not need smoke and mirrors to create illusion. Two young people, Celia and Marco, youths with the gift of sorcery, have been bound together from a young age by their guardians. This bond has them playing their lives like a chess match, seeing who can outshine the other in a contest of magical prowess.

The Night Circus is the board and they are the players…or are they the pawns?

The Grishaverse

Just as Rowling crafted her own world, large as life, Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse is as real as Hogwarts.

Magic and normalcy are collided in the same steampunk/fantasy land. Grisha are men and women who can harness the power of elements. While they live amongst normal people they are often either praised or punished for their magic. Many Grisha hide their abilities and some do not even know the power is theirs. Three series and have been written in the Grishaverse so far, Shadow and BoneSix of Crows, and King of Scars.

I read Six of Crows before Shadow and Bone by accident, but I would advise reading the series in order, even if the former is so much better.

The Inquisitior’s Tale

The Inquisitor’s Tale or Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz is by far the most hilarious book on this list.

Set in the Middle Ages, Jeanne, Jacob, and William are the Medieval equivalent of the Golden Trio…plus a dog. Tales and folklore of magic are told and celebrated but when these three children are revealed to have miraculous abilities they are persecuted and rejected. Even threatened with burning at the stake! The story is told by a group of travelers at an inn; a Brewster, a nun, a librarian, the innkeeper, a jongleur, a chronicler, a king’s companion, a troubadour, and, of course, the Inquisitor.

The tale is original and the format unique, Potterheads of any age will love it.

The Night Gardener

Magic is not always good, as Voldemort and his Death Eaters have demonstrated. This rings true in Jonathan Axiur’s The Night Gardener.

Molly and her lame brother, Kip, are orphans and have gone to work for the Windsor’s. The Windsor’s live in a crumbling and bleak mansion in an island of woods and the family all have the same gaunt pale skin and dead black hair and eyes. But the most peculiar and ominous omen is the twisting tree that is apart of the house. Molly and Kip soon begin hearing noises in the night…loud footfalls and rustling leaves. What will the children do when the dark magic begins to overtake them as their hair and eyes darken, just like the grim Windsor’s?

What secrets are hidden in the mansion and, more importantly, the great tree that grows darker every day?

Reading these books will put you in the same magical trance that Harry Potter did, and most likely still does. Yes, they don’t have Harry, Ron, and Hermione in them but this is the opportunity to fall for new characters. I promise these books will not disappoint if you give them a chance!

Unlocking Sherlock

I used to attend a homeschool co-op. My teacher gave us these little surveys to fill out on each subject. I was going through my old school papers and found this;

If you can’t read my tenth grade handwriting it says;

The most important event in all of world history is when to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle sat all alone in his small optometry office and first thought of Sherlock Holmes (or, at the time, Sherrinford Holmes.)

To which my teacher replied;

You might be a little obsessed 🙂

The same teacher gave me a very fancy copy of the Complete Sherlock Holmes as a graduation present.

It is safe to assume from what you have read, that I am completely in love with Sherlock Holmes.

However, the problem with loving classic literature means that it is probable that your favorite author has long been retired. Meaning that the 56 short stories and the four novels that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote about Sherlock are all I am ever going to get from him. 

And that is why I picked up Lock and Key by Ridley Pearson. 

The book had been sitting on the living room bookshelf for about two years…my mistake. I finally picked it up. To be perfectly honest, the back cover synopsis of the book did not truly reflect what the book actually was.

My first impression of its description led me to believe it was set in Victorian London, told from the perspective of Moriarty’s brother. If you have read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Final Problem, you would know that Dr. John Watson tells us a little about Moriarty’s brother. 

But this is not the case. From reading Lock and Key, I deduce that Ridley Pearson is not a true Sherlockian. I can tell he has not studied the as books intimately as I have nor has an all consuming love for all things Doyle as I do.

However, that does not mean the book itself is bad.

The Lock and Key series is based on the modernization of Sherlock Holmes in his youth. The main idea Pearson has however is not about Sherlock. It is based on Sherlock’s arch enemy, James Moriarty and told from the perspective of his sister.

Before I get too far into the characters or plot, I first want to address the use of “modernization.” 

I know most classic lit lovers shy away from the word as if it were a rattlesnake. And I totally understand that. It is a risky move to take. Personally though, I usually enjoy modernization tropes. BBC Sherlock is my favorite TV show and it literally seems to pluck Sherlock & Co. from the Victorian era into modern day society. 

While Ridley Pearson does not execute this idea as well as BBC Sherlock does, I am of the opinion that he does it well enough.

The main characters are of course Sherlock Holmes and James Moriarty, and they are accompanied by James’s little sister, Moria. 

Original characters (OCs) can be another risk to put in a retelling. I often times enjoy OCs but I am also their harshest critic. Moria Moriarty is…an okay OC. But I feel that the story Ridley Pearson created could have been told without her. 

And there is the issue of her name…Moria. 

Parents don’t just go from naming their first kid James and then their second Moria. James is a common name and Moria obviously is not. In BBC Sherlock there is an OC named Eros who is Sherlock’s sister. But her name is perfectly fine. We got Mycroft and Sherlock, some weirdo names, and Eros fits in perfectly. Moria, however, sticks out from James like a sore thumb.

However I do commend Pearson for making Moria a good narrator but also a distinct side character. She isn’t as logical as Sherlock nor as intelligent as James. But she does own her own skill sets, such as her curiosity.

When I first read Pearson’s description of Sherlock, I laughed out loud because he totally watches the BBC show…I mean, shocking blue eyes, high cheek bones, pale skin…? Sorry, that isn’t Sherlock, that is Benedict Cumberbatch.

I enjoy Pearson’s young Sherlock over the young Sherlock in the movie Young Sherlock Holmes. One fact that many people don’t know is that Sherlock isn’t Spock. He’s not a Vulcan nor a computer. While Sherlock may call love “human error” or show contempt at sentiment, he does not remain immune to human feeling. Pearson recognizes this and allows Sherlock the freedom to laugh, joke, and tease as he pleases. Except when he gets “in the zone.” When Sherlock is in the heat of deduction, solving a problem, or thinking around a situation, he does not revert to his human whims. 

I understand that it is hard to nail James Moriarty’s character on the head. We get little dialogue from him in The Final Problem and soon after, bye, bye, Jimmie. There are many different takes on Moriarty, and Pearson’s own works.

It isn’t spectacular, but it works. 

James is changeable. He has a moral compass and he knows what is right but he puts more stock into power and what he wants. Throughout the series he switches between being on the enemy’s side and being on Sherlock’s side. 

From the very beginning, he does not want to be Sherlock’s friend. They are roommates together at Baskerville Academy and while Sherlock attempts a companionship with James, the latter blatantly refuses the offer. Later, James does admit that he and Sherlock are friends. And still later, they become sworn enemies.

I wasn’t especially into the plot…secret societies have never really been my thing. And I don’t think it went entirely well with Sherlock and James as a whole. However, the scenes and situations in themselves where perfect. Pearson only needed a different overall concept. 

What kept me reading was the one liners, the quips that Sherlock made passive aggressively to tell James how stupid he was. Or James calling Sherlock “Sherlost.” And all the banter…priceless.

My biggest disappointment was the exclusion of any other canon characters. The only attachment to Doyle’s original books where Sherlock and James. No John Watson, no Irene Adler, no Henry Knight, no Dr. Mortimer, no Sebastian Moran…none of them were included! 

I kept turning pages hoping John would come in as a new exchange student in Baskerville Academy, or something…but no!

Mycroft was mentioned ONCE. Sherlock names him as his older brother who has been his legal guardian since their parents died.

I did hope that Mycroft might come in when Sherlock got expelled from Baskerville. I mean, Mycroft would be MAD. He’d be furious with his little brother for getting kicked out of an expensive prep school. But he doesn’t even cameo.

And when Sherlock is supposed to be in London but actually stays in Boston? Sherlock never says how he did that. Because if I know Mycroft Holmes, he would be after his brother like the Hound of the Baskervilles. I mean, that is Mycroft, an overly protective, condescending big brother. But no, Sherlock doesn’t even say he tricked Mycroft into letting him stay in Boston.

All in all, the series is worth a read if you just need more Sherlock. I certainly did. And if you aren’t a huge Sherlockian, you might enjoy the series. But it could have been better if Pearson had done a bit more research or loved the original stories a bit more. 

30 Day Bookstagram Positivity Challenge

I practically grew up on #bookstagram. Believe me, I know what it is and I could define it if asked. However I am not here to make it a dictionary term. What bookstagram is and what it is meant to be are two different things at the present time.

My mother, @heathermaccreates, started her Instagram account back in 2012. Since then she has gained a following in the thousands and has loyal customers. She has shared her bookstagram journey with me and included me in all her favorite books, posts, quotes, art, and so on.

I have only joined the bookstagtam community recently but I have grown up around it. My mom used to wear a “#bookstagram made my buy it” shirt almost every other day, believe me I grew up with it.

However, the bookstagram I thought I knew then is nothing like the bookstagram I have come to know now.

When I was younger I used to be able to scroll down my mother’s Instagram feed and read all the great book synopsis’s and reviews. The comments were enjoyable and full of cool discussion and respectful debate.

Now however if you look up #bookstagram, there are descriptions of negativity, condemning any opinion in a book that diverges from the readers own. Comments are practically screaming arguments. People tag other bookstagramers only to criticize them.

What happened?

Here is what happened. Micro-aggressions happened.

A micro-aggression is when someone says something they think and someone else disagrees and attacks them for it. 

An example? A bookstagramer says they enjoyed the main character’s point of view. Someone comments “The main character describes the female lead as incompetent! The book had a pro-male agenda and was sexist”. The rest of the comment thread goes back in forth on what the bookstagramers believed and what was wrong with them if they enjoyed or hated the book, whether the book was sexist, racist, or homophobic, and what the author had done that made the book not worthy of reading.

As readers, we choose what we read. We choose what we enjoy in a story and we choose what we hate as well. We choose what we take out of the book, and we choose what we leave behind.

That is what reading is all about!

If a reader chooses to share their experience with a book on bookstagram, it is not to promote their own personal supremacy. It is so that they can share their thoughts with people like them. Other readers.

No matter what colour, gender, race, creed, or religion, we all have one thing in common. We are readers! We love a good story. We all cry when our favorite character dies, we all have to put the book down at the big plot twists, we all have the same emotional trauma after we finish a book, and we all have the same ecstasy when we start a new one.

Can’t we talk about how great it is that we are all readers? That we love the written word? That we couldn’t survive without it?

Let’s make bookstagram a positive place again. 

I’ve created a 30 Day Bookstagram Positivity Challenge and I encourage you to try it out. It is simple to do and I hope you will take the first steps to making #bookstagram a better place.

Happy Christmas From Hogwarts

I’ve haven’t officially celebrated Christmas for as long as I can remember but I love the holiday season. For the majority of the Advent, people are focused on love and giving. That is something I can truly appreciate. And what represents unconditional and selfless love more than James and Lily Potter? Here is what the Marauders and Co’s last Christmas at Hogwarts looked like, right before they graduated, began their fight against evil, and gave their lives for what they believed and loved…

Snow was falling outside, drifting lazily onto the almost silent Hogwarts grounds. It was the weekend and most of the students were inside the castle, busy getting ready to go to Hogsmead before they went home for the Christmas holidays. The silence outside was almost perfect…


Making his way hastily to the giant oak doors of Hogwarts and swinging his head wildly back and forth to dislodge the amounts of snow that rested on it, James Potter ran into the school. Rushing through the halls, still chill from the freezing temperatures, he made his way to Gryffindor tower, and shouted the password (Humbug) in a voice that was higher than per usual. 

Climbing through the portrait hole and dashing into the room filled with student in black robes and crimson and gold ties, he called out for all to hear,


Most of his fellow Hogwarts students ignored him. Odd behavior had become something to expect from the seventeen year old Potter boy. James’ friends, however, spared him a half glance.

“Nice to hear you finally admit it,” Remus Lupin commented with a bemused smile, returning his full attention to the large castle he was making from Muggle cards.

James walked over to where his friends were sitting, “I’m not kidding! Moony, Marlene, I really need your help!”

Marlene McKinnon raised an eyebrow. Having been previously transfixed on Remus’ card castle progress, James needing her help was something she hadn’t been expecting.

“Woah there, Prongs!” Sirius Black called in an mock offended tone. He too was building a (much sloppier) card castle, but out of Exploding Snap cards to rival Remus’. “Just Moony and Marlene? How come I’m excluded in your hour of need?”

“Yeah, and me!” Peter Pettigrew piped in.

“You couldn’t help a flobberworm cross a street, Wormy,” Sirius chuckled.

“Sirius…” Remus chastised in a cautionary voice.

“Just kidding, sorry!” Though he didn’t sound sorry at all.

James acknowledged his best friend. “Mate, you’re dead useful for a lot of things…but this isn’t gonna be one of them.”

“What’s your problem, James?” Marlene asked, getting up from where she sat next to Remus and plopping onto a plush bean chair nearby.

“Isn’t it obvious?” Asked Remus. “It’s Lily.”

Sirius rolled his eyes. “Of course.”

James’ face soured. “Hey, hey, now, you can’t just…stereotype me like that. My life does not revolve around that gorgeous red-headed angel of beauty and grace!”

A moment of silence passed. Remus, Marlene, Sirius, and Peter all nodded in agreement. “It’s Lily.”

“Okay, so what? It is Lily!”

“What did you do this time?” Sirius asked.


“That is highly unlikely.”

“No, really, I did nothing!” James whined. “Don’t you see? That’s the problem!”

“No, we don’t see,” Remus said with long suffering, “But if you explain, then we will.”

James opened his mouth to tell them all of the Terrible Horrible No Good Absolutely Troll thing he had done, but before he could say a word, Sirius’ tower of cards exploded in both his, Remus, and Peter’s faces. 

Once the had smoke cleared, once James and Marleen had stifled their laughter, and once the three soot covered boys had coughed up the ash that had made its way inside their mouths and noses, Remus cast a disgruntled look at his own card tower, knocked over from the explosion.

“I still win,” he said, glaring at Sirius.

“You…did what?” 

Remus, Sirius, Peter, Marlene, joined by Mary Macdonald and Frank Longbottom, had their mouths hanging open, starring with wide eyes at James. The boy himself, was looking away from their gazes.

“Oh, come on, you know me! Does it really surprise you?”

“Yeah, actually it does!” Sirius said, his left eye twitching. “How in Merlin’s name could you do something like that?! After all these years?”

Mary nodded, “Even wouldn’t dream you’d be that thoughtless…and I’m not exactly your biggest fan.”

“Don’t beat him up,” Remus said, looking around at his classmates, “I’m sure he feels the pains of what he’s done…I mean what he hasn’t done.”

“I do! But you guys-“ He was interrupted by a loud and forced cough from Marlene, “-and girls, have gotta help me fix it!”

“Can it be fixed though?” Peter asked. “It’s a little late for it now…and if it’s for Lily…”

“Of course it can be fixed!” Frank said, but the fake optimism was obvious. “We still have…twenty four hours before the train leaves?”

“Nineteen, actually,” Remus corrected.

James buried his face in a maroon pillow. “Lily is going to kill me!”

“And why is that?” 

All seven teenagers froze; Sirius in a sort of half grimace-half smirk, Frank in a too-wide smile, Marlene in a strange startled stance, Peter looked like he was about to run from the scene of the crime, Remus had his mouth half open and his eyes wide, and James…James’ face was still half buried in the pillow but what could be seen of his eyes were filled with pure terror.

Frank was the first one to brave moving. “Heeeeeeeeyyyyyyyy, Lily………”

Lily Evans, her lips pursed together in a thin line and a hand on her hip, looked down at the guilty party. “Okay, fess up, what are you all doing?”

“NOTHING!” They all said in unison, save for James who was still in his statuesque state. 

“James? Explanation, please,” she moved her head down and to the side so as to see her boyfriend better. “Why did you say I’m going to kill you? What have you done?” 

James looked at Sirius in fear for a brief second and then turned to face Lily. “Haha, the usual, you know?”

She smiled sternly (how can you smile sternly? Only Lily Evans and Minerva McGonagall shall ever know.) “Hmm…” she eyed him suspiciously. “I would be worried but Mary and Frank are here so…” she looked at the two in question. 

Mary waved a dismissive hand, “Oh, James was just telling us a prank he was planning to do on Lockhart. Sirius here,” she thrust her thumb in Sirius’ direction, “thought that we should get you involved without your knowledge. But James shot it down…like the good boyfriend he is.” 

Everyone looked at Mary with surprise. The lie had flowed so easily from her mouth…it sounded like it might actually be true. 

Lily cast her eyes on Sirius, “You know how I feel about your mindless pranks.” 

Sirius grinned sheepishly. “It was worth a shot-hey! Our pranks are anything but mindless! Do you know the effort we put in those things! It takes a lot of brain work to still be original after seven years of mischief making! And with all the-“

The words were cut off by Remus slapping his hand across Sirius’ mouth. “He means he’s sorry.”

“Nawideeont!” Sirius’ muffled voice said from behind Remus’ hand.

That made Lily laugh. “Thanks, James,” she said as she pressed a kiss on the top of his forehead. “Hey, you want to get on Slughorn’s homework now? I know you aren’t going to do it if I’m not watching you like a hawk.”

James, jumping at the change of subject, smiled back at her. “Yeah…yeah! Totally! To the library then, milady?” He stood up and bowed to Lily, who rolled her eyes.

“After you, sir,” she giggled and waved back at the others. “See you guys!”

The Gryffindors watched Lily and James leave. Before they were out of sight, James mouthed HELP ME. Once they had left the common room, Remus removed his hand from Sirius’ mouth and asked, “To Hogsmead then?”

“To Hogsmead,” they all agreed.

“I can’t believe James didn’t get her a Christmas present,” Peter said a little too loudly.



“It’s freezing out here!” Mary said, rubbing her arms for warmth. “I say we let James face the consequences of his actions and go back to the castle and warm up.” 

The Marauders & Co. had arrived in Hogsmead which was a fair bit colder than Hogwarts. The snow was thinner however, having been trod on by countless of holiday shoppers. There were hundreds of Hogwarts students that could be seen through the shop windows, buying last minute Christmas presents before the trip home the next day. 

Frank was at the head of the group, leading them down the cobblestone path. “We can’t just ditch James…he’d be really disappointed if he wasn’t able to give Lily a present this year. I mean, now that she’s agreed to finally go out with him.” He took off his outer coat and offered it to Mary. “If your cold, you can take this. I don’t really need it.”

Mary placed a hand on her heart and said in a girlie pitch, “Aww, Frank, that is so sweet!” She cast a glance at Marlene.

Marlene shivered and look expectedly at Sirius. When he took no notice of her she bumped into him and said, “Hey, I’m cold too!”

He glanced at her in confusion, “Marlene, I can’t control the weather.”

Remus rolled his eyes, took off his own coat and gave it to Marlene. “Let’s start at Honeyduke’s. I don’t think we’ll find the ‘perfect’ gift that James specified but maybe a few filler gifts would go well?”

They all agreed enthusiastically…what kid wouldn’t take any excuse to go into candy heaven? 

Honeydukes was full of students, as always. 

“We should have waited till tonight,” Peter shouted over the loud chatter of students and constant ringing the entry bell. “The we could have gotten Lily something without all the crowds!”

“Honeydukes isn’t open at night, Wormy!” Sirius pointed out. 


They became inevitably separated in the large store. 

Marlene found herself in the dangerous sweets isle, and she bought several acid pops to give to her younger brother…just for fun. Frank and Mary had rather wisely gone back outside to sit and wait for the rest of the group. Sirius was trying his best to find any kind of prank-like sweet…but he decided he’d have to wait until Zonko’s. Peter got lost. And Remus…You know the expression “like a kid in a candy store”? Well try this one, “like Remus Lupin in Honeydukes.”

Remus made his way to the front counter with a great amount of difficulty. The shop boy took one look at him and called over his shoulder, “Hey! It’s Crazy Chocolate Guy!”

“I do have a name,” Remus mumbled. 

A large woman walked over to the counter and the shop boy left to help other customers. “Well, what can I do for you…again?”

“Do you have any new shipments?” Remus asked with a polite smile.

“You cleared us out of the Caramel Dark Chocolate Brownie Fudge Toffee Bars. I can put you on the waiting list though.” 

“Oh, no thank you, ma’am, I’m stocked up for the holidays. But I would like to know if there are any candies that haven’t been released into the main shop yet.” 

The woman smiled. “And why would I let you purchase what I haven’t made public to my own shop?”

“Because…I’m your best customer?” He said hopefully. 

She considered him in amusement for a second and then she told him to wait a moment. Remus decided that if she was getting what he thought she was getting, he would buy himself a victory slab of Pumpkin Spice Caramel Marbled Creme Chocolate…or maybe a victory crate…

“So, what’ve we got?” Mary asked, rubbing her gloved hands together at the sight of their shopping bags.

“Acid pops!” Shouted Marlene, waving her bag high in the air.

Mary exchanged glances with Frank. “Er…” Frank winced, “you bought acid pops…for Lily Evans?”

“Pfft, no, stupid! For my annoying little brother. Why would I get them for Lily?”

“Well, seeing as you were supposed to buy Lily some stocking stuffers…” Frank trailed off.

Marlene slapped her forehead. “Oh, Merlin, I forgot!”

Sirius looked down at his bags. “Me too.”

“I got her a candy cane…” Peter said.

“So you guys didn’t get her anything?” Mary said, shaking her head.


Everyone turned to Remus who had spoken. He carried two large crates in his hands. “You think this is all for me?” 

“Yes,” Sirius said looking at the bulging boxes.

“Very funny. Not even I could eat this much chocolate by myself.” 

Peter scratched his head, “I’m pretty sure you could.”

Remus did a mental face palm (seeing as his physical palms were full of chocolate). “Anyways, we are covered on sweets. I got her the new Strawberry Bourbon Mousse White Chocolate bars…they aren’t supposed to be released until February. And James now owes me five galleons.” 

“Impressive!” Mary gave him a small round of applause.

“Where to now?” Peter asked.

“Zonko’s!” Sirius said. 

“The bookstore!” Remus said.

“What?” They both asked each other.

“Bookstores are so BORING!” 

“Lily hates Zonko’s, Padfoot.”

“She doesn’t hate it, she said so herself!”

“Right, I think the word she used was ‘deplore.’”

“Which isn’t the same as hate!”

“Your grasp on vocabulary is obviously lacking.”

“Girls, girls, you’re both pretty!” Marlene interceded. “We aren’t going to Zonko’s or the bookstore. I think Lily definitely doesn’t want dungbombs or books from her boyfriend.”

“But Lily loves to read,” Frank commented.

“Yeah, because she’s weird like that, but if we got her books it’d be obvious that James didn’t buy them. He would rather be caught in a Slytherin uniform than in a bookstore.”

Remus nodded, “True enough.”

Sirius kicked a pile of snow. “But I wanna go to Zonko’s.”

“You can go later, okay?” Mary offered. “What’s in those bags anyway?” She leaned over to try and peak inside Sirius’ Honeydukes bags.

Sirius snatched them away from her. “Hey! I need to shop for Christmas presents too!”

Several hours later, the Gryffindors were dropping off. After they had bought Lily a year long self-refillable Butterbeer glass from the Three Broomsticks (James now owed them eight galleons and three sickles), Mary gave Frank his coat back and said she needed to finish some homework back at the castle. A fourth of the way down an especially long detour they had taken so Remus didn’t have to pass the Shrieking Shack, Peter complained that his legs were getting tired and he headed back. Finally, after they had bought Lily an advanced potions kit (complete with unicorn hair and a golden cauldron…James now owed them sixteen galleons, seven sickles, and three knuts) Marlene said that she had to meet up with Dorcas Meadows.

“You think we got enough?” Frank asked, sitting down in the snow and resting his present laden arms.

“Duh! The only thing we didn’t buy her was the Beatles!” Sirius said.

“I don’t know…” Remus cast his eyes over the presents they had gotten for James to give to Lily. “Why do I feel we’re missing something?”

“Same,” Frank frowned.

“Missing something? You’re joshing me! We bought her more than Prince Charles gets on Christmas!” 

“I think you’re overestimating how many presents Prince Charles gets. Shush now, I need to think,” Remus put down his crates of chocolate and rested his head in his hands.

“Fine,” Sirius growled, crossing his arms the best that he could, seeing as they were covered in shopping bags.

A few seconds passed and Remus turned on Sirius, “Really? Can you stop whining? We are trying to help our best friend!”

“I didn’t say anything!”

“You kept making that noise-“

“Both of you, shh!” Frank raised his hands. “I don’t think that was Sirius you heard, Remus.”

All three boys became quiet. 

“I don’t hear anything,” Sirius whispered.

“I do,” Remus muttered leaning his head to the left, straining to hear…whatever he heard. 

Another moment passed and then Frank and Sirius heard it too, a soft mewing from a distance. 

Remus, forgetting the chocolate on the ground, jogged down the path. Frank too left behind his bags and closely followed him.

Sirius stood alone and yelled after them, “Oh, come on, your gonna make me…oh, fine!” After that he promptly dropped his bags and ran. 

Once he caught up with them, he saw Frank crouching on the ground near a tree, Remus standing over him and leaning over to see…

…a kitten.

“Merlin,” Sirius muttered. “It’s a cat!”

“Yeah, we can see that, Padfoot,” Remus chuckled, still looking at the small animal. “So stay over there and don’t scare it away.”

“I’m not going to scare it.”

“Yeah, you would, Padfoot.” He put emphasis on the last word.

Oh, right, I’m a dog. Sirius remembered. He almost reminded Remus that he was a werewolf and could scare the kitten too, but he thought it best to let it slide.

“It doesn’t have a collar,” Frank said. “And it’s really skinny,” he looked up at them, “Guys, I think it’s abandoned.” 

“Aww,” Remus and Sirius fawned in unison.

Frank picked up the kitten and brushed some snow off of it. He smirked knowingly at Remus who nodded back in agreement.

“Well, great we got a free kitten.” Sirius said. “But we still got to find Lily another present, according to you two overachievers!” 

Frank and Remus blinked at Sirius. 


“Merry Christmas, idiots!” 

“Sirius Orion Black, if you drop that dungbomb-“

And that is how they ended up spending Christmas in the Transfiguration classroom.

The majority of the seventh year students had stayed at Hogwarts for the holidays. For the most part, sentiment had gotten the better of them…it would be their last Christmas at Hogwarts.

Lily had planned to invite James over to her family’s house for Christmas, which is why he had panicked last minute, but received a letter from her mother saying that Lily’s sister, Petunia, was having her boyfriend over as well.

Needless to say, Lily changed her mind. 

Since James was staying, Sirius was staying too. Remus had to stay (the full moon was the day after Christmas) but would have chosen to celebrate with his friends anyway. And Peter was staying because everyone else was.

Minerva McGonagall had decorated her classroom spectacularly for the occasion. Taking into consideration that this particular body of students could get into all kinds of trouble, she thought it best to supervise them. And since Sirius had dropped a nasty dungbomb in the common room, she had moved the festivities to her classroom. 

Under the magnificent Christmas tree, cut and hauled by Rubeus Hagrid and decorated by McGonagall and Phineas Flitwick, was a multitude of brightly colored Christmas presents. Usually the Christmas presents were delivered to the student’s dorm room but this year McGonagall had made special arrangements. Even she had to (very silently) admit that she would miss this band of misfits after they graduated.

“She’d never admit she’d miss us,” Dorcas told Lily and Mary, “But she will.”

“Ah, good ol’ Minnie!” Sirius said, startling the girls by hanging upside down in midair, “I got her something real special for Christmas.”

“You got Professor McGonagall a present?” Lily asked. “Really? You?”

“That’s really nice of you, Sirius.” Mary encouraged. “What’d you get her?”

“A basket full of dungbombs-ow!” He rubbed his head. Lily had smacked it with the new pair of shoes Mary had bought her. 

“Mr. Black, get down!” McGonagall called from across the room.

“Can’t, Minnie! It’s James that’s charmed me!” 

“Here you go!” James flicked his wand and Sirius fell head first in the ground which made the Mary and Dorcas burst into laughter. Lily bit back a smile and yelled “James!” in disapproval. “Come on, over here, Padfoot!”

Sirius got up quickly, shook his mane of hair, put on his best “charming smile”, winked, and headed to where James stood.

“Hey, where’s the cat?” He asked his friends.

“Under there of course,” James pointed to the floor under the tree.

Peter panicked. “You didn’t put it in a box, did you! It needs air!”

“Don’t worry, Wormy,” Remus reassured him. “I cast a Bubble Head Charm on it and put holes in the box just in case.”

“You didn’t think we’d torture the poor thing, did you? Really, who do think we are?” James laughed. “By the way, if you just got the cat, what took you all so long when you were shopping?”

“Oh…that…well…” Sirius looked at Remus. 

“We did buy Lily a few things before we got the cat but…” Remus trailed off.

“But,” Sirius finished, “But you owe us eleven galleons and seven sickles for the stuff that got stolen.”


“We dropped our stuff to find the cat and when we came back it was gone, okay?”

“Eleven gallons…” James shook his head. He looked at each of the Marauders in turn. “You guys had better gotten me something good for Christmas!”

“We all know Wormy got us socks,” Sirius said.

“That was supposed to be a secret!” Peter said. “How’d you find out?”

“Wormtail, you’ve give us socks every year. But that doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate them.” Remus smiled.

“What about you two, then?” James inquired. “It better be something good.”

“I think Sirius beat me this year, actually. Mine’s over there.”

James followed where Remus directed him and picked up a gift with snitches flying around the wrapping paper. “A book? Really? Haven’t you given up trying to get me to read yet?”

“Just open it, okay?”

James ripped open the paper. “Okay, this is actually cool.” It was a a collector’s copy of Quidditch Through the Ages.

Remus shrugged. “You’ve practically destroyed the copy in the library, you’ve checked it out so many times. I thought you should have your own.” 

“Thanks, man!” 

Sirius glanced over at Lily. “Looks like your girlfriend’s opening her friend’s present first. We got time. Open mine, James!” 

James obeyed, readily. “The heck is this, mate?” He held up a box containing a quill set and ink bottle. 

“Now wait a sec, that isn’t just a quill set.” Sirius said, smirking. “I nicked those from Dumbledore’s office.”

James’ mouth dropped open. “THESE ARE DUMBLEDORE’S QUILLS?!?!” He hugged the box to his chest. “I feel closer to greatness already!” 

The gift giving continued. Remus had given Sirius a collection of David Bowie albums and a book on motorcycles. Sirius had been right, Peter gave them all socks but had also thrown in a few chocolate frogs. 

“Remus, open ours now!” James said with excitement. 

“Ours?” Remus asked looking between James and Sirius. 

“We both chipped in,” Sirius said.

“Let me guess, is is chocolate?”

“Just open it.”

Remus reached under the tree to where his friends had pointed and literally had to heave the package out. “If this is chocolate, it’s a world breaking record.” He carefully opened the wrappings and was speechless.

“We bought it ages ago,” James grinned. “Got it at Dervish and Banges.” 

It was a briefcase with PROFESSOR R.J. LUPIN embossed on the side.

Sirius and James watched their friend’s reaction. “You know,” James said, “because you want to be a teacher here, right?”

“You know I’ll never be able to.” Remus said quietly.

“Never say never, Remus.” The boys turned to see Lily standing behind them. “I’m assuming the briefcase is filled with chocolate?” 

“But of course,” James leaned over Remus and opened it to reveal extensive Honeydukes sweets. When he sat up he said “Lily, it’s your turn.”

“You got me something?” She sounded surprised. “Dorcas said you would forget…in fact, everyone said you would forget.”

“Me? Forget getting you a gift for Christmas? Never!” James looked sheepishly at her and shifted his glance from his friends to Lily and back again. 

She raised an eyebrow at him. “…you did forget didn’t you?”

James’ smile faltered. “Why would you think that?”

“Mary is rubbish at keeping secrets.” 

“Busted…” Sirius muttered.

“But I remembered that I forgot!” James looked around, waiting to be complimented on his thoughtfulness. “Doesn’t that count for something? Here!”

He reached under the tree and pulled out a large box wrapped in Gryffindor colors. She eyed the box. “It isn’t from Zonko’s, is it?” 

“No!” James affirmed.

She inspected the box closer. “Are those…air holes?” She gasped and then opened the wrapping and box. “Oh, James!” 

She pulled out the kitten that Remus, Frank, and Sirius had found in Hogsmead. It mewed softly at Lily, licking at her fingers. All the girls nearby huddled around Lily and squealed with pleasure at the small creature. 

“Ooh! Lily! What are you going to name it!” Mary asked, scratching the kitten’s ears. 

“I don’t know. Is it a boy or girl, James?” She looked up at him.

“Er…no idea,” he looked at Remus. “Moony?”

He smiled, “It’s a girl, Lily.”

“Hm…what do you guys think? What should her name be?”

Names began pouring in from all directions. 


“Minnie…after McGonagall!”

“David Bowie!”

“That’s a boy’s name, Sirius.”

“It’s an epic name.”



“How about Agape?” Lily asked James.

He shrugged. “It’s your cat, name her whatever you want.” 

“What is agape?” Sirius asked, his brow knitting together.

“It’s Greek, if I’m not mistaken.” Remus informed them. “It means love. More specifically unconditional, selfless love. Usually used in terms of God’s love or the love between a parent and child.”

“That’s deep,” Marlene said.

Lily cuddled with the kitten. James watched and nodded with approval.“Agape. I think it’s a good name. I mean, isn’t that what Christmas is all about? Unconditional love?”

Lily looked up at him and smiled lovingly. “Unconditional love isn’t just a Christmas thing. It should be a life long thing.”

And she was right. Agape would be life long for all of them.

NOTE: This story is NOT a licensed work. The author does not own any copywrite, trademarks and/or license. Absolutely all trademarks, licenses and copyrights are the sole property of the authors and/or publishers. All of this writers works and stories are “fan made”, and are NOT to be assumed as being licensed and/or official work. The production of this story is not intended to mislead or to confuse consumers. No infringement on the publisher/author’s name and trademark are intended. This product is purposed for Fan Fiction only.

Writing Advice From An Awkward Adolescent

I do believe writing is one of the truest art forms still around. There is something special and even sacred about words forming in one’s head and traveling to one’s pen and paper. When my oral words fail me, the written ones, whether my own or someone else’s, rarely do.

I cannot give you any huge secret to writing. If you are like me, writing is beautiful yet frustrating at the same time. Writing can make you feel as high and as bright as the sun or like a dumb mole alone in the dark with nothing but a lot of worthless dirt. 

There is no secret to writing. There is no one way to do it. There is no potion that will wake you up in the morning like a Disney princess, that will enable you to sit in front of your typewriter or computer and churn out the perfect story effortlessly. I can assure you writing is NEVER like that. 

If anyone tells you writing is easy, they are treacherous liars who don’t deserve the life of a struggling writer (you know, the glamorous ordering the wrong type of printer ink online and waiting in the too-long line at a trashy Chinese restaurant.)

I cannot give you writing hacks, brilliant prompts, or one-size-fits all advice. The only thing I can give you is what I have learned.

The only advice writers should share is that which they have discovered themselves. When one writes as a hobby, as a career, or as a blogger hoping that someone somewhere is reading their probably bad work, they make for themselves a new journey of literary experience that has never been ventured before! 

From this journey, a writer gets exclusive writing content generated from their unique experiences. Discovering and sharing this content is a choice they have to make on their own.

Moving past this explanation, I would like to share my own “content.” These few tips are what I have learned in my few years as a writer. I know there are many more years of discovery out there in my future writing journey, but this is what I have now so…enjoy?

Be a Savage

If you write mostly fictitious works as I do, never be a nice person. On the page that is. When writing your characters, spare them no mercy. It may brake your heart to see what your little “mind babies” have to go through but do it anyways.

When good things happen, the reader gives an itty bitty hooray and then moves on. However, if you act as devil’s advocate for your characters, it leaves a big impression on your reader.

Here is my philosophy; if you make a reader cry or depress them…good job. You are a good writer.

Here is a writing exercise: Think about your plot. Now make it WORSE. Make a list of all the wicked, evil, twisted, and monstrous deeds you can do to your characters and then multiply it by eleven billion. If you have an idea that is merciless yet realistic in the story’s setting, do it. 

Had Had

I am not just a writer. I am also a reader. Most writers are and if they aren’t then they’re fakes. As a reader, I have a pet peeve.

Never EVER write “had had” in a sentence. Do it and I’m sorry, but I will have to deal you with you later.

I almost found myself writing “Despite the little sleep Sybil had had that night….”  in “Ravenclaws and Their Bad Omens” but stopped myself. Instead I wrote “Despite the little sleep Sybil had that night…” 

It makes just as much sense, if not more, to use just one “had.” Reading “had had” always trips me up and I’m sure others feel the same way. 

Years of writing, and that is the most valuable advice I can give you. Use ONE had, never TWO.

Don’t Have A Plan

I have a close friend who is a writer. She is a younger writer and has not yet perfected her style. That’s okay, neither have I. But she, no matter how many times it messes her up, makes a huge critical mistake when starting a new story.

She plans it out.

You know those little diagrams that demonstrate rising action, climax, falling action and resolution? The ones your English teacher used to give you to map out a story? They look like a melting caution cone…maybe that last one is just me. Those diagrams lie. They will never make a good story.


If you plan out your story, you have set in your mind the exact events that will happen. You leave no room for surprise. 

When I begin writing a new story, I keep my general theme in mind but I keep just that. General. Don’t put to much stock into the order of events in your story. Keep your theme in mind, but just write. 

Let the plot lead you. Don’t lead the plot.

Some writers claim to have a fully formed plot before they start writing, complete with climax and resolution. In the movie Knives Out it is said that the mystery author in the film had his plots come into his mind, fully formed. 

How dull.

When I write I know only the characters. Or I think I know the characters. If reading is an adventure than writing is a journey. I write knowing little about what I am about to encounter. Is my main character really the main character? Or will another take their place? What changes about the scene that leads to a captivating story? 

I started writing this post when I wrote my “Ravenclaws and Their Bad Omens” story. I had no idea what Sybil and Pandora where going to get into. I had only a vague idea on how they would talk and act. Would Pandora believe Sybil’s predictions or would she laugh at her friend’s silliness? Do the Marauders enter the story? I hoped they did, because I love them, but I had not one clue. 

At this point of the post, I do not know where I will end up. What will my resolution be? I still don’t know.

But I do know that I want you to know that when you are writing, you don’t need to know everything. There is only one person who knows everything and I can safely say that is not you. But, hey, that’s okay.

Have a Goal

What’s the point of writing if you don’t know what you’re writing for?

Sure, you might have a brilliant story or a flawless plot, but where does your motivation come from? 

Motivation isn’t “I want to write for a career” or “I don’t want to die alone and unread.” That has to do with you not your writing. Writing shouldn’t be about you.

Motivation is what you believe in, what keeps you ticking. What do you put your faith in? How does it inspire you? This motivation doesn’t focus on you, or at least it shouldn’t. If you are truly motivated, you should want to share this belief with other. You can do this with a theme.

Theme is paramount to a story. If your new rider or just aren’t fluent in writing lingo, a theme is the basic idea of your story. Maybe you want to convey that fate is inescapable or that love conquers all. 

Because I am a young Christian who puts her faith in God, that becomes my motivation. When I have a story, my themes come straight from scripture. These scriptures stay in my mind when I am writing. Whenever a character speaks or whenever a new scene begins I ask myself “Does this line up with my chosen scripture?” If it does not, I need to scratch it and try again.

Maybe you don’t feel led to use scripture as your themes. That’s your own choice. As long as your motivation is pure, true, and praiseworthy, the writing will speak for itself.

Find Your Own “Content”

Keep learning, keep discovering. Whether you’ve just written the first paragraph in your first story or if you have been writing for seventy years, don’t suppose you have learned everything. I promise you haven’t.

I may have these few tips for you now, but seeing as I intend to never stop walking in my personal writing journey, I know I will find many more. And I will share them, as it should be.

Share what you learn with others whenever you can. Who’s knows? Maybe one day your writing will make its way into some else’s heart and impact their life.

What could be a greater honor?

5 Books Murder Mystery Fans Will Die For

It was a dark and stormy night. Rain pounded against the windows and the whistle of wind could be heard echoing against the chilled walls of the house. You walked down the dark hallway, an odd shape in your hands and a mysterious glint in your eye. You reached out, touching the doorknob, turning it slowly but with purpose. The door made a great creeeeeek opening. Your footsteps, light but powerful, crossed the threshold. You arrived at your destination, unsheathe the item in your hands, smile madly and-

Sit down to read your Agatha Christie.

Little does a reader know when they will become devoted to a genre. And if you are like myself, mystery is your cup of tea. You start when you are younger, Encyclopedia Brown and the Boxcar Children. You graduate to Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys. Then you finally enter Sir Arthur Conan Doyl and Agatha Christie, amongst other literary and homicidal classics. 

As always, your tastes grow and your shelf space shrinks. As does your murderous TBR. You can fill it up again with these novels you probably haven’t read yet.

Devil In The White City

While a classic whodunnit is thrilling, Devil In The White City by Eric Lawson makes you aware of the Murderer’s every move, motive, and thought. The book takes you deep into the psyche of H.H. Holmes, America’s first serial killer and the owner of the murder hotel. It is so rare for me to come across a piece of non fiction that I enjoy, but Eric Lawson pulls it off perfectly in Devil In The White City (and In the Garden of Beasts, another great historical novel.) This novel is a real nail biter and I recommend it only if you have a stomach that can handle detailed murder.

Flavia De Luce

WARNING! The Flavia De Luce series by Alan Bradley is not yet complete and Bradley one to two years to write the continuations. However the eleven books that are full of gore, pigtails, chemistry, and tea tide a dedicated reader over nicely. Flavia De Luce is not a normal eleven year old, no not even close! She is a skilled sociopathic chemist detective with braces to top it all off. She has a nasty habit of finding dead bodies and getting on her older sisters nerves. Both the murders and the humor are on point and are sure to satisfy your morbid itch.

13 Suspicious Incidents

Mini mysteries are the best and so is Lemony Snicket…and the two combined are just what the pathologist ordered. File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents by Lemony Snicket is a collection of short story mysteries that the reader can solve and then turn to the back of the book to check of your analysis is correct. True to Snicket’s signature dry, morbid humor and satire, 13 Suspicious Incidents will tickle your funny bone and is appropriate for all ages.

Baker Street Irregulars

Sherlock Holmes is the icon of mysteries. John Watson too has the spotlight now and again. But (if you have read the books) do you remember the Baker Street Irregulars, Sherlock’s eyes and ears all over London streets? Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars by Tracy Mack and Michael Citrin chronicle Holmes and the Irregulars many cases. These children have a nose for crime and an observant mind and assist Sherlock in his most trying cases. If you like mystery with lots of action, this is the series for you.

Murder Most Unladylike 

Let me take a moment to list these genius titles; Murder Most Unladylike, Arsenic For Tea, Jolly Foul Play. The Wells and Wong series by Robin Stevens is both playful and murderous. Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are two best friends who attend boarding school and solve the many crimes they wander across in their spare time. There are many lovable characters, fun mysteries, and many cups of tea…always a great combination.

There are those who love cozy mysteries, horrific mysteries, and suspenseful mysteries. But I bet my deerstalker that all armchair detectives will love these novels.

Free Wizarding School Charades

In my Celebrate Back To Hogwarts post, my friends and I played my Wizarding School Charades (*cough* Harry Potter *cough*.) The 55 charade cards each have a Harry Potter character listed for the player to mime for their friends to guess, as well as a illustrative representation of the character and a quote said by or about said character.

The charade cards are split into three decks; easy, medium, and hard. The easy deck is free for download below. The medium and hard deck, which I recommend only to REAL Harry Potter fans, are available on Etsy. Click here to view and purchase.

There are two ways this game can be played. For a friendly game among acquaintances, simply take turns and choose whether to keep score or not. Now, if you are like me and adore winning, I suggest being more competitive. Break up into teams, varied on how many people you are playing with. Each team takes a turn. The player acting cannot show their card to their teammates!!! The rest of the team attempts to guess the character in the time limit of a minute. If the teammates fail, another team gets the chance to guess and claim the card.

Bet you can’t guess as many as me!

Hufflepuffs and Their Outstanding Moral Fiber

We all love Hufflepuffs. They are kind and sweet and smell like cinnamon rolls. They prize fairness above all else. I feel like people stereotype Hufflepuffs as innocent lemon drops who are too shy to speak a single word or stand up for something. On the contrary, they are just as outspoken as Gryffindors. They have a sense of justice that cannot be snuffed out. They will go to the ends of the Earth to make things fair. In light of this, a Hufflepuff will often spend their time like this…

The Hufflepuff Quidditch team was up early on Saturday and sitting in their common room. Though they usually rose early on the day of a match, this time they weren’t up by choice. The thunder and lightning was loud and bright enough to keep anyone up. And with the game day nerves running high in the majority of the team, insomnia was inevitable.

“It’s going down heavy out there, Ced,” Gabriel, one of the Beaters, directed uncertainly to their team’s captain and Seeker, Cedric Diggory. “Doesn’t look good.”

Cedric turned to look at Gabriel and gave him a reassuring smile. “And it will continue to be ominous if you keep staring at it. Come on, Gabe, away from the window.”

Gabriel bit his lip and tore his eyes from the storm. Cedric watched as his friend and teammate paced and sighed. Quidditch really was only a game and not worth stressing over. He had known Oliver Wood, the Gryffindor Captain, since his first year and…Cedric hated to be the judge of anyone else’s character but Quidditch mania seemed to have taken a toll on Wood.

Don’t get him wrong, Cedric loved Quidditch as much as the next wizard, but there were more important things. What he was worried about was the safety of two teams, playing in this storm.

“Do you think Hooch would allow Water Repelling charms on the Quidditch robes?” He wondered out loud. “I don’t want any of the players catching cold…”

Diana, the Keeper, shrugged. “…well, maybe if Potter caught a cold…” she smiled guiltily.

The other Beater, Margaret, laughed but ended up yawning halfway through when she caught sight of Cedric’s disapproving look. Then she said anyway, “We don’t need to worry about Potter or the Chaser girls. They’re skinny enough that the wind will knock them right off their brooms.”

And fall fifty feet, Cedric thought. That was exactly what was worrying him.

“It’s Wood we’ve got to worry about,” Gabriel said, his brow creased. “He’s determined that Gryffindor will win the cup this year. What if he plays dirty?”

“He won’t,” Cedric said confidence clear in his voice. “Wood plays fair no matter what, as do the rest of his team. So long as we return the courtesy, we need not worry.”

Gabriel shook his head, “Wish I shared your confidence.”

“‘Worrying means you suffer twice,’” Cedric quoted.

The Hufflepuffs started at him with adoration.

“Wow, Diggory,” Diana said in awe. “Did you make that up yourself?”

“No, it’s a quote from…oh, never mind.”

As Cedric, and no doubt everyone in the castle, had easily predicted, the storm did not let up. And Madame Hootch did not call of the match as she never did.

“Wish Malfoy’s arm wasn’t broken,” Gabriel shouted as the team trudged through the puddles and mud to get to the stadium. “Than Slytherin would be playing.”

“Malfoy’s arm isn’t broken!” Margaret shouted. “Everyone knows he is faking it.”

“What?” Shouted Gabriel, unable you hear her over the roaring thunder.

“Either way,” called Cedric. “We’re playing this game and we are going to do our best. Gryffindor hasn’t lost a match in two years, we can break that streak if we try hard enough.”

The team cheered Cedric’s words and followed his up the path. Soon they were close enough to see the hazy outline of three goal hoops on one side of the stadium.

“Inside!” Cedric said, gesturing them towards the changing rooms. He waited until each of his team was inside before going in himself.

Having changed into the dry yellow and grey robes, it took only one step outside for the clothes to be soaked by the rain. He held out an arm, stopping his team before they too stepped outside. Wood and his players weren’t out yet and Cedric didn’t want his players wet until it was absolutely necessary.

By holding up a hand to shield his eyes and squinting, he saw Wood’s figure emerge, walking out to the stadium, broom in hand. Cedric grappled his own Comet and motioned for the Hufflepuffs to follow.

They did so readily.

Cedric shook Wood’s hand with confidence and said, “Good luck,” but he didn’t think Wood heard him.
Mounting their brooms, Madame Hooch’s shrill whistle beginning the match could just barely be heard over the crack of thunder that had started.

Kicking off the muddy ground, the match had begun.

Having been too concentrated on his team’s wellbeing, he had forgotten to think about how he would see the Snitch in the storm. Poor Potter must have been having the same problem, doubled by the fact he wore glasses.

A few hours in, the Snitch was nowhere in sight and the rain was pouring as hard as ever. Cedric had heard Gryffindor score three goals but was sure they were up more.

Madame Hooch’s whistle sounded a time out. Cedric was grateful to land on the ground and join the the other students.

Wood had called a timeout and was talking to the Gryffindor team. Cedric noticed Potter trying to wipe his glasses clean of water droplets, most unsuccessfully. Looking over his shoulder, Cedric noticed the girl who he knew to be Potter’s friend coming up the pitch. Taking a step back from his own team, he stopped her as she passed by.

“Granger, right?” He asked.

She looked at him in surprise. “Yes.”

“Your friend, Potter. Do you know Impervius?”

“Of course but-“ Her eyes brightened. “Thank you!” And with that, she rushed off to the Gryffindor team.

Cedric went back to his own Quidditch team. “Okay,” he started, “Gryffindor is fifty points up. If Potter gets the Snitch we’ll be out of the running. Chasers,” he directed his attention to them, “Focus on getting as many points as possible, stay near the Gryffindor end. Gabriel, Margaret, forget about me, I want you protecting the Chasers from the Weasley’s. Whether I get the Snitch or not, I don’t want us to win or loose without us knowing we did our best. Yes?”

“Yes!” The team echoed enthusiastically.

They grabbed their brooms and within minutes were back in the air.

While the rest of the Hufflepuffs went to the Gryffindor end of the pitch, Cedric flew around as much of the stadium as he could, looking for any flint of gold. Now that Granger had charmed his glasses, Potter and himself were now on even footing. Cedric would have to do better if Hufflepuff was going to win.

And then he saw it, the Snitch, just behind a silhouette on a broom. Hoping it wasn’t a Gryffindor Beater, he changed his course and sped towards the Snitch. The figure he had seen was Potter’s own but it didn’t look like the younger boy had seen it.

The ball was too far ahead of him and he would have to be quick. Once Potter realized that Cedric was on the Snitch’s tail there was no doubt he would be after it too.

Whizzing ahead, the Snitch seemed to be teasing Cedric.

“Come on…” Cedric urged his broom. “Come on, we’ve got this.”

He didn’t dare look back for a second. Potter might be gaining on him but he couldn’t afford to take his eyes away from the Snitch.

A chilling feeling washed over him. It wasn’t like the numbing feeling the cold air and rain had on him. It came from the inside. But Cedric pushed it aside. He had to get the Snitch, he couldn’t let his House down. He was going to get it…

He stretched out his arm and caught the golden ball.

“Yes!” He cried to himself.

He turned around his broom, expecting to see Potter behind him. But no one was there.

A dark shadow caught his eye. A hazy cloaked body flew about the pitch. A dementor.

“We need a rematch!”

The rain had finally let up and the sun had come out. Harry Potter had to be taken to the Hospital Wing after the dementor attack.

Wood, his hair damp and his robes splattered with mud, was shaking his head. “You won fair and square, Diggory. It isn’t your fault Harry fell.”

“Madame Hooch,” Cedric implored, facing the referee. “Potter got hurt before I caught the Snitch. That can’t be okay. If we played again when he was better-“

“Wood is correct, Hufflepuff won fairly,” Hooch said shrilly. “Potter’s situation is no one but the dementors fault. No rematch will be allowed.”

Cedric ran a hand through his rain soaked hair and shook his head. He glanced at Wood, who was looking deeply depressed. “Sorry, mate,” he said.

Wood made no acknowledgement except for a murmured “Good game” before turning on his heels and skulking away.

Dinner was full of commotion and merriment at the Hufflepuff table that evening. Cedric did his best to join in the merriment, though he was still disconcerted at what he believed to be an unfair game. The glares from passing Gryffindors also put him at unease.

If he had only looked back he would have seen Potter and the dementors. He might have been able to help. Potter might not have fallen if Cedric had only checked if he was behind him. But no. He had kept his eyes on the Snitch and had missed everything.

Only this morning he had scorned his teammates for thinking Quidditch was a priority. Yet when it counted the most, he had put winning over helping.

“Hey, Cedric.”

A girls voice said his name and he turned around. Cho Chang was standing between the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw tables, smiling shyly at him.

He stood, politely, “Hey, Cho.”

“Good match. You did really well…I watched you. From the stands, I mean.”

Cedric shook his head. “We should have a rematch. Potter fell of his broom-“

“No, no,” Cho shook her head. “Hufflepuff won. It’s no ones fault Harry got hurt.”

“Wish I felt that way…” Cedric smiled. “You want to sit down?”

She nodded enthusiastically but then blushed. “If you don’t mind.”

Cedric made room for her at the Hufflepuff table and they sat down.

“So I guess this means Hufflepuff will play Ravenclaw next.” Cho remarked.

“Unless there is a re-“

“Oh, give it up, Ced,” Margaret interrupted having overheard. “There isn’t going to be a rematch!”

“I think it’s really noble of you,” Cho said, once Margaret had toned down. “To want a rematch. Not everyone would.”

“‘Course they would,” Cedric said modestly. “Just common decency.”

Cho shook her head. “Not as common as you think.”

They sat in silence for awhile. Silence, save for the cheering Hufflepuffs. Cho broke the mild tension by asking.

“How is the career searching going?”

“Well enough, but-“

“Cedrics got an offer from the Appleby Arrows!” Gabriel piped in.

Cho looked at Cedric with fascination. “Really? That’s amazing!”

Cedric felt his face heat up and he quickly said, “I don’t know if I’m going to take it. I don’t think I could play Quidditch for a living.”

“If not Quidditch, what would you do after Hogwarts?” Cho inquired.

“Dad wants me to go into the Ministry,” Cedric rubbed the back of his neck. “I’d like to get a internship there next summer but I don’t know if I could work in law. It’d just be nice as training or a startup, you know?”

Cho nodded. “Marietta’s mum works at the Ministry. We’re going to get an internship in our sixth year. If your still working there, that’d be cool.”

“It would be,” he smiled brightly at Cho and she tried to not smile too widely back.

“Cho!” A girl cried from the Ravenclaw table. “Cho, come back over here!”

She looked apologetically at Cedric. “Suppose I better go. Great game today…again.”

And with that she stood up. He waved her goodbye as she walked back over to her House table. Gabriel winked at Cedric who rolled his eyes and shook his head.

“We’re just friends,” he chuckled.

“Sure you are,” Gabriel teased.

Angelina Johnson walked by the Hufflepuff table and Cedric stood to ask, “Johnson! How’s your Seeker?”
“He’s awake,” she said. “Merlin knows he needs some rest but he’ll live.”

“If there’s anything I can do just tell me.”

Angelina nodded, “Will do, Diggory.”

He sat down again and was immediately told by several other Hufflepuffs, “You’re gold, Cedric. Just gold.”

If you enjoyed this story be sure to follow along on Instagram for a super HUFFLEPUFF GIVEAWAY that you can enter for a chance to win HERE. You can find me on Instagram @bookishblinddate.

NOTE: This story is NOT a licensed work. The author does not own any copywrite, trademarks and/or license. Absolutely all trademarks, licenses and copyrights are the sole property of the authors and/or publishers. All of this writers works and stories are “fan made”, and are NOT to be assumed as being licensed and/or official work. The production of this story is not intended to mislead or to confuse consumers. No infringement on the publisher/author’s name and trademark are intended. This product is purposed for Fan Fiction only.

Celebrate Back To Hogwarts

The most wonderful time of the year! Steam rolling onto Platform 9 3/4, watching this years Sorting, hearing the Headmaster’s beginning of term speech, and eating the celebration feast in the Great Hall. What could be better than going back to Hogwarts each September?

Those wizards and witches who have left Hogwarts can celebrate back to school. Even Muggles and Squibs (God bless ‘em) can have their part in the festivities. And it all starts with-


What’s more festive than everyone’s favorite drink? I made a vinyl Three Broomsticks sticker (available for purchase in here) and placed them on beer mugs from the Dollar Tree. My guests took these mugs home as a souvenir. Make your Butterbeer at home with this simple recipe.

-Cream soda
-Butterscotch syrup
-Whipped cream

Depending on the number of guests you are entertaining, you may need one bottle of cream soda or fifteen. The basic formula is 1/2 c. butterscotch syrup to every liter of soda. Top with whipped cream and butterscotch and you have transfigured Muggle food into a delicious butterbeer.

The biggest problem when people get together is the awkwardness. No one wants the Houses to form cliques. You know, Gryffindors hogging the snack table while the Hufflepuffs are sitting quietly on the sofa and the Slytherins sit in the shadowy corner.

Obviously, an icebreaker is needed. At my own Back to Hogwarts party, we played Wizarding School Charades. The game cards and rules are available for download here. Several add on packs will be able to be purchased on Etsy, so be watching for that owl!

My friends and I had a blast playing this. The best part is none of my friends really knew each other but by playing this, any tension was obliviated!

Hoping your Back To Hogwarts party is fun and full of life!

What is your Hogwarts House? I would love to see pics of your own Back To Hogwarts party!