Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Touch of Magic BookTube Review for Martina Boone's Lake of Destiny + #Giveaway

Hi all,

I was fortunate enough to be a beta reader for Martina Boone's newest venture: Lake of Destiny, an adult contemporary romance set in the Scottish Highlands and filled with a hint of magic and touch of history.

I loved the warmth and humor of the novel so much, I decided to create a new playlist on my YouTube channel and start A Touch of Magic BookTube Reviews. Please check out my review of Martina's novel in the video below and subscribe to my channel if you'd like to see more.

You can also enter to win a paperback copy of Lake of Destiny by clicking the link toward the end of the video.

Are you excited to read Martina's newest release?


Hello I'm Susan Şipal and today I’d like to share something new with you. As an editor and author, I read a wonderful lot of books. So I’m starting a playlist to share those that have touched me the most. A Touch of Magic Reviews will be all about books…with just a hint of magic.

Having worked in the publishing industry for over a dozen years, I’ve read a lot. And I definitely have some strong opinions of what I like and what I don’t, as evidenced by my love of JK Rowling's Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts series, not to mention my desire to spend an insane amount of time analyzing and speaking about them.

However, the Wizarding World is not my only passion. I love beautifully-written and thought-provoking books in both fiction and nonfiction. I’d like to share with you some of those that have touched my heart or my life. Though I may cover anything from adult romance, like today’s offering, to next week’s non-fiction. The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine Aron, they all have something in common: they inspire magic.

Martina Boone is an award-winning author best known for her Heirs of Watson Island series from Simon Pulse. She was born in Prague but defected to the US as a child. Though Martina spoke several languages, when she was teased for stumbling with English, she determined to learn “all the words.” If you read her books, you’ll discover she has done so brilliantly.

I was fortunate to be a beta reader for Martina early on, and I became a fan of her work from the moment I read her very first story. I immediately wanted to start a fan page. Then she came out with her young adult Heirs of Watson Island series. Compulsion was released in 2014, with Persuasion and Illusion following in 2015 and 2016. With my love of mythology, I immediately had to dig beneath the surface to discover all her stories’ secrets. Martina combines a fully contemporary story with just a touch of fantasy to make it all seem so vividly alive and magical.

Perhaps, however, her best skill is breathing life into delightful characters. Her people are so real I find myself talking to them even after I turn the last page.

As she is now venturing into contemporary romance with a touch of magical realism. I’m sure she’ll thrill many adult readers with her new series: Celtic Legends.

Martina’s newest book is a sweet contemporary romance, but with definite heat. Set in Scotland, it’s filled with a hint of magic and touch of history about Bonnie Prince Charlie and Rob Roy MacGregor. Fans of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander will love it as well as those who enjoy Nora Roberts, Susan Wiggs, and Susan Mallery. It’s written with warmth and humor, which is the combination I love best.

Anna Cameron is healing from wounds of the past while courageously forging a fresh path for herself by starting a new career in a foreign country. Connal MacGregor is a man who could have had it all, but turned his back on the glitz and glamour of Hollywood to protect his most prized treasure – his young daughter. The two come together to not only help a small town in need of economic revival, but to push each other in their own personal recoveries.

According to the back cover: “For centuries, Loch Fàil in Balwhither has been known to locals as a "thin" place, one where the veil between worlds peels back on Beltane morn to reveal the face of a person's one true love.” But this “Sighting” can just as often wreak havoc in one’s life as bring joy. And setting up a festival surrounding the Sighting has recently divided the villagers – a wonderful cast of characters that are engaging and quirky and lend both conflict and depth to the story. It’s Anna’s job to unite the locals and bridge their argument with Connal while allowing her heart to open to the magical possibility of what her Sighting in the loch will reveal.

And through it all is Martina’s lyrical writing, interwoven with myth and magic to charm and satisfy the reader.

Who would you hope to see in the Lake of Destiny for your own Sighting? And if you met the person you were destined to love, would you tell them?

Lake of Destiny is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever books are sold. I've included links to online retailers in the description below.

I'm so excited to share Martina’s newest release with you, that I'm offering a giveaway for one paperback copy. Just follow the link in the popup above or in the description below to the contest entry page. There you can choose various methods to gain entry points, including subscribing to my YouTube channel, joining Martina's newsletter list, and spreading the word. One winner will be randomly chosen on Tuesday, May 9 from all the entries. So get those points up by entering as many ways as you can!

Have you read one of Martina Boone’s books? I’d love to hear about it. Please share your thoughts in the comments. And be sure to check out my other playlist, Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts, where Wizarding World fans and I share theories of what’s to come in future films. Be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss future videos for both reviews and theories! Until next time!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Breaking News: Jude Law to Portray Albus Dumbledore in #FantasticBeasts2

News of the casting for the younger Albus Dumbledore has excited Wizarding World fans! Jude Law has been cast to portray Dumbledore for the next Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them film. The Pottermore announcement also hints at surprises coming to fans in how Dumbledore will be portrayed.

I've got a new video covering the announcement below and discussion is ongoing in the comments on my YouTube channel. Be sure to check it out and subscribe.

Transcript is below the video.



Hey guys, we’ve got some breaking news for Fantastic Beasts 2. Albus Dumbledore has been cast! I’m Susan Şipal with Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts to bring you the news.

So, fresh off my most recent video, Is Dougal the Demiguise Really Dumbledore in Animagus Form, we’ve got new reports which include a couple of hints for Albus Dumbledore’s role in the upcoming Fantastic Beasts 2.

Pottermore announced, and JK Rowling Tweeted, that Jude Law has been cast to portray our favorite Headmaster of Hogwarts in the days before he was Headmaster. Pottermore confirms that at this point in the story, Dumbledore will be Hogwarts’ Transfiguration professor.

Jude Law is a well known and respected actor, nominated for many awards for both film and theater, including two Academy Awards. He has also starred with many previous Wizarding World alumni, including Colin Farrell and Johnny Depp.

For all of us speculating as to what secrets the new (old) presentation of Dumbledore will reveal, here’s an interesting quote in the Pottermore article from David Yates: “I know he will brilliantly capture all the unexpected facets of Albus Dumbledore as J.K. Rowling reveals this very different time in his life.” (via Pottermore).

Unexpected facets…very different time. Looks like we need to continue our prior discussions on what surprises and twists we can expect from this younger Dumbledore. Especially now that we know the actor who will portray him.

We also get a slight reveal of the upcoming plot as the article states: “Its sequel takes the story deeper into an increasingly dark time for the wizarding world, where Newt and our other heroes must decide on their allegiances.” (Pottermore)

Truly, it’s not too much to go on as we knew the films would get darker. But this does place Newt firmly as the main protagonist and brings up the possibility that the Team may not go forward totally united…at least for a while.

The article also confirms the Fantastic Beasts 2 release date as November 16, 2018, and that filming will begin this summer, though it doesn’t state specifically which month.

What do you think about this casting? Are you excited to see what Jude Law will bring to the role of Dumbledore? Do you think there is the possibility that there could be a split of allegiance among Newt, Tina, Queenie, and Jacob?

Please share your thoughts in the comments and check out my other fan theory videos in the playlist. Be sure to subscribe so you won’t miss future film updates and any clues they may hold.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Will Dumbledore be a Demiguise Animagi in Upcoming Fantastic Beasts Films?

I posted a new video over the weekend that is theory of one of my viewers, Suvi Holm of Finland. She believes the Dougal the Demiguise may be Dumbledore in Animagi form or at least that Dougal gives us hints as to what Dumbledore's Animagi form is.

Since the video posted, I found this note on Pottermore at the bottom of their page Everything You Didn't Know About Animagi:

Minerva McGonagall was taught by Albus Dumbledore himself
Does that mean Dumbledore was an Animagi too?

I hope you'll watch the video and share your thoughts as well! And be sure to subscribe and check out the other videos on you YouTube channel.



Hello. Welcome back to Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts. I’m Susan Şipal.

Fans have long speculated that Dumbledore may be an Animagi. Does JK Rowling give hints through Dougal the Demiguise as to what his animal may be? And if so, will we see him in this form through the upcoming Fantastic Beasts films?

I covered many theories like this in my book, Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts, and hope you’ll check it out.

The theory I present to you today is not mine but rather the brain child of Suvi Holm of Finland, one of the followers of this vlog. She shared it with me a few days ago, and the idea has grown on me so much, that I asked to present it here since she's not interested in doing a video herself.

As Suvi says, “Twinkly eyes, invisibility, craves sweets, seems to know future,” Dougal and Dumbledore seem to have a lot in common. They also share silvery hair, a wizened face, and blue eyes, as Dougal’s “flash a brilliant blue” (p. 211) when he is having a premonition. Could all these links indicate that Dougal is really Dumbledore in Animagus form? Or, is the characterization of Dougal designed to hint that Dumbledore's Animagi is a Demiguise?

As a Transfiguration professor, it would make sense that Dumbledore would be an Animagi, as Professor McGonagall is. We receive further hints that this may well be the case in the Transfiguration Today article floated across the screen of Fantastic Beasts. Above Dumbledore’s section regarding a Metamorphagus’ ability to vanish (which Suvi speculates may relate to Grindelwald), is the article: "How to Identify Unregistered and Unlawful Animagi."

Dumbledore told us all the way back in Philosopher’s Stone: "I don't need a cloak to become invisible.” (p. 213)

As a Demiguise, invisibility would come naturally, which would make flitting about Hogwarts unseen a whole lot easier. But this could also explain his knack for knowing what's happening all about the castle and his insight into the most probable future.

Suvi 's original theory is that Dougal IS Dumbledore. Which would mean that Dumbledore is present spying on both Newt and Grindelwald and would explain why Dougal is so eager to get out of that case all the time. She and I have discussed this possibility, and while I think this is a great theory, I’m inclined now to believe that Jo used the characterization of Dougal to give us hints towards Dumbledore's Animagi form. Perhaps that’s mostly because I would hate to lose Dougal as a character in himself.

We know we’ll be seeing Dumbledore in upcoming films. A much younger and gayer Dumbledore. Perhaps also a bit grayer still in his developing ethics. May we also find out other secrets which fans have longed to know? Will we see how he obtained Fawkes? Perhaps Dougal gives us a hint here as well in his careful babysitting of the Occamy. Maybe as a Demiguise, Dumbledore had more intimate trust with exotic, magical birds.

Another thing about Dougal that I’d like to point out is the special bond that seems to be developing between him and Jacob. Dougal is literally physically attached to Jacob for a good part of the scene with the Occamy. It's almost like he forsees that Jacob is a safe haven or that there is something special about this No-Maj who cares so much about magical creatures. I look forward to seeing what develops between Jacob and Dougal in future films.

For sure, I’ll be on the lookout for Dougal and any stray Demiguise sightings in upcoming films. Which, as Newt says, will only be spotted “with immense difficulty” (p. 185) We’ll have to keep an eye out for stray floating candy!

While I’m not sure if Dougal is Dumbledore, I’m highly convinced now that we will see Dumbledore as a Demiguise somewhere along the way.

Again, I wish to thank Suvi for sharing her theory with me.

As a reminder, you can still get my free ebook: Egyptian Myths in Harry Potter, containing nine of my favorite theories.

Just click on the link I’m providing above and in the description below. It also comes with discount coupons to my other books and on my story consulting services.

What do you think about Dougal and Dumbledore’s possible relation? I’d love to hear your theories. Please share your thoughts in the comments and be sure to subscribe. You can also find me online at these other places, though I’m most active on Twitter. Until next time!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Might Credence Barebone Run Away to Join the Circus in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 2?

Have you wondered what will happen with Credence Barebone in Fantastic Beasts 2? We know he survives because we saw a wisp of Obscurus escape the subway station. Plus, Ezra Miller has already been announced in the returning cast. :-)

But, without a family and the Second Salemers, how is he to support himself? How will he get to Paris to be in the next film?

Here are my thoughts in this video, which is also on my YouTube channel. The transcript is pasted below.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!


Hello and welcome back to Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts.I’m Susan Sipal.

We know from clues which producer David Heyman has dropped that Credence Barebone continues into the next film. But with his family all dead or gone, how will he support himself? And how’s he gonna get to Europe?

I think I’ve found a clue within the film itself. And it all starts with unlucky #13.

In a prior video, I analyzed Rowling’s Use of Unlucky #13 to mark key clues. Since then, I’ve found a very prominent placement of 13 in the setting of Fantastic Beasts.

This theory to follow is similar to those found in my most recent release, Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts. I hope you’ll check it out for even more clues.

As we approach the climax of the film, Graves walks past a particularly intriguing poster in an alley on his way to Credence, having been summoned by the Deathly Hallows necklace. It’s on a poster advertising the Circus Arcanus. Notice the prominent 13 begging our attention.

You can get a much better view of the poster on MinaLima’s website where they have a full-color advertisement that the newspaper it is based upon.

MinaLima are the graphics artists who designed for all eight Harry Potter films as well as Fantastic Beasts. They said in a recent interview, that some of the details they work into their material are direct from JK Rowling…but they won’t say what.

Notice some of the key details in this beautiful poster:
  • Circus Arcanus has been touring in New York during the course of the movie, which dates mostly around Dec 6-7
  • Their final show is on the 13th
  • Then they are leaving for Europe.

And we know already that the next film is based in Paris.

The Circus’ cast includes:
  • A snake girl
  • Borys the Brute hypnotist
  • Homo Amphibia

Surely some of these have some magical elements.

This so-called Freak Show reminds me of when “freak” was used previously in the film, with very nasty connotations.

Remember in the Shaw tower scene how the Senator called Credence a freak, twice? Once he directed it toward the family as a whole, and later to Credence specifically. The senator’s abuse showed the true nature of this politician and made Modesty react protectively toward her older brother.

Then there is the fact that the Circus is traveling to Europe. In an interview shortly after the release of Fantastic Beasts, Producer David Heyman said a scene had been cut that showed Credence getting on a ship. Could he have been bound for Europe? And might he have ended up on the same ship as the circus?

Credence is in desperate need of true friends. He may be drawn to the magic seemingly represented in Circus Arcanus. And to others suffering from society’s scorn and fascination.

He might feel that he’s found a true home with people like himself. And there may very well be a witch or wizard living within the Circus.
  • The Snake Girl could be a Slytherin Animagus
  • The Hypnotist using the Imperius curse.
  • And the Homo Amphibia may be a magical beast?

The Circus Arcanus may be nothing more than a decorative poster created by MinaLima, like the one in Deathly Hallows that hung in the Luchino Caffe where the trio dueled the Death Eaters after having fled from Bill and Fleur’s wedding. However, there is more to this one.
  • With the repetition of the word “freak,”
  • The circus poster leading to a pivotal scene,
  • The cut scene of Credence heading onto a ship,
  • The circus performers linked to magical elements (not just clowns as in the Deathly Hallows poster), plus they are heading to Europe,
  • And the theme of abuse of those outside society’s norms, especially children, there is just too much here to ignored.

And remember, that theme of abuse of children is one which is very important to Rowling. The concern that JK Rowling weaves into Fantastic Beasts for neglected and abused children is a reflection of her real-life crusade to help those that are institutionalized worldwide.

Lumos believes that no child should be denied a family because they are poor, disabled, or from an ethnic minority.

If you would like to support Jo’s foundation to help the millions of children in institutions, I hope you’ll click on the donate button and give to Lumos Foundation USA.

Please share your thoughts on Credence joining the circus in the comments. Also please subscribe and check out my playlist for more theories. Remember morevideos are on the way.

In the meantime, don’t forget to checkout Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts at Amazon or your local bookseller.

Until next time.

Monday, April 3, 2017

What Does Grindelwald Mean by "Will We Die, Just a Little?" in #FantasticBeasts and Where to Find Them? #YouTube

I've been having a lot of fun lately posting Fantastic Beasts theory videos on my YouTube channel. I find this medium very creative and the immediate response from viewers is great!

However, I've been slow to post these videos here, so I'm going to catch up this week. I'm posting my latest video below along with its transcript and hope you will check it out on YouTube. You can find my channel here.

Also, if any authors out there are using YouTube to further your reach, I'd love to know how it's going with you and will be glad to share some of my experience if you're interested.

What Does Grindelwald Mean by "Will We Die, Just a Little?" in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them?


Hello. Welcome back to Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts. I’m Susan Şipal.

When I was working on my last video, “Is Newt Scamander a Spy?” I was suddenly struck by inspiration as to what Grindelwald might have meant by “Will we die, just a little?” Which we’re about to explore. But before I do, I ask that you stay tuned until the end of the video because I’m giving away a free Harry Potter fan theory ebook.

I covered many theories like this in my book, Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts, and hope you’ll check it out.

I’ve seen many theories of what Grindelwald meant by “Will we die, just a little?” (p. 257) But none of them sit right with me, including my earlier one that it relates to the Elder Wand. I don’t think it’s about a Horcrux, or the Hallows, or referring sexually to petite mort. And even though David Yates said yesterday that it’s about the journey and sacrifice both Grindelwald and Newt are about to embark on, I think that’s true only on one level.

Always remember, JK Rowling is intent upon keeping secrets, especially those that are important to the series. And this quote has a deeper meaning.

I believe the biggest clue to what Grindelwald means comes through the scene where he says it. And it revolves around the Obscurus.

To understand the relation better, we need to first understand what the Obscurus is.

Newt calls the Obscurus “a parasitical magical force” (p. 160). We’ve already seen that a skilled wizard can detach one from its human host, the Obscurial. The question is, if the Obscurus can be detached from one person, can it be reattached elsewhere?

By calling it a parasite, Jo implies this exact possibility. A parasite can be transferred from one living
host to another, as any pet owner can testify. Inside Newt’s case, we saw the environment the Obscurus was stored in, a frozen one. Almost as if it were put into a deep freeze. What would happen to it in a warm environment?

Grindelwald has also seen Newt’s Obscurus. He took a nip into Newt’s case when he had Newt and Tina imprisoned. He learned that Newt knows more about the Obscurus than he does. He heard that Newt has detached an Obscurus from another Obscurial, has witnessed that Newt knows how to store the Obscurus.

To defend himself to Tina, Newt says: “It cannot survive outside that box” (p. 159).

So the Obscurus needs to be either attached to an Obscurial, or kept in Newt’s deep freeze.

Newt also says it cannot harm anyone. Grindelwald clarifies: “So it’s useless
without its host?” (p. 159)

But, what if it could find another host? Perhaps a willing one? Perhaps a very mature, powerful, adult wizard.

I believe that in the films to come, both Grindelwald and Newt will seek to take on the Obscurus from Credence. And in so doing, perhaps die, just a little.

I think the whole purpose of showing Jacob with the Obscurus is to hint at this possibility. Why would Newt warn Jacob away from the Obscurus if he truly believed it were completely harmless? Newt’s sharp reprimand to Jacob to stay away hints at his fear that it could indeed reattach. Perhaps Newt doesn’t consider it likely because it has never happened. But then, he is the first wizard to detach one from an Obscurial, and he cannot be sure. So much of what is going on with the Obscurus is unknown. No one knew until Credence that an Obscurial could be an adult.

I believe Rowling made Credence an adult for a very specific reason, and it is to hint at the possibility of Grindelwald and Newt trying to take on the Obscurus themselves. If it were true that only a child could host this parasite, then they could not attempt it. But they and the viewer have seen through
Credence that an adult can host it, if he is very powerful and knows how to control it.

“You can control it,” Grindelwald says to Credence (p. 229). This is a very important point.

Because he is an adult, Credence has both more power than other Obscurials, and control. That massive power and control will appeal to Grindelwald.

Most Obscurials cannot control their Obscurus because they are children. We know how rare they are, as most witches and wizards believe they are extinct.

Tina says, “There hasn’t been one for centuries” (p. 150). But Newt immediately disputes that by telling about the girl he met in Sudan. Might no one have known of another Obscurial
who was kept well hidden many years before?

Many fans believe that Dumbledore’s sister, Ariana, was an Obscurial. Having witnessed her power, is probably the reason why Grindelwald is in New York…on the trail of an even rarer Obscurial.

Ariana couldn’t control her power. But Credence is unique. He is Grindelwald’s key to freedom, and
he will not let go.

“We’ll all be free,” he tells Credence (p. 89). If they find the Obscurus. And now Grindelwald has found two.

In considering the most likely meaning of “Will we die, just a little,” we must take into account what binds these three characters together the most: the Obscurus. Both Grindelwald and Newt share an immense interest in Credence. Gindelwald to use his powers to free himself and all wizards from what he sees as imprisonment under the Statute of Secrecy. Newt due to his driving concern to protect all magical creatures, and to save an Obscurial after he couldn’t before. And Tina was probably forbidden from being near the Second Salemers solely to keep her from finding out about Grindelwald’s interest in the Obscurus.

At the end, we see Tina, Newt, and Grindelwald fighting side by side to protect Credence, all claiming to want to help him, to free him. Newt is the only man who knows more about
the Obscurus than Grindelwald. And Tina, Grindelwald says, is always turning up where she’s least wanted.

The Obscurial is at the heart of this series and how those around Credence will seek to either help him or manipulate him for, perhaps for their own benefit.

One other point: Grindelwald has visions. He told Credence that he saw the Obscurial in close proximity to Credence’s mother and that it would be Credence who gained the child’s trust. However, Jo said on Twitter that while Grindelwald is indeed a Seer, he also lies about his visions.

Remember too, as discussed in my video: Could Credence’s Deathly Hallows Pendant Help Release Gindelwald from Prison?, Grindelwald probably possesses a direct link to Credence that will not only serve as a get out of jail free card, but reconnect him to this powerful Obscurial. Check the description below for a link to the video.

What I think happened is this: When Grindelwald was being escorted out, he had a blast of a vision. That’s why he stopped so abruptly. I’m guessing he saw a hint of him and Newt seeking to take on the Obscurus. Maybe he taunts Newt with it because he senses Newt’s involvement might be the only way he himself can figure out how to either harness Credence’s powers or attach the Obscurus to himself.

Note: Grindelwald is escorted out before Newt sees the wisp of Obscurus escaping the subway. But Grindelwald already saw the Obscurus in Newt’s case and knows that it can live without its host. I think Rowling timed the viewing of the wisp deliberately. If Grindelwald had seen the wisp, then said, “Will we die, just a little,” his meaning might have been too obvious.

Through all this there is one other relationship to consider. Tina and Newt form the perfect partnership in their concern for Credence – he is another link bringing them together as a couple.

Tina lost her job protecting Credence. And Newt will risk his life trying to save him. It is a powerful bond between them. I wonder, though, how Newt’s possible decision to take on the Obscurus would affect their relationship. Would Tina be supportive, or would Newt’s transformation drive a wedge between them? Unfortunately, we have so many years to wait for the rest of the movies to find out!

For over a dozen years, I have analyzed the secrets of JK Rowling’s wizarding world. I’ve presented workshops at home and internationally, written articles, and published books. Some of the secrets that I enjoyed discovering the most were the Egyptian myths Jo hid throughout the Harry Potter series.

I’ve pulled together nine of my favorite theories, written over many years, in this one collection that you can only get here. As you are fans as well, and to thank you for watching my videos, I’d love to share these theories with you for free and see what you think. All you have to do is click on the link I’m providing above and in the description below. You’ll be asked to subscribe to me on YouTube
if you don’t already, and you can choose to follow me on Twitter so you can always be up to date on my newest releases, latest giveaways, and most recent news for Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts fans. Then you’ll get the 42-page 9-theory PDF download. That’s it.

Oh, the download also comes with discount coupons to my other books: A Writer’s Guide to Harry Potter, Teaching Harry Potter to Creative Writers, and Fantastic Secrets Behind Fantastic Beasts. Plus, a discount on my story consulting services. Just follow the links above and below. I hope you enjoy! And I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

What do you think about Grindelwald’s “Will we die, just a little?” Share your thoughts in the comments. I’ve got more videos coming, so be sure to subscribe. And remember to check the description below for links to "Is Newt a Spy" video, the free ebook, and any current giveaways.

Until next time!