Archives

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5) – J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5) – J.K. RowlingTitle: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5) by J.K. Rowling
Publishing Info: June 21, 2003 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: Library
Genres: Children's & Middle Grade, Fantasy, Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: September 28, 2014
Related Posts: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter #1), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2), The Hogwarts Library, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Harry Potter #8)

    Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermione have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on. However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected...
Suspense, secrets and thrilling action from the pen of J.K. Rowling ensure an electrifying adventure that is impossible to put down.

bookreview1

I think the most interesting thing about my Harry Potter re-reads so far has been how my rankings for the book has changed based on how I’ve developed as a person. There are just certain things I’ve connected with in some books, certain things that turn me off in others (though I still love them. I mean, I love ALL of them no matter what minor things I find) and all of the things I didn’t pick up on during my first thousand re-reads (yes, there’s always something new).

I was majorly excited to re-read HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX. From the time I did my last re-reads say… maybe ten years ago? This book was my second favorite (or third — it was kind of a toss-up with Goblet of Fire and Half-Blood Prince was still tops) so I was curious to see how this re-read would go. I totally changed my opinion of Prisoner of Azkaban, flipping it around from one of my least favorites to most of my most favorites so I was excited to see how one of my earlier favorites fared later on in my life.

I was a bit hesitant with all of the “angsty” comments I had seen about OotP — this is probably Harry’s moodiest book (well, he IS fifteen…) and yes, it was definitely more noticeable in the very beginning of this book. Sometimes it was annoying, sometimes it made me laugh, but most of the time it really didn’t bother me. In fact, if I hadn’t see all the angst memes on Pinterest and Tumblr and other forms of social media, I may not even have noticed… Who can say! But aside from Harry and Ron’s adventures with the Yule Ball in Goblet of Fire, I think OotP is the first book that really starts to deal with relationship issues, crushes, and serious jealousy so there’s quite a bit of teenage melodrama and it DID wear on me JUST a bit.

I feel like the story is much more government-related with Umbridge and the Ministry of Magic getting super involved so that’s not AS appealing to me as the hunt for and battles with Voldemort. It’s a different kind of action and one that generally feels more frustrating (as in, I feel frustrated for the characters) than a sort of exciting nervous-feeling to see what will happen next. [SPOILERS FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVEN’T READ THE SERIES COMING UP (yes, there are still some and I don’t want to spoil things for them!)] OotP was also the first book that dealt with a death that hit Harry really hard. He’s always dealt with his parents’ deaths, yes, but OotP not only shows Harry dealing with the aftermath of witnessing Cedric’s murder but also the first-hand account of Sirius’s untimely death during the epic battle in the Department of Mysteries. Things get HEAVY and there’s definitely a somber weight to the book because of those. Regarding Sirius’s death… It still didn’t hit me hard. I know it absolutely kills some people but I still didn’t find myself getting terribly choked up. It has nothing to do with how I feel about Sirius. SHEESH, I love the guy, but I feel like it’s almost an off-screen death. Everything just happens so fast and Harry is in disbelief/denial that it made me feel like it wasn’t real. I think even now I’m still in denial about it so for some reason it’s STILL just not hitting me that hard. [END SPOILERS]

So what’s the verdict? I still enjoyed OotP, of course, but I also don’t think it’s one of my favorites of the series anymore. I just feel like there isn’t as much mystery and sleuthing regarding Voldemort and his involvement in everything and the Ministry-centric plot doesn’t grab me as much as “evil villain” (although I DO hate Umbridge more than I do Voldemort. Fact).

Ranking after re-read of book #1: [1] // [6, 4, 5, 7, 3, 2]
Ranking after re-read of book #2: [1, 2] // [6, 4, 5, 7, 3]
Ranking after re-read of book #3: [3, 1, 2] // [6, 4, 5, 7]
Ranking after re-read of book #4: [4, 3, 1, 2] // [6, 5, 7]
Ranking after re-read of book #5: [4, 3, 1, 5, 2] // [6, 7]

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

138765431

character_breakdown1

Cho Chang // Character Obsessions: Quidditch, Cedric, the DA, Harry.
Oh, let’s talk about Cho Chang. Do we have any Cho fans? Personally, I am not. She was Harry’s first big crush (an older woman! Go, Harry) but I could never really get on board with her. I don’t blame her for going to the Yule Ball with Cedric (who could?) but once she and Harry started dating in this book, she became so needy and whiny and clingy. Okay, okay, her boyfriend just died. I GET IT. So maybe don’t go out with someone else right away! Sorry, Harry. I don’t think it ever would have worked. She did like you but you were still a Cedric rebound and to add grieving on top of a budding relationship? Just not gonna happen.

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Harry Potter re-reads. I’m still loving re-reading these on audio! This one was a bit longer so I was in a hurry to finish, but everything is still so magical!
Left Me Wanting More: Levity. I know there were light moments in this book, but it doesn’t even feel DARK, just heavy. The Ministry, Cedric’s death from the previous book, Umbridge, quidditch, and close calls (and more deaths). YIKES. I think this is the book with the most weight (and it’s the biggest so… haha. Literal weight too). Others may be darker, but this one hangs heavy in my heart.

Addiction Rating
Re-read it!

Well, of course. I think it’s a totally different experience re-reading these books as an adult! I have very different reactions to some events now. Some I see with eyes wide open. Others I can compare to something that’s happened to me that hadn’t when I first read it. It’s fun!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE HARRY POTTER

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        shadow and bone       throne of glass

On the Same Page: The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

OtSPcirclebanner

ON THE SAME PAGE: THE GOOSE GIRL by SHANNON HALE
On pin-pointing why some books click and others don’t

It wasn’t until I started writing my review for THE GOOSE GIRL — originally intending to use that as my post for On the Same Page this month — that I finally came up with a good topic to really dig deeper into my experience with the book. THE GOOSE GIRL is one of Amy’s favorite books and with Alyssa and I never having read it, we chose it as one of our group reads. Honestly, before we chose to include THE GOOSE GIRL as one of our On the Same Page books, it wasn’t even on my radar. I actually thought it was a middle grade book (it has a sort of middle grade feel at times, I think, but the age range of characters is more young adult) and there was just something about it that I couldn’t quite pinpoint that just didn’t jump out at me, begging to be added to my TBR.

When I started the book, I started feeling that dread creeping in. The feel of the book was pretty much what I had anticipated (or did it come off that way BECAUSE that’s what I was anticipating? Self-fulfilling prophecy? Hard to say) and I was so upset that no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t get into the book. It was one of Amy’s favorites!!! I was seriously in fear that she would disown me if I didn’t like it and I didn’t even give it a rating on Goodreads when I finished because I didn’t want her to see and know my true feelings. I really worked hard to get into it, but I just wasn’t connecting and the overall feel just wasn’t clicking with me. (Alyssa started the book after I had finished and told me, “Oh, yeah, I can see why you didn’t’ like this.” She just knows my tastes haha.)

It dawned on me once I started to try and write my review for the book… Why didn’t I enjoy THE GOOSE GIRL? I enjoy many, many, many other fairy tale adaptations/retellings. Hell, The Lunar Chronicles is one of my favorite series of all time! So what’s the deal? I took a quick look at what I loved about The Lunar Chronicles and saw that aside from characters and plot and all of those easy-to-analyze things about a book, the series just has a completely different feel and the feel that makes the big difference for me is the setting. I would say the majority of the fairy tale retellings and adaptations I’ve read are either set in the present day or have a futuristic feel while books like THE GOOSE GIRL tell the story in a more traditional setting. Its original story is by the Brothers Grimm and it was originally published in 1815 and the book definitely takes after that sort of feel — I’m no fairy tale expert so forgive me for sound uneducated on this little section, but I feel like so many of the traditional and original fairy tales are difficult for me to connect with because that’s just not a time period I connect with. I’m guessing that if these fairy tales — when first penned — weren’t written as if they were in the present day, then they referred to times even before that time period, pushing the setting of the fairy tale even further back into history. From the historical fiction I’ve read, I’ve found that I’m extremely picky about what time periods work and what don’t for me and I think the general feel of the time period in THE GOOSE GIRL was one that just wasn’t clicking for me.

Seems unfair, right? It totally is. I don’t know why only certain historical settings/feelings work for me and some don’t. I loved the His Fair Assassin trilogy even though it was set in the 1400s — a time period I would never have expected to enjoy — and I really enjoy several high fantasy settings like in A Game of Thrones, Graceling, and Throne of Glass.  Then on the other hand, I didn’t really enjoy the feel of Cruel Beauty and that was a retelling as well. So what’s the difference between these? The only possible explanation I can come up with is the tone. Yes, all of these are fairly serious books with heavy subjects, meanwhile with dashes levity to keep the book from getting too dark… But I feel like there’s an overall feeling that I got from THE GOOSE GIRL and CRUEL BEAUTY that I didn’t get from the others that somehow had me feeling like something was missing.

Every way I try to describe what didn’t work for me, it just comes back to that feeling. For THE GOOSE GIRL, I was hoping to connect to the book in spite of the feel that I was anticipating but I was either searching for it and found it, or just failed to connect to the characters and plot despite it. I can’t help but wonder if it was the exact same story but told a bit more modern or set in a different time period or added a few more light moments, could that have changed the whole book for me?

I feel like the more we read, the more we realize what we won’t connect with and tend to avoid it, whether the specific reasoning as to why that feeling is there is apparent or not. It’s been two and a half years (at this point) since I’ve started my blog and I’ve tried many different age ranges, genres, topics, and characters and even still I’m never sure if a book will work for me or not but I think that more often than not, as readers we start to learn to trust our gut! I’m still glad I read THE GOOSE GIRL even if I didn’t enjoy it as much as Amy and Alyssa because it was a reading experience that helped me understand a little bit more about myself as a reader. I wish I had connected more (and Amy said she won’t disown me) but it was definitely an interesting experience to analyze after finishing!

Don’t forget to check out Alyssa’s and Amy’s posts about The Goose Girl today too!

Alyssa (Books Take You Places)
Amy (Tripping Over Books)

Her Dark Curiosty (The Madman’s Daughter #2) – Megan Shepherd

Her Dark Curiosty (The Madman’s Daughter #2) – Megan ShepherdTitle: Her Dark Curiosity (The Madman's Daughter #2) by Megan Shepherd
Publishing Info: January 28, 2014 by HarperCollins
Source: Edelweiss, Library
Genres: Historical Fiction, Retelling, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: August 15, 2014
Related Posts: The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter #1)

   Back in London after her trip to Dr. Moreau's horrific island, Juliet is rebuilding the life she once knew and trying to forget her father's legacy. But soon it's clear that someone—or something—hasn't forgotten her, as people close to Juliet start falling victim to a murderer who leaves a macabre calling card of three clawlike slashes. Has one of her father's creations also escaped the island?
    As Juliet strives to stop a killer while searching for a serum to cure her own worsening illness, she finds herself once more in a world of scandal and danger. Her heart torn in two, her past bubbling to the surface, and her life threatened by an obsessive killer—Juliet will be lucky to escape alive.

bookreview1

** NOTE: This review will have one minor spoiler because I feel like it’s something I need to talk about in order to fully explain my feelings for this book. If you haven’t read the book yet, just a word of warning! It’s something that happens earlier on the book, but still worth noting that it may be a minor spoiler for some. **

Admittedly, I was a bit mixed about how I felt about the first book in this series. After finishing THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER, I felt like I had enjoyed what I read, but the concept was just so strange… The book was a retelling of the classic THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR MOREAU and I had gone into the book not really sure what it was about. Ultimately I had still enjoyed it and hearing that books two and three in the series were retellings of THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE and FRANKENSTEIN, I was just itching for more gothic horror and decided to take the plunge. I was hoping that there would be less focus on the beastly side of the plot since that wasn’t a huge selling point for me in THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER (I wasn’t horrified at the experiments but merely the fact that it seemed far too unbelievable to be true) so I was hoping that it would be less of a focus in the rest of the series. With a Jekyll & Hyde retelling, I guess I should have known what was coming.

HER DARK CURIOSITY was a complicated read for me. I had an egalley from the publisher but instead, I chose to listen to the book via audio to help me move through it and I’m glad that I did. I had a reason to keep going with the book even when I was frustrated with it (and that was plenty of times). The “beast” side of the plot doesn’t really go away. In fact, it becomes even more prominent in one major way, so that wasn’t a really exciting thing for me. I guess in the context of THIS book, it felt a bit more realistic, but I still wasn’t super keen on the whole concept.

The first half of the book was kind of rough for me. I was really, really not getting along with Juliet. The way she said things, the things she ended up doing, her poor decision-making skills… None of it really worked for me. Honestly, some of the words that came out of her mouth just shocked me, as in, “Did she really just say that and how does she think that is A) a good idea and B) okay in ANY way?” I really just wanted to smack her because she was living up to a pretty poor stereotype of a helpless woman (who somehow decides to do things on her own and makes poor decisions anyway). I was never fully on the same page with her throughout the book, though I think her crazy-talk calmed down a bit towards the end. (Or got even worse but with all of the other characters finally giving in to her ideas, it didn’t seem as crazy.)

Let it be known that the possible spoilers exist in this paragraph: Yet again, the love triangle continues in HER DARK CURIOSITY — something I was REALLY REALLY hoping would not happen. At least it wasn’t a love square like the first book (that would be a love triangle with four people instead of three) but UGH. It was incredibly maddening and ridiculous. This book pulled a silly (yet somewhat expected) turn when the reader finds out that *gasp* Edward in fact did NOT die at the end of book one and somehow he’s back in London too. Then *gasp* Montgomery ends up back in London too and love triangle gets EVEN WEIRDER. Firstly, we know Edward isn’t even human. He may or may not have human DNA or contributors (this is something that is investigated in the book) but even if he does, that makes him like, what? 90% animal? So just pretty ick that Juliet is even romantically and PHYSICALLY interested in him. Then some things happen that I wish had just never even been an idea in the first place. Not to mention Montgomery is also vying for Juliet’s affections and things get even MORE complicated and… yeah, I was just nooooot a fan. Really not.

You want to know what the worst part is? THINGS GOT INTERESTING. I was all ready to finish the book, ranting and raving about how much I did not enjoy it and how I had no interst in finishing the trilogy and BAM. I got sucked in. Once the hints at the Frankenstein tie-in started popping up, I got pulled back in. Now I’ll probably read book three. Sigh.

Overall? This book and I didn’t really get along, but somehow I got sucked back in towards the end. I’ll probably end up finishing out the trilogy, but I’m not happy about it haha. The characters were frustrating, the love triangle was irritating, and I’m tired of the beast story line but I’m guessing that’s not going away either. I wouldn’t exactly recommend this series but I think I’m going to try to see it to the end.

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

2254687

character_breakdown1

Juliet // Character Obsessions: Science, romance, not caring about society rules.
Oh, Juliet. We are so not friends. I had a reeeeally hard time with some of the things that she said and most of the decisions she made. She was such a frustrating heroine for me. Let’s hope she grows up some in the last book.

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Gothic horror. I liked the retelling of Jekyll & Hyde! I haven’t read a lot of gothic horror but that side of this book was really fun.
Left Me Wanting More: Solid choices. Don’t try to pretend that Juliet made wise decisions. She made some pretty wild ones. I understand following your heart or passion versus logic, but sometimes there was NO logic. Other times she was way too damsel-y when she should have been strong and strong when she should have let someone help her. Sigh.

Addiction Rating
Skip it

I know I said I’d read the last book in the series, but I can’t really recommend this one. I was just way too frustrated and I’d say if you haven’t started yet, I wouldn’t suggest starting. The first book was interesting and this one finally came around for me at the end so… do I recommend that? Say try it? Personally, I wouldn’t. The series has been just okay so far and that doesn’t seem enough for me to put these books in someone else’s hands.

addiction_factor1

(Click the cover to see my review!)

     the clockwork scarab    this dark endeavor

 

White Cat (Curse Workers #1) – Holly Black

White Cat (Curse Workers #1) – Holly BlackTitle: White Cat (Curse Workers #1) by Holly Black
Publishing Info: May 4, 2010 by Source: Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: May 17, 2014
Related Posts: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Red Glove (Curse Workers #2), Black Heart (Curse Workers #3)

    Cassel comes from a shady, magical family of con artists and grifters. He doesn’t fit in at home or at school, so he’s used to feeling like an outsider. He’s also used to feeling guilty—he killed his best friend, Lila, years ago.But when Cassel begins to have strange dreams about a white cat, and people around him are losing their memories, he starts to wonder what really happened to Lila. In his search for answers, he discovers a wicked plot for power that seems certain to succeed. But Cassel has other ideas—and a plan to con the conmen.

bookreview1

Abilities. Cons. Male POV. Cats. Okay, well one cat. This book immediately had me hooked. WHITE CAT was my kind of book. I actually didn’t start it until I was looking for a new audiobook and saw that Jesse Eisenberg was the narrator — I just love him so I was really excited to find an audiobook that he narrated, and one that I really wanted to read, no less!

This book just worked for me on all levels. I loved the characters, I loved the feel, I loved the plot, I loved the twists. I really enjoyed the urban-fantasy feel, which isn’t always a genre that works for me. I loved how it was the world as we knew it, except with the large factor of Curse Workers — people with specific powers who can perform specific abilities — and they’re everywhere. Not every family has a Curse Worker, but they’re commonplace enough that the general population wears gloves at all times to prevent unwanted curses since the strongest curse can be performed with a simple touch. It just so happens that Cassel comes from a whole family of Curse Workers and somehow he’s the only one who doesn’t have any powers… Although he does have the memory of murdering his best friend Lila three years ago… So there’s that.

I just clicked with Cassel’s character. He’s not quite a loner but he doesn’t really do so well with friends. His mom was a Curse Worker (emotions) and a con artist so Cassel happened to take after his mom with his ability to con since he had no supernatural abilities to fall back on — and you know I love a good con artist. I like that Cassel really kept to himself but he did still have his roommate who he considered kind of a friend and over the course of the book, he begins to open up to others just a little bit more. He’s always there for his family — even when he doesn’t want to be — and he’s got a great sharp tongue that always kept the dialogue light and fun.

The book also had some great twists. Some were mildly predictable. Others not so much. No matter where the plot was going, it was always moving and I was always interested. I was fascinated by the family dynamic and how that dynamic really revolved around the family members’ abilities and the way that they used them. All of the characters were just really great and I felt like I really got to know the family.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

I read this book on audio specifically because I found out Jesse Eisenberg narrated and I just love him. He did a really great job with the narration, but sometimes I just have small issues (with any narrator really) when I think that that’s not how the character would really say something — but I can’t complain, really, when I give up the narrating to someone else! His voice and performance is exactly what you’d expect from Jesse and he was a great person to narrate Cassel’s POV because I can totally see them as the same personality — wickedly smart, sly, and not always fond of others. He wasn’t always the most dynamic voice to listen to but I enjoyed it all the same!

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

Untitled

character_breakdown1

Cassel // Character Obsessions: Cons, odds, Lila, dreams. 
I loved Cassel. I’m always a sucker for a good male POV and Cassel was the perfect character for me to connect with. He was smart, clever, and well-spoken. He didn’t always have a lot of friends but the ones he did make, he found out that he was strangely loyal to them. Probably because his family was always very loyal to each other and yet there was still a volatile family dynamic as well. Very excellent.

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Urban fantasy. If you just said “urban fantasy” and pointed a book at me, chances are I’d turn you down… But WHITE CAT wasn’t the stereotypical urban fantasy like I picture it. It was really just a world almost identical to our own except for these powers that just exist and are commonplace. It was very cool and I loved that it just fit so well, without question.
Left Me Wanting More: Secondary character development. I totally connected with Cassel but I would have liked to know a bit more about his family and his friends. We do get some development from the secondary characters but I think I just wanted to inhale the story and really feel like I was a part of it. I just wanted to know them a bit more, but it really was fantastic.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

I really, really enjoyed WHITE CAT. I honestly can’t wait to keep reading this series. It feels like just the series I would enjoy and I hope the rest of it goes well too!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE WHITE CAT

(Click the cover to see my review!)

       The Raven Boys     Bloodlines

The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls – Claire LeGrand

The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls – Claire LeGrandTitle: The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand
Publishing Info: August 8, 2012 by Simon & Schuster
Source: Library
Genres: Children's & Middle Grade, Paranormal
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: May 14, 2014

    At the Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, you will definitely learn your lesson. An atmospheric, heartfelt, and delightfully spooky novel for fans of Coraline, Splendors and Glooms, and The Mysterious Benedict Society.Victoria hates nonsense. There is no need for it when your life is perfect. The only smudge on her pristine life is her best friend Lawrence. He is a disaster—lazy and dreamy, shirt always untucked, obsessed with his silly piano. Victoria often wonders why she ever bothered being his friend. (Lawrence does, too.) But then Lawrence goes missing. And he’s not the only one. Victoria soon discovers that The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is not what it appears to be. Kids go in but come out…different. Or they don’t come out at all. If anyone can sort this out, it’s Victoria—even if it means getting a little messy.

bookreview1

I don’t read a ton of middle grade books, but when Alyssa, Amy and volunteered for the Kids Author Carnival this year at BEA and found out that it was being co-hosted by Claire LeGrand, we really wanted to read one of Claire’s books before the event! We featured the book just the other week for On the Same Page and all of us really enjoyed it!

What really struck me about the book first of all was how visually appealing it was. I just loved being able to picture everything that was going on and how Victoria’s life was slowly changing from the organized, structured ways that she had established and quickly spiraling out of control with the growing presence of Mrs. Cavendish, the owner of the orphanage in the neighborhood. It was slightly terrifying to witness how Victoria’s world was changing around her and how she had to figure out not only how NOT to get sucked in but how to change it back.

I also really loved the friendships in this book. Victoria’s only friend is Lawrence, an untidy boy who she doesn’t even consider a friend but a project. Victoria only takes him on as her project to teach him how to look smarter and act proper. Naturally when Lawrence mysteriously disappears, Victoria commits to getting him back and starts to realize that maybe they really were closer friends than she even admitted to herself. I really liked how easily their friendship developed, even without Victoria knowing it. I just really love great friendships in books and it was refreshing reading a middle grade book where obviously friendships are more prominent since the characters are too young to develop romantic relationships.

I was definitely hooked the whole book. Claire LeGrand left the perfect amount of suspense and mystery to keep the readers invested and I was desperate to figure out what exactly the deal was with Mrs. Cavendish and said home for boys and girls. The crazy things that were going on would be absolutely terrifying if I were actually experiencing them as an adult so I can’t even imagine how Victoria held it together! But she’s also a person very much driven by logic and reasoning so she probably didn’t really stand for all of the off-kilter events. It definitely had a Tim Burton sort of feel for me which really added to my reading experience!

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

Screen Shot 2014-05-26 at 10.24.18 AM

character_breakdown1

Victoria // Character Obsessions: Tidiness, order, being the top of her class. 
Victoria kind of reminded me of Hermione. She’s very careful, very smart, and places a lot of importance on structure, tidiness, and good grades. I really liked how her personality really grew and she matured a lot. I feel like usually we see characters with good personal relationships and they grow to mature in other ways, but Victoria was already very mature in respect to the adult world and instead her relationships really grew throughout the book.

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Middle grade. I really don’t read a lot of middle grade, but every once in a while I read a really good one. Cavendish was a lot of fun and I think I really enjoy MGs with a darker side to pull the adult in me over.
Left Me Wanting More: Backstory. I really wanted to know even more about Mrs. Cavendish, how she was able to do what she did, and where she came from. I think that was one of the only things I was really missing from the story. I just wanted to know so many more details about her!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

This book was really fun and Claire LeGrand is a fantastic writer! I loved so many aspects of this book and it was a fun, quick, and dynamic read for me.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE THE CAVENDISH HOME FOR BOYS AND GIRLS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

       The Graveyard Book     HP1

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4) – J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4) – J.K. RowlingTitle: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4) by J.K. Rowling
Publishing Info: July 8, 2000 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: Library
Genres: Children's & Middle Grade, Fantasy, Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: May 7, 2014
Related Posts: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter #1), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2), The Hogwarts Library, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Harry Potter #8)

    The summer holidays are dragging on and Harry Potter can't wait for the start of the school year. It is his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and there are spells to be learnt and (unluckily) Potions and Divination lessons to be attended. But Harry can't know that the atmosphere is darkening around him, and his worst enemy is preparing a fate that it seems will be inescapable ...With characteristic wit, fast-paced humour and marvellous emotional depth, J.K. Rowling has proved herself yet again to be a master story-teller.

bookreview1

How is it that each time I re-read a Harry Potter book, I find myself amazed all over again? I know I said it before with the first three books, especially with my amazement of how much I enjoyed HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN when it used to be my least favorite book of the series, but honestly. J.K. Rowling really stepped everything up a notch with HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE. 

Sure, we stepped from defending the world from a supervillain in the first two books and magical school hijinks to personal vendettas and darker family history in book three, but GOBLET OF FIRE puts Harry in mortal peril preeeeeetty much all year. It’s not as apparent how much time passes int he movies, but Harry is literally involved in the Triwizard tournament all freaking year and pretty much his state in the mortal world depends on how well he can figure out these clues before it’s time to put him in front of another dangerous task that may or may not kill him.

Aside from upping the danger, things also get exponentially darker. Not only is Voldemort still involved, as always, but we learn more about the Death Eaters — his dedicated followers — but also the Unforgivable Curses and so much more about the dark years that preceded Voldemort’s decline. We’ve seen the bad guys punished in previous books and we knew about the awful deaths that occurred when Harry was just a baby, but Goblet of Fire… This book really takes a dive into the deep end of the dark. Bad things happen to good people in this book and there are just some really gut-wrenching moments that even when you know they’re coming still hit you hard.

This is another book whose movie really started to deviate a lot — not even necessarily changing events and specifics but we lose whole plot lines and characters. I’m not necessarily disappointed looking back because of course you can’t adapt everything in a book for a movie, but it’s kind of amazing when you see what has changed and what you totally forgot about. Here are just a few.

  • Ludo Bagman: Remember Ludo Bagman? He’s the head of Magical Games and Sports and once played Quidditch for the Wimbourne Wasps. If you haven’t read the books in a long time and you’ve been watching the movies, I’m sure you remember Ludo Bagman but you wouldn’t believe how much he is actually a part of the books!! He’s involved in so many scenes, from beginning to end!
  • S.P.E.W.: The Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare, for those who aren’t familiar, was Hermione’s attempt to free the house elves from their lifetimes of enslavement. However……. I was not sorry to see that go. Sorry, not sorry, Hermione. It was a bit much!
  • Winky: To go along with S.P.E.W., Winky was a house elf who also played a very significant part in the book. But again….. eh. Not sorry to see that go and be adapted in a different way! Oh, the movie spoils me in some ways.
  • Rita Skeeter’s “downfall”: I mean, we’re assuming here that you all have read the books if you’re reading my review, but I’ll try to remain mostly spoiler-free here, so Rita! I wish the movie had at least touched on what really happened to her at the end of the book and how Hermione really put her in her place!

My take from the audiobook re-read? This may be a new contender for my favorite Harry Potter book out of all seven. Then again, my current favorites are five and six, so there’s still time for that to change! We’ll have to see how those audiobooks go as well. HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE was just SO good. An amazing book to begin with and so much fun to re-read (for the countless time because I’ve honestly lost track)!

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a new featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

Screen Shot 2014-05-17 at 9.11.49 PM

character_breakdown1

Harry // Character Obsessions: Triwizard tournament, friends, Sirius, dark wizards, Quidditch.
Harry’s time in the 4th book is pretty much spent with the Triwizard Tournament.  Everything else sort of takes a backseat, naturally! It’s interesting to see Harry mature throughout the series and yet you still see how young he really is. He’s still a teenager and despite how maturely he handles the tournament… He really doesn’t. He doesn’t stay on task and his friends and teachers have to prod him along to make sure he won’t die in the tasks but he always handles things with Voldemort like such a badass. He’s a Gryffindor — brave, but not always motivated haha.
Hermione // Character Obsessions: S.P.E.W., helping Harry, Rita Skeeter.
I love Hermione but… I’m glad they took the whole house elf story line out for the movie! It really started to grate on my nerves because she’s just so obsessed with it.

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Goblet of Fire. WOW. I forgot how much I loved this book. Obviously I love the whole series and I always knew I loved GoF but I forgot how awesome this book really was. Based on how my re-reads go with the rest of the books, this may jump in the front on my favorites list!
Left Me Wanting More: Of the series. I immediately wanted to start Order of the Phoenix. But this series will do that to you!

Addiction Rating
Re-Read it!

If you haven’t re-read Harry Potter in a long time (or *ahem* if you haven’t read it at all yet) I highly recommend you get on that soon! They just get better with time!

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE HARRY POTTER

(Click the cover to see my review!)

       The Graveyard Book     The Night Circus

Mini-Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3) – J.K. Rowling

Mini-Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3) – J.K. RowlingTitle: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3) by J.K. Rowling
Publishing Info: September 8, 1999 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: Library
Genres: Children's & Middle Grade, Fantasy, Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: February 8, 2014
Related Posts: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter #1), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2), The Hogwarts Library, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Harry Potter #8)

    Harry Potter is lucky to reach the age of thirteen, since he has already survived the murderous attacks of the feared Dark Lord on more than one occasion. But his hopes for a quiet term concentrating on Quidditch are dashed when a maniacal mass-murderer escapes from Azkaban, pursued by the soul-sucking Dementors who guard the prison. It's assumed that Hogwarts is the safest place for Harry to be. But is it a coincidence that he can feel eyes watching him in the dark, and should he be taking Professor Trelawney's ghoulish predictions seriously?

bookreview1

HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN is really the first in the series where I feel like the books and the movies really start to differ. Obviously the movie still stays pretty true to the book, but I was surprised quite often how many little things were changed for the film adaptation, especially the big reveal at the end. As a re-read now and having watched the movies so many times, it’s definitely a bit anti-climactic BUT I’ve seen the movies so many times that obviously that version is engrained in my mind. I haven’t done a re-read of Harry Potter since… well, probably since right after high school so that’s about ten years that have gone by without actually reading the books. I forgot how many details just aren’t able to fit into the movies for time reasons alone but re-reading made me so incredibly happy because I got to geek out over this whole magical universe all over again and refresh my memory on the things that the movies just can’t fit.

This book actually used to be my least favorite of the series, which also makes it entirely plausible that that’s the reason why I don’t seem to remember as much of it as I thought I had. Looking back, I have no idea why it was my least favorite because it has so many elements I love! Time travel. Professor Lupin. Big reveals. Mistaken identities. I can remember what it was that just didn’t click with me the first couple times I read it but I can definitely say that it’s back up there for me, although it still won’t be my favorite.

I always feel like I have so much and yet so little to say with my re-reads of Harry Potter because it doesn’t really need a formal review since most people have already read the books and those who haven’t, well, I don’t want to spoil it because I still have hope you will read them! So I’ll just go over a few differences I remember from the book and the movie — Actually, if you haven’t read the books or seen the movies yet, LOOK AWAY because some of these might be mild spoilers.

  • The importance of Crookshanks. Yes, Hermione’s bandy-legged ginger cat with a bottlebrush tail and smooshed face (seriously — described that way so many times that I can repeat it!) did appear in the movies BUT the movies glossed over the fact that he’s part kneazle AND that Crookshanks was sort of working with Sirius when he was in dog form and that’s part of the reason the kids knew they could trust him. Not to mention the fact that Crookshanks has many more humanlike characteristics in the book, intelligence-wise, and that he was the one who immobilized the Whomping Willow so Harry and Hermione could get in.
  • The prominence of the animals in the series. Crookshanks was so important to this book but… He also never goes away though out the series. Hedwig is really the only pet that gets featured in the movies because she’s so important to Harry, but Hermione always has her cat and I totally forgot about Pigwidgeon’s appearance once Ron loses “Scabbers”.
  • All of the details in the Shrieking Shack. When it comes down to it, the movie just wasn’t able to include all of the details. Harry, Sirius, and Lupin have a long, long, long talk about Peter Pettigrew. I can totally understand why the movie kept it short and sweet — it felt like this talk was really long as I was listening to the audio and knowing what happens, I was anxiously awaiting for the scene to continue on BUT there’s a lot of important info that gets shared here, especially regarding Harry’s parents and their relationship with Sirius, Lupin, and Pettigrew.
  • The Marauder’s Map. I. LOVE. THE MARAUDER’S MAP. I don’t know why but I just do. The map in the book is MUCH more insulting to Professor Snape (a funny but tense moment!) and I feel like we get much more information regarding the creators of the map and the reasons why they created it. In fact… Do we even get an explanation in the movies? Is there a brief glossing over from Lupin? I honestly can’t remember.
  • The Firebolt. In the movie version, Harry doesn’t get to use his Firebolt until the very end of the book, after the entire plot, basically. In the book, his broom is confiscated to be tested for jinxes and hexes but he does get it back to use in Quidditch matches! I forgot ALL about that! He totally uses the Firebolt’s speed to flatten the other teams.

Those are the highlights that I can remember! I’m really glad I enjoyed this one so much this time around and honestly, I can’t even pinpoint why it used to be my least favorite.

So what was your favorite thing about Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban? Are you a time travel fan? Were you rooting for Sirius Black?

Stardust – Neil Gaiman

Stardust – Neil GaimanTitle: Stardust by Neil Gaiman
Publishing Info: August 29, 2006 by HarperCollins
Source: Library
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: January 24, 2014
Related Posts: Fortunately, the Milk, American Gods, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neverwhere, InterWorld (InterWorld #1)

    Hopelessly crossed in love, a boy of half-fairy parentage leaves his mundane Victorian-English village on a quest for a fallen star in the magical realm. The star proves to be an attractive woman with a hot temper, who plunges with our hero into adventures featuring witches, the lion and the unicorn, plotting elf-lords, ships that sail the sky, magical transformations, curses whose effects rebound, binding conditions with hidden loopholes and all the rest.

bookreview1

STARDUST is my second full-length novel by Neil Gaiman and pretty much as soon as I finished listening to THE GRAVEYARD BOOK, I knew I had to pick up another audiobook written and narrated by Neil Gaiman as soon as I could. I had actually never seen the movie OR read the book before so I was really anxious to see how I would like this one!

I had one major qualm about STARDUST before I started and that was that it dealt with fairies. I’m almost never a really big fan of fairy stories and books about fae so I was a bit nervous that STARDUST wouldn’t be enjoyable for me, but really anything that Neil Gaiman narrates can’t go that wrong, right? The book did surround a major fairy plot in that the main character Tristran is half-fairy himself and he goes on a quest to find a fallen star that landed in the realm of Fairy to bring to his heart’s desire. Did I hate the fairy-plot? No. Did I love it? Not really. Statistically speaking, I’m still not a fan of fairy books but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it! I really appreciated this new fairy tale for the modern age from Neil Gaiman (compared to The Princess Bride. I DIED.) and how it really relates to both children and adults alike!

Of course I loved the banter back and forth between Tristran and Yvaine. (And of course I had to look up how to spell their names because I don’t get to see these things in audiobooks!) I just love bantering relationships and hate-to-love relationships. Obviously the two don’t get along at first. Tristan’s sole purpose of this voyage is to capture the Star and bring her back to Wall. Yvaine is a strong personality and what woman wants to be captured in any way? I really liked their back-and-forth and how throughout the journey, both of them really came to appreciate each other.

Really throughout the whole book, I wasn’t exactly sure how the two separate story lines would come together. Once they finally did, I realized I really should have seen it coming but for some reason I couldn’t fit those pieces together until the reveal. I thought it was a very nice ending to the book and I really enjoyed the way everything wrapped up!

For some reason this was a really hard review for me to write… I think because I was just lost in Neil Gaiman’s narration and the world that he created for this new fairy tale. THE GRAVEYARD BOOK is still my favorite Gaiman to date (not like I’ve read that many yet haha) but STARDUST was definitely enjoyable and light but with dark plot points as well.

character_breakdown1

Tristran // Character Obsessions: Victoria, finding the fallen star. Tristran was an interesting character. He’s a teenager and yet there was such an air of innocence that surrounded him. He felt naïve, either a fool in love or a boy who needed to mature. In a way, I guess he was both and he certainly did mature on his quest.
Yvaine // Character Obsessions: Hating Tristran, healing her leg. Naturally, I loved Yvaine. I love girls with strong personalities and I really enjoy that love-to-hate relationship. I was actually rooting for her more than Tristan half the time! She was totally my kind of lady.

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Fairies. Statistically speaking, I don’t like books involving fairies. They’re just not my thing. But I really appreciated that this was a sort of traditional fairy tale so the concept really didn’t both me. I think that’s sort of a new revelation! I don’t hate all fairy plots but I guess it depends on how they’re involved in the book.
Left Me Wanting More: Reality. I mean, it is a fairy tale. And the weird thing is that the settings are split up between Fairy and the “human” town of Wall. But even still, I think I wanted things more grounded in reality and that’s why I don’t do well with fairy plots. Sometimes things just seem like they get a bit too carried away and sometimes it’s just not my style.

Addiction Rating
Read it

STARDUST was good! I was never bored but it never exactly blew me away either. It’s a Gaiman classic and really enjoyable, especially listening to his narration!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE STARDUST

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        The Princess Bride   Tiger Lily

Forgotten – Cat Patrick

Forgotten – Cat PatrickTitle: Forgotten by Cat Patrick
Publishing Info: June 7, 2011 by Bloomsbury Publishing
Source: Library
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: October 20, 2013
Related Posts: Just Like Fate

    Each night at precisely 4:33 am, while sixteen-year-old London Lane is asleep, her memory of that day is erased. In the morning, all she can "remember" are events from her future. London is used to relying on reminder notes and a trusted friend to get through the day, but things get complicated when a new boy at school enters the picture. Luke Henry is not someone you'd easily forget, yet try as she might, London can't find him in her memories of things to come.
    When London starts experiencing disturbing flashbacks, or flash-forwards, as the case may be, she realizes it's time to learn about the past she keeps forgetting-before it destroys her future.

 

bookreview1

I had been meaning to read FORGOTTEN for a long time, and from its description, I was instantly curious. I love books that revolve around time travel, alternate universes, and messing with the human brain (internally, of course. Not like… lobotomies or anything. Sorry — back on track here…) so the fact that London’s memory reset at 4:33am each morning AND that she only had a memory of the future and not the past was entirely intriguing!

I’m not entirely sure why, but I assumed this was going to be some kind of paranormal/sci-fi thriller. You know me… I go in blind or nearly blind for many books because I love being surprised by everything so I had read the synopsis when I first added it to my TBR list, generally knew what it was about when I started it and… It was a bit different than I expected. I’m not saying it was in a bad way because I still really enjoyed the book, but it wasn’t as suspenseful and action-packed as I thought it was going to be. I had expected some kind of chase, maybe a government conspiracy — I’m so terrible and I create plots in my mind before I even read a book. It’s bad — But FORGOTTEN was definitely more of London’s personal struggle, an explanation of her current condition, and her own personal relationship struggles, specifically with her best friend Jamie, cute boy Luke, and her mom. There was a bit more action and suspense towards the end of the book, but it just didn’t happen quite soon enough.

I think the thing I was most impressed with was all of the logistics of how London’s memory worked. She only remembered the future so we only get to see things as London remembers them — whether that’s one day into the future or several years. London can remember a friend because they’re still friends in the future but she has to take notes about what she wore and ate and did the day before because once that day is gone and her memory resets, it’s all gone. This was a fantastic concept for a novel and it definitely drew me in!
I think the thing about the memory that I didn’t like was the explanation. It was explained, but it felt part science-based and part science-ficiton and the two just weren’t melding together for me. My brain couldn’t handle the plausible and the impossible rolled all into one. My main thought process? We find out the reason for London’s memory reset, which okay, I can totally understand and will absolutely buy into but ability to only remember the future? Fiction! (Well, of course it’s fiction, but my brain kept calling it out.) I feel like if there was a sci-fi reason for BOTH or a scientific explanation for BOTH, I might have felt better about it. To mix “fact” and fiction just never came together harmoniously for me.

Since London has no memory of the past, she’s constantly taking notes to help her relive each day and if it’s something important, she has to read that note each day. Cat Patrick did a great job at not making this repetitive because if you know me, you know how much I hate repetition in books. The only time it became a little too much was with Luke’s character. London had to “remeet” him so many times that the mention of his good looks and the “beautiful boy” just became tiresome and I got sick of hearing about how good looking he was. Luke wasn’t a vain character, but if he read the book, he would be bound to become one. Hang on to your hormones, London! Nah, but it really wasn’t that bad. It’s just my personal weakness for repetition and it just got under my skin a little.

FORGOTTEN has a great tangle of relationship issues that London needs to learn how to deal with, aside from just a romantic one. She has to figure out how to be in a relationship without even remembering the guy (which, ow. Not easy, right?), she has to work on keeping a good relationship with her mom no matter how hard things get, and she ends up in a fight with her best friend Jamie. I actually really enjoyed — okay, not enjoyed — but appreciated the relationship struggles because we saw so many aspects of London’s life. I was, however, bothered by the REASON that London and Jamie ended up in a fight. I understand it causing a rift, but to go on for weeks/months… Seemed a bit much. Then again, maybe Jamie’s a bit too much and that’s just her character! Could be true, but then that turns me off to that side of her character. Eh. Just a ‘meh’ snag in the plot for my personal tastes.

I really did enjoy FORGOTTEN but overall, I think I was expecting a bit more. Was it my expectations? Was it my actual opinion as I was reading? Was it a little bit the audio narration? Yes. All of these things were a factor, but I also think they all balanced each other out. After reflecting on it for a while, I think it was a good read but fell somewhere in the middle for me, still missing a couple of those elements that provide a good “wow” factor.

character_breakdown1

London // Character Obsessions: Taking notes, her cell phone, a mysterious dream.
London and I didn’t quite get along as I had hoped but I think that was just due to her… condition. I’m not sure if it was the situation or the writing, but you know how I get with repetition and the fact that we always had to repeat London’s life over and over since she has no memory of the past wore on my nerves. Actually, Cat Patrick did this pretty well so we didn’t have to relive everything all the time… Just the constant fawning over Luke’s bodacious bod got a bit tiresome. Sigh. Teenage girls.
Luke // Character Obsessions: His family, London, original ideas.
I actually liked Luke a lot! I think sometimes his character lost a bit of believability because come on. What teenage boy is that super sweet? BUT he really does his best to make London feel special and it was what I always wanted when I was a teenager myself. Who am I to judge! Plus, he drives a minivan. Soft spot! (No, seriously. Reminds me of when I started dating Shane and we always drove around in his mom’s minivan haha.)

addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: Messing with the mind. I loved the concept for this book. It was so interesting and there were definitely a lot of curious elements regarding London’s memory!
Left Me Wanting More: Action. I just wanted a bit more action, suspense, and mystery. There was a bit that came towards the end, but really not as much as I had hoped for. Probably my fault of assuming what kind of book it would be, but I really had high hopes for more tension!

Addiction Rating
Borrow it!

I actually had a hard time deciding how I really felt about this book. I enjoyed it but I think when it comes down to giving it a rating, I’d say it doesn’t need to be high up on your list, but if you come across it, it’s still a good read. I think my expectations may have been too high and I wanted more of a mystery/thriller aspect and much more suspense. I did enjoy the concept but it had a lot more contemporary/romance aspects than I anticipated and less of a “paranormal romance” feel.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE FORGOTTEN

(Click the cover to see my review!)

         Unremembered              Falso Memory

Mini-Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2) – J.K. Rowling

Mini-Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2) – J.K. RowlingTitle: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter #2) by J.K. Rowling
Publishing Info: July 22, 1998 by Scholastic Inc.
Source: Library
Genres: Children's & Middle Grade, Fantasy, Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: September 29, 2013
Related Posts: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter #1), The Hogwarts Library, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter #3), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6), Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7), Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Harry Potter #8)

    The Dursleys were so mean and hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he's packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike.
    And strike it does. For in Harry's second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockheart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girls' bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley's younger sister, Ginny.
    But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble begins, and someone--or something--starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects...Harry Potter himself.
  

bookreview1

I did a full review of HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCEROR’S STONE but I opened up a new draft to start my review for HP2 and… My mind went blank. It’s honestly so hard to write a full review of a book and a series that I’ve loved and cherished for half of my childhood and all of my adult life so far (it’s totally epic) so it’s hard to put THINGS down into words, ya know? I think I actually know the series TOO well to write a review because I really know how everything goes!

What I can say is that it’s interesting starting over from the beginning. I haven’t done that in MANY YEARS because before when I would re-read Harry Potter, I wouldn’t necessarily do it in order. Books four, five, six, and seven are my favorites so usually I would just pick those up and re-read out of order since really, I knew the series so well anyway. The first three books are the ones I’ve re-read the least but the first two are also the ones I think have the closest movie adaptations so with a few minor exceptions, I still knew exactly how it all went.

I’ll just briefly recap the things I loved about HP and the CoS here:

  • Rule-breaking Hermione with the Polyjuice potion! You go, girl.
  • The mild annoyance and mild hilarity that is Gilderoy Lockhart
  • Learning so much more about Tom Riddle (and there were more tidbits in the book than in the movie (which that’s usually the case, but I thought that was interesting!))
  • Watching that best friendship between Harry and Ron really start to develop into a bond that extended beyond Ron and to becoming almost a part of his family

I’m also not a Harry-Ginny shipper so I won’t even go there. Their relationship always felt weird to me for some reason — both books AND movies — so it’s cute to see Ginny acting all love struck around him, but doesn’t get me all mushy for the future.

So what was your favorite think about Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets versus HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone? Are you a fan of Harry and Ginny? Don’t you just LOVE Lucius Malfoy? (No, seriously. I love how evil he is and somehow I really just love him.) Are you a Dobby-love or a Dobby hater? Lockhart: Funny or annoying? Inquiring minds want to know!!