Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Audiobook: Ignite Me

Ignite Me (Shatter Me, #3)

Ignite Me is written by Tahereh Mafi and narrated by Kate Simses and is the third book of the Shatter Me Series.

With Omega Point destroyed, Juliette doesn’t know if the rebels, her friends, or even Adam are alive. But that won’t keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. The same person who saved her life. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world . . . but that’s not all he wants with her.

The Breakdown:
1.  I just want to start by saying this was by far my favorite book of the series.  I enjoyed the story so much, and thought the character development in this book was wonderful.   Plus Juliette-Warner is way more awesome that Juliette-Adam.

2.  Mafi has a big win with Juliette's character development in this book.   She is way less ansty and less crying in this book compared to the second book.  She really starts to embrace her powers and is motivated to change her world in this book. 

3. I just want to take minute to talk about how much more I love Juliette-Warner coupling than her with Adam.  She and Warner are more of equals in the relationship.  He sees that she has so much potential and power, and wants to make her better.  Where as Adam saw her as something fragile that needed protecting.

4. Speaking of Adam, he turned into a real tool in this book.  He was constantly rude and mean to Juliette when she told him she wanted to fight and had allied with Warner.  At one point he says that he would rather he dead than with Warner. You would think that someone who claimed to love you would want you happy which he obviously does not care about that for Juliette.

5.  I thought the ending was perfect for this book.  It is just want I expected from this story.  Mafi recently announced another book in this series.  I am concerned where she will go with it after that ending.

To Read or Not to Read:

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4)

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling is the fourth book in the Harry Potter series.

"'There will be three tasks, spaced throughout the school year, and they will test the champions in many different ways … their magical prowess - their daring - their powers of deduction - and, of course, their ability to cope with danger.'"

The Triwizard Tournament is to abe held at Hogwarts. Only wizards who are over seventeen are allowed to enter - but that doesn't stop Harry dreaming that he will win the competition. Then at Hallowe'en, when the Goblet of Fire makes its selection, Harry is amazed to find his name is one of those that the magical cup picks out. He will face death-defying tasks, dragons and Dark wizards, but with the help of his best friends, Ron and Hermione, he might just make it through - alive!

The Breakdown:
When I began reading this series the first three books had already been published.  This was the first book I had to wait for to read, which I, of course, had pre-ordered it.  It came out between by senior year of high school and my freshmen year of college.  It was naturally released the week I was at college orientation.  So I had to wait to get home before I could start reading it.

My poor copy of this book has taken quite the beating over the years.  Multiple readings by me, readings by my family, and several moves has caused the book book to fall to pieces not to mention the food stains on the pages.

One of my favorite things about this book is getting to see a larger wizarding community with both the Quidditch World Cup and the Tri-Wizards tournament.  Loved the arrivals of Beauxbatons and Drumstrangs to Hogwarts for the tournament.

In this book, I really began to love Fred and George and appreciate their comic genius.  I feel that others don't realize how smart they are just because they don't apply themselves in the traditional way.  Their canary creams and fake wands are fantastic.

Interesting to see the trio in this book start to have some love interest.  Hermione and Krum are a little of a strange couple.  Plus, Ron's jealousy over them together is entertaining at times.  Then there is Ron doing stupid things when Fleur is around.  And Harry's crush on Cho.  They just grow up so quickly.

I would like to take a moment of silence to mourn Cedric Diggory.

He appears to be an all around nice guy.  His death was definitely shocking.  I still get teary when he appears from the Voldermort's wand and ask Harry to take his body back to his parents.

Then I get angry as the ministry for the outright denial that Voldemort could be back.  I totally blame Fudge for many of the upcoming tragedies.  If he had faced the problem instead of denying it exist, he could have saved lives.

To Read or Not to Read:
Must Read

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling is the third book of the Harry Potter series.

Harry Potter's third year at Hogwarts is full of new dangers. A convicted murderer, Sirius Black, has broken out of Azkaban prison, and it seems he's after Harry. Now Hogwarts is being patrolled by the dementors, the Azkaban guards who are hunting Sirius. But Harry can't imagine that Sirius—or, for that matter, the evil Lord Voldemort—could be more frightening than the dementors themselves, who have the terrible power to fill anyone they come across with aching loneliness and despair.

Meanwhile, life continues as usual at Hogwarts. A top-of-the-line broom takes Harry's success at Quidditch, the sport of the Wizarding world, to new heights. A cute fourth-year student catches his eye. And he becomes close with the new Defense of the Dark Arts teacher, who was a childhood friend of his father.

Yet despite the relative safety of life at Hogwarts and the best efforts of the dementors, the threat of Sirius Black grows ever closer. But if Harry has learned anything from his education in wizardry, it is that things are often not what they seem.

Tragic revelations, heartwarming surprises, and high-stakes magical adventures await the boy wizard in this funny and poignant third installment of the beloved series.

The Breakdown:
This is my favorite book of the Harry Potter series.   I feel like characters are really starting to mature in this book, but it is before Harry goes through the angry shouty stage.  Plus, I really enjoy learning more about Harry's father in this book.  In giving background on Harry's father and his closest friends, Rowling really shows where Harry got some of his personality traits from.   She also shows reasons why Snape dislikes Harry so much.

I think that Rowling introduces the scariest of the magical creatures in this book with the Dementors.  I find them more terrifying that the Basilisk.  A creature that suck away all your happiness just by their very presence, and their kiss leaves you a soulless husk of person.  It is possibly the scariest idea ever.

Can we take a moment to talk about how Lupin is the best DADA teacher in the whole series?  He actually teaches them useful things and does not abuse his students.  Despite being a werewolf, he is a genuinely nice guy. 

This is definitely I book that I sometimes wish I could read again without knowing what the ending  is since the reveals in this book are so awesome.

To Read or Not to Read:
Must Read

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Audiobook: Unravel Me

Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2)

Unravel Me is written by Tahereh Mafi and narrated by Kate Simses and is the second book of the Shatter Me series.

it's almost
time for war.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam's life.

The Breakdown:
1.  I really enjoy the world that Mafi has created in this series. She has some excellent world building in this book with both the Reestablishment and the Omega Point.  I do love a good dystopian world and quite what Mafi does in this book with that genre.

2.  I have to say that I found Juliette and Adam to be the most annoying characters in this book.  They were so terribly angsty that I could hardly handle it.   There were multiple times that I just wanted to slap them, especially Juliette and say pull yourself together.   The other characters were much more interesting.  And I definitely enjoyed Juliette's interactions with Kenji way more than anything with Adam.

3.  Speaking of Kenji, I adore him.  He is hilarious,  and can be pretty smart.  I love when he tells Juliette to man up and then he does things to pull her out of her shell.  I just want a whole book devoted to him honestly.

4. There are some interesting revelations in this book.  One of which makes the love triangle between Juliette, Adam, and Warner a little strange. I am interested to see how it plays out, and hope that the ending means that Juliette will be less annoying in the next book.

To Read or Not to Read:

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2)

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling is the second book the Harry Potter series.

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 Lockhart, 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?

The Breakdown:
When I picked up my copy of this book to read, and homemade birthday card fell out.  I had forgotten I received this as a gift in high school from a friend for my birthday.   I have to admit, this is probably my least favorite book of the series.  It is by no means a bad book, but I just enjoy the rest of the series more. As with  the previous Harry Potter post, there maybe spoilers.

I love the introduction to Lucius Malfoy, and it shows exactly where Draco gets his entitlement from.  He is definitely a character that I love to hate.  Speaking of new characters in this book, I find Lockhart fascinating.  I feel like we have all known that person who thinks  they know better than anyone else, but in reality has no clue what they are doing.  A man that never admits guilt for his mistakes.  I think one of my favorite scenes is where he is trying to heal Harry in after Quidditch match where his arm is broken, and removes all the bones.  When pointed out that he removed the bones, he is like well it is not broken anymore.

I just want to take a minute to talk about the creepiness that is Tom Riddle.   I get that he is Voldemort, but to know that he was so evil at that young of an age is terrifying.  Then I wonder, because he stopped the attacks and framed Hagrid so they would not close the school and he was asking to stay during summer break, did the then headmaster grant him permission to stay the break?  And we know that he was already gathering followers while in school, why did he not convince one of them to let him spend the break with them?

For me, the most surprising thing for me was what Dumbledore taught while just a teacher at Hogwarts.  He was the Transfigurations teacher.  I honestly, knowing how much Voldemort feared him, would have pegged him for a Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher if not for this book.

To Read or Not to Read:
Must Read

Friday, 22 December 2017

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling is the first book of the Harry Potter series.

Harry Potter's life is miserable. His parents are dead and he's stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he's a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.

Though Harry's first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it's his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.

The Breakdown:
I am going to do this breakdown a little different than normal.  I figure if you read this blog, you have probably read Harry Potter, so I am instead going to talk about my love of the story and things I forgot since I last read  it and questions I still have.   Oh, and there maybe spoilers, so if you haven't read don't read this.

I was inspired to do this re-read of the series because I have been listening to the Witch Please podcast, which you can check out here: or on your favorite podcast listening app.  They host Marcelle and Hannah do a feminist reading to the series and re-watch of the movies.  In short, it is fantastic and at times hilarious.

So yes, you did read right, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, even though I am American.  My friend and college roommate picked up this copy for me in London several years ago.  It is actually the first time I have read this copy.  All my other readings have been Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. There are just subtle differences that make it more British, such as the Weasley family's Christmas jumpers instead of the American sweaters.

It has been several years since I have last read the series.  I had forgotten how much I love these books, especially the little details of them, like Hagrid's pink umbrella and Lee Jordan's commentary at the Quidditch matches.   Plus, the other students named in the sorting ceremony that do end up being minor characters in later books. Oh, and how exciting the race at the end to get to the Philosopher's stone is, and how much smarts and cunning it took Harry, Ron, and Hermione  to get through each challenge and defeat Voldemort/Quirrell.

While reading this book, one question started to plague me.  What happened to Harry's grandparents, especially Lily's parents?  I assumed since James was from a wizarding family, especially since in later books Sirius mentions spending holidays with the Potters, that they were killed by Voldemort in some capacity.  But Lily's family are muggles, and her sister is obviously still alive, but never is there any mention of the Evans's parents except with Petunia talks about how proud her parents were of Lily being a witch.  Were they killed by Voldemort too, or just die in some other fashion because surely if they were alive they would have been a much better choice for Harry to live with than the Dursleys.

To Read or Not to Read:
Must Read

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Audiobook: American Gods

American Gods

American Gods is by Neil Gaiman and is a full cast narrated audiobook.

Locked behind bars for three years, Shadow did his time, quietly waiting for the day when he could return to Eagle Point, Indiana. A man no longer scared of what tomorrow might bring, all he wanted was to be with Laura, the wife he deeply loved, and start a new life.

But just days before his release, Laura and Shadow's best friend are killed in an accident. With his life in pieces and nothing to keep him tethered, Shadow accepts a job from a beguiling stranger he meets on the way home, an enigmatic man who calls himself Mr. Wednesday. A trickster and a rogue, Wednesday seems to know more about Shadow than Shadow does himself.

Life as Wednesday's bodyguard, driver, and errand boy is far more interesting and dangerous than Shadow ever imagined. Soon Shadow learns that the past never dies...and that beneath the placid surface of everyday life a storm is brewing - an epic war for the very soul of America - and that he is standing squarely in its path.

The Breakdown:
1.   I loved the concept of this book.  That as people come to America that they bring their gods and monsters with them, but America is not fertile grounds for these things to thrive.  The story and characters were all so interesting.  Plus listening with a full cast made the book all the better, and Gaiman even read some of the chapters himself.

2.  Shadow is definitely a mysterious and interesting character.  He finds himself caught up in this power struggle between the old gods and the new gods not sure why he is so important to it all.   Her definitely has interesting life philosophies, and way of seeing the world.

3.  This book has a wonderful supporting cast of characters.  From Wednesday to Laura and the people of the town of Lakeside.  I think my favorite was Mr. Nancy.  He was funny, and wise.  I am definitely have to read "Anansi's Boys" because of him. I will say that I figured out who Wednesday was very quickly.  Maybe it is because I recently read a book about his pantheon and picked on the clues extremely quickly.

4.  I pretty much liked this story from beginning to end.  I enjoyed both the main story and the subplots.

To Read or Not Read:
Must Read