Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

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Category: 9-12 Fiction

Published: July 1999

Re-Read: July 2016

Score: 5/5

Synopsis: (Goodreads) All Harry Potter wants is to get away from the Dursleys and go back to 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.

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Review: This is one of those books that has grown on me over the years. When I first read it I didn’t really understand where it fit. It kinda felt more of a stand alone than the other ones. As you got along in the series I understood the importance of this one more and more and where it fit in the series. As the first book builds up the characters and you meet them this is the first time you really see Voldemort for what he is…a monster…even in the form he takes in this book. Plus you also meet Dobby who is one of my favourite characters in the entire series. the_chamber_of_secrets_by_natalliel-d4oasdm

You find Harry and his friends in their second year and of course trouble ensues. Harry starts to hear voices, people are being petrified. The three try to figure out what is happening before it’s too late and someone dies. Meanwhile Dobby is trying to keep Harry from the school for reasons he can’t say and every time he tries to help it seems to make things worse for Harry.

We learn more about Hagrid, Voldemort, and the Malfoys. There is action and adventure. As a story it’s a great read, and it gets better with every time I read it.

Door_of_the_Chamber_of_Secrets_(Concept_Artwork_for_the_HP2_movie_02)As far as a book for kids is concerned it’s still good for this age group. It’s not to scary, and no one actually dies (not a spoiler a good helpful fact). I know some of the other ones are a bit more heavy but this is still PG as far as I am concerned and is okay for a kid who is a good reader as there are no pictures. Unless they like snakes…than that is a whole different story!

 

 

#TBT Review: My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares

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Category: Adult Fiction

Published: June 2010

Read: January 2012

Score: 4.5/5

Synopsis: (Goodreads) Daniel has spent centuries falling in love with the same girl. Life after life, crossing continents and dynasties, he and Sophia (despite her changing name and form) have been drawn together-and he remembers it all. Daniel has “the memory”, the ability to recall past lives and recognize souls of those he’s previously known. It is a gift and a curse. For all the times that he and Sophia have been drawn together throughout history, they have also been torn painfully, fatally, apart. A love always too short.

Interwoven through Sophia and Daniel’s unfolding present day relationship are glimpses of their expansive history together. From 552 Asia Minor to 1918 England and 1972 Virginia, the two souls share a long and sometimes torturous path of seeking each other time and time again. But just when young Sophia (now “Lucy” in the present) finally begins to awaken to the secret of their shared past, to understand the true reason for the strength of their attraction, the mysterious force that has always torn them apart reappears. Ultimately, they must come to understand what stands in the way of their love if they are ever to spend a lifetime together.

Review: This is a book that I read and still have on my shelves because it was a tumblr_le88z7qg871qav92co1_500wonderful read and I was surprised. I am not in to the love stories per say but this was a beautifully written story that as you can see in the synopsis spans over a long period of time.

It was written by the lady who did Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants. Not a book I was a huge fan of but I can tell you if you liked that story you are going to like this one, and if you were not a huge fan like me you might still like it.

It is two stories at once. You meet both Sophia and Daniel in present day. You learn that they are two separate souls that fell in love at…well the beginning of man kind and have been finding each other ever since. Daniel is aware but Sophia isn’t and Daniel spends his life finding her and making her fall in love with him all over again. abandoned-monastic-school-shadows-favim-com-474994

The separate stories are not very confusing at all. You are aware of what time you are in and who is talking which is great as when it’s done this clear I find it very confusing. This is not the case with this book.

It’s also not very lovely either. You do have the love part of it of course, which is a big basis of the story but overall it’s not overwhelming and the entire story. It’s about resilience and the power of feelings and what brings people together.

Well written and an easy read, it’s not a big book either which is nice. I plan on reading it again one day and highly recommend it as a good easy read. One that maybe a good pick up for summer, and with it being in soft cover now…not expensive 🙂

Review: Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone (Illustrated Edition)

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Category: 9-12 Fiction

Published: 1997 (original story) and 2015 for this version

Read: First time for this version 2016

Score: 5/5

Synopsis: (Goodreads) Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy. He lives with his Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and cousin Dudley, who are mean to him and make him sleep in a cupboard under the stairs. (Dudley, however, has two bedrooms, one to sleep in and one for all his toys and games.) Then Harry starts receiving mysterious letters and his life is changed forever. He is whisked away by a beetle-eyed giant of a man and enrolled at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The reason: Harry Potter is a wizard! The first book in the “Harry Potter” series makes the perfect introduction to the world of Hogwarts.

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Review: What can I say I am a huge Harry Potter fan so I really only have good things to say about this. I know it’s been reviewed over and over and over again but I decided in honor of the new one coming out I would review it again and of course…talk about it on here. diagon-alley-5

The first time I read this story I was 16 years old and I could not put it down. I have read it over and over again and could recite some of it off by heart.

mirroroferisedBy far it’s the least of my fav books as it’s the most childish and a lot of the story is spent getting to know everyone. Which is fine, it is what you have to do in a series like this. For kids who are just starting out and still too young for the violence and action of the later ones this is a great one to start off with. The movie is also the same and I would suggest reading/watching close together.

I read the illustrated version which is very heavy but man is it beautiful. The pictures are well done and close to what I would imagine it would look like (minus the Hollywood) version. They are full of color and life and detail. Great job, this is a version I am so happy to have. Pictures really make it better. harrypotter-edition

Of course Harry Potter is not for everyone and I know people who didn’t like the books/series at all and that is fine. For the ones that are huge fans make sure you get this version.

 

 

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Review: The BFG by Roald Dahl

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Category: 9-12 Fiction

Published: (First in) 1982

Read: June 2016

Score: 5/5

Synopsis: (Goodreads) Captured by a giant! The BFG is no ordinary bone-crunching giant. He is far too nice and jumbly. It’s lucky for Sophie that he is. Had she been carried off in the middle of the night by the Bloodbottler, the Fleshlumpeater, the Bonecruncher, or any of the other giants-rather than the BFG-she would have soon become breakfast.
When Sophie hears that they are flush-bunking off in England to swollomp a few nice little chiddlers, she decides she must stop them once and for all. And the BFG is going to help her!

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Review: How can you not love this book and this author. With a language all his own, original stories with good morals and meanings behind them. Great writing and relatable characters it’s a winning combination. There is a reason that he is a classic and his books are found on most book shelves even to this day. bfg-and-bottle-illustration

The story of a little girl name Sophie and how she meets the Big Friendly Giant. The giant takes her to his part of the world to keep her safe as there are other giants (9 to be exact) that eat people each night. With names like Fleshlumpeater how could they not be anything but mean, man-eating giants. The hatch a plan to stop them from eating people but need the help of the Queen of England to do so. That is basically the story with a lot of fun in between.

ff6356824dbe014127844e6cab81f173It’s a great story that will entrance any child. It’s got a bit of scary elements as only Dahl can do but not scary that it should give nightmares or really scare the cats. All his stories are like this. I can see why they chose this one to make in to a movie as well, I can just imagine it’s a great one and now can’t wait to see it.

Of course it’s going to get a  5/5 it’s a great book and a good story and one I will keep and pass along to my kids when they are old enough to enjoy these stories themselves. I remember love some, like The Witches, when I was younger. Of course any book with illustrations is a hit with me!

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Review: Romancing The Dark In The City Of Light by Ann Jacobus

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Category: YA Fiction

Published: October 2015

Read: June 2016

Score: 5/5

Synopsis: (Goodreads) Summer Barnes just moved to Paris to repeat her senior year of high school. After being kicked out of four boarding schools, she has to get on track or she risks losing her hefty inheritance. Summer is convinced that meeting the right guy will solve everything. She meets two. Moony, a classmate, is recovering against all odds from a serious car accident, and he encourages Summer to embrace life despite how hard it can be to make it through even one day. But when Summer meets Kurt, a hot, mysterious older man who she just can’t shake, he leads her through the creepy underbelly of the city-and way out of her depth.
When Summer’s behaviour manages to alienate everyone, even Moony, she’s forced to decide if a life so difficult is worth living.

Review: This book was completely different from what I expected. I honestly thought it was going to be a book about a troubled teen who goes to Paris finds love…and that is it. A lovely teen book. My mind was BLOWN. It was so much more than that and I couldn’t put it down and completely loved it. maxresdefault

Summer is a troubled teen for sure, she is a partier and likes to drink…a lot. She also has body issues and self esteem issues. Being in Paris she is there to finally finish school and graduate to go to college so she can inherit her Grandfather’s money as per his estate. She meet’s Mooney (who is easily the best character in this book) who has a lot of physical problems because of a bad car accident years earlier. His outlook on life is upbeat and positive despite his many problems. They pick up a great friendship, I was worried at first I thought Summer just liked him for the sake of it but again I was wrong. Than there is Kurt, who is dark and mysterious and pushes her to party and drink and think bad about herself. I never really got this attraction because he was always described as having a slightly off smell….which is a  no go for me.

You see the downward spiral for Summer as she is torn between the two while trying to finish school, come to terms with her father’s death (which is a suicide) and try to take control of her drinking problems. It’s a perfect storm for a big build up and an ending that is crazy and beautiful and sad and real all at the same time.

I also loved how after the story there is some information on how to spot symptoms of depression and suicide and how to help someone if you suspect they are feelings these things.

It was well written and even when Summer was doing really bad things you root for her. I couldn’t put it down and was happy I read it. I was going to read it and put in a yard sale but I can say I am going to keep it now. It’s a story that every teen should read at some point. It’s a hard story but one that I think is important.

This is a great story and I think most people will love to read it. That is why it got such a high score with me.

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#TBT Review: Call The Midwife A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times (The Midwife Trilogy #1) by Jennifer Worth

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Category: Biography

Published: 2002

Read: April 2015

Score: 4/5

Synopsis: (Goodreads) At the age of twenty-two, Jennifer Worth leaves her comfortable home to move into a convent and become a midwife in post war London’s East End slums. The colorful characters she meets while delivering babies all over London-from the plucky, warm-hearted nuns with whom she lives to the woman with twenty-four children who can’t speak English to the prostitutes and dockers of the city’s seedier side-illuminate a fascinating time in history. Beautifully written and utterly moving, The Midwife will touch the hearts of anyone who is, and everyone who has, a mother.

Review: This was a surprising book and I did love it for the most part. Each chapter is a story in and of itself of the different people who Jennifer Worth lives with and meets. There are characters in both the convent and in the East End slums. 4d9aa60b55b7dc29478f80d027ec68fb

I must say that i did learn a lot about this time period and area in London. I did not know a lot about it and it was enlightening, and sad and hopeful at the same time. The people were a different group of people who had it hard…very hard but still survived…and pumped out babies. It’s also goes to show how wonderful birth control is.

You meet a lot of different people. Loving couples who can’t seem to stop producing. Women who are in abusive relationship and can barely take care of themselves and their children. Kids who are loved and taken care of and kids who live in squalor. You also meet some great people from an older nun who just causes trouble to another midwife who is so big and clumsy you can’t help but love her.

1412245875496_wps_5_E1_London_August_1969_C_NI know it was turned in to a television show but I have not watched it and no plans on it either. As a book it’s a great read, as I said you learn things. It’s not long and not big and the writing is done well. I went on to read the other books…and maybe one day might review them too 😉

For anyone who is a mother or has a mother I think you will love this book. I also think that anyone who likes a good biography this one is for you.

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