Tag Archives: book critic

Late to the party…

22 Aug

History repeats itself….once again I am late to the Harry Potter party. On the bright side, I’m late by 22 days and not by three books!

The first time around, I had a painfully hard time getting into Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I read the first half of that book twice before my mom (a middle school English teacher) finally convinced me to keep reading at least until the trio of friends made it to Hogwarts. She knew if I got to that part in the story I’d be hooked, and like most times in my life, she was right.

This time… Nine years later… I was once again hesitant to pick up the newest edition to the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Not because I feared it would be a dull read, rather, because it was written as a play. I am not opposed to plays, in fact I love watching them very much, reading them, however, has not always been entertaining. Need I remind every one of senior English and the lessons on Othello, Romeo & Juliet and the countless other plays I have honestly blocked from my reading memory either because they were confusing or painfully boring to read. 

But I am happy to report that today, no more than 30 minutes ago, I have finished the eighth Harry Potter story.

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I picked up the last copy my local WalMart had on Saturday evening. As I was checking out, the clerk, making small chat, commented that she was also currently reading the story. Admittedly, I shared that I was worried about reading a play for pleasure. She went on to explain how that didn’t bother her after a few pages.  I found this to be true myself, so did my mom, who also started reading on Saturday.

As I emerged myself into the story, I couldn’t believe that I had not seen or heard any details about the plot. If you are looking for spoilers, you won’t find them here! I was completely surprised with characters and choices and locations each time I turned a page. And after a few pages, I completely ignored indication of who was talking on the page – I recognized the characters through their words.

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This story introduces the next generation and answers the question many Harry Potter fans were left wondering at the close of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – what happens next?! It was interesting to see how time had changed our beloved characters, they were older, some were parents and everyone was trying to thrive in the post-Voldemort world.

Like all the other books (bar the first half of book one) this is a page-turner, one you won’t want to put down until you’ve finished. A wide range of emotions will occur as you read – confusion, surprise, shock, anger, happiness, just to point out a few. Be prepared to go on a wild ride – the magical world you thought you knew has a few secrets and surprises in store. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

And now that the last word on the last page in the latest Harry Potter book has been read, it is time to place this book next to the others on my shelf. And maybe I’ll make some extra room, maybe in another nine years J.K. Rowling will surprise us with a new addition – Harry Potter and the Great Grandchildren….

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But until then, please excuse me as I go book my tickets to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child theater production in London, England, sometime in December 2017. According to this New York Times article, the production, which lasts for 5 hours and 15 minutes,  won’t be coming to the States for quite some time and has already sold out through next May! Oh well….I love to travel and England just so happens to be on my list of places I’d love to see!

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The Selection – Book 1

31 May

My mom and I have a special bond, a love of reading! Even better, we enjoy reading the same types of books which has helped my library grow exponentially! Helping our love of reading even more is my mom’s career as a middle school english teacher. She is constantly exposed to new authors and stories through her students’ reading projects and school book fairs. And that is how we came to find The Selection by Kiera Cass.

My mom gave me a copy of the first book in the series on Saturday evening, and as soon as I got home, I was camped out on the couch reading. (And I kept reading until midnight!) It’s been a while since a book has captured my attention so quickly.

My favorite way to describe the plot of this book is The Hunger Games (sort of) meets The Bachelor. In this made up-country of Illéa, America Singer is a Five, and she is secretly in love with Aspen, a Six. A letter has been sent to the homes of every girl in the country between the ages of 16-21 saying they are eligible to enter The Selection, a competition to win the affection and love of Prince Maxon. Only 35 girls will be selected and America wants no part of it!

But through a series of events to please those she’s close to, she finds herself named as one of the Selected.

As it turns out, Prince Maxton is not at all how she had imagined him to be, and yet, she still can’t give her heart over to him as it still belongs to the love she left behind. As her time at the palace stretches beyond days and weeks, America finds friendships in what others would only describe as unlikely places, camera crews documenting the Selection for the country, and discovers she is at the center of some of the other Selected girls’ jealousy.

After a series of attacks on the palace and the sudden arrival of someone from back home, America is forced to closely examine her feelings for the Prince. Does she want to stay at the Palace even though some girls have elected to return home out of fear? Will she ever forget about the love she had for Aspen? Will her love for the Prince grow if she gives it a chance? Does she even want to BE Illéa’s next princess?

The answers to these and many other questions can be found within the pages of The Selection. One of the best parts about this story, it leaves you hanging with more questions than answers and the NEED to know what happens next. Which is the only explanation I have for running to Wal-Mart at 8:45 p.m. last night to buy the boxed set!

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s been way too long since I left America in the palace wondering what path she’ll choose! I’m off to get lost in book two, and I hope you’ve been inspired to run to your local bookstore and snatch up a copy of book one!

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My kind of Saturday

2 Jan

Happy first Saturday of the new year! I celebrated by staying in my pjs (shorts, tank top and the boyfriend’s hoodie – what is it about wearing HIS clothes that is so wonderful!? Ladies, please tell me I’m not the only one who finds such joy in this simple thing!) all day while curled up in the recliner with my blanket and new book.

I recently found a 2016 reading challenge floating around Facebook and have decided to try to accomplish it! And what better book to start with than one I just got for Christmas from my sister Megan!

Requirement: Read a book you own but have never read

Undeniably Yours, by Becky Wade

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Short review: Rich heiress meets handsome cowboy. Attraction. Drama. Blast from the past threatens to take it all away.

I know, I know that tells you nothing….let me try to give you more details while keeping you guessing! I hate when someone spoils a storyline for me, so I definitely don’t want to do that to you, dear readers!

When we first meet Megan (Meg) Cole, we learn that her father has recently passed away and that she has had to return home to her fathers estate (which is now hers) and to take up her rightful place as the head and majority share-holder for Cole Oil, the oil empire that has been in her family for generation.  She is prone to anxiety attacks, doesn’t feel confident of her place in the world and is working on her relationship with God, asking him to show her the path he has for her life.

Bo Porter is the handsome manager of Whispering Creek Ranch. He has been given a notice that he has six months before the ranch is to be closed, and while he should hate Meg for her decision, he feels a powerful drive to protect and comfort her, to be a friend and someone she can lean on.

Meg’s world is turned upside down again when a stranger and her child show up unannounced one night on her doorstep reminding her of the dark days of her past. She spends many nights wrestling with honoring her father’s wishes for her future and living a life doing something she loves, something that helps others and worships God.

Adventure, drama, love, romance, friendship, soul-searching and peace can be found within the pages of this book which takes place in the heart of Texas. And as I recently discovered, it is the first in the Porter Family Novels! From what I could find on Becy Wade’s website, there are two more stories about the Porter brothers that I must now get my hands on!

I would highly recommend this book and am excited to read more of Becky’s work. I connected so easily with the characters and their struggles and triumphs. This is a story that I will come back to read many, many times!

55 Bookworm Questions Answered!

29 Dec

1. Favorite childhood book? The American Girl series

2. What are you reading right now? “The Maze Runner” by James Dashner

3. What books do you have on request at the library? None. I have tons of new books here I need to read first!

4. Bad book habit? I tend to read three or four books at a time, that way when I get bored with one I can switch to another and then come back later.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library? None.

6. Do you have an e-reader? No, but maybe someday.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once? I already answered this, I tend to read several at once.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog? I wouldn’t say they changed, but other bloggers have suggested books to read and sometimes I take their suggestions.

9. Least favourite book you read this year (so far)? That would have to be “Blessings” by Anna Quindlen. I just can’t seem to get emotionally invested or involved. I’m currently stopped on page 113 of 226.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year? “The Secret” by Julie Garwood

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone? Not too often, I know what I like. But if a friend suggests something I’ll give it a try.

12. What is your reading comfort zone? I love reading about the Scottish Highlands, romance, mystery, adventure, time travel, science fiction – my tastes are really all over the place!

13. Can you read in the car? I can, but it’s not as easy as it was when I was a kid.

14. Favorite place to read? On my bed. My bed has seen many books.

15. What is your policy on book lending? I will lend you a book if I trust you to return it in the same condition I gave it to you.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books? NEVER. That is law number one!

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books? Only text books.

18. Not even with text books? See previous answer.

19. What is your favourite language to read in? English.

20. What makes you love a book? It’s a combination of things, I have to be able to connect emotionally. I want to “become” part of the story and escape life for a little while. I want to travel to new places, meeting new people and feel like I’ve lost part of my family when I read the last word on the last page.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book? If a book made me stay up late into the night, if the characters stick in my head or the story was unbelievably fantastic.

22. Favorite genre? I don’t really have a ‘favorite’ genre.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did)? Historical. I’m sure they are full of wonderful information but I just get so bored.

24. Favourite biography? Can’t say I have one.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book? Can’t think of any, not sure I’d tell you of had though!

26. Favourite cookbook? I just got a Disney Princess cookbook for Christmas (don’t judge me!) that I can’t wait to try out!

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)? I’m not sure. I don’t know of any have inspired me so much, more or less just happy I love to read as much as I do!

28. Favorite reading snack? Anything chocolate. Usually a piece of Ghirardelli.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phenix.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book? I don’t read what they have to say because their opinion doesn’t matter to me.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews? I always read a book wanting to like it, really hoping to enjoy it. But if someone asks me my opinion of it, I’ll tell them it was terrible for points A, B and C. And it’s okay if they disagree with me, makes for a good conversation.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose? Spanish or Italian – there’s something romantic about the way those languages roll off the tongue.

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read? Humm….. “Gone with the Wind” but that’s because I choose to tackle that beast the summer before 8th grade. I didn’t fully appreciate the story back then.

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin? I don’t tend to feel intimidated by books unless they’re on a subject I’m loathed to read about.

35. Favorite Poet? A tossup between Emily Dickinson and Emily Brontë

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time? I haven’t check books out of the library in years! But when I did it was 5 or 6 at a time, sometimes more.

37. How often have you returned books to the library unread? Rarely, but when I have, I’ve always felt like I’d betrayed the characters I never met.

38. Favorite fictional character? I can’t pick one, I feel like that must be something like asking a parent to choose their favorite child. I have connections with characters because I recognize something in them that is similar to me, or represents a trait I’m trying to develop on myself.

39. Favorite fictional villain? I’ve never liked a villain. So I don’t have one.

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation? Well, on the flight to Walt Disney World in October I had “50 Shades of Gray” with me! Hahaha

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading. Probably a week, I was away at summer camp and my mom wouldn’t let me pack a book! Hahaha!

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish. Speak.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading? If someone turns on a movie or a TV show, I find the noise very distracting. If it’s a movie or TV show I like, I’ll end up watching.

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel? I really like how “The Hunger Games” and then “Catching Fire” were adapted.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation? “Twilight” but some of that can be chalked up to a terrible director and horrid acting.

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time? With or without gift cards?! Easily $50 -$100. I try to avoid the book store unless I Kobe I have some spending money saved up!

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it? I always read the book jacket or the back of the book, if they can’t hook me there, I don’t usually read the book.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through? Boredom.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized? I try. It doesn’t work. I have too many books. I have books stacked on the floor.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them? I do not understand people who buy books, read them, and then get rid of them. I don’t get it.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding? No; but there are plenty of books I’ve been trying to get my hands on and can’t!

52. Name a book that made you angry. The Namesake. I still don’t understand why all the incoming freshmen were forced to read that awful book. I did throw it out afterwards.

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did? Harry Potter series

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t? I can’t think of one at the moment, but I’m sure there’s at least one or two!

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading? “The Kingdom Keepers” by Ridley Pearson. I know they are meant for kids, but when it comes to reading, I’m just a big kid who loves to get lost in a good story!