Thursday, June 30, 2011

REVIEW: Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince

book cover of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Title: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Author: J. K. Rowling
Date Published: July 2005
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Page Count: 652 pages
Challenge: None

Oh, this book.  I don't even know where to begin.
Up until now, all of the other books had been rereads, and this one was a first time read.  And I have to say, that I can't believe I waited this long to finish this series.  This book was slightly different than the other, focusing more on relationships between the characters and less on fighting Voldemort.  However, even if Harry was not fighting him, he was still learning a lot about him, and a lot about Dumbledore as well.  Now we'll get into my favorite parts and not favorite parts.  As I've said before, if you've not read this series, don't read any further, there are spoilers!

Favorite Parts:
  • Fred and George's joke shop.  I think its awesome that they've been that successful.  And I really want to see what a pigmy puff looks like!  I have this image, but I'm pretty sure it looks nothing like it.
  • Probably the best part of this novel is the private lessons with Dumbledore.  Not just because I love Dumbledore, but because of the things that Harry was learning about.  Voldemort has been chasing Harry for years and years, and now we're really learning more about him, why he is the way that he is and so forth.  It being all through the use of memories, makes it even neater.
  • The Half-Blood Prince.  Brilliant in potions and inventing spells.  Of course, we find out later that it is Snape, and who would have ever pictured Snape helping Harry?  No one would have.
  • The relationships in this book were some of the best parts.  All of a sudden Ron is with Lavender and Hermione can't stand it, and then Harry suddenly likes Ginny and its all just very odd.  Of course you have to have expected the thing between Ron and Hermione since the beginning.  And I guess Harry and Ginny make sense don't they?
  • The use of the word "snogging."  I have never heard that word, but I think its the greatest thing ever.
Not so Favorite Parts:
book cover of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince UK cover
  • I will admit, I had the ending of this book spoiled for me, but even so, I was just not prepared for it.  The second Harry and Dumbledore got back, and Malfoy entered the tower, I was trying to prepare myself for it, but it didn't work.  Dumbledore's death killed me.  I cried through the majority of the rest of the book.  It was incredibly sad.  When I like a book enough to make me cry THAT much, its pretty crazy.
  • Slughorn.  I think he's just an annoying shit.  Picking his favorites and what not.  I would have hated him.
  • This is the book where Snape's side is truly revealed, and I hate it.  I hate him, and I hate what he did.
  • As much as we've come to dislike Malfoy because of everything that he's done, I can't help but feel bad for him.  In the scene in the tower, you can tell that he seriously doubts the side that he is on, and he is indeed not a killer.  But he lets his fear for his life and his family cloud that and believes that he has no way out.  So, in the sense, I feel sorry for him.
Favorite Quotes:
  • "It is the unknown we fear when we look upon death and darkness, nothing more."
  • "Let us step into the night and pursue that flighty temptress, adventure."
  • "It was, he thought, the difference between being dragged into the arena to face a battle to the death and walking into the arena with your head held high. Some people, perhaps, would say that there was little to choose between the two ways, but Dumbledore knew - and so do I, thought Harry, with a rush of fierce pride, and so did my parents - that there was all the difference in the world."

Think you might want to give this book a try? Read other reviews or order from  Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New Release Tuesday (11)

Here's a weekly feature where I share what I'm excited about for the upcoming week in both books and music.  I only feature one or two for each category, but there a LOADS of new releases every Tuesday and you can find them by visiting B& or!
Title:  The Girl in the Blue Beret
Author:  Bobbie Ann Mason
Release Date:  June 28, 2011
book cover of The Girl in the Blue Beret by Bobbie Ann MasonSummary:  Inspired by the wartime experiences of her late father-in-law, award-winning author Bobbie Ann Mason has written an unforgettable novel about an American World War II pilot shot down in Occupied Europe.   When Marshall Stone returns to his crash site decades later, he finds himself drawn back in time to the brave people who helped him escape from the Nazis. He especially recalls one intrepid girl guide who risked her life to help him—the girl in the blue beret.   At twenty-three, Marshall Stone was a U.S. flyboy stationed in England. Headstrong and cocksure, he had nine exhilarating bombing raids under his belt when enemy fighters forced his B-17 to crash-land in a Belgian field near the border of France. The memories of what happened next—the frantic moments right after the fiery crash, the guilt of leaving his wounded crewmates and fleeing into the woods to escape German troops, the terror of being alone in a foreign country—all come rushing back when Marshall sets foot on that Belgian field again.   Marshall was saved only by the kindness of ordinary citizens who, as part of the Resistance, moved downed Allied airmen through clandestine, often outrageous routes (over the Pyrenees to Spain) to get them back to their bases in England. Even though Marshall shared a close bond with several of the Resistance members who risked their lives for him, after the war he did not look back. But now he wants to find them again—to thank them and renew their ties. Most of all, Marshall wants to find the courageous woman who guided him through Paris. She was a mere teenager at the time, one link in the underground line to freedom.
Marshall’s search becomes a wrenching odyssey of discovery that threatens to break his heart—and also sets him on a new course for the rest of his life. In his journey, he finds astonishing revelations about the people he knew during the war—none more electrifying and inspiring than the story of the girl in the blue beret.
Intimate and haunting, The Girl in the Blue Beret is a beautiful and affecting story of love and courage, war and redemption, and the startling promise of second chances.
Why I'm Excited:  Just read the description.  Doesn't it just sound good?

Album Title:  The Truth Is...
Artist:  Theory of a Deadman
Release Date:  July 12, 2011
Theory of a Deadman The Truth Is album coverWhy I'm Excited:  Believe it or not, it was my dad that first made me listen to Theory of a Deadman.  Their first album, aptly titled Theory of a Deadman was actually a pretty good CD.  They came out before all this crap like Hinder and Buckcherry and most of the generic radio rock that is out now.  However, their latest albums have been just that, generic radio rock, so I have a feeling that might actually be what this album is like, which is disappointing.  However, I think I'll give it a chance when it comes out, before I make assumptions.  I've been surprised before :]

Monday, June 27, 2011

This Week's Reads (6)

Look, I'm reading something different this week!  I know, I'm as shocked as all of you are.  I managed to read a finish quite a bit this week.  But, I'm going to be mixing this post up a bit to include, what I'm reading, what kind of posts you can expect from me this week, what I'll be reading next, and any reviews that were posted last week.  Onward!

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling
Finally, here we are into something that I haven't read yet.  In the last book, Harry was annoying and angsty, and he just got on my nerves.  Things are different here, because things are getting serious.  People's lives are at stake, he's getting further into his studies, and he's really had to grow up and deal with things.  I love the relationship between Dumbledore and Harry, that's one of the most striking things about this book.  Also, the growing relationship between Ron and Hermione, and well as Harry and Ginny.  I'm really liking this book, but I'm going to be sad when I get the end of the series :[

**Edit** I scheduled this post Sunday night and actually finished book 6 and started book 7 last night.  The ending was phenomenal.  Will post a review later this week!

What will I be reading next?
--  I hope to finish the above soon, and move on to the 7th and final installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.  I'll be sad to finish it, but it was an awesome ride.
--  I may pick up Agatha Christie's Murder In Three Acts.  It looks like a quick read that I can be finished with.
--  The next series I plan on getting into I think may be the either the Dark Tower series or the Outlander series.  I haven't made up my mind which I want to read.

Reviews from last week:
The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto
The Dream Crystal by Mark O'Bannon
Movie Review:  Black Death (2010)

This week you can expect:
--  My usual New Release Tuesday post.  Check this out for the newest book and album releases that I'm excited about.
--  I imagine that I'll have Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince reviewed this week, as well as anything else that I get read
--  And of course, my Sunday meme's, The Sunday Salon and In My Mailbox!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Sunday Salon (12)

Edition #12 of the Sunday Salon.  Remember that if you want to become a participant, log onto and join the group!

This week has been a good week.  I'm still continuing my Harry Potter extravaganza.  I'll probably finish Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince tonight and start the final installment either tonight or tomorrow morning.  It's been a bumpy ride, and I've actually dreamed about Harry and his buddies, since I do most of my reading right before I go to bed.  Some tears have been shed, but I have enjoyed it, and I will be sad when its over.  However, I still have the movies that I'm going to go through.  I hate that they're not available on the instant part of Netflix, but I've added them all to my queue, so I'll start getting them Tuesday I think.   

I semi-organized my bookshelf on Thursday.  It really is only one shelf, since I have no room in the small room, so everything is stacked on each other and it sucks.  I can't wait to have my apartment and I can get some nice bookshelves.  Anyway, when I went through my books again I made myself pick some things out to part with, and we took a trip to 2nd and Charles.  And it was a failed mission.  They took 2 of the 14 books I had, and gave me $3 worth of trade in credit.  I was kinda sad.  So, I'm going to take them to the used bookstore in town and hope that they'll take some of this stuff and if they don't, I'll just drop it off at Goodwill.  But, I guess when I think about it, it really was a good thing that I didn't get trade in credit.  It just would have added to the monstrous pile of things I'm already trying to read!

I think that's all I have for the Salon this week!  I hope everyone has a marvelous week, and Happy Reading!

In My Mailbox (15)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where you basically post your week in books.  Interested in participating?  Click the link to sign up!

So, I skipped IMM last week, because I was stuck on the same two books from the previous week and I hadn't purchased anything, so it seemed rather pointless!  I told myself that I wasn't going to buy anything this week, but I did have some books that I was able to trade in when I visited 2nd and Charles this week, so I figured I would have something to show.  Unfortunately, they didn't take almost any of my book, and I was left with $3 in trade-in credit.  But, my brother's friend did bring me something!  It's in the bough category, but it still counts.
Also, since I managed to not leave the house much this week, I finished all the books that I was stuck on last week, did all the reviews and started a new one.  I'm still truckin my way through Harry Potter, but I hope to be finished next week, so that should be the last week you see an Harry Potter in these posts!  Anyway, on to the books!

Books I Bought
Nightmares and Dreamscapes
NookBooks I Downloaded
None this week!
Books/Galleys Received for Review
Also none this week!
Books I'm Currently Reading
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Books I Started
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince The Lake
Books I Finished
The Dream Crystal The Lake Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Saturday, June 25, 2011

REVIEW: Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix

book cover of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Title: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Author: J. K. Rowling
Date Published: 2003
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Page Count: 870 pages
Challenge: None

Wow, I realized as I started reading this, that there was so much that I didn't remember from reading this book the first time.  Granted, it was 2003 when I read it last, so it has been quite a while! For example, I made the comment in my review for The Prisoner of Azkaban that I was sad that we wouldn't see Lupin again.  How wrong I was.  But, that's what happens when you read something so long ago.
As far as this book is concerned, I'm not really sure where it stands in order of favorites.  Its somewhere in the middle I think.  I can appreciate the fact that Rowling is really taking us through the characters growing up and changing, but Harry's angst and yelling at everyone all the time was a little hard to take at times.  But, I still love the characters.  So, lets get to favorite and no so favorite parts!  Oh, also, if for whatever reason, you haven't read this series, don't read any farther, there are spoilers!

Favorite Parts:

  • Dumbledore.  I will forever love him, but I think that this book made me appreciate him even more.  After Harry looses Sirius and they're having the conversation in his office, it made you realize how caring and human he is and how much he loves Harry.
  • "Weasley is our King!"  Okay, I love Ron, like everyone else, but no one can tell me that this was not funny.
  • Fred and George.  In this book, we really see the brilliance of these two.  From the concoctions they make to help students skip classes to the enormous swamp they make in the hall, these two are outrageously funny.  However, I think the best part was the fireworks scene.  And after they made the swamp and they left the school.  There were pretty badass :]
  • Even though the exchanges between Harry and Cho were super awkward, some of them were really cute and made me rememeber being 15 (even though that wasn't THAT long ago).
  • The lessons with Snape.  Snape is such a jerk, but these scenes are pretty intense and actually very important.

Not So Favorite Parts

    book cover of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix UK cover
  • Sirius.  Need I say more?  That was worse than Cedric dying in Book 4.  Harry finally has someone that he feels like is family, someone that knew the parents that he never knew and his time was cut incredibly short.  When Harry finds the two way mirror at the end, and tried to use it, my heart broke.  And my heart broke when he yelled at Dumbledore in his office and was breaking things.  Rowling did a wonderful job expressing his grief in this.
  • Umbridge.  I do not remember hating a character more that I hate her.  Of course, we're supposed to hate her, but I had to point this out.  This woman isn't just a bitch, she's a power hungry evil woman.  She may say that she's opposed to Voldemort because she works for the ministry, but even though she's not herself at the end, I expect that we might see her again.  But, maybe I'm wrong.
  • As previously mentioned, how whiny Harry is.
  • Of course, we hate Malfoy.  And I have a feeling that with his father being caught, things are going to get a little more intense between the two adversaries. 

Favorite Quotes

  • "You do care," said Dumbledore. He had not flinched or made a single move to stop Harry demolishing his office. His expression was calm, almost detached. "You care so much you feel as though you will bleed to death with the pain of it."
  • "Youth can not know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young." 
  • "You should write a book," Ron told Hermione as he cut up his potatoes, "translating mad things girls do so boys can understand them." 
  • "The mind is not a book, to be opened at will and examined at leisure. Thoughts are not etched on the inside of skulls, to be perused by an invader. The mind is a complex and many-layered thing." 
  • "You do not seek to kill me, Dumbledore?" called Voldemort ... "Above such brutality, are you?"    "We both know that there are other ways of destroying a man, Tom," Dumbledore said calmly ... "Merely taking your life would not satisfy me, I admit-"    "There is nothing worse than death, Dumbledore! ...    "You are quite wrong ... Indeed, your failure to understand that there are things worse than death has always been your greatest weakness..." 

Think you might want to give this book a try? Read other reviews or order from  Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix

Friday, June 24, 2011

REVIEW: The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto

book cover of The Lake by Banana Yoshimoto
Title: The Lake
Author: Banana Yoshimoto
Date Published: First published in 2005, translated in 2011
Genre: Non-Western Literature
Page Count: 208 pages
Challenge: E-Book Challenge

**A portion of all sales of this book will be donated to the Japan Disaster Relief Fund**

Brief Synopsis:  It tells the tale of a young woman who moves to Tokyo after the death of her mother, hoping to get over her grief and start a career as a graphic artist. She finds herself spending too much time staring out her window, though ... until she realizes she’s gotten used to seeing a young man across the street staring out his window, too.
They eventually embark on a hesitant romance, until she learns that he has been the victim of some form of childhood trauma. Visiting two of his friends who live a monastic life beside a beautiful lake, she begins to piece together a series of clues that lead her to suspect his experience may have had something to do with a bizarre religious cult. . . .

My Thoughts:  I have read one other Banana Yoshimoto novel for a Non-Western literature class, and I loved it.  Naturally, I was excited when I got this from NetGalley.  I was not disappointed at all.
Both Chihiro and Nakajima have suffered loss in their lives.  Both are now motherless and their early family life left something to be desired.  But, as they begin seeing more of each other, Chihiro learns that Nakajima has dealt with some incredibly painful things; things that she herself can not begin to understand.  
Nakajima is different and unlike anyone that she has ever met before.  She has fallen in love with him before she even realizes it for herself and she reflects on when she realized it, and what made her love him.  Of course, one of the things the reader wants to know most is, what happened to Nakajima?  And although we don't find out until the very end, it is worth the wait.

The layout of this book was a little different that I'm used to.  It has no chapters, but everything flows together pretty well.  Sometimes when things are translated, you lost some things somewhere in between, but I didn't see that happen here.  There were some passages that were so moving and so poignant that I re-read them several times.  This is a novel about love, but not in the traditional sense.  It's a lot deeper than I expected it to be, which is always a nice surprise.  She has a minimalist style of writing, which makes it easier for certain things to come through, and you don't get lost as easily.

I really liked this book.  I thank Melville House for sending me this, and giving me the opportunity to read this.  Its a short read, but very powerful and wonderful.  I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys minimalist literary works.  I give this book a 4.25 out of 5! 

Think you might want to give this book a try? Read other reviews or order from  The Lake  *As stated, proceeds of this book go to the Japan Disaster Relief Fund!  Go get your copy!*

Thursday, June 23, 2011

REVIEW: The Dream Crystal by Mark O'Bannon

book cover of The Dream Crystal by Mark O'BannonTitle:  The Dream Crystal
Author: Mark O'Bannon
Date Published: May 13, 2011
Genre: Fantasy
Page Count: Kindle Edition
Challenge: E-Book Challenge

** I would like to thank the author for sending me his work and allowing me to write an honest, unbiased review**

A Brief Summary: "All of the world’s dreams are about to die. The Shadow People have come. Always near, they linger in the darkness, ready to devour dreams, hopes, aspirations and desires. . .
Aisling, having lost her dream of becoming a fashion designer, learns that she’s a Faerie changeling. Disquieted by the fact that her faerie parents are kidnappers, she has decided to rescue the human child she was exchanged for, but her “sister” is no longer among the faeries, having been taken by the Shadow People. Ith, the Lord of Shadows, is trying to control the dreams of mankind, which are under the protection of the faeries, so they’re at war.
Aisling, who doesn’t believe in dreams any longer, is falling in love with a handsome, mysterious stranger – one of the Shadow People."

My Thoughts:  I enjoyed reading The Dream Crystal.  I like fantasy, and its not something that I have read a whole lot of, but I did enjoy reading this.  Mark does a fantastic job of transporting you into the world of the fairies.  There are 3 actual worlds, the dream world, the shadow world, and the human world and they mirror each other geographically, since they're more like alternate dimensions.
There were a lot of characters, and sometimes they got a little bit confusing, and some of the names are a little hard to pronounce, but luckily, there is a handy dandy appendix in the back with the cast of characters and how to pronounce the troubling names.  I also struggled with whether I liked some of the characters, my biggest struggle being Aisling.  She's very proud and passionate, and she seems very into herself and her looks at certain points, which made me unsure of whether I really liked her.  But as the story went on, she grew on me.  Also, because Aisling wants to become a fashion designer, there is a lot of attention to detail about what the characters are wearing.  In most of the scenes there was a description of the characters and everything that they were wearing.
I also liked the emphasis put on the Celtic history and the occurrence of Gaelic phrases throughout the book.  My family being Irish, I could really appreciate this and I thought that it really added to the novel.

However, I did feel at times that the story dragged because of all of the detail that was put in and it just didn't feel like it was important to the story line at times.  At times there was also an overwhelming amount of things happening in each chapter, so sometimes I had to backtrack to make sure that I understood what was going on.  Also, as previously stated, the vast cast of characters also created some confusion.

Overall, it was a good story, with a good plot, good characters.  The writing was solid, but a little less attention to detail might do well in the future.  I recommend this book to lovers of fantasy, especially if you like faeries.  I give this novel a solid 3.5 out of 5!

Think you might want to give this book a try? Read other reviews or order from! The Dream Crystal (The Dream War Series) 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Movie Review: Black Death

Black Death movie poster
Title:  Black Death
Release Date:  June 11, 2010 (UK)
Run Time:  1 hour and 37 minutes
Genre:  Horror, Mystery
Rating: B

I'm a huge fan of historical fiction in books, and I also love movies that are based in different time periods.  That was the reason that I was drawn to this movie.  I'm also a pretty big fan of the actor Sean Bean, and he's one of the leading men in this movie.
To summarize the movie, it takes place in England during the first outbreak of the Bubonic Plague.  A young monk, Osmund has volunteered to lead a group of the bishop's men to a remote village that has yet to be ravaged by the plague.  They're task is to bring back a necromancer who is said to be raising the dead.

While that might interest you, like it did me, this is a very dark movie.  When I say dark, I mean in every sense of the word.  The lighting throughout the movie was very dark, and the themes that run through the movie are very dark as well.  In the very beginning scenes there are images of bodies just piled up all over the village where the monastery is.  There are also many more violent and pretty gross images that are littered throughout the movie.
However, as gross as this movie was, I really liked it.  Because of the time period, it focuses a lot on religion and I have read reviews where people feel like its giving the message "you better be a Christian," but I didn't get that vibe from it.  One of the reasons I liked it as much as I did was because even though its not based off of a true story, based off of the time period, it wouldn't surprise me if something similar actually happened and it just was never documented.

Anyway, I liked this movie, if you can stand horribly dark movies, I suggest watching it.  The story was good, the acting was solid, but it is somewhat slow in parts, so I give this movie a B!

If you'd like to look into buying this movie or renting it instantly, you can look here on!  Black Death

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New Release Tuesday (10)

Here's a weekly feature where I share what I'm excited about for the upcoming week in both books and music.  I only feature one or two for each category, but there a LOADS of new releases every Tuesday and you can find them by visiting B& or!
Title:  The Man Who Broke Into Auschwitz: A True Story of World War II
Author:  Denis Avey and Rob Broomby
Release Date:  June 28, 2011
book cover of The Man who Broke into Auschwitz by Denis AveySummary:  The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz is the extraordinary true story of a British soldier who marched willingly into the concentration camp, Buna-Monowitz, known as Auschwitz III.  In the summer of 1944, Denis Avey was being held in a British POW labour camp, E715, near Auschwitz III. He had heard of the brutality meted out to the prisoners there and he was determined to witness what he could.  He hatched a plan to swap places with a Jewish inmate and smuggled himself into his sector of the camp. He spent the night there on two occasions and experienced at first-hand the cruelty of a place where slave workers, had been sentenced to death through labor.  Astonishingly, he survived to witness the aftermath of the Death March where thousands of prisoners were murdered by the Nazis as the Soviet Army advanced. After his own long trek right across central Europe he was repatriated to Britain.  For decades he couldn't bring himself to revisit the past that haunted his dreams, but now Denis Avey feels able to tell the full story—a tale as gripping as it is moving—which offers us a unique insight into the mind of an ordinary man whose moral and physical courage are almost beyond belief.
Why I'm Excited:  I love stories like this.  I love history, and I love reading empowering stories, especially about this time period.  A lot of people have a hard time with them, because they say that they're so depressing, but I think that reading things like this are important.  It really helps to understand the time period and such.  So, for that reason, I'm excited.  It looks really good. :]
Album Title:  Taking Back Sunday
Artist:  Taking Back Sunday
Release Date:  June 28, 2011
Taking Back Sunday self-titled album coverWhy I'm Excited:  I used to listen to Taking Back Sunday back in the day.  Their first album takes me back to the days when I was in high school and I spent insane amounts of time over at my cousin Lindsi's house and the time when we painted her room dark blue with white stars on one wall, and they all came out stupid looking....anyway, out of memory lane.  I loved them back in the day, but I haven't listened to the past few albums.  I also had no idea that they were releasing anything new until I went looking for things for this post, so it was kinda exciting to see it.  Also, a friend on mine said that the single was really good.  But, we will see!

Monday, June 20, 2011

This Week's Reads (5)

This is getting a little redundant isn't it?  Well, I guess not, since I've been out of town most of this week.  So, here is what I'm reading this week!

The Dream Crystal by Mark O'Bannon
I'm going to finish it this week!  I swear I am!  I'm not sure how I feel about this though, to be completely honest.    I'm getting to the last quarter of it, and there are some things that are starting to not make a whole lot of sense.  Once again, I really hope that everything wraps up in a nice little bow...well all that can be wrapped up.  It's my understanding that this is a series so there will be more to it.

Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
I;m about halfway through this, and as I think I've said about 20 times, I'm amazed at all I forgot.  There are things that I remember, so I know that I'm going to be saddened.  And I can not STAND this Umbridge woman, but you're not supposed to, so its okay that I hate her.  I'm also struggling with how incredibly bitchy Harry is.  Teenage angst anyone?  Super annoying.  I'm hoping that I can finish this one this week, and start on one that I haven't read at all.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Sunday Salon (11)

Edition #11 of the Sunday Salon.  Remember that if you want to become a participant, log onto and join the group!

Happy Father's Day!
Just wanted to wish a Happy Father's Day to all the father's out there.  Unfortunately, I won't be see too much of my father today, since I have to work this afternoon.  But, I did get to see him yesterday, so I guess that somewhat makes up for it.

Like I said in my previous post, my life has been crazy this past week.  I hope to have more time this week to devote to my actual reading.  I did get some time to read while we were at the beach.  When I wasn't out on the actual beach, I was on the balcony, in the sun, listening to the waves and reading Harry Potter.
And speaking of Harry Potter, it really amazes me how much of this book I have forgotten.  I think I read it so fast the first time that I just didn't retain it like I wanted to.  But, it definitely adds more to it reading through it this time.  Does that ever happen to anyone?  Not retaining certain books?  I just think its funny, because there are some books that I've read that I remember years later. For example, its been years since I've read Gap Creek : The Story Of A Marriage and I still remember most of that book, but I couldn't remember Harry Potter.  Who knows.     

I normally have more to say, but because of my lack of reading lately, I don't have as much to say as I would normally.  So, everyone enjoy your week, and Happy Reading!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

My crazy life!

Hello readers, here I am, back from vacation, but I've still had a lot of things to do!
I got back from vacation on Thursday afternoon and it was really great.  We really enjoyed ourselves.  We ate awesome food, swam all day, and walked on the beach every night.  I love the beach, and I wish we could have stayed longer, but we were lucky that we even got to go, so for that I'm thankful.
Friday was spent running around trying to get everything ready for the baby shower that ended a few hours ago. I was cooking for hours last night, and this morning, but everything went off without a hitch so it was good.
I'm exhausted.  Beyond exhausted, really.  I would like to just sleep, but I don't think that's going to happen.  I'm *trying* to get some reading done, but we'll see how it goes.
Anyway, hopefully, there will be more posts from me in the coming week.
Hope everyone is having an amazing weekend, and happy reading!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

REVIEW: Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire

book cover of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Title: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Author: J. K. Rowling
Date Published: First published 1999
Genre: Young Adult
Page Count: 734 pages
Challenge: None

This is one of my favorite books of the series I think, of the 5 that I've read.  I was honestly surprised at how I forgot several of the things that were in this book.  I think when I read it the first time, I read it fast and I didn't retain a lot of the information.  In this book, Rowling is getting a lot darker, the childhood phase is gone, and the kids are hitting adolescence.  One of the things that we really see is that the opposite sexes are discovering one another, with scenes like the Yule Ball, and suddenly Harry notices another girl, Cho Chang.  There were a lot of things in this book that I really liked, but there were a lot of things that made me really sad.  So, I suggest that if for whatever reason, you haven't read this series, you may not want to read past this point, because there are spoilers!

Favorite Parts:

  • I love Ron's new owl.  He seems like he would be beyond annoying, but at the same time, he just seems adorable because he's so little!
  • The quiddich world cup scenes were really fun.  Other than the ending scene of course.
  • The scene where George and Fred try and put their names into the Goblet of Fire and come out with beards. That's so amusing to me.
  • Ron's dress robes.  Their just horrible!  Moldy, purple, and lacy?  Yuck.
  • I really love that the kids are growing up and Rowling is able to get a little more complex with her writing.  This book is the darkest yet in the series, but such is life.
  • Moody really being Barty Crouch.  That was pretty crazy to me.  Of course you knew that there was something up why how he took such a liking to Harry, but the fact that he kept up the facade for a year, was pretty crazy.
  • S.P.E.W.  Hermione's got a great heart, but the acronym is awful and the whole thing is pointless.
  • Malfoy bouncing around as a ferret was one of the greatest scenes in the whole book.  He's such a little shit, he deserved it.

Not so favorite parts:

  • Voldemort.  I just want him to get out of here!  But then we wouldn't have the last 3 books, so as much as I hate him, he's a necessary evil.
  • Oh man.  When he killed Cedric, I cried so much.  It didn't help that I was overly tired when I was reading this part so I cried even harder than I did the first time.  And when the figures start coming out of the end of his wand, and Cedric asks him to take his body back, I cried even more.  And when his parents popped out. That entire scene was so intense.  I loved it, but it made me cry, which is why its in this section.
  • I really just can't figure Snape out, which really just makes me hate him.
  • Ron was such a shit after Harry's name came out of the goblet.  I was really mad at him for being such a butthead.
  • Rita Skeeter.  I'd like to punch her in the throat, I think.

Favorite Quotes:

  • "If you want to know what a man's like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals."
  • "Remember, if the time should come when you have to make a choice between what is right and what is easy, remember what happened to a boy who was good, and kind, and brave, because he strayed across the path of Lord Voldemort. Remember Cedric Diggory."
  • "Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it." 
  • "We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided."
  • "Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open." 
  • "Time will not slow down when something unpleasant lies ahead." 
  • "Never be ashamed. There’s some who’ll hold it against you, but they’re not worth bothering with." 

Think you might want to give this book a try? Read other reviews or order from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book 4) 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

New Release Tuesday (9)

Here's a weekly feature where I share what I'm excited about for the upcoming week in both books and music.  I only feature one or two for each category, but there a LOADS of new releases every Tuesday and you can find them by visiting B& or!
Title:  Before I Go to Sleep
Author:  S. J. Watson
Release Date:  June 14, 2011
book cover of Before I Go to Sleep by S. J. WatsonSummary:  Memories—real, false, and a bit of both—are at the heart of British author Watson's haunting, twisted debut. Christine Lucas awakens each morning in London with no idea who she is or why she's in bed with a strange man, until he tells her that his name is Ben and they've been married for 22 years. Slowly, Christine learns that she has amnesia and is unable to remember her past or retain new memories: every night when she falls asleep, the slate is wiped clean. Dr. Nash, her therapist, has encouraged her to write in a journal that she keeps secret from Ben. Christine realizes how truly tangled—and dangerous—her life is after she sees the words "don't trust Ben" written in her journal, whose contents reveal that the only person she can trust is herself. Watson handles what could have turned into a cheap narrative gimmick brilliantly, building to a chillingly unexpected climax.
Why I'm Excited:  New find again!  This does seem like a very tired concept, someone loses their memory and their struggling to get it back (The Bourne Identity anyone?) but this is just the tinniest bit different.  But, let's face it, how easy is it to come up with new concepts now? Anyway, I like the concept of this, but I think I might wait to add it to my TBR pile until after I read some reviews about it!
Album Title:  Sounds of a Playground Fading
Artist:  In Flames
Release Date:  June 21, 2011
In Flames Sounds of a Playground Fading album coverWhy I'm Excited:  I love In Flames.  Reroute to Remain and Come Clarity are both fantastic albums.  My love affair with In Flames started a few years ago with these two albums.  However, when they released A Sense of Purpose, I really fell in love.  That was a phenomenal album.  So, when I heard the single from this upcoming album, I thought it was fantastic as well, and thus, I am excited about this release.  I hope that it lives up to their previous release, since I believe that they're working with a new guitarist in this album, but I have faith.  Also, I love their album art.  Alex Pardee is a wonderful artist, and has done art for The Used and Aiden as well.  If you love weird art, check out his gallery!

Monday, June 13, 2011

This Week's Reads (4)

Here's what I'm reading this week and how I'm feeling about them!

The Dream Crystal by Mark O'Bannon
I'm still struggling through this one.  Well, I guess I should reword that.  It's not that I'm struggling, I'm just so wrapped up in Harry Potter that I've been neglecting this one.  Last week was also a little crazy for me.  Life happened, but I did get some of this read.  I'm still not a big fan of the books heroine, but we'll see.  It feels like its dragging, like some of the side stories I'm just not sure if I see the point in, but we I have about 30% left of the book, so hopefully it will all wrap up and make sense in the end.

Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix by J. K. Rowling
I'm a little over 100 pages in, but I'm surprised at how little I remember from this.  There are several parts that I do remember, but a lot of it I don't.  I hate what a little angsty child Harry is being though.  Like when he blows up at Ron and Hermione at the beginning.  Really Harry?  But, you can't blame him.  After his 2 trillion traumatic experiences, I guess he deserves a little bit of leeway.  Also, the kids are growing up, so you can't really blame them.  This is going to be a pretty intense book, I can already tell.

On a personal note:
I'll be gone this week, the lovely boyfriend and I are going to be going down to Isle of Palms, SC from Tuesday through Thursday.  I'm kind of dreading seeing what my Google Reader will look like when I get back, but hopefully, it won't be THAT bad.  I'm going to try and stay technology free, but there will be lots of time for reading.  But I have to figure out what to bring, because I hate to bring my Nook out in the sun with me.  Anyone who knows about southern sun, knows that it heats things up just a little too much.  Anyway, I'll probably be reading something else this week and I will see you all on Friday (Maybe) :]

Sunday, June 12, 2011

In My Mailbox (14)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where you basically post your week in books.  Interested in participating?  Click the link to sign up!

So this is going up a little bit later than I wanted it to, but this weekend has been a little crazy for me!  However I did manage to get quite a bit read.  I got Water for Elephants from the Nook Book store on my Nook for less than $5!  So I was excited about that.  I also got another review request, which was exciting, especially because I've read Yoshimoto's work and really enjoyed it :]  Other than that, its just been a Potter-thon for me the past few weeks!

Books I Bought
None this week!
NookBooks I Downloaded
Water for Elephants
Books/Galleys Received for Review
The Lake
Books I'm Currently Reading
The Dream Crystal Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Books I Started
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Books I Finished
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
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