Wednesday, September 28, 2011

FIR '11: Reading Question #1

If you haven't seen my list...please go check it out: HERE.

Today and every Wednesday, Katrina will be asking a question about reading in correlation with the Fall Into Reading challenge :)

Today's question:
How much do book reviews influence your decision to acquire and/or read a book?

I'm a really stubborn person by nature, so when I see someone review a book that I think looks/sounds interesting...I almost take it as a challenge. I think the only way reviews really affect me is if I am on the line about the synopsis and want to know if the book is worth my time. Most of my influence is from synopses. If I am unsure whether it sounds good or not, I will go to reviews.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fall Into Reading 2011

So Kristen over at The Book Monsters mentioned Fall Into Reading 2011 today and I had to check it out. I love book challenges! This specific one is hosted by Callipidder Days and runs from Sept 23 to Dec 21. All you need to do is make a list of books you want to read this fall, link up and get to reading :) Not to mention, there will be prizes and giveaways throughout this time!

So here is my list of books:
  1. Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder ~ Joanne Fluke (#1) ~ Finished 10 Nov
  2. Strawberry Shortcake Murder ~ Joanne Fluke (#2) ~ Finished 4 Dec
  3. Blueberry Muffin Murder ~ Joanne Fluke (#3) ~ Finished 9 Dec
  4. Lemon Meringue Pie Murder ~ Joanne Fluke (#4)
  5. Fudge Cupcake Murder ~ Joanne Fluke (#5)
  6. Sugar Cookie Murder ~ Joanne Fluke (#6)
  7. Peach Cobbler Murder ~ Joanne Fluke (#7)
  8. Cherry Cheesecake Murder ~ Joanne Fluke (#8)
  9. Key Lime Pie Murder ~ Joanne Fluke (#9)
  10. Carrot Cake Murder ~ Joanne Fluke (#10)
  11. Cream Puff Murder ~ Joanne Fluke (#11)
  12. Plum Pudding Murder ~ Joanne Fluke (#12)
  13. Candy Cake Murder ~ Joanne Fluke
  14. 13 to Life ~ Shannon Delany (#1)
  15. As I Wake ~ Elizabeth Scott
  16. The Awakening ~ L.J. Smith (#1)
  17. Bossypants ~ Tina Fey ~ Finished 18 Nov
  18. The Help ~ Kathryn Stockett
  19. The Host ~ Stephenie Meyer
  20. Lost in Shangri-La ~ Michael Zuckoff
I don't really have a particular order for these, but I do like to read series at a time. I don't really like skipping in between series. :) I started the Hannah Swenson series a few days ago so that's "first" on my list...and they include RECIPES in the books *swoon*

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke

I've been in a very non-reading mood lately :( But so far, it is a great book! And it is set in Minnesota - w00t.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows [Review]

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

#7 in series
759 pages
Published 21 July 2007

Begun a decade ago and encompassing six shelf-bending novels, the seventh and concluding volume of the international literary phenomenon that is the Harry Potter saga comes to a bombshell-packed -- and oh so satisfying -- conclusion in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, arguably the most wildly anticipated release in modern publishing history.

As the novel begins, Harry, Ron and Hermione are on the run from Lord Voldemort, whose minions of Death Eaters have not only taken control of the Minister of Magic but have begun to systematically -- and forcibly -- change the entire culture of the magic community: Muggle-born wizards, for example, are being rounded up and questioned, and all "blood traitors" are being imprisoned. But as Voldemort and his followers ruthlessly pursue the fugitive with the lightning bolt scar on his forehead, Potter finally uncovers the jaw-dropping truth
of his existence...

My Thoughts:
I think this was a really good ending to the whole series. I think this installment is my 2nd favorite. (3rd is my most favorite)

I really like how Rowling gave an extra chapter to really close up the series cleanly.

I like how she redeemed two headmasters too. :)

Previous read:
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (HP #6) by JK Rowling [here]

Next read:
A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince [Review]

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

#6 in series
652 pages
Published 16 July 2005

The war against Voldemort is not going well; even Muggle governments are noticing. Ron scans the obituary pages of the Daily Prophet, looking for familiar names. Dumbledore is absent from Hogwarts for long stretches of time, and the Order of the Phoenix has already suffered losses.

And yet . . .

As in all wars, life goes on. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate — and lose a few eyebrows in the process. The Weasley twins expand their business. Teenagers flirt and fight and fall in love. Classes are never straightforward, though Harry receives some extraordinary help from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince.

So it's the home front that takes center stage in the multilayered sixth installment of the story of Harry Potter. Here are Hogwarts, Harry will search for the full and complex story of the boy who became Lord Voldemort — and thereby find what may be his only vulnerability.

My Thoughts:
I read this one when it came out but didn't remember any of it really. Except the big huge thing that happened in the book. Even if it's fiction, it's like dementors are surrounding me or I'll never feel happiness again. Rowling has amazing talent to evoke readers to be so immersed in the story to cry (like I did during the 5th book) and feel as if you'll never be happy again (like with this one).

I also feel like this book was a "in-between" book. It doesn't feel like a whole book. There was no meeting with Voldemort at the end of the book and fighting him like the rest of the books. Most of the book was spent with many plots and questions and that all ended pretty swiftly in the last few chapters. That's why I gave it 4 stars instead of 5.

I also get curious about Rowling's writing process. Did she know all along what she would do with each book or did she do them one by one, tying in different storylines like puzzle pieces?

Previous Book: 
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (HP #5) by JK Rowling [review]

Next Book: 
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (HP #7) by JK Rowling


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix [Review]

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5)

#5 in HP series
870 pages
Published 1 July 2003

Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermoine have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on. However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected...

My Thoughts:
I responded to two emails today saying this is the book I love to hate and hate to love. Or something like that. It's the longest of all the books in the series and probably the first book I had ever read that made me cry. (SPOILERS BELOW)

Things I hate about this book:
-Harry's attitude when he first gets to Grimmauld Place
-Harry's attitude when he doesn't get to be a prefect
-Quidditch - losing the Beaters AND the Seeker - lame!
-Filch (and why would Umbridge like a Squib?)
-The Cho-Harry relationship
-Harry's attitude at various other times like when Hermione says he is into saving people and when Dumbledore confronts him after being at the MoM.
-Grawp (as well as the other giants)
-Sirius dying

Things I love about this book:
-Fred & George's antics from beginning to end
-O.W.L.S - that may make me a nerd but I loved hearing about the school part of Hogwarts
-Dumbledore's Army
-Dumbledore's boss exit out of Hogwarts
-Fred & George's boss exit out of Hogwarts
-Epic fight between Dumbledore and Voldemort
-Malfoy in Azkaban

Previously Reviewed:
Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson [here]

Up Next:
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (HP #6) by JK Rowling

Monday, September 5, 2011

Before I Go To Sleep [Review]

Before I Go to Sleep
368 pages
Published 14 June 2011

Every day Christine wakes up not knowing where she is. Her memories disappear every time she falls asleep. Her husband, Ben, is a stranger to her, and he's obligated to explain their life together on a daily basis--all the result of a mysterious accident that made Christine an amnesiac. With the encouragement of her doctor, Christine starts a journal to help jog her memory every day. One morning, she opens it and sees that she's written three unexpected and terrifying words: "Don't trust Ben." Suddenly everything her husband has told her falls under suspicion. What kind of accident caused her condition? Who can she trust? Why is Ben lying to her? And, for the reader: Can Christine’s story be trusted? At the heart of S. J. Watson's Before I Go To Sleep is the petrifying question: How can anyone function when they can't even trust themselves? Suspenseful from start to finish, the strength of Watson's writing allows Before I Go to Sleep to transcend the basic premise and present profound questions about memory and identity. One of the best debut literary thrillers in recent years, Before I Go to Sleep deserves to be one of the major blockbusters of the summer. --Miriam Landis

My Thoughts:
Incredible book. I couldn't stop reading it! I love the way it was written. It was pure genius, probably the best book I've read in a long long time.  This was the first book club pick for the Clamhouse that I really enjoyed. It was a very good read.

Previous Review:
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (HP #4) by JK Rowling [Here]

Next Book:
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (HP #5) by JK Rowling 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire [Review]

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

#4 in HP series
734 pages
Published 8 July 2000

Harry wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the International Quidditch Cup with Hermione, Ron, and the Weasleys. He wants to dream about Cho Chang, his crush (and maybe do more than dream). He wants to find out about the mysterious event that's supposed to take place at the Hogwarts this year, an event involving two other rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn't happened in a hundred years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen year old wizard. Unfortunately for Harry Potter, he's not normal - even by wizarding standards.

And in his case, different can be deadly.

My Thoughts:
This is my least favorite book of the series, however, it is still a very good book. Especially the last 10 chapters. They are unbelievable and I'd be surprised if anyone who read the book could put it down and not finish out the book in those last chapters.

Last Review:
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (#3) by JK Rowling [HERE]

Next Book:
Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson (Clamhouse Book Club - September book)