Friday, August 30, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday - Just One book... Forever?!

Happy Friday everyone! :) This week's question from Parajunkee's Feature and Follow Friday is:

If you could only have ONE – one book – for the rest of your life. Don’t cheat…what would it be?

Lol, great, this one specifically says "dont cheat". I know many of you are expecting me to choose something from the Harry Potter series, and if I was going to cheat, I would ;) buttttt, I am going to go with a book that has stayed with me since middle school, that I've passed on to many friends and family members, that I love so much... and that book is:

The Giver by Lois Lowry

That's my pick! This book has stayed with my for many years and a final installment has just been released late last year after many many years of waiting. Though, I'm sure since it is a short book, I'd get tired of it soon, but this post didnt say I couldnt write my own fanfic continuations of the story if I wanted to!! Gotta keep it interesting! :D

Honorable mentions: (totally not cheating) any Harry Potter book, any book from the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin, The Hunger Games, The Time Travelers Wife... Okay, okay, I'll stop, lol.

What are your picks for this week's Feature and Follow!? Leave me your links so I can visit and follow you back!!


P.S. I'm having a giveaway! (U.S. Entrants only, I'm sorry!) I'm giving away a paperback copy of the first book in the Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan in honor of his upcoming release, House of Hades, in his other series, The Heroes of Olympus. Enter below! and Good luck!! :)

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Review: A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

ISBN: 9780553588484
Release Date: September, 1996
Series: A Song of Ice and Fire, #1
Page Count: 835 Pages

Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.
As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty.
The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne.
WHAT I LIKED: (I would like to mention that anything I say about this book will be the understatement of the century, e.g. "this book is good" - WHAT?!)

  • George R. R. Martin is a literary master! The writing is so smooth and also wonderfully descriptive without being annoying. If he wrote a phone book, I'd read it.
  • I dont think I've ever seen world-building like this. I mean, there is Harry Potter after all, but even for me - Harry Potter fan of the decade - this beats out HP ten times over as far as world building goes. Martin literally created centuries of history for this epic story. I'm in awe.
  • The characters are not good or evil, its not as black and white as that. The characters we hate do things we can't hate them for and vice versa. They are so real to me and I, like many others, have become so invested in their lives... or deaths.
  • Even after seeing the entire three seasons of the show - twice - I still loved reading every single word of this story and cannot wait to read the rest of them. I've shared my outrage with many about how incredibly long it will take to get our hands on books six and seven (and then what if he decides to add more?! - not that I'd be complaining).

  • It drove me absolutely insane when the stupid crows would "repeat" words said by the characters. By the middle of the book it was getting to be too much. Honestly, who cares about the crows saying "corn, corn, corn" over and over!?
  • Just like in the show, some of the sexual descriptions (not necessarily the sex scenes themselves, though) were a little much. Do I need to know all of that? No, really I dont. I do, however, appreciate it for what it is worth and the images they are supposed to portray, so I guess I am okay with it being there - just not always into reading it word for word. I'll skim, thanks.
     RATING: ★★★★★ (5 stars)

I dont think I need to tell you that I am obsessed with this book. I think the whole world is addictive and its hard not to love it. I am intimidated a little by how long the third, fourth and fifth books are but I love it anyways. I love that there will be so much more added to what we know about the world as it is. I LOVE LOVE LOVE - Okay, enough. Really though, I'm obsessed.

I started reading Thrones back when the show was in between the first and second seasons, when my fiance told me he'd heard great things about the show. He was going to watch it and I was going to read it. I watched a few episodes in tandem with the reading of the books and then I realized that the episodes were amazingly close to the books and it was getting harder to keep up with every episode considering how long the book was. I eventually gave up on the book (which makes me pretty upset because that is so unlike me) and ran with the show which I'm also obsessed with. Then... season three came around and threw some major curveballs and I, like several other people I know, decided I needed to read the books, especially before the fourth season comes which continues book three. I literally lost sleep over some of the things that happened in the show, so I wanted to be prepared for any other crazy happenings or revelations before they were aired on TV. And now here I am wondering why I havent read the books several times over already.

So with that being said, if you like epic fantasy, and I mean epic, please pick these books up and take them for what they are worth. I have heard many mixed things about the next few books in the series but to me these arent books to just be read and reviewed - they are a whole world to enter and live in, and in my case, dissect, haha. So if the next book is slow to some, it probably wont be to me because actually, like with Harry Potter, all I want are more opportunities to be a part of this world (while still being able to close the book and come back to real life when the white walkers come around)!

Sorry for my rambling but as you can see, I want you to read this. And if you dont think you can handle it, at least go watch the show, and when you get to the third season and have your soul ripped from your body and cant handle any more surprises, I hope you enjoy the books. :)

Have any of you read this, or tried to, or are currently trying? What did you think if you have/are? And if you havent or have given up, tell me why! Love hearing from you all.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - First is the Worst, Second is the Best!

Happy Tuesday everyone! This weeks topic on Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish is:

Top Ten Six Most Memorable Secondary Characters

This was definitely a fun list to make, though I guess picking several characters from one book doesnt quite count. Here's my list:

1. Ron/Hermione - They basically count as one person, well if I'm being fair to the list, anyway. They are the number one, hands down, best secondary characters ever.

2. Gale from The Hunger Games- I loved him. Team Gale all the way, even through the ending. I wish he'd played a bigger part rather than Peeta, but you cant have everything you want in life.

3. Neville Longbottom - I loved Neville also, and he was definitely more secondary than Ron and Hermione, but he's silly and clumsy in the first few books, but then he becomes an integral part of the story in the later books. Gotta love Neville!

4. Khal Drogo from A Game of Thrones - This may be more based on the show, because he had a lot more face time there than in the book, but the Khal is such an awesome manly and fierce character.So badass, love him!

5. Captain Carswell Thorne from Scarlet by Marissa Meyer - Really hoping Thorne plays a bigger part in the next book, which I have a sneaking suspicion he will. This guy just cracks me up and provides some serious comic relief to the series, which given everything the main characters are going through, is much needed!

6. Grover from the Percy Jackson series - Oh Grover, the friendly satyr! Another one who provide comic relief in a series where havoc is being wreaked left and right!

Secondary characters definitely can make or break a series. Harry Potter for example, I dont know if I would have loved it half as much without Ron and Hermione. Who are your favorite secondary characters!?

Cant wait to hear from you all! Leave me a link to your blogs so I can come visit you too!! :)


P.S. Dont forget, I'm having a giveaway of the first book in the Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan! Enter below (U.S. entrants only, I'm sorry!). GOOD LUCK!

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Harry Potter Read-Along/Discussion [9]

Alright guys! Time to get back to business! I've skipped a week and a day of my Harry Potter discussions in case you hadnt noticed. As much as I'd love to rant and rave to you about the crazy couple of weeks I've had (which include getting sick and having a girl quit in the middle of our busiest season at work), I'd rather get back to business. :)

I started read the third Harry Potter book which, if you remember, is definitely one of my favorites. I mean, I guess the whole series is my favorite lol, but this one definitely changes the series in its entirety. We go from 0 to 60 in 5 seconds flat, so to say. As I've mentioned one of my amigas saying before, it definitely sets the tone for the rest of the series.

RECAP - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Chapters 1 through 6

We meet Harry again, living with his aunt and uncle for the summer holiday, hating life as usual. Aunt Marge, Uncle Vernon's nasty sister comes to stay for a week, and Harry promises to be on his best behavior in exchange for Vernon to sign his permission slip to visit the all-wizarding village of Hogsmeade at school that year. Instead, when Marge is being particularly nasty, Harry inflates her to quite a large size by accident and runs away - even though there's news that a crazed escaped prisoner named Sirius Black is on the loose. Harry is picked up by the Knight Bus, thank goodness, and Cornelius Fudge gives him strict instructions to spend his time left before school at the Leaky Cauldron and not to do anything dangerous.

Hermione and the Weasleys come to stay the night before school begins and Harry finds out that Black has escaped wizard prison to kill him - thankfully Harry isnt worried since he's faced Voldemort before. On the train to Hogwarts, the train is stopped and invaded by Dementors (creepy Azkaban prison guards) searching for Black. Harry is the only one to pass out and "have a fit" but everyone says they felt as though they'd never be happy again. The new Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher, the shabby-looking Professor Remus J. Lupin, sends the dementors off and gives Harry some chocolate to feel better. The students find out once they arrive at school that the dementors will be guarding the school in case Black comes a-lookin' for Harry. Inside, Harry and friends also see that Hagrid has been named the new Care of Magical Creatures professor! Yay Hagrid!

Hermione is somehow taking every course offered to third-years at Hogwarts, though Harry and Ron dont quite understand how that's working out for her. The three of them have their first Divination class with Professor Sybil Trelawney who ultimately predicts Harry's untimely demise because of the Grim (scary black dog that happens to be a death omen) she reads in his tea leaves! Hermione is very skeptical about divination in general and doesnt think Harry is going to die, even though he has seen a real Grim lurking around him before. The kids take their first lesson with Hagrid in which they meet Buckbeak the Hippogriff who lets Harry ride him but then it attacks Malfoy. Just great, because now Hagrid is convinced he'll be fired from his dream job!

This is obviously a movie poster, but the tag line is so true. Everything will change!


Super excited to finally have started reading this book. This is the book that gave me the name for my blog after all. :) So, since I was pretty stumped on discussion questions this week rather than just my ramblings, I was looking through some school discussion questions and came upon a question that made me laugh a little bit. It read:
"What do you think is going through Aunt Petunia’s mind when Aunt Marge says, “If
there’s something wrong with the bitch, there’ll be something wrong with the pup”? " (source)
I couldnt help but laugh at that. This one line in the entire book over everything else just enrages me. I dont blame Harry at all for inflating her and I kind of wish he'd blown her up. After reading the series in its entirety, I kind of wondered sometimes if Petunia secretly felt bad or guilty because even though she was jealous, none of the stuff that was said was actually true. I mean 13 years later, she must have realized what an ass shes been, right? I mean eventually she kind of softens up a little, but still. In my mind, I think she was too proud to admit after a certain point that she didnt hate her sister so much after all, and she was being a nasty little....nevermind. What do you think?

Another thing I found interesting about this book already is that Hermione is adamant about the uselessness of Divination because Trelawney is basically a fake. But... other than her major predictions that we find out about later in the books, some of the stuff does oddly enough come true, if not in the way we expect. I mean, other than knowing Neville is a complete and total klutz and telling him he's going to drop a tea cup would make him nervous enough to actually drop one, I mean... she's kind of clever. She kind of reminds me of the real life Cris Angel (I think that's his name) who uses illusions and other craziness to make it seem like the magic is real. Maybe she doesnt tell the future, but she is one smart lady, don't ya think?

I'm enjoying this book immensely and cant wait until we run into the Marauder's Map later in the book! Scenes with the map just so happen to be my favorite. :)

Hope to talk to you all next week about Harry and friends as the book and series go on!

Mischief managed!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Rick Riordan Giveaway!

Rick Riordan's new book, House of Hades, will be released in October - on my birthday, as a matter of fact! I LOVED Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series and his spin-off Heroes of Olympus series, but ow many of you have read his other series, The Kane Chronicles? Its a Middle-grade/Young-adult-ish book (Percy Jackson is definitely middle-grade and this is kind of like the in-between transition into young adult) book similar to the PJ series only with Egyptian mythology. MIND-BLOWING.

So, in honor of his new release this coming October the 8th (once again, my birthday. I am accepting birthday gifts lol), I'll be giving away a paperback copy of the first book in the Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan, The Red Pyramid!!

The Giveaway will end on September 6th, 2013. The only catch is I'd like to reach 200+ GFC followers (and)/OR 70 Twitter followers!  If you all help me reach either one (or both) of these goals - this book will belong to one lucky winner!!

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Hope to see you all putting an entry in there :) GOOD LUCK!!!

P.S. - As much as I love my international blogging friends, this giveaway is limited to U.S. entrants only. Sorry :/


Feature and Follow Friday - Book-Selfie!!

Happy Friday everyone! It's been a quiet blogging week for me, work has been crazy and what not, so I've just been devoting my time to catching up on my reading cause I've kinda fallen behind. :( So this week's Feature and Follow hosted by Parajunkee is pretty simple:

Book Selfie! Take a pic with your current read.

Forgive me, blogging friends, because I went a little picture crazy, lol. I'm currently reading three books, as you'll see by the thing sI'm holding along with the books in my lap in certain pictures (my fiance was the one taking pictures and he basically just indulged in my silliness):

I know - I was vogue-ing. I couldnt help myself. I was going to "walk like an Egyptian" with my books in my hand, but I figured I was getting a little crazy. Oh, and in the spirit of awesome pictures, let me throw one in of the cutest baby in the world (she doesnt have a book, though):

My niece, Sophia, who will be a year the day before my birthday in October. I know - the plaid dress with a t-shirt? I asked my sister the same thing when I was there. This isnt the 90's, she cant be dressed like my baby pictures, lol. Not a book-selfie, I know, but I was reading one of my current reads when this photo was being taken, also by my fiance!

So, for those of you who care and are not totally distracted by the cute baby above, I'm reading:

A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin (thats the one on my kindle)
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare; and
HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

So, what are you guys currently reading? Leave me a link so I can check out your selfies which are hopefully more embarrassing than mine! Thanks for stopping by. :)


P.S. Dont forget to enter my giveaway below for a paperback copy of Rick Riordan's The Red Pyramid!! (U.S. entrants only, sorry!)

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Review: Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

ISBN: 9780141326092
Release Date: October 12, 2010
Publisher: Little, Brown
Series: The Caster Chronicles, #2
Page Count: 503 Pages


"Together Ethan and Lena can face anything Gatlin throws at them, but after suffering a tragic loss, Lena starts to pull away, keeping secrets that test their relationship. And now that Ethan's eyes have been opened to the darker side of Gatlin, there's no going back. Haunted by strange visions only he can see, Ethan is pulled deeper into his town's tangled history and finds himself caught up in the dangerous network of underground passageways endlessly crisscrossing the South, where nothing is as it seems."


  • Ethan is a strong character. He is definitely my favorite in the series and I actually love a teenage male narrator after reading half of this series. The emotions he feels throughout the book are true for many teenagers (usually girls who are distraught over a boy, but still), and he is someone you can relate to.
  • Team Liv! I know Ethan won't ever end up with anyone else, but at least Liv came and spiced things up a bit. She made the book better, she was hysterical and smart, and I just loved her!
  • MACON! That's all I will say. But I loved Macon in the first book and when he died I was a very unhappy camper.
  • Lena is barely in this book. I do not like Lena. She is whiny, broody, a brat and selfish and I was so glad that this book was filled with Ethan, Link and Liv - even Ridley was entertaining!


  • This book is super depressing. Though I do love how Garcia and Stohl portray Ethan's emotions, I still think he was a little angsty and it made the book feel dark and unhappy. I dont like dark an unhappy books.
  • Lena. I know I said she wasnt in this book much, which was great, but I just need everyone to know how much I dont like her. I am so glad she is not the narrator of this book.
  • I am so confused by this series. I have to be honest in saying that I dont quite get it. A lot of the epic revelations and happenings are sort of lost on me. I dont think the authors do a good job of explaining it all and they are kind of all over the place. I just dont understand what actually happened in this book with the Claiming. I mean I know what happened, but I have no idea why or what it means. I felt the same way with the last book, too - I know who died and who lived but it was sort of all a jumble for me, and I like to think of myself as more astute than just not having paid attention. Sorry, on this one I have to blame the authors. It wasnt only the big things I was confused about, anyway, but basically... everything.

     RATING: ★★★

This series has serious potential but I am just not finding it in these first two books. I liked the first one but I basically felt the same as I do about this one. There is just something missing and I'm generally confused with the intricate happenings of Gatlin and its residents. I'll read the next one, because I like Ethan and definitely want to see what happens with Link and Ridley.

Have any of you read this book yet? Did you love it, or did it leave you wanting something more? Love hearing from you guys!


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday - Blogging is a Learning Process

Happy Friday!! It's Feature and Follow Friday, hosted by Parajunkee - visit her blog to find out how to participate!

This week's topic:

Share something you've learned about book blogging or just blogging in general in the last month.

In the last month? Wow, tons of stuff. I have to be honest though, and say that most of the stuff I know, I've known for a while, though there is so much I still havent learned yet. But the one thing that comes to mind is that I've recently learned about the existence of Google Analytics - which I'm still figuring out, mind you - and how helpful it is to know your stats, especially when contacting publishers for advance copies, etc.

With that being said, if you have any tips about Google Analytics, or know where I can find some good tips, please share, because at this point I only sort of know what I'm looking at, haha.

What's something that you've learned recently about blogging? 


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

ISBN: 9780439064873
Release Date: July 2, 1998
Series: Harry Potter #2
Page Count: 341 pages


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 Lockheart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girl's bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley's younger sister, Ginny.
But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble beings, 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.

  • It's another magical installment to a wonderful series. We learn more about the world through Rowling's world-building skills which are nearly unmatched, in my opinion.
  • We learn deeper lessons in all of the books, but Dumbledore's little lessons and encouragement come often in this novel. We learn a lot about honor and loyalty and most of all, love.
  • This story was so multi-faceted in ways that truly hooked me. The main story line about the heir of Slytherin was the focus, but we also cared about Percy and his girlfriend, Ginny and her seeming illness, Sir Nicholas and his dreadful death day. And they all come together in a spectacular climax that leaves us rushing out to pick up the next book, to come back to Hogwarts with Harry as soon as possible.
  • Less holes in this one. Still some, which I'll mention below, but the first book had some things missing that kind of bugged me, and this book was mostly solid. Rowling's second novel was stronger and better and they only get even more so as the series goes on.


  • There were only a few inconsistencies in the novel, nothing that really irked me like last time. One of the very few things that annoyed me, for example, was a problem I had with the Expelliarmus spell. I understand it, dont get me wrong, but at times the spell knocks a person back, and at times it only sends flying something they had in their hand. I'm sure its only because the spell-caster aimed at the person one time and the object another but for a first time reader, understanding the spell, which becomes very important later in the books (since Harry and his friends are innocents and are loathe to use any more damaging spells on their enemies), becomes difficult because how are you supposed to know that it is a "disarming" spell if it sends your opponent crashing across the room every other time you use it? Okay, I'm sorry, I know this isnt important, but I guess this is what happens when you examine an almost flawless book that you've read a bajillion times.

     RATING: ★★★★ 1/2    (4.5 stars)
I loved this book. I guess its going to get old if I keep saying that about Harry Potter books. I did kind of find myself dragging through some of it, not much though, just kind of like, OK, here we are six months later and we still have no clue who the heir is, and you still think its Harry?, type of thing. The stories are so magical and multi-faceted and I loved every little bitty detail, down to wondering which classes Harry and his friends would choose for their next term at Hogwarts. Super excited to read the next book, The Prisoner of Azkaban, which is probably my favorite out of the seven, because as my fellow blogger, Elizabeth, said in one of our Harry Potter discussions, it basically sets the tone for the rest of the series.

What did you all think when you read this book, back in the day, or recently? Loved it? More or less than the first one? Cant wait to hear from you!


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - Favorite Books in a Setting

This week's topic is:

Top Ten Eight Books With X's up to you! What did I choose?

The setting I chose was:

Alternate Universes: in other words, places that are not the world we live in now, for example: a dystopian version of earth, another planet, a made up country/world, a world that exists beside our own.. you get the point.

1. The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare- their "home country", Idris - I would totally want to live there, Shadowhunter or not.

2. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson - the country or land mass in this series is not one you will find on our map but its intriguing nonetheless and I love how its a "spanish" country rather than just American or European like most YA novels are anymore.

3. The Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl - set in fictional Gatlin, (still in the US), the Caster world and tunnels are introduced more in the second book and are an awesomely cool way to travel across the country and sometimes the world!

4. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer - not that I would wanna be living in the Eastern Commonwealth with all the crazy stuff going on but still such creative world-building on the part of Meyer

5. Across the Universe by Beth Revis - notwithstanding the fact that this is probably my favorite series of the year, if there wasnt such chaos, Godspeed might've been a freaking cool ship to live on, not to mention Centauri-Earth!

6. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - no one wants to live in Panem, but again, fascinating world, especially the Capital and the technology used to create the arenas, etc.

7. Harry Potter series - Hogwarts/wizarding world parallel to our own world. I dont think I need to elaborate on this one? :)

8. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin - (I added this one after originally posting thing cause, DUH, how could I forget it) Westeros and the surrounding lands are so amazingly fleshed out, its insane. I mean I dont know if I would want to live somewhere that there were winters that lasted years and crazy dead people trying to kill me but you cant deny the amazingness of the world Martin creates! 

What setting did you choose and what are your favorite books!?


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Harry Potter Read-Along/Discussion [8]

RECAP - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Chapters 14-18 (end of book)

Harry starts hearing the voice in the walls again after four long months without an attack. Hermione think's she's figured something out, and is found shortly after, Petrified, along with a Ravenclaw girl, outside of the library with a mirror beside them. Hogwarts goes on lockdown, with students having curfews and everyone being escorted by a teacher if it is necessary for them to leave their dormitories. Hagrid gets taken away to the wizard prison, Azkaban, by the direction of Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic, and Dumbledore is suspended as Headmaster by Lucius Malfoy and the school governors he has blackmailed into signing the order. Hagrid and Dumbledore give Harry and Ron some clues about spiders and loyalty and the boys have to figure out what to do next! Harry and Ron follow some spiders into the Forbidden Forest at Hagrid's direction and almost get killed by the gigantic spider, Aragog, that Hagrid got expelled for having in the castle and "killing a student" 50 years before. The Weasley's wild Ford Anglia saves Harry and Ron's lives from the giant spider family, but not before they find out that the monster from the Chamber of Secrets was not Aragog, and Hagrid wasnt the one to open the Chamber, and they suspect that Moaning Myrtle might be the girl who was killed 50 years before.

Before Harry and Ron can talk to Moaning Myrtle about how she died, Ginny gets taken into the Chamber by the monster, which they soon find out is a Basilisk, a giant snake. The boys force Lockhart into the Chamber with them to save Ginny and when Lockhart tries to erase their memories with Ron's wand, it backfires, he erases his own memory and separates Harry from them, who goes on to save Ginny on his own. He encounters Tom Riddle and Ginny lying almost dead on the floor. Tom reveals that he is 16 year old Lord Voldemort, the heir of Slytherin, who has been using Ginny's body to control the giant snake to try an kill "mud-bloods". Fawkes the phoenix comes to help Harry defeat the Basilisk when Harry shows true loyalty to Dumbledore and Harry destroys the diary which destroys 16 year old Tom Riddle.

All the Petrified students (anc cat and ghost) are restored and Harry and Ron get special services to the school for their heroic feats, Lucius Malfoy gets sacked as a school governor and Harry frees our friend dobby from the servitude to the Malfoys! Harry has escaped the clutches of Voldemort once again and saved some lives in the process! Lucius Malfoy was the one who slipped Ginny the diary in the midst of the melee at Flourish and Blotts, but Dumbledore makes it know that if any more dark objects should make their way back into Hogwarts, who ever is responsible shall pay dearly.


Harry and his friends have matured  so much in just the second book of this 7 book series! They all show their bravery once again, and even though Harry and Ron pull that stupid flying to school stunt, they show they've grown smarter too by the end of the story. Rather than asking you all a series of questions today, I just want to know what you thought about the book over all?

I love the innocence the second book still possesses. Yes, Voldemort is trying to kill Harry once again, but Rowling manages to keep it light, and I laughed many times while reading this book. Hermione is still a know it all with her nose always stuck in a book, and it reminds me of... well, me. And you, my fellow bloggers. She is the person I relate to most in the books and has always been my favorite, but one can only hope that if we were ever put in her position, that we would be as smart and brave and loyal as she was. Harry is braver and learning so much about the world he truly belongs in, and for me, Ron gets funnier with each book. He just cracks me the heck up!

Dobby drove me bananas in the first half of the book, the first time I read it and all the other times too. But by the end of the book, we're all rooting for Dobby and cheering for Harry's cleverness in getting him freed. He meant well, though his methods were questionable, he only wanted to save the great Harry Potter. I really start to feel bad for Harry toward the end of this book and into the next, but not so much because of his upbringing anymore which was the source of most of the pity in book one and the beginning of book two. The middle to end of this book is where Harry really starts to suffer from who he is, dealing with Colin Creevey and Professor Lockhart, but also realizing that Voldemort really isnt just going to go away. Harry just wants to live his normal wizard life and be happy for once, but Harry's burden is not an easy one to carry as we see more clearly as the books progress.

I'm super excited to start the next book, partly because I'm realizing that as it stands right now, its my favorite book of the whole series - sort of like the transition book, where things kind of go awry and it isnt all innocence anymore. Its also the book that gave me the name for this blog: "I solemnly swear I am up to no good" say the Weasley twins to the Marauder's Map! We are introduced to so much more of the wizarding world beginning in book three and I cant wait to re-read it and share it with you guys!

Hope to hear from you guys on your thoughts on the book overall! I personally love this one and took the opportunity while reading it to really appreciate the amazing multifaceted world and stories Rowling has crafted.

I'll be posting a standard review for this one, and another book-to-movie review, and next Sunday I'll be starting the third book in the series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban! Hope you'll all join me. :0


Saturday, August 10, 2013

And the winner is....

Hey everyone! Thanks so much for participating in the giveaway I was having over the last two weeks. The time is finally here - a winner has been chosen!

And the winner is....:

Lizzy's Dark Fiction

Congratulations Lizzy!!

Pay Lizzy a visit if you feel so inclined and congratulate her on her win and take a look around her awesome blog :)

Thanks again to all of the people who participated and followed! Stay tuned - in about a week, I'll be hosting another giveaway of a hardcover copy of Poison by Bridget Zinn! 


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday - Playing Teacher

Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly feature hosted by Parajunkee. Visit her blog to find out how to participate! :)

This week's activity:

Back to School! Create a reading list for the imaginary English Lit class you’ll be teaching this semester.

Well, I'm not quite sure how many books a class reads in a semester. Its been a while since I've taken an English Lit class, and since I went to a Business & Tech college, we were only required to take writing classes, no lit classes. Last one I had was in high school, around 6 years ago, haha.
So, with that said, lets assume I'm teaching a high school English class:

1. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Besides being a beautiful story of love, life and redemption, its very informative and interesting about Afghanistan (and U.S.) history.

2. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Its John Steinbeck. 'Nuff said. Plus, the movie makes me boo-hoo, imagine the book.

3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My fiance actually had to read this in his freshman English class before, and its not something he would've normally thought to pick up, but he ended up enjoying it a lot. Now, he didnt go read the other two, but he's willing to see the movies with me. :) Besides that, its epic. Again, 'nuff said.

4. Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare

I hold Romeo and Juliet dear to my heart. My favorite-est English teacher (he'd kill me for saying favorite-est), Mr. Erik Perez, may he one day read this and know he is amazing, introduced me to Shakespeare in the 9th grade and though I haven't read a lot of his works, I've read this one several times, once in school, a few times on my own, and it never gets old. It is a must!

5. Othello, Shakespeare

I didn't read this one with Mr. P, but he is the reason I decided to pick it up many years later and I think I loved this one even more than R&J. Watching the movie "O" doesnt count (though thats a crazy movie!!), it is a must read. I tried Julius Caesar, in case you were wondering, and didn't love it. Like I said, I'm not a Shakespeare pro, just scratching the surface on it and finding what I love, like this book!

6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

I'd love to say they should read them all (and they should), but the "school year" is only so long, and there are many more things to read. I expect them all to read the rest of the series on their own, though! :)

7. The Complete Stories and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe

LOVE LOVE LOVE Edgar Allan Poe. Another big thanks to Mr. P! The Cask of Amontillado, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Black Cat, Annabel Lee, The Raven. Must I go on? I mean, I wouldnt make my students read the whole thing, but I think we'd be studying the ones I just mentioned at the very least.

Only seven books, leaves plenty of time for quizzes and essays! What books would you have on your reading list if you were teaching an English Lit class?


P.S. My giveaway ends tonight (Friday, 8/9/13) at midnight!! I am giving away the first two books in the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth to one lucky winner, to be announced Saturday afternoon! Dont forget to enter below and good luck!!!! :D

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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Harry Potter Read-Along/Discussion [7]

RECAP - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Chapters 9-13

Harry's been hearing voices. And someone Petrified Mrs. Norris, leaving a big message on the wall saying "The Chamber of Secrets has been opened. Enemies of the heir beware." Harry and his friends decide to cook up some Polyjuice Potion to turn into some Slytherin students for an hour to prove that Malfoy is the heir to Slytherin and the one trying to kill half-blood students. A couple more people get Petrified: Colin Creevey, Justin Finch-Fletchley and Nearless Headless Nick, the ghost. Also, Harry finds out that he is a Parselmouth: someone who can speak snake language. Cool right? Except now everyone is convinced he is Slytherin's heir because Salazar Slytherin was a Parselmouth. Harry and Ron use the Polyjuice Potion and find out that Malfoy isn't the heir but doesn't know who it is either, while Hermione accidentally turns herself into a cat.

Hermione, fur is so not your color...

Harry happens upon a diary that someone threw in Moaning Myrtle's toilet while Hermione spends a few weeks de-furring in the hospital wing, and feels a strange connection to its' owner that went to Hogwarts 50 years before, T. M. Riddle. He ends up writing in the diary, and the diary writes back and Tom Riddle shows Harry his memories of when the Chamber of Secrets was opened and who the culprit was... Harry doesnt quite know what to do when he finds out that Hagrid was expelled 50 years before for opening the Chamber of Secrets...


Lets talk about how much of a rebel Hermione is in this book! She is the one who comes up with the idea for the Polyjuice Potion and kind of strong-arms the boys into using it, and breaking all sorts of rules to put it together. In book one, Hermione was the complete and total opposite. Do you think it is the company she is keeping that changes her attitude about breaking rules, or do you think there is another reason behind it? I tend to think it is the whole attack on "mudbloods" thing. Hermione is muggle born and given what we know about her from the first book and even in later books, she is a loyal and defends what she is passionate about and what matters to her, including muggle-borns being able to attend Hogwarts just like everyone else without fear of their imminent death by mystery creature. Agree?

Harry is a Parselmouth! This revelation kind of sets everyone into thinking Harry is the heir of Slytherin, setting his monster on half-bloods and muggle-borns. We all know why Harry is a Parselmouth, but I'm kind of shocked by something else: the fact that even though Ron and Hermione are pissed that they didnt know Harry was a Parselmouth because they think he kept it to himself, they never once suspect him as Slytherin's heir. True friendship and straight up trust? Or is the idea of Harry being the heir of Slytherin so ridiculous that no one in their right mind would believe it? I personally think that friendship goes a long way. Pretty much the entire school (except for the Slytherins) think it is Harry, so its not like its just a few people. But Ron and Hermione and Fred and George and a few other choice Gryffindors believe Harry because they know who he truly is and they trust him. Even a Hufflepuff girl has trouble believing it at first because Harry has always been "so nice".

Finally, Harry feels this strange connection to Tom Riddle, and I mean really, we all obviously know why - but Harry also notices some similarities between himself and Tom Riddle which raise some feelings of sympathy and understanding of why Tom turned Hagrid in as the opener of the Chamber of Secrets. Tom was raised by muggles, though his father was a muggle and his mother was a witch. He lived in a muggle orphanage that he absolutely hated and would rather have lived at Hogwarts, just like Harry feels about the Dursley's. Its hard to feel bad for Tom Riddle later on... well almost impossible, but we learn a lot about Riddle in this book and in others that evoke feelings of pity for a bad guy. For me, an author that can do this is a genius. Do any of you feel bad/sorry for Riddle at this point in the second book (or at any point throughout the books), or am I just delusional?

I am a few days late with this post, but I hope you'll understand: on Sunday I was in Hershey, PA for the Justin Timberlake/Jay-Z Concert, which might I add was the single best concert I've ever been to, ever! So I didnt have time to get this ready before hand, I was totally not missing out on my tailgating and jamming out experience to get it up, I'm sure you get it :) Justin and Jay-Z thank you for your understanding as well. :D

Do you all agree with my thoughts on these topics, or do you think I am way off? I'll be finishing the book this week and posting my final thoughts on Sunday then moving on to book three! We're making progress here :) Have any of you actually re-read the Harry Potter series this summer? Love hearing from you!


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Wish Had Sequels

Happy Tuesday! Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Visit them to find out how to participate!! This week's topic is:

Top Ten Six Books I Wish Had Sequels:

6. Wuthering Heights - Okay, I don't really want this story to continue necessarily. When I read this book I always felt like it should be two books, giving more time and attention to each set of characters' story. I wouldve loved these books had they been a pair or a trilogy, rather than one long rambling crazy mash up of nonsense.

5. Handle with Care/My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult - Both of these books were so fantastically amazing, but ended in a way that basically ripped my heart out of my chest and shredded it to little tiny pieces. I wish they had ended differently, or at the very least, rip my heart out then give me a sequel to give me happy things to think about. Give me something here, Jodi! You're killin' me!

4. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant - I guess this sort of doesnt count cause technically the entire bible is a sequel to the real story behind this book, but that doesnt count. I loved reading from a woman's point of view with this book and after I finished it, I searched the stacks for more books like this, and found a couple, but nothing like this one. I want more of this one! I want more of Anita Diamant's writing.

3. Shades of Earth by Beth Revis - This doesnt really count either, cause this one is already a sequel but I loved this series so much that I did not want it to stop. I just wanted to keep reading more and more and more about Amy and Elder and everyone who came to be a part of the story by the third book.

2. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger - Asking for a sequel to this book is like asking to have your soul detached from your body over and over. I dont know why I or anyone else would even really want a sequel. So much happened in this book, but so much more didnt happen and there were  so many more instances of time travel to expand upon and cry over and curl up in a ball after reading...

1. DUH - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - I dont really want a sequel to this book necessarily. I just want more. A new series at Hogwarts would be totally OK. A new villain? Or old one, though I dont know how they would make Voldemort come back this time, but Rowling is a genius and I know she can do it. I can't just settle for fanfic of Harry/Ron/Hermione's kids getting into trouble. I need Rowling. I NEED HER!

I only had six this week cause oddly enough, I read a lot of series rather than stand-alones, for this reason particularly. I like having time to develop a relationship with characters and I really dont like to be begging for more at the end. What books do you wish had a sequel? Anyone with me on HP!?


P.S. Only 3 days left to enter my giveaway - The first two books in the Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth. Check it out below, and enter while you still can. Good luck! :)

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday: When the Unthinkable happens...

Oh no... its' happened. You bought this book.... (or borrowed it from the local library or a friend or got an ARC...anyways), you were SO excited about it.... and it so doesnt live up to the expectation.

How do you handle a book you don’t like? Do you DNF or do you power through?

I'm sad to say that this actually happens to me often.. I mean, I havent ended up disliking a book entirely in a while, but a lot of things I've read lately have kind of fallen flat, and I have to force myself to read the next book. Thankfully, a lot of times, the next book is better so that is OK.
Maybe I'll throw them up in the air and leave them behind. I really need to start being more selective, haha

I hardly ever DNF a book. I've done it maybe once or twice with cheap romances I used to pick up to pass the time, before I had a blog, of course. So the honest answer to that is that I usually power through it, though it usually takes me a lot longer, and then I weigh whether or not I'm interested in the next book. Generally I become invested in the series, like or not, and at least give the next one a shot. I've got a couple of "second" books coming up so we will see how it goes there.

How about you? How do you handle a book you don’t like? Do you DNF or do you power through?


P.S. Dont forget (and for you first time visitors), I'm having a giveaway of the first two books in the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth, and you've got until August 9th to enter! GOOD LUCK! :)

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Cover Reveal (and other wonderfulness): Cress by Marissa Meyer

OK I'll keep it short and sweet, cause I know for sure that I can fangirl about this for days. The cover for the third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cress, has been revealed:

I absolutely love it. Its gorgeous!

Anyhow, it gets better! In a recent interview with Marissa Meyer, the author mentioned that her series is being turned into a movie series - well they are at least making the first one. I certainly hope they make the rest! I know, I know - a lot of you are not fans of book-to-movie adaptations. I, however, and though I know movies leave a lot out, love them. I love seeing my favorite stories come to life on the big screen!

She also confirmed that the books will become more sci-fi in the last two installments - my heart beats for you, Marissa. I love sci-fi! :) She also reveals the names of some of the other important characters we will meet. 

And there's and excerpt of Cress! Go read it! :) Also, in the first uncorrected chapter references Cress and "Crescent" so that speculation is confirmed also!


Edit: The first chapter is also live, apparently: an uncorrected proof. Woohoo!!

Review: Sever by Lauren DeStefano

ISBN: 9781442409095
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Series: The Chemical Garden Trilogy, #3
Page Count: 371 pages


"With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them.
Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain.
In this breathtaking conclusion to Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, everything Rhine knows to be true will be irrevocably shattered."


  • DeStefano's writing is beautiful, haunting, smooth... even when I read the first two books, which I didn't love, the prose just flowed so well, they were easy to get through.
  • Team Linden! Even when Rhine finds her own freedom, their connection and chemistry just gets me every time. I love the relationship DeStefano created between them. It felt real.
  • The slow, even, absolutely perfect pace. I don't usually like slow-paced books but this one moved so well and I didn't feel bored by any of it. The ending, rather than being anti-climactic, was so spectacularly right. I got real, honest and true closure from the way it ended and though I have my qualms with some of it, it was definitely the right choice.
  • I was super shocked by how it ended also. The pace definitely had a little pick up in certain parts, and I like to say I can usually guess whats going to happen in a book, but this one left me completely at a loss. Definitely shocked by the sudden turn of events and though I wanted to cry and scream, I was still satisfied.
  • This book was a shockingly true portrayal of what the world could be like. We all read dystopian novels with all sorts of crazy stuff and think, wow - that could happen! But this one blew me away. It was creepily believable and almost a warning to us now.


  • The book overall being very believable, some things were just not realistic enough for me. Maybe it was the way Rhine kind of just accepted some of the huge revelations without so much as a blink. She always was a little on the flat side.
  • Rhine's relationship with Gabriel, kind of the opposite of Linden, in my opinion. Their relationship did not feel real at all. He was annoying in the first book, useless and delirious in the second, and almost non-existent in part of the third. I was just annoyed at the level DeStefano gave to their relationship when I feel as though it never had time to develop enough.
  • This series has consistently made me feel depressed every time I read one of these books. I know that DeStefano's ability to show the horrible state of the country is a wonderful thing - I already mentioned how much I love her writing - but it is such a dark series, it almost a little too much for an emotional girl such as myself. I could've easily crawled into my bed with the blanket over my head and not come out for quite a while, after reading this book.

     RATING:  (4 stars)

I think I should start by telling you how much I disliked the first book in this series, and how mediocre I found the second one to be. I chose to continue because I dont like to not finish a tolerable series if I know I can get through it. That's my job as a blogger, right? To read books that may not be that good, so you'll know if its something you might want to read? For me, things didn't get really good until the last quarter of the second book.

So with that being said, I loved this book. The writing was wonderful, as always. It was very slow-paced, in my opinion, but somehow, it worked for this novel. The characters all matured so much, there were some big revelations that I did not see coming, and the ending, though I wasn't thrilled by who Rhine ended up with, was the most satisfying ending to a dystopian novel that I've read, yet. The only thing that bothered me about this book was that some parts kind of didn't make sense, e.g. Linden and Cecily kept coming to visit Rhine at Reed's home, and at one point even stay there. There is no way the Vaughn I know should've let them take Rhine anywhere, based on how crazy he had been, let alone let Linden and Cecily not come home for days at a time. I know it was under the guise of Vaughn letting them have their way for a little while until they were ready to come back, but it didn't jive with me. Other than some small discrepancies that bugged me a little, this novel was almost-flawlessly written, perfectly paced, and left me feeling strangely bereft, yet with closure.

Great ending to an OK series for Lauren DeStefano, but I am looking forward to reading her next series, the Internment Chronicles. Have any of you read this book/series? Did you enjoy the first two more than I did? How did you feel about the series as a whole? I'd love to hear what you think!