Monday, September 30, 2013

Features - Are they just too much?

For those of you who follow my blog, if I come up on your Bloglovin' of GFC feed, you most likely came upon my blog through a feature - either Top Ten Tuesday or Feature and Follow Friday, which are the two I generally always participate in (if that isn't the case, let me know - I'd love to know how we became blogging pals!) When I first started this blog, my main goal (aside from reading and reviewing) was networking and posting. I felt like if I only posted my reviews, I'd be posting - what?, once a week, if that? And I wanted to meet people, other bloggers. Hence, features and memes (cue hallelujah music).

Top Ten Tuesday: I love this feature, mostly because I love lists more than anything else in life, but sometimes I simply cannot relate to the list or think of more than one or two things to put on said lists.

This is what I feel like when trying to get all the features up.
Feature and Follow Friday: Definitely sometimes a fun topic, especially now that they've mixed things up a bit, but I definitely do this one more for the networking aspect.

I used to participate in Waiting on Wednesday, but as my TBR list grew with already-released books, I found it hard to focus on unreleased ones I really wanted every single week. Sometimes I would do the Mailbox Monday, or Booking Through Thursday, but it all just seems too much, doesn't it?

Lately, I find I've been forcing myself to participate in at least those two, and I do enjoy them, but I'm finding I'm getting sick of the same old stuff. I wish I had more discussion post ideas, but I don't. Psht, I wish I had more time, but I also don't.

So my question for you is: When you are reading a blog and it's posting about features and memes that you don't participate in, do you bother to read them? I know I hardly do unless it has a specific topic that catches my eye (e.g. Harry Potter), so I imagine that the case would be the same for most bloggers such as myself. Do you think it's too much? Would you rather read a blog that posts every day, but often with features and memes (blitzes, interviews, giveaways, etc, even though I don't really do these), blogs that have lots of reviews and discussion posts, or blogs that focus on their reviews, even if they might only be once per week? Is there something else you like to see on a blog?

My main concern is that I don't want to get bogged down in the social aspect of blogging (even though I looovveeee you guys, and would never shy away from the social aspect as a whole), because the whole point of book review blogs is to review. And I've been focusing a lot on reading as much as possible and getting out at least one review per week, though I'd love to do more.

Anyway, what are your thoughts on blogs that are always overrun with book blitzes, features, etc, and blogs that just pump out the basics? Or do you prefer a happy medium?

I'd love to discuss this with you guys, see how other people see the blogging world... :)


Friday, September 27, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday - Reading Spots

Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly feature hosted by Parajunkee. This week's FF Topic is:

Reading Nook Tour!

Unfortunately I'm at work and didn't get a chance to take any pictures or videos today, but my answer is very basic. My favorite reading spot is in my fiance's recliner, because well... it reclines. And it rocks and I love rocking chairs.

With that being said, I'll read almost anywhere, especially in my bed, at work, on my mom's couch when I go to visit. Check out this awesome post on Barnes and Noble's blog (that made me crack up several times and actually consider some of the other options) called 100 (Pretty Weird) Ways to Squeeze Reading Into Your Day. Seems like a lot of people out there can read just about anywhere. I just love reading. :) I suppose you all do too, haha.

Maybe later tonight I'll update this post with a pic of our ratty old recliner :)

Where's your favorite reading spot?


P.S. If you follow, leave a comment with your link and I'll pay you a visit back !

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Review: The Second Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares

ISBN: 9780385731058
Release Date: April 22, 2003
Series: The Sisterhood #2
Page Count: 373 pages
Find it on Goodreads
See past reviews for this series
*Disclaimer - if you havent yet read the first book in the series, please note that this review may have first-book spoilers in it. Please see my past reviews in this series (above) for spoiler-free reviews of each book.

"With a bit of last summer's sand in the pockets, the Traveling Pants and the Sisterhood that wears them embark on their 16th summer.
Bridget: Impulsively sets off for Alabama, wanting to both confront her demons about her family and avoid them all at once.
Lena: Spends a blissful week with Kostos, making the unexplainable silence that follows his visit even more painful.
Carmen: Is concerned that her mother is making a fool of herself over a man. When she discovers that her mother borrowed the Pants to wear on a date, she's certain of it.
Tibby: Not about to spend another summer working at Wallman's, she takes a film course only to find it's what happens off-camera that teaches her the most."
  • A little darker than the first book. Sometimes depressing - see below - but overall I think it captured what teenager-hood is really about. About being a person - albeit a young person - with issues and demons and problems just like everyone else.
  • Bee's story - it definitely showed the most character development as a whole and it was amazing to watch her grow. Also one of the storylines that made me boo-hoo the most.
  • Lena's story was at the same time the most relatable and the most unrelatable story. How many teenagers can say they gave too much of themselves to one boy only to have everything taken away in return? Very many. But also, not many teenage girls can say they've been through the craziness of what happened with Kostos and Lena (sadly enough, I've almost been through this situation, so it really pulled on my heartstrings this time)
  • Being a teenager is such a rough time for most people, and this book really shows that in all of its aspects, even the ones that drove me nuts and made me wanna slap a character. Tibby's story was the least dramatic while still being real about succumbing to peer pressure. Overall I really just enjoyed the honesty of the girls' stories. 

  • Carmen - in the last book I hated her, and I still hate her, if not more this time. She is absolutely destructive, to herself and to others and she's a nasty kid. Even to her friends, she's a snot.
  • The first half of this book is when every character seemed to be dealing with demons they felt they'd never get rid of (which sounds a lot like puberty in real life), but it was so dark and depressing. Dont get me wrong, I love a book that will evoke strong emotions in me but I also like happy things to happen. I was starting to feel down myself after reading it for a while.
  • The first half was pretty slow (but thankfully by the middle, I couldnt put it down and finished the second half in almost one day, which is very fast for me)... just wish I didn't have to wait until the middle of the book to get into the groove.

     RATING:   (4 stars)

I really, really enjoyed this book. The only thing that kept me from giving it five stars was that it was a little darker than I had hoped it would be, being considered "chick lit", and sometimes bordered on depressing. Still loved it, though, and planning on reading the next one very soon. My favorite story line is Bee's with battling the demons she has and dealing with losing her mom, and of course, Lena & Kostos. As someone who saw the movies, there was one based on the first one and one based on the last one, but none in between, so its awesome to experience all of the craziness happened in the other two books. I've been sucked in and now I want more! Great contemporary read!

Have any of you read this series in its entirety? I really enjoyed the first two so far and can't wait to read the rest. What did you think? Agree or disagree? Let me know your thoughts!


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Harry Potter Read-Along/Discussion [13]

RECAP - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Chapters 1 - 12

In chapters 1 through 10 of GoF, Harry has a dream (vision) of an incapacitated Voldemort being taken care of by Peter Pettigrew and killing an old man.... plotting to kill Harry. Also, after a particularly boring summer with the Dursley's, Harry spends the remainder of his summer with the Weasleys and gets to go to the Quidditch World Cup. The kids are having the time of their lives until some people in masks called Death Eaters start torturing muggles after the game and someone mysteriously conjures the Dark Mark - Voldemort's mark usually cast when killing someone. Everyone is terrified...

When they finally arrive at Hogwarts, Harry and his friends discover that the "May-eye" Moody Ron's dad had to go rescue the night before is their new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor... and he's got a freaky eye and a wooden leg. But even better than that, Hogwarts will be hosting the Triwizard Tournament for the first time in over a century, and Beauxbaton's and Durmstrang'g wizarding schools will be coming to stay for during the Tournament. Harry and his friends are excited about it, even though there will be no quidditch, and Harry finally gets to sit back and be a normal wizard since no one under 17 is allowed to enter... right?


I've noticed that Rowling takes her time with this one. I guess with the success of the last three, she was granted some leeway. In reading 10 chapters, its amazing to me how little happened as compared to reading say 5 chapters in one of the previous books. I don't mind it, trust me! There's much more detail and information as each scene does happen and gives us a bigger insight into the wizarding world we all love so much. I'm pretty much flying through this book and (being at chapter 22) I'm only through the first task and the Yule Ball. Two more tasks and a whole load of tragedy and I'm more than half way through, its kind of amazing.

We find Harry and friends at the Quidditch World Cup which I absolutely adored. Those Omnioculars! I need them for every day life cause I seem to miss a whole lot of every day life. But I particularly loved the little things we come across, including Port Keys, Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, the little figurines of the player that shout and cheer,etc. Its just so awesome to see what Rowling has done with the wizarding world and its like you can never run out of amazing things to discover!

Harry's dream - lets discuss the fact that even after three years of Harry being targeted and in danger, he still refuses to tell a freaking adult when he has a problem. Like really!? Harry, haven't you learned your lesson? I mean yes, he does finally tell Sirius what the problem is so I suppose that is an improvement. But come on Harry. You just saw some dark wizards conjure the Dark Mark, you've dealt with Voldemort yourself, twice. What makes you think you shouldn't go right to McGonagall and Dumbledore. Idiot. That has always been a sore spot for me. Maybe because I always look for guidance and Harry is more independent and would rather have the attention off of him rather than drawing it to himself... I get it. But there are lives at stake here, kid.

And yayyy! The Triwizard Tournament! I remember the first time I read this and I felt a little bit like Harry... 'what do you mean, other wizarding schools!?' I was kind of in still a little bit in shock. Rowling created not only her wizarding world but many others that she barely even scratches the surface of. I can't wait until the Tournament gets under way!

Loving this one even though I distinctly remember years ago that this one was not one of my favorites. Amazing what a few years will do to your opinion, huh? What about you, is this one on the top or bottom of your list? I'm flying right through it, so expect another update soon! :)


Monday, September 23, 2013

To Read or Not to Read?! THAT is the question...

I have a READING DILEMMA!!! This never happens to me. First, let me ask you this:

If you push through a book you don't like, do you go on to the next in the series, give the author another chance? Or do you forget it ever existed and move on to the next series?

I generally do finish books and series. In fact, I usually finish a book and/or series no matter what because I don't like to leave things unfinished. But I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. I have read the first two books in the Caster Series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Darkness.

I sort of enjoyed the first one because it was a fresh, unique world to explore. The second book, while somewhat enjoyable, left a bad taste in my mouth for the series as a whole - I just dont get the books.

I promised myself I'd read the next two, but just thinking about picking up the next one after reading two I just didn't love... I don't know if I can do it.

I know what you're all going to tell me: just don't read them. I know. Reading shouldn't be about forcing yourself to read anything, but just me as a person, I hate leaving things unfinished. It gives me anxiety :)

So instead of telling me what I should do from an objective POV, tell me what you would do if you'd already invested yourself halfway through a series that just rubbed you the wrong way?



Friday, September 20, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday - Are You My Mother?

Happy Friday! This week's F&F Friday (hosted by Parajunkee) is:

What were some of your favorite picture books as a kid? If you have kids, what are your favorites to read to them?

I had a lot of favorites as a kid. Are You My Mother? is one that I hold dear to my heart. My grandmother doesnt speak much English and would sometimes read my books, including this one. My dad, aunts and uncles would always jokingly ask her in English "Are you my mother?" I even went to see the traveling show (which is just a small theatre company that puts on the show) last year with my 9-year-old brother.

I also loved Dr. Seuss. Everyone loved Cat in the Hat, of course, as did I. But I remember a particular fondness for One Fish, Two Fish.. I was a weird kid, what can I say, haha.

However, when I think of my favorite kid's book ever, it would be this one:

Love You Forever is for sure my favorite, and my mom absolutely loves it too. In fact, whenever I look at the cover and replay the short story in my head, I get teary eyed. If you've never read it, and a children's book has never made you cry, pick this one up. I blubber like a fool every time I read it. I want to buy a copy for my niece for her birthday in a couple of weeks, and for my children when I have them. Its such a precious story, all parents will love it as well as their kids! Am I gushing? I could be the poster child for this book. I think I need to go dig out my old copy.....

So what children's books did you grow up on? Do they have a special place in your heart like mine do? Leave a comment below and let me know how you followed and I'll pay you a visit too!


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

ISBN: 9780439136365
Released: in 1999
Series: Harry Potter #3
Page Count: 435 pages


Harry Potter is lucky to reach the age of thirteen, since he has already survived the murderous attacks of the feared Dark Lord on more than one occasion. But his hopes for a quiet term concentrating on Quidditch are dashed when a maniacal mass-murderer escapes from Azkaban, pursued by the soul-sucking Dementors who guard the prison. It's assumed that Hogwarts is the safest place for Harry to be. But is it a coincidence that he can feel eyes watching him in the dark, and should he be taking Professor Trelawney's ghoulish predictions seriously?

  • Writing, world-building, story-telling - all of the things that are always wonderful in a Harry Potter book. It'll probably get old saying it but its always amazing.
  • Ron's character development was something I enjoyed very much. Its not like Harry and Hermione didnt develop a ton also, its just that Ron really stood out to me, especially when they were all helping Hagrid do research for Buckbeak's hearing and appeal. At one point, when Harry didn't have the time, Ron was doing all of the research because he also truly cared about Hagrid and Buckbeak. I mean, we knew he had feelings before but its just nice to see them put out there and actually watch him develop.
  • This book really started to make me feel pure excitement reading certain scenes such as the final quidditch match against Slytherin. I felt my heart pounding with excitement as if I was there watching the game. I felt real fear for Harry and his friends when Sirius dragged Ron into the Whomping Willow. Definitely attributed to Rowling's writing, but also to the story getting more serious and more "real".

  • Snape's downright crazy state when he caught them in the Shrieking Shack and also when he finds out Sirius has escaped. In the Shack he says some rude things to the kids, and pretty much goes nuts in the hospital wing. I just felt like this was too much for him. He's always been mean and it's always crossed the line a bit for me but this was the icing on the cake. I feel like it went to far especially for the transition he makes at a later date. I know he still is a jerk later on too, but then he's hailed a hero and works right with the people he was so adamant about turning in. I guess that wasnt really his choice though... okay - rant over.
I had a ton of fun reading this book. I was starting to get Harry Potter-ed out, so I'm going to do a little less analyzing and a little more enjoying especially now that this is where things get really good. I started the fourth book last week and those discussion posts will start this weekend. I'm flying right through that one and all the fun new stuff that gets introduced in that book. Out of the three I've re-read so far though, this one was definitely my favorite!

What did you think of this book overall? Is it one of your favorites also, or one you can do without (as if anyone could do without anything Harry Potter)?


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Harry Potter Read-Along/Discussion [12]

RECAP - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Chapters 18 - 22

I'm feeling a little Harry Potter-ed out. Is that possible? Is that blasphemy? Yes and Yes. This isnt to say that I'm cutting off discussions, but I've been making re-reading this series such a chore for myself with taking extremely detailed notes and writing long recaps before I even get to the fun part: discussion. So I'm skipping the long recap and just going to say this:

In chapters 18-22 of this book, Harry finds out that Peter Pettigrew betrayed his parents and Sirius Black was innocent all along, and before Harry can turn Peter in, he escapes. Sirius gets captured and is about to have the Dementor's Kiss performed on him when Harry and Hermione go back in time to save Sirius and Buckbeak with the help of the Headmaster and Hermione's Time Turner. Sirius is not deemed innocent but he is alive and out of Azkaban, and that is all that matters!


First thing that comes to mind when I think about these chapters (besides the obvious things) is Snape. Rowling writes him in a way that he seems legit crazy. Like manic with the idea of capturing his old enemies and finally getting retribution for how he was treated so many years ago. I enjoyed this aspect because it makes me hate Snape more which I suppose is the whole point. The only thing that bothers me is that, knowing what happens in the later books, it doesn't seem consistent with how he acts later on compared to how he acts in the third book. The sixth book doesnt count - he's obviously working toward a greater goal at this point. But book seven.. when... you know what happens. I've heard a lot of criticism before about how Snape suddenly became a hero at the end of the series after being horrible all before and I defended it but I dont see as how I can defend it now that I'm thoroughly studying the series little by little. I kind of understand the criticism. I know that Snape protected Harry in the past - this isn't what I mean. Snape is otherwise downright nasty and at times unnecessarily cruel. I get that his actions in books four through seven served a purpose in reference to Voldemort but he was just an awful guy aside from all of that, and its annoying to have him suddenly become a hero and Harry name his kid after him and say how great he is. Again, I'm not discounting his greatness but can we at least acknowledge that he was a douche bag along with doing something for the greater good. Or maybe its just not right to speak ill of the dead? Whatever.

That was a bit of a rant. I'm sorry. That has no bearing on this book except to say Snape sucks. Another thing I've been thinking about his Hermione's time turner. The whole scenario when they go back in time makes perfect sense in my head. Its the entire school year before that that confuses me. So how does this time-turner work? Did Hermione go to one class then turn back time and go to the other? Was she still in the first class when her future body was in the second? That makes sense based on the events at the end of the book. So how was her future self not stuck in that time? Wouldnt she have had to turn time forward again? Or does her future body leave the future altogether then catch up with the future as time passes? Am I confusing you all as much as I've just confused myself? Time turners are awesome though. I think I need one. So I can do more with my life. I could be at work and be playing with my niece and be at the bar with my friends and cuddling in bed with my fiance all at once, no? Then I'd probably be as tired as Hermione was.

Last thing - my heart strings are like... being used and abused here. Honestly, when Harry finds out Sirius is innocent and has the prospect of going to live with him then has it ripped away from him instantly, thats gotta be the saddest non-death-related thing that happens in the series. Its like offering him a bit of his parents, someone from their past to be part of his present and future then BAM. Of course Rowling couldn't leave well enough alone. Again, I know there are more reasons than my own selfish heart can understand but whyyyyy!!! Why couldnt Harry just be HAPPY! Sigh.... Anyone else find themselves in a perpetual outrage as the series goes on, even if you've read it a bajillion times? No? Just me then, I guess...

So anyhow, I've decided I'll devote my time to talking about Harry Potter and friends instead of wasting all my HP-devotion time to taking notes and rewriting the freaking book in its entirety. It was much more fun this way. :)

I'll be posting my general review of the third book tomorrow to add to my archive. Hope to hear from you all and I'll be discussing the beginning of book four next week! Thanks for stopping by and supporting my Harry Potter addiction - you guys are great. :)


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - Fall TBR

Happy Tuesday. I'm still recovering from my crazy weekend and the beginning of a crazy week :) This week's Top Ten Tuesday hosted by The Broke and the Bookish is:

Top Ten Books On My Fall 2013 TBR List

So I'm on a mission this Fall (and into the winter too) to finish up all the series that I'm currently in the middle of! So with that being said, I have several specific books I plan on reading this Fall to accomplish that goal. And since I won't be reading any new releases, these are the books I'll be reading this Fall to accomplish my current goal:

1.  Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

2.  Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

3.  Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

4.  Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

5.  Girls in Pants by Ann Brashares

6.  The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter

7.  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

8.  Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

9.  Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin (currently reading)

10.  Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin

What books are you all planning on reading this Fall? You all probably have a much less planned out course for your Fall reads, so tell me all about them! :)


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Review: Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter

ISBN: 9780373210459
Release Date: March 27, 2012
Series: The Goddess Test, #2
Page Count: 296 pages
Find it on Goodreads
My past reviews in this series
*Disclaimer - if you havent yet read the first book in the series, please note that this review may have first-book spoilers in it. Please see my past reviews in this series (above) for spoiler-free reviews of each book.

Becoming immortal wasn't supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she's as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he's becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate's coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans.
As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person who is the greatest threat to her future.
Henry's first wife, Persephone.
  • The story was short and sweet. The writing is very simple (which is sometimes a good thing, sometimes not so good) and makes it very easy to read this quick novel.
  • The character interactions are mostly believable. Unbelievably so, at times. Kate and Henry's fights (because thats basically what they do most of the novel) and even their happy moments felt super real. Carter doesnt sugar coat the real.
  • Kate's neediness. Okay I didnt like that she was needy (see below) but I liked that it was a real portrayal of relationships. I, for one, tend to get needy at times, and her constant "just show me that you love me" is something that many women deal with in real relationships.
  • Persephone. She is super bad ass. I dont think I like her as a person ( but she was a fun character. Sassy and honest and kind of a jerk, but she meant well and I liked that.
  • They had... (dun dun dun) sex! And lots of it! I know, its almost crazy to even say it out loud, but in a YA novel, the main characters had sex. Yes, Kate is already 19 and Henry is.. well, yeah. But I like that this was something that really happens when you're young (sometimes) and I think YA authors need to find a way to portray truth (ex: teenagers probably have more sex than we do!) more often without being inappropriate for the younger readers.
  • I didnt like that the story kind of let an almost-cheating incident seem like absolutely nothing when Kate was outraged by the idea of cheating among the "family" as a whole.
  • The action was not very...action-y. Frankly, it was kind of boring. The scenes full of dialogue and social interactions were more exciting and emotionally taxing than the action scenes. I mean, the words said that things were happening, but it didnt feel like anything was happening at all. The scenes definitely lack something more.
  • I still hate the way Henry talks. I feel like the author is trying too hard to make Henry seem more mature and more distant by making him sound like the story is set in the 1800's, when no one else in the story talks that way. Its annoying!
  • Alright, now I know I said (above) that I liked how Kate's neediness was a true portrayal of many relationships - it was still super annoying! Quit crying, Kate! Grow a set. If he doesn't want to show you affection, stop begging for it, cause that ain't gonna make him give it to you!! Ugh...
     RATING: ★★★ (3 stars)
I was slightly disappointed after reading this book because it was kind of boring. I feel like there was not enough plot for this to be an entire book on its own. It kind of felt like a space-filler between the first and last book. The book got better toward the middle to end and I flew right through it because it is a swift and simple read. I really enjoyed the first book though and this one was enough to get me on to the next. I definitely love Kate and Henry's relationship because it feels so real to me, and considering that both of Carter's books made me cry, I think its only fair that I finish up the series.

Have any of you read this series yet? What did you think? Planning on reading the next one?


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Harry Potter Read-Along/Discussion [11]

RECAP - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Chapters 13 - 17

Ron isn't speaking to Hermione at all and Harry is kind of distant from her too ever since Ron accused Hermione's cat of eating Scabbers. Harry's next quidditch match is up against Ravenclaw and just as Harry is about to catch the snitch, dementors come on the field again - and Harry uses a Patronus Charm to chase them away - but it wasnt a dementor after all! It was Malfoy and his friends in costume, which they got in huge trouble for. After celebrating their win on the field, when the boys are in bed, Ron wakes up screaming that Sirius Black had been standing over him with a knife, and Ron's curtains are slashed. Black escapes once again!

Harry sneaks into Hogsmeade once again but uses the Invisibility Cloak so he wont be seen. Harry hears Malfoy and his friends harassing Ron about Hagrid and Harry uses the cloak to attack them with mud without being seen. The cloak slips and Harry's face is revealed and he races through the tunnel to beat Malfoy back to the castle before he is found! After he leaves his cloak in the tunnel, Snape finds him and makes him empty his pockets in which he finds Zonko's merchandise and the Map. Snape tries to make the map reveal itself but it just insults him instead. Snape calls Lupin in and the two teachers act very strangely and hostile. Lupin confiscates the Map and reams Harry out for using it and say he once knew the creators of the Map. Hermione tells the boys that Buckbeak lost his case and they friends make-up instantly.

Leading up to exams and Buckbeak's appeal, Hermione smacks Malfoy for sayign things about Hagrid and she quits Divination for good when Professor Trelawney tells her she is terribly mundane. After an extremely dirty match, the Gryffindors beat out the Slytherins and win the Quidditch cup for the first time in seven years! The days following the win are euphoric for Harry and his friends, until of course the day of exams come which is when Buckbeak is going to have his appeal. The Minister has come and brought an executioner for Buckbeak. Harry did well on most of his exams but during his Divination exam which was a crystal ball reading alone with the Professor, Harry fakes a prediction the Trelawney gives a real one. Her voice turns deep and her eyes roll back and she says something about the faithful servant returning to his master tonight, but Trelawney doesnt remember saying it and Harry doesnt know what she means.

Before he can tell his friends, they tell him that Buckbeak's lost the appeal and will be executed at sundown and though Hagrid doesnt want them to come, they sneak down in the Invisibility Cloak to be with Hagrid. While they're there and trying to calm Hagrid down, Hermione finds Scabbers who looks even more ill and thrashes wildly when Ron tries to hold on to him. Hagrid makes them leave and after they hear the axe swing down and Hagrid crying, they cant believe they actually killed Buckbeak. Scabbers escapes Ron's grip and in their pursuit, the giant black dog Harry had been seeing around the castle attacks them and drags ron down into a gap underneath the whomping willow tree!With some difficulty, Harry and Hermione follow, leaving the cloak behind to rescue their friend. Inside the shack the the tunnel leads to, Ron lays on a bed with a broken leg and reveals to his friends that the dog was really Sirius Black, who is an animagus! Professor Lupin comes down and the kids think they're about to be saved, but Lupin and Black exchange words and Lupin... hugs him. Harry finds out that Lupin was one of the makers of the Marauder's map and thats how he found them down in the Skrieking Shack. Harry thinks they are all about to be dead when Lupin asks for Ron's rat. Why? Because he says the rat is also an animagus... Peter Pettigrew!


So much happens in the second half of the book, especially the last few chapters. I almost didnt want to post the recap because of how long it is, but I decided to, just in case any important details escape you (or me). I can barely even focus on anything but the last paragraph, which is essentially the last chapter of this discussion, chapter 17. Every chapter is important, all of the little details, but how can I talk about anything except the part where we meet Sirius and find out the supposed truth about Peter Pettigrew! We obviously have several more chapters to go (which I've already finished and am bursting to talk about) and we know very little at this point about the "captors" of the children.

I'm most intrigued about the fact that Harry had a chance to kill Sirius (though Crookshanks tried interfere) but he didn't do it - and aren't we glad? Phew! But really though, we know Harry has a pure heart here. We know why he didn't do it, we know killing someone is something he's avoided actually physically doing for the entire series, even as they fight death eaters at the battle of Hogwarts (they're frickin disarming people trying to kill them.. smh). He likely wouldn't have been able to live with himself, it's true. But could you have done the same? All depth aside (I know we all really want to say "but you'd have to live with yourself forever, blah blah blah) but, really? In the moment, how hateful would I have felt? I mean I'm a scaredy cat along with the rest of us (and definitely would not be in Gryffindor) so I don't know that killing my parents' "murderer" would be possible for me, but in a rage, out of retribution? Maybe... I think it shows his level of maturity, not reluctance or childishness, that he didnt do it, and decided to let him talk.

I also want to talk about Ron's growth in this book. I know its pretty random, because so much else happens in these chapters but I couldnt help but notice how much more important Ron's character became (especially when helping Hagrid with research for Buckbeak's appeal) and how much more depth he had. He was no longer a silly supporting character who said all the things Harry was thinking but wouldn't say. Well... he does still do that, but he's becoming more. All of the characters obviously grow in each book, but I was especially impressed with Ron this time, where in the last book Hermione really surprised me. Well, I guess none of it is really a surprise, right? Its nice to pretend though.

Last but not least, this book finally picked it all back up for me. I loved reading the first book as I always do, and I enjoyed the second one slightly less. This book was about the same as the last one, just kind of moseying along in HP world, but halfway through I started to notice that Rowling's action scenes and descriptions of things started getting me excited and all worked up when reading them (ex. Harry's final quidditch match against Slytherin, Ron being dragged under the whomping willow). That woman knows how to write! And pardon my French but, this is where sh*t gets real! Even more now, I'm excited to get into the nitty gritty of this series with the end of this book and the next four.

Love discussing HP with you guys! Thinking I'm definitely gonna have to cut the recaps shorter now that the books are getting longer and so much more in depth, lol. Talk to ya'll soon!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - Book-to-Movie/TV Adaptations

Happy Tuesday! This week's Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and the Bookish) topic is:


1.     Across the Universe (series) by Beth Revis - this is probably my favorite series of the year so far and when I was reading it, all I could think was how I wanted MORE! Of course it would adapt well into a movie, or several movies, but the books have so much history, so much to offer that a show would do it more justice. Maybe an HBO series? So it would be real bad ass.

2.     Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins - Omg I swooned hard core during and after reading this book. Another one of my favorites this year and it would be such an amazing romance movie - I picture it as very Olsen-Twin-esque (which is a good thing! I LOVED the Olsen twin movies!) I would die if this ever became a movie. Just. DIE.

3.     A Thousand Splendid Suns Khaled Hosseini - this would be one of those watch with your mom/sister/girlfriends for all out shameless crying and sobbing. But its such a good book and has so much history and so many life lessons that I think it would make a great movie.

4.     Poison by Bridget Zinn - Now, I wasnt a big fan of this book (I know, don't kill me) but I'll admit it was cute and quirky and it seems like something I'd enjoy as a Disney movie. As a matter of fact, I'm wondering why I didnt think of this before. It truly would be a great kids-middle grade movie!

5.     Cinder by Marissa Meyer - Does this one not count since I heard rumors that it may or may not become a movie? This is such an amazing book and series with so much potential and it would make a great movie series, and if it does become one, I hope it is done well. Its a great story that deserves to stay as close to the book as possible!

That's my list for this Tuesday! What books would you love to see made into a TV show or movie? Leave your link if you comment so I can pay you a visit back!


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Book-to-Movie Co-Review: City of Bones

With the recent release of the movie adaptation of Cassandra Clare's City of Bones, my dearest blogging friend,Amber from Paradise of Pages, and I both read the book around the same time (a re-read for me) and went to see the movie within a couple of weeks of each other. Here's the thing: Amber did not like it, and I found it had some redeeming qualities. So for those of you who thought you might want to see this movie but are feeling a bit unsure, we thought it would be a good idea for you to get both points of view, one from someone who didn't like it and one from someone who did.


When her mother disappears, Clary Fray learns that she descends from a line of warriors who protect our world from demons. She joins forces with others like her and heads into a dangerous alternate New York called Downworld.



     Amber (Paradise of Pages):
I didn't like most of the appearances of the characters. I think it is more that they just didn't look like what I expected them to. Some of them were closer than others. Jocelyn, didn't expect the British accent from that one, it threw me off. Luke- he was okay for me, not anything special but he was one of the better ones for me. Clary- It mentioned bright red hair throughout all the books, short, freckles, light eyes....then she looks nothing like this in the movie. She is tall, no freckles really and really dark dyed red hair. I think she was quick in her lines she had. It was like she had them memorized and just wanted to spit them out so sometimes it seemed to cut the other one off. Jace- He looks close to what I expected. I just wish he had a little more emotion. He just seemed boring through most of it. I know he comes across as arrogant and full of himself in the book but in the movie I just didn't feel that. Simon- He was okay, like I said with Luke, but he still didn't stand out to me. Isabelle- She probably is one of the most that I disliked. She was supposed to be tall and very slender. Her whip isn't also a snake coil on her arm, it's a real whip she wears as a belt in the books. I just felt like she was corny and her acting was bad. She was nothing like the Izzy I've grown to love. Alec- He was pretty good. Had the hair, the eyes, all of it. even the hatred for Clary in the beginning. Magnus- ugh. Horrible. Nothing what I expected and was nothing like the book. all his flair wasn't there or any of his High Warlock attitude he had. He was just bland, bland, bland.Valentine- WTF is all I have to say. second I saw him come out, I wanted to leave. I was like okay, you did alot wrong with the others, but this, this is unforgivable.

     Amanda (i solemnly swear):
Going into the movie, I hated the casting for Jace, but I actually ended up loving him. He may not have been as sarcastic and witty but he was very convincing as a vulnerable boy with feelings for a girl that he didnt want to have. I was thrilled with the casting of Jocelyn, but I may be biased. She plays a character on the HBO series A Game of Thrones so I loved her, point blank. Everyone else was pretty good for me, I liked the attitudes they protrayed if not the way they looked. Magnus was a disappointment. Had the look, but absolutely awful acting. The only casting I HATED was Valentine. He looked ridiculous, and he played this outwardly crazed short slender man with an awful hairdo, not the large, composed, handsome Valentine we know. Otherwise I was OK with the way the casting turned out.


I think the book and the movie were nothing alike. From the first few minutes I could tell it was really different. things happening out of order, things from the second book coming into the first book instead, stuff being in places it's not supposed to be. I kept holding out for the movie to become more like the book and it never did. more and more changed and I just couldn't take it anymore. They were definitely staying on a budget and not wanting to put any extra than they had to, which took away from so much. I don't want to say more than that because of spoilers, but I just didn't like it, at all.

I'll admit that the movie was very different from the book. The movie only kept the basic story line and switched the order of some scenes, combined some, took some out and even added some. Certain ones didnt bother me, such as the beginning where the club scene comes after the cafe scene followed by another cafe scene. Pointless, yes, but it was fine, it didnt take away from the story. Some parts were changed completely such as where the final fight scene took place and how it actually happened, which bothered me. It worked for the movie, for someone who was going to see it without reading the book, but for someone looking for a close adaptation, it kind of messed things around.

MAJOR SPOILER AT THE END (One involving Simon and one involving Clary and Jace)

This drove me nuts. Everything with Simon was just wrong. The events that unfold were just messed up and I don't know who decided it was a good idea, but whoever it is should be fired. And what is this, Spiderman?? Seriously. Ahhh I wanna scream just thinking about it again. [As for the Clary and Jace spoiler...] I spent a whole lot of time reading the books in the anticipation [of certain information] but for Hodge to throw that out in what comes out a lot later feels like they robbed us all on the suspense of the other movies that made a lot of the story more intense. They ruined it in ways they shouldn't have.

I took my sister to see this movie, and she's never read the book. I spent the entire movie thinking how shocked she would be at the end when she finds out the big bombshell (about Clary and Jace) that is revealed at the end of the first book. Then I was instantly deflated when Hodge opened his big mouth and ruined it for me. I mean, my sister didnt really catch on to that (guess she wasnt paying very great attention, lol) and she was shocked when the scene went on just like I wanted her to be, but I then felt like a fraud! How could they take that suspense away from all the movie-goers that way? So mad! As for Simon, I mean, it seemed like they were trying to do some sort of foreshadowing there that fell flat. Something that happens in a later book is almost revealed here and that kind of sucked too.


Least Favorite- Valentine/Simon. I didn't like either of them. Simon as an actor wasn't horrible but how they made his character was bad. Valentine, everything about him to me was bad. His look, how he does things, all of it.
Favorite- This took some thought to be honest, I didn't really like anything about this movie. But I guess if I had to pick anything, I would say Jace. Especially about the part of if you want me to take my clothes off you should have just asked.

Favorite for me was Clary and Jace's scene in the greenhouse except for the awful cheesy pop music they played!! If I close my ears and pretend that didnt happen though, I loved their chemistry and the budding of their romance. It brought that aspect of the book to life for me.
Least favorite for me was the scene where Hodge revealed that major info. Also when Jace and Valentine reunite kind of fell flat for me because it did nothing to portray the love Jace had for his father and how vulnerable he became upon his return.


I know my opinion is way different than Amanda's. I give this movie a 0 out of 5. and I HATED it. I seriously regret spending the money on it. Unless the whole cast is different and they fire all the people that worked on the movie, AKA start completely over, I will not see the others. This movie ruined the books completely. If I was Cassandra Clare I would be embarrassed to say this was based off my book.

Based on my enjoyment of the movie overall, I'd give this one a 4 out of 5. Factoring in how I felt about it in relation to the book I'll lower it to a 3 out of 5. I think many of the changes in the movie worked for the adaptation and made it more exciting and action packed, while being able to fit it into a 2+ hour movie slot, but I was still disappointed with some of the major changes.

We hope our differing opinions help you and that they don't make you more confused on whether or not you want to see it, haha. For those of you who have seen it, did you agree with either of us? Anything else to add? Love hearing from you guys.

Huge thanks to Amber for paying a visit to i solemnly swear, and make sure you all pay her a visit too!!!


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday - Bookshelf Tour

Happy Friday! Here we are at the end of another wonderful week in blogging! Today's topic on Parajunkee's Feature and Follow Friday asks us to give a tour of our bookshelves!

I was going to do this long video showing my 3 stand up shelves and smaller shelf beneath my computer and explain what I've got going on, but I figured you didnt want to hang around watching my ridiculous video, so I chose to do a 7 second video on Vine then uploaded it to YouTube and - voila! So, please, without further ado:

I have 3 standing bookcases and some space underneath my PC plus random books lying all over the house that dont have a shelf to call home yet. Plus a long TBR list that I intend to buy and add to it the shelves (and hopefully get more shelves). One day I hope to have beautiful built in bookshelves in my future home... *sigh... a girl can dream, cant she?

Hope you enjoyed my short little tour, maybe one day I'll take ya for a real one? What do your shelves look like!?

Also, today is the last day for my giveaway (not international, I'm sorry!) of the first book in Rick Riordan's Kane Chronicles, The Red Pyramid. Enter below and a winner will be announced this weekend! Good luck! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (Re-read)

ISBN: 9781416955078
Release Date: March 27, 2007
Series: The Mortal Instruments #1
Page Count: 485 pages
Find it on Goodreads


"When Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder. Much less a murder commited by three teenagers covered with odd markings. This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons--and keeping the odd werewolves and vampires in line. It's also her first meeting with gorgeous, golden-haired Jace. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in an ordinary mundane like Clary? And how did she suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know..."

  • Surprisingly, I dont hate the characters in this book considering they are characters I would normally not love in another book (teenagers MCs tend to be annoying). This was a re-read for me, and I loved it when I first read it, but admittedly the novelty has kind of worn off. But I dont hate them. Jace is your typical 15 year old, but kind of independent and unique. Clary, yes, annoying, but he's vulnerable and I love me some vulnerable boys. Everyone else kind of did their job as secondary characters and I liked the way they were portrayed. They fit.
  • The world building is pretty good. Not wonderful, but better than in her spin-off series, The Infernal Devices, and it makes me want to visit the City of Glass and be a part of the Shadow World.
  • I wasnt super into re-reading this book, but I told myself I would do it because I wanted to see the movie. However, when I did read it, though it moved a little slow for me on the second go-around, the plot points and the clever way it all unfolded definitely reminded me of why I loved the series to begin with!
  • The dialogue was often unbelievable or just seemed awkward.The only way I can explain how I felt about it is to say that many scenes in the book felt too obvious and like Clare was trying too hard.
  • The ending didnt seem believable for me either. I just cant see how Clary and Jace kind of just picked up an un-awkward friendship like nothing ever happened over the last week. I didnt love it, but I know how the story progresses so I guess that's OK.

RATING: ★★★★

The four star rating for this book is kind of an in-between for how I know I felt about it when I first read it a few years ago (5 stars) and how I felt about it now (3.5 stars). I didnt want to be unfair because I wasnt in the mood for a re-read, but it really is a good book. Sometimes awkward and annoying, but definitely good. I have realized though that its not a book I'm going to add to the re-readable list. Its probably not a series I'll want to revisit for quite some time. After re-reading it though, I also realized that I enjoyed it a lot more (this time and last) than the Infernal Devices series. Still trying to figure out why though...

I know a ton of you have read this over the last few weeks leading up to the recent release of the movie (which I'll be doing a post on with my friend Amber from Paradise of Pages soon), so I'd love to hear what you think! Do you agree or disagree with me on the points I've made?


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Harry Potter Read-Along/Discussion [10]

RECAP: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - Chapters 7 through 12

The students get to experience their first Defense Against the Dark Arts class with Professor Lupin! Though they are skeptical at first, everyone soon grows to love classes with Lupin and tall the hands-on learning! Kudos to Neville for making Snape wear his grandma's clothes, haha! Harry's other classes aren't going as well though, with Snape getting nastier and nastier, and Trelawney predicting Harry's death again and again. To top it all off, Harry's friends get to go to Hogsmeade on Halloween and he has to stay in the castle because McGonagall wont sign his permission slip. After the other students return and the Halloween feast is over though, the Gryffindor students head back to their dormitory to find the Fat Lady's painting slashed by an intruder... none other than SIRIUS BLACK!

Black obviously doesnt hang around when he doesnt find Harry in the dorm, and Harry is basically forbidden from doing anything at all. McGonagall almost bans him from quidditch too, but she thinks better of it! The Gryffindor's first match arrives against Hufflepuff and their new seeker/captain Cedric Diggory. Playing in the freezing cold pouring rain, Harry spots a Grim up in the stands and thinks thinks he's seeing things and right before he's about to race Diggory for the snitch, the dementors come waltzing onto the field and Harry passes out again. He's unharmed thankfully, but they lose the match and Harry's broom has been broken to bits by the Whomping Willow. :(

Harry asks Professor Lupin to teach him how to chase away dementors and Lupin agrees to start after the holiday. Thinking he is going to miss out on another Hogsmeade trip, Harry is saying bye to his friends when Fred and George give him a special map with secret passageways and a real-time picture of who is walking around the castle and where. Harry uses the map to sneak into Hogsmeade and after enjoying everything it has to offer, finds out that Sirius Black was once his father's best friend and betrayed him which got his parents killed. Harry is furious and wants to go after Black but the possibility of Hagrid's hippogriff getting executed by the Ministry calms Harry down and focuses his energy on something else.

Come Christmas, Harry gets a Firebolt broomstick as a gift but there's no card and he doesnt know who it's from. Harry and Ron dont think it's a big deal but Hermione does and she tattles to McGonagall who confiscates it to check it for jinxes in case Sirius Blacks sent it to him. The boys refuse to talk to Hermione who thinks she did the right thing. Harry starts his lessons with Lupin and after passing out several times, Harry is able to produce a weak, shapeless Patronus that at least keeps him from passing out some more, which Lupin points out is a huge accomplishment. Thankfully McGonagall gives Harry his broom back when they find no jinxes and the boys think its about time they make up with Hermione... until Scabbers goes missing and Ron finds some of Crookshanks' hair near the scene of a crime: ripped sheets with blood on them!


I've come to realize that this book has a lot of foreshadowing for later in the book, and is a major set-up book for the rest in the series. We've been introduced to the Marauder's Map which plays a big part later in the book and series and we are introduced to many extremely important characters (Lupin, Sirius, Pettigrew, etc.). Its also the only book where we dont get a glimpse of Voldemort. How do you feel about that? I, for one, kind of like it. It gets kind of old having the same antagonist in every book, though it works in these. It's nice to have a break though. I enjoy the excitement this book brings especially to someone who knows what is coming and what its all setting up for.

We spend a lot of time reading about the little things going on, like Crookshanks trying to eat Scabbers and Oliver going crazy trying to win the Quidditch cup, again, all important things but definitely not too many revelations in these chapters. Harry does find out, though, that Lupin and his dad were friends as kids and that Lupin knew Sirius Black also. I find it kind of strange that Harry doesnt ask more questions of Lupin at this point, but I guess after fighting off fake dementors, his mind was probably a little fuzzy. It was kind of like a classic middle-grade novel move, where the character is super shady and you're screaming at the book wondering why the main character isnt catching on. Not that there's much to catch on to, but I for one would have asked more questions, even if I wasnt suspicious of Lupin himself, wouldnt you?

Oh, and our beloved Fred and George. We've gotten our map (and the name for my blog, thank you very much boys)! I honestly love that this map even exists. The secret tunnels on the map are awesome, though some useless for several different reasons. I wouldn't know what to do with a map that told me where people are at any given time either - it just blows my mind, lol. But my favorite part of the map is the enchantments the creators used in making it "talk" and respond to the person trying to use it. My favorite scene by far is one that we havent gotten to yet when Snape tries using it and the map insults so many times. Cracks me up every time! Which is your favorite aspect of the map? Are you an explorer or would you use it for convenience, to find someone you're looking for... or hide from someone you dont want to find you?

Enjoying this read a ton and cant wait until my favorite scene comes around, but also cant wait until we finally meet Sirius and find out some major things! Are you as excited as I am for the rest of this book? Love hearing from you guys! :)