Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Title: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter #6)

Author: J.K. Rowling

Summary from Goodreads:

The war against Voldemort is not going well; even Muggle governments are noticing. Hermione scans the obituary pages of the Daily Prophet, looking for familiar names. Dumbledore is absent from Hogwarts for long stretches of time, and the Order of the Phoenix has already suffered losses.
And yet…
As in all wars, life goes on. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate — and lose a few eyebrows in the process. The Weasley twins expand their business. Teenagers flirt and fight and fall in love. Classes are never straightforward, though Harry receives some extraordinary help from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince.
So it’s the home front that takes center stage in the multilayered sixth installment of the story of Harry Potter. Here at Hogwarts, Harry will search for the full and complex story of the boy who became Lord Voldemort — and thereby find what may be his only vulnerability.

Personal Review:

I love the Harry Potter series. Really, I do. But I have to say that I hate… no, I despise… the character of Harry Potter. When I was younger and initially reading the series, I wrote off his whinny behavior. I didn’t like him then, and he was never close to my favorite character, but I was able to tolerate him. Now I am utterly repulsed by him. I hate how he always thinks that he is right and everyone else is wrong. I hate how he gets stuck on one idea and no matter what Dumbledore or anyone else says, he thinks that he is obviously right and they are wrong. But most of all, I hate how rude and disrespectful he is to Snape. I don’t care how much you hate a person, Snape is not all your elder, but he is your teacher and therefore you are to show him respect. I have had my fair share of teachers I have hated, one I even got fired, but I always treated them with the respect that was due to a person with their authority. But Harry Potter can not get past his hate for Snape and so he is deliberately rude to his face, and that is inexcusable to me.

I also got annoyed with how Harry blamed Snape for Sirius going off and getting himself killed. Sirius was a grown man and shouldn’t have let himself get goaded. Not only that but Sirius was practically asking for it. He is the one who insisted that he had to be a part of the action. He is the one who rushed out and would not be left behind and he was the one who wanted to get out of the house so badly, no thought to his life or any such thing. I think that because Sirius was sent to Azkaban when he was young, he never really grew up. He was stuck as a 20-something year old man that just wanted to have fun and never had to think of anyone else besides himself. Sure, I feel bad for him getting locked up when he was innocent, but I do think that he acted immaturely and he also goaded Snape as well.

But despite all of that, I love the world that J.K. Rowling has created. The magical world that she thought up that drew in so many fans to the point that they go crazy about one aspect or another is amazing and shows how truly talented she is. There have been so many times in my life I wished that I could escape away to Hogwarts. I wish I had a Dumbledore in my life. I have spent my fair share of time fantasizing about it (and reading fanfiction when I was younger lol). And that is why this series will always be a favorite of mine. I will be passing these on to my children and grandchildren. I feel like it is ageless and timeless.

The battle between good and evil is a story that will be told till the end of time, and this is just another story with new characters and different elements in it. This is a story that has such vivid characters and real places and it makes you really want to be a part of this world. It is absolutely wonderful. I wish there were more stories in this series because I never wanted to leave this world.

Jim Dale does an amazing job reading this story. His voices are engaging and he is really amazing. When I first started listening to the series, I was unsure about his voices for some of the characters, like Hermione. But the voices changes a bit and weren’t quite so annoying and now I absolutely love them. If it wasn’t so expensive, I would buy this series for myself on cd.

Rating: 4.5

So what do you think? Am I right or am I wrong? Anyone else Team Snape/ Anti-Harry? What are your thoughts on this particular book in the series? Please leave a comment and let me know!

Only the Good Spy Young

Title: Only the Good Spy Young (Gallagher Girls #4)

Author: Ally Carter

Summary from Goodreads:

When Cammie Morgan enrolled at the Gallagher Academy, she knew she was preparing for the dangerous life of a spy. What she didn’t know was that the serious, real-life danger would start during her junior year of high school. But that’s exactly what happened two months ago when Cammie faced off against an ancient terrorist organization dead set on kidnapping her.

Now the danger follows her everywhere, and even Cammie “The Chameleon” can’t hide. When a terrifying encounter in London reveals that one of her most-trusted allies is actually a rogue double-agent, Cammie no longer knows if she can trust her classmates, her teachers—or even her own heart.

In this fourth installment of the New York Times best-selling series, the Gallagher Girls must hack, spy, steal, and lie their way to the truth.as they go searching for answers, recognizing that the key to Cammie’s future may lie deep in the past.

Personal Review:

Being as this is the forth book in a series, I have to give a warning that it will be hard/impossible to review this book without spoilers. So if you haven’t read this book or this series, I urge you to read them and to stop reading this review. This is a wonderful series and I highly recommend it to pretty much everyone.

Now to start off with this review, I have to say that this book is like a third Alias, a third Chuck, and a third something all of its own, and I love it. In this book, the world isn’t black and white, as it is in many other books that have the fight against good and evil. Once again, I am going to compare it to the Harry Potter series. I have to admit that I love the Harry Potter series, but there are things lacking, and I love it enough to admit it. In Harry Potter, if you’re from Slytherin, you are evil, if you are from Gryffindor, you are good. It is as easy as that. Black and White. (Don’t mention Snape  because we spend nearly 7 whole books listening to Harry bitch like a little girl about how evil Snape is and how he wishes Snape would die, etc). In this book, it isn’t that black and white. Gallagher Girls don’t all end up good and Hawthorne boys don’t all end up bad. Just because you start bad, doesn’t mean that you end up bad (Mr. Soloman). Just because you have evil parents don’t mean you are evil (Zach). And I love that fact.

And the bond of friendship in this book thrills my soul. It is nice to see a good friendship. No friends sleeping with other friends boyfriends. No blowing up on your friends for no real reason other than you are a moody teenager (yes, I am pointing my finger at you, Harry Potter). There is unwavering friendship and loyalty that stands the test of time, not to mention risks life and death quite literally multiple times.

Another amazing thing about this series is that everything doesn’t always go perfectly when the girls are on missions. When spying on parents, you don’t always end up not getting caught. As a matter of fact, more times than not, you end up getting caught. When going on a secret mission to retrieve information, you don’t walk out unscathed, you end up getting bruises all over your body and a dislocated shoulder. And your shoulder doesn’t heal immediately, but it takes time. This series, for all of it unreality, is more real than many others.

Going into this book, there were many questions from previous books. As I was going through this book, I kept encountering more and more questions without getting any questions. Finally, in the last 50 pages, many questions were answered. We found out what exactly the Blackthorne Institute was (a school for assassins). We found out who the women on the roof was that was after Cammie (Zach’s mom and an ex-Gallagher Girl). We learned who Mr. Soloman was (recruited into the Circle and working to bring it down ever sense). And yet, many other questions arose. What from Cammie’s mind do the circle want to retrieve? Why is it so important and why can’t they just kill her? Is Cammie’s dad really dead? Will Mr. Soloman wake up? And I am sure many others that I can’t even think of.

Anyway, the main point of this whole review is to say that this is an amazing book in an amazing series. Unlike a lot of series, it hasn’t gotten worse with sequels and such, but is still as good in Book 4 as it was in Book 1. My love for Cammie and all of her friends has only grown and I cannot wait for the next book in the series. Unfortunately, we have to wait until February 2012. That kinda ticks me off, but there is nothing to do about it and I am sure that it will be well worth the wait!

Rating5

Have you read this series? What do you think about them? Any thoughts on the next book?

Spring Reading Thing 2011

Today begins Katrina’s annual “Spring Reading Thing” challenge! It goes from today until June 20th (end of Spring, beginning of Summer). And, for the challenge, I plan on reading the following:

  1. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling (review)
  2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows  by JK Rowling (started)
  3. Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter (review)
  4. Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
  5. Revolution  by Jennifer Donnelly
  6. Summer of my German Soldier by Bette Greene
  7. Forget-Her-Nots by Amy White
  8. The Sister Wife by Diane Noble
  9. Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard (started)
  10. Goodnight Tweetheart by Teresa Medeiros
  11. The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy
  12. Beautiful Disaster by Kate Brian
  13. Perfect Mistake by Kate Brian
  14. Sweet Deceit by Kate Brian
  15. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
  16. The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney (started)
  17. She’s So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott
  18. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
  19. My name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira
  20. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahme-Smith
  21. The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern
  22. The Lying Game by Sara Shepherd
  23. Beastly by Alex Finn (started)
  24. Cheating at Solitaire by Ally Carter
  25. Sweet Valley Confidential by Francine Pascal

Well, I think 25 is a good place to start, though perhaps a bit too ambitious. This list may be updated and changed… As things are read, I will cross them out and if necessary, I will add a few books to the list. If abandoned, I will simply put “abandoned” in brackets next to the title.

Fahrenheit 451

Title: Fahrenheit 451

Author: Ray Bradbury

Summary from Goodreads:

The system was simple. Everyone understood it. Books were for burning, along with the houses in which they were hidden.

Guy Montag was a fireman whose job it was to start fires. And he enjoyed his job. He had been a fireman for ten years, and he had never questioned the pleasure of the midnight runs or the joy of watching pages consumed by flames, never questioned anything until he met a seventeen-year-old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid. Then Guy met a professor who told him of a future in which people could think. And Guy Montag suddenly realized what he had to do…

Personal Review:

Upon starting the review of this book, I should give a couple disclaimers. The first disclaimer is that I listened to this book via audio book. The second disclaimer is that when I listen to audio books, I sometimes find my mind drifting. Now on to the actual review.

This audio version was read by author, Ray Bradbury. While he might be a good author, his voice is rather monotone. I wish that I had had an actual paper copy of this book so that I could sort of follow along from time to time when I let my mind drift.  Sometimes I had to go and look at the sparknotes summary so that I could follow along better.

Now to the actual review of the story… As an avid reader, I cannot imagine what it would be like to have all books be illegal. I mean, I do love watching my tv shows, but to never be able to pick up a book and read? To never have known the joys of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. To have never met Katniss, Rue, or Peeta. To have never read Harry Potter, the Private series, or Lord help us, Twilight. The very thought of it is horrible. I love books. I love reading. I cannot imagine a world with none of it and with firemen who actually burn books.

And yet, when Bradbury discribed why books ceased to be, it made sense. Many times I find that our world is becoming entirely too P.C. to be safe. I could see how the world ended up where books ceased to be because minorities and special groups couldn’t allow books without equal representation of their group, or a good representation of their group. There are so many opposing groups that it is impossible to please everyone. I mean, imagine if we lived in a world without the Bible. Whether you are religious or not, you are talking about a book that has been around for around 2000 years. No Bible, Koran, Book of Mormon, or any other book ever. That is crazy. I can’t even really wrap my head around that idea.

Now, I love to read dystopian novels. I find reading about other peoples views of what the world would be like in a Utopia gone wrong is fascinating. And I thought that this one held so much potential. However, it was the main characters actions that led me to not like this book that much. I understand about wanting to read books, but I don’t think their is ever an excuse for murder, whether it is freedom or anger or whatever, the taking of another’s life is inexcusable.

My second feeling about this novel is that the ending sort of felt incomplete. I thought that there was more and I was missing a disk or two, but alas, it really was over.

Overall, I felt that the characters were a little two-dimensional and I could not be persuaded to care for them or their outcome. The ending felt incomplete and lacking. The concept was interesting, but it did not pan out as properly as it could have. I am glad to have read it, and I will probably re-read it some day (in paper form) but it is not high on my priority list.

Rating: 3

Dewey’s 24 Hour Read-a-thon

On April 9th, there will be…

Dewey’s 24 hour Read-a-thon. Yes, that really is as crazy as it sounds. So far, 218 readers around the world will be involved in this event of insanity, defying tiredness and all other distractions to strive to stay awake for 24-hours doing nothing but reading. Now this might sound crazy to you, but it is one of the best events of my life! I have never made it 24 hours, but that doesn’t stop me from trying, and this year I am determined to do it.

There is such comradery amongst the readers. We take over twitter, have mini-challenges, and spend a day fill up peoples feed-readers with an abundance of  blog updates. It happens twice a year, and the spring read-a-thon is 21 days away. So please, join in the fun! Even if you don’t have time to read, you can be a cheerleader (see link above for details).

Some people decide to use this opportunity as an opportunity to donate to an organization. In the past, I have given to the R.A.I.N.N  Foundation, as well as donating cans of food to the local food drive. Unfortunately, at this time I am unemployed and unable to donate money, but I will keep track of the number of pages and donate a penny a page after getting a job.

Anyway, if you are involved in this wonderful event, please give me the link to your blog and your twitter account so we can be friends and I can follow your progress in three weeks time. And even if you aren’t participating, give me your info so I can try to pursued you to even just read for an hour or two! It is so much fun and I guarantee that you will not regret whatever time you put into this challenge. Even if it is just listening to an audio book while out on the go!

SO COME ON AND JOIN THE FUN!!!

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Title: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter #5)

Author: J.K. Rowling

Summary from Goodreads:

The fifth hefty installment to J.K. Rowling’s renowned Harry Potter series takes a uniquely psychological and intensely dark turn, bringing the boy wizard at odds with his own identity and friendships as he continues to fight He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Now fifteen years old with four Voldemort battles under his belt, Harry feels frustrated about the growing public skepticism about the Dark Lord’s return. Unfortunately, the Ministry of Magic is also voicing its doubt, and all of Hogwarts comes under the watchful eye of an oppressive Ministry representative. Despite the additional problems of looming O.W.L. exams and Hagrid’s inexplicable absence, Harry’s main preoccupation is his vivid dreams that take him to places — and make him witness events — that horrify and intrigue him. These dreams provide a shocking clue to his very existence, and when eventually they lead Harry to confrontation, the wizard must cope with a tragic death and a telling prophecy about his future. Intricate in plot, charged with unease, and deeply fulfilling on every level, Rowling’s continuation won’t fail to leave fans open-mouthed and breathless for what’s to come.

Personal Review:

I read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix when it initially came out. I was 15 (Harry’s age in the book) and I remember dispising him. I thought that he was way too moody and I was so pissed off at him. When I first read it, I put it down for about two months before convincing myself to pick it back up and finish it. I loved the Harry Potter series but I absolutely hated the character of Harry Potter. I thought he was a whinny brat and that he needed to desperately be slapped in the face.

So it was with much trepidation that I picked up the book to read it again this week. I decided to re-read the books because I haven’t read them in a while and when I was fourteen and struggling with life, Harry Potter literally saved my life in ways that are too personal to explain to the blogosphere. I had decided to listen to the audio version by Jim Dale. I must admit that I liked Jim Dale’s voices and I think he is incredible talented… but I hated this book just as much as I remembered.

I got so mad at Harry’s stupid pride, that he wouldn’t tell anyone about the awful detention that Umbridge was putting him through. That he thought the whole world, Dumbledore included, was against him. But the thing that I was must angry about concerning Harry is how mad he got with Ron and Hermione. They are his best friends and he, quiet frankly, treated them like crap. They deserve a better friend that him… but alas, that is not how the series goes.

And then, as my last point of review, is the character of Sirius Black. I used to love the character of Sirius Black, but now I hate him. He is so selfish and self involved. I used to pity him when I was a teenager, but now as an adult I realize just how immature he was and how much he needed to man up. Life isn’t about doing everything you want to do when you want to do it. Life is about getting done what really needs to get done without the fame and glory. He could have avoided his own death by not going. Someone needed to tell Dumbledore about the events at the ministry, and he is the one who was assigned the task, and yet he pushes it off onto the shady character of Kreacher. I have come to realize that in many respects, Sirius Black is just as bad a person as Malfoy or Snape. Snape is not the shining beacon of light and he shouldn’t have taken his childhood out on Harry, but the truth is that Sirius never got over that time either and still took it out on Snape.

I should probably say that Snape is one of my favorite characters in this series. He literally put his life on the line every day for the Order, and most of them treated him like he was still evil and untrustworthy. I am not sure that I would have had the ability to stay with people who treated me as badly as the Order treated Snape.

So what do you think? I am delusional and Snape is evil icky and Sirius is a god? Am I right? Is the truth really somewhere in between? What are your thoughts on HP #5? Is this anyone’s favorite book?

Rating: 2

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB ofShould Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

 

A dress for $24.99? Is that a payment plan $24.99 now and pay the rest later? How can an adult dress $24.99? Well, the dress does have boob cups and a very oddly placed flower.

-Where I Belong, pg. 138

“I laughed because – because -” The dam that kept my tears back sprang a leak. “Because he didn’t know what to call a pocket pencil sharpener.” I hid my eyes in my hands, letting the sobs come at will, regulating their own intensity and volume.

– Summer of My German Soldier, pg. 101

“Metal clicked against metal. A leather belt rushed through fabric loops. As the belt whipped backward, I saw…”

-Summer of My German Soldier, pg. 124

What are you reading right now? Do you have any great quotes to share?