Okay, I'll admit it. I first read this book because of the hype. Also, because the trailer of the movie looked interesting. Lastly, I've been going th...moreOkay, I'll admit it. I first read this book because of the hype. Also, because the trailer of the movie looked interesting. Lastly, I've been going through Harry Potter withdrawal and I'm trying to find a fantasy series to put all of my pent-up energy in. So, now, what I have to say is this: WHAT THE HELL?!!
This book's premise sounded interesting. Bella moves in with her dad to a remote town in Arizona and falls in love with a vampire. But I foolishly thought that the book had more plot than that. It didn't. No, seriously, where was the plot in this story? Okay, Bella falls in love with a vampire, then what? I don't know. Do you know why? It never got past that. I've read both Twilight and New Moon and all I learned is that Bella is in love with Edward (the vampire). Bella is being mopey, obsessively in love with Edward for the first like 400 pages, the last like 50 or so, Bella is being chased by a vampire. But I am of the firm opinion that the whole being chased by a vampire thing was there just so Meyer could say that she had a plot. But she didn't. Or at least not much.
Now, what was up with the relationship between Edward and Bella? Was it supposed to immensely creepy? Because that's what I got. I'm supposed to believe that people fall that quickly in love within a week, without knowing each other, just because they can't figure each other out? Ooookay. I'm not that thick. And I guess I'm supposed to believe that Bella loves Edward for more reasons than because he's hot? I'm not supposed to believe she's shallow? Oookay. Another thing, does tru wuv actually excuse stalking? Because Bella seemed so ecstatic and flattered that Edward was following her, yet she did not scream "FELONY!" like any other sane person would have done.
If I read a story with a teenage heroine, I want her to be strong, independent, but most importantly, interesting. Bella was none of these things. She was mopey, pathetic, shallow, and selfish. Edward was all of these things, but prettier. Do yourself a favor and skip this book. I'll summarize the story for you:
Girl finds boy. Girl likes boy. Boy ignores Girl. Girl likes Boy even more. Girl and Boy end up going out. Girl loves Boy. Girl loves Boy. Girl loves Boy. Girl loves Boy. Girl loves Boy. Girl loves Boy. Girl gets chased by vampires. Boy saves her. Girl loves Boy. There you go. I just saved you from reading 400+ pages(less)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets seems to be the least favorite book of many HP fans. However, for many years The Chamber of Secrets was my sec...moreHarry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets seems to be the least favorite book of many HP fans. However, for many years The Chamber of Secrets was my second favorite book (this was before I read Deathly Hallows and followed my other favorite The Goblet of Fire). There's just something about it that's so captivating, a bit moreso than The Sorcerer's Stone.
I think my love for The Chamber of Secrets stems from the fact that this is the first time we get an in-depth introduction to the elder Weasleys. In fact, I think the chapter where Harry goes to the Burrow might be my FAVORITE chapter out of all seven books (or at least my favorite "fluffy" chapter). Mr. and Mrs. Weasley are just really great characters and so my love for that chapter knows no bounds.
Of course, The Chamber of Secrets also holds my LEAST favorite chapter out of all seven books: Nearly Headless Nick's Deathday Party (I can totally see why it was excluded from the movie). It's just such a boring chapter. I do like St. Nicholas, but mostly in small increments. Devoting a whole chapter to him, though, is not my idea of fun.
I also loved the whole rivalry between Godric Gryffindor and Salazar Slythering. I found it fascinating how Slytherin only wanted "pure" bloods in the school and didn't want any Muggle-borns in (there has to be some allegorical meaning behind THAT). Plus, I remember reading the line "The Chamber of Secrets has now been opened. Enemies of the heir, BEWARE" and literally getting chills on my arm (I'm a bit weird that way).
Oh and let's not forget the inclusion of two very lovable characters: Dobby and Gilderoy Lockheart. There's no need to go in to why Dobby is loveable (he's sweet, loyal, and he's so easy to sympathize with), but Lockheart needs a teeny bit of explaining. He's hilarious. That's it. That's the only reason why I love him. Sure he has a big head and thinks he's God's gift to the wizarding world, but again, he just has such fantastic one-liners ("celebrity is as celebrity does" and my personal favorite "It's like magic!").
So, yes, I love Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. It's always one of the books out of the series that I look most forward to reading. But, let's face it, I look forward to reading ALL of the Harry Potter series.(less)
I absolutely love and adore Harry Potter! Sorry. It had to be said. No, but seriously I do. I first bought Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone at my...moreI absolutely love and adore Harry Potter! Sorry. It had to be said. No, but seriously I do. I first bought Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone at my school's Scholastic book fair when I was in 5th grade. I remember that they were having a buy one, get one free sale and I went there with the sole intention of finding another Party of Five book told from Claudia's perspective (I had bought one of those at a previous book fair and loved it. Oddly enough, I had never watched the show at that point, just read a few of the books...) and I thought since it was free, might as well pick up The Sorcerer's Stone. My older sister by a year had been raving about this book because her teacher was reading it to the class and she loved it. So, I picked it up.
I devoured that Party of Five book in a day, loved it, and re-read it again the day after. The day after that, I picked up The Sorcerer's Stone, read one chapter, deemed the book "boring", set it down, and that was that. At least until the movie was released during my freshmen year of high school. I watched the movie in theatres and absolutely loved it. I then picked up my 5th grade copy of The Sorcerer's Stone, dusted it off, read it, and loved it so much more than the movie. That started my anything but brief obsession with everything Harry Potter.
I just fell in love with the whole world that J.K. Rowling created in the books. And I'll admit that even though I was a freshmen in high school when I first read it (all types of grown-up or so I thought), I still dreamed of waking up and finding my own Hogwarts letter delivered to me by owl post. I think that's the magic of the Harry Potter books. The children fall in love with a brand new world that's so different from their own and the adults are taken back to a more innocent time, where you still believe that good always triumphs over evil and when we all still believed in fairy tales.
Since that first initial read, I have re-read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (and the other novels in the series) more than a dozen times. Every time I re-read it, I get something new out of it. Some subtlety that shows up in the later works that I didn't really grasp until I had read it again. It also never fails to make me feel better if I'm having a crappy day because let's face it. Harry, Hermione, and Ron were going through something so much worse.
I just loved every single one of these characters. Harry was everything a hero should be: brave, loyal, clever, etc. And Hermione and Ron are the types of friends that everyone hopes for. The ones who are with you through thick and thin and don't judge you the whole way through. My favorite characters in this series would have to be Hermione, because I'm just a big a nerd as she is, and Fred and George, because their humor always made the books for me (of course, Luna is also one of my favorite characters, since she doesn't show up until Book 5, she doesn't get more than a brief mention here). Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone introduces all of us to an amazing world with tremendous characters (both good and evil and everything in between).
However, as much as I love The Sorcerer's Stone, I do have to say that re-reading it both last year and this year, I'm not surprised that I put it down in the 5th grade. Since it is the first book, we have to wade through the exposition of how Harry gets to go to Hogwarts. The result is that the beginning chapters aren't as exciting as the ones that follow. I do have to say that as much as I love this book because it introduced me to the spectacular world of Hogwarts, it is my least favorite of the seven. It's just that the books get so much better as the series goes on. And now I feel bad for even thinking the words "least favorite"...
Anyway, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone will always hold a place near and dear in my heart because not only is it a fabulous novel, it was the book that got me back into reading. While I read a lot in elementary school, my interest in reading waned during middle school. Since I've read The Sorcerer's Stone, my interest in reading hasn't waned one bit. And I think that's the magic of the whole Harry Potter series, it a lot of people back into reading and it definitely got kids excited about reading again. I think it's influence is something that will still be significant in years to come.(less)
When Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows first came out, I remember trying to space the pages out, so that I would make it last and it did last. I fi...moreWhen Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows first came out, I remember trying to space the pages out, so that I would make it last and it did last. I finished it after a day and a half as opposed to a day. I went through The Deathly Hallows so fast that I missed the subtleties J.K. Rowling embedded in this book that tied all seven books together. The second time I re-read The Deathly Hallows, I loved it more than the first time. I took my time with it and as soon as I finished, I had to restrain the urge to turn the book around and re-read it all over again.
This is my third time reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and I loved the book more in its two re-readings than when I first originally read it. This is definitely my favorite Harry Potter book. It was just so full of excitement. From the moment it says “Rufus Scrimageour is dead…The Ministry has fallen.” up until the last sentence before the epilogue, this book is full of thrills. Obviously, though, it’s sort of bittersweet because you say goodbye to the characters that everyone has grown to love, especially the ones that didn’t make it.
I loved that in The Deathly Hallows we get a clear view of the progress that Neville Longbottom makes. He goes from a clumsy, shaky, somewhat nervous boy to a strong, courageous hero. We get a clear view of how Harry, Ron, and Hermione grew up. We get to see the love that these three have for each other and that’s really sweet to me. We get to see the BATTLE of ALL BATTLES! Yep, that was definitely my favorite part of The Deathly Hallows. At first, I was worried that the final confrontation between Harry and Voldermort would be anti-climactic. I needn’t worry because it was just amazing. I also loved that you had other Hogwarts students who had already graduated come back to enter the fight.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was filled with twists and thrills galore! Seriously, a lot of the things you thought you knew for certain were completely turned upside down in this book. That being said, I still say that this book is depressing as hell. People’s favorite characters were dropping like flies. But, I guess in a battle there have to be some casualties (but seriously did it have to be MY favorite character?). Still, this book was just full of awesomeness and I really can’t wait for my next re-read of it. You know why? Because the ENTIRE Harry Potter series (the books AND the movies) NEVER gets old. And due to this, the readers never will either. HP is sheer perfection.(less)
I really have been debating as to whether to give The Forgotten Garden five stars or four stars. While the story was pretty great, I had to give it fo...moreI really have been debating as to whether to give The Forgotten Garden five stars or four stars. While the story was pretty great, I had to give it four stars just because I didn't feel that it was as amazing as The House at Riverton. But still four stars...pretty damn good.
The House at Riverton was an amazing book. It stood alone in all its angsty glory. While The House at Riverton was more angsty and depressing (there really is no other way to describe it), The Forgotten Garden was more whimsical. The imagery of the gardens was beautiful and easy for me to imagine. It had me wanting to go to a park on a sunny day and just sit by beautiful flowers. Considering it was raining heavily most of the time that I was reading this, I decided to quelch my desires and stay indoors.
The mystery of The Forgotten Garden was what kept me turning the pages. I really had to find out who Nell's real parents were. What exactly did Eliza Makepeace have to do with her kidnapping? Where, in fact, was Eliza Makepeace? There were just all these questions swirling around in my head as I was reading this. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, the story would throw me again and have me go "Wait, what?" But it wasn't that sort of "wait, what?" that would make you think "that makes absolutely no sense". Kate Morton's twists and turns actually make sense. They don't seem to be thrown in for the mere purpose of saying to the reader "HA! I bet you didn't see that coming!" (ahem, Jodi Picoult, I'm sorry but once is enough. Stop throwing in twists in all of your stories considering half the time it just pisses off the reader because it doesn't make sense). Instead the reader thinks "Hmmm, I can totally see that!"
While the mystery was great, I felt that it was presented in a bit of an awkward way. The Forgotten Garden goes back and forth from 1913, 1975, and 2005. So, just when I was getting acquainted with the narrator of a particular time period, Morton would switch and then I would have to get acquainted with another narrator, to then have to get reacquainted when she shifted back. So, while it wasn't hard to follow, there was a mild case of motion sickness going on.
While the back and forth and back and forth, and back and---you get the picture, did get a bit tiresome after a while, one thing that I loved was the inclusion of the fairy tales. While I liked some better than others, it did serve to give the book a more of a fantasy twist. Plus, the stories were a bit dark and macabre ala Brothers Grimm, so they were always interesting.
In the end, I thought that The Forgotten Garden was a great read. It's just when I compare it to The House at Riverton does it seem to fall a tiny (teeny, weeny, eeny) bit short. While I loved the characters from The House at Riverton more, I thought that The Forgotten Garden was a bit more uplifting. While The House at Riverton had me crying and shrieking "Will the world ever right itself?" (yes I'm a tad bit dramatic), The Forgotten Garden had me close up the book (or turn off the Kindle in this instance) with a smile on my face and think "Another great one." So, it's a book I whole-heartedly recommend. And then if you have the time you can read The House at Riverton and marvel at Kate Morton's greatness. She's definitely become one of my favorite authors and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next. (less)
I'm just going to jump in here and say that I have had severe issues with most vampire books I've read (granted I haven't read that many...). I absolu...moreI'm just going to jump in here and say that I have had severe issues with most vampire books I've read (granted I haven't read that many...). I absolutely loathed Twilight (and its craptastic sequel, New Moon. Haven't ventured further than that and don't ever plan to), I hated Companions of the Night, and thought I Am Legend was just "okay". I have read an anthology of classic Victorian vampire short stories and that was pretty good, but overall, my experience has been very "meh"-like. Hence why The Society of S has been falling further and further on Mount TBR. So, I finally said "Screw it!" and decided to read it. And surprisingly enough, I kind of sorta loved it.
This is the first vampire novel that I've read that's actually intelligent. Most of the ones I read are just pure fluff (like the Sookie Stackhouse series which I like a bit, but don't love). Now there's absolutely nothing wrong with fluff (it's good for the soul, after all), but once in a while I like to read a smart book about monsters. I don't really care what kind. The Society of S deals heavily with science (in regards to how vampires are made and how they co-exist with us mere mortals) and also deals with the ethical dilemnas in being an "other". It wasn't all "I'm a vampire, so now what?", which I liked. Plus, the book compares Poe and in one instance Freud to the likes of the modern-day vampire, which was all types of awesome.
The Society of S is narrated by a thirteen year old girl. Most of the time I have an issue with teenagers narrating books about vampires because usually they do it in such an annoying way that I spent the whole novel rolling my eyes at these girls who give teenagers and women in general a bad name. But I actually really liked Ariella. First off, she was smart (seriously, take notes Stephenie Meyer. Not all us women are incredibly shallow, naive, and just so anti-feminist), but most importantly, her emotions seemed so real that I found myself caring about her. I also absolutely loved the parents, especially her father. I'm a complete and total sucker for a man with a dry sense of humor. There's just nothing I can do about (not that I would want to, of course).
The supporting characters were all more than adequate, except I really wanted to know more about the mysterious Root. Maybe in the next book in this series (which I'm so picking up really soon). One thing, though, was that the Big Bad wasn't really all that big. I mean, they were bad, but I didn't get the sense that Ariella was in too much danger at the beginning (or middle). Everything else was interesting enough, but I really missed the viciousness of the vampire a bit. So, I guess I want more Big Bad or a bigger Bad.
So, anyway, I highly recommend The Society of S for those who want a unique twist on vampires, but don't want them to veer so off script that you want to cry because vampires so aren't supposed to sparkle... Also, if you want something deeper than the current batch of vampire novels, then this is definitely the one you need to pick up. My faith in vampires has been restored once more (or at least until I read another crappy one that makes me want to yell and not in the "this is totally creepy and I'm fearing for my life right this minute" kind of way).(less)
So, I'm giving The Gunslinger the literal, Goodreads version of two stars which means "it was ok". And it was, for the most part. I'm just not into We...moreSo, I'm giving The Gunslinger the literal, Goodreads version of two stars which means "it was ok". And it was, for the most part. I'm just not into Westerns (and The Dark Tower is sort of a Western), but I am into Stephen King (hence why I even picked up The Gunslinger). But, my God, 219 pages have never seemed so long to me (I'm not counting the Afterword since King's are always amusing). I really couldn't bring myself to care about the book.
I only started caring about the book about forty pages before the end. Before that, I just liked the relationship between Roland and Jake (one big reason why I kept reading). I was just so bored throughout most of The Gunslinger. Boredom caused by reading rarely happens to me, but when it does, it really becomes the death of the book and most of the time if it's a series, I don't bother picking up the next installment (as the Mistress of the Art of Death sequel knows too well) and that's if I even finish the first installment.
However, I did finish The Gunslinger so that has to count for something, right? Granted, had I not owned books 2-6 of The Dark Tower series, I probably would've put The Gunslinger down unread and readily swappable. Another reason why I finished this (which ties into the first reason) is because I've heard a lot of people comment on the fact that The Drawing of the Three (the second book in The Dark Tower series) is infinitely better than the first installment. In fact, I've heard of some people who disliked The Gunslinger yet loved the rest of the series. So, maybe I have to plod through the first part (which left me less than impressed) to get through the awesomeness that is the rest of the series. Here's to hoping that's the case.(less)
I just finished The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon and have been wavering between giving it three stars or four stars. I ended up giving it four stars (eve...moreI just finished The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon and have been wavering between giving it three stars or four stars. I ended up giving it four stars (even though in reality this book was more of a three and a half star book for me) because I felt that the good outweighed the bad.
What absolutely made the book for me was the character of Trisha McFarland. If you don't care about the main character and what they are going through, then there's no way you're going to enjoy a book. As I was reading this, I found myself apprehensive about Trisha's fate. So much that I kept thinking, "If she doesn't make it, I'm going to be severely pissed off." I was enthralled as I was reading about her deteriorating mental state and kept thinking how terrified I would be if I were in her situation at my current age, let alone at her age (I've always avoided going into the woods and this book really just pinpoints why). Stephen King excelled in making Trisha a character that just rings true.
Even though throughout most of this book, I was feverishly turning the pages, there were some parts that lagged for me and because this was a relatively short book, the lagging parts were way more obvious. Another thing that bothered me was the inclusion of the beast. I think I would've liked the book more if the beast were just a figment of Trisha's imagination, just one of her hallucinations or if he just been representing an Angel of Death in her imagination.
Anyway, even though the book had some shortcomings, I thought it was extremely good. I just found it heartwarming how Trisha would picture her favorite baseball player to try to get her through the tough time of being lost in the forest. I thought it was all very sweet. I've only read three Stephen King books so far and this one wasn't my favorite or my second favorite. But still, it was pretty damn good.(less)