Thursday, June 30, 2011

Thoughts on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Time for my notes on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets! If you missed my first post with my thoughts on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s (Sorcerer’s) Stone, you can check it out here. I don’t have as many points to make about this one, partly because it’s such a quick read and partly because I just didn’t take as many notes. :)

First of all, I absolutely adore the Weasley twins. ADORE. They’re two of my favorite fictional characters ever.  I want to have twin boys. I am going to name one of my kids Fred (though not necessarily one of my twins). I have selective memory as far as Deathly Hallows goes, and in my mind both Fred and George are alive and well and happy and creating havoc as usual.

An example of Weasley twin awesomeness from Chamber of Secrets, when Harry is suspected of being the Heir of Slytherin:

“Fred and George, however, found all this very funny. They went out of their way to march ahead of Harry down the corridors, shouting, ‘Make way for the Heir of Slytherin, seriously evil wizard coming through…’”

How much do I love them? Oh man, so much. How can you not just be completely enamored of them? They make my heart happy.

Okay, shutting up about the twins now. :)

In some not so warm and fuzzy news, I had definitely forgotten how freaking annoying Lockhart is. I just wanted to punch him every time he made an appearance. Maybe I’ve just gotten more violent since the last time I read this book, but he is the most irritating individual. I don’t think he came across as being that bad in the movies, he was just dumb. But man oh man, he’s annoying.

A couple of thoughts on the whole Polyjuice experience:

I know this is a recap of the books, but I just want to point out one of my favorite scenes from the Chamber of Secrets movie. Usually I’m not the biggest fan when they add things to movies that weren’t in the books, but I love Draco Malfoy and Tom Felton, and this scene was just brilliant. Tom's delivery of the last line is wonderful.

Haha, love it.

Also. Okay, so Hermione accidently uses cat hair in her potion and ends up all furry, with yellow eyes and cat ears and a tail. And she goes to Madam Pomfrey and she’s in the hospital for OVER A MONTH. That’s a freaking long time. What in the world did she tell Madam Pomfrey? They do mention that Madam Pomfrey is good about not asking too many questions, but Hermione almost turned into a cat and was stuck in the hospital wing for over a month, and we’re supposed to believe that everybody was fine with this and nobody got suspicious or said anything about it? Come on, really? Madam Pomfrey isn’t stupid. Neither is Dumbledore. And what did they tell her professors was wrong with her? I know Harry and the gang get away with a hell of a lot, but this time around it’s bugging me a bit more than usual.

In that same vein, when Harry and Ron heard that Ginny had been taken into the Chamber, WHY didn’t they tell McGonagall or Dumbledore what they knew? They ended up going to LOCKHART, who we all know is a bumbling idiot. I get that this is a series about Harry Potter so he always has to be in the thick of things, and I know that he has a bit of a hero complex which totally contributes to it, but sometimes he just drives me crazy. They had figured out the Chamber of Secrets and the basilisk, just freaking tell a competent teacher and let them deal with it! Even if Harry has to go along because he’s the only Parselmouth, that makes more sense than two 12-year-old wizards going with an idiot.

Okay sorry, rant over. In most of the books I’m perfectly fine with how Harry manages to end up in the middle of the big climactic scene, but this one in particular drives me a little crazy. Obviously. :P

To end on a happier note, I never realized how cool the entire jacket cover of Chamber of Secrets is. I guess I've never pulled it off the book to look at it as one continuous picture. But check it out! Isn't it pretty?

And that’s it for now! Prisoner of Azkaban is next and I LOVE that one, so expect lots and lots of comments. :)

Happy reading everyone.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday #7

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine that spotlights an upcoming release that we're eagerly anticipating.

I’m featuring a few titles this week because I just. couldn’t. choose. :P

Texas Gothic
By: Rosemary Clement-Moore
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release Date: July 12, 2011

From Goodreads:

Amy Goodnight knows that the world isn't as simple as it seems—she grew up surrounded by household spells and benevolent ghosts. But she also understands that "normal" doesn't mix with magic, and she's worked hard to build a wall between the two worlds. Not only to protect any hope of ever having a normal life. 

Ranch-sitting for her aunt in Texas should be exactly that. Good old ordinary, uneventful hard work. Only, Amy and her sister, Phin, aren't alone. There's someone in the house with them—and it's not the living, breathing, amazingly hot cowboy from the ranch next door. 

It's a ghost, and it's more powerful than the Goodnights and all their protective spells combined. It wants something from Amy, and none of her carefully built defenses can hold it back. 

This is the summer when the wall between Amy's worlds is going to come crashing down.

Thanks to Brodie for featuring this one last week, because it looks AWESOME. Magic, a ranch, a hot cowboy next door… What more could you want? AND it comes out July 12th, so it’s not even a torturously long wait! :D

Shatter Me (cover design not yet released)
By: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: November 15, 2011

From Goodreads:

Juliette hasn't touched anyone in exactly 264 days. The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette's touch is fatal. As long as she doesn't hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old-girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don't fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color. 

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she's exactly what they need right now. 

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior. 

This one looks awesome too. I love the idea of a touch being fatal. Reminds me a little of Holly Black’s Curseworkers series.

By: Phoebe Kitanidis
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: April 17, 2012

From Goodreads:

What if you forgot your identity and had to rely on other people to tell you who you were?

And what if to discover your true self, you first had to unravel a mystery so big and terrifying you were not sure you’d survive solving it?

When Marshall and Elyse wake up in each other’s arms with zero memory of how they got there or who they are, it’s the start of a long journey through their separate pasts and shared future. 

Terrified by their amnesia, the two make a pact to work together to find the answers that could jog their missing memories. As they piece together clues, they discover they’re in the idyllic mountain resort town of Summer Falls, where everyone seems mysteriously happy, but as Marshall and Elyse quickly learn, darkness lurks beneath the town’s perfect facade. Not only is the town haunted by sinister ghosts, but none of its living inhabitants retain bad memories of anything—not the death of Marshall’s mom, not the hidden shame in Elyse’s family, not even the day-to-day anguish of high school. 

Lonely in this world of happy zombies, Marsh and Elyse fall into an intense relationship...but the secrets they uncover could be the death of this growing love—and the death of everyone, and everything, they love in Summer Falls.

Why oh why is this not coming out until April 2012??? It has so much potential to be amazing, I just want it NOW. I’m learning that I’m a very impatient person.

What is everyone else waiting on this Wednesday?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Thoughts on Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Part one of my Harry Potter reread begins today with my notes about the first book! I do own the US hardcover version, but I recently saw the UK Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone and decided to pick it up because I thought it would be fun to read the absolutely original version of the story.

This is the first time that I’ve ever read the British version of the first Harry Potter book (or any Harry Potter book, for that matter), and it added a whole new level that I really enjoyed. I’ve read the American version enough times that I noticed when little things were different, even if it was just a one word change, and those were really fun to spot. Unfortunately this is the only one that I have in the British format, so the rest of my reread is just going to be the boring old American ones. :P

In addition to the small changes in the text, it was fun seeing the different cover too. I’m in love with the adult British versions and really want a complete set of those, but the children’s versions are cool too.

Here are the adult versions, aren’t they stunning?? I'd love to be able to stroke them.

And the back cover of the children’s version of Philosopher’s Stone is pretty entertaining:

Who do you think this is supposed to be? My guess is Dumbledore, but it’s not a very accurate picture, is it? Luridly colorful clothes, no long white beard…

And apparently whoever designs the cover had the same idea, because I just found that the back cover on the revised edition looks like this:

I also love the review quotes on the back. Harry Potter is so huge now that it’s hard to remember that this book was ever unknown, but check out these excerpts:

“…Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone has all the makings of a classic…”
“A richly textured first novel given lift-off by an inventive wit.”
“A terrific read and a stunning first novel.”

I guess they knew what they were talking about! :)

Some other random thoughts I had as I was reading the book:

- Severus Snape: I’m a huge Snape fangirl. HUGE. There’s a soft and squishy place in my heart for him. So getting to go through the entire series again knowing everything that we know about him from the seventh book and getting to see all of his actions in that light is wonderful.

- Dumbledore in the books is really fantastic. I’ve never thought that either of the actors who portrayed him really did him justice. One example of a part I loved, from the end when Dumbledore is talking to Harry in the hospital wing:

“”Destroyed?’ said Harry blankly. ‘But your friend – Nicolas Flamel –‘
‘Oh, you know about Nicolas?’ said Dumbledore, sounding quite delighted. ‘You did do the thing properly, didn’t you? Well, Nicolas and I have had a little chat and agreed it’s all for the best.’”

Haha, I love book!Dumbledore.

- Ron is also hilarious when it comes to Hermione. His reactions to her in the first book are just great. I especially love the bit when they’re in the Devil’s Snare and Hermione is trying to remember how to kill it:

“’Stop moving!’ Hermione ordered them. ‘ I know what this is – it’s Devil’s Snare!’
‘Oh, I’m so glad we know what it’s called, that’s a great help,’ snarled Ron, leaning back, trying to stop the plant from curling around his neck.
‘Shut up, I’m trying to remember how to kill it!’ said Hermione.
‘Well, hurry up, I can’t breathe!’ Harry gasped, wrestling with it as it curled around his chest.
‘Devil’s Snare, Devil’s Snare … What did Professor Sprout say? It likes the dark and the damp – ‘
‘So light a fire!’ Harry choked.
‘Yes – of course – but there’s no wood!’ Hermione cried, wringing her hands.
‘Oh, right!’ said Hermione, and she whipped out her wand, waved it, muttered something and sent a jet of the same bluebell flames she had used on Snape at the plant…
‘Lucky you pay attention in Herbology, Hermione,’ said Harry as he joined her by the wall, wiping sweat of his face.
‘Yeah,’ said Ron, ‘ and lucky Harry doesn’t lose his head in a crisis – “there’s no wood,” honestly.’”

- Lee Jordan’s and his Quidditch commentary are my favorite things ever. SO funny. Especially his interactions with McGonagall while he’s doing the commentary.

- The one issue that I noticed while reading the book is that sometimes it was hard to separate the book from the movie. Certain lines from the book are kept exactly the same in the movie, and it was really hard to read those without hearing the actor’s voice in my head. Other than that I’m pretty good at being able to keep the books and movies separate and appreciate each in their own way.

That's all I've got for now! I’ll be posting my Chamber of Secrets notes in the next few days. Is anyone else rereading the books?

EDIT: Just one thing I wanted to add. In writing my post for Chamber of Secrets I realized how cool the full American edition jacket is, so I thought I'd share the one for Sorcerer's Stone here, even though I mainly focused on the UK edition. Check it out! I definitely haven't been fully appreciating the cover illustrations for these books. They're gorgeous.

Read my thoughts on Chamber of Secrets here.

In My Mailbox #7

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren that gives book bloggers the opportunity to showcase the books they've received that week. You can learn more about it here.


Dead Rules by Randy Russell (won from Goodreads)

From the library:

Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Claire de Lune by Christine Johnson

Crusade by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie

I picked both of these up because I recently received the sequels for review, and I figured I should start at the beginning!

Insatiable by Meg Cabot

Graveminder by Melissa Marr

Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton
I'm in love with the cover for Blood Magic, isn't it gorgeous?

That's it for this week! What yummy books did everyone else get? :)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Follow Friday and Book Blogger Hop #3

Follow Friday and Book Blogger Hop are awesome ways to connect with fellow bloggers and discover new blogs each week.

Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee's View, and this week's question comes from Mickey at I'm a Book Shark

Question: In light of the Summer Solstice. Also known as Midsummer...let's talk about fairies. What is your favorite fairy tale or story that revolves around the fae?

I’m going to have to go with Holly Black’s Modern Faerie Tale series (although Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series comes in a very very close second). The series consists of Tithe, Valiant, and Ironside, all of which are excellent (you can read my review for Ironside here). Tithe was one of the first urban fantasy books that I ever read, and the series continues to be the standard by which I judge all other books focused around faeries.

My favorite parts of all three of these books are the endings, by far. Holly has a knack for being able to find the absolute perfect ending line, something I haven’t noticed in any other author. I especially love the last line of Valiant.

I’ve also been lucky enough to meet Holly herself, not once, but twice! I first met her about four years ago at the National Book Festival in Washington DC, and then again a year later at the Baltimore Book Festival when she was on the Zombies vs. Unicorns tour with several other authors from the anthology. She is just as cool in person as you’d expect. :)

Here’s a picture with Holly from the DC Book Festival, circa 2007:

Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Jennifer at Crazy For Books, and this week’s question come from Elena at Books and Reviews

Question: When did you realize reading was your passion and a truly important part of your life?

Oh wow, I really have no idea. I grew up with my parents reading to me all the time, so books have really always been a big part of my life. As soon as I was old enough to choose my own books we’d make regular trips to the library and I’d always come home with a huge stack. We also used to participate in those summer reading programs at Barnes and Noble, where if you read a certain number of books you got to pick a free one from the table. I wish they still did that for older people! :P

I actually started off my college years thinking I was going to double major in English and Dance, and even though I ended up changing my mind, I still have a really strong interest in the publishing world. I guess this blog kind of helps fulfill that a bit. :)


TGIF is hosted by the awesome Ginger at GReads

Summer Love:
What’s your ideal summer place to take a vacation & get lost in a book?

I know this is probably the obvious answer, but my favorite summer vacation spot really is the beach. I grew up on an island in the Caribbean and I miss having the ocean around all the time, so getting to go the beach for a week or two is always a treat. And it’s the perfect place to read, because you can swim for a while and get yourself all exhausted, then plop down on your towel and soak in the heat of the sun and listen to the waves crashing around you while you knock off a few hundred pages. Plus, my family usually drives everywhere on our vacations, so I have the whole road trip to get some solid hours of reading in as well.

I will admit that I have one major issue with reading at the beach, and that’s the fact that it’s really hard to keep books in good condition while you’re there. Between the sand, the water, the sunscreen, and the crammed-full beach bag, books are bound to get some scuffs. I’m super obsessive about the condition of my books (I almost always bring a small separate bag wherever I go for my book so it doesn’t knock against things), so this is a major problem for me. For this reason I usually try to avoid bringing my own new books to the beach and just bring a bunch of library books, since I don’t care quite as much about those. :P

Where do you love to go on vacation and read?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The great Harry Potter reread: Intro

So I’m currently in the middle of my Harry Potter reread in order to prepare for the midnight release of Deathly Hallows Part 2 (Eeeeeeee!) and I decided that after each book I’d write a post with my thoughts. I’m not going to do full-on reviews, because that just seems silly at this point, but it’s been ages since I’ve done a full reread (the last time was when the book version of Deathly Hallows came out, which was four years ago?), so I’m reading them all with a fresh perspective. I’m also just really excited about the whole thing, because I’ve been wanting to do a reread anyway and the movie release is a great excuse to pull me away from all the other books I should be reading and reviewing and let myself indulge a little. :)

I’m currently on Prisoner of Azkaban, so I’ll be posting my thoughts on the first two books in the next couple of days.

Is anyone else doing a Harry Potter reread marathon? Or just really excited about the movie?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday #6

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted at Breaking the Spine that spotlights an upcoming release that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pick:

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
By: Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Poppy
Release Date: January 2, 2012

From Goodreads:

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan’s life. She’s stuck at JFK, late to her father’s second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon to be step-mother that Hadley’s never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport’s cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he’s British, and he’s in seat 18B. Hadley’s in 18A.

Twists of fate and quirks of timing play out in this thoughtful novel about family connections, second chances and first loves. Set over a 24-hour period, Hadley and Oliver’s story will make you believe that true love finds you when you’re least expecting it.

I am swooning over this description; doesn’t it just sound delicious? In my mind it seems kind of like a combination between Nick and Norah’s Infinte Playlist and Anna and the French Kiss, both of which I absolutely adore.

I also love that it only takes place over 24 hours. To be completely honest I’m not normally a huge fan of love at first sight stories; I like my romance to have buildup and development, but I think this has so much potential that I’m not even letting that bother me. I’m totally prepared to love this novel.

Why is January so far away??

In My Mailbox #6

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren that gives book bloggers the opportunity to showcase the books they've received that week. You can learn more about it here.

This has been a much quieter book week for me than normal, partly because I've finally decided I have enough books to read in my possession for now and partly because I just started a new job and I've been crazy busy with that.

All I have to feature this week are a few titles from Simon & Schuster's Galley Grab program. I do have a few books ready for me to pick them up at the library, but I'll save those for next week's post. :)

Fury by Elizabeth Miles 

Witchlanders by Lena Coakley

Nocturne (Claire de Lune #2) by Christine Johnson

Damned (Crusade #2) by Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguié

Clean by Amy Reed

That's it for this week! What awesome books did everyone else get?
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