Thursday, August 25, 2016

REVIEW | Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling.

I reread Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling recently. This was the first time I'd ever listened to the Jim Dale audiobooks and IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT!

While GoF is actually my least favorite book of this series, I still enjoy it and I couldn't help but choke up and tear up while listening to this wonderful story.  Of course I gave it a full 5 out of 5 stars.

I'm not going to bother with a spoiler free review here, because it's freaking Harry Potter and its also the 4th book in the series.

This is the book that hits the brink of the dark in the Harry Potter series. I forgot how long we spend not at Hogwarts - we get more back story and more plot that has to do with the adult dark wizards.  

Its also such an interesting experience because the more I reread these books the more I'm attached to what I already know about different situations that get brought up earlier on in the series.  For example, I started crying when Wormtail gets his new hand because I know what that hand does in the future.

I love this series so much. I highly highly recommend listening to the Jim Dale audiobooks. I think that's all I got for right now.

Until next time,

Friday, August 19, 2016

REVIEW | More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera.

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera was read 29 of 2016.  I gave this book a full and complete 5 out of 5 stars.

This book is about a boy named Aaron who lives in the Bronx, and while most of the world is the same as our every day life, in this version of reality science has created a procedure that can erase painful memories you want to get rid of.  This coming of age novel is about Aaron figuring out that he is gay, but doesn't want to be.

The way that this story is told is phenomenal. I absolutely loved the way Adam chose to make this almost a little bit of a thriller even though its not? That's hard to explain without spoilers but I truly loved it. 

This book deals with some tough topics. Along with coming to terms with your sexuality and coming out, the story also talks (and has a trigger warning for) about suicide and depression - Aaron's father kills himself before the story begins and Aaron also attempted suicide before we meet him.

The way that Adam wrote about all of these intense topics felt very raw and real because while there is hope, you also can feel that the characters living these experiences may not be able to see or feel that hope.

I freaking loved this book. I can't believe it took me this long to finally pick it up. Go read it. Love it with me. There's too many things I can't say because I don't want to spoil you for it. ITS SO GOOD. That's all I got!

With that I'm going to leave.  IF YOUVE READ IT find me on the interwebs so I can relive this beautiful story by talking about it.

Until next time,

Monday, August 15, 2016

REVIEW | Harry Potter and The Cursed Child by Rowling, Tiffany, & Thorne.

I gave Harry Potter and The Cursed Child by JK Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne a 4 out of 5 stars.  I did do a vlog style review on my channel that you can check out here for my raw and initial thoughts throughout reading this book.

This book begins at the epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and focuses on Albus Severus Potter's Hogwarts experience and adventures.  The live play takes five hours to show four years of Albus' life pass.  The main plot centers around Albus and Harry's imperfect and volatile relationship that pushes Albus and his best friend Scorpius Malfoy to try to go back in time to save Cedric Diggory in the Triwizard Tournament.

I will be going into spoilers but before I do I want to give some general thoughts and feelings about this story.  I do want to say that I knew going into it that the formatting of the book was going to annoy me as it is a play not a novel.  I tried very hard to not let that sway my opinions but it did definitely make it more difficult to connect with the characters since you don't get much past the dialogue.

I found the first half of the book rather boring.  Because this book has a time traveling plot, the story was rather repetitive in my opinion; even though each time the characters travel in time things do change, it still is a very cyclical plot.  I also found the issues that create the drama of the story were too small to incite such large issues.

I did love how many cameos we get of so many characters, which I'll go into more detail in a bit once we head into spoilers. That being said, WHERE IS TEDDY LUPIN. I am upset. WHERE IS HAGRID. NEVILLE. I am upset that some of the supposedly most important people  weren't involved in this story at all.

Okay lets get into some real straight up spoilers.

TIME TRAVEL.  It's problematic. Let me first say that I tend not to be a huge fan of time travel plots because they can very easily be repetitive when you go back over and over again such as in this story.
But more importantly I'm confused why we got a time travel book.  As many people have pointed out, JK Rowling has come out and said that she made a lot of mistakes when she wrote POA and that in order to attempt to fix those mistakes within her world, she destroyed all of the time turners in OOTP for that purpose.  This makes me question how much say JK Rowling really had in the plot of this story, because if she truly hated the mistakes she made and did so much to fix them, why would she approve this reopening of the Pandora's Box of time travel.

I also have a huge issue with the fact that due to a humiliating loss in the Triwizard tournament, Cedric Diggory - the very kind Hufflepuff who asks everyone not to wear the Potter Stinks pins, who is mad that he won the game against Gryffindor in the 3rd year to the Dementors, etc - would become a Death Eater due to that.  Not just a grouchy old wizard. A Dark Wizard so angry with the world because of one (huge but nonetheless ONE) loss that he singlehandedly turns the world over on its side.  I just have a hard time believing that Cedric would have become THAT angry. I have no doubt he'd be bitter and sad and grouchy, and maybe lonely because he's so grouchy. But a murderous death eater? I'm not sure I buy it.

While I do love that Bellatrix got to be mentioned in this story because of her supposed "love" child with Voldemort, I'm still a little annoyed by the idea that they made a love child.  Voldemort isn't capable of love or human emotions like that.  Now I could maybe see Voldemort actively deciding to have an heir. But that's not how this part of the plot line was described, which it couldn't have. If it was a planned decision for him to make an heir, the Death Eaters would have known to keep that baby alive at all costs. Which means people would have had to know about it - like Draco.  But this girl was kept secret.  It just doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

Last thing before I stop complaining: Why would anybody be surprised that the 14 year old middle child was mad he got a baby blanket when his siblings got cool things that they actually wanted or could use. As an adult, I understand why Harry thought it was sentimental and that's cute. But put yourself in that 14 year old's shoes.  I would not have been excited about that. Sorry, but I'm not sorry.

Okay I'm done complaining. Let's talk about the things I loved, because even though the time travel plot makes little sense, it was fun to see some alternate realities.

First and foremost I loved seeing the scariest version of the world, and getting so see that the fight was continuing even with little hope but much determination. Most importantly though, I loved reading that Snape was moved that Harry names his son after him. It was amazing and even though I'm one of those people that doesn't forgive Snape for being awful to Harry, Neville, and Gryffindors in general I did love to see him show some of that true emotion we know exists within him.

The alternate universe where Ron is married to Padma was freaking hilarious and weird and gave me the heebie jeebies. Why is Hermione such an asshole to her students in this version? Ron is still bumbling and I love it.

The ending. It was heart wrenching and palpable with emotion that I could not handle. I loved getting to see Harry watch his parents live through their last moments. It was something I didn't realize I wanted until I was reading it, and it was perfect.

So I had issues with this book. A lot of them. But I also laughed and cried reading this book because at the end of the day, I love Harry Potter and I got to live in a new spot of the story.  So I'm glad I got to be a part of that.

Until next time,

Sunday, August 7, 2016

REVIEW | To Hear The Ocean Sigh by Bryant A. Loney

To Hear the Ocean Sigh by Bryant A. Loney was read 27 of 2016 and I gave it three out of five stars. I was sent an ebook copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book is about a boy named Jay in his sophomore year who spent his previous high school year rather alone.  When he gets a phone for his 16th birthday, he anxiously awaits his first new text to no avail until a random number accidentally texts him thinking it's someone else's number.  An unlikely friendship via text is created between this girl who texted him not knowing who he is and Jay.  Along with that, Jay also makes some friends at school. 

These two facts begin a coming of age novel about sneaking out from strict parents, going to church, making mistakes, and dating.

This book does have a trigger warning for suicidal thoughts, and I also think that while I won't go into detail because spoilers, I did think this was the best part of the novel.  It was surprising while still hinted at and I think it was well done in the way that often times when you know someone who has committed suicide or is thinking about it, you don't realize or recognize the signs until its far too late.

The tag line of this book is "strict parents create sneaky kids," and that was what made me interested in reading this book.  While the characters are sneaky and do go out to parties and such, I was a little let down with the way the kids who had strict parents acted.  The two characters with the most strict parents were also the two kids who were the least sneaky.  They were also the ones fastest to point out what the group was doing was wrong, etc.  (i.e. They go to a party and then get mad when they find out their friends smoke pot).

There was also a lot of cheating in this book and while I thought the portrayal of how those involved make those choices were realistic, I also was disappointed that the people who were betrayed let everyone get off easy.  Cheating does not sit well with me, and I didn't like reading that everything was fine eventually.

While this wasn't my favorite book, I did enjoy certain parts of it, especially toward the end.  Contemporaries are hard to please me so take that into account as well when deciding if you'll give this book a chance.

Until next time,