Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

(Book 3)

By: J.K. Rowling

Pages: 435

Price (Amazon): Hardcover $19.37 Kindle $8.99

Publisher: Scholastic

Publication Date: October 1, 1999

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis: 

Harry Potter’s third year at Hogwarts is full of new dangers. A convicted murderer, Sirius Black, has broken out of Azkaban prison, and it seems he’s after Harry. Now Hogwarts is being patrolled by the dementors, the Azkaban guards who are hunting Sirius. But Harry can’t imagine that Sirius or, for that matter, the evil Lord Voldemort could be more frightening than the dementors themselves, who have the terrible power to fill anyone they come across with aching loneliness and despair. Meanwhile, life continues as usual at Hogwarts. A top-of-the-line broom takes Harry’s success at Quidditch, the sport of the Wizarding world, to new heights. A cute fourth-year student catches his eye. And he becomes close with the new Defense of the Dark Arts teacher, who was a childhood friend of his father. Yet despite the relative safety of life at Hogwarts and the best efforts of the dementors, the threat of Sirius Black grows ever closer. But if Harry has learned anything from his education in wizardry, it is that things are often not what they seem. 

Review:

As much as I hate to admit this, I just read the whole Harry Potter series for the first time last year and yes, it was as magical as everyone has said. I do regret not reading it sooner because the hype is definitely real and for a great reason. These books are fantastic. During my reread of the third book in the series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, it brought me back into this magical world and left me wanting more.

In this book, we find our main character, Harry Potter, finding his way back to Hogwarts to reunite with his two best friends, Ron and Hermione but also finds that his life is once again in danger as Sirius Black, a prisoner in Azkaban, escapes and rumor has it that he is on his way to Harry.

In this particular book in the series, we are met with a lot of old, familiar faces but also are introduced to some pretty great, complex characters that make this series even better. Professor Lupin, for example, is the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor and the students take to him right away. He seems to care about his students, as well as their studies, and finds a way to make their lessons valuable and exciting yet seems to hold a secret of his own, as many characters often have and keeps us guessing until the very end.

The best part about rereading this series is going back and realizing all of the subtle hints Rowling gives you about what is yet to happen later on. Whether it is a small role character who turns out to be very pivotal later on or a magical spell learned in year three that will come back to be used in the last book, her writing is truly unbelievable.

Recommendation:

I would ABSOLUTELY recommend this book as well as the whole series!! Amazing!

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They Both Die at the End

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They Both Die at the End

By: Adam Silvera

Pages: 368

Price (Amazon): Hardcover $10.79 Kindle $9.99

Publisher: Harper Teen

Publication Date: September 5, 2017

Genre: Adventure Fiction

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis: 

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure and to live a lifetime in a single day.

Review:

I had purchased this book within the first few weeks of it being released but put off reading it. I wanted to be in the ‘mood’ to read this book but when am I going to ever be in the mood to read a book titled They Both Die at the End? I had to mentally prepare myself for weeks to pick up this book not only because of the title but I had read and watched several reviews of the book and multiple people indicated that they had been reduced to tears, something I was not surprised about.

Mateo and Rufus are both teenage boys who receive a call from Death-Cast, a service that has been able to successfully predict the day that people are going to die, informing them they will indeed die the very day that they receive the call. They have no idea what time they are going to die, nor the cause of death, but know for certain their fate has already been decided and they only have a short amount of time to live life to the fullest. They both decide to download the app, Last Friend, which Deckers (people who are going to die that day) use in order to connect with other Deckers, or people who are not going to die but want to help Deckers live out their last day, and try to find their perfect match.

Mateo and Rufus both find that they need each other, for similar yet very different reasons. Mateo is a quiet boy who is not one to take risks. He needs a friend who will push him to do all the things he has always dreamt about doing but never found the courage to do them. Rufus, on the other hand, is outgoing and has many friends who he cares about but needs someone to make him see that there is so much good in the world and he can experience that good, even on his last day on earth.

Adam Silvera did such an amazing job connecting the reader to the characters in the book. Your heart breaks learning about Mateo and Rufus and everything they have gone through in their short lives. Knowing what their fate is ultimately going to be makes your heart break even more.

I also rather enjoyed the other characters in the book. There are people in both of the boys lives that have been like family to these boys and Silvera makes you realize that they are affected by these boys deaths as well. It’s heartbreaking to say goodbye to a loved one, especially when you know it is going to be the last time you are going to see them.

The only complaint I had about the book was that some parts in the middle seemed to drag and I felt compelled to skip over a few pages here and there. Other than that, I loved this story from start to finish.

Recommendation:

Adam Silvera had an incredible idea and turned it into a fabulous story which will make you fall in love with the characters and their stories, and force you to be overcome with emotion. Silvera made his readers see how important life is and to never take anything for granted. I would recommend this book one hundred percent.

There’s Someone Inside Your House

There's someone inside your house

There’s Someone Inside Your House

By: Stephanie Perkins

Pages: 304

Price (Amazon): Hardcover $10.95 Kindle $10.99

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: September 26, 2017

Genre: Thriller, Suspense

Rating: 2/5

Synopsis: 

It’s been almost a year since Makani Young came to live with her grandmother in landlocked Nebraska, and she’s still adjusting to her new life. And still haunted by her past in Hawaii.
Then, one by one, the students of her small town high school begin to die in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, Makani will be forced to confront her own dark secrets.

Review:

I have been meaning to read this book since before it was released but as my TBR is currently out of control, it took me awhile before I got my hands on it. I haven’t utilized my kindle in a few months and thought that this would be the perfect book to download and breeze through.

The opening chapter to this book, in my opinion, was fantastic. You get a glimpse of the first victim and how quickly someone can be taken away. You see the killer’s actions and how they play with their victim, immediately grabbing you into the story. After the first chapter my only thought was that this was going to be an epic read. Sadly, the first chapter was one of the best in the entire book and it soon became clear that I wasn’t going to get that amazing mystery thriller I was looking forward to.

Our main character, Makani, is a high school student who has been living with her grandmother for the past year. In that year, she has made a few very close friends and has found a love interest, Ollie. I felt like the book concentrated more on Makani and Ollie’s relationship more than the crimes being committed. Rather than the book feeling like a mystery thriller, it felt more like a contemporary romance which I found very odd.

One of my main ‘musts’ when reading a book, as I’m sure this would apply to a lot of people, is that I want to connect with the characters. I want to be so invested in them that if something happens to them, good or bad, I want to care. Unfortunately I found that I didn’t care what happened to any of the characters, including if they were killed.

The other main thing about this novel that bothered me was the fact that the killer is revealed half way through the book….yes. Honestly I think it was like 48% of the way through the book and that in itself was such a disappointment. After the killer was revealed, and the killer was a total letdown, the story loses the momentum it had and made me just want to rush through the story. Every time I expected another plot twist to come our way it never happened, leading to more disappointment.

I will say that the good thing about this book was that the pace was extremely fast and I finished this book in a day.

Recommendation:

I think that if you are looking for a quick read and you want to try out a ‘different’ type of mystery thriller, you may want to pick up this book. However if you are a mystery junkie like I am, I wouldn’t recommend this book.

Reading Habits Tag!

So as a disclaimer, I am a HUGE Booktuber fan. I watch videos from multiple Booktubers and Booktube is the reason why I got back into reading. I think it’s a great way for people to not only get recommendations, but its a great motivator to get you to read more.

With that being said, Tag videos are one of the great things Booktubers do in order to keep their channels interesting. It’s also a fantastic way to get to know the booktubers.

I want to start incorporating these Tags into my blog because I think it’s not only fun and exciting for me to do but I think it brings a refreshing aspect to blogs.

The Reading Habits Tag was created by the Booktuber The Book Jazz. It consists of eleven questions that explains a little bit more about the reader and what their reading habits are. Enjoy!

(1) Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

My favorite place to read in my home is in my Papasan Chair which has an extremely soft, fuzzy cushion. This is the only place that I can truly concentrate on my reading. It is currently by a large window in my bedroom that has great lighting throughout the day and it is very quiet and relaxing. I will also read on the couch or sometimes at night in bed but I often find that I fall asleep a lot easier in those spots rather than in my chair…

(2) Bookmark or random piece of paper?

Definitely a bookmark. I’m not obsessed with bookmarks and if there was a situation where I found that I didn’t have a bookmark, like on a plane or on vacation, I have no problem using a receipt or piece of scrap paper. But I definitely prefer to use a bookmark. It’s aesthetically pleasing and there are so many fun choices to choose from.

(3) Can you just stop reading or do you have to stop after a chapter/a certain number of pages.

I try to stop at the end of the chapter but it’s not a necessity. If I have been reading for an extended period of time and feel burnt out I will stop in the middle of the chapter and it won’t bother me. I can read for ten minutes or two hours but when I know it’s time to stop I stop, I don’t force it.

(4) Do you eat or drink while reading?

If I am in the middle of a book and I know that I can’t put it down, I will read while I have a meal but that is the only time. I will keep a drink nearby at all times of the day, including when I read but usually no food. If I do need a break from reading, that is the time that I will have a snack before I pick up my book again.

(5) Multitasking: Music or TV while reading?

NEITHER. I am so, so, SO bad at concentrating/zoning out other noises while I’m reading. If I am by myself I will have the house completely quiet. If my husband is home after work and is watching TV, I will sit in the same room with him but am constantly looking up at the TV. If I am completely invested in the book then it usually isn’t as big of a problem to concentrate but I prefer silence when I read.

(6) One book at a time or several at once?

I almost always read one book at a time. I don’t like to jump from story to story because what usually happens when I read multiple books at the same time is that I end up only concentrating on one book after a few chapters and then when I finish that book, I could care less about the other book I was reading. That or I forget information and have to read the book over again.

(7) Reading at home or everywhere?

I do carry books with me most places I go but I mostly just read at home. I don’t read at coffee shops or stores and when I’m at someone else’s house, like my parent’s, I only get a minimal amount read. I do enjoy reading on planes, by the pool and at the beach, not that that occurs a lot but when it does I do a good amount of reading.

(8) Reading out loud or silently in your head?

Ninety-nine percent of the time I read silently. I read a lot faster this way and seem to retain more information that way. Occasionally I will read out loud to try and switch it up but it never lasts more than a chapter or two.

(9) Do you read ahead or even skip pages?

I will never read ahead in a book. In the past few months I have talked to a few people and they have told me that they will skip to the end of the book to find out the ending and then go back to wherever they are in their book, whether it is page one or one hundred, and finish the book…………………….WHAT?!?! Seriously, wtf is that? OR they said that if the ending wasn’t worth it they just DNF’d the book (did not finish) and moved onto another book…I just cannot. CANNOT. This bothers me so much. While I will admit that I have read so many books with horrible endings I could not imagine ruining the surprise. For me, that’s a huge part of why I read. Figuring out what happens at the end of the book and staying along for the ride to find out if I was right or not. (I am usually dead wrong but not the point…)

I will sometimes skim over a few pages if the story is getting dull and if I feel like most of it is filler. Of course sometimes this backfires and I have to double back to pages I skimmed if I felt like I skipped something important but most of the time I don’t skip vital information.

(10) Breaking the spine or keeping it like new?

As much as I would love to keep my books like new, that’s almost impossible. I would rather be comfortable holding it in my hands and breaking the spine slightly then try the whole time not to fully open the book.

(11) Do you write in your books?

I have never written in any of my books. I had started a few months ago tabbing my books if there was something funny or a quote I might want to look up again but I have never been one to annotate my books. I’m not saying that it will never happen but as of right now, I don’t write in my books.

Two Past Midnight: Secret Window, Secret Garden

four past midnight

Two Past Midnight: Secret Window, Secret Garden

(Short story in: Four Past Midnight By: Stephen King)

By: Stephen King

Pages: 183

(Page numbers of the story are from Four Past Midnight)

Price (Amazon): Paperback $13.18 Kindle $10.99

(Prices listed above are NOT for Secret Window, Secret Garden ONLY. The prices listed above ARE for the book Four Past Midnight, the short story Secret Garden Secret Window is included in this book.)

Publisher and Publication Date: Scribner; Reprint edition (August 2, 2016)

Genre: Supernatural Fiction

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis: 

The second of a four-part audio series from Stephen King’s bestselling book, Four Past Midnight. Recently divorced writer Mort Rainey is alone at Tashmore Lake-that is, until a figure named John Shooter arrives, pointing an accusing finger.

Review:

Many years ago I had watched the movie Secret Window starring Johnny Depp and loved it. As much as I hate to admit it, I had no idea that Stephen King had written the story the movie was based on….Shame.

Last week I was at the bookstore and stumbled upon the beautiful Four Past Midnight and scanned the back, having no intention of picking it up because I have been very picky with the books that I have been purchasing. Once I saw that Secret Window, Secret Garden was one of the short stories included in this book, there was no chance I was leaving the store without it.

The story starts with our main character, Mort Rainey, who is recently separated from his wife. He is currently staying in a Cabin at Tashmore Lake, attempting to write his next bestselling novel. While he is there, he gets an unexpected, as well as unwanted, visit from John Shooter, a man who accuses Mort of stealing his story.

What I really liked about  Mort Rainey was the mystery not only behind his story but behind himself. We slowly see Mort’s past revealed and his emotional state throughout the story changing, allowing us a glimpse into who he really is. He is such a complex character and at no point did I feel that we lost any type of bond with him due to the fact that this was a short story and not a novel. There was so much invested into this character and King did a great job revealing as much as he did in such a short span.

The story itself has such an eerie feel to it, making the reader question everyone and everything. With significant events happening around Mort, you fear for his safety and the safety of those who are involved in his life. He finds himself in a state of depression and questions the motives of not only John Shooter, but of the people who he trusts the most.

What really tied everything together and made it such a memorable read was the ending. I do definitely wish that I would have read the book before seeing the movie. The movie’s ending was different than the book, and while I enjoyed both of them, I would have loved to go into the story not knowing the big reveal and seeing if I would have predicted the ending.

Recommendation:

Stephen King has once again produced a fantastic piece that left me wanting more. This is a great short story if you want the classic Stephen King but aren’t feeling up to a giant novel. I would definitely recommend this story.

Weekly Wrap Up

Weekly Wrap Up

(December 3rd-December 10)

  1. Two Past Midnight: Secret Window, Secret Garden
    • By: Stephen King
    • Pages: 183
    • Rating: 4/5
  2. There’s Someone Inside Your House
    • By: Stephanie Perkins
    • Pages: 304
    • Rating: 2/5
  3. They Both Die at the End
    • By: Adam Silvera
    • Pages: 368
    • Rating: 4/5
  4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
    • By: J.K. Rowling
    • Pages: 435
    • Rating: 5/5

Total Books Read: 4

Total Pages Read: 1,290

Lies She Told

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Lies She Told

By: Cate Holahan

Pages: 288

Price (Amazon): Hardcover $17.10 Kindle $9.99

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publication Date: September 12, 2017

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis: 

Liza Cole, a once-successful novelist whose career has seen better days, has one month to write the thriller that could land her back on the bestseller list. Meanwhile, she’s struggling to start a family, but her husband is distracted by the disappearance of his best friend, Nick. As stresses weigh her down in her professional and personal lives, Liza escapes into writing the chilling exploits of her latest heroine, Beth.

Beth, a new mother, suspects her husband is cheating on her while she’s home caring for their newborn. Angry and betrayed, she aims to catch him in the act and make him pay for shattering the illusion of their perfect life. But before she realizes what she’s doing, she’s tossing the body of her husband’s mistress into the East River.

Then, the lines between Liza’s fiction and her reality eerily blur. Nick’s body is dragged from the East River, and Liza’s husband is arrested for his murder. Before her deadline is up, Liza will have to face up to the truths about the people around her, including her own. If she doesn’t, the end of her heroine’s story could be the end of her own.

Review:

I received Lies She Told in my Book of the Month subscription box this month and devoured it in a day. Psychological thrillers usually aren’t appealing to me. I often feel like the story is too far fetched or things do not come together smoothly. Lies She Told changed my opinion completely.

We meet our main character, Liza, who is currently trying to write another best selling novel. Her editor suggests that she give the readers what they want. Put in the crazy psychiatrist, let him manipulate your main character, instant best seller. While Liza listens to her editor, she was other plans for her next novel. Enter Beth. We soon find out Beth is a mother of an infant daughter who discovers her husband is cheating on her, making her realize she doesn’t want to give up on her family that easy.

When these two stories start to intertwine, that is when I started to get more and more hooked. I didn’t read the whole synopsis before I read the book for some reason. I usually always do but I took the dust jacket off of the book and never bothered to read what was on the flap. After I read the entire book and went back to read the synopsis, I was disappointed by how much information was revealed. By going in blind I had very little expectations and had really no idea where the story was headed. I think that’s a huge reason why I enjoyed this book as much as I did. I wasn’t being led on by facts that were already stated for me.

When it came to the characters, I thought I connected with at least Liza and Beth enough to care what happened to them and their families. I wasn’t emotionally affected by what eventually happened to any characters but I was zoned into them enough to care where the story was going next. Speaking of where the story was going, I thought the two different stories in the book flowed very nicely. There was never a time where I was only interested in one of the stories, as that often happens when a book has various POVs, flashback chapters, etc…

One complaint/disappointment I had in regards to the book were the endings. I thought they were good and they summed up all the details and plot twists, but I wasn’t blown away. I felt like the hype was so great and I wanted more than what I got.

Recommendation:

Although the ending left me a little disappointed and wanting more, not in a good way, I still thought that this psychological thriller was one of the best I have read this year. I would definitely recommend this book.