Monday, April 25, 2011

Just a tidbit I have to admit, I'm jonesing for the next HP! My source is out of town until Wednesday and I can't wait for her to get back so I can start up book five.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - Review

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, # 4)

By: JK Rowling

Publication: July 8th 2000 by Arthur A. Levine Books / Scholastic Inc.

734 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic

Source: Personal Library

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*Note: The above links to Amazon and Book Depository are affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description--Harry Potter is midway through his training as a wizard and his coming of age. Harry wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the International Quidditch Cup. He wants to find out about the mysterious event that's supposed to take place at Hogwarts this year, an event involving two other rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn't happened for a hundred years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. But unfortunately for Harry Potter, he's not normal - even by wizarding standards. And in his case, different can be deadly.
Ok, so I think it is obvious at this point that I'll be "cheating" on all of the HP books. But I dont feel it is really worth mentioning anymore after this. Now to the review...

I have to say I liked this book much better than the others in the series thus far. And I feel that way because there's so much information given in this book in comparison to the previous books. Book 3 really started giving information but book 4 started pulling the pieces together and made the overall story begin to feel like a series.

Having only watched the movies before, I can't remember if I'm just missing pieces of the movies or what but this book really starts to tell you who's on which side and I feel like that was missing from the movies. I only remember speculating before without really knowing for sure one way or the other with the movies. But, I could be remembering incorrectly.

Also, because I love a love story, I'd be remiss if I didn't talk about the development of the character's attention toward members of the opposite sex. Yet because the characters are still so young, it seems very appropriate the way JK Rowling slowly develops their interests in this area. The behavior and feelings towards others of the opposite sex feels very real for the characters ages.

Another major thing for me was that this is the first book of the series that brought about that excited I'm-trying-to-figure-this-book-out-but-can't-tell-what's-going-to-happen feeling. That's key for me when reading a book. If I can figure out what's going to happen too easily in either events or character development, I really count that against the book/author. While trying to predict the unpredictable, I just can't figure out what's more predictable for a certain character. Once I enter this mode, the I-can't-wait-to-find-out-what's-going-to-happen mode, it completely changes the way I respond to the book, and I tend to pick up the pace and intensity trying to hurry up to find out what's going on. This is a good thing.

I'm looking forward to continuing the series and fishing out more secrets and piecing together more information. From what I'm told, JK Rowling really pulls everything together making everything make sense and no piece of information is useless. I just love when an author is capable of this type of plan for a series. I'll keep you posted as I continue through the remaining books.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire...4 stars.

Updated: July 7, 2018

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, # 3)

By: JK Rowling

Publication: October 1999 by Arthur A. Levine Books / Scholastic

435 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic

Source: Personal Library

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*Note: The above links to Amazon and Book Depository are affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description-- 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.

Tragic revelations, heartwarming surprises, and high-stakes magical adventures await the boy wizard in this funny and poignant third installment of the beloved series.

Guess I'm going to cheat on all the HP books. :) It's just too easy to listen to them at work since I have the audiobooks available to me. This was the most interesting of the HP books thus far for sure. I blew right threw HP3 in no time. Sorry I don't have more to say about it...Gave it 4 stars.

Updated with cover art & details: July 7, 2018.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

How the Might Fall - Review

How the Mighty Fall: And Why Some Companies Never Give In

By: James C Collins

Publication: May 19th 2009 by JimCollins

240 pages

Genre: Non-fiction, Business, Leadership, Self-Help

Source: Personal Library

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*Note: The above links to Amazon and Book Depository are affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description--Decline can be avoided.

Decline can be detected.

Decline can be reversed.

Amidst the desolate landscape of fallen great companies, Jim Collins began to wonder: How do the mighty fall? Can decline be detected early and avoided? How far can a company fall before the path toward doom becomes inevitable and unshakable? How can companies reverse course?

In How the Mighty Fall, Collins confronts these questions, offering leaders the well-founded hope that they can learn how to stave off decline and, if they find themselves falling, reverse their course. Collins' research project—more than four years in duration—uncovered five step-wise stages of decline:

Stage 1: Hubris Born of Success

Stage 2: Undisciplined Pursuit of More

Stage 3: Denial of Risk and Peril

Stage 4: Grasping for Salvation

Stage 5: Capitulation to Irrelevance or Death

By understanding these stages of decline, leaders can substantially reduce their chances of falling all the way to the bottom.

Great companies can stumble, badly, and recover.

Every institution, no matter how great, is vulnerable to decline. There is no law of nature that the most powerful will inevitably remain at the top. Anyone can fall and most eventually do. But, as Collins' research emphasizes, some companies do indeed recover—in some cases, coming back even stronger—even after having crashed into the depths of Stage 4.

Decline, it turns out, is largely self-inflicted, and the path to recovery lies largely within our own hands. We are not imprisoned by our circumstances, our history, or even our staggering defeats along the way. As long as we never get entirely knocked out of the game, hope always remains. The mighty can fall, but they can often rise again.

Another excellent business book by Jim Collins. Like Good to Great, I think there are some principles that apply to so much more than business. And in the same way, like Good to Great, I can't rate this as 5 stars because it's not my genre.

This book was really timely for a lot of things I'm going through with my own job. I'd highly suggest it for anyone interested in the workings of an organization. Plus I highly suggest it for anyone who is in a supervisor or managment position. The best we can hope to do is to continually better ourselves. This book is a major tool for managers and those in power. Use it!

Updated: July 7, 2018

Monday, April 4, 2011

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - Review

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, # 2)

By: JK Rowling

Publication: June 2nd 1999 by Arthur A. Levine Books

341 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic

Source: Personal Library

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*Note: The above links to Amazon and Book Depository are affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads description--The Dursleys were so mean and hideous that summer that all Harry Potter wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he's packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike

And strike it does. For in Harry's second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockhart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girls' bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley's younger sister, Ginny.

But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble begins, and someone -- or something -- starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects . . . Harry Potter himself?

So I cheated on this one too. But today I finished listening to the audiobook of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - JK Rowling. This one was better to me than the first one and I'm looking forward to moving to book 3 soon.

Sometimes listening to an audiobook really gets me through the day. There's been too much drama going on lately and it's nice to be able to focus my attention elsewhere. So even though this one is still just * * *, it's also gotten me through a tough past two days at work.

Thanks Harry Potter, a valuable diversion you have been.

Updated with cover art & details: July 7, 2018.