Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sea Change - Review

Sea Change

By: Aimee Friedman

Published: June 1st 2009 by Point

292 pages

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Mermaids

Source: Personal Library

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | )

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

Goodreads description--Sixteen-year-old Miranda Merchant is great at science. . .and not so great with boys. After major drama with her boyfriend and (now ex) best friend, she's happy to spend the summer on small, mysterious Selkie Island, helping her mother sort out her late grandmother's estate.

There, Miranda finds new friends and an island with a mysterious, mystical history, presenting her with facts her logical, scientific mind can't make sense of. She also meets Leo, who challenges everything she thought she knew about boys, friendship. . .and reality.

Is Leo hiding something? Or is he something that she never could have imagined?

Sorry I couldn't come up with a better name for this blog. Sea Change gets a 3 star rating. It wasn't bad by any means, but I just can't rate it the same as other books that I have enjoyed much more.

The main character is a science buff. Not being a science buff myself, I found this to be a bit annoying--I rather dislike science ALOT! However, I suspected that she would come to learn that science isn't the be-all-end-all considering the book has a supernatural twist like most of the other books I've been reading lately. I did like the way the character believes she knows what happens and she's figured out the supernatural twist, but the author never reveals a 100% truth on the character's beliefs and whether she is right or wrong.

There were also aspects of Miranda and her past that I think every teenage girl, and by default adult woman, can relate to. Who doesn't love that? Yet the thing from the Miranda's past that she was holding onto didn't seem as big as what some of the other characters I've been reading have had to deal with. While that may be true, this did seem more realistic than the things some of the other characters in other books have been dealing with.

Overall * * *.

*Updated: September 6, 2013

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Review

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, # 7)

By: JK Rowling

Expected Publication: July 2007 by Arthur A. Levine Books

759 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic

Source: Personal Library

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

*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 leaving Privet Drive for the last time. But as he climbs into the sidecar of Hagrid’s motorbike and they take to the skies, he knows Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters will not be far behind.

The protective charm that has kept him safe until now is broken. But the Dark Lord is breathing fear into everything he loves. And he knows he can’t keep hiding.

To stop Voldemort, Harry knows he must find the remaining Horcruxes and destroy them. He will have to face his enemy in one final battle.

So yes, as you can tell, Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows has received the coveted 5 star rating (coveted by...? I don’t know). This book is packed with information and one thing happening after the other from cover to cover. The second half was the most enjoyable for me because it was the only part of this entire series that I’ve not seen in movie version before hand and I really think that makes a world of difference. Seeing the movies first gave me enough information to remember the big twists and turns but left me without the crucial information to fully understand and appreciate the big twists. I’m glad I finally went through the actual books, but I have to say, finishing this series, as is the way when I finish most series, has left me feeling lost. I don't know what to do with my life. :) Also, in case this helps you, I’ve added the paperback books and the audiobooks to my Amazon Wish List.

JK Rowling does an excellent job keeping the reader in suspense. Even when you think you know what’s going to happen, or in some cases what you think has already happened, and even a specific character’s motivation, she keeps you unsure that what you’ve predicted is really as it appears. This is good. You all know I have a hang up when it comes to books being predictable. It just bugs me to the point of wanting the book to do the exact opposite of what I predict despite how crazy it might be just to catch me off guard. However, even when my predictions were true in this book, I was still happy they were true because she brought them about in such an artful way that it really could have gone one way or the other.

I really like the whole conclusion of the story and I feel quite sure that I need to go through all the books again because I’m sure there is crucial information that I might have missed out on the first time—typical for me when reading such complex series. She does tie it all together quite nicely bringing in things that have been building and building for several books now to where it all makes sense and it all fits together in such harmony. It’s quite like a symphony.

I enjoyed the character development throughout the whole series. Though, I would have liked to have seen Jenny more in this book, I suppose I understand. Oh and I think I might have mentioned this in the review of the last book, but Snape is quite possibly one of my favorite fictional characters. He’s very complex and I just love the development of his character throughout the series. I felt one way while watching the movies. Changed my opinion when reading the books. Then got to a certain part in book 6 where I felt at peace and then immediately changed my opinion. And then was unsure until the very end of this book, though I still leaned more toward one way than the other. This is exactly what I’m talking about with how you can predict something but still be unsure and even if you’re right or wrong, whatever the conclusion, you’re okay with the way she handled it all. Brilliant.

Very good read and a well deserved 5 Star rating. Looking forward to seeing Part 2 of the Deathly Hallows when it comes out in July.

Oh and I actually laughed out loud in one part, which is a much added bonus and another reason why this book deserves the 5 star rating. I don’t usually do that so anytime a book can make me laugh out loud and make a fool out of myself to others around me, gold star.

Updated: July 7, 2018

City of Fallen Angels....City of Fallen Expectations

City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments, # 4)

By: Cassandra Clare

Expected Publication: April 5th 2011 by Simon & Schuster Children's, Margaret K. McElderry

424 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

Source: Personal Library

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

*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 Mortal War is over, and sixteen-year-old Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And—most importantly of all—she can finally call Jace her boyfriend.

But nothing comes without a price.

Someone is murdering Shadowhunters, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second, bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her—his mother just found out that he’s a vampire, and now he’s homeless. When Jace begins to pull away from her without explaining why, Clary is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: she herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.

Ok...I have to say, I was not happy at all with this book. I'm a Cassandra Clare fan, but this book just didn't measure up to me. I felt closure with the characters and their story lines after the City of Glass, but opening them back up just feels unsatisfactory to me. I felt it was predictable, which I'm beginning to really HATE about a book/story. Even the parts where I felt like she was trying to create some intrigue just felt forced.

Things I liked: the ties from Clockwork Angel into this series, Simon and Isabelle's relationship, at this point, that's all I've got.

Jace and Clary were completely unsatisfying to me in this story. The ending obviously set up the next book, but I don't like it. Sorry. 3 Stars...that's the best I can do.

Updated: July 7, 2018

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Review

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, # 6)

By: JK Rowling

Expected Publication: July 2005 by Arthur A. Levine Books / Scholastic

652 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic

Source: Personal Library

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

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

Goodreads description--When Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince opens, the war against Voldemort has begun. The Wizarding world has split down the middle, and as the casualties mount, the effects even spill over onto the Muggles. Dumbledore is away from Hogwarts for long periods, and the Order of the Phoenix has suffered grievous losses. And yet, as in all wars, life goes on.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione, having passed their O.W.L. level exams, start on their specialist N.E.W.T. courses. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate, losing a few eyebrows in the process. Teenagers flirt and fight and fall in love. Harry becomes captain of the Gryffindor Quidditch team, while Draco Malfoy pursues his own dark ends. And classes are as fascinating and confounding as ever, as Harry receives some extraordinary help in Potions from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince.

Most importantly, Dumbledore and Harry work together to uncover the full and complex story of a boy once named Tom Riddle—the boy who became Lord Voldemort. Like Harry, he was the son of one Muggle-born and one Wizarding parent, raised unloved, and a speaker of Parseltongue. But the similarities end there, as the teenaged Riddle became deeply interested in the Dark objects known as Horcruxes: objects in which a wizard can hide part of his soul, if he dares splinter that soul through murder.

Harry must use all the tools at his disposal to draw a final secret out of one of Riddle’s teachers, the sly Potions professor Horace Slughorn. Finally Harry and Dumbledore hold the key to the Dark Lord’s weaknesses... until a shocking reversal exposes Dumbledore’s own vulnerabilities, and casts Harry’s—and Hogwarts’s—future in shadow.

So I REALLY enjoyed book 6. Probably my favorite thus far. The characters, now mostly 16 years old, are intensifying in their relationships with one another. I really like the development there. I’m not sure the movies really show that same development accurately. I honestly wish I had not seen the movie before “reading” this book because there would have been some major surprises to be enjoyed. Oh well. At least I should complete the series in the books before the last movie comes out. The plot thickens in this book adding an extra layer of suspense to the overall series. I know this paragraph just really does not do this book justice, but I’m struggling to find something to say. Being at a loss for words is a good thing sometimes. I do have to say that Snape is probably the most interesting character in this series and I’m still waiting to see the end result of his journey just as much as I am waiting to see how things end up for Harry and his friends. Snape might just be my favorite character in a series in a long time. Just when I think I have him all figured out, JK Rowling throws a dozen questions in my face. It’s well worth the read. I can’t give it the “LOVED IT!!!!!!!!” rating….but I can give it a very decent 4.9 Stars!

Updated: July 7, 2018

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Review

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, # 5)

By: JK Rowling

Publication: June 21st 2003 by Scholastic Inc.

870 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic

Source: Personal Library

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

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

Goodreads description--It's official: the evil Lord Voldemort has returned. His influence is suddenly everywhere in the Wizarding world, and his former allies, the Death Eaters, are returning to his side in droves. In response, the Order of the Phoenix, which worked to stop him during his last rise to power, has reconvened. This time, all of the adults Harry trusts have joined in. And even though Harry is at the center of many of their plans—Voldemort is intent on killing him, after all—they want so badly to protect him that they are keeping him completely out of the loop.

Problems are cropping up at Hogwarts, too, where government officials are meddling in just about everything. And just because Voldemort and the Death Eaters are threatening open warfare does not mean that fifth-year students get out of their exams. Meanwhile, Harry's powerful connection to Voldemort seems to be growing even stronger, as he realizes that he has direct access to the Dark Lord's mind. It's time for Harry and his friends to take drastic action, but the course they choose will have terrible unforeseen consequences.

Truly dangerous times have arrived in the fifth Harry Potter novel, but it never loses the trademark fun, excitement, and wonder at the possibilities of magic.

Where to start?

Again you get more information with every book, and this is true of book 5 as well. It takes making it to the very end of the book before you get any real information in this one though. Granted, you did get alot of information packed into the last little bit. Another thing to consider is that alot of the information you could figure out on your own.

I remember this being one of my least favorite movies, and this remains true for the books as well. I wouldn't rate it quite as low as the first two books, but it also wasn't quite on the same level as the third and fourth books either. So I guess if I could I would rate it 3.5.

The excessive rules and regulations put on the students at Hogwartz was just as frustrating for the reader as it was for the characters, as I'm sure was JK Rowling's plan--as I've said in prior reviews, frustration isn't 100% bad. (Side note, I'm a horrible speller anyway, but since I'm listening to the audiobooks and not reading these, I don't see the words and therefore spelling errors are more probable with JK Rowling's world.) However, it makes sense in the overall story for the ministry of magic to need to control the school when the minister himself refuses to acknowledge the scary truths he must soon face.

The characters continue to develope interests in the opposite sex, and as the last book, I really appreciate how true to the characters' ages these experiences are.

My source tells me that book 6 and book 7 are the best yet, which makes sense. Starting book 6 tomorrow.

Updated: July 7, 2018