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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Author:J. K. Rowling (Bio) | Publication:July 8 1999 by Scholastic Inc | Series: Harry Potter Series #3 | Length: 435 pages | Genre: Young Adult/Teen, Fiction, Magic, | ISBN:9780439655484 |Source: Barnes and Noble | Book: Amazon (here)

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.

Harry is once again barely managing to get by when home for the summer holidays with the Dursleys. After a nasty run in with Vernon’s sister Marge and a rash choice to run away from home, Harry finds himself in front of the Minister for Magic who is just happy to see Harry safe and in one piece. On his own for the rest of the holidays and confined to Diagon Alley, Harry is for once blissfully happy until finding out that a dangerous convict by the name of Sirius Black is after him for defeating Lord Voldemort 12 years prior. Harry finds out that Black is his godfather and was his parents best friend before handing them over to Lord Voldemort. Harry operates under the intention to make Black pay until he learns the truth for himself. Ron’s rat is really Peter Pettigrew the Potter’s secret keeper who betrayed them to the Dark Lord. While Harry did manage to prevent Sirius from being executed by the Dementors of Azkaban, Pettigrew was allowed to escape.

This is without a doubt my favorite book in the Harry Potter series. First and foremost it’s the only book in the series that does not complete revolve around a plot to kill Harry. It also gives the first glimpse into the deep rooted lack of trust between even friends that the presence of Voldemort had cultivated. This book definitely has a darker tone at times than it’s predecessors due to it revolving completely around the betrayal of Harry’s parents and the cause of his miserable life with the Dursleys. Personally I love Sirius! His mysterious introduction is perfect and although he’s not your conventional parenting figure, he is still presented to deeply care about Harry. I am also a huge Lupin fan! He’s gentle, yet prepared to protect Harry while avenging his best friend. I was rather displeased that J.K. chose to have his condition revealed forcing him to resign from his post. I completely understand the necessity of the choice, but Lupin is one of the best characters introduced thus far.

As with the previous two reviews this was my first time listening to the Stephen Fry version of this book and he makes the story not only engaging, but too thrilling to even put down. I listened to this particular book twice because I love every moment of it especially when Sirius finally is on the scene.

Harry’s back, back again, tell a friend…okay terrible joke, but he really is back in another adventure that as with any Harry Potter book leaves more questions than answers. As if you need anyone more reason to go out and pick up the third book in this enticing series.

As I’ve mentioned a few times and feel no remorse in doing so again, this is definitely my favorite Harry Potter book in the series.  There is a link to the author’s bio account at the top of the page. Thank you J.K for the third book in the series. On to the fourth.

I rated this book a 5/5.

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The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts

Author:Dr. Gary Chapman (Bio) | Publication:January 1st 2015 by Northfield Publishing | Series: N/A | Length: 208 pages | Genre: Self-help, Relationships, Love, Psychology | ISBN:9780802412706 |Source: Amazon | Book: Amazon (here)

Falling in love is easy. Staying in love-that’s the challenge! How can you keep your relationship fresh and growing amid the demands and conflicts and just plain boredom of everyday life?

I’ll bluntly start by saying how much I detest the majority of all self help books. This one one by no means falls into that category. Dr. Chapman delivers effective and sound advice on how to love others through using what he calls that 5 love languages. These love language are discussed in detail and he provides the best ways to properly fill the “love tank” of a person’s love language. The practical application provided in the book really allows for one to do some soul searching and helps to really put long lasting changes into place rather than promising the sort of instant change that other books promote. Dr. Chapman by no means says that this book is the end all be all to issues one may be having with being loved and loving others, but he does instead offer steps one may take to address these issues.

What I like most about this book is that Dr. Chapman shoots straight from the hip. Even while reading it I noticed things that I didn’t like, but I knew applied to me. When helping someone it is of course important to be mindful of their feelings, but not so much so that they are only told what they want to hear. That more than anything is what drove me to pick this up and read it in the first place. Personally for me it confirmed some things I already knew about myself and helped me to see others who I interact with regularly in a different light. If you choose to pick this book up, it will definitely require effort on your part to make a change and see a difference. For me it w has been and continues to be worth it.

One thing I will point out is the last quarter of the book does get quite repetitive. I’m sure the intent was to drive the point home for those who may struggle with emotional interact, but for me it was slightly annoying. Another thing to note is that the book is written in respect to marriages, but the knowledge contained can easily be applied to any relationship. Other than that I really enjoyed this book and suggest it to anyone who wants to enhance the way they love others.

This book is definitely for anyone who is single, dating, married, or looking to enhance the way they express their love to others. It is without a doubt worth the time it takes to read the book. A link to the author’s bio and to the book are both provided above. Thank you Dr. Chapman for the wealth of information provided here. I look forward to reading your other work.

If you want to learn your love language click here. There’s an assessment that has also been included in the latest edition of the book.

I rated this book a 4/5.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Author:J. K. Rowling (Bio) | Publication:July 2 1998 byA. Levine Books | Series: Harry Potter Series #2 | Length: 341 pages | Genre: Young Adult/Teen, Fiction, Magic, | ISBN:9780439064866 |Source: Barnes and Noble | Book: Amazon (here)

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.

The scene opens to Harry getting yelled at as usual by his Uncle Vernon. This time over the awful racket Hedwig is making due to being locked up since Harry returned from Hogwarts. After excusing himself from breakfast he goes outside to dwell on the fact that he has not heard from any of his Hogwarts friends since the end of last term. As the Durley’s prepare to host a new client for Uncle Vernon’s company Harry finds himself being remanded to his room and told to act as if he doesn’t exist. During the visit a house elf shows up and gives Harry a cryptic warning not to return to Hogwarts. After ruining the deal for Harry’s uncle and with the arrival of an official warning from the Ministry of Magic, Harry is placed on a prison like sentence until he is rescued by the Wesley’s. Harry spends the rest of his summer holiday with them completely carefree until they leave for Diagon Alley. Harry gets lost and overhears Mr. Malfoy selling some items that he does not want discovered in a Ministry raid. After a harrowing ride where the Wesley’s flying car is destroyed and Harry barely escapes getting expelled he starts to hear voices around the school as students are attacked. Harry and Ron have to solve the mystery of the attacks on their own after Hermione is also attacked. Harry comes faces to face with Voldemort’s memory preserved in a diary that was draining the life out of Ginny Wesley. Harry defeats the Basilisk and destroy the diary of Voldemort ending the attacks and keeping Hogwarts open.

Even though this is a re-read of the series I find myself with a childlike emotion listening to the book from start to finish. While I know that Harry is going to win out, I still find my heart racing at certain parts of the story. This book really increased my appreciation for the emotion that Hagrid adds to the overall tale. His reaction to being sent to Azkaban was one the most heart wrenching sections of the book. Even more so finding out the lengths that Voldemort will go through to get what he wants just increased my dislike for a character who is intentionally written not to be liked. Hagrid on the other hand has a very lovable nature and reminds me of a close friend of mine who is quite famous being bringing stray animals in off the street. He expresses a pure love for those around him and for the creatures he takes care of. This is evident in the way that he still takes care of Aragog even after all the trouble owning the creature caused him. It was my favorite thing about this book. The story itself outside of that I felt was dull in many areas and drawn out when it didn’t need to be. I also was not fully committed to the plot.

This was my first time listening to this on audiobook and Stephen Fry made this a reading exciting read. While the Chamber of Secrets is my least favorite Harry Potter book it still provides the amazing story that I have come to expect from the series.

If you could not get enough of the wizarding world then book two in the series is for you. Harry and the gang returns with even more to investigate and discover than the first book. And Harry once again is fighting to save his life.

Although this is not one of my favorite books in the series it’s still wonderful to read this book again. There is a link to the author’s bio account at the top of the page. Thank you J.K for the second book in the series. On to the third.

I rated this book a 4/5.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Author:J. K. Rowling (Bio) | Expected Publication:June 30 1997 by Bloomsbury Publishing | Series: Harry Potter Series #1 | Length: 223 pages | Genre: Young Adult/Teen, Fiction, Magic, | ISBN:9780747532743 |Source: Barnes and Noble | Book: Amazon (here)

Turning the envelope over, his hand trembling, Harry saw a purple wax seal bearing a coat of arms; a lion, an eagle, a badger and a snake surrounding a large letter “H”.
Harry Potter has never heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping on the doormat at number four, Privet Drive. Addressed in green ink on yellowish parchment with a purple seal, they are swiftly confiscated by his grisly aunt and uncle. Then, on Harry’s eleventh birthday, a great beetle-eyed giant of a man called Rubeus Hagrid bursts in with some astonishing news: Harry Potter is a wizard, and he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The book opens to the most boring, perfectly normal family in all of Great Britain. Quickly their world is turned upside down when Petunia Dursley’s baby nephew shows up on their doorstep after the murder of his parents in what Harry is lead to believe a car crash. After multiple attempts to deliver letters to Harry which are destroyed by Uncle Vernon, Hagrid personally comes to inform Harry about his acceptance into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He tells Harry that he is really a wizard and takes him off to Diagon Alley where Harry is introduced to the wizarding world. Over dinner Hargid tells Harry about Lord Voldemort, what really happened to his parents, and the origin of his scar. The rest of the holiday passes and Harry boards the Hogwarts Express and eventually makes his way to Hogwarts where he is sorted into Gryffindor House and embarks on the first year of his Hogwarts journey. Through all his classes and making the quidditch team, Harry finds himself working to uncover the plot behind a mysterious stone that someone seems to be after. With the help of his friends Harry uncovers the plan to steal the stone and confronts one the teachers who is trying to steal it in order to bring Lord Voldemort back to life. Harry barely defeats the Dark Lord again and keeps the stone from falling into his hands. At the end of term because of their bravery Gryffindor is awarded extra points to win the house cup. Harry heads off with his uncle back to the plain house on Privet Drive.

I love Harry Potter! Now that it’s out of the bag I can get on with this review. This is probably my 9th or 10th time reading the book and each time reminds me of my first. Barely 6 years old I remember trying to read this completely struggling and it taking me forever to get through it. Each page more captivating than the last allowing you to put yourself right along Harry each step of the way. What I find most enthralling about this book is the the level of depth each character possess, even the ones with less impact on the story. The detail and development of the plot and wizarding world is easy to absorb and swallow while reading this story.

This was my second time listening to this on audiobook and I really enjoy the Stephen Fry version better in my opinion. Such a wonderful and captivating story and the series only goes up from here.

If you are a fan of traveling to other worlds, adventure, magic, and wonderfully described feasts this is your book.

This book is literally one of the best selling books of all time. There is a link to the author’s bio account at the top of the page. I humbly thank J.K. for gifting me with the world of Harry Potter and hope that everyone takes the time to read this at least once.

I rated this book a 5/5.

New Years Greeting

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic and enjoyable New Years! Mine was pretty low key.

I’m excited to have a whole new year ahead to read all the books that I didn’t in 2017. Sad to say I fell into an extreme reading slump that I could not did myself out of. With that being said with 2018 I plan to read extensively more than I did last year. I’m starting out the new year with a re-read of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series since it is one of my all time favorites. Expect to see lots of reviews and fun posts throughout the year.

Look for my review of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone going up soon.

Achilles (SPOLIER FREE)

Author: Greg Boose (Bio) | Expected Publication:September 26 2017 by Diversion Publishing | Series: The Deep Sky Saga Book 1 | Length: 288 pages | Genre: Young Adult/Teen/Dystopian| ISBN: 9781635760545 |Source: NetGalley |Book: Amazon (here)

The year is 2221, and humans have colonized a planet called Thetis in the Silver Foot Galaxy. After a tragic accident kills dozens of teenage colonists, Thetis’s leaders are desperate to repopulate. So Earth sends the Mayflower 2―a state-of-the-art spaceship―across the universe to bring 177 new homesteaders to the colony. For Jonah Lincoln, an orphaned teen who has bounced between foster homes and spent time on the streets of Cleveland, the move to Thetis is a chance to reinvent himself, to be strong and independent and brave, the way he could never be on Earth. But his dreams go up in smoke when their ship crash-lands, killing half the passengers and leaving the rest stranded―not on Thetis, but on its cruel and unpopulated moon, Achilles. Between its bloodthirsty alien life forms and its distance from their intended location, Achilles is a harrowing landing place. When all of the adult survivors suddenly disappear, leaving the teenage passengers to fend for themselves, Jonah doubts they’ll survive at all, much less reach Thetis―especially when it appears Achilles isn’t as uninhabited as they were led to believe.

The story revolves around young teenager named Jonah who we first meet aboard the Mayflower 2 journeying towards a new Earth like planet. The story quickly dissolves into chaos when the ship experiences some sort of failure and crashes on Achilles, a moon of Thetis. Half of those aboard the ship are killed on the initial crash and the survivors try to deal with the crippling loss. Very soon though it’s revealed that the crash was not as accidental as it appears and the group begins to struggle with trust. When people start mysteriously turning up brutally murdered sides are chosen. As one group splits up and decides to journey across the moon, it becomes apparent that something is not quite right about the moon or the planet Thetis. As more and more starts to go wrong a plot unravels that pushes all the teenagers to the very brink of their humanity.

This book was basically The Maze Runner meets Lord of the Flies meets The 100. It’s such a well written tale that really took me through some strong emotional turns. There were some people, sad to say that I’m glad didn’t make it. There were others who I felt deserved to survive and grew quite attached too. The loose sense of law and order was my favorite part of the story because it didn’t feel forced or out of place given the situation. The best part I would say is that Jonah was a very well rounded character who I feel had a part that everyone could connect to.

If you are a fan of dystopian novels or enjoy the idea of a bunch of kids lost together trying to just survive then pick this book up. I really struggled with putting this book down once I started it. I feel like many would have the same issue.

This book can be picked up from the Amazon link above. There is a link to the author’s bio at the top of the page. I humbly thank NetGalley and the publisherDiversion Publishing for this ARC copy of the book to review prior to release. I wish the author the best of luck with his future writing endeavors.

I rated this book a 4/5. I’m eagerly waiting for the next book to be released whenever that happens. I’m sure we ca expect great things from this author.

The Paper Magician Review (Spoiler Free)

Author:Charlie N. Holmberg | Published: September, 1st 2014 by 47North | Series: The Paper Magician Trilogy #1 | Length: 224 pages | Genre: YA fantasy| ISBN:9781477823835) |Source: Amazon (Book)

Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic… forever.
Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined — animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.
An Excisioner — a practitioner of dark, flesh magic — invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.

The story revolves around Ceony Twill and her absolute distaste for the magic that she is assigned too. The setting of the story begins somewhere on the outskirts of London, England where she is being shown to the door of the man who will be teaching her paper magic. I noticed very quickly in the beginning that the writer choose to harp over and over on the fact that paper magic was not something the protagonist had any resolve to do. In her mind it was just short of a death sentence, but he talked about it so much that even after finishing the book I have very little care for paper magic myself. It also make the first five chapters incredibly hard get through. In saying that the story definitely starts to pick up after Magician Thane is attacked and Ceony goes after the heart thief.

I will say that the wording used throughout the book is definitely easy to follow while still providing a challenge to the more advanced reader. If I had to pick one line that really sums up the book it would be “What about my mistakes? I think about them, too, but where would I be if I thought of nothing else? What sort of person would I be if I drowned in them?” The two major protagonist both carry dark secrets with them and has an affect on how they choose to interact with others and each other.

As I approached the end of this book I was left wanting. There was a lot of filler material that I felt could have been left out and instead replaced with something else. There was a lot of opportunity to develop Ceony which I felt was not done very well. The story was very dry and repetitive at times which really disappointed me because I felt that there was so much potential for this book to really take off. I was happy with how the book ended because it definitely set the sequel up to be very engaging. I hope that it does not disappoint. It is definitely worth a read if you can forge through the dry material and repetition.

I rated this book a 3/5. The ending really saved it.