YA

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.

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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.

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.

Halayda (SPOILER FREE)

Author: Sarah Delena White (Bio) | Expected Publication:March 23rd 2017 by Uncommon Universes Press | Series: Star-Fae Trilogy Book 1 | Length: 439 pages | Genre: Young Adult/Steampunk| ISBN: 9780997409970 |Source: NetGalley |Book: Amazon (here)

A mortal alchemist. A faerie king. A bond that transcends death. Betrayed by a trusted mentor, Sylvie Imanthiya hides on the fringes of society, caring for half-fae orphans and trading her alchemical creations on the black market. She lives for the one night each season when she can see her dearest friend—a man whose destiny is far above hers.King Taylan Ashkalabek knows better than to exchange halayda vows with a mortal. Even their friendship is a risk; love is an impossible dream. Then a brutal alchemical attack poisons his realm, unearthing a dark power within him—and leaving Sylvie with the ancient mark of Faerie’s savior.Manifesting unpredictable abilities and aided by allies with their own secrets, Sylvie and Taylan journey into the wilds of Faerie to heal the damage and confront Casimir, an invincible star-fae determined to claim the realm as his own. But only their enemy knows Sylvie’s true capabilities—and Taylan’s weaknesses—and how to use them in his vicious schemes.Her fate is life. His fate is death. With Faerie in the balance, Sylvie and Taylan must stand together before reality as they know it is destroyed.

This tale starts with quick introductions to most of the major characters who in one shape or another are connected to the realm of  the fae. As the story progresses it becomes quite clear that the land of Faerie is not at all what Sylvie thought it to be and even worse it’s success depends on her. She is brought into a dark and poisoned world, content with it’s own destruction. Little does she know Casimir, a star-fae of legend is seeking to re-write the reality of Faerie using her powers. In the end Sylvie must overcome her own fears and self doubts to save her world and Faerie as well.

While reading this book I really struggled because so much of it felt like it was borrowed from another well known author, Sarah J. Maas. I feel like a good portion of the material in the book was copy/pasted, abet very poorly. The book dragged on un-necessarily without developing the plot at all in multiple areas. I also struggled to even write this review due to my string feelings towards the concepts and ideas used. I’m not sure whether the author forgot to change the names of some things, or was just trying to branch off of ideas established by another author, or wanted to expand on Sarah’s world. In all I’ve very disappointed by this blatant use of another author’s material so openly.

If you are a fan of fantasy novels or enjoy magical worlds with far away places then this book might be for you. Again I found it dull, drawn out, and using what I consider stolen material. That is a word that I do not use lightly at all.

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 publisherUncommon Universes Press for this ARC copy of the book to review prior to release. I wish the author the best of luck with her future writing endeavors.

I rated this book a 2/5. I’m not extremely hopeful about the next book in the series to be honest, but time will tell if I give it a chance.