Harry Potter re-read!

What's that you say? A Harry Potter re-readalong?! Count me in - obviously

Sheila over at Book Journey is calling all the Potterheads looking for a reason (like we need one!) to re-read the Harry Potter series. She's hosting a winter re-readalong of the Harry Potter series.
Join in the fun: comment for house points, win prizes, chat with fellow Potterheads, introduce HP to some newbies, and enjoy the series all over again!
Even though I just re-read the series early this year, I have to join in the fun. I can never resist a re-read of Harry Potter and it is a lot more fun with others to discuss it.

Get sorted and post your house and your year and join in the festivities!

I've been sorted into Ravenclaw (both by Pottermore and this quiz, as well as pretty much every other sorting quiz I've ever taken)

You can join as a first year (never read or only read Sorcerer's Stone) all the way up to the seventh year (read them all)
I'm a seventh year, since I've read all the books before- literally a dozen times

The readalong will last 5 months and the tentative schedule is as follows:

* Nov 1 – Nov. 16 – The Sorcerer’s Stone
* Nov 17 – Dec. 6th – Chamber Of Secrets
* Dec. 7 – Dec. 29th –  The Prisoner Of Azkaban
* Dec 30th – Jan 20th – The Goblet Of Fire
* Jan. 21st – Feb 13th – Order Of The Phoenix
* Feb. 14th – March 7th – The Half Blood Prince
* March 8th – March 31st – The Deathly Hallows

Hope you'll be joining us on this magical journey!

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


NEW Harry Potter!

Be still my little geeky heart.

Last month, I preordered The Creature Vault and it arrived yesterday (on it's release date!) at my doorstep. Thank you Amazon!

It is heavy and beautiful and masterfully crafted.

Similar to Film Wizardry - but with a focus on the creatures and plants in the Harry Potter movies. I've read about 1/2 of it so far, and I love it. I've learned so much and the images contained within are stunning.

Expect a full review with pictures of this beauty over the weekend!

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow


The Fever is an engaging and mysterious read...

The Fever is a timely thriller about a mysterious contagion that spreads to the girls of Dryden high.

The Fever by Megan Abbott
Little, Brown and Company // June 17, 2014
hardcover, 320 pgs
ISBN: 9780316231053
source: egalley from publisher through Netgalley

About the book:
The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.
The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie's best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town's fragile idea of security.

My thoughts:
A mysterious tale of a sudden contagious epidemic keeps this book moving fast. The Fever was a quick read and one I could have read in an evening (ya know, if life didn't get in the way of my reading time). Fast paced and mysterious, this novel is perfectly timed with the current mass hysteria over Ebola in the US.  What exactly is causing the girls of Dryden to get sick with seizures, convulsions, vomiting, and hallucinations?  Is it the HPV vaccine all the girls got? Maybe it's the polluted lake that's making them sick. Or is something more sinister at play?
The quest for answers kept me turning the pages of this novel. I wanted answers as badly as the parents of these afflicted girls. And why, exactly, is Deenie caught in the middle? I just wanted to know!!!
In addition to the fast moving plot, I liked the characters. The girls were all different, but shared commonalities enough to make us question what was happening- and why. They were different enough to be unique but similar enough to seem like any girl you'd meet in a local high school cafeteria. I think that helped make this novel relevant.  The entire idea behind this book was impressive- the outbreak and what comes after. The hysteria was accurately depicted and twists and turns kept me guessing.  Overall, I really liked this one and would definitely recommend it.... especially with all the current hysteria in the media right now.

About the author:
Megan Abbott is the Edgar award-winning author of six novels, including Dare Me, The End of Everything and Bury Me Deep. Her writing has appeared in Detroit Noir, Queens Noir, Phoenix Noir, New York Times and Los Angeles Times Magazine. She is the author of The Street Was Mine: White Masculinity in Hardboiled Fiction and Film Noir and editor of A Hell of a Woman, a female crime fiction anthology. She has been nominated for awards including the Steel Dagger, the LA Times Book Prize and the Pushcart Prize. Currently, she is working on the screenplay for her novel, Dare Me, soon to be a major motion picture.
Born in the Detroit area, she graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in English Literature and went on to receive her Ph.D. in English and American literature from New York University. She lives in Queens, New York City.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

Cover image from Netgalley.com
Book and author information from Amazon.com


Press Play is an incredible and intense read!

WOW. That is the first word that comes to mind after reading Eric Devine's latest YA novel- Press Play.

Press Play by Eric Devine
Running Press // October 28, 2014
paperback, 368 pgs
ISBN: 978-0762455126
source: ARC from the publisher

About the book:
Pound by sweaty pound, Greg Dunsmore’s plan is working. Greg is steadily losing weight while gaining the material he needs to make the documentary that will get him into film school and away from the constant jeers of “Dun the Tun.”
But when Greg captures footage of brutal and bloody hazing by his town’s championship-winning lacrosse team, he knows he has evidence that could damage as much as it could save. And if the harm is to himself and his future, is revealing the truth worth the cost?

My thoughts:
It's been awhile since I read a book in a mere 24 hours. Press Play is one of those incredible page-turning stories that you just have to finish as quickly as possible. I had the luxury of camping over the long weekend and was able to spend a fair amount of time reading - I brought Press Play with me, knowing that I like Eric Devine and because this just sounded like a really good read.
I am SO glad I did.
I finished this book within 24 hours and it was one of those novels where when I wasn't reading it, I was thinking about it.
The 4 main characters were superbly developed - even though I can't say that I connected directly with their struggles, I can say that I understood them. They were so real. I could absolutely feel the anger and pain that flowed from Greg, the humiliation Ollie felt, the anger and deeply hidden secrets of Ella, and the fear within Quinn. Each member of this quartet was exposed to the reader, allowing us to really understand them and their experiences.
The story isn't your typical high school YA novel. It isn't filled with romance or vampires or your typical drama. Press Play is filled with emotion. It is a tale about the hazards of sports, cliques, unhealthy lifestyles, lying, and hazing. It is also about the truth... how it can set you free, save your ass, and keep you sane.
The overall idea of Greg catching video of how cruel the lax bros are (and many of the cliques in general) is heartbreaking. It is terrible because it is true. I cannot imagine being in high school now - I was lucky that in school I was a social butterfly and got along with pretty much every clique. My only bad experience was that I was damn good at sports and had a gaggle of older girls (that I beat in a gym class game) try to heckle me. I kept my head down, ignored them, still kicked ass in gym, and carried on - they eventually got bored. However, I do know a lot of people who had terrible high school experiences. Now, with the addition of social media, I cannot even imagine how quickly bullying can escalate. Press Play gives us a glimpse into how dangerous High School really can be.

Press Play has a great message and I am really impressed with it, I would recommend it, especially for older high school students. They could certainly learn a lot from this book.

Before you run off to grab this - check out the awesome book trailer!

About the author:
Eric Devine is a writer, high-school English teacher, and educational consultant. He is the author of the young adult novels Dare Me, Tap Out, which is a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, and This Side of Normal. He lives in Waterford, NY, with his family. He can be found online at ericdevine.org and via Twitter @eric_devine.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

Book image, author information, and synopsis from Amazon.com
Book trailer from Eric's webpage


Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon

It's Thursday night and about time I share my Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon stack!
It is small this time around because Saturday will be a very busy day for us. Madeline (my son to be step daughter) is with us this weekend and we have lots going on. Saturday she has a birthday party to attend and we plan to go day trick or treating (if time allows) at our local Animal Adventure. We're also planning to go to a haunted Rail Trail walk either Friday or Saturday night, and of course carve pumpkins, bake Halloween cupcakes, and have some quality family time. I'm so glad she'll be with us again this weekend... but since she won't be here again until after Halloween so we want to get in all the Halloweenie fun that we can this weekend! Therefore, the readathon is taking a backseat this round. That's okay though, because I'm beyond grateful to have her home!
My stack includes the book In currently reading (on my Kindle Fire) - "The Quick" by Lauren Owen. It also contains "Mother Mother" by Koren Zailckas and (finally) "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green. I've had TFIOS since it first came out and just haven't gotten to it. Then the hype and buzz came, so I tucked it away to read after the buzz died down.... that, and after the movie was pity of theaters. I'll watch it soon after reading, I'm sure.
As always, I'm happy to be part of this community of readers and join in the readathon in memory of Dewey. Can't wait to see you around this Saturday!


The Haunting of Hill House

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson is... different. Part of it is the fact that it is old. Originally published in 1959, it is a different breed of book. Classic horror is the only way to describe it.

Set in the summer hills of a small New England town, Hill House is a classic haunted house tale. The members of Hill House were invited by Dr. Montague, a scholar trying to research paranormal activity. Theodora, Eleanor, Luke, and Dr Montague stay in Hill House in an attempt to uncover it's secrets. Joined by the housekeeper (but only for parts of the day!) and later on Dr. Montague's wife and her friend Arthur, the members of this little group are beginning to feel that something is indeed off. Eleanor attracts the most attention, and her reaction to that is bizarre. As the group experiences more troubling activity, Eleanor becomes more enmeshed in the happenings of Hill House. Will they make it out alive and uncover the secrets of Hill House, or will they, like many others, flee from the home and never return?

I must admit that I never would have picked this book up if it wasn't for The Peril of the Group Read for RIPIX hosted by The Estella Society. Andi and Heather always read great books, so of course I knew that I had to join in their readalong and read The Haunting of Hill House. I wasn't disappointed.
This was a bit different for me, seeing as it was a classic thriller and I'm more of a big show fright fest. The Haunting of Hill House is much more subtle. It was an eerie tale, that I think back in 1959 would be terrifying. By today's standards, it doesn't pack that punch. It is beautifully crafted though, and the descriptions are detailed enough to help you really build a picture of the old mansion that is Hill House. As far as the characters go, we don't delve too deep into any of them except Eleanor. On the surface, I liked her, but she was a bit drab and boring. By the end, I liked her though, especially after she realy became enmeshed in the house. Theo annoyed me the entire time, to be honest - she was a brat. Luke and Dr. Montague were both just kind of there... I'm a bit indifferent on my opinion of the two. Dr. Montague's wife, however, was an absolute horror. I couldn't stand her and repeatedly thought about how much I would have enjoyed punching her in the face if I was with them. For the most part, the House itself was it's own character. Jackson really poured effort into describing the house and giving it personality.
Overall, I enjoyed this novel. I wouldn't have ever picked it up, but I liked the change of pace and the difference that was old school horror novel. It was a slow build to a steady end, and gave me pause about old haunted houses.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow

Pumpkin Picking Party!

October means it is time for pumpkins and all things Autumn. Every year, Barrett's parents plant tons of pumpkins and gourds for the family. We all get together and have a fun pumpkin picking party. This year we were all able to make it and had a great family day at Mom Mom & Pop's. It is definitely rare to get all of us together at once - so it was wonderful to have the family together and enjoy a crisp Fall day picking out our pumpkins, making s'mores, and playing together.

write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow