Mini review: The Chamber of Secrets

Whoops. I thought I had set this to publish on the 8th, but apparently I only hit save. UGH. Sorry. Here are my thoughts on my reread of Chamber of Secrets!

Oh how I love Chamber of Secrets.
Chamber of Secrets is one of my favorite rereads. I didn't love it as much early on and in my early rereads, but now that I'm on my double digit reread of it, I have grown to appreciate it more. The introduction of Tom Riddle is one of my favorite parts in the series. I love the glimpse we get into the history of Voldemort.... and knowing the deeper history thanks to reading the series makes the introduction of Riddle that much better.
The concept of the Chamber is unique and intriguing. I love the fact that Harry can talk to snakes finally comes into play. It clicks in year 2. The diary is terrifying and brings the darker magic into Hogwarts. However, the charm and wit that Dobby brings to the table is the BEST. I absolutely fell in love with him and think he brought so much to the story. Dobby also gives us a little insight into the life of house elves, which sets the stage for future books. Lockhart is also a really fun character, especially his time in the Chamber.
The last bit that I truly love is the important role that Fawkes plays in this book. I have always really liked the mythology behind the phoenix, and LOVE that those pieces were brought into Harry Potter.

Overall, The Chamber of Secrets is one of the books that really appealed to me and one that I truly enjoyed. It seemed to help me get into the series when I was younger and first reading them - because once I made it through Sorcerer's Stone, I was interested in what could possibly come next... it was the ability of Rowling to add twists, turns, and surprises that kept me glued to the series.

To check out more thoughts on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, head over to the Harry Potter (re)Readathon

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


Mini Review: The Weight of Blood

The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh
Spiegel & Grau // March 11, 2014
hardcover, 320 pgs
ISBN: 978-0812995206
source: egalley from the publisher

About the book:
The town of Henbane sits deep in the Ozark Mountains. Folks there still whisper about Lucy Dane’s mother, a bewitching stranger who appeared long enough to marry Carl Dane and then vanished when Lucy was just a child. Now on the brink of adulthood, Lucy experiences another loss when her friend Cheri disappears and is then found murdered, her body placed on display for all to see. Lucy’s family has deep roots in the Ozarks, part of a community that is fiercely protective of its own. Yet despite her close ties to the land, and despite her family’s influence, Lucy—darkly beautiful as her mother was—is always thought of by those around her as her mother’s daughter. When Cheri disappears, Lucy is haunted by the two lost girls—the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn’t save—and sets out with the help of a local boy, Daniel, to uncover the mystery behind Cheri’s death.
What Lucy discovers is a secret that pervades the secluded Missouri hills, and beyond that horrific revelation is a more personal one concerning what happened to her mother more than a decade earlier.

My (shortened) thoughts:
The Weight of Blood is an interesting novel told through multiple voices, which enhanced the deep storytelling. This novel was one I got on a whim from Netgalley and wound up loving. The characters were easy to listen to and the plot was quickly engaging. The mysterious disappearance of two women from the same town, but years apart, drew me in as something I needed to solve. As family ties became evident, the story grew even more page turning. It was interesting and sickening at the same time. While reading I felt twinges of hate, disgust, fear, and guilt. The fact that this book was able to pull those emotions to the surface but not be repulsive is commendable. This book is well written and well worth reading!

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

Image from Netgalley, book synopsis from Amazon.com


Mini Review : We Are the Goldens

We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt
Wendy Lamb Books // May 27, 2014
hardcover, 208 pgs
ISBN: 978-0385742573
source: egalley from the publisher

About the book:
Nell worships her older sister, Layla. They're one unit, intertwined: Nellayla. As Nell and her best friend, Felix, start their freshman year in high school, on Layla's turf, there's so much Nell looks forward to: Joining Layla on the varsity soccer team. Parties. Boys. Adventures.
   But the year takes a very different turn.
   Layla is changing, withdrawing. She's hiding something, and when Nell discovers what it is, and the consequences it might have, she struggles. She wants to support Layla, to be her confidante, to be the good sister she's always been. But with so much at stake, what secrets should she keep? What lies should she tell?

My (shortened) thoughts
I have mixed feelings about this one. It is a fast paced read, but it is also sloppy. The writing is messy, and I get that it needs to be, since it's narration is a letter written by a high school freshman... but, I think it still could have been better. I quickly was annoyed with Nell's ramblings, but I HAD to know what was going on, so I pressed on. I honestly don't think another point of view our different narration would be better, I think it just needs some cleaning around the edges.  This was a really quick read and a serious page turner. I had a few hunches, one was right, one I'll never know the answer to. Even though I guessed at some of the plot, I still enjoyed the read- knowing what was coming didn't make it any less shocking or meaningful.  My other issue was that ending. I mean,  OMG. I literally sat up on bed and yelled "what?!" at that. Talk about a cliffhanger, and (maybe?) a set up.  Overall, a good book. Quick read, interesting concept, and full of drama.

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

Image from Netgalley, book synopsis from Amazon.com


Giving Tuesday!

Black Friday... Cyber Monday... Giving Tuesday...

This year, Quirk Books and Powells  are teaming up with Andrew Knapp to give to Farm Sanctuary (in the US) and Alberta Spay Neuter Task Force (in Canada)!!

For every purchase of Find Momo (a great book - you can find my review here) at Powells.com, Quirk Books will donate $1 and Andrew Knapp will donate his royalties to Farm Sanctuary. In Canada, donations will go to Alberta Spay and Neuter Task Force when you buy through McNallyRobinson.com

Farm Sanctuary's mission is "to protect farm animals from cruelty, inspire change in the way society views and treats farm animals, and promote compassionate vegan living." They have 3 farm sanctuaries - one here in upstate NY (Watkin's Glenn, just a hop skip and a jump from me) and two in California (Northern and Southern). Visitors are always welcome too!

Alberta Spay Neuter Task Force is "a volunteer driven registered charity that provides care to companion animals living in First Nation communities as well as other municipalities in order to assist with community safety and improve the health and well-being of the dogs and cats living in these communities. Our team of licensed veterinarians, Animal Heath Technicians and general volunteers provides compassionate care and guidance. The Task Force also offers outreach programs to children and community policy makers." 

You can learn more about Find Momo and Giving Tuesday by visiting the Giving Tuesday site dedicated to Find Momo.

Find Momo is a GREAT book and will make a great gift this holiday season! For the dog lover and Where's Waldo fans in your life, this would be a wonderful book to unwrap. Think about buying it today so you purchase helps to make a difference in the lives of animals!

So SHARE this page and blast it on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr... just get this information out there!

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

Mini review : Above

Gallery Books // March 4, 2014
hardcover, 384 pgs
ISBN: 978-1476731520
source: egalley from the publisher

About the book:
Blythe Hallowell is sixteen when she is abducted by a survivalist and locked away in an aban­doned missile silo in Eudora, Kansas. At first, she focuses frantically on finding a way out, until the harrowing truth of her new existence settles in—the crushing loneliness, the terrifying madness of a captor who believes he is saving her from the end of the world, and the persistent temptation to give up. But nothing prepares Blythe for the burden of raising a child in confinement. Deter­mined to give the boy everything she has lost, she pushes aside the truth about a world he may never see for a myth that just might give mean­ing to their lives below ground. Years later, their lives are ambushed by an event at once promis­ing and devastating. As Blythe’s dream of going home hangs in the balance, she faces the ultimate choice—between survival and freedom.

My (short) thoughts
The idea was neat, but it was much too similar to ROOM to really stand alone. I think that it could have been really great if the first half of the book "below" was more unique. The second half "above" was a much more unique story and interesting. I was excited about the second half and finding out what happened to the world above. Overall, not my favorite read and not one I would go back to again. I would recommend this to someone looking for a book that is similar to ROOM or looking for a doomsday read.

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

Image from Netgalley, book synopsis from Amazon


Thankfully Reading Wrap Up

It's Monday, that meas break is over, back to the grind, and time to wrap up my Thankfully Reading Weekend.
This year, I didn't set any goals because I knew I would have a very busy weekend, so my plan was just to read when I could.

I was able to finish 2 books over the weekend in between all the family fun and snow activities!

I read Above by Isla Morley and reread The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

Bear and I went and saw Mockingjay on the 22nd... it was so good that I felt like I needed to reread the series again. I figured the Thankfully Reading Weekend would be the best time to start rereading the books.
I finished up Above first, which I hard started prior to the readathon weekend, then dove in to  rereading The Hunger Games. It was as good this time as it was the first time around!

I wish I had been able to devote more time to reading this weekend, but I am still happy with finishing up a book and rereading The Hunger Games. I also wish I had more time to interact - I still suck at that.

Overall, even with a lack of reading, this was a great weekend to be thankful - for family, friends, good food, good books, and lots of snow.

Hope everyone had fun and enjoyed their holidays!

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