Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











From Goodreads: Harry Potter is midway through his training as a wizard and his coming of age. Harry wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the International Quidditch Cup. He wants to find out about the mysterious event that’s supposed to take place at Hogwarts this year, an event involving two other rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn’t happened for a hundred years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. But unfortunately for Harry Potter, he’s not normal – even by wizarding standards. And in his case, different can be deadly.

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Opening with a murder, death eaters terrorizing muggles, and then the advent of deadly games, this novel is the first to put a darker spin on these lovable MG/YA novels. And I love it. While I do love the first three novels in this series, this one takes a fun world and makes it darker, adding real threats and testing the reader’s emotions on a whole new level. Readers know from the getgo that something sinister is afoot and that the dark lord is well on his way to returning once again, a fear that has slowly been coming to fruition over the course of the last three novels.

Goblet of Fire is the first of the series to make me cry, and it’s also the first of the series to really focus on the death eaters, giving them enough substance to strike fear in the reader’s heart. Yet, the novel is not all dark, and Rowling’s creation of the Tri-Wizard tournament was a fantastic plotline that makes this novel one of my favorites in the series. The mystery behind how Harry’s name entered the cup, who within the castle would want Harry dead (aside from Snape and Malfoy), and how Harry and his friends discover the upcoming tasks in the tournament is always fun, no matter how many times I’ve read this, though if you’ve never read it, then you’re in for a really delightful read! I always walk away from these novels with new tidbits of information that I either didn’t originally notice or just plain forgot, and reliving it all with Harry and his friends is such a treat for me.

Of course, I have to wonder WHY anyone in their right mind would decide to have these games in the first place. The dangers are real, and it’s been 100 years since the last games for a reason–too many deaths. So why have them? And why do it now? Yes, Dumbledore gives the reasoning, but it’s clear to me that there’s more sinister reasons at work that Rowling subtly alludes to, but never states: the selfishness and yearning to protect oneself ultimately opens to the gateway for Voldemort’s return. And yet–it’s time. Up until now, Voldemort has only been a fear of the past, with whisperings and attempts, but no “serious” danger… but in this novel, Rowling finally brings these fears to the forefront, unleashing the terror of the dark lord on the wizarding world, and though terrible, it’s something I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time, because there are only so many times that “he who must not be named” can “almost” return before it becomes monotonous.

Of course, if we want to be petty, we could go right back to Prisoner of Azkaban and blame Ron for this entire thing. I mean, really now… if he’d just have turned over his rat the first time he was asked… ;)

Goblet of Fire is a fun read with dark undertones coming to fruition, and it’s superb. Yes, the movie is good, but you already know the book is much better, so if you haven’t read it yet, give yourself a treat and do. Five stars.

I own this beloved novel and entire series in both hardcover and audible.

Did you know that you can listen to this novel for FREE with a FREE TRIAL of Audible for 30 days? Try it today!

Kindle | Audible | Paperback | Hardcover

Have you read the short prequel to the Harry Potter series, yet?

And if you missed them, read my review of:

The Sorcerer’s Stone #1

The Chamber of Secrets #2

The Prisoner of Azkaban #3

The Order of the Pheonix #5

The Half-Blood Prince #6

The Deathly Hallows #7

For me, the magic of Harry Potter is a Christmastime story. The first time I ever read the series, the first time I ever watched the movies, I just felt like they were definitely Christmas stories, ones of magic and beauty, and I’ve held onto that feeling for years, possibly because the earlier movies tended to come out around the holidays, or perhaps because J.K. Rowling always included Christmas in some way in each novel, but regardless, Christmas means it’s time for Harry Potter once again. Or at least, it did. It used to be that every Christmas season, I’d rewatch all the movies (usually in one sitting), and if I had the time, I’d re-read the entire series as well leading up to the holiday. But it’s been years since I’ve done this due to life and some other personal things. This year, however, the pull of nostalgia for my teenage years and the feelings of happiness Harry Potter always brought to me came flooding back, and I decided that I’d once again re-read the entire series, re-watch every movie (including the extended versions of some that I’d never seen before), and oh my, the magic of Christmas lives once again. And with that, I decided that since I’m back into blogging after so many years away, and since I haven’t posted about Harry Potter since 2013, that this Christmas season, I’d go in order and re-review each book from the prequel to the final novel as we lead up to Christmas day, partially for myself, and partially to spread the joy and cheer of Harry Potter as I know it this Christmas. Enjoy!

 



From Goodreads: 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.

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Rowling has, once again, written a gem that keeps adults just as entertained as it does the MG and YA age group for which it was written. The series transports me to another world that I am highly invested in, and Rowling sheet amount of detail and her ability to interlace the plot and twists throughout her ongoing series just amazes me. This is a series that I will continually come back to time and time again because it’s a classic. A must read.

This third installment in the amazing Harry Potter Series doesn’t deal so much with Voldemort and the threat of his return as much as it does with a more tangible threat–one of his followers escape from Azkaban, hunting down Harry to finish the dark lord’s work. Or so everyone thinks. I’m not going to talk much about this here, because you’ve either already read the book/watched the movie and know what happens, or you know nothing about it and need to read the series right now… I do not want to spoil anything for you. I just remember how absolutely floored I was the first time I read this novel and found out the truth, and how shocking and suspenseful it all was, which just adds to the fun of it all. And the of course, re-reading with foresight allows me to pick up on the plethora of clues Rowling dropped throughout, and oh my! All I’ll say is, damn Ron. If he’d only just given up his rat the first time he was asked…

Prisoner of Azkaban always has me questioning why the director chose to portray Snape and the factor of time in the manner that he does. The movie version doesn’t do either of these aspects true justice, and that just solidifies the view that most have when it comes to movies versus books—the books always do it better. Snape is definitely a lot nastier in this novel than he’s made out to be in the movie.  It’s like the escape of Sirius Black has made Snape into a crazed monster, which I guess it has, in a way, knowing what I know about Snape’s teenage years, but this novel is the first time his true colors really seem to be coming out.  While he was definitely a “meanie” in the first two books, Rowling takes his character to a whole new level in this novel, and I was appalled by his behavior!

I originally thought Snape’s antics on the big screen to be slightly humorous, and he’s one of my favorites in the movies, truth be told, but in the novels he’s completely awful and full of hate—no redeeming qualities can be seen in this book, and he really made me angry! I understand his prejudices against Harry, and I know his back-story from the text, but I didn’t ever see him as being such an awful person before now. And he is. I mean, I knew he was the resident sourpuss and that he was mean to students, but rereading his actions in this novel always reminds me that Snape is quite evil. The way he treats the students, all of them, really, is inexcusable.  Perhaps I’m seeing him in a new light as I’m now seasoned teacher myself, but regardless, Snape’s actions within this book made me livid. The way he talks to Hermoine, Ron, and Harry made me cringe; he’s just an unacceptable person—no matter how much you dislike a person, you just don’t treat them the way Snape treats Harry and his friends.  You just don’t.

Rowling definitely presents Snape in a different light than the directors in the movie, possibly because the directors didn’t want viewers to hate him to the extreme, but even so, I’m always floored by just how different the portrayal really is.

But, despite Snape’s actions, I adored this novel, especially the explanation and replaying of events through the unique time changes that are presented. Just in case you haven’t read the novels or seen the movies, I won’t go into too much detail here, but I personally felt that this novel does a much better job handling the time change than the movie does because I never felt like events were being repeated, whereas in the movie I thought this portion dragged on a little too long. Rowling keeps it short and sweet, though, in her novel, explaining it perfectly, and I highly enjoyed this aspect.  And, if you’ve only seen the movie and haven’t read the book, then you’re seriously missing out.  In this instance, it isn’t even a close second, the novel completely beats out the movie. No contest. Go read it. Five stars.

I own this beloved novel and entire series in both hardcover and audible.

Did you know that you can listen to this novel for FREE with a FREE TRIAL of Audible for 30 days? Try it today!

Kindle | Audible | Paperback | Hardcover

Have you read the short prequel to the Harry Potter series, yet?

And if you missed them, read my review of:

The Sorcerer’s Stone #1

The Chamber of Secrets #2

The Goblet of Fire #4

The Order of the Pheonix #5

The Half-Blood Prince #6

The Deathly Hallows #7

For me, the magic of Harry Potter is a Christmastime story. The first time I ever read the series, the first time I ever watched the movies, I just felt like they were definitely Christmas stories, ones of magic and beauty, and I’ve held onto that feeling for years, possibly because the earlier movies tended to come out around the holidays, or perhaps because J.K. Rowling always included Christmas in some way in each novel, but regardless, Christmas means it’s time for Harry Potter once again. Or at least, it did. It used to be that every Christmas season, I’d rewatch all the movies (usually in one sitting), and if I had the time, I’d re-read the entire series as well leading up to the holiday. But it’s been years since I’ve done this due to life and some other personal things. This year, however, the pull of nostalgia for my teenage years and the feelings of happiness Harry Potter always brought to me came flooding back, and I decided that I’d once again re-read the entire series, re-watch every movie (including the extended versions of some that I’d never seen before), and oh my, the magic of Christmas lives once again. And with that, I decided that since I’m back into blogging after so many years away, and since I haven’t posted about Harry Potter since 2013, that this Christmas season, I’d go in order and re-review each book from the prequel to the final novel as we lead up to Christmas day, partially for myself, and partially to spread the joy and cheer of Harry Potter as I know it this Christmas. Enjoy!

 



From Goodreads: 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.

And strike it does. For in Harry’s second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockheart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girl’s bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley’s younger sister, Ginny.

But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble beings, and someone–or something–starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects…Harry Potter himself.

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This second book in the famous Harry Potter series is just as riveting and captivating as the first, solidifying in my mind that Rowling is an absolutely amazing author.

Truth be told, I have actually found that I like very few fantasy novels, but the world that Rowling creates for Harry Potter actually makes me feel right at home, and I can easily connect with the characters.  This might have something to do with the fact that I watched the movies so often that I have visuals and such imprinted in my brain, but even so, this fantastical world is easy to follow and become a part of, in my personal opinion.  The story jumps right off the page, wrapping readers up in the awesomeness that is Hogwarts and beyond.

One aspect I really love about this novel is its continuous detail.  From the wizards to their families, potions, spells, and backstory, there is just so much detail that it blows my mind.  Rowling is complete in her descriptions and creation of this world, and the fact that it exists right alongside the human world (which opens the doors for that giddy wishful thinking that maybe, just maybe, it all exists) brings a spark of wonder and jubilation to all.

Dobby is an awesome addition in this novel, and I really liked the introduction of the House Elf.  His abilities and class within the wizarding world is also a bit of a social commentary on our very own society and the way society has treated others, such as slavery and even how society treats people today.

And of course, I love the ingenious way that Rowling found to bring Voldemort back into the picture once again.  The idea of the journal was ingenious, and I am amazed how Rowling can bring everything together, from book one to two, and how she’ll be able to keep this up in the next five books as well.  Amazing.

Another aspect that I adore about both the novel and movie is that, I feel, the movie got it right, from the big to the small, the casting and characters were perfect, in my mind. Professor Lockhart was even more annoying in the book than in the movie, and I loved Rowling’s portrayal of him. Potter is, as always, a wonderful role model, and this novel is an all-around feel-good story with many happenings to keep it all interesting.  From Dobby and his mischievous antics to a Quidditch match gone awry, from spiders trying to eat people to a monster hidden in the depths of the castle with the same powers as Medusa, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets kept me glued to the pages and in this for the long haul (I mean, how many times have I read this now?). Of course, the characters are even more defined in the novel than they are on the big screen, making it impossible for readers not to connect with them on some level; I loved every minute of this. Book still beats movie, but it’s a fairly close call. Five stars.

I own this beloved novel and entire series in both hardcover and audible.

Did you know that you can listen to this novel for FREE with a FREE TRIAL of Audible for 30 days? Try it today!

Kindle | Audible | Paperback | Hardcover

Have you read the short prequel to the Harry Potter series, yet?

And if you missed them, read my review of:

The Sorcerer’s Stone #1

The Prisoner of Azkaban #3

The Goblet of Fire #4

The Order of the Pheonix #5

The Half-Blood Prince #6

The Deathly Hallows #7

For me, the magic of Harry Potter is a Christmastime story. The first time I ever read the series, the first time I ever watched the movies, I just felt like they were definitely Christmas stories, ones of magic and beauty, and I’ve held onto that feeling for years, possibly because the earlier movies tended to come out around the holidays, or perhaps because J.K. Rowling always included Christmas in some way in each novel, but regardless, Christmas means it’s time for Harry Potter once again. Or at least, it did. It used to be that every Christmas season, I’d rewatch all the movies (usually in one sitting), and if I had the time, I’d re-read the entire series as well leading up to the holiday. But it’s been years since I’ve done this due to life and some other personal things. This year, however, the pull of nostalgia for my teenage years and the feelings of happiness Harry Potter always brought to me came flooding back, and I decided that I’d once again re-read the entire series, re-watch every movie (including the extended versions of some that I’d never seen before), and oh my, the magic of Christmas lives once again. And with that, I decided that since I’m back into blogging after so many years away, and since I haven’t posted about Harry Potter since 2013, that this Christmas season, I’d go in order and re-review each book from the prequel to the final novel as we lead up to Christmas day, partially for myself, and partially to spread the joy and cheer of Harry Potter as I know it this Christmas. Enjoy!



From Goodreads: Harry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick. He’s never worn a Cloak of Invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hatch a dragon. All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley. Harry’s room is a tiny cupboard under the stairs, and he hasn’t had a birthday party in ten years.

But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed. There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that’s been waiting for him… if Harry can survive the encounter.

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I’m not sure how many times I’ve actually read this series… six, eight, ten… Harry Potter has been a part of my existence for so long that I can’t even keep track of all the times I’ve read them or seen the movies anymore. But regardless of how many times I’ve read (or watched) this series, the one constant is that it continues to get better each time, because each time I read it, I see it through new, more-grown up eyes, and at 36-years-old, this series still resonates powerfully with me, though in different ways. Whereas as a teen I saw myself in Hermoine and wished for adventure and friends like Ron and Harry to experience it with, as an adult, I see myself more in Snape and McGonagle, wishing to impart knowledge and affect my students in the same manner as these great teachers… though not all believe Snape to be great (but he is). Once upon a time I found the teachers in the story to be boorish and a means to an end, but now see them as being the constant Harry and his friends need in order to survive and fight the good fight another day, and I’ve grown to love all the characters (except Delores Umbridge, never her), while my appreciation for Rowling’s craft has grown ten-fold. No matter my age, this series is one I cherish and will come back to time and time again, one that I hope to someday share with my own children and my nieces and nephews.

So, the Dursley’s. They’re awful, just awful, but I enjoyed reading about them again as I restarted the series, and they got me to thinking… Rowling really knows how to paint a picture, and though it’s easy to hate these muggles for how much they dislike the wizarding world and how awfully they treat Harry, this time around I began thinking that their immense hate and dislike stems from a number of psychological issues, such as fear and jealousy. Both fear and jealousy can cause people to turn into the worst sort of human, easily lead by the fake injustices or worst-case-scenarios they’ve created in their minds, and their overcompensation for their beliefs cause this terrible treatment of Harry in their misguided attempts to keep him “safe.” Of course this does not justify them in any way, and because of them they’ve created a monster in Dudley, but reading about them again made me really feel sorry for them; they must live a terrible existence, with their fear of the wizarding world, and Petunia’s knowledge that she never made amends with her sister… I know she comes off as a mean ole’ wench, but deep down, I think there’s a part of Petunia that’s truly sorry for everything that happened and keeps happening. At least, she doesn’t seem as bad in the novel as the movie makes her out to be.

But, I digress. Rowling has built an entire world that co-exists with our own, and so it doesn’t take much to become enamored by the magic of it all and begin wondering “what if,” which is what makes this novel so much fun for readers young and old alike. What person hasn’t thought about riding a broom, being whisked off to a castle-like boarding school to study, casting spells on unsuspecting people… Harry, Hermoine, and Ron are living the dream, and because they are so well written and incredibly realistic, it is easy to become a part of the story and join them on their adventures, even though the adult in me screams at them to stop, to get help, but the child in me winks and tells them to keep going.

Harry Potter itself is an amazing bildungsroman, with The Sorcerer’s Stone being the initial novel to help Harry morph into himself, to allow him to finally stand up for himself and all children out there who are beaten down by those around them, have limited friends, and feel like outcasts. Harry’s growth within this novel is amazing, and Rowling, I think, expertly captures what it means to grow up and mature. The difference between the timid Harry at the beginning and the self-assured yet humble Harry at the end is quite astounding when put into perspective. He definitely is a character that many young teens can connect with and see themselves in, and his characterization solidifies for me why Rowling is such a gifted writer. I wish I could say that Ron has changed as much as Harry has in this novel, but he’s still a bit of a timid youngster by the end, afraid of his own shadow it seems, which can be just a tad annoying, as it were, though I wouldn’t change him for the world. Of course, I did spend a great bit of time chiding the characters in my mind as I read, as I’m now at that age where I continually ask YA characters, “why don’t you tell an adult?!” but realistically, tweens and teens don’t generally tell adults anything, plus there would be little storyline if they did, so at some point, I just grin and bear it.

And you know, I always forget how much of a role Neville plays in this initial novel. I’m not sure why I haven’t internalized that as of yet, but it is interesting because though the novel is obviously not about Neville, in a way it is. He’s Harry’s counterpart, and had Voldemort come to Neville’s home first, instead of Harry’s, then perhaps Neville could have been the “chosen one.” The movies, unfortunately, don’t do Neville justice, and they cut out a many of his scenes from the novel, scenes that showcase him to be a much larger part of the story, and I am thankful to always be reminded of just how important he is as I re-read this novel each time.

Overall, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is a fantastic book of courage and growth and they’re worth a thousand reads, because these books are so wonderful; even as adults, we never really grow up, and Harry Potter always brings back so much nostalgia for me that I’ll never stop re-reading them. Five stars.

I own this beloved novel and entire series in both hardcover and audible.

Did you know that you can listen to this novel for FREE with a FREE TRIAL of Audible for 30 days? Try it today!

Kindle | Audible | Paperback | Hardcover

Have you read the short prequel to the Harry Potter series, yet?

And if you missed them, read my review of:

The Chamber of Secrets #2

The Prisoner of Azkaban #3

The Goblet of Fire #4

The Order of the Pheonix #5

The Half-Blood Prince #6

The Deathly Hallows #7



6From Goodreads: The summer holidays are dragging on and Harry Potter can’t wait for the start of the school year. It is his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and there are spells to be learnt, potions to be brewed and Divination lessons (sigh) to be attended. Harry is expecting these: however, other quite unexpected events are already on the march…

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This fourth installment in the awesome Harry Potter Series marks the start of a much darker tone, yet it is perhaps my favorite of the series to day.  It also is the last of the series that I am quite familiar with in movie form–so I am quite looking forward to reading books five, six, and seven since I am less familiar with all that happens in them.

This novel is so well written—the entire world created by Rowling is by far one of the best I’ve ever immersed myself in, and this is the first novel in the series to actually make me cry. While the others are extremely well written, I feel as if the first two novels are much lighter a fluffy, though they hold their own evils; they are in no way like this fourth novel, following the deaths of many, one of which is a very awesome character we’ve learned to love. Even the third novel, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, with it’s escaped prisoner on the prowl and dementors attempting to suck the life out of wizards and witches alike, didn’t feel nearly as dark or foreboding as this.

Opening with a murder, death eaters terrorizing muggles, and then the advent of deadly games, this novel is the first to put a darker spin on these lovable MG/YA novels. And I love it. While I do love the first three novels, this one takes a fun world and makes it darker, adding real threats and testing the reader’s emotions on a whole new level. It’s superb. Five stars.

5 starsI own all these novels and movies.



5From Goodreads: Harry Potter is lucky to reach the age of thirteen, since he has already survived the murderous attacks of the feared Dark Lord on more than one occasion. But his hopes for a quiet term concentrating on Quidditch are dashed when a maniacal mass-murderer escapes from Azkaban, pursued by the soul-sucking Dementors who guard the prison. It’s assumed that Hogwarts is the safest place for Harry to be. But is it a coincidence that he can feel eyes watching him in the dark, and should he be taking Professor Trelawney’s ghoulish predictions seriously?

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Rowling has, once again, written a gem that keeps adults just as entertained as it does the MG and YA age group for which it was written. This world is just… amazing.  The series transports me to another world that I am highly invested in, and Rowling sheet amount of detail and her ability to interlace the plot and twists throughout her ongoing series just amazes me.  This is a series that I will continually come back to time and time again because it’s a classic.  A must read.

This third installment in the amazing Harry Potter Series is actually extremely different from the movie, and I didn’t realize it–even though I’ve read these books once before (7 years ago, so apparently I’ve forgotten). I guess I need to watch the movie again, maybe I just didn’t see it before, but Snape is definitely a lot nastier in this novel than I’ve ever perceived him to be in the movie.  It’s like the escape of Sirius Black has made Snape into a crazed monster, which I guess it has, in a way, knowing what I know about Snape’s love for Lily Potter, but this is the first time his true colors seem to be coming out.  While he was definitely a “meanie” in the first two books, Rowling takes his character to a whole new level in this novel, and I was appalled by his behavior!

I originally thought Snape’s antics on the big screen to be slightly humorous, and he’s one of my favorites in the movies, truth be told, but in the novels he’s completely awful and full of hate—no redeeming qualities can be seen in this book, and he really made me angry! I understand his prejudices against Harry, and I know his back-story from the text, but I didn’t ever see him as being such an awful person before now. And he is.  I mean, I knew he was the resident sourpuss and that he was mean to students, but rereading his actions in this novel gave me a brand new perspective that I either hadn’t seen before, or had forgotten existed; Snape takes hatred to a new extreme.  The way he treats the students, all of them, really, is inexcusable.  Perhaps I’m seeing him in a new light as I’m now seasoned teacher myself, and I wasn’t when I first read the books, but regardless, Snape’s actions within this book made me livid. The way he talks to Hermoine, Ron, and Harry made me cringe; he’s just an unacceptable person—no matter how much you dislike a person, you just don’t treat them the way Snape treats Harry and his friends.  You just don’t.

Rowling definitely presents Snape in a different light than the directors in the movie, possibly because the directors didn’t want viewers to hate him to the extreme, but even so, I was floored by just how different the portrayal really is.  At least now I completely understand why some of my friends have always been so adamant about their hate for Snape.  Wow.  Just, wow.

But, despite Snape’s actions, I adored this novel, especially the explanation and replaying of events through the unique time changes that are presented.  Just in case you haven’t read the novels or seen the movies, I won’t go into too much detail here, but I personally felt that this novel does a much better job handling the time change than the movie does because I never felt like events were being repeated, whereas in the movie I thought this portion dragged on a little too long. Rowling keeps it short and sweet, though, in her novel, explaining it perfectly, and I highly enjoyed this aspect.  And, if you’ve only seen the movie and haven’t read the book, then you’re seriously missing out.  In this instance, it isn’t even a close second, the novel completely beats out the movie. No contest. Go read it. Five stars.

5 stars

I own all these novels and movies.



15881From Goodreads: 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.

And strike it does. For in Harry’s second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockheart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girl’s bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley’s younger sister, Ginny.

But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble beings, and someone–or something–starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects…Harry Potter himself.

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This second book in the famous Harry Potter series is just as riveting and captivating as the first, solidifying in my mind that Rowling is an absolutely amazing author.

Truth be told, I actually have found that I don’t usually like fantasy novels all that much, but the world that Rowling creates for Harry Potter actually makes me feel right at home, and I can easily connect with the characters.  This might have something to do with the fact that I watched the movies first, so I have visuals and such imprinted in my brain, but even so, this fantastical world is easy to follow and become a part of, in my personal opinion.  The story jumps right off the page, wrapping readers up in the awesomeness that is Hogwarts and beyond.

One aspect I really love about this novel is its continuous detail.  From the wizards to their families, potions, spells, and backstory, there is just so much detail that it blows my mind.  Rowling is complete in her descriptions and creation of this world, and the fact that it exists right alongside the human world (which opens the doors for that giddy wishful thinking that maybe, just maybe, it all exists) brings a spark of wonder and jubilation to all.

Dobby is an awesome addition in this novel, and I really liked the introduction of the House Elf.  His abilities and class within the wizarding world is also a bit of a social commentary on our very own society and the way society has treated others, such as slavery, and even the way society treats people today.

And of course, I love the ingenious way that Rowling found to bring Voldemort back into the picture.  The idea of the journal was ingenious, and I am amazed how Rowling is able to bring everything together, from book one to two, and how she’ll be able to keep this up in the next five books as well.  Amazing.

Another aspect that I adore about both novel and movie is that, I feel, the movie got it right, from the big to the small, the casting and characters were perfect, in my mind. Professor Lockhart was even more annoying in the book than in the movie, and I loved Rowling’s portrayal of him. Potter is, as always, a wonderful role model, and this novel is an all-around feel good story with many happenings to keep it all interesting.  From Dobby and his mischievous antics to a Quidditch match gone awry, from spiders trying to eat people to a snake with the same powers as Medusa, the novel kept me glued to the pages and in this for the long haul. Of course, the characters are even more defined in the novel than they are on the big screen, making it impossible for readers not to connect with them on some level; I loved every minute of this. Book still beats movie, but it’s another close call. Five stars.

5 stars

I own all these novels and movies.



3From Goodreads: Harry Potter has never played a sport while flying on a broomstick. He’s never worn a Cloak of Invisibility, befriended a giant, or helped hatch a dragon. All Harry knows is a miserable life with the Dursleys, his horrible aunt and uncle, and their abominable son, Dudley. Harry’s room is a tiny cupboard under the stairs, and he hasn’t had a birthday party in ten years.

But all that is about to change when a mysterious letter arrives by owl messenger: a letter with an invitation to a wonderful place he never dreamed existed. There he finds not only friends, aerial sports, and magic around every corner, but a great destiny that’s been waiting for him… if Harry can survive the encounter.

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This is my second time reading this series, and I must say, it only gets better with age.  I initially waited until all the Harry Potter books were out before reading them the first time because I didn’t want to have to wait in between them all, so to tide myself over, I watched the movies many a time.  And you know, I’m glad I did it this way because I’m actually one of those people who doesn’t have an active imagination and I have no pictures of what characters look like in my brain as I read.  None.  An author can tell me exactly how they look and how they sound, but unless I stop reading and try to draw them (and I’m not artistic in the least), there really isn’t much there in terms of my imagination.  It’s like a blurry shell for me.  And that’s why I loved watching the movies first, because I now have an exact image of what each character looks like, and I can see them doing everything the text says, and it’s amazing.  It’s also amazing because these books are so wonderful—I was a teenager when they first came out, and so I’ve pretty much grown up with Harry Potter over the years, and to sit here and reread the entire series as an adult bring back much nostalgia.

The Dursley’s are awful, just awful, but I enjoyed reading about them in the beginning of this novel.  It took a great many more pages than I initially thought it would to get Harry from the Dursely’s to Hogwarts, but I loved it from the beginning.  But, even having read this once before, do you know what I didn’t ever realize?  Neville is actually in this book a whole lot more than the movie portrayed, and I never knew it!  I mean, I always knew he was an important character (and it’s been seven years since I last read these books, so don’t judge me), but I guess I either forgot or never really internalized how much he’s really in this novel.  It’s not just a group of three friends, but actually four, though Neville gets angry at some points and disappears from the text, only to reappear later.  This was eye opening to me, and now I wish there was more of him in the movies as well because he does actually play a huge part.  But, regardless, both the movie and the book did a phenomenal job creating a story that I just can’t get out of my head.  Which is better?  The movie or the book?  Well, that’s actually a hard one to answer.  I think the book wins because it’s got so much more information, but the movie is a close second.  Five stars.

5 stars

I own this entire series and all the movies.



et cetera
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