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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling — Part 2

Because there are two movies, I tend to think about this book in two parts.  So I am splitting my review into two parts corresponding with the break in movies.  Part 2 covers pages 503-759 of the hardcover edition.

Title: Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows

Author: J.K. Rowling

Publisher: Scholastic 2007

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Pages: 759

Rating:   5 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: HP

How I Got It: Own it! (in pretty hardcover no less)

This one is a reread for me.  It’s been awhile since I read the series.  I remember reading the first couple of books out loud to the boys when they were infants.  SO that’s what, eight years ago?  I read the last few books as they came out, but overall it’s been awhile.

Instead of doing a traditional review, I thought I would just give you some of my reread thoughts.  Things I noticed, things I loved, quotes I like, etc.  And then I will have a mini review of movie vs. book.

Book fun

Favorite scenes:

  • Break-in at Gringotts —  This entire scene feels like an amusement park ride complete with scary dragon.
  • Harry standing up for Professor McGonagall — Such a small gesture, but beautiful.
  • The entire last 100 pages of the book — Of course.  Amazing.  Heartbreaking.  Satisfying.

Favorite character(s):

  • Neville Longbottom — Who knew the scrawny kid in the first year would eventually land the killing blow to Nagini and stand up to all of the Death Eaters.

Other odds and ends:

  • The story of Ariana’s death is just heartbreaking.  That story alone explains so much about Dumbledore and his regrets.
  • Along the same lines, Helena Ravenclaw’s story involving the Bloody Baron also breaks my heart.
  • Snape’s memories feel like a stopping in the story although I understand why they are there and that they set up Harry is truly understand what he needs to do.
  • I loved that Draco gets a semi-redemption in the end.
  • I burst into tears not when Fred, Remus, and Tonks died, but when the ghosts appear in the forrest.  Ugh!  I bawled for pages afterwards.
  • I still think I could have done without the epilogue…
Favorite quotes: 
“Because,” said Harry before Hermione could answer, “sometimes you’ve got to think about more than your own safety!  Sometimes you’ve got to think about the greater good!” (pg. 568)
“Hallows,” murmured Dumbledore, “not Horcruxes, Precisely.”  (pg. 713)
“It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it.  Those who, like you, have leadership thrust upon them, and take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprose that they wear it well.”  (Dumbledore pg. 718)
“NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU BITCH!” (Mrs. Weasley pg. 736)
Movie fun Part 2
My favorite scenes:
  • Inside the Lestrange vault.  The multiplying treasure is just gorgeous to watch.
  • At much as I like the ending battle scenes, they are very different than the book’s versions.
Things I wished to see, but didn’t:
  • Some of the little moments in the book that just aren’t there.
Other odds and ends:
  • The opening shot of the dementors surrounding the castle and Snape standing in the window is breathtaking.  Beautifully shot.
  • I love the conversation between Griphook and Harry at the cottage.  Griphook has the right mix of contempt and curiosity.
  • The dead Gringott’s employees was a bit of a weird addition.
  •  Loved the little before the battle moments of preparation, especially Mrs. Weasley and McGonagall calling forth the statues.
Harry Potter:

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2012 in Book Reviews, Movies

 

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling — Part 1

Because there are two movies, I tend to think about this book in two parts.  So I am splitting my review into two parts corresponding with the break in movies.  Part 1 covers pages 1-502 of the hardcover edition.

Title: Harry Potter and the Deadly Hallows

Author: J.K. Rowling

Publisher: Scholastic 2007

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Pages: 759

Rating:   5 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: HP

How I Got It: Own it! (in pretty hardcover no less)

This one is a reread for me.  It’s been awhile since I read the series.  I remember reading the first couple of books out loud to the boys when they were infants.  SO that’s what, eight years ago?  I read the last few books as they came out, but overall it’s been awhile.

Instead of doing a traditional review, I thought I would just give you some of my reread thoughts.  Things I noticed, things I loved, quotes I like, etc.  And then I will have a mini review of movie vs. book.

Book fun:

Favorite scenes:

  • Goodbye scene with the Dursleys — It’s bittersweet.  You want to hate the Dursleys for how they treated Harry and yet I love how Dudley finally says something.  And I screamed at Petunia to say something comforting…
  • Bill and Fleur’s wedding — I love the descriptions and seeing all the Weasley’s together (expect for Percy of course).
  • Bathilda Bagshot and Godric’s Hollow — I know what’s coming but this scene still scares the crap out of me.  Maybe it’s the dead body, maybe it’s the snake.  All I know is it is extra extra creepy.

Favorite character(s):

  • Kreacher — Bet you weren’t expecting that one…  I really love how he begrudgingly but finally accepts Harry as his master.  Plus his sneakiness comes in handy when they are trying to find the locket.
  • Ron — He leaves, he’s a git, but he redeems himself by destroying the Horcrux and trying to get on Hermione’s good side throughout most of the book.

Other odds and ends:

  • I cried over Hedwig and downright bawled over Dobby.  I cried for them more than I did when Dumbledore died.  Plus I got a bit verklempt with George’s injury.
  • I detest Scrimgeour with a passion.  Ugh!  So not sorry when he dies.
  • I love the description of Luna’s bedroom with the painting of her friends.  She is always one of my favorite characters.
Favorite quotes: 
“He looked away, trying not to betray the resentment he felt.  There is was again: Choose what to believe.  He wanted the truth.  Why was everybody so determined that he should not get it?” (pg. 185) — When Harry learns of Rita Skeeter’s book.  He has to get over these selfish thoughts to see the truth later on…
Movie fun Part 1
My favorite scenes:
  • Big chase scene with the 7 Harrys — It’s different than the book but with the same adrenaline rush and danger.
  • Bathilda Bagshot and Godric’s Hollow — Creepiest scene ever.  I jumped in the theater when Nagini is revealed.  I jumped again in my home when I knew exactly how it was going to happen.  Creepy creepy!
  • Favorite hands-down: The Tale of the Three Brothers — I loved loved loved the animation and the creepy shadow figures.  It fits perfectly with the story and set-up.
Things I wished to see, but didn’t:
  • More Lupin and Tonks.  The movie cryptically alludes to Tonks’ pregnancy, but it’s mostly left out.  Pretty big deal in the books.
  • Something with Dumbledore and his family.  I like that side story in the books and yet no mention in the movies.
  • Wormtail death.  Stunning him in the cell just seems to let him off easily.  I would have felt more complete with his death.
Other odds and ends:
  • I liked the change in opening to Rufus Scrimgeour’s statement about the Ministry.  While it is untrue, I like the foreshadowing and foreboding it creates.  The same is true for Hermione, Ron, and Harry’s saying goodbye to their “homes.”
  • Fleur’s dress is just gorgeous.  I really wanted to see more of it.
  • I like how they folded visions from Voldemort into some backstory for those nonrabid fans.
Harry Potter:

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2012 in Book Reviews, Movies

 

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Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead

Title: Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6)

Author: Richelle Mead

Publisher: Razor Bill 2011

Genre: YA Vampires

Pages: 608

Rating: 5 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Vampires

How I Got It: Library Loan

Last Sacrifice is the sixth book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series, Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. It is the last book in the original storyline, but Mead will continue writing more Vampire Academy books in a spinoff series. Lead character and dhampir, Rosemarie Hathaway, is locked in Moroi jail after being framed in the cold-blooded murder of the Moroi Queen. The punishment for this crime is immediate execution. At the same time, she is faced with the challenge of somehow locating Princess Vasilisa Dragomir’s lone remaining relative, her secretly existing illegitimate sibling. Murder. Love. Jealousy. And the ultimate sacrifice. Now, with Rose on trial for her life and Lissa in line for the Royal Throne, nothing will ever be the same between them.

The last volume in this series did not fail to keep me attached.  The previous five books left a ton of loose threads out there.  Thankfully we get some conclusions.  But not everything is wrapped up in a little bow.  And I must say I prefer this type of ending.  I can’t stand the “happily-ever-after” bullshit endings.  This seems more real.  Beyond the ending, I do say that I really loved the characters in this book.  Lissa, not my favorite at all, became bearable in this volume.  Adrian and Christian are amazing as usual.  And while Rose become a bit annoying in the fifth book, she cleaned back up for this one.  Plus we got to see more of Eddie (under used character) and Janine and Abe and Mikhail.  I finished the series, but have no desire to leave the world.  That is a sign that I really did enjoy the series.  Thankfully, Mead has written a spin-off series.  I must check it out.

Vampire Academy
1. Vampire Academy 
2. Frostbite 
3. Shadow Kiss 
4. Blood Promise 
5. Spirit Bound 
6. Last Sacrifice

  
 
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Posted by on July 19, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead

Title: Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5)

Author: Richelle Mead

Publisher: Razor Bill 2010

Genre: YA Vampires

Pages: 490

Rating:  5 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Vampires

How I Got It: Library Loan

After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri’s birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir’s-and to her best friend, Lissa. It is nearly graduation, and the girls can’t wait for their real lives beyond the Academy’s iron gates to begin. But Rose’s heart still aches for Dimitri, and she knows he’s out there, somewhere.

She failed to kill him when she had the chance. And now her worst fears are about to come true. Dimitri has tasted her blood, and now he is hunting her. And this time he won’t rest until Rose joins him… forever.

Such twists and turns.  I really really really like this series.  And I don’t care what anyone says, this isn’t like Twilight at all.  Rose is a strong character.  Bella was just weak willed.  Comparisons aside, I was on the edge of my seat the entire book.  Just when I thought everything was fixed, another incident blew up Rose’s world.  At this point, I am really concerned for Rose and her future (especially with the last few chapters).  I am excited about her future with Adrian, even if I loved Dmitri.  This is a love triangle I can get behind.  With all the loose ends, I hope the last book gives us some answers.

  
 
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Posted by on July 15, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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Blood Promise by Richelle Mead

Title: Blood Promise (Vampire Academy #4)

Author: Richelle Mead

Publisher: Razor Bill 2010

Genre: YA Vampires

Pages: 512

Rating:  5 / 5 stars

Reading Challenges: Vampires

How I Got It: Library Loan

The recent Strigoi attack at St. Vladimir’s Academy was the deadliest ever in the school’s history, claiming the lives of Moroi students, teachers, and guardians alike. Even worse, the Strigoi took some of their victims with them . . . including Dimitri.He’d rather die than be one of them, and now Rose must abandon her best friend, Lissa—the one she has sworn to protect no matter what—and keep the promise Dimitri begged her to make long ago. But with everything at stake, how can she possibly destroy the person she loves most?

This volume was a nice change a pace.  We got out of St. Vladmir’s and into new foreign territory.  We also got to meet some new people (good and bad).  This book has renewed my interest in the series.  For the first 1/3 of the book, I was wavering about my commitment to reading the series.  But things quickly become interest and I reinvested.  I’ve decided that Lissa is growing on me, Adrian is really growing on me, and we need to see more of Christian.  On to book five…

Vampire Academy
1. Vampire Academy 
2. Frostbite 
3. Shadow Kiss 
4. Blood Promise 
5. Spirit Bound 
6. Last Sacrifice

  
 
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Posted by on July 14, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray

Title: The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle #3)

Author: Libba Bray

Publisher: Delacorte Books 2009

Genre: YA

Pages: 848

Rating:  4  / 5 stars

Reading Challenges:  YA; Mount TBR; Semi-Charmed — trilogy

How I Got It: I own it!

It has been a year of change since Gemma Doyle arrived at the foreboding Spence Academy. Her mother murdered, her father alaudanum addict, Gemma has relied on an unsuspected strength and has discovered an ability to travel to an enchanted world called the realms, where dark magic runs wild. Despite certain peril, Gemma has bound the magic to herself and forged unlikely new alliances. Now, as Gemma approaches her London debut, the time has come to test these bonds.The Order—the mysterious group her mother was once part of—is grappling for control of the realms, as is the Rakshana. Spence’s burned East Wing is being rebuilt, but why now? Gemma and her friends see Pippa, but she is not the same. And their friendship faces its gravest trial as Gemma must decide once and for all what role she is meant for.
Overall I really did like this series.  I liked Gemma’s growth.  I liked the world of the Realms, especially the Winterlands.  I loved some of the side characters, Kartik, Brigid, Nightwing, Mother Elena, the Gorgon.  I fell into the story just as quickly as Gemma fell into visions.  I liked that Tom finally saw his sister for she is.  I loved that Gemma didn’t end up as a corseted prim beauty.
However, I was left with some issues.  *spoilers ahead*
  • Kartik and Gemma — The ending left me wanting something different.  I don’t always need the happily ever after, but this was too bleak and hopeless.  And Gemma seemed okay with it!  I just couldn’t take that.
  • Felicity — I never liked her.  Even after knowing her secret, I still didn’t like her.  She has no excuse to treat others as she did.  Gemma started to stand up to her, but at that point Felicity had already been given power.
  • Circe — So was she bad or good?  She seemed to redeem herself in the end, but did she.  Gemma gave her the spot on the boat.  So does that mean that Gemma can never cross over when she dies?  I don’t think Circe deserved what Gemma gave her.
I have a few issues with the ending.  And I think the third book got a bit convuluted with so many red herrings.  But I still really enjoyed this trilogy.  I feel like I need to read more of Bray’s novels.  I’ve heard some good things.
  
 
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Posted by on July 12, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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Rebel Angels by Libba Bray

Title: Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle #2)

Author: Libba Bray

Publisher: Delacorte Books 2006

Genre: YA

Pages: 592

Rating:  5  / 5 stars

Reading Challenges:  Mount TBR; YA; Semi-Charmed Challenge — Trilogy read

How I Got It: I own it!

Gemma Doyle is looking forward to a holiday from Spence Academy—spending time with her friends in the city, attending balls in fancy gowns with plunging necklines, and dallying with the handsome Lord Denby. Yet amid these distractions, her visions intensify—visions of three girls dressed in white, to whom something horrific has happened that only the realms can explain.The lure is strong, and soon Gemma, Felicity, and Ann are turning flowers into butterflies in the enchanted world that Gemma takes them to. To the girls’ great joy, their beloved Pippa is there as well, eager to complete their circle of friendship.But all is not well in the realms—or out. Kartik is back, desperately insisting to Gemma that she must bind the magic, lest colossal disaster befall her. Gemma is willing to comply, for this would bring her face-to-face with her late mother’s greatest friend, now Gemma’s foe—Circe. Until Circe is destroyed, Gemma cannot live out her destiny. But finding Circe proves a most perilous task. . . .

I think this was a much stronger book than A Great and Terrible Beauty.  We finally see Gemma beginning to grow up and find her own identity.  I hated that she bowed to so many others in the first book.  Her defiance as the Priestess is awesome.  Ann is still annoying as ever and Felicity is still as conceited as ever.  I loved seeing the changes in the Realm after the destruction of the Runes.  Plus we get to meet some great new characters.  The Gorgon was most definitely my favorite.  And the mystery of who Circe is pushed the story along at a great pace.  My only complaint: I want more Kartik!

Gemma Doyle
1. A Great and Terrible Beauty
2. Rebel Angels
3. The Sweet Far Thing

  
 
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Posted by on July 6, 2012 in Book Reviews

 

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