Saturday, October 29, 2011

REVIEW: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

Title: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter #4)
Author: J.K. Rowling
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: July, 2000
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 10/10

Description: Harry Potter is midway through both 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 with Hermione, Ron, and the Weasleys. He wants to dream about Cho Chang, his crush (and maybe do more than dream). 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 hundreds of 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.

My Thoughts: As a fan of this series, I feel that the fourth installment of the Harry Potter series crosses the threshold into it becoming more a series for adults than children. With the third book, the reader is given a glimpse of the dark direction the series can take, but the door is definitely thrown wide open with Goblet as Harry faces some of the most difficult times he’s ever had to face. On the upside, He also gets to experience a once in a lifetime opportunity when he attends the Quidditch World Cup with his friends. Even though the event becomes frightening and menacing events occur, Harry seems to enjoy the experience. Luckily for the fans of the series, the unexpected doesn’t stop there. When Harry arrives at Hogwarts, he learns that his school will be hosting a tournament between Hogwarts and two other wizarding schools. Somebody has plans for Harry and they aren’t good plans and Harry has to keep his wits when he is chosen as one of the participants in the tournament.

One thing I did not like about this story is the way Ron behaved after Harry was chosen as one of the champions. I get that he was jealous but it really bothered me that he is supposed to be Harry’s best friend and you are supposed to be loyal to your friends, but yet Ron did not believe that Harry did not submit his own name into the cup. Even when he finally comes to his senses and realizes his mistake, I felt like Harry forgave him too quickly. I understand why he did but I felt like Harry let him off the hook too easily. I am sure that Ron gets annoyed playing second fiddle to Harry, but the series is about Harry after all. If it were about Ron, then this book would have been Ronald Weasley and the Goblet of Fire.

I very much enjoyed the introduction of the social custom of learning how to dance and attending the Yule Ball. Harry’s distress at not being able to take Cho Chang to the Ball and worrying about who he should take was entertaining. Hermione’s coming out was also enjoyable to see. Even with Ron’s snotty attitude, it was still wonderful.

I liked Cedric and thought he and Harry demonstrated great teamwork in the tournament even though they were competing against one another. Though the final stage of the tournament was well written and highly suspenseful, it was still difficult to read what happens as Harry’s worst nightmare comes to life. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Draco undergo some major changes as well with the help of Mad-Eye Moody.

I am now more than half-way through the series and am so excited to be reading it again. There are so many things in the books that I missed in the first reading or had forgotten about that it really does feel like I’m reading it for the first time. Even knowing what awaits me in book #5, I am looking forward to experiencing it all over again.

Monday, October 17, 2011

REVIEW: Missing In Death by J.D. Robb

Title: Missing In Death (In Death, #29.5)
Author: J.D. Robb
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: November, 2009
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Rating: 8/10

Description: Investigating a woman's disappearance on a New York City ferry, Lieutenant Eve Dallas wonders...if she didn't jump, and she's not on board, then where in the world is she?

My Thoughts: This story originally appears in the anthology The Lost but in all honesty, I didn’t read the other stories. I usually don’t read anthologies because the stories are too short for my liking and don’t seem to satisfy. Also, they are usually part of a bigger series and they don’t seem to flow with the rest of the series they are a part of. But when it comes to Lieutenant Eve Dallas, Roarke, Peabody and the gang, a little bit of a story is better than nothing. I love this series so much and am so anal about reading the series in numerical order that I will overlook my rule about anthologies just so I can read these smaller stories.

Missing In Death provides a fast paced read with Dallas and Peabody investigating a disappearance of a tourist on the Staten Island Ferry. They, along with her family, fear the worst because the bathroom she was last seen going into is covered in blood and she’s vanished without a trace. Just as suddenly as she disappeared, she returns, with a bump on her head and no memory of what happened to her or where she has been. This is where the real mystery begins. Dallas and Peabody are diligently following the clues to find out whose blood is all over the bathroom and locate the body and track down the killer.

This was definitely not the best Eve Dallas installment for obvious reasons but I did enjoy the unexpected twist Eve confronts while she is on the killer’s trail. When the killer’s identity is established, Eve faces a moral and ethical dilemma that would be hard for anyone to deal with, but she does and quite effectively. Had this been a full length novel, I am positive it would have received a higher rating but at least I got my Roarke fix until I dive into the next one.

REVIEW: Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich

Title: Smokin’ Seventeen (Stephanie Plum, #17)
Author: Janet Evanovich
Publisher: Bantam
Publication Date: June, 2011
Genre: Fiction
Rating: 10/10

Description: Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and no one knows this better than New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum.

Dead bodies are showing up in shallow graves on the empty construction lot of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds. No one is sure who the killer is, or why the victims have been offed, but what is clear is that Stephanie’s name is on the killer’s list.

Short on time to find evidence proving the killer’s identity, Stephanie faces further complications when her family and friends decide that it’s time for her to choose between her longtime off-again-on-again boyfriend, Trenton cop Joe Morelli, and the bad boy in her life, security expert Ranger. Stephanie’s mom is encouraging Stephanie to dump them both and choose a former high school football star who’s just returned to town. Stephanie’s sidekick, Lula, is encouraging Stephanie to have a red-hot boudoir “bake-off.” And Grandma Bella, Morelli’s old-world grandmother, is encouraging Stephanie to move to a new state when she puts “the eye” on Stephanie.

With a cold-blooded killer after her, a handful of hot men, and a capture list that includes a dancing bear and a senior citizen vampire, Stephanie’s life looks like it’s about to go up in smoke.

My Thoughts: Once again, Evanovich delivers a fast paced and side splitting hysterical adventure starring everyone’s favorite bounty hunter, Stephanie Plum and the usual cast of supporting characters, Lula, Grandma Mazur, Morelli, Ranger, Connie and Mooner. There’s also a new character in the book, a possible competitor for Stephanie’s affections and, if her mother has anything to do about it, will be Stephanie’s next husband.

And if that isn’t awkward enough, the bonds office is gone and the gang is working out of Mooner’s bus. Makes for some cramped quarters and after one FTA who believes he’s a vampire tries to give Lula a hickey, she’s convinced she’s turning into a creature of the night. Things just can’t seem to happen smoothly for Stephanie and especially after Morelli’s grandmother puts the eye on Stephanie, she’s convinced she’s cursed.

I love this series, as campy and crazy as it can sometimes get. When Stephanie is around, you can rest assured that people will die and cars will be blown up, but it all seems to work out and she comes through it all in one piece. 2011 will be an excellent year for Stephanie fans as there will be two releases this year. Book #18 will be out in November and I’m very much looking forward to it.

And if the book isn't enough to entertain you, there's always the movie and that's definitely something to look forward to!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

New Additions To The TBR Pile In September

I think I've done it. Finally achieved that goal that has long eluded homeless stray books showed up in September looking to be adopted...probably because I was neck deep in moving and didn't have time to mess with it.

Of course, now we are in a brand new month and all that will probably change... :o)


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I am not a professional reviewer, but I love to read and share my opinions on my reading with others who are interested. I work full time but my ideal perfect day would be to curl up with a good book. The majority of the books I review here are from my private collection and my reviews are provided purely for entertainment purposes. I receive no compensation whatsoever for sharing my thoughts and review on any book. If you would like me to review your book, please email me at Happy Reading! :o)