Tag: childrens

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, together with the rest of the series, holds a very special place in my heart. Firstly, I grew up with these books. I read them starting as a teenager through until becoming a newly minted adult and I loved these books! I enjoy how the story and complexity scales throughout the series. That worked really well with how I read them initially, and also how I ‘aged’ with them.

I wanted to re-read these books as an adult. Mainly, I wanted to see if my experience of the books differed now that I was reading them from a more mature perspective. For the most part, I can’t say that they did; I enjoyed them just as much as I did back then!

 

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 251

Audience: Young Adult

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Publication Date: 02 Jul 1998

Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

Goodreads – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Ever since Harry Potter had come home for the summer, the Dursleys had been so mean and hideous that all Harry 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 who says that if Harry 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 and a spirit who haunts the girls’ bathroom. But then the real trouble begins – someone is 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!

 

My Thoughts…

After the magic and drama of his first year at Hogwarts, you would think that going home for the summer would be a break for Harry. However, his aunt and uncle, and their son, treat him so awfully that he cannot wait to go back. Thankfully for us, it doesn’t take too long in the narrative and we get to dive into the magic and nostalgia of going to school very quickly.

This year is a little bit different, as they are no longer the newbies. However, the events that take place at the school or even stranger than the last. Students (and Mr Filch’s cat, Mrs Norris) are found petrified in school corridors. Tension rises and speculation begins on what is happening to them. Harry himself falls under suspicion. But, as we can only expect from these books, Harry ends up getting to the bottom of the matter. Not only that, but he finds himself in danger once again.

As with the first book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is a very quick read. I enjoyed the pacing of the book. It is full of action to keep the narrative moving along, but at the same time, we still get to see world-building and character development. I prefer the books towards the end of the series because I enjoy depth and complexity in my fantasy books. However, the fact that this book doesn’t necessarily fit into this category didn’t matter at all. The fact is, I knew going into it that these early books set a lot of foundation for the later books.

Whilst we don’t necessarily realise that at the time, significant events in this book or the introduction to a wider storyline come into play later on. When I think about where these events begin, it is Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets that immediately comes to mind. 

Whilst there is a lot of controversy around J. K. Rowling, I would recommend these books to anyone wanting to start out with reading fantasy, or anyone wanting to read a series without too much mental commitment. These books are really easy to digest. They are the kind of books that you could always get more out of with the next re-read. Equally, you can take them as you read them first time. They have a lot to give, and it is a series that I will go back and read again and again throughout my lifetime, I am sure! I know one of my friends re-reads these books regularly!

Have you read the Harry Potter series? Have you not read them? Let me know what you think in the comments.

 

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Sunday Summary – 17th July 2022

Hello everyone and welcome to my Sunday Summary update for this week!

Although my first blog post of the week was drafted ahead of time, there has been no rest for the wicked this week. My blog tour review of Twelve Nights by Penny Ingham went live on Monday; it was a pleasure to take part in the tour. Twelve Nights is a historical thriller/mystery novel. If that’s the kind of thing that floats your boat then I recommend you check this out.

Later in the week I took another look at my TBR and shared a Shelf Control post. In this post, I feature a sequel that has been on my list for quite some time. I even re-read the first book of the series to refresh my memory. But five years on, I still haven’t read the sequel! If you are curious to know which fantasy book I featured in this week‘s post, there’s a link above so you can go and take a look.

My blogging schedule hasn’t been quite so manic this week. However, I have been busy behind-the-scenes working towards a goal I set myself at the beginning of the year. To date, I’ve not been doing that well with it. This week, I prepared and scheduled next week’s posts. I wanted to get myself into a position where I was scheduling blog posts a week ahead of their publishing date, and I’ve got there. I bought myself a weekly planner so it’s a little bit easier for me to coordinate and organise myself! Fingers crossed I can keep it up!

 

Books Read

When I shared my Sunday Summary update with you last week, I had just finished reading Twelve Nights ahead of the blog tour. By rights, I should have moved on to my next and last ‘fixed read’ of the month, The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman.

However, I didn’t. When I was planning to take a book to bed with me on Monday night, I just really didn’t fancy going into that book just yet. I was looking for a book to counterbalance the injustice experienced by women in Twelve Nights. There was only one book on my bookshelf that would do this, and that was Pandora’s Jar by Natalie Haynes.

I made the right decision to pick this book up. It gave me everything I needed and was a really interesting non-fiction book as well. This ticks off another goal for this year – picking up more non-fiction! In case you are unfamiliar, Pandora’s Jar takes a look at women in Greek myths and in particular, focuses on those who are not done justice in their stories. This could be because they are largely ignored or overshadowed by men, are made out to be evil… or worse yet, painted as straight-up monsters.

I really enjoyed the discussions In this book. It’s very well researched and it’s a good way of diving into Greek myths, and especially how the stories have evolved over the course of time.

I started reading The Man Who Died Twice as well. I picked this book up a couple of days ago and I am already a healthy 179 pages in. Initially, the hardback copy of this book looks quite long. It’s around 425 pages in total, but I was delighted to see that the text in this copy is huge! At least, compared to Pandora’s Jar. I’m absolutely flying through this book as I’ve only picked it up on three occasions over a couple of days. It is everything I was hoping it would be based on The Thursday Murder Club and I’m glad to be back with our main characters and a whole new mystery!

I have also been back on the audiobooks this week. I originally started listening to these again as I was completing a craft project (that I couldn’t share at the time because it was a gift for a friend). Around about a month ago I was discussing how I have a hit-and-miss relationship with them. It is around this time that I received my kit to complete my friend’s gift, and I fell back into them.

Rachael’s Wedding gift

In making my friend’s gift, I have motivated myself to get back into a craft project for myself. I bought myself a cross-stitch kit a while ago, and now I am making this for myself. I’ve made some progress with it this week, and at the same time, I listened to a couple of hours of The Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. I only have about an hour and a half left, so I’m hopeful I can finish this very soon!

 

Books Discovered

I was very good last week and I didn’t add a single thing to my TBR. However, the streak hasn’t lasted.

I saw a really cute video on Instagram of a friend of the author opening a copy of The Wonderland Trials. It was a really cute video and was captioned with a message about all the hard work the author has put in, as she very nearly didn’t publish this book. This made me look into it a bit more, and it’s very different from the sort of thing I would normally read. However, I’m intrigued, so it’s on the list!

 

Coming Up…

As I said above, I have been busy this week. Normally in this section, I talk about what is going to be shared on my blog this week, being in a position where I haven’t written it yet. Not this week! I already have next week’s posts scheduled and ready to go!

The first post you will see next week will be published on Tuesday. This week is a freebie in the Top Ten Tuesday series. That meant I had full discretion on what I wanted to share. I decided to combine two popular topics on my blog – A Game of Thrones, and my favourite quotes.

Later in the week, a First Lines Friday post is scheduled for you! In this post, I feature a book I intend to read very soon. It has been on my reading list for such a long time too! I’ve already talked about this book a couple of times on my blog recently. If you’re not sure what it is or want to find out more, you can check out that post on Friday.

As always, I’ll be back at the same time next week for another Sunday Summary update. With any luck, I’ll have kept up with drafting blog posts a week in advance! I’ve already done the hard work; it should be plain sailing from here on out!

That’s all from me for this week’s Sunday Summary update. Have you been reading anything interesting this week? As always, I’d love to know what you’re reading!

 

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Book Review: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling

In today’s blog post I’m sharing my thoughts on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s’ Stone, the first book of the series I’m just about to finish reading for the second time! I read this series originally as a teenager and I loved them then as much as I do now! It’s a series for just about anybody and if my reread has proven anything, is that it doesn’t matter how old you are when you pick these up. This first book of the series didn’t seem immature or childish even now. Yes, it’s a lot simpler than the later books in the series, but it’s still just as readable.

If you’re like me then you’re probably also asking yourself, how do you go about reviewing such an iconic book series? Your guess is as good as mine – I’m just going to muddle through as best I can. I know I won’t do it justice, but I can only do my best!

 

Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling

Goodreads – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.

Though Harry’s first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it’s his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.

Full of sympathetic characters, wildly imaginative situations, and countless exciting details, the first installment in the series assembles an unforgettable magical world and sets the stage for many high-stakes adventures to come.

 

My Thoughts…

The thing is I love the most about these books is that it doesn’t matter how old you are when you start reading them. I grew up with these books, and I probably read Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone either as a preteen or an early teenager. I read this book again for the first time since then last year. At around twice the age I was when I first read the book, I loved it just as much!

Whilst I would say the intended genre is probably young adult, at the same time it doesn’t feel pigeonholed there. There is so much to this series that there’s something in it for everybody! This very first book is comparatively lighthearted to the rest of the series. It’s a wonderful introduction to a vast and detailed magical world, providing fantasy readers with escapism and a life they would have loved to have lived as a child; to be quantified as special and sent off to a magical school of witchcraft and wizardry.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher‘s Stone is only a few hundred pages long. It’s an easy book to pick up and read because of the length, but also the way in which it’s written. The narrative style is very easily digestible. Personally, I think you could easily pick up and put down the book as you wish. It’s really easy to follow what’s going on and it’s honestly a pleasure to read. I read this book within a matter of days just by doing some bedtime reading. You don’t have to be an avid reader to get through this book very quickly!

I like the pacing of Harry Potter and the Philosopher‘s Stone. Being the first book in the series, there is a lot to take in. We have a lot of the setting of the scene, character and world building thrown into the mix. I find it just right so that even a younger audience could follow what is going on, but equally it’s not slow for more mature readers either. As well as all this, there’s a lot of magical excitement to keep our attention. From a plethora of spells to learn to the wonder of the everyday… such as chocolate frogs (which really do behave like frogs!); there is always something going on and keeping the action flowing in a fun way!

In my opinion, this book is the perfect introduction to the now famous series. It’s fun and exciting whilst also setting the scene for a much wider story. The story unfolds in ways that I didn’t take initially expect when I first started the books. But, I really enjoy that! If you haven’t read these yet then I honestly recommend you do. They are absolutely fantastic and they really are for absolutely anyone!

 

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First Lines Friday – 17/12/2021

Hello and welcome to today’s First Lines Friday post! First Lines Friday is a regular series in which I take the opportunity to share the opening introductions of a multitude of books. These may be books I’ve already read, are looking to read, or am even just a little bit intrigued about.

For today’s post, I set myself the challenge of featuring a book set in winter. I must admit at first I was wracking my brains trying to think of one interesting enough to share. It’s a bit of a bizarre topic to go hunting for books around, but having gone back to the subject it almost hit me at once. It was not a hard choice and if I think it’s one that you have a good chance of identifying straight away from the introduction.

Can you guess what today’s featured book is?

 

Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. This story is about something that happened to them when they were sent away from London during the war because of the air-raids. They were sent to the house of an old professor who lived in the heart of the country, 10 miles from the nearest railway station and 2 miles from the nearest post office. He had no wife and he lived in a very large house with a housekeeper called Mrs Macready and three servants. (Their names were Ivy, Margaret and Betty, but they do not come into the story much.) He himself was a very old man with shaggy white hair which grew over most of his face as well as on his head, and they liked him almost at once; but on the first evening when he came out to meet them at the front door he was so odd-looking that Lucy (who was the youngest) was a little afraid of him, and Edmund (who was the next youngest) wanted to laugh and had to keep on pretending he was blowing his nose to hide it.

 

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – C. S. Lewis

Goodreads – The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe

Narnia… the land beyond the wardrobe door, a secret place frozen in eternal winter, a magical country waiting to be set free.

Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the professor’s mysterious old house. At first her brothers and sister don’t believe her when she tells of her visit to the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund, then Peter and Susan step through the wardrobe themselves. In Narnia they find a country buried under the evil enchantment of the White Witch. When they meet the Lion Aslan, they realize they’ve been called to a great adventure and bravely join the battle to free Narnia from the Witch’s sinister spell.

 

My Thoughts…

Why it didn’t occur to me to feature this book for today’s First Lines Friday post when I set myself a challenge last Sunday is beyond me. I read this book fairly recently (and in one sitting too) so it should have popped into my head straight away! Granted, it doesn’t all take place in winter… however Narnia is iconic for its wintery setting and so I felt it an obvious choice for today’s post.

I really enjoyed this short story. It’s probably more targeted and suited to a younger audience, however since I didn’t actually read it in my childhood (insofar as I can remember anyway) I wanted to rectify that now that I’m older. It was nice to read because it was a little bit simpler and shorter. It made a break from the usual reads I pick up and it was a refreshing change.

Were you able to identify today’s featured book from the introduction? Have you read this book and any others in the series? Let me know in the comments!

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Throwback Thursday Mini Review: Harry Potter series – J K Rowling

I for one feel privileged to have grown up reading the Harry Potter books. I read these in my teenage years; so I grew up with Harry, Ron, Hermione, and friends as they venture through a vast world of magic.

I never got my Hogwarts letter, and I am TOTALLY bitter about it.

 

Harry Potter’s life is miserable. His parents are dead and he’s stuck with his heartless relatives, who force him to live in a tiny closet under the stairs. But his fortune changes when he receives a letter that tells him the truth about himself: he’s a wizard. A mysterious visitor rescues him from his relatives and takes him to his new home, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

After a lifetime of bottling up his magical powers, Harry finally feels like a normal kid. But even within the Wizarding community, he is special. He is the boy who lived: the only person to have ever survived a killing curse inflicted by the evil Lord Voldemort, who launched a brutal takeover of the Wizarding world, only to vanish after failing to kill Harry.

Though Harry’s first year at Hogwarts is the best of his life, not everything is perfect. There is a dangerous secret object hidden within the castle walls, and Harry believes it’s his responsibility to prevent it from falling into evil hands. But doing so will bring him into contact with forces more terrifying than he ever could have imagined.

Full of sympathetic characters, wildly imaginative situations, and countless exciting details, the first installment in the series assembles an unforgettable magical world and sets the stage for many high-stakes adventures to come.

My Thoughts…

The series paints a wonderful, exhilarating and magical world. It is written incredibly well, so magic could live in our world without us “muggles” knowing about it! Though not without its downside, the world beyond Platform 9 ¾ is fraught with danger. He Who Must Not Be Named makes a formidable wizard and undying foe. The series is so well known, I don’t feel I even have to say that much about it. If you don’t know it, you either don’t care or live under a rock.

Whilst there are discrepancies over exact numbers, I cannot believe J. K. Rowling had so many rejections by multiple publishers. To think how prominent and successful the series is now, it is hard to fathom why they didn’t snatch the opportunity with both hands. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, I guess.

Naturally, I am going to show a preference for the books, but the films are great too. They are totally enjoyable to watch and pretty true to the books, so that’s a big thumbs up from me!

Whilst advantageous that I was of a similar age to the characters when I read the books, I know they are loved by many – of all ages and walks of life. My gramps read/listened to the books and still enjoyed them at 70! I think this series will stand the test of time. I only hope my grandchildren will still be talking about them. That is many MANY moons off yet… I hope.